Streetlight Manifesto

I know I’ve probably mentioned it a few times, but I’m quite the fan of the band Streetlight Manifesto. Last night they were playing here in town, on the last leg of their last tour, ever. It was legendary.

The show was at a local place called Fitzgerald’s, which is quite possibly the 2nd smallest venue I’ve ever seen anyone at. The closet otherwise know as the “Velvet Elvis” in Savannah GA is the only place that comes to mind that could possibly be smaller. Coincidentally, that’s where I first saw Catch-22, nearly 14 years ago (Jason, you remember that show?). Door were at 7:00pm but we had to pick up the tickets from will-call a bit earlier. I went with my brother-in-law Chris, who is about the only other person (in my local circle of friends) that enjoys Streetlight like I do. We arrived exceedingly early, picked up the tickets, and even had time to grab a couple beers across the street before the show. Online and on the tickets there weren’t any opening acts listed, but when we arrived they had Mike Park (Skankin’ Pickle) and Dan Potthast (MU330) as openers, which was awesome since I had never seen either live.

As I mentioned, the venue is incredibly small, so much so we were essentially standing in the hallway/stairwell before a break between Mike and Dan had all the smokers rush outside before Streetlight came on. We worked our way to nearly dead center in the room. The smokers came back and it got exceedingly crowded. There were probably 300 people in the space reserved for about 150. Dan played a great set and was fun to watch and then even more people started show up for Streetlight’s 10pm stage time. Now it was getting uncomfortably crowded. Japanese subway crowded. When SLM hit the stage, all hell broke loose. It was a massive sea of undulating humanity. It was all good for the opening song and then it started getting violent. I’m all for a good pit. I’ve been in my fair share. This was turning ugly. People falling, not being let back up, people punching. I got kicked in the head several times by a crowd surfer (not really his fault), and shoved to the ground by this guy trying to protect his girlfriend (definitely his fault, but understandable) who was looking like she wasn’t having a great time. If you’re not wanting to be in a pit, leave the pit. That’s what I did. By the middle of the set, I had had enough and I moved back about 15 feet and enjoyed a good majority of the rest of the show without having to kick anyone’s ass.

Towards the end I noticed that there was an entire balcony where the sound board had been set up, and there were empty stools there. I moved over and grabbed one. Now I was even closer to the band, but slightly to the side, and up above the crowd. It was perfect. They started playing old classics and I had the perfect spot to enjoy the end of the show from. Chris was lost to the crowd at this point. I had held on to him in the pit, but once I went down I lost sight of him. Apparently he had a great time but during the melee somebody swiped the t-shirt he had bought.

I really enjoyed seeing the band one last time. They always put on a fantastic show and I got not one but two pretty awesome hoodies. It’s a shame they’re hanging it up (in terms of touring, new albums aren’t ruled out) but they certainly deserve the break after all the crap they’ve been through with shitty ass Victory.

I’m totally and completely exhausted today, but it was worth every bit of it. It was a blast and I’m glad I made it to what will most likely be their last ever show in Houston.


World Series Champs

Last night the Red Sox put the finishing touches on their 3rd World Series win in ten years. To say I’m not thrilled beyond believe would be disingenuous. I celebrated, I cheered, I clapped, I almost woke up the kiddo.

Objectively, the expectations for this team were pretty low. Coming off a breakdown in 2011, and one of the worst years possible in 2012, in all honesty, I wasn’t expecting a playoff run. While it is a remarkable turn around, it’s not the “underdog triumph” that the media is making it out to be. The Red Sox front office isn’t stupid. They wouldn’t have signed players that they didn’t think they could win with. Not to mention that fact that 6 years is hardly an 86 year drought. That card has been played. I’m actually tired of the “…it was 86 years until” and “it’s been 95 years since they’ve…”. No, let that go. We had that magical year, we had that story, let’s not diminish this by trying to artificially create a story about not winning at home. Winning is winning, home or on the road, and this is the third time in recent history. Be proud of that.

You can talk about “worst to first” if you want, but for me it’s a non-starter. On paper, they had the talent in 2012, they just under performed. That is not news worthy. That they performed better this year is exactly what they should have done. It’s the level of performance that’s the surprising part. I honestly had them somewhere around .500, missing the wild card, and settling for “marked improvement” while we waited on hot prospects to join the team and replace all our 1-year contract pickups.

I think the decision to go with quality personalities in place of super-star talent should be looked at right alongside most sabermetrics. The intangible qualities and clubhouse cohesiveness has clearly been proven to be effective. By all accounts, on paper, there are better players than our 2012-13 off season acquisitions, but they all brought something to the table in terms of teamwork, hustle, determination, and other things we don’t have the metrics for.

I also don’t want to take anything away from the Cardinals. They played one of the best series I’ve ever seen. Meaning-wise, 2004 might have meant more, but 2013 was just better baseball. Both pitching staffs were lights out. They both shut down incredible offenses. What the Cardinals pitchers did was nothing short of extraordinary. I watched every minute of every game with the though that the tide could turn at any second. Every out was important, every hit. The Cardinals were just as likely to pounce on us for 5 runs as we were to come back with 6. The Cardinals have several stand up guys and their fans are just as passionate and dedicated as the fans in Boston. I’m a big fan of Craig and Molina and the new kid Wacha is going to seriously go places. Cardinals fans should be very proud of their team. Not to mention, from the sounds of it, the St. Louis farm system is pretty well stocked and the Cardinals are going to be this good for quite a while. You guys want to meet us in the post season again next year?

If I had to narrow it down though, the biggest take away from the entire post season would be “clutch” playing. That big moment when your team really needs a lift, and the right player steps in and makes something happen. In all honesty. If Victorino doesn’t hit that grand-slam in the ALCS, the entire series could have turned and we could have been watching a Tigers/Cardinals World Series. Ortiz, Gomes, Victorino, Napoli, all came through in the clutch. Ortiz was insanely locked in. I’ve never seen that before, even from him. And what about Koji? Holy crap. Koji was insane. It’s incredibly bothersome that, as reported on his blog, the Boston media would write negative stories about him. It makes me hate the Boston media even more than before. You can’t find a more humble person with such incredible raw talent and some Boston Globe turd-waffle wants to scare him away.

There’s not really much else to say. It was a pleasure watching ALL of baseball this year. It was a pleasure watching the post season, and I can’t wait to do it again next year.



LOOK MOM! I’M AN AIRPLANE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

World Series

With Game 1 of the World Series starting in mere hours, I had a few things I wanted to get off my chest.

For starters, the reaction of most in the baseball community thus far has been that this series isn’t unique, or interesting. Most people couldn’t have picked two less interesting teams to be playing in the fall classic. Clearly, I’m going to disagree with that entire notion, but I also realize that I “have a horse in this race”, so my thoughts towards it are going to be a bit skewed.

I myself would have preferred a Dodgers or Pirates vs. Red Sox World Series. I think those more historic match-ups would have been more interesting. But, interesting to who? Does the St. Louis fan base deserve a title shot less than Los Angeles or Pittsburgh or Atlanta? Numbers wise, there are less fans of the Pirates  nation wide than there are of the Cardinals. Does that discount what they did this season? Of course not.

That’s also the entire point of playoffs; to determine finalists. So, when people say “this World Series is going to suck, I’m not watching it”, simply because their team isn’t in it, it’s doing a disservice to the entire sport. If you’re a fan of baseball, in general, you should enjoy at least a little bit of this series. These are the two best and/or luckiest teams in baseball, for October of 2013, whichever way you choose to look at it. There may have been better teams in June, or August, but this is October. There are great players on both sides. Exciting line ups, great hitters, remarkable closers. This should be very interesting to watch. It’s ok to “not like” the teams playing, but you should be able to at least appreciate the talent on both sides for what it is.

So, don’t give me this Debby Downer crap about how this series will suck, I’m tired of it. You don’t like the teams? Fine. But don’t tell me it will be “bad baseball”, because that’s just a flat out lie.

I also have a huge issue with cocky ass Red Sox fans. Yeah, you heard me. I have issues with my own team’s fan base. Every pink beard I see in the stands makes me want to hit people. Every idiot who thinks “we deserve this” and “this is our year” is incredibly misguided. These are the fans that jumped on board in 2004, NOT the fans that were crying in 2003. I’m old enough to have watched several “curse filled” self-destructions, several post-season endings that didn’t go our way, and to remember the pain of each and every one of them. Most people won’t understand it, but bonding through shared grief is a real thing. I remember watching in ’86 and wondering why my dad, my uncle, and my neighbors were so upset. Now I understand. I saw it and felt it first hand.

That didn’t get wiped away in 2004. For all we know, as Red Sox fans, 2004 and 2007 were complete freak accidents, but ones that went our way for a change. It could very well be another 86 years before we raise another World Series banner. ANY Red Sox fan that tells you otherwise doesn’t understand their history. Any cocky, sideways hat wearing, fake beard buying, douche-canoe from Gloucester, MA that says “We got this, this is our year” is a fucking idiot. On behalf of true Red Sox fans, I apologize for “those” people. If that’s the impression you’ve received online or in person, please disregard anything they said.

I also have to take issue with major sports media. Apparently they didn’t get the match up they wanted, so outside of Boston based media, I’ve yet to actually hear any coverage of the World Series. An entire two hours of sports radio/tv this morning, on THE major network for such things, was devoted to college football happening THIS SATURDAY. There were analysts, experts, call in guests, all talking about Oregon football. Fuck you. No, seriously, fuck you. That’s ridiculous. I’m sorry, it is. I don’t know anything else to call it. We’re on the eve of a major sporting event and it’s being entirely ignored. That says something about the state of the game and it’s relationship to national media. We are so far removed from “America’s Pastime” now, we should really just stop using that expression.

I’m so glad I live in a society were I can get BETTING numbers from nationally syndicated hosts, but can’t get a single thought on the World Series with the exception of the commercials for it on the same exact station. Sadly, it’s not just radio, the TV coverage is even worse. The single saving grace is that this is Tim McPumpkinhead’s last year. I’m sure they’ll find someone equally aggravating to replace him, but at the very least they won’t be unabashingly obvious Cardinals fans. They’ve almost over-compensated this year. They were making things up, Madden style, during the ALCS, just to have something to fill the dead air with. I swear I heard one of them say “the team the scores the most runs usually wins”.

I digress. All this is merely pent up anxiety over all sorts of things, both baseball and non-baseball related. I’ll save the non-baseball for another time.

In the end, I’m going to enjoy watching this series. Win or lose, the Red Sox have proven that with hardwork, and copious amounts of facial hair, you can recover from a fairly dismal season. They’ve exceeded all preseason expectations, and for that I’m already considering this a successful year.

I hope you all enjoy watching it. I hope, even if you don’t have a team in the series, that you can find something to root for, even if it’s merely baseball itself.

I don’t make predictions, they’re always wrong, but I know my team is hard working, scrappy, and very very clutch, I hope that’s enough to bring another one home.

Go Sox!


October Randomness

I just wrote an entire 500 word rant about how much Update sucks, but it’s kind of beating a dead horse, so I deleted it. The level of gimmicky crap has reached such levels that I’m just choosing to ignore it now. I’ll continue on collecting the things I actually find interesting, of which, I have several new things to show off.


Shiny Things

Over the weekend I had a couple errands to run and ended up at Target. Normally my local Target is fairly pathetic with it’s card section, but I lucked out and it had been restocked with the last few weeks worth of releases. Topps Chrome, Bowman Chrome and Panini Prizm.