Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Panther Pride

Today I went to watch the Sacramento City College Panthers play baseball.
I haven't been to a City College game since I was a student here many years ago.
I knew something was amiss when I easily found a parking space. I discovered it was spring break. As I strolled the grounds of Sac City, a ton of memories came back to me.
When I thought of college as a young lad, I envisioned going to a big school, living in a dorm, joining a fraternity, dating girls, going to athletic events and making life long friends. It didn't happen.
I went the JC route. I spent a few extra years here. I was here so long they should have named a building after me! I can joke about it now, but I will say I was embarrassed to go to JC back then. I had cousins go to big schools. I wrote on my men's style blog it was always a dream of mine to wear the sweatshirt of the college I attended. I wore a City College sweater one time, and some jackass gave me a hard time about it. "Your proud to wear a junior college sweatshirt?" I was so embarrassed I gave it away.
Anyways, I returned to my pathetic roots of higher learning.
I'm surprised the ballpark isn't named Weinstien Stadium, since it was Jerry Weinstien who built Sac City into a national JC power. It's called Union Stadium, named after the local unions that built the ballpark.
I took my seat behind home plate and enjoyed a game with kids on the field who weren't even born the last time I saw a game at City.
It was a pitchers duel until Sac City scored first, then continued to pound Diablo Valley College pitching. The Panthers won 4-1. It was a great day of baseball on very mild day in Sacramento. I'm now sitting at the Old Espresso Metro coffee shop where I used to hang out and drink mochas or Italian sodas and study (ie check out girls who ignored me!). It was a nice day to walk down memory lane. My attempt at college wasn't memorable, but it made me think I should have applied myself more. But back then I thought I knew it all and no one could tell me no different. Thank goodness your only young and dumb once!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Baseball At The Farm

As you all know, I've been a baseball fan for years. All of my life really. I live in an area that's saturated with baseball.
So why is it that I visited Sunken Diamond at Stanford for the first time last Saturday?
I must say it a gorgeous ballpark situated on campus. Everything about the place was perfect. The seats, the sightlines, the parking, everything. Well, everything except for the concession stand. The original name for hotdogs were Red Hots. The hotdogs at Stanford live up to the old  name of Red Hots. My hotdog was scorching hot! I was playing Hot Potato with it.
But other than that, Sunken Diamond was the perfect way to end my baseball vacation.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Godspeed Nick Peters

A hero of mine died today. Nick Peters, the longtime beat writer who covered the San Francisco Giants died this morning after a long illness.
I grew up reading Mr. Peters writing while he was with the Sacramento Bee. He wrote as if he was a fan who happened to be a sportswriter. He told it like it was. If the Giants were lousy, he wrote they were lousy. If the Giants won, he was happy to tell you about it.
I can vividly remember buying the Bee every morning and reading what he wrote. I always looked forward to his weekly baseball column on Sunday.
He inspired me to be a sportswriter. As you know it didn't work out for me.
At least I had the pleasure of reading his work everyday! Thank you Mr. Peters for the inspiration you gave me.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Giants Fans Invade Maryvale

Well yesterday was quite the adventure! The last day of our spring training trip took us to Maryvale Ballpark, spring home of the Milwaukee Brewers. The weather wasn't quite spring like, as it rained overnight in the Valley of the Sun. We woke up to cloudy skies and the threat of continued rain. We almost made the decision not to go.
Well, we made it........along with what seemed to be every Giants fan in Arizona. This was a Brewers home game, and it was a sea of orange and black. Everywhere you turned, you'd see a Giants fan. They overran the concession stands, the gift shop. I mean it looked like a Giants home game.
It made for a terrible experience. We left in the fourth inning.
On the way home we listened to a great treat on the radio. Mr. Baseball himself Bob Eueker was calling the action and he was describing the ballpark as a mob scene. He said he never seen it so full before. He mentioned the concourse being packed with Giants fans.
He was full of funny stories. He was describing the pain of being hit in the groin by a ball. You had the feeling he wanted to be more vulgar with his description of being hit there, but it made a funny story nonetheless.
And just like that, Spring Training trip 2015 was over. We had a nice dinner and drinks in Scottsdale before resting for our trip home early the next morning. I've been home for a few days, and I'm already thinking of 2016. 51 more weeks away!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

College Baseball Action

Last night I attended the Arizona State Sun Devils baseball game against New Mexico. Rain threatened the game from happening, but eventually there was a break in the storm and the game was played.
The only thing that went through my mind was that it was my first night game at Phoenix Muni. It's such a great ballpark.
It's wide open, great sight lines, and just a gem of old school ballpark architecture.
I kept thinking of the old Phoenix Giants and Phoenix Firebirds teams that played there.
Eventually I got to thinking of the historic program at ASU. The outfield wall displayed the names of the great players who once donned the burgundy and gold. Rick Monday, Reggie Jackson, Oddibee McDowell, Larry Gura, Sal Band and Floyd Bannister to name a few. The beginnings of the success of the program was coached by Bobby Winkles and Jim Brock. They gave won five NCAA National Championships. I was happy to be watching a successful program play baseball.
The Sun Devils starting nine boasted 7 regulars hitting in the mid .300's. It was a very powerful lineup. But with the cold air, balls didn't fly out of the park. Normally the dry desert air provides a friendly hitters enviroment.
We left in the sixth as we had plans for dinner and drinks back in Scottsdale. But for one night it was great to be back at The Old Rockpile on Van Buren!
On the road back home tomorrow. I'll fill ya in on the Brewers/Giants experience tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Baseball Talk Everywhere

It's the middle of the week here in Scottsdale. The week is going by too fast. Went to Don and Charlies last night for dinner. Executives, scouts, coaches and players young and old everyplace.
The setting is so small, you can here the next tables conversation.
I was sitting next to a group with one member who played baseball for the Boston Red Sox. He had a large World Series ring on his finger. He was talking about pitchers and catchers. He also spoke of things that happened within the clubhouse. He was talking like a baseball insider. A few people walked up and said hello. I had a hunch it was Doug Mirabelli. So I told a friend I was dining with about who I thought the person was. I went to go use the restroom. When I came back a few minutes later, he had a funny look on his face. My friend said he approached the gentleman for a picture. "Why do you want a picture of me?", said the man we thought was Mirabelli. My friend said, "Aren't you Doug Mirabelli?" The man said, "Dude, do you know how big Mirabelli is?" After some awkward small talk, my friend returned to the table embarrassed. Awkward!!
Today we had breakfast at the Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale. Once again the place was packed with baseball people. I saw some familiar looking executives. All around me there was baseball talk going on. We enjoyed our meal with no embarrassing situations!
Tonight I'm going to see the Arizona State Sun Devils play the New Mexico Lobos at Phoenix Muni. I haven't been to a college baseball game in a few years. It will be nice to see a historic baseball program tonight. I'll tell ya all about it next time, until then, take care.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Cubs Fans Everywhere

I'm writing this from the passenger seat of a buddies car leaving the Peoria Sports Complex. The Padres crushed the Cubs 7-0 when we left in the 7th.
Well, I'm impressed with the future of the Cubs. I saw Soler, Bryant, Castro and Jon Lester. Lester didn't look like himself. He looked like he was working on a curveball. He was struggling to get the ball over the plate. Matt Kemp hit a bomb off him. It landed in San Diego. Padres made Lester look like a batting practice pitcher.
I've been in Arizona two days, and Cubs Fans are everywhere! And they sure love the sun, and they sure know their baseball!
It's time to hit the pool!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

On The Road To Spring Training

Spring Training 2015 is here! This year we're gonna hit three new ballparks. First is Peoria to see the Cubs and Padres.
Next will be Dodgers and Rangers in Surprise.
I'll be attending my first Spring Training night game in Salt River Flats to see the Diamondbacks and Rockies battle it out.
Then finally on the last day, it's the Giants and Brewers in Maryvale.
I'll keep ya posted. On my way to Las Vegas. Chat soon!