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 – 2017

Archive for the category “SF Giants”

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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Do You Believe In Miracles?

A SATURDAY MORNING IN THE RAIN. While you are reading this on a Tuesday I wrote it a couple of weeks ago. And it’s raining again. We could seriously use a miracle.

The past two weeks have been very wet here along the Banks of the Wabash – and those banks are a lot closer than they were before all of this rain. We have had over 7” of rain in the last week or so. Everyone and everything are waterlogged. All I can say in a positive sense is – At least it’s not snow.

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Take Me Out To The Shrine

HERE WE ARE ENJOYING THE MAY FLOWERS that have bloomed thanks to the April showers. The grass is green and, oh, yeah, the Baseball season is in full swing.

Now that The Boys of Summer have a few weeks under their belts and rosters are solidifying. It is time to erect “The Shrine” at Casa Nuestra.

Each season we are able to acquire some of the team “giveaways” that make the shrine just a giftshop away from being a real roadside attraction.

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Joey Who?

joey1IT LOOKS LIKE SPRINGTIME IS FINALLY HERE. I see robins and cardinals and they don’t look worried about frostbite. There are giant Vs overhead going north and there are new baseball stars on the horizon.

Major League Baseball teams have been heavy into Spring Training for over a month and just like the new flowers that pop up in the spring so do new young players.

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Throwback Thursday – What? I’m Sorry. What did you say? Huh?

Throwback Thursday 1From September 2015

What? I’m Sorry. What did you say? Huh?

Mr Bean asleep

 

 

WE STAYED UP MUCH TOO LATE LAST NIGHT. When the SF Giants are playing on the west coast the games don’t even begin until 10:15.

Do the math. I can’t.

I didn’t crawl under the comforter until close to 2 AM and my eyes popped open just before 7 AM.  I got up – stumbled to the bathroom – relied on a lifetime of aiming in the dark, and stumbled back to bed.

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I Suppose It Had To Happen

winter 1WELL, WE CERTAINLY GOT OUR BUTTS KICKED LAST NIGHT. We got pummeled by our first real winter snowfall of the season. There was another storm back in mid-January, but we were down in Texas for that one.

We were heading home from church yesterday when this thing blew through. It was truly nasty driving on the city streets, and on the Interstate it turned into a 50 car pileup. We got home safely, even though Dawn’s windshield wipers decided that it was a good time to commit suicide.

By the time the storm had moved on to the East we were looking at a pretty snowy world. Parts of Terre Haute got 4.5 inches of the stuff. We got about 2 – 3 inches topped off with a nice glaze of freezing rain. Such fun.

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Let The Games Begin!

PROOF HAS ARRIVED. Baseball Season is here. What is this proof?Super Bowl 2

The Super Bowl is over! And, strictly from a dietary point of view – I’m glad.

Let me explain.

When there is a football game on TV we find ourselves either napping away the afternoon or reaching for another slice of pizza. Not a lot of calories being burned in relation to the culinary intake.

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Some Days I Wonder

FB_IMG_1444318071823SO FAR JANUARY HAS HAD MORE THAN IT’S SHARE OF ODD.

The other day, in the illustrious Tribune-Star newspaper, there was a story about a fellow being sentenced to 69 years in the slammer for shooting and killing his “Buddy,” as the story called him.buddy

It was said that both of these lads had been out drinking and were approaching a flammable state when the “Buddy” started feeling blue. He turned to his friend and said, “Just shoot me and put me out of my misery.”

So he did.

There’s not a lot I could add to that, except that it did appear in the Trib-Star, a newspaper not known for the accuracy/spelling/grammar/anything else one would expect. So, I suppose that it is possible that they’ve made a few errors and this story is actually about a meeting of the Garden Club’s Petunia Sub-committee.

In other January news flashes there was a story about my favorite baseball team – The San Francisco Giants – signing up a new outfielder.

Denard Span, aside from having an interesting name, is a good player and should be an asset to the team. The fly in this ointment surfaced during an interview after the contract was signed and Span was paraded before the media. It turns out that the new Giants outfielder has a serious phobia: Birds.Sf seagulls 2

This could be a problem. Having been to many ballgames in San Francisco I can verify that, starting in about the 7th inning, the seagulls arrive at the stadium. They are there looking for a free meal among the dropped hotdogs, peanuts, pizza, and other leftovers. They arrive by the hundreds and take over the bleachers and even land in the outfield. I’m afraid that Mr. Span is going to be increasing his dosage of Anti-Anxiety meds.

These seagulls are big, bold and not afraid of anything. I saw one snatch an ice cream sandwich from the hands of an infant in a stroller. Swoop! Snatch! Gulp!

I wonder if the Giants will pay for his therapist? He’s going to need one or he will turn into Jimmy Piersall right before our eyes. (Look up “Fear Strikes Out”)

Terre Haute (That’s French for, “Biscuits and Gravy – Breakfast of Champions.”) got its first real taste of winter with snow and bitter cold. There’s nothing truly unusual about that, but the NBC affiliate TV station saw things a little differently than the rest of us.FB_IMG_1452430465108

 I really hate it when we have to deal with “Blowing Snot” on the roads. I was afraid that my windshield would never be the same – until I replaced the Window Washer Fluid with Mucinex.

I guess that the BIG story of the month has been the Power Ball Lottery jackpot going over a billion dollars. It is a serious amount of money and provides easy stories for the media.

I was watching the Today Show when they did a puff piece about “what if” the prize was paid out in one dollar bills. (Can NBC do hard news, or what?) In singles, the prize would stack up X number of miles. If laid end to end, blah, blah, blah. It was pretty easy to ignore until he said, “It would weigh…” At that point my caffeine dependent mind leapt ahead of him and finished his sentence.

“It would weigh” – “slightly less than Rosie O’Donnell after six months on the Atkins Diet.”

I should talk. I once brought up the idea of having my stomach stapled. My doctor suggested, “That in your case, I would recommend spot welding.”

The odds of winning the billion-plus dollar prize are beyond astronomical, but it will happen (if it hasn’t already by the time this posts.) and someone will gain more previously unknown relatives than anyone in history.

Sudden wealth can present problems, but I’ve dealt with the problems of not so sudden poverty most of my life. I’d like a crack at the other end of that financial Mobius strip.

If you notice that I start writing about the goings-on of Tahiti instead of Terre Haute you’ll know that something big has happened. Tahiti (That’s French for, “Guess what happened to me.”)Tahiti 1

I Know They’re Not Listening To Me

I DON’T GET UPSET WHEN THEY IGNORE ME. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t surprise me at all. After all, while I’m talking to them, we are in different vehicles.Road Rage 2

Yup, I’m one of those people who talks out loud to the drivers of other cars on the road. I give them suggestions. I offer constructive criticism on their driving. I ask them if their car is equipped with things like turn signals, brakes, headlights, etc. I’m just trying to be helpful. Honest.

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Everything Looks Different Today

lover come back

IT WAS AFTER 3:30 AM when I finally crawled under the covers. The game was over – after more than five hours. I didn’t watch it all, of course. I slept from the seventh inning up until the bottom of the fourteenth – a nice nap. Did I miss much? Not really. The Giants lost, I was sleepy and it was almost time for the sun to peek above the eastern horizon. Dang.

My internal alarm clock usually wakes me up at 7 AM, but I knew that today it wasn’t going to work.

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Oh, Baby, Baby, Baby

say my nameI WAS JUST LOOKING AT THE LIST of the most popular names for newborn babies in 2014. For 2015 I assume we won’t know for a while what names will make the Top Ten.

When I first saw the list of girl’s names I was struck by how “traditional” and even 19th century many of them seemed.

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What? I’m Sorry. What did you say? Huh?

Mr Bean asleepWE STAYED UP MUCH TOO LATE LAST NIGHT. When the SF Giants are playing on the west coast the games don’t even begin until 10:15.

Do the math. I can’t.

I didn’t crawl under the comforter until close to 2 AM and my eyes popped open just before 7 AM.  I got up – stumbled to the bathroom – relied on a lifetime of aiming in the dark, and stumbled back to bed.

At about 8:15 my eyes popped open again, only this time they functioned as advertised. I got dressed in whatever was closest.

It was then that my wife, the lovely and already up for some reason, Dawn, said, “You aren’t going to wear those pants, are you? There is some kind of stain on the back.”

I checked. She was right, but whatever it was, it was up near the belt – and my butt doesn’t go up that high. I must have either leaned up against something or there are loose stains floating in the air and one landed on my tookus.

The morning, which came much too soon anyway, was getting off to a very iffy start. I hadn’t even gotten out of the bedroom and I was having to make major life decisions like: What pants should I wear that don’t have a stain on them? Critical Thinking and Haute Couture, both before coffee.

Socrates would have blanched at that situation. “How did I get a stain on my toga? It’s too early and I haven’t had my… (Whatever Greeks drank in the morning. I know that hemlock was an afternoon aperitif.)

Anyway –

After dressing for the second time I took a look at myself in the mirror. Even with heavily impaired vision due to lack of sleep, I could see that things were going to be difficult unless I took positive action. If asked to give a capsule description of how I looked I would have to say that I had that “Disgruntled Former Employee” look going on. I needed a shave, my hair combed; my shirt buttoned correctly, my moustache trimmed, and my glasses cleaned.

If I had come to my own front door, I wouldn’t have let me in. Dawn would have dialed 911.

I started a major reclamation project by combing my hair, trimming the ‘stache, and fixing my shirt, even tucking it in. Shaving was going to have to wait until later because I am the only person I know who has cut themselves to the point of drawing blood while using an electric shaver.

When a day starts off like this one I am eternally grateful that I have no major plans or important tasks. It is a good thing that I’m not on the police bomb squad, or doing that new heart, lung and liposuction surgical operation.

None of it would come to a happy ending.

I think that the best thing for me to do today is to try to avoid heavy machinery, and attempt nothing more complicated than filling plastic bags with school supplies for the church’s “Blessing of the Backpacks” children’s service which is coming up soon.

No sharp objects. No volatile liquids. No human interactions beyond asking for coffee to be poured down my gullet. I’ve already asked if they have IV bottles at St. Arbucks – they said “No,” but I think they are holding out.

Today’s game starts at 4:05 PM. I can deal with that and I feel confident that tomorrow morning will find me alert, snappily dressed, and functioning at a level closer to the expectations of my species and chronological age.

Well, here’s hoping.

 

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.

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A Trip To Baseball Heaven

Baseball HeavenABOUT ONCE A YEAR my wife, the lovely and totally major league, Dawn, and I take a trip to go see the beloved SF Giants play a few games.

This year we are in St. Louis to catch a three game series with the Cardinals. Last year we were in Cincinnati, which was very nice, but it is hard to beat St. Louis when it comes to putting on a baseball game.

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What A Wonderful Idea

20130702_184921I WAS REALLY STUMPED about what I should write about for today’s blog posting. There were plenty of crazy stories in the news – like the guy who was arrested for trespassing when he was discovered sitting naked in the middle of a pig sty, incredibly drunk. His only explanation was, “I really like pigs.”

No, I didn’t want to use my bandwidth trying to understand that.

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A Thing Of Beauty In Nine Innings

Double Play Giants

IF YOU HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING this blog for very long you would have picked up that I am a BIG fan of San Francisco Giants baseball. I lived there for 25 years and it gets into your blood stream. I’ve infected my wife, the lovely and articulate Dawn, with Giants Fever and we both stay up much too late when the Giants are at home on the west coast.

Last Tuesday night they were playing in New York against the Mets. It was not a good day for the Mets.

Giants rookie starter Chris Heston (no relation to Charlton Heston, the famous actor in many over-wrought, epic, budget-busting, biblical and quasi-biblical Hollywood movie spectaculars.) threw a beautiful, complete game, No-Hitter against the Mets.

Heston gave up no hits and no walks. The defense behind him played flawlessly, committing no errors. Three Mets did get on base when Heston had a pitch or three wander off track and hit the batters. That was it.

We watched the entire game and it was a thing of beauty indeed. Young Heston (27 years old) showed poise, self-control, and laserlike concentration. He completed the game averaging just a hair over 12 pitches per inning. Very economical.

I know, I know. Some of you are going, “Here he goes again on his baseball kick.”

I do admit that, on occasion, I do wax rhapsodic about The Game and talk about it as if it was the most important thing in the world. I know that it isn’t. Coffee is the most important thing, with baseball executing a hook slide into second place.

How does a thing like this happen to an otherwise rational adult? I don’t know. All I know is that it happened to me and I make limited pretense to being a rational adult anyway.

Baseball is a child’s game played at breakneck speed, even though some people complain that it moves at a snail’s pace. It is the only major team sport played without the tyranny of the clock. It is the only team sport where it is the players on defense that control the possession of the ball.

It is the only sport that, as a child, I could play with any degree of success.

Growing up with full use of only one arm and one leg I was no threat in basketball, football, tennis, hockey (Gimme a break), track and field, golf, or swimming.

My skills in the pool are close to that of a blacksmith’s anvil.

Those other sports were beyond my abilities, but in baseball I could make a reasonable effort and get reasonable results.

I couldn’t run worth a damn, but if you hit the ball far enough you don’t have to. Even so, my hitting was marginal, but I was a good pitcher. My one good arm was strong enough for me to scare other kids my age.

My career was limited to games with and against other neighborhood kids. I wanted to play on a “real” team, but that required getting a doctor to sign a form saying that I was physically able – and that was never going to happen. I guess they felt that having me running around the field while wearing steel braces on my leg was not a good idea.

Oh, well. Time passes.

Since those days I have remained an avid fan of The Game, transferring my loyalties from the Pittsburgh Pirates to the Cleveland Indians and onto the San Francisco Giants.

When you finally find the treasure the twisting route on the map becomes unimportant.

I love the game for its complexity as well as its simplicity; for its quick as a rabbit speed as well as its 19th century leisurely pace; for its hammering brute force as well as its almost balletic delicacy.

Watching a cleanly executed 6 to 4 to 3 double play is sharing in a filigree of speed, timing, prowess and unerring accuracy – all while avoiding the spikes of a charging runner.

Yeah, so I do get excited by things like Chris Heston’s No-Hitter the other night.  I enjoy watching it and appreciate the skill and hard work it takes to make it look so easy.

On an evening like last Tuesday it was all so beautiful.

It’s Alive! It’s Alive!

Giants Shrine

IN MY SECRET LABORATORY deep within the castle walls and high in the fog shrouded mountains of Terre Haute (That’s French for “What hump?”), Indiana a new San Francisco Giants fan has been created.

When my wife, the ever lovely and perceptive Dawn, first met me she did not know that I was an avid fan and recruiter for the Sacred Fandom of The Giants. I had lived in San Francisco for 25 years and with that long an exposure the infection was inevitable.

I knew that Dawn had been a baseball fan (of sorts), growing up listening to the St. Louis Cardinals on the radio. Little did she know or even suspect that I was a carrier of Giants Fever.

Mwah-ha-ha-ha!

In a similar sense I became a “Texan – in law.” You marry a Texan, pass the oral exam, which consists of mastering the proper pronunciation of the word “Pie” and you become a Texan – in law.

However, becoming a Giants Fan involves a more difficult process. Dawn had to learn such basic tenets of the Canon as – Who was the “Say-hey Kid?” Where is McCovey Cove? Who is “The Thrill?” and, of course, Quote Duane Kuiper’s Home Run Call.

I admit it, gleefully even, that I infected Dawn with Giants Fever. It has taken hold and is now part of her DNA. She and all true Giant Fans DNA consists of the usual Adenine, Thymine, Cytosine and Guanine, plus the additional and key ingredient – Humm Baby.

Dawn’s infection is quite virulent and has manifested itself in glorious fashion. Her favorite colors are now Orange and Black. She dresses in them for every Giants game. She has constructed a lovely shrine to The Boys that is pictured above.

It moves my heart to see her so.

Dawn is also a Minister and she tries to keep her religion and her Church duties separate – although one Sunday, when she said to the congregation, “You may be seated,” she came very close to saying, “Grab some pine, Meat.”

We try to get to a few Giants games each season when they journey east to St. Louis or Cincinnati. When we go we wear our Giants uniform shirts. On the back of my shirt it has my name as “Krafty,” my nickname since childhood. On the back of Dawn’s shirt it proclaims, “The Rev.”

Dawn has stated that her goal is to be named the Official Chaplain for the team.

She makes me so proud.

 The old adage is that, “The family that plays together, stays together.” I’d say that Dawn and I and the Giants are that family. Sure, some members come and go or are designated for reassignment. Sometimes one of the older, retired players is optioned to that Great Dugout in the Sky, but they will always be Giants.

There is no cure for Giants Fever. Who would want a cure when the benefits are so magnificent? Who would not want to rub elbows with Mad Bum, Buster, Hunter, Angel, The Baby Giraffe, Dawn’s favorite – Brandon Crawford, and the rest?

When the game is about to start all of the bobbleheads on the shrine nod in unison as the lineup is announced. They know that The Boys are about to take the field and that a fourth World Series ring is just waiting to be collected.

Dawn has become a consummate fan of the San Francisco Giants.

My work here is done

All I can add is:

“He hits it high! He hits it deep! It is outta here!

Smokin’ In Cincinnati

redsfireTHE GIANTS WERE SMOKIN’ in Cincinnati on Friday night. They beat the Reds 10 – 2 and the Great American Ballpark itself caught fire.

We have been to the ballpark in Cincinnati a few times and it is a prime example of the recent trend in baseball park construction to make it part Sports Venue, and part Disney World. Such efforts usually result in a facility that effectively achieves neither goal.

In Cincinnati the builders attempted to call upon the history of the city, reviving the era when steamboats travelled the Ohio River. How romantic.

The park sits on the banks of the river and the engineers incorporated a faux steamboat into the outfield wall. Twin “smokestacks” soar above the crowd in the bleacher seats like the set from a road company production of “Showboat.” Whenever the Reds hits a home run, or do something spectacular, large eruptions of flames spew from the “smokestacks” to the delight of the crowd below.

Until Friday night.

On Friday the fans began to notice that there were flames and smoke coming from the stacks for no apparent reason. The usually white smoke was decidedly dark and the people sitting underneath the stacks were evacuating the area.

Flames. No Flames. Black smoke. White smoke. No announcement about a new Papal election. At least the game was not interrupted by all of this. Some things are more important than stadium fires, evacuations or calls to the Cincinnati Fire Department.

The Giants were “En Fuego!”

The fact that it was also “Star Wars Night” at the ballpark I doubt had anything to do with the fire. But you never know.

When Cincinnati’s Finest arrived they extended ladders up to the tops of the suddenly all too real smokestacks and poured in what looked like the foam they put on airport runways when there is a plane in trouble.

I’m assuming that the usual fire displays are done with gas jets so dumping water on the fire wouldn’t do much except make it all look like something from The Strip in Las Vegas.

Once the fire was extinguished the entire evening became somewhat dull – if you were a Reds fan. If you were a Giants fan the excitement never stopped. It was the first game this year when the Giants scored 10 runs and merriment and interpretive dancing ensued at our home in Terre Haute (That’s French for “Everybody was Hot, Hot, Hot!), Indiana.

One advantage to having the Giants on a road trip to the Eastern Time Zone is that I can get to bed before the kid delivers the morning newspaper.

When the Giants are at home in San Francisco the games don’t start until after 10 PM our time. Playing in Cincinnati allows the games to begin just after 7 PM and I get to bed by 11. I’m old and I need my beauty sleep.

Unfortunately, after Cincinnati our beloved Giants fly to LA and Denver, so it is back to being bleary-eyed and semiconscious until they head East again. Sadly, most people can’t tell the difference in my behavior.

It is going to be hard to top the “fireworks” at that Reds game.

A couple of years ago in Phoenix they had an actual fireworks show after the game and ended up setting fire to the building across the street from the ballpark.

In Washington they have a “Dead Presidents Foot Race” at every game. Milwaukee does one better by having an “International Smoked Sausage Foot Race.” There is nowhere to go with that.

I can’t think of anything that the Giants could do during games in San Francisco that would not violate any number of laws and the boundaries of good taste. But you never know.

I will keep you informed.

I Gotta Get Some Rest

Giants Shrine

Ever since early November I’ve been getting a good six to eight hours of sleep a day. Now that is all shot to pieces. Baseball season has started.

I can see you scratching your head and saying to yourself, “What the heck is this idiot blathering about now?” Don’t deny it. I know that is what I would be doing if the blog was on the other foot. Let me explain.

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Oh Happy Day!

spring training 2015

 

I have to admit it – despite the fact that there are several inches of snow on the ground just outside our window – I am walking around with a smile on my face. The first sign of Spring has appeared – Baseball Spring Training has begun.

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