Thoughts from the Dugout: The Domino Theory

Image of the Washington Nationals

We’re near the end-game. Two more September updates, and then it’s time for playoffs, aka: that time when everyone else on staff hates me because the Recorder will be swarmed with baseball articles. Tuesday night, the first two division berths were secured by Beltway powerhouses Washington and Baltimore (let that sink in for a moment), both of whom easily clinched their divisions with leads of 12.5 and 13.5 games (as of Wednesday). In addition, the Angels are assured of a berth of some kind – barring a monumental collapse of infinitely small odds, they’ll clinch their division sometime this week. (Before Wednesday’s games, they had a magic number of 2 to clinch the division – one A’s loss and an Angels win would grant them the title, in other words. Again, we’re talking an unprecedented collapse for them not to win the division.)

(Thursday update – Sure enough, last night, the Angels clinched the division by winning 5-0 against Seattle as Oakland dropped a game against Texas 6-1. Rather than edit everything, I’m simply noting that I submitted my copy for deadline before Wednesday’s slate of games. You’re on your own.) [Read more...]

Rock and Roll Rising From the Mud: 10.5 Observations on Riot Fest

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1. Rock and roll is not dead…but it is very dirty.

Recently, Gene Simmons asserted that “rock is dead” – this article can be considered my dissent against that statement. Sales may be dropping, and manufactured pop, rap, and metal may continue to keep their footholds in the musical consciousness, but as long as artists reach the masses with passionate, high-energy performances full of unexpected surprises, rock and roll will never die. Riot Fest, celebrating its tenth anniversary in Chicago, is the ultimate case in point, as I witnessed on the one day of concerts I attended.

Saturday at Humboldt Park proved to be a beautiful day, albeit full of mud leftover from Friday’s rain.  I wore my old sneakers to the festival and immediately threw them out on my return home. Nobody emerged with clean shoes. None of us minded. For my part, I saw nine acts and change from noon to 10 pm, some of whom I was familiar with, some of whom I love, and none of whom did note for note recreations of their studio sound. It was an experience worth every penny.

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Thoughts from the Dugout: Movers and Shakers

Writing a weekly column is fun! Writing a weekly baseball column about the state of the postseason in the middle of a busy week with work, class, and other assorted pastimes is challenging. This results in last minute updates of respective standings, one which I promise to you I will fulfill. I just want everyone to know exactly what’s up.

Let the Good Times Roll/I’ve Seen Better Days

Image of the Kansas City Royals dugout
These guys are probably having a way better time than you.

We’re leading with dueling song titles, because the state of the league has entered into something approaching wonderful flux. The big money teams are down (with two rather notable exceptions in SoCal), the little, scrappy teams are up, and some old stand-bys are plugging along, doing what they do year in and year out with remarkable consistency. On the one hand, if the season ended today, the Red Sox, Yankees, Mets, and Phillies would all be out of the postseason. This shift away from the East Coast powerhouses of the last decade has been transplanted by the rise of the West Coast, with both LA teams, the Giants, and Oakland representing sunny Cal in the playoffs. [Read more...]