Ready for the newest member of the family to arrive

What happens to all the stuff that doesn’t neatly fit into a baseball post, The Junkball 10, Dead Celebrity Friday, the occasional happy birthday salute or a random standalone blog entry?  It gets served up as Mental Leftovers …

My wife’s due date is a little more than 2 weeks away and I’m ready for that little bundle of joy to arrive.

For one thing, I can’t wait to meet my daughter and start a new chapter in my family’s life.  But on a more selfish note, I can’t wait for my time off from work to kick in.

That’s right, I’m in desperate need of a break because I’ve barely used any of my vacation time this year.  The master plan is to spend as many fully paid days off as possible with my wife and newborn daughter and now that we’re at the end of the year I’m out of gas.

Everything from blogging to housecleaning to staying on top of the household budget is slowly grinding to a halt.

On to some more random stuff:

* I finally realized that my get up and go got up and went about a week or so ago.  I have a ton of housecleaning to do every day because my wife is on modified bed rest but I don’t even have an ounce of motivation anymore.

I was a housecleaning machine when she had to start taking it easy because I took it as a personal challenge to stay on top of things.  At some  point it stopped being an entertaining challenge and became a filthy, cluttered version of “Groundhog Day.”

* Anyone else bored with the Hisashi Iwakuma contract negotiations with the A’s?  Me too.  Note to Iwakuma’s agent Don Nomura: Work out a deal for your client or have him stay in Japan and give the public posturing a break because you look like a clown and Iwakuma’s scouting reports are nothing to get excited about.

* Somewhere out there a dead celebrity is rolling in their grave because I blew it and didn’t post a Dead Celebrity Friday last week.  My apologies to the departed.   Laziness and a long holiday weekend are clearly an unproductive mix for me but I promise to get back on the clock this week.

* How pathetically low is my level of motivation these days?  I have almost no desire to decorate the house for Christmas.  I feel terrible writing that, but it’s the truth.

I have no idea when I would scare up the time or energy to deal with decorating in between working, watching out for my pregnant wife and chasing my 19-month-old son around.  By the time Christmas rolls around we’ll probably be too busy caring for a newborn to even notice ornaments on our fake tree or lights on our house.

If I get lucky my son will take a couple of long naps this weekend and I can at least get the tree set up before my daughter arrives.

* Thanks to the Press Democrat’s Dan Taylor for the link to the Accordion Babes calendar.  Who knew accordion players could be so saucy?

* The 49ers thrashed the Cardinals last night to keep their playoff hopes alive which should get me all fired up but instead it actually annoys me a little bit.

I won’t lie, I want to see the organization torn down to the ground and rebuilt with a new front office and head coach.  Winning a few more games only hurts the team’s chances for a high pick in the NFL draft and it leaves the window open for the York family to keep coach Mike Singeltary around which would be a very bad idea.

If you need an unlimited supply of hot air he’s the right man for the job but he seems over his head as an NFL head coach.

I’ve become a very conflicted 49ers fan.  I want them to win but I also want them to lose so they can cut ties to Singletary and get a fresh start.

A blowout loss to the Green Bay Packers this weekend could be the final nail in Singletary’s coffin.


The Iwakuma Era is over before it ever began

Barry Zito money?  Barry Zito doesn’t even deserve Barry Zito money.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that’s what Japanese starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma wants from the A’s and its why contract negotiations between the Oakland A’s and Iwakuma are dead in the water.

Shelling out Zito money for Iwakuma would mean Oakland would be paying $18 million a season for a well-worn veteran Japanese arm on top of an $8 million posting fee.  That’s just not going to happen.

Iwakuma’s agent Don Nomura takes some hard shots at the A’s while telling his side of the story on Twitter. and Craig Calcaterra takes a good look at both sides at Hardball Talk.

I’ll admit that I was excited about the possibility of the A’s adding Iwakuma to an already impressive rotation but that had more to do with the fact that it was nice to see Oakland apparently making a commitment to aggressively spend money to improve the team.

But now the speculation by ESPN’s Rob Neyer that Oakland was just trying to keep Iwakuma away from American League rivals without actually signing him seems to hold a lot of water.

If that’s what the A’s were really trying to do it worked like a charm and now, in theory, they have the $18 million posting fee back in their pocket to spend on some sluggers … unless you believe the conspiracy theories that the A’s aren’t even serious about signing someone like Adrian Beltre.

I guess a big question right now is whether losing Iwakuma hurts the A’s.

The team probably takes a public relations hit for making a splash in the bidding process and then following that up with a thoroughly unsatisfying attempt at contract negotiations.  But what’s one more PR flub at this point for the A’s?

The most important thing is how this effects the team’s starting rotation in 2011 and I actually think they’ll be just fine.

I linked to some mixed reviews on Iwakuma in an earlier post and Slusser quotes a scout who says he’s “nothing special.”  There’s no reason to think the A’s won’t be just fine with whoever emerges from the fight for the No. 5 spot in the rotation.  Josh Outman, Tyson Ross, Bobby Cramer and maybe Clayton Mortenson should be able to provide solid innings at the back of the rotation.

This development definitely sucks some wind out of the A’s sails and casts some doubt on whether they’ll really make any noise in the offseason if they’re just using contract offers as PR moves.

If all Oakland does is add David DeJesus and a bargain bin veteran designated hitter to the lineup for 2011 I don’t see how that’s anywhere near enough to get the team into the playoffs.

There never seems to be a dull moment in the offseason for the A’s.





Dead Celebrity Friday: Pat Morita

A weekly tribute to a totally random gone but not forgotten  — at least not on Fridays — star.

Today I tip my hat to the dearly departed Pat Morita, better known as Mr. Miyagi from The Karate Kid.

I’ve wanted a kind, old, Japanese mentor who can teach me how to kick ass ever since I saw that movie.

Rest in peace Mr. Morita, thanks to you every time I’m doing boring housework I try to convince myself that I’m actually learning karate.


Junkball Earworm: Virgin Sturgeon

What’s the best way to get a song that’s stuck in my head out of my noggin?  By sharing it, of course.

Today’s totally random earworm is the folk song Virgin Sturgeon.

I blame myself for this one.  Sturgeon is the surname of a friend at work and on a lark I Googled “sturgeon song” and stumbled across this tune on YouTube.

He’s been blasting this song on his computer for the past 10 minutes.

My favorite lyric is “I fed caviar to my girl-friend; She was a virgin tried and true. Now my girl-friend needs no urgin’, There isn’t anything she won’t do.”

They just don’t write songs the way they used to, do they?

I bet Lew Wolff is throwing a hissy fit right now

White Elephant Parade shared a link to this interesting story via Twitter about Oakland’s renewed bid to keep the A’s in town.

Somewhere out there A’s owner Lew Wolff is probably howling in despair and furiously pulling his hair out.

All the man wants to do is move the ballclub to San Jose but Major League Baseball, the Giants and the city of Oakland keep getting in the way.

What’s a rich old man obsessed with a new stadium in the South Bay to do?

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a major problem with the guy but he’s consistently mishandled the public relations side of his ballpark quest and alienated fans.

Want to take bets that he’s going to bitterly dismiss this new, potentially promising development in Oakland?  How long before he throws his hands up in the air and petulantly puts the team up for sale if he’s forced to keep the A’s in the East Bay?

If that happened would it be a bad thing?  Maybe not.  Any chance that filthy rich Larry Ellison wants a consolation prize after losing out in his bid to buy the Golden State Warriors?

It has to be wildly frustrating to be in Wolff’s shoes, eagerly hoping you may finally be getting close to having a favorable decision made by Major League Baseball on San Jose only to have Oakland’s mayor-elect Jean Quan mess things up.

I’d love to see the team stay in Oakland and if the city’s politicians are finally ready to step up to the plate to try and make that happen I’m all for it.  It’s about time.

But does Quan have the clout to make a ballpark happen?  I have my doubts and I suspect Oakland has better things to do with its time and money than pursue a baseball stadium.

Do I get the feeling that a new ballpark in Oakland is going to materialize and that it will turn the team’s fortunes around?  As much as I want to say yes I can’t honestly say that I buy into the idea that Oakland is going to work out for the A’s over the long haul.

Maybe a new ballpark in Jack London Square will always draw in loads of corporate money and season ticket holders.  Maybe there will be sellouts from opening day through the last home game of the season and the A’s will finally be able to afford to keep their homegrown stars.

It could happen and I hope it pans out.  I think this offseason and the next couple of years will have a lot to do with whether the A’s will be able to fill a new stadium in the East Bay with passionate die-hard season ticket holders and the casual bandwagon fans you need to keep the cash rolling in.

But for some reason I don’t think the money is there to make that a reality for more than the first few years of the new ballpark when it will be a trendy place for people to check out.  I don’t have any hard facts to base that on, just a Kuato-like gut feeling that San Jose and the South Bay now has more going for it to sustain a Major League Baseball team for generations if Wolff ever gets the green light to move the A’s.

If Major League Baseball tells Wolff that relocating to San Jose will never happen and he has to play ball with Oakland I really hope it works out.  There’s nothing I would enjoy more than going to the team’s first Opening Day in a new ballpark in Jack London Square to see the A’s start a new chapter in their long, proud history.

Like a lot of A’s fans I’m tired of the seemingly never-ending waiting game to learn the team’s fate.  The sooner baseball commissioner Bud Selig gets off his indecisive butt and makes a call on the A’s the better off everyone will be.

Happy Birthday to Sophie Marceau

Let’s take a moment to celebrate the birthday of Sophie Marceau, the lovely star of a ton of movies I haven’t seen but really appreciate just because she’s in them doing that gorgeous French starlet thing she does so well.

I was trying to pick between Danny DeVito and Ms. Marceau for today’s tribute and surprise, surprise I went with the knockout actress.  Am I predictable or what?

I’ve only seen Sophie in Braveheart and The World is Not Enough but there’s no reason I can’t tip my cap to her as a lame excuse to run a saucy photo on Junkball.

Happy birthday Sophie and party like a rock star today, you deserve it.

Junkball Earworm: Da Butt

What’s the best way to get a song that’s stuck in my head out of my noggin?  By sharing it, of course.

Today’s totally random earworm is Da Butt by E.U.

I blame the local “old school” radio station for dredging up this horribly amusing tune and drilling it into my brain during my commute.

Check out the lyrics if you want to delve a little deeper into Da Butt.  My favorite line?  “I want your butt. That butt. That big ol’ big ol’ butt. Ow!”

Brilliant stuff.

Enjoy and keep on rockin’ in the free world.