Friday, September 28, 2007

Board Games

I liked Chutes & Ladders better than Candyland. Life will be much better/easier than Monopoly…I figured out a paperless monetary system to make the game go quicker. I would always list Will, Anna, and my scores and date on the game’s boxtop, as a record. I like Battleship, but hate to find the red and white pegs around after the game has been put up.

In college we loved RISK, though it took so long to play. Haven’t gotten the kids interested…that would be a good sleepover game for boys like Will in their early teens. I’m sure a PC version of RISK would be easier than moving around all those armies and rolling all those dice.

I only had one Strat-O-Matic type baseball game as a kid. I guess I never just played it by myself, so I never got into it.

Two good Good Eats episodes last night…waffles followed by pancakes. The two things I cook. Popcorn was another I related to.

The inventory at the vendor went well yesterday…I felt like I was keeping score, holding the clipboard all day and writing everything down. We’ll have a gain, since I’m always conservative with the numbers. No big surprises. Now for month end. How was the strategy meeting?

Several of my co-workers are having their time sucked away by Chicago bigwigs in conference calls. The bigwigs have hired analysts, and they all don’t understand the day to day machinations that go into our business…keeping current business and getting new business. In another month the sale will go through on our company, and we’ll no longer be public. Everyone’s happy because Sarbanes Oxley goes away.

Thursday afternoons are suddenly busy, since Anna has ballet, Will has a game, and Ceil has a knitting class. Looks like this week will be like last week…I’ll miss the beginning of the game. Last week I did good on time, and was able to run my scorebook by the field first. I’ve had two good fill-in scorekeepers, a Walton ballplayer and Preston’s dad, a middle school principal.

Rough Braves game last night. Take away the two fielding mishaps and we’re right there. Then the HR to the little guy…he and that catcher always seem to kill us. It’s made this week fun, and it seems like thousands of fans are hanging in there instead of complaining. Next will come the ‘keep Andruw’ bunch. I love the ones who don’t think we should trade him. Cox came out and said that if it came down to Sunday, Hudson would pitch on three days rest.

Sept. 27th Road Win

Will led his team to victory last night, going 3 – 3 with a triple, stolen base, and two RBIs and runs scored. He pitched two no-hit innings, facing the minimum six batters…striking out four of them. While catching he blocked several balls in the dirt, with runners on base.

Here’s the recap to be posted on the Mt. Paran website:

The Mt. Paran Pony Saints won on the road Thursday night, outscoring the Shaw Park MudCats 10 – 3 Thursday evening. The two teams traded runs the first two innings, then the Saints shut down the MudCats offense, while continuing to add to the lead.

Colin started things with two out in the first with a line drive single to center. He took second on a fielder’s choice and stole third base. Then as he had this past Saturday, with two out and two strikes on the batter he perfectly executed a delayed steal of home plate. Earlier in the inning Curtis collected his seventh straight hit in as many at-bats.

Shaw Park scored two runs to take the lead in the bottom of the first, but with one out and the bases loaded second-baseman Russell ended the rally by turning an unassisted double play. He fielded a one hopper, tagged the runner, and beat the batter in a race to first base. Russell has made many good defensive plays at Mt. Paran, but that was his best.

In the top of the second it was Patrick’s turn to lead off the inning with a walk. Will M reached on a Texas League single, and both runners advanced a base on an error. Patrick scored on a wild pitch, then Will scored on Tanner’s RBI groundout. But the MudCats tied the game at three in their half of the second, before pitcher Will G retired the side with a strikeout, grounder to Curtis at first, and a pop-out to shortstop Christian.

In the third the Saints went ahead to stay. Preston led off with a four-pitch walk and stole second base. Kevin walked on a full count. Russell then singled to right, to drive in Preston from second base. Curtis reached base for the eighth-straight time, walking to load the bases, before Kevin scored on a wild pitch.

From there the Saints pitching and defense took over, retiring 12 Shaw Park batters in a row. Will G struck out two in two innings and Will M struck out four, and Tanner struck out three. Jack caught a long fly ball in right field. Christian caught a sinking line drive at shortstop, then while catching threw to Colin to nail a base-stealer at second.

The Saints added five insurance runs. In the fourth Christian led off with a walk and stole second. Patrick sacrificed Christian to third with a nice bunt, then Will M lined a single to center to drive home Christian. Slugger Joey also put down a sacrifice bunt in the fifth inning to advance John Fulton to third. JF had beaten out an infield single and stolen second base.

In the sixth Mt. Paran broke thing open with four runs. Colin reached on an error, then stole both second and third. Will M drove him in when he pulled the ball into the left-field corner for an RBI triple, then Will scored when the shortstop’s relay throw was off the mark. Jack walked, then scored from first when Tanner’s single rolled under the center-fielder’s glove. Tanner took third on the play, and scored on Will G’s RBI single to left. Once again all 13 players contributed!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Sept 20th Blowout

The Saints beat the Shaw Park Bulldogs 15 – 0 on Thursday, September 20th.

Christian threw 2-1/3 scoreless innings, striking out six, walking one, and giving up just one base hit. John Fulton came on in relief to get the last two outs in order in the third, and Will G finished the game by tossing a seven pitch, scoreless fourth inning.

Mt. Paran got all their runs in the first two innings, scoring seven in the first and eight in the second.

--Colin got things going in the 1st with a leadoff single, stole 2nd & scored on Curtis’ single.
--Curtis stole second and third before scoring on Will M’s triple.
--Russell singled to center to score Will, then stole second & took third on a wild pitch.
--Christian singled to LF to drive in Russell & took 2nd on the left-fielder’s error. Christian later scored on a wild pitch.
--Preston drew a walk, and advanced to third on Tanner’s double.
--After a pitching change Will G drew a four-pitch walk to load the bases.
--Then John Fulton had a big 2-out single up the middle, & both Preston & Tanner scored.
--Jack was hit by a pitch to load the bases again, & Will G scored on a wild pitch.

In the second Joe fouled off several pitches and battled for a walk. He advanced to third on two wild pitches, and scored on Curtis’ second RBI single of the evening.
--Josiah also walked on a full count, went 1st-to-3rd on Curtis’ single, & scored on Will M’s infield single.
--Curtis scored on a wild pitch, and Russell walked.
--With the lead now 10 – 0 Will could’ve scored on a wild pitch, but the coaches wisely held the boys back from scoring needless runs.
--Will scored anyway when Christian tripled to right-center, as did Russell.
--Patrick’s grounder to the right side of the infield scored Christian.
--Preston walked on a full count and stole second. Tanner also walked.
--Will G singled to right-center to drive in both runners…it was probably the first time in Tanner’s career that he scored all the way from first on a single!
--John Fulton walked, but Jack’s pop fly was caught to end the inning.

Long-time Mt. Paran standout Bradford Williams came on to pitch for Shaw Park in the bottom of the third, and he struck out the side on only ten pitches.

The Saints also made a few plays in the field...
--In the third Christian fielded a come-backer to the mound.
--third-baseman Kevin made a fine charging play on a grounder.
--First-baseman Josiah made both putouts at first.
--Russell also made a fine running backhand catch in centerfield.

In the top of the fourth pitcher Will G fielded a come-backer, tossing to first-baseman Tanner for the out. Will M also caught a popup at shortstop.

Hide & Seek

Last night we actually kept the TV off and I helped Anna and Matthew play hide & seek.

They’re putting the little league game recaps on the league website. That one I wrote yesterday was a little intense to be the first one, so I submitted a different one.

Leaving early today for a focus group, and tomorrow I’ll be gone most of the day taking inventory in Conyers.

Even some of the non-believers are starting to come around and note how the Braves didn’t give up (here in the office, even Kincaid). I’m tired of hearing Laurentino bemoan the Mets and Phils. Bill Sanks said he didn’t apply for a postseason press pass, so maybe that’s a good omen. He said the same thing…win Tuesday and then they’ve got Hudson and Smoltz the next two days.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Game Two: Tensions Rise, and a Scuffle at the Plate!

Will struck out number three hitter Corey Davis to end Game One. Corey and Will have been playing against each other for several seasons, and even though Powder Springs has won most of the time, individually Will had always seemed to outshine Corey. Corey had been on second base last fall when Will pulled off his unassisted triple play. In the top of the first inning of Game Two, Corey grounded out to Will at shortstop.

The Marlins started Corey at pitcher in Game Two. Both teams were beginning to tire in the heat. Corey was taking too much time between pitches and letting the baserunners distract him. He would throw one good pitch, wander around a while, then throw one that didn’t come close. The first three Saint hitters Russell, Curtis, and John Fulton all singled, then Tanner’s good hit was caught. Two runs had scored, and Corey seemed less interested and more tired and frustrated. On a full count Josiah fouled several off before walking. Then Corey threw the ball away, putting runners at second and third with Will up to bat. One out.

When Corey finally delivered his first pitch to Will, it came in hard, but not super fast. But the pitch was low and way inside. Will backed and turned away from the pitch, and it hit him in the calf. I wondered if it was deliberate, but quickly dispelled the notion, as Corey had been getting wilder and wilder.

Little Jack Baker batted next, and he hit a sharp grounder up the middle. Corey got a piece of the ball, slowing it down and redirecting it to the left side of second base. The shortstop scooped it up, stepped on the bag, and fired to first. An RBI single had turned into an inning-ending double play.

Corey continued to weave in and out of trouble. In the second Patrick led off with a walk on four pitches, then Colin singled to left. But Will Gray popped out, then Corey struck out the next two. In the third Corey gave up four line drive and two runs. Then an interesting thing happened: Josiah was hit with the first pitch. Another accident?

A wild pitch allowed Josiah and Tanner to advance to third and second. With two out Coach Chris told Will he needed to put the ball in play as opposed to walking, so Will swung at 1 – 1 pitch that was high and outside. The high fly ball glanced off the right-fielder’s glove, allowing two runs to score. Will ran to second, and advanced to third when the throw in got away. Will then scored on a wild pitch, before Jack grounded out to end the inning.

With the score 7 – 2 and Tanner pitching, Corey led off the fourth by walking on four pitches. Josh was up next; he had singled in each of his previous at-bats. Corey stole second on the first pitch, a strike. Will’s throw was just late. Corey took third on the next pitch, which was also a strike. Tanner’s next pitch was on the outside corner, and the umpire called it strike three. For years umpires at Mt. Paran have consistently called that same pitch a strike, certainly as long as Powder Springs has been coming to play there. A Powder Springs parent standing behind the plate voiced his displeasure, hollering “It’s ok, son. Everyone misses one now and then.” Things were dead quiet, until Don tried to lighten the mood by saying “now that wasn’t pretty.”

Next Tanner came set to deliver his next pitch to the new batter, as Corey danced off third. Tanner threw over, but the ball glanced off third-baseman Kevin’s glove, rolling through the infield dirt to the edge of the outfield grass. The third-base coach hollered for Corey to score. Kevin recovered the ball and threw home. Will caught to ball on one hop, blocked the plate, and easily tagged out the sliding Corey. As Corey stood up he deliberately kicked sand in Will’s eyes, an act seen by most everyone. Will didn’t retaliate, he just stared at Corey.

Tanner’s dad Jay was umpiring the bases, and he calmly walked over and talked to Corey and his coach. The next batter hit a fly ball to center, and John Fulton made the inning-ending catch look routine. There was plenty of game left. With one out Colin doubled to right, and he took third on Will Grey’s groundout. Preston was up, and he had struck out the last two times up. After the pitcher had thrown two strikes, he took the return throw from the catcher and turned to walk back up the mound. Colin raced home on a steal to score an insurance run.

Tanner had only allowed one run in two innings, and the bottom half of the Marlins order was up. But the excitement wasn’t over. The first batter singled to right. Instead of throwing to the cut-off man or to second base, the rightfielder threw directly to Tanner, who caught the ball at his toes…narrowly avoiding the ball rolling to the third-base dugout. Stolen base…and Will’s throw got away from shortstop Colin and the second-baseman. Strikeout. RBI double to right. Strikeout. Two out…one to go to end the game.

Grounder to short. On the large dirt infield there are hard places where the ball bounces, and sandy places where the ball skips. The more bounces a ground ball takes, the more chances there are for a bad hop. The shortstop waited on the ball to come to him. The error allowed the runner to score. The shortstop took the throw back from the outfield near second base, and his return throw to Tanner bounced past and rolled into foul territory, allowing the batter to advance to third. The next batter walked. Next came a chopper to third, but the throw sailed past first. Runners second and third, tying run at the plate.

Another chopper to third, and again the throw was off base. On the next pitch the runner on first took second, but Will dared not throw to second. Runners second and third, go-ahead run at the plate. Pop to short…squeezed for the out. Ball game!

As we were leaving Will and I were stopped by Jim, our friend in charge of maintaining the fields. Jim told Will how proud he was for keeping his composure in a tough situation, for being a fine example of Mt. Paran baseball.

Doubleheader Game One: Will Shuts the Door

The Saints won both games of a Saturday doubleheader against the Powder Springs Marlins, the team who had recently snuck away with a win in the game called by lightning. My recap did not capture the bad feelings that came away from the game. Had the roles been reversed the Saints would’ve also taken their time and consulted with the umpire, but I’m hopeful that had this happened at Mt. Paran the outcome would’ve been more pleasant. It appeared that the umpire only called the game after the Powder Springs coach had told him to.

For the day Saturday Will reached base in all four of his plate appearances and scored three times. He had two doubles and two RBI in Game One.

Everyone was talking about Will’s second-inning play at shortstop. A fast runner hit a grounder in the hole between third and short. Will’s only play was to dive at catch the ball. Later Ceil told me it wasn’t an unnecessary dive like some players make, that the dive had to be made in order to make the play. Will then bolted to his knees and whipped a throw Curtis at first in time to nail the runner.

The Saints scored 3 runs in both the first two innings, and Will was brought in to pitch the last four innings. He struck out 9 of the 17 batters he faced, including three in each of the last two innings.

At the plate Will hit a first inning grounder past the third-baseman into left field for a double, driving home Curtis. He stole third base and scored on a wild pitch. In the third inning the same thing happened: Will doubled to right-center to drive home Curtis, and again took third and scored on a wild pitch. The Saints won 8 -2, so Will accounted for half his team’s runs.

The Saints won both games despite the absence of Christian, Coach Chris’ son, who plays pitcher/catcher/shortstop. The meant Will, Tanner, Colin, and Will Gray took turns at pitcher, catcher, infield, and sitting out…meaning the defense was always lacking one good fielder.

Adding to the Marlins frustration were two runners picked off base: In the third the Saints catcher whipped a throw to first to nail the runner. The next inning while pitching Will picked a runner off first.

Baseball Quiz

Two out, last inning. Runner on second, tying run at the plate. Bouncer to third. Third-baseman has to charge, and his throw pulls the first-baseman off the bag…the batter is safe. Runner rounds third and stops two steps off the bag. He looks at the first-baseman, who holds the ball, standing a couple of steps in foul territory, in front of the bag. The batter on first is an aggressive baserunner, but he too stands and closely watches the first-baseman (as does the umpire). The pitcher is on the first-base side of the mound, watching as well. You’re the first baseman. What do you do?

The play definitely wasn’t over. The first-baseman just was standing there, frozen. The runner on first could’ve broken for second, and we sure didn’t need to throw it there.

Call time! (while running toward the lead runner). You want to move toward the runner to lessen the distance of any throw. Standing stationary holding the ball is generally not a good thing to do anywhere on the field. We already had made two ill-advised throws in the inning, four errors, and three unearned runs had scored. Just before this play the shortstop had thrown back to the pitcher while standing next to second base. The throw wasn’t close, and the chucky pitcher didn’t catch it, and it rolled into foul territory…allowing runners to advance.

The ball was still in play, the umpire hadn’t called time. You want the play to be over!

Ceil Under Suspicion

Friday night Ceil and I went to Perimeter Mall. In Anthropologie Ceil browsed the store. She was carrying two pair of reading glasses…she hadn’t decided which one to buy. As she moved about the store she noticed to employees whispering and pointing to her, as if she might be planning to steal them. Ceil was hacked, but I told her it wasn’t her, that the employees had to be careful in general.

Saturday Ceil helped arrange flowers for a wedding way out past Social Circle, real big and real nice. Did it with a girl from small group and her sister. They were gone from 1 pm to 10 that night. They got to eat at some nice seafood buffet.

Saturday afternoon I cleaned out our master closet, so naturally I was sneezing and sick all Saturday night. Felt better Sunday. After church I took Will to get a haircut. Got there at 11:30, but it didn’t open til noon, so he and I ate at Moes next door. I had gotten coupons for both the Roswell haircut and Moes from the same Kroger receipt. At home I walked in the door just when Ceil was serving Matthew a turkey sandwich for lunch. Matthew saw the Moes leftovers and had a meltdown.

The older accountant from our small group had eaten oysters at Ray’s On The River several Friday nights ago and was real sick for several days, and didn’t fully recover for over 2 weeks. This was just before the lady died from eating oysters at that sports bar. Saw him yesterday for the first time…asked if he’d ever eat oysters again and he said probably not…it looked like he hadn’t thought of that before.

Civic in the shop. Check Engine light was a code for an Oxygen sensor, so I knew I needed to get it done before emissions time next year. But another light came on, also for emissions. The guy at the shop was good…said to make sure there wasn’t an extended warranty (I did, no luck). He also said I could wait, that it was just needed before I had my emissions done. Though it wasn’t the best time, since I had it in the shop, I’m having it done.

Lunch with the Ogre regarding Physical Inventory next week. He likes to eat, but so do I. Tomorrow a guy from Charlotte is in for training.

I’m not doing a good job of posting photos to my blog, though we have lots more pictures to choose from these days.

Will wants Guitar Hero…he’s getting into the stage where he wants to be in a band.

Andruw, Etc.

Andruw joined an elite club the other night…players who’ve hit 25 or more HRs in 10 straight seasons. They listed the members, and I was surprised that Hank Aaron wasn’t a member. For 9 straight years (55 – 63) Hank hit 26 or more homers. In 64 he hit 24 home runs. Then he had another 9 year stretch where he hit 29 or more homers. Hank hit 20 or more HRs in 20 straight seasons, which I think is a record. Barry Bonds hit 20 or more in 15 straight seasons…and had 25 or more in all of those years. Is Andruw doing so bad because he wants to re-sign? Such undiscipline. At least Frenchy is young…he appears to be learning and growing as a hitter.

Another big Monday for the Braves offensively. I’m starting to notice the runs the opponent scored in these blowouts, though I know Cox trots out different pitchers based on the score. Hopefully Kelly Johnson changing positions isn’t an option…we need to trade Edgar for a good pitcher. I saw Blanton pitch for the A’s this year in Houston…he did well. Bradley makes an obvious point regarding not relying on Hampton.

On another note, it was sweet when the Brewers were up by a run with 2 out in the bottom of the 10th, when Fox was announcing the player of the game: the Brewer who’d homered in the top of the inning. Thorman puts the first pitch in orbit. Nice wins on Saturday and Sunday. UGA win was also exciting...exciting finish. I was watching. Since it was late, as usual I had the sound off or low. With the college overtime rules and the momentum slightly in Bama’s favor, I expected them to go for the tie.

The announcer has to find stuff to talk about the entire game. You’d at least expect them to discuss the situation, especially since there was extra time to fill while the TD was being reviewed. I would’ve gone into detail about how since so much is on the line these days in college football with each win and loss (championship game slots, bowl games, rankings, recruiting, jobs, millions of dollars, etc), that more and more coaches are playing for the tie and hoping to win in OT. They did cover how UGA correctly won the OT toss and elected to play defense, and why.

Boston College always beats Tech. GT appeared outmanned, but the thought crossed my mind that the play calling could’ve been better…as a GT WR told an AJC reporter. Coming out passing was good, but I think they could’ve run better had they pounded away play after play, instead of calling so many sweeps, screens, and direct snaps…a play that’s taking too long to develop/hit the hole. We won't even talk about the UVA game.

My uniform favorites show I’m becoming more of an old fogey all the time (at least the term ‘old school’ is somewhat cool). Same story for Tech…they got all the narrow-minded alumni thinking championships and Heismans before getting into the meat of the schedule. I just hope they beat Clemson.

Leafed through a copy of Kicks the other day at Borders. Nice picture of Tony Parker. Eva’s dress the other night wasn’t too flashy…interesting that she says she wants to move to San Antonio. I just got some Puma ‘’driving” shoes that I didn’t need, but are fun. Also bought an old Lithuania Basketball tie-dyed T-shirt in Berkeley California, which seemed appropriate.

This weekend I found myself remembering Kincaid’s football picks. Every Friday he spouts off info from the betting services. He said Arkansas did poorly on the road against the spread in September…and they did. He got Chris Mortenson to change his pick from Seattle to Arizona, and Arizona won.

Last Friday I stopped at Goodwill and bought an authentic home Dodgers jersey, number one, with Mitchell on the back. Still had the tags on it. The back number and name were royal and trimmed in white, just like the big boys. Four bucks. Just what I needed…it’s now keeping my other jerseys company. I guess the jersey was a gift that the recipient didn’t like. A fantasy camp jersey usually isn’t this nice, and would’ve been worn. Still, it looks great. The jersey was next to a similarly sized Vick jersey, and a Reggie White Packer jersey (both replicas). Sometimes when they’re grouped together like that they were all donated at the same time…you never know.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Will's Thursday Win

Will’s team won a 15 – 0 one hitter last night. They scored 7 in the first and 8 in the second. I missed Will’s first-inning triple that one-hopped the fence. He also had an infield single, two RBIs, and scored 2 runs. Played shortstop two innings and caught one.

For the fall Will has 9 hits in 10 at-bats.

The Other James Brown

This morning I attended the “Buckhead Businessman’s Prayer Breakfast” put on by Church of the Apostles, at the Cobb Galleria. Saw pastor Michael Youssef, who’s older than I thought, and saw Eldrin Bell slip in by himself. Sat at a table with Bob Abernathy. There were 136 tables seating ten each, and most were full. Matthew’s baseball coach Tim had invited me.

Bob Volyes introduced the speaker, James Brown, “JB” – the host of the CBS NFL pregame show, formerly on the Fox NFL pregame. I knew he was an Ivy Leaguer…Harvard. He went there because he was impressed by Bill Bradley. Drafted by the Hawks in the Maravich era but cut by Cotton Fitzsimmons, who told him he knew he’d be a success. JB told just a few stories, but mainly stuck to a timeline of his life. Told why he switched back to CBS from Fox…partly because LA-based Fox dragged their feet, but at the same time got a nice offer from NYC-based CBS. Lives in DC…his mother was sick at the time. JB has recently lost 30 pounds, and looked good.

Voyles was reading a list of JB’s accomplishments, and stopped after noting that JB was a part-owner of the Washington Nationals…and Volyes asked how they were doing. Kind of a cheap shot. Later JB said the Nats were on the right track, and noted that he was a minority owner in more ways than one.

JB also mentioned Tony Dungy’s book, which Ceil read while sitting around the hospital when her dad had surgery. She loved it. I saw Dungy on Letterman. People had wanted Dungy to write a book for year, but he never took the time until the Colts won the Super Bowl. The book people told him it would take 6 months to write and 3 to publicize. Dungy didn’t have that time, so he prayed. God told Tony to write the book and not worry about the rest. He wrote it (with help) in 2 weeks and traveled for 10 days in July to publicize it, including hitting all the Letterman & Leno type shows. The book people expected to sell 100,000 during the book’s life…instead it sold 400,000 copies in a month.

I’ll miss most of Will’s doubleheader tomorrow, as I have a meeting at Will’s school. Ceil is helping out with a wedding tomorrow afternoon/evening, with a friend who does flower arrangements.

Falcons Are Quick On The Trigger. A Good Thing?

I wonder if Petrino will turn out to be like his owner…quick to make a personnel decision that later turns out to be ill-advised.

Blank inherited Vick, but extended his contract big time after the Falcons advanced to the NFC championship game. Had he waited a year, he might not have made the same decision. Blank also quickly signed Warrick Dunn to a monster contract, soon after a dinner meeting. Dunn is a great citizen and has made a solid contribution, but it may not have been the biggest bang for the buck.

GM Rich McKay deserves some blame for many draft day failures, particularly receivers Jenkins and White. Injury-prone defensive lineman like John Abraham were given large contracts. The large payroll led to the loss of end Patrick Kearney.

At the end of training camp the Falcons cut kicker Billy Cundiff, who was more experienced than the stronger-legged Matt Prater. Prater was to relieve punter Michael Koenen of kickoff and long field goal duties, but washed out in two games. Ageless vet Morten Andersen was welcomed back, but now Koenen has his kicking duties back.

Now it appears Blank urged McKay to sign QB Byron Leftwich, who had lost his job in Jacksonville largely in part to not sharing his coach’s enthusiasm. While Leftwich was perhaps the best option available, the odds seem stacked against his success.

Leftwich Plusses:
1. Great arm
2. Tireless preparation & study of film
3. Plays hurt

Leftwich Minuses:
1. Immobile…joining a team with a weak defensive line. Joey Harrington has been sacked 13 times in two games, though in his career Harrington had one of the lowest sacks per game averages…notable considering he played for below-average teams.
2. Not the take charge type. Sounds like the guy we had last year.
3. Slow release. He winds up to throw.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

FIVE Strikeouts in One Inning?

On Opening Day Will did something he’d never done before…he struck out four batters in one inning. Pretty rare. Going over the books from Saturday, I noticed that in the third inning of game two, Colin also struck out four batters.

He struck out the first batter, and had the second batter struck out, but the lousy first base umpire didn’t ring up strike three when the batter came close to checking his swing. That batter walked on a full count and later scored.

The third batter struck out but reached on the dropped third strike. Colin could’ve been out of the inning by striking out the side.

After a hit and a walk, Colin struck out the next two batters. So actually he struck out FIVE batters in one inning!

Monday, September 17, 2007


Friday night was slow. Watched some of the Braves/Nats and Boston/NY while Ceil knitted. Tried to get my laptop on the internet at home, but I need to call a help line. Later I ran to pick Will up at the Normans, where a bunch of teens were hanging out.

Saturday morning I actually got some of the upstairs cleaned up before leaving for the ballfield at 9:30. That afternoon we took a quick nap before signing to get the house repaired and painted. Cleared out the garage so I could get my car in there…first time in months. I was proud.

Hopefully getting the house fixed up will spur us on to make more repairs. The inside of the garage needs painting, but so does the kitchen and dining room.

Watched most of the Tech game, unfortunately. The Alabama / Arkansas game was exciting. I hear Jerry Jones is going to stop at nothing to pick McFadden…it would be worth it for the Falcons to draft him instead of a QB (like they could’ve done by drafting Tomlinson). Or they could take Dallas’ 2 number one picks and their top RB Jones.

Saturday afternoon while Will cut grass, Anna and Matthew were playing at the neighbors. Anna went to see Hairspray with the girls. Matthew was invited to go eat Mexican with two others boys. First he ran home and put on a clean shirt and jeans. He was dressing up! Later we heard that not only did he eat his entire dinner (and chips and HOT sauce), but he also ate the plate that his friend didn’t touch. Afterwards the boys decided they wanted to sleep outside in a tent. Matthew was tired and grouchy on Sunday.

Louie’s sermon was good…one family’s wonderful and tragic story of looking for God.

Sunday afternoon I did laundry and cleaned house (and watched the Braves, Falcons, and golf). Ceil ran errands and did some schoolwork. Anna and Matthew played Battleship, which was funny.

Best Looking College Football Uniforms

Most college football teams want to look like Miami or Oregon, who seem to get a Nike makeover every year. This is not a good thing. Stripes on pants now change direction and shape…as they do on jerseys, wandering across the back and front. Great traditions have been thrown out the window. Kids can like the look, but it’s hilarious to hear Coaches and AD’s loving the looks…sounds like the emperor has new clothes!

1. LSU: great stripes.

2. USC: simple & classic top to bottom.

3. Syracuse: they pull off the orange & navy.

4. Auburn: consistent, traditional stripe pattern.

5. Alabama: Great, all the way down to the white shoestrings.

6. Tennessee: They get it

7. Texas: simple, but the pants need stripes.

8. FSU: Love the white pants with 2 stripes.

9. Ohio State: Nike’s messing with a classic.

10. UCLA: but I hate the current numbers: busy!

11. Georgia: Nike hasn’t messed it up completely.

Honorable Mention: Hawaii, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Penn State (need grey facemasks!), Stanford.

Nike Ugly: Boise State, Boston College, Cal, Clemson, Maryland, Miami, Oregon, Oregon State, Pitt, Portland State, South Carolina, West Virginia, Wisconsin.

Georgia Tech’s Unis are outdated and way too busy. The stripes on the collar and pants don’t match the traditional stripes on the sleeves, and were trendy in the early 80’s. The jerseys have enough patches to make a NASCAR driver proud. The black facemasks are ugly. Suggestion: return to the mustard jerseys and white helmets worn in the throwback game last year.

Top Ten College Football Helmets

Helmets look best when they’re uncluttered, and a classic look is tops. Extra points for a grey facemask, but white is OK…especially with a white helmet.

1. Michigan: Classic

2. Texas: Clean

3. Ohio State: Unique

4. Miami


6. Southern Cal

7. FSU: Points off for the burgundy mask.

8. Notre Dame: Simple in an era of clutter.

9. Georgia: Still too many stickers on the back.

10. Tennessee: Nice wide stripe.

Honorable Mention: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Cal, Clemson, Colorado, Iowa, LSU, Michigan State, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Syracuse.

Note: Georgia Tech’s black facemasks don’t cut it…go back to grey. The white throwback helmets from last year were sweet!

Official Scorekeeping

Thursday night I researched the official scoring rules on Pretty interesting but mundane. Will has usually been the victim of hitting it right at someone who makes an error, so his average suffers. I try to be lenient if the entire rec team is weak-hitting…then I’d rule Will’s at-bats the same as the entire team. Christian, the 15-year old coaches son playing against 13 & 14 year olds, has hit two fly balls right at the centerfielder. Both times the centerfielder botched it. Another grounder hit directly at the shortstop was booted…the ball wasn’t hit that hard. Will hit one in the hole that the shortstop knocked down. Colin hit a fly in the gap that neither outfielder could run down. I just like to keep score…it beats just sitting there.
Had my eye on that Sunday Brewers game…Matthew had wanted to run the bases. Night games work out better, but since we went this past Sunday, that may be it for us. We also have the change to go to Six Flags twice…that would be a Sunday. Seeing Andruw’s last home game would be neat.

Coworker Randy just got back from almost 2 weeks in Seattle. Helped his daughter move, and visited the elderly in-laws for their 60th anniversary. At lunchtime I had to go to the bank and was stopped at a light. I was spaced out, then looked to my left and Randy was next to me in his car, spaced out. I waved him down and met him at Subway.

Meet the Saints

It’s early, but the Saints have at least four solid players and several more who should contribute regularly. I’m still getting to know the younger ones, but here’s a rundown in numerical order:

1. John Fulton (age 14) is starting to grow…Saturday he batted leadoff & played SS & 1B. Capable player…can pitch & play OF. Family is from SC, sis plays softball at Kell, dad helps out & is big into baseball. Saturday he walked, though he’s aggressive at the plate. Tuesday after a bunt he hit one over the left-fielder's head.

2. Jack (14) Curtis’s younger brother, a little lefty who’ll get to pitch once or twice. 2B & OF…can get the bat on the ball. After five games he's amoung the team leaders in RBIs.

3. Colin (14?) slight build, played with Will on the Titans in the spring. Can get the bat on the ball and does well in the field. Struggled pitching on Saturday. Dad coached Will years ago, looks like Bill Cowher…really into the games.

4. Preston (13) hasn’t played much baseball, but he's got ability…short & stout…2B & OF. Dad is a principal.

5. Will M (14) has been trying too hard, to hit HRs and throw pitches through walls.

6. Russell (15) does ok at most positions, though his arm is weak. Hits well when he’s practiced alot. Homeschooled, big into Boy Scouts.

7. Christian (15) Coach Chris’ 15 year old son, playing down a level, so he should excel. Missed spring ball due to a broken ankle. P, C, SS.

8. Curtis (15) loves CF but continues to struggle throwing strikes…also SS & 1B. Quiet. Will’s long-time teammate, agressive at the plate.

9. Kevin (13) hasn’t played much but has ability…his throws have movement. Had a big RBI single last Tuesday night. Runs fast, with long strides.

10. Patrick (13) young lefty hitter up from Bronco with talent…can hit and play the infield once he adjusts to the bigger field/opposition.

11. Joey (14) grew over the summer, lost some baby fat…could contribute this fall at the plate…singled on Saturday. Batted .400 the second half of the spring season. Dad quite knowledgeable about baseball.

12. Will G (15) another 15 year-old playing down…slow, but hopefully he’ll contribute…P, C, 1B…likes to talk. Glares at the pitcher when he gets hit, provoking laughter from all. Dad is a lot of fun.

13. Josiah (14) Saturday he lined on over LF’s head and made it to third…a clean triple! Likes to walk but sometimes watches strike three. Pitches have velocity but not movement, which is OK if he throws strikes…P, 1B, 3B. Quiet demeanor, alert/aggresive baserunner. Dad was a missionary, is fun to watch with.

14. Tanner (14) longtime teammate/opponent of Will’s, chunky…P, C, 3B, 1B…played on a competitive spring team. His dad is a great umpire…was behind the plate Saturday when Tanner was pitching.

Sept 15 Game One Win

Will’s fall baseball team won both games of their Saturday doubleheader.

Will went 3 – 3 with a walk, and scored all four times. He had a single, triple, and an inside-the-park Home Run, and had 4 RBIs. Will retired all six batters he faced, striking out the first five, then caught a line drive back up the middle.

The Saints had 13 players Saturday, so each player only got two plate appearances in each game.

In the first game Will game up to bat in the second inning with the Saints trailing three to nothing. With one out and a runner on second, Will lined a 3 – 1 pitch through the gap in right-center, past the outfielders, for an easy RBI triple. He then scored an a passed ball.

In the fourth inning Will came up with the score tied and a runner on base. On a full count Will walked. Ball four was a wild pitch, and the runner was able to score from third. When West Cobb tried to get the out at home, Will hustled to first and kept going, making it to second base on the play. Will stole third base on the first pitch, then the pitcher attempted a pickoff throw to third. When the ball got away Will was able to score. He advanced four bases on two pitches!

The inning ended with the Saints ahead 6 – 4. West Cobb was retired in order in the top of the fifth to end the game. Will caught two innings and played shortstop two innings. At short he took the throw from a catcher and tagged out a baserunner.

Game Two Victory

The Saints had an easier time in Game Two, winning 8 – 2.

Tanner’s dad Jay drafted me to umpire the bases in this second game. In the first inning I realized I might have to call whether a batter swung, and sure enough, in the top of the third the West Cobb leadoff batter tried to hold up. Tanner was catching, and he pointed to me. I waited until umpire Jay asked for help. As soon as he pointed to me I signals safe, though it was close. That batter wound up walking and scoring, but West Cobb still trailed 4 – 2 at that point. A real umpire showed up to call the last two innings.

In the bottom of the first Will came up with two out and a runner on second. He lined the 3 – 1 pitch over the centerfielder’s head. The ball rolled to the left-centerfield fence. Will had eased up just a little as he approached third, but turned on the speed when the third-base coach waved him home, and Will had an inside-the-park Home Run and two RBIs.

West Cobb played the second game with only eight players, so the Saints supplied a rightfielder. For the last three innings, instead of giving the time to one of the 13 Saints, Coach Chris sent out his son Michael, an Bronco all-star travel-ball player. When Will came up to bat in the fourth with a runner on third, Chris hollered out to Michael, positioning him defensively. Will lined a 2 – 1 pitch to right for an RBI single, but Michael almost made a diving catch on the play.

On the first pitch Will took off on a steal of second base. John Fulton hit a grounder to the shortstop. When the shortstop threw to first, Will continued on to third base. Tanner grounded out to second, and Will scored. The next inning Michael’s brother Christian came up and hit a line drive past Michael for an inside-the-parker.

Will played shortstop and caught an inning each. He came in to pitch the fourth inning, and struck out all three batters. Facing the meat of the order in the fifth, Will struck out the first two batters. The cleanup hitter then lined the ball right back at Will’s head. Will instinctively raised his glove, just in time to catch the drive in the heel of his glove.

For the fall season Will has struck out 15 of the 25 batters he’s faced. He’s allowed only one hit.

Friday, September 14, 2007


Decided at the last minute to take Wednesday afternoon off. Decision helped by the loud drilling in the office…they’re taking out the shower and replacing it with a second ladies bathroom…just in time for the ogre to move 4 workers back to his office down the road. I haven’t used the shower in several years and don’t expect to need it, but it was nice just in case.

Ceil and I went down to Lenox and a few other places, then ate at Canoe last night for our anniversary. Only turned on the radio once…bases loaded for Frenchy. I turned it off, just missing his big hit.

On the way home we stopped at Borders in The Avenue…ran into Mary Hurt, who had just moved to Crabapple. I never see them, though Ceil’s seen Mary recently at Living Science. Still stressed by the move. Just missed David. They were ‘down south’ for their daughter’s dance and Buckhead Kidstuf practice. They hit Yellowstone this summer…flew into Denver.

Anniversaries and birthdays. Not a huge deal for my family growing up, unlike Ceil’s family. With lots of vacation, I figure taking off helps. I’m a terrible gift-giver, which is Ceil’s love language. Ceil likes to visit the high-priced Anthropologie store at Perimeter and Lenox. Yesterday could’ve gone smoother, but it was short of a disaster.

George Ewing’s Tech roommate hopes to try out for the GT basketball team next month, says his mom. He’s in a league at the Concourse with several ex-NBA players, and averages 35 points a game. Last year Hewitt cancelled the tryout, since he gave 2 spots to Lefty Dreisell’s grandsons. Will is all set to begin basketball practice next month. They play against Smoltz’s son, who’s supposedly not too good…Joel Norman said he blocked his shot.

My old boss was great at reviews…always tried to be positive and give high marks when possible. Felt it did more harm than good to grade low, long term. But he surrounded himself with good people. Have I said that the ogre doesn’t mind a staff of low quality employees? Guess they’re easier to control, boss around, and lord over. Reviews have faded out at my company for some reason…seems like it’s coming from the top down. I’m sure HR isn’t thrilled. I don’t feel like I should have to schedule my own 20th anniversary luncheon, now over a month late.

Tuesday we got all the way out to Powder Springs and Will discovered he’d forgotten his spikes…had to play in white running shoes, but it didn’t seem to effect his play. He couldn’t dig in at the plate. At short he dove for a grounder in the hole, but it bounced just under his glove. Might’ve helped his pitching, because he didn’t stretch out and throw too hard…instead he held back some and threw strikes. I haven’t noticed where his spikes are.

Ceil and Susan’s Beth Moore study will be Tuesdays at Fellowship Christian Church in Roswell, on Highway 92 east of the Super Target. Sounds like a big crowd of women, as opposed to a small group.

My favorite is $40.00 A Day, where she goes to a city and hits a few places. That’s why I like Alton’s motorcycle show, and the new diner show with the weird host that I’m not crazy about.

2007 MLB Uniform Rankings

I like most baseball unis, but some are better than others: . 1. Giants…classic off-white unis. . 2. Cardinals…timeless, great stirrups. . 3. Red Sox…whatever happened to the striped stirrups? . 4. Tigers…love the huge names on the back. . 5. Yankees…timeless. . 6. Braves…could be better with a few traditional tweaks: striped stirrups, off-white uni, number on front, big red names, a dark tomahawk. . 7. Pirates…classic look, except for the red vests. . 8. Athletics…simple & traditional, but the team looks sloppy. . 9. Phillies…simple and sweet. . 10. Dodgers…several tweaks have downgraded a classic look. “LA” patch, etc. . 11. Cubs…good, but see the Dodgers. Bring back the cubbie bear. . 12. Orioles…great look, but it could be better. “Baltimore” for starters. . 13. Royals…simple. Great to get rid of the black trim. . 14. Mets…need to ditch all the black. . 15. Astros…nice shade of red. . 16. Mariners…they’ve kept a consistent look over the years. . 17. Rangers…simple and clean. I like the flag patch on the sleeve. . 18. Reds…hate the new number font. They did rid of most of the black trim. . 19. Padres…I like those sand road unis, and the blue is sweet. . 20. White Sox…time for a change! Bring back a past classic: blue or red. . 21. Angels…simple but bland. Red numbers on red jersey doesn’t work. . 22. Indians…doesn’t stand out. Nice caps don’t match the navy jerseys. . 23. Blue Jays…nice colors. Unis keep changing, but none stand out. . 24. Devil Rays…I like the colors and logos, but the dark sleeves are weird. . 25. Brewers…simple but bland. Great throwbacks should be worn all the time. . 26. Marlins…Ok uni, but leave the pinstripes to the Yanks. . 27. Twins…same ugly unis for 20 years! . 28. Rockies…too much black, weird “vests.” . 29. Diamondbacks…nice shade of red, but the name on the front doesn’t look good. . 30. Nationals…nice caps, ugly numbers.

2007 NFL Uniform Rankings

1. Colts…simple, traditional.
2. Giants…great stripes on pants.
3. Steelers…hard to pull off a weird number font, but they do. Nice throwbacks this year.
4. Chiefs…classic look designed by owner Lamar Hunt.
5. Browns…returned to their classic simplicity.
6. Raiders…team has gone downhill, but the great unis remain.
7. Cowboys…great when they mix in the white helmet throwbacks.
8. Bears…love the stripes.
9. Jets…traditional uni gets points off for green facemasks.
10. Saints…the striped throwbacks are great.
11. Packers…get rid of those collar stripes!
12. Rams…great helmets.
13. Patriots…love the striped throwbacks best.
14. Bucs…unique color combos.
15. Bengals…great helmets. The unis grow on you.
16. Seahawks…love the blue, but the pants are ugly.
17. Dolphins…black trim wrecks the uni.
18. Cardinals…great helmets, and the new unis aren’t bad.
19. Lions…great logo and blue/grey colors…wrecked by black trim.
20. Chargers…love the helmets & powder blues, but number font wrecks the makeover.
21. Titans…nice colors go well with the white helmet.
22. Panthers…weird stripes on pants and helmet.
23. 49ers…great throwbacks, but the new unis have too much trim.
24. Ravens…like the colors and logos.
25. Eagles…kinda plain…the black trim isn’t needed. Interesting throwbacks!
26. Broncos…busy stripes, but the look is worse on college teams. OK helmets.
27. Redskins…wonderful throwbacks. They started the return of the white on white look.
28. Jaguars…hate the black jerseys, pants, socks, & shoes worn together. Need stripes!
29. Bills…great throwbacks, & nice blue shoulders on the white jersey. Too many stripes!
30. Texans…dull uni for a new team. OK helmets.
31. Vikings…uni redo disaster.
32. Falcons…way too busy. Ugly numbers. But nice helmets. Need a redo to escape the Vick era!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

SI Pre-Season MLB Player Rankings Not Close

Interesting chatter on the DOB blog…who’s in the top 50? One guy listed his top 50. SI ranked the players before the season, with pitchers ranked separately from hitters…based on projected performance. The projections were off, in many cases…

27=Andruw, 29=Tex, 38=Chipper, 51=McCann, 96=Edgar, 120=Frenchy, 193=Johnson, 205=Diaz, 212=Thorman, 248=Langerhans, 396=Prado

13=Smoltz, 38=Wickman, 72=James, 80=Hudson, 106=Dotel, 131=Redman, 133=Gonzalez, 144=Soriano, 251=Cormier

Got involved watching the Clark Howard special last night while searching for the remote…after seeing the Wright HR we didn’t watch much else of the game, but saw Frenchy make the last out. Beltran made a few good catches.

Keep Edgar and trade Yunel for Milledge? Of the two youngsters, who’ll have a better career? DOB seemed to have the same reservations about Milledge…you wouldn’t think JS would make such a high-profile deal with the Mets anyway. Nice support on his blog for Chipper yesterday, regarding him being among the all-time best 3B.

Alton Brown

Usually an Alton Brown article would stand out to me on, though if I don’t go straight in to a sports article I’ll go to the home page, but I didn’t notice it as a top or popular story on the website. Only late in the day did I see the hard copy in the breakroom. Said he doesn’t go out to eat much…except Moes with his 7-year old daughter. Worked on an REM video. Graduated from culinary school when he was 33, if I remember correctly.

Thomas the Tank Engine is more of a boy’s toy. An interesting thing about them was that when we got into it, Ringo Starr was the narrator. He was replaced by George Carlin. My kids were introduced to Bob Newhart as the father in Elf (also James Caan)…last night there was a Newhart marathon on TVLand…the 70’s styles worn even by Newhart were outlandish.

When we were leaving the parking lot Sunday we saw someone we knew, so I moved the van so the people behind us could pass. But eventually we were right in the way when cars were entering the lot but not turning into a row to park. I hate it when others do that to me.

When High School Musical is on (or some of the other shows the kids like) I often remind myself that these late-teens / early-twenty-somethings probably aren’t the fresh faces they portray onscreen. Will and his buds like Kimmel, who is funny. Jimmy was skewered today in the AJC.

Game 3: Struck by Lightning

It’s often said that when you think you’ve seen everything in baseball, a game like last night’s comes along. Before the game talking to other dads, I remembered that though we’d beaten Powder Springs at home, we’d never won at their place.

The Marlins pitcher wasn’t overpowering but struck out 7 of the first 13 batters. It was still a scoreless game when Joey, the 14th and last batter in the lineup, walked on a full count with 2 out in the 4th inning. Not a speed merchant, Joey stole second base and scored on young Patrick’s single to right. Powder Springs had yet to produce a hit, so I wondered if the pitching duel would continue.

But relief pitcher Tanner walked the first two batters in the bottom of the fourth, after walking two the previous inning without harm. The next Saints pitcher gave up four hits and a walk, so Will was called in to pitch with the bases loaded and no out, the score 4 – 1. Will got his first batter to hit a routine grounder right to the second-baseman, but the ball was misplayed the ball and two more runs scored. With runners at second and third Will struck out the next three batters, ending the inning.

Down 6 – 1, John Fulton led off the top of the 5th by bunting the relief pitcher’s first pitch foul. He then slammed the next pitch over the left-fielder’s head for an easy double…the longest hit I’d ever seen off his bat. Christian, Will Grey, and Preston all walked, loading the bases for Will. He promptly lined the second pitch into left-center for an RBI single. Will then scored game-tying run, scoring from second base on Colin’s line drive double to right-center.

Jack and Tanner reached on errors before the inexperienced Kevin lined an RBI single to center. As Russell and Josiah walked and advanced to third and second, you could see lightning quietly light up the distant sky far beyond centerfield. It appeared to be moving closer as Russell and Josiah advanced to third and second. The Saints had scored 9 runs in the inning without recording an out. But if the game was called before the home team could bat, the score would revert to the end of the previous inning.

Coach Chris instructed Joey to swing at everything. Russell and Josiah were instructed to give themselves up, and they were tagged out between bases. Powder Springs huddled in the infield, then with two strikes on Joey, decided to change pitchers (a stall tactic perhaps, but the previous pitcher had yet to throw the ball in the strike zone after 12 pitches). The lightning was slowly moving closer. After the new pitcher was finally warm the umpire “decided” to call the game. Instead of winning 10 – 6, the Saints lost 6 – 1.

Notes: John Fulton also walked and advanced to third, and made a sharply-hit grounder to second look routine. Josiah also made a nice play at shortstop, on a tough hop. His bases-loaded walk drove home Tanner.

FYI: The Marlins may have played an “ineligible” player. When I arrived at the field I was greeting by Powder Springs coach Randy, so I stopped to say hello. I hadn’t seen him at the Interlock scheduling meeting, and he said he was taking the fall off, as his son Corey was playing football and was only filling in. Was he on the official roster? Later I noticed Randy sitting behind the fence near first base, signaling his catcher son with a wave. Joey stole second on the next pitch. Randy had stolen our steal signal!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Game Two Loss

Will’s Saints lost a close Game Two of their Saturday doubleheader, 9 – 7. He caught and played shortstop each for an inning-and-a-half. Besides making a few strong throws to second that almost nailed some base-stealers, he didn’t see much action in the field.

Coach Maiocco scrambled the batting order in Game Two to equalize plate appearances, though eleven of the twelve Saints only batted twice anyway. Will came up in the second and was grazed by a 2 - 0 pitch. With a runner already on third, Will advanced to second on the first pitch, but both runners were stranded.

In the fourth with two-out Will worked the count full before lining the payoff pitch into centerfield for a single, driving home John Fulton. Will took second on the play when the ball got away, but the next batter popped up to end the inning.

The Saints led 7 – 2, but Coach Chris had let Powder Springs be the home team in Game Two. Colin game in to pitch and allowed six of the first seven batters to reach base. Tanner came in to relieve (and Will was moved from catcher to shortstop), but the leadoff hitter doubled to right-center, clearing the bases. Powder Springs retired the Saints in order in the fifth to win the game.

Will finished the day 3 – 3 with a walk and HBP, two RBIs and runs scored, and a stolen base…the only player on either team reaching base five times or with three hits.

Four Strikeouts In One Inning!

Will’s fall team split a season-opening doubleheader Saturday with the Powder Springs Braves. He was the only player on either team to reach base five times, and he struck out four batters in one inning.

Will walked with two out in the bottom of Game One’s first inning. With a lefty on the mound, Will was given the steal signal on the first pitch, and he broke for second when the pitcher started his windup. But the pitcher threw to first. Picked off, Will kept running, and slid into second headfirst, just ahead of the tag. After resting a pitch, Will broke for second on the 1 – 0 pitch to Colin. Colin alertly pulled the ball, grounding it through the hole vacated by the third-baseman. Will was able to score easily.

Will had caught the scoreless top of the first, and was playing shortstop when summoned to pitch with the bases loaded and one out in the third. He got one batter to pop up into the Infield Fly Rule and struck out their starting pitcher to end the frame.

With two out and two on in the bottom of the third Will pulled a hard grounder through the hole into left to drive in John Fulton. After Colin was hit with a pitch Will advanced to third on Tanner’s grounder to short, and trotted home with the go-ahead run when the throw went to first-base.

Will pitched a nice twelve-pitch top of the fourth…striking out the leadoff hitter looking, getting the next batter to ground the first pitch to third for an easy out, then striking out the next batter looking as well.

In the fifth the next-to-the-last batter in the order walked on a full count, and he advanced to second when the catcher’s pickoff throw sailed past first. Will struck out the next batter looking, then the leadoff batter swung and missed an 0 -2 pitch to strike out. But the ball got away from the catcher, and the batter reached first on a dropped third strike. The next batter grounded to second, but the toss to the shortstop was late, and all hands were safe: bases loaded and one out…with the three and four hitters up. No problem…Will struck them both out to secure the victory. It wasn’t until Monday morning that I realized Will had struck out four in one inning.

In the bottom of the inning Will lined the first pitch deep, but just foul. He hit the next pitch deep into the hole. The shortstop was able to knock the ball down, but Will easily beat the throw to first. Colin grounded the first pitch to short, and the umpire ruled the toss to second beat Will’s headfirst slide into the base, though he looked safe to me. The Saints won easily, 9 – 5, with Powder Springs only threatening one inning.

Will was credited as the winning pitcher, and he struck out 7 in 2-2/3’s innings pitched.

Pacific Ocean Seal Rocks

Monday, September 10, 2007

More Stuff

Susan had been looking around for a Beth Moore Bible Study for her and Ceil to join. Some kick-butt study all the women are doing. They only last eight weeks or so. Johnson Ferry had one that had started a couple of weeks ago, but Susan and Ceil are going to start one on East Piedmont Wednesday night. It started last week. Ceil will probably go Wednesday for that reason, though Wednesday is our anniversary. Will has games Tuesday and Thursday, so it’ll be a busy week.

The young couple that had joined our Small Group is going to take over being leaders, and just sent out an email outlining the entire year. They want to meet every week instead of every other week...not a bad thing. I’m not sure of anything regarding if all the couples are coming back, or when we start…could be this Friday.

Tech seemed to do what they needed…play the first team for a quarter and then let backups get time, and win big. Nice that Bennett was 8 for 9 passing, and a backup RB ran for over 100 yards. Clemson had the same opportunity but let their weak opponent score too much. The new Clemson QB threw five TD’s, which tells me they continue to get develop the passing game, since they’re confident in the running game. Boston College didn’t beat lowly NC State by much, but next Saturday’s GT/BC game won’t be easy. FSU struggled with UAB, and Miami got killed in Oklahoma (Nebraska outlasted Wake). Interesting year…would be nice to see GT take the ACC, but who can challenge USC and LSU?

Anna At The Bat

Anna took a turn at the Tooner Field plate, Sunday before the Braves game.

Another Busy Weekend

Friday night Ceil and I got a little time to ourselves, tripping to Publix and Blockbuster. Rented The Devil Wears Prada. Ceil liked it enough to stay up past midnight to watch it to the end, but it didn’t seem to be her favorite. Didn’t start the DVD until after Smoltz had given up the hit.

Will played a doubleheader in the heat. When I coached I let everyone play infield and rotated the batting order, but played every game to win. I kept the best hitters at the top of the order, and managed the pitching staff based on game conditions instead of set rotations. By the end of the season all the pitchers but one had about the same number of innings. This fall Coach Chris scrambled the batting order. This means Will may not score as many runs or steal as many bases, based on who’s on base and hitting behind him. Tanner only needed 28 pitches in the first two innings, retiring 6 of 7 hitters, but was replaced. Good pitching strategy in the Game Two loss, though the batting order may have squandered some runs. Only three LOB (Will twice). But the Saints only managed four hits, three walks, two HBP, and one reached on an error.

After the games I got the Civic washed and hit Kroger, QT, and Blockbuster, before driving Will and Joel 30 miles north to a Ball Ground birthday party. Halfway between 575 and 400, it took and hour to get there on back roads. Went by the Hurts new house near Crabapple on the way home, but they weren’t there. Took Anna and Matthew for a refreshing swim, then they watch High School Musical 2 again. Listened to parts of the Tech win and UGA loss in the car. It was late before I could catch up on college football. LSU routed Virginia Tech, but the Auburn loss was compelling…the South Florida kicker missed four easy field goals and they still won. Will and Joel stayed up late watching goofy YuTube videos.

Good NP sermon completing the ‘How To Be Rich’ series, along with a Candi solo. In UpStreet Matthew made a list of wise people: mom, dad, Andy Stanley, his Coach Turner, Solomon, God…and Chipper, Moo Cow, “me!”, Will’s teammate John Fulton, scarecrow, and High School Musical’s Ashley Tisdale and Zac Efron. KidStuf didn’t last long, and we ate at Moes on the way home. Quick change and we were on the way to the Braves game.

Though we were running late, ballpark traffic wasn’t bad. The crowd shots of the dogs were entertaining, and the heat wasn’t overbearing, though Will was exhausted from his big Saturday. Ceil snapped at bunch of pictures, and Matthew spent time down next to the dugout, but he didn’t get a ball. Chipper and Tex homered, Willie Harris doubled, and McCann and Francoeur had hits. Neikro was there, though we were too late for the autograph session. Stayed to the end, as Matthew wanted to run the bases…but discovered the line to be endless and left.

Stopped by Harry’s on the way home. Then Anna, Matthew, and I hit the pool again, then Kroger. Will had a yard to mow, and I cooked waffles. Just when we thought we’d get to bed early Anna discovered ants in her very messy room. We cleared out a bunch of stuff in her room and closet, but tonight there’ll be more cleaning out of clothes, sorting out of old toys, etc. Never ends.

Opening Day

Will shakes off some rust on the mound in Saturday's season opener. This fall's photos come courtesy of Ceil's new camera.

Not On My Game

Dropped Ceil’s new Razor phone on the driveway and cracked it…it still works, but it’s just another thing. Last night I broke the glass globe cover for the light in the master shower, after changing the bulb…two breaks in two days. Wednesday night I took Will to church, then took the kid’s old play table to sell at a consignment sale. No room for anyone else to go with me. It sold!

The season is about over for the Braves, but they did ok considering the injuries to the pitchers and Edgar. Hard to question Cox on sticking with Harris, considering the 14 straight division crowns. And with the lack of quality pitching on the trading block, you can’t fault JS for failing to trade for pitching. Even Dontrell would’ve been a shaky proposition, with the first-half he had. JS stocked up on pitching before the season, and had Hampton, Gonzalez, James, Wickman, Davies, etc get hurt/flame out. Can’t catch lightning in a bottle every year. Let’s see the Mets win three straight divisions…though money helps.

McCann vs. Salty…BM is the proven .300 hitter and he plays hurt, but how long will his body last? Salty slumped last year and was struggling in Texas…his rookie year. Like everything else, we’ll see. It was nice to get in the car and turn to the postgame report and hear what happened Wednesday. Funny postgame comment by Chipper…while laughing, said the officiating Wednesday was great.

Two At The Game

Two official Braves jerseys in his closet, and instead he wears a Red Sox tee to the Braves / Nats game!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

College Football Recap

Thought Tech looked great. Bennett looked ok, didn’t make many mistakes…no turnovers. If the offense can play like that, they should do well…with Virginia Tech and UGA at home and Miami the toughest road game. They appear to have a team that won’t play well some weeks and not show up other weeks…hopefully. Bennett just missed on several throws…Calvin would’ve made him look better.

I didn’t soak up the UGA game like I did the Tech game, but they looked ok as well. Caught some of the Cal/Tennessee game, and had to watch the end of the Auburn game to see if they could pull it out. Usually I’m not so into football. It was distracting that there were so many commercials and the games took so long.

Will and Ceil were fired up about the Clemson game. They looked good for a quarter, then decided to pass instead of rely on their great running game…even late in the game when they needed to run. Great idea to adopt the Arkansas direct-snap offense, even with one RB handing off to the other. But they quit using it! They didn’t need it in the second quarter, but they should’ve brought it back when FSU threatened late in the game. FSU looked terrible, as bad as last year. The defense jogged, and Weatherford held the ball too long…even late in the game when he needed to step up. They still came close to pulling it out. Clemson will probably be undefeated when they play at Tech.

Didn’t watch much Braves this weekend…didn’t realize yesterday was a day game. Saturday I was flipping back and forth between the Braves and the Tech game. Big day yesterday with SD winning, Clemens hurting, Ichiro homering, Pedro back, and the Saturday no-hitter. At ECPC the chunky catcher Andrew came in, and his mom the BoSox fan was raving about the no-hitter.

The Hurts, my old softball teammate whose daughters just started Living Science this year, are moving to Alpharetta this weekend from Mt. Vernon Road, near the Riverside 285 exit. Way up near Crabapple. David works near Bolton and Atlanta Road, so he’s going to have a long commute. They were involved at Buckhead Church, but we’ll see if they go to NP instead.

Labor Day Weekend

Ceil and I got a late start Friday night, going out to dinner. I thought it would be low key…El Porton or Chipotle, but Ceil didn’t want Mexican or BBQ. There wasn’t a crowd at P. F. Chang, so we ate there. Afterwards we stopped by Kroger to stock up on Poweraide (the 32 oz 59 cent sale ended Saturday). Ceil was looking at the magazines, so I checked out and took the groceries to the car. When I came back in I saw Ceil talking to a man I didn’t recognize, so I checked out some things before finally walking up to them. Turned out to be Bryan, buying the last inner tube boat…for himself, he said.

Bryan sold a screenplay, and is working on cutting the length. Set in Atlanta, part of it’s about church softball. He said he’d let me read it to make sure the scenes are realistic. Bryan is temporarily hosting the Buckhead Church Kidstuf while the crowd gets used to the newer actors. After that they may look for a closer church, and may visit East Cobb Presbyterian, where the Normans go. Susan called Ceil last night and I think they were talking about that.

We wound up going there Sunday, and it was ok. After NP, any church is going to be a letdown, particularly a smaller church. NP is comfortable for me because I can go and be anonymous. At ECPC several men came up to introduce themselves, and some figured me to be “Will’s dad”. Ceil enjoyed being with Becky. The preacher was ok, at times humorous and also thought-provoking. Before the service he approached with his hands in his pockets and introduced himself, explaining he didn’t want to shake hands because he had a cold. People say he’s a better relationship guy than preacher, but his sermon may have been more applicable than the Bible-story type sermons Bryant Wright preaches at Johnson Ferry. Saw Will’s former teammates David Bartlett and his brother, the great Willie. Their parents seem to be getting involved at ECPC in a low-key way. We like the Bartletts…Coach Henry and mom Kristie, who is crazy.

Will had practice Saturday morning, basically a scrimmage game like we did in the spring. Afterwards Will wanted to hit more, so Coach Donnie pitched to him and three others. Everyone then left, but I threw two more bucketfuls to Will, and his hitting seems to be coming around. Will also pitched well. Saturday afternoon Will went with Joel and another boy to Conyers for a huge Christian concert. Since it was free (and it had rained) I figured it would be a zoo, but Will said they had a good time. He spent Saturday night at the Norman’s…that factored into why we went to ECPC, along with no NP classes for the kids.

Saturday afternoon I swam with Anna and Matthew. They like to throw the tennis ball in the pool, so I had them jumping in and catching it. Anna would stand and jump, so she had more success. Matthew would take a running start, and the way he’d crash into the water had me cracking up. He finally got to where he’d catch it more often than not, but he must’ve jumped in twenty times.

Sunday after church I took the kids to Macon. My mom wanted to make sure they liked the food. Will was ecstatic over the ribs, Anna loves mashed potatoes, and Matthew got his beloved hot dogs. My dad’s centipede lawn was in good shape. Will cut the front and I cut the back (in sandals, so my feet are now itching), and I blew off the driveway. My dad can do small sections of lawn before getting worn out, so he usually does a little every other day.

Yesterday I spent a lot of time cleaning upstairs, putting up piles than had accumulated. Ceil wanted to go to a thrift store to look for an old bedspread, so we hit a few in Roswell, then TJMaxx. Will and I fixed a ceiling fan, then we all went to see Pirates 3 at the Picture Show. I had forgotten that only Will had seen it, so we all enjoyed it.

The Nanny Diaries

When we went to NYC a couple of years ago, a thunderstorm stuck us at the airport for a long time. I was reading anything I could get my hands on, including that day's NY Times. There was a story about a nanny who revealed too much on her blog about the family she worked for, as well as lots from her personal life. This was before I blogged, but I googled and found her blog on Blogspot, before it was taken down. Don't know if that was the first article about her, but she was the basis for the new "Nanny Diaries' movie that's just out. I didn't know it was also a book. Since that was one of the first blogs I ever read, a tiny bit of my style/form comes from her.

Not really a great surprise that Frenchy would have a 5 strikeout game, or get thrown out. Hopefully he won't have too many more. He's really had a good year. You wonder if Orr got in the way of Andruw on that double in the gap last night. Hated to see Oscar walk the leadoff hitter. I thought it was funny after Diaz caught that deep sac fly inthe 11th, he appeared to throw to third.

Heard Boyer was starting in Richmond. Fun to hear Bill Shanks in 680 in the afternoons. Guess he’s on the radio in Macon as well.

Family Matters

Now that the kids are older it’s a different dynamic. I’m proud to see Will getting involved at his school and with the ECPC youth. Anna has friends she likes to spend time with, but she also plays like a child. Matthew is different, but he gets wrapped up in playing with toys, drawing, outdoors, and occasionally sports, like I did…so he’s fun to watch and play with. I need to play more baseball, basketball, and Wii with Will. Anna doesn’t like baseball, so I need to do different things with her…she’s the hardest. She actually likes to wrestle. Matthew is still huggable…I need to read with him like I did with Will and Anna.

We need to talk everyday, not just about that day’s activities, but also plans and finances. She wants to talk about feelings and stuff first, which I’m not good at. Neither of us are big talkers, and we both expect the other to carry the conversation. As a couple we’re going to go back through the Intimate Encounters book, but we need to start. We have been going out on more dates, since we don’t need a sitter any more.

I have to remember what intimate Encounters (and Andy) have stressed…I don’t need to focus on changing Ceil, but instead accepting her for who she is, and instead focusing on how I can serve her. Selfish as I am, that last part is hard. Ceil is quite similar to me in many ways…strengths and weaknesses wise. We both wanted to get married and looked forward to raising kids.

Friends…it’s interesting the old Second-Ponce crowd has kept up with each other. It’s mostly been once or twice a year…some keep up better than others. I actually don’t keep up as good as some. The recent deaths of Steve and Ginny brought people together, and there have been some other deaths of parents as well.

There’s really no one from high school I keep up with that much. I went to three high school reunions before I figured out that my best friends weren’t going to the reunions, so I doubt I’ll go to my 25th reunion in October (but this year they’re having it at a football game). I’m a much better emailer than phone caller. One friend has had some health issues and I haven’t done a good job of keeping up.

Fall Ball

Had a good time last night riding to the Kennesaw scheduling meeting with Chris, the whiffleball coach. He works at UPS in mergers & acquisitions. We basically have eight weeks to play games this fall. The league director suggested we schedule 12 - 14 games, but Chris and I were on the same page...the more games the better, especially with 14 players. The actual scheduling went well...just a bunch of guys gathered around scheduling games, usually on a one to one basis. The faces are starting to become familiar. Since it's be hard for both of us to schedule at the same time without duplicating dates, while Chris was negotiating with one team I'd be lining up the next person for him to talk to, feeing them out for open dates.

Chris made all eight Saturdays a home doubleheader, so we wound up with 23 games...even more than we played in the spring. (Update: The Park Director said we couldn’t play 23 games, so Chris had to cut it back to 18…just fewer doubleheaders. Bad thing is, we usually don’t make up rainouts. Maybe we can try harder to do that this fall). Only two 7 pm road 8 pm games, and 19 home games. Will only has one conflict...the Saturday we're on his retreat.

My only concern is pitching...there are four Thursday games leading into Saturday doubleheaders. Will has a hard time pitching on one day's rest. We have at least eight pitchers...maybe more. On the drive home Chris and I talked about who could pitch and play what positions, and I was able to give him a lot of input. Will said they didn't hit much again last night, but that'll change tomorrow.

Will’s team scrimmaged last week (so everyone only took ten cuts instead of the 50 they all needed. Will had to play third, and was frustrated because his team had the worst players. Pretty much a life lesson for him…that life isn’t fair, it’s how he reacts to it. Playing catcher with a right-handed mitt (as opposed to my lefty glove) I dropped a couple of close plays, though I happened to make a couple of good plays…against Will’s team. So Will was mad at me…funny. I manage one season and I think I have all the answers!

My Civic MPG is down, and the only real change was new tires. Coworker Mike checked them out. They're harder tires than I'd had before, so they should wear slower and provide good traction...but that causes less MPG. On the highway I went from 40 to 37. In the city it's down from 32 to 30.

Work Work Work

When SDA was my boss, we were in the same office. He included me in meetings where my input was valuable. After he moved to Florida my real boss was a VP I never saw or spoke to...I just sent him reports. I had a dotted line report to young DS, who's great. He sticks his head into complicated issues and can figure things out. This is good, but that means he needs me less than SDA. Now I rarely see my new VP boss CK, though he's certainly more hands on than the last VP. SDA suggested I send regular updates of what I'm doing, and the first one worked out well.

Had meetings over at CK's office and also with the office manager friend who thought I'd be a good replacement for him. We really think alike, he's just way more methodical than me...has to understand every issue, and everything must be done his way. He suggested I get an assistant to help take away some of my paperwork, since the new people in the office aren't close to taking it over. Probably a temp to perm. This would be great, freeing me up to review costs more, as well as do more training, and get out to learn SAP...what CK wants me to do. May also take a green belt class.

When I managed the scheduling department of our processing division, I derived extreme satisfaction in vastly improving our office’s Q-rating with the other offices, and seeing employees that I hired/brought in do a great job. JS did so well she was promoted to second in command in the department, and people around the company raved about her work. She lives close by, so she likes her commute. Due to the recent reorganization and business level she was demoted (and her boss had to start doing more work). She sounded ok the day she told me, but I was there in her department where she couldn’t open up. When I was in Orlando they were saying she wasn’t real happy with the demotion.

The ogre hangs on to people in his department. There’s another good long-time employee who’d been held back like JS. Then there’s lots of other worker bees who can’t figure out problems. SDA was better about recognizing good employees and rewarding them, though he was better in the 90’s than he was the last few years.

Technology To Do's

Luckily I have the kids around to help with technology.

1. I got a cell phone a month ago, but haven't taken the time to figure it handbook.

2. Two buttons on our old TV have fallen turn it off it has to be unplugged. Guess it's time for a new one.

3. At home my laptop can't get on-line, because the plug in broke (I shouldn't have left it in the bent!) Hopefully tomorrow I'll get a new plug-in.

4. Ceil has problems with her email that BellSouth can't resolve.

5. Our new garage doors are great, but we need to get the installers back for a tweak. And my remote needs a new battery, as does the remote for the van's door opener...but I can't unscrew it to get to the battery!