I Blame Manny

For three innings, Kershaw confounded Brewers hitters and breezed through the order without giving up a hit. But his control faltered in the fourth, and the Brewers took advantage.

I blame Manny.

I don’t blame him for popping out to right field in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded. I don’t. It was a stupid moment in its own right, especially in contrast to the way Juan Pierre played his at-bat in the ninth inning. Heck, the way Blake, Kemp, Loney, Hudson, Furcal and Ethier played their at-bats in the ninth inning. All played team baseball. All got the small hit, the sacrifice, the HBP that allowed the Dodgers to score three times in the bottom of the ninth. Manny got up there and starts swinging for the fences. It would have all been well and dandy had he smashed it out of the park, and then I would have felt a little less confident in this post but this was already formulated in the fourth inning.

I blame Manny.

Not for the aforementioned ninth-inning at-bat. I blame him for lackluster defense in left field.

I sat in left field last night for the game and witnessed it firsthand. He lacks hustle. He lacks attention. It was apparent in the fourth inning in a way that still irks me. Clayton Kershaw had pitched a decent three innings to that point, walking 2 batters but allowing no hits.

A ball was hit into the left field area. Let’s just say that Rafael Furcal made it closer to catching that ball that Manny did.

Enter: implosion.

As my brother said at the time, “Manny killed Kershaw’s spirit.” He can be a little melodramatic when it comes to no-hitters, but I think he was dead-on.

He may not have killed Kershaw’s spirit, but I am more than certain that not only would Juan Pierre have gotten a better read on that ball, he would have hustled to try to make the play.

I think it says a lot when the team behind you is…umm…actually behind you.

This is not about steroids. I’m leaving my opinion out of this discussion. I would wholeheartedly cheer for someone who came back from any situation and worked hard, but this is a little ridiculous. I guess Bill Plaschke was right.

When you’re playing next to a guy like Kemp who routinely puts his body on the line to make plays and behind Orlando Hudson who makes the extraordinary look ordinary in a year when he’s coming back from a wrist injury, you really need to step it up.

Step it up. Or sit down. I know people get excited when Manny comes to the plate. And his theatrics are well-documented and applauded, but on a team with a core nucleus under the age of 27, the example needs to be a whole lot better from a “team leader.”

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Salad #2

I scrolled down the list of the New York Times 101 simple salads, past the vegan and vegetarian section I was in yesterday to something with protein. I CIMG5726figured after forcing myself to the gym (yes, forcing) and not having eaten all day, some protein was in order.

This was another very simple salad. I realized that my favorite thing about these recipes is that they aren’t really recipes, per se. They’re just a list of ingredients. So, you’re kind of left to your own devices to make it what you want it to be (sounds exactly like me!).

This one is tuna, apples, red onions, seedless grapes, olive oil, black pepper and cumin.

I used gala apples and green grapes for my version. I like cumin a lot and was pleasantly surprised with the way it tastes on grapes! I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a tuna salad without mayonnaise so it was nice to learn that not only is it possible but you can still get a very good tasting salad out of it!

Salad, The First

The New York Times recently published a list of 101 simple salads for the summer. I flagged it when I first saw it, and have been waiting to try out some of them. Part of me would like to say that I’m going to try to make all 101, but I know that will only breed slightly obsessive behavior about completing them all.

CIMG5705My butcher asked me what I was making for dinner, as he always does. I told him about the list, and said I was going to work my way through parts of it and just needed various ingredients. He asked if I had heard about the new movie, Julie & Julia. I have and actually want to see it. He started laughing and said that I sounded like the movie. I guess I kind of did. He made my day!

So, this is the first one. It sounds like an odd combination of ingredients but it has a light and fresh taste. It mixes sour with sweet perfectly and I actually liked it a whole lot.

Tomato and peach wedges. Red onion slivers. Dressed with olive oil, lime juice and red pepper.

Coming Full Circle

I was thinking about this yesterday. I glanced up from the raking that I was doing to see my youngest brother shoveling out dead grass. Across the yard, the oldest of my brothers was lugging a trash bag to the side of his home.

We grew up being “forced” to do this. We would have epic yard cleaning sessions in the home I grew up in. Everyone had to be out there for tree trimming and hedging and weed pulling. We had a yearly battle with this vine that grew along the back fence of our home. It was years before we were able to full disentangle and remove it.

I wouldn’t say we hated it back then, but we certainly complained. Now, here we all were voluntarily  doing the exact same things, rubbing our hands raw on gardening tools and “accidentally” getting mud all over ourselves.

Somewhere about hour 8 on Saturday, it was just me, my brother and sister-in-law left surveying the damage. My brother and I were raking up dead grass, when all of a sudden he says, “Hey Jannnaaaa!!”

“What’s up?” I am always a little overwhelmed by his limitless energy.

“Just trying to make conversation,” he said. “When you’re doing manual labor, it shouldn’t be quiet. We should be talking about something…”

“Did you know Clayton Kershaw had an 0.71 ERA in July?” I asked….

And from there we went into a good 20 minute discussion on baseball and pitching prospects. Coming to  a complete full circle. Just like it’s always been….

Extreme Home…

In the last two days, I’ve spent about 15 hours in the sun, helping my brother and sister-in-law tear up their front and back yards. I completely appreciate their vision so I was happy to help.

I think we ended the day with all 1500 square feet of the grass in their back yard torn up and put into trash bags. There was dirt everywhere. Every. Where. My feet, which were covered by socks and shoes, were caked in dirt. My face, my arms, my eyelids. It was pretty intense. I’m not going to lie, though. I thoroughly enjoy playing in the dirt.  Plus, I think I probably got one of the best ab workouts of my life. I can tell by how incredibly sore I am. Well, not just there, but my arms, legs, and back as well.

I’m writing this part as the “before” of this before and after story that I said I would send to HGTV when they’re done.

The tilled aftermath....

The tilled aftermath....

Trash bags galore...what used to be grass.

Trash bags galore...what used to be grass.

My favorite part!

My favorite part!

Me & the little one, covered in dirt.

Me & the little one....

My wrist...ick.

My wrist...ick.

Part II of the Extreme Home Makeover coming up…..

From My Dreams

I slept really, really well last night. After 8 hours in the sun, tearing up my brother’s yard, it was bound to happen.

I’m not going to go into any personal thought about what I think this means on my blog, but I just wanted to write the one line that stood out in my mind:

“There’s a difference between people who touch your soul and people who fill a part of it.”