Monday, October 5, 2009

A Championship Narrative

  • The Monologue:
    • Raiders coach Tom Cable, who keeps throwing out potentially the worst QB in the history of football and whose team has scored nine points in their past two games, might soon get arrested for assault. Also, he's in trouble for punching his assistant coach.
    • Michael Bay announced that he's rushing out Transformers 3. He was able to shoot it so quickly by just filming a black screen. He's perfected the business by having you pay your $10 and then walk out, sparing you the pain of having to actually watch it.
    • David Letterman apologized to his staffers today for all of the turmoil he had caused and immediately made a move for make-up sex.
  • Random Pop Culture:
    • Matt Damon was hilarious on the Entourage season finale. He played the total straight a-hole. The rest of the show? Ugh. As usual, no consequences for any of their actions and Ari's actions were not entirely genuine to his character. That was being nice.
    • Last night's episode of Mad Men was really tough and I'm still struggling with it a bit. A lot of conversation on the internets about whether or not Pete is a rapist. I say no. Of course, what he did was rape. But he was playing around and after he did it (e.g., once he was caught) he realized it was a mistake and regretted it. He's no more a rapist than Sally is a thief just because she took the money earlier in the season.
    • I needed 48 or under as a total tonight to win the office pool. It was closer than I thought it would be, but it didn't happen, thanks to the eleven guys that Green Bay put out there to minorly annoy Minnesota's receivers on their way to the end zone. Of all the teams I was wrong on before the season -- Denver and Tennessee to name two -- I was most wrong about the Packers. They stink.
  • Random Chest-Beating:
    • Okay, it was six months in the making, so permit me a run-on paragraph to crow for a second. The fantasy baseball season ended yesterday and it was a tough and interesting one for my long-time keeper league team. Thanks to awful/injured starts by mainstays Russ Martin, Jimmy Rollins, Alex Rodriguez, and Lance Berkman, my team was well in last place for the first few weeks of the season. I hit on a couple of draft picks in Justin Upton, Josh Johnson, and Joey Votto, but Votto missed significant time and my other pitchers were pretty weak. Cole Hamels had a bad year, Kevin Slowey got hurt, Jon Papelbon stunk it up relative to his usual performance. But as the weather heated up, so did the team. Upton put them on his shoulders, Carl Crawford had one of the best fantasy seasons in recent memory, a fortuitous trade landed me Brian McCann, who solidified my offense. Then the two biggest moves, the call-up of Tommy Hanson and my pick-up of J.A. Happ, both super rookies who dominated immediately. I slowly inched closer and closer, eventually jumping into second place but still over ten points behind my arch-rival. Thanks to some clutch pitching from Happ, I was able to get even closer and then, five points back with two weeks to go, I unleashed my final strategy and started streaming three or four pitchers every night. Analyzing their recent performance deeply and looking for matchups against teams like the Pirates and Nationals, I was able to ride guys like Twins rookie Brian Duensing and Reds ace Bronson Arroyo (WHIP below 1.00 in the 2nd half) within a mere couple of points. I took the league lead in wins and when Kevin Correia of the Padres threw a shutout against the Giants, I pushed into first, eventually by as many as seven points. A twelve-point turnaround in the final two weeks of the season. But, things started to backfire. The pitchers started to lose. My hitters went ice cold. I fell back until I entered Saturday 1/2 point in first. I completely overhauled my lineup, making sure I'd have hitters going on the last day when most playoff teams rest their stars. Only two wins up and tied in losses, the margin of error was non-existent as I reached to send anyone who was halfway decent. On the last day, still up only 1/2 point, things looked grim as Joel Pineiro got rocked by Milwaukee. A loss there would lose the half point and put me in a tie, with any number of categories looking to swing either way. Yet St. Louis came back and took him off the hook. When Carl Pavano won his start to put the Twins in tomorrow's game, I was safe pitching-wise, but there were still too many close categories, averages that I couldn't calculate and had to sweat. Sunday night, I slept fitfully. I kept waking up with dreams of fantasy baseball, sure that I had somehow blown it. When my alarm went off this morning, I grabbed the laptop quickly and opened it to see... the standings hadn't changed. I won by 1/2 of a point. Six months of a season, over 5,000 at-bats for my team, and I won the league by two strikeouts. If my hitters had struck out three more times over those six months, I would have lost. Two strikeouts. 0.001 in OPS. One loss. 0.01 in WHIP. Six months came down to those numbers. I was more relieved than happy, but I'll take it.


angie said...

Um, just for clarification, could you please explain what you believe to be the definition of rapist? I don't watch that show so I don't have any idea of the context, but just by what you wrote, it sounds awfully close to excusing a heinous crime.

Josh said...

I think I'm saying that there's a difference between someone who purposely goes out to hurt women or use their power to do so and someone who is completely oblivious to the fact that they're doing it (and if they realize that they did do it they are taken aback by what they did).

A lot of the show is about white male privilege and how it makes one oblivious to the plight of those who are not as privileged, be it co-workers down the totem pole, women, or African-Americans). One can easily use that privilege to commit any number of horrid offenses, but is it better or worse if they don't even realize that it's what they're doing?

Try to explain the story as briefly as I can. The character is one of a very spoiled rich kid who is completely unaware of anyone else's problems and is only concerned with himself. Basically, with his wife out of town, he did a favor dealing with the exchange of a dress for the au pair of one of his neighbors. Later that night, drunk, he knocked on her door (the neighbors were out of town) and even though she had earlier said she had a boyfriend, he said he'd like to see her in the dress and basically pushed his way in (it was a call-back to something similar from the pilot episode two seasons ago, though the original was completely consensual). Knowing that he could get her in trouble with her employer, she let him in and they had sex.

When the neighbor got home the next day, they came and confronted him, not about raping her but about how he could have had at least had an affair with someone outside of the building. He tried to lie about doing it but then accepted it and, when his wife got home, he basically said that she shouldn't leave him alone anymore.

Josh said...

That was too long... The show's really complicated and it brings out really complicated feelings. To be briefer, is someone who commits rape defined as a rapist even if they don't know they're doing it? Not as in they're too drunk, as in it would never occur to them (or even to society as a whole in this case) that what they did was rape.

angie said...

Ok, now I'm more confused than before, so I'm just going to drop it.