30 September 2007


It was all over with Honey and Matt Cadd. He'd called it quits. He poured himself whiskey from the fifth in his desk drawer. Maybe she'll come back to work for me now, he thought. He smiled, picturing her porn star looks.

"Bottoms up," he said, and drank it down.

Two-fifty: 11oo10

26 September 2007

Bookseller for the rest of us

After being educated in Berkeley, a town that knows bookstores, no place else compares. Powell's helps with the book jones, but even they don't always have the good stuff. You have to haunt places like Mark V. Ziesing, Bookseller, who operates out of the Shasta County burg of Shingletown. Drop in and buy some books. I've gotten most of my John Shirley here. Isn't that enough to get YOU to shop there? It should be. Support your local, rebellious, independent, free-thinking neighbors, dammit!

25 September 2007

Ch-ch-ch-changes . . .

Exciting news here at TPP: a new blog. As if I haven't enough to do, I am creating a new blog. Blogger unfortunately makes this too easy, and I think this will help me focus my writing tasks. You already know about French Street Brewery, which is a specialized, narrow-focus sort of thing. Now I am adding Raising Matt Cain, which will obviously be a Giants blog. TPP will return to its original purpose, a writer's blog. I think the channeling of my efforts in to these categories will help me stay on task. Either that or I just like fiddling with Blogger. This site will get "cleaned up" over the next few weeks, more streamlined, less cluttered. Look for the first RMC posting tonight, when Matt gets his final start of the year.

23 September 2007


He lived on the streets: eating from dumpsters, sleeping in boxes.

Matt Cadd felt autumn's chill in his bones. "My place is warm," Matt told him. "There's food. A shower. Change of clothes."

"No dice," he said. "No debts, my old friend, right?" The night closed in. He was gone.

Brother, can you spare a fifty?

22 September 2007

Bye-Bye Barry

After 15 years, the Giants are cutting ties with Barry Lamar Bonds, the Greatest Player of All Time. Barry is 4 years younger than me-- I watched his Dad play when I was a boy. I have followed his entire career. I remember when he was signed out of high school and went to ASU instead of into the Giants farm system. I remember, as Peter Magowan recalled, the first homerun he hit at Candlestick, in his first home game as a Giant. I will never forget his exceptional play in the 2002 post-season, powering the Giants to the brink of a championship. Bonds was the distilled essence of pure baseball drama: his every plate appearance was filled with tension and mounting excitement. When Barry hit, you stopped and watched, or listened. No one ever captivated a baseball audience like Bonds. His magnificent technique, coupled with his devotion to the craft of hitting, made him The One to Watch. Opposing managers--all of them, from Bobby Cox and Tony LaRussa to Bob Melvin and Mike Sciosia--went to ridiculous lengths to neutralize his impact on the game. Opposing fans booed him, then booed their managers for walking him. No ballplayer has ever been so scrutinized in the history of the game, yet continued to perform at such a high level. Much has been made of his alleged use of PEDs, all of it virtually irrelevant gossip-column stuff. Bonds is a modern athlete, in a modern multi-billion dollar entertainment business, whatever he did or did not do to stay healthy and productive is his business. The talk of asterisks and "tainted" records is a lot of silly moralistic posturing by pundits unable to deal with Bonds' hauteur. Bonds, in short, is a snob. He disdains those in the media because they aren't ballplayers. He has more respect for a 21-year old rookie clinging to life in the Bigs than a 30-year veteran of Sports Illustrated. Y'know something? Deal with it. Just like PEDs. Fer chrissakes, get over it. An arrogant jock is tolerable to most fans and sports-writers, if he delivers the goods. Even an arrogant African-American jock. But a snob is not, especially a black snob, who rubs his "I'm Barry, I'm Black, and I'm Beautiful, and You're Not" in your face. You know something? Suck it up. Barry got the Big Bucks to hit the Big Bombs and he did it. And you loved it, even if you hated him. The gorgeous ballpark in San Francisco was built to showcase Bonds, but no one asked him to help design it. Turns out, after transforming himself physically and getting even better at the art of hitting in his athletic "old age," he is the only one in all of baseball who can do it. No one hits them out into the water but Barry. No one. Bonds' on-line journal on his website, is routinely mocked by the scribes (see Fred Claire's snide piece on MLB.com "Giants right to let Bonds go" as a perfect example), contains one of the classiest farewells I've ever seen by an athlete. Does it bother anyone else that ballparks are filled with white people and staffed by black people? ("Race isn't an issue" is all I hear these days.) In Barry's words:

It is also important to thank all the men and women behind the scenes at the stadium who come to work every day and make it possible for us all to enjoy a day at the ballpark.

Thanks, Barry. Does anyone else thank the ticket-takers, custodians, and beer vendors? After all this time, why do Bonds' teammates, past and present, consistently describe him in glowing terms? Where are the diatribes against him for selfishness and conceit? Turns out that Bonds loves baseball. Loves the game. Loves to play. Watch Bonds with the umpires, look for his comments over the years about them. He treats them as fellow professionals, and respects their work and judgments. Sort of amazing when you consider that every play in baseball is a judgment call. Barry has mastered that art, that subtle balance and sophisticated psychology of influencing the strike zone in the minds of the umpire and pitcher. How can you be a fan of the game and not be awe-struck by his poise in those classic matchups with all the great aces? Even his so-called "failure," his lack of a World Series ring, is another case of ignorance run amuck. Besides the obvious--it is a TEAM game, hello--the scorn heaped on 2nd-place finshers in this country is bizarre, and unwarranted. No one remembers who lost the Super Bowl or World Series, no one honors the Silver Medalist or vanquished contender. It doesn't matter that it took spectacular athletic skill and determination to achieve at that level. Only the Gold matters, and failure is not a lesson. Bill Buckner, goat of the 1986 Series, remembered thinking "oh, crap, we lost the game" when he made his infamous error. And just as quickly thinking, "oh boy, we get to play tomorrow." He thought, the poor sap, that picking up the pieces from a collapse and going out the next time just as determined to win, and just as full of confidence, was what competing was all about. He found out it wasn't. Bill won't be in the Hall with Barry, but he shares Bonds' understanding of the game. It is about the struggle to excel, it is about the climb to the mountaintop, whether you get there or not. Pedro Martinez says the secret to his sucess is that he is "not afraid to fail." Bravo. Barry gave us his all, his best. Giants fans know this, even the ones who have Bonds Fatigue. This fan will lament losing Barry. But I knew it would come some time soon, and so I am not shocked. Just numb. As far as the future of the ballclub goes, it isn't pretty in the short term. Bonds is BY FAR the best position player on the squad, and he won't be replaced by anyone remotely close to his ability. That brilliant fellow GRANT at McCovey Chronicles is far more eloquent than me about the Good Ship SF Giants. Read his post "Pollyanna" (9/22) for a look at the next few years. And say a fond good-bye to Barry.

21 September 2007

Raising Cain (redux)

"You have to keep competing, try to stay in as long as possible and scrap," Cain said, maintaining his composure despite having received two runs or less in 21 of his 31 starts this season.

Matt Cain is 7-16 despite being 13th in the NL with a 3.68 ERA, 11th in the NL with a 1.27 WHIP, and 11th (among starters) with .237 BAA. Matt is a good pitcher, and might just be a very good, even great, pitcher as he matures. Sixteen losses is an abomination, and reflects entirely the crappy team around him. In 2/3 of his starts the team manages to score 2 or fewer runs. That is pathetic. Cain's line (6 7 2 2 2 4) was credible, not dominant, he threw a lot of pitches (113) and put guys on. But he was tough and kept us in the game. Except we are almost never IN the game this year, the .438 win percentage is testament to that. I feel for the youngster, but he is saying all the right things, and playing hard every time out there. Only 9 more games left in this dismal season--probably only one more start for our hero. Go, Matt!

19 September 2007


Yes, I 've succumbed to the ease and simplicity of Blogger . . . and created a new blog! Check out French Street Brewery to read about M.C. doing his homebrew thang. I think this new blog will ultimately require lots of photos, after all, brewers want to see other brewers' stuff. And I think I've got a nice little set-up, too. So . . . anyone got an old digi-cam collecting dust (after your upgrade) that you can let me have cheap? Free? In exchange for brews?

January 2008 will be the 20th anniversary of my 1st batch o'homebrew. So, my foray into the blog-o-sphere is good timing, eh what?


16 September 2007


Matt Cadd had a rough weekend on an out of town job: jumped in an alley and harassed by the local gendarmes. His thirst was as intolerable as his aches and pains.

The local brewhouse served Happy Hour: here he found his cure.

"Let's have another," he told the barkeep.

. . . I figure the odds are fifty-fifty . . . (FZ)

15 September 2007

All for naught

Bruce Bochy had a grand time over-managing the top of the 7th inning in San Diego tonight. Trailing 1-0 after 6 innings, he yanked Matt Cain for a pinch-hitter with the bases loaded and one out. Cain had faced only 19 batters, yielding one hit (and no walks) and recording 6 K's in 77 pitches. Unfortunately, the one hit was a triple, and Barry was hurt on the play. A long drive by Adrian Gonzalez appeared to be stopped short of a HR by a leaping Bonds, but it also seemed his chance at catching it was disrupted by a fan. Regardless, the result was a hobbled BLB, landing awkwardly, and eventually a run. But the silliness of taking out Cain was underscored by our wretched pinch-hitting and relief pitching. Klesko PH for Cain, and was replaced by Rodriguez in a bit of lefty-righty nonsense, and Guillermo promptly hit the DP ball the Pads needed. Our bullpen, specifically Randy Messenger, coughed blood and now M.C. is on the hook for a loss. The only chance we had to beat SD tonight was Cain. Once he was gone, so were we. Loss number 15 is the only thing Matt will get out of tonight's superb--albeit abbreviated--effort.

13 September 2007

Spiritus Frumenti

SALVETE, my friends and fellow imbibers! We continue to be astonished here at Roma Aeterna by the resourcefulness of those barbarians across the Mare Atlanticum. As much as it pains me to reveal my ignorance, it seems this aqua vitae I'm addicted to is only the last in a long series of steps that begin with the fermentation of grains. These fellows make a "beer" first (which we would call cervisia) from a grain porridge, much like the gruel the servants eat. A Roman, of course, would not eat such swill, but the unfortunate brutes are lucky to get fed at all (my horses eat better than most of them). I suppose they lack grapes or something, and have to make their intoxicating drinks from what is at hand. Nevertheless, these fellows make this beer, and distill it to make their "whiskey." But that is not all--some stop at the beer. Indeed! They have no intention of obtaining the spirit, they are happy with the fermented mush. Sounds terribly unappetizing, but they cleverly age and clarify the liquor from these cereals (O Goddess Ceres, forgive them!) and make a palatable drink. Here at Roma Aeterna, the servants saved themselves a flogging by bringing me one of the finest of these drinks, a brew called CERVISIA ANCORA VAPOR (Anchor Steam Beer). Earthy and citrusy, with bready undertones, this sparkling grain-wine is a revelation! I must have more like it. (The servants have been instructed thusly.) Apparently these barbarians live a place first settled by Provincials from Hispania, called in their tongue San Francisco of California. Word is they live by an ocean even larger than the Mare Atlanticum! Hah! Ignorant, superstitious louts! Well, we won't get in to that. The "beer" is far too lovely. Propino tibi salutem!

Beware the Ides, my friends, beware the ides.

Id. Sept.
a.u.c. MMDCCLX

Ex scrinio Marcus Hibernicus Crapularius, scriptor de aqua vitae
et cervisia.

10 September 2007

Raising Cain

Matt Cain rebounded from his worst start of the year to pitch a beauty against the LA Smoggers. The line was 7 6 2 2 1 4, but the effort got M.C. a big ND. The Chavez Latriners got two 400-foot bombs from Jeff "Dirtbag" Kent, who continues to torment the Giants. He hit one off a 95-mph fastball and another off an 87-mph breaking ball. Both pitches were over the fat of the plate, and you just can't leave it out there for a hitter as good as Kent. But they were SOLO bombs, and our boys managed a scrappy comeback to take Matt off the hook. He left down 2-1, but an 8th-inning PH 3-run 'tater by Ray "Where Have You Been" Durham provided the winning margin. What I liked about this start by Cain was the 1--that's right, 1--walk. M.C. has had his control problems this year, and to see him throw 7 with only one freebie is a great. The strikeouts are a terrific weapon, and you know he can crank it up and blow guys away when the situation demands it. But a more important number is TBF--total batters faced. Yesterday it was 28, or four per inning pitched (6 hits and 1 walk plus 21 outs). At 109 pitches, that is a hair under 4 pitches per batter. Over time I expect to see his efficiency improve, and he'll get into the 9th inning with 100-110 pitches. For now, I'm happy this almost 23-year old is in Orange and Black.

09 September 2007


Matt Cadd was paid good money to find Raven, the famed belly dancer. Mr. Cairo wanted her back.

She was in a long line of athletic blondes treadmilling in an uptown spa.

"I followed your trail of glitter and bindis, doll," he said.

"You can tell him 'no'," she said.

Fifty ways to leave your lover, baby, and fifty words for our super-sleuth.

04 September 2007

Matt Cain's Blues

My boy M.C. (Matthew Thomas Cain--talk about Biblical) turns 23 on October 1st. He's had a rough year, going 7-14 so far. Yesterday he struck out 5 of the first 8 guys he faced then couldn't get an out, yielding 6 runs to the Rockies. After going 4-1 in August, he started September with his shortest stint of the season. He has pitched brilliantly and had nothing to show for it: 5 starts in June, 3.27 ERA, 33 IP and 22 K, 0-4 record. He's pitched poorly and gotten dinged for it: 5 starts in July, 6.58 ERA, 1-3 record. Before yesterday he'd gone 7 starts in a row of at least 6 IP and no more than 3 ER, with 40 K and an ERA around 2.25. So we have seen the real M.C. recently and we like it. The Giants are a lousy team, and young pitchers are going to take their lumps with our weak-hitting lineup and shoddy fielders. But the future is bright--our two young hurlers (M.C. and Tim Lincecum) are both 1984 babies. They could be wearing orange and black for a long time. Cain is listed as 6' 3" and 235 lbs. on the roster. He's big and strong and looks like Tom Seaver when he throws. When his curve and changeup are working he is very hard to hit because he throws 95 mph all day long. Hang in there, my boy, you are going to win a lot more often than you lose. We just need to get a team around you.

03 September 2007


Matt Cadd found the heisted handbags and earned himself a hefty bundle from the insurance company. But he didn't make any friends along the docks--the stolen Guccis would have filled a few pockets. So he stood rounds at The Anchor, spreading the wealth.

"Just call me moneybags," he quipped.

Fifty quid for yer pocket, mate, and fifty words for yer story.