Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sunday Potpourri No. 42


One week ago today, my beloved Kansas City Royals beat the White Sox and All-Star Chris Sale 2-0 in Chicago to win their sixth consecutive road series. Having completed
a 4-2 road trip, they headed home still competitive in the American League Wild Card race, albeit trailing too many teams to be optimistic about their chances.

Those chances completely evaporated thanks to a five-game losing streak at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals were swept by the Oakland A's in a four-game series, getting outscored 43-12 (and it was 43-7 until they scored five empty runs in the bottom of the 9th in Thursday's 14-5 loss). On Friday they lost the first game of their weekend series against Sale and the White Sox, blowing a late lead and running their home losing streak to six games. Entering last night's game, they were 6 games out of a playoff spot with just 15 games to play, and trailing six other teams.

They finally broke the losing streak last night, beating the White Sox 3-2. The team still has a chance to record a fourth straight winning season, something it has only done once in franchise history, and Royals fans can still find some bright spots as the season winds down, even if there will be no post-season play this year.

"It's good to be back!"
Royals starter Jason Vargas, in his first big league game since his Tommy John surgery last year, was on a strict pitch count. He finished three innings, allowing a run on two hits. It was good seeing him on the mound again.

RHP Dillon Gee pitched 4 1/3 solid innings, and Joakim Soria and Wade Davis got the final five outs (with 4 Ks) to preserve the win.


Promising rookie RF Hunter Dozier, who picked up his first major league RBI Friday night, got No. 2 with an RBI single that put the Royals ahead for good in the 5th inning.
He scored the Royals' third run later in the inning.

"Te queremos, Skipper!"

The victory was the 1,000th in manager Ned Yost's career, with 543 of those coming with the Royals, along with two American League pennants and the 2015 World Series Championship.

"Just too many key injuries this year, but they'll be back."

I think they're still in decent shape for next year, but of course that's what we thought coming into this year...

So-So Saturday

Navy RB Chris High scores
It wasn't a great day for me in terms of college football outcomes, but it wasn't awful, either. My best friend Skip's Penn State Nittany Lions beat Temple (who beat them last season), but Notre Dame lost and so did Iowa State.

The service academy teams are now 8-0, as Army beat UTEP and Navy beat Tulane, both on the road. (Air Force didn't play this weekend.)

Nebraska won, which is always unfortunate, but I was able to savor Iowa's last-second home defeat against FCS opponent North Dakota State, and the hated Kansas Jayhawks got drubbed by Memphis.

"The games to decide the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy should be interesting this year!"

Yes, indeed...looking forward to them...

Kid + Loud Noise = Trouble

From the wry comic strip FoxTrot, by Bill Amend, which you should read every Sunday, as I do.

Until Next Time...

The terror attacks on September 11, 2001 sparked a variety of reactions from prominent musical artists. Some, like country artists Alan Jackson and Charlie Daniels, wrote songs with explicit 9/11-themed lyrics. There were also a number of charity performances to benefit 9/11 relief efforts. And on YouTube there was an tidal wave of fan-created videos pairing popular songs by a variety of artists with news footage and even audio from that day. Two very popular such videos featured songs by Metallica and R.E.M., two of my personal favorite bands.

On the morning of the attacks, the hard rock band Live, a favorite of mine since I first heard them in 1995, was getting ready for the release of their latest recording. Unlike many other musical artists who had product due to be released at around this time, Live chose not to postpone.

On September 18, 2001 the band released V, its fifth studio album. It was something of a disappointment commercially, peaking at just
No. 22 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart. The band's three previous albums had all made the Top 5
on that chart, with two of them hitting No. 1.

This album also broke the band's string of four straight RIAA platinum-certified albums.

It did produce two charting singles, "Simple Creed" and "Overcome." The latter song became associated with 9/11 thanks to an evocative video featuring lead singer Ed Kowalczyk performing over footage of Ground Zero. The band donated all proceeds from sales of the single to 9/11 relief efforts.

Today's send-off is that poignant video, from the band's VEVO channel. Watch, listen... and never forget...

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