Monday, October 6, 2014

tell you? ha! who can tell another how to manage the swimming?

I still cannot get past what a shitty decision, a legacy-forming decision, Matt Williams' decision was to bring in Drew Storen to replace Jordan Zimmermann in the ninth-inning of Game Two of the National League Division Series between the Washington Nationals and the San Franscisco Giants. Jordan Zimmermann, who threw a no-hitter in his previous start, had a three-hit shutout with two outs in the top of the ninth with the Nationals winning 1-0, one out away from tying the Best of Five series at 1-1 with Game Three on Monday in San Francisco against San Francisco's ace, one of the best pitchers in baseball. Zimmermann walked a batter. He'd retired the previous 21 batters. Williams emerges, the cement-headed fool to formula, and replaces the best pitcher the Nationals have, one who'd given up zero runs and three hits in 17.2 innings, with a relief pitcher, probably a decent human being, I don't wish this on him, who is a documented choking dog. Who didn't know the Nationals were going to lose when Matt Williams, Mr We've Done This Everyday, I Don't Understand the Difference Between a May Game Versus Colorado and I Need This One Out in the Biggest Game of the Season, Who Is More Likely to Get It, the Pitcher on the Mound with 17.2 Shutout Innings or a Known Choking Dog, pulled Jordan Zimmermann?

Here's my takeaway: witness the above paragraph - though I renounced the religion and broke my priest's vows I still, in grips of nostalgia for faith, instinctively rage at a violation of faith and challenge to gods - because what Williams did WAS DOOMED TO FAIL BECAUSE IT WAS AN INSULT TO THE BASEBALL GODS! - instinctively damn the sinner for sins against a religion I no longer proclaim to believe in with all the overbearingly judgmental and uncharitable certainty in dogma I abandoned. This is me. Fine metaphors abound.

  • Now, if the Nationals don't win the next three games and take the series it isn't because I didn't try.
  • In fairness, here is Williams' rationale. If one disregards the theological implications of the move - which you can't - there is a certain logic to Williams' thinking but only if you disregard Storen's historically documented history of choking in high pressure situations and ignore the pitcher on the mound had thrown 17.2 innings of shutout, 3 hit, just 2 walks, brilliance.
  • And in fairness, every batter except Anthony Rendon is 1-10. Which is another reason why Williams' decision will go down, especially if Nationals lose the series, as one of the biggest mistakes in baseball playoff history, let Zimmermann finish. What a fucking cement-head.
  • It's just a nascent theory I'm poking, but whenever what serves as my twitter universe explodes in verbal wars of gray on gray intramural spitting then the next level of Triskelion-induced faux outrage (or to put it another way, they next Triskelion campaign to reveal how shitty they are but LOOK! - third-worlders with swords) - is about to be released. Instead of barometric pressure predicting the weather it's blogometric pressure predicting the next episode of clusterfuck.
  • Why we live in a shitty economy.
  • The latest Nobel lit odds.
  • The latest Nobel lit odds.
  • Steve Gunn interview. WFMU has been playing the new album, what I've heard I've liked much.
  • Belle and Sebastian, for those of you who do.


Charles Olson

. . . . . tell you? ha! who   
can tell another how
to manage the swimming?

he was right: people

don’t change. They only stand more   
revealed. I,

the light, there, at the corner (because of the big elm   
and the reflecting houses) winter or summer stays
as it was when they lived there, in the house the street cuts off   
as though it were a fault,
the side’s so sheer

they hid, or tried to hide, the fact the cargo their ships brought back   
was black (the Library, too, possibly so founded). The point is

the light does go one way toward the post office,
and quite another way down to Main Street. Nor is that all:

coming from the sea, up Middle, it is more white, very white
as it passes the grey of the Unitarian church. But at Pleasant Street,   
it is abruptly


Or now, when such houses are not built,
or such trees planted, it’s the doctor knows
what the parents don’t know. Or the wife doesn’t,   
of the husband, or the husband, of the other. Sins,

they still call them, and let   
pejorocracy thrive. Only the lady

has got it straight. She looks
as the best of my people look
in one direction, her direction, they know
it is elements men stand in the midst of,
not these names supported by that false future she,
precisely she,
has her foot upon

made the coast, and though he lost his feet for it,
and the hands he’d purposely allowed to freeze to the oars,   
I knew him, drank
with my elders, in his own bar, a toast to him

Or my other, the top of whose head a bollard clean took away.   
It was four days before they could get him to Chelsea Marine.
This spring I listened to him as good as new, as fresh as it’s always been
to hear him talk of the sea. He was puttering in his garden when I came up,
looking over his Santa Fe rose. And he took off his hat to show me,   
how it is all skin where his skull was,
too much of a hole for even the newest metal
to cover

Or the quiet one, who’s died since (died as deck-watchman, on his vessel, in port).
Years ago I heard from others
how he’d pulled two men out of the sea one night
off Eastern Point. They’d not been able to shed their jacks
when the ship went over, and when he caught them
they were going down too. He hauled them into Brace’s Cove,
even though the shore wasn’t there, it was such a storm and the sea so big   
it had turned the Lily Pond
into an arm of itself.

Last, he with muscle as big as his voice, the strength of him
in that blizzard
to have pulled the trawl slack from the very bottom and released   
his mate from the cod-hook had him out, and almost off,
into the snow. It wasn’t that there was so much sea. It was the cold,   
and that white, until over the dory went and the two of them,
one still,
were in. The wild thing was, he made the vessel, three miles, and fetched her,
found that vessel in all that weather, with his fellow dead weight   
on him. The sort of eye
which later knew the Peak of Brown’s
as though it were his own garden (as Bowditch brought the Eppie Sawyer   
spot to her wharf a Christmas morning)

Which is the cream of the milk, of course. And the milk   
also of the matter, the most of it, those
who do no more than drink it in a cup of tea alone of such a night, holding   
(as she)
a certain schooner

What still is, in other words. And the remarkable part of it,   
that it still goes on, still is
what counts:

          the lad from the Fort
who recently bought the small white house on Lower Middle
(the one diagonally across from the handsome brick with the Bullfinch door)
He stood with me one Sunday
and eyed (with a like eye) a curious ship
we’d both come on, tied to the Gas Company wharf.
She had raked masts, and they were unstepped,
fitted loose in her deck, like a neck in a collar.
He was looking idly, as I was, saying nothing.
When suddenly, he turned to a Gloucesterman, a big one,
berthed alongside this queer one, and said:
“I’ll own her, one day”

While she stares, out of her painted face,
no matter the deathly mu-sick, the demand
will arouse
some of these men and women


  1. Storen has a lower ERA and WHIP this year and for his career. Not that he's a better pitcher, relief is easier, but the odds, getting away from religion, were about the same either way. Also, choking/clutchness is mostly a post hoc, religious sort of thing too. Possible, but highly unlikely. Everyone's pretty much giving max effort all the time but small sample sizes and high profile hero/goat moments, and the desire to make sports all about heroes really wanting it ("he wouldn't be denied!") make the narrative.

    1. Yes re: religion & narrative & me.

      As for small sample size, in his last two NLDS save situations Storen is choke for two. In high stress situations - a playoff game versus a May game v Colorado, for instance - Storen's slider flattens, spins but doesn't break, and when he misses wild he misses over the middle of the plate. But more than that, Zimmermann had retired 20 or 21 straight batters, the home ump squeezed the plate for the walk, Zimmermann should have been given the chance to get Posey.

  2. Who knew they'd take all night to lose, to add injury to injury.

    1. And here is where I rail against hitting coach Rick Schu and the hitters except for Rendon - Giants' scouting report obviously said through inside sinkers and watch Nationals right-handed hitters try to pull and ground out to short, left-handed hitter try to pull and ground out the second. No adjustments made. And Desmond looks completely lost - I wouldn't throw him a pitch within six inches of the plate until he proves he won't swing.

  3. speaking of sports, at first glance i thought today's title referred to most-medalled olympian michael phelps, whose d.u.i. has disastrously damaged his income stream based on being an example for children to imitate - they were talking about this on the news radio this a.m.

    instead, i see your title is a phrase from a poem about gloucester, a town whose livelihood, like that of michael phelps, is water-based, and where my late aunt resided for the last part of her life - and speaking of religion, as you are doing, the unitarian church mentioned in the poem would have welcomed her participation, but although she had attended the unitarian church in framingham while growing up, she had developed a life-long allergy to all organized relgion after god crippled her with polio when she was a student nurse in boston

    that church briefly mentioned by the poet charles olson, the gloucester unitarian universalist church, which was the first universalist church in america, organized in 1779 as the independent christian church, had the rev. jenny rankin as interim minister in june of this year, and and she wrote to them in their monthly newsletter:

    "Only that day dawns to which we are awake,” writes Thoreau, and I think of those words as we stand here, you and I, on the edge of summer. I think of your intention as a community to become more self-aware, more awake, as you consider who you are and who you might become in these next years of building your common life together.

  4. I buy the hot hand more than the Storen choker. Makes sense that a pitcher finds a good arm slot, shortish term sensorimotor looping what seems to be working.

  5. Don't forget as you lionize him, Zimmerman was only a miracle catch away from blowing that no-hitter in the same sitch last week. If mgrs could predict the future, they would never make any wrong calls. Flipside: same thing or worse could've happened if he'd left Z in. Still, it's fun to 2d guess the pros from the cheapseats. Been doing it all season down here, esp. w/r/t the hitting coaches.

    But yes, despite a shitty season otherwise, the Braves have exposed Nats' relief pitching all season.

  6. Remember the last time the Nationals were in the playoffs and they decided to leave their best pitcher at home?

    1. I actually agreed with shutting Strasburg down in 2012. Both he and Zimmermann before him had strict innings counts after Tommy John and neither have broken down since. And Strasburg's last few starts before getting to the inning count was bad, and his velocity was down. I understand the win at all costs because you never know if there will another chance argument, but I think they made the right call.

      They shut down Lucas Giolito this year too which was smart - he'll be the guy taking Strasburg's spot in the rotation when Strasburg takes a staggering amount of money to go elsewhere in a couple of years.