Monday, August 28, 2006

Golf Tourney Champions

The second annual Middleton Reunion Golf tourney was Saturday. Rusty, Ben, Phil, and Victoria played in the first group, followed by Ceil’s parents, and Will and me. Rusty’s team had the lowest handicap at 15.25, and our 24.00 was the highest. Juniors and seniors played from the red Ladies tees, meaning I was the only one in our group to play from the whites. So even when I hit a good tee shot, there was another shot further down the fairway. We teed off shortly after nine.

1. In front of all the Middletons, my tee shot dribbled down to the ladies tee. Will hit a fine drive, and we made an easy par four.
2. I hit another cruddy tee shot, and we used Will’s tee shot, as we would on the first six holes. We had a long second shot, and I hit a 5 wood all the way to the pin, but right of the green.
3. My tee shot on the par three landed just short of the green, in front of the bunker. Will’s tee shot dribbled the entire way and rolled onto the green, and we two putted for another par.
4. My tee shot wasn’t that bad, thanks to an extra landing area on the right side. Edwin had hit his ahead of mine, but in the trees. Joan’s was short, but in the fairway. Will hit his longer, and thought Joan told Will not to, he picked up Joan’s ball before discovering that his ball had rolled into the woods. Joan made a nice chip out to the fairway just short of the green, and we made the up & down for par.
5. Will again had the best tee ball, but his and Joan’s approach were just short of the green. With Ben watching, I hit a nice high seven to the middle of the green. Then Edwin followed me with an iron even closer to the pin. Then Edwin, putting last, made a nice putt for birdie.
6. Will hit a nice straight drive, and my six iron just short of the green had us putting. Then Joan and I just missed birdie putts, so we settled for par.
7. I dribbled my tee shot, but even a great drive wouldn’t have gone much further than the ladies tee. Will hit into the woods, Joan hit one short, but Edwin saved us again, with a nice drive in the middle. I flubbed the second shot, but we managed to par the long par five.
8. My 5 wood on the par three went right, though it was playable. Will also hit right, Edwin into the greenside bunker, but Joan rolled it all the way from the tee to the green. After we all came close, Edwin again rolled in a birdie putt.
9. I finally hit a nice drive, still to the right, just short of the lake, but very much in play…a place where I saw others hit it. But it was just even with the ladies tee, so Edwin’s first two shots were used. My approach was flubbed, just after Ceil, Anna, and Matthew appeared. The birdie putt was makeable, but we all missed. Edwin took one of his mulligans and rolled it home.
10. My back was hurting, as it usually does from three nights in that bed, and I was tense, playing worse than usual. I didn’t hit my 6 iron well, and it didn’t quite make it across the lake. The women’s tee was again much closer, and Will and Edwin put it on the green and close, Joan’s shot falling just short, into the trap. After Will and Joan’s birdie putts went right, mine was true. This birdie would be particularly helpful later on.
11. Another tee shot of mine went right, into the same lake. Will flubbed his, and we used Edwin’s nice tee shot. Joan’s approach was short. Will hit his onto the lower part of the green, then I hit mine pin high, just off the green to the right…a nice shot. Again Edwin outdid me with a closer shot. Again after three missed putts, Edwin rolled his in for birdie…our fourth straight!
12. Matthew joined us to ride in the cart. Anna and her cousin Jordan were riding with Victoria’s group ahead of us, and cousin Katherine was also with us. This elevated Will’s stress level. Though he was figiting and walking around while we putted, Will was demanding silence from Matthew. I finally hit a straight drive, using my 3 wood. It went just further than the ladies tee. Edwin hit an ok drive to the left, Joan hit hers short, and Will hit it further, to the right. When we tried to find it, we could only find a Top Flite ball. Will thought he had hit a Noodle, so we continued looking. Will wasn’t sure what brand ball he hit, but we finally determined the Top Flite was his. We had a tough shot through trees and Joan’s was just off the green…I flubbed mine again. We were able to two putt for par.
13. Another drive to the right, and we used Edwin’s. Will hit a nice approach shot, and Edwin hit an ok chip after the three of us didn’t do as well. Will made a testy putt for par.
14. I hit the tee shot short, and Will hit it right. Again Edwin had the best shot. When Joan hit her approach short, we thought we’d have to play Edwin’s shot from the middle of the fairway, but short. Then we discovered that Will’s ball had bounced out into a playable lie, much closer to the green. None of us had a good chip, but we used mine, closer to the pin, and we two putted for a par five.
15. My tee shot was playable…in the 14th fairway, though just past the ladies tee. Joan and Will hit ok shots, but Edwin hit a wonderful drive not too short of the green. Will made a nice chip, and he also made the birdie putt.
16. Another par three over a lake, and again my trusty 6 iron failed me. Joan hit into the front bunker, and Will and Edwin hit onto the fringe, next to each other. Will had the best chip, but we still had a 15 foot putt. We all missed, and I missed my mulligan try. Then Edwin used his second mulligan and again rolled it in for birdie.
17. Same tee shot story. On the dogleg right I had plenty of landing area, though my tee shot wasn’t the greatest, not past the ladies tee. Will again pressed and topped the ball, Joan hit it short, and again Edwin saved us. Will and Joan had ok approach shots short of the green. I pulled out my 5 iron for the first time and hit a great shot to the middle of the green, though 30 feet over the pin. Will and I weren’t close, and Joan’s putt seemed slow and short…but continued rolling and dropped into the hole for another birdie.
18. I hit an ok tee shot, but on the par five, it was actually short of the ladies tee. In the past I’ve hit similar ok tee shots, just short of the lake. Joan hit into the lake, and Will and Edwin hit off to the right. We used Will’s ball, still a long way to go. Same story: I hit it right again, narrowly missing Uncle Lennie’s Lincoln in the parking lot. Joan hit it short. Will hit it close but into some high grass, so we used Edwin’s ball. With Ceil watching, I hit a nice chip, but it rolled off the back of the green. None of us could make the 12 footer, though Will and I used our final mulligans.

We finished with a 7 under par 65, using 25 putts, hitting 11 greens in regulation. Adding the 7 to our 24 handicap, we came in a three way tie for first, with Uncle Lennie and cousin Zane, among others. To break the tie, they had a boy pick a number between one and eighteen. He chose ten, and the three first place scorecards were examined to see who had the best score on the tenth hole. We were the only ones to birdie, so we were declared the winners! Will was pumped.

Notes From the Week

Think the Braves have it bad…the Pirates haven’t had a winning season since 1992…when Sid slid, when Bonds was on their team.

Listened to the Tuesday pregame and the 6-7-8th in the radio, before and after a meeting at Will’s science school in Woodstock. They keep playing like a team that cut $20 million from payroll. Will’s practice got rained out. He missed last Thursday and Saturday, and will miss this Thursday and Saturday, as will I. I’m starting off the season good!

When you think about the Hawks, it’s a pretty sad situation. At least the Braves won the last 14 years…the Falcons, Hawks, and Thrashers (and GT) haven’t come close to that…you can’t really complain about UGA football’s record, though some do.

Last Saturday we got a late start to Six Flags. Will took a friend and they rode a few coasters, so Anna and her friend, Matthew and I stuck to the smaller rides. Every year at the company picnic they draw names for prizes…this was the 16th picnic I’ve attended, and the first time I won anything - $50.00. The kids were excited. We left at 3:30, went home and got Ceil, and went out to Woodstock for the picnic at Will’s Science school. Saw lots of people we knew, so it was fun. Will got his first ever HS yearbook/annual. The Normans weren’t there…I think they had a relative getting married. I was sneezing all day, due to being cold the night before, then going from AC to heat repeatedly, so I made a late night run to Kroger for some drugs.

Still went to NP…as Ceil had gone early to work in Waumbaland, supposedly for the last time. Traffic at the 9 am service was bad for the second straight week…we’ll see what happens when the Browns Bridge people move out.

Ordered a 40th anniversary patch to sew on Will’s red JF jersey…they didn’t have any at Turner Field. I guess we’ll go to the game tonight, as Ceil and Anna have something to do. Will is bummed because I’m not leaving work early so we can make BP.

This weekend Will and I are playing in Ceil’s family reunion golf “tourney”. Will is playing on Friday while I worked…he got birdies on two straight holes, his first two ever. I won’t mind playing bad, but I actually played ok for me last month.

Looks like our small group will continue throughout the fall, as the schedule was just emailed out by our leader. There will be several we’ll miss, including this Friday.

I get along well with the Fab group in Charlotte. Nauman is a likeable, energetic guy, he brings out the best in me. Skinny, long hair, always smiling and considerate. Hussey is more detail oriented than me, a tennis player and golfer…was walking funny, due to a bad back. Likes diet Coke, so I told him my story and gave him a coupon. Hedrick has Johnny Damon hair I’m jealous of. Ashworth is a nice guy and devoted dad. Rookie Alex was catching on fast. Evelyn reminds me of Harriet, and just turned 60, a pleasant soul.

Aug 21st Braves/Pirates Recap

Traffic on the downtown connector yesterday was heavy, but lighter than usual. I left work right at 5 pm and hustled home to pick up the boys, telling them to eat before I got there. Will had his red Francoeur jersey, but Matthew just had on a T-shirt…last time his Chipper jersey was way too hot. Hurried, I didn’t think about wearing a jersey, but donned my 1974 royal blue Braves cap. I also forgot pen and paper to take notes.

We parked and made it to the stadium before 6:30. Just as I found the entrance to the que at the ticket booth, a guy approached and said “Need three tickets? See you there” He handed me the tickets and walked off…Section 107 Row 23…behind the Braves on deck circle.

As we walked around to our seats, I saw # 24 warming up behind first base. I told Matthew it was Betemit, but I’d heard on the radio pregame that Martin Prado had been recalled. He made a nice backhanded catch on the leadoff hitter’s grounder, and hit a couple of scorching line drives.

With Pittsburgh’s hot Freddy Sanchez leading the NL in hitting, I was hoping Smoltz would shut him down. His tough grounder in the first was handled by Renteria, but when LaRoche couldn’t handle the low throw, it was called an error. No perfect game, I thought. I think Smoltz walked the next hitter, but got out of the inning. Unfortunately both McCann and Chipper had off-nights at the plate.

Since we missed batting practice and were planning on sitting in the upper deck, Will didn’t bring his glove. He could’ve used it when Andruw batted in the bottom of the first, as he popped one high, right to Will. Both our new friend and I held back to let Will make the catch, but the teenager in front of Will reached back and knocked the ball away. The guy behind us had also reached out with his Bama cap. Later Terry McGuirk chased down a foul ball, and handed it to the fan that had battled him for it.

On the cover of the Braves Game Day handout was Scott Thorman…recently optioned back to Richmond. I haven’t heard much about the fact that LaRoche is the only first baseman on the roster. I suppose Pratt, Orr, Langerhans, or Diaz could fill in if needed. With a lefty pitching for the Pirates, LaRoche betted eighth. Stepping in the box, there were a few calls from the stands for him to bunt. He promptly lined a single to right.

Francoeur again went with the pitch and lined one over Jeremy Burnitz’ head in right. I think many more capable outfielders could’ve made the catch. With the lefty pitching, again JF batted ahead of McCann, but perhaps JF’s recent improvement is another reason he’s moved up in the order. His next time up he hit it on a line off the LF fence, quite a shot…so hard the ball bounded back to the leftfielder, who easily threw out JF at second. I swear when JF is announced as the batter, he glances at the big screen. Like last year, I noticed it again last night.

Seems like every time I attend a game a Brave gets thrown out. Prado was also out at home on a play that was right in front of us. Edgar lined it into the LF corner, and I watched third base coach Fredi Gonzalez move down the line to make his call at the last possible moment. Only a perfect relay would nail the runner, and that’s what happened. Prado tried to go around the catcher Paulino but was called out.

More on Paulino. On an outside pitch Paulino tossed his bat away and took a step to first, as the umpire called it a strike. Paulino turned around and picked up his bat. The umpire then had to tell him there were only two balls so far in the count. The next pitch was a called strike three, and later he was called out on strikes a third time. That time he just turned around and walked back to the dugout with his head down. Paulino was wearing those ugly Scott Thorman Reeboks.

I’m no fan of Burnitz. He’s supposed to be this big power hitter, but he only has about 16 home runs and what, a .230 or .240 average. Below average on defense. Langerhans or Brian Jordan could do better at the plate. Guess that’s why Burnitz plays for the lowly Pirates. He did make a nice running catch in the eighth, but anyone could’ve made the same play.

As reported, Smoltz had great stuff, piling up the strikeouts. I’m always aware of a no-hitter, and Andruw made a nice play in center, turning his back and running to the fence to make the catch. With the lead, I had hoped Cox would insert Langerhans earlier than usual. But Diaz made two catches after long runs, and then made the great diving catch to end the fifth. Many of the Braves waited to congratulate Diaz for extending the no-hitter, and the crowd gave him an appreciative ovation as he led off the bottom of the inning. I had a bad angle and no replay, but thought Prado should’ve dove for that first hit into right field. Smoltz then got a nice ovation, and Chipper came over and patted Smoltz on the chest.

I notice “Matty” Diaz has a 96 Rock radio commercial, even taking a poke at John Thompson. Diaz was on the postgame with Stu and Edgar. When Stu mentioned the “lucky” ten for ten streak, Diaz agreed it was lucky, and then humbly added that in addition to luck, that God had blessed him. While FSU product Diaz has always worn Adidas spikes, after one of his catches I noticed his blue undershirt had a Nike swoosh. Will the Braves get him back next year?

Wickman came in to a new video introduction…”THIS IS NOT A TEST!” I had to laugh, because the huge close-up images of Wickman’s face were more tender than menacing.

After the game Will hustled down to the dugout to holler at the players. McCann came out for an interview. Will asked him for his catcher’s helmet, and McCann said ‘next time!’ The 7 pm game went quickly, and though we hung around after the game, parked a little further than usual, and stopped at Taco Bell and Kroger, we still made it home before 10:30.

For the second straight game I ran into an old friend. This time it was Billy Brundage, a former roommate and Macon-ite who now lives in Fayetteville. His brother used to live in the house across the street from me. Billy also had his two sons at the game, and his oldest is also named Will. They didn’t seem to be an enamored with baseball as Billy was, though they were happy to be at the game…their first of the year. Later I saw his boys excited to get cotton candy. In my head I imagine Billy is still sore that I didn’t ask him to be in my wedding, and I wouldn’t blame him (but he’s probably long forgotten about it).

We got the Chipper and Andruw player statues...they look ok from a distance, but up close they're kinda sloppy. so we couldn't go. We have extra Chippers and Andruws, I had thought about trying to trade for Smoltz, Hudson, and Francoeur. They're not asnice as the bobbleheads they used to give away.

At the game I signed in a designated driver, and asked the lady if she'd seen John Parkes. "Not tonight" she replied. He's famous!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Cheap Sneakers

Normally I don’t check Lang’s postings on the SLAM site, but happened to last night. Lang had written about the Marbury shoes…he has always like Stephon ever since he was at Tech…even named his dog Starbury. Real interesting deal…perhaps he went that route because he couldn’t get a big contract. Also interesting that Shaq does the same thing…low priced sneakers. Some responding to Lang’s post wondered if many would buy them up as a novelty, making them scarce. Others said some NYC locations sold out quickly, including the one where Marbury appeared for autographs. I don’t see many kids wearing the Shaq shoes, but I’m probably not looking in the right demographic. I just haven’t read stories of any runaway success.

At the meeting Monday we were broken into groups and played a board game, they goal to get the highest return, OROOA. Our group was happy with our 63.5%, but two other groups beat us…due to how the dice rolls came out.

…why did Diaz just try for a double? They drive me crazy.
…It would be bad if Evander loses.
…my dad often runs into Kevin Brown’s mom in Macon, and his ‘estate’ isn’t far from where my parents live.
…smart of Richt to go ahead and name a starter…surely it won’t be Stafford so soon. You wonder if Barnes or Cox would quickly announce a transfer to avoid losing additional eligibility.

When I arrived at practice yesterday I got the news that enough older Colt players had registered, so they were reconfiguring the teams into one older Colt team and one younger Pony team. This was no huge surprise, so I will assist Henry with the Pony team, as both our sons fall in that age group. The Colt team never had an official coach, so by default it went to my former assistant, who has head coached before. I told him that Will could fill in with the Colts if they were running short. Yesterday Henry had the field for a regular practice and my team had the cages for BP, so the boys were redirected to the proper place. Yesterday afternoon I had spent a couple of hours playing with batting orders and positioning, and other stuff.

I’d like to go to a Pirates game, but Will has practice on Tuesday, and we all leave Wednesday night for SC…I’m working in our other Charlotte office next Thursday and Friday, and the whole family is going for the big family reunion that weekend. This weekend we’ll be at Six Flags tomorrow for my company picnic, then an outing at Will’s Science School, then a trip to Macon on Sunday. So I doubt we’ll hit the Braves game Monday.

Going to Orlando in October with the family, with the company paying for our hotel, I was thinking about booking something that offered free attraction tickets. Any advice? How early should I book? When I go in September I’ll probably schedule an afternoon visit to our Tampa office the day I go see the Rays & Orioles…probably Wednesday. Now I just got an email saying my Chicago trips will be during my September anniversary, that October Orlando trip, and Ceil’s November birthday…great.

Young Jimmy’s girlfriend had forwarded info on a memorial bike ride and included the link to her blog. Interesting story about a shark encounter. She links to Jimmy’s blog, which includes his text from the funeral.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Jenny Ewing Memorial Ride

This to honor our dear friend...

Come join your community on the Silver Comet Trail, on Saturday, September 23rd at 8:00 a.m. to honor Jenny Ewing, a woman who loved life, her family, her faith, the freedom of cycling, and the beauty of the Silver Comet Trail.

Meet us at the Floyd’s Road Trail Head on Mile Marker 4.2 where we will kick the morning off with Cobb County Rangers providing safety education to ensure each and every one of us are taking the necessary steps to be safe and secure while on the trail.

The ride will start at Mile Marker 4.2 at 8:30a.m. and pick up riders at 2 other Memorial Ride Sites: Mile Marker 11.6 at Florence Road, and the Hiram Access Point on Mile Marker 14.6.

The $20.00 Registration will be donated to the Jenny Ewing Memorial Ride Fund. All proceeds will go to both the Sandy Springs Mission and a Memorial to be erected on the trail in Jenny’s name.

Pony / Colt Team One

The Little League team I got is ok…I knew my counterpart Henry would be at his weasel-ling best when we picked the teams. I needed certain guys so their dads could be assistant coaches, and there’s only one guy that I wished I’d gotten. The older Colt team didn’t have enough to field a team, so they are playing down with the Pony guys - they just won’t be able to pitch much. My younger guys are good players, but I wound up with weaker Colt guys, partly because of the assistant coach thing. The boys all have good attitudes, but it appears Will’s former teammate Justin will be added to the team. He’s a good player who can hit and pitch.

We got in a good practice last night after the thunderstorm…taking lots of infield/outfield while everyone got lots of hitting, first in the cage, then on the field. Meanwhile I had everyone pitch a little to check out how deep our pitching is. I kept it simple because it seems whenever a coach gets too technical in the first practice, it is forgotten by the first game. The two youngest boys on the team both appear to be good players.

We won’t have our schedule until the 30th…games will start after labor day, unless we scrimmage the other Mount Paran team. We could also hook up and play two of Will’s old coaches, at Shaw Park or Sandy Plains. Will can also fill in on Henry’s team when we have the chance.

Monday we turned on the radio while watching the Braves…everyone enjoyed hearing what happened before it appeared on the TV. It makes it nice if you’re doing something else…then you have time to get back to the TV in time to see it. Nice Sunday articles about Wickman. JF’s 2 hits last Friday were both to RF, as was his hit last night…nice that he’s going with the pitch more.

The financial/profit enhancement meeting the last 2 days was good…accountants could’ve gotten continuing education credit for attending.

I went to the dentist this morning…one day early. They took me anyway. Last night we discovered a VHS from 1991, when we camp counselors. Lang was finishing 11th grade, was relatively skinny, and looked like a dark headed Anthony Michael Hall. Our kids enjoyed the random video. I weighed almost 30 pounds less and had little grey hair. Ceil’s hair was permed. The Stooges, Mark Cable, and Peyton were there, and we all looked completely different. Bruce had hair and Lang looked a little like Anthony Michael Hall. Now I need to find the video of that Disney trip.

Will plays Madden all the time these days.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Braves Game Notes

Notes I took at the Braves 3 – 1 win over the Phillies Tuesday night…

Was LaRoche a late scratch from the game? He was announced as a defensive starter, though Thorman took the field, and had been previously announced in the batting order. Moments later a correction was announced.

Hudson: seven shutout innings and a quality start. Then Baez comes in and walks three straight. Wayne Franklin gives up a drive to the CF fence. Yates comes in to end the inning. Summarizes the season…good outings followed by bad outings. As Baez was given the hook, Matthew said “maybe he should be an outfielder.” I once worked with a Wayne Franklin…a John Wayne Franklin.

I wondered how quickly Cox would go back to the squeeze after the first one was fouled off. The Phillies were ready for it and pitched high, but Hudson got it down.

Diaz made several good hustle plays in left, and almost lost one in the lights…like Burrell did Monday night (did this contribute to Burrell not starting Tuesday?). Diaz also hustled on his triple in his second AB, narrowly missing an opposite-field HR. He even leans way back while he’s on deck. Diaz had his name mis-pronounced by the fan in the pre-game introductions.

Burrell pinch hit…his stats this year are not as good as Francoeur’s. Question: Sunday the outfield wore their navy socks high, presumably to help stop the losing streak. Since they won, why didn’t they continue with the socks on Monday? Chipper wore his high just once to honor Steve Bedrosian, had a good game, and continued for several years.

JF appeared to take his time on Howard’s double into the corner…the ball didn’t bound out like it often does. I thought JF might’ve been goading Howard into going for third, but surely not. Giles made a great relay, quickly getting rid of the ball even though JF’s throw was a little high…and making a perfect throw to nail Howard. After the out the big screen showed Giles, then Aybar, then JF…who flashed a quick smile. A later replay showed JF checking the big screen after the putout…probably checking the screen for the replay himself.

Giles also made another great play charging in on the ball…similar to the one he had made the night before. Why did he try to stretch his 6th inning single into a double? Would’ve been a big spark, but I knew he was out the second I saw him go for it.

At one point in the game McCann had is average up to .352…it appears to go down after his 7th inning double. When he hit it, I told Matthew to watch JF hustle around the bases. I was hoping to see him score from first, but he was correctly held at third. Exciting to watch Diaz and Thorman drive in JF and McCann.

Bad call on the Phillies “double play”. The high-bouncer to third wasn’t a double-play ball, and Utley wasn’t going to throw to first. Andruw appeared to slide close enough to the bag to touch it with his hands, and then slid past the bag. Then Utley pointed to where Andruw finished, and then the ump promptly called Francoeur out at first, though there was no way Utley could’ve thrown him out. Wasn’t it Utley who did the same thing to Giles last night?

Andruw looked like there was no way the 8th inning bases-loaded fly was leaving the park. Heads up play to throw to second, keeping the tying run out of scoring position. This week he’s been wearing some retro Air Jordans with white trim and laces. Arthur Rhodes was also wearing Jordans during BP.

Francoeur was taking grounders at third during BP, with Chipper, who I didn’t see hit. JF never made it to the outfield. Chipper hung around with the Phillies, and Thorman gave fellow Canadian Scott Mathieson a big hug and long chat. It was John Lieber’s day to long toss, which he did early in the Braves BP session. As he walked unnoticed back to the dugout from left field, he spied a little girl in the third-base stands, where everyone’s attention was on the cage. He then backtracked to pick up a ball, and put it in her lap as he walked by.

With few fans in the left-field bleachers when we arrived, Matthew and I took seats on the front row. Soon McCann and Diaz come out to shag flies, and McCann tossed his first ball to me for Matthew…a big thrill for Matthew: a ball from his favorite player. Diaz tossed a ball to a little girl’s dad next to us, and her bigger sister commented that she needed one now. Later McBride tossed a ball that would pass me to get to the girl’s dad. I considered intercepting it but didn’t. The dad looked at me and said “you look familiar”. Turned out to be a guy I’d known in college, who now lived in Macon, so we had plenty to catch up on. As I was pointing out Will to him, a BP HR bounded backwards, and Will snared it barehanded. Later the friend made it to his upper deck seats…right in from of us.

When the Phillies took BP, Randy Wolf stood in centerfield, scanning the stands for someone to through the ball. He settled on us, way over in LF. He made the long throw, and I reached out and caught it, in front of Will, who was to my right. As Wolf watched, I then pointed to Matthew, then Will. Wolf pointing to his left/my right, so I handed the ball to Will. Moments later Will did something heartwarming…he gave the ball to two brothers he didn’t know, who hadn’t gotten a ball.

…Frequent attender John Parkes found me in the stands. I think he said he was singing the anthem Friday night with the JFBC choir.
…For Wild West Night the “cheerleaders” ditched their Braves “jerseys” for skimpy western attire, making them blend in to the crowd.
…Late in the game a beautiful orange full moon rose through the clouds behind the third base stands.
…Tuesday was Phillies pitcher Brian Sanches’ birthday.
…Why did the Marlins fire Joe Giraldi?
…Didn’t see Terry McGuirk is his usual box seat. Wasn’t the meeting in Toronto cancelled?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Braves Dog Days

Appears we’re going to the game tonight. Somehow we managed to go to wild west night last year as well. Still couldn’t talk Ceil or Anna into going…the little dog we’ve been sitting for the last week is being picked up tonight. Don’t know if I can get Matthew to wear his jersey in this heat.

…That fan they kept showing in the late innings last night was funny…All we need is for Horacio to get hurt…McBride pitched great on Sunday, but not good last night…Our whole family watched just about the entire game last night, all sitting together on the couch……even the dog. Very rare. Ceil’s been interested lately, and Anna hung out as well…A FoxSports blogger commented on the Hometown Hero picks, so I chimed in as well.

Sunday it was great to see JF drive a pitch to RF. Last night he reached out and drove a low outside pitch to the LCF gap…Gant was happy he didn’t try to pull it down the line, but it seems like had he went with the pitch, he could drive many outside pitches over the RF fence, like Dale Murphy used to do…LaRoche has done that a few times lately as well.

Picked up a Score tabloid…I.J. Rosenberg thought the Betemit trade was a good one. Rathburn had a column on pronouncing Betemit…said ESPN made a big deal about it and still got it wrong. Wilson says the final T is silent.

Just read the SI article on the great Joe Mauer, so I guess I need to take back using his name in jest. I’d heard in the past about how good he is, and it’s refreshing to see a guy like that come into the league. OK in my book that he doesn’t have much power (yet) but hits for a high average. Ever since the first WS, I haven’t been a big Twins fan. That might’ve showed with my AL votes, taking a shot at Hrbek. I do like how Mauer went the extra mile to wear a throwback helmet while catching.

All the conspiracy theories continue about the Andruw/waivers thing…some say JS leaked it. With AJ becoming a free agent after next year, you can’t blame JS for exploring options. Andruw gave JS a discount last time, but you never know what’s going to happen with Boras. JS might’ve just wanted to feel around to see what Andruw’s reaction would be, or to goad AJ into signing early. And who knows how bad AJ’s back/body is? He’s taken a beating over the years and could become another Chipper or Griffey. Whenever it seems he isn’t running out a grounder, I have to remember how bad he’s hurting. Seems like he’s about 95% of the centerfielder he once was, which is still just about the best ever.

Amazing stat that this weekend was only the third time since the club has been in Atlanta that they failed to score with the bases loaded and no out. Friday and Saturday’s game wore me out…it was nice to finally come back and win yesterday.

Nice that Aybar’s baserunning gaffe wasn’t costly, though it did rob Giles of his hit streak. Seems like more and more this year the Braves are doing one or two things like that a game, and often it’s the difference between winning and losing. Nice that Wickman didn’t let his drop at first effect him, just like the other night when the ball hit third. I thought about what you had said. Baez was also impressive…as was McBride.

Good article about Bobby Dews Sunday…Ceil even read it. JS has book signings before games (did you get yours signed?)…they ought to let Dews have a signing. I need to show Matthew the article.

Last night ESPN began(?) a series on the three best WebJems for each MLB team. They started with the Phillies. It was nice to see Gary Matthews honored with the third spot, for a playoff play in left. How Mickey Morandini’s unassisted triple play wasn’t first baffles me, but this year’s centerfield catch/broken nose beat it. The announcer said you’d never see a better catch by a centerfielder running full speed into the fence…but I have…a Phillies centerfielder, at that. In the 80’s they had an excellent centerfielder…was his name Elliott Maddox? He wasn’t running at an angle, he was running straight back to dead centerfield. He made the outstretched catch at full speed, and immediately crashed into the wall. He fell down and didn’t get up…until LF Greg Luzinski approached to check on him. Then Maddox leaned up and threw the ball…hitting Luzinski in the face.

Makes you wonder if Willie May’s catch off Vic Wertz will make the list. The Braves top three were Monday night…they appear to be a diving catch in left by someone, Walt Weiss’s play in Houston to save the playoff game, and Otis climbing the wall. The Mets could include last year’s Betran collision, the collision between Mookie and Dykstra, and Ron Swoboda’s World Series diving catch, which I loved…though Agee’s catch at the wall looked tougher.

For McCann to qualify for the batting title, he’ll need 502 plate appearances. Right now he has 313 at bats…I’ll have to refigure to add BBs and HBPs. The Braves have 52 more games, but McCann could sit once a week, missing eight. It’ll be real close. Funny if McCann wins the batting title and Mauer doesn’t.

Will was worn out from his camping trip, when I picked him up Saturday. Usually he says he had a good time, but he didn’t say so. Then he told me about stepping on a yellow jacket’s nest and getting stung ten times. Later when he was talking about the fishing, he said the stings “kept him out of the action” for about 30 minutes. Coach Tim took him to the Ranger station to be looked at. Will also talked for a long time about the football game and trying to start a fire. Tim said the boys stayed up late, and got up early as well…so I’m sure he was tired. After church yesterday he didn’t want to do anything…until there was a big whiffleball game last night! He even slept until after 9 am yesterday…late for him.

Got my car washed Saturday, then while running more errands ran over something that exploded some white paper like substance on the entire side of my car.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Hometown Heros...My AL Picks

Orioles: I’m a sucker for Ripken’s years of consistency and excellence. I’ll call number two a tie…Frank Robinson was fourth all time on the home run list until this steroid era, and has served the game what, into his seventies? Murray’s 500HR/3000 Hit career puts him in an elite class as well. Neither played their entire career in Baltimore. At four is Brooks, whose great Series against the Reds, his competitive fire, his sawed-off batting helmet bill, and his huge smile as a retired ambassador of the sport rank him high in my book. My son plays Little League with a boy named Brooks. Palmer may still look great in Jockeys (or so my wife tells me), but his was an injury plagued career.

Bosox: Some may argue for some present day stars, but these five are all time greats. Arguably one of the greatest pitchers ever, and one of the greatest hitters. (1) Cy Young’s 511 wins is an unbreakable record. (2) Teddy Ballgame’s .400 batting average and 521 home runs in a career cut short by military service. (3) Yaz had a long career, putting up numbers ranking him high on many all-time lists...including 3514 hits. (4) The Rocket’s late career sustained excellence has overshadowed his powerful early years in Boston. (5) Rice was overshadowed by other stars, but had many monster years.

ChiSox: Last years world champions and this year’s addition of Thome do not a career make, so I’m ok with the exclusions. (1) Thomas had a few season’s for the books back in the early nineties, enough to vault to the top of this unheralded list. (2) Baines’ long career is revered on the south side and could win him this vote. (3) Appling is a HOF SS with a career BA of .310, and (4) 2B Fox is another Hall Of Famer. (5) Beloved Minnie’s claim to fame is just his long career.

Indians: Bob Feller was amazing, but Speaker’s 3514 hits and .345 average are hard to top. Doby places third, if only for becoming the first black in the AL. Nap was no slouch with 3242 hits / .338 BA, placing Averilli fifth. Hard to replace these five Hall of Famers with anyone more recent.

Tigers: (1) The Georgia Peach was one of the greatest ever. (2) Greenberg fought prejudice during his shorter, more productive career, though (3) Kaline put up more homers in his longer career. (4) Second-baseman Gehringer made the Hall with a .320 average, and perhaps (5) Trammell’s managerial stint helped earn him a spot on the list over his running mate Lou Whitaker.

Royals: (1) Hall of Famer Brett stands head and shoulders over these other favored sons. Long time Royals (2) Otis, (3) Sweeney, and (4) White were loved in KC, as was my write in for (5): Bo Jackson, the All-Star game MVP who made quite a splash for several years in left field.

Angels: Here’s a team many may cry for more current choices, but I’m writing in more from the past. (1) Carew’s high average challenged the all-time greats, collecting 3000 hits. (2) Nolan Ryan still hold most of the Halos pitching records, and had four of his no-hitters there. (3) The heroic Baylor spent many years on the other coast. (4) Third-baseman Jim Fregosi was a 6-time all-star and had his number retired…he even managed the Angles. (5) Salmon helped lead them to their only title, placing him ahead of popular pitcher Finely and Olympic hero Abbott.

Twins: The old-school Killebrew was also quite popular back in the day, and he retired at 5th on the HR list…putting him first in my book. The late Puckett wins many popularity contests in the twin cities despite his post career troubles. Had his career not been cut short due to eye trouble, he could’ve piled up several more MVP caliber seasons. Carew’s years with the Twins outshone Oliva. Hrbek doesn’t belong on this list…give me Joe Mauer, Paul Molitor, or centerfielder Tori Hunter.

Yankees: Don’t give me Mattingly or even Mariano, perhaps the greatest closer ever. I love Jeter, Arod, and Posada. Munson and Gossage were mean. Even Whitey Ford was great. But all are overshadowed by the five Hall of Famers listed. (1) The Babe changed baseball as a hitter, and also set records pitching. (2) Gehrig was not only the Iron Man, but his stats rival Ruth’s in many categories; .340 average and behind only Aaron and Ruth in RBI. (3) The popular DiMaggio tops (4) the injury-riddled Mantle, who finished with 536 HRs (was he second on the list at the time?). (5) Loveable Yogi stirred the drink in his day, thought he could be replaced by Whitey or Mariano.

Athletics: Tough call, since these guys all played elsewhere. (1) Reggie gets the nod, since he led the A’s championship teams in the 70’s and was 6th all-time in homers. (2) Eckersley was also an important puzzle piece in the 90’s as the closer. (3) Lefty Grove played in Philadelphia, so ‘hometown hero’ doesn’t fit…though his 300 wins and .680 winning percentage do. (4) The volatile Henderson, the base-stealing king and one of the greatest leadoff hitters. (5) Catfish was popular and a Series hero who took the big bucks from the Yankees.

Mariners: (1) Junior’s years in Seattle were compared to the greats, solidifying a HOF career even with the recent injuries. (2) Ichiro has burst upon the scene compiling all-time numbers himself, a singles hitter in the steroids era. (3) DH Edgar is loved in the Pacific Northwest. (4) Write-In…ARod was worth $250 million when he left Seattle. That trumps Buhner and Moyer to 5.

Devil Rays: How can an expansion team claim end of the line free agents as their greatest player ever? Boggs did provide one of the greatest moments in Rays history with he got his 3000th hit, and the Crime Dog tried to go for his 500th homer. Why not add Jose Canseco? I’d rather Rocko Baldelli get votes. (1) Crawford (2) Huff (3) Boggs (4) Hernandez (5) McGriff.

Rangers: (1) Ivan was a catcher for the ages. Write-Ins…(2) ARod carried Texas while pressured by talk of his salary (was Ryan here much longer than ARod?), and (3) Rafael Palmeiro, he of the 500HR/3000hit club. (4) Ryan was amazing, particularly in his 40’s, but his brilliant career was divided between four teams. (5) Kevin Brown did more damage for Texas than Sundberg and Greer combined. Teixeira, great as is he, is still a baby.

Blue Jays: (1) One last write-in…Fred McGriff. Toronto is where he got his start, he tore up AL pitching for many years, and he was a fan favorite. (2) Alomar was an elite second-baseman, (3) Carter hit the walkoff HR to win the Series, and (4) Stieb and (5) Fernandez were both All-Stars. Hometown Heros...My NL Votes

What a good idea to comment on the MLB choices for each team’s hometown hero / most outstanding player. I have been casting my votes…here they are, along with some comments. I’ll rank all five for each team. First my favorite, the senior circuit…

Arizona: Randy Johnson’s perfect game and Series championship beats out Gonzalez’s steady career. Williams also starred for the Giants, Bell for the Pirates. Why not Greg Counsell or Curt Schilling?

Braves: (1) Aaron, no question. (2) Spahn is the all-time winningest lefty. (3) Niekro won 300 pitching for horrible teams. (4) Tie! Chipper’s run of 100+ RBI seasons and Smoltz’s 150 wins and saves put them at Cooperstown’s doorstep…but how do you pick them over Maddux or Glavine? Dale Murphy’s back to back MVP seasons also take a back seat, because the selectors must’ve wanted young voters to bleed votes away from Aaron.

Cubs: Five fine choices…Ernie, Billy, the underrated Jenkins, Ryno, and Santo. And I wore Sandberg’s 23 at the fantasy camp. Yes, Sammie got the shaft.

Reds: I’ve been voting for Bench instead of the tainted hit king. Robinson had a great career, but it was so split between the Reds and Orioles. Bench, Rose, Robinson, Morgan, Perez.

Rockies: Not much to pick from here, though Larry Walker was a five tool players before being slowed by injuries. Career Rockie Helton tops, Walker, Coor’s Field stud Vinny, El Cate Grande, and Bichette.

Marlins: With the revolving door swinging after each title, nobody has taken a foothold. Dontrell becomes the Marlins all-time wins leader this year. Then Series hero Beckett, followed by Castillo, Conine, and Nen.

Astros: Tough call…I’ll pick Nolan over Biggio and Bagwell, then the Toy Cannon, and Dierker, who has done everything in the organization. How about Ceasar Cedeno?

Dodgers: Even tougher. Jackie is tops, for all he went through. Koufax’s short, excellent career is second, then Campy, Pee Wee, and Duke.

Brewers: Yount was great at the plate, at short, and center…beating out Molitor and Fingers, both of whom also starred elsewhere. Then the under-rated Cooper and Gantner.

Mets: As a Braves fan, perhaps I should be voting for Strawberry. Surely Tom Terrific is tops. The other guys pale in comparison. (2) Strawberry tore it up while he was a Met. (3) Franco’s long career tops (4) Series hero Tug and (5) Piazza, whose best days were in Dodger blue. What about Dwight Gooden?

Phillies: I’m taking Lefty over Schmidt, then Roberts, Klein (who I don’t recall), and Ashburn.

Pirates: Being old school, Honus barely tops the excellent Clemente. Feared power hitter Stargell then beats Series hero Maz and Kiner. Didn’t Pittsburgh have a skinny outfielder win a few MVP’s in the 90’s?

Cardinals: Again the old school Stan the Man beats out the tough as nails Gibson, whom I still dislike for his stint as the Bravos pitching coach…trying to make Rick Mahler a power pitcher! The Wizard’s illustrious career tops Pujols, whom I love…he could be the player of this decade. Brock is no slouch, but brings up the rear of these five.

Padres: Gwynn spent his entire career in San Diego, and boy could he hit for average…most of the time in pain. That beats the amazing Winfield, whom I’m telling my boys about. Winfield spent many years with other teams. Hoffman has been quietly piling up saves for a mostly average team. Jones pitched a no-hitter, and maybe Giles is the current favorite…what about the shortstop Greene? Or Garry Templeton…or Ozzie?

Giants: Say Hey Willie tops this tough five. Perhaps if Bonds wasn’t so tainted and self-absorbed I would pick him. Third is Mel Ott, who hit his 500 homers in a tougher time than Stretch…who stuck around past his prime to pile up homers. Marichal was quite the competitor.

Expos/Nationals: Whether Tim Raines? Wasn’t his number retired? And Ellis Valentine, or even Warren Cromarte? Carter was not my favorite, but he beats le Grande Orange. Write in time! Soriano’s performance for the Nats this year puts him third, then Raines and Valentine. Don’t the Nats have an above average closer?

Saturday, August 05, 2006

NPCC Marriage Sermons, etc.

That guy from Texas did preach to the wives on Sunday. Often times at NP just when you think you’ve figured out the pattern, they do something else, but this kinda makes sense. Usually when there’s a guest speaker it’s because Andy is out of town, but he was here all three weeks. The first sermon wasn’t earth-shattering, in my book…kind of an introduction. But after hearing sermon two, it hit me. The NP people knew what he was going to say, having heard him deliver these messages somewhere else…they wanted those messages delivered at NP. Sermon 2 in particular was more hard-hitting than Andy usually delivers, and sermon 3 was also on the controversial side, though Vonnie fell all over himself to make sure he wasn’t misunderstood. The messages did have the same post-modern point of view, in that like Andy, he only used his life as an example.

This week I got to know the older brother of a family at Will’s science school, a friend of young George Ewing. The boy will be a freshman at Tech this fall, and is planning on walking onto the basketball team. We’ll see how he does. Another boy will be playing for a JuCo in Kennesaw that I hadn’t heard of…Calvert College, or something like that.

The Fox 5 10 pm news ran an interview with the entire Ewing family Thursday night, talking about their mother/wife. Bet they’ll be glad when the media gets off their backs. Ceil is dropping by this afternoon, since she is helping their neighbor get ready for her daughter’s recital.

Thursday night Matthew and I watched the R-Braves. Matthew was interested because Pena was catching, whom he remembered. First he said “I thought he wasn’t playing any more”…he was thinking about Eddie Perez, who is helping Blauser in Pearl. I didn’t stick around for the Blauser interview. Then Matthew saw for the first time some of those amazing plays on Fox Sports, like the end of the Cal/Stanford game, the HR off Canseco’s head, and the minor leaguer running through the outfield wall.

JS got to see his son make a bunch of good plays at SS. It appears Jonathan is learning all the ropes so he can follow in his father’s shoes. Matt Stewart commented that son always plays better when dad attends. The media loves the Mets and even the lowly Phils, as well as the BoSox/Yanks rivalry. I’m sure other fans feel the same way, particularly the Cards and Astros. Junior must love being out of the spotlight in Cincy. Had the Mets won 14 straight division championships…

Sellouts…they’re great fun, but the crowd is tough to navigate…kinda like North Point! We had fun at the Red Sox game.

I must’ve jinxed LaRoche, talking good about him. I like how Skip talks about no-hitters…he knows nothing he says has any effect on the outcome of the game.

Wednesday night’s thunderstorm knocked out our cable for the evening…on a night we had nothing to do but watch the game. The cable was back on this morning. Around 11 pm I got on line to see who won, and reviewed the box score. Don’t know when we’ll get to a game…I’d like to see the Pirates, since it’s been the first of June since we’ve been, and Will and Matthew have never seen them. But I may be back in Charlotte during that series.

I had thought about going to Ted’s both times we went to Longhorn last week.

In college I lived for a while behind Bennihana on Peachtree, in the Peachtree Park apartments.
All the cool people lived across Peachtree in those white apartments…Colonial Homes?

My experience has been that the stage shows are never better than the videos. At least it’s at the Fox. We went to see the Veggie-Tales (my favorite) stage show at the Fox.

X Men looked good…we haven’t seen Pirates yet, much less anything at the Picture Show lately. Will got Madden 2006 for 59 cents at Target, so he was busy. Matthew even tried it out. Not much else on tap for the weekend…may go to Macon Sunday to visit my parents.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Tips For Raising Happy Children

John Rosemond’s tips on growing a happy child...
1. Have a more active relationship with your spouse than you have with your children.
2. Have an active life outside your mother/father role. Be an interesting person to your kids.
3. Expect your children to obey…calmly, as if for granted.
4. Expect your children to be responsible citizens of your family, to contribute by doing chores.
5. Teach your children that happiness is not a matter of how much you have, but how much you do with what you have.
6. Teach your children that two of the most fun things to do are reading and travel, both of which involve the accumulation of memories rather than things. Spend time, not money.
7. The happiest children are found in parks and playgrounds, not in front of TVs or video games.
8. Help your children develop hobbies, to exercise the imagination and creativity, without adult supervision.
9. Teach your children good manners…a demonstration of attentiveness to and respect for others. The happiest people are those who pay more attention to others than they want others to pay them.
10. Hold your children to high standards…show respect to your child by expecting of the child. Expect the best work your child is capable of, to pitch in without being asked. Hold your child accountable for their behavior…make no excuses, accept no excuses.

A recent Rosemond column. I'm posting it here to remind myself!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Sat Sun Mon Tues

Ceil’s parent’s came to town Saturday. When they arrived I was gone with Matthew, taking Will to his lake trip ride. Anna was already gone on her lake trip, and Ceil didn’t get home until 7 pm. That night we went to Ceil and Matthew’s favorite…Longhorn. Sunday her parents actually went to NP with us. They talked about how they liked the guest speaker. Sunday afternoon my father-in-law helped fix several things, which was nice. It was a comfort for Ceil to have them there.

I think the media aspect made it harder on the family, though they've had tons of support. It was certainly hard for me, seeing Ceil and other loved ones suffering in the public eye. Jenny was a close friend/mentor/hero for Ceil, who taught Anna and her friends knitting a few weeks ago. Will cut yards with her youngest son. We've been good friends with them for almost 20 years. It has been a tough few days, but we've had lots of friends helping out.

The memorial service yesterday was a tribute to the great job Jenny did raising her children...they all gave great testimonies of how they plan to grow from their mother's death. Our old pastor shared some personal stories of trips he had taken with Jenny...of her compassion for the poor, her intellect, and her sense of humor. No one was surprised that she put up a fight. Her bike riding was a very small part of her life.We saw Andrew Evans and his mom at the service...last year Jenny taught him at the Johnson Ferry home school Independent Studies school, with her. Andy Stanley attended the funeral, but didn’t do anything. My old workout partner David McDaniel, who is on staff (I think he’s involved in both building projects) read some Bible verses. Afterwards McDaniel introduced me to Jeff Henderson, the ex-Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl guy that had spoken at NP. Harvey Snider was the suit that was interviewed on TV…the media probably hit him not long after I had talked to him. Lang’s dad Reid said he and his wife were there, but I didn’t see them.

The mood was a little lighter around the Ewing house Tuesday. Margaret had spent most of the time upstairs in her room, though her door was always open to her many friends and relatives that visited. They encouraged Ceil to come back to the house, and they were able to have a good laugh about some of the events over the weekend. Becky Norman and Ceil took some of the many flowers to a women’s shelter Tuesday, and both of them have been at the house helping out every day.

My boss showed up Tuesday…the first time I’d seen him since July 7th. Before Will was born I went to a Braves game at AFC with my boss and his daughter. I took young Jimmy Ewing, who was about the same age as his daughter.

Dana Goodwin also passed away in July, losing her long fight with cancer. Coleman and Shirley are neighbors of the Ewings…Jenny had attended Dana’s funeral. Dana had been married for a few years, but I don’t think she had children.

There are good things happening here…we’ve had a busy and fun summer. We have close friends in our small group, and they rallied around Ceil and me during this last week.

Last week Will went to Lake Burton with some Mt. Paran teammates. This weekend he’s going camping with another old teammate…his dad was Matthew’s coach…the good one who teaches hitting so well. His younger son is at a camp this week at Shaw Park, he says none of the boys have good swings.

Robin Brady teaches in the children’s class next to Ceil’s. Young Brady Gailey’s wife is on staff at North Point, and I’ve been able to catch up with him a few times. His older brother Tom is in the Marines Special Forces, and he commanded the unit that caught Saddam.

Ceil and Becky keep up with other pretty good. Will takes science and English with Joel Norman at the Living Science Academy, the wonderful school I was telling you about. Willis Norman loves it there as well. Becky and I were chaperones on their spring expedition to the Georgia coast. Next year our entire family may go.

We see David & Mary Hurt and Mark & Leah Stevens several times each year…usually with the Ewings. They go to the Buckhead Church…we have many friends there, but right now we feel at home up at the Alpharetta church. Our children want us to join Johnson Ferry, where their best friends go. We know plenty of folk there, including George Wright and Scott & Robin Condra, but Ceil and I aren’t ready for that, either. As we walked out of JFBC one Sunday, next to a lady worshipper, our Matthew exclaimed “I never want to go back to Johnson Ferry again!”

Friday July 28th

Good AJC article on Jenny. Ceil had been with Leah Wednesday at the Trail. Leah was quoted in the article. Ceil and I were at the Ewings yesterday when Jimmy was wrestling with being interviewed by the AJC…they finally decided on the email format.

Ceil is still taking all this pretty hard. I had forgotten that there were grim details in the paper yesterday, and Ceil read it. After we left the Ewings we ate at Longhorn. She wanted her favorite food…steak and baked potato. Will and Anna were at their regular Wednesday night whiffleball game, Matthew was with us.

We’ve been covered with support, which has been great for Ceil. She was on the phone all day yesterday, and two friends came to visit…one with lunch. At one point we had 18 messages. Last night I called two of her friends who we knew hadn’t heard to fill them in, before giving the phone to Ceil.

Ceil and Becky had missed each other’s calls yesterday before connecting last night…sounds like Becky is doing about like Ceil. This afternoon they’re going to get water and paper plates for the Ewings…they have plenty of food. I’ll probably go home soon, but with month end, I have work to get done sometime.

Ceil’s parents may come tomorrow, and our small group moved up the meeting a week to tonight. Great that they found the guy…quite unfortunate all the circumstances.

Our kids went off with friends this afternoon, and Ceil is with her friends, so I stayed at work. My coworkers probably wish I’d leave, because when a repetitive mistake was discovered today, I made it a huge deal…hopefully so it won’t happen again.

The last few days I too had been thinking about the degrees of separation thing, as well as the randomness. Makes me remember all the other stories on the front page effect a similar amount of people…like the helicopter crash.

Somehow the verse fits in about God not letting anything happen you can’t handle. The Ewings are much stronger than the Murphys. That verse also means I won’t win the lottery!

This afternoon I emailed the two guys I know on staff at Buckhead church, with my recent funeral story…the guys shouting at the end of it. In case the guy attends high profile funerals to “preach”. It’s being forwarded to the facilities director.

I won’t be going to the Braves game Saturday, nor will I go to the lake with Will, which had also been an option. Will and Anna are going on separate overnight trips to N.Ga lakes.

Thursday July 27th

Came to work today…yesterday was the big day when everything happened at the Ewings. Everyone is still in shock, particularly Ceil, and to a lesser extent me. I figure I may have to take some time off here in the next few days, so I'll work while I can. Seems like Ceil has been on the phone all morning with people calling her.

Saw the photo of Becky Norman late last night, but it still shook me up when I saw it on the cover of the paper in the store this morning. Ceil’s continuing to take it hard, but the phone is ringing with lots of support. She’s going back to the Ewings later…I’ll probably leave work after lunch. I’m ok, except when I get another AJC email with that picture of Becky and Cynthia. Becky said Katherine would be home soon.

Guess I’ll trust JS on any Betemit deal. Nice to have Rosenthal not dissing the Braves like others in the media. Where does he live? LaRoche is really in a groove right now. Tuesday’s USA Today had lots of good things to say about the Braves, including how they’re still got their eyes on overtaking the Mets. Wild about Harold Reynolds…you can imagine how that hits me right now.

A Very Bad Day

Tuesday night I had talked to Ceil from the Charlotte hotel room on the cell, then later turned off the cell, because I had left the charger in the car. I didn’t turn it back on until around 7:30 am…about 15 minutes later Ceil called with chilling news...Jenny Ewing had not returned from her Tuesday afternoon bike ride on the Silver Comet Trail. Ceil was already out at the trail with other friends, including Becky Norman. Will and one of the Norman boys were there as well. Jenny’s daughter Margaret had called Ceil at 2 am, calling everyone they knew to see if anyone had heard from Jenny. Jenny’s aunt called at 3:30…at some point she was told search parties were being organized at daybreak.

Margaret, her dad Jim, and brothers Jimmy and George had gone to the trail Tuesday evening and found her Odyssey in a familiar spot. Jim would ride the trail on weekends with Jenny, who’d ridden the trail several times a week for well over a year. They searched the trail through the night, with the help of other relatives. Yesterday morning seemingly hundreds joined the church, including the entire Buckhead Church staff…Jeff Henderson and his wife (who we don’t know), and David McDaniel and Blake Benge (who we know). Our friends the Earharts were called by a NP person to help, and Jimmy Ewing’s firm (Delloitte, he’s a CPA) had sent a company wide email enlisting volunteers. My friend Mark Stephens rode a mountain bike 30 miles on the trail. He’s not in great shape, so today he’s probably hurting.

Ceil had dropped off Matthew at our friend Noelle’s nearby house. Noelle emailed our small group with the news around 7:45. I checked email when got to work. Every morning at 8 am I get the AJC headlines email…had Ceil not reached me and Noelle not emailed, I would’ve found out on Noelle’s husband Reid was off yesterday, so he and a friend joined the search and rode to the 17 mile mark, where the trail had been closed by the police, who told them the search was off. Last night Jim said that he actually got the news from an email from his office…he had borrowed a friend’s motorbike to get away a little. I finished up my stuff shortly before noon, unable to look at the cell phone sitting on the desk. When I checked email I learned they had found her body.

I drove the hour south of Charlotte to pick up Anna, who Ceil wanted home, then toward home. Not knowing details, I almost wanted the cause to be an accident or something medical, where Jenny could’ve died doing something she enjoyed. Ceil spent most of the day out with the gang near the trail, then more time with Noelle before arriving home around 4 pm. She was exhausted and distraught…Jenny was not only a very dear friend, but also a mentor in many ways…decorating, mothering, homeschooling, etc.

Anna and I got home around 6:30. We picked up Becky Norman and went over to the Ewings around 8:30. Becky had called her daughter Katherine earlier, but Katherine wasn’t in a place where Becky could break the news. In the car Katherine called back, and took the news quite hard. The house was filled, particularly with friends of the kids…many of the older friends had dropped by earlier. Jimmy has still wearing the blue shirt that he had delivered a short statement to the media in. He was barefoot, his legs and arms bearing the scratches of the search. Down the street in front of Jimmy’s house was George’s pickup, still hitched to the trailer with the four-wheelers they’d used in the search. Jim had cleaned up, but admitted his exhaustion and shock, and was doing well considering.

Margaret was up in her room, her friends were directly upstairs…one girl I later saw interviewed on the news. Cynthia Hammond was upstairs with Margaret, goofing off and getting her to laugh, talking about her boyfriend…talking about future plans. Jimmy’s girlfriend was close by…answering the phone, setting out food, etc. Cynthia had been in the small group with us and the Ewings, and during her single days Jim, Mark, and I would help in her frequent apartment hopping moves. Ceil and Becky spent most of the time upstairs. Bob and Myra Marsh, our old pastor, came by to break things up so they could rest. Bob is a Braves fan, but we didn’t bring it up as he took us to our car. After picking up the kids, we didn’t get home until 10:30. I saw Ceil and Becky on the news, and looking at the photos on…including the one of Becky and Cynthia on page one. Hurts to see people you love suffering in the public eye.

The Ewings seemed to be the perfect family. Jim works for the State of Georgia Economic Development Commission, and is a quiet, strong leader, though fun to be around. He and his sons love hunting and the outdoors…the crow’s foot necklace Jimmy gave Will is one of his prized possessions. Ginny had homeschooled all three all the way through 12th grade, and last year joked that she was retiring her son’s graduation party. Margaret and George, the sophomore at Tech who hired Will to help cut grass, still live at home.

Sunday Night ESPN Game

With the Jones’s out and Giles back, it was almost like they still went with nine starters…with Langerhans being the weakest link offensively. Hopefully Thorman will hit enough to make up for his defense…you’d think Corrales would be all over him, positioning wise. I was thinking he was too far over before the announcer mentioned it, but they may have had him over in the gap on purpose. Nice to win on ESPN without the Jones’s…good pitching and defense, then the clutch hitting.

I’ll be in Charlotte tomorrow and Wednesday, and having burned a lot of vacation, Thursday’s game is out. Matthew does like that singer that’s performing afterwards (I wouldn’t recognize his songs), though it would be interesting to hear Smoltz. Ceil and Anna are busy on Saturday, and I was thinking about ditching all the stuff that needs to be done around the house to go to the afternoon game. With all the Mets fans that’ll be there, I’d have to wear a Braves shirt and cap. I expect you and Charlotte to help out with this on Friday.

Funny that Betemit had been wearing his pants high all week playing second, then wears them down over his shoes playing third on ESPN. There was one reader report on the Uni-Watch blog last week that Maddux wore his pants high last week when pitching against Clemens, but I hadn’t seen anything else on it. Someone else wrote in to say the guy in the new Matt Dillon/Kate Hudson movie was wearing “Maddux socks”…those white socks with the blue stripe. Seems like a team would have to be desperate to want Maddux, though his recent record probably has just as much to do with lack of run support as bad pitching. Will the Angels grab him, or will they concentrate on Soriano? That would be wild if the Cards got the Phillies rightfielder.

Stayed upstairs most of the day Saturday, organizing and cleaning out closets until after 8 pm, with only a couple of breaks, including a quick afternoon trip to Kroger. Stu and Lemke were on the radio saying the game was delayed. Missed having them on from Friday night to Sunday night. Ceil’s almost finished with Anna’s room, and on the way home from church Sunday we got a new mattress. Walked in the door as Tiger was finishing up on the 18th green.

Wasn't able to give my full attention to the Sunday night game, but I did hear Morgan say that, and I was already thinking of you when Edgar was bunting. Didn't seem like his heart was in the bunt, or strike two wasa tough outside pitch and he barely got a piece of. See his quote in the AJC this morning? He joked that he was a power hitter, and wasn't bunting any more. Interesting that Cox kept Edgar second in the order, and put Betemit third.

Funny how Morgan took the time to ask Wilson how to pronounce his name, whereas the Braves announcers pronounce it the Southern way. I'd thinkChip Carey might've taken time to get the pronunciation correct, but hewouldn't want to override his dad.

See the recent MLB play where the ball was dribbled up the 1B line, the pitcher came over and fielded it. The 1B has also gone after the ball, so the pitcher decided to touch the bag, since he was the closest. He took his time, and the batter hustled and beat it out. Perhaps the Nationals. I remembered that when reading what LaRoche had to say about the cheers he’s getting.

I’ll probably be spending 2 weeks training in Orlando, between now and the end of October. Hopefully I can catch a Rays game, and the family could go for week two to take in Disney.