Location: Vienna, Virginia, United States

A graduate of Dartmouth College (2005) and Washington and Lee University School of Law (2010). These are my personal blogs, and the musings expressed on them do not reflect the positions of my employer. They do reflect my readings, thoughts, and aspirations, which I figure is good enough.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Things that I Wish

I'll divide this one into non-baseball and baseball.


1) I wish I had a job. Not knowing where I'll be next year isn't scary or anything, it's just annoying. I'm not looking for anything special. Just something that will pay the student loans and the rent, keep me fed, and build me resume a little. Future career considerations / grad-school feeders a plus.

2) I wish I time to write a friggin short story or two. As much as I am kind of enjoying writing my thesis, I mean, it's a little like picking a scab at this point, I would really like some more time. Recently, I've been getting better (I think) ideas in my head for stories, random plots, and when I don't write them down I lose them. Part of me likes to think that I've missed out on some decent stuff (read: publishable) just because I neglected to write it down and remember it. Most of that is probably delusion, but I swear, some of them were really good. No really.

3) I wish I had more of a sense of closure as I approach graduation. I mean, the thesis is one thing. Major cards, degree applications, yadda yadda. What do I have to do to get a sense of closure? I think I might have to curse someone out, or assault someone I despise. Maybe that will complete my college experience.

Because I can't shake the feeling that the new college smell (you know the one I'm talking about), refreshing as a freshman (sorry), now kind of annoying and old, is going to haunt me after I graduate. It's kind of like when you got to college, and you were meeting people and finding out you weren't as smart as you thought you were, that was all nice and part of the experience. Now it's like those feelings don't have a place any more because in June, Dartmouth is going to hit the ejector button on the class of 2005 and we'll all have to do our own thing.

Don't get me wrong. I want to do my own thing. I just want to leave with a clean conscience, so to speak, and I'm not sure how to do it. It's not going to be one last drunken binge or anything like that. Certainly not a smashing concert experience, considering we had Dashboard Confessional in the fall, and not much since. Maybe a couple of killer games of pool.

Still, I'm thinking property destruction or theft. Even that's too cliche though. Maybe a jaunt through the graveyard and down to the river in the Spring would do it. Not sure.


1) It would be so cool if the Washington Nationals, after realizing that they were playing in front of real crowds, turned in a stellar season and got into the playoffs. I mean, it would be poetic justice if they beat the Braves, seeing as how the Expos last contended and were in first place during the 1994 strike season. But even if they don't, I hope the Mets keep building (David Wright, MVP, 2006, you heard it here), the Phillies choke, and Josh Beckett erupts in blisters. The Nationals deserve it. I mean, I know they're millionaires all, but it must be depressing to play in front of empty stadiums all the time.

Maybe they'll draw big crowds and then Jose Vidro will sparkle. And Livan Hernandez will be the horse he is and throw 200 innings again. Maybe Brad Wilkerson will drive in 100 runs when he's not hitting all his home runs out of the leadoff spot. Maybe Vinny Castilla and Christian Guzman won't be one of the worst 5-6 men in the MLB. That last one is kind of the deal-breaker, I suppose.

2) I actually want Jason Giambi to hit 40 homers next year. I know, steroids, blah blah, whatever. They help you heal, prolonging your career while turning you into a mongoloid psycho. And maybe some psychosomatic effect. Actual distance added to hits is probably minimal. I would say marginally more than the production increase you might see with a corked bat. I want Giambi to hit a crapload of homers with a decent average. I feel bad for the guy. He's a great player at Oakland, a beach bum surfer type, and he never fit in in NYC. Never. Never comfortable. This whole steroid, tumor thing. And then he gets blasted for telling the truth about his drug use to a grand jury, when all the other juicers are talking about flaxseed oil.

If Giambi comes back strong, then everyone would be so confused about steroids and the "purity" of the game. The only way to really tell users (it's too late to back out now, Selig - you actually have to test under your new agreement), would be to actually test players consistently and fairly. You wouldn't be able to label one or two musclemen as juicers and throw them to the media dogs. Plenty of pitchers would fall along with power hitters, and I bet some speedsters would go down too. Baseball might stumble headlong into accountability and better steroid testing while Jose Canseco would turn into a motivational speaker living in a van down by the river. A van that he bought by selling his 2000 World Series ring (he was a Yankee - curse of the Canseco?)

Amphetamine testing will never happen, because upwards of 80% of players would lose their jobs, so I'm not even going to bother wasting a wish on that one.

3) I wish the Oakland A's would get to the World Series after stomping the Yankees in the ALCS. I want Zito to throw knee-buckling curves all year. I want Rich Harden to pitch like Mark Prior is supposed to pitch. I want Joe Blanton and Dan Meyer to be rookie of the year candidates, and Jason Kendall to be the man that makes it all happen, a la Pudge 2003. I want all those guys that rip Billy Beane for having the Big Three to be shut up once and for all. I mean, I'm not all for the Moneyball thing, but Beane consistently deals with losing centerpieces of his team and manages to contend perenially. Tejada, Giambi, now Mulder and Hudson. I want the A's to win at least 90 games.

I kind of just painted a playoff picture. It's incredibly impossible, has nothing to do with my allegiance to any team, but I would just like to see it for the game.

Might as well run with it. Pigs might fly.


NY wins division (sorry) - Giambi hits 40 + HR, Big Unit breaks down after May but Mike Mussina finally wins 20 games.

Minnesota wins division - Lew Ford goes 25/25 after Shannon Stewart goes down injured with an ankle injury. Bela Karolyi carries him off. No wait, that's Shannon Miller. Or was it Keri Strugg? Whatever. Johan Santana wins 22 games with an ERA under 3.20

Oakland wins division - Rotation ERA ridiculously low. Erubiel Durazo is an All-Star, with 25 HR at the break.

Texas gets wild card - Chan Ho Park returns to the form he never had, winning 15 games. Ryan Drese somehow pitches well. Their monster infield helps them score the most runs in baseball and Richard Hidalgo and Kevin Mench both hit 30 HR.


Braves win division - again. Smoltz wins 18, but again doesn't contribute in playoffs due to a tired arm. Hudson miraculously re-signs before March 1, to a multiyear deal worth scads of money. Andruw Jones trade talks bandied about, but the Braves wait until the offseason, sending him to the Yankees for whatever prospects the Yankees have left and cash.

Cubs win division - No Sammy, no problem. Aramis Ramirez hits 50 HR, shows up Adrian Beltre and sets a new standard for slugging third basemen. Nomar goes .330/25/100. Prior and Wood strike out 550 between the two of them. Maddux wins another 15 and keeps his career ERA under 3.00. Carlos Zambrano only wins 12 after punching a wall and breaking enough bones in his hand to keep himself out until 2006.

Dodgers win division - Behind the pitching of Derek Lowe (Cy Young), 20 game winner, and Yhency Brazonban and Gagne being a ridiculous 8-9 combo, and JD Drew somehow staying healthy, Dodgers run away with division. Jeff Kent a non-factor after a freak surfing accident. No, I can't imagine Jeff Kent surfing either. Maybe if he's got a 12-gauge and a hankering for mahi-mahi.

Nationals win wild card - Jose Vidro has a huge year. Termmel "Sister" Sledge puts his name on the map. Brad Wilkerson hits 30 HR.

Playoffs -


Yankees over Texas - Alfonso Soriano goes hitless as Texas gets swept. Chan Ho Park takes a no-hitter into the eighth before allowing 3 runs and blowing the game. New York Post's prematurely printed papers with the headline "Chan Ho No-No" become an instant EBay seller. Along similar lines, after Hideo Nomo's bid for a comeback fails, the pitcher returns to Japan and the New York Post runs the headline "No-mo Nomo".

Oakland over Minnesota - Harden/Santana have one of the greatest pitching duels EVER in a pivotal game 5. Oakland wins when Mark Kotsay steals a sign for a changeup and hits a two-run home run to break up the shutout in the ninth.


Oakland over NY - With their starting pitching in shambles (Unit injured, Pavano Vazquez-ed, Wright injured), NY can only manage a win by Mussina before bowing out in 5.


Nationals beat Cubs - in an ironic turn of events, the Cubs get beat by the team they didn't send Sosa to (conspiracy there, people). Nomar goes cold, Christian Guzman somehow is the hero of the series, and Steve Bartman does something something.

Braves over Dodgers - JD Drew and Marcus Giles are both knocked out of the playoffs when Drew collides with Giles on the basepaths. Hudson pitches well, but the real story is Jose Lima, who the Braves trade for before the July 31 deadine, as the wacky pitcher throws a complete game shutout against his former team. Every time he gets an out, he motions for Derek Lowe to "suck it". Leo Mazzone rocks, both literally and figuratively.

NLCS - Braves over Nationals - Nick Green replaces Giles to great effect, hitting .400 for this 6 game series. The Nationals just don't have enough depth. Julio Franco puts the series away with a game winning home run. Signs lucrative promotional deal with Viagra immediately after game.

World Series - Oakland over Braves in 7. Best pitching series ever. No team scores more than 3 runs in the regulation of any game before game 7. Two games go to extra innings tied 1-1. Peter Gammons suggests a rule change involving penalty kicks. MLB somehow says they will consider it, ultimately rejects it 48 hours later after the Yankees try to sign David Beckham. Fans rejoice for a day in between when his wife Posh Spice pulls an Anna Benson. Then the rule gets shot down, Beckham signing is shut down and fans leave the game in droves. Series ends with a positively apocalyptic game 7 in which no team gets a hit for 7 innings, and then tee off on each other's bullpens in an eruption of offensive production. Oakland wins the game when Eric Byrnes steals home off a Johnny Estrada passed ball. Final score 8-7.

If anything in above baseball predictions comes true, I will become a fortune teller next year.


Blogger panda said...

... don't you have to work on your thesis or something?

8:00 PM  
Blogger William Li said...

I met my wife working on my final senior thesis project. She was an experimental subject. Actually, her results were so skewed as to force me to come to grips with the fact that my hypothesis was wrong. It took me years after graduating and working in IT to realize what the data actually was telling me. During this time, a good friend used to tease me , "So exactly what was it that you thought you could prove?"
My process, nevertheless, was rigorous, the background research was good, and my model was sufficiently robust to provide good test results (denial of hypothesis notwithstanding).

My other thought on this has to do with studying for a big final. I was studying in the library and after about four or five hours, my concentration started to lag. By chance a trashy novel from the fiction section called "Anyone got a match?" by Max Shulman was misshelved with the Cognitive Psychology books and I spent three hours plowing through this novel instead of studying.

Finally, William... its going to be the Yankees and the Astros.

1:32 PM  
Blogger Satchmo said...

Yankees / Astros huh? Interesting pick.

My problem with the Yankees is Tony Womack at 2nd (career year last year, but a 35 year old speedster is no good unless you're Rickey Henderson, and Womack is no Rickey) and Bernie Williams (great guy, but getting old) in center. That's a black hole of OBP right there. Realistically, Tino Martinez at first doesn't really help a lot either.

Then again, the rest of their lineup is formidable with any decent run support, they should have the best starting rotation in the league. That said, they were supposed to have the best starting rotation last year too.

I like the Astros as a team, but I just feel they lost too much in the offseason to contend again, even if Clemens is coming back.

Minuses - Ausmus calls a good game at catcher, but doesn't hit. Bagwell's production is falling off, along with his shoulder, Biggio isn't getting any younger, and they will have a hard time replacing Kent's bat at second with Chris Burke (what's with all the B's?). They'll have a harder time replacing Beltran in center with Jason Lane. Worst of all, even if Berkman comes back in May, he might not be effective until after the break.

Pluses - Rocket is back, Pettitte should be healthy, and Backe pitched well down the stretch. Oswalt is a great pitcher and Lidge is an awesome closer. The rest of the bullpen is suspect though. Adam Everett surprised people last year, and if he produces, it's a nice bonus to his great defense. Morgan Ensberg has a dismal first half, but has real power potential.

IMO, the Astros don't have enough to compete with the Cubs if the Cubs pitchers stay healthy, or with St. Louis if Mark Mulder and Matt Morris (injured to start the season?) both pitch well. But that's the great thing about the game. You never know. For all we know, Oliver Perez might strike out 300 and lift Pittsburgh to the wild card. Ok, that's not happening, but you get my point.

1:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you musta been drunk or something when you wrote the AL predictions.

the big unit is NOT gonna break down in May.

Texas will not win the wild card. the Red Sox will. (but Kevin Mench will be beast and I plan on drafting him in the late rounds of my fantasy draft)

Marlins will win it all. They've got the NL East. watch.

2:15 PM  
Blogger Satchmo said...

I did admit that they were completely crazy.

But you do have to admit that the injury risk for a 42 year old pitcher with no cartilege in his right knee is high than that of a younger pitcher with no history of problems. Remember, this guy only threw 115 innings or so 2003. In all likelihood, he's probably not going to regress, but there is the risk.

My problem with the Marlins is as follows:

Great potential on the staff:

AJ Burnett is a fireballer. Josh Beckett can dominate. Dontrelle stopped fooling people, but he's a servicable 3-4 starter. And Al Leiter and Ismael Valdez as 4-5 starters is ok; Leiter guarantees 6 slowly pitched innings, and won't give up more than 3 runs.

But those are too many pieces to fall together at once. I think Burnett and Beckett will be ok. Florida will be lucky if Beckett hits the DL only once.

Mota should be ok as the closer, but what about the rest of the bullpen? Alfonseca? Did they hold onto Billy Koch?

And the offense. I like the offense. Miguel Cabrera will have a monstrous season with Delgado and Lowell in that lineup. Pierre will steal his bases and get 200 hits. But I'm not sure about their production at catcher and at other spots.

So . . . I don't see the Marlins winning the East. Not without extra bullpen help and a lot of luck with their pitching staff. It could happen. The NL East is a weird division like that. But until the Bobby Cox retires or dies, you can't help but keep liking the Braves in that division.

2:26 PM  

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