4:43am – Despite the crumbs tossed so far, the 3 regular-season but not traditionally-regular-season games played (all involving the LA Dodgers, interestingly enough), TODAY is what the vast majority of us think of as Opening Day. HAPPY OPENING DAY!
“My team” (since 11 yrs old) the San Francisco Giants seem much improved this year, if spring training is any indication. But they’re in a tough division, with the bottomless-wallet Dodgers determined to buy a championship no matter what, improved Padres, still-tough Arizona, and non-pushover Colorado. We don’t have an Astros in our division that we play 18 or 19 times, counting on 15-18 wins. Everybody in the NL West has potential to win. But it’s unlikely a wild card team will come from there, so the only way to get to post-season is to win the division. Go Giants!
The Giants’ year starts today vs. the Snakes in the desert. Tough ballpark for the infield, being hard and fast, but we just got done with a six weeks right there in the Phoenix area, so our infielders are as ready as they’re gonna be! It’s the pitching I’m more concerned with. Time to find out what we’re made of, as they say.
4:59am – Uh-oh, I hope I didn’t burn the oatmeal! I forgot to turn the burner off when I turned the timer off. But it’s only been 4 minutes. I put the cover on and it’ll steam for a bit, hopefully softening any burned-on oats at the bottom.
I’ve been caught up in Digital Diamond Baseball, playing the 2013 season with virtual San Francisco Giants. We’re doing pretty well right now (late April), but it’s what happens after Toronto in May that will be be telling. Last year, the real Giants acted like they were cursed from the time they entered Canada to play the Blue Jays until late in the season when they surged a bit to avoid a first-to-worst disaster of a year. I blame it on Melky Cabrera. Some kind of weird Melky karma. The juiced Melky (top batting avg., all-star game MPV) helped SF win the pennant in 2012. Hopefully we’ve got that off our backs now!
Still trying to keep up with new music, an impossible task but enjoyable. Hey, I did a weird-to-some “future-retro” kinda thing over the weekend: made two 45-minute Spotify playlists, then dubbed them to a C90 cassette. It sounds awesome in the car! I think I may do more of those. Popping a cassette into our circa-2000 vehicle’s deck is certainly easier than plugging in my phone and dialing up music on it. And I can record new stuff over and over on a cassette. Kinda like an analog USB memory stick just for audio.
4:41 am – Fleur’s “issue”–whatever it was–has apparently resolved itself, and she is her old self again. Maybe she ate a bad bug or something. Anyway, the crew is healthy, and that’s good.
I watched a big chunk of the Giants-Padres spring game last night. Wow, the G-Men are looking pretty darn good! The lineup was all major-leaguers since spring training is winding down, with the only regulars sitting out being Scutaro and Pagan. Michael Morse was also not in the lineup, but he’s the new guy and I don’t think of him as a regular yet. Juan Perez played left field instead. Blanco played center, and Arias second base. Great to see Posey knock a grand slam! Hunter Pence beat out 2 infield hits, and made a couple excellent grabs in right field. Bumgarner was scary good on the mound. And Sandoval also looked fantastic, with a couple nice hits and a couple runs scored. I’m excited! Regular season starts in about 10 days (not counting the two official-season-opening games in Sydney, Australia, between the Dodgers and Diamondbacks this weekend).
New gear has spurred me to start going through all our LPs. A lot of them have gotten out of order and displaced during the last few years since I stopped DJing at KWVA. New turntables are inspiring exploration and organization. I have several weird genre micro-collections: banjo music, organ music, accordion, barbershop quartet/chorus, “beautiful” music, children’s records, instructional records, moon/space missions. Lots of spoken word of various kinds. Soundtracks, “top hits” LPs. Etc. I want to start filtering these into my podcasts. Get more of an old-school Armadillo Radio sound going on!
5:10am – The new turntable arrived yesterday. It’s an Audio Technica AT-LP60 Fully Automatic Belt Driven Turntable. I’ve never had a “fully” automatic turntable. With this one, you put the record on the platter and then press START. That’s it. We played a few albums, and they sounded great. Our next step is to get a shelf or case or some piece of furniture that will hold a few dozen or more of our LPs, and put it next to the hi-fi. Then my vision of having a nice up-to-date stereo system that is ready to play CDs, cassettes, vinyl records, FM & AM radio, mp3s and internet streams will be realized!
It’s not like I fetishize records and cassettes. They neither make me feel hip and cutting edge nor old and passé. We just have a lot of them, and there’s vast amounts of good music on them. Why not be able to play them at will?
Fleur didn’t show up for breakfast this morning, and when I found her upstairs and told her about it, she wasn’t interested. A little off her feed, I guess. Hopefully just a slight belly issue or something that will pass quickly.
I upgraded to the new version 4 of Digital Diamond Baseball, a fairly complex statistical simulation game. They’ve added a “career mode” with player aging and the ability to generate fictional players with realistic stats based on real players. You can play multi-season “campaigns”–my term because this is kind of a Dungeons & Dragons for baseball, given that you generate “characters” i.e. players, who play out a career or lifetime, as it were. I’m still learning the rudiments, but I foresee endless hours of obsessive fun… if I want to. The “problem” is: there are so many options for fun per time available. Ah well. Life could be much worse, right?
5:11am – Spring needs rain as well as sun and early baseball, and here it is! Let’s get those stats bumped up to a better level. We gotta do better than HALF the average rain-year-to-date! And speaking of doing better, it was heartening to see Ryan Vogelsong pitch 5 good innings last night against the Texas Rangers. The bullpen blew the save, but SF salvaged a 4-4 tie (in a game that doesn’t “mean” anything). Now we’ve seen every Giants starter show he can command pitches and get batters out while giving up minimal hits and runs. Brandon Crawford looked sharp at the plate, with two hits. He also scored the first run of the game. Andrew Susac, a Giants’ minor league catcher, had a great night at the plate, going 2 for 2 with a home run and 2 rbi, plus 2 walks. Good stuff for a mid-spring-training game!
We ordered a new turntable for our stereo system, which we just this week upgraded with a new receiver, CD player, and cassette deck. It’s been a long time since we last made such a significant audio overhaul. I took some guff yesterday from youngsters at work about the cassette deck and the “massive” CD player. Yes, we are old! We like our big stereo gear! We have tons of CDs, vinyl records, and cassettes, and we like to play them. I’m not going to spend a chunk of my life converting our physical formats to MP3. The physical formats are perfectly fine, and we have the machines to play them! Yes, I have hundreds of mp3 albums, and I love to listen to music on my phone and computer, but I see no reason to consider earlier technology and audio formats “dead” in any sense. They’re all still here and very viable and playable. And, as Frank Zappa said: “Information is not knowledge. Knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is not truth. Truth is not beauty. Beauty is not love. Love is not music. Music is the best…”