Friday, April 23, 2010

AL vs NL: A Purist's Perspective

Let's not beat around the bush. I am one hundred percent "Team NL". And by one hundred percent, I mean one hundred percent. I don't get it. Why is this even a debate? What idiot thought it would be a good idea to take a game that honors an athlete's ability to compete with versatility, range, and teamsmanship and muck it up by instituting rules that place emphasis on one skill set rather than the whole package and coddling men who refuse to honor a sport in its entirety? Baseball is a game of offense AND defense. It's like a quarterback who can't take a hit or a kicker who won't make a block - worthless to the team and the sport. Tuck in your skirt and learn how to hit, how to catch, or how to retire like a man.

The sport of baseball was officially founded in 1839 in Cooperstown, NY. The National League was established in 1876, the American League 14 years later. The designated hitter rule was not instituted until 1973. Again, I feel the need to clarify. Most of my animosity toward the American League is rooted in this one ridiculous decision 37 years ago. Without this monstrous lapse in judgment, the two leagues would pretty much be the same thing and it would only be a question of team loyalty (I would still root for the NL, obvs). But, since history must make its mistakes, I, in turn, must have an irrational emotional response, and that response is "What in the sam hill were you thinking? Why take a beloved sport with such a rich history of great multi-dimensional players and screw around with it? For fun? Just to make me mad so I can rant on my blog?"

Who is arguably the most well-known of baseball greats? Babe Ruth, right? Well, ole Georgie is known as a home run king, but he initially made his name as a pitcher. In fact, he had the lowest ERA of all pitchers in 1916 with a 1.75. His career ERA was 2.28, ranking him 17th all-time amongst pitchers. (To put that in perspective: Curt Shilling is #384 on the list, Nolan Ryan #244, Pedro Martinez #146, and Cy Young himself #59 with a 2.62.) Not too shabby for a home run hitter. Wonder what the Bambino would say to today's AL pitchers who can barely find their way to the batter's box while bemoaning their need to focus on their craft and not spread themselves too thin? I'm betting he would have little sympathy.
But I digress. Most of my ire for the DH (and therefore the AL) is centered on the way it has reshaped the flow of the game itself. Baseball is a game of strategy. It is a thinking man's sport. I have attended many a game with unnamed people (ahem, ex-boyfriend) who whined about a 0-0 game going into the 9th inning with both pitchers throwing 1- or 2-hitters. Nothing beats a pitchers duel for a real baseball fan, but in this age where movies are full of explosions rather than witty dialogue and conversations are held via text while driving rather than face to face, it is no wonder that a fan feels cheated if he attends a game and does not witness a long ball or two.

I guess my point here is that we are losing some of the most intriguing and exciting parts of the game. I understand a popular argument in favor of the DH is the idea that the pitcher's spot is an automatic out three or four times a game. However, I counter that with one word: sacrifice. No one faults the left fielder for hitting a sacrifice fly, so why fault a pitcher for a sacrifice bunt? I struggle to name an NL starting pitcher who is not adept at laying down a bunt with a runner on first and less than 2 outs. One of the most exciting games I ever watched on TV as a youngster was back when I saw Mark Wohlers (remember him?), a closer mind you, lay down a bunt in perfect fashion in a tied game to advance the runner into scoring position. Mark Lemke then hit a single to left scoring that runner to win the game for Atlanta. Bobby Cox would never have made a call like that if he did not trust that his pitcher could deliver the goods - because he has been there before. Interleague games are a riot. The AL pitchers treat their at bat like a joke, swatting at the ball and looking like fools while inexplicably grinning at their ineptitude. If you can't contribute from both sides of the game, I say don't bother to contribute at all.

From my point of view, 1973 marks the time when one half of the teams in baseball decided to cheat the system in order to allow older players who can no longer hold their own in the field to extend retirement and enable pitchers to once and for all completely separate themselves from the rest of the team. Let's not even allow them in the dugouts, I say. They can sit in the bullpen where their delicate sensibilities won't be bothered by all the bats and helmets lying around. Who wants a reminder of your pitiful failings staring you in the face? Certainly not someone who doesn't feel the need to help produce runs after leaving a fat curve over the middle of the plate resulting in a 2-run homer for the opposition. Way to pull your weight. When I made an error on the field I never felt justified to look my teammates in the face again until I made up for it by crossing the plate myself.

I feel I could go on forever, so I guess I will wrap up by simply saying that to me, baseball is about strategy and teamwork: the shift, a well-timed IBB, a sac fly, protecting the runner while at the plate even if it means going down in the count, and most exciting of all, the suicide squeeze - which in the NL could be laid down by any number of capable pitchers.

I love baseball in any form, but I'll take my Braves and Cardinals over the Red Sox or Yankees any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer my ball pure.

My Little Weirdo

I walked upstairs the other day and saw this.Three thoughts immediately entered my mind:
  1. How did he manage to get it on the right way? I can barely manage that and I have been trying for 15 years.
  2. He will hate me for showing this to future girlfriends...which I will do with enthusiasm and regularity.
  3. Why did he have to pick my ugliest and most Golden Girls bra? Seriously, I do have some cute ones that would have made a much better picture.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Too Much!

We have had a lot going on in the last week. Parties, cars, new words, galore! Where to begin...I guess the beginning will work.

Last weekend, Jeremy and I were able to attend cousin Philip's first birthday party in Nashville! This is a large triumph as we did not (note the past tense, squee!) own a car that could safely transport us that far without exploding. My friend Kristin offered to drive us there and back (seriously, with no benefit for her in this equation, she just offered selflessly). Unfortunately, daddy had to work, but that did not deter us from our adventure to see Phil on his day of glory.

He was super cute! Please excuse the poor pictures (the good ones are from Grandaddy). Jeremy got a hold of the camera and smeared something on the lens that took me days to remove properly. Philip had quite the party, with yummy cake and tons of presents! He is an extremely well-behaved and chill kid, which does not help my increasing jealousy of Graham and Katherine and their perfect lives. Jeremy was actually rather decent as well, which never happens around company, so I was happy, albeit shocked. The party:The next day, Jeremy and I were invited to join the Learning Communities to attend the production of Mama Mia at the Tennessee Theatre (for free!). Jeremy loves Mama Mia. The movie, the music, and now, the show! He sat through the whole 3 hour production entranced.

A few days later, I attended the annual RA Awards Banquet at work. All of my babysitters were also in attendance, so I had to take Jeremy along as well. The theme of the banquet was "A Day at the Races" or "Derby Days". So, naturally, I had to buy a huge hat that matched my dress and let Jeremy wear it.The banquet was super fun, except for a few small incidents. We were seated at the table with our Executive Director, the Vice Chancellor, the Assistant Director of Student Activities, and our Assignments Manager (well, that one is just Joel, but still). Needless to say, I was praying Jeremy would behave himself. He did not. When I had to go speak at the podium, he shrieked and fell out of his chair. I chose to ignore that as Joel and Kristi rescued him (I am a good parent). Then, he decided to shovel whipped cream and corn (yes, together) into his mouth at an ungodly pace. This caused him to choke. This, in turn, caused him to vomit. At the table. In front of the Vice Chancellor. I. Was. Mortified. Jeremy, however, thought it was quite funny. Hmm.The next day (we are now on Thursday), Jeremy's school had their annual Spring Fling. They had booths set up all over the playground with games and invited all the parents to come play and have snacks with the kids. It was fun. I have more pictures, but I did not ask permission to post other kid's faces on the internet, so you're out of luck other than these few:In order to preface the monumental nature of the final piece of our week in review, I must thank the 14 different people who have assisted us in our carpooling efforts. So, thank you Joel, Anna, Kristi, Katie, Jerry, Brandon, Tiffany, Mona, Ken, Steve, Matt, Amanda, Elizabeth, and Kristin. You guys are amazing and I owe you! I would also like to say that I can now insert a carseat into any make or model of car ever made. And I can do it in 30 seconds flat. I am a rock star. BUT, since rock star status is fleeting at best, a new car was imperative. So we got one! Please allow me to introduce the newest member of our family...PT Cruiser! I am thinking of naming her Bertha.I believe the carseat has finally found a resting place! Yay!One final note: Jeremy continues to make progress with his speech therapy. He now says "up" quite clearly, as well as "what's this?" and "right there" (in response to us asking 'where's ...?'). He still has miles to go to catch up, but he is getting closer and closer every day!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Scorebook Sadness

Depression hurts. Who does it hurt? ME. Take a look at the picture below.Let's zoom in on the date.That was the last time I kept score at a baseball game.

Maybe Cymbalta can help.

I feel that Jeremy is now old enough to appreciate the intricate, finely nuanced, and always fulfilling game of baseball. My scorebook will no longer take a backseat to poopy diapers and temper tantrums. Good God, people, where have my priorities been?!

Jeremy may not be able to talk, but by the end of summer, he will be able to accurately record a 'K' (or even a '6-4-3 DP') in my scorebook.

In case you are wondering: BASEBALL IS BACK!

The smell of the grass, the crisp white lines, hot dogs, BBQ nachos, the crack of the mitt, walk-offs, clutch hits, pitcher's duels, extra innings, catching a foul ball, arriving in time for batting practice, the suicide squeeze, playin' small ball, Bobby's last season, listening to Mike Shannon on the porch in Memphis, Jeremy peering out from under his cap and, of course, "one an one". That's my list - what are YOU looking forward to?


"I believe in the Church of Baseball. I've tried all the major religions, and most of the minor ones. I've worshiped Buddha, Allah, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, trees, mushrooms, and Isadora Duncan. I know things. For instance, there are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary and there are 108 stitches in a baseball. When I heard that, I gave Jesus a chance. But it just didn't work out between us. The Lord laid too much guilt on me. I prefer metaphysics to theology. You see, there's no guilt in baseball, and it's never boring... which makes it like sex. There's never been a ballplayer slept with me who didn't have the best year of his career. Making love is like hitting a baseball: you just gotta relax and concentrate. Besides, I'd never sleep with a player hitting under .250... not unless he had a lot of RBIs and was a great glove man up the middle. You see, there's a certain amount of life wisdom I give these boys. I can expand their minds. Sometimes when I've got a ballplayer alone, I'll just read Emily Dickinson or Walt Whitman to him, and the guys are so sweet, they always stay and listen. 'Course, a guy'll listen to anything if he thinks it's foreplay. I make them feel confident, and they make me feel safe, and pretty. 'Course, what I give them lasts a lifetime; what they give me lasts 142 games. Sometimes it seems like a bad trade. But bad trades are part of baseball - now who can forget Frank Robinson for Milt Pappas, for God's sake? It's a long season and you gotta trust. I've tried 'em all, I really have, and the only church that truly feeds the soul, day in, day out, is the Church of Baseball." - Annie Savoy, Bull DurhamIs it wrong that this was the woman I idolized in the 6th grade? Hmmm.

P.S. Dad, Graham, stay tuned. I have an impassioned post coming with my personal views on the age old question: National vs American. Should be thrilling.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Adventures

Our Easter fun began on Wednesday afternoon with the URHC EGGstravaganza on campus. Buddy loves trips to mommy's work and always gets to ride on daddy's shoulders. This is the student-run Housing organization that does big programs on campus. It was super fun, and Jeremy saw a few of his friends from school. Sarah, Audrey, and Mary Katherine all surrounded him and followed him around. It was cute - he is quite popular with the ladies. There was a HUGE turnout - over 200 people. The URHC officers provided 2 egg hunts, t-shirts, cotton candy, hamburgers, and tons of fun and prizes - all FREE! Here is a quick view of the back of my ponytail to show the crowd.Jeremy had a blast, and oddly his favorite part was climbing up and down a miniature The Rock with his friend William. That is Dr. Stoner helping them - yup, our Associate Vice Chancellor was plopping the kids on the rock. So cute.The next day, Jeremy had an egg hunt at school. Ms. Jill said he gave away almost all of his eggs to the other kids. He is really into sharing right now. Friday was a day off for me and Bud, so we grabbed Mr. Joel and went shopping with my birthday money that I have not yet had a chance to spend. While I did get myself a dress and a bag, I did spend most of my money on J-Dog. I can't help it, it is so much more fun to buy stuff for him and his clothes don't come in sizes that make me squeamish. Saturday we met up with Joel again and attended the Old Navy $5 polo sale. I got daddy 2 shirts and Jeremy 3 - all for $27!

The oddness of our child is apparent daily. This is the basket that holds his bath toys. Jeremy's newest word is "hat". This is a picture of daddy putting Jeremy to bed - notice how calm and sleepy he looks. This is a full hour after his bedtime when I finally went up there to see what the noise was all about. Needless to say, when daddy reads bedtime books, it is a lot more physical than when I do it. I think had a priest been present we could have made a good case that he was possessed.So Easter morning finally arrived! Here is what that crazy bunny left in our dining room. Odd that he somehow got a hold of the $5 polos I bought for Jeremy at Old Navy. Crafty little fuzzball. Jeremy enjoying the fruits of his basket - literally - we stuffed the eggs with fruit snacks to keep his chocolate addiction under control.As I walked out the door this morning to head to mass, this is what came running at me, full speed. How can you not smile when your day starts like this?Jeremy made it through church like a champ!! I got compliments from the people around me about his good behavior - I got scared I was accidentally holding the wrong kid. Here is the little angel (or devil in disguise) outside the church playground. After nap, Jeremy and I made cookies to bring to our Easter party. I baked and Jeremy decorated! Posing with the icing.Showing off the final product. He was hamming this up for some reason. Then, we headed off to our Easter party with William and his parents, our friends Ben and Elizabeth. They live here with family and since they know our family is so far away, they always invite us to their holiday celebrations. It is very sweet of them. Here is Bud egg hunting.Jeremy and William - BFF.So, that was our Easter. It was a lovely day, just as it should be. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday as well! Love you!