Time to shamelessly self-promote!
If you remember a couple years ago (you don't, but whatever), I put up a piece in this space about the impending publication of my zombie novel. I should once again apologize to the commenter who was like "Hey, lifelong dream guy, I don't like zombies so you're a jerk," in case he or she is still lurking around, but otherwise I'm rehashing.
That original deal fell through, the end result of an overambitious and underscrupulous publishing house that operating on questionable promises (if you're curious, I recap that disappointment in my little-used personal blog), which is why things have taken a good bit longer than I originally announced. But here we are, with a new, more trustworthy publisher, a release date and bona fide promotional materials.
The year is 2030, and we are 20 years removed from the zombie invasion of 2010. Colleges are reopening, after we spent the time after 2010 putting the world back together and basically hiding out for fear of the zombies returning. Celia Ehrens, one of the first students at these colleges, has arrived for school along with her father Andy. And of course this is when the zombies return. The end result is a big group of people stranded hours from their homes. The adults have zombie-survival experience, while the children are basically seeing the realization of their childhood scary stories -- imagine if the boogeyman or the monster in your closet turned out to be real.
The novel hits on preparedness, religion, love, technology, regret and, of course, zombies. We have a world of unsocialized young adults dealing with their own feelings and emotions with one another at the same time they are fighting for their mere survival.
I think it's good. Obviously, I'm biased. Friends and peers who have read it think it's good as well. There's no link for purchasing the novel yet, but rest assured, when there is one, I won't be shy about letting you know. In the meantime, I hope my writing here has been good/entertaining enough to make buying the novel a worthwhile venture.
On with The Kelley Blowout:
A not-so-rocky start
As I noted on Twitter on Sunday, the last five full seasons, 2011-2015, the Colorado Rockies have been an absolute beast in April. They've played .573 ball in the opening month in that time, and their worst April record was still at .500. In the other five months of the season, though, they've been a super-garbage team, playing .399 ball in those five years.
In short, the April Rockies are a 93-win team, while the not-April Rockies would be good for more like 65 wins. And this year, it's similar if not identical; the Rockies are 9-10, and are only that bad because of a recent 1-5 stretch. They were 8-5 a week ago.
Trevor Story has been the obvious, ahem, story of the team so far, even if he's hit like Trevor please-don't-read-this-Story since the middle of the month (.200/.263/.371 since April 13 coming into Monday). Nolan Arenado, Carlos Gonzalez, DJ LeMahieu and Mark Reynolds are all hitting well enough as well. On the pitching side, Chad Bettis and Tyler Chatwood have been serviceable (at least in reality if not necessarily fantasy) and Jake McGee has been a stud (you know, through five innings).
But if a team is going to get worse as the season wears on (and, while different players do different things and we don't know the Rockies will struggle the rest of the way ... we kind of know they will, right?), shouldn't we be ready to punt on the players that make up that team?
In April of last year, LeMahieu hit .406/.446/.522. The rest of the season, he hit .287/.346/.370 -- basically an empty batting average. In his career, entirely within the five years of AprilRockies, Charlie Blackmon has hit .316/.368/.519 in April, .283/.327/.423 the rest of the way. Corey Dickerson's gone now, but his career features an April slash line of .306/347/.600, .294/.340/.523 after.
It works on the other side too. Remember Rex Brothers? He was a Rockie from 2011-2015, not before and isn't now. His April ERA is 2.65; his not-April ERA is 3.55. Jhoulys Chacin, 3.17 April, 3.84 the rest of the way (also, a healthy Chacin is crazy underrated and I think the Braves will enjoy that). In his one full year as the Rockies' closer, LaTroy Hawkins had a 2.38 April ERA that rose to 3.56 the rest of the way.
Look, studs are studs. Arenado and Gonzalez, health and not-getting-traded-somewhere permitting, are going to be worth fantasy attention all year long, and enjoy that. But Story? LeMahieu? Reynolds? If there's anyone who thinks they will be strong contributors all season long, history says the end of April is a heck of a time to be selling Rockies.
To hell with stigma
Lindsey Adler of BuzzFeed had a post up on Sunday about her five-year battle with/recovery from anorexia. It's a good, powerful read about what went into her fight and how she came out of it, and it's one we don't see a lot of.
Keith Law has written about his battles with anxiety. Bill Barnwell had a post last year about his weight loss and his issues with food and, related, depression. In recent years, we as a society have gotten better about opening up about things that once carried significant social stigma, people avoiding you like you're broken and maybe contagious because of something or other, much the same as many people take a wide berth around someone with a severe burn. You ain't catching that, either.
I think we've come a long way, but we can still make strides. I thought of this this weekend when we as a family met my niece's boyfriend. (Okay, okay, niece, "a boy who is a friend, not a boyfriend.") He was at the house for a few hours, and I heard him ask at least four times "How much did [random item] cost?" Each time, I felt a pang. You aren't supposed to ask that, my insides told me.
But why? Why can't we ask how much things cost, when it's knowledge that would be helpful to the asker? I can understand not walking around telling people what you spend on things -- that's just bragging -- but if I'm curious, I should be able to ask without a sideways look.
I've spent a lot of time applying for jobs in my life, and a common question is salary requests or requirements. It's a nonsensical question in this world, because I have no idea how much my buddy who does this job makes, and I'm not allowed to ask because of some stupid rules. Ask for too much and they decide they can't afford you; ask for too little and you leave money on the table.
Those aren't really that connected. Openness and honesty about mental illnesses (or similar) are a therapeutic device as much as they are helpful; money talk is just for knowledge. But still, we have decided so many things are taboo for no real reason; let's try to change that.
I used to work for newspapers. I was never exactly at the highest level of the industry, working for smaller publications in smaller cities, but the topic of anonymous sources still came up on occasion. There are times when anonymous sources matter, when you have no other choice but to use them when investigating ... whatever.
Anonymous scouts? Anonymous scouts can go to hell. Anonymous scouts tell us about nebulous character flaws, or to take down someone for *reasons*. Anonymous scouts aren't helping anyone uncover some great investigative story. They're feeding the dragon. Stop using them, guys.
These are annoying to I
Like I said, I'm a newspaper vet. And when I see The Guardian's 10 grammar mistakes you might be making, I have flashbacks.
It doesn't have to be nerds vs. jocks
Sam Miller and Ben Lindbergh took control of an independent league team, with mixed-but-mostly-positive results. The story is interesting, and I really like Miller, but ultimately it reads like "We did everything right but we still had to coddle the dumb jocks." I don't really think they got to midseason and the players suddenly revolted because the nerds were having their way. The story is interesting; the first-person narrative is off-putting.
Look, the Nats are good, but I could put a team together with my brothers and some talented elementary schoolers and we could look competitive against Atlanta/Miami/Philadelphia/Minnesota.
Rightness is might...ness
There was a piece on Vox about liberals being overly smug, which is not an unfair claim; there's a certain air of "I'm right and you're dumb for thinking otherwise" to debates. Then again, that's true in everything, hence conservatives calling liberals "libtards," and atheists saying religious people have an "imaginary friend," and gun owners saying peaceniks think the police can do everything, and any number of arguments.
But why is this bad? Why is it considered a crime to assume you're right about a thing? The key to any argument is to come in with the belief that you are right; if you aren't sure, don't even get into an argument to begin with. So if you've given something enough consideration to genuinely argue it, you should do so with the firm belief in your rightness, and as such the onus is on the opposite party to prove you wrong. If you come into a genuine, real argument unsure of your stance, then you've already lost. I don't argue about something if I'm not already sure.
I'm reminded of the exchange in House, when Cuddy said "How is it that you always assume you're right?" and House replied with "I just find it hard to operate on the opposite assumption." Sure, liberals are smug. Conservatives, religious people, atheists, white people and minorities are too. Smugness in itself is perfectly fine. It's when smugness combines with wrongness that we have an issue.
A lookalike is a terrible thing to waste
Okay, so if the woman who apparently looks like Ted Cruz wants to make a porn video for $10,000, I don't have it in me to say she shouldn't. She needs money, this is an offer of money, and hell, shaming people for working in sex isn't really my bag. Make your money, ma'am.
But holy hell, watch the interview with Maury Povich and her in that link. Just ... just watch it. The level of awareness is pretty staggering.
The case for long leashes
I noticed Monday that someone in one of my leagues had dropped Lorenzo Cain. I was late to notice, as Cain sat on the waiver wire for all of 25 minutes before someone else snapped him back up. On the one hand, I get it, as Cain came into Monday with a .212/.307/.303 slash line. On the other hand, though ...
Mookie Betts, first 13 games: .207/.220/.345, 16 K, 1 BB
Mookie Betts, next five games: .423/.464/.846, 2 K, 2 BB
His batting average was .207 a week ago; it was at .274 Monday morning.
Ian Desmond, first 12 games: .109/.180/.109, 14 K, 4 BB
Ian Desmond, next six games: .421/.542/.842, 3 K, 5 BB
His batting average has gone from .109 to .200 in no time.
Khris Davis, first 12 games: .143/.200/.167, 18 K, 2 BB
Khris Davis, next five games, .316/.381/.632, 4 K, 1 BB
I wrote about a willingness to move on from catchers a week ago, and that's all well and good. But non-catchers? There's a reason Betts was a high pick, just like Cain. Desmond, well, at least he's a shortstop. Maybe Cain will go the way of Melvin Upton Jr. and he's not going to be worth his pick. Maybe Desmond's or Davis' last few games are the actual blips. But you don't punt on a guy you this early if you believed in him on draft day. The leagues where I have Betts and Desmond? They've never left my lineup.
Everything is so commercial
Okay, let's run through it:
- Apparently, she can't tell her family she's happy single or whatever. Okay, if pressed, I'll buy that.
- She lives in the area (otherwise her family would clearly have to wonder why her boyfriend lives around there but she doesn't), but has no friends who can pretend to be her boyfriend? Her best bet is a call to a rental car company?
- Listen, I've called Enterprise and had them pick me up before. I had no idea who was coming. As it turned out, it was an attractive young woman, so I suppose I could have pulled off the same bluff she did, but how did she know who was coming? Either she hoped it would be this guy and she got lucky, or she was going to fake it with whoever showed up and was willing to fake lesbianism to get away from her family, or she specifically requested a demographic-suitable pickup, which ... would be creepy as hell.
- Her family, with is unnecessarily invested in her love life and standing around when Rob shows up, just doesn't notice him introducing himself and looking briefly confused? They're just moving right past that?
- She's paying to rent a car for no reason just to avoid saying "I'm happy single, thanks"?
- If what Rob says is true and such things "happen more than you think," why was he so thrown off when she pretended he was her boyfriend?
- Until I was searching for a version of this ad to link here, I hadn't seen the extended version; why isn't she interested in the single rich friend of the marrying couple? Is she actually a lesbian? Which is totally fine, of course, but then doesn't this whole ad have a more sinister feel to it? She can't even tell her family about it?
- She deals with all these annoying questions for the whole family reunion, knowing Rob is coming, without ever saying "I already have a boyfriend, dinguses." If she's going to pull this con, wouldn't it be more efficient to have announced his existence as soon as she got there?
- She doesn't live with any of these family members, or else she'd have to run a much longer con than just a one-time Rob appearance. So how did she get to the reunion in the first place? Did she just abandon one car to rent another?
Tweet of the week
I have short legs and am built like a damn barrel, the list of pants that fit me properly is "sarong"— SPENCER HALL (@edsbs) April 18, 2016
Hey, me too! The struggle is real, y'all.
Let's create a league
Last week was our closest poll so far. By the smallest of margins (20 votes to 19), we've decided to have an auction draft for our 16-team dynasty league. So now we need to figure out how the games are going to go.
So: Are we doing this roto-style or head-to-head? And if head-to-head, what sort?