Wednesday, January 31, 2018

We've All Got Places To Go

While my blogging may be limited at the moment, I thought I could still share a video of my current favorite commercial.

From my experiences driving in Delaware, I'm surprised that Washington isn't crossing in front of a toll booth and being asked to pay a toll!

Sunday, January 28, 2018

My New Look

Due to my recent fall, this is the current state of my wrist/arm:

Looks nice, right? Despite playing sports all the time as a kid, my only injury was a sprained ankle where I was on crutches for a few days. This is the first time I've ever had a cast. So far, I'm not a fan.

Of course, my opinion might change if I get all the cool kids to sign my cast!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Going On The Disabled List

This is my right arm in a splint.

I slipped on my steps, and this is the result. I'm sure you're thinking, with the snow and cold weather, Sean, you need to be more careful walking outside. Of course, this actually happened when I fell on steps inside my home.

Let's set the scene. It was about 6:20 AM on Thursday morning, and I was on our main floor getting The Moose (age 6) breakfast. Meanwhile, Pedro Tulo wasn't making any effort to start the day, so I went upstairs to get him. As I was carrying the three year old down the hardwood steps wearing my old slippers with little tread, I slipped and slid down about four steps. I fell on my wrist and had the additional weight of Pedro Tulo landing on top of it. Pedro Tulo started crying but we quickly determined that he was just shaken up by the fall and was completely fine. Meanwhile, I figured that my pain would wear off in a few minutes and I would be fine. The pain did not wear off, so I went to the ER.

I have no good stories from the ER, only that they did X-rays and found that there was no break. They gave me a splint, the name and number for an orthopedic doctor, and sent me on my way.

Despite taking ibuprofen, I was still in pain throughout Thursday. On Thursday night/Friday morning, I don't think I slept for more than a 30-minute stretch because I just couldn't get comfortable. My right hand was basically useless. Therefore, for my Friday morning doctor's appointment, I decided not to drive and took a Lyft for the first time, and I have to admit that I enjoyed the experience.

The orthopedic doctor did several exercises with my wrist, mostly causing even more pain, but also gave me some type of shot so he could twist my wrist even more. He then gave me an order to get a CT scan/MRI. 

Fast forward to Monday and my wrist felt better. I still couldn't rotate it, but I was (barely) able to tie my shoes. I got the MRI done, and when the doctor's office received the results, they called me to schedule an appointment to come in. My thought was: This can't be good. And it wasn't. In talking with this doctor on Monday and a hand specialist on Tuesday, I learned that I have a complete dislocation of the radial ulnar joint. Basically, it's a broken joint in my wrist. This is going to seriously hurt my chances of becoming a hand model!

The big issue is that I cannot rotate my wrist. Who knew that rotating your wrist is so important? The only way to fix this for adults is surgery, and my right wrist/arm is going to be useless for some time (I'll explain more below). Right now, I can't pick up my 4 month old, Luigi, because I have no strength in my wrist. This has been particularly devastating since we really bonded over the last few weeks as I had been home with him. I can't get him in and out of his crib or his clothing. I'm not sure how to feed and burp him with only one hand either.

Here are other things I can't do:

- Open most food packages, most notably the applesauce packets Pedro Tulo eats every morning.
- Type with my right hand
- Put in my contact lenses

I've shaved twice since the accident and while not awful, the results haven't been great.

The doctor also said that I should get slip on shoes since I won't be able to tie them.

I need to figure out how to do things with only my left hand and quickly. 

I'll get surgery over the next few days and will likely wear a cast for 4-6 weeks. That will be followed by physical therapy. The doctor said it would be 3-6 months to get back to using my wrist normally. That's a long time. I mean, the Pittsburgh Pirates could trade most of their veteran players before my wrist heals completely.

Wish me luck...and for clothes and shoes that are easy get on and off!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Pittsburgh Pirates

After trading Gerrit Cole to the Houston Astros, I decided to ask several friends, who have been Pittsburgh Pirates fans for many years, their thoughts on the trade and the state of the Pirates. In the middle of this conversation, the Pirates traded former National League MVP Andrew McCutchen to the San Francisco Giants.

Nick: I think it will take a few years before we can accurately assess the trade-- that's how long it took for Robbie Grossman to become a semi-useful player. I mean, who would have predicted that Wade Davis would be the most valuable piece in the James Shields-Wil Myers trade? Ultimately, it's a decent haul, even without a headliner. I don't see Musgrove's future as a starter, but both arms are nice bullpen pieces and can be flipped in a year or two to reload further. 7th and 8th inning guys have never been more valuable. Moran could be OK, he has some pop. The Pirates have no pop and no ability to score runs. I love that his most direct comp is... David Freese.

Gobo: I think, without the context of who runs the Pirates (including Nutting and Huntington), the trade makes sense. Cole was never going to sign with the Pirates once he became a free agent, and frankly, he never quite lived up to the hype after Game 2 against the Cardinals in 2013. So I don't have a problem with trading him now. I don't have a problem with the return in theory. I think an important thing about Moran specifically is that he bats lefty, and the Pirates, even in their good years, have had a righty-heavy lineup. Even now, assuming Moran is the starting 3B, there are only 2 lefties plus one switch in the lineup.

The real problem is that nobody in the fan base trusts this management group. They had chances, particularly in 2014 and 2015, to go all-in, and they refused. This trade, even if the correct move, appears as just another emblem of that, and it pisses people off. If Theo Epstein made this trade, people would be singing its praises, or at least evaluating it from a balanced perspective. But with Nutting/Huntington, the default view is that winning a championship isn't goal #1, and this reinforces that view.

Sean: Gobo and Nick - How dare you have reasonable responses that make sense!

And then news started coming out of an Andrew McCutchen trade.

Nick: I’m sure I’ll say something nasty about the Cutch Trade when they announce the return.

Marc: Looks like we won’t have to wait long to find out...

Jamie: Looks like Cutch was traded for a relief pitcher.

Gobo nailed it. Management lost the fan base's trust. And it's well deserved. Until we can go into an offseason confident that they'll add $30 million in free agents and any salary dump will be of the Mark Melancon variety, we shouldn't trust these guys. There's no stud prospects on the horizon and no reason to assume 2018 won't be a flirtation with 500. Cole wasn't the ace we needed, so instead of getting the ace we've needed since Doug Drabek left town, they just dumped $21 million in salary and have zero intention to spend it on anyone who could help. This team doesn't need a Musgrove, Moran or Crick to get them to October. It doesn't need another bullpen arm to reach the playoffs. It's not a few pieces away. The offense has evolved into Josh Bell and 7 guys who hit 10-15 HR and a rotation of #3 and #4 starters. We're looking at a $70+ million payroll I'm 2018, which I believe places us last in the division by a lot. The only upside to all this is at least we're not the Marlins.

Sean: Did the Pirates really just trade Cutch for Burt Reynolds and a guy we can call Crick? Good for Cutch. Sad day for Pirates fans.

Nick: Kyle Crick throws gas and was touted as the next starter in line to ascend after Cain, Lincecum, Mad Bum. The other guy they got was the #4 prospect in a heinous farm season. They got more than they would get from a sandwich pick if they extended a QO. Sadly, this is Cutch’s value right now, he’s not exactly cheap and the Giants took the whole contract.

I only feel bad for Cutch in that there’s a very real chance the Pirates win more games than the Giants this year?

Harrison to the Mets?

Sean: (slightly out of order but in response to Nick) I know Longoria isn't what he was from a few years ago on the Rays, but I'll take the Giants having more wins than the Pirates in 2018.

Jamie: Reynolds is another 4th of on a good team, 15 hr guy. Ugh. Giants aren't even covering all of Cutch, we're eating 2.5 million. Total cost savings between Cole and Cutch is around 19 million with 500,000 in international bonus money. A sad day. Ya, I'd say JHay is out the door next.

Gobo: Yeah, the only thing that matters at this point is that everyone in greater Pittsburgh immediately start calling Kyle Crick "Turtle."

Dan: I'm not a Nutting apologist, exactly,'s my take.

Despite some fan delusions to the contrary, this team was not going to be very good. Better than last year if everything went right, but that's about all you can say. It's time for the next "window," much as people don't like to hear that term. It's just the reality.

The only question was whether they could get more now or at the deadline, and I'm not privy to that sort of info.

On free agency and ownership: If there are Russell Martins to be had, let's get one. Although it's the same problem of the last few years -- they had solid, if unspectacular guys at every position. There was never a blatant upgrade area.

Jamie, If you mean really *big* free agents, I can't fault an owner for not going that route in a horribly broken system. Most big signings you can name were wastes of money overall, and the teams signing them simply don't care. They get a crack or two at a World Series before they flush the remaining $50-$100 down the toilet.

Do I wish we had someone who was willing to flush huge amounts of money down the toilet because he really wants a title? Sure. Mark Cuban would be nice. But I'm not going to sit here and torch Nutting because he's not willing to give up a vast personal fortune so a bunch of yinzers he doesn't know can celebrate a championship they had nothing to do with.

Also, for what it's worth, I assume Crick will be a starter again. Post-hype top prospect + Searage = why not? And I like the look of Reynolds. He's exactly the kind of guy I target in the farm draft.

"Also Also": It's easy to say the Pirates didn't go "all in" in those good years. But neither did many other teams. It's not like that actually *works* most of the time. The math is always overwhelmingly against you. If they go all in, they have, what, maybe an 8% chance at a WS instead of 6%? And a far, far higher probability of making it the only shot they have.

Most teams simply aren't doing that anymore, are they?

Jamie:I don't disagree with you at all about the team's upside. That's the problem. The only free agent I want is a #1 starter. I've always maintained that guys like Cole will never reach their potential until they're a #2 or #3 starter behind a great veteran who knows what they're doing. Is that veteran always "worth" their contract on the back end? Probably not, but it's a cost of doing business and not my problem. Cole was immediately pushed into the #1 role and only thrived when Liriano was briefly pitching like a #1. Had we added a #1 starter to the roster we had, we'd have a $110 million payroll and a good shot at the postseason. Now we have a $70 million dollar payroll and zero shot. Crick as a starter has the upside of 15 good starts before he blows out his arm.

Sorry, just not feeling it now. I liked Cutch. Turtle Crick is a damn good nickname, but I'm just not feeling it for this team. My boys were starting to become big Pirates fans, so it's really a double whammy for me.

Why play the season at all?

It's sports. Going all in is kind of the point.

Dan: Regarding pitchers: it's not a smart -- or winning -- strategy.

And no, it's certainly not our problem. But Nutting's what we're stuck with, and his strategy is reasonably sound based on current statistical and financial realities. No matter how much fans bang their heads against a wall, it's not going to make him spend $100 million on an arm destined for someone's operating table or a 4.00 ERA. I wouldn't do it, either. I'd keep trying until I developed one myself.

Now if you want to torch this organization, you torch them for the unreal Cleveland Browns-like track record of putrid player selection and development for 20+ years. The jury is still out on whether they really know what they're doing now, or if the McCutchen/Cole/Marte era is just the proverbial blind squirrel getting the nut.

Sean: I agree with the idea of starting over. If you're not going to make the playoffs, why not trade your best players instead of simply treading water and being mediocre? The problem, as mentioned before, is the scouting and development. When was the last time the Pirates drafted an elite player? (The answer is Cutch and that was before the NH era.) The Rivero trade was great, but how many other trades have worked out well over the last few years?

I guess we have to hope that some of the players acquired for Cole and Cutch (and maybe Harrison and/or Freese) turn into all-star caliber players and that the Pirates, with likely a top-5 draft pick, get someone on the level of Cutch. That's a long wait though, and again, there's not a great track record from the current front office.

Nick: The Pirates always win when Melancon is in a trade.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

2018 State of the Ramblings (L'Chaim!)

Sean's Ramblings turned 13 on Monday and as customary in Jewish tradition, I'm considering this to be the blog's Bar Mitzvah. Yes, today is the day that this blog became a man! Feel free to send fountain pens as gifts!

Looking back over the past year, 2017 contained the fewest posts I've written since this blog's inception in 2005. 90 posts still seems like a lot of writing, but I used to crank out 250-300 posts per year. I guess it's quality over quantity now. Anyway, the biggest reason for my decreased amount of writing was something that wasn't on my radar when I wrote the 2017 State of the Ramblings: Luigi.

Luigi arrived in early September approximately five weeks early and spent a week in the NICU. I wrote all about my fears and concerns about being a new dad again in October, and three months later, Luigi is by far the easiest of the three boys right now. I'm sure that I'm jinxing this, but he has slept through the night the past five nights. He has a wonderful smile (particularly when getting his diaper changed) and is generally happy unless he's really hungry or really tired. Actually, this describes most people I know.

Besides Luigi, the biggest thing to happen on Sean's Ramblings this year was my two-part (part 1; part 2) interview with Chris Wright, former General Manager of the Pittsburgh Spirit and now former President of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx. He's now the CEO of Minnesota United. Did his interview with me lead to the new job? Can you prove it didn't?

While I keep some things private, I probably share too much information sometimes like when I got a vasectomy and took Pedro Tulo to the ER. I also posted videos of me from high school where I performed in Lil' Abner.

I saw U2,I saw the eclipse (sort of) with my kids, and said goodbye to my car.

I called out Jerry Falwell Jr. and actually used much of the post in a letter to the editor of a local Northern Virginia newspaper. Really I did.

So what will 2018 bring on Sean's Ramblings? I have no idea. I'd like to write more, but three little boys may prevent that. There are many talented people who used to write blogs that don't anymore. Perhaps they might want to write a guest post here. Maybe I'll continue with my campaign to bring back Press Your Luck. Or start a campaign. I'd like to do more interviews. I'd also still like to cover a sporting event or awards show.

Thanks to all of you who have read any or all of my posts over the last 13 years. I truly appreciate the support!

Monday, January 08, 2018

Random Ramblings 2018

Happy New Year! Even though we're now into the second week of 2018, since this is my first post of the year, I find it completely appropriate to include a Happy New Year message. Here are some things that have occurred recently:

* The Moose is 6 years old, and I was really excited to show him Star Wars. Unfortunately, he wasn't really into the movie, and we only made it through about 35 minutes. I probably didn't sell the movie enough to him, but I'm putting some of the blame on TNT. The station had the film available for free via On Demand, which was great, but you're not able to fast-forward during the broadcast. Every 15 minutes or so, TNT interrupted the movie to show commercials of TNT shows. Every single TNT show, with the exception of the NBA on TNT, features characters with guns. While I know there are lightsabers and phasers in Star Wars, the TNT shows/commercials are definitely not geared for 6 year olds.

* Recently, as I was changing the diaper of three month old Luigi, he had a major spit up when I started to pick him up. Based on the position of his face, the spit up started going right towards one of his eyes. My natural reaction was to warn Luigi to close his eyes. Of course, since he is still an infant, he had no concept of what I was frantically screaming about and was completely unfazed by any of this as I had to go into clean up mode.

* I've written about my love of Wegmans many times over the years. For some dumb reason, I decided to go grocery shopping on both Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. Although I had trouble finding parking on both occasions and the store was as crowded as I've seen it, all 23 check out lines were open and moved very quickly.

* Meanwhile, I went to Safeway recently since they had several great deals. On a weekend morning, the store had 1 register open. One!?!!? Unless I'm in a hurry or only have one item, I try to avoid the self-checkout lines. I find that I often have trouble scanning items or am buying items (medicine or alcohol) that require assistance. Plus, I want to go to aisles with cashiers to help preserve these jobs. So at Safeway, with one aisle open, the staff actually told me to go to self-checkout because there was a line. I don't understand how that store operates.

* I've also started to go to Aldi (or Aldi's in my mind) on occasion since they have ridiculous prices on their brand items. Recently, I purchased dishwasher detergent that said "compare to Cascade" on the packaging. It went poorly. All of the glasses, plates, silverware, etc. had a filmy finish. I ran the dishwasher again with the same detergent with the same result. Then, I ran the dishwasher on a rinse cycle. Then, I bought our normal detergent, but the filmy finish remained.

Finally, I got vinegar and that seemed to solve the problem. I compared Aldi's dishwasher detergent to Cascade and learned that there really is no comparison. Oh, I've also discovered that one of the ways that Aldi's has inexpensive products is because they don't seem to use heat in their stores. It was single digit temperatures over the weekend in Northern Virginia, and the store couldn't have been much warmer than that.

* I'll end with this. Pedro Tulo (age 3) has a catchphrase. He says "Everybody knows that" several times per day with no context and with nothing to do with any type of conversation. I have no idea where he got this.