Category Archives: A1 Baseball

Baltimore Follies Forgiven ….. For Now

An Empty Oriole Stadium

An Empty Oriole Stadium

It took a  Seamheads.Com post by Terry Keshner this morning to get me back in the saddle.  I really miss posting, but have a lot on my plate for at least another week and my favorite thing to do has had to take a backseat.

Seamheads is a great baseball site, one of my favorites, so I sat up and took notice when the Baltimore Orioles/Chicago White Sox games took center stage when the games were closed to the fans these past few days.  “It had to be that way” the article said.

“It had to be that way”?  When the Europeans closed their stadiums it was directly related to the players and the fans. They were getting killed on game day at those stadiums.

This didn’t have to be that way. What did the attempt of some high school kids and community organizers trying to usurp the authority of legally empowered law enforcement officers have to do with closing the stadium?  Does the system need to be overhauled? Probably.  But by closing the stadium they denied workers, vendors, and fans their legal rights so now you don’t just have the kids and their enablers affected you’re also affecting 40,000 individuals who had nothing to do with the mess.

Maybe the regular security measures that accompany most stadiums on game day, along with National Guardsmen strategically placed around the stadium, inside and out, might have been a better alternative. Just one suggestion. And I’m sure there are many others that are better than the decision to close the stadium on game day.

But this is something we’ve not had to deal with in our country before and hopefully it will be the last, but don’t count on it.  The times-they-are-a-changing folks  and now’s the time to get our smarts in order so that decisions  for better strategies can be made in the future.

In my humble opinion, of course.

OPENING DAY and THE REASON FOR RAINBOWS

kids playing baseball imageOne of my clients last week casually mentioned  about opening day being so special this year because of the new kids, the rookies.  Such an abundant resource the team has never seen, he said.  I think he’s probably right.

But you could probably say that about any team, in any year, on opening day.  I love the rookies.  I love that first hit, that first home run, that first steal, that first great defensive play ….. whenever, wherever it might happen.  Joe Panik comes to mind for the Giants last season.

And it also brought to mind one of my favorite poems.  I wrote the author a few years ago and asked for permission to reprint his poem in my book “Garlic Fries and Baseball“.  I received his permission with a most wonderful and supportive letter.  It’s about a kid, and about the person who takes the time to teach that kid about baseball.   I love this poem.

The Reason for Rainbows
A Song to Baseball by J. Patrick Lewis
Published: Baseball Almanac
There was an Old Man of Late Summer
Met a Winter Boy out of the blue,
And he whisked him away
From the city one day
Just to show him what country boys do.
He taught him three whys of a rooster,
And he showed him two hows of a hen.
Then he’d try to bewitch him
With curve balls he’d pitch him
Again and again and again.
He taught him the reason for rainbows,
And he showed him why lightning was king,
Then he fingered the last ball—
A wicked hop fastball—
He threw to the plate on a string.

Oh, the Old Summer Man and the Young Winter Lad
Spent the light of each day—every moment they had—
In the wind and the rain, or the late summer sun,
Where he taught him to pitch and he taught him to run
In the wind and rain and the late summer sun.

But when that Old Man of Late Summer
Met the Winter Boy out of the blue,
He said to him, “Son,
You can pitch, you can run,
But to hit here is what you must do:
Just pretend that the stick on your shoulder
Is as wide as a bald eagle’s wing.
You’re a bird on a wire
And your hands are on fire—
But you’re never too eager to swing.
Stand as still as a rabbit in danger,
Watch the pitch with the eyes of a cat.
What will fly past the mound—
Unforgettable sound—
Is the ball as it cracks off the bat.

Oh, the Old Summer Man and the Young Winter Lad
Spent the light of each day—every moment they had—
In the wind and the rain, or the late summer sun,
Where he taught him to pitch and he taught him to run
In the wind and rain and the late summer sun.

J. Patrick Lewis

Ballpark Food Everywhere …. This time from Calcaterra!

bacon flight baconApril 2nd and it’s still all about the food folks.  These morsels can be found at U. S. Cellular field, Home of the Chicago White Sox.   Hang in there.  Only a few more days. But in the meantime just looking at these little mouthwatering tasties can’t hurt and they give us something else to look forward to!

Personally?  I’m still trying to get that “Diamondback Churro Dog”  out of my head.

HardballTalk

The “Singularity” refers to a notion that, eventually, our technology will push so far that it will lead to a point where artificial intelligence will exceed human intellectual capacity, thereby radically changing civilization. We will lose complete control, life will become unpredictable and possibly even terrifying. Our creations may bring about our very own destruction.

A related phenomenon: the Ballpark Concessions Singularity, when we lose control over the insanely over-the-top terrible-for-you novelty food they trot out each spring. I mean, it was nice and life-enhancing when we moved beyond mere hot dogs and peanuts and into things like nachos. But we’re entering into a chain reaction of concessions escalation from which we’re unlikely to emerge unscathed on the other side.

The latest example: what the White Sox will be serving at U.S. Cellular Field this year:

View original post 81 more words

“MCFARLAND, THE MOVIE”

"McFarland and Costner"

“McFarland and Costner”

Wow!  I’m surprised  I enjoyed this movie so much. For some unknown reason I had tears running down my face most of the 2 hours; maybe because we have so many good Mexican friends in Mexico and I know they don’t have a lot. By our standards they’re considered poor, probably not so much by their standards because their family is important and it sustains them, at least in the beginning. It’s a true story and maybe that’s what I like so much about it

This movie really touched me. Thumbs up and 4 stars. Please see it for no other reason than it’s just a really good wholesome movie. Yes, they’re still around.

The relation between this movie and a baseball blog?  Oh, I don’t know.  How about Kevin Costner and “Bull Durham” or Costner and “For love of the Game” Upside of Anger, Field of Dreams, or even “Tin Cup”, which isn’t about baseball but you get the idea.  He’s just the ultimate sports type movie guy,  IMHO, of course.

The film’s inspirational and will put you in a good mood at least for the rest of the day and maybe even until baseball season get’s going.  And what could be better than that?  Go see the movie :))

 

‘Can’t Get Enough of a Good Thing!

A few weeks ago my son, while watching a Seattle Seahawks clip, said “I just can’t get enough of this stuff.”  And that’s exactly how I felt while watching this interview with Madison Bumgarner.   Like a lot of baseball fans who’ve been in a dry spell waiting for Spring Training, I’ve been craving some little tidbit, picture, video, or article about baseball, but especially about Bumgarner.   He was  in the face of the baseball world everywhere, non-stop for weeks and all of a sudden there was ………nothing!

So when I came upon this 10 minute interview I was in my element.  This was ten minutes of Mad Bum responding candidly to questions we’ve all been wanting to ask about him, his family, his feelings, teammates and the game in general.  Good Stuff.

And a special thanks to the KNBR staff for putting this together on You Tube so it can be shared with everyone.  Spring training just around the corner folks …… See you soon!

MADISON BUMGARNER ~ Sudden and Out of Nowhere?

Madison Bumgarner can add another accolade to his growing collection.  Sports Illustrated named him the 2014 Sportsman of the Year and with good reason.   But I’ll disagree with one statement in the article:

……his Sportsman candidacy was so sudden and seemingly out of nowhere ……

Madison Bumgarner, South Caldwell H.S. North Carolina

Madison Bumgarner, South Caldwell H.S. North Carolina

If you’re a San Francisco Giants fan, you’ll get this.   Affectionately known as “Mad Bum” he’s been on the fans radar since he was drafted  as a 1st round pick back in 2007 where he’d already made a name for himself.

” In his junior season, he had a 12–2 record, an 0.99 earned run average (ERA), and 120 strikeouts in 84 innings pitched as he led his team to a runner-up in the 2006 4A State Championship. Next season, he went 11–2 with a 1.05 ERA and 143 strikeouts in 86 innings while this time helping his team win the 2007 4A State Championship.  He batted .424 with 11 home runs and 38 runs batted in. He was named Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the playoffs and the Gatorade North Carolina Player of the Year.”  Courtesy of Wikipedia.

One of my favorite quotes was back in 2010 when asked about being a rookie and pitching in his first World Series, Mad Bum said something to the effect “Well, I don’t know, I pitched in the High School State Championships and we won, so I don’t see how it can be much different that that.”  You’ve gotta love the humility and innocence of that statement.

In 2013, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association included him on its “100 To Remember” male athletes list, which included Michael Jordan, Carl Eller,  and Jim Beatty.

And this year Madison Bumgarner hit two grand slam home runs in regular season, and mid-season, at one point, had a batting average better than half of his teammates.  Another argument against the DH rule, in my hunble opinion of course.

Not bad for a country boy from North Carolina, but “sudden and seemingly out of nowhere” isn’t something San Francisco Giants fans would probably use to describe him.

Congratulations Madison Bumgarner!  You wear the honor well.

 

 

 

 

 

Gotta Love those Kansas City Fans!

httLxEqVHyJnM4p://youtu.be/

World Series 2014 ~ The gift that keeps on giving.  What a wonderful holiday season treat.  And it’s not just the Kansas City Symphony conductor that’s the delight here, but also the music he chose to perform.  Being a former marching band saxophone player I’ve always treasured John Philip Souza’s music,which usually brings me to an emotional state, but somehow I can’t remember hearing this very special piece titled, “The National Game”.  This thoughtful and entertaining YouTube video performance was  brought to my attention by one of my blogroll partners “Fanside’sHaydon Kane”.   Hope you enjoy the video ~ truly one of a kind!