Monday, April 24, 2006
Every once in a while, I will run across a most unorthodox baseball play that catches my eye. This one--K767--which means Strikeout: Leftfielder to Shortstop to Leftfielder is probably the strangest one yet. Here's how it happened:
In the game of April 25, 1970, Tiger pitcher Earl Wilson struck out to end the seventh inning in the Twin Cities. Or so it appeared to everyone except Detroit third base coach Grover Resinger. He saw that Twins catcher Paul Ratliff trapped the pitch in the dirt, did not tag Wilson and rolled the ball to the mound. Resinger told Wilson to start running as most of the Twins entered the dugout. Earl got to first easily and headed for second. Since no one interfered with him, he started for third. By this time, Brant Alyea, who was trotting in from left field, heard Resinger shouting at Wilson. Alyea hustled to the mound but had trouble picking up the ball. Wilson headed for home where Twins Leo Cardenas and Ratliff had returned. Alyea finally picked up the ball and threw to Cardenas, the shortstop. Wilson turned back to third but was tagged out by Alyea for a K767. Rookie catcher Ratliff was charged with an error. After the game, Detroit catcher Bill Freehan said "If Alyea had been hustling, Earl might have made it [home]. Tell him [Alyea] to start coming in and off the field a little quicker." The aftermath of the story is that Wilson pulled a hamstring muscle running the bases and had to leave the game.
Monday, April 17, 2006
My wife's little cousin's smack talk is a continuous stream of "your old, you can't beat me" garbage that if left unchecked can get to you like nails on a chalkboard. It doesn't matter whether its playing catch, playing putt-putt in the basement, darts or a quick game of Candy Land, he runs his mouth like he's a professional boxer at a press conference. Granted, he's not dropping any "F-Bombs" or any other "colorful" language surrounded by clever colloquialisms. But it gets to be pretty unnerving knowing that an 8 year old is getting under your skin.
I can get by his 2nd grade smack talk. Really, its not that hard. After all, he's just a 2nd grader. The question isn't the smack in and of itself, its when-push-comes-to-shove, do I let him win at the respective game or do I play full throttle and utterly destroy him potentially causing irreputable harm to his self confidence?
...Damn right the latter was my answer!
So the first game he wanted to play was putt-putt in the basement. After 45 minutes of begging, I finally acquiesced. His aunt had one of those gismos that kicks the ball back to you if you hit it into the opening in the front. So we lined up with three balls a piece and we hit. I meticulously lined up my shot trying to navigate around a few chairs treating this as if it was sudden death at Augusta. I had just eaten a big dinner so my flexibility when bending over to putt was analogous to trying to bend a telephone poll but I managed.
I hit all three shots and he made only one. I was pumped. I however had just a split second to savor my victory when the smack talking second grader otherwise known as my wife's cousin began another round of smack.
"You didn't hit right!"
"What are you talking about?" I replied.
"You were closer. You automatically lose."
Normally I wouldn't care if I won or lost. After all, we were just passing some time after dinner. But this occasion was different. I was sick of taking a backseat to this 3 foot 10 inch diarrhea-mouthed kid.
"Let's play again", I said.
Against my better judgment, I let him win. Now, he accused me of "letting him win". What do I have to do to shut this kid up?
"Let play air hockey!" he exclaimed.
"Let me finish my putt." I countered.
"Nope, its air hockey time!" he stated.
Like a loyal follower, I conceded my viewpoint and headed to the air hockey table. We played 3 games and I won 2 of them so it was my turn to talk smack.
"You owe me one hundred dollars", I ordered.
"What! I do not", he fired back.
"Yep, go get your dad to open his wallet and fork over one hundred dollars."
"No way. Let's play darts...let me get a drink first."
This kid is a runaway freight train. So I waited for him to get a drink....I waited....I waited...and I waited somemore and nothing. I went upstairs and found him sitting in front of the TV watching a ballgame. The freight train had come to a halt.
Somehow I felt like I won the battle. Sure, the kid cousin more or less forgot about our fierce putt-putt/air hockey battle in the basement but I hadn't. The bottom line was that I was the victor in both the physical and mental battle. No second grader will succeed in getting into my head ultimately controlling my every move...or would he?
The putt-putt game was played on carpeting in a basement that wasn't heated with a 20 year old television in the corner and I actually felt as if I won the Masters. I walked out of my wife's aunt's house actually believing that I won money playing air hockey! What was wrong with me?
The truth is that kids, regardless how well-spoken they are or how much smack they can run have an innate ability to manipulate you psychologically. You don't realize it at the time but in retrospect, most kids have you hook-line-and-sinker the entire time. As adults, we just aren't aware of it until its too late. How else do you explain that fifty dollar playset I just brought for my 9 month old who never uttered a word requesting it?
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
How my young chap is growing and showing SO much personality. Yes, he's way too happy. I am counting the days when he switches over to whole milk.
Can you say $3 for a gallon of whole milk versus $100 per month for formula?
Some background first. My son sometimes eats 10% of his bodyweight in ONE DAY so needless to say, he really likes food. If this continues (probably not due to the impossibility of eating 10% of say 50 pounds when he's a kid) then this mock conversation will occur something like this:
(September 13, 2013, 5:10PM)
The phone rings...
School: "Is this the father of Nathan?"
School: "Your son Nathan is very active."
(That's school teacher code for "HE'S A SPAZ")
Me: "Yes, I know."
School: "He really likes to run around."
(Again, school teacher code for "HE'S REALLY HYPER")
Me: "Yeah. He loves to play outside."
(That's father code for "MY SON IS AN ATHLETE")
School: "Is your son eatting and sleeping good?"
(That's code for: "DO YOU FEED YOUR SON PURE SUGAR FOR BREAKFAST?")
Me: "Oh yes. He loves to eat and he goes to bed at 8PM every night!"
(Father code for: "NO, WE DON'T LET OUR SON WATCH HOURS OF TV")
School: "DOES NATHAN SHARE WITH YOU HOW HIS DAY WAS?"
(Translation: "ARE YOU AN ACTIVE PARTICIPANT IN YOUR SON'S LIFE?"
Me: "WHAT'S YOUR POINT WITH ALL OF THIS?"
School: "WELL, HE SEEMS A BIT WOUND UP."
(Translation: "HE'S OUT OF CONTROL!"
ME: "HE' A REAL HAPPY KID."
School: "YOU COULD SAY THAT."
(Translation: "THIS CAN'T BE REAL---NO ONE IS THIS HAPPY--HE MUST BE ON MEDICATION.")
ME: "IS EVERYTHING OKAY?"
School: "I just wanted to touch base with you now that the school year is 3 weeks in."
(Translation: "WE'RE WATCHING YOUR SON")
ME: "THAT NICE OF YOU."
(Translation: "THAT'S NICE BUT WHY ARE YOU REALLY CALLING?")
School: "ONE OTHER THING: YOUR SON HAS ALOT OF ENERGY AND WANTS TO DO EVERYTHING IN THE CLASSROOM."
Me: "YEAH, HE'S AN OUTGOING KID."
ME: "DOES HE GET STRAIGHT A'S"
Me: "DOES HE TREAT THE OTHER KIDS GOOD?"
Me: "THEN WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?"
School: "I DON'T KNOW HOW TO TELL YOU THIS..."
Me: "YOU WON'T OFFEND ME. JUST LAY IT OUT THERE."
School: "OKAY, SIR... HERE IT GOES...YOUR SON HAS EATEN ALL OF THE FOOD IN THE CAFETERIA"
(Translation: "YOUR SON HAS EATEN ALL OF THE FOOD IN THE CAFETERIA!")
Me: "YES, OUR SON HAS A BIG APPETITE. IS HE BREAKING ANY RULES?"
SCHOOL: "NO, NOT REALLY."
Me: "WE GIVE HIM 27 DOLLARS FOR LUNCH. IS THERE ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT?"
School: "UH, NO. I GUESS NOT."
Me: "IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE?"
School: "NO SIR. JUST LETTING YOU KNOW OF HIS EATING HABITS."
Me: "THAT'S MY BOY!"
School: "HAVE A GOOD DAY"
Friday, April 07, 2006
Opening day in Cleveland has history unlike most other major league cities in that professional baseball has existed since a few years after the Civil War. So, to celebrate Opening Day, everyone here at "Evening with Sabs" decided that a historical retrospective with some stats would be a great way to illustrate Cleveland professional baseball history. Don't worry. Its pretty straight forward.
Cleveland professional baseball started in 1869 with the first professional game played near the present day E. 38th street in between Scoville and Central Avenues. The team was named the Cleveland Forest Citys after the Forest City Coffee Company. They lost 25-6 to the first professional baseball team the Cincinnati Red Stockings.
Since that year, professional baseball in Cleveland faded in and out of existance as it did in other cities back then. In 1871 and 1872, a Cleveland team also names the Forest Citys was formed but disbanded. Then from 1879 to 1884, the Cleveland Blues played their games at the Kennard Street Park. During that stretch, they won 4 of the 6 opening days. In 1885 and 1886, no professional baseball was played in Cleveland. But in 1887, Cleveland baseball returned again. Named the Spiders, they won 10 of the next 13 opening days through the 1899 season.
In 1900, no Cleveland baseball existed because of the ineptitude of the 1899 Cleveland team which had a record of 20-132, still the worst record of any baseball franchise in baseball history. The team subsequently folded.
Starting in 1901, the new American Leagued was formed and Cleveland baseball was born again. Since then, Cleveland baseball which has been played in 3 stadiums (League Park, Cleveland Stadium and now Jacobs' Field) has won 54 of the 105 opening day games. They score an average of 4 runs in each opening day game. The most scored: 15 in 1997.
The sight of the former League Park. Nothing much is left except the front ticket area which later became a community center. The remaining frontage is in much worse condition than is indicated in this picture (circa 1970s or 80s) Plans are in the works to refurbish the grounds. This was the sight of Babe Ruth's 500th homerun as well as Cy Young's 500th win.
A picture from the last season at Cleveland Stadium from 1993. The new Cleveland Browns Stadium occupies the site as of 1999.
Monday, April 03, 2006
Parenthood is grand, isn't it?
Just last week, one of these "surprises" hit me like an anvil. No, it wasn't a chaotic dinner or a surprise illness, it was a smell....a smell I had never smelled before and looking back, a smell I hope to never smell again. Before you say "dirty diaper", think of something even worse. What in nature could smell worse?
I remember a field trip in seventh grade to a sewage treatment which was the worst smell I had ever experienced to date. That field trip to the treatment plant left such an indelible mark on my olfactory system that it stayed at the top of my "worst smell" list for eighteen more years! That takes us to March of 2006 and this new, foul stench which makes my sewage treatment plant aroma experience seem like a whiff of potpourri at grandma's house.
What would emanate an odor stronger and more potent than raw sewage? What would stimulate ones olfactory receptors causing one to blow chunks? Here's a recently declassified picture:
What you are looking at is The Diaper Genie. A neat invention created by British entrepreneur John Hall which takes a "dirty diaper" and stores it until permanent disposal is needed, a.k.a. once the bag inside gets full. (How a baby weighing between 15 and 25 pounds eating nothing but formula and pureed chicken and peas could create excrement that reeks like it originated in a horse stall I'll never know. Its one of the mysteries of life that will never be answered.)
The company that produces this product touts it as The #1 brand in diaper disposal, the Diaper Genie® System, is easy to use and provides unsurpassed odor and germ protection. I beg to differ. What happened to the Diaper Genie providing unsurpassed odor protection? Sure, the Diaper Genie keeps the odors inside but what happens when we need to empty the bag? Our diaper Genie, as evident by the picture, looks pretty innocuous just sitting there in the corner of my son's room. But that's just a facade. For what lies on the inside are the WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) that our US Troops are looking for in Iraq. The baby equivalent of VX nerve gas makes its home in MY home--more specifically in the bag that resides in the Genie. Yes, my infant son creates poop that if left in a closed container smells worse than anything created in nature since the dawn of time. To put it another way, my son's butt creates a product that could conceivably wipe out a small town!
Last Wednesday, my wife changed out the bag inside the Genie and lost consciousness for 3 minutes. When she came to, she asked me what happened? I told her that she was overcome by the fumes from the Genie and that she would need oxygen. Once she got her breath back and the paralysis wore off, she vowed never to change the Genie without proper protection. The very next day, she purchased a gas mask which she wears everytime she changes the bag. Yeah, she sounds like Darth Vader on the baby monitor with it on but its a necessary by-product of not turning our house into a landfill overflowing with soiled diapers that take 10,000 years to decompose.
So far, I have fended off my body's urge to shutdown when exposed to the noxious vapors that permiate the Genie. In fact, I think I've built up a tolerance to this pungent odor at the expense of my life expectancy being shortened by a few years. Like my wife, soon, I too will succumb.
If your first child is on the way and your looking into one of these neat, little contraptions in an effort to make your life easier, remember this: It might keep odors from escaping but once you break the seal, the worst odor you've ever smelled will be released and if you have a weak stomach, you might end up on the floor in a pool of half-digested lunch. So, either suck it up and handle the smell like a man or wait for the new and improved Diaper Genie commonly referred to as Potty Training.