kipper

A Team of Heroes

There are a lot of words you could use to describe the 2016 Cleveland Indians: “overachieving”, “scrappy”, “tough” and “enthusiastic” are just a few that come to mind.

But what’s impressed me most this season (besides Tyler Naquin’s inside-the-park home run) is how there’s not just ‘one guy’ on this team doing all the heavy lifting.  Sportswriters and broadcasters love to talk about how ‘so-and-so’ has strapped this team on his back and taken them to new heights.  Not this bunch.

One night the heroics are Jason Kipnis’ or Mike Napoli’s.  The next night it’s a great outing by Trevor Bauer or Corey (“Klubot”) Kluber.  Or an outstanding outing (with a save, where appropriate) from any one of the bullpen.  A dazzling defensive play by Francisco Lindor.  An unexpected home run from any of the guys in the bottom third of the order.  There’s no one guy on this team who makes things happen.  This team makes things happen, and that’s what has been so great about this season and especially this post-season.

That’s why I’ve got a feeling that what ESPN called “The Little Engine That Could” — will. That’s why I expect to be standing out in a cold October or November day watching the guys go by on cars or buses or whatever with about a million of my closest friends.

Right now, there’s the Blue Jays to watch out for.  I’m hearing the same things about Toronto that I heard about Boston.  Watch out for their hitting.  Their pitchers are unhittable. It didn’t stop us before.  I am cautiously optimistic (and occasionally superstitious) that we can do it again, and go on to the World Series.

Whoever we’re up against then, they’ll face not just one hero, but a team of them, made up of:

  • Mike Napoli’s leadership
  • Jason Kipnis’ hitting
  • Corey Kluber’s emotions (yes, that’s a joke)
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  • Rajai Davis’ quiet confidence
  • Lonnie Chisenhall’s aim with a tray of Gatorade cups
  • Francisco Lindor’s enthusiasm and exuberance (and great defense)

and everything and everyone else who has contributed to this game, including Cookie Carrosco and Michael Brantley, who were in the locker room in Boston during the ALDS finish there, and Danny Salazar and the crew working away in Arizona in case they’re needed before the final win.

And as an Indians’ fan who has followed this team since she was 11 (in 1972) through a handful of ups and an awful lot of downs, that’s good enough for me.

And on your way out …

1608292219-Gene-Wilder-iconic-movie-lines

 

 

 

 

2016 struck again.

I was bemused by Bowie, bewildered by Rickman and struck dumb by Prince.

But only Gene Wilder (so far) has made me cry.

Mr. Wilder lived a long life and was a comic genius whose films will be important as long as there is someone around to remember them.

Somehow, though, his passing seems the biggest loss to me.  There is a shortage of gentle spirits in this increasingly hostile world, and today, humor in the media seems based on so many wrong things.  Maybe that’s what I’m mourning, that the style and wit that Gene Wilder contributed to his work will go missing from now on.

All I know is (even though, in fairness, this isn’t what I really believe, deep down) that I hope Gilda, Marty Feldman, Madeleine Kahn, Peter Boyle, Cleavon Little, Richard Pryor and all the others who went before Mr. Wilder get to form a rep company and entertain us all in eternity.

RIP,  sir.  You are truly going to be missed.

daybook

Daybook, 6/14/2016

For today…

Outside my window… What I would take for a beautiful day in early September, if I didn’t know better
I am thinking… being fairly sure that I will be laid off by the end of the week
I am thankful for… the Lord who loves me, even when I most assuredly don’t deserve it
From the kitchen… hummus and garlic toast sticks
I am wearing… purple shirt with black slacks
I am reading… through all my Betty Neels books on Kindle
I am hoping… that all will be well
I am creating… nothing at the moment.
I am praying… for support through the rough times
Around the house… cleaning, cleaning, toujours cleaning:)
One of my favorite things… Sleep; very precious to me.

Just living for today.  A big mistake to look any further out than that.

When the Doves Cry …

1401x788-prince-extralarge_1412016787658You can’t help knowing you will survive a lot of people you know directly or who have managed to make themselves part of your life at a remove. It goes with the whole “who knows?” thing, when it comes to death.

But when I signed onto Facebook this afternoon and saw a post by someone who doesn’t rush to post stuff and is pretty reliable, saying that Prince Rogers Nelson, aka “Prince” or even “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince” was believed to be dead, I couldn’t comprehend it.

This has been a crap year for celebrity deaths. Some of them weren’t a complete surprise; Abe Vigoda and Doris Roberts had reached or passed the 90 year marker. Bless them — they had long and productive lives.

But so many of the others, especially in the field of the arts: David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Vanity, Maurice White, Glenn Frey, Lemmy from Motorhead, Natalie Cole, Keith Emerson and Paul Kantner — even Patty Duke … I mean, I’m 55 and these guys aren’t THAT much older than me (except Maurice White). Each death has been like a punch from a much bigger boxer, leaving one shocked and breathless and aching – a little or a lot.

And now Prince. I commented on someone’s post that I was shocked that Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and Prince didn’t even make it to 60. Their music meant a lot to me, mostly because out of all the eras of popular music, it’s 80s music I think I love the best. And now someone who was a major part of that is gone, in the snap of a finger, it feels like.

2016 isn’t even a third over. I’m almost afraid to wonder what’s in store for the rest of it.

Don’t Go Breaking My Heart …

(An open letter from a non-Quebec Canadiens fan of 40+ years to Geoff Molson)

I’ve heard for years that we sports fans shouldn’t invest our hearts in the sports we love, that sports is only a business for the owners and front offices of the teams we support.

Certainly as a sports fan in Cleveland, I know about heartbreak. Clevelanders can tell the tragedies like a Catholic can the beads on a rosary: Red Right 88, the Drive, the Fumble, the Shot, the ’97 Indians one out away from a World Series title — even the Decision. We’re used to it. I think we even expect it.

But I didn’t expect it from the Habs. I walked around on air for the first two weeks of the season or so — I mean, who wouldn’t? A 9-0 start, and even after the first loss, our team played tough. Even after Carey Price went down. We thought we might see it through. Then Carey went down again. And apparently the wheels came off.

We’re not stupid, we Habs fans. We know how injuries — even one key injury — can devastate a team. But by a certain point in the season, it really felt from the stands (or in our living rooms) that the guys on the ice were demoralized. Michel Therrien couldn’t keep his hands off the lines, even when they were working. He gave far too much ice time to players who didn’t merit it and virtually benched guys who should have been playing.

Let me say one thing that is really apparent to me. Michel Therrien is clueless about developing young talent. Does anyone remember the gripe againt Jacques Martin? That he overplayed his veterans? That seems to be the case with Therrien, as well. Not to mention that playing well wasn’t the key to more ice time for the kids. The joke on Twitter during the game when a young player scored or made a great play was — “Oh, well. Therrien will bench him now (or yell at him).”

And now it’s rumored that Marc Bergevin wants to award this misfeasance by keeping Therrien instead of firing him or demoting him. Mr. Molson, this is unconscionable. Many businesses have failed over the last 30 years or so because they seem to subscribe to the Peter Principle: “Choosing a candidate for a position is based on the candidate’s performance in their current role, rather than on abilities relevant to the intended role.” I haven’t seen anything in Therrien’s performance that fits him to develop a young team into something worth putting on the ice. It doesn’t help that Marc Bergevin, who we all had high hopes for, can’t seem to get any pieces for the Habs top lines. He’s great at securing lots of 3rd and 4th liners, but that’s not where this team’s needs are.

Please. Please do not let M. Bergevin reward Michel Therrien. Bring in a new coach — a Marc Crawford or Guy Boucher — who might be able to make (good) things happen.

And while we’re on the subject of Michel Therrien, you need to sit him down and explain to him that he needs to learn to get along with P.K. Subban. The new rumor on the Interwebz implies that because MT can’t get along with our Norris-winning defenseman, P.K. may be on the block. If you think people would be unhappy if Therrien stayed, that’s nothing compared to the reaction if P.K. goes.

Just sayin’

Sincerely,

Janet Aldrich
Habs Fan in Ohio since 1978

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The Beatles Isolated Vocal Tracks: Abbey Road Medley

Tom Caswell

The Abbey Road Medley, one of the greatest musical pieces ever put together. Fantastic, sublime, exceptional, mind blowing, stunning: all words that can be used to describe it. Never before or since has another band done something so extraordinary as what The Beatles did on Abbey Road but it just got a whole lot better with this isolated vocal track from the entire Medley.

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