Saturday Smile: Honey, I Forgot to Duck

Despite the fact that the temperature was only in the 50s and it was mostly cloudy, and despite the fact that the Rockies lost to the Diamondbacks 7-5 when they had been ahead 4-1 at one point, the opening game of the Spring Training season was yesterday, and the fact that Bill and I were among those watching the action made me smile. After all, it was the first game and they were out of practice. Some of the boys looked about the age of our grandson Alastair and you could still smell the farm league on their clothing. And though the weather was not perfect, there was no wind and when the sun would poke out from the clouds, it was extremely pleasant. And a beer at a ballpark tastes good in any season…..

Our seats were tremendous, only six rows up from first base. We saw lots of foul balls head our direction. In fact, one thing that didn’t make me smile was that one of the balls whizzed past us at an amazingly high clip, and hit a woman not 50 feet from me right in the face. Not good. The medical squad appeared quickly, and she was walked out looking like she had no black eyes, but maybe a broken nose and perhaps some missing teeth. I suggested to Bill that maybe those seats weren’t the best choice after all.

Nothing says welcome spring like the start of Spring Training, and it made me smile (despite the fact that I still take the world’s worst selfies)…..

Thursday Thoughts

The Race is On
Last night the Arizona Diamondbacks played the Colorado Rockies in a Wild Card game, winner moving to the regular playoffs. Not being particularly a baseball fan, I didn’t watch the game. I’m sure my brother did and Bill watched some of the game. I was hoping for a Rockies victory, though I like the Diamondbacks as well. The Diamondbacks won the game. Each year as we enter the October baseball season and get closer and closer to the World Series, I always think of my dad and how much he loved the Colorado Rockies. In 2007, the Rockies won the pennant and then went on to lose to the Boston Red Sox in the World Series. But Dad and Shirley were able to go to one of the World Series home games at Coors Field. It took some strategy and finesse to get them from Fort Collins to the game, but eventually Jen and I managed to walk them to the gate and wave goodbye, as Shirley pushed him into the ballpark in his wheelchair. The Rockies lost that game, but both Dad and Shirley had such a good time. I’m glad he was able to see a World Series game, and I hope that he watched the game last night from heaven (though he might have had other plans).

It’s Beginning to Sound a Lot Like Christmas
Bec texted me yesterday morning to tell me that she turned on her radio yesterday morning to hear her favorite country music station playing Christmas music. She is a lover of Christmas music, but nevertheless, she was stunned to hear holiday tunes on October 4. Thinking it might have been just an accident, she kept listening. Nope, the station is apparently beginning its run of holiday music early. I’m not sure how I feel about that. I sort of wish we could at least get through Halloween before listening to I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.

What I Want for Christmas is the Remodel to Be Finished
Seriously, if you would have told me in the middle of May when the remodel began that I would still be listening to pounding on October 5, I would have cried. But Bill is almost finished. He embarked last week on the very last room in which he will install hardwood floors. The process for all of the rooms has been that he pulled up the carpet, pull up the press board, layed down new plywood, and finally nailed in the hardwood. He has done the family room, the stairway, and the hallway upstairs. As you read this, he is probably nailing the hardwood down into the living room. And yes, even if you read this blog at 6 in the morning. Once the flooring is down, we will have a professional flooring company finish up the sanding and staining. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the job will be complete before company arrives for Thanksgiving! The best news (and I hope I’m not jinxing anything by telling you this) is that he has done the entire job without serious injury……

Movie Comfort
I managed to talk Bill into taking a break on Tuesday, and we went to the movies. We saw American Made with Tom Cruise. We both really liked it, and thought Cruise did a great job. My takeaway was more about our experience, however. I’m telling you man, I love those reclining seats. Just imaging if those poor people that watched Gone With the Wind when it first came out could have had reclining seats for all three-and-a-half hours of watching enjoyment.


Take Me Out to Spring Training

I’ve only attended a handful of spring training games in my life. Well, to be perfectly frank, depending on your definition of handful, I have perhaps only attended a handful of professional baseball games of any type in my life.

My brother is grown up now, shown here with his youngest grandbaby Kelsie. He would undoubtedly take a swing today.

My brother is grown up now, shown here with his youngest grandbaby Kelsie. He would undoubtedly take a swing today.

Nebraska wasn’t big on baseball when I grew up. At least not Columbus, Nebraska. The only baseball games I attended when growing up in Columbus were those in which my brother played. For the record, during the course of his Little League baseball career, he didn’t take a single swing at a ball. Not one. I vividly recall my father BEGGING him to take a swing. We don’t care if you miss, my dad told him again and again. We don’t care if you strike out, he would add. Just take a swing. But here’s how my brother’s 6- or 7-year-old brain apparently rationalized his strategy. If I swing, I will likely strike out and humiliate myself. If I get on base via walks, I am fast enough that it is likely I will score. There you have it. It’s simple, really.

The Cactus League, of course, is located in Arizona. In fact, eight different communities in the Phoenix metro area have a baseball park devoted to one or two different teams from around the west and midwest. The teams include the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Chicago Cubs, the Chicago White Sox, the Cincinnati Reds, the Cleveland Indians, the Colorado Rockies, the Kansas City Royals, the LA Angels, the LA Dodgers, the Milwaukee Brewers, the Oakland A’s, the San Diego Padres, the San Francisco Giants, the Seattle Mariners, and the Texas Rangers. A few teams share a ball park – Arizona and Colorado, the White Sox and the Dodgers, the Indians and the Reds, and the Royals and the Rangers. The others have their own. As you can imagine, the teams and their followers provide quite a boost to the cities’ economies.

This year Bill and I attended the opening Cubs game at Sloan Park in Mesa. As you can imagine, the fans were in a downright FRENZY of ADORATION for their beloved Cubbies who came thiiiiiiis close to going to the World Series. The stadium was packed, and if you didn’t get your tickets weeks in advance (which we did), you were out of luck. I don’t even remember who won the game (or even who they played), but it was a lot of fun.

Yesterday we attended what will be one of the final spring games for the Colorado Rockies at Salt River Field in Scottsdale. They played the White Sox, and unlike the Cubs’ game, the stands were far from full. Having not attended another Rockies game this spring, I don’t know if that is typical, or if the fans have simply run out of steam. The weather was overcast and delightfully cool. But given the weather and the only halfway-full park, the beer venders were begging for sales. Even the man with the hat that makes it look like there’s an arrow going through his head and wearing peanut earrings was desperate to sell a beer or two.

I noticed that there were a variety of fans representing many teams in attendance. Of course there were Rockies and White Sox hats and shirts. I also saw a lot of people wearing shirts with Diamondbacks, Cubs, and Angels logos. And, of course, very many Giants hats and shirts. 2015 World Champions and all….

It is fun to see the kids before the game lined up by the fence looking for autographs. Thespring training 3.28.16 players yesterday were happy to oblige.

They were also happy to hit home runs too. In fact, I quit counting after a total of seven home runs. Three were hit by Rockies players, and they were one after another – three in a row. Imagine the pressure on the fourth man up. He handled it like my brother. He didn’t take a swing and managed a walk. That’s one way to beat the pressure.

Maybe 10 minutes before the National Anthem, I noticed some hubbub down on the field near the Rockies dugout. There was a man spraying what appeared to be bug spray into the corner near where the man who would sing the National Anthem would soon sit. The apparent bug-sprayer man seemed to be quite concerned, and several other Rockies officials also came to check out how things were going. I never was able to figure out what it was they were spraying, and frankly, don’t want to think about it too hard, it being the Arizona desert and all.

And Bill said to me after the game – as he does after every game – we should go to more baseball games this year.

We’ll see.