Down the Hall on Your Left

This site is a blog about what has been coasting through my consciousness lately. The things I post will be reflections that I see of the world around me. You may not agree with me or like what I say. In either case – you’ll get over it and I can live with it if it makes you unhappy. Please feel free to leave comments if you wish . All postings are: copyright 2014 – 2018

Archive for the category “Baseball”

OK, So I’m Whining.

 

WHINE, WHINE, WHINE.

Excuse me while I whine.

WHINE, WHINE, WHINE.

There! I feel better now.

What am I whining about? I’m whining because it’s January and I miss Baseball.

I miss the crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd, and their collective gasp as the ball arcs through the air into the Gap. Ahhh, the sensual glory of The Game.

The Sights, the Sounds, and the Smells are all a vital part of the Baseball experience. Without reveling in these basic sensations the game might as well be on television.

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171,476

 

I LOVE LANGUAGE and it use, misuse, and ability to be twisted and return to its original shape. It’s a lot like Silly Putty.

There are so many times that I hear words come flying from the mouths of relatively sane people that I have to stop and listen just to make sure that it’s not my hearing that is cuckoo. Words will go wherever we point them.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary there are 171,476 English words in current use. Most of us don’t know and use more than a tiny fraction of that total. Personally, I feel comfortable with dozens of those words.

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Throwback Thursday From November 2015 – Grumble, Grumble, Mutiny, Mutiny, Mumble, Mumble

Throwback Thursday From November 2015 – 

 

Grumble, Grumble, Mutiny, Mutiny, Mumble, Mumble

Angry gifMY OFFICE IS CROWDED TODAY. Of course, “my office,” also doubles as a corner table in the Starbucks a few blocks from home. I can usually shut out the hubbub and foot traffic around me, but today, for some reason, it is all getting on my nerves.

Most of the people in here at this time of day are college students. This location sits almost exactly halfway between two schools. On most days they have their noses deeply buried in either textbooks or computers, but not today. Today must be a day after they have gotten their grades or test scores back. It sounds like they all did well.

Rather than studying the majority are socializing (read: putting the moves on somebody) and trying to look and sound like they can read and write in cursive. I’m seeing short hair being combed and patted to keep it in place and long hair being tossed and flipped, almost as punctuation marks.

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I Will Survive

 

 

I AM A CLOSET RED SOX FAN. Not really, but because they are going up against the Hated Dodgers in the World Series …It’s baked beans and cod fish for everybody!

This year was not a good year for my beloved San Francisco Giants. In fact it was an “Annus Horribilis” as Queen Elizabeth once put it. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong. To top off the misery the dodgers made it to the World Series. I was in mourning for several days.

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Is it Next Year Yet?

I HAVEN’T WRITTEN MUCH ABOUT BASEBALL THIS SUMMER. Why? Because it’s hard to keep from swearing while I have tears soaking the page.

It has not been a good season for my Giants. Things weren’t very good last year either, but with some sterling offseason acquisitions it looked like 2018 was going to have the Giants in the hunt for the Pennant once more. Appearances can be deceiving.

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Throwback Thursday from August 2015 – “Some Call It Courage”

Throwback Thursday from August 2015 – 

Some Call It Courage

20150818_204155THERE ARE A NUMBER OF DIFFERING DEFINITIONS of the word “Courage.” Some call it “Grace under pressure,” while others say it is “Being scared, but acting anyway.” I think that, in many cases, what is called courage is simply not paying attention to what is happening around you.

I heard someone once say that the most courageous person in history was the first person to eat an oyster. How hungry must that person have been to consider eating that thing? If I was faced with that dilemma today I would still hold out for something better.

“I ain’t eating that. There’s gotta be a Cracker Barrel nearby.”

I would even eat a tuna sandwich from the Marathon Gas Station Mini-Mart before I’d pick up that raw oyster and say, “Pass the hot sauce, please.”

Last night my wife, the lovely and highly courageous, Dawn, and I attended the SF Giants vs. the St. Louis Cardinals baseball game at Busch Stadium. There were a number of people there arrayed in Giants shirts, caps, and attitude, but we were nowhere near them. We were surrounded by about 40,000 Cardinals fans, yet we never felt in peril. There was good natured ribbing going on, but being a Giants fan there never required courage – except maybe when I got in line to get a hot dog. Getting a ballpark hot dog always requires a modicum of courage. There is always a smidgen of that “first oyster” memory lurking in the background with ballpark dogs.

After downing our hot dogs we moved to our seats to enjoy the game. It was there that we witnessed the most courageous act since Bruce Jenner decided to have his eyebrows plucked.

Allow me to set the scene –

Here we were, in St. Louis – in Busch Stadium – looking across the field at the largest Budweiser sign in the galaxy – with every vendor in the park yelling, “Cold beer! Get your Bud Light here!” – And, seated in front of us was a young man of indeterminate intelligence, time/space awareness, or survival instinct wearing a shirt bearing the message, “Miller Time.”

This was a fellow who had either lost a serious bet or was trying to commit “Suicide by Brewery.”

Going anywhere in St. Louis wearing a shirt saying “Miller Time” would be comparable to opening a Pulled Pork restaurant in downtown Baghdad, while dressed as Uncle Sam and wearing a Yarmulke.

I’d like to think that this fellow, pictured above, just lives in his own private Idaho and is protected by the Fates who must have one doozy of a surprise waiting for him down the road sometime in the future.

Perhaps this guy will be selected as Joe Biden’s running mate, or Donald Trump’s barber.

I think that the fact that he was able to get out of the stadium alive is a testimony to the kindness of St. Louis-ians. In most other cities he wouldn’t have made it past the old guy selling scorecards before being turned into a crime statistic.

Personally, I didn’t really care. I’m not a beer drinker. My only concern was that we might fall into the category of “collateral damage” if things didn’t go well for Mr. Miller Time. I don’t want my death certificate reading, “Cause of Death: Jackass shrapnel.”

Maybe this guy is one of those people who are considered, “Thrill Seekers.” You know – the kind of person who skydives using a parachute packed by someone with the nickname of, “Better Luck Next Time.” – Or who jumps into shark infested waters carrying a Rare Sirloin Steak in his back pocket.

The most common phrase one hears in reference to “Thrill Seekers” is, “Oh, yeah, I remember him.”

So, whether it be wearing a shirt that doubles as a bull’s eye, or being the first person to eat a raw oyster, it takes something special, I just don’t know if I could call it courage.

I’ll reserve that word for folks in the Armed Forces and anyone who would marry a Kardashian.

In The Soft Orange Glow

 

WHAT CAN I TELL YOU? I love rooting for my team. If the San Francisco Giants Baseball team is playing I’m going to be tuned in. My passion is like the fans of the FIFA World Cup and the way they feel about their teams – (Go Upper Volta!!). And if you think I’m a fan you should meet my wife. She makes me look like an Atheist in the Vatican.

My wife, the lovely and True Believer, Dawn, was not born a Giants fan. I infected her with Giants Fever. She has always been a Baseball fan. She grew up watching and listening with her Grandfather as he tuned to KMOX broadcasts of St. Louis Cardinal games. She recalls that he sat in a darkened room with the only light being the orange glow from his old console radio and the glow from the tip of his cigarette. His imagination brought him the play-by-play of the game as clearly as any HD television would today. Dawn was made into a fan like so many of us were – in our mind’s eye.

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I Been Sick. Play Ball!

I HAVE BEEN SICK FOR THE LAST TEN DAYS with some low grade bug that has had me coughing like an out of tune Pontiac. I’m better today than I was last week and I am confident that I will be completely well by this coming Monday. Why so confident? Because that is when I have a scheduled Doctor appointment.

That’s just the way things work out. It’s like when your car is making that funny noise that hints at demonic possession. When you finally get it into the shop the engine is purring like a kitten.

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In The Big Inning

IN THE OFFICIAL LITURGICAL CALENDAR the Sunday after Easter is called Bright Sunday, but in the Unofficial calendar it is known as “Holy Hilarity Sunday” when God’s sense of humor is celebrated. What better way to celebrate that and the new season of Major League Baseball than with the following creation.

Today’s blog is “The Opening Day Genesis” by Glenn Birkemeier published in “McSweeney’s Internet Tendency”

 

OPENING DAY GENESIS

Shoeless Joe Jackson

In the big inning, God created Heaven on Earth. And it was without form, and void. God separated the dirt from the grass. He called the grass Outfield and the dirt He called Infield. God made the Infield a 90-foot square and the Outfield not less than 400 feet to center and 320 feet down the lines. He declared this Fair Territory. All other territory, God then declared, was Foul.

And God divided the players into two teams of nine players each, under direction of a manager, to play The Game on His field. God called some of these players Pitchers and some of them Hitters. He placed a Pitcher precisely 60 feet 6 inches from a Hitter. Then God commanded that it’s one, two, three strikes you’re out at the ol’ Ballgame.

And God granted jurisdiction of The Game to lesser Gods, whom He called Umpires. God said the Umpires are infallible, blessed with Heavenly authority, whose judgment is not to be questioned under penalty of expulsion from The Game. And God looked at his creation and He was pleased. Then God created the Infield Fly Rule to confuse nonbelievers.

And God said, Let there be light beer, and there was. And, God said, let there be peanuts and hot dogs and overpriced souvenirs and let there be frosty chocolate malts with little wooden spoons that you can buy nowhere else except at this Heaven, which God called a Ballpark, and there was. God looked at His creation and it was good.

And the Lord God formed, from the dust, a collection of elite players in His own image. The Lord God then breathed the breath of life into His creation. God called this creation the National League.

And God said, It is not good for the National League to be alone. The Lord God shall make it a mate. And thus, while the National League slept, God took several of its top players and created the American League.

And God blessed The Game, saying, Be fruitful and multiply. Put teams in every city with deserving fans, God added, even if this occurs at the expense of starting-pitching depth.

From time to time, God understood, The Game would be corrupted by the Serpent. The Serpent was more cunning than any other beast and he would take many wicked forms: the Black Sox, segregation, the Designated Hitter, the Reserve Clause, dead balls, juiced balls, spit balls, corked bats, George Steinbrenner, AstroTurf, the 1981 strike, collusion, lockouts, Pete Rose, the 1994 strike, greenies, cocaine, HGH, Andro, steroids, $20 parking, corporate mallparks, Scott Boras, Donald Fehr, and Bud Selig.

Ty Cobb

But, God said, the goodness in The Game shall always prevail. As needed, the Lord shall bestow upon The Game a Savior. And the Savior, like the Serpent, can take many forms. The Savior shall remind Fans how blessed The Game truly is. The Savior shall be called by many names, including Cy, Matty, Honus, Big Train, the Babe, Wrigley Field, Fenway Park, Lou Gehrig, Branch Rickey, Jackie Robinson, Buck O’Neil, Hank Greenberg, Red Barber, Harry Carey, Vin Scully, Jack Buck, Satchel Paige, Bill Veeck, Roberto Clemente, Ernie Banks, Hammerin’ Hank, Cool Papa, Dizzy, Lefty, Whitey, Stan the Man, Big Klu, the Say Hey Kid, Campy, Duke, the Mick, the Splendid Splinter, the Gas House Gang, the Big Red Machine, the Damn Yankees, Pudge Fisk, Pudge Rodriguez, Yaz, Pops, the Wizard of Oz, Fernando, George Brett, Moonlight Graham, Roy Hobbs, Wild Thing Vaughn, Bingo Long, the Ryan Express, Donnie Baseball, Rickey, Eck, the Big Unit, the Cactus League, Cal Ripken, Tony Gwynn, Camden Yards, Rotisserie Drafts, Web Gems, Derek Jeter, Dontrelle Willis, Vlad Guerrero, and, from the Far East, Ichiro. And, God guaranteed, there are many more to come.

God looked upon His creation and He was very pleased. And God spoke, yelling,PLAY BALL!

A Season Of Hope

 

ONE OF MY GREAT JOYS IN LIFE, aside from my wonderful wife, Dawn, Family, and Coffee, is Baseball. We are now into the 2018 Season and, of course, I am rooting for my team – The San Francisco Giants.

Last year the Giants sucked like an overworked Hoover vacuum. This year we are hoping that they will do better. In 2017 my boys lost 98 games. The season is 162 games and you aren’t going to get into the postseason playoffs winning only 64 games – not unless you buy a ticket like everybody else.

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Throwback Thursday From March 2015 “Springtime On The Wabash”

Throwback Thursday From March 2015

“Springtime On The Wabash”

 

AH, THE CHIRPING OF THE BIRDS, the reappearance of the crocus, and the crack of the bat on the baseball – the true harbingers of Spring.

Easter is early this year, coming in late March. That and the fact that the local Dairy Queen has opened reassure me that life will continue.

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Tis The Season

HERE WE ARE.

It is one of those points in time and space that are conflicting and confusing. Sort of a perpetual Monday Morning. Which way do I go or should I just roll over and close my eyes until things resolve themselves?

It is technically still winter, but yesterday the thermometer hit 70°. We are fast approaching St. Patrick’s Day (It needs prep time) and we are into the middle of Lent. Football Season is over, but Baseball is still in the closet trying to decide what to wear.

I have had to assign valuable head space and time to think about all of these things. The whole world, or at least my part of it, is in a state of flux. It is neither here nor there, hither or yon, to or fro. This time of year is just “Whenever.”

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Time Februarys On

 

WE ARE CLOSING IN ON THE END of February and, unless some changes have been made without my knowledge, March will soon be here.

Why the big deal? So what? Well, let me tell you.

Aside from the fact that I’m done with my eyeball surgery business and I can actually see what is going on around me much more clearly, a number of important and wonderful things will be happening in March.

To begin with once March begins it will mean that it is no longer February! February is the lamest month of the year. It has the look and feel of something made up from leftovers and scraps of other months. The weather is almost always lousy and it serves no real purpose other than to keep January and March from bumping into one another.

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I Can Almost Hear It Now

I KNOW…I KNOW. WE ARE STILL IN WINTER. There is snow on the ground and the first Robin of Spring is still frozen solid, but I just gotta talk about Baseball.

Spring Training is underway as players descend on Florida and Arizona to get into condition and to fight for their jobs against up and coming youngsters and newly acquired veterans holding on for dear life.

Thus has it ever been in the world of Baseball.

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Throwback Thursday from Nov. 2015 – Grumble, Grumble, Mutiny, Mutiny, Mumble, Mumble

Throwback Thursday from Nov. 2015 – 

Grumble, Grumble, Mutiny, Mutiny, Mumble, Mumble

Angry gifMY OFFICE IS CROWDED TODAY. Of course, “my office,” also doubles as a corner table in the Starbucks a few blocks from home. I can usually shut out the hubbub and foot traffic around me, but today, for some reason, it is all getting on my nerves.

Most of the people in here at this time of day are college students. This location sits almost exactly halfway between two schools. On most days they have their noses deeply buried in either textbooks or computers, but not today. Today must be a day after they have gotten their grades or test scores back. It sounds like they all did well.

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Throwback Thursday from Nov. 2015 -And A Side Order Of Comfort Food, Please

Throwback Thursday from Nov. 2015 –

…And A Side Order Of Comfort Food, Please

LOOKING AT THE SKY THIS AFTERNOON I see what looks like a winter sky. I know that winter is not here, officially, until just before Christmas, but my body does not know that.

I saw an old guy recently who was wearing a T-shirt that read, “Getting old ain’t for Sissies.” I have come to truly understand that that is true, in Spades, a solid gold, cold hard fact. Ya gotta be tough.

As the temperature drops the sinews and skeletal structure of my body begin to react in a way that, if I were a car they would have me up on the rack for a tune up and a check of my suspension – and maybe new shocks. But, since I am not a car, I get a bottle of Excedrin. I’m an old model and it is hard to find parts for me anyway.

Right now my spine is trying to dislodge itself and go to Florida. The attached muscles and other human bungee cords are twisting to counterbalance my spine’s attempts to sneak away when I’m not looking. And, Mamacita! It hurts.

Modern pharmaceuticals offer a variety of substances that alleviate pain, but they do so at a cost. I’m not talking about money. I’m talking about side effects. All medications have side effects – ALL OF THEM. Some are innocuous, some are enjoyable, most are tolerable. These side effects are there because all medications are also poisonous – ALL OF THEM. The trick with medications is to have you take them in such a dosage that it will achieve the positive, intended goal without killing you first. You can OD on anything.

I knew a fellow who, for various psychological reasons, tried to commit suicide by taking his entire month’s supply of antidepressants at one time. Doing so lifted his spirits and made him forget about offing himself, but those meds had the side effect of completely shutting down his kidneys. Fortunately, the ER doctors were able to save him and his kidneys, and the emergency catheterization they had to perform made him even sorrier that he had taken all those pills.

When my body begins to ache, and get downright punitive with me, I try to avoid taking any pain medications. Most of the OTC things are no more effective than a bag of M&Ms and not as tasty. The ones that do help either upset my tummy or make me feel like I’ve downed 32 cups of espresso. The happy medium, for me anyway, is Excedrin Migraine. I don’t have migraine headaches, thank you, Lord, but it seems to be the most effective with body aches. Go figure.

I came to the realization, decades ago, that these seasonal changes are unavoidable no matter where I lived, and so were the pains that came with them. I have also accepted that there is not a damn thing I can do about the pain, unless I want to take prescription pain medication and put my brain and personality in a box until summer. Some of those heavy-duty pain meds are the equivalent of a lobotomy in a bottle. Why on God’s green earth would I want to do that when my brain is just about the only thing I have that works?

Some years ago I had a nasty case of Shingles and my doctor gave me a prescription for Vicodin. Sweet Jesus! I couldn’t feel the pain, along with my head, my tongue, the Western Hemisphere or the Milky Way. It was like getting hit in the head with a ball-peen hammer. It turned me into a side of beef with shoes. After a couple days with that I opted for the pain. At least that way I knew I was alive.

So, here I sit, typing away, having downed a couple of Excedrin Migraine. It helps, a bit. I think that the best thing I can do for myself, and those around me, is to stay warm, eat some comfort foods, and watch the World Series on TV.

Now, if I can just find a bowl full of chocolate covered endorphins.

Veeck (As In Wreck)

THERE ARE INVENTORS, CREATORS, AND INNOVATORS and then there was Bill Veeck.

If you are a baseball fan, a REAL baseball fan, you already know about Bill Veeck. Even if you are just a casual fan of The Game you are aware of his influence of the game.

The ivy on the walls of Chicago’s Wrigley Field? Thank Bill Veeck. That was his idea. He was always coming up with something. Honestly however, not all of his ideas were successful or appreciated.

Veeck would tell the story that in the early 1940s, when he was part owner of the minor league Milwaukee Brewers; he installed a portable screen that raised the height of the outfield wall. When the opposing team was at bat the screen would go up – and it was lowered when the Brewers were at bat. That lasted all of one day before the league banned it.

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It Does Rain In California

FROM HAVING WORKED IN NIGHTCLUBS AND THEATERS all those years I became a real Night Person. It was not at all unusual for me to be out and about at 3 AM after the clubs had closed for the night.

With the Adrenaline still pumping it just wasn’t possible to go straight home and hit the hay. A bunch of us would stop at some all-night cafe for a bite and to talk shop.

That was then, this is now.

I can’t do that anymore. Both my mind and my body want to shut down long before those late hours.

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Waking Up From A Dream

I REALLY HAVEN’T WRITTEN MUCH ABOUT MY SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS LATELY. There is a good reason – they are not having a good year. No, it’s worse than that – they are stinking up the joint.

For the first time since the 1980s they have a chance to lose 100 games this season. That hurts.

I remember going out to games at the old Candlestick Park and watching them lose day after day. It was not easy to be a witness to that. Since then they have had some glorious years – winning three World Series rings in a three year period. But that was then and this is now.

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Would Somebody Explain That To Me.

OK, I HAVE JOINED THE RANKS OF MILLIONS OF OTHER PEOPLE. I watched the season ending episode of “Game of Thrones” the other night. Now – will someone, anyone, tell me what in the heck that was all about?

Characters came and went… and came back again. Strange creatures and zombies were getting starring roles. Weddings turned into blood baths. That one I could relate to – you should have been to my Cousin Lulu’s wedding. The bride wore a Carhartt wedding gown.

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