Thoughts on Yoenis Cespedes for Jon Lester

Some thoughts on the big trade today:

  1. The Innocence of Sports Fandom. The A’s traded Jose Canseco in the middle of a game in 1992. I was 9 years old and it made absolutely no sense to me. How could Jose Canseco play for another team? He’s an Athletic!
    I had the same feeling this morning, but I wasn’t the only one. When I told my 5 year-old daughter that Cespedes would no longer be on the A’s, she was really sad. Cespedes has only played for the A’s and it’s really hard to imagine him in another uniform.  How could he play for a different team? He’s an Athletic! Why would the A’s do that? It was hard for her to process. She loved watching him, and it’s hard for her to accept the idea that the guy that solidified her A’s fandom with his exciting play is no longer on the team. Silly me for buying her a Cespedes shirt last season, I guess.
  2. The Excitement of Yo. Something you have to remember about being an A’s fan: we don’t get players like this very often, so we hold on a little more tightly when we do. In Oakland, we are used to being The Island of Misfit Toys, our roster often filled with players that no one else wants because of salary restrictions. But Cespedes was different. Cespedes was the G.I. Joe action figure that all our friends kept asking about. Yeah, come  look at this guy! He’s sweet! Yes those are real sunglasses. No, you can’t borrow him, I’m playing with him right now. He’s awesome. I don’t care if he can’t pick things up with his hands, he’s G.I. F-ing Joe! I’ve never had one of these before.
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  3. The Complexity of the Game. Canseco being traded was my first understanding that there is a business side to professional sports. In baseball, you can only have 25 players on your  major league roster, so when you want to pick up one guy, you have to lose another. You can only afford so much salary, so if you want a good player, you’ll have to spend less elsewhere, maybe letting guys walk. And then there are other factors to consider, like contract demands, age, fit, and windows of opportunity (clearly a huge factor in the Cespedes/Lester trade).      Understanding that these factors are a part of the game had two effects on me.  First, it confused and depressed me. But then it made me love the game even more for its complexity.
  4. The Challenge of Responsibility. So, given how many factors there are in trying to win a World Series, I have to repeat the mantra of so many A’s fans: In Billy We Trust. Billy Beane is the one who has to make difficult decisions, and having been in charge of numerous sports teams on a much, much smaller scale, I know that the right decisions for the team are often unpopular at the time. But he’s not making this trade just for fun. He wants to win, which is what the fans want, too. He’s got a program of thinking, and he’s sticking to it. He’s responsible for whether or not the A’s are in a position to win this year, and he’s doing what he thinks is right. Cespedes was good, yes, but Jon Lester could be the difference on the mound in a critical game. So we have to accept that Beane has thought this through. 
  5. The Fun of the Game. Still, we all loved watching Cespedes. And yes, I know his stats are pretty pedestrian for a so-called star outfielder, and I’m all for using numbers to get a better picture of performance. But as a fan, how could you not love the athleticism he displayed? I was there for his first game when he hit a line-drive double off the Tokyo Dome wall. I saw his monster homers. And who can forget the throws? Sometimes as a fan, you love players like this, even when you know they’re not statistically the best, because they make the game fun to watch from day to day.
  6. The Worst Thing. As my daughter got in the car today, she said: “Maybe we can cheer for the Red Sox now.”
    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!

Finally, thank you to Yoenis for giving us a fun-filled two-and-a-half seasons. We were supposed to be horrendous in 2012, and we made the playoffs. We weren’t supposed to repeat in 2013, and we did. We were predicted to finish 3rd in the AL West this season, and we currently have the best record in baseball.  Now, let’s hope the A’s close it out and get Cespedes a ring for his efforts.

Thanks for the memories, Yo!

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The Old Century Theaters

Century 21 on its last day. Image from the linked article.

If you grew up in the South Bay, you probably went to quite a few movies at the old Century theaters on Winchester–the best screens in the whole area. They closed yesterday.  I remember waiting in lines that would stretch almost to Winchester Blvd. for the openings of Independence Day and Back to the Future Part 3.

The last time I went there was a few months ago. My wife and I went to see the second Hunger Games movie a few months back on a Wednesday night. We were literally the only 2 people in the 900-seat theater. I went to the restroom in the middle of the movie, and when I came back inside I yelled: “WHAT DID I MISS?” across the rows. Fun but depressing.

Anyway, thanks for the entertainment, Century Theatres.

Here’s a petition to Save the Domes if you are so inclined.

2013 Music Survey Results

Better late than never. Here are the results of the 2013 Music Survey. I changed scoring this year to include negative points for any mentions for “Least Favorite Song” and a small positive bump for any “Guilty Pleasure” selections.

If you can’t see the embedded box above, the top song for 2013 is “Royals,” by Lorde, followed by “Wake Me Up” (Avicii), “Safe and Sound” (Capital Cities), and “Mirrors” (Justin Timberlake). “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk was probably the most divisive song, with 6 people giving it positive mentions and 3 people claiming it was the devil’s favorite song.

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I originally started this music survey as a way to make a compilation of my college roommate’s favorite songs.  Here  are the compilations from 20122011, and 2010. And here’s a refresher from 2011:

The “FC12 Music Project” started when I wanted to gather favorite songs from my college roommates and their families and turn it into a CD.  We lived in the 12th unit of a somewhat dingy apartment complex called Fountain Circle, hence the name of the project (FC12).  So the final track listing mainly represents songs chosen by them but with some input from friends.

Since 10-11 people are submitting 5 songs each,we have too many songs to choose from to fill 80 minutes. So, while I have some input in how songs are chosen, I follow a priority list to ensure that the music selection is somewhat diverse and not overly affected by my mood at the moment. Here’s the priority list, along with the songs chosen:

1. All #1 selections by Fountain Circlers

Ten songs were chosen using this criterion:

  • Sky Ferreira – Heavy Metal Heart (Criss #1)
  • John Mayer – Wildfire (Andrew #1/Heather #2)
  • Capital Cities – Safe and Sound (Brett #1/Brian #2/Diana#2/Stacy #2/Nadia #4)
  • Justin Timberlake – Suit & Tie (Diana #1)
  • Justin Timberlake – Pusher Love Girl (Heather #1)
  • Justin Timberlake – Mirrors (Brian #1/Blake #5)
  • Taylor Swift – I Knew You Were Trouble. (Nadia #1)
  • Of Monsters and Men – Silhouettes (Stacy #1)
  • Anna Kendrick – Cups (Blake #1)
  • Nine Inch Nails – Came Back Haunted (Dan #1)

A lot of Justin Timberlake, as you can see, which made the running length of these ten songs take up about 2/3 of the album space. And even though I used the radio edit of Mirrors, but at this point we were down to about 25 minutes left.

2. Any marriages or kids get a song.

Brian and Diana married in November, and Dan and Nadia had a baby in December. Brian and Diana chose a song that Dan and I sang at their wedding. It’s a parody of When a Man Loves a Woman. Dan and Nadia chose a nice song by Andrew Bird.

  • Andrew Ishak and Dan Patry – When Brian Met Diana
  • Andrew Bird – If I Needed You

3. Any duplicates on top-5 lists of Fountain Circlers (meaning a song was on 2 or more lists).

This added two songs:

  • Lorde – Royals (Dan #3/Diana#4/Stacy #5)
  • Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Can’t Hold Us (Brian #5/Diana#5)

So at this point we had 17 minutes left.

4. 1 of the 3 most mentioned songs from all friends.

“Royals” and “Safe and Sound” were already chosen, so we were good here.

5. If only one song from a Fountain Circler’s list has been chosen–and they listed 5 songs–an additional song is chosen.

At this point, Brett, Criss and I only had once song each. I knew I would have an editor’s choice, so that left Brett and Criss:

  • Lucius – Tempest (Criss #4)
  • The Neighbourhood – Sweater Weather (Brett #2)

6. Editor’s Choice.

  • The Shins – Simple Song (Andrew #3)

7. Other songs at the editor’s discretion.

  • Daniel Kim – Pop Danthology 2013

 

And there you have it. 18 songs, including a “danthology” which has about 50 songs in it.