Tag: baseball

Yes, I know, the Yankees got eliminated

I find it amusing how many people wring their hands, and grin evilly as they tell me (as if I didn’t know) that the Yankees got eliminated last night. It is a reflection of human nature that hardly anyone ever says, “Hey they Yanks played great last night,” after they win a game. Instead what I get is: “What happened?” as if I was managing the team, calling the shots.

Well, what happened?

The better team won, that’s what happened. You cannot, in an elimination game, load the bases twice with less than one out and score only one run–and that on a walk! The Yankees managed to get some hits last night, but they had no power. I guess they used it all up on Tuesday. I’m sure that A-Rod will catch some flack for striking out at the end of the game, but the truth is that with the exception of Posada and Cano, no one really shined offensively in the series. If it wasn’t for the two outstanding catches Curtis Granderson made in game 4, there might not have been a game 5.

So yes, I was bitterly disappointed when I went to bed last night, but all I can do is take a deep breath and wait for next season.

And so now that they Yankees have been eliminated, who am I cheering for? Well, I’d like to see the Tigers and the Brewers in the World Series. I realize that he Rangers and the Brewers might be more interesting because neither team has won a World Series.

But I’d still rather see the Tigers.

Rocketships in Mudville

Science fiction, writing, and baseball: three things that I love. And when they can be combined into a single post, what’s not to love about that? Let me start out by saying that this post will not be about baseball in science fiction. Steven H. Silver has covered that topic in fine fashion and I don’t have anything to add there. Where baseball comes into play is in its analogies to writing–and for me specifically–writing science fiction.

I often make a lot of baseball analogies when it comes to describing my experience with writing. Some people hate sports analogies and if you are one of those people, you probably don’t want to go beyond the jump cut. But the truth is that writing, for me, is like baseball in many ways.

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A fair-weather fan?


I was accused, yesterday, of being a fair-weather fan because I complained that I was giving up on last night’s game and heading off to bed.  I surprised by the accusation.  No one with whom I work would ever consider me a fair-weather fan, but since I couldn’t sleep last night, I gave the matter some thought.

I gave up on the game in frustration.  I think this is a natural emotion, the more so when you care about something that is completely out of your control.  You can only shout at your TV so many times (the results are the same, regardless).  Frustration, to me, is an emotion that shows you care.  If the poor showing by Yankees pitching didn’t frustrate me, I’d see it as a sign that it was something I just didn’t care much about.  But I love baseball and I have been a lifelong Yankees fan, despite nearly everyone around me hating the team.  There is nothing wrong with frustration.

I also complained that I didn’t have the energy for tonight’s game and my accuser took exception to that.  What kind of fan am I if I don’t support my team, whole hog into the wee hours of the night?  I suppose, under those circumstances, I am a fair-weather fan.  I’ve found as I have gotten older that it is more difficult for me to stay up late, and these games often go past midnight on the East Coast.  This difficulty, however, has nothing to do with being a fan of the team.  I have difficulty staying up to midnight on any night.  Even so, I claimed I didn’t have the energy to watch tonight’s game, and in part, I think I meant I didn’t have the heart to watch it.  This goes hand-in-hand with frustration, I think.

But there are other, more practical reasons why I won’t be watching tonight’s game.  Wednesday night’s are my writer’s group nights and at the moment, writing takes a priority over baseball.  If that makes me a fair-weather fan, then so be it.  I can live with that.  The bottom line is that fan though I am, baseball doesn’t always come first.

Yes, I am aware A-Rod has admitted to using steroids…

…no further notification via email, telephone, megaphone, et cetera is necessary.  In my opinion, this whole steroid scandal (not just A-Rod, the whole thing) is far worse for baseball than the baseball strike ever was.  It’s another example of a dishonest "few" (and I use that term lightly) casting a shadow of suspicion on everyone who has played the game in the last decade.

I see only two solutions: (a) lift the ban, in which case players take their chances with the side-effects, but the playing field is leveled in the sense that apples can once again be compared to apples; or (b) enforce strict testing, in which case all players are required to take regular tests that show that they are not using.

If the league decides against course (a), then I would add one final item:  if you are caught cheating, you’re done, period.  Giving "first time" and "second time" penalties seems ridiculous.  People don’t "accidentally" cheat.  If we are disappointed in these players and want to show that we won’t tolerate this kind of behavior, we’ve got to put some teeth into the policies.  This wouldn’t affect A-Rod, since he claims he was using between 2001-2003–before baseball had any rules with respect to steroid use.  But it would send a message going forward.  And if players today were looking for someone to blame for why they have to constantly be tested and why they’re done if they get caught cheating, they need look only as far as the Yankees third baseman. 

Rockin’ out and cleanin’ house

Last night we went t a friend’s house to play Rock Band.  It was my first time playing.  We started the evening off with some good pizza from a local pizza joint.  The three of us started playing Rock Band around 8:30 PM.  When we finally decided to call it quits, it was nearly 1:30 AM!  It was a lot of fun.  I played drums most of the night, and started to get the hang of it after a couple of hours.  I also sang at points.  Singing was the easiest.  I tried guitar, but that seemed way too complicated for me.  All told, though, it was a really fun evening, and I certainly play again.

Incidentally, right before we left to go home, we watched the last 2 outs of the Dodgers sweep of the Cubs.  I decided a few days ago that I was pulling for the Dodgers all the way this year (now that the Yanks have been eliminated), so it was nice to see them get the sweep.

We didn’t get to bed until almost 2 AM so we slept in this morning.  Initially we woke around 9 AM, but I convinced Kelly to stay in bed another hour, so we finally got up around 10 AM.  Since then, we’ve been cleaning house.  Kelly cleaned the kitchen, dusted up, while I cleaned the bathrooms, and swept and mopped the various floors that needed to be swept an mopped.  I still have to vacuum but that is scheduled for tomorrow.

We are packing for our trip today, and then, a little later this afternoon, we’re heading downtown to watch the closing ceremonies of Sarah’s three-day, 60 mile breast cancer walk.

And, of course, a new episode of Dexter airs tonight.

Raindrops keep fallin’ on my head

Today was supposed to be my last Orioles game of the season.  But weather and other tasks kept me away.  And while I was fairly certain this game would be postponed–or at least delayed–it turns out it wasn’t.  The Orioles lost 10-1.  They lost every game I attended this season, some 10 out of 13.  At least there was some good news in baseball yesterday.  Mike Mussina got his 20th win.  It was the first time for him.

I cajoled Kelly into taking a drive up to Frederick, Maryland late yesterday morning.  I wanted to go up to Wonder Books and browse around the used books in the science fiction section.  Kelly was remarkably patient with me.  It was an hour drive to the bookstore, and I probably spent close to an hour wandering around the stacks.  I ended up getting 5 things:  the December 1945 issue of ASTOUNDING, which has Part III of Isaac Asimov’s "The Mule"; The Mound Builders and The Stochiastic Man by Robert Silveberg; Stanley G. Weinbaum’s A Martian Odyssey; and collection of Poul Anderson stories, containing his story "The Light", which I’ve been searching for for years.

Later in the afternoon, we decided to go for a bike ride.  We took the 4 Mile Run trail to the Mt. Vernon trail and then started heading south toward Mt. Vernon.  The weather was gorgeous and it was so nice to be out riding bikes on an actual bike trail.  We took the river route and at one point, I found a spot where we pulled off to the edge of the water, just off the southern end of one of Reagan National Airport’s runways–and watched planes come in for landings.  We continued south until we got to Old Town Alexandria, where the Chart House is located.  From there, we turned around and headed back.  None five minutes into our ride home the skies opened up.  It poured and we were drenched.  It was fun until Kelly’s left pedal broke off.  I gave her my bike and had her ride home on that.  Meanwhile, I struggled riding and walking her bike through the rain with a single pedal.  Not as much fun, but we both made it home safely, took hot showers and relaxed.  We will definitely do it again.  Next time we’ll just keep a better eye on the weather.

We lazed around for much of the evening.  We did practice our wedding dance, and we stayed up to watch the season premier of Dexter.  Spoke with he11o_sunshine yesterday, and had a voicemail message from Dad.

I woke Kelly up in the middle of the night more or less wailing from a dream I was having.  It was not a particularly scary dream, just a little creepy.

Less than two weeks to the wedding!

Late night, early morning

Long day yesterday.  I took an hour at lunch when I worked on my workshop story.  Then I went back to work.  I worked until 6 PM.   I met Kelly at the mall and we headed home.  She had her second and final fitting of the wedding dress last night, so she and Sarah left around 6:30.  I watched an episode of Entourage and an episode of True Blood.  Then I logged in to do some more work.

Kelly and Sarah were back just after 8 PM–and Sarah was stuck at our place for about 2 hours.  There was a police officer shot on I-395 at Glebe Road, which is essentially where our house is.  They freeway, along with the 14th Street bridge was shutdown for a few hours, so Sarah stayed here and waited it out.  She and Kelly watched a movie while I worked.  I wrapped up around 10 PM.

Up at 6 this morning and heading into work early.

The Yankees were eliminated from wild card race last night.  Like Jeter said, they just didn’t play well enough this season.  So their 13 season playoff streak has come to and end.  Coincidentally, Joe Torre was not the manager this year.  Instead, he’s managing the Dodgers and it looks like they might make the playoffs.  I was at least glad to see that Mussina got his 19th win last night–and that he’ll have a chance for his 20th win on Sunday.


What with work, and the wedding plans, things have been rather hectic for the last few months.  But this weekend was a relaxing break from all of that.  We didn’t have to do any wedding-related stuff.  We didn’t have to to think about work.  It was peaceful and pleasant.  Kelly’s home town is like that.  We both slept well again.  We were up early and had breakfast.  We spent a few hours around the house, in the yard, playing with Oliver (the dog).

We took a tour of Kelly’s home town, driving around seeing various sites, seeing her high school, her old house, the park.  We went to the General Store for lunch (where I had an excellent tuna melt sandwich and vanilla shake).

Sometime around 1 PM, we started for home.  Kelly slept a lot on the way home, but the ride wasn’t bad and we made good time.  We were back at Sarah’s around 5 PM.  From there we headed home, and then out to do some grocery shopping.  The cats survived just fine in our absence.

It really was a relaxing weekend.  I really liked getting to see Kelly’s home town.  

I watched the first 6 innings of the Yankee game tonight–the last game at the old Yankee stadium.

And now, back to work tomorrow…

One last game at the old ball park

Yesterday evening (as I mentioned), Kelly and I headed up to New Jersey with Sarah and Jim.  It was a pleasant drive with almost no traffic, except for a bit outside of Philadelphia.  We got in pretty late, and within minutes of getting out of the car, I saw two shooting stars and one satellite.  It was amazingly clear and the town was far out in the country away from the haze of city lights.  We went to bed almost at once, and I was asleep as my head hit the pillow.  I slept wonderfully!

We were up at about 8 AM, ate breakfast, relaxed in the sunroom, and then took a walk around Sarah’s neighborhood.  The air was cool was but it was really pleasant out.  Sometime after 10 AM, we headed to the city.  Originally the plan was to take the train in from Newark, but we decided instead to drive into the city and park at the garage near he11o_sunshine  and stubiebrother ‘s place.

Walking toward the subway, we stopped at the Starbucks on Lexington and 85th for a bathroom break.  We waited outside the restroom for the person inside to finish.  We waited.  And waited.  It was a three-flush visit, but the funniest part was when the guy came out, we discovered there was no toilet paper in there.  We assume he was in there air-drying or something.

We hopped on the 4 train and headed up to 161st Street and Yankee stadium.  We made our way to Gate 6 and then headed up to our seats.  We sat close to the right-field foul pole, up high above the field.  They were great seats.  The game was slow, and scoreless, but it ended in excitement with 2 outs and the bases loaded and the Yankees winning with a walk-off base hit.

It was the second-to-last game at the old Yankee stadium and it was our last game there.

After the game, we caught the 4 train back to the upper east side.  We headed up to Jen and Jason’s, and spent the rest of the evening with them.  We headed to Mustang’s for drinks, and then we headed over to 1st and 87th, to a Mexican-fusion type restaurant for dinner.  I had steak fajitas, which were excellent.

We left the restaurant around 9 PM and shortly thereafter, we got the car and started heading back out to NJ.  Kelly and Jim fell asleep in the car almost immediately, and I did my best to keep Sarah awake (she was driving) by talking.  We got back to the house around 11:30 PM.  Jim went to sleep but Kelly, Sarah and I headed out into the hot tub.  Even though it was cold out (I’d guess in the low 50s), the hot water was comfortable, and the cold air felt good on my skin afterward.  We spent about a half hour in the hot tub, and then headed upstairs to bed.

How to get ejected from Yankee Stadium

Did anyone else see this story?  This fellow got ejected from Yankee Stadium the other day for trying to use the bathroom during the playing of "God Bless America".  Apparently, the stadium has a little known rule that says that people must stay at their seats while the song is playing.  NYPD claims the guy was drunk and belligerent, but witnesses say he wasn’t.  The ACLU is involved.

I’m a lifelong Yankee fan but that rule is not only ridiculous, it’s moronic.  Yankee Stadium and Camden Yards seem to be the only two baseball stadiums that play "God Bless America" at the 7th inning stretch, instead of "Take Me Out To the Ballgame".  I hate the song.  Set aside the fact that it’s designed to instill one’s heart with patriotic fervor; the writing is terrible.  The entire song is one big cliche.  At Camden Yards, the announcer comes on and says, "Ladies and Gentlemen, please rise and help us honor our nation by singing God Bless America."

Honor our nation with a god-awful song?

I don’t think that most people realize that "God Bless America" is not our national anthem, it’s merely a (bad) song that someone wrote.  The fact that a guy wanted to get up and use the bathroom while the song was playing doesn’t represent unpatriotic behavior.  To treat God Bless America as if it were the Star-Spangled Banner is to dishonor the latter.  And as far as patriotism goes, I’d like to ask those self-righteous NYPD officers:  How many of you know all four verses of the Star Spangled Banner?

This was simply a dumb-ass move and I don’t see how the Yankees will get anything other than bad publicity from this.

Yankees/Orioles game

We were up around 8 AM and actually got to laze around for a while this morning. We watched most of Charles Osgood’s Sunday morning show on CBS, which is one Sunday morning program that I enjoy. Around 10:45, Dad and I hopped in the car and headed up to Camden Yards for the Yankees/Orioles game. We got there at about 11:40 and we soon at our seats.

The game was fun, if not a little boring at times. I think it set the record as the longest 9-inning game that I have been to at Camden Yards, the full 9 innings lasting 4:01. Nevertheless, there were exciting moments, an enthusiastic crowd, and the Yanks won in the end, 8-7, so what more could you ask for.

Kelly spent the day shopping and doing errands. She got me some new shorts and gym clothes while she was out.

Because the game went on so long, we didn’t get back home until about 7 PM, and that led to a late dinner at the Olive Garden. Kelly and I were supposed to finish up thank you notes, and I was supposed to do some writing, but by the time we got back from the Olive Garden, I was exhausted. We both headed off to bed. We read for a little while, but I was soon fast asleep.

Incidentally, while I am reading (and enjoying, Old Man’s War, Kelly started reading The Door Into Summer by Robert Heinlein. Until this book, the only s.f. she’s read is some Orson Scott Card, and of course, my stories. I’m eager to find out what she thinks of Heinlein, mid-1950s.

Wedding showers, parking tickets, baseball, oh my

Despite being up so late last night, Kelly and I were up before 8 AM. Everyone else was up shortly thereafter. I decided to cook breakfast for everyone. stubiebrother helped. I made two batches of pancakes, and Jason made a whole bunch of scrambled eggs (with an without cheese). People said it turned out pretty good, and there were plenty of pancakes and eggs to go around.

Various people had to run errands. Around 11 AM, Kelly and I headed over to Union Station to pick up Ian and Jan. We saw them over by the outer curb, and I pulled over to pick them up. I was stopped there for 12 seconds, but nevertheless, I think I got a parking ticket. At least, a women was taking down my (new) plate in a hand-held computer and I suspect I’ll be getting something in the mail. Since I’ve never had a ticket of any kind, it will officially break my streak, but I imagine the streak would have to be broken at some point.

Back to the house and more introductions. Various people ran errands. When Jason got back, he and I headed across the street to the courtyard and threw a ball around for a little while. My arm felt great until the end, when it was, once again,killing me.

Around 12:30 we were all ready to head over to Sarah’s for the shower. Kelly took her parents, Ian and Jan and headed over. I took Jen, Jason and Mom. We stopped at Giant for 5 bags of ice (80 lbs of ice!), and then we headed to Sarah’s. We were there right on time. Kelly and company had already arrived. The place looked great inside (and Sarah was all dressed up, which I had never seen before). Carmen and Leanna were already in the back, and Sarah’s parents (who I’ve met once before) were there too. The shower was a lot of fun. Lots of people showed up, including AJ and Denisse. We spent a lot of time out back, in the hot sun. There was all kinds of delicious food: fruits, bruchetta, mushroom dips. It was great. Eventually we all made our way inside. Sarah and company did a wonderful job setting up and decorating for lunch. Lunch itself was delicious with pastas, and chicken, and other delicious goodies. After lunch Kelly and I opened gifts. We have generous friends and family and we both had a lot of fun opening gifts. Then there was cake, and shortly thereafter, it was time to go. I didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye to Sarah and thank her for the incredible job she did on the event. We had a terrific time. We were delighted by the fact that so many of our friends and family came so far for the event and we were really glad to get to be able to see all of them.

AJ and Denisse came back to the house with us. Various people napped and rested and prepared for the evening events. Around 6:30 PM, we all headed out again: the girls to the dinner, and the guys to the Rockies/Nationals game. AJ, Jason, Kelly’s dad and I took the metro to Nationals Park. It was the first time I’d ever been there. We had seats way up the first base line in right field. The weather was gorgeous and there was a nice breeze up there. We got to the game in the top of the first inning. It was a lot of fun, the four of us hanging out, watching the Rockies rout the Nationals (6 runs in the 5th inning!) We ate hot dogs and drank beer and ate peanuts and sang “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”. I was a little anxious about the metro ride home, but it wasn’t crowded and we lucked out by walking onto trains. The game was over around 10:10 PM and we were home before 11 PM.

Mom, Kelly’s mom, and Jen were back. Kelly was off at the bachelorette party. We got home just in time to watch the edge-of-your-seat final relay race where Michael Phelps won his 8th gold medal. Everyone in the room was on their feet and cheering when he won. Slowly, everyone went to bed. Kelly got home (safe and sound, and mostly sober) around 1 AM and after that, I ran AJ over to the metro station so that he could head home.

It was a long day, but a great one, spending time with friends and family, celebrating. Kelly especially seemed to really have an especially good time today.