Thursday, June 29, 2017

3 Things on a Thursday: Baseball & Remembrance

The Yankees won a game last night.  They crushed it, in fact, beating the Chicago White Sox 12-3.  This is important because we’ve now seen the Yanks’ ostensible ace Masahiro Tanaka pitch two quality games in a row, a thing he’s not been much apt to do this year.  At the same time, nearly half the Yankees’ starting roster has headed over to the Disable List (DL), leading the Bronx Bombers to field a team that looks more like last year’s AAA roster than last year’s roster from the Big League club.  Seriously, the team right now is half rookies.
And yet, I am cautiously optimistic that the Yankees’ woes, which started with their disastrous West Coast road trip almost two weeks ago now, are coming to an end.  Though the team is something like 4-14 over their previous eighteen starts, their run differential has remained positive throughout the skid, such that their predicted wins (P[wins]) score remained fully six games better than their real record over that same time period.  To put this another way, the Yankees have never stopped hitting, and their starting pitching hasn’t slumped appreciably despite losing CC Sabathia to a hamstring injury during that fateful West Coast road trip.  The Yanks’ bullpen has instead blown a bunch of close games late, but this isn’t necessarily a trend you expect to see continue over the long term.
At least, that is what the statistics suggest, assuming I’m reading them right.

And again, what does any of this have to do with my running 3 Things on a Thursday this week?  Nothing at all.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

2 Things on a Tuesday: Magic, & Baseball

I don’t know what the Hell is up with the Yankees, but after an awesomely impressive and fun start, they’ve dropped something like ten of their last thirteen, often on botched saves from the bullpen.  Most of those have been close, but it’s nevertheless been frustrating as all get out.  I keep reading that this is the team’s long-expected reversion to the mean, but I confess that I don’t enjoy the inconsistency.  The Bombers actually won a game last night, with an excellent pitching performance by my man, rookie Jordan Montgomery, and a single-shot home run by new first baseman Tyler Austin.  Still, despite heading into the 9th with a five-run lead, they barely managed to escape with the victory.
None of which has a thing to do with my decision to run three days’ worth of “5 Things on a Friday” this week.  It’s just been weighing on me.
As I write this, it’s early Tuesday, and I’ve already found almost a full week’s worth of “5 Things on a Friday”-type articles.  Rather than cut down or make anything resembling editorial decisions, I’ve decided instead just to run my favorite feature all week long.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Two Roads' #RoadJam 2017

Sally and I attended Two Roads Brewery's 4th annual RoadJam music festival yesterday, and it's become one of my favorite annual events.  We went with our good friends Colin and Elizabeth, with whom we also went camping last weekend.  I was, to say the very least, pretty damned excited in the run up to the day.

Me and Sally in front of the Brewery Stage.  West End Blend is behind us.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Wonder Woman & Spider-Man vs. the Man of Steel

I finally got to see Wonder Woman this week.  Good flick.  They did a nice job of making Diana fierce but also feminine and of making Steve Trevor both nowhere near as tough as his star but decidedly heroic and masculine nonetheless.
Wonder Woman
Spoilers ahead.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Sports Modeling: Long Answer to a Short Question

The sacred shield of the NFL.
My buddy Joe and I have been planning a shared project for later this summer, a combined preview of the coming NFL season.  Regular readers and/or USMA classmates will hopefully remember Joe's blog, A Hoosier on the Potomac.  As of this writing, the plan is to alternate previewing divisions over the course of four weeks, doing two divisions per week.  As a Giants' fan, I've drawn the NFC.  Joe, a Colts fan, is doing the AFC.

We spent most of our recent exchanges talking about formatting, but I'll spare you that stuff.  However, the bottom half of my last email to Joe got into a discussion of sports modeling and betting lines, and since Joe didn't know about that stuff, I should maybe reprint what I wrote to him here by way of prepping you for the series itself.  I've started using a lot of betting terminology in my write-ups, but it was maybe a mistake to assume that everyone knows what the Hell all of that means.

By the way, I think we have a pretty good project.  I am totally excited about it.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Army Football Preview: The 2017 Recruiting Class

Having previewed Army’s 2017 season as a whole, I’d like to take a few minutes this week to talk a bit about the incoming recruiting class.  Bottom line, based solely on recruiting the Army team is headed in a decidedly positive direction.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Yankee Stadium

My daughter Hannah and I went to the Yankee game on Sunday, the one where Aaron Judge hit the 496 foot home run that’s been playing on repeat on ESPN ever since.  I still don’t think of myself as an expert on the stadium or anything, but I’ve now been there a handful of times, both for baseball games and in 2014 to see Army football’s upset win over UConn during Coach Jeff Monken’s inaugural season.  I like Yankees Stadium, and for once I think I actually took enough pictures to tell a useful story about the place.
Hannah on the walk up to the stadium, aka The Cathedral of Baseball,
from Metro North.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Saturday Workout: Swim/Run Brick

Hannah and I are headed to tomorrow's Yankee game, the finale of their series against the Baltimore Orioles and, in a larger sense, of the Yanks' long home-and-away series against their AL East rivals.  The Yankees are in first place in their division, and they won last night, so tomorrow's game will see the Bombers either looking to take the rubber match or else going for the sweep.  It should be an exciting game, especially since the Yankees have decided to rest their purported--but struggling--ace Masahiro Tanaka.

Who's going to pitch, and how are the Yankees going to handle Tanaka going forward?  We have no idea, but we should start to see some of these answers tomorrow.

More importantly, at least for the purposes of this post, tomorrow has turned into an unexpected Rest Day.  Indeed, since this has been the last week of my typical three-week training cycle, next week is a Rest Week.  That meant that I needed to get both a swim and a run in this morning, and also that I didn't have to worry about overworking since I'm already headed into a scheduled rest cycle.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Army Football Preview: The 2017 Season (Part 3)

Welcome to Part 3 of our preview of the 2017 Army football season, in which we break down the last part of the season and talk just a bit about 2016’s special teams play.

In case you missed it, part one of this series is here.  Part two is here.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

D&D Feedback: Revised Maneuvers for the Cavalier

Wizards of the Coast released a new version of their Cavalier subclass for the Fighter this week via Unearthed Arcana, and if I like it better than the original version of the subclass, it’s nevertheless still not particularly close to being something that I would actually play.  That’s a shame.  As a former armored cavalry officer, I would really like to find a way to play some kind of mounted heavy cavalryman.  I just don’t think WotC is there yet in terms of class design

Full disclosure: Just as this is WotC’s first take on this subclass, so too is it mine.  However, my last take was way back during the D&D Next Playtest.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Swimming: 3700 yards, traditional format

With school slowly winding down and summer on its way, today was the first morning in more than a month when I didn't have to be somewhere immediately after my Saturday morning workout.  For once, I didn't have to rush or organize my workout as some kind of bulk yardage super-set.  I actually built today's workout more-or-less like a traditional swimming workout that anybody might do at an age group practice.

Friday, June 2, 2017