Monday, April 17, 2006

Marlins series postscript: Number crunching

I decided, being home sick, to look up some of the numbers from the series, and Marlins attendance figures. Here's what I found.

Series Attendance: 38,877
Marlins Average: 14,561/game
Average not counting home opener: 11,212/game

Now, to provide some points of reference...

Washington Home Opener Attendance: 40,530
Tampa Bay Average: 17,213
TB Non-opener Average: 13,382

Friday, April 14, 2006


I'm glad that Church'll be back in the uniform he should have worn opening day. The Watson expirement was a bad idea from the get go.

Is the Miami market worth saving?

Over the next three days the Nationals will be taking their first trip of the season down to the southern tip of Florida to take on the struggling Marlins. And I don't just mean record, though this series will determine who takes over the basement of the NLEast since both teams are going in with only two wins.

The talk about moving the Marlins is still going strong. San Antonio has set itself apart from the pack, as the mayor is offering the team a $300m facility to be built in the city (though where the team would play between relocation and that facility opening is something I'd have to research). I'd actually take a bet of San Antonio versus the rest of the field should relocation end up happening.

But there's still the "if" and the "should" factor going on. There is an active push to keep the Marlins in south Florida, building in on or another of the suburbs or exurbs of Miami. The question I have is a simple one: Why?

Alright, I'll conceed that Miami is a great market. HUGE market. Anywhere that the Marlins moved would be a downgrade in market size, which would make this different than the move from Montreal to Washington DC. However, what good is market size if the people living there don't actually come to the games? Let's look at some numbers. Dolphin Stadium, in its updated 2006 baseball configuration, holds 36,331 (which is far less than the 47k it was confgured to hold for the Marlins opening season). Opening day, only 31k fans showed up.

Now, I know that a Nationals fan can't really talk about opening day, since RFK had as many total empty seats as Dolphin Stadium, though the RFK crowd in raw numbers was 4,000 people above the capacity of the Fish Bowl. Also, the major difference is that the Nats then went on to draw 30k and 25k the next two games, both of which are excellent attendance numbers for early April, especially considering the 25k game was the second day game that week.

The Marlins haven't been so lucky. Their next two games at home have failed to draw 9,000 people. Their total attendance to date has been 48,493 which isn't even enough to sell out some of the larger stadia in baseball. In fact, it doesn't even come close to the 55,255 that showed up to watch the Marlins play at Shea stadium this past Friday. The Mets have twice now had individual games outdraw the entire opening series in Miami. The Yankees have managed it twice, both times against the low-draw Royals. The Devil Rays are even managing to outdraw the Marlins, having not dipped below 10,000 in any game, and 40k in their opener.

I'll be interested to see a few things. First, whether three games at the Fish Bowl don't match the Nats opening day crowd. Second, whether the season Nats@Marlins attendance will even crack 100,000 sold tickets.

All in all, I think it boils down to one simple thing: A smaller market that supports its team is better than a huge market that doesn't. Even if San Antonio can only draw 12k per game, that's still better than the Marlins are looking to pull this year. It's time to start drafting the resolutions, and getting the ball rolling. Move that team.

Just...uh...wait until the Nats owner is decided, cause baseball can't multitask.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

WMC: Did you think I forgot?

I'm sure anyone who follows this blog for its curling coverage (both of you) has noticed that I haven't talked about the results of the championship game. Mostly that's because I'm entirely uncertain what kind of coverage it'll be getting. See, this Sunday at 3pm on ESPN2, they're offering two hours of the bonspiel.

Now, with the women's tournament, that meant a two hour version of the championship game. However, the big difference is that the United States was playing for gold in that game, whereas Fenson's rink was eliminated. Will the American sports media cover Canada/Scotland, or will they just give a two hour overview of the tournament, I don't know. And, unfortunately, I'll likely be unable to find out unless I decide to set my VCR to tape it.

Still, tune in if you want to see curling on TV! Maybe next year we can get more than two hours per tournament if the numbers are good.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Drays of sunshine

Welcome to my sport blogs identity crisis, as curling has wrapped up for many many months, and I find myself just one voice among many in a Natmosphere that is teeming with probably the best collection of blogs for any team in MLB, or perhaps in any American professional league. So, it's likely just going to be my various thoughts about sports in general for awhile, unless I find a really good angle. Dunno. I'm thinking about starting to track exNats like I did during the WBC.

But that's not today. Today is just damned depressing. I was flipping back and forth between the Amazing Race and the game today. Yeah yeah, I was all excited to get MASN, and yet I'm watching the Amazing Race, while people who would strangle a cable executive to get MASN don't get to see any of the game. But I happened to flip to the game and noticed that Vidro was up.

With the bases loaded.

And no one out!

Against Pedro! Holy crap on a stick!

Well, I think everyone who follows the Nats knows this story. Vidro strikes out, Guillen GIDPs, and the Nationals strand yet more runners, which looks like it's going to seriously be the story of our season. Again.

Later tonight, I was checking the scores around the majors, and I noticed that my AL team of cheering was wrapping up a game agaisnt the Orioles. For those who missed it, I've been sort of a closeted DRays fan since their inception, and decided to just say screw it, come out of the closet, and cheer them on, especially now that they have an owner that gives a damn. Well, the Rays managed to pull out a three run victory against Angelos's boys, which is actually two pieces of good news in one: Rays win, Os lose. Hell, the boys from St. Pete actually managed a damned grand slam in the 8th inning, something I'll be surprised if the Nats can pull off this season. They've taken just 2 out of 6 gaves against the birds so far, but augmented that with two out of three won in what used to be called Skydome, and they're off to a 4-5 start.

Yeah, it's early in the season, but it means they're right with the AL East pack. Ain't gonna stay that way, but it's fun for now.

And then i realized something, and it made me even more depressed about the Nationals. The Devil Rays, of all teams, are my ray of sunshine right now. The team I'm following that's actually doing marginally better.

If it weren't 11:15pm when I realized this, I'd probably be drinking.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

WMC: Championship Day!

Welcome to the last big day of international curling for several months. Kinda sad. Though it's going out with a bang, and two of the biggest historic juggernauts in the sport going at it for the championship of the 2006 World Men's Championship.

Scotland went into the tenth end of yesterday's semifinal ties with the Norwegian team that had dispatched Pete Fenson's rink from the tournament. However, they also went into the tenth end carrying the hammer, and were not about to screw that up. Thanks to a well executed takeout with that last rock, the Scottish lay two when the dust had settled, and thus set things up for a rematch with the Canadian team today.

This marks the third time the two teams will meet on the Lowell ice, and they've split the two previous matches, so this will serve as a best-of-three rubber situation. The first match saw the Scots score in four consecutive ends to put away the Canadian team with little trouble. The Scots shot 80% in that game, led by vice skip Ewan McDonald managing to shoot an excellent 89%. The Canadians managed 79%, but were dragged down a great deal by their skip, Jean-Michel Ménard, shooting just 66%.

In the second meeting, just two days ago in the page playoffs, the Canadian team rolled, stealing the first end, and not looking back. Scotland was only shooting 67% in that match, with Murdoch himself only managing 52%. The Canadians had two curlers at 89%, including their skip who faltered in the first meeting, and had just no problems at any point in the shortened match.

This is all going to come down to who can make the shots. Both teams have excellent potential to shine, but both have also shown the ability to falter and fall. No room for mistakes today. Here's to a good ten ends!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

WMC: 3/4 Page Playoff

Don't have time for a long post right now, but all that has to be said is that the US lost, and is now eliminated. 4th is respectable, but after the bronze in Torino, and playing on home ice, I was really hoping for something more. Alas, not to be.

Friday, April 07, 2006

WMC: 1/2 Page Playoff

First of the Page Playoff games is in the book. Featured the top seeded Scottish team against the always heavily favored team from Canada. Had all the makings of a hell of a match. Well...

The game lasted all of six ends, at which point the Scottish team conceded the match having been outscored 8-2. The Canadians just made the Scots look silly. They were off their game the whole time, with skip Murdoch only managing to shoot 52%, and his third only managing one percentage point higher. Meanwhile, the entire Canadian team was shooting between 83-89%. That's hell to fight against, even if you're shooting your best.

End-by-End breakdown.

End 1: Scottish hammer. Canada steals 1. 1-0 Canada
End 2: Scottish hammer. Canada steals 3. 4-0 Canada
End 3: Scottish hammer. Canada steals 1. 5-0 Canada
End 4: Scottish hammer. Scotland scores 1. 5-1 Canada
End 5: Canadian hammer. Canada scores 3. 8-1 Canada
End 6: Scottish hammer. Scotland scores 1. 8-2 Canada
--Scotland Concedes--


US/Norway on tap for 7pm, winner plays Scotland.

WMC: Round Robin Recap

First, sorry for not getting the last draw reported last night. This is still an amateur blog, and there was a need for me to crash before I could get all the scores updated and reported. The two major games of import last night saw Sweden losing, which set the field of four, and Canada beating the US, which set the seeding.

For Pete Fenson's team, this means a little trouble. They're going into the playoff round riding a three game losing streak, having dropped consecutive games to the Aussies, Finns, and Canadians. Not the way to end the round robin, and hopefully he can rebound going into the playoffs. Unfortunately time is not on their sides. The women's tournament was set up so that an entire day of tiebreaking draws was scheduled, but not so with the men. The most Team USA gets to do is sleep in and enjoy and early dinner.

For those who missed the women's playoffs, here's how Page Playoffs work to determine ranking of the top four seeds.

Today at 2pm, the first and second seeded teams will play, this being Scotland and Canada. Then and 7pm, the third and fourth seeded teams will play, this being Norway and the United States. The loser of this second game is eliminated from the playoffs, and gets the #4 ranking.

The victor of the Norway/US match will then take on the Canada/Scotland loser in the semifinal, which is tomorrow at 1pm. The loser of this game will be eliminated, and will take bronze home from Lowell.

Finally, the winner of Canada/Scotland will take on the winner of the Semifinal match on Sunday at 12:30pm for the whole ball of wax.

The United States has only a 1-2 record against the other teams that advanced. The Norwegian team they start out against is the same one that handed Fenson's boys an 8-5 defeat during the seventh draw on Monday. That game featured Pete Fenson shooting an uncharacteristically low 68% during the match, doing worse on hits than draws with only 65% accuracy. He's going to need to do much better than that in hopes of winning this thing.

Finally, a post mortem to my fourth team, the only one eliminated by the round robin. Markku Uusipaavalniemi was suffering most of the tournament from a wrist injury, and wasn't able to play some matched, and wasn't able to skip others. This resulted in him missing the first three Finnish draws, which they dropped 2 out of three. If his presence would have turned just one of those around, there'd be a playoff today, and U15 would be in it. There's now a long off season for him to recover, and I hope to see him back for next winter's international season.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

WMC: Final draw implications

Right now Scotland is the only team guaranteed automatic advancement to the Page Playoffs.

Scotland will be joined by the winner of the US/Canada match.

IF Sweden wins, then there will be a tiebreaker, with Sweden, Norway, and the US/Canada loser going for the last two spots in the Page Playoffs.

IF Sweden loses, then there will be no tiebreaker draws, and the four to advance will be Scotland, US, Canada, Norway.

WMC: Day Six Preview

Here it is, last day of the Round Robin already. Last big curling tournament until November is winding down, but at least we've got one more day of action, and what a day it is. I figure everyone sporting at least 4 wins is in mathematical contention right now, even though they'll need perfection and help just to make the tiebreaker draws.

None of the four teams with 5-4 records play each other today, so it's remote but not impossible to all four to improve to 7-4. As soon as a fourth team hits at least seven wins (there's just the US and Scotland there right now), the four win Aussies and Germans are going home. That's the magic number today. I'd not be surprised if that's the cut off line. Canada needs just one win to create a trio better than seven, and I think at least one of the 5-4 teams will pull off a perfect last day of curling.

Enough of that, let's look at the matchups. Let's look at ALL the matchups. The teams listed second in each matchup will have the first end hammer. Check back through the day, and I'll be updating this post with scores and records as the draws end.

Draw 15 (9am)
Norway 8 v Japan 5
Switzerland 8 v Ireland 2
Germany 6 v Denmark 7
Finland 7 v USA 5

Draw 16 (2pm)
Scotland 6 v Switzerland 2 [Scotland thru to Page Playoffs, Swiss eliminated]
Australia 4 v Norway 5 [Norway thru to at least Tiebreaker]
Canada 6 v Finland 4 [Finland eliminated, Canada thru to at least Tiebreaker]
Sweden 8 v Germany 3

Draw 17 (7pm)
USA v Canada [Winner thru to Page Playoffs]
Denmark v Sweden [Win puts Sweden in tiebreaker]
Ireland v Scotland [No effect on advancement]
Japan v Australia [Both already eliminated]

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

WMC: Day Five Recap

This is going to be a shorter than usual update, cause I'm doing it late, and I'm doing it barely awake.

Not as good of a day for my big four teams today. After going 8-0 yesterday, they combined for just 5-3 today, even though the big Scotland/Finland match made another perfect day impossible.

Scotland went perfect today, notching up a victory against the team from Denmark in rather convincing fashion before winning the showdown against U15, a match that came down to the last end, with Scotland pulling off three points to break what had been a 6-6 tie.

That was Finland's only loss in their two matches. In their other draw of action, they dismantled the Denmark team 12-3. Actually, the entire first draw was blowouts, with the winners outscoring the losers a combined 39-7.

The United States was on the good side of one of those blowouts, holding the Germans to just one point while scoring seven of their own, including a four point end. However, they slipped up against the pesky Australian team, which looks like it wants to prove me wrong about them overperforming early. The Aussies turned a 4-2 defecit after 8 ends into a 5-4 victory by taking the last two against Fenson's Team USA.

That just leaves Canada, who beat the Japanese 7-4 before falling to Switzerland 10-9 in a match that saw the team from up north have to pull off 3 in the ninth end just to take a tie into the tenth. The Swiss team used the hammer like it's meant to be used, and scored the necessary point.

So. Standings. The Scots have caught the Americans. The upper bar has stayed the same. The lower bar has moved, though, with now 4 teams in contention for what would be the last spot instead of just two.

Scotland 7-2
United States 7-2
Canada 6-3
Finland 5-4
Norway 5-4
Switzerland 5-4
Sweden 5-4
Australia 4-5
Germany 4-5
Denmark 3-6
Japan 2-7
Ireland 1-8

Tomorrow is the last day of draws. 8 is the magic number to advance without going through a tiebreaker. 7 will get you at least a tiebreaker. 6 and you need help. That means that the US and Scotland will at least advance from the Round Robin. US/Canada will finally tussle in the last draw tomorrow. Scotland's being handed their 8th win with a match against the Irish team in that same draw. Finland's got two games against teams above the top line. Norway's playing two below the second line. Switzerland's playing the top and bottom teams. Sweden's drawing against two below the second line.

It's going to be a big day of curling!

WMC: Midday update

After doing some research, I discovered the reason for Finland's early woes. Seems that U15 is working through an injury on his curling wrist, not something you want to be dealing with in a tournament. He had to sit out a few games as skip, and slowly eased himself back into things. Now that he's on the ice and curling again, it would explain Finland's improvement.

WMC: Day 5 Preview

Second to last day of the round robin. Curling bonspiels fly by when there's three draws a day going on and everyone's playing two of them.

This is the USA's day to clinch advancement. They're facing two teams that have been more off than on over the course of the tournament, and should easily be toppings on Fenson's curling pizza. Okay, that analogy didn't quite work. Canada finds itself with an even easier row to hoe today. My big four ain't going undefeated today, as the third draw features the clash of Scotland and Finland in a rematch of one of the Olympic semifinals.

How they'll match up today...

Canada: Bye, Japan, Switzerland
Finland: Denmark, Bye, SCOTLAND
Scotland: Bye, Denmark, FINLAND
USA: Germany, Australia, Bye

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

WMC: Day Four Recap

Look at that! Look at that! I picked four teams at the start of the tournament, and after rough starts by the Canadian and Finnish teams, all the teams would currently advance out of the round robin, either to a tiebreaker or the semifinals, if the draws were over. Okay, maybe that was because the team helmed by U15 got to take on two of the weaker teams in the tournament, but the leader board is starting to sort itself more into the form that I was anticipating.

Finland got to have a go against both the Irish and the Australian teams today. The Irish team has been poorly performing the entire bonspiel, and the Australian team was an upstart who should start settling down in the bracket. U15 and his team handed both a 9-5 defeat. The Aussies took the match to the end, but the Irish team concede after a three point stolen ninth by the Finnish team.

Canada also managed a pair of wins today, both of them close. In early action, they were taken to the 11th end by the Denmark team. Much less, the Danes had the hammer. However, Canada stole the extra end, and won it 7-6. In late action they won a tight game against the Norwegian team that gave some of the top performers such fits yesterday. Norway tied the match at 4 all after the seventh, giving the Canadian team the hammer. They held on to it for the rest of the match, blanking two ends before putting up the only point they needed in the tenth end.

To continue the kickass performance by my four teams, the Scottish national team also managed to pull off a pair of victories today. In the first draw of the day, they had no problem with the Japanese team, winning an 8-3 game that was conceded after nine ends. They then turned around to absolutely blow Germany out of the water, stealing each of the first 5 ends to start out with an 8-0 lead. Germany bowed out after six scoring a save-face point to avoid the shutout.

As I've been writing this post, I've been following the last end of the US/Switzerland match, hoping that it would finish up just in time for me to get to this paragraph, and what do you know. At the time, the US was trailing 3-2 with the hammer in the tenth end. Pete Fenson's team managed to pull off two points, giving them the victory in regulation. This combines with a victory over Sweden in the first draw of the day, walking away with a 7-4 win in just nine ends.

What does this all add up to? It adds up to my four teams going a combined 8-0 today.

In other action, Switzerland has now dropped four straight after starting 3-0. Ireland still has just one victory in the tournament, putting them a game behind Japan in sole possession of last place in the robin.

I'm going to start drawing lines in the standings. Above the first line will be teams that would advance straight to the semifinals. Between the first and second lines will be teams that would go to tiebreaker draws.

United States 6-1
Canada 5-2
Scotland 5-2
Finland 4-3
Norway 4-3
Australia 3-4
Denmark 3-4
Germany 3-4
Switzerland 3-4
Sweden 3-4
Japan 2-5
Ireland 1-6

The United States are still very much in control of their own destinies at this point. They've got four draws left to play, and by my count, they need two wins to be guaranteed advancement out of the round robin to at least a tiebreaker. Two of their remaining games are against teams below that second line, the other two are above. However, I think that Fenson's rink can match up with any team in the field, and they've proven it thus far.

WMC: Day Four Preview

First, I've sorted out the confusion from yesterday. One of the two places that scores are reported on the official site had misattributed a two point end to the Irish team that actually was a Canadian stolen end. Thus the 10-5 score, as confirmed by Canadian sports giant CBC, was the correct score. Nice to have a sports media that actually follows curling.

We're already reaching the midway point of the round robin. Every team has 5 games under their belts, and by the end of today will have 7 towards the final goal of 11 games played. Most of the teams are still alive and kicking, though the Irish team is starting to flounder at the bottom of the standings.

U15 really needs to put up some wins if he's going to get a chance to go for placement in the tournament. Having so many teams so tightly bunched leaves little room for mistake, just because there's a good chance someone else is going to capitalize on any misstep. Looking ahead at their schedule for today, it's really now or never, since they're being handed two winnable games.

Norway has a chance to continue on its demolition bent, tilting at the Canadians today.

As usual, the draw schedules for my big four picks:

Canada: Denmark, Norway, Bye
Finland: Bye, Australia, Ireland
Scotland: Japan, Germany, Bye
USA: Sweden, Bye, Switzerland

Monday, April 03, 2006

WMC: Day Three Recap

Well, looks like we've got some answers. Not many, but some.

Question: Are the Canadian and Finnish teams going to continue being paper tigers?
Answer: This is sort of a mixed bag. The Finland team split its action on the ice today. Behind U15, the Finns beat the Swedish team 6-4 before falling to the Japanese team 6-3. Canada, on the other hand, went on a bit of a tear, blowing through Germany 8-3 and staving off a late comeback by Ireland with an 8-7 victory. Either that or blew Ireland away 10-5. Yeah, I'm confused too. I'm seeing two different final scores on the official site.

Question: Is the Swiss team for real in this tournament?
Answer: After today, possibly not. Was a tough day for the previously undefeated Swiss team, losing a tight one to the Austrians before getting completely blown away by the team from Denmark.

Question: Can the Norwegians capitalize on the opportunity to be giant killers?
Answer: Apparently so. Norway had a tough road ahead, taking on two teams that were going into the day with 3-0 records. And...managed to beat both of them. They eeked out a close win against the Scots, 9-8. Then, for an encore, beat Fenson's Team USA 8-5, scoring four over the last two ends.

Question: Can the US continue its winning ways against the Murdoch rink?
Answer: This was the match that people anticipated it would be. It went back and forth in a rather low scoring affair, ending up with a 4-4 score after eight ends. The United States went into the ninth end with the hammer, and was forced to take a point, giving Scotland the critical 10th end hammer. The Scottish team blew the chance, though, and Fenson was able to swoop in, steal one in the 10th, and put up a final score of 6-4. This puts the US right atop the leaderboard, and gives Fenson's rink a three game win streak over Murdoch's.

Again, probably easier to sort into current records.
4-1: United States
3-2: Canada, Denmark, Norway, Scotland, Switzerland
2-3: Australia, Finland, Germany, Japan, Sweden
1-4: Ireland

WMC: Day Three Preview

There are a few big questions today.

Question: Are the Canadian and Finnish teams going to continue being paper tigers?
Question: Is the Swiss team for real in this tournament?
Question: Can the Norwegians capitalize on the opportunity to be giant killers?
Question: Can the US continue its winning ways against the Murdoch rink?

Team Fenson managed two victories on the Pinerolo ice against the Scottish team that they will be closing out today against, and that was without the benefit of home ice and a home crowd behind them. That would seem to put everything into the US's favor, but at the same time, this is curling, and the main reason for the round robin is that upsets do happen. Wow. Crazy to think that Scotland over the US might actually be an upset.

Anyway, today's draws for the four teams I'm tracking:

Canada: Germany, Bye, Ireland
Finland: Sweden, Japan, Bye
Scotland: Norway, Bye, USA
USA: Bye, Norway, SCOTLAND

That Scottish/USA match is the central part of what's being called "Scottish Tartan Night". Not sure what that'll entail.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

WMC: Day Two Recap

Good day for the United States and Scotland. Bad day for U15 and the Canadians.

First the good. The United States followed up their opening win yesterday with two more today. Japan conceded after just eight ends, with a final score of 9-4. The Denmark team put up a fight, taking a 5-2 lead after six ends, but the United States closed out the last three ends scoring 3, 1, and 2.

Scotland managed a nine end victory over the Swedes in early action, winning 9-7 (with the Swedes taking two in what would turn out to be the last end). Then, they went on and defeated the Canadian team in late action, a game they took control of by stealing three straight ends for a total of four points, and never looked back.

Thus it is that the US and Scotland find themselves tied with the Swiss atop the ratings.

Now for the bad. Canada and Finland combined for an 0-3 record today. The Canadians lost in late action to the Scots, but what was more surprising what that they needed a 2 point 10th end just to force a tie with the Australian team, then dropped the match in the extra end. It looked like the Canadians were going to play close but pull through until the Aussies took the lead in the seventh. Canada tied it up in both the 8th and 10th ends, but to no avail.

U15 lead his team against the Germans today. After a blanked first end, Germany used the hammer advantage it carried over to score two in the second, and never looked back, ultimately felling the Finns 7-4.

Thus the standings. It's easier to sort the teams by record, since there are three at 3-0 and nine at 1-2.

3-0: US, Scotland, Switzerland
1-2: Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Norway, Sweden

Right now that puts the leaders at a very solid two games ahead of the pack, and seems to set up a certain demarkation in the field. Look ahead to tomorrow when two of the three undefeateds will play, and the Norway team gets a chance to be a giant killer, going up against both the US and Scotland. But I should save all of that for my Day Three preview.

WMC: Day Two Preview

There's going to be three draws today, but not exactly a full three draws, as the first draw is just two games instead of four. This is all to make sure that everyone's got three games played by the end of today, then the rest of the round robin, everyone's going to be playing twice a day. Course that first draw does include two of the teams I'm tracking. And, since I slept in, they're both already in the eigth ends.

Anyway, run down of the games the four teams are playing:

Canada: Australia, Bye, SCOTLAND
Finland: Bye, Germany, Bye
Scotland: Sweden, Bye, CANADA
USA: Bye, Japan, Denmark

Big game of the day has to be that Scotland/Canada matchup.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

WMC: Day One Recap

Two draws are in the books, and with them 8 games played. Canada, Scotland, and the United States all made it through their first games unscathed, but each played a rather surprising result. Canada was held to just five points by the Swedish team (though they only managed 2 during the match, probably the lowest score I've seen in a curling match at this level). Scotland just barely survived a scare by Australia, who forced an eleventh end by scoring 3 in the tenth. The United States didn't take a lead against the Irish team until a three point ninth end, but they too were forced to an eleventh end.

Each was a win, but each was a win in a manner that makes me think this is going to be a hell of a deep field during the tournament.'ll notice I'm tracking four teams, but only mentioned three walking away without a loss today. Finland wasn't quite so lucky. In the first draw today, Team U15 got dropped, and hard, by the Swiss team. Final score was 10-3, conceded after just 8 ends. The Finish team surrendered three point ends in the fifth, sixth, and what turned out to be the final and eighth end. Rather inauspicious start for the silver medalists. They made a comeback in the night draw, breaking a 7-7 tie with the Norwegian team in the last end.

In other action, the Swiss team that beat U15 also notched a win against the German team, putting them a half game up on the rest of the field in early action. Sitting at the bottom of the heap right now is the self same German team, sitting at 0-2 with a loss to the team from Norway also. That puts Norway at 1-1.

Current Standings
Switzerland 2-0
Canada 1-0
Japan 1-0
Scotland 1-0
USA 1-0
Finland 1-1
Norway 1-1
Australia 0-1
Denmark 0-1
Ireland 0-1
Sweden 0-1
Germany 0-2

Orioles-9, Nationals-6 (exb)

Nope, this blog hasn't gone to 100% curling quite yet. Mostly because that leaves me very little to talk about in about a week when all the major curling will be done for the season, and it'll be a long summer until the first major bonspiels start up again in the fall. So, for the baseball season, among other things, I'll be providing my thoughts of games that I attend, mostly Nationals. It's the one thing that I can really talk about in any real way.

I'm not entirely sure what to say about yesterday's game. The defense hurt to watch at several points. I'm not sure what it takes to be scored with an error by the official RFK spotter, but I counted at least four, three just by Ryan Zimmerman, but the official scorecard from the game lists only two. Both by Zimmerman. The best I can guess is that he's just got some yips fielding, since he showed some great fielding chops in the games I saw him play last season. He actually misplayed four straight balls, but the third of the four he was able to recover enough to record the one out needed (though if there had only been one away, the bobble would have turned a double play ball into just one out).

I still miss Church, but dadgum did Watson look good last night. Two great plays in the outfield, including one highlight reel quality diving catch that robbed the Orioles of what would have probably been a double. Combine that with two runs and two hits, and he was the best National last night on both sides of the ball. Someone get this kid a real uniform number, and not just 00.

We put a bunch of hits on the board. Kenny Kelly put a ball over that 410 in center field. Our offense looked like it was clicking on most cylinders, I would just have liked to see fewer defensive miscues.

On the Soriano watch, I never realized how few balls get hit into left field until I was watching him to see if he showed and aptitude or hustle. There were no plays that could have gone differently with more or less hustle in left field, so it was sort of a bye night for him. There was one play that the left fielder didn't really hustle all he could, and let the ball drop just in front of him, but was later informed that I had missed a substitution, and it was Kelly, not Soriano.

It could be a long season if our defense doesn't get better. It could be a decent season if we cut back on the fielding mistakes and can swing the bats like we did last night. Be interesting to see where it goes.

WMC: Day One Preview

It's a short day of curling on the Lowell ice, with only two draws scheduled, and opening ceremonies in place of what would normally be the second draw of the day. The four teams I'm following have the follow matchups in the draws:

Canada: Sweden, Bye
Finland: Switzerland, Norway
Scotland: Australia, Bye
USA: Bye, Ireland

If anyone wants to watch the scores live online, you can find them at the official tournament site here. Each day of the bonspiel I'll plan to give a preview of what matches each of the four Tornio semifinalists have that day, then a recap of the days action, both in those matches and in any other important match.

There are six matches I'm really looking forward to, which would be when the four teams I'm following will be playing each other. For anyone else looking ahead, this is what draws those matchups will happen during. In each case, the second country listed has last stone first end advantage.

Draw 5 (7pm April 2): Canada v Scotland
Draw 8 (7pm April 3): USA v Scotland (Dubbed Scottish Tartan Night)
Draw 14 (7pm April 5): Scotland v Finland
Draw 15 (9am April 6): USA v Finland
Draw 16 (2pm April 6): Finland v Canada
Fraw 17 (7pm April 6): Canada v USA (Dubbed the Battle of North America)

Page playoffs will happen April 7, if needed. Semifinal on the 8th, final on the 9th. It's going to be the same page playoff setup as before. 1v2, 3v4 during the page. Semi is the loser of 1/2 and the winner of 3/4. Final is the winner of that game and the winner of 1/2.