Friday, September 30, 2005

Well . . . hmmmm . . . ummmm. Crap.

OR, Oh, I see. Then everything is wrapped up in a neat little package. Really, I mean that. Sorry if it sounded sarcastic.

Initially, I theorized why Jim Bowden would designate Claudio Vargas for assignment. Then, I joined the cacophony of Bodes-ridicule, in part based on the belief that Vargas could have still been optioned to the minors rather than waived. Now, I realize that this belief was incorrect.

In short, there are angles from which to attack the handling and surrender of Vargas---who, for six bright weeks or so, was pitching pretty well for Arizona. For one, you could argue that the Nats hurried Vargas back too quickly and then were forced to dump him when he pitched miserably in May; for another, you could be perplexed that Bowden couldn't swing a single deal for Vargas, for anything in return. But, to get to the "in short" part, it is mistaken, unfounded, and unfair to attack him for botching the MLB transaction rules---or, perhaps worse, to operate in contravention of them.

On this point, Bowden didn't screw up.

Why did we,
in the Natosphere? The key, as it turned out, was something that we didn't know then but do know now: Vargas was on optional assignment with the Marlins in 2001.

Everything flows from there; however, to make sure we're looking at it correctly this time, I'll show the work.

First,
on options:


After three years as a pro, a player must be
protected on a team's 40-man roster, or he is eligible for the Rule 5 draft . . . . Once he's served those three years, and assuming he is added to the 40-man roster, his club then has what are called "options" on him.
When a player is on the 40-man roster but not on the 25-man Major League roster, he is on "optional assignment." One common misconception about the rules is that a player may only be "optioned out" three times. Actually, each player has three option years, and he can be sent up and down as many times as the club chooses within those three seasons.
When you hear that a player is "out of options," that means he's been on the 40-man roster during three different seasons, beginning with his fourth as a pro, and to be sent down again he'll have to clear waivers . . .
Now, to apply that to
Vargas:

---> His first professional season was 1998. (Though he signed with the Florida Marlins in 1995, as a 17 year old.) He barely saw any action, and the first question---one which would contribute to our doom later---is whether that counted as a full "year in the pros" for the purpose of the date on which he needed to be added to the 40-man roster. I guess it did, as we'll see.

---> In 1999, he pitched in the minors, not on the 40-man roster.

---> In 2000, he pitched in the minors, not on the 40-man roster.

---> In 2001, however, he appeared on the
afore-linked March 16 transactions list:


Florida Marlins: Optioned RHPs Hector Almonte and Gary Knotts to AAA-Calgary. Optioned LHP Geoff Goetz, RHP Claudio Vargas, and OF Abraham Nunez to AA-Portland. Optioned RHPs Wes Anderson and Josh Beckett to A-Brevard County. Re-assigned LHPs Benito Baez and Michael Tejera, RHPs Mark Brownson, Brian Edmondson, Gabe Molina, Johnny Ruffin, and Doug Walls, Cs Matt Frick, Mandy Romero, Matt Treanor, and Dusty Wathan, 2B Joe Espada, 3Bs Chris Clapinski and Mike Gulan, SS Derek Wathan, and OF Edgard Clemente to minor-league camp.
(emphasis added)


Well, Frick.

That's our clue that Vargas had been added to the 40-man roster. None of us---the Nats bloggers with egg on our faces now---knew this until
Yuda discovered it today. (And we weren't the only ones surprised.)

Okay, so 2001 is Option Year No. 1. Vargas spent the entire season at Double-A Portland.

---> In 2002, Option Year No. 2, Vargas spent the entire year in the minors.

---> In 2003, Option Year No. 3, Vargas made his big league debut (and actually pitched pretty well for the Expos).

---> In 2004, Option Year No. 4, Vargas again shuttled between the majors and minors, this time burdened by injury.

Wait a minute; Option Year No. 4? How is that possible? Shouldn't he have been exposed to waivers in 2004?

Actually, no. Recall that Vargas was on the 40-man roster in 2001 but did not appear in the big leagues that regular season. In such an event, the player is assigned a fourth option year. Hence, 2004 was indeed Option Year No. 4, and . . .

---> In 2005, Vargas was truly "out of options" (which means we was out of seasons to be placed on "optional assignment"). He started the year in the minors on a rehab assignment, got called up, pitched very poorly, and then gonzo.

The key was Vargas' presence on the 40-man roster in 2001; if his first appearance there had been in 2002, then under the exception provided above, 2005 would have been the legitimate Option Year No. 4. Remember, he didn't pitch in the majors in 2002, either.

But, instead, Vargas had used up his option years by the start of '05. We---myself included, obviously---didn't know this. Perhaps we should have assumed better about Jim Bowden. Regardless, mea culpa, Bodes.

Comments:
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Many people try to achieve goals. Most fail. Some strive, work hard and plan for all the details yet they achieve little or nothing at all. Others strive, work hard, plan and achieve huge success. Yet there are a few individuals who do little else than take small steps and seem to achieve a great deal with what seems like effortlessness. What is the difference between these people and which one would you like to be?
Most members of the human race fall into two categories - those who live in the past and those who live in the future. Most live in the past. Many of these are the people who achieve very little in their lives and are so fearful of the future that they dare not strike out to get anything. They are the under-achievers who hang onto bad episodes in their lives and either relive them time and again or look at new situations as similar potentialities. They say things like "all men are deceivers" or "all women are interested in is money" or "I can't do it. I tried before and it didn't work so why bother!". Due to bad experiences in the past they believe that all future events will turn out the same way if they dare to go after what they want.
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However, there is a third type of person who almost goes unnoticed. They are the person who takes life in its stride and yet achieve most of what they want. I am sure you know of such a person in your life that just seems to saunter through life and yet they always come out on top. Or a person who you hear of that has decided to open a shop. You meet them a few months later and they have three shops all doing well! So what makes these people so successful and if they aren't living in the past and aren't living in the future where are they living?
I suppose you guessed it! Whether they are consciously aware of it or not they are living in the present. It is in the 'living' present that we have our greatest power. Everything happens in the present. You live your entire life there - even if your mind does not!
By becoming more aware of the present and by 'accepting' it as it is we are much more in control of our emotions and focus. When we live in the past we are fearful of making bad choices and/or getting hurt. We do not wish to recreate the past again! When we live in the future we can also be fearful of what might happen. But even if your future vision is full of power and worthy of working towards many people can, and often do, get stuck there. By constantly reaching for bigger and better goals they fail to enjoy what they have in the moment.
If you wish to start living a life that is almost effortless begin first by living in the present. Accept your situation the way it is and then you can enjoy what you have. Your focus changes from a memory of what was or a vision of what might be to a realization of what is. You become much more empowered to then see the beauty of life and also look at where you wish to make changes. But to make changes you must first accept the situation as it is. Trying to escape from your present only increases your focus on your problems by creating resistance to what is. Accept your life as it is now. Make no judgement, just accept it and then you will be free of doubt, worry, pain and fear. For you only experience these things when you live outside the 'moment'. lucid dreaming
 
What are your 50,000 thoughts a day creating?

Our thoughts create our reality. This is a simple truth known by all people involved on the spiritual path. It is one of the most taught universal principles in the personal development field. Yet it is one of the most misunderstood!

People practice visualisation, affirmations, they use hypnosis, subliminal programming or countless other tools to transform their lives. However they fail to recognise one key area in their lives that hinder these wonderful techniques from being effective.

They sit day after day visualising their perfect scene and yet nothing happens. Why? They have followed all the instructions to the letter! They have chanted and imagined! They have formed a colourful, vibrant scene in their minds and affirmed that this is their reality. Then all of a sudden things get worse! What is going on?

Would you like to know the secret? Would you like to know why these people get no results? Would you like to hear one powerful statement that explains everything?

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You can control the thoughts that enter your mind by changing the way you view the world. You can decide which thoughts you give energy to and which thoughts you discard.

The thoughts that you follow and give energy to become more dominant than the thoughts you discard. Your subconscious mind records these as your dominant picture on the issue at hand. You then move towards this picture because your subconscious mind starts making your outside world reflect the picture that you have stored internally.
Your mind should be on whatever you want. The picture you need to have is a positive vision of you already having achieved your goal. To realise this vision you need to focus and concentrate. Remember thoughts are real, they create your reality.
Let's say you have been visualising a new house. You spend your ten minutes in meditation picturing yourself living in your dream home. You finish your session and get up feeling positive that you will achieve your goal. Then during the day you get a heating bill through the post and exclaim "Oh no look how expensive this is I cannot afford to heat this house". Where is your focus in the present moment? What are you affirming? You are telling your subconscious mind that you cannot deal with what you have. You are affirming that your life is not how you want it to be. If you knew without doubt that within a week you would be moving to your new home would you honestly be worried about a heating bill? Perhaps other doubts creep in like "I should be happy with what I have", or "I will never get this house looking the way I want it" and so on and so on.
These thoughts that are not aligned with your goal. You are not giving complete attention to what you want. Whilst you are dealing with these other lines of thought your attention is not on your goal.
If you are aware of your thoughts you will suddenly realise that you have spent much more energy on counter productive thoughts than on creating a dominant picture of the goal you want.
Point your focus in the direction of you're the life you want. Think about what you want NOT what you don't want. It's that simple.

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Can you use hypnosis and self hypnosis to improve your health?

Well in 1958 the American Psychological Association, the American Medical Association and The British Medical Association concluded that hypnosis was indeed a viable therapeutic tool and approved its medical use.

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Olympic athletes, footballers, basketball layers, golfers etc., have known about the power of the mind for some decades now (perhaps the elite knew even further back). It has been shown in medical studies that when you visualise yourself performing a task your muscles respond in exactly the same way as they would if you were actually doing the task. Sports psychologist have used this to their, and their clients, advantage for years now.

The power of the mind is becoming more evident to the medical establishment as well. Everyone knows about the beneficial effects of using a placebo. It seems that if the mind is convinced that something is true then it will make it true even if the situation appears to be the exact of opposite in the 'real world'!

It seems that the quickest way to get the mind to accept a new belief is through hypnosis and self hypnosis. Phobias can be eliminated in one session now and new beliefs planted in the same aount of time.
The use of hypnosis as a weight-loss tool is well written about as its effectiveness in quitting smoking! It has been used very effectively in non-surgical breast enhancement and treating erectile dysfunction. So it is not very hard to believe that it could be used to convince the mind that health is abundant or that a particular unhealthy situation is reversing itself.

Once the mind becomes convinced that an unhealthy situation no longer exists and that health is abundant then just like the visualiser who makes his/her muscles respond to a mental image the person in discomfort or dis-ease can make his/her body begin to repair itself. Makes sense right!
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We all know the effects (and after-effects) of beer. But lifting a glass of cool liquid to your mouth on a scorching hot day, have you ever stopped to consider the processes and ingredients involved in making it? Well maybe not but here is the answer anyway!

Simply, beer is a fermented combination of water, barley, yeast and hops. The major variation in any beer is the type of yeast used in the fermentation process.

Let's look at the properties of this beverage.
Water is the main ingredient of beer. In the past, the purity of the water influenced the final result and was specific to the region of the earth from which it came. Today, water is filtered of these impurities, although pure water supplies are still ideally preferred by elite brewers.

Barley malt is an extremely important ingredient in beer as it is the main source of fermentable sugar. Many new breweries use barley malt extract, in either syrup or powder form, as this form ferments much quicker. It also contains many minerals and vitamins that help the yeast to grow.

Without yeast, beer would not exist. Yeast is a unique single cell organism that eats sugar and expels alcohol and carbon dioxide, two of the more recognizable ingredients of beer. Yeast comes in several variations, of which there are two major categories that determine the type of beer produced; Ale yeast and Lager yeast. If yeast alone were used the beer would be extremely sweet and therefore another ingredient needs to be added to reach the final product.

Hops are the flowers of the hop plant, a climbing vine plant that grows well in many differing climates. Hops contain acids which add bitterness to beer. Adding bitterness to beer helps to balance the sweetness, as well as acting as a natural preservative. Add more hops to the mixture and you will get a more bitter taste. This kind of beer is extremely popular in Britian and is simply referred to as "Bitter" (the original names are always the best!).

Variations of these ingredients create different tasting beers as well as having an affect on the alcoholic content.
When making your own beer many good resources are available which provide home brewing kits. It is important to read the ingredients of the packets in order to ascertain which has the best mixture according to your needs. One quick tip which many home brewers fail to adhere to is this: "Use fresh still water"!

Many have often sought information on how to make beer and the basic homebrewing equipment is not very expensive you can get what you need, for as little as $100.
In order to start making beer, you will need the following: A brewpot, Primary fermenter, Airlock and stopper, Bottling bucket, Bottles, Bottle brush, Bottle capper, and a thermometer.
In addition you can even use items from your kitchen to aid in the beer making. A breakdown of all the equipment is as follows: Brewpot A brewpot is made of stainless steel or enamel-coated metal which has at least 15 litre capacity, but it's no good if it's made of aluminum or if it's a chipped enamelized pot, (these will make the beer taste funny). The brew pot is used to boil the ingredients thus begins the first stage of beer making.

Primary fermenter

The primary fermenter is where the beer begins to ferment and become that fabulous stuff that makes you so funny and charming. The primary fermenter must have a minimum capacity of 26 litres and an air tight seal it must also accommodate the airlock and rubber stopper. Make sure the one you buy is made of food-grade plastic, as it wont allow the bad stuff in or let the good stuff out.

Airlock and stopper

The airlock is a handy gadget which allows carbon dioxide to escape from your primary fermenter during fermentation, it is this process that keeps it from exploding, but it doesn't allow any of the bad air from outside to enter. It fits into a rubber stopper, and is placed into the top of your primary fermenter. The stoppers are numbered according to size, so make sure you use the correct stopper for the correct hole

Plastic hose

This is a food grade plastic hose which measures approximately 5 feet in length. It is needed to transfer the beer from system to system, and it is imperitive that it is kept clean and free from damage or clogs

Bottling bucket

This is a large, food-grade plastic bucket with a tap for drawing water at the bottom, it needs to be as big as your primary fermenter, because you need the capacity to pour all the liquid from your primary fermenter into a bottling bucket prior to bottling up.

Bottles

After fermentation, you place the beer in bottles for secondary fermentation and storage. You need enough bottles to hold all the beer you're going to make, the best kind of bottles are solid glass ones with smooth tops (not the twist-off kind) that will accept a cap from a bottle capper. You can use plastic ones with screw-on lids, but they arent as good for fermentation and dont look as well.

Whether you use glass or plastic bottles, make sure they are dark-colored. Light damages beer, i would recommend green or brown bottles.

Bottle brush

This is a thin, curvy brush which is used to clean bottles because of the the shape of the brush it makes it very affective at getting the bottle spotless. We haven't even gotten into how clean everything has to be, but we will, and the bottle brush is a specialized bit of cleaning equipment that you will require in order to maintain your bottle kit.

Bottle capper

If you take buy glass bottles, you will need some sort of bottle capper and caps, of course, and you can buy them from any brewing supplies store. The best sort of bottle capper is one which can be affixed to a surface and worked with one hand while you hold the bottle with the other.

Thermometer

This is a thermometer which can be stuck to the side of your fermenter, they are just thin strips of plastic which are self adhesive, and can be found in any brewing supplies store, or from a pet shop or aquarium. Not everything costs money though even some household equipment can be used.

Household items

In addition to the above specialized equipment, you will need the following household items:
* Small bowl
* Saucepan
* Rubber spatula
* Oven mitts/pot handlers
* Big mixing spoon (stainless steel or plastic)
So there you have the ingredients and the method to make your home brew, all you need now is to get yourself a beer making kit and your on the way to beer heaven.
Bar equipment
 
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