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Santana Brilliant; Mets Cruise on Opening Day

3/31/08

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Miami, Florida

Johan Santana was acquired over the offseason to bring his Cy Young left arm to Flushing and provide a stabilizing force atop the Mets rotation.

After one start, the Mets and their fans had to be feeling pretty good about their new southpaw.

Don’t expect to be hearing any talk of missing Carlos Gomez or Phillip Humber, not after Santana struck out 8 batters over 7 strong innings of work to help secure an Opening Day victory for his new ballclub.

David Wright broke the game open in the top of the fourth, as he cleared the bases with a 3 run double off Marlins lefty Mark Hendrickson.

Wright finished the day 2-4 with those 3 RBI, while the Mets also got production from Carlos Beltran with two doubles, Jose Reyes who had two hits and an RBI, along with Angel Pagan and Ryan Church who contributed an RBI a piece.

The story however was Santana, who beautifully mixed a live fastball and dancing changeup which kept Marlins hitters off-balance all afternoon.

He allowed a mere 3 hits, and walked two, with his only blemish coming in the result of a Josh Willingham 2 run shot in the bottom of the 4th.

The bullpen was solid, as Matt Wise, Scott Schoeneweis, Jorge Sosa and Aaron Heilman combined to pitch the final two innings, without allowing a run.

With the game on the line in the bottom of the eight, manager Willie Randolph called upon Schoeneweis an Sosa to face a batter each, leaving two runners stranded.

The Mets hope their 1a can be equally as dominant as their 1 was today, when Pedro Martinez takes the hill tomorrow night against Marlins righty Rick VandenHurk.

Interestingly, the Mets opened their season in much the same way they ended last season, facing a young Marlins team with a veteran southpaw on the mound for them.

Fortunately for the orange and blue, the lefty was Johan Santana, and the results were just a bit more satisfying.

What a difference an ace makes.

March 31, 2008 Posted by | New York Mets | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Opening Day Has Arrived

3/31/08

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In this life of ours, there are few certainties we can rely on.

Benjamin Franklin wisely stated that the only two things you can count on it life are death and taxes.

Well Ben was around long before the beautiful game of baseball was invented, because another thing you can count on, when winter fades to spring, is that baseball takes it rightful place atop the sports world.

They call it the National Pastime, while most baseball fans treat Opening Day like a national holiday.

Opening Day is about more than baseball.

It’s about a fresh start.

It’s about putting the past behind us and leaving it there.

It’s about “there’s always next year” being this year.

Of course most of all, it’s about baseball.

The offseason seems as endless as the winter itself, and when February rolls around, the two most popular words a baseball fan will hear are pitchers and catchers.

Spring training begins, with Florida and Arizona the backdrop for our heroes’ return.

In March they get ready, as the season gets closer.

New faces and old, the excitement builds as Opening Day approaches, and those last handful of meaningless exhibition games linger on.

And finally, when you think it’ll never come, those skies look bluer and that grass looks greener.

Something you can’t even describe lifts you up, and reminds you that this year could be your year.

Baseball has returned.

Opening day has arrived.

* * * * *

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From a personal perspective, this Opening Day is somewhat more emotional than ever before.

For both Mets and Yankees fans, 2008 marks the final year of both Shea and Yankee Stadium.

As a Mets fan, I have nothing but the highest regards for Yankee Stadium, as the baseball fan inside of me knows all of the history and the mystique surrounding baseball’s greatest cathedral. It will certainly be missed.

When it comes to Shea Stadium, I can’t think of a place outside my home or a school where I’ve spent more of time growing up.

Serving as my home away home since I was 5, Shea is far more than just a baseball stadium to me.

I fell in love at Shea.

Not with a girl, but with a baseball team.

The Mets have become as big a part of my life as anything else, and while some could argue for all I’ve given they have yet to reciprocate with the taste of a Championship, they have given me something even more valuable.

An escape.

The best part about baseball, aside from winning, is having something that manages to transcend everything else going on in my life.

I’ve dealt with too many ups and downs in my life to count, however throughout all of it, between April and September, I know that at 1, 4 or 7 (10 when they’re on on the West Coast) the Mets will be there, distracting me from whatever it is I need to be distracted from.

Somebody asked me recently what my favorite thing in the world to do is, and after thinking for a second I realized that there isn’t anything which tops sitting in the Mezzanine, Section 5 row G seat 23 and watching a game.

One of the papers asked what aspect of Shea will be most missed, and with choices like the home run apple and the planes flying overhead (which actually will still be flying overhead next year), I immediately said it was just watching the game there.

Shea is without question among the least attractive ballparks in baseball, however for anybody who has been there (and spent as much time there as I have) you just embrace it for what it is.

It may lack the aesthetics of Yankee game or Wrigley Field, and it might not be state of the art like a lot of these other new stadiums going up (and for some reason, the bathrooms remain flooded on Opening day before a single game has been played) BUT…to me, and to Mets fans, Shea Stadium will forever be one thing and one thing only.

The home of the New York Mets.

It too, will be dearly missed.

March 31, 2008 Posted by | New York Mets, Sports | , , | Leave a comment

2008 Major League Baseball Predictions

3/30/08

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Without question, one of the best times of year has arrived.

March Madness is drawing a close with the Final Four a week away, however Opening Day (and im not talking about two games in Japan- no offense to you Red Sox and A’s fans out there) is upon us.

The blue skies.

The green grass.

The Royals and Devil Rays are still in contention.

It must be opening day.

With that, the start of a baseball season isn’t complete without predictions.

And with that, lets get it started…
AMERICAN LEAGUE STANDINGS

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EAST

New York Yankees 97-65

Boston Red Sox 93-69

Toronto Blue Jays 82-80

Tampa Bay Rays 78-84

Baltimore Orioles 66-96

CENTRAL

Cleveland Indians 95-67

Detroit Tigers 92-70

Chicago White Sox 85-77

Minnesota Twins 76-86

Kansas City Royals 70-92

WEST

Seattle Mariners 89-73

Los Angeles Angles of Anaheim 85-77

Oakland Athletics 79-83

Texas Rangers 71-91

Wild Card- Boston Red Sox

NATIONAL LEAGUE

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EAST

New York Mets 94-68

Atlanta Braves 89-73

Philadelphia Phillies 87-75

Washington Nationals 82-80

Florida Marlins 73-89

CENTRAL

Chicago Cubs 88-74

Milwaukee Brewers 85-77

Cincinnati Reds 80-82

Houston Astros 79-83

St. Louis Cardinals 77-85

Pittsburgh Pirates 73-89

WEST

Los Angeles Dodgers 91-73

Arizona Diamondbacks 90-72

Colorado Rockies 84-78

San Diego Padres 81-81

San Francisco Giants 67-95

Wild Card- Arizona Diamondbacks

2008 POST SEASON

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Yankees over Mariners 3-0

Red Sox over Indians 3-2

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Mets over Diamonbacks 3-0

Dodgers over Cubs 3-1

ALCS

Red Sox over Yankees 4-3

NLCS

Mets over Dodgers 4-2

WORLD SERIES

Mets over Red Sox, 4-2

INDIVIDUAL AWARDS

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American League MVP- Derek Jeter

National League MVP- David Wright

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American League Cy Young- C.C. Sabathia

National League Cy Young- Carlos Zambrano

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American League Rookie of the Year- Joba Chamberlain

National League Rookie of the Year- Kosuke Fukudome
Biggest Surprises

American League

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-Robinson Cano wins the batting title

-The Rays are in contention on Sept. 1

-Barry Bonds hits 15 Homeruns for Oakland

-Felix Hernandez throws a perfect game

– The Royals run off 12 straight victories late in the year, avoiding a 100 loss season

National League

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-Mark Teixeira is the only player to hit 50 homeruns

-The Diamondbacks have two 20 game winners (Webb and Haren)

-The first no-hitter in Mets history is thrown by Oliver Perez

-Joe Torre wins Manager of the year

-Matt Holiday approaches Dimaggio’s 56 game streak, and falls short at 48

Biggest Disappointments

American League

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-The Detroit Tigers miss the playoffs, and Jim Leyland loses his job at seasons end.

-Josh Beckett wins less than 15 games

-Vlad Guerrero fails to hit .300

-Ozzie Guillen resigns by August 1st as the White Sox seem stuck in neutral

-The final game at Yankee stadium sees the Red Sox clinching ther second consecutive AL pennant

National League

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-Jimmy Rollins and the Phillies find themselves back on the outside looking in, and Charlie Manuel finally loses his job

-Ryan Braun proves to be a one year wonder, and is sent back down by June 1st

-Unable to tolerate the pain in his elbow, Albert Puljos misses the final 3 months of the year

-Randy Johnson wins 3 games, starts only 12, and retires in July.

-Miguel Tejada is released by Houston prior to the trade deadline.

Other Notable Storylines to watch in 2008

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At least one shoe-in, first ballot hall of famer-to-be is suspended 50 games for steroid use

Other Veterans who probably should have retired after last season: Tom Glavine, Jamie Moyer, Curt Schilling, Greg Maddux, Mike Piazza, Orlando Hernandez, Ken Griffey Jr.

100 Years Since The Cubs sipped Championship Champagne

Can the Mets recover from their ’07 collapse?

More Milestones- 500 HR for Manny, 600 for Griffey, 300 wins for Big Unit to name a few

Joba Rules- To Start or not to Start

Breakthrough Players to watch- Dustin Pedroia, Troy Tulowitzki

March 30, 2008 Posted by | Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

No Shortage Of Storylines as we ‘Shea’ Goodbye in 2008

3/28/08

(from my Sports Illustrated FanNation Blog)

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After 44 years, 4 National League pennants and 2 world series championships, Shea Stadium will be no more come opening day 2009, as the New York Mets will start play in their new home, residing just beyond the leftfield fence.

But while Citi Field remains a season away, 2008 has all the makings to put the Mets in position to send Shea off in style, perhaps raising a new championship banner when the new ballpark opens.

With Opening Day just a weekend away, the storylines heading into the 2008 season seem almost overwhelming.

Prior to their trade with the Twins, the theme early and often would have been the collpase.

Their late season disaster will remain in the minds of players and fans, as well it should.

The collapse should be a reminder to the young players and especially to the veterans that you can’t take a single game, a single at bat or a single pitch for granted.

That means no getting bored or complacent, regardless of how many games ahead or behind they mae be in the standings.

Fortunately, the collapse will probably take a back seat to the arrival of Johan Santana, arguably and considered by many to be the best pitching in the game today.

Santana’s Here, Pedro Still the Man

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Ok, so the best pitcher on the planet is now a Met.

He brings with him his Cy Young awards, his wins and strikeouts.

So how is it possible he might not even be the most important pitcher in his own rotation?

The answer to that is Pedro Martinez.

Santana, injuries aside, can be penciled in for anywhere from 16-20 wins, and an E.R.A. under 3.

Pedro, in my opinion, is the X-Factor in the Mets rotation.

If healthy, Pedro can give the Mets the most potent 1-2 punch not only in the National League, but in the majors.

Mike Francesa said it earlier in the week on WFAN, and I agree with the statement that if Pedro has a ‘Pedro’ year, the Mets can and should run away with the division.

And when talking about Pedro, his value extends beyond the pitchers mound.

Since day 1 in Queens, Pedro has become vital in giving the Mets a confident swagger, while also providing comic relief and a veteran presence with championship experience.

His antics seem to have no end, he always is smiling and knows how to keep his teammates lose.

When Pedro is in the dugout, the team just seems to be in a better overall mood, and thats no coincidence.

Hopefully for Pedro and Mets, his right arm provides as many smiles in the stands as his personality provides in the clubhouse.

The Maturation of Jose Reyes

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If you want to talk about antics and personality, look no further than the Mets shortstop.

Jose Reyes was never shy when it came to celebrations and handshakes, however when his slump became a contributing factor in the Mets late season collpase, many questioned Jose and how he handled himself, along with how his manager handled him.

I can’t put much blame on Willie Randolph, as it was important for Jose to be Jose, and for him to work through his struggles on his own.

While playing Jose, Jose, Jose, Jose on the loudspeakers could probably occur less, there is definitiely some growing up to do on his part.

Jose is a laid back guy who likes to have fun.

And lets not forget, the kid is in his mid 20’s, and seeing him smile reminds you that the game of baseball is supposed to be fun.

However, Jose has admitted that he needs to tone down his act, and concentrate more between the white lines.

I would have trouble understanding anybody who says that Jose needs an attitude adjustment, because his personality is right up there with Pedro’s, keeping his team loose and having some fun along the way.

When the team was winning, there weren’t any issues with how he played or how he acted, but the slump he went into changed that.

How much of the way he played and the way he acted affected his performance is something only Jose Reyes knows.

I would hate to see Jose Reyes take the field every night and sit in the dugout the same way Roberto Alomar did during his brief and very forgettable tenure in New York, with that sulky look on his face wondering what he was doing here.

Jose needs to have fun, but also needs to start taking some bigger steps forward.

The sooner he does that, the sooner Jose can smile with a ring on a finger.

Carlos Delgado is the Biggest Question Mark in the Mets Lineup

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With Moises Alou set to miss at least the first month of the season following surgery to correct a hernia, Carlos Delgado will assume the 5 spot in the Mets order, and will also assume even greater responsibility in doing so.

The top half of the Mets batting order is solid, with Reyes, Castillo, Wright and Beltran, however when you reach Delgado, Met fans have reason to be worried.

Not only did Carlos put up his lower power and average numbers since the beginning of his career (24 HR, 87 RBI, .258 AVG), but his age seems to be showing as he had a lot of trouble catching up to fastballs, and more times than not seemed to be up there guessing.

After a hip injury set him back a bit this spring, Carlos needs to prove he can stay on the field, and produce while doing do.

His defense is average at best, so you need to get the type of offensive production from him fans of his had come to expect (35+ HR, 110 RBI)

How realistic is that from a 36 year old player with nagging injuries in his contract year?

Your guess is as good as mine, however once thing all Mets fans can agree on is that if Delgado can produce the way he is expected to, especially for the money he is being paid, then the lineup is all the more dangerous, as Beltran gets the protection he had in 2006, making him all the more effective.

He needs to just keep taking the ball the other way, and if he can do that with regularity, Mets fans should be happy with the Carlos Delgado they see this season.

If not, look for GM Omar Minaya to seek help from outside the organization.

Mets-Phillies is the ne Mets-Braves (but don’t forget about them either)

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Until last year, the Mets and Braves were probably the most interesting rivalry in the National League East (dating back to at least the last decade).

Turner Field was a house of horrors for the Mets as nothing seemed to go right, whether it was Angel Hernandez blowing a call on a play at the plate (’97 or ’98), Maddux, Smoltz and Glavine shutting down a usually unimpressive Mets offense, or John Franco and Armando Benitez serving up game winning homeruns to the likes of Brian Jordan (2001).

In 2006, that all changed as the Mets were able to finally break through against their arch nemisis, sweeping a series late in the summer, propelling them to take the division away from Atlanta for the first time in 14 years.

Last year, the Mets found a new tormentor, along with new leading characters not named Jones.

The Phillies, behind an MVP season by shortstop Jimmy Rollins, made the lives of the Mets and their fans miserable by embarassing them over the final 7 games of the year, taking all of them.

As a result, the Phillies were playing October baseball, while the Mets were left to deal with the fact that Rollins had correctly predicted his team was tops in the NL East.

The once dead Mets-Phillies rivalry was renewed (if there ever really was one), and going into this season, the typically quiet Carlos Beltran proclaimed his team the one to beat, taking the rivalry from the field back into the headlines, where it seemingly began with Rollins speaking his mind before last season began.

Heading into 2008, the Phillies AND Braves are both expected to be competitive, and neither should be overlooked anymore.

The Mets may have proved Turner Field and the Braves no longer intimidate them, but for at least one more year Chipper will be doing all he can to bid an appropriate farewell to the ballpark he named his child after.

Mets and Phillies.

Mets and Braves.

Two rivalries.

One division on the line.

Lets the games begin.

One More Miracle?

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Shea Stadium has seen it all.

The Beatles played the first ever stadium concert at Shea in 1965.

The All Star game called Shea home in 1964, the year the park opened.

‘The Franchise’ arrived in Tom terrific.

Miracles were possible in ’69

‘Ya Gotta Believe’ was born in ’73

There was Rusty and Kranepool.
Doc and Daryl.

Mex and The Kid.

“Gets by Buckner”

A Piazza Delivery.

‘Wild’ Times in 99

A subway ride in 2000

Mikey’s magic after 9/11,

Omar, Willie, Pedro and Carlos bringing the “New Mets” to town

Division champs once again in ’06

Jose and David doing it the ‘Wright’ way.

There was Murph, Lindsay Nelson and Ralph.

There’s the apple and the airplanes.

The NBA is where amazing happens…

But Shea is where ‘Amazin happens.

In 2008, the Mets and their fans say goodbye to the place where many of us Mets fans have been raised.

And for all the knocks on it (and there are an endless amount), Shea will forever be remembered where anything was possible with the orange and blue.

Can the Mets leave Shea for the final time as World Series Champions?

Like I said, anything is possible.

March 29, 2008 Posted by | New York Mets, Sports | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Playing Confusing Childhood Games is Much Better than Growing up, Joining the Real World

3/28/08

by Scott Spinelli

Thankfully, it’s come to a merciful conclusion.

My athletic career at this dignified institution has come to a close. Tuesday night’s men’s basketball loss marked an undistinguished, unremarkable conclusion to a four-year span of expensive fandom.

Yet, I write to you to lay all of the gossip to rest. It is official, here and now, I will be forgoing graduate school and entering the professional draft come May. Move over Paul Harris, Jonny Flynn, Donte Greene – your time will soon come.

While I haven’t hired an agent just yet, I can’t imagine my services won’t be needed in some capacity at the next level. Of course, there are areas in which my game could serve to improve, but I’m sure that once I go pro, that’ll all work itself out.

I’ve already purchased some real estate to accommodate my more than likely lavish lifestyle – a one-room studio apartment in a small home in New Jersey, landlords – a certain Mr. and Mrs. Spinelli.

In all seriousness (something I know you come to expect from these words), the men’s loss was a saddening one for me, beyond the way in which it happened. It begins to make clear everything is fleeting and concluding quite soon.

Maybe I should’ve seen this coming. There’s been enough of those wonderfully informative Facebook albums, “This is it!!!!” or “Senior Year!”

Strange as it may seem, I’m starting to feel old, or at least older. It’s gotten me to think back, to hark, if you will allow me to hark, back to some of my younger days.

Take, for instance, how early we had to wake up during high school. Every single day for four years, 6:00, 6:30 a.m. Nowadays, if you have an 11 a.m. class, it’s an injustice to you, your family and your heritage that the school could even dream to have you get up before noon.

Alas, my reminiscence took me to some of my favorite games – computer, board or otherwise – that we played.

When I was a kid, I couldn’t get enough of Perfection, otherwise known as Brain Aneurism for Young Children. There was always that ridiculous, 15-pronged piece waiting for you at the end that never fit in anywhere.

Tick, tick, tick. The sort of board game ticking that eats your soul.

And before you knew it, the whole board exploded, ruining at least two and a half good minutes of work. All the pieces were all over the place, my heart was in my trachea and yet, I kept coming back.

On the computer, I was a crack fiend for “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” I don’t know about you, but when I played that game as a child, and even as I’ve played it recently, all it does is make me feel more and more like an absolute ninny.

The clues they’d give you where ever the criminal had just been were completely worthless.

“She said her favorite import of the country were guava beans.”

What 7-year-old is supposed to know the chief imports and exports of South American countries?

And, while we’re on the subject, what the hell is a gumshoe? Everyone started out as a gumshoe, but I’d imagine only a small fragment of the population (likely an ostracized fragment) knows what it means.

The thing I could never forgive the game for was that it let Carmen steal things that were just ridiculous.

Carmen has made off with the city of Seoul. Gumshoe, it’s your mission to track down this magenta jacket-wearing pilfer.

Maybe I’m just a cynic, but shouldn’t some blame be put on the people at the airport?

Excuse me, excuse me. Ma’am! You’re going to have to check that. No, a monument will not fit in the overhead compartment.

Of course, the best part of “Carmen Sandiego” was the TV show. There are two things I remember about the show. The first is that awesome ending scene, with the way out of proportion map that curiously was missing state denominations. The other, without question, has to be that amazing theme song by Rockapella.

They’d always appear out of nowhere, either under a street lamp at a commercial break or sitting down at the end of the show, as if each time the TV camera caught them by surprise.
Well, now that you’re here, we might as well start singing without music.

I do have some good news for you, though. While graduating seniors won’t be able to be here for any more basketball or (football, is it?) games, Rockapella still makes music. Some things are better left in the past.

Scott Spinelli’s humor column appears in the Daily Orange every Thursday. He can be reached at saspinel@syr.edu. He wants you to know that the best part of waking up, at least for him, is Folgers in his cup.

March 27, 2008 Posted by | Spinelli | Leave a comment

The Top 10, More beatles and More Surprises on Idol

3/26/08

I have two weeks worth of Idol to attend to, so I won’t waste anytime.

Last week, American Idol brought back a theme for a second consecutive week, and ever there a worthy theme of deserving such a fate, The Beatles certainly would be an appropriate choice.

The top 12, before David Hernandez was sent packing, did a great job with songs like “Eleanor Rigby” and “Let it Be”, however last week the Beatles songs didn’t recieve the send off they deserved.

Amanda Overmeyer sung “Back in the U.S.S.R.”, and ended up being the one to leave.

I can’t say I was overly surprised, as her raspy voice had been growing old quickly, and while she as unique a contestant as the has ever had, her performances felt redundant.

My favorite to win, David Archuleta came back strong after tripping up the lyrics to “We Can Work it Out” by belting out a beautiful rendition of “The Long and Winding Road”.

David Cook, who has put himself near the top of the list of contenders to win this season, re-arranged “Day Tripper”, following up an even more impressively rearranged version of “Eleanor Rigby”.

Brooke White sang “Here Comes the Sun” and while the judges trashed her performance as awkard, I sort of liked it, and American agreed as she was around another week.

While the Beatles and Amanda Overmeyer were history, the top 10 took to the stage again last night, this week with the theme being the year they were born.

It was definitely strange to hear some the contestants sing songs from my birth year (1987) as well as David Archuleta singing a song from the 90’s! (I really must be getting old)

On the whole, the top 10 was much stronger as a group than they were last week, so lets break down who should be safe, who should be worried, and who should be going home.

Thanks to my friends at youtube (not that I know any of the people who posted these videos…but thank you for doing so…I’ve included video of all the performances from last night if you’re interested)

Safe for another week

David Cook– David has been coming through week after week with these risky, daring arrangements of well known songs, and last night, he performed a version of the Michael Jackson hit “Billie Jean” that was as enjoyable as it was strange. The judges all agreed he had taken a major risk, but it worked out for him. He has put himself among the top 3 or 4 singers, and should get comfortable on that stage because he’s going to be on it for a long time.

Michael Johns-After a few off weeks, Michael was back last night, singing a Queen remix of “We are the Champions” and “We will Rock You”. He finally showed off his powerful voice, as Randy pointed out, and he impressed Paula and Simon as well, as he put himself right back in the mix. He voice is definitively superior to a number of the other singers, and he really showed it off last night. Without question, safe for another week.

David Archuleta– while he didn’t sing a song I was familiar with, nor was it by any means his best performance, like Paula said, he could sing the phone book and we would love it. Last night, he sang “You’re The Voice”, and the video I’m including adds the video they show before David sings, which if you haven’t already fallen in love with him, watch him dance with his sister when he was a little kid. Singing wasn’t his best, but he’s still my favorite to win.

I Would Be Surprised If Any Of These People Go Home

Carly Smithson– Carly sung an all time favorite song of mine, “Total Eclipse of the Heart”, made famous for me of course in the hit comedy Old School. I thought Carly was better than the Judges thought she was, and after being the surprise of last week, ending up in the bottom 3, I would think she was more than good enough last night to survive another week, but you never know with this show. All in all, I thought she was very good.

Jason Castro– Back with his guitar, Jason sounded very good, but short of great. He has one of the most underrated voices this season, however his performances haven’t been off the charts the last few weeks. I would be shocked if he was in the bottom three this week, although he wasn’t one of the more memorable performers last night. He continues to be a sleeper pick to hang around awhile. Last night he sang “Fragile”, which the judges were on the fence about it. America probably feels the same way, but look for him to avoid the bottom 3.

Brooke White– Singing “Every Breathe You Take”, Brooke was better than last week (when I thought she wasn’t as bad as the judges felt she was) and her voice just continues to have this real authentic feel to it. While she is undoubtedly a very talented singer, she sometimes seems to lack that star quality needed to win the competition, and that could hurt her with votes, as occasionally she is forgettable. Overall, she was good enough last night, and shouldn’t find herself in trouble tonight.

I would be worried if I was….

Syesha Mercado– Syesha sounded as good as she ever had last night, but for me at least, she just doesn’t seem to have that “it” for lack of a better term. She can sing, shes pretty, but she isn’t on par with the six people mentioned already. That being said, she sang “If I was your Woman” last night and sounded great, but when the votes are counted, she could easily be among the three with the lowest.

Kristy Lee Cook– Amazingly, I think Kristy Lee sang her out of the bottom three last night. Simon was dead on when he said she came up with one of the most clever song selections, singing “God Bless The U.S.A.”. Not only was the selection great, but she sounded great. Unfortunately, she has found herself in the bottom two the last two weeks, so I don’t know if she was strong enough last night to get herself out of the hole she burried herself in with that awful arrangement of “Eight Days A Week”. Could be in the bottom 3 tonight, could go home, but my gut feeling is she’s safe for another week.

Chikezie– Not a lot I can say about Chikezie. I haven’t been a fan of his since he made the top 24, yet as he remains one of the last 10 standing, his days are numbered. Last night he sang “If Only For One Night”, and sounded OK at best. He somehow managed to survive this long, so surviving another week isn’t an impossibility, especially because he was probably second to last on my list of people most likely to go home tonight.

My Pick To Go Home This Week is….

Ramiele Malubay– Apparently she was sick last night, and actually sounded ok despite it, but if it were up to me I would be sending her home. Chikezie is a close second, but for some reason I feel like America has had enough of her “im cute and sort of clueless” act. She has a big voice, but failed to deliver a performance worth remembering.  She sang “Alone”, and should be standing that way at the end of the show tonight, singing her way home.

And so, while I could easily see Chikezie, Syesha or Kristy potentially in the bottom 3 and going home…Ramiele is my pick tonight.  I was wrong the first week and last week I honestly believed it was Amanda’s time to go, so im 1-2 so far.  We’ll see what happens.

American Idol , Fox 9 P.M.

(they should be paying me for advertising)

March 26, 2008 Posted by | American Idol | | Leave a comment

My Homemade Spring Break

3/25/08

I’ll admit, I’ve gotten lazy of late, however I actually sat down last night, and drew up an essay-like outline for things I want to write about, and some changes/additions I want to make to the blog.

Last week was tough, as I was pretty overwhelmed with school work (a rarity for me, not because I generally don’t get a lot of work- I do…but because I rarely spend a lot of time doing/caring about it).

That being said, I had a handful of really long, really pointless education assignments to complete, so I took care of them with my usual minimal effort, the difference being all of my education work is tedious, and because I probably have ADD, I couldn’t spend the time getting it done quickly.

Anyway, after the education department here took away my spring break, I decided that with Good Friday became a good opportunity to take a ride home for 3 days.

Let me point out that it should have been 4 days, however my professor who runs the university end of my student teaching placement, decided that because the public schools up here were off yesterday, it provided a great chance for my class to meet at our regularly scheduled time (8:25-10:25), something nobody in my class was all too pleased with.

I even took the time to write my professor a pity email asking to be excused from class so I could spend some time with my family- and those of you know me knows that requires more than just a day- because the lack of a spring break prevented me from doing so.

Well, apparently i failed to strike an emotional chord with her, as she told me because seeing my family wasn’t a legal excuse, I wouldn’t be excused from class.

The ironic part of all of this is that the same professor preached to us that for the 6 and a half weeks we are student teaching, we are supposed to follow the schedule of our schools, however she felt justified in making us come in anyway.

So my 4 day weekend was a 3 day weekend, and I did what I could to make the best of it.

I had great company on my rides to and from, as my friend Laura tagged along.

Laura had been an education major up until this semester, when that lovely school of edcuation here told her at the very last minute- after placing her in a city school- that her grades weren’t enough to student teach.

So I hadn’t seen much of her this semester, which sucked because Laura is like the sister I never had- she loves sports, watches a lot of the same garbage TV I, eats like no other human being I’ve ever met, has the same disregard for being “politically correct” I have, so naturally we became friends right off the bat freshman year.

Our rides were great, both of them quick as the 4 hours of each flew by.

We had great music, courtesy of my ex girlfriend’s CD’s I hadn’t touched since breaking up, however I forgot how enjoyable 80’s music is, so blasting songs like Karma Chameleon had us singing and probably causing fellow drivers to assume we were mentally challenged.

We made pit stops at Subway and Wendy’s (which like the commercial says, really is “wayyyy better than fast food”), and so before we knew it we were home and back at school Thursday night and Sunday night.

Being home for some reason is a bigger adjustment for me than returning to school.

It takes longer to get reacquainted with my bed and bathroom at home, yet when I get back up to school it feels like I never left.

Upon getting home, I was informed that a registered sex offender has been living in the apartment directly above us.

Apparently the guy was convicted 12 years of inappropriately touching an 8 year old girl (I guess I don’t tickle his fancy).

Unfortunately, thew strange noises I’ve been hearing from the apartment above mine since moving in now officially creep me out.

One of the plus sides of making a quick trip home is being spoiled with great food, whether it was the best pizza and bagels on the planet, to a fancy steak dinner Friday night with my Dad and that half of fam, to Cheesecake Factory, First Edition (best wings in Queens) and the North Shore Diner all did the job.

Of course the standard trip to Applebees took place late Friday night as we celebrating the 21st birthday of my favorite triplets (Andrew and McLaufin).

I got back to the gym for the first time in a few months, yet somehow I continue to shed the lbs. (down to an even 170 for the first time since Freshman year or maybe even high school).   Ran 2 miles, played basketball and then met up with Joe and played baseball for a few hours in the afternoon, making it the most active day I’ve had since field day in 5th grade.

I saw plenty of Joe and any time we’re both home from school it seems we always- without fail- manage to eat like garbage and get out to the mall, which was accomplished.

Other than that, I watched a lot of the tournament, although not having my Orange participate for the 2nd straight year leaves me pretty uninterested in the results.

I did fill out brackets, and entering the sweet 16 I have 7 of 8 Elite 8 teams standing, and my Final Four is very much intact.

Sunday morning, after getting 10 hours of sleep for the first time since….honestly can’t remember when…I had back to back fantasy baseball drafts, which only got me more excited for the Mets getting back to business on Monday.

And so, I got back up to school Sunday night, having had a vacation far too short, only to have to wake up early the next day (yesterday) and sit through 2 hours of absolutely uselessness.

There was a bright spot, and I mention this only to get this quote in…when a fellow student teaching buddy of mine shared something his host teacher said to a student asking how long an essay needed to be…

The teacher replied:

“About as long as a girl’s skirt…long enough to cover the topic, but short enough to keep it interesting”.

And that my friends, is why the Syracuse City School District is as poor as it.

Gotta love it, though.

March 25, 2008 Posted by | Personal | 2 Comments

Pardon The Interruption

New posts coming all next week. I’ve been home since Thursday night and swamped with work all week but have no ‘Fier’ (haha, get it?) I got plenty in store for the days and weeks to come. Happy Holidays everyone! AF 

March 22, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Everyone Stop With the Crazy E-mail Signatures

3/20/08

by Scott Spinelli

Honestly, my fingers are too fat to text.

Call me Scottward Sausagehands, if you like.

Nowadays, there isn’t much space for freaks like me. Most of my friends are wizards with texting. I’m sure you’re familiar with the telephone, that old thing that people used to speak to each other on. Why call, when you can text? I know people that text while the phone is in their pocket, while simultaneously keeping their eyes closed so as to attract style points from the Russian judge. Me, I’m barely up to a rate of four texts an hour.Though, as was the case with other new forms of technology upon their popularization, there are newly found etiquettes that come attached to each. Texting, e-mails, instant messaging. Even the ol’ Facebook has its rules.

For instance, nobody leaves a signature after they’re done writing a text. Could you imagine that?

What time is the game?

-Jason’s cell

Why then, do people feel the need to sign off on Facebook messages? As if the bolded name on top of the message wasn’t enough, the large picture should do the trick. You could get a driver’s license with that many forms of ID.

More than that, what bothers me is e-mail signatures and the silliness that ensues when someone is done writing. Apparently, some people just aren’t satisfied with the creative latitude afforded by either Facebook or texting.

My absolute favorite are those people either too lazy or too important (or both) to put anything more than three lower case letters as their signature.

From: Me

To: You

Be there, or be square.

sas

At what point did these people (by people, I am almost exclusively referring to professors), become too big time to sign either their whole name, or at least give us the dignity of a capital rendition of their initials. Probably around the same time they purchased their Blackberry.

The worst are those lengthy signatures that include everything you could ever want, or dream to know about the person. Name, date of birth, place of birth, social security number, siblings in college, favorite quote, GPA and complete address.

From now on, I’m going to use my own signature, one I’ve devised in light of their frequent appearance of e-mail signatures.

Scott Spinelli

Italian-American, Eastern European

Favorite Pre-Internet President: James K. Polk

Favorite Tori Spelling Show: 90210

“Ain’t nothin’ but a gangsta party” – Tupac Amaru Shakur

Maybe I’m too much of a Negative Norman, but why do people think that anyone cares?

The first time I saw one of those, I wasn’t sure what to do with it. Initially, I thought it was a checklist, as if was supposed to see if I knew those things about the person, and then report back to them.

I saw one that said “Americans for Informed Democracy” under the name. No italics, no underlines, no quotes. Just the phrase, as if that person is the only one that stands for democracy. Signatures should be what they are everywhere else – a cursive version of your name, not a biography.

Of course, when the Pony Express speed of e-mail won’t suffice, there’s only one alternative: instant messaging. I struggle with IMing because my deadliest tool, sarcasm, is shot right in the foot. Though, I must say, often times, when typing an instant message, I feel like the world’s fastest typists. I’ve often felt that if there was some sort of Olympic competition to see who could most quickly communicate their thoughts on the day via instant message, I’d have to at least represent our country, if not the hemisphere.

My major issue with IMing, which I’m 100 percent guilty of, is the ever incessant need to correct typos.

A little while back, I messaged someone, “I’ll be, bathroom.” Almost instantaneously, I felt the need to make sure that person knew I meant, “I’ll be back, bathroom.” As if, the person on the other screen is looking at that, thinking, “He’ll be bathroom?! He’ll be bathroom?! What the hell does that mean? He had better correct himself soon, or I’m going over to make sure he’s all right.”

My ultimate hope is that someday, in the near future, we’ll be able to just do away with talking face to face or even via phone. Maybe you could even donate your vocal boxes to people that can’t afford iPhones. Who knows what the futur holds?

*future holds, my bad.

Scott Spinelli’s humor column appears in the Daily Orange every Thursday. You can reach him at saspinel@syr.edu. He wants to know why people don’t celebrate Columbus Day like they do St. Patty’s Day.

March 20, 2008 Posted by | Spinelli | Leave a comment

My Spring Break

3/16/08

It never came, but now it’s gone.

My Spring Break 2008 that wasn’t actually a Spring Break at all has come to a close, and I gotta be honest, it wasn’t bad at all.

Last Thursday night, my roommates packed up and headed home, unofficially beginning 10 nights and 9 days of solitude in my suite, and while Mike and Matt were hopefully enjoying the comforts of being home, I actually enjoyed sticking around.

The highlights from my “Spring Break” include:

  • Syracuse basketball game last Saturday against Marquette, which we won.
  • Prime Steakhouse, the fanciest restaurant of any kind I’ve been to up here in Syracuse, was the spot for dinner later that night with Rossy, his girlfriend and his dad. Easily one of the best meals I’ve head in my 2 and half-plus years going here.
  • 5 very solid days of student teaching, including being observed by mt professor which went as good as it could have, as well as having my host teacher miss a day being sick, leaving me completely in charge of both my classes that day.
  • Watched “No Country For Old Men”, winner of the Academy Award this year for best picture.
  • Cleaned my entire suite including a much needed vaccumning of the living room and a scrubbing of the bathroom.
  • Got to watch both nights of American Idol undisturbed, which was more important than you can imagine.
  • Finally spent some quality time with some of the other education majors, including two really fun nights of shenanigans.
  • Those nights including Frank and myself literally “running the table” last night, going a perfect 5-0 on the pong table.
  • Took pictures of my big, beautiful campus, and rediscovered how much I really do love it up here (at least when its not snowing outside)
  • Amazingly got some actual school work done, marking the first time in 3 years I so much as looked at any sort of educational material for any subject during the week of Spring Break. Not proud of it, but certainly helped.
  • Was able to keep my morning and evening television routines very much intact, which include watching back to back episodes of “Will and Grace” from 11 to 12 in the morning, and watching back to back episodes of “Two and a Half Men”. I don’t know why but I have become obsessed with both, although that shouldn’t be much of a surprise when you consider how much television I actually watch.
  • Successfully cooked myself at least one meal a day, and avoided fast food for all but one meal this week, when I ordered Chinese for lunch on Wednesday. I currently weigh less than I have in since first semester freshman year, and have lost roughly 20 pounds since the beginning of camp last summer. (Thank you Diet Pepsi).

The week wasn’t bad at all, and the only thing which bothered me of course was not getting the chance to go home and see the family. But had I gone home, most of my friends didn’t have the same Spring Break as I did, so I would have ended up spending a lot of time by myself at home, as opposed to by myself here.

And thinking about it, staying here allowed me to have some pretty good times (the last 2 nights for sure) and hang out with some people from my education classes I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to hang out with. We got some crazy but seriously fun people who will soon be teaching the children of this country. Look out.

And so, my Spring Break up in Syracuse probably went about as well as it could have when you consider that nearly all of the students were home, leaving campus alone to the Education majors student teaching as well as the fact that while the weather was probably warm and sunny down in Mexico, we had our usual fair share of snow and cold.

With everybody returning today, things should be be returning pretty much back to normal around here, which after 9 days of being master of my domain (Seinfeld reference anyone?), I feel like I’m about as excited about that as I was initially to be alone.

I think I’m actually going to miss my Spring Break, even though I never really had it to begin with.

Go figure.

March 16, 2008 Posted by | Personal | Leave a comment