Archive for October 30th, 2009

In Search of Lost Toaster Ovens

toaster ovenBack when I was an impressionable college freshman, the faculty-in-residence who lived three doors down from my suite left a toaster oven outside her door. Now, at the time, I was a simple-minded and perhaps naïve 18-year-old suburbanite who had been raised on a toaster and with the idea that a toaster oven was needlessly decadent. We have a toaster, we have an oven; why combine them into one appliance that doesn’t perform either of those tasks better?

Thus it was with confusion and, in the end, indifference that I met my roommate’s excitement about the prospect of claiming the toaster oven—old and dirty and clearly bound for the garbage—in our room. As college freshmen, we possessed neither a toaster nor an oven, and Seth (this roommate’s name was Seth*) proudly detailed all the glorious meals a toaster oven would add to our lives. I was skeptical and, like I said, indifferent.

*Although, to be honest, it may have been the other roommate.

And I remained so even when Seth’s attempt to haul the toaster oven the 15 feet back to our room was interrupted by the RA, citing the prohibition of all toasting apparatuses in freshman dorm rooms. This was a surprising occurrence for several reasons:

Continue reading

What Makes a Great Playoff Series?

Leyrtiz

This is a question that has been on my mind since Tim undertook his massive investigation of the 1999 NLCS last week.

The seven-game playoff series (we’re not even going to talk about the atrocious five-game divisional format) is really one of the best things about sports when it unfolds right. It takes the highs and lows of a great game and stretches them over a week and a half. Rooting for a team involved a great series, as Tim can attest, essentially consumes your life for those days. You’re either riding a high from a great win, resentful and angry at the world after a bad loss, or anxiously awaiting an upcoming match-up. The best series have the dramatic arc of a great novel.

I’ve been thinking about this question because I’ve been wondering if the 2009 ALCS between the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim was a Great Series. Superficially, it looks like one: two extra-inning, walk-off games, questionable managerial decisions, close contests in five out of six games. If not for inexplicable errors by Howie Kendrick and Scott Kazmir in Game 6, four of the six games would have been decided by one run. Continue reading

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