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MTV, Get off the Air!

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MTV were round our house yesterday. Our daughter had auditioned for some show - they won't tell us exactly which one - and had made the second round, so they spent about half an hour filming her, her room, her wardrobe, etc. Though truth be told, they seemed almost as interested in the movie memorabilia and other "treasures" we have on our walls.

Needless to say, frantic tidying preceded their arrival, so that the house resembled a little teacup - even our son Robert was prevailed upon to pick up a vacuum cleaner, which may have been something of a first. The particular irony of this is, I loathe MTV with a deep intensity, and seriously contemplated playing the Dead Kennedy's song which is the title of today's entry:

The lowest common denominator rules
Forget honesty, forget creativity
The dumbest buy the mostest
That's the name of the game
But sales are slumping, and no one will say why
Could it be they put out one too many lousy records?!?

Given this was written back in 1985, when Napster wasn't even thought of as an excuse for declining sales, it's really quite prophetic. Anyway, during said tidying process, a signed picture of Mark Prior was unearthed, which the Cubs had sent us for use at the Schmuckfest, but which fell down the back of the shredder in the office, so never made it to the silent auction. Apologies to the Cubs and Mr. Prior for that, we'll hang onto it for next year's event, if there is one.

A narrow defeat for the Diamondbacks yesterday, going down 5-4 to Kansas City, though we maintained our sharp hitting page, with 12 more hits, spread over eleven different players - Stephen Drew was the only multiple producer, going 2-for-3 with a run scored. Tony Clark pinch-hit for Dustin Nippert in the fourth, and cracked the first pitch he saw over the fence in left-center to give us a 4-3 lead, but that was the end of our scoring production.

Nippert got the start, and allowed six hits over four innings, resulting in two earned runs. As before, the Royals took advantage of his weakness with runners on base. He said, "I need to get more comfortable, familiar out of the stretch. Work on controlling the running game a little bit better." This is pretty much a known issue, but will probably need to be addressed before he's anointed as major-league ready.

Following Nippert, Mulholland cemented his position in the bullpen with two shutout innings, giving up just one hit, and reducing his spring ERA to 2.35. Lyon and Choate each allowed earned runs in their innings of work, getting tagged with a blown save and the loss respectively, before Daigle pitched a scoreless ninth. But brace yourself: Russ Ortiz takes the mound this afternoon, facing the Rockies. We'll see how that goes...

David Wells to the D'backs? Rumblings in the Boston Herald suggest we may at least be looking at this as a possibility. He pitched in a minor-league intrasquad game yesterday, and "the only two scouts on hand...were representing the pitching-needy Arizona Diamondbacks and Texas Rangers because Wells made it clear he'd rather be with another team if he's not going to open the season in the Sox' starting rotation." The Red Sox were interested in Koyie Hill, weren't they? Not a move I'd favor, as Ortiz is already filling the 'Fat Failure' role in our rotation very nicely, thankyouverymuch.

Good news on the Counsell front, as he took live batting practice, and generally participated in a full training session. This was surprising, given the last word we had was that he wasn't even ready for any action. Oddly, Counsell was not exactly forthcoming on the topic of his recovery: "I'm not interested in filling you guys in every day. I feel good. That's it." Most unlike Rudy. El Duque played catch and reported no ill-effects, but Melvin is concerned about Miguel Batista's lack of work in the Baseball Classic: he's only pitched 3 1/3 innings since he left after our first spring game.

Speaking of the WBC, Team USA was eliminated from contention, despite the best efforts of umpire Bob Davidson - for the second game this round - to push them through with another dreadful decision. In their game against Mexico, Davidson called a hit by Mario Valenzuela a double, even though it was very clearly a home-run. Luckily, that decision didn't prove crucial, as Valenzuela scored later than inning in the 2-1 Mexican victory, but on these performances, Davidson should be sent back to Little League, where he belongs.

Despite the lack of America, the semi-finals and final at Petco Park have all been sold out in advance - though I wonder if this will be reflected in actual packed houses on game day? Korea must be favourites to beat Japan, having done so already twice in the tournament (albeit only by one run on each occasion) and gone 6-0 through the first two rounds. In the other semi, Cuba has advanced despite batting only .269 and with a team ERA of 4.17, nothing spectacular. They're better than that, but I think the Dominican Republic will get past them: their lineup has names like Pujols, Ortiz, Beltre, Tejada and Colon, and is just too good for the Cubans.