The Indians get back at it tonight as they travel to Chi-town for a three game set against The Evil Sox. And it’s been Road, Sweet, Road for the Tribe so far this year … as they’ve posted a 7-2 mark away from home, averaging six runs a game. Johnny Damon will be in uniform for the good guys, as will Shin-Soo Choo, who is returning from an injury. Which means we all get a break from watching Shelley Duncan swing and miss curveballs by two feet. And that beard of his … has gone from tough looking to annoying.
Speaking of hard to watch, Ubaldo Jimenez toes the rubber tonight for the Tribe. This guy is a MESS right now. His mechanics and command are just awful, and you never know where the ball is going when it leaves his hand. This is a major problem for the Indians … and it doesn’t look like the problem will be going away anytime soon. Luckily for the Indians, Derek Lowe and Jeanmar Gomez have been much better than expected. Justin Masterson and Josh Tomlin have up and down. There’s not much to pick from at AAA. Let’s hope Fausto Carmona Hernandez Heredia is making traction on working through his VISA issues down in the Dominican.
In addition to playing poorly at home, the Indians attendance has been a HUGE disappointment so far. The team ranks dead last in attendance, far behind 29th place Seattle, at an announced average attendance of 14,486. However, having been to three of the 11 home games, I can tell you right now … actual butts in seats is about 60% of that number.
Was there Friday night with the little guy. Amazing game, won it in the bottom of the 9th. Just flabbergasted that there weren’t more people there. Weather wasn’t that bad (about 50 degrees), Friday night, elite opponent with a mega-superstar in town. It was student ID night as well. And that ballpark … is just gorgeous. Such a great place to watch baseball. Probably about 10,000 actual people there. An astute Dish reader pointed out this morning that the awful Baltimore Orioles drew 38,000 for their game Sunday. Indians announced attendance the sane day was 15,000.
Unlike with the Browns, who have the never-ending support of the fans despite decades of comical incompetence … this town has just become very fair-weather with the Indians. With all non-Browns sports – if there is a winner, the fans will come. But unless they are convinced of that, they’re staying away. Many fans feel like the Indians are not financially committed to a winner, made worse by the fact that the Tigers are spending like drunken sailors despite being in a similar sized market. Others are just disenchanted by the sport, not helped by honest but deflating comments made by team officials about the Indians realistic chances of contention given the financial framework of MLB.
It’s a shame. Because that is a beautiful ballpark. And this is such a likable baseball team. For my money, there is nothing I would rather do on a spring or summer night than watch baseball there.
Alright, this is terrifying:
SPOILER, SPOILER, SPOILER, SPOILER
Parents and children were the theme of Sunday night’s episode of Mad Men, #7/12, titled “At the Codfish Ball”. Megan and her parents, Sally and Don, Peggy and her mom … even Henry Francis’s mom and Ken Cosgrove’s stepdad made appearances. We didn’t get the plot development I expected Sunday night, but it was another very solid slow burn episode that built up to a good finish, and moved along many of the interesting plot lines they have going right now.
My thoughts on the episode …
- After last week’s call-out by Bert Cooper, complete with insinuations that his love life is impacting his professional prowess, I had predicted that Draper would rise up and score a big account for Sterling-Cooper-Draper-Price (SCDP). I was kinda right, the Heinz account was salvaged. But it was Don’s wife Megan who was most responsible for bringing home the bacon. It will be interesting to see where the writers take Megan’s professional ascension and how it impacts Don.
- Roger Sterling is back on his game. Great scenes this week with him and his ex-wife (who is his real wife in real life) and also with Sally Draper at the awards benefit.
- The writers are going out of their way to make an already likable Peggy Olson even more likable, which makes me question their motives for doing so (see my predictions below). Her handling of the dinner with her boyfriend Leather Coat Abe, the strife with her ultra-conservative mom at dinner, the interactions with Joan, and how she was genuinely happy and effusive in her praise of Megan after landing Heinz – all were excellent scenes. The Joan/Peggy dynamic in particular is an interesting one. Joan was flat out evil to Peggy as she ascended in the firm. Joan has now developed a level of respect for Peggy and the hostility is all but gone.
- Creepy Glen (Matt Weiner’s son in real life) is back! And creepier than ever. While Sally Draper has stayed relatively the same size and gotten cuter, Creepy Glen has added 30 lbs, a five o’clock shadow, and a deeper voice. Let’s just pray for Sally’s sake that they are just using him as a bit part to help illustrate Sally’s evolution as a young woman as opposed to the two of them having any long term future together. Sally’s reply to his “How is the city?” question was classic as she channeled Travis Bickle and said “Dirty.”
- Big thanks to the writers this week for terrifying me and all other men with young daughters by showing Sally in makeup and go-go boots. The gal that plays Sally Draper is a fantastic child actress. While it’s not clear that Betty Draper Francis will not play a large role in this season, it’s also obvious that Sally will be featured in main storylines this year, which is good for the show. She’s great, and the whole pre-teen gal growing up in the sixties with a dysfunctional family story line is an interesting one.
- Was I the only one that noticed a total “Godfather” theme to this episode? Remember, Matt Weiner was one of the main writers for “The Sopranos”, which was rife with Godfather symbolism. The music in a couple different spots was Godfather-esque. The awards banquet had a lot of visual similarities to Connie Corleone’s wedding from the original Godfather. And there was a line about people being “lined up with envelopes of cash like at an Italian wedding”.
- Prediction Time for the end of this season:
- Roger and Joan end up together.
- Peggy ends up leaving the firm to join another firm (Duck?) or to start her own thing, taking Cosgrove with her. The her and Leather Coat Abe thing will also fail miserably as her professional life continues to progress.
- I’m still predicting something bad happens to Megan, causing Draper to go off the deep end.
Quote of the Day …
“Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” ~ Vince Lombardi
Insane Fact of the Day …
A duck’s quack doesn’t echo, and no one knows why.
Yesterday put a capper on the month of April. It was a bizarre month. The European situation was up and down. European economic data released in April caused investors to question whether weaker European countries will be able to successfully grow their economies while putting in place required austerity programs. Stocks ended April in pretty much the same spot they were at when March ended. While first quarter earnings releases generally bested expectations, and the market priced in a better chance of a third round of quantitative easing, weaker than expected employment and GDP data prevented stocks from moving higher in April.
Mortgage rates moved a little father downward in April. The best available 30 year fixed rates was about 4.00% to start the month, and is now in the 3.80%-3.85% range. And there have been some encouraging signs from the housing market in April. For us personally here at First Fed of Lakewood, over 75% of all new rate locks in April were on purchase transactions … and it’s not like we’re not writing refinances with rates so low. I expect this momentum to continue. Rates are at record lows, home prices are very affordable, and the credit parameters are starting to slightly loosen to more sane levels. I expect new and existing home sales locally to best expectations in May, June, July and August … which should stabilize home values, and get them on their way back to actually appreciating. If home values haven’t hit the bottom, we’re VERY close. And that’s the first time I’ve ever made that prediction, unlike most economists … who have predicting “we’ve hit the bottom” for two years now.
This morning we get data on construction spending and the ISM Index (a national survey of purchasing managers which covers such indicators as orders, production, employment, inventories, delivery times, prices, export orders, and import orders) at 10 AM EST.
But of course, the big event of the week is Friday’s April jobs report … and these monthly releases just get more and more important as the Presidential Election looms in November. Nothing will have a bigger impact on who is running the country the next four years than the health of the American labor and employment market.
~ Dallas Fed President: Fed Has Done Their Job, Time for Congress to Do Theirs
~ Jobs Could Stay at New Sluggish Level for Now
~ Whether Investors Sell or Stay, Economic Data Key in May
~ Another Weak May? Don’t Be So Sure
~ US Auto Sales Up as Toyota Wins Back Buyers
~ Cleveland Spring Weather in Reverse: April Colder Than March for First Time in 50 Years
~ Berlin Insists on Euro Zone Austerity
~ Has Apple Become the Market?