Category Archives: Food

What is Moneyball and what the hell is Brad Pitt doing in a baseball movie?

He could talk baseball all night. And you'd listen, right ladies?

Moneyball opens this week and it could be the greatest date movie of all time.

Why? Not only is the entire movie about the intricacies of building a baseball franchise (just slightly below orchestrating a bank robbery in terms of guys’ fantasies) but the builder of said baseball franchise is none other than Achilles himself, Brad Pitt. So if listening to explanations of advanced baseball statistics bores you, at least the one doing the explaining is someone you’ve been fantasizing about since you were in middle school.

But a two hour movie can be tedious so you might as well possess a rudimentary grasp of Moneyball’s premise. Simply, Michael Lewis wrote a 304-page masterpiece about how the Oakland A’s (under Billy Beane’s guidance) revolutionized baseball thinking by relying on advanced statistics rather than eye-ball tests and gut feelings to construct the most efficiently successful team for the least amount of money. Brad Pitt plays the real-life character of Billy Beane, the man in charge of building a baseball team on a Payless Shoes budget.

Yours truly read all 304 pages in one sitting meaning if you want us guys to join your book clubs, don’t make us read The Great Gatsby. We’ll have all 448 pages of Watch You Bleed: The Saga of Guns N’ Roses read and annotated with a literary critique by noon tomorrow if you put it on your book club’s list. But I digress…

Example of Moneyball ? For example, you may feel Channing Tatum is hotter than Justin Timberlake but your friend thinks JT is way cuter. Using the principles of Moneyball you would construct some formula that would take into account Tatum’s abs, tan, and muscles to derive a number that trumps Timberlake. Your friend may come up with a formula that uses JT’s voice, personality, and body of work that defeats your boy Channing. But your mutual braniac third friend combines both formulas and concludes that Justin Timberlake is indeed hotter than Channing Tatum.

Quick, clean, and no more debate. Moneyball helps baseball managers rate players more accurately than ever before and aids journalists in predicting what may happen. These statistics have relatively accurate predicting power so one can reasonably understand how a baseball player and team will perform next year. Imagine being able to reasonably predict how Justin Bieber’s next year will go compared to Bruno Mars based on statistics?

Lastly, these statistics help baseball fans compare players from many years ago to the players of today. You keep hearing how good-looking Paul Newman was, but all you really know about Paul Newman is that he’s the guy on the salad dressing bottles. But with Moneyball statistics, you could derive a formula that rates Newman in his prime better looking than today’s Matt McConaughey taking into account the fact that Newman probably thought buttered steak and beer were healthy and McConaughey has been on an insane workout program and hasn’t had a carb since Contact.

Regardless of how you feel about baseball (ok, I know you think it is boring) you should be a good sport and invite your guy to see Moneyball. Worst case you can stare at Brad Pitt and munch on Mike & Ike’s and if it really isn’t what you like, tell him to get you some popcorn because after all, no guy has ever refused a concessions request at a movie theater. Enjoy the movie and enjoy the treats!

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Filed under Baseball, Brad Pitt, Dating, Food, Good Movies, Moneyball, Numbers

Double plays and multitasking

You completely space out on a friend’s birthday that’s starting in about an hour. The friend is too close to only give a card and you have just enough time to stop at one location for the gift because you conveniently remembered her birthday one hour prior to her party.

You’re not giving a gift certificate because you’re way better than that.

What to do?

You’re a multitasking maven so you’re going to kill two birds with one stone and you’re going to one-up every gift at the party because that’s just what you do.

You need to be athletic to turn a double play not unlike having to sprint through the mall to buy a gift, cake, and a card in high heels...

You’re going to turn a double play. Normally in baseball, the defense gets one out a time. But with a typical double play, the defense fields the ball, forces the runner out at second and the hitter out at first all on one pitch!

The double play is an exciting event that gets the pitcher out of a jam just like the one you’re in right now with your friend. It’s known as the ‘pitcher’s best friend.’

Two outs with one pitch; two birds dead with one stone. But what about your predicament with your friend’s party? How do you get out of that jam?

Easy. Go to your ‘good’ mall; you know, the one that doesn’t have a little kids’ train circling the area. Head to Nordstrom. Pick out your friend’s gift (I can’t help

Who knew Nordstrom had the best chocolate cake? You do now...

you here because I don’t know her, obviously). Stay in Nordstrom and go to the cafe and ask for a slice of chocolate cake to go (your friend might already have cake, but the chocolate cake at Nordstrom is the best ever so you’re going to be the hit of the party). As you’re walking out of the mall, stop by Border’s or Barnes & Noble to get a birthday card and to validate your parking ticket (more free terrific advice).

Do that, and you’ll be early for the party with your gift, the best cake ever, and a birthday card. That’s more than a double play. You just turned a triple play; three birds with one stone.

You’re welcome, bird-killer…

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Baseball’s pitching staff: Gourmet fine-dining

When going to the type of restaurant that asks if you made a reservation even though the establishment is empty (you know, places that serve a side dish of snobbery with your meal), one can expect multiple courses of appetizers, main dishes, and desserts.

This is how a pitching staff operates in baseball. All those pitchers milling about aren’t there for the conversation (although pitchers do a lot of talking when not pitching). Rather, much like golf clubs (remember that post?), each pitcher has a specific role to help the team.

Each team has five starting pitchers. These pitchers begin each game in turn but

Matt Cain; a starting pitcher

they are so much more than an appetizer of calamari. Starting pitchers are expected to throw about seven innings in a nine inning game so they are more like the appetizer, salad, and main course. Starters are the most important pitchers on the staff because they throw the most innings.

A bad main course will ruin the meal but the evening isn’t just your order of  rib-eye. To support your steak, an order of mushrooms or asparagus will complement it perfectly. However, side dishes can

Santiago Casilla; the middle reliever

detract from the experience too (especially when served a la carte; nothing hurts more than spending $9 on so-so green beans).

The side dish is like the middle reliever. They throw maybe one inning per game, but it usually occurs when the starter needs help much like how a slightly bland chicken can be rescued by otherworldly mashed potatoes and gravy.

Sergio Romo; the set-up man

With all this great food, one must drink something special too. A superior steak needs a stellar red wine while a fantastic fish needs a wonderful white. No screw-top grocery market special will do for a meal like this. You spend a little extra because this evening is special so you avoid wines capable of cleaning paint off of paintbrushes. This is the set-up man.

The set-up man usually pitches the 8th inning in tight ballgames. This pitcher is a bit better than the middle relievers and his main job is to preserve the lead for the 9th inning. Then it’s time for the dessert; better known as the closer.

Even though the majority of the check is spent on the appetizers, main courses, side dishes, and wine, the dessert can leave a lasting impression throughout the car ride home. Some restaurants have a special dessert totally unique to them designed to keep you coming back for more. It’s the last thing you’ll remember from the restaurant just like a closer who saves the game or blows the lead.

The closer’s job is to record the final three outs with a lead of three runs or less.

Brian Wilson; the closer

This is called a save and while it’s only three outs out of 27 total outs in a game, the final three outs have a way of being the most difficult to get. That is why the closer often times has the best stuff on the staff. Much like how a death-by-chocolate-caramel-medley has more taste and deliciousness than your main course of steak.

Steak is steak; there’s only so many ways to prepare it. But dessert? There’s all kinds of personality in desserts. In the same way, closers usually have crazy hair, long beards, and lots of tattoos and can be a little off mentally. That’s like putting sparklers in your chocolate brownie.

For the meal to be perfect, however, each part needs to special. Any course found to be lacking can negatively cloud the experience. Same with the pitching staff. The starter, middle relief, set-up man, and closer all need to pitch well for the baseball team to win.

Anything less, and you might as well be eating at Arby’s…

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Filed under Baseball, Food