Friday, October 7, 2011

The Love Affair with Fall

Most (almost all) people seem to have a love affair with fall and the end of summer. Doesn't matter where you are, warm climate, cold climate, people always say "I love this time of year" as soon as the temp drops a bit sometime usually in September.

I hate it. Passionately. Never have liked Fall. To me it is the sign of death. Summer is when people are alive. Baseball is alive in the summer. Grass, trees, plants of all kinds are alive in the summer. Fall kills all of that. Yeah yeah, football. Football has never been my favorite sport. Never will be. Cool weather. Yep, something to root for for sure. Enjoy throwing on layers of clothes, nothing like a layered top to make you feel comfortable, not.

Leaves turn color! Yeah! Makes me think of the scene in the Steve Martin movie The Jerk - "The new phone book's here, the new phone book's here!" The leaves are dieing actually.

Everybody generally hates winter, unless you ski or play hockey or something but doesn't Fall signal that winter is coming sooner rather than later?

I always thought it was weird how people love fall. If they had said spring I would understand. Spring is the rebirth of things that died in fall. I just don't get it.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Weirdness of the 2011 Baseball Season

Weird. Not because the Sox and Braves, both teams I root for, failed miserably down the stretch.

Weird. Not because Tito Francona, the most successful RedSox manager of them all, was not talked out of leaving the dysfunctional clubhouse for good yesterday.

Weird. Not because I'm now rooting for the Brewers to win it all.

Weird because of numbers.

I didn't get the mlb package on cable this year. Not sure why, just didn't or never got around to it. Saved me from screaming at the tv in April for sure. Saved me again in September. No matter. To keep up with the Braves and the Sox I often would check their scores on the internet while reading, posting, whatever. I use ESPN's scoreboard. Both teams are listed in my profile as favorites so their scores show up at the top of their respective leagues.

I'm guessing at least 10 times, probably more this season I found myself looking at the same score for both the Sox and Braves. If the Sox were up 3-1, the Braves were too at the same time. Once or twice is cool, interesting. This summer I swear it was often. Not just once in a game. Using that same example, the Sox might score a couple more and be up 5-1. A few minutes later I'd notice the Braves up by the same score. Weird. Wednesday night's games reminded me a bit of that. I had both the Braves and the RedSox games on the tv, flipping hundreds of times between them. Yankee game running on espn3 on-line live feed. Sox up 3-2, Braves up 3-2. Even the Yankees and Cardinals got in on the action for a while when both were up 7-0 in their respective games. Odd. Weird. Of course none of those scores held, only the Cardinals actually won their game.

Weird how Carl Crawford apologized a week or so ago for his season (before it was over). Was exchanging thoughts with some co-workers and spurred me on to look up some numbers during lunch. Check this out:

Here is a fun fact on Carl Crawford:

If he hit .250 in April instead of the .155 he put up his season total batting average would have been .273 - not so bad, not up to the $$$ spent but not terrible.

That difference? 9 lousy hits, in 24 games, one hit every 2.6 games more than he had.

Another fact- Crawford hit .296 with an .821 OPS in games Sox won and .201 / .526 in games they lost.

Me thinks Tito ain’t to blame.

Know what the difference between hitting .250 and .300 is? It's 25 hits. 25 hits in 500 at bats is 50 points, okay? There's 6 months in a season, that's about 25 weeks. That means if you get just one extra flare a week - just one - a gorp... you get a groundball, you get a groundball with eyes... you get a dying quail, just one more dying quail a week... and you're in Yankee Stadium.
-- Crash Davis

I looked and looked for some split stats to give hope on John Lackey…still looking.

Here is a stat that will amaze you : first batter in the game against lackey in his 28 starts hit .423 this year. In all - leadoff batters for all innings – they hit .318. He was always in trouble.
Lackey was 11-1 if the Sox scored 6+ runs for him, 1-11 if they did not.

Weird. Just plain weird.
Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

WIW : What-if-Wednesday

What-if the 1978 Sox win the one game playoff with the Yankees?

Contrary to most Sox fans, I don't have nightmares about Bucky "Bleepn" Dent hitting the homer that broke the 1978 Sox collective backs on October 2nd, 1978 to propel the Yankees into the playoffs and the RedSox home as losers. My initial memories are of Yaz popping out to Nettles at third to end the game. I can vividly see the pitch, the swing and the jump for joy by Nettles after the catch as his teammates congregate around him.

The game was every bit as critical to the RedSox Yankee rivalry as the Pedro throw'n down of Don Zimmer and Aaron Boone's 12th inning bomb. 1978 was the first Sox team in my world of following baseball that could hit with anybody. The team was "built" to play in Fenway and it showed in the lineup and the stats.

Burleson, Remy, Rice, Yaz, Fisk, Lynn, Hobson, Scott and Evans (except Dewey didn't start this day but was used as a pinch hitter). Four guys over 20 homers (pre steroids) with a couple more in the high teens. This lineup had power, grit, experience, youth, it had all you would want.

To go with that lineup the Sox had decent pitching, led by 23 year old Dennis Eckersley who emerged as an ace, going 20-8 with a 2.99 ERA and 16 complete games. Luis Tiant was now 37 and contributed a 13-8 season with a 3.31 ERA. Free agent signee Mike Torrez was 16-13 with a 3.96. Unfortunately Tiant and Eckersley had pitched the prior two days and the rotation down the stretch didn't go much further than those three. Bob Stanley made a rare (at that point) start a few days prior but they were working off a three and a half man rotation down the stretch. Torrez was that only one able to go that fateful day against Cy Young winner (soon to be) Ron Guidry.

The game was rather quiet early, with the Sox capturing the lead on a first pitch homer to lead off the second inning by Yaz. The Sox added a second run in the 6th inning when Jim Rice singled in Burleson who had doubled to lead off the inning and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Remy. With a 2-0 lead through 6 the Sox looked great. The Yankees had only managed two hits against Torrez, a double by Rivers in the third and a single by Piniella in the 4th.

The top of the 7th changed history for Mike Torrez and Bucky Dent. A one out single by Chris Chambliss followed by a single by Roy White put the Yankees in their first real threat inning. Jim Spencer flew out to left for the second out and it appeared the Sox would get out of the inning with the weak hitting shortstop Bucky Dent coming to the plate. Dent hit .247 with 40 homers in his career. None more important than the one he hit in the 7th inning that day. His shot, a true Fenway wall shot, gave the Yankees a 3-2 lead. The bleeding wouldn't stop there. Torrez followed that with a walk to Mickey Rivers ending the pitcher's day. Mike Stanley came on in relief. Rivers promptly stole 2nd base and scored on a double by Yankee captain Thurman Munson. The Yankees led 4-2.

In the top of the 8th, the Yankees added to their lead with a solo homerun by Reggie Jackson off of Bob Stanley. Going to the bottom half of the 8th, the Yankees held a 5-2 lead and coming in to pitch the last two innings, closer Goose Gossage. Jerry Remy welcomed Gossage with a double to right before getting Jim Rice to fly out for the first out. Yaz came up and singled up the middle scoring Remy to make it 5-3. Back to back singles by Fisk and Lynn produced another run making it 5-4 through 8.

With one out in the bottom of the 9th, Rick Burleson drew a walk from Gossage. Remy followed with a single advancing Burleson to second. Rice flew out to right, Burleson took third on the out. Runners at the corners with Carl Yastrzemski coming up to bat with two outs. Flash back to my memories. Yikes, still painful.

But what if Yaz hadn't popped out, what if he delivered a game winning double driving in both Burleson and Remy? What if it wasn't necessary? What if Bucky Dent never gained the notoriety with that homer? What if Bucky had remained an anonymous and unimpressive shortstop with no great claim to fame over his career?

However it could have been different, imagine that it had been...the Sox advance to play the Royals in the ALCS. Their 100 wins is the first time they achieved that total since 1946. The Royals were the winners of the AL West with 92 wins for the year and not a single regular player hitting over .300 and led by pitchers Paul Splittorff, Dennis Leonard, Larry Gura and Rich Gale. The Mad Hungarian, Al Hrabosky was their off-center closer.

I envision, in this alternate world, the Sox beating the Royal much like the Yankees did. After disposing of the Yankees, they would have had Eckersley and Tiant ready to pitch the first two games and come back later in the series if necessary. The Sox would have gone into the World Series to face the Dodgers just three years removed from their epic loss to the Big Red Machine in '75.

It would have been great to have the Dodgers in Fenway for the Series. The Dodgers opened with Tommy John (yes, there is an ex-player named Tommy John, imagine that), Burt Hooten, Don Sutton and Bob Welch. The Dodgers were known for their starters as well as a lineup consisting of Davey Lopes, Bill Russell, Steve Garvey, Ron Cey, Reggie Smith, Dusty Baker, Lee Lacy, Rick Monday and Steve Yeager. They were a well balanced team and would have provided a good matchup for the RedSox. I believe it would have gone 7 (didn't all Sox series in the 1900's go 7?) with the Sox finally breaking the curse of 60 years (not yet named the curse of the bambino).

The excitement, accolades and revenue brought about with the championship would have spurred team management to do whatever it takes to keep the nucleus together.

They would have signed Fisk and Lynn instead of letting them go as free agents. There could have been more winning seasons and chases for the championship into the early 1980's. That's my what-if and I'm sticking to it.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9-9 weekend ; visit from two old friends

I've planned for and anticipated this weekend for a long time. Two old colleagues and friends were arriving at the lake for a weekend to relax and hang out.

Both arrived by 6:30 or so Friday night after long drives from opposite directions. John from North Carolina and Dave from the panhandle in Florida (John's brother from the Atlanta area also joined us on Saturday). The first night we feasted on lobster rolls! We didn't catch them in the lake nor did they arrive after a long flight from New England but these crustaceans were found at the local Publix. Sam and I picked them out, had the nice staff at Publix cook them for us (saving that hard to remove smell from the lakehouse). I shelled the meat from them and let it chill during the afternoon before their arrival. We got uncut hot dog buns from the Publix bakery (good advice from my mother recently) and center cut them the way a lobster roll should be (see the image in the banner above). Buttered sides were nicely toasted before adding the mix of celery, lemon juice, mayonnaise, salt and pepper served on shredded lettuce.

I am quite particular about lobster rolls. We discussed it while we ate. There is a bar/restaurant near work that a group of us occasionally go to that is a seafood place. I get the lobster roll. Disappointment follows every time. They serve the meat in a mayo, no nothing except a cup of melted butter off on the side. Waste. Legal seafoods opened in Atlanta a few years ago. For a $20 lobster roll (with fries) it is ok. Good amount of meat but they tend to go WAY overboard on dill seed. Kinda ruins it. Otherwise good roll but nothing like the way it needs to be done. Some great John-cooked meals were included. Breakfast on Saturday was awesome led by great hashbrowns and a terrific omelet. Saturday night Dave and John prepared rib-eyes for everybody. To say they were flame broiled is an understatement. I was told that it was the coating of butter on the steaks and that it would burn off :)

The time on the water was documented with cameras (will post in media section and waterblogged blog later). Time spent around the fire pit rehashing old stories and remembering co-workers was great. Throw in (pun intended) some horseshoe games and killer rock band jam and the weekend seemed to go by too quickly.

Some new memories were made for sure. John's aggressiveness on the jet ski, both John and Dave trying the hydrofoil, the cooking, and the singing and guitar play in rockband.

Thanks to John and Dave for making the trip! Great times and I look forward to the next time.

Oops, forgot to tell John NOT to pull rope to chest in moment of panic

...because bad things can happen. I like to call this: "John's one hand handstand"

I believe the song was "Eye of the Tiger"

to quote Bruce Springsteen - "C'Mon Rise UP!"

Time on the water can be so relaxing, look at Dave just about to lay down and take it easy for a while

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

WIW : What-if Wednesday

I'd like to start a weekly feature, "what-if Wednesday" where I post about a situation that would have created some significantly different results if something happened differently. My version of Quantum Leap (ok, so I dated myself :) )

Today's WIW :
What if Len Bias, All American hoops player from the University of Maryland, didn't die from cocaine overdose shortly after getting drafted by the World Champion Celtics in the summer of 1986.

I can place myself in time when I first heard Bias had died in June of 1986. I was working my way through school and at the time was a manager at a McDonalds (yep) and remember some kid that worked there came in and told me that he heard on the car radio that Bias had died. Sort of a moment frozen in time, not unlike the Shuttle Challenger explosion five months before.

Bias was drafted 2nd overall by the then Champion Celtics. The '85/86 Celtic team was regarded then and still as one of the top All-Time teams...EVER. Led by Hall of Famers Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish and Dennis Johnson this team had everything needed to win and continue winning. Bird was at his peak, having won his third straight MVP award. McHale had settled into the starting rotation and was a dominant power forward with insane low-post moves in his arsenal. Parish, the quiet Chief, was one of the most consistent and durable centers in league history. DJ had evolved from a scorer earlier in his career to be a non traditional point guard with many options to go to. Also on this team and key contributors were Danny Ainge, HOF Bill Walton (not for his time with the Celtics though), Scott Wedman and Jerry Sichting.

These Celtics had beaten the Houston Rockets in the finals 4-2. Houston robbed the world of a Celtic vs. Laker matchup by beating the Lakers in the conference finals. The Celtics had won in '81, '84 and now in '86 while Magic Johnson's Lakers had won titles in '80, '82 and '85 setting the stage for the back half of the decade to decide which team would reign supreme. Adding Bias to the historically great Celtic team was an improbable dream.

At the time of the draft, Bird was 29, McHale 28, Parish about to turn 33, DJ soon to turn 32. The team was going to be good for the next few years but having Len Bias would grant them a luxury to extend all of Bird, McHale and Parish's careers by eating up minutes as he entered the rotation.

In the 1986, 87 season, the Celtics won 59 games but leaned on their core more than ever before. Walton was lost for all but 10 games so Bird and McHale averaged 40 minutes each while Parish over 37 himself. A healthy rookie named Len Bias, with his evolving skills would have reduced each of the big 3's minutes per game at least 5 minutes (Assuming Bias would play around 25 minutes or more per game as a rookie). With a less stressed frontcourt and the explosive Bias coming off the bench the Celtics would have fared better than they did in the 1987 playoffs. They lost to the Lakers in the finals 4-2. McHale had broken a bone in his foot and limped his way through the playoffs. Certainly having Bias would have allowed coach KC Jones to utilize more than basically a five man rotation. Only one Boston bench player (Greg Kite) averaged more than 10 minutes per game in the finals.

Following the 1986-87 season the Celtics big three began to decline and succumb to injuries. In 1987-88 McHale missed close to 20 games while Bird and Parish missed some too when they had been historically dependable for most if not all their team's games. In the games they all did play, their minutes remained elevated, Bird at 39 per game, McHale at 37.3 per game and Parish at 31.2. The workload, without proper subs due to the loss of Bias back in June of '86, was causing the team to continue to burden their big 3 in the regular season. In the playoffs, the Celtics beat the Knicks and Hawks to get to the conference finals against the younger, hungry Detroit Pistons. The Pistons disposed of the aging Celtics in six games and ultimately lost to the Lakers. In the playoffs, the big 3 logged 45, 42 and 37 minutes per game.

In 1988-89 the Celtics saw the future and it didn't look good. Larry Bird played in only six games. McHale and Parish continued to suit it up and play big minutes but the dream was beginning to end.

Who knows what injuries may have happened or not happened if Len Bias started picking up minutes beginning in '86-'87? Maybe the big 4 would have won a couple more titles along the way. Certainly possible. I believe it would have extended the careers of Bird and McHale, both retired due to nagging injuries sustained from all the minutes and pounding they incurred over the years. Having Bias play an integral part of a rotation would have spared the big 3 some minutes along the way and add a dimension to the Celtics that they had never had, a player that routinely played above the rim.

I believe they would have won in '86-87, they were coming off their best season ever and were on a high having drafted Bias. The energy and relief he would have provided would have given them a weapon and kept them on top of the NBA world.

In '87-88, losing to the Pistons in the conference finals might have been a different outcome as well. The Pistons were younger and having a 2nd year Len Bias progressing into a potential all-star would have given the Celtics a counter punch to the youth of Isiah, Rodman, and Salley.

When you get out to '88-89, perhaps some injuries still happen, perhaps having a 3rd year budding superstar makes it easier. I think things still would have been good for the Celtics as they shift more responsibility towards Bias at this point. Detroit swept the Celtics in the first round this year, with a healthier lineup and Bird intact perhaps they advance over the eventual Champions or more likely would not have faced them in the first round.

In the 80's, the Celtics were one of two dominant basketball teams along with the Lakers. In 1980-89 either (or both) the Celtics or Lakers were in the finals each year with the Lakers winning 5 titles to the Celtics 3. By my estimation the Celtics would have won again in '86-87 and possibly in 87-88 giving them 4.5 titles in the decade. Both of those years the Lakers won so it would have knocked them down to 3.5 titles in the decade. Both teams were impressive but with a living Len Bias I believe the Celtics would have had the upper hand as the most dominant team of the decade.

As it was, the Celtics didn't win a championship after '85-86 until Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen brought the title home in 2008, twenty two long years. Many Celtics fans and historians point to Len Bias' death as the main reason why.

Some links:

Len Bias wiki

espn - The Day the Innocence Died

Bill Simmons - still haunted
Bias highlights

Thursday, September 1, 2011

photo and video snobbery

I admit, I'm a snob when it comes to pictures and videos. Like everybody else, youtube has become a part of life along with vimeo and the slew of picture sharing sites out there.

My snobbery? With the advent of cameras in phones the quality of viewing pictures or video went down 50% very quickly. Every hack can take pictures or video of anything (often interesting subjects) and post it up to youtube or wherever.

There is a reason phones are called phones. That is their primary function. Pictures and video taken with a phone is great...if in an emergency or as a last resort. However, lots of people treat it as their sole entry into photography or video taking. Watch something shot with an iphone (other than a quick clip on someone's cut kid), something you are sincerely interested in viewing - tell me at the end that you didn't feel betrayed at the end. Betrayed that you were robbed of the experience. Video shot with a phone sucks for a reason. 95% of the cost of the phone is to make the phone work as best it can.

Rant over, gotta figure out how to call someone on my camera...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Rock Block weekends

I like classic rock, actually prefer it. Call me old, call me names, whatever. One of the stations I flip between in the car does rock block weekends every weekend. Their promo states: "2, 3 or even 4 in a row from your favorite artists".

Ok, so sometimes it isn't my favorite artist and I flip. There are a few groups/artists I flip before the first song is 3 seconds in. Two of them were played today while I was on the way to the lake:

ZZ Top - never ever have understood the appeal. The sound is chalkboard scratching at best. Didn't find out if it was 2,3 or 4 in a row.

Bob Seger - Incredibly irritating songs. True story - at our wedding we skimped a little bit on the DJ, he seemed like a good enough guy. When asked about special songs, you know first dance etc. we gave him that. I also told him under no circumstances was Bob Seger to be played. It was a given that DJ's at weddings would play either Turn the Page for a slow song, Night Moves to speed things a little bit, or gasp, Old time rock and roll to get the 80's loving crowd going. What did I hear during the reception? Old Time Rock and Roll. Took a little bit out of the tip envelope. Serves him right.

Anyway, both zz and Seger were played on rock block weekend? Certainly not two groups/artists on my favorites list.

Rant over, go back to your lives.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

RedSox - World Series bound? I dunno...

The RedSox were rolling. They came back from the well documented failure in April and have been in-out of first place for a couple months. They appeared to have begun to reach their potential and things were great.

This week, David Ortiz develops a heel/foot issue. He has been out of the lineup for the doubleheader yesterday with Tampa and the game this afternoon too. One man doesn't make a lineup, Kevin Youkilis also has missed the games. The issue? In the three games in two days against division rival Tampa the Sox have put a total of 15 runners on base (or HR). Nine hits in three games, five walks and a HBP.

The team went comatose all together. For the season, these RedSox have averaged 13.79 baserunners per contest. 9.8 hits, 3.7 walks and .3 HBP. Amazing that they won a game this week so far.

They will get hot again, maybe when Ortiz and Youk get back in the lineup, maybe before then. If and when they head into the playoffs they need to be ready to hit. While this team has good pitching, it isn't their strength, their ability to hit in spots 1-9 is.

Friday, August 12, 2011

So...we are supposed to be sad, right?

Having a hard time with the overwhelming sentiment that Tiger Woods missing the cut today at the PGA is a bad thing. Really? I'm hoping the timing of this picture of Tiger was when a bug of some sort flew into him and caused that pained look on his face. Maybe he was taking an eye exam during his round, you know, "cover your right eye and read the bottom row".

I like superstars, I think superstars can transcend sports and be role models if careful. Tiger wasn't exactly careful was he? I don't really wish ill will on people and don't with Tiger either but him playing horribly and missing the cut isn't something I'll spend any more time than this blog post worrying about. The media is waiting for, praying for, the return of dominant Tiger. I don't get it. Why? The game was predictable and boring. Yeah, he still has plenty of time to catch Jack's record for Major Championships. Will it be as satisfying? I don't know.

Lets look at some great records broken and the participants:

Pete Rose broke Ty Cobb's all time hit record; Pete Rose and Ty Cobb (reportedly) are both slim balls.

Barry Bonds broke Hank Aaron's all time HR record; Hank Aaron is revered and went through troubling and racist times to break Babe Ruth's previous mark. Bonds...yeah.

Cal Ripken broke Lou Gehrig's consecutive game streak; Both are/were considered relatively squeaky clean, one for the good guys

Tiger Woods one day breaking Jack's record; quite possible, far from squeaky for Tiger.

Truth is, Tiger is also aging, might not have the time to overcome the injuries and the damage done to his reputation. Maybe that is what everybody is sad about?

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Somebody posted this picture on the hydrofoiling site I frequent.

Love this picture,his quote : "Last Shuttle "ENDEAVOR" flight from KSC - 5-16-2011. A seriously nifty photo of Monday's shuttle launch from the best seat in the F-15E Strike Eagle at 26 thousand feet over the east coast.......the protective combat air patrol for the launch......"

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

So Wrong...but ok with that

The other day I posted that Jacoby Ellsbury would be named July AL player of the month. Boy was I off. Seems his 5'8 ish teammate Dustin Pedroia walked off with the monthly award. Seems like a good thing if you are a Sox fan. Top two guys in the batting order fighting it out for the top player of the month award. Oh yeah, btw -last month (June) Adrian Gonzalez was the player of the month...

P.S. Sox win tonight on walkoff HR by Ellsbury, maybe August will be his month?

PPS. Back in June, when at a Sox game in the Bronx with a Yankee friend and Pedroia was hitting .230 I made a gentleman's bet that Pedey would end the year over .300 - Love this game!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The End

For as long as I can remember I have a fear (or dreading) the end of things. Nope, not talking about the BIG end of things but much smaller and on a more frequent scale. The end of a round of golf, end of a day on the lake, end of a vacation, things like that.

I can tell you that in every round of golf I play (not that many lately, lol), somewhere around the 13th or 14th hole I get a sense of sadness that it will be over in x number of holes.

About Thursday on a standard weeks' vacation I start to wonder where the time went and why does it have to end in a few days. Everybody probably wonders that one but it is deeper than just whimsically wondering "where did the time go?".

The dread that hits me actually does sometimes prevent me from fully enjoying the moment and balance of the event.

I looked it up online hoping to find some cool sounding phobia but the list of phobias is too long to go through. I clearly have a phobia about going through that list...

Maybe it's rooted in the whole death thing, or more likely in aging. After all, not too many people want to age. I don't generally feel as old as I am. Maybe I'm holding on or wanting to.

Paul McCartney wrote a song about dieing called "End of the End", brief excerpt:

At the end of the end
It's the start of a journey
To a much better place
And this wasn't bad
So a much better place
Would have to be special
No need to be sad

A blogger I read by former SI writer and author Jeff Perlman often speaks of his fear on death.

I don't think that is where my head is at. It is about how fast life is moving. My post here last week about the constant "rush" in life is related...I think. If you enjoy things, shouldn't you fear them ending? Ending sooner than you hope?

Do you long for things to last?

Sunday, July 31, 2011


I'm about half way through ESPN's book that came out recently. Enjoying it although the connecting the dots along the timeline sometimes get lost a bit. The other day while reading they got to the part where they hired the advertising firm that gave them the parody ads with athletes and their own personalities.

Some classic ones and some I've never seen before:

Pedroia (my Boston influence)



Bill Bradley

defense wins championships

Grant Hill - classic





Richard Simmons


Friday, July 29, 2011

Spectator Booing in Sports

A blogger (Peter) I know posted yesterday a self analysis piece on whether booing athletes is a good/decent thing to do after hearing of Hideki Irabu's suicide. Peter wondered out loud whether, in the smallest of ways, his booing of Irabu while with the Yankees could have contributed to his ultimate demise.

I don't believe a fan should ever feel guilty of "casual booing" in fact I believe it is part of the sport and athlete/fan relationship, certainly at the professional level. Don't get me wrong, if you boo college kids, high school etc. then the line may be crossed. After all, they are not profiting from playing (yet).

I believe there are at least a few types of booing.

1) Booing your own team, this is out of frustration, whether it be a multi millionaire not performing up to snuff or the team in total struggling it is a necessary boo to let management and players know that the seats might not always be full. I willingly partake in this one.

2) Booing every single opposing player no matter the situation. Often these types are either drunk or are such negative people in life that they would think they hit the lottery if they were walking behind you and you drop a $20 bill on the ground and they pick it up and keep it rather than return it to you. I cannot remember doing this ever, although I would have if older at the time shortly after a big brawl between the Sox and Yankees in 1976 when Nettles and the Yankees retaliated ( 1976 brawl ) to some lip service Bill Lee had been providing with a physical (and cheap) beat down.

3) Booing only particular players on the other team. This one is easily the most popular. Visiting players, whether good or bad, get it from fans. This differs from #2 in that there is room left for respect of the opposing players if deserved. I would never boo Derek Jeter but when A-Rod comes up to bat, watch out. I obviously partake in this version.

Unless you take it (way) too far and have altercations with a player outside of the field of play, as long as it is kept within limits, booing is a good part of competitive sports and fan viewing. Professional athletes are entertainers and make obscene amounts of money. The tickets and secondary costs of going to an event or game are real and significant to fans. If the booing were ever regulated/forced out of that relationship you might as well have an empty stadium and have it only televised with no live viewing.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Patriots go for it and Mr. Ellsbury

Attention, if you haven't heard yet, the New England Patriots are going for gold. Having acquired Albert Haynesworth in the morning they went out and stole Chad Ochocinco from the Bengals for two draft picks over the next two years. Everybody is writing/saying that both of these will be just like Corey Dillan/Randy Moss pickups for the Pats. Both will be expected to contribute and keep their attitudes in check (at least for a while) and help the team win a SuperBowl.

Who knows what the new look NFL will be like with salary basements (minimums teams have to spend) and all the player movement still going on. What I would guess though is that if they stay reasonably healthy the Patriots have a good shot at getting very deep in the playoffs.

Switching to the Baseball side of things, Jacoby Ellsbury was written off by many in the media and fanbase last year for being "soft". He suffered through rib injuries all season after colliding with now departed Mike Cameron. Many questioned Ellsbury's toughness. I don't think there is anything you can challenge with a professional athlete that would upset them more. With the arrival of Carl Crawford over the winter, further speculation was that the Sox would deal Ellsbury. Everybody should be glad they didn't. In a few days he will be named AL player of the month (write it down). He is playing as well as anybody in the game including his teammate Dustin Pedroia. Ellsbury has hit .325 so far with 17 homeruns and 60 RBI to go with 29 stolen bases. For July? Just .413, 8 hr, 20 rbi. You'll notice in the banner above on my site I have a picture of Ellsbury. All the pictures in the banner are things I like. I never gave up on Ellsbury, I saw the injuries for what they were, unfortunate. Kind of like every time Mike Greenwell used to get run into by the human injury creator, Ellis Burks. Remember Ellsbury's steal of home against Andy Pettitte and the Yankees a couple years ago? Awesome.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Ever get tired of rushing around?

Most activities, most things you do, you finish and rush to the next activity. There is no smelling the roses anymore. Days are planned to the minute. Take the kid(s) for music lessons at 10:00. After they are done, rush through a drive through so you can get them home by xx:xx time.

I remember growing up in the old days and there being slow moving days. No plans, take it as it comes at you. Decide to go to the grocery store, ok, didn't already have a list completed the day before with a specific time to go there? So be it. I laugh when one of the kids claims to be bored. Yeah in your world you may be. Tired of the computer, wii, xbox, 500 channels.

I like going to the lake. I've been told that I seem more relaxed there. I'm not sure. When I'm out on the boat, skiing and having fun there is a "rush" ongoing at all times. When one person is done with their turn skiing, the next rushes to attention and gets ready.

Not sure if any of it can be stopped. Spontaneous behavior is no longer allowed. Master plans are required in advance for most of what we do in life. Texting on the phone in your pocket is another method of instant gratification. Used to be ok if you didn't talk/text somebody all day long. Now it is part of being. Expected.

I'm tired. Should go to bed. I didn't plan to go to bed this early though. Plan was to browse the web, check scores and read a little bit before bed. I haven't accomplished all of that yet. Where did the time go?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Home Field Advantage

So we've all been there, traveling for work, for vacation, oh I don't know, traveling to a funeral or wedding. If you've been away from home for a day or two you don't yet realize it. If you've been lucky or unlucky enough to be gone the better part of a week or more then you definitely yearn for "Home field Advantage". What is it, outside of the sports definition? Home field advantage is quite simply, comforts.

Since arriving back home late last night, the list of home field advantages piled up quickly:

- space to put things, no longer constricted to a small hotel room
- water to drink without paying someone $2 for a bottle
- snacks available, again, without paying gross fees
- bathroom space, having the ability to see your toothbrush in it's correct place, not living out of a toiletry bag anymore
- "your" pillow setup. Sounds insignificant but really? The most important home field advantage other than :
- soft toilet paper. enough said
- Overall space. No longer sharing a hotel room with my beloved children (we do a boys room and a girls room when on the road).
- AC that actually keeps a temperature around what you set avoiding the highs and lows of hotel air
- knowledge that every meal won't be north of $40 (even fast food meals) once we restock the pantry and fridge.

How could I forget the shower, nothing quite like a shower head that is above your head for a change. Those lousy hotel shower heads that if you are above 5'9" make you crouch down to wash your hair are awful.

Lastly, the best homefield advantage? No automatic itinerary with detailed places to go, people to meet, things to do. We'll still do things, just some of it will be played by ear. Good to be home.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Atlanta Airport Security

Hard to believe but there is an airport that has a less efficient running security area than Hartsfield, I give you...O'Hare in Chicago. Either they were training a bunch of new TSA employees or they were all alerted to some high alert and were checking every bag through the machine with their backwards and forwards couple of inches that the belt travels. Took the seven of us about 20 minutes to walk 15 feet and get through the scanners. That was after having our ID's checked and passed. Gaby got some odd pleasure out of my being picked randomly to have the full body scan. I of course asked for, but did not receive, a cigarette after the scan...

Friday, July 22, 2011


When you are confined to hotel rooms, night after night, with two of your kids, what can you do? Watch tv and post on a blog. NCIS is a show made for hotel viewing. Back to back repeats are too tempting to resist. Back to normal in the morning. My wife prefers NCIS LA, has something to do with the male characters, she doesn't get Mark Harmon. LA version is too...sorry...hollywood for me.


If you've never been to Wisconsin (or Illinois evidently) you've probably missed out on Butterburgers. What exactly is a butterburger? Fast food with a purpose. Butterburgers probably aren't healthy for you. You've probably had a Big Mac, you've probably had a Whopper and anything from any number of fast food joints, all of which are not healthy for you either. Butterburgers from Culver's has them all beat. Great tasting burger with no holding back on flavor because somebody thought they needed to cover all the bases. Good burger (meat) on a butter grilled bun makes this burger really good. Culver's has the whole frozen custard thing going for them too, especially if you have kids you are taking...which I do and did.