Data Entry and Spring Training

As you’re reading this, I will wager one of the following is either on your desk or in a drawer:

– a calculator
– post-it notes
– lined notebook paper or a notepad
– pencil
– pens

What these items all have in common is that they are redundant to features already on the computer (or smartphone, which I’d argue is just a small computer) you’re reading this on.

I think of this as it is a curious habit of mine, as well as a collegial friend of mine, to keep notebooks on the desk with our computers. I’m worse than he is- by my quick catalogue, I have no less than six notebooks/spiral pads for various reasons. Most only have a few pages worth of writing. The most extensive is the one devoted to tracking gas mileage and price for my car, which is nearly full after seven-plus years.

Tonight I’ve been slowly transferring the contents of a red hardcover journal I bought years ago from Borders. Among other things, it served as an address book, compilation of notes from various classes I’ve taken, a list of books I’ve read for literature courses, and assorted quotes and maxims that have struck my fancy since I was about 16.

If I have plenty of memory in my computer, why not use it? If nothing else, I will need less desk space.


Baseball unofficially resumes tomorrow, for which I am glad because football to me is too chaotic.

The more I think about the signing of John Lackey, the less I like it. For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, the Boston Red Sox decided to pay a thirty-year old pitcher with two consecutive years of elbow trouble $82,500,000 over the course of the next five years. The real kick in the pants is that statistically, he’s identical to Josh Beckett (#19), who is slightly younger, and who is free to sign a contract with any team he chooses after this season. We likely could have signed him (we still can) for a slightly less obscene $30,000,000 for three more years. After three years have gone by, neither Josh nor John will likely be as good as they are now. And to boot we’ll have younger kids coming up through the ranks that could probably do just as well for $400,000, which sadly is a fraction of the cost.

This is why ticket prices are so bloody high, and why I really don’t mind listening to baseball on the radio. I can make be perfectly happy with attending one game a year as a treat.

The kick-in-the-pants is that Boston has pitchers galore. Expensive ones, old ones, young ones, cheap ones, one from Japan, righties, lefties, power and knucklers.

The powers-that-be decided to spend the offseason finding guys that play in the field who are really good defenders. Simply, if the ball comes their way, they have obscenely fast reflexes and steady, accurate arms to throw out the runners.

Which is great. By the numbers, Boston’s defense last year was towards the bottom of the pack.

For this to do any good, though, the opposing team has to be forced into hitting the ball fairly low to the ground, or nearly straight up in the air so it can’t travel that far.

The bulk of Boston’s elite pitchers are what are referred to as “power” pitchers, which is just what you think it is- they are famous for throwing the ball with great speed and force.

These pitchers- Beckett, Lester, Lackey, Bard, and Papelbon, especially- are successful by doing two main things: either they throw the ball so bloody fast you, the batter, can’t react fast enough to make contact, or if you do, you can’t exert a lot of force on the ball and it weakly pops up, and it’s up to someone to catch it to get the batter out.

What generally happens when the batter manages to make contact is one of two things: the ball flies wildly out of bounds into the crowd, or the batter’s timed it just right and Newton’s third law kicks in, and the ball is long gone.

Pitchers who are best able to keep the batted balls low to the ground are referred to as sinkerballers- Derek Lowe and Justin Masterson are two that come to mind. Now, Masterson was on the Boston team until July last year when he was sent to Cleveland for a catcher. Which it turns out, the current catcher is at the end of his career, so the team does need someone to take his place- ideally, a young, strapping lad. Instead of graduating someone in their early 20s from the Boston farm system, the team sends a young, composed, and nice young man to Cleveland for a catcher that is 30 years old and has fewer bright days ahead than behind.

Now once this young man is gone, the office decides to compose a team that would have been best suited to his forte.

Plus, they’re going to need a catcher in a year or so.


I’m still very excited to see a rematch of the 2004 World Series, with only a ten minute drive, for thirty dollars in just under a month. I will be very angry if it rains, as the spring training games are not rescheduled.

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Filed under Baseball, Contemplative

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