Here are a few things I’ve been thinking about this week:
- I had planned to explore this in depth, but I got way too far off-topic with what I was writing to even think about posting it. Here’s the condensed version: This week in the Wednesday night Bible class I’m teaching (3rd-5th grade), I had the opportunity to answer a difficult question about a doctrinal issue that makes the Churches of Christ unique. I knew my answer beforehand, and it’s not what a majority of the church or its elders believe. So, I was placed in the position of having to choose between advancing what I believe to be the truth and placating the elders and the kids’ parents by giving a politically correct answer. I think I emerged unscathed, but I didn’t really tell the kids what I believe. I mostly just read a few Bible passages and left it up to them to decide what they believed. Ultimately, I was satisfied with the way I handled it, but since I deal mostly with adults, I’m not used to thinking about how to wield my influence (deserved or not) over kids.
- I’m satisfied with last night’s episode of The Office for the first time in a while. I’m afraid the show’s peak has passed, but last night’s “Chair Model” (SPOILERS) had a solid balance of funny lines (“I don’t want to be the one that got away”), awkward moments (Michael’s “date” and trip to the graveyard), and effective plot-moving personal scenes (Pam’s sympathy for Michael, Kevin’s relationship struggles, and Jim’s engagement ring talking head scene). B.J. Novak wrote the episode, so he’s probably an even better writer than he is acting the part of Ryan.
- I didn’t watch Wednesday night’s Democratic debate, but I got the impression from reading snippets of the transcript that ABC has very little interest in helping Americans figure out which candidate is the best for our country. The only remaining candidate whom I care to support (Obama) was subjected to some ridiculous questions that have very little bearing on his ability to handle the office of President. ABC chose to increase ratings and focus on the easy talking points (Rev. Wright, Obama’s careless “bitter” remark) while avoiding the issues that ultimately matter. I thought it was a strong opportunity for people-powered independent media to step up and distance themselves from the major networks, which have mostly been a letdown this campaign season when it comes to covering real issues.
- There are a lot more major leaguers born in August than in July, and it’s no coincidence. Slate had an interesting piece this week, revisiting some older research to suggest that little league baseball’s age cutoffs have an effect that lasts all the way into the major leagues. It’s a quick read and quite interesting. If you plan on preparing your children for that kind of path, you’d better start planning before conception.
- Did you know that the next frontier of baseball analysis is already here? I’ve been reluctant to really dive into it, but Pitch F/X will be the next stomping ground for the sabermetric community to learn about how the game works. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned it before, but if you’re unfamiliar with this system, Mike Fast can get you thinking about it with this THT article.
- The Braves continued to mock Pythagoras in Florida by losing another one-run game on Wednesday and then blowing out the Marlins last night. I’d rather be on the 2007 D-Backs end of the spectrum than on this side, but at least I can take solace in the fact that aside from the bullpen, my team still looks pretty good on paper. It’s still early, and they’re certainly not that far behind in the division.
- It’s a good thing I didn’t try to stay up until my fantasy team was done playing last night. Willy Taveras and Brian Fuentes are the only players I have from the Rockies or Padres, who last night played the longest regular season baseball game (by innings) in 15 years. It ended just an hour and a half before I woke up, at about 4:21 this morning. The Rockies won 2-1 in 22 innings, and Taveras went 3-for-10, scoring both runs.
Hopefully I’ll get motivated to write some more substantial posts in the coming weeks. I’ve been sticking to the Braves-and-Notes formula for too long, but I have to come up with some ideas first.