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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!
Well, on further reflection ol’ Robbo doesn’t have much to say about his beloved Nats’ elimination in teh first round of the playoffs. He could point out that each of our three losses to the Giants was by a single run and that two of them arguably were the direct result of rookie manager pitching decision mistakes (the first one questionable, the second one insane). He also could point out that the Nats had the best National League record during the regular season, and could argue that a team’s results over 162 games are far more demonstrative of its quality than said team’s results over any four games. But nobody would listen. All anybody cares about post-season (and, arguably, for any given season) is who advances and who goes home. At this point? I really don’t even care anymore, but am thinking ahead to what is likely to happen over the off-season and into next spring. (My prediction? Not much. LaRoche is likely done at 1st so that we can bring Ryan Zimmerman back into the starting lineup, Soriano is gone, but most of the rest of the team stays, I think, pretty much as it is. Oh, and I’m calling it Right Now: We win next year.)
Regular friends of the decanter will tolerate ol’ Robbo going through the math here because they understand that this is only the second post-season venture in his nearly 50 years in which he’s had a genuine vested interest. (I grew up in a non-baseball town and could never consider myself more than an interested sympathizer for any team until the Nats came to Dee Cee in ’05. How lucky are the Gels, by the bye, that they get to experience all of this in their yoot.) I must say that I find the experience…….bittersweet.
Anyhoo, it’s over and done and I now can turn my attention to other things, such as the fact that the Great Post-Flood Port Swiller Manor Basement Renovation of 2014 is almost complete! (A mere two months after the original disaster, but who’s counting?) Flooring (Pergo or its equivalent) went in yesterday, baseboards were tacked on today and now pretty much all that’s left is the bathroom fixtures and some wiring. In fact, the Former Llama Military Correspondent and his lovely family are coming in this weekend for an overnight stay and I had been fretting the past week or so about where on earth we were going to put them all. Thanks to this week’s work, the basement is now at least habitable. This gives ol’ Robbo a happy.
If you’d like me to post pics of the finished product, let me know. (I’ve never been able to decide whether that sort of thing is looked on favorably by readers or is considered showing away.)
Final observation: Last evening I watched Enemy at the Gates, the 2001 dramatization of the duel between a Russian and a German sniper (based somewhat, I believe, on “actual events”) during the Battle of Stalingrad, that I almost automatically think of as Saving Private Ivan. I’ve seen this movie maybe three or four times and still cannot quite put my finger on what makes it an okay flick but not really a good one (even though it features the lovely and talented Rachel Weisz, which fact alone ought to carry it).
One positive thing I forget each time and am delighted to rediscover is Bob Hoskins as Khrushchev. I love how he continually refers to Stalin as “duh Boss”. This is exactly right. Uncle Joe was as much as or even more of a thug than was Hitler. Appallingly, the typical Modern, to the extent they have even heard of WWII, thinks the Soviets and the Nazis were diametric opposites. The truth, of course, is the reverse. Fascism and Communism (and, I may add, Progressivism and, for that matter, the Mafia) are close cousins, all of which argue for the sacrifice of individual freedoms to the alter of collective, centralized authority and for the elimination of said individuals who either can’t or won’t comport with the Plan.
This reminds me that I’ve never read Solzhenitsyn but have been meaning to the past few years. Any friends of the decanter have any suggestions on the best place to start? Ol’ Robbo would appreciate such tips greatly. From what I gather, it’s not so much of a stretch to call the man a Saint. And yet, after all he’d been through under the Soviet regime and all the effort he had put forth to speak (if I may) Truth to Power, he is these days a hissing and a byword among those who claim to champion liberalism. (This is just one of the million and one reasons, or perhaps more accurately one of the million and one pieces of evidence of the general reason, why ol’ Robbo detests Leftists.)
The Gels and I caught the last half of the game via the Middle Gel’s laptop while sitting around the kitchen table. A good time was had by all even though I’m still dubious about this .eu website streaming the feed and half expected the NSA to knock at the front door.
Anyhoo, what a great (and to me surprising) move by Matt Williams to put Drew Storen in to close! After Saturday night’s blown save, I worried that poor Drew’s confidence might be completely shattered. Good on Matt to get him right back on the horse. (I was also impressed in general that Williams didn’t panic and start tinkering with the line-up.)
So. We live another day. Deep breath and on to tomorrow. What else is there to say except
**Spot the quote.
UPDATE: Maxy got it:
I will confess that I don’t plan to stay up this evening to watch Game 4 but will wait until the morning to find out whether my beloved Nats are bringing the series back home. Fact of the matter is that during the week I get up at 4:45 ack emma, as I am point man for the whole Port Swiller Family morning routine, and I simply can’t deal with West Coast games and expect to function.
I will say that no matter what happens tonight (and without any intent to cause affront to the baseball gods I will say that I am not entirely un-optimistic), I am damn proud of the boys for not rolling over yesterday as they so easily could have done. That’s what makes champions. So, what else is there to say except
Ol’ Robbo is extremely disappointed that his beloved Nats dropped their first game against the Giants yesterday. Frankly, he’s also quite worried. You see, for the second game later this afternoon the Giants are sending Tim Hudson. He gave the Giants their only two wins against the Nats during the regular season and he’s also a wily old veteran with lots of post-season experience.
On the other hand, Hudson talked some smack against the Nats earlier this week, something generally frowned upon by the baseball gods. Perhaps they’ll express their displeasure tonight.
We’ll see. All I can say is that I think this evening’s game IS the post-season: If we go out to San Francisco two games in the hole, I simply can’t see us scrapping back to win the next three straight.
UPDATE: Heartbreaker. The realist in me says that’s the season right there. Dayum, do I love/hate October baseball!
Incidentally, teh Eldest Gel and I watched the game (well, until the 12th anyway) on her laptop via a Brit (I think) live-stream of the Fox Sports feed interspersed with a lot of rugby football commercials. It might have been legitimate, except that the site name was something like “draculanet.eu”.
“How did you ever find this,” I asked her.
“DA-AAD!!” she replied, “This is what kids do!”
Whippersnapper. Get off my lawn.
Well, as to the trip out west, what else is there to say except
Bumpers all round for Robbo’s beloved Nationals, who not only won their final game of the regular season this afternoon, but did so via the mighty arm of Jordan Zimmerman, who threw the first no-hitter of the franchise’s latest permutation. And the final out was recorded in spectacular fashion by rookie outfielder Steven Souza, Jr. Click on over to see the clip. You won’t regret it.
What a finish.
So the Nats won a total of 96 games this year and are spiking as they go forward into the playoffs. Out of curiosity, ol’ Robbo tracked down his predictions for the team made back in March. Here you go:
On the basis of nothing but my gut, I will predict this: Robbo’s beloved Nats win something between 90 and 95 games during the season and take teh NL East championship. (Suck it, Atlanta!) We will, by hook and crook, scuff our way through to bagging the NL Championship and will go to the Series. What we do there? I just don’t know. So, there.
As it turns out, I was actually a bit too conservative. And we didn’t scruff our way in, we steamrolled.
Next stop, October. What is there to say except
UPDATE: Oh, hells, Momma ain’t gonna click through. Here you go:
Friends of the decanter, ol’ Robbo feels it is time to ask your collective opinion on an issue that has plagued Port Swiller Manor for some little while and now threatens to flame up into outright civil war.
You see, some time in the past couple years, we became possessed of a set of Washington Nationals Russian-style nesting dolls. (It must have been in 2011 or the immediate offseason, because both Jason Marquis and Mikey “Beast Mode” Morse are included.) The set occupies a shelf in the Port-Swiller library that also holds some chick lit, a porcelain fox, a miniature globe and a plaque commemorating one of the gels’ softball seasons.
Here’s the problem: I believe that the set should be displayed in what one might call “extended” ranks, with the dolls lined up next to each other. Mrs. Robbo, on the other hand, seems to think that they are better off in the “contracted” position, all of the smaller ones nestled safe inside Jayson Werth’s belleh.
We’ve spoken on this issue but have failed to reach an accord. Instead, we find ourselves in a low-intensity domestic conflict. When ol’ Robbo finds the dolls contracted, he quietly spreads them out. When Mrs. Robbo finds them in extended order, she just as quietly stacks them again.
Am I wrong?
Incidentally, The Beast is with San Fran this year and the Giants look to grab one of the NL wildcard slots. Morse was so beloved by us Nats fans that, even if we find him facing us at some point in the playoffs this year, I think I’m right in saying on behalf of all of us that we all wish him the very best. Indeed, I – and I think almost all of us – would sing along lustily if, on Morse’s coming to the plate at Nats Park, we put on his old walk up musick. Enjoy!
As regular friends of the decanter will know, Port Swiller Manor has been without cable teevee for about a month now due to the Great Basement Flood.
This aspect¹ of the disaster has bothered ol’ Robbo very little, for the most part, because he hardly ever watches much teevee outside of old movies anyway. However, with respect to that one small part, it is absolutely driving him
to drink² batty because he has been unable to watch his beloved Nationals working their way toward the NL East Division title. Indeed, even as I type this post I have MLBcom’s Gameday open in another window as the team tries to put the season away against the dastardly Braves of Atlanta and it is a very, very poor substitute.³
As far as repairs go, I believe the contractor will be ready to paint downstairs before the end of this week, which means that we are making some progress. If and when the Nats make it into the playoffs, I hope they stay alive long enough for the project to be finished and for ol’ Robbo to get in some more actual MASN viewing.
In the meantime, what else is there to do but surf the Innertoobs as best I can and say,
¹ On the other hand, the other aspects – the reduced living space, the cramming of furniture and things into half the main floor, the general grunginess and the constant stream of workmen in the house – are over time making me somewhat frantic.
² Heck, that ship sailed a loooong time ago.
³ I suppose I could dial up the radio coverage, which I understand is very good. I’ll certainly do that if we get to the playoffs before Verizon comes back on line.
UPDATE: NATS WIN! N.L. EAST, BAYBEE!!!!!
Second title in three years! Not. Bad.
Friends of the decanter will forgive me my enthusiasm, especially as they will know that ol’ Robbo is no summer soldier, no sunshine patriot, but has stuck with his beloved Nats from the very beginning, through both the Bad Years and the Good. So, ladies and gentlemen, pray charge your glasses, gun’ls down, and allow ol’ Robbo to propose once again:
Ol’ Robbo snuck out of work a bit early this afternoon to go see his beloved Nationals take on the Diamondbacks of Arizona in the fourth and last game of this week’s series.
Although the original plan was for the entire Port Swiller Family to meet at Nats Park to enjoy the game together, circumstances too complicated to go into here caused the party to be whittled down to the Middle Gel and Self (together with friends we had planned to meet there). Never mind, a good time was had by all, despite the fact that it rained periodically throughout the game.
Now permit me to offer up some statistics for your consideration:
The Nats won 1-0, thus sweeping the series. This is the third series in a row we’ve swept and we are on a 10-game winning streak. Without looking it up, I believe this ties a franchise record.
The win was a walk-off, making five walk-off wins in the last six games.¹ I read yesterday that the Nats were only one of three teams in the past 20 years to win 4 out of 5 by walk-offs. I’ve got to guess that this latest lifts us even higher in the realm of statistical achievements. (UPDATE: Apparently, it hasn’t happened since 1986.)
The Nats now have the best record in the National League and, if I count correctly, the fourth best record in MLB.
We are, as of this writing at least, 7 1/2 games up on Atlanta.
I say all this NOT to boast, brag, draw conclusions about the rest of the season, or in any other way to offend the Baseball Gods.² Rayther, I do so to make a simple point: For Nats fans, life is pretty durn good at the moment.³ (And anyway, those who stayed loyal to the team through those awful years of the mid-2000’s – among whom I think I am perfectly justified including the Family Robbo – have earned this, dammit.)
Anyhoo, this afternoon was Ian Desmond Bobblehead giveaway day at Nats Park. “Desi”, for those of you who don’t know, is the Nats’ shortstop, one of the best glove men in the league and a solid hitter to boot. As he has matured, he has become an anchor for the team and is one of the most beloved players on the roster.
So you can imagine that Desi’s bobble head would be a big draw, even for a Thursday afternoon game. And you would be correct – paid attendances was somewhere around 32,500. Ol’ Robbo was certainly keen to get his mitts on one.
Now. About these promotions, I was always under the impression that the rule was supposed to be one item per one person coming through the gate, period. Nonetheless, and perhaps it’s because Desi is such a big part of the team, I couldn’t help noticing that a great many fans seemed to be in possession of multiple bobble head boxes. Several times I saw people coming up the stairs with five, six or seven of them stuffed under their arms or in bags. Of course, there might be some perfectly innocent reason for this, but the general trend seemed to suggest that these folks were bagging duplicates for…..people who didn’t bother to show up for the game.
I’m not talking about the E-Bay sharks here, nor about the folks who sell or trade their gifts to the hawkers out on Half Street as they head up to the metro. That sort of thing is always going to happen. No, I’m talking about what are supposed to be upstanding, law-abiding Family Folk who seem to be storing the things up like chipmunks for future distribution to sisters, cousins and aunts and others.
This rankes ol’ Robbo. There’s a limited supply of these things each time, and it seems only fair that they should be rewarded first and foremost to those who make the effort to attend the game. As I say, there was a paid attendance of something north of 32k. There were only 25k bobble heads available. Simple math says that some folks who made it to the game did not get their treats.
That’s pretty hard cheese for some fans. And so far as I’m concerned, it isn’t right.
¹ I’m aware that, originally, the term “walk off” only applied to game-winning home runs, that it recently has come to mean any offensive play that wins the game for the home team in the bottom of the 9th, and that this has sparked controversy between purists and revisionists. I can’t say that I’ve formulated a position on this myself. The Nats won the last game we attended (last Saturday) on a “walk-off” ground rule double that scored a runner from 2nd. They won this evening on a “walk-off” errant throw from 3rd to 1st that scored a runner from 2nd. FWIW, the term “walk-off error” just doesn’t seem right to ol’ Robbo.
² Did I ever mention the time a couple years ago when the eldest gel was in parochial school and tried to get ol’ Robbo in trouble with Father Scalia (yes, those Scalias) by ratting me out for “believing” in Baseball Gods? Without missing a beat, Father S said to her, “Of COURSE there are Baseball Gods.” Bless you, Padre.
³ What else is there to say but
Greetings, my fellow port swillers!
Please pardon the post-hols silence from your humble host, but we’ve been having another outbreak of the Joys of Home-Ownership here at Port Swiller Manor this week. Would you like to hear about it? Super! Thanks for asking!
Whelp, ol’ Robbo had gone down the office Tuesday as per usual, leaving teh gels home to squander some of their last remaining summah vacation time. (Mrs. R had stayed up in Connecticut for a couple extra days to visit with her parents and grandmother.)
If you will recall, Tuesday was a day of torrential rains throughout much of the South-East and Mid-Atlantic. The area immediately around the port swiller demesne was no exception.
About midday, I got a call from the Middle Gel.
“Daaaaaad, there’s a puddle in the [basement] study!” she said.
“Well,” I replied, thinking it was just some wet coming through a window frame,”just drop a towel on it for now.”
“Okay,” she said.
A bit later, she called back.
“Um, Dad, the puddle is getting bigger.”
“Well, put down some more towels.”
This back and forth went on for a while. Finally, I suggested she call Mrs. X, a friend of ours who was on stand-bye babysitting duty in case the gels needed immediate assistance while I was off at work.
A short while later I learned that what had originally been described to me as a mere “puddle” was, in fact, a couple inches of water spreading rapidly across the entire basement floor. At this point, I did what any sensible husband would do and called Mrs. Robbo.
“Mooommy!” I said.
Mrs. R then leapt into action from afar, getting hold of our contractor, who in turn immediately sent a crew along to start damage control.
It was only when I got home that evening that I learned of the full scope of the thing: Carpet ruined. Pergo in my study ruined. Baseboards gone. Bottom of drywall saturated. In addition, I found that the Internet servy-routy-thingamajig was dead (as was the printer), which is why I have not had access to the Webz until this evening.
Oh, and a consultation with our soon-to-be-former homeowner’s insurance revealed their attitude that once rain hit the ground, it was our problem, not theirs. (I picked a hell of a week to quit moonlighting as a drug mule.)
It was also only when I got home that I learned the youngest gel had been trying to unplug things while standing in the flood. I believe I aged several years right about then.
So what was the cause, you ask? The rain was coming down so heavily that it overwhelmed all the drainage measures out front and ponded up against the house directly above the basement wall. It then found its way down between the cinderblocks (which have been showing signs of age, wear and tear for some time) and bled out into the basement at a rate far, far greater than anything I’ve ever seen in 14+ years of residence here. I blame Manbearpig.
So you lot know what all this means, of course? That’s right, MOAR RENOVATIONS!
For one thing, they’re going to have to excavate at the side of the house to come at the leaky basement wall and repair it. They”re also going to put in new floors in the basement (Pergo all the way this time), replace the two feet of drywall they had to cut out all the way around and install a sump pump. Mrs. R, seeing an opportunity, has also declared that what was once nominally my workshop is going to be converted into another bathroom for the use of houseguests who stay at the Manor. (The study doubles as a guest room, you see, and to date lodgers have been forced to endure the horrors of the gels’ bathroom upstairs if they wanted to shower up.)
In the meantime, of course, we’ve had to move all the furniture and things out of the basement and are presently working out places in which to stuff them for the duration of the project. Also, although I got Verizon to run a cable up to a new router in the living room, we won’t have access to the teevee downstairs until it’s all put back together again.
As you can imagine, everything is all ahoo at the moment and probably will be for some time.
At any rate, there you have it. Seeing as I will not be able to watch my beloved Nationals on the teevee or listen to my stereo in the evening for the foreseeable future, I imagine I may spend rayther more time hanging around here than usual.
UPDATE: Spent much of the morning moving things out of the basement and trying to jury-rig something close to normalcy. Not much hope of that, but at the least I managed to set up my stereo and CD player in a corner of the living room so I can listen to musick (with headphones, of course). I also found a place for the little teevee and DVD player, so I can carry on Netflixing. So I’ve got that going for me.
Greetings, my fellow port swillers!
Yes, Daddy is home from Peru. (Spot the riff, if you can. I’m actually back from Maine, of course.)
All in all, a fairly relaxing week staring at the bay, marred only by the fact that ol’ Robbo neglected to pack his tummy medicine before setting out, in part out of 4 ack emma sloth, in part because he figured that the absence of the usual workaday stresses would render said meds unnecessary.
Well, I was wrong about that. After the last dosage had cleared the ol’ system, the Port-Swiller tummy began to do a thoroughly unpleasant buck-and-wing, in turn rendering your host somewhat, shall we say, dyspeptic to those around him. After a few days, Mrs. R got so tired of it that she went into town herself, found some more meds, returned to teh cottage and shoved them at me with a curt, “Take them, dammit!”
Ah, middle age……
Anyhoo, a few odds and ends:
♦ Made the run from Westport, CT to Port Swiller Manor in the wilds of NoVA in 4 1/2 hours yesterday morning, including two Indy-like pit stops. Not that I’ve ever kept a log or anything, but I believe this to be a personal medal run. I’m not a reckless driver, but I’ve always been somewhat lead-footed, especially when traffic is relatively light, as it was Sunday morning. (Note, however, to that red van with Indiana plates: If you insist on doing 65 mph on the south end of the Jersey Turnpike, do it in the right-hand lane, for Heaven’s sake! You’ve no idea how many near-accidents I saw involving hot-heads trying to get around you.)
♦ We had a friend come in and house-sit for us while we were away. I was delighted to see that all the porch plants survived and thrived in our absence and that none of the cats was killed by the others. Oddly, it seemed to me that the two kittens (a little over a year old now) appear to have grown in our absence. I always thought cats reached full stature in about a year, but teh gels insist that their growth cycle is longer than that. Any of you know?
♦ Speaking of growth, I also was delighted to note that the jasmine I planted earlier this year – about which friends of the decanter may recall my blathering at length – all have new leaves on them, a sign that they like where they have been put. And while we’re on the subject of gardening, I would also note that I have a climbing rose out front, an Improved Blaze. For some years I have not touched the thing, and it gradually got so tall as to start getting tangled in the second-story gutter. This would be fine, except that every year after its glorious bloom and when the weather started hotting up, it would promptly shed all its leaves, rendering me open to snide remarks from teh Middle Gel about putting out the Halloween decorations too early. Well, this year I decided on radical action: After it was done blooming, I cut the thing way, way back (to about four feet high, in fact). For a number of weeks I had nothing but a handful of canes left and thought I might have killed it, but this morning I noticed new shoots on each and every one of them. Yay.
♦ I read four books while loafing about the Port-Swiller summah cottage:
- Hercules, My Shipmate by Robert Graves, a rendering of the tale of Jason and the Argonauts in the form of an historickal novel. I’ve read this book many times before. Once you get past Graves’ paganism (I think he really believed his carryings-on about an ancient, all-encompassing Mother Goddess usurped by the followers of more recent fraudulent religions – including Christianity), it’s a jolly fun and rayther lusty adventure story.
- Haydn’s Visits to England by Christopher Hogwood, a delightful little book (an extended essay, really) giving a day-to-day overview of Papa’s doings in Blighty. One thing I learned (this was my first time reading it) was that the Prince Regent was very, very attentive to Haydn during his visits. Good. I think very little of George IV in the main, but credit where it is due.
- Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg. Just to keep my ire up against that rat-bastard Jean-Jacques Rousseau and all of his ideological spawn who have dedicated themselves to establishing Heaven on Earth, even at the need of putting millions of said Earth’s inhabitants to fire and sword for their own good. The book came out in January 2008 but seems all the more timely now. (Incidentally, I’ve decided to devote a deal of time this fall to rereading Locke, Smith and Burke and to finally introducing myself directly to Hayek.)
- The Commitments by Roddy Doyle. I’ve long been a fan of the movie (which I’ll probably pop in when I’m done with this post), but this was my first time reading the novel, which Mrs. R picked up for me somewhere for a dollar. What a lot of fun! And how refreshing to find a young author (he was about 29 when he wrote it) who isn’t a first-class, self-absorbed, whiney wanker. I’m curious about how those more Doyle-conscious than me think about the differences between book and movie: The latter, while, I think, adhering nicely to the tone of the book, did turn Joey The Lips inside out as a character, and its soundtrack had very, very little overlap with that of the former, but most of the differences strike me as de minims. Was Doyle involved in teh movie?
♦ Didn’t look at the Innertoobs a single time while on hols, so I’ve much on which to catch up. What did I miss? (I see this evening that Robin Williams killed himself. Depression, apparently. I despised much about him during his career, but you hate to see something like this happen to anybody.)
♦ To be honest, however, I did ask teh gels to keep me posted on my beloved Nats’ doings while we were away. From what I see at this point, I am (touching wood) pretty confident that we are going to win the NL East. On the other hand, I also think the Dodgers are going to win the NL pennant and that the A’s will beat them in the Series.
♦ Whelp, now that the summah hols are over and ol’ Robbo turns his attention to the impending start of school and other fall activities, I have to ask: Just where the hell did this year get to?
Friday evening ol’ Robbo bugged out after work to meet the Port Swiller family down at Nationals Park to see his beloved Nats open the second half of the season against the Brewers of Milwaukee.
A good time was had by all, except that we ultimately lost and also that a quartet of the Brew Crew happened to sit directly in front of us and a somewhat inebriated, but friendly, member of said party kept leaning back to ask me trivia questions about Nats Park and various team traditions. Somehow or other, he also managed several times to stick his elbow into my beer.
Eh, that’s part of the game. So far as I was concerned, it was all good. Besides, the fellah complimented me, based on what he heard of their chatter, on how much teh gels obviously knew about the game. Very good.
No, what got me was this: Not following Brewers baseball, I had heard nothing about Jean Segura, their shortstop, who recently received news that his nine-month-old son back home in the Dominican Republic had died. Segura had taken some time off, and Friday was his first appearance back at the Bigs.
Well, when Segura stepped up for his first at bat, the crowd at Nats Park game him a very warm ovation.
My sloshed new buddy was visibly moved by the tribute, and said as much.
This sort of thing makes ol’ Robbo very happy. Just saying.
Oh, and the fact that we took the series off the Brewers this afternoon is a bit of a bonus, too.