Hi everyone. Nato here, back in blogging action just in time for the beginning of the middle of spring training down in Florida and Arizona. Here in Northeast Minneapolis, the giant snowpiles are slowly receding. As they recede, they reveal the garbage and mud and general scrabble which they hid all winter long. Someone, I'm not sure who, called this "The Great Reveal."
And that's the theme of this entry: The Great Reveal. Bear with me now while I reveal to you some opinions and facts and opinio-facts and whatever. And hey, it's good to see you all again! Happy new year.
1. Since I last posted, the Milwaukee Brewers got better. Way better. How is this even possible? Well, someone (possibly owner Mark Attanasio) gave Brewers GM Doug Melvin both a giant wad of spending cash and a kick in the ass to go get some damn pitching! Fans know that, last year, the Brewers hitters could hit, but the pitchers couldn't pitch. In 2010, the Brewers ranked 3rd in the National League in OPS at .759, and only the Colorado Rockies hit more home runs, which stands to reason considering they basically play in outer space. But the pitching staff ranked 14th in both ERA (4.58) and opponents' OPS (.765) and 15th in WHIP (1.44).
Clearly, something had to change. So, showing the kind of pedal-to-the-medal, party-now-hangover-tomorrow attitude which in 2007 brought the Brewers CC Sabathia and the playoffs for the first time since 1992, Melvin shocked the baseball world (really, nobody saw it coming until it was too late, and I'm happy to report that rumors of tearful wailing and gnashing of teeth in the Bronx are not exaggerated!) by nabbing 2009 Cy Young Award winner Zach Greinke from the Kansas City Royals, as well as the stalwart demi-ace Shawn Marcum from the Toronto Blue Jays (who was, ironically, born in Kansas City). Now, I'm not saying this makes the starting rotation better than the Philadelphia Phillies "four aces" as that would be an insult to whichever of Messrs. Halladay, Hamels, Oswalt, and Lee one matches up against Randy Wolf. I'm just saying that right now, on paper, the Brewers look competitive against any team in the National League in the top AND bottom of any inning. As I type this, Zach Greinke is out for the first couple weeks of the season with a fractured rib he got while playing basketball. So what? Who cares? Adam Wainwright of the St Louis Cardinals is out for the entire season, and he probably can't even hit a free throw either...
And with Prince Fielder batting for big big bucks in his last year before free agency, I wouldn't want to be a pitcher going up against the Brewers offense this year!
2. Right now, the Twin Cities has a TON of really good punk/hardcore/indie rock/whatever bands! This is a good scene. Here's how I know this: I usually keep a mental list of the dozen or so bands I'd like to play with on any given local show. But around here, the number seemed unmanageably large to just keep upstairs, so I said to myself, "I'm going to make an actual pen-and-paper list of all the bands who I should ask to play with us the next time I put something together at Stinky's Beat Shack or wherever." And the list was TWENTY SEVEN BANDS LONG. Leaving aside the numerology of 27 as an overly-hyped Rock Number, that's a lotta bands. If we played with three different bands per show, we'd have to play at least nine times a month to play with all the bands around here I'm thinking of! That's ridiculous.
3. One night a few weeks ago, the bands Best Coast and Wavves played in Minneapolis. The next afternoon, I was driving in the West Bank neighborhood and eating a slice of pizza. Feeling full enough before I reached the crust, I tossed the crust out the window onto a grassy/snowy embankment. It was unseasnably warm. A woman and a man were standing on the corner, and as I approached, the girl yelled "thanks for littering, asshole!" I yelled back "that was a pizza crust - it's bio-FUCKING-degradable and you know it!" Funny thing: she looked like and was dressed like the girl from Best Coast, and the guy looked like and was dressed like the guy from Wavves! So, two things here. 1. Is throwing a pizza crust onto a grassy/snowy embankment littering? 2. Best Coast are actually pretty good, I don't care about Wavves, and I wasn't at the show the night before either way. BUT, I think that if it WAS the singer from Best Coast, it's pretty cool that she'd call out a litterer for littering. Even if he wasn't actually littering, heh heh.
4. The Minnesota Twins signed a Japanese guy! This rules. I cannot stress this enough: I love Japanese baseball. A few years ago, I saw a documentary on ESPN2 called "The Zen Of Bobby V," about Bobby Valentine's stint as the manager of the Chiba Lotte Marines in the Central League of Japanese Pro Baseball. I love the songs, the cheering, the fanaticism, and although the stathead in my wrinkles his nose at the emphasis on bunting and hit-and-run style baseball, honestly it is really fun to watch! So, Tsuyoshi Nishioka has joined the Twins as their starting second baseman. Expect lots of singles, lots of doubles, lots of first-to-third baserunning, hopefully some good old-fashioned base stealery, and at not a few games, a certain bald, sideburned doofus singing his fight song every time he comes to the plate!
Check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=demGSiw8l0E
5. Usually, at any given moment in mainstream pop culture, there is one good song, and all the other songs pretty much suck. I wonder why that is? For awhile, it was "99 Problems." Briefly, "Last Night." Then, it was "Hey Ya." That was a good era, I never got sick of that song. Anyway, you see what I'm getting at, right? Ok. Right now, "Fuck You" by Cee-lo Green is that song. Go listen to it, fall in love with music all over again...
Right then, that'll do it for today. Thanks for reading! See ya later,