Friday, October 31, 2014

What makes someone a legend in sports?

In the wake of Madison Bumgarner's legendary 2014 post season, this gif went around the web (original link)

It actually got me thinking about the question of what makes a player legendary and memorable.

Obviously, Madison Bumgarner and Clayton Kershaw's careers are far from over.  But when you look at their careers so far, what you see is.

Madison Bumgarner, 2 time All Star, 3 time World Series champion, 1 time NLCS MVP, 1 time World Series MVP

Clayton Kershaw, 4 time All star, 2 3 time Cy Young winner, and possibly 1 time MVP after 2014.

So who will be more remembered assuming nothing particular special happens to both players for the rest of their careers?

So what makes a legend?  I think it's a combination of many things, such as:
  • Are you a Hall of Famer?
  • Are you an award winner?  Multiple time award winner?
  • Do you hold any records?
  • Do you have any defining career moments? (e.g. perfect game, no hitters)
  • Do you have any defining career totals? (e.g. 3000 hits, 300 wins, etc.)
  • Do you have any post season accomplishments?
Without multiple of these, it's hard for people to remember you over time.

Lets take the example of Bob Gibson.
  • Hall of Famer
  • 2 x Cy Young winner
  • MVP winner
  • Legendary World Series Performance - 1967, 3-0, 3 CG, 1.00 ERA
  • World Series Records - 1968, 17K in one game
  • Legendary / Record Holding Regular Season - 1968 w/ 1.12 ERA
  • 1 career no hitter
My subjective belief is Gibson is known most for that 1.12 ERA in 1968 and the dual Cy Young/MVP award that year.  It's just brought up way to many times in discussions and conversation.  But the combination of all of the above keeps him known in the public eye and remembered for a long time.  Gibson only lacks a few of the "defining" career totals, such as 300 wins.

As a comparison, take Jack Morris, who even has more career wins than Bob Gibson.  With only his World Series legend in 1991, it's not quite enough to keep him well known in the public eye beyond the most serious baseball fans.

So I was trying to think of a pitcher who was a Hall of Famer but didn't quite have all of the other accomplishments such as Bob Gibson, so perhaps wasn't quite as well known in the public.  It didn't take me long when I looked at recent Hall of Fame inductions ... Bert Blyleven.
  • Hall of Famer
  • No Cy Young Awards, no MVP
  • Only 2 All Star appearances
  • Didn't crack 300 win barrier
  • Good post season performances, but nothing particularly legendary
  • 1 career no-hitter

So who will be more of the legend by the time their career is over?  Bumgarner or Kershaw?  We'll wait and see.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Madison Bumgarner 2014 World Series Performance Comparison

Madison Bumgarner's World Series performance in 2014 was epic.

2-0, 1 SV, 0.43 ERA, 21 IP, 17K, 1BB

Included in that was a 5 inning save in game 7 on 2 days rest.

There are two other World Series performances in my life that I recall being as epic, one was Orel Hershiser's in 1988.

2-0, 1.00 ERA, 18 IP, 17K, 6BB

Not quite as epic as Bumgarner's.  Of course, with the Dodgers beating up the A's in just 5 games, there was no opportunity for Orel to have heroics later in the series.

The performance I most compare Bumgarner's to was the duel performance of Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson in 2001.

Curt Schilling, 1-0, 1.69 ERA, 21.2 IP, 26K, 2BB

Randy Johnson, 3-0, 1.04 ERA, 17.1 IP, 19K, 3BB

From the absolute numbers, it looks like Bumgarner has the edge on both of these guys, but I think some of it has to be looked at relative to the era.

In 2001, Schilling and Johnson were pitching against the New York Yankees in the World Series.  It was the 5th World Series the Yankees had been to in 6 years and they were looking for their 5th World Series title in their late 1990s/early 2000s dynasty.

In addition, this was around the peak of the steroids era in baseball.  The 2014 Royals scored 651 runs, good for 9th amongst American League teams.  They hit 95 home runs, good for dead last in Major League baseball.

In 2001, the Yankees scored 804 runs.  Good for only 5th place in the American League in 2001.  By comparison, the Anaheim Angels lead the American League in runs in 2014 with only 773 runs.  That Yankees team also blasted 203 home runs.

It could just be me, but I think holding that Yankees offense to so little in that era was a little more special in my eyes.  Especially when you add in the fact that Randy Johnson won his third game on ZERO days rest.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Dinner @ Commis in Oakland, CA

I recently had the opportunity to have dinner @ Commis in Oakland, CA.  It currently has a 1 Michelin star rating.  They only offer a single tasting menu.  The waiter did say alternate courses were available for those with allergies or are vegetarian.   Here was the dinner.

1) caramelized onion financier w/ bee pollen, buckwheat oyster cracker with lovage and herbs

First the amuse course, which was two small hors 'doeuvre tastings.  The oyster cracker was particularly tasty.  I didn't know what lovage was, but it was a herb of some sort.

Then we got two sashimi like courses.

2) black bream with radish and salsify, potato water with kaffir lime

This was really good.  I had never heard of "potato water", which I later learned is basically potato broth.  Combined with the fish it was a really interesting and good flavor.

3) brined scallop with kohlrabi and frozen sorrel

The scallops were delicious and a little sweet.  I didn't like it with the frozen sorrel though.  I've never had a dish with something "ice" like in the dish, and I felt that it was just too cold for my taste buds.  The "ice" like texture didn't match texture wise with the scallops either.

4) autumn carrots & parsnips, dried apricots steeped with marigold petals

When we got this dish, there was a part of me that thought, "Huh? Carrots?".  Not exactly the fanciest ingredient for a 1 Michelin star tatsing menu.  But it ended up being delicious.

5) smoked trout roe with herbal yogurt, malt vinegar with warm jerusalem artichoke

I think this was the best dish of the night.  The contrasting textures of roe, (what I assume to be) potato chips (not listed in the description), and the yogurt/artichoke/malt vinegar broth/soup was really tasty.

6) red snapper, fennel and cabbage, pear juice with lemon verbena, duck fat

This dish would have been delicious, but the snapper was cooked in a way I've never seen before.  Basically half of it was cooked and the other half was raw.  For me, it didn't quite work out.  I think it'd be better if it was one or the other.  The broth and cabbage were really good though.

7) tisane of button mushrooms

If you've read my blog before, you know I hate mushrooms.  However, this was pretty tasty.  I primarily hate the texture of mushrooms, having only the flavor in this tea/broth was good.

8) grilled guinea hen w/ marjoram, toasted millet and lamb's quarters greens

I had never had guinea hen before, so this was new.  Nothing to say other than it was good.

9) sweet onion pie w/ goat and sheep's milke cheese

My assumption was this was another palate cleanser, quite tasty.

10) asian pear sorbet w/ almonds and honey cream

I'm a big fan of sorbet and asian pear sorbet was something I'd never had before.  Delicious.

11) namelaka of roasted pumpkin with white chocolate, walnut, and sweet milk

An interesting dessert, using pumpkin for the flavoring.  It was good, although somewhat of a let down after the sorbet before it.  I thought it was interesting the ice cream was just "sweet milk" flavored, not a stronger flavor.  I guess a stronger flavor would have knocked out the pumpkin.  I had to look up what "namelaka" was, but it's a technique used to create a creamy dessert.

12) mignardise

And these were the mignardise that followed.

Overall, a wonderful meal.  There were a lot of new and interesting things here.  A few were hits and some were misses, but I can accept that as part of the tasting.  I remember at Saison in San Francisco, one course was amberjack sashimi.  I disliked that course at Saison.  While I'm not a huge fan of sashimi, what I was disappointed about with that course was that it was only sashmi.  I really liked the sea bream course at the beginning with potato water, that extra bit added something different and interesting to the meal.

The portions were a tad tiny.  If the bread had not been brought out, I'm pretty sure I would have left the restaurant not-full.  I left the restaurant satisfied.  I don't need a ton of food to feel full, so please take this with a grain of salt depending on the amount of food you're looking for in a meal like this.

I've asked this question on Quora before but I always wonder how restaurants count courses.  On Commis's website, they say they serve an 8 course menu.  When we arrived at the restaurant the waiter said that it was a 7 course tasting menu for the evening.

However, as you count up the plates above, it's clearly 12 tastings of food.  I assume the financier/oyster cracker, tisane, onion pie, and mignardise are not counted in the courses.  However, that left me confused as to what other dish was not considered a course.  Perhaps the sorbet was supposed to be a palate cleanser too?  Or perhaps our waiter just misspoke.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Clearing DHCP leases on Ubuntu (14.04 Trusty Tahr)

Got a new router from my provider today.  All my other wireless devices (tablet, printer, etc.) connected up fine to the new router, but for some reason my Ubuntu laptop wouldn't.

When I plugged in an ethernet cable, everything was fine, DHCP was working fine.

Eventually a noticed that for some reason the DHCP lease for the Wifi was not clearing and I was getting an old IP address.

Eventually via some simple Google searches learned that you should clear old DHCP leases in /var/lib/dhcp.

But for some reason that wasn't working ... what else was I missing?

After some trial and error, the key was also clearing the leases stored in /var/lib/NetworkManager.

Hopefully this proves useful for someone out there in the Internet.  I'm sure there are some pretty GUI based ways to do this, but I'm not a GUI person and was unaware of how to do it that way.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Don't Be A Rude Customer

Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, a chef recently got a lot of press for walking out of his restaurant.  You can read more here:

Short story, he posted a sign in his restaurant that read:

"So ... Yes we use MSG.
  So ... We don't believe in organic food.
  And ... don't give a shit about gluten free"

What blew me away was quote in this article:

"The second guy came up to me and said, 'The rule is, if we don't like it we don't have to pay.' And as he walked out he started cursing at me and that's when I went poof,"
I don't know about other people, but this is mind blowing to me.  If you're not happy with a dish, I think it's fair to inform the staff and let them know, but to just refuse to pay is just being a dick about things.

I recalled this talk from David Kinch.  David Kinch is the head chef at a restaurant called Manresa.  It's a two star Michelin restaurant and ranked amongst the top 100 restaurants in the world.  At the 19 minute mark Kinch talks about picky eaters at his restaurant.

Short story, is despite Kinch being amongst the top 100 chefs in the world, people come to his restaurant and demand dishes completely randomly different than what he believes is best for that day.  In the video, he speaks to the fact that he understands and respects those with allergies, as those can kill you.  However, he gets such random requests, vegan, vegans with nut allergies, no shellfish, no red meat (except squab), etc.

For me, I find this sort of mind boggling.  Going to one of the top 100 restaurants in the world, I want to experience what the chef considers to be his masterpieces.  I don't want to go there and begin demanding random food.  I can go to a la carte restaurants and do that.  In fact, I can cook whatever I want.  I specifically go to restaurants to get what professional chefs think is good and what they can do better than me.

And ultimately, that is my feeling with all of this.  There are so many restaurants in the bay area that serve all sorts of meals to meet all dietary restrictions.  Why would go to a restaurant and complain that they do not specifically serve the dish that you desire.

Update 10/10/14:

On the heels of writing this blog post, I heard of this insane story here.  A restaurant that actively states on Yelp and other websites that it doesn't do takeout got a 1/5 review from a customer for ... you can guess it, refusing to give them an order for take out.