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Archive for April 2012

Angels with smokin’ hot bats

So far, it’s a pitcher’s year in major-league baseball. Not on my team, however.

I pass the first monthly milestone with massive advantages in hitting, due in part to Matt Kemp, who leads the National League in batting average, home runs, RBIs, runs, and hits. David Wright, with the second best batting average, and Jay Bruce, with the second most homers, are a capable supporting cast.

My pitchers are also bucking the trend somewhat, unfortunately. Mat Latos has been almost as bad as Matt Kemp is good. My relievers have had some bad outings and I’ve lost for the year a back-end starter, Chris Narveson.

Yet I find myself in third place at the end of April. I dropped Narveson and picked up Marco Estrada, his replacement on the Milwaukee Brewers. Estrada will get more strikeouts.

.284 batting average (1st by .013)
46 HR (1st by 16!)
146 runs (1st by 2)
145 RBI (1st by 13)
20 SB (5th in the middle of a pack)
3.68 ERA (7th)
1.28 WHIP (6th)
145 K (9th, ten out of 7th)
10 wins (tied for 6th but two out of 4th)
6 saves (tied for 6th)

Remember how I estimated 46 points of hitting? Right now, I have 46 points of hitting. I estimated totals of .275, 225 HR, 910 R, 900 RBI, and 140 SB. On a pro-rated basis, I have .284, 276 HR, 876 R, 870 RBI, and 120 SB. Of all my estimates, I’m only really off in wins and strikeouts, and with seven active starters (Chris Luebke and Estrada qualify as relief pitchers, and if Chris Carpenter starts, he would make it eight), those numbers should start to climb.

Fox backs down

On March 24, YouTube sent the following notice about the half-minute “Futurama” clip I had uploaded to illustrate my point in “Futurama commits clownslaughter“.

Dear 101Webs,

Your video “Futurama commits clownslaughter”, may have content that is owned or licensed by FOX. As a result, the video has been blocked on YouTube.

This claim is penalizing your account status. Visit your Copyright Notices page for more details on the policy applied to your video.

– The YouTube Team

When this happens to you, you have two options. You can succumb to the man and take down your video or you can contest the accusation at risk of losing your YouTube account.

I contested. In my reply, I claimed fair use of the clip for illustrative and educational purposes.

What do you know – FOX agreed. I got this today:

Here we go again…

Over the past year, I’ve added several fellow managers in the Irrational League to my Facebook friends list. Doing this little monthly updates may expose my position, but so what.

We held our draft last Saturday. As a reminder, we’re in a ten-team NL-only 5×5 league with 25-man rosters and four reserves apiece. We start with six keepers (new) and over five hours scrape every last dreg out of the pot.

This year, I had some choices to make. I had eight protectable players: Matt Kemp, David Wright, Matt Holliday, Lance Berkman, Jay Bruce, Mat Latos, Corey Luebke, Chris Carpenter.

Chris Carpenter’s neck injury quickly whittled the list down to seven, and as much as I love fellow Rice alum Lance Berkman, he was the oldest of the bunch. Bye, Lance.

I went conservative this year. Last year I finished in the money by the hair of my chinny chin chin, with Chris Carpenter’s masterpiece edging me in. A lot went wrong with the draft, as several of my hitters fell off the face of the Earth. This year, I went with more reliable choices… I think. We’ll see. I did take a chance on Chris Carpenter, but that was a late pick and he’s deep in my reserves. And my only first basemen are both question marks, but how hard is it to find a first baseman?

My 2012 hitters and projections:

C: Yadier Molina: .290, 10 HR, 50 R, 55 RBI, 5 SB
C: Miguel Montero: .285, 15 HR, 60 R, 70 RBI
1B: Bryan LaHair: .270, 15 HR, 45 R, 50 RBI
2B: Aaron Hill: .245, 20 HR, 70 R, 70 RBI, 15 SB
SS: Jason Bartlett: .255, 5 HR, 55 R, 45 RBI, 20 SB
3B: David Wright: .285, 20 HR, 80 R, 80 RBI, 15 SB
CI: Justin Turner: .260, 5 HR, 45 R, 45 RBI, 5 SB
MI: Omar Infante: .290, 5 HR, 55 R, 55 RBI, 5 SB
OF: Matt Holliday: .300, 25 HR, 75 R, 80 RBI, 5 SB
OF: Matt Kemp: .290, 30 HR, 100 R, 100 RBI, 30 SB
OF: Jay Bruce: .255, 30 HR, 85 R, 90 RBI, 5 SB
OF: Nyjer Morgan: .280, 5 HR, 55 R, 40 RBI, 20 SB
OF: Chris Heisey: .260, 20 HR, 55 R, 60 RBI, 5 SB
UT: Jim Thome: .240, 15 HR, 35 R, 35 RBI
UT: Gerardo Parra: .290, 5 HR, 45 R, 35 RBI, 5 SB

Adam Kennedy and Josh Hamilton have bench spots. Hey, if the Rangers tank, Hamilton will be on the move.

I estimate totals of .275, 225 HR, 910 R, 900 RBI, and 140 SB. That’s less than I normally draft, but I think that’s a function of last year’s overall reduction in hitting. By last year’s stats, those numbers are good for first in average, home runs, and RBI while well above average in the other two categories. Let’s call it third. That’s 46 points, which is amazing, but I think it’s an exaggeration.

I like my pitching, especially Luebke, who still qualifies as a reliever. There are very few decent starters who qualify as relievers this year. I can think of one, and I have him. There are others, but I don’t like their chances.

SP: Mat Latos: 14 W, 175 K, 3.45 ERA; 1.20 WHIP
SP: Ted Lilly: 12 W, 145 K, 4.15 ERA, 1.25 WHIP
SP: Jordan Zimmermann: 12 W, 140 K, 3.60 ERA; 1.25 WHIP
SP: Jhoulys Chacin: 12 W, 145 K, 3.70 ERA, 1.40 WHIP
P: Erik Bedard: 9 W, 135 K, 3.90 ERA, 1.35 WHIP
P: Chris Narveson: 11 W, 130 K, 4.50 ERA, 1.45 WHIP
RP: Corey Luebke: 12 W, 145 K, 3.50 ERA, 1.20 WHIP
RP: Sean Marshall: 30 Sv, 4 W, 70 K, 2.60 ERA, 1.15 WHIP
RP: Eric O’Flaherty: 5 W, 60 K, 2.20 ERA, 1.10 WHIP
RP: Bill Bray: 3 W, 55 K, 2.90 ERA, 1.15 WHIP

Chris Narveson is the only guy I can’t stomach, but he’s only holding a place for Chris Carpenter. I also have Francisco Rodriguez on the bench for emergencies, or if John Axford goes toes up.

I figure I’ll get 30 saves (good for sixth), 94 wins (second), 1195 K (third), an ERA of 3.65 (fifth), and a WHIP of 1.27 (sixth). That’s 33 points in total, which is weak on its own. Combined with the 46 hitting points, though, the total of 79 points should be enough to win. It should take 76 (I had 70 last year).

Mysteries of the ancient world

I’m back home now, but I still have a few photos to share. It took three full days, but I finally managed to clear out my dad’s office and closet – only to fill the closet again with stuff Brother Two wants to keep but couldn’t fit in his suitcases.

I found a Mac PowerBook 1400C in the closet, deep in the strata. I think in total, my dad had 11 computers, of which two were hooked up. I cleaned up a clamshell iBook and then plugged in and powered up the PowerBook. As you can see if you click on the thumbnail to the left, it booted into System 8.6 as perfectly as possible. I think my dad last used it in early 2003, judging by the dates on the files. Good thing he kept it around.

We also found a brass case. We have no idea what it is. Other than the photos below, here’s what we know…. The “fan” folds open and closed and rotates freely. The axle fits into some sort of plastic apparatus that barely resembles a small electric motor, although there is no resistance to rotation. There is no place for batteries, and since the entire case is made of metal and there are no wires, we doubt it is an electrical device of any kind, or any sort of motor for that matter. But of what use is a manual fan or propellor?

The bottom of the device opens up. Is something supposed to go in there? Take a look, and please guess – or even better, inform.

The inscription on the bottom of the case reads: “PATENTS PENDING / DON QUIXOTE / MADE IN BRITAIN”. Don Quixote is a cigar company and I suspect this has something to do with tobacco, but I’m stumped.

Speaking of mysteries, this video has me, an avowed skeptic, stumped:

Bonus l33t CSS skillz:

I’ve been struggling with getting slideshows to center. I’m using a WordPress plugin called Portfolio Slideshow, which is easy to use and format, but which is inexplicably impossible to center on a page.

Many people have the same predicament, but the developer’s only official response is that the Pro version ($9) has the ability to center the slideshow.

Nine bucks? I didn’t teach myself CSS for nothing! Here’s my custom Portfolio Slideshow CSS code for WordPress. On your Dashboard, open Appearance > Editor. Click on the Stylesheet link at the bottom right. (I ignore the stylesheets for IE6 and IE7. Screw ’em.) Add the following code to your stylesheet and save:

div.portfolio-slideshow {margin-left:auto; margin-right:auto; width:60%; margin-top:20px; border: solid 1px #d4d7ca;}
div.slideshow-nav {text-align:center; margin-bottom:20px;}

You may want to play with that width percentage to get it perfect on your layout. The margin-top and border styles are optional, as is the entire .slideshow-nav class.

This only works for one specific size of slideshow image. In my case, I’m using 400-pixel-wide images.

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