Tag Archive | baseball

Take Me Out With The Crowd

IMG_8034I’m headed out of town with David today. We’re going to St. Petersburg, Fla., for the weekend to watch my beloved Oakland Athletics play the Tampa Bay Rays. Last year we went to a doubleheader. The year before that we took the kids to a single game. It’s become a tradition for us to attend at least one game of the series when the A’s are in Florida.

I love being out with the crowd. The noise, the pristine field mowed perfectly. (OK, so the Trop is a dome and therefore an artificial surface, but a girl can dream, can’t she?) I’ve never caught a foul ball. I hope one comes near us this time.

There’s nothing like the roar of the crowd when a batter hits a home run. Do you know how far those little white balls have to travel? A football field is 100 yards, that’s 300 feet.IMG_8029 Most home runs have to clear a fence that is nearly 400 feet away from home plate.

That’s pretty far.

There’s strategy and mystery (ever try to figure out the signs the managers and coaches are flashing?) and joy and sorrow (ever had your slugger strike out when the bases are loaded?).

The lyrics to the iconic 7th-inning-stretch song fit me well.

 

Katie Casey was baseball mad,
Had the fever and had it bad.
Just to root for the home town crew,
Ev’ry sou
Katie blew.
On a Saturday her young beau
Called to see if she’d like to go
To see a show, but Miss Kate said “No,
I’ll tell you what you can do:”

Chorus

Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd;
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack,
I don’t care if I never get back.
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don’t win, it’s a shame.
For it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out,
At the old ball game.

Katie Casey saw all the games,
Knew the players by their first names.
Told the umpire he was wrong,
All along,
Good and strong.
When the score was just two to two,
Katie Casey knew what to do,
Just to cheer up the boys she knew,
She made the gang sing this song:

(Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer, 1908)

IMG_8041

 

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No Bandwagon Fan

IMG_8043It’s baseball season, in case you didn’t know. And my team, the Oakland Athletics, is in the thick of a pennant race.

At the beginning of the season, nobody thought they would be able to do anything, especially against the powerhouse 2017 champion Houston Astros. But, the naysayers were proved wrong and we are neck-and-neck with the Astros.

I’ve been an A’s fan since 1968, the year both the team and my family moved to Oakland. Being 2,000 miles away has been one of the hardest things for me about living in Florida. But, thanks to modern technology and a little thing called the internet, I am able to remain loyal to my team, watching nearly every game on MLB.tv.

I’ve also been a Golden State Warriors fan forever, even when they were perennial cellarIMG_8028 dwellers. When they started their winning ways several seasons ago, I was thrilled.

Does it bother me that some “fans” just like to jump on the bandwagon of a winning team? Yes, yes it does. If you can’t stay with them in the hard times, why should you suddenly care when they become winners?

I’m thinking Jesus had some bandwagon fans. When he was the hero, healing people and doing other miraculous works, they were yelling their “hosannas.” But the minute he was arrested and nailed to that tree, suddenly they were nowhere to be found.

Don’t be a bandwagon fan.

 

This post is a part of the Five-Minute Friday link up. Join the fun!

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Life, and Baseballs, Come At You Fast

By now you should know that I am a big Oakland A’s baseball fan. My love affair started when my family moved to Oakland in 1968. We used to get A’s tickets as rewards for being on the traffic squad in elementary school. This was in the days before night games, so when the A’s were consistently in the World Series in the 70s, the administration used to bring a big t.v. into the auditorium on a cart, and we could get out of class to watch part of the game. Our family even got to go to a few playoff and World Series games.

After World Series victories, of which there were many, our family would travel downtown to enjoy the victory parade. The atmosphere was so exciting.

I remember anticipating attending my first game. My great aunt Zizi was taking me and my older brother and sister. I was so excited that I threw up–and then I didn’t get to go. I was relegated to my room, listening to the broadcast on the radio. My mom finally figured out I wasn’t really sick when I kept running into the room with updates from the game.

My mom once had a job at a pharmacy in the same building as the A’s team doctor. The players would often come in to have prescriptions filled. Taking advantage of the situation, my mom would get their autographs–four times over. One for each kid. She even volunteered to make a home delivery once, with me in tow, to first baseman Gene Tenace’s house. What a thrill. Captain Sal Bando attended our church, though he usually sat in back and slipped out when Mass was over.

I remember when pitcher Vida Blue was seen visiting a neighbor up the road. My sister Leslie jumped right out of her sick bed to hurry up the road with us to get his signature on our A’s caps.

I remember the days of Charlie-O, the big donkey mascot named after famed A’s owner Charlie Finley. We once had a carnival at our elementary school, and Charlie-O was a special guest. Those were the days. Baseball was king.

Just a week ago, pitcher Brandon McCarthy stood on the mound for the A’s, playing another game in a pennant race that is very exciting for A’s fans. One second he was pitching the ball to an Angel’s hitter, the next, he was on the ground, beaned in the head by a screaming line drive. Taken to the hospital a short time later, Brandon underwent a CT scan which showed he had suffered a fractured skull and would undergo surgery to relieve the pressure on his brain.

Praise God he is out of the hospital and recovering well, but his season is over. All in a matter of seconds.

When I was growing up, Zizi was an important part of holidays as she usually traveled from her home in Bakersfield to Oakland to spend the days with us. We would wait in anticipation for her big yellow car to make its way up our street. Her presence completed the holiday. Once I moved to Florida, I rarely got to see her.

On July 11th, my family and I arrived in Bakersfield, Calif., to visit Zizi and my aunt and uncle. I hadn’t seen Zizi in 9 years.  For the rest of my family–except Morgan, who had been with me 9 years ago–it had been longer. We enjoyed our short visit, prompted by the fact that we didn’t know when or if we’d see Zizi again. She was 94, after all.

Two weeks later, on August 26th, Zizi awoke thinking it was going to be like any other day. She went to the kitchen to make her breakfast when something went terribly wrong. While cooking an egg on her stove, she suffered some sort of episode that apparently caused her to pass out and fall onto the stove. The result of all this was 3rd degree burns over 40 percent of her body. Three days later, she was gone, too badly injured to recover. One moment making breakfast on a regular day; three days later, gone.

Baseball and Zizi: forever linked in my life.

20120913-094443.jpgLife comes at you fast. You never know how long you’re going to have someone with you. I don’t want to waste one moment in harsh words or unresolved conflict. No regrets. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful epitaph?

“Show me, Lord, my life’s end
and the number of my days;
let me know how fleeting my life is.
You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
the span of my years is as nothing before you.
Everyone is but a breath,
even those who seem secure” (Psalm 39:4,5)

Thankful today for:

587. family

588. a tight pennant race

589. fall

590. RoundUp®

It’s Baseball Season (And Why I Love it So)

I have plastic Oakland Athletics cups that I’ve had since before I got married 21 years ago. 

Does that say anything about how obses–I mean loyal I am to my team? I grew up in Oakland, Calif., and much of my youth was spent at the ball park or listening to games on the radio. Televised games were still a thing of the future. I have autographs from the glory days of the A’s of the 70s, and can still remember attending the celebration parades in downtown Oakland after a World Series win.

I even got to go to game 1 of the 1988 series between the A’s and the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. You know, the one where Kirk Gibson, gimpy as he was, came in against Dennis Eckersley in the bottom of the 9th. A’s fans thought we had it in the bag. Well, what did Gibson do? Hit one out of the park, over the right field wall if I remember correctly. I’ve never heard a place erupt as loudly as that stadium that day.

And I still have a VHS tape of the Earthquake game, in the 1989 series between the A’s and the Giants. What a sight that was.

Ah, those were the days.

My team hasn’t made the playoffs in a while, but that doesn’t dim my love for them. Players have come and gone, and I’ve been sad to see them go, but I usually end up loving the ones who replace them. What I’ve been asked by my kids, who have not inherited my love, is why I like it so much.

I actually have no idea, but here’s my attempt to figure it out:

There’s strategy and strength

I loved to watch Ricky Henderson steal bases. Now Jemile Weeks and Coco Crisp are filling that need. But I also love the beauty of a blast over the wall. The sheer strength it takes to hit a ball that far is completely beyond me, but Reggie Jackson, Frank Thomas–for the season we had him–and even the bash brothers, Jose Canseco and Mark McGuire, brought awe to the ballfield. Ever see a suicide squeeze in real life? You feel like your heart is going to burst right out of your chest.

It’s slow-paced, like summer

Some people would say it’s boring. I like the leisurely pace that allows conversation. Most baseball fans can talk about statistics and players with the best of them. I’m not for numbers, I just love the beauty of the game. With the advent of lights, baseball lost some of it’s summer-like qualities and became more of a money maker, it seems to me. Living on the east coast as a west-coast fan has been hard when the vast majority of games are at night. A reasonable 7:00 game on the west coast means 10:00 here for me. So I subscribe to MLB.TV and watch the archived game the next day, reliving my youth as it’s hot outside and I’m listening to the calls of “hot dogs! Get yer hot dogs here!”

There’s nothing like the intensity of two out in the bottom of the ninth, tie game, runners at the corners

OK, I admit it, when I’m watching a pre-recorded game I have been known to take a peak at the box score when the game is getting close to the end and the outcome is up in the air. I’ve got heart issues, remember? The hand-squeezing, heart-pumping thrill of batter against pitcher can be so intense, I’ve nearly had palpitations!

A baseball park is like nowhere else on earth

Whoever wrote the words to the 7th-inning-stretch classic, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” was a true fan. “Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks. I don’t care if I ever get back.” Nowadays the fare is much fancier than just peanuts and Cracker Jacks. There’s nothing like a ballpark hotdog, cheesy fries, nachos. Whatever. It’s better at the ballpark. More expensive, too, but that’s another story. The sun, the smells, the hecklers: there’s nothing like it.

I don’t live anywhere near a ballpark anymore, and I miss it. On my bucket list is to visit every major league ballpark in one season. Don’t know if it will ever happen, but I’m hoping.

It’s spring. Baseball is in the air. Anyone want to go play some catch?

Thankful today for:

90. baseball

91. spring

92. mlb.tv

Football Season is Over

It’s Sunday afternoon and there are no football games on. What ever am I supposed to do with myself? Baseball season doesn’t start yet, and I don’t watch basketball or hockey. I’m in a sports void. It’s only 53 outside: much too chilly for this native Californian. So I’m going to stay inside, maybe watch a movie, finish writing the lesson plan for this week, and maybe even take a nap, although it might be too late for that. Kids are all playing on their ipods (oops, text the youngest to find out if she actually finished that homework that’s due tomorrow–dont’ want to have to yell across the house, you know). I don’t have to make dinner because we had a potluck at church. That’s the policy: church potluck? No making dinner on Sunday evenings. That laundry can wait another day, right? It’s Sunday.

It’s a good day.

16. church potluck lunches

17. warm slippers

18. an unscheduled afternoon

Clinging to this World

I’m not gonna lie, I love chocolate. Dove dark is probably my favorite, but dark chocolate M&Ms come in a close second just for the snack factor. And ham. I love ham, too. And artichokes. I won’t pay $2.50 for one here in Florida, but when they get closer to $1, I snatch them up.

And baseball, I love to watch baseball. And horses. Morgan is about to start riding lessons, and I really want to do it, too.

There’s so much that I love in this world. Beautiful sunsets (I’m not much of a sunrise person); cute, fluffy kittens; puppies that chew on everything; lasagna. The list could go on and on.

I remember hoping that Jesus wouldn’t come back before I got married and had children. I really wanted to experience that. How silly. No matter how much I enjoy the things God has given me here, Heaven is going to be so much better than this.

10. chocolate 🙂

11. my dog snoring in the corner

12. movies that make me cry

Getting my feet wet

I’m totally new to this whole blogging thing, so we’ll see how it goes. I thought it might be a good way to get me actually thinking more instead of just doing. Right now, I’m thinking about baseball. I’ve been a baseball fan for as long as I can remember. Having grown up in the San Francisco Bay Area, my team has been the Oakland A’s, with the San Francisco Giants a distant second. With neither of them in the post season this year, I’m rooting for my sister’s state’s team, the Colorado Rockies. They tied up their series with a win today. I’m the baseball-aholic in my family. David tolerates it, at best, but he can’t pry me away most of the time.

I love the drama. Like now: Cardinals and Dodgers, two out, bottom of the 9th, tying run on second base, winning run at the plate. Crowd roaring. Two strikes. Who’s going to win this battle? It’s exciting. But you have to be patient to enjoy it. I loved it when the boys were playing Little League, though the game was adulterated by too-intense coaches and parents. I mourned when they quit, but I couldn’t let them see it. So now I pay a premium on Directv for MLB Season Ticket so I can watch as many A’s games as possible, much to David’s dismay.

The one thing I have a hard time with is losing my favorite players, especially to the Yankees. It’s just not right to see Nick Swisher in pinstripes. They trade away players who are going to demand high salaries for untested but highly touted youths. Seems to work for them, but then we grow to love them, and then they leave. It’s hard on the old heart. Sigh.

Well, now you know something about me. Hopefully you, and I, will learn more in the days to come. I want to learn how to make this post more attractive too. We’ll see what happens. Thanks for visiting.

Steph