Monthly Archives: April 2012

Farewell my little Friend …..

A tribute to my little Pomeranian, Snoopitu, who went to heaven today.  My heart is grieving.

“My pain and suffering came to an end, 
so don’t cry for me, my person my friend.

But think of the living -
those souls with fur 
(some who bark and some who purr)- 
And though our bond can’t be broken apart, 
make room for another in your home and your heart.”

Snoopitu was named after his predecessor, Snoopy I.  He was 12 1/2 years old and the smartest, most loving and kind dog in the world.  He ate like a little pig to the end and if it hadn’t been for his collapsing trachea and little useless bum back legs, he could have lived forever.   No words can express the grief of losing him, but if you’ve ever gone through this, no words are necessary.

Farewell my dear, dear friend.

“What’s up with those Washington Nationals?”

Who would have thought the team leading the National League this year would be those lowly Nationals?   This team started out as the Montreal Expo’s in 1969 and moved to Washington in 2005, much to the delight of  syndicated columnist, Charles Krauthammer.  I had no idea he was into baseball until I read a column he wrote back in September, 2011, about his beloved Nats.  Titled “The Best Game in Town“, here’s an excerpt:

“Now, when mortals throw a ball, they give it arc to gain distance. That’s how artillery works. Ankiel is better than artillery. He releases the ball at the top of his throwing motion, the ball rocketing out as if tracing a clothesline. It bounces five feet from third base, perfectly on-line, arriving a millisecond before the batter and maybe 20 inches above the bag. Quick tag. Batter out. Game saved. (Blown five innings later. But remember, it’s the Nats.)”

This is great stuff.  And then in December, 2010, we wrote this post “The Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg, Miracle or Mistake?”  and, as predicted, Steven Strasburg has returned in great form after his Tommy John surgery.  In addition, the Nationals organization brought a few weapons on-board to help things along;  Jayson Werth and Mark DeRosa.  Shortly after I heard about the Jayson Werth acquisition it was rumored the Nats were in serious talks with Cliff Lee.  It was a heart-stopper and now I’m starting to pay really close attention to the 2012 Washington Nationals .  Cliff Lee didn’t end up a Nat, but with Jayson Werth and Stephen Strasburg on the roster, it seemed inevitable that good things were going to happen.  And they did.

Today the Nats are leading the National League in the Win-Loss record.  Okay, I know it’s still early in the season, but now that they’ve added the 8# Strasburger to the menu at Nationals Park anything can happen!

I can hardly wait to see what Krauthammer’s going to write next about all this.  Stay tuned  . . . . .

Pudge Rodriguez, Florida Marlins Catcher in 2003 World Series, to Retire.

Ivan Rodriguez, Sports Illustrated Magazine

A few weeks ago I posted a blog about the pending retirement of  Dontrelle Willis, former pitcher with the 2003 World Series Champions Florida Marlins.  And now again today I read that Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez is set to announce his retirement.

I’m not sure why those 2003 Florida Marlins have a soft spot in my heart, but for sure I’ll always remember that World Series.  Maybe it was because they were playing the New York Yankees and I didn’t give them a prayer for winning.  Maybe it was because the combination of Dontrelle and Pudge was something truly awesome to watch.  Or maybe it was because I watched the entire series from a condo in Puerto Vallarta; the first two games in Spanish before I figured out how to change the receiver to English.  It was memorable because the Spanish speaking announcers were unashamedly cheering for the Yankees and their obvious disappointment was hilarious to listen to.  And  even though I couldn’t understand a word they were saying, there was no doubt in my mind what they were thinking!

Pudge Rodriguez with the Texas Rangers

Ivan Rodriguez will be eligible for nomination to the Hall of Fame in five years and undoubtedly will be inducted at some point. His list of credentials and honors is impressive indeed and  he has chosen to retire as a Texas Ranger.  But even though he only spent one year with the Florida Marlins, that’s what I’ll always remember him as.  The Florida Marlins catcher in the 2003 World Series.  Thanks for the memories Pudge Rodriguez.  You deserve all the accolades you’re about to receive!

Dodgers Maintain MLB Lead (with a little help from their friends) ~

"The bunt that started it all"

Last night the Dodgers beat the Padres 5-4 with an incredulous triple play that ended the game.  The particulars of that triple play are what’s in question here.  I watched the video over and over again and there’s no doubt in my mind the plate umpire ruled a bunt ball as “out-of-bounds” wherein the Padres ceased play, went back to their bases, and play should have resumed with another pitch.  But that’s not what happened.  Instead, the Dodgers kept playing as though nothing had happened, as though no call had been made, as the Padres went back to their business in disbelief because, according to their version, and what I saw on the video, it should have been a dead ball, and the batter should have returned to the plate to take another pitch.

Now, I’m as happy as the next guy to see something good finally happen to the Los Angeles Dodgers.  This team’s been run through the mill these past few years and now it looks like they’re finally getting their act together.  I mean the last time the Dodgers got off to a start like this they ended up winning the World Series.  Here’s the article, video included, that has everyone (well, almost everyone) in a stew.  See what you think!

San Diego Padres Cry foul over Triple Play Call.

An Opening Day Treasure … From that Other Chicago Team.

U. S. Cellular Field

It’s been 11 years and I still want to refer to the White Sox ballpark as Comiskey rather than U. S. Cellular Field.  It’s ingrained in the soul as much as Fenway and Wrigley.  But, nonetheless, couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share a great read with you from this morning’s offerings.  Here’s an excerpt:

Irish Nachos

” I am of Irish descent and I have been to Ireland and let me just say that the old joke that one of the shortest books in the world is Great Irish Cooks is actually no joke at all.  But Irish Nachos defy those ugly slanders and ignominious legacy and leave you feeling happy, Gaelic, bloated and ready to burp all over the rest of the American League.  God Bless Baseball.”

Here’s the entire article written by Terry Keshner at Seamheads.com.

Chicago White Sox Opening Day:  Irish Nachos and Baroque Batter’s Box

Pat Burrell ….. Always a Giant in My Mind!

Pat Burrell, SF Giants Parade, November, 2010

Funny how things happen.  Last night around midnight I was writing this blog about Pat Burrell retiring as a Phillie.  Good grief, what could possibly be worse?  It was a rather edgy piece, me having such great affinity and affection for Burrell.  I really believe we wouldn’t have won the 2010 World Series without him, not because he played so great in the  Series, but because he helped get us there in the first place and his very presence was inspiring to all of us.  And besides, he deserves better than those pesky Philadelphia fans.  He’s a San Francisco Giants hero and we love him here, we appreciate him.  But I digress.  Suddenly a severe thunderstorm began pounding down, so much so that I immediately grabbed a flashlight, powered down my pc,  and went to bed.

Leading the Phillies 2008 Parade with the Budweiser Clydesdales

So, this morning I’m back at my computer to begin where I left off, still stewing over the fact that Burrell was “forced” out of the Giants organization, forced to return to those Phillie Phanatics, when I  notice an article by Paul Hagen, MLB.com.  It changed everything so much that I had to completely rewrite my post.  It’s a long article but here’s an excerpt that gave me a different attitude about “Pat the Bat” retiring as a Phillie.

“The final indelible image of Burrell at the end of his Phillies career was riding the Budweiser wagon at the head of the championship parade with his dog, Elvis, sitting next to him.

“That was the top,” Burrell said. “[Club president David Montgomery] asked me to ride with the Clydesdales, and of course I said yes. But I didn’t understand that I was going to be the first guy to turn onto Broad Street. And that was incredible — to look up and see all the people hanging out of the buildings. I just couldn’t imagine.

“It’s funny, because Mike Schmidt and some of those guys from the 1980 [World Series championship] team always said the best part of it was the parade. And I was thinking, ‘How could that be better than the actual moment of winning the whole thing?’ But it is.’ “

Here’s the entire article, a great read for a lazy Sunday afternoon while you’re waiting for that first pitch from your favorite team!

“Burrell Grateful for Chance to Retire with Phillies”

Well, okay then.  I’ll keep both pictures of Pat Burrell’s parade days in my memory;  one with the Clydesdales and one with the Trolley.  Thanks for the memories Pat and I, for one,  hope the Giants keep you on board for a long, long time.  Once a Giant, always a Giant.

Opening Day 2012! Woo Hoo!

MLB All Star Game

Woo Hoo!   Today’s opening day for Major League Baseball and I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than by re-posting this great blog by Bill Miller, “The On Deck Circle”.    Couldn’t have said it better myself Bill!

Take  a look at one of our previous blogs that shows  George Carlin expressing this same sentiment.

“Ten Reasons Why Baseball is Better Than Football”

Written by:  Bill Miller, April 4, 2012.  “The On Deck Circle”

I have to face the fact that football seems to have brazenly overtaken baseball as the de facto national pastime.  Even in its off-season, football news and gossip (usually the same thing), often intrudes itself into our lives with depressing regularity.  The bi-weekly drug arrests, revolving quarterback soap operas, and mind-numbing stories about which draft picks will break camp hold about as much interest for me as my aunt’s wilted cole slaw on Easter Sunday.

Still, I won’t go down without a fight.

So, for the record, here are ten reasons why baseball is better than football.

1)  Baseball is not constantly interrupted by little men throwing their dainty little yellow flags all over the field every time they have a conniption fit because they saw something that offended their hair-trigger sensibilities.

2)  Baseball players do not wear helmets that make them look like anonymous Terminators bent on the destruction of the universe.  They look like actual, you know, people.

3)  When a baseball player hits a home run, peer pressure causes him (generally) to put his head down while circling the bases, cross home plate, and quietly receive the accolades of his teammates.  When a football player scores a touchdown, he (generally) responds with an epileptic seizure in the end zone.  It’s not something I enjoy watching, and it makes me wonder why they don’t regulate their medication more effectively.

4)  Baseball fans embrace their sports history and mythology in a way that football fans are incapable of understanding.  Baseball’s lineage is practically Biblical.  To the average football fan, football history goes back to last weekend.

5)  A father playing catch with his son is an emotional bonding experience, passed down through the generations, an unspoken acknowledgement of love, mortality and hope.  A father throwing a football at his son is just a guy suffering from low self-esteem who needs to occasionally pretend that he is an N.F.L. quarterback so he can justify the ongoing emasculation he suffers every Monday morning at work.

6)  Baseball has induced tremendous social change in America.  Jackie Robinson is one of the most famous Americans who ever lived.  His personal bravery and talent greatly improved our civil society by challenging us to re-examine our personal values regarding fairness, race, and what it means to be an American.

Football teaches us that there is nothing bigger in life than immediate success and personal gratification.  Winners are loved, losers are vilified, and none of it means anything three days later.

7)  Baseball gave us Tommy John surgery so that young men with injured arms could rejuvenate their careers.  Football has given us Post-Concussion Syndrome in numbers so large that it is now becoming a virtual epidemic.

8)  A baseball diamond is a pastoral throwback to a time when most of America lived on or near farms and in the countryside, and understood man’s proper relationship to his world.  The football grid-iron, by contrast, resembles the endless modern suburban sprawl that disconnects us from our natural environment as well as from ourselves.

9)  Baseball has “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” a fun, carnival-like song that kids and grownups alike can relate to.  Football has “Are You Ready for Some Football?” an unimaginative, annoying pseudo-country song written by a man who has forever been trying to simultaneously emerge from and cloak himself with the shadow of his much more talented father.

10)  Every baseball at bat boils down to one man facing another, and may the best man win.  It is Achilles vs. Hector, Burr vs. Hamilton, Doc Holliday vs. Johnny Ringo.  An N.F.L. quarterback, by contrast, has no correspondingly singular opponent.  The protagonist has no antagonist.  He wields his sword dubiously against the faceless masses before him, a Roman Legionnaire lost amidst the swirl of the barbarian horde.

And that’s why baseball is better than football.

Introducing Florida’s New “Marlins Park” ….. Finally!

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I say “finally” because it’s taken some serious negotiations to make this ballpark happen.   The organization has been fighting to build their own park since the mid-1990’s.  And after numerous financing problems, lawsuits,  SEC investigations  other challenges, the powers-that-be were able to overcome.

It’s hard to believe the new Marlins Park is the smallest stadium in Major League Baseball with an actual seating capacity of 37,000.  The photos in the slide show  indicate this is one humongous Star Wars state-of-the-art facility.

It’s also the sixth Major League Baseball stadium to have a retractable roof and will maintain an average temperature of 75°F when the roof is closed.   A welcome addition to anyone braving the heat on those hot and humid Florida game-days.

Some of the photos above have been generously loaned to us  from fellow blogger, Cecilia Tan.  Please check out her website “Why I like Baseball” featuring the new Marlins Park stadium in her most recent post.