December 12, 2008

My Top Albums for 2008

Okay, let me start this list by saying that 2008 was one of the best years for music that I've ever seen. I had an incredibly hard time picking the albums that would be cut from this list. There are a number of albums that could have made this list, and I'm very sorry that I couldn't put them all on here.

As it is, I had to expand my list this year to a Top 15. The reason for this is because 10th place on the list is basically a six-way tie. I'm also listing ten honorable mentions, which is much more than usual. Those are just two of the signs of how good this year in music was.

With that said, I now give you - My Top 15 Albums for 2008!

15. Twilight of the Thunder God by Amon Amarth

Recommended Songs:
#1 Twilight of the Thunder God
#2 Free Will Sacrifice
#7 No Fear for the Setting Sun
#9 Live for the Kill

14. The American Dream by Walls of Jericho

Recommended Songs:
#3 The American Dream
#4 Feeding Frenzy
#6 Famous Last Words
#10 Standing on Paper Stilts

13. Architect of Lies by Mercenary

Recommended Songs:
#1 New Desire
#2 Bloodsong
#3 Embrace the Nothing
#8 Execution Style

12. The Premonition by Firewind

Recommended Songs:
#1 Into the Fire
#2 Head Up High
#4 Angels Forgive Me
#5 Remembered

11. Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder by Cradle of Filth

Recommended Songs:
#2 Shat Out of Hell
#4 The 13th Caesar
#8 Honey and Sulphur
#12 Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder

10. The Incurable Tragedy by Into Eternity

Recommended Songs:
#2 Tides of Blood
#5 Diagnosis Terminal
#10 A Black Light Ending
#11 One Funeral Hymn for the Three

9. N by Norther

Recommended Songs:
#1 My Antichrist
#2 Frozen Angel
#4 To Hell
#7 We Rock

8. Total Brutal by Austrian Death Machine

Recommended Songs:
#2 Get to the Choppa
#13 Screw You (Benny)
#15 If It Bleeds, We Can Kill It
#16 It's Not a Tumor

7. The Cancer Empire by Zonaria

Recommended Songs:
#1 Slaughter is Passion
#2 Praise the Eradication
#4 Contra Mundum
#7 From the Abysmal Womb

6. Iconoclast (Part 1: The Final Resistance) by Heaven Shall Burn

Recommended Songs:
#2 Endzeit
#4 Murderers of All Murderers
#9 Black Tears
#10 The Bombs of My Saviours

5. Stormchaser by Light This City

Recommended Songs:
#3 The Anhedonia Epidemic
#4 Beginning With Release
#5 Firehaven
#6 The Collector. Part 1: Muse

4. Watershed by Opeth

Recommended Songs:
#2 Heir Apparent
#3 The Lotus Eater
#6 Hessian Peel
#7 Hex Omega

3. The March by Unearth

Recommended Songs:
#1 My Will Be Done
#2 Hail the Shrine
#3 Crow Killer
#4 Grave of Opportunity

2. For the Revolution by Kalmah

Recommended Songs:
#1 For the Revolution
#3 Holy Symphony of War
#6 Towards the Sky
#7 Outremer

1. Holographic Universe by Scar Symmetry

Recommended Songs:
#3 Quantumleaper
#6 Ghost Prototype I (Measurement of Thought)
#8 Trapezoid
#9 Prism and Gate

Honorable Mentions:
Blooddrunk by Children of Bodom
obZen by Meshuggah
Love and Other Disasters by Sonic Syndicate
Indestructible by Disturbed
Armamentarium by Neaera
The Formation of Damnation by Testament
Murder the Dance by Bleed the Sky
The Way of All Flesh by Gojira
Oblivion Beckons by Byzantine
Kolossus by Keep of Kalessin

November 26, 2008

Yes, this is an absolute necessity

Okay, so as many of you know, I am a huge fan of Demon Hunter. What some of you may not know is that, in the three years that I have been a fan of theirs, I have never seen them live. What still less of you probably know is that, in that three year period, they have only participated in two US tours, and on both of those tours, the closest they've ever come to me is Philly.

Now, I have been watching the clips that the band has been posting on MTV from their forthcoming DVD, "45 Days," and after seeing these clips, I have come to this conclusion: I absolutely, positively, unequivocably, HAVE to see Demon Hunter live at least once. There is no debate about this. If, for some reason, I am never able to see them live, or even worse, they break up before I can see them live, I will regret it for my entire life, I promise you that.

The corollary to this conclusion is that, the next time they tour, I am going to see them, and I don't care what I have to do to get to see them. If I have to drive two hours to Philly to see them, I will. If I have to drive three hours to Baltimore, I will. If I have to drive five hours to Buffalo, I will. Bottom line - I am going to see them live on the next tour, and that is a promise.

If you're interested in helping me attend whatever show I go to, or if you are just interested in also going to the show, please inform me. Help and support are always appreciated.

November 5, 2008

This is just easier - Final List for Consideration

The top albums list for 2008 has been modified enough. I have narrowed my choices to these:

Total Brutal by Austrian Death Machine - Still is epic as fuck, and will remain so. Guaranteed a spot on the list.
Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder by Cradle of Filth - Easily the most evil release from Cradle of Filth in their entire career. Is the music different? Yes. But the whole package is just pure evil.
The Premonition by Firewind - The best power metal album of the year, hands down. Gus G. is practically untouchable as a guitarist.
Iconoclast (Part 1: The Final Resistance) by Heaven Shall Burn - The very definition of German excellence. Heaven Shall Burn are now the best German metal band out, PERIOD.
For the Revolution by Kalmah - The best album to come out of Finland this year. Guaranteed a spot of the list.
Kolossus by Keep of Kalessin - One of the best genre-bending albums released in recent memory. Black metal and power metal combine to form the most intense wall of sound you'll ever hear.
Stormchaser by Light This City - The perfect swansong for a band that died before its time, complete with guest appearances that wow even the most ardent metal purists.
Architect of Lies by Mercenary - At the pinnacle of their career, Mercenary released this masterpiece. The sound that this band achieves is 100% unique, and they've perfected it now.
N by Norther - I forgot how catchy and intense this album was until it came back up on my iPod recently. I've fallen in love with it all over again.
Watershed by Opeth - Without doubt, there is no band that is as good at songwriting as Opeth. This is guaranteed a spot on the list.
Holographic Universe by Scar Symmetry - My #1 predicted pick for Album of the Year even before it came out. It did not disappoint. Guaranteed the top spot on the list.
Love and Other Disasters by Sonic Syndicate - This band has one of the widest ranges of appeal that I've ever seen, and they've mastered their sound quite nicely.
The March by Unearth - This album blows me away every time I listen to it, because I can hear every element of Unearth's sound represented beautifully. Guaranteed a spot on the list.
The American Dream by Walls of Jericho - The best hardcore release of recent memory. How is Candace Kucsulain able to scream so ridiculously well, and yet is also able to sing like an angel?
The Cancer Empire by Zonaria - There is no other release this year that has a better balance of melody and brutality than this album. If melody and brutality were blocks that you could weigh, this album would be at perfect equilibrium on the scale.

I have two months to finalize my choices and put them in order. Wish me luck.

October 12, 2008

DJ Shift Time Changed

My DJ shift has been moved from Friday mornings to Tuesday mornings. Take due note.

The time is the same - 6 to 10 AM.

Listen in!!!!!!

October 11, 2008

Second round of cuts, and more adds

In the week and a half since my last round of cuts, I've gotten a little more definitive about some more albums. Here's my second set of cuts and adds:

Float by Flogging Molly - I've been listening to a lot more punk recently, and I've started to let other styles grow on me a little more. Yes, this album is great, but it's not really Top 10 material in my book.
The Dream by In This Moment - This is a disappointing sophomore album, in my opinion. In This Moment had so much ferocity on their debut, but they've reduced themselves to a hard rock act on this album. I understand the reasons for it, and I like this album as a rock album. But in my book, it doesn't hold a candle to Beautiful Tragedy.
Death Magnetic by Metallica - I gave it the due consideration it deserves. I was not impressed. It's decent, but they're trying too hard to restore themselves to the glory days, and it's just not going to happen.
Night Eternal by Moonspell - It's grown somewhat stale after a few more listens. I like it, but it lost some of the punch it had the first time around.
The Redshift by Omnium Gatherum - Another album that lost some of its punch. Yes, it's great, and I'm glad that they've gotten their sound fine-tuned. But it's not Top 10 material.
All Hope is Gone by Slipknot - The first time through this album was mind-blowing. By the time I got to the fourth, I was considerably more jaded. The best albums shouldn't have that happening.
Conquer by Soulfly - The guest artists make this record, but a band should be able to stand on its own and still be great. Soulfly is not demonstrating that here.

Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder by Cradle of Filth - This album is terrifying on first listen. I do not know how Dani Filth comes up with such evil lyrical content, but when combined with his demonic screams, it's downright scary to behold.
The Way of All Flesh by Gojira - Anyone who didn't like Gojira before will love them now. Anyone who did love Gojira before will love them even more now. This album is a masterful piece of progressive metal.
Hammer Battalion by Unleashed - This album came out of nowhere and just bashed my head in. I had no idea there was another band as heavy as Amon Amarth out there, but Unleashed are that band, and this album is quite impressive.
The Cancer Empire by Zonaria - I really do like this album a lot, and I am impressed that Zonaria was able to avoid the trap of becoming a generic-sounding melodic death metal band. They added some good black metal elements to their sound, and it gives them some good diversity.

More cuts (and possibly adds) to come soon.

September 30, 2008

First round of cuts, and some adds!

It's been a week since I posted the list of albums that I was considering for my top albums of 2008. I've done some refining to the list since then. Here are the albums that are being cut from the list:

Continent by The Acacia Strain - Yes, this album is a big improvement lyrically. Musically, though, its very similar to their previous albums. And although I like their previous albums, it's not mind-blowingly good.
Declaration by Bleeding Through - Again, not a lot of variation from their previous albums musically. I suspect Jona Weinhoffen did not give a lot of input into the writing of this album - otherwise it would have sounded more like I Killed the Prom Queen, which would have been much better.
Ultra Beatdown by Dragonforce - What was I thinking here? Sure, it's a good album, but there is so much more power metal out there that is better!
Versus by The Haunted - I listened to rEVOLVEr the other day, and I realized why I first got into this band. The new album doesn't do for me what rEVOLVEr did for me.
Chapter VII: Hope and Sorrow by Sevendust - It's really unfortunate that I'm cutting this, because I had hoped that this album would grow on me over time. But it didn't, sadly. It just lacks the pure balls of Next and Alpha, which is a bit of a letdown for me.

And now, some adds to the list, both of which are not even out yet:
Stormchaser by Light This City - I've only heard two tracks from this album, but I can already tell that this album will end the band's career on a high note. It's very sad that they're breaking up, because I hear so much potential for this band in the songs I've heard.
The March by Unearth - The three songs I've heard so far prove that what Trevor Phipps and Derek Kerswill told me is true: Unearth have fused the pure metal of The Oncoming Storm with the thrash elements of III: In the Eyes of Fire to form a towering, brutal sound that features the most technical elements in metalcore today.

Keep an eye out for more cuts, and possibly more adds, in the coming weeks!

September 24, 2008

Tough Choices....the best of 2008?

The end of the year is coming up, and that means I have to start picking albums for my Top 10 Albums of 2008 list. I can already tell you right now, that this year's list is going to be one of the toughest I have ever made. I already know my Album of the Year - which is Holographic Universe by Scar Symmetry - but beyond that, I don't know much else.

Here is the current set of albums that I'm considering for the list, and why I like them so much:
In the Shadow of a Thousand Suns by Abigail Williams - Masterful melodic black metal, especially for a debut album from a band that broke up for two years after releasing one EP.
Continent by The Acacia Strain - Finally, this band has branched out lyrically and maximized their potential!
Overcome by All That Remains - Once again, Phil and ATR have proven that they are one of the most diverse, brutal, and skillful bands to come out of the Massachusetts scene.
Twilight of the Thunder God by Amon Amarth - Viking metal at its finest. There is simply nobody better in the genre.
We Are the Nightmare by Arsis - James Malone finally has a band behind him that can match his genius with equally good musicianship.
Total Brutal by Austrian Death Machine - I don't care what anyone else says, because this album is EPIC AS FUCK!
Murder the Dance by Bleed the Sky - Metalcore with groove influences that catches your ear and rips it right off your head.
Declaration by Bleeding Through - Another band that excelled by doing away with old lyrical models and expanding their territory. The band was nearly unable to put this record out, but now that it is out, everyone will agree that it was well worth the struggle.
The Fathomless Mastery by Bloodbath - I don't know what the spleen does, but I need a new one, because this album ripped mine out when I listened to it.
Oblivion Beckons by Byzantine - This band should not have broken up, because this album sets a new standard in groove metal. Masterful balance between songwriting technique and sheer fierceness.
Inflikted by Cavalera Conspiracy - The triumphant return of the Cavalera brothers mixes the best parts of old Sepultura and new Soulfly to create the most brutal thrash album of the year.
Blooddrunk by Children of Bodom - Contrary to popular belief, Alexi Laiho is NOT losing his touch, he's just refining it - from a double-bladed war axe into the sharpest hatchet ever. Finesse and technicality will beat sheer speed every time.
Indestructible by Disturbed - There is not a single hard rock act that can compete with this band now - they are too damn good and everyone knows it.
Ultra Beatdown by Dragonforce - They've combined the old with the new to create an unstoppable speed metal sledgehammer to the skull.
The Premonition by Firewind - This band does with one guitarist what Dragonforce does with two, and they do it better and without all the wankery.
Float by Flogging Molly - Modern punk has been put on notice - do it like this, because nothing else is going to sound good anymore.
Versus by The Haunted - Doing away with the progressive melodic elements from their last album was actually a good thing, as was using a more raw, live-sounding production.
Iconoclast (Part 1: The Final Resistance) by Heaven Shall Burn - They are now the best German band on the scene, and nobody can dispute that after the release of this masterpiece.
The Incurable Tragedy by Into Eternity - Stu Block has taken this band by the horns since joining, and his vocals are what make this band one of the best progressive death metal acts out today.
For the Revolution by Kalmah - Another band that has combined the old and the new to create their best sound yet. The one thing that sets them apart? Kalmah was always good - now they're among the best.
Prevail by Kataklysm - If this band keeps getting better, death metal will just be renamed entirely as a genre to "Kataklysmetal."
Kolossus by Keep of Kalessin - The new standard by which epic black metal will be judged. They've earned all their accolades and deserve many more.
Architect of Lies by Mercenary - René Pedersen's return to the band gives them the death metal element they lacked on their previous album, both vocally and on bass guitar.
obZen by Meshuggah - Technical metal has never seen an album like this, simply because no one ever thought it could be done. Tomas Haake, though, is a master at proving people wrong.
Night Eternal by Moonspell - Gothic metal needed a male-fronted band to take the reigns of the genre. Moonspell stepped up beautifully and gave us this wonderful release.
Motörizer by Motörhead - At 62 years old, Lemmy still rocks harder than everyone else put together, and this album is one more boulder on the mountain of proof for that statement.
Armamentarium by Neaera - Rising from obscurity to fame in just two years, this band is one of Germany's rising stars.
N by Norther - A perfect fusion of melody and brutality, Petri Lindroos continues to match Alexi Laiho step for step in both songwriting and skill level.
The Redshift by Omnium Gatherum - This band finally found their sound, and managed to perfect it, all on the same album.
Watershed by Opeth - When will Mikael Akerfeldt hit his peak? After this album, the answer to that question is, "Probably never."
Wasteland Discotheque by Raunchy - This band is one of many that is trying to make metal fun again. They're also one of the few who are doing a good job at it.
Chapter VII: Hope and Sorrow by Sevendust - Clint Lowery's return provided the breath of fresh air that Sevendust needed. They sound more innovative and exciting than ever before.
All Hope is Gone by Slipknot - Slipknot's triumphant return is even better than everyone expected. This album is just plain better, all around, than all three of their previous albums.
Love and Other Disasters by Sonic Syndicate - This band fuses metalcore and melodic death metal better than every other crossover band out today. Also, "Jack of Diamonds" is the catchiest song this year not written by Scar Symmetry.
Conquer by Soulfly - Soulfly continue to improve on this latest release, and guest appearances by Dave Peters (Throwdown) and David Vincent (Morbid Angel) add even more power to the album.
The Formation of Damnation by Testament - The marriage of death and thrash that Testament performed in 1994 just keeps bearing more and more strong, intelligent children. This latest one is the Zeus of the bunch.
The American Dream by Walls of Jericho - The best hardcore album of the year, hands down. This band is taking over hardcore and no one is even trying to stop them.
Decimate the Weak by Winds of Plague - An injection of fresh blood and new ideas into the deathcore genre that was sorely needed.

Albums I have not yet listened to but could make the list once I've listened:
Isolation by Fear My Thoughts
The Way of All Flesh by Gojira
Incubus: Chapter Seven by Metalium
Death Magnetic by Metallica
Assassins: Black Meddle Part 1 by Nachtmystium
Conclusion of an Age by Sylosis
The Tide Will Swallow Us Whole by Trenches
Shogun by Trivium
The Cancer Empire by Zonaria

Albums that have not yet been released but could make the list once they are:
Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder by Cradle of Filth
Dreamer by Haste the Day
The Dream by In This Moment
Stormchaser by Light This City
The March by Unearth

So yeah, I have some serious choices to make. Only nine of the albums listed above are going to make the list. It might not even be nine - something else might come along and blow me away. Who knows?

So, I'm going to ask now for anyone who's feeling adventurous to give me reasons why I should pick certain albums over others. Feel free to make any comments you wish. I could use the help in clearing my brain and narrowing my choices. Thanks in advance!

September 23, 2008

Oh, how things change.....

I've been looking at my top-played artists from last week on Last.FM, and I found the list hilarious to behold. Here is an excerpt from that list:

1. Cradle of Filth
2. Amon Amarth
3. Catamenia
4. Moonspell
5. Bloodbath
6. Dimmu Borgir
7. Celtic Frost
8. Satyricon
9. Omnium Gatherum
10. Keep of Kalessin
11. Naglfar
12. Decapitated
13. Dimension Zero
14. Zyklon
15. Arsis
16. Pig Destroyer
17. Obituary
18. Dark Fortress
19. Ensiferum
20. All Shall Perish
21. Animosity
22. Beneath the Sky
23. The Crown
24. Incapacity
25. 1349
26. Bleed the Sky
27. The Black Dahlia Murder
28. Coldworker
29. Necrophagist

Black metal, death metal, other "evil" stuff......I love it. And I love proving standards wrong.

September 13, 2008

Two bits of big news

Okay, next week is a big week for me, so listen up!

1) I am interviewing UNEARTH live in the studios of WSOU on Tuesday at 5:30 PM! I'll be discussing with them their new album, entitled "The March," which hits stores on October 14th. I highly recommend you either come up to the station to meet the band or listen to the interview on your radios (89.5 FM) or on your computers ( The Unearth dudes are a raucous and wild group, and the interview is assured to be as hilarious as it is informative.

2) On Wednesday, I, along with some Warner Music Group interns and members of the Roadrunner Street Team, will be meeting with the #2 VP of Warner Music Group and other music industry officials to discuss the future of the Guitar Hero franchise, including what songs could potentially appear on Guitar Hero 4, as part of a focus group. If you are a Guitar Hero fan and have any songs that you would like to appear on future games, please inform me, as I would like to go into this meeting with a list in hand and ideas to speak on.

That is all for now.

September 4, 2008

New DJ shift time

I'm now on the air on WSOU on Friday mornings from 6 AM to 10 AM. Be sure to listen at 89.5 FM or!

Playlists will be posted on my MySpace page every week, so if you want to know what I played, ask me or refer to the playlists there.

August 27, 2008

The cover song to end all covers

In my music knowledge, there are five types of covers songs: good, bad, unexpected, hilarious, and epic. Occasionally, you'll come across a cover that fits into two of those categories, and very rarely will you find one that fits into three or four. But never have I found a cover that fits into all five categories. Until now.

Dimension Zero's cover of the Motown classic "Staying Alive" is good because it's an excellent metal arrangement of a song that would normally never fit into a metal style. It's bad because metal vocals on "Staying Alive" just ruin the whole atmosphere of the song. It's unexpected for very obvious reasons - there have been some pretty crazy covers out there, like Norther covering Europe's "The Final Countdown," Firewind covering Michael Sembello’s "Maniac," or even Children of Bodom covering Britney Spears' "Oops! I Did It Again" - but this transcends crazy, straight past insanity into completely surreal. It's hilarious because, when you combine the three things I've just mentioned, you get a cover that, upon recognizing what song they are covering, you immediately start cracking up and wondering where the hell the idea to cover this song came from. And it's epic because, in spite of how hilarious it is and how bad it is, it's also good enough and unexpected enough to make you want to listen to it over and over again.

The only way I see this being topped is if a grindcore or brutal death metal band gets it into their heads to cover "Thriller." Beyond that, this will remain, for me, the most epic cover ever made. It's not my favorite, nor is it the best, but it is certainly the most epic.

July 13, 2008

Complete Amazement

Have any of you ever listened to an album from start to finish, and then listened to it again just because it was so amazing that you needed a second listen just to comprehend it all? I'm sure that there are a few albums that have affected you in some sort of similar fashion. I usually encounter an album like that every few years. The last one was Storm the Gates of Hell by Demon Hunter. After that album arrived last fall, I didn't expect another album to come along and stun me like that for a long time.

Well, I was wrong, it seems.

When I first put Holographic Universe by Scar Symmetry into my stereo, I was expecting a really good album. What I got was the best melodic death metal album I have heard since In Flames' Colony. I was, to put it frankly, blown away by the caliber of this album. Every single song, from "Morphogenesis" all the way to "Ghost Prototype II (Deus Ex Machina)," is pure, 100% quality. Not one song disappoints in any way.

The key to this album, in my opinion, is the new ground Scar Symmetry covers with their music. The melodies soar even higher, the solos shred more, and the symphonic elements are much more pronounced. In terms of musical evolution, Holographic Universe surpasses Scar Symmetry's previous two albums, Pitch Black Progress and Symmetric in Design, by a huge margin. This is a band that has perfected its sound to the greatest possible degree.

Any fan of melodic death metal needs to go get Holographic Universe by Scar Symmetry right now. You will not be disappointed, I guarantee you.

July 1, 2008

Baseball Shenanigans

Okay, so I'm watching SportsCenter as we speak, and earlier there was a "Right Now on SportsCenter" update saying that Alex Rodriguez has chosen not to participate in the home run derby because "he is one of many players who believe the Home Run Derby affects his swing." It went on to say that A-Rod was quoted saying "My responsibility is to the New York Yankees first."

My dislike of A-Rod and the Yankees aside, when I heard this story, all I could think was, "COME ON! Are you SERIOUS?"

There are several reasons for my incredulity. First of all, A-Rod is, whether I like it or not, one of the best players in baseball today, and he will eventually hold the record for most home runs hit by a single player (although hopefully Ryan Howard will surpass him not long afterwards). He should participate in the home run derby if for no other reason than that. The Home Run Derby has, in recent years, been forced to call upon hitters with subpar power numbers in order to make the competition work. Last year, there was Alex Rios (who admittedly finished second, but is not known as a power hitter by any standard). In 2006, there was Jermaine Dye (in the twilight of his career at this point). In 2005, there was Hee-Seop Choi (REALLY?). There is no reason those names could not have been replaced with other names from baseball's hitting elite. And A-Rod should have been in that competition all three of those years.

Second, A-Rod has no reason to expect that his swing would be affected by participating in the Derby. Sure, it's happened to others (Bobby Abreu now being the prime example after his 41-HR performance in 2005), but where is the proof that it would happen to him? The last time he participated in the Derby was 2002, and in that year with the Rangers, he actually hit more homers after the All-Star Break (30) than before (27), despite playing in fewer games. His 2001 stats, another year where he participated in the Derby, actually show increases in a lot of stats after the Break - 25 HR's, a .310 average, a .993 OPS, and 5 SB's before the All-Star Break, versus 27 HR's, a .328 average, a 1.052 OPS, and 13 SB's after the Break. Where's the personal evidence for A-Rod that he would be negatively affected by this contest? I don't see any.

Third, A-Rod's comments about his duty being to the Yankees are laughable to me. A-Rod is not a player who has ever shown that he cares for his team. And on top of that, he has his priorities completely mixed up. His obligations are not to the Yankees, they are to the fans who spend hundreds of dollars on tickets just to see him play. And the fans who go to the Home Run Derby (at his hometown stadium, no less) want to see the best Derby possible. But if the best players are not in the Derby, then the fans are not getting their money's worth. That's all it boils down to.

And if I might add a little commentary on the Yankees - in the 22 Home Run Derbies that have happened thus far, the Yankees have had participated three times. The only teams with with fewer participation totals are Kansas City (twice), Florida (twice), and Arizona (once). And of those three teams, two (Arizona and Florida) are expansion teams, and one (Kansas City) has been among the worst teams in the league for over ten years (although, to be fair, they have improved significantly in the past two years). To be in a group with these teams for lowest participation totals is inexcusable, especially for one of the oldest and most storied franchises in the history of baseball.

(To be fair, Minnesota, San Diego, and Pittsburgh have each only participated in three Derbies as well. However, Minnesota and San Diego are teams that have always been known for their pitching, not hitting, and Pittsburgh, much like Kansas City, has consistently been one of the worse teams in the league.)

What makes the Yankees' lack of Derby participation even more laughable is that, in the three Derbies they appeared in, they've combined to hit 64 home runs, good enough for sixth on the list of most HR's hit by a team in the Derby. The seventh place team, Oakland, has hit 62 total HR's in 10 Derby appearances. The basic translation of those statistics is this: the Yankees, in theory, could dominate the Derby if they chose to appear in it, much as they have dominated so many other areas in the sport. And yet they choose not to. Why? Why would they not participate when even more glory could be theirs?

I do not, for the life of me, understand why A-Rod, the Yankees and their ownership continue to make such strange decisions. The only possible conclusion I can make is that the Steinbrenners (and now, the players in their employ as well) have continued to do what they always do: forsake the tradition of the game, forget about the fans, discard the rules of fairness, and single-mindedly seek the World Series title without any thought for how the game is supposed to fun.

Because in the end, that is all baseball is - a game.