Sunday, June 26, 2005

Hank's Homeys Rock

Hank's Homeys is my first fantasy baseball team ever, and its surely the best fantasy baseball team I'll ever have. I could play for 30 more years and never have another team this good, so I'm careful to fully enjoy the fabulosity of this team.

We are in first place in Annika's Fantasy Baseball League. We've been in either first or second place for maybe six weeks. We acquired seven excellent players in the draft; one player through trade; and everyone else via waivers. Its amazing who you can acquire off the waiver list. We've had the last waiver drafting postition for most of the year, yet we've still been able to acquire fabulous players. We've had good luck acquiring pitchers while they were temporarily on the DL. Here's our roster, with notations about how everyone was acquired.

Position Players:

  • C: Brandon Inge- Waivers- Catcher is a weak position league-wide. In an upset, Inge has been the top ranked fantasy catcher so far this season.
  • 1B: Mark Texiera- Draft(3rd round)
  • 2B: Bip Roberts- Waivers- A lucky pick. Was looking for stolen bases, and stumbled across a fantasy baseball god.
  • 3B: Casey Blake- Waivers- This has been the worst production of any position. We have been through a dozen different 3Bman so far. I wish I had grabbed Morgan Ensberg off waivers.
  • SS: Michael Young- Draft(4th round)
  • OF: Vladimir Guerrerro- Draft(1st round)
  • OF: Manny Ramirez- Draft(2nd round)
  • OF: Ken Griffey, Jr.- Draft(10th round) This was an excellent draft pick. The last few years, Griffey has continued to hit when healthy. I figured it was time for him to have a big year.
  • Utility: Andruw Jones- Waivers(Drafted in 9th round, then traded for Dunn, then reacquired via waivers) This guy is white hot! Ride that streak!
  • Bench: Adam Dunn- Trade(for Andruw Jones) I love this player. He has a .245 BA, but is productive in every other offensive category. He even steals bases!
  • Bench: Hideki Matsui- Waivers- Continues to improve his already impressive game. Enjoys the huge advantage of being nestled amongst big hitters in the Yankee lineup: He sees good pitches every at bat.
  • Bench: Felipe Lopez- Waivers- SS for Cincinnatti continues to put up excellent numbers, which are comparable to Michael Young's numbers so far this season. Lopez plays these fantasy positions: 2B/SS/3B.


  • SP- Dontrelle Willis- Draft(7th round) Another excellent pick: I had a hunch about Dontrelle. Also, he's a sentimental pick: I just love him as a player. I wish the Marlins would let him play OF when he's not pitching.
  • SP- Jon Garland- Waivers
  • SP- Mark Prior- Waivers (while on DL)
  • SP- Eric Bedard- Waivers- I hope Bedard, when he gets off the DL, will continue his excellent development.
  • SP- Kenny Rogers- Waivers- Ride'em while they're hot!
  • SP- Brad Penny- Waivers (while on DL) I've been super-patient with Penny, and he's repaid me with mediocre play. When Bedard comes off the DL, Penny may have to go.
  • RP- Francisco Rodriguez- Draft(7th round) I saw him the last two seasons against the Rangers, and knew he would be big as a closer.
  • RP- Jason Isringhausen- Waivers (while on DL) God Bless the DL!
  • RP- Doug Jones- Waivers- Here's where its good to be an old fart who can remember when Doug Jones was good, and can speculate that he might have a good season closing for a strong Marlins team.

My favorite part of the season was April and May, when we had Dontrelle Willis and a cast of thousands running through a starting pitcher tryout camp. I kept only 9 position players- every one of them had to start every day. I kept 8 SPs rotating through 3 SP slots. We went through SPs faster than Jimmy Johnson went through waiver players in 1989: Here on Tuesday, cut on Thursday. Here on Thursday, cut on Monday. If you were a starter facing the Astros, Royals, Pirates, Brewers, or the Rockies on the road, chances are you were with Hank's Homeys for at least one start. We did come up with Jon Garland and Eric Bedard in this fashion- and maybe Kenny Rogers too. Its better to be lucky than good.

And if you're scuffling, its better to give luck a chance to happen by practicing nonattachment to players, otherwise C.C. Sabathia, Andy Petitte, Bruce Chen, Brad Backe, Jerome Williams, Kevin Brown, Brad Radke, Jamie Moyer, Gil Meche, Oliver Perez, Horatio Ramirez, Mike Hampton, Brad Lawrence, Bobby Madritsche, Joel Pinero, Victor Zambrano, and Derek Lowe might still be hanging around, pitching on a last place team.

My one big mistake was cutting Matt Morris. He won 5 games in a row for us, then I cut him as he faced the Yankees and Red Sox in three consecutive starts. To my surprise, he mowed down the Yankees and the Red Sox, THEN he blew up like a suicide bomber against the Pirates! That's right- the Pirates: Swashbuckling Sultans of Swat, featuring a murderer's row of Lawton, Redmon, Bay, Mackowiak, Ward, Cota, Castillo, and Wilson, knocked Morris out in the 3rd inning of an 11-7 victory. Sometimes theres no figuring this game. Its better to be lucky, and Hank's Homeys have had plenty of that. Hopefully, its the residue of good karma from associating with the classy Mr. Blalock, and his classy fan club: Hank's Homies.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Corpus Christi

In Corpus Christi to help Secure Horizons Health Insurance open up in this market. I really like this area, which is called "Texas Coastal Bend." I've visited most areas of Texas, but must admit I've never been down here. Had no idea it was so charming - in a rugged, plain kind of way. The beaches are wonderfully sandy - perfect for walking barefoot. They are without the sea shells which cut your feet on many beaches.

There is seaweed, my friend. Huge horizontal swaths of it, stretching for miles along the tide line. I met a Texas A&M Coed/Marine Biology major. She's working as a Padre Island Park Ranger for the summer, and she was out walking for exercise at the end of her shift. We walked together for a mile or so. She said this particular seaweed grows on top of the Atlantic Ocean, between South America and Africa, then washes onto the Texas beaches this time of year. She said it gets stinky as it rots on the beach. But there's always been stiff breezes blowing, and I haven't noticed any unpleasant odors.

Met and strolled with an Army specialist on leave from Iraq. He was at the beach with his 3 month old(!) niece, and his fiance. He said the Army's techonologic weaponry and scouting capabilities are unbelievable. The Army uses only a fraction of their technology in Iraq.

On most of these beaches you can drive your vehicle right onto the sand beside the Gulf waters, then set up a tent for overnight; or sleep in your Winnebago, or trailer, or van(1, 2). I've seen many families, married couples, and lovers doing all these things. These are state parks, and their entry cost is either nonexistent, or nominal. It makes me happy that Texas has beach parks which are so nice. These parks serve a refreshing milieu of Texans and visitors: well-off, not so well-off; black, white, brown; children, adults, seniors, dogs: everywhere.

I mostly work from about 9 AM to about 7:30 PM, then I rush down to Mustang Island to walk in the lapping waves, and watch the sun set over the sand dunes. Four different nights I've sat out on the beach until I could study the stars a bit, then made the 25 minute drive back to my hotel, arriving about 10:15 PM. Its a nice life, especially for someone like me, who's barely ever lived near the ocean.

Walking in the waves and watching the stars like that, one has a strong desire for a beer, a girl, and a tent. Then another beer. Actually, then another girl, also. But now we're getting sidetracked into fantasy. It wouldn't be that hard to arrange for two beers, two girls, and a tent on the beach. But, in real life, this scene would usually be more trouble than it was worth. The girls might want some of my beer, or some other silly thing.

Went to Port Aransas on Sunday. Walked their classic wooden pier. It juts 1/4 mile or so into the Gulf. People fishing everywhere. I like to chit-chat with the children. They are very excited to be fishing. They approach their task with seriousness of purpose.

Walked the mile long dirt and rock South Jetty, which was built to cut down the ocean waves molesting the Corpus Christi ship channel. The jetty is basically a dirt road jutting straight out into the Gulf. They floated huge square-cut rock chunks out to frame both sides of the dirt road, to prevent erosion. Pretty cool. The rock chunks were about 10'x5'x5'. People fishing everywhere on this dirt and rock pier, also. Serious, focused children.

After, rode the ferry across the Corpus Christi Ship Channel, drove to Port Aransas Pass, then Gregory, then Portland, then back into Corpus across the Corpus Christi Harbor Bridge - which is nicely tall.

I'd be remiss not to mention Corpus Christi is the home of Selena, and Janis Joplin. I saw Janis and Stevie Ray Vaughan on a huge mural near downtown.

Its easy to see why Selena was a real life Elvis. This town is heavily Mexican-American, and heavily working class. Selena was Corpus Christi's girl. She raised herself up from nothing, right off the bottom of a working class town. They loved her for that more than anything. They loved her for that more than they loved her music. She embodied their dreams. She meant their dreams really could come true: Mexican girls could become famous and rich; and be respected and admired by Anglos.

A lot of working class Mexican-Americans have little practical conception of what a Mexican girl's life is like as an outstanding Lawyer or Engineer. But they understand and grasp an outstanding entertainer. That is very real to them. Very right in front of their eyes.

And a Mexican-American entertainer brings credit and honor to all Mexican-Americans. Rooting for her was like rooting for your own team.

Selena's eyes, and her face, always reflected sensibility and graciousness(1, 2). I had a gut instinct that she was a very decent girl. Makes her untimely death all the more tragic.

The nice hotel staff is taking good care of me, and I'll be back in Ft. Worth on Sunday.

Next Post: Whataburger (Baseball) Field.