Tag Archives: opening day

FALLING DOWN ON THE JOB …

Those Classy Cards

Opening Day at AT&T Park

Not literally.  I’ve been on sort of a hiatus these past few months and now itching for spring training, opening day, first pitch, the crack of the bat and baseball season in general.  But to be perfectly honest I feel like I’ve been cheating a little here.

I live in the Bay Area and right now there’s something going on that’s taken hold of me and thousands of other non-assuming, “never-wanted-to-be fans-in-the-first-place” fans who’ve been taken off guard, no pun intended.  It’s called Warrior Mania and it’s not just about the phenom Steph Curry.  Never in a hundred years would I have thought I could sit through an entire pro basketball game.  High school, yes, because I was a mom and I had to. But the Pro’s?  Forget it.  Run up court, shoot, make it.  Run down court, shoot make it, and on and on.  Boring.

But my grandson Jake, who recently completed his tour of duty in the USMC, is a huge Trailblazer fan.  Our commonality has always been sports, mostly college football, some baseball, but sports in general.  We took a 10 day baseball trip with Diamond Baseball Tours back in 2004.  What a fantastic experience.  I’d recommend it to anyone.  But I digress.

A few months ago I was surfing channels, looking for the Trailblazer game on the telly so I could carry on a decent conversation with Jake.  Didn’t find it, but instead happened upon the last 3 minutes of a Golden State Warrior game.  The Warriors were behind by 12 or so, but this short little pip squeak (that’s what he looked like compared to all the big guys) scored two 3 pointers and a few more and they ended up winning the game…….it was shocking this huge rush of adrenaline I experienced!  It was exciting and all of a sudden I understood what steph curry 1basketball fans have always known.  There’s life after baseball.  Not exactly the same.  But I’ll tell you this.  Friday night when Steph Curry took that 50 foot shot from half-court with 1 second left on the clock before halftime and the ball didn’t even touch the top of the net but instead swished through that little piece of net on the bottom, I was baptized into the world of professional basketball.  Hallelujah!

38. Dog with teethI let out a spontaneous holler that scared the hell out of my little dog.  I’ve only had him for five months so I may have to put him on Benadryl when baseball season starts.  Or put a sock in my mouth.

So I’m back.  I’ve missed writing.  I’ve been reading a lot about the National League DH issue and can’t wait to get my hands dirty again!

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

Oh It’s Good To Be Back Home Again ……

Okay, I’ll say it.  I’m not ashamed to admit that one of my very favorite baseball moments of all time was the Opening Day Ceremonies on April 5, 2011, following that glorious 2010 World Series Championship win .  The game was between the San Francisco Giants and the St Louis Cardinals. So today was just the icing on the cake for me.  The same teams were playing, and the championship flag was again being hoisted above the park to remain for the entire 2013 season so that all who crossed  our threshold could see what a magical place they had entered. 

But today, instead of being at the game, I was watching from my comfortable chair, all decked out in orange and black, with a box of Kleenex and a paper bag (to dispose of the used tissues) nearby.  And I did pretty good until they introduced the Cards Manager, Mike Matheny, and the crowd broke into near hysteria in support of this fellow, another of my very favorites.  And I lost it, never to fully recover for the rest of the ceremony. 

music notesI’m not sure why I was so emotional today, but it probably had something to do with the affection the Giants fans feel for their team, and the entire organization for that matter, but also for anyone who has anything to do with the Giants!  The crowd cheered just as loud for each of the St Louis Cardinal players who were former Giants as they did for the current Giants themselves.   It’s been a long dry spell, this post, post-season, and finally today, after five months we have our kids back home ready to dance around the mound, and the plate and the field.  “It’s the sweetest thing I know of, just spending time with you” ……..as if I was singing the song to each of them individually as they walked out onto the field.   Continue reading

In Honor of Opening Day ~ John Fogerty’s “Centerfield”

Lyrics to John fogerty’s “centerfield”

Well, beat the drum and hold the phone – the sun came out today!
We’re born again, there’s new grass on the field.
A-roundin’ third, and headed for home, it’s a brown-eyed handsome man;
Anyone can understand the way I feel.

Chorus:
Oh, put me in, coach – I’m ready to play today;
Put me in, coach – I’m ready to play today;
Look at me, I can be centerfield.

Well, I spent some time in the mudville nine, watchin’ it from the bench;
You know I took some lumps when the mighty casey struck out.
So say hey willie, tell ty cobb and joe dimaggio;
Don’t say “it ain’t so”, you know the time is now.

Chorus

Yeah! I got it, I got it!

Got a beat-up glove, a homemade bat, and brand-new pair of shoes;
You know I think it’s time to give this game a ride.
Just to hit the ball and touch ’em all – a moment in the sun;
(pop) it’s gone and you can tell that one goodbye!

Chorus
Chorus
Yeah!

I’ve run this before  but it’s my all time favorite baseball video so it just seems appropriate to use it to start off  another baseball season.  Thank you God for giving us John Fogerty and these wonderful classic shots of baseball history, courtesy of Youtube and “Cowboy Lyrics.com“. 

Tip:  Use full screen and turn up the volume!

April 1st Isn’t Just for Fools This year!

Photo

April 1st ~ Opening Day!

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

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.