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Pre-Thanksgiving Notes

  • This blog went over 1,000 hits a few days ago, an accomplishment I'm quite proud of. The only crappy part is that it took me months and months and months to achieve that, so I guess I'm sort of the Tony Batista of bloggers.

  • The Terminal was one of my favorite movies of 2004, so I felt compelled to buy it yesterday, which was its release date. I bought it not only because I have some kind of a sick DVD-purchasing problem, but also because I'm a sucker for those good ol' Tom Hanks romantic comedies. Whether it's Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail, or The Terminal, I just can't get enough of them. For me, there's just something especially pleasing about watching Hanks' character -- whether he's the owner of a giant book chain or a foreigner trapped in an airport -- find happiness at the end of the movie. And if there's a better actor in Hollywood than Tom Hanks, I'd like to know who he is. I tend to think there isn't anybody better, with only Johnny Depp being remotely close to him in talent.

  • The storyline of the offseason so far hasn't been which of Hudson, Mulder, or Zito might be traded, whether Adrian Beltre will stay in Los Angeles, or where Edgar Renteria's going to sign. For that matter, I haven't heard the name Carlos Beltran mentioned since the Astros were knocked out of the playoffs. The real story has been the number of mediocre-to-bad (which is to say replacement level) players who've somehow received single- and multi-year contracts worth a lot of money from general managers who supposedly knew better.

    First, the Cubs gave Neifi Perez a cool million bucks to serve as the team's utility infielder or, if things get really bad, their starting shortstop. After that, Washington Nationals GM Jim Bowden made a huge "splash" by signing Cristian Guzman for four years and Vinny Castilla for two. And yesterday, infielder Juan Castro proved himself to be every bit as slick as Neifi, Cristian, and Vinny are when he signed a two-year deal with the Twins for a guaranteed $2.05 million.

    Are you like me? Was trying to think of another Juan Castro the first thing you did after reading that last sentence? Because surely the man who built three straight division winners in Minnesota, Terry Ryan, didn't just sign THE Juan Castro, he of the career .269 on-base percentage. Sadly for Twins fans, he did, because now Castro's practically guaranteed to be with the Twins (and see regular playing time) for all of 2005, and perhaps all of 2006 as well. Suddenly, $4 million a year for Guzman doesn't look so bad.

  • I found a couple of interesting polls yesterday evening, one on ESPN.com, and the other on the Sacramento Bee.

    The poll from the Bee asked which celebrity you'd most like to join you for Thanksgiving dinner, and I found the results to be incredibly shocking. Not only is Royals left-hander Jimmy Gobble leading by a vast margin, but he's also leading the person I voted for:

    > Jimmy Gobble: 22% (1,761 votes)
    > Charlize Theron: 18% (1,440 votes)

    I suppose it's me and 1,339 others who'd rather have an Oscar-winning actress sitting across from us than some young pitcher who's never had much success in the major leagues, but everyone's entitled to their own opinions. But just in case any of you guys who voted for Gobble haven't seen Charlize Theron before, let me present you with this little comparison:



    I rest my case. Sexy, thy name is Charlize.

    The ESPN.com poll, which was on the MLB page, asked this question, with two possible answers:

    Baseball hasn't had a 50-homer guy since 2002. Which would you prefer?

    > Tougher drug testing, even if fewer HRs
    > Juice 'em up and let 'em rip

    I was surprised at the results after I voted for "Juice 'em up and let 'em rip," because only 16.1 percent of the 23,508 voters saw things the way I did.

    I know I might catch some flak for writing this, but I don't care if major leaguers take steroids, and I don't think baseball should care either. When an athlete takes a steroid or some kind of a significant supplement, he's essentially making a deal with devil: By shooting up, he risks losing years of his life as a tradeoff to perform at the highest possible level in the present. We all saw the unfortunate demise of Ken Caminiti, in which steroids played at least a small role.

    If an athlete of any sport wants to take that risk, I don't see the point of standing in his (or her) way. This isn't MLB's fight to pick, so I think they'd be better off to not ban steroids and let the Sammy Sosas and Jason Giambis of the world shoot up in the on-deck circle if they so choose. If what the fans want is legitimacy attached to their game, then let them have their legitimacy by giving players the option of using. Grown men play baseball, and if they want to die young to hit a lot of homers now, that's their sacrifice to make.

    On that not-so-happy note, I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving. Happy Holidays, everybody.
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