Monday, July 6, 2009

22 - 1

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 13:  Shane Victorino...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Boy, this was nice to see!

The Phillies achieved the baseball equivalent of stomping a mud hole in their opponents and walking it dry this evening, defeating the Cincinnati Reds by 21 runs, 22-1! Bookending the attack with a 10-run first inning and a 6-run eighth, the Phils hit four homeruns, including a grand-slam from Jayson Werth. The team pounded out a season-high 21 hits, including a 3-for-4 night with two walks for the finally rejuvenated Jimmy Rollins.

On a night where the Phils were campaigning to have CF Shane Victorino voted into the All-Star Game next Tuesday alongside fellow Phillie All-Stars Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Raul Ibanez (even the ball girls were dressed in Hawaiian shirts in support of Victorino!), Shane himself started the scoring with a two-run homerun in the first inning, following a lead-off walk to Rollins. Greg Dobbs added a two-run homerun, and Utley a three-run blast before the first inning was over. Starting pitcher Cole Hamels contributed a two-run double to the opening frame's festivites, marking the fourth time in club history the Phils have opened with a 10-spot.

For the Reds, it was not a good night at all. 5 hits and 1 run (on a Jonny Gomes homerun in the 2nd) were all they could muster, and by the end of the night backup shortstop Paul Janish was pitching. It was Janish who threw the grand slam ball to Werth; Janish gave up 6 earned runs in his single inning on the mound, giving the position player a lifetime ERA of 49.50!

The Phils had not scored this many runs in a single game since scoring 26 runs against the New York Mets on June 11, 1985.

It was especially nice to see this kind of offensive display happen at home this year, where the Phillies have not been playing well. My only hope is that this doesn't foretell another offensive drought - this team has been known to slug out a huge burst of offense like this and then fall dormant in hitting for a stretch. Last year they had a 20-run game vs. the St. Louis Cardinals and then did nothing for a considerable stretch; I'd hate to see that happen again.

Rather, I'm hoping that this game, coming on the heels of a sweep of Mets, is a sign of building momentum that they can carry through the All-Star break and into a successful second half. Regardless, it was an awfully fun game for a lifelong Phillies fan like me to watch!

Check out the box score here.

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New Wave for the New Week #17

Tuxedomoon - Naima Club, Forlì (FC)Image by zioWoody via Flickr

I recently finished my first read-through of Isabelle Corbisier's exhaustive and wonderful Music for Vagabonds: The Tuxedomoon Chronicles, as thorough a history of the ex-San Franciscan European art rock collective as has been written about any band. I say "first read-through" because this is a book that will take several readings to consume and digest properly. The detailed annotations and footnotes alone form almost a second book within the main work, and the very European writing style Ms. Corbisier employs demands close attention from a Yankee reader such as myself.

This is not merely a recitation of names, dates, places and events, however; this is a diary, compiled of band member reminiscences, comments from contemporary spectators, and real time concert and record reviews, woven seamlessly to tell the story of the evolution of Tuxedomoon from its beginnings in post-Haight San Francisco, to its relocation across the pond in the hopes of finding acceptance, through its collapse and eventual reconstruction. For fans of the band it is a must-read; for those unfamiliar with Tuxedomoon, it will be a fascinating doorway to an often misunderstood and sadly under-appreciated group of musicians and performers.

I discovered Tuxedomoon in high school via my fascination with The Residents, and by extension any band that released material on that band's own label, Ralph Records. The two-record set The Best of Ralph is a highly recommended label compilation from that early '80s era; on it you'll find Tuxedomoon's wonderful "What Use?" and somewhat sinister "Incubus (Blue Suit)." As good an introduction to the band as any, as this is Tuxedomoon at perhaps their most accessible.

The NW4NW entry this week is a recently created video for their first single, 1978's "No Tears." Easily one of my favorites from their catalog, the sound here indicates why they were quickly, and perhaps too hastily, lumped in with the Punk/New Wave scene. Plaintive vocals screamed/sung over a skittish melody create an almost other-worldly sound. This however is not meant as an overall illustration of the band's sound or style; no one song from their catalog could be chosen as a "stereotypically Tuxedomoon" song. Over 30+ years they have explored areas of the musical spectrum that many other musicians have assiduously avoided, but they have also fashioned some very likeable, melodic, almost pop music as well. They are a band well worth your time and effort to get to know.

To start with, though, here is this week's New Wave for the New Week, "No Tears" by Tuxedomoon:

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