Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Buehrle Sets Record...and I Have the Scorecard!

I often keep score when I go to the ballgame. Not always, but often. I find it to be an elegant and satisfying art. Unfortunately, throughout the years I've discarded all of my scorecards, at one time or another. Some of these losses are very regrettable, and make me wish I were more of a pack rat--notably the scorecard from the game in which Eddie Murray collected his 3000th hit.

Well, I'm going to make it a point to hang on to this one.

Chicago White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle retired the first seventeen Minnesota Twins he faced last night (in a game attended by myself and my girlfriend). Combined with his perfect game against Tampa last week, he set a Major League record for consecutive batters retired, with 45.

Here's the scorecard:

As the article I link to above mentions, the record was broken when Joe Crede grounded out to short in the fifth. Alexi Casilla (of all people) finally broke the streak when he walked in the bottom of the sixth.

Immediately after walking Casilla, the wheels came off for Buehrle in a big way. Any time you give up a two-RBI hit to Nick Punto, you know something's going wrong. But I don't think this diminishes the accomplishment.

Anyway, it's pretty cool to have a scorecard from a game in which a reasonably important Major League Record was broken. If you've never scored a ballgame, I encourage you to learn how.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Missing Twitch

Last year, I became a big fan of the dance competition show So You Think You Can Dance, to which I was introduced by my girlfriend. In a way, I suppose you could think of it as American Idol for dancing, but the analogy requires some qualification. The overall quality of the performances is much superior on SYTYCD--even the poorest performances on any given night are quite good, especially when one considers that the contestants must master radically different styles (from hip-hop to waltz to Broadway) from one week to the next. And, as was pointed out on Television Without Pity, the difference between the judges on Idol and the judges on SYTYCD is that the latter actually seem to know what they're talking about.

This week's episode boasted some of the best performances that I've seen since I've been watching the show; the decision of who to eliminate each week has become very tough and is only going to get tougher. However, despite the quality of the dance my girlfriend and I both agree that something is missing this season, when compared with last season. That something is, in a word, personality. All of the contestants are excellent dancers, but none of them pop off the screen and threaten to become full-fledged stars. I am hard-pressed to identify a dancer that is a favorite of mine this year...I would have trouble identifying any more than a handful of them by name. This is a sharp contrast to last season, when by this time I had not just one but a number of favorites, and I can still name them today, without even having to Google "SYTYCD Season 4"...popper Joshua (who won last year), the brilliant Katie (who should've won), breaker Gev, ballroom dancer Chelsea, and the indefatigably charismatic hip-hopper Twitch.

The closest to a personal favorite of mine this year is Phillip Chbeeb, wildly entertaining within his native hip-hop element and impossible to dislike, but unfortunately beset with difficulty when attempting dance styles outside his own genre...I honestly have to say I think he is probably the least-skilled dancer left in the competition. Hopefully one of the more technically proficient dancers will demonstrate some genuine pizzazz in the next few weeks, and provide a strong rooting interest for me down the stretch.