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 tag “Baseball”

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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Maz, The Mick, And Me

ball1IT IS APPROXIMATELY 4 ½ MONTHS BEFORE BASEBALL SEASON BEGINS AGAIN. Until then the skies will be overcast, the winds will blow cold and nothing in the Universe will be quite right.

But, don’t think that I miss it all that much.

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Ode To Joy

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“Ode To Joy”

A week or so ago we all had the pleasure of seeing something truly rare – an explosion of pure Joy. We witnessed thousands of people wrapped in the arms of a Happiness that comes rarely in one’s lifetime. This moment was seeing the people of Chicago celebrating the victory of their Cubs, winning the National League Championship for the first time in 71 years.

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“You’re Killing Me, Smalls”

killingAS HAS BEEN STATED HERE MANY TIMES BEFORE – I AM A SERIOUS BASEBALL FAN. To my fevered brain it is not just a game – it is THE GAME. And I’m not alone in that feeling.

I know a man whose love of the game makes me look like a casual observer. Let’s call him “Ron,” mainly because that’s his name.

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Grab Some Pine, Meat!

hit5I WISH THAT WE COULD HAVE PINCH HITTERS IN REAL LIFE. Just like in Baseball. Wouldn’t it be great if, when a situation arises that you know you won’t handle well, you could send in someone else to deal with it?

For Example –

You’ve been working long and hard on a project and you’re just spent, wiped out – then word comes down that you have to make a detailed presentation to your boss’s boss – in 10 minutes.

“Time out! It looks like someone is coming in to pinch hit.”

Oh, yeah, I like this concept.

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Baseball, Cotton Candy, With The Occasional Fruit Bat

next1EVERY YEAR IT IS IN A DIFFERENT CITY. This year’s Annual National Church Conference is in Detroit (Dearborn, between you and me), but next year it will be held on the campus of Piedmont College in Georgia. That is going to be quite a change.

This year in Detroit (whatever), last year in Salt Lake City, before that in Omaha, Orlando, Phoenix, etc. – All big cities with top notch accommodations and facilities. Next year on a small college campus, sleeping in dorm rooms and sharing bathrooms. Hmmmmm?

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Throwback Thursday from June 2015

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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.

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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

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.

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…And A Side Order Of Comfort Food, Please

Skeleton boredLOOKING 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.

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All In All It Was A Good Weekend


Spartacus

HOLIDAY WEEKENDS USUALLY SUCK. This one, even though it is really an intrinsically minor holiday – Halloween – is another one that tends to slide downhill quickly. However…

This year our Halloween went by on a relatively horizontal glide path. No sudden plunges into nonsense or vituperative cruelty.

After a few years at this, my wife, the lovely and non-chocolate consuming, Dawn, and I have our standard Halloween operating ritual polished and smoothly running.

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Now It Is Time To Stare Out Of The Window

hornsby_rogers_1“PEOPLE ASK ME WHAT I DO IN WINTER when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.”

Rogers Hornsby

 

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Baseball, its History and its Allure I offer up that quote from Rogers Hornsby (1896 – 1963). He is in Baseball’s Hall of Fame and is considered one of The Greats of the game. He played and managed from 1915 until 1953.

This well known quote about what he did in the off season says so much more than is apparent on the surface. It is more than just a game. It is more than just a metaphor for life. Baseball is a living, breathing superlative.

Baseball season is over now. Over for me, that is. True, there are still the Playoffs and the World Series to be decided, but my team is not there. They have gone home and so have I.

Oh, I imagine that I will watch some of these games, but because I have no one to cheer for, to anguish over, and to call by their first names, I will watch to enjoy the beauty of the game itself.

Someone, I forget who, said that, “Baseball is a nervous breakdown divided into nine innings.” But if your favorite team is not playing it is like watching a ballet covered with dirt and pine tar. It is beautiful to watch, but you know that something is wrong. Where are your players?

Now that the season is over we, I and my wife, the lovely and Southpaw, Dawn, are keeping an ear cocked for any news about trades and player moves. Two of our pitchers have announced that they are retiring. Who will fill their spots in the rotation and bullpen? Who is going to be a Free Agent the day after the World Series ends? How are players recovering from injuries and surgeries? Will they be ready for Spring Training?

Spring Training – the truest harbinger of the changing of seasons. That robin may be frozen to the tree branch outside our window, but if Timmy’s hip surgery has brought him back then can new Black and Orange T-shirts be far behind?

We are not any different from Rogers Hornsby. We are also staring out of the window waiting for spring. But our window gives us a view of more than the snow and ice. It gives us the latest news and rumors.

The “Hot Stove League” is electronic these days with 24/7 talk and analysis as well as wishing and hoping. There will be second guessing until the cows come home and number crunching until it all turns into meaningless babble. That is when we pop a DVD into the machine. We can bundle up and watch Matt Cain’s Perfect Game and the Four Game Sweep in the 2012 World Series. We can sit in awe as MadBum strides in from the bullpen like Paul Bunyan ready to clear-cut the Kansas City Royals once again.

I can’t speak for the people who love football, tennis or golf, but don’t ever try to tell me that Baseball is “just a game.”

A more modern lover of the game than Hornsby, columnist George Will – who never played in the Majors, said, “Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona. Not all holes, or games, are created equal.” 

Now that the season is over we are also sitting by the window waiting for spring. It won’t be long.

I’m Packing It In

suitcaseWHEN I ASKED MY WIFE, the lovely and ever my Muse, Dawn, what I should write about for today, she said, “Write about how I am a Wizard at packing our suitcases for our Ireland trip.”

That is an abbreviated version of her reply. Her actual answer would have taken most of my 500 – 700 word self-imposed size limit for this blog.

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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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I’d Rather Have Green Beans

giphy-6WE RECEIVED A COUPON IN THE MAIL the other day. It came from one of the Mega-Stores – those places that sell everything short of nuclear weapons and reasonably fresh green beans.

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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.

 

The Natural

bat in the houseCONTRARY TO WHAT THIS TITLE MIGHT INDICATE and the topics of several recent postings – today’s is not about Baseball.

(This Public Service announcement has been brought to you without interruption)

You may now carry on reading.

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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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