Any reason to celebrate is a good reason to celebrate. Especially these days holed up at home. So, we are celebrating our half birthdays this year.
It pains me seeing the Houston Astros in the ALCS. The MLB didn’t get this right.
Black Lives Matter
Like so many others during this time of physical distancing, I have found myself watching The Great British Baking Show. It seems to be filling my need for consuming competitive events. I am also learning plenty about baking.
I felt my first earthquake today. It is weird feeling your house sway with items clanging. ✅ Life experience
Blogging like it’s 2011: I’m really enjoying using post formats. This past week is the first time I’ve ever used them.
width: max-content; is super useful and well supported.
Starting to use variable fonts. Super fun. Web fonts have come a long way. This is Montserrat served as a variable font.
To kickoff the physical distancing I decided to do some pickling. I’ve been pickling onions and peppers for many years. They are wonderful on sandwiches, salads, cheese boards, and for topping off pastas, to name a few. For me the key is cutting them really thin, making them easy to pile on whatever it is you are eating. I feel the thinness brings along a better onion/pepper-to-vinegar ratio.
In addition to onions and peppers, I started pickling asparagus recently as well. I wish I would have started long ago. For me there isn’t a better pickled anything than asparagus. They are delicious. They are also convenient (grab a few spears out of the jar). They work as a snack or as a part of a meal. The key is using a hot brine for the asparagus (this also works great for Brussels sprouts), thanks to Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden for this advice. Just pour in the boiling brine into the jar of asparagus.
As for the cauliflower, this is my first time pickling them. I’m looking forward to giving them a go in a few days.
Note: these are all refrigerator pickles. They are usually ready to eat in 2-3 days.
I have settled on using the same brine for all of my pickling, hot or cold.
2 cups - water
1 cup - white vinegar
1/4 cup - rice vinegar
3 tbsp - salt
2 tbsp - sugar
When making the hot brine for the asparagus and Brussels sprouts combine all the brine ingredients and bring to a boil. When making the cold brine bring everything except for the water to a boil. Then add the hot liquid to the cold water.
The asparagus and Brussels sprouts use raw garlic, black peppercorns, dried chilies, and thinly sliced onion. These spears have a nice subtle bite.
The peppers and onions use raw garlic, black peppercorns, and mustard seeds. The mustard seeds provide a little tang.
And finally, the cauliflower has raw garlic, fresh rosemary, and one thinly sliced carrot.
Stay safe. Take care.
Yesterday Major League baseball handed out their punishment to the Houston Astros for stealing signs during their 2017 Word Series winning season. In addition to the punishment handed out by the MLB, the owner of the Astros, Jim Crane, fired his manager, A. J. Hinch, and his general manager, Jeff Luhnow. Both becoming the fall guys (along with Joey Cora, manager of the Red Sox, and Carlos Beltran, manager of the New York Mets) for the cheating that took place. The Astros also lost four draft picks and were fined $5 million. A small price to pay for a World Series title.
Inherent to baseball
After chatting with someone about the Astros punishment yesterday I was asked if I thought baseball players and executives were more likely to cheat than those in other sports. It was an interesting question. My first inclination was definitely not. There are cheaters in all sports. However, after reflecting a bit more, I couldn’t be sure. Baseball has always had ways to cheat that were considered a part of the game. Just don’t get caught. Corked bats and spit balls (and other substances) come to mind. Sign stealing has also always been a part of baseball. It is legal as long as you don’t use video equipment during the game to figure it out (this is also the case in college and professional football). And then there is performance enhancing drugs.
Cheating feels like a systemic issue from the top when considering how slow MLB was in figuring out how to handle performance enhancing drugs. It was slow because the money and attention were too good. The ratings and media attention around Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and Barry Bonds were too much to pass up. While a black eye remains, the value of MLB teams increased significantly.
According to Forbes in 2003, the top valued MLB team was worth $849 million. The bottom valued team in 2003 was worth $113 million. In 2019, again according to Forbes, the top valued team is worth $4.3 billion. The bottom valued team is worth $1 billion. In 16 seasons that is an increase of 542% for the top valued team and a 885% increase for the bottom valued slot.
It appears no financial investments were harmed during MLB’s slowroll in dealing with performance enhancing drugs. *Only players were damaged during this time.
*Not to say that players don’t deserve some of to blame, but they were part of system that was allowing it for its own benefit. Then they were thrown under the bus.
Billionaire wins, again
The owner of the Astros, billionaire Jim Crane, gets no real punishment. He keeps his 2017 Word Series ring. He keeps his franchise. And he gets to look like the good guy because he fired his manager and general manager. I’m relieved that there are respected industry journalists that are calling out the MLB and Jim Crane for what this is. Billionaire protection. Utilizing fake punishment and public relations to shift blame from those that are in charge.
The Astros, predictably, are also the franchise that had the “I’m so fucking glad we got Osuna!” issue.
These aren’t issues that only happen with employees of an organization. These are issues that are carried out by employees within a culture of an organization. The culture is created from the top by the people they hire and the values they set. Jim Crane shouldn’t be let off the hook. Jeff Passan, in his article (also referenced earlier), states “Either Crane did not know that the business he owns and operates was cheating or he did know and did nothing about it. Neither is good.”
Agreed. Either he’s complicit or he’s lost organizational control.
How about a post season ban
The NCAA, which isn’t immune from cheating by any means, has a punishment that professional organizations should consider: post season bans. No playoffs. No World Series. Imagine handing the Houston Astros a five year post season ban where they lose all of their first and second round draft picks through the duration of the ban, so they can’t tank during this time to get better. I can. This would inflict some pain.
While we’re at it, we might as well institute another NCAA tool that forces institutions to vacate wins and titles for seasons where severe cheating was uncovered. This would be an additional sting to accompany the post season ban. The Astros wouldn’t be able to display their 2017 Word Series flag in their stadium, reference it in any of their materials, or sell merchandise referencing it.
Major League Baseball needs to find the gumption to actually punish its owners. If not, then the MLB is complicit in the cheating that occurs.
This post also applies to the NFL regarding the New England Patriots.
Joey Cora was fired by the Boston Red Sox for his role in sign stealing while a bench coach for the Astros.
Carlos Beltran has been fired by the New York Mets for his role in sign stealing as a member of the Astros.
- LA Times: Dodgers definitely were cheated out of 2017 World Series title by Astros’ sign-stealing
- ESPN: Why anger is boiling behind the scenes about Houston Astros’ sign-stealing punishments
- ESPN: The five biggest victims of the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal
- The Guardian: How the Houston Astros went from champions to a shamed shambles
- ESPN: The history of sign stealing in baseball – video
- Om Malik: Just get paid & our culture of lies
Thank you, Jeremy, for helping me along on getting these tools figured out. Very few things about the web have excited me as much as learning about the IndieWeb work that has been ongoing.
I love biting into a piece of fresh sourdough bread that has a schmear of labneh and some pickled vegetables on it. The texture and flavors are hard to beat. Wanting to have this pleasure more often and being in need of some tactile hobbies I decided to start baking bread. The early results have been good and rewarding.
Thanks to Michelle Felt, Eric Sorensen, and Eric Solveson for talking about the bread that they have made over the years, and for sharing. Also thanks to Michelle for getting me started with some tips and a starter!
Here is to more making, waiting, and learning in 2020 and beyond. And learning to appreciate the process in all that I do.
Growing up as a sports fan in Michigan during the 80s and 90s allowed me to witness a lot of winning and losing via the professional teams in Detroit. The Tigers of the 80s, the Red Wings of the 90s, the Pistons of the 80s and 90s, and, well, the Lions. My favorite players during that time remain my favorite players to this day: Joe Dumars, Steve Yzerman, Barry Sanders, and Lou Whitaker. Each of these players were the best, or nearly the best at what they did in their respective leagues. Three of these players–nothing more Barry could do for the Lions–helped lead their teams to league titles.
What set these players apart from their talented peers for me was how they handled themselves, at least in public. They were quiet leaders. They did the little things to make their teams better. They appreciated the greatness of others. They weren’t boastful or looking for the spot light–they are humble. It is important to note that I don’t have any issues with flashy players. I am, like many, attracted to the highly talented, but yet unassuming athletes, and probably to that type of person in general. There are certainly exceptions on both ends.
No hall, yet, for Whitaker
Dumars, Yzerman, and Sanders are all in their respective sports halls of fame. Whitaker recently came up short again for baseball’s. I think it is a shame. The arguments for enshrining Whitaker seem overwhelming. I thought this was the year he was going to get in. Over the past decade I have been working to not allow sports to have a negative impact on me. For the most part this has been successful. However, I struggled this past month with Whitaker not getting enshrined.
The Detroit Tigers just announced that they are going to retire Whitaker’s jersey this next season. It is long overdue. The Tigers have a history of only retiring the numbers of the players after they have entered the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Tigers know Whitaker’s rightful place and have made a stand.
The next opportunity Whitaker has to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame is in 2022.
Here’s to 2022 for Sweet Lou.
Worth reading: Tigers’ decision to retire Lou Whitaker’s number brings ‘moment of joy’ by Cody Stavenhagen at The Athletic (paywall).
WordCamp Europe, the catalyst for the travel, was held in Berlin this year and kick-offed the EU 2019 trip. Berlin is a large and beautiful city. The architecture, food, public transportation, and shopping were great. The open squares and beer gardens were plentiful—European cities know how to create large social spaces. There was also a lovely smell throughout the city due to the thousands of linden trees that were in bloom.
We stayed in the southern part of Mitte, the central borough of the city. The location was fantastic. It was easy to walk to all of the attractions and food of central Berlin. Our hotel was next to a U2 station, making it super convenient to get to the WCEU venue and to other districts within the city.
The city is extremely bicycle friendly. The bicyclist… lets just say that pedestrians are third in the hierarchy of owning the sidewalks and streets. 1-bicycles 2-cars 3-pedestrians. It was, however, impressive to see how many people ride their bikes as their primary mode of transportation. It is inspirational.
In dealing with its past, the city doesn’t hide the atrocities that happened in and around the area while under control by the Nazi Party. Rather, it is magnified. There are many markers, monuments, and memorials throughout the city to the memory of those that were taken and/or killed. It is a dramatic reminder that people are people and that we need to push back on anyone in power who divides people based on gender, race, religion, etc.
WordCamp Europe 2019 in Berlin confirmed that the feeling I had after my first WordCamp Europe in Belgrade last year wasn’t a fluke – I haven’t been to a more inspiring, caring, inclusive, and thoughtful conference. Or a better conference. I am sure there are others that are great, but there is something about WCEU and I don’t think it is completely due to my rose-colored European vacation glasses.
The venues are well selected. The food has been great. The talks are excellent, and keep getting better!
In addition to the excellent talks I was able to attend, the 80s themed after party that rocked, and contributor day, the biggest takeaway from the event for me were the existing relationships I was able to build on and the new relations that were started. I especially had a good time getting to know a few of the folks at the marketing table during contributor day.
These relationships are what make open source communities so great. They provide support, inspiration, opportunities to collaborate, and accountability.
I am looking forward to attending WCEU 2020 in Porto next year.