23 September 2009

Tis the season!

It's getting close.  We're only a few months away.  Christmas?  No.  Winter break?  Please.  New Years?  Meh.  I'm talking, of course, about winter beer season!  We're starting to see rumors and descriptions coming from some of the breweries.  Deschutes, for instance, just updated the website for their winter brew, Jubelale (via twitter).  This is my favorite time of the beer-year, because the breweries tend to let themselves get more creative for this season than for any of their other seasonals.  Anchor changes their Christmas brew every year, and it's always amazing.  Everyone seems to have a winter beer, and most of them (the best ones anyway) are dark, rich, warm and inviting, everything you want when it starts to get cold (or not, here in San Diego).  I can't wait to see what we get this year!

22 September 2009

The wave of the future!

Who says you can't get quality beer in a can?  New Belgium has started selling Fat Tire in a can!  The money quote:
The Fat Tire that comes in cans will be "can-conditioned" with live yeast, so its flavor should not be affected, he said. Despite popular perceptions about canned beer, the company's taste tests show the canned version tastes the same as the bottled brew.
I can verify that.  In the cans I've tasted thus far, I can't tell any difference, although not being a regular drinker of Fat Tire (there are just so many great options out there, some of which rank above Fat Tire for me) don't take my opinion as gospel.  I've been hearing for a while now that micro-canning is the wave of the future, and we've been seeing that trend beginning in the last couple years in places like Maui Brewing Co.

11 September 2009

I'm drooling just watching this!

A Sad Realization

It's time to face it.  Get your forks out.  The Giants are damn near done.  They could sweep LA, sweep CO, and still be down by as much as 1.5 games in the wild card and 3.5 in the division.  [UPDATE: Well, there goes the sweeping idea....LA 10 - 3 SF in game 1] With September moving bye very quickly, they need a lot of help.  Colorado is nominally closer, but they don't show any signs of losing soon, and LA is probably a little too far away to catch realistically.

None of these account for the biggest difficulty the Giants face, though.  The toughest hurdle in San Francisco this year can be expressed in three letters: OPS.  As a team, the Giants are hitting a 'robust' .257/.308/.390, an OPS of .698, second-wosrt in either league (Cincinnati .695).  That's not just bad, it's worse than the Padres (.703), the Pirates (.713),  and the Royals (.717).   No matter how good the Giants pitching is (and it is the sole reason they are in the race, particularly Lincecum, Cain, Affeldt, and -- in the second half anyway-- Barry Zito), you can't win if you can't score.  Particularly bad have been Edgar Renteria (.649 OPS and oh yeah, another year on that 2yr $18M contract.  WTG Sabes), Randy Winn (.677 OPS, and apparently missing his right-handed swing), and Bengie Molina (.712OPS).  The most frustrating part of this is that they have young, in-house alternatives to some of these players already on the roster.  Instead of Winn, they could be playing Fred Lewis (.762) or Andres Torres (.816) every day.  Most galling to me is the fact that top prospect Buster Posey (.959 career minor-league OPS) was called up a week ago and has yet to step on the field.  While Molina is killing the Giants one hack at a time (12 walks in 473 plate appearances this year and an OBP of .279), Posey could walk up there blindfolded and get on base more often (62 BB and .416 OBP in 497 minor league plate appearances this year).  My back-of-the-napkin calculations say that if you replaced Molina's 473 at bats with 473 of Posey's minor league at bats (at his .947 OPS this year), the Giants OPS for the year would be .719*.  Their OBP (with Posey's .416) would be .320.  Still not league average, but much better than what we've got, and maybe enough to make the postseason.

*I know it my be unrealistic to expect Posey to continue his minor league numbers in the bigs, but I'm trying to make a point:  Bengie Molina is KILLING the Giant's offense!

[All stats from Baseball-Reference.com, one of the greatest sites on the tubes.  Any mistakes or miscalculations are mine, not theirs.]

The Biggest Loser(s)

Dear Mr. Gaspin*,

     I'd like to bring to your attention an inefficiency in your programming lineup, by proposing a revamping of one of your shows.  The show I'm referring to is The Biggest Loser.  While thus far, the producers of this program have focused on a shallow view of weight loss, in the form of a silly and potentially dangerous competition to shed pounds (regardless of the health risks), it has become clear to me that no matter how much weight they lose, none of these contestants will ever deserve the title of 'The Biggest Loser'.

     Rather than a weight-loss hopefuls, these men and women are members of the far-right conservative movement in this country.  They are the Ann Coutlers, the Bill O'Reillys, the Glenn Becks of the world.  They are the "birthers", clinging to their ridiculous denial and the homophobes and the anti-choice fanatics.  They are Bill Donohue and his theocratic Catholic League.  They are Ben Stein, Fred Phelps, and the other figures so ridiculous as to make you wonder if they're really caricatures.  Most recently a newcomer has joined the race:  Representative Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) has established himself as a clear frontrunner for the title, with his amazingly inappropriate and juvenile outburst the other night.

     Fortunately, production of my proposed re-design of this program would require very little investment.  Your organization already produces hours of coverage of this element of society every day through your local, national, and cable news outlets.  You wouldn't even need explicit cooperation from the contenders;  just slap on some commentary (Jon Stewart would be the obvious choice), and you have an instant hit!  While I have no interest in your current production, this reinvention would be a can't miss for me personally, and I'm sure I wouldn't be alone.

Thank you for your consideration.


*Jeff Gaspin, NBC Chairman

Hooray for new domain names!

You can now access this (almost dead) blog at http://www.waitingfor54.com!  Hooray!