Archive for October, 2008

30
Oct
08

Werth’s cleats hanger

Victory on a dogpile

The Phillies won the World Series again after 28 years and Jayson Werth, who was only a year old when the Philadelphia baseball team won it first in 1980, finds his cleats heading to the Hall of Fame.

On the sixth inning of Game 5, resumed after 46 hours of delay caused by rain, Jayson Werth hit an RBI single and sent Geoff Jenkins to the home plate for a short-lived 3-2 lead. The Phillies eventually went to win the championship at 4-3 after Eric Bruntlett made the winning run on the seventh inning, in which the Rays likewise scored one. Neither team made it to home after that.

Safe to the plate for Jayson Werth, 5G, 3RBI, 1HR, 3SB

Werth, voice raspy from getting the colds, said of his spikes fame: “Gosh, what an honor… I mean, really, step back and think about that. I come from a long line of baseball players, and I’m thankful to them. My grandfather was a ballplayer. My stepdad [Dennis Werth] played in the big leagues. We’re just baseball players, not Hall of Famers. For me to have something go there to Cooperstown, that’s unbelievable.” (Quote from phillies.com)

So there, I got my answer to my question about Jayson Werth’s worth in the MLB.

Photos from AFP; more about Jayson Werth on http://www.phillies.com

29
Oct
08

Jayson Werth

Jayson Werth, No. 28, Phillies outfielder (Photo from AFP)

Major League Baseball (MLB) had never interested me until I saw Jayson Werth in the World Series Game 3 of the Phillies and Rays. I was surfing the sports channels to catch RF’s Basel matches when a handsome face appeared on ESPN. The Phillies lineup was being introduced.

I stopped clicking on the remote.

That’s how I got hooked on this year’s World Series–seeing Jayson Werth and finding him very maaaan.

The little knowledge I have about baseball comes from my having played softball in high school. (I was a terrible player, minding second base.) So I know when a pitch is a ball or a strike, when a batted ball is out, a slug or a bunt. But high school softball is a midget compared to league baseball.

I didn’t know what the stat initials that were being flashed on the tv screen during the games meant until I checked them out in all the sport books I have that mention baseball and in the comfortably reliable Wikipedia.

That’s why the book “Baseball: A Literary Anthology” that I bought online in 2002 finally got to be read, in part. The book includes articles by Stephen King and Richard Ford but I read only about why umpires are the most hated during a game.

I looked up Jayson Werth’s player stats but have yet to know how he ranks in the league. It doesn’t matter because I like what I see. He’s a right fielder, bats right, hits right. The Phillies is his third team, joining it in December 2007. He debuted in 2002 with the Toronto Blue Jays and was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2004 .

This post-season, he has hit two homeruns and has been caught stealing a base. I know because I watched Games 3, 4 and the rain-suspended 5.

Seeing him tower over the other players, who have an average height of six, I guessed that Jayson Werth is 6’5. I was right. He’s 29 and married with two kids.

Because of Jayson Werth, I’ve found MLB exciting to watch even if the scores are zero-zero in most of the nine innings. But really, Jayson Werth is worth watching.

24
Oct
08

Wrestlers into yoga

Pro wrestlers Rob Zombie and Diamond Dallas Page (Photo from “Yoga for Regular Guys”)

If I am to believe what I am reading, these two guys practise yoga. With professional wrestlers like those featured in WWE and WWF, you never know if it’s for real.

Pro wrestlers get up in the ring, stomp each other’s faces, punch each other’s nose and jaw, beat everyone in the ring to a pulp, scream or grunt depending on how they’re angled on the camera, and leave the ring still alive with all their body parts still in their correct places. If not for its theatrics and entertainment value, pro wrestling could well be considered a miraculous sport.

Despite the bulk and the intimidating look of pro wrestlers, they’re not to be feared. In real life, pro wrestlers like Diamond Dallas Page (DPP) and Rob Zombie are massively built entertainers who work out by yoga and eat organic food, so the book “Yoga for Regular Guys” says.

The book is easy to read and shows lots of pictures of DPP and wrestling divas in yoga poses. I bought the book for the dual topic, wrestling and yoga, while on a forgettable trip. Probably because of the wrestlers in it, the book is heavy and it’s not even hard-bound.

Yoga I know and did some, wrestling I watch some. The book is supposed to get me back into yoga but not into wrestling, and so I’m leafing through it.

23
Oct
08

Surfing expectation washed ashore

In the papers this week were stories and pictures of Pinoy surfers making waves in the longboard and shortboard competitions at the Asian Beach Games in Bali, Indonesia.

Fil-Aussie surfer Luke Landrigan, silver medallist in longboard at Asian Beach Games

For anyone who has tried board surfing for the sake of trying and ephemerally feeling cool, he knows the difficulty of maneuvering the waves. I know this because I tried surfing in 2005 in Siargao. I say tried because I never got past the arm paddling part. I couldn’t pop up and catch the wave.

Despite wearing a pair of Quicksilver shorts, I couldn’t lift my body quickly enough to find my center on the board and strike the surfer’s pose before the wave broke and washed me ashore. I got distracted by the toned arms and abs of the surfing instructors just as they couldn’t focus on anything that morning. They looked and sounded groggy and hungover. They looked like they needed feeding.

Trying not to sound hungover, Pinoy surfers at Cloud 9 give instructions on how to pop up

The pure Pinoy surfers, if I am to use as archetype the ones I encountered in Siargao, are nothing like Kelly Slater or Hayako Maki in looks. I had this expectation before I met the first Pinoy surfer, then the second, then the third, then everyone else who carried a board at Cloud 9 in General Luna. Owing to their long hours on the beach, the Pinoy surfers look exotic and appear like they needed heavy feeding. They are best appreciated when they are out there surfing.

The angle of the picture of Pinoy surfer Marianita Alcala, described as “the pride of Siargao,” conceals her face but I don’t think she’s nowhere near like Cameron Diaz or Demi Moore.

Pinay surfer Marianita Alcala, bronze medallist in shortboard at Asian Beach Games

Female pro surfers don’t just wear bikinis when they surf. They put on board shorts and rash guards for four reasons:

  • When the strong waves hit the surfer, these can rip off the bikinis and render her naked. Not that the guys object to this.
  • The friction between the board and the chest from the arm paddling can leave sores on the chest. The rash guard shields the skin from contact with the board. Besides, the sight of a rash guard fit snug on a well-endowed wearer most likely leaves a male beholder raving.
  • The board shorts and rash guard protect the surfer from sunburn. She times her surfing hours by the ebbing of the tide and not by the bite of the sun’s rays on her skin. She spends more time waiting to catch her wave than actually riding it. Sometimes, the waiting can last 20 minutes, which is enough time to crochet a 32AA bikini top.
  • The board shorts and rash guard likewise protect the surfer from jellyfish sting and reef cuts.

It’s tough to win in international surfing competitions. Points are not won by how low one’s board shorts hang on his hips or by how white his teeth are against his sun-baked skin.

Points are won by the quality of his maneuver, his placement on the wave, the level of difficulty of the wave he had chosen, and his length of time on the wave. I guess Pinoy surfers Alcala and Luke Richard Thomas Landrigan scored high on these criteria.

Siargao surfer Dionesio “Dodo” Espejon can get it lower than this

(Photos of Alcala and Landrigan from Sun.Star, the Siargao surfers

and Espejon from Friar Tuck)

16
Oct
08

The snooze power of yoga

In a moment of hope of doing yoga again, I bought a pair of yoga pants at Bossini. Two months have passed since the purchase and the price tag is still on the pants, the pants waiting for the actual moment of yoga.

I miss group yoga.

Doing yoga by myself, I spent too long on the relax pose, looking up the ceiling on my back and thinking of expensive chiropractors and eventually going back to sleep.

In class, I occassionally snored during relaxation when Dada droned about a ball of emerald green light passing through my toes, legs, knees, fingertips, stomach, chest, head, and the ball bursting into two, and zzzzzzzzzz. One time, I woke up to find the others already leaving the room.

That’s me but not me. (Photo from Yoga for Regular Guys)

During a bending pose, I heard the soft fart of the old lady who carried on with the asana like she hadn’t just passed gas. She had mastered the art of not looking fart-guilty. That’s what yoga does; it makes one more attuned to his surroundings and stay deadma to publicly emitted human gases.

Back when Mohan was the teacher, understanding his instructions posed as much challenge as doing the three-legged dog or sun salutation. A Vietnamese who learned to speak English in the Philippines, Mohan spoke like he was pinching his nose to avoid breathing in the wisp of gas emitted from the old lady’s digestive tract.

“Breet in, right lek up. Breet ow, lep lek up.” He had to demonstrate as he instructed to be understood. Oh, breathe in, right leg up, breathe out, left leg up. That’s what yoga does; it equips one with discernment in times of confusion.

Before I hit 63, I will take up yoga again and hope not to pass gas in those expensive pants.

13
Oct
08

Before RF, there was MJ

For years, I was crazy about him. I made my feelings for him publicly known even if my feelings were unrequited, which was likewise publicly known. I didn’t expect to be loved back by Michael Jordan anyway.

I have an MJ book collection. One book, “For the Love of the Game: My Story,” took me time to finish because I would be overwhelmed by his athletic greatness and by how goodlooking he was and I had to stop reading to catch my breath.

Post-NBA, Michael Jordan has been reported to be playing lots of golf. He remains one of the top international product endorsers and has kept his alliance with Nike, whose Air Jordans continue to sell. When the first Air Jordan shoe came out, MJ didn’t want to wear it because “I’ll look like a clown.” Haha. Very funny. OK, I did find the first Air Jordan ugly and comical.

The book “Driven from Within” (copyright 2005) gives vignettes about the Air Jordan designs, which reflect the stages of MJ’s life professionally and personally.

Post-NBA, Michael Jordan has ventured into motorcycle races not as a rider but as a team owner. The Jordan Suzuki team, assembled in 2003, competes in closed-course races in the Superbike class sanctioned by the American Motorcyclist Association. I’ve never bothered to understand motor racing, which I find a drag, and so there will be no more word about this Jordan Suzuki team beyond this paragraph.

In the last two years, Michael Jordan has not been written much about. He came out of his media hibernation in April 2007 when his divorce from Juanita was announced. I can never hope to get the attention of MJ, be he married or divorced unless I volunteer as an unpaid member of his Jordan Suzuki team, which is unlikely to happen because I will have myself run over first before I ever mention motor racing again.

All photos from the book “Driven From Within”

06
Oct
08

Federer in Tarantino

I look at Quentin Tarantino (in black cap) and I see Roger Federer (in red cap) at 45 years old.

The resemblance is owed to the extended jaw that could be less pronounced with extra poundage, to the thin lips that cloak the upper teeth during a smile or a laugh, and to the pointed nose that can pick up the scent of a challenge.

Tarantino is a brilliant film maker who puts in black and bloody humor in his scripts and movies. Kill Bill is my all-time Tarantino favorite. An occasional cast member in his friend Robert Rodriguez’s movies, he is a dead-panned comedic actor.

Watching Tarantino in Desperado and From Dusk Till Dawn, I imagined QT and RF reversing roles–Tarantino as a tennis player and Federer as an actor-director.

I think Quentin will have more success as a tennis player than Roger as an actor unless he played himself. John McEnroe, for all his theatrics on court, had barely essayed movie roles beyond being a tennis player or a game commentator.

But Novak Djokovic, who impersonates his fellow tennis players off-court, will make one funny actor. He has that movie heartthrob appeal.

Photos: Tarantino from some website I forgot to note down; Federer from rogerfederer.com