Friday, July 10, 2009

Two pitchers won this week without throwing a pitch

Two MLB pitchers won games this week without throwing a single pitch.

Alan Embree won Wednesday for the Rockies when he came into the game in the top of the eighth inning with two out and a man on base. He picked off the runner for the third out, without throwing a pitch. The Rockies scored a single run in the bottom of the eighth (giving Embree the win) and Huston Street came in for the Rockies in the ninth and got a save.

Pirates right-hander Joel Hanrahan won without even being at the game. In fact, he won without even playing for the winning team. He was the pitcher of record on May 5 when the game between the Nationals (who Hanrahan played for back then) and Astros at Nationals Park was halted because of rain in the bottom of the 11th inning. Hanrahan was traded to the Pirates on June 30th. The game finally resumed Thursday with Washington winning, 11-10, in 11 innings.

I love this kind of baseball trivia. (Though that's not why I love baseball.)

(Note the Hanrahan article doesn't say if a pitcher has ever won a resumed game without being there before. But the Embree article says the last time a pitcher earned a win was surprisingly as recent as 2003. But that's the only other time this feat has been recorded.)

Friday, July 3, 2009

Children of the Mind

The feature in iPhone 3.0 that resulted in the biggest change in my life is the little "1X" button when playing podcasts (and audiobooks) that switches to "2X" when pressed, enabling the audio to play back at "double speed". (The pitch is adjusted so there is no "Alvin and the Chipmunks" effect.)

I've found I enjoy listening to most of the long list of podcasts I download in iTunes just as much at 2X. (I've heard Leo Laporte say that some study has shown that retention is higher when listening to audiobooks in this fast mode. Perhaps he was referring to this.) That has resulted in quite a bit more time to listen to audiobooks. So the conclusion of this long-winded introduction is that after only getting through about a quarter of Children of the Mind in five weeks, I got through the rest of it in less than a single week.

I blogged about finishing Xenocide and starting Children of the Mind in "Xenocide". I wrote then that my expectations for Children of the Mind were raised after enjoying Xenocide more than I expected. Unfortunately Children of the Mind continued the streak of Orson Scott Card novels "proving" my thesis in "The tyranny of high expectations".

Unlike Xenocide, there wasn't much interesting science in Children of the Mind (and that's probably what I look for the most in an SF novel). Again, there wasn't much action. [SPOILER WARNING] I was more interested than I might have predicted in the fate of Peter and Wang-Mu (and Jane and Ender), but I found the characters agonizing over each other's fate tiring. And the mystery of the nature of the creators of the Descolada virus is never revealed.

In an afterward to the audiobook written and narrated by Orson Scott Card himself—I believe each of the audiobooks in the Ender's Game series have such an afterward—states that he intends to someday write one more book in this series. Children of the Mind was not so disappointing that I won't want to read that when it comes out. But if the future me reads this blog post first, I advise me not to re-read Children of the Mind before that.