Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Breaking Camp....The Charm Of Spring Training Is Over

All around spring training sites in Arizona and Florida, teams are packing up to head north to begin the season. I experienced spring training for the first time earlier this month. I really enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere at the games I attended. I enjoyed it so much, I'm planning next years trip.
I will be attending my first regular season game next week. The Oakland A's againts the Seattle Mariners. The first day game at the Al Davis Dump.
Then the following week I will be going to a Sacramento River Cats game, a San Francisco Giants game, and then a Stockton Ports game.
I will be returning to AT&T Park on April 24th for a day game between the Giants and Arizona Diamondbacks.
So it will be a busy April for me!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Another Rule Change

Roger Goodell is killing the NFL. I think the league is dying anyways. Too much science and violence in the game.
To ensure player safety, the league made another rule change. Now you can't use the crown of your helmet when making a tackle. That's the idiots version of the rule. It's far more complex than that.
I think now that players are stronger and faster, they need to be taught a different way to tackle.
Players now are like missiles when going full speed to make a tackle.
What I would do is take away the modern helmet. This will make players tackle different. Go back the old leather helmet.
This will slow the pace of the game down. As I said, science has contributed to the violence. The game used to be about brawn. Now it's about being sleek and speedy. The game is all about who the fastest is. Slow the game down. It's that simple.
The great Pittsburgh Steeler Jack Lambert said someday the quarterback will be wearing a dress with all these rule changes coming about. I don't know about that, but I agree the game is changing too much.
I used to worship and glorify football. I couldn't wait for Sunday. I used to devour the Monday sports page to read about all the games. Now I hate the NFL and all it stands for (Greed $$$$).
I read a quote this morning that got my attention. "I remember football. I used to love it."
Shakesphere couldn't have said it better!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

One More Reason I Don't Like Fielder

Prince Fielder is a fucking CUNT!! I hate that fat bastard. I just don't like his style of play, how he presents himself, and how he acts. I didn't like Barry Bonds in his heyday, but at least Bonds was professional.
I read an interesting article in the SF Chronicle about P. Fielder (I refuse to call him Prince) getting thrown out at the plate in Game Two of the World Series last year. Read the article. The point that got my attention was when Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow says he knew for a fact that Fielder was out to blowup catcher Buster Posey and possibly knock him out of the series. I know it's good, hard, clean baseball, but Fielder does have that reputation to knock catchers out.
I know normally I don't get upset in my posts, but reading the article this morning really pissed me off.
Enjoy your St. Patricks Day!!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Outsiders Beware!!

In life there are certain places one is not allowed in. The places are obvious and we know better not to go in them or else you will suffer the consequences.
This year is the 20th anniversary of my most humiliating moment in baseball.
I was an eager college student wanting to help the baseball team at Sacramento City College. I was going there working towards my AA in Physical Education, and then transfer to Sacramento State. I had thoughts of coaching baseball, and despite having very little playing experience, I had plans to work in professional baseball.
There are times in life when your plans are just dreams. I was soon going to discover the fine line between plans and dreams.
In the winter of 1992, I made plans to help out with the SCC baseball team. I wanted to help out on the field. The staff suggested I help in the press box as the scoreboard operator. I figured take what you can get. So I volunteered to work in the press box.
Over winter break, life threw a few curveballs at me. I wasn't really in the mind set to go to school. I also lost my enthusiasm for working in the press box. So I reported very late to helping out with the team.
In baseball, there is one place no one but players and coaches are allowed in......the clubhouse. It's a players escape from the playing field. Very adult things are discussed in there. So imagine a bunch of cocky college kids discussing drinking and chasing skirts on their weekends.
So I figured I was part of the staff, I was allowed in there. One player walked up to me and said, "Excuse me, your not allowed in here. It's for players only." I assured him I was with the team. He kept insisting for me to turn around and leave. I didn't heed the warning signs. I demanded to speak to one of the coaches. He told me that they were out conducting drills. So I went out to where the coaches were, only to discover THE WHOLE TEAM was sitting around shooting the bull. They all turned to look at me. One of the coaches smiled and waved me over. That song 'Smiling Faces' should have been playing in the background. The smile wasn't so friendly. "What the hell do you want?", one of the coaches asked. I told him I was volunteering to help with the team."Who says we need help? Ain't no one here want to talk to you!" By this time the whole team is laughing at my expense. I could feel everyone looking at me. By this time I felt like I needed to leave.
One of the coaches said, "Where ya been? I never heard from you, so I got someone else to do your job. Is there anything else you need?"
I apologized to the coach, which only brought up more laughs and mocking. I felt like the most worthless person in the world. I turned around and I could hear them making fun of me, then another loud laugh. As I left the player who tried to stop me said, "Did you find who you were looking for?" I just kept walking and wanting to hide. I never went back to help out. That's when I learned that outsiders are not welcome in baseball clubhouses. It's a sacred place for a privileged few.
Years later I worked as a clubbie for the Solano Steelheads of the Western Baseball League. So without even trying, I worked in baseball and finally felt as if I belonged.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Catch

Threw the ball for ten minutes today. Felt good. It wasn't for my benefit, just warming up a friend to loosen his shoulder for beer league softball tonight. Now time for me to go for a long run now. Pitchers workout today.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

What Happened To Gallery Etiquette?

I'm watching the final round of The Doral. Tiger is in the drivers seat. I just watched him tee off on a par 3. As he finishes his swing the whole gallery shouts, "GET IN THE HOLE!!!"
Why do these morons shout that? I guess its better than, "You Da Man!!"
Shaking my head.......

Sunday Morning Thoughts

I should have just kept my watch on Mountain Time when I got home Thursday.....
I think the World Baseball Classic should be put to sleep. It means absolutley nothing.......
The Angels are going to lead the league in hits, RBI, and homeruns....
The Canada/Mexico brawl was a great fight, but both teams will look back and regret doing it.......
Tiger's back again. He'll win a major this year.....
Too bad the Sybase Open in San Jose is no more....
I found three Titleist Tour Balata balls yesterday. I'm gonna treat them like precious jewels. Very hard to find now......
Hotel breakfast isn't that great......
I discovered the Arizona Republic is a great newspaper.....
I don't want a fastfood hamburger for a long time. Long travel days equal quick meals to be eaten with one hand while holding the steering wheel in the other.....
Finally, I didn't see one What A Burger down there. Heard the commercials on the radio a lot...

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Final Arizona Thoughts

I've been home for two days. I have been talking about my trip to family and friends.
My first visit to Phoenix was in 1991. My friend Sergio was going to UTI Tech School down there. I remember Phoenix being a very dirty town. Also very hot. My memories of that trip are fading away. I remember wanting to go to a Phoenix Firebirds game at Phoenix Muni. But the Firebirds were on the road. So we went to a Tucson Toros game. Memories of that game are fading. I googled Willie Banks. He pitched in the game we went to. He was on the roster for the Portland Beavers. So I put together that the Firebirds and Beavers played on a April evening at Hi Corbett Field. I still have the program somewhere in the archives. I remember it was Magnet Schedule Night. I also remember Sergio standing very proud when a military color guard brought out the flag for the national anthem. He enlisted that year and he would begin his service later that year.
The movie Major League was filmed at Hi Corbett. I remember it was a big deal for me to be there.
I don't remember the score or who won. I just remember that night in Tucson for my first Pacific Coast League game.
I Googled the roster for Tucson and I do remember (I had to re-Google what I Googled from a few days ago I forgot who I was talking about!) Kenny Lofton being on the team. I designated him The Most Dangerous Player In The Major Leagues throughout most of his Cleveland Indians days. I'm sure the Astros regret making that trade to get him.
Looking through the roster I saw Curt "Fu€&ing" Schilling on the team. That big mouth bastard. He blows hot air out of his mouth and his a$$hole! (He owes the State of Rhode Island $75million. I LOVE Rhode Island!) Tony Eusibio, Andejar Cedeno, Jim Corsi, Eric Anthony, Ryan Bowen (future Florida Marlin and I worked with one of his cousins), Carl "Tuffy" Rhodes, Dean Wilkins (Baseball America proclaimed him to be one of the best catchers EVER.  Didn't happen. He was supposed to be the next Johnny Bench. He spent more time on benches then behind the plate), Scott Servais, Terry McGriff, Dave Engle (I met him at a Las Vegas 51's game when he was scouting for the Padres. Great guy, great story teller) and Jeff Juden who I read was the real life Jeff Lebowski, dumb as a bag of rocks with a not a care in the world attitude.
Twenty-two years later, ALL those guys are retired from the game, the Toros are long gone (two teams have come to replace them, the Sidewinders and the current Padres), Sergio is a happily married family man living in the bay area, and I'm still single in love with baseball and golf.
I have been home for two days, and I miss walking around Old Scottsdale to dinner. I miss the casual atmosphere at the ballpark. Its all big business starting March 31st.
I thought the Phoenix metro area was a big shithole in the middle of the desert. Now I think its a great vacation spot and I can't wait to go back. Next time I'm taking my golf clubs. I want to see the Diamondbacks (I hate that their called the D-Backs. I think douche bag when I hear that) and the Rockies at Salt Flats, the Cubs, then the Giants and A's again. I underestimated Phoenix and the southwest. Look forward to next time!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Camelback Ranch In One Word.....Wow!

My first two days of my Arizona vacation I visited the Grandaddy of Them All in Arizona, Phoenix Muni. Great place with lots of history. The City of Phoenix just put in a lot of money on the Old Rock Pile on Van Bueren. Later in the day after my visit, the Oakland A's announced they are moving to Mesa and taking over HoHoKam Park in 2015. Arizona State is moving into Phoenix Muni.
I wrote about my visit to Scottsdale Stadium. It was a sardine can. Nice place though.
Then yesterday I went to a Spring Training site fit for the 21st Century.....Camelback Ranch in Glendale. All I could think was its the best ballpark I have ever been in. Very roomy and comfortable. There wasn't a bad seat in the house.
It also carries the heat well. I had to upgrade to a seat in the upper deck behind home plate to get some shade! It must have been in the mid 80's in the Valley.
The best part of CBR is they sell Dodger Dogs! I had two. My first Dodger Dogs in seven years!
Team Mexico played the Dodgers in a final tune up for the World Baseball Classic. The atmosphere was full of Mexican pride and lots of beautiful brown people walking around.
I hate to say it, but I think Team Mexico is going to get knocked out early in the WBC. No hitting and no pitching. They gave it their best.
It's been a long travel day. I'm having a beer and I ready to sleep. Very soon, I will post my final thoughts of my trip.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Tale Of Two Spring Training Cities

I spent most of the day at Scottsdale Stadium yesterday. Very nice place. Beautiful women EVERYWHERE!!! Definitley the younger crowd hangout. Big difference from yesterday. Phoenix Muni seemed like a retirement community.
I couldn't turn around and not almost bump into some one at the Giants game today. Its AT&T Park South. The party place. The hardcore fans were watching the game. The college kids were partying, drinking and mingeling.
Lots of parents with their little ones running around. Festive atmosphere all around.
I'm glad I had the oppurtunity to go to the Spring Training home of both my local teams. The A's seemed very relaxed. They interacted with the fans all day.
The Giants were very business like and very distant with the fans. I guess when you win a World Series, you can act however you want.
During the last two days, I have been asking myself a question over and over. Why haven't I done this before? I'm having the time of my life down here in the Valley of the Sun. Will I come back? Yes I will!
No game report today. It was a great game between the Giants and Indians. Great defensive plays. Three plays at the plate that resulted in outs. I never see that in one year. The Indians won 4-3. It was tied in the ninth. Some minor leaguer who will be in Columbus hit a homer to win the game for the Indians.
Tomorrow I will be watching Team Mexico of the World Baseball Classic take on the L.A. Dodgers at Camelback Ranch.
I'm now sitting at the pool in my hotel enjoying this great weather.
Just had a great dinner at Don and Charlies. I ate a full slab of their world famous ribs. I saw Will Clark eating dinner with long time clubhouse manager Mike Murphy.
Chat with ya tomorrow!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Hello From Phoenix, Arizona!

Hello everyone! I'm here at Phoenix Municipal Stadium for my first ever Spring Training game between the Oakland A's againts the Los Angeles Angels of Anahiem in southern California. The gates just opened and game time is in two hours!
Update 6pm
Just got back to the hotel. What a game! The A's demolished the Angels 13-5. The game was reminicent of an old Phoenix Firebirds game at Phoenix Muni in the Pacific Coast League.
The new face of baseball, Mike Trout led the game with a double, confirming that he will be the number one pick in many fantasy drafts across the country.
The A's pitchers looked great throughout the game. Resop looked good, he's a finese pitcher. Sean Doolittle was dealing, he looked great! Struck out the side, eventually striking out four in a row. The big leaguers left about mid way through the game. Then the minor leaguers who will be playing in Sacramento and Salt Lake City entered the game. The lead went back and forth most of the game. Then the A's bats exploded in the 9th. Pitcher Chad Cordero got knocked around as the A's batted around and scored six runs on six very hard hits. I'm sure Mr. Cordero will be in AA this year.
I really liked old Phoenix Muni. Great place to watch a ballgame! I saw first hand the very friendly interaction between the A's players and the fans.
Tomorrow its the Giants versus Indians a few blocks from the hotel in downtown Scottsdale. As for now, I'm ready to hit the town!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

My East Coast Bias

Everyone knows ESPN has an east coast bias. Look at their programming. Their baseball schedule is mainly Redsox/Yankees or Phillies/Braves. Sometimes the Mets.
The Miami Heat are ALWAYS on the NBA on Wednesday nights.
My east coast bias is different. Growing up on the west coast, I had the San Francisco Giants/49ers crammed down my throat.
I grew up a LA Dodgers, Rams, Lakers and Kings fan. Before the internet and 24/7 sports coverage, I couldn't get enough of the LA teams. Now I'm sick of them. The mystery is gone.
Over the last few years, I have developed a love for the east coast. I love to read about the history of east coast teams, golf courses, and players. So much history to read about!
I love to read about the New York teams. The Yankees fascinate me.
I search the internet for unique blogs about passionate fans view of their favorite teams.
Of course I love to go back east and visit the places I read about.
So consider me an east coaster at heart! 

On The Road To Arizona

I'm on Hwy 99 in Merced. Arizona is a million miles away......
Update 10:20am
We are in the Tehachipi's now.....
Update 1:15pm....somewhere in the middle of the Mojave desert.
Update 9:46pm Im at the world famous Pink Pony in Scottsdale. No one is here.....