Master Procrastinator

Everyone's good at something…I'm the best at…let me get back to you on that.

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Vacation Thoughts

Posted by Andrew Zercie on August 25, 2009

I’ve been vacationing near Narragansett, RI for a few days now, and loving it. I don’t want to leave. Maybe, somewhere in my mind, I never will.

Even on vacation though, my mind wanders and I need to jot things down, or else they’ll vanish forever.

OMG! Reading is fundamental!

OMG! Reading is fundamental!

–Today, on the beach, I noticed a young woman was reading LA Candy, the novel from Lauren Conrad, who, like Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, Perez Hilton, and loads of other people out there, is famous without doing anything of substance.

This woman at the beach was maybe in her early 20s. She had a belly ring, a tramp stamp, and was on some mobile device a half-dozen times. She was on a blanket right near us. Walking to and from the water with a bucket full of water for my kids 50 or so times, I had little choice but to notice.

I have no idea who this young woman is, whether or not she’s smart, or has a good job (she’s on the beach on a Tuesday…with her friends…anything’s possible I guess…), or is having one last hurrah before going back to school.

But, if I were single and 10 years younger let’s say, based on outward appearacnes, I’d look the other way. I’d be a little jealous though. It would be nice to have an uncluttered, empty mind, I guess.

I will say this, though. It is nice to see that Lauren Conrad, like Dan Brown and countless other best-selling authors, is helping her fans rediscover literacy. Good for her.

–Sunday night, I watched most of the Yankees-Red Sox game, and one of the announcers mentioned that, when Tim Wakefield comes off the disabled list, he will be caught by Victor Martinez, and not Jason Varitek.

From an offensive standpoint, that makes a lot of sense. Martinez is far superior to Varitek with the bat.

However, according to the announcer, Martinez has never caught a knuckleball before during a game.

Now, the last time I checked, Victor Martinez didn’t have the best reputation as a defensive catcher, which is why he has seen time at 1B and DH in recent years. Why on earth would the Sox risk their chances at a postseason berth using Martinez behind the plate with Wakefield when they have a catcher in Jason Varitek who has won a Gold Glove and is widely-considered a good defensive catcher?

Oh yeah, he can’t catch a knuckleball either.

Which begs the question…how overrated is Jason Varitek? Mildly, very, or highly?

I mean, he won a Gold Glove in 2005 for what exactly? His good looks? Picking a fight with A-Rod in 2004?

Jason Varitek has thrown out 24% of would-be base-stealers for his career. His best single season was 2002, when he gunned down 28% of those trying to steal on him.

Jorge Posada has long been maligned for his defensive skills as a catcher. Yet, for his career, he has thrown out 29% of would-be base-stealers, with a career-best 40%  mark in 1998.

Posada far outshines Varitek as a hitter, and hasn’t gotten his due as a defensive catcher.

Either that, or Jason Varitek, Great Defensive Catcher, is merely a creation of the Boston media, and the national baseball wonks just believed the local guys.

–The surf down here on Saturday night and Sunday was great, thanks to Hurricane Bill. I don’t think Kelly Slater was here or anything, but there were lots of folks enjoying the big waves.

I stood by and watched. I’m good at that.

–Six-year old boys and horseshoe crabs are a great combination. My son found three live horseshoes in a span of 10 minutes on Sunday morning during high tide. He felt like a marine biologist, and I was just proud and savoring every second of it.

–I caught a few series of the Denver-Seattle preseason game the other night while I was flipping channels. Kyle Orton looked decisive, and the Broncos offense moved the ball well.

I’m curious to see what the reception will be for Jay Cutler when he and the Bears play in Denver. My feeling is that, outwardly, Cutler will treat it like his own personal Super Bowl, and the Broncos will, outwardly, write the matchup off as a scheduling quirk and say they’ve moved on from the Cutler Error.

But I wouldn’t be stunned if Cutler gets hit. A lot.

–By the way, some die-hard Broncos fans have a site out there called Mile High Report that is an absolute must-read if you have even a passing interest in the goings-on of the Denver Broncos. If every fanbase has a site that is as dedicated or as well-written and maintained as MHR, that would be a great thing. Here’s a link:

Or, you can just go back to the Master Procrastinator front page and find it on the blogroll. Tremendous site.

–Derek Jeter is 19 hits away from breaking the record for most hits by a New York Yankee, set by Lou Gehrig, one of the all-time greats in the history of the game of baseball.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Jeter is one of the best to ever play the game.

–Former Yankee Bobby Abreu is getting a lot of press lately and is beginning to garner some support as a potential MVP candidate in the American League.

Abreu’s knack for getting on base has always had value. The fact that he is imparting this skill on to the young Latin players on the Anaheim Angels speaks more to his heretofore unknown leadership ability than it does to anything else.

To me, Abreu is not the MVP of the AL (it’s Joe Mauer, and it’s not close). However, his influence on the likes of Juan Rivera, Chone Figgins, Erick Aybar and others, shows that there was more to his quiet nature than Yankees fans saw in his time in Pinstripes.

–While on vacation, we’ve rented a cottage near the beach and cooked our own food, for the most part. We bought a little portable Weber charcoal grill a couple of weeks ago to use here.

Prior to maybe two weeks ago, I’d never used anything but a propane-powered grill before. After buying this Weber and using it on burgers, chicken, hot dogs, corn on the cob, and a few other things, I may never go back to propane.

I never understood when people said that food coming off a charcoal grill tasted better, but I get it now. I’ll have to experiment with wood chips, rubs and other flavor-enhancers as I gain more practice and confidence.

–Tonight, while out looking at the lighthouse on Point Judith, we went to Crazy Burger for supper.

I had a burger I’ll have to try and duplicate one of these days. They pressed black beans in the beef, cooked it, then served it on a tortilla with avocado and salsa, and with sweet potato fries on the side.

If you’re ever down in Narragansett, you have to find this place. It’s a small restaurant, but it’s worth discovering and trying.

–Getting back to the AL MVP for this year…I am of the opinion that, unless Joe Mauer winds up hurt for the rest of the season, that it’s his award to lose.

Still, as names are creeping into the conversation, I can’t help but wonder why no one is touting Texas’ Michael Young for the award?

The guy is like Derek Jeter, but without the hype, endorsements, celebrity girlfriends, or championships.

After moving to 3B this year to make room for defensive whiz Elvis Andrus at shortstop, all Young has done is have the best season of his career to this point. He’s on his way to a 6th season with 200 or more hits and a .300 or better batting average. He’s tied his career high in HR and he’s walking more.

Young is the veteran presence in the Texas clubhouse that everyone looks too for guidance. In essence, he’s their captain.

If he were in New York, he’d be starring in Gillette commercials with Tiger Woods and Roger Federer. Instead, he’s in Texas, playing in the shadow of the Dallas Cowboys, and toiling away in near-anonymity.

If he keeps hitting and helps will the Rangers past the Boston Red Sox for the AL Wildcard, baseball fans and casual sports fans everywhere will know who Michael Young is.


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