My role will expand with the Rockies coverage for FSN Rocky Mountain. I will continue to write for foxsports.com, adding a second weekly column. My role at Baseball America will continue. And if the internet is the future then that might be worth a try.

Keep an eye out at IWantZMyRocky.com for eventual details.

With this absurd quip, Tracy Ringolsby began the conclusion of his final column for the Rocky Mountain News.  Ringolsby is a former president of the Baseball Writers Association of America (this is their official website) and for years was loathe to accept internet writers into his guild, allow them any praise or recognition or consider the medium for advancement within baseball journalism.

Ringolsby contributed to Baseball America, a popular and highly regarded website for minor league prospects, but one that is also in many ways aligned with the traditional scouting community and not the more progressive, analytic groups on the web.

One of the emerging sabermetric websites is Fangraphs, which follows the Baseball Prospectus mode of linking solid writing with projections and analytics to create a sort of baseball heaven for readers.  David Cameron of Fangraphs wrote today on the closing of the News:

Much like the open source movement in software, there’s been a revolution in the baseball community. The best content available isn’t being written in books or newspapers, or even behind subscription walls that require payments to access – the best knowledge available is free to everyone who wants it.

Ringolsby’s parting shot typifies baseball’s entrenched beat writer.  He is long in the tooth, steady in his ways and hasn’t evolved as the game has in the last ten years.  Neither has his medium, the newspaper.  But maybe there’s hope for the tenured sportswriter.  After all, baseball has followed a strange trajectory as certain winning teams (Boston, Oakland, Cleveland, Arizona, Tampa) have embraced new schema for roster construction, but have run alongside successful traditionalists (Philadelphia, New York, Chicago) at the same time.  Good sportswriters will go the way of the Phillies and represent tradition the way Peter Gammons and Bob Ryan have.  The rest will be like Tracy Ringolsby, or, in league phrasing, the Royals.

Levity with sadness

February 22, 2009

Utah Jazz owner Larry H. Miller died on Friday due to complications from diabetes.  The Jazz honored him before tonight’s game.  I don’t mean to make light of a somber moment, but isn’t it a little funny to see the mascot with his head down?

At BBH, this dude Shane had the poor fortune of being sat next to me.  Then when we all moved desks, somehow the whole office turned inside out and he had the even poorer fortune of me sticking around, this time we sat behind one another.  It’s a good thing we did, because he had a habit of dropping music into my transfer folder that I’d really like.  I had a bad habit of slacking on the art (or media?) that Shane would share with me.  He lent me Half Nelson, a film starring Ryan Gosling about a crack-addicted high school history teacher in Gowanus, Brooklyn.  It sat on my desk for a month until I finally caught up to it and it is a beautiful film, highly recommended.  Extra credit for featuring Broken Social Scene on the soundtrack.

But sometime during late 2008 he put a mixtape on my desk, telling me he saw this rapper, Kid Cudi, and his release party was lame but his music was pretty good.  Much like the Half Nelson DVD, that CD gathered dust on my computer at work and he’d keep mocking me for not listening to it.  At some point, I ripped it, loaded it onto my iPod and got to listening, and I swore to never pause on Shane’s recommendations again.

A Kid Named Cudi (free download, get it now) isn’t really a mixtape.  No DJ shout-outs, full tracks.  He raps over sampled and recycled beats, but that’s a skill, not a cop-out.  For instance, one of the strongest tracks on the mixtape is “The Prayer,” where he raps over a beat driven by a sample of “Funeral” by Band of Horses.  This song segues into “Day N Nite” which you’ve heard if you’ve been on a dancefloor in New York City in the last six months.  Also, there are only two featured guests — he puts Wale and Chip the Ripper each on a track.  In his long-form debut, Kid Cudi carries 50 minutes of music, which is impressive in his own right, and he does it over OutKast, Ratatat, Paul Simon, Dilla.

He claims to have invented a new form of music.  This is a stretch; it’s still hip-hop, but it is unlike the large majority of albums that we hear.  He’s melodic, wacky but not immature, and a clever lyricist.

Cudi is going to be a star.  He’s fresh, clean, handsome, clever, and wickedly talented.  If I can, I’m going to put this mixtape away for a few months.  I can succumb to the pressures of overindulgence, ceaselessly repeating an album until it nauseates the brain.  I think this is going to make a good summer record if I can keep it fresh.

Then again, his first “official” album is supposed to come out this summer.

For fun, this might be my favorite track.  Not on the mixtape.

The Microsoft Sound

February 4, 2009

“The idea came up at the time when I was completely bereft of ideas. I’d been working on my own music for a while, and was quite lost, actually, and I really appreciated someone coming along and saying, “Here’s a specific problem — Solve it!” The thing from the agency said, “We want a piece of music that is inspiring, universal, blah-blah, da-da-da, optimistic, futuristic, sentimental, emotional”, this whole list of adjectives, and then, at the bottom, it said: “and it must be 3¼ seconds long”. I thought this was so funny, and an amazing thought, to actually try to make a little piece of music. It’s like making a tiny little jewel. In fact, I made eighty-four pieces. I got completely into this world of tiny, tiny, little pieces of music. I was so sensitive to microseconds, at the end of this, that it really broke a logjam in my own work. Then, when I’d finished that and I went back to working with pieces that were, like, three minutes long, it seemed like oceans of time.”

– Brian Eno

Solo Dolo Super Bowl

February 1, 2009

A pound of sirloin, a pound of ground chuck, a bottle of beer, two jalapenos, a poblano, a fresno chili, and its accoutrements created a heaping amount of Super Bowl chili, and I’ve thought to liveblog the game as I sit retired to the couch.  Football and advertising, two things about which I spend a lot of time thinking.

6:27 The spectacle of the Super Bowl: the Commander of the United States Army tosses the coin.  Despite 2000-1 odds, the NFC wins its 12th straight flip.

6:29 Hines Ward, outspoken team leader goes through ad hoc, risky medical procedure before playing biggest game of his life.  Sound familiar?

6:42 High drama to open the Super Bowl.  Ken Wisenhunt challenges Ben Roethlisberger’s shoulderblocking TD run and wins by the closest of margins.  4th and goal from the 1 yard line, and Mike Tomlin kicks.  That’s a win for the Cardinals but a crazy sequence to open this game.  This should be a great contest.  Oh, and I should have noted earlier, that this blog is written through a lens of “Steelers, fuck yourselves.”

6:52 I think I will see any movie with Michael Cera in it.

6:59 Cardinals have held the ball for only 3 plays.  This is not good given their strengths and weaknesses.

7:07 I feel like I’ve had the silliest things removed to get network clearance for spots.  How on Earth does that GoDaddy ad make it through?

7:30 The Darnell Dockett story was unbelievable.

738 “Up” looks pleasantly surreal.

7:41 It looks like the Steelers are the better team, so Arizona really needs breaks like that.  They need their speedy defense to win the turnover game and benefit from a short field.  That might prove to be the most significant play in the game — there should be stats out later.

7:54 WOW.  This is incredible — the NFL Defensive Player of the Year either makes a 100 yard return for 6 points, or a 99.5 yard return for 0, and the end of the 2nd half.  This call is bigger than the tuck rule.

8:37 Bruce Springsteen’s halftime show was filled with hope and emotion.  It always amazes me that he, apparently, was never considered for this before.  Didn’t Nelly perform during the Super Bowl once?  And yet there’s Springsteen, singing his American songs of hope.  Seems to be a common theme around these parts lately.

8:45 If Arizona isn’t the first team to score in the second half, this game could get really boring, really quick.  We need that Arizona offense to pick up a play.

8:56 Wow.  The Arizona defense stops the Pittsburgh offense twice on first-and-goal situations to hold the Steelers to yet another field goal.  It’s crazy that they are in this game given that Pittsburgh has been so deep into their territory, but hasn’t scored a TD out of it.  Everything in this game turns on the 14-point turnaround play by James Harrison.

9:11 Arizona hasn’t thrown the ball down the field once today.  Has Pittsburgh’s secondary coverage just been that good?

9:17 Two nice plays back-to-back by my man Dockett.  Meanwhile, Mike Tomlin could be the youngest head coach to ever win a Super Bowl.  We’ll be hearing his name a lot in the next decade.

9:18 Cash4Gold — best spot of the game.

9:26 Larry Fitzgerald and his amazing hands get their Super Bowl highlight.

9:30 7:11 to go, and the Arizona Cardinals defense has stepped up throughout this game, holding the Pittsburgh offense to only 13 points.  The entire game turns on the Harrison play.  And the defense forces a three-and-out; the ball goes right back into Warner’s hands.

9:48 Oh my God.  The stars come out, Warner to Fitzgerald.

9:46 Incredible sequence now, with Pittsburgh backed up to their 1/4 yard line.  It looks like Warner will get the ball needing the end zone to win it.  WOW!  A 21 yard completion to Santonio Holmes is negated by a safety!  Holy shit, we just saw a crazy sequence of events — and the safety is actually bad for Arizona, if compared to stopping Pittsburgh at the 1.  Warner will, indeed, get the ball to win it.

9:51 The tables turn to Roethlisberger.  Can he lead his team to victory during the final drive?  The game on his arm, and we see a VERY interesting sitation.  Roethlisberger rushes his team up to the line and they run an unsuccessful play on 3rd and 6.  Pittsburgh rushed the ball to the line to take advantage of a clock stoppage, rather than take time to plan out the play.

9:58 Roetlisberger has eluded a few sacks and has brought his team to the Arizona 6 yard line.  This is incredible — we are either going to overtime or going to see an unbelievable ending to regulation.  This game has been great.

10:09 The game is once more taking a very heavy influence by replay.  It’s going to be interesting to see if anything is made by the Cardinals or the media about not reviewing this final fumble.

10:27 Fuck it, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’ll always respect Roethlisberger for that final drive.