Thursday, October 30, 2008

Final weekend covering women's soccer


This weekend's games against Saint Louis and Charlotte will be the final games for the Massachusetts women's soccer team this season. It's going to be a bittersweet moment for me because when the season is over, I'll be covering men's basketball, which I'm really excited about but it won't be the same as covering women's soccer.





I'm not really a big soccer fan. In fact, I don't like soccer at all and I thought this was going to be a dreadful fall. Instead, Rudy made the game a lot more interesting, and I couldn't get through an interview with one of the players without laughing. I now understand a lot more about soccer than I ever have and I'm going to miss not covering the team for the rest of the semester.

Sure, basketball is going to be fun in its own way, but basketball coach Derek Kellogg isn't going to ask how our grades are doing or talk about previous stories. I probably won't even get his cell phone number.  


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Barack Obama's 30-minute infomercial

As many news stations have been reporting, Barack Obama did the equivalent of what your family would do when they are in Mexico and need to spend their last 200 pesos on something before going back to the states: buy something completely useless and unnecessary.

I have to admit, the infomercial sent chills down my back and I loved every minute of it, but I doubt it's going to sway any undecided voters. If it does anything, it just shows how much power he has over the media that he can afford a half-hour spot on so many networks.

I enjoyed the fact that he kept everything positive and avoided showing the comparisons between himself and John McCain. It gave the voters a good look at what he actually believes in while he gets to relish in the arena that he is exceptionally strong in. When he is in front of a teleprompter and saying something that he prepared on his own, Obama is usually at his best.

Such was the case tonight as he eloquently desribed the four stories of working-class families who believed in America, but were struggling to make ends meet. I found it interesting how he showed that before Bush, they all did fine on their own and they want to be fine on their own.

He used that point to say something similar to how the Americans don't want big government, but a growth in the economy and new jobs. That claim went directly to the socialism accusation that McCain likes to use against him.

Overall, I still believe that the informercial had little, if any impact on Obama's chances of getting elected as reported by NBC. I know there is criticism that Obama could've better used this money to contribute to the poor or support an organization, but it would cheapen the contribution given by voters.

He got all his money (most of it being small contributions) from Americans rather than PAC's. It wouldn't seem right if Obama used the money for anything else besides his campaign. The reason he gets money in the first place is to spread his message so that he can get people to vote for him. Obviously he has and is using the money he gets to accomplish that goal.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Local blog comparisons

I guess I should give a little caveat here in saying that I don't know if I'm in favor of having local blogs as most towns are so small that they can easily be covered with a local newspaper, but if it gives perspectives, I'm a little more understanding.

Baristanet is by far my favorite site because there is a decent amount of journalism and it isn't nationalized. Loudoun is owned by the Washington Post and has quite a bit of national news, which I'm not really a fan of because it's supposed to appeal to more of a niche market. iBattleboro seems all over the place and just doesn't have the professionalism that I think even the worst blogs have to have.

All of Barista's stories don't necessarily have to do with anything relevant to people outside the Newark area, but the site is pretty appropriate for people living in the area. The only thing I don't like is that it's written by one person but I guess that's the trade-off for professionalism at times.

Loudoun does a decent amount of local coverage, but looks so professional that I think it takes away from the idea of blogging.

Amherst Life Blog

Since my town is most likely too snobby to have people blogging about it (same with the town next to me), I chose to write about the Amherst Life Blog. It's very informative on Amherst, although it hasn't been updated for awhile.

The last post was August 27 where it was welcoming back students. Seeing as we are midway through the semester, it would be nice to see something more recent than this on Amherst. The one post that I really enjoyed was reading about the "Tourism Boom in Amherst."

The post mentions how more people are visiting Amherst and the restaurants are having more families visit. They say the town now has a diverse group of people going around the town and it's more people-friendly than previous years.

About half of the post consists of things to do in Amherst, most of which, I haven't thought of before. Their first suggestion is to check out "the Notch," which oversees the entire Pioneer Valley and is just off 116. The one play I want to go to that they recommended was the Robert Frost trail. It seems like a nice place to take a walk.

There's another post identifying good places to go in Amherst, although I wish that this blog was a little more recent.

Bears in Yellowstone

video

I apologize for not having the most exciting video in the world, but it was the only one that was not completely boring and longer than three seconds. I took video of a black bear walking around when my family was in Yellowstone because they're very rare to see. 

Friday, October 24, 2008

Gay school?

In the Chicago Sun-Times, I saw a report yesterday about the possibility of having a gay-friendly high school in Chicago by 2010. The school will feature gay and lesbian historical figures into its cirriculum. The school would not be all homosexual students, but would be a large amount with the other percentage being allies. However, Mayor Daley is completley opposed to the plan saying that it segregates kids from the rest of the school and instead what's more important is for people who bully the kids to learn to accept them as part of their school. 

I'm going to have to agree with Daley. After all, weren't we supposed to be done with segregation a long time ago?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

At the boiling point


If you remember where we left off last time with the Jay Mariotti situation, you'll remember that he has gone off into blogging and TV world (not so much the blogging quite yet) after leaving the Chicago Sun-Times.

We are now in Chapter 2 of the Mariotti saga taking place in a sauna where he is met by former colleague and organizer of the departure of the disgruntled columnist, Rick Telander. "Well let's bury the hatchet," Mariotti says. Too bad Telander only had a scalpel.

The site that originally posted this information, On the DL, also shows another aspect of perhaps the larger problem of the Mariottis in the world.

ATH exists because of PTI which exists because of The Sports Reporters which exists because of The Sportswriters on TV, which he was a regular on. Now every media market in the country has a round-table newspaper kvetch-a-thon. Did he help create a monster?
The question posed has a point. Reporters/columnists have now abused their privelege of what being on TV was supposed to be about. Instead of having a good discussion about the national sports news and analyzing teams, it's become a bitch-fest where columnists now try to piss as many people off as possible.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Chapter 9

Computer Columnist John C. Dvorak said in chapter 9, "Citizen journalism is like citizen professional baseball. You can't play pro baseball just because the Seattle Mariners stink."

This quote is supposed to mean that citizen journalism might become more prevelant in journalism, but it's not going to replace professional journalism. There is a certain level of professionalism and access that just won't be there with bloggers. 

Bloggers may be more unbiased or they might have the capability of scooping journalists, but very few bloggers are actually capable of getting interviews or have the journalism background to report ethically on big issues.

Anyone can sit at a computer and write something, but to apply ethics and theory along with good reporting takes a good education. It's similar to being good at baseball with your friends. You may be able to hit the ball 400 feet if your friend is pitching 60 miles an hour or pitch a fastball faster than Jamie Moyer, but you don't have the location that he does and you don't have the reflexes of a guy hitting homers with 90 mile an hour heat. 

It doesn't mean that the guy isn't a good baseball player because his skills are at a low minor league level, but he's not better than the average Seattle Mariners player. It's similar to how being a blogger and writing something that gets a million hits doesn't necessarily make you better than a NY Times writer just because you scooped him.

Thoughts on comment-producing post


A few weeks ago, I faced the challenge of trying to write a post that would attract as many comments as possible. I chose to write about the Chicago Cubs because at the time I wrote it, the NLDS loss was still fresh in Cubs' fans memories.

I wanted to get 100 comments, but I didn't come close, although I am still happy with the restuls (10 comments including one from me). I used a variety of ways to get people commenting on the blog. First, I IMed some of my friends and asked if they would mind posting something. However, I struggled to get many people that way. Then I wrote a massive Facebook post that seemed to get a decent amount of people. 

I still didn't feel like there were enough people posting so I decided to try the message boards. I found a few Cubs' message board that I posted on and a fantasy baseball message board. However, I only ended up receiving one post out of that group. He generated the most discussion of the group simply because he responded to one of my friends' comments. I tried to respond as well, but the discussion pretty much never came up because my friends didn't reply to the posts. 

The friend who John (the random guy) responded to told me he saw the reply, but didn't think there was anything more to say. Now that I've had a chance to evaluate how the post went, I think making that facebook post actually hurt me in some aspects because I encouraged everyone just to post, but I didn't do a good enough job at motivating discussion. 

The other problem with the post was that everyone agreed with what I had to say. The topic didn't seem that debatable after I posted it because it was a rational post. If I wanted to get more reaction, I should've said something  that would provoke more of an argument. 

Almost every post mentioned how I made a good point, which is nice to hear, but it doesn't allow for a whole lot of discussion. Perhaps I could've sparked the discussion by making a post about who is to blame for the Cubs not making the World Series.

That way, I would have a bunch of perspectives and spark disagreement about whose fault it was or cited some article about the Cubs and asked for perspective on that. The post was still a good experiment in trying to figure out what makes people engage in discussion how a blogger can get their message out to the world. 

Perhaps this is what makes Deadspin so popular. Not only are the posts witty, but the links are usually thought-provoking and cause many people to comment. My other problem was that the post is timely. Now that the NL and AL Champions are decided, it doesn't make much sense to have a discussion on a team that lost in the first round because everyone would rather talk about the teams playing. I'm sure all of those Cubs message boards aren't getting a whole lot of traffic right now since the season is over.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The mysterious blocked punt

Late in the third quarter the Massachusetts football team had a punt blocked by that ultimately decided the game. But, who blocked the punt? The PA announcer credited Eric McBride with the punt, but in the box score, Nicholas Battle got credit for the block. You would think the big-time journalists would get it right.

They didn't.

Even my sports editors disagreed. Eli Rosenswaike said McBride blocked it, Jeff Larnard said Battle. OK so they're more or less amateurs. What do the media relations people think? The UMass Athletics game wrap (written by Media Relations person Jason Yellin) says the play was made by McBride. 

The Richmond website credits Battle for the block. There's still no consensus over who blocked the punt. One Richmond newspaper website says Battle. So does the Republican, Gazette, and Boston Herald.

The Associated PressBoston Globe, and Enterprise News say McBride. I feel pretty good about the punt belonging to McBride, but it makes no sense that all the newspapers can't agree with each other considering it was the biggest play of the game. 

Thursday, October 16, 2008

'Swing Vote' comes to life in presidential debate

Tonight's debate was probably as close as you would get to the movie, 'Swing Vote' as both candidates tried to appeal to Joe "the plumber" Wurzelbacher. The reason why he appeals to Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain is that he is a small business owner that has done very well and is now going to buy the plumming business.

The dilemma is that he makes $250,000 per year. Under Obama's plan, his taxes are going to go up, which will make it more difficult for him to hire new employees. In addition, McCain is trying to convince Joe Plumber that if Obama is president, he will be expected to provide health care to all of his employees even though he would actually be exempt from that mandate.

However, he does have an interesting dilemma that will probably make him vote for McCain, although he isn't going to announce that publicly. He is symbolic of the economic debate between Republicans and Democrats. Should our system be survival of the fittest or are we our brother's keeper? 

In other words, do the rich need to pay more taxes so that the government can fund more programs for the poor and middle class that will allow them to spend more or should taxes be lowered for the rich so that they can spend money, which will trickle down to the other two classes? Joe is somewhere in-between the middle class and rich because he makes a large salary, but he had to work very hard to get there and he is an example of what it means to live the American dream.

His biggest problem with Obama is that the higher taxes might discourage him from buying the company because he wants to save that money to hire workers and help the company grow. Obama's argument is that he should pay the higher taxes because it will allow people like him to get to where he is five years down the road. Here is an interview with Joe. I've never heard of this organization before but I'm guessing they are Republican. The AP also has a story about him. 

Over the next few weeks, it will be interesting to see how the Joe Plumbers of the country decide to vote. There's been a lot on the middle-class, but Joe is an unusual breed of voters who also deserve to have their voices heard. 

Saturday, October 11, 2008

One 'Giant' headache


DEERFIELD, Ill.-- The picture you see above was the best I could get all night from the press box. It didn't help that I probably wasn't at the right angle, didn't have flash on, and could not figure out how to use my sister's digital SLR so that resulted in a really bad picture.

I forgot how much these games actually matter to our town, so I was stupid and left my house a half hour early in hopes that I might get to the school a little early and have some time to talk to people before going to work. Instead, I spent 20 minutes battling traffic and circling the school to get a parking spot.

About three minutes after the game started, I managed to find one that was pretty close to the stadium. I saw the massive line for tickets and remembering that I still have my high school ID, I flashed it to security before they asked me to hand it to them. They ended up confiscating it and telling me to get in line for a ticket. I budged the entire line anyway and paid. Luckily nobody stopped me for bringing in a backpack. 

I went up to the press box and was welcomed as one of the only people not working for the school (one writer from my local paper, the Deerfield Review, was there). I found myself as the unusal minority of people not cheering in the press box (even Media Relations people at UMass aren't allowed to cheer). I introduced myself, sat down, opened my computer and of course had no wi-fi. 

I asked one of the guys if they knew where I could pick up a stat sheet at halftime and they looked at me like I was from some foreign country. Twitter was probably the only multimedia aspect that went right last night. You can see my live blogging here.

After the game ended, I went down to talk to the coach. The only problem was that he wasn't ready to talk to me. He asked if I would wait awhile and I said yes. In the meantime, I talked to the dean who is also the baseball coach. He gave me back my ID and then gave me a hard time about being a hot shot trying to get into the game, which I responded by saying, "I'm a college student and I'm poor. Give me a break."

I never ended up talking to the coach after 45 minutes of waiting. Apparently he's never done a post-game interview before because the Review talks to him on Monday since it's a weekly. Then I ran into a bunch of girls from my high school who I've never met before that asked me if I worked for the Deerfield Review and if I could interview them. I responded by saying, "it's curfew, shouldn't you be going home now?" and drove home.

The game itself was pretty good because of how close it was, but I was annoyed the entire time. You can see my wrap in the post below.

Giants take first in conference after triple OT win

DEERFIELD, Ill.-- For much of the game, the Deerfield football team relied on running back Sean Sally to get the ball into the red-zone. When the game was on the line in the third overtime, Highland Park knew exactly what to do.

The Giants (5-2, 3-0 Central Suburban League North) stopped Sally for the first two plays of the drive, which forced Warriors coach Steve Winiecki to call for a desperation pass that never found the hands of a DHS receiver.

DHS (4-3, 2-1 CSL North) saved the drive when quarterback Jason Hendel came in to boot a 21-yard field goal, but it was the Giants who would ultimately determine the outcome of this game. Senior Anthony Kopp threw a 10-yard pass to wide receiver Brian Wilneff to drop a 28-24 decision over the Warriors.

Both teams dominated defensively in the first half and did not allow the other to get inside field goal range.

The running game was a key component to getting what little offense there was going in the first half as Hendel ran for 15 yards in the second quarter.

The senior’s success on the ground backfired near the end of the first half when he was sacked for an eight-yard loss. It was the last time Hendel would take snaps against HP after suffering a game-ending shoulder injury.

The injury meant that quarterback Matt Healy would enter the game in his first action at the varsity level.

Winiecki did not allow Healy to throw a single pass in the remaining two minutes of the first half as Sally continued to rack up the yards for the Warriors.

The scoreless game continued until there was 4:04 left in the third quarter when running back Courtney Frison put the Giants up 7-0 on an eight-yard run.

It took until the final seconds of the quarter before the Warriors had anything significant go their way. Senior Francisco Molina recovered a loose ball after forcing Kopp to fumble it on Deerfield’s 19-yard line.

Its first touchdown came two minutes into the fourth quarter when Healy threw an eight-yard touchdown pass to senior Milos Antic. The score followed up with an onside kick that gave the Giants a short field, but the ball came right back to the Warriors after a quick three-and-out.

Healy took matters into his own hands by running for the first down after completing a nine-yard pass on the previous play, but the ball would not stay with DHS for long. Center Greg Larmore botched a snap that led to a fumble recovery for HP on the Warriors’ 35-yard line.

Frison broke loose and ran for 11 yards, but the Warriors would recover the ball once again.

Junior Kyle Magnus intercepted a pass in the end zone and gave DHS possession at the 2-yard line, but resulted in a punt from its own goal-line. Both teams struggled at converting on third-down plays and forced the game into extra time.

In the first OT, Healy recovered his own fumble and threw a touchdown pass to senior Luke Cohen. Kopp responded with a 15-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Brad Schwartz.

The quarterback would get the ball back in the second overtime, but threw two incomplete passes before hooking up with Wilneff to put the Giants ahead.

Healy found Cohen again on the first play and forced the third overtime, but eventually had to settle on a field goal, which cost Deerfield its first conference loss.


Friday, October 10, 2008

Most likely not so sweet home, Chicago


DEERFIELD, Ill.- That dateline was completely unnecessary, but anyway I'm home for the weekend and tonight I will cover my old high school (Deerfield High School) against their biggest rival Highland Park tonight at 7:30 p.m. CST (that means 8:30 for the rest of you).

The Warriors (4-2, 2-0 Central Suburban League North) generally hasn't done well against the Giants (4-2, 2-0 CSL North), but considering they are Deerfield's biggest rivalry, the stands are probably going to be packed.  This game has quite a bit of meaning to it considering both teams are on top of the division and one of them is going to have their first conference loss.

Here are some stats on the Warriors

I'm expecting that attending the game will be very awkward, but it should be fun to write about. First, DHS coach Steve Winiecki told me that I am allowed to interview after the game, but I can't do it right after the game and I have a "very short" time limit. I most likely will be sitting in the stands and perhaps I can sneak into the press box, but that's unlikely. 

I talked to my old paper's (Deerprints) Sports Editor, Tyler Bail about the game. According to him, "We're not covering the team this month because we're doing a feature on this freshman who's good at Karate." I then asked him his thoughts on the game, "I'm not going. The team is just mediocre." So much for getting that perspective tonight.

I'm guessing that being an alum isn't going to matter much tonight. I'll probably have to pay to get in and when I was there, they had an anti-bag policy so getting my lap top in will be tricky. I'm sure I'll probably get a lot of weird looks and questions where someone is going to ask, "what are you doing here?" 

Oh well.

I'm going to try to make this as much of a convergence journalism night as possible with my camera that can shoot video along with taking pictures (if I'm lucky, I'll get my sister's digital SLR for the night). I just realized that my high school probably isn't quite there with technology as Rudd Field is so live blogging will be a bit difficult.

Instead, I'm going to blog though my Blackberry on Twitter. If you want to follow the game (seriously, are you that bored on a Friday night?), it will be #dhsfootball. Feel free to talk about the game (although there's no way to follow the information besides me) but it might take awhile to respond since I will have to go through my phone to see if anyone else is using the hashtag besides me. 

After the game, I'll post 5-600 words on a recap and then do another post about my experience covering it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

McCain vs. Obama debate part 2 analysis

For anyone who missed the debate, here is the transcript of the debate. I also have a video from YouTube below.


The UMass Twitter discussion once again got very popular as a trending topic, but was hijacked by the Obama and McCain campaigns correcting each other near the end of the debate. There was also a problem with lag time.

This time the delay was around 15 minutes per post, which made most of them either responses to what a candidate is saying or a repeat of what McCain or Obama just said.

One of the big stories about the actual debate, and something several posters commented on was on Tom Brokaw's moderating. The NBC anchor did a good job of trying to keep tabs on candidates.

I'm trying to play by the rules that you all established. One minute for discussion.

However the candidates ignored him and continued rambling on, but A+ for effort, Mr. Brokaw. He did the best job of moderating and unfortunately was probably the only one doing the straight talking or doing what was in the best interests of the American people. He was also popular with many of the students who were Twitting.

AlGiordano posed an interesting question: Is Brokaw overplaying the referee role in trying to enforce the clock?

My response to this was that Brokaw was doing his job in keeping them to the time limit and on topic. The reason why Brokaw's role was ok is because when the moderator lets the candidates ramble too long it becomes a speech contest rather than a debate.

Lehrer did a good job at trying to get the candidates to talk to each other. This debate it happened a lot more so maybe in the third debate, they can keep to the time limit.

Much of the debate had to do with the economy, specifically the candidates' health care plan. McCain's plan is to give a $5,000 tax cut while taxing the health insurance as part of a person's salary. Essentially, he is betting that the insurance is going to be worth more than the $5,000 so it's more like a discounted tax instead of a plan to make insurance cheaper.

Obama plans to make health insurance more affordable by rolling back the same taxes that George W. Bush initially cut (anyone making $250,000). That tax money will go to lower the costs of people's insurance or make the insurance that people already have a little cheaper.

Overall, the win goes to Obama because McCain took too many cheap shots and didn't offer enough solutions. It wasn't a knockout, but this debate was good for the Illinois senator to make his case for why he can get the American people out of this economic disaster.

You can bet the third debate is going to be a lot of defense from Obama, who will do everything he can to stick strictly to the question while McCain will be on the offensive. He needs to dig up something original that strikes a nerve with voters or else Obama will win this election in a landslide.

The real Cubs' curse is the pressure of winning now


At the beginning of the 2008 MLB season, it was pretty common that you would see a season preview like this when talking about the Chicago Cubs. The theme centered around it being 100 years since the Cubs last won a World Series (1908).

When you read player quotes, you'll see that they try to be ignorant and forget the history. In the MLB preview, shortstop and second baseman Ryan Theriot said:
We want to win for the city of Chicago and ourselves and this organization, and not because of the length of time since we had a championship.
It really doesn't matter that Theriot said it. Put anyone's name there and it will still ring true. Every player and Manager refuse to make any mention of Chicago's history or admit that there is added pressure.

Raise your hand if you believe that the Cubs don't face any pressure from their team's history. I'm guessing nobody is going to disagree with that; there certainly is a stronger sense of urgency being inside Wrigley Field.

In some ways, fans and reporters put the Cubs players in a similar position as New York Yankees. While the Yankees are hammered with the expectation that anything short of a championship is a failure, the Cubs are hammered with the cynicism of being failures until they win a championship.

That message seems to affect Chicago more than its willing to admit. Look at stats from the regular season, the Cubs are clearly better, although it's a little skewed with Manny Ramirez only being part of the team for the last part of the season.

But considering how the Dodgers clobbered the Cubs, his production can be taken out of the playoffs for comparison's sake and it still doesn't make much sense. Over the years, plenty of things have happened to Chicago where the easy answer is to blame the curse, but perhaps the more appropriate label is that the belief of the curse is what causes the Cubs to choke or have bad luck over the course of the years.

It doesn't seem rational that the Cubs would make four infield errors during game two or how Alfonso Soriano hit under .100 the entire series. It's not a curse, rather it's the high expectations that come from being a Cub.

Even the Steve Bartman incident could've been avoided if Moises Alou just kept his big yap shut when Bartman caught the foul ball. I can't explain why, but there is a weird connection that players have with one another and the entire team seems to feed off different players' emotions.

For instance, back when Manny being Manny was actually embraced by the Boston Red Sox, his laid back attitude to the game caused the rest of the team to be laid back, which eventually led to a 2004 Championship and the Red Sox "reversed the curse."

If Soriano ever came into spring training and said anything besides how focused he is on winning and anything short of a championship is a failure for next season, Cubs fans would call for his head and want him out of Chicago. Yet perhaps there was something that Chicago could learn from a team that calls itself a bunch of idiots.

Even the Cubs songs go along with the win-or-die attitude, literally. Steve Goodman's song "A Dying Cubs Fan's Last Request" is pretty much the general feeling among most fans. Witnessing a Cubs' World Series ranks somewhere on the top of the list of lifetime goals, but we are trained to be pessimistic whenever it looks like the Lovable Losers (another way of demeaning recent Cubs teams) will turn it around.


I can't think of anyone other than Cubs fans who wonder out loud if they will die before Chicago wins a World Series, and that includes teenagers. When Management reaches an apocolypse and puts together a team that wins the World Series, they will do it with underachieving players and a low budget instead of a team like they have now where it's a high budget and constant pressure to win now.

The Red Sox set an example for the Cubs in assembling a championship team that is only worried about themselves instead of how the media and fans perceive them. Perhaps if players like Ryan Dempster stopped guaranteeing World Series and putting so much pressure on themselves a ring will follow.

After a disappointing season in 2002, the Cubs assembled a scrappy group that came very close to making the World Series. Instead of going after an ace like CC Sabathia as most fans would prefer, they should get more guys like DeRosa, a multi-position guy who can get the hits when needed. It's an unpopular move, but after this past collapse, the Cubs might as well keep expectations low and just hope to make the playoffs every year.



Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Daily Beast Review

One thing that pops out about The Daily Beast is its organization. The site has a cheat sheet which shows the day's top stories in short little summaries that are attached with a link.

That link can come from either a news site or blog. They also pick stories that are likely to peak people's interests such as the story about Bernacke lowering the interest rates.

Daily Beast's stories seem to give the site a lot of credibility. They cover both politics and Hollywood and use several means of covering the news. On the front page, the site has an interview with Tony Blair and has a combination of news and editorial pieces.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

LIVE BLOG: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Chicago Cubs

I'm going to be doing some live blogging for the Dodgers vs. Cubs game. I am a Cubs fan and would like nothing more than for Chicago to break its 100-year drought since its last World Series Championship. The Dodgers thumped the Cubs last night, 7-2. Tonight should be considered a must-win because tonight's pitcher, Carlos Zambrano is the best Cubs' pitcher and if he can't get the Cubs a win, they will go 0-2. In other words, if the Cubs don't win tonight, this thing is over.

GAME OVER: Dodgers win 10-3. Well the Cubs made it interesting and decided to hit in the ninth inning. Too bad that didn't happen earlier in the game. I don't know what to say, why can't the Cubs do well in the playoffs?

End of seventh: The Cubs are showing a little bit of offense, but it might be too little too late. The score is 7-1.

Middle of seventh: Wrigley Field should be blaring "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," but given how the Cubs are down 7-0, I'm sure nobody is singing.

End of sixth: I had to get some wings to eat my sadness. Here's a question, why does Alfonso Soriano feel like he needs to free-swing at every at-bat he ever takes? It would certainly curtail all of those strikeouts.

End of fifth: Jim Edmonds almost had a solo shot but Ramirez got the ball back at the warning track and went into the ivy. If he was on the Red Sox, I bet that would be a double. The Cubs continue to disappoint. I officially hate this assignment.

Middle of fifth: How do the Cubs manage to screw this up every playoff series? This is absolute torture. Manny Ramirez led off the inning with a home run which followed with a walk. Luckily the Cubs managed to get a double play of their own. Will the Cubs' offense PLEASE wake up?

End of fourth: The Cubs are starting to show a pulse, barely, but it's something. Derrick Lee led off the inning with a deep ball to left field. Ramirez almost grounded into a double play but Lee's hand blocked Blake DeWitt from completing the play. And then DeRosa gives the Dodgers a chance to get another double play.

Middle fourth: Aramis Ramirez committed an error and allowed Rafael Furcal to bring over Billingsley. Zambrano strikes out catcher Russell Martin and doesn't allow the Dodgers to do anymore damage. Hopefully Manager Lou Piniella doesn't do something stupid like bring in a reliever in the fifth inning.

Bottom three: Another wasted inning. Dodgers' pitcher Chad Billingsley walked Carlos Zambrano, which is a little unusual unless you're facing a guy who can hit. Zambrano has hit several home runs in his career and hit over .300 this season. Soriano poped out and Theriot hit an easy grounder to get Zambrano out at second. The Dodgers are the worst team in the playoffs (besides maybe the White Sox). What is going on here?

Middle third: Zambrano recovers nicely this inning. Very efficient. He's thrown 50 pitches in three innings. Let's hope he can give seven innings and not give up a run... and the Cubs really need to do some scoring.

Bottom of the second: 1-2-3 inning. This is torture.

Middle of the second: The Dodgers are up 5-0. This cannot be happening. Unless Chicago pulls off a miracle, this game is already over. The Cubs have made THREE ERRORS in the inning. First off, why would shortstop Ryan Theriot try to bare-hand a grounder like that? His error allowed runners on first and third with no outs. Derrick Lee bobbled an easy play at first and Mark DeRosa looked awful fielding his position.

End of first: Soriano doubled, but nothing else happened. Aramis Ramirez hit a ball deep, but no dice. Stay tuned.


Middle of the first inning: Zambrano got through the inning with no hits. I'm holding my breath.



Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Pondering nostalgia lane...

I'm going home for Columbus day weekend. I wouldn't usually announce this on my blog if it wasn't for this idea I just came up with. I used to cover the high school football team and they happen to be having their biggest game of the year because they're playing the big rival.

I'm working on possibly stringing this game for my town's paper. At the very least, I think it would be interesting to see what it's like covering my old team. I'm not sure how I'm going to structure this. I'm thinking I'd like to package this as a live blog, a wrap and maybe a sidebar in three posts. I could also do some convergence journalism by taking pictures, video, sound bites (is that possible?) from the game.

Who knows, maybe I could twitter this too somehow although I'll see what I can handle.

I also think I could use the current Sports Editor to put some perspective on the team, maybe post an interview with him or something. I think this will be a fun idea. What does everyone think? Good idea or really creepy?