Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Boy Mermaid


Beach Trip, etc,

Beach trip was pretty uneventful…Anna and Matthew both wanted to hang out in the deeper waves this year, so I spent a lot of time in the water. Matthew was too weak to make it past the waves. A cousin who had just graduated from high school get into a fight at 2 am one morning…didn’t get much help from his two cousins that were with him. We drove back Friday night. Heard WSB broadcasting from the Avenue East Cobb Borders.
Will got a Wii game system. The first day I didn’t think I’d ever play it, but now I’m hooked. Even Ceil has been playing. Will got The Bigs, the MLB game…though I’m not overly impressed. It’s not hard to hit nine home runs in ten pitches in the HR derby, though Will may have it on the beginning level. All the home runs go to centerfield. While playing a game, most of the balls hit are line drives…either caught by the 2B or SS, or gappers that rattle off the wall. All the outfielders then fling the ball on a line to third or home…in the air (but then Johnny Damon bounced one to third, so maybe it is accurate!). There are only a few ‘body types’ on the players…Francoeur and McCann are too muscular!

When I was a kid my grandmother had moved down North Stratford...her across the street neighbor was SPdL member Mr. Key. My grandmother wasa charter member at Peachtree Presbyterian. I think she went to aschool that later was renamed Westminster. My grandmother's nephew John Jr was the model for the Mark Trail comic strip. The Atlanta Steeplechase was held at John Jr's farm for years...first at what isnow Roswell's Horseshoe Bend, then up just south of Cumming. "Uncle John" has been in ill health this last year. I'd always been most interested in living in Atlanta in the pre-1970days. I guess I never went to Ponce de Leon Park, just blocks away fromwhere my dad lived in high school (and my Greenwood Ave college apartment).

My mom went to North Fulton and grew up at the corner of Peachtree Road and North Stratford Road, where the Christian Science Church was, near Magianono’s and 400 are today. My dad moved to town in time to go to Grady High.

Glad to be out of town when the Vick indictment came out. I’m also getting addicted to the Wii golf game.

Ceil is taking the kids back to SC for her dad's Wednesday hip replacement surgery. Not too much piled up here at work, but I haven’t checked everything. It’ll keep me busy for a few days. Ceil got Matthew’s long hair cut while she was out running errands…supposedly he got butchered pretty bad.

We’re hitting August, our tough financial month at home. School tuitions, lab and book fees, baseball registration fees, car tag tax due, etc. Took the van Saturday to get the emissions test, thinking it would pass…it didn’t. Evidentially the ‘check engine’ light doesn’t work any more. Oxygen sensor…same problem as last year. Ceil is taking the Civic to SC, so yesterday I checked the tires…knowing they needed to be replaced. While I was getting new ones put on I saw PBS was airing Ken Burns; Baseball series, so I watched more of that when I got home.

Interesting the number of hands that were raised yesterday when Andy asked (on video) how many had dreams that were never realized.

Saturday morning I thought Will’s teammates were practicing baseball, but no one else showed. I forgot my bucket, so I pitched Will BP in the cage with the two balls he had in his bag. He hit a bunch, and just after I encouraged him to swing harder he lined one back at me…hitting me just above my left bicep…now I have a huge bruise.

Some were hoping that Julio would take Woodward's place on the roster, but instead Julio took one of the 13 pitcher's place. At least Woodward can play all four infield positions. Some think Julio might coach forthe Braves after he retires, becoming the next Pendleton or Eddie Perez- perhaps even eventually replacing Cox himself. Thorman has more pop than Julio, though Salty should be playing first most games. Don’t know if Julio is the answer at first base…some think he’ll be stepping on Pendleton’s toes. Didn’t get to watch the Braves much at the beach, as they didn’t have Sports South.

Friday the 13th

On Thursday the 12th a salesman had brought in Einstein’s bagels, so I put one in the toaster oven and it was great. The next morning when I got to work I put another bagel in the toaster oven. The toaster oven started smoking a bit, though it had been known to do this in the past. I walked across the break room to turn on the small ceiling fan, but by the time I made it back to the toaster the building’s fire alarm had gone off…for the first time in the seven years we’ve been here. Since I knew what was going on, I immediately made the short walk to the front door to turn off the alarm. As I was telling my coworkers what happened, a fire truck pulled up in the parking lot. The fire station is about 100 yards away, just down the street.

Then at lunch I drove to the bank to make a payment before vacation. It was Friday, so the bank was busier than usual. I had parked in a pretty safe space, but backed out slowly until I could see whether a car was approaching. There was a car, but the driver slowed and waved for me to back out. As I backed, I turned to look behind me…where another car had seen the same wave and was also backing out! I immediately put the car in drive and pulled back in…just missing a collision.

On the drive that evening to SC there was another near miss…some Friday the 13th!

Cousins


Front row: ages 8-1/2, 8, and almost 11.
Back Row: ages 11, 13, and 14.

Salty For Teixeira: Just Say No

I could be wrong, but I think all those Teixeira rumors are way off base…even if Andruw leaves and Liberty expands payroll. JS knew when he traded LaRoche that Andruw would be leaving, but he also knew what he had in the minor leagues. Teixeira has Scott Boras for an agent (as does Andruw)…JS has always been patient enough to turn better, less expensive, less obvious deals than most obvious high-priced rumors. Reports from Texas say Teixeira is backing off his trade demands. He is a free agent after 2008…so JS wouldn’t trade what Texas would want for offense for one year, when the pitching is in such dire straits. Boras won’t want to sign without testing the market.

I guess Wickman won’t be back next year…his was a one year contract, right? Hopefully JS will keep his sanity and not overpay for a mediocre starter…his track record has been pretty good so far on that. Seems like you can get just as much production from a Buddy Carlyle or Jaret Wright than signing a mediocre 4th or 5th starter for 15 million. For every flop…we had a few last year, at least you’re saving millions. Seems like for what you get, it’s not worth it to overpay for pitching. This may change a little if payroll is increased.

Andruw’s lack of plate discipline is all the more reason to let him walk (he did line out to RF last night…the at bat after he looked at six straight pitches to strike out with runners in scoring position). Better to have Tori Hunter or Mike Cameron than Andruw or Teixeira. Seems like this would be potent enough lineup next year…allowing money to buy more pitching.

Escobar 2B
Renteria SS
Chipper 3B
McCann C
Francoeur CF/RF
Salty 1B
K. Johnson RF/LF
Diaz/Harris LF/CF

Last night I watched episode 3 of The Bronx is Burning…I missed episode 2. They do a good job of recreating actual events…last night was when Martin pulled Reggie from the middle of the game. At the end of the show they air comments from players, and I haven’t believed any of Reggie’s retorts yet.

At 11 pm I switched to the Braves and watched until Hudson was pulled for Wickman…glad I went to bed at that point. Leno was supposed to have on Lindsey Lohan, fresh from her DUI the night before. Since she didn’t make it, Leno had Rob Schneider come out dressed as Lohan. Schneider’s first comment was ‘I sure am tired…I was out late last night.’ Letterman had on Colts coach Tony Dungy. I’d been sick Monday and yesterday…feeling so bad on the drive in yesterday I considered turning around, so last night I took it easy…though I stayed up too late.

Fell asleep during the game Monday night a couple of times, though I knew we had the lead. Saw Smoltz walk Bonds to load the bases, then bounce the wild pitch to the inside, though McCann was set up outside. Interesting rumor regarding Renteria to the ChiSox, though I didn’t think it as outrageous as Rowland’s Office did. I’d hate to see Edgar go, though I know he’s not a long term solution…particularly the way he’s been playing. Even if he is traded, it’ll be interesting to see where he signs his next free agent contract with…the NL, I’d guess.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Dwight Howard

The Norman boys went to First Baptist Atlanta a few nights ago to hear Dwight Howard speak. Becky was impressed, but his dad did most of the speaking. Was it in the news that he’s signing a $80-100M extension? Lots of $$ being thrown around, with Ichiro and ARod in the headlines. Callers to 680 this morning were saying if ARod’s worth $35M then Andruw is worth $18M…that ARod’s off year was worse than Andruw’s…which I don’t think was true by a long shot, even if Andruw has a nice 2nd half rebound.

Anyone that knows JS knows he’d never trade Salty for Texeria…with Boras is involved, with the Braves hitting so well and in such need of pitching. I forgot Forster’s nickname was the Tub of Goo.

Of course Will and I watched the entire all-star game last night, though I dozed off some, and also was moving around cleaning up and stuff. Exciting end, which I did see. Will slept until 11 am, which is abnormal for him, but he’s been on the go lately. Now we can get back to the second half…many worry that the rest of the season will be tough for Smoltz, that this 2 -3 weeks won’t be enough.

Sunday Anna was bored, and “Guarding Tess” was coming on TV, with Nicolas Cage and Shirley McLaine. Anna watched the whole thing, and Ceil came in and watched the end.

A cheap gas station is the BP on Mansell, at the corner across from the Range Rover dealer, on the same side of the road as the RaceTrac, which is also cheap. Not the BP across Mansell from the RaceTrac.

Someone here at work saw the new HP movie yesterday and said it was the best one yet.
She’s going to take a nap before going to pick up her reserved copy at midnight and start right into it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Will's Peachtree CloseUp


Uneventful Weekend

Not an eventful weekend…I was so worn out from last week that I hung out Friday night. Ceil took Anna to the Avenue, while Will and Matthew played on Will’s new Wii. I slept late Saturday, then cleaned some up, then capped the roof of the playhouse with more shingles. Doesn’t look too bad, but hanging out on the roof for two hours wore me out. I must’ve saw Reyes in the 4th…the 3-run HR after the walk. Rowland’s Office wasn’t impressed.

Saturday night we went to the Norman’s…Catherine was there…she was thinking about road tripping with friends to Savannah, and/or Niagara Falls.

Yesterday we ran errands after church, then I took a long nap. Watched some of Maddux, then caught Wickman’s act on the radio while gassing up the van.

I did reserve a rental car using Breezenet, but didn’t have to pay in advance. I figured the comparisons got me the a low rate, then I saved about $40.00 off that company’s regular weekly rate. Reading the FAQ’s, though we’re renting right at five days, I can pay the lower weekly rate with no problem…right? Now I could go use Priceline’s “name your own rate” and key in an even lower rate…think I should do that? I was waiting on that before working on the hotel.

Celebrity Game Lacked MLB Personality

ESPN had some hits and outs last night in the Celebrity All Star Game. The personalities had personality, but many of the former stars did not...

…Jimmy Kimmel made the celebrity game funnier. He charged out and argued a call, throwing his cap and hitting the umpire. He was immediately tossed, and wised up and said “Not really, right?” When ‘win one for the Gipper’ didn’t work, he erased it and drew a puppy. …Kenny Mayne did make a nice catch. …Editing the game to an hour cuts out the lulls, and perhaps this year the editing was smoother than the past. …the young SF mayor did ok. …Erin Andrews seemed more interested in the guy from Desperate Housewives. As cool as she is, sometimes she asks a question then smiles way too big before the question is answered. …Rob Schneider just looked funny, especially when he chased the pigeon.

…Rickey Henderson and Kevin Mitchell didn’t add much, but it’s harder when you’re in the outfield. This weekend Henderson was blasted again by ESPN for catching a foul ball at a MLB game and not giving it to a kid. …Two nice catches of foul pops by catchers, including the younger Giamatti. …Ernie Banks was apparently the third base coach for one team, but he was hardly mentioned. Wonder if the other team also had a Hall of Famer coach. They did show Schneider getting Banks to autograph a ball. …J.T. Snow seemed an odd choice for the game…he must’ve been wearing his Giants number, as opposed to the 84 he switched to last year when his father died. …Jerry Rice was able to mix in some dancing moves, and he also homered. No Montana or Young?

To me, athletes in general seem to come across with different personalities, making some easier to like than others. That’s where Sports Illustrated does such a great job profiling athletes, so you can get to know them better. Frenchy appears competitive and outgoing, a guy that plays hard but is fun to be around. Same with Pete Orr. McCann appears quieter than Francoeur, but a hard worker. Interesting comments today by him regarding teammate Renteria…another seemingly quiet, hardworking guy. I like it that Edgar has figured out how to make contact and line the ball just over the infield for a single. Andruw did this against Maddux, and perhaps should cut down his swing more often…at least with two strikes. Chipper seems like a guys guy…hunter, fisherman, hitter…and Connect Four champ.

It’s interesting that Gary Carter, Fred Lynn, and Wade Boggs have now played in a few celebrity games. They were great players, but they always seemed to like the spotlight a little too much…and that made me like them less. I always like the hard-working/get a lot out of their ability type, but I was never crazy about these guys. Mike Schmidt was a little like them, just with ability. Smoltz is a Brave kind of like this group, but he has more personality, and can pull it off better. Matt Williams seems different…more quiet…he just likes to play. His interview with Andrews didn’t come off well. Rollie Fingers may be like this, but he’s always smiling and more quiet. Goose Gossage in retirement is more quiet, not as menacing as his demeanor when he played.

On the other hand Dave Winfield’s bubbly personality and big smile has already made him a good guy…a player with great ability who always played all out. Ozzie Smith is smooth and pleasant, a good mix. He made a great catch, but didn’t make a big deal about it. He traded gloves with Schneider only when Rob made the move.

I could be wrong about all these guys. If I were out there I’d probably come across the same way…I know I need to smile more. I don’t have to like a player for him to be a good contributor, but since sports is also entertainment, I can pick my favorites for my own reasons. I always liked Langerhans for his glove, though he doesn’t smile much. You figure he was buddies with JF, BM, etc.

Derby winner VG is so talented, and for once the announcers had it right when they said he’s more clutch, that he came through when the contest was on the line, as opposed to just cranking out home runs. I was also impressed by Colorado’s Holliday…nice touch that he had his brother pitch to him. The Twin MVP had his manager pitch to him, and wasn’t that Rafael Belliard pitching to someone? The Blue Jay was also impressive…that second-place performance probably lifted his presence on the national scene greatly.

Good move by Bonds to be interviewed by Gammons, but I heard the phrase “3rd party opinions” too many times. The HR derby lasted until 11 pm, and Will wanted to watch the celebrity game, which ran from 12 to 1 am EDT. Flipped to Letterman and Conan during commercials…they had some funny bits Will enjoyed. Will didn’t realize that Dusty Baker was on deck for 715. I pulled out a coffee-table type book, of the history of the Braves in Atlanta, but amazingly he was not pictured.

The Bronx Is Burning was better than I expected, particularly the portrayals of Martin, Munson, even Jackson. It appears Reggie has a lot of backpedaling to do. I’ll have to watch the entire miniseries. Mantle, Whitey Ford, Pinella, Yogi, Mickey Rivers.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Peachtree Photo...Me With a Friend


Friday July 6

Didn’t get to see the game Thursday night, though Will said he listened to a bunch on the radio before he went to sleep. Looks like Chipper could hold the Atlanta record for a while if Andruw walks…these days money is more important than ‘smaller’ records like that. We’ll see how the rookie does Saturday. Too bad about Pete Orr, but he was last on the team in total average.

Slow at work, but I’ve been trying to clear up a big problem and some old stuff, and get my desk clean for vacation. Three guys are gone next week, including my ogre friend, who I had lunch with today.

Since we had such a busy week, hopefully not much is on tap for the weekend. I need to visit Macon, perhaps this is the Sunday. My brother went down Wednesday and helped with yardwork, so maybe I should wait a few weeks. My Virginia friend showed me what I needed to do to finish roofing Anna’s playhouse, so Will and I will do that tomorrow, and start getting ready for the beach.

I need to go hard this weekend and book the hotel and car for the SF trip.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

July 3rd Notes

I'm running in group six tomorrow in the Peachtree. I'll be wearing my vintage Hawks shirt. Will and I are running with my friend from Virginia, and we'll be slowing him down so much that we'd better not stop there at SPdL. Having been so out of shape the last few years that I had to walk several times throughout the race, the stop at SPdL has been fun. My friend's son will probably leave us early in the race and run a 45 minute time.

Every year I make the July report red, white, and blue...one year I made the whole thing look like a big flag. It was great, but you couldn't read the numbers!

Taking a half day today. I was reading some reader comments the other day on AJC.com, which I rarely have time to do. I read one and said 'that sounds like Reid' and checked who wrote it...some guy named NOLA.

Many are not sold on Escobar…and Harrison. Seems like JS wouldn’t trade for Buerle unless he could resign him. DOB showed how statistically Buerle wasn’t as good as Hudson…but any pitching is expensive these days, unless they’re coming up from the minors. Usually JS wouldn’t gamble on the short term, even this late in his and Cox’ careers. JS has been right more times than not on trading away prospects that later don’t develop.

Independence Day

I took off Tuesday afternoon because the Broadwells from Virginia came to town for the race…Ceil’s friend Dawn. We went to the Varsity and walked around downtown…Centennial Park, CNN Center, and around the Aquarium and new Coke Museum. We hadn’t made reservations, and it was too crowded to go in. Then we drove up to Lenox, where 15-year old runner Kirk Broadwell wanted to go to the runner’s expo. There I saw Bill Dukes from Second-Ponce, whose daughter I had coached in basketball. That night we were worn out from all the walking.

Yesterday we arrived at the start around 7:45 am…15 minutes after the race started. Myron and Kirk were in Group Six, so Will and I moved back with them. The group six area was already full, but we only had to wait ten minutes before the group slowly began walking to the start line. We started at 8:15, but it took a mile for the crowd to thin a little. Every year there are more walkers…most don’t know to stay to the right, making it hard for runners.

We didn’t stop at SPdL, but I did see John & Margaret, Jerry, Marcine, Debra, & Steve Head, David Hall and his mom, Oeida Sara, Peggy Weisenbaker, David Sapp, and Mary Hubert. Since we ran the first two miles in 22 minutes, it sounded like I didn’t miss the Whitakers by much.

Kirk ran ahead and finished in 53 minutes…weaving through people the whole way. His first mile took 11 minutes, the second took ten, so he averaged 7:37 for the last 4.2 miles. Myron, Will and I stuck together and pretty much ran with the pack, only weaving around the walkers. At the five mile mark Will took off and ran in, making it his best Peachtree finish ever. Myron and I finished with a time of 66 minutes, my best finish in over five years. We’d have to get back in one of the first couple of groups to run a faster time.

Wednesday afternoon the moms took the kids to the pool while Myron and I fixed some drawers in the kitchen. Myron’s roommate in Columbia was our small group leader Lee, so his family came over as well. Will and Kirk grilled burgers and dogs, then we went to the fireworks show in Roswell. Afterwards traffic wasn’t too bad. With the Broadwells still in town, we’ll probably have another big dinner with the Earharts tonight.

Season Ending Doubleheader

I never recapped last Saturday’s doubleheader. In the first game the Titans only got two hits, but Will hit it hard each time up. In the first he hit a line drive that was slicing away from the rightfielder, but he made a nice running catch. Will singled through the hole into left field in the third, driving in the only run the Titans scored in game one. In the sixth Will hit a hard grounder that took a Sunday hop right into the third-baseman’s glove.

Will played shortstop the first three innings and made several good plays. In the first the pitcher’s pickoff throw sailed past the first-baseman, and the runner rounded second and his loud-mouthed third-base coach waved him on to third. The first baseman ran down the ball and threw to Will, who relayed the ball to third in plenty of time to nail the runner. In the second he fielded a grounder and threw out the batter at first.

In the third the pitcher caught a runner off third base and got him in a rundown. As usual, Will’s teammates were content in throwing the ball back and forth. Most often when this happens the ball is eventually dropped. As in this case, only when Will gets the ball is the runner run down…Will made the tag to end the inning.

With the Titans losing 0 – 4 to a very good opponent, Will was brought in to pitch with one out in the fourth, with runners on first and second. Will got the first batter to hit into a 6-4-3 double play. He pitched two more scoreless innings, striking out two and throwing out another batter, pitcher-to-first.

The Titans woke up a little in game two, as the first three batters reached base…loading the bases for cleanup hitter Will. Will swung at the first pitch, hitting a long fly ball far over the left-fielder’s head. The fly hit the far-away fence in the air, missing a grand slam home run by a foot. All three runners scored, and later Will scored on a single.

The Titans led 4 – 2 after the first inning, but saw the lead turn into another deficit, with the two best pitchers already spent. Will walked in the third, and came up in the 5th with a runner on first. He worked the count to 3 -1, then hit another deep fly to left. The one hit the fence on the first bounce, giving Will his 4th RBI of the game and his second extra-base hit. Will scored on a wild pitch, meaning Will accounted for 7 of the 8 runs the Titans scored in the two games.

Will caught all but the last inning. In the first he threw out one base stealer at second, and another stealer looked out but was ruled safe.

Statistically, Will led the team in batting average, hits, runs scored, RBIs, times reaching base, stolen bases, slugging percentage, and on-base plus slugging percentage. Pitching, he led the team in ERA, strikeouts, wins, most strikeouts per inning, fewest walks per inning, assists, and lowest opponent’s batting average and on-base percentage.

The End of June

Will had his party last week, and today and tomorrow will be fun and busy with the Broadwells in town. Will enjoys hanging out with their tall 15-year old son Kirk, and Anna gets along well with 16-year old Emily and 12 year old Rachel. Matthew likes to show out for Dawn.
We’re all looking forward to the beach as well. Yesterday the computers were slow here at work and I found myself making a beach packing list.

Nice that Smoltz and McCann made the team…to bad about Edgar. Since every team must be represented, it makes it tough for the borderline guys like Edgar and Frenchy. Edgar lost out to the NY and Philly media machine, I guess. At least McCann beat out LoDuca.

That Sunday night game against the Cards, before the flight to SF…Cox usually rests all his regulars at the same time…usually for Sunday day games in the heat after Saturday night games. Cox should field the least attractive lineup possible, and at least let Monday’s starting pitcher fly out way early. Like…Harris, Escobar, Francoeur, McCann, Diaz, Thorman, Woodward, Orr, Carlyle. But Bobby will still be gunning for a win.

Worked outside most of Saturday in the heat, then Ceil and ate at El Porton near our house. Ceil now likes Chipotle, but I dislike the seasoning. Then we made a quick trip to Perimeter Mall so she could go to her favorite store. At 9 pm they showed a kids movie at our neighborhood pool…I took Anna and Matthew. All the back and forth from the heat to AC made me sick, and I was sneezing all night. Will worked at Living Science all day.

Sunday Ceil went to NP, but I let the kids sleep in, then I took Will to the Ewings…he went to Buckhead Church, then fishing at West Point Lake with George…stayed gone til 10 pm. I worked inside and watched the Braves…during the rain delay I worked upstairs. Nice comeback, by both teams unfortunately. Hopefully Wickman’s not hurting again. Ceil watched Titanic, her first time to see it. I still haven’t seen it all the way through.

I like both Q100 and 680. I’m ok with 790 in the morning, but not the Stews…I’ll stick with Buck. Quiet at work, but something’s wrong with our company’s computer…real slow…haven’t been able to run all the month-end reports.

There are some photos of Will and his buddies painted up on the Braves web site. Just search for the official Braves site. In the lower right hand corner is a green square that says Gameday shots…click on that. Pick the date of Monday, June 25, then select gallery 21 and 19.