All-Star Absences Hurt the Game

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MLB’s All-Star Game has long captivated fans by showcasing the best players in an exclusive, one-time event.  By adding “last man votes,” replacements and requiring even the worst teams be represented, the rosters have become too dilute to really represent the sport’s elite players.  I haven’t heard of half of these guys!  Even worse, perennials like Derek Jeter, who should be fighting to extend his All-Star career, will not be appearing.

Derek Jeter is the toast of the town and Major League Baseball again after dramatically achieving his 3,000th hit last Saturday, after many attempts and a rare injury slowed the climb. Despite his lack of performance overall, Jeter was elected to the All-Star Game once again, probably for the last time in his storied career.

That he just achieved a major milestone would cloud his current .270 average.  Maybe he is really injured badly, but he should go to the game just to tip his hat out of respect to the fans for voting him in.  Personally, I have always been a fan of the Mid-Summer Classic. From a statistical point of view, it should represent a higher league than MLB, and its records and history held in high esteem.

Tom Verducci referred to “little league rules” that force managers to play every player, take a guy from every team, etc. It has ruined the game, and the players’ lack of commitment is a reflection of the lack of competition that has defined the game for years.

Watching the game on tv sucks. It takes forever to start (although the lineups is my favorite part), has a zillion commercials, music performances and pitching changes to slow it down to a crawl.

It’s time to put the baseball back into the All-Star Game. One of the key strategic elements of the game is substitution. If you have an endless bench (and how could they all be stars?), this is not baseball. It’s more like an office softball game.

So instead of seeing a replay of Jeter with his own commentary, and a chance for all fans to cheer him and the game, we’ll get a video tape. I just can’t believe Derek Jeter is sitting out his last All-Star Game.  Something is very wrong in the state of Baseball, not to mention Arizona, where this farce will be acted out tonight.

Guitar Google Doodle for Les Paul’s 96th

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Les Paul Google Doodle

Google's version of a Les Paul plays and records

Les Paul, the inventor of the electric guitar, probably never envisioned a computer but would be probably excited about today’s Google Doodle, in honor of his 96th birthday. He not only invented the magnetic pickup system for amplifying guitars, he also helped start multi-track recording by shifting the heads of his tape deck to hit different portions of the tape surface so they could be recorded and then played back individually.

This all happened in his basement in Jackson Heights, Queens in the 1940s, maybe even a bit earlier. Les Paul then became one of the most popular recording artists in the world through his hits with Mary Ford. He was a master guitarist late into life, performing weekly in NY until his death a few years ago.

Similar to the Doodle for Dizzy Gillespie‘s birthday last year, it is not a round number that will be celebrated all over the web. The Google Doodle honors the man while at the same time showing off their (potential) contributions to technology and music. The Google Doodle can be strummed and you can record it too, but I guarantee you will never see Jimmy Page or Neil Young light up a stadium with the Doodle like a Gibson Les Paul.  Not to rule anything out, but you can’t bend the strings!

Related Story:

Google Doodle for Dizzy Gillespie’s 93rd Birthday

RIP Andrew Gold

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Andrew Gold with Linda Ronstadt

"My absolute favorite picture with Linda Ronstadt" from Andrew Gold's MySpace page

Besides a Gallifanikis beard, Andrew Gold had a career that has strong relevance to today’s entertainment world. His early death at 59 has me thinking about the man and his family, and of course, the business. Would a career like Andrew Gold’s be possible now? In fact, he could be a blueprint for today’s 360 business model drawing from performances, royalties, merch, sync rights and record sales to make a living.  Andrew Gold could have won a lot of talent contests with his singing and songwriting.

Among his many successful California rock collaborations, he sang with Linda Ronstadt, and was in the supergroup Bryndle with Kenny Edwards, Wendy Waldman and Karla Bonoff in the 90s (their sound was mixed by the legendary Chris “Hoover” Rankin).  Gold also collaborated with 10cc member Graham Gouldman in the band Wax.  He may be best remembered by the public for “Thank You for Being a Friend,” used as the theme for the tv show “Golden Girls” and his 1977 hit “Lonely Boy.”


Eddie Vedder’s Ukelele Album

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Features a cover of this song, “Tonight You Belong to Me,” made famous by Bernadette Peters (at least in my lifetime) during a scene from The Jerk.

Not for nothing, but if you told me at the height of the grunge era that Eddie Vedder would be riding the ukelele phenomenon twenty years later with a cover of this song, I’d have found it totally believable. Is Eddie Vedder actually talented, or just very good at spotting trends and making music to fit them?

Coincidentally, Steve Martin’s bluegrass career seems very legit to me. Is that because of Dead Men Wear Plaid and other risks he has taken through his career? It couldn’t have been easy getting that arrow through his head.

Watching the 100th Indianapolis 500

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The Indianapolis 500 is one of the premier sporting events in the US and this year marks the 100th anniversary of the great race. The race really comes to life on television too, with countless camera angles, including each driver’s point of view, an aerial camera that is mobile, numerous fixed locations and a helicopter.

Another exciting innovation on this year’s broadcast is the continuous showing of the race, even during commercials. This has probably been on other races, but other sports should give it a try sometime too. The TV timeout has got to go!

The video below shows some of the qualifying times from Friday.