By JCB on Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Well, the last thing I want to write about is Cubs baseball. They are just playing bad. Bad bad bad. Where would one start? I took a couple of hours off from studying to watch the game, hoping for Rich Hill to be the stopper once again. I figured this would be the game worth taking a break for. I even kept score. Little did I know the offense would take the night off.

So, anyway, I wanted to put up a postscript to the essay from a couple of weeks ago, and this seems like a time to take a minute and finish it.

* * *

Postscript: 24 April 2007

“You don’t know Monk like I know Monk.” --Robin Kelly.

Coincidences are among the strangest of phenomenon, especially for baseball fans, who tend to wonder whether what happens is ever really coincidence at all. It’s not that we’re arrogant enough to think that the powers of the universe care whether we wear our lucky underwear, or avoid mentioning a no-hitter, or any number of other superstitious things we do... but still, we do them. And sometimes, we wonder: coincidence? Or is all this stuff somehow – probably mystically but for sure, somehow – related?

I wondered about a different kind of coincidence a couple of weeks ago. I finished an essay on Sunday. On Wednesday morning I learned the Cubs were snowed out, leaving me with a block of time I had set aside to watch the game. “Now what am I going to do tonight?” About two minutes later, without even looking for it, without ever having heard about it until just then, I found out from the UT homepage as I logged out from my e-mail that the Art building was hosting a lecture on Thelonious Monk. I had just been reading and writing about Monk, and Coltrane, and a concert they played at Carnegie Hall in 1957, for the essay.

It’s not that I think the powers of the universe have any reason to pay any attention to me... but if they wanted to anyway, this is the sort of thing they would have drawn up for me in exactly that time and place.

I mean, how often do history scholars lecture about Thelonious Monk? Right next door to the law school in Austin?

Coincidence? A test? A unique, urban, put-your-money-where-your-mouth-is event to attend? Like any good baseball fan, I quickly concluded: no point chancing it. These events don’t have anything rational to do with me, but there’s still no way I’m not going. Plus, it’ll be fun.

And the lecturer was Robin Kelly, who -- even though I didn’t make the connection until about halfway into the lecture -- wrote part of the very liner notes to the release of that Carnegie Hall concert that I had just been reading, and thinking about, and quoting.

The lecture was great. Kelly broke down Monk’s career, focusing especially on his relationship with Capitol Records, and how it was Monk could have been broke those years. But he also spoke about the scene and the time, the way the bohemians thought of Monk, and Coltrane, and those gigs. He talked about Monk’s relationship to his neighborhood, which was on point with what I had been thinking. He talked about the Carnegie Hall show, and just how good it was. Right on.

Coincidence or no, I love that sometimes things like that happen in life. It almost makes you feel like maybe you're on to something after all. Meanwhile, maybe the Cubs should hope for more rainouts.
Posted Tuesday, April 24, 2007 by JCB


I know you don't want to talk Cubs baseball, but... Ouch! Things are going from bad to worse with today's announcement about Prior.

From where I'm sitting, it definitely sucks for fans and this season because the Cubs need a reliable fifth starter, at least as far as fifth starters go. But for Prior, this has to be a good thing, sorting it out. It would have been worse for him to try to pitch through it and get ROCKED like he undoubtedly would have been without that 93mph 4-seam fastball up in the zone. At least this way there's still a chance...

I don't think there are any more chances for Prior. The Cubs would have to resign him next year for no more than a 20% cut in base pay per MLB rules. I don't see them paying $2.92 million to go through this again next year when he might not even be 100% yet. I think his rights will be renounced and he may or may not resign with the Cubs.

I disagree - if I'm the Cubs, $3M at this point is worth it. Unless the probability of him not being 100% or close is overwhelming. It's not just that they've already invested, so they might as well ride it out. It's not definitely throwing good money after bad, either, unless of course it turns out that he can't pitch (bad). The upside is so high, that he'll be a $10M pitcher, that for $3M, I'd roll the dice.

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