Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thursday

Will has a tough game tonight, but he HAD to play nine holes of golf beforehand. Facing tough competition, both the opponents and on his own team, he really needs to focus on baseball. His BA is only OK, though his OBP is one of the better ones on the team (thanks to walks & HBPs). I don’t think he has an extra-base hit all year, unlike plenty of teammates. I have no idea what stats the coaches look at, if any. Most of the batting order changes have made sense…aggressive Richie was moved way up to second, and best hitter Bradley went from second to third. Will has batted cleanup every game. That may change…slender slugger Tyler returns Monday.

NOTE: After several strikeouts, Richie dropped to 7th in the order. Parker has been on fire, and was moved to the two spot. He responded with two hits. And Will doubled, a line drive over the leftfielder's head, that one-hopped the fence. Also a walk and HBP.

We have nothing planned for the weekend…I’m sure I’ll go swimming with Matthew. Tomorrow is month end, and one co-worker is off, so it will be a long day. Will has Sunday BP, and doubleheaders Monday and Tuesday.

The Orlando game did seem to go on and on. Will and his friends were amazed. While I hope Orlando wins out, it sure seems unlikely. That would be big. I’m sure we’ll be watching tonight as well.

Monday & Tuesday

Sixty of us ate at little Dominic’s Monday night, in downtown Norcross. Pretty good Italian, and lots of it, family style. Afterward we went outside to the bank of the railroad tracks, to take a group picture. Just as soon as we got lined up, we heard the rail crossing signal, and sure enough, a northbound train came speeding around the bend.

Got home just in time for 24. Will had friends DJ, Joel Norman , and Alyssa over to watch, and eat dinner.

Monday we watched most of the 4th quarter, after the 24 finale ended. Years ago people said the Magic won to extend the series, to make more money for the league. I don’t hear that so much any more.

We watched a good deal of the second half. With the Suns in the lead, I thought about Reid pulling for the Lakers. Yesterday I had read a Grant Hill article. I like him and Nash, as well as Kobe , Walton, Gasol, and Phil Jackson.

Wonder if the Braves won’t do something with KK, especially when JJ returns.

Looking forward to reading the SI article on Justine Henin.

Another busy evening on Tuesday. Left work at 4:30 to run a work errand, but 285 west was pretty well blocked. Detoured to Will’s game at Sprayberry, arriving just after he walked in the first. Their 16U team beat an East Cobb 18U team 10-4. Will went 2-2 with 2 walks and 3 RBIs, and threw out a base-stealer at second. Seven of his friends came to cheer, all older girls.

Afterwards I took Will up to Sandy Plains to watch a friend’s game. I watched an inning, then went to pick up Anna and Matthew at youth group. Willis Norman is serving as the summer youth intern at East Cobb Presbyterian, where Becky and the boys go. Now all our kids go to youth activities when they can. Anna was happy young Will Acuff came with the Normans .

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Rays Embarrass Older Saints as Crazed Coeds Scream

The 16U Rays defeated the 18U East Cobb Saints 10-4 this evening at Sprayberry High, out-embarrassing the returning heroines, the Crazy Coeds. The top four batters in the Rays order led the way, reaching base 14 of 16 times, scoring seven runs.

...The Rays went right to work in the top of the first, scoring three runs without a base hit. Jake, Richie, and Bradley all scored, driven in by Will, Parker, and Cole. But the older Saints looked good in the bottom of the first, tying the game on three hits and two sacrifice flies. When the Rays failed to score in the second, it looked like it would be a long game.

...But in trooped the Crazy Coeds, injecting pep and fun to the team and crowd. Fueled by discounted drinks from happy hour at Sonic, Charissa, Lisa, Hailey, Libby, and Jennalynne showed junior team members Christiana and Christine the ropes, with mixed success. Evidently junior members must be recent graduates and exhibit Christ-like qualities in their names. Tired from a long day at Six Flags, the girls still had plenty of energy, even getting some of the moms cheering.

...Surely fueled by the lively crowd, the Rays buckled down and outplayed their older opponents. In the second Richie retired the Saints in order, with help from catcher Will, gunning out the runner trying to steal second (the DJ play of the day). In the third Bradley and Will led off with walks, then Dustin and Parker scored, with help from Cole’s RBI single.

...In the bottom of the inning the Rays gave the ball to new pitcher Conner, trying out for the team. Christened “Milkshake” by Libby, the kid from Milwaukee allowed only two hits in three scoreless innings. The Rays extended the lead by scoring three more in the fourth. Milkshake, Jake, and Richie led off the inning by reaching base and scoring, driven in by Bradley’s walk, Will’s single, and Parker’s sacrifice fly.

...In the stands the fun continued. The girls worked their phones, texted, and snapped stalker pictures of Will in the dugout. For some strange reason Jennalynne took a short walk over to the other side of the stands. Junior member Christine sat engrossed with the game on her phone, drawing in Christiana. I was impressed with Hailey’s clean silver sneakers, shamed as I was in my old Pumas, which made my ankles look swollen. Libby told a school story and complimented Charissa on her flip flops. She’ll never sit near me again.

...Back on the field, the Rays rallied again, scoring two more in the sixth. Jake and Richie led off with singles, and scored on Bradley’s sac fly and Will’s sharp single to right. Dustin moved Will to third on the team’s fourth sacrifice fly of the night, setting the single-game Rays’ sacrifice fly record.

...Bradley’s pitching closed out the game, allowing a meaningless unearned run. The game ended and the teams fist-pumped. Will said the Saints were dejected, having lost to a team two years their junior. The Coeds celebrated by taking a group picture with Will (so far, none of the pictures have appeared on FB). Will went 2-2 with two walks and three RBIs.

...And the night was still young! The Coeds drove off in the sunset, for a wild night “at Taco Bell and Libby’s house.” Will watched Nathan Shetler’s game. I chatted with Joel, Willis, Charles, and Andrew at the Bates, while Anna and Matthew swam. With Ceil out with the girls, I had the night free to write recaps.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Ray vs #1 ECB Astros: Moral Victory?

The ECB Rays qualified as the eight seed in bracket play in this weekend’s East Cobb tourney, granting them the privilege of playing perhaps the top team in the country, the mighty East Cobb Astros.

....Our guys comported themselves quite well, despite being spent from playing three games in the previous 24 hours, and two in the last eight. No team in this tourney had lasted more than three innings, or allowed less than 16 runs. Even without four players, the Rays bested this.

...The boys played a little tighter than usual, perhaps trying a bit too hard. Michael was sent out to pitch first, “holding” the Astros eight batters and four hits an inning…three and four runs. Will ran down a fly ball in deep left, and charged a single so hard that the Astros third-base coach Guerry Baldwin held the runner at third.

...The Astros starting pitcher hailed from Massachusetts, pressed into duty since the guy from Florida couldn’t make the trip. The New Englander retired the first seven Rays batters, before Greenwell reached first on a strikeout/passed ball. Then four more Rays were put out. Will pulled a grounder into the hole, that the third-baseman snow-coned with his outstretched glove. His throw to first beat Will by a half step.

...Will came on to pitch the third, and retired the side without allowing an earned run. As he strode to the mound, I wondered if he would throw at the first batters’ head. He did, but not on purpose. Pumped, he often missed high in the zone. An error, walk, and fielder’s choice put runners on second and third.

...I sat behind the plate with many of the other Rays parents, mostly since this was one of the few shady spots. A great view of the pitch coming in.

...Will fired to the number two hitter in the order. The 2-1 pitch was lined right back at Will. My mind went immediately to the game several years ago at Hobgood Park, the one time a line drive came back and struck Will while pitching.

...This time Will somehow contorted his body completely horizontal, in midair. The line drive struck off his glove, deflecting all the way to the second-baseman RT, who threw the batter out at first. From midair, Will fell straight down onto the mound. The game was stopped, and the umpire waved the coaches out to check on Will. But it was evident that he was ok, and the game continued.

...The top of the fourth was possibly the Rays last bat, and they still had yet to earn a base hit. Jake grounded out and Richie struck out. But Bradley reached first on a swinging dribbler down the third base line, then Will’s chopper in the hole got past the second-baseman into right field. Two straight hits, before Dustin blooped out to second.

...In the fourth the number eight batter, looking for a hit, bunted down the third base side. Will made a fine play fielding the bunt, and throwing out the batter at first.

...One of the TEN starting pitchers had the task of working the scoreboard. He was quizzed the whole time by our manager’s wife, and some of the other Rays parents. Here are some more fun facts about the Astros…

...Several of the Astros are from other states, and stay with teammates or at the on-site house. One of the 16 year-olds already has full scholarship offers from several schools, including Tech, Georgia, and Clemson. There are 28 on the roster, and they have at least four uniform sets. Mrs. Parker said that once Coach Baldwin recruited three new players, so he immediately cut three other players.

Sunday 10 am & 3 pm Games

The Rays went 2-1 in pool play, and qualified for bracket play by only allowing ten runs in pool play. They lost 8-5 to Team Georgia in the 10 am Sunday game. Will went 1-3, ling a single to left. He was hit by a pitch and scored a run. He caught. His throw to second arrived well before one base-stealer, who spiked the fielder, kicking the ball out of Austin’s glove.

...At three the Rays run-ruled the East Cobb Patriots, winning 12-0. Will lined a single to right and scored. In his first game playing left field, he hustled to the corner to hold a batter to a first inning single.

...In the fifth the shutout was threatened when a Patriot reached third with no out. The next batter hit a deep line drive to left, Will’s first ball in the air. He broke the wrong way on the ball over his hair, but quickly reversed direction and caught the ball with his momentum going backward. The runner tagged at third and headed home.

...Not really thinking about getting the runner, Will still made a quick, accurate throw to the cutoff man, shortstop Jake. But the runner wasn’t hustling, and Jake fired a high strike home to catcher Cole, who tagged the runner on the head. The umpire called him out, and the shutout was intact.

...Dustin struck out the last batter, giving him the complete game win. He also scored three runs and drove in four, on a double and home run.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Calmer Coeds Chat as Rays Roll

...All nine starters reached base, eight collected hits, and seven scored as the Rays rolled over the East Cobb Red Sox 10-2 Saturday afternoon. Will beat out an infield hit in the fourth, and handled his only chance at third base.

...Kara, Sarah Massey, Elizabeth Hanson, and Mary Meder arrived fashionably late, and the crowd braced itself for hilarity to ensue. Instead they acted like the polite young ladies they are, watching the game, chatting nicely with Ceil and others, and having fun in the sun. Later Lucy joined the gang.

...After retiring the Rays in the top of the first, the first two Sox batters got hits and scored, one on a line drive just over a leaping Will at third. After that Rays pitchers Michael and Dustin held the next 18 Sox batters without a hit, striking out seven.

...Down 0-2, the Rays responded by scoring in each of the next five innings. In the second Parker and Dustin singled, and Kyle walked to load the bases. Parker scored on Justin’s grounder, then Richie’s bases-loaded double cleared the bases. Richie then scored on a passed ball. Parker scored again on Dustin’s third inning double.

...The Rays were poised to break the game open in the fourth, but the Sox pulled off the play of the game (sponsored by DJ Hoffer). Richie led off with a single to center, stole second, and scored on Bradley’s second double of the game. Will beat out a grounder to deep short, then Cole’s perfect bunt hit loaded the bases. Parker walked, plating Bradley.

...Two had scored, the bases were loaded, and nobody out as Austin stepped in. He had lined a single to left the previous inning. Now he swung at the first pitch, smashing a low, hot line drive back up the middle. The pitcher snagged the ball in the air, and wheeled to check the runners. Cole dove back to second, so the pitcher turned and fired to first, doubling off Parker. The first baseman then threw across the infield to third, before Will could scamper back…a rare triple play.

...Undeterred, Dustin led off the next inning with a double to right center. Jake singled him to third, then got caught off first. Dustin was able to score in the ensuing rundown. Shaken, the Sox allowed an unearned run in the sixth. Cole took second on an error, third on a wild pitch, then scored on another wild pitch.

...Sundays the Rays play at ten and three, at the East Cobb field three. They’ll be sporting their Carolina blue jerseys. Will is catching in the morning, and might pitch in the afternoon. But beware, unlike the weekday games, admission is charged for these weekend tournament games.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Week in Review

Tuesday Will went 4-5, reaching on an error. Had a double down the left-field line that drove in a run. Also walked and scored two runs. They beat the East Cobb Saints 9-3, and could’ve scored at least one more run. Will caught, getting dinged several times by errand pitches. Several teammates switched positions for the game. Will has already played 3B, SS, P, C, and RF. At this stage of baseball, rightfield is a more important position than leftfield.

Wednesday night I was in the other room during American Idol. Saw internet reports about Heyward winning the game, so I bolted for the TV. After Idol they turned off the TV. It takes a while for the TV to come on, so I missed the Peachtree TV “postgame”.

Thursday night I took the northern route home, across Old Milton to downtown Alpharetta. At home I changed clothes, than drove to Woodstock to pick up Will…all the Living Science kids were saying their goodbyes for the summer. Took him to practice at Kell, then took carpool kid Michael home, then returned to Kell by the time practice ended, then drove home. I was basically in the car from 5:30 to 9 pm.

Thought about watching the 11 pm SportsSouth replay, but didn’t. Is that not three straight walk off hits in a row? What is the record? Saw the slam replay, and Conrad stopping after rounding first. His dad had to be a baseball fan, naming him Brooks. Will played Little League with a Brooks, who is still playing in north Georgia . Dad loves baseball.

Will’s Friday game was rained out…nothing tonight. Hopefully they’ll get the games in Saturday…looks like they’ll play at least one on Sunday. They had only have nine players, including one boy who hasn’t hit yet, due to a wrist injury. Several were to miss due to high school graduations and the end of school.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

29 & 47

The Golf Channel is airing “Donald Trump’s World of Golf”…where two “celebrities” play at one of Trump’s resorts/courses. Today it’s Glavine and Smoltz. I’m sure they’ll rerun it. I watched five minutes of Jerry Rice/Lawrence Taylor, before charges were filed.

Another dad scores the games, and is a nice guy to talk to. He says he’s not ready to use a pen, though I do mess up from time to time, with my pen. Saturday I kept the team book and they went 2-1. Didn’t keep it Sunday and they lost.

Pumas

My collection of Pumas continues to grow…

1. Roma…white/blue/blue soles

2. California (tennis)…red…red sole easily cracks.

3. California (tennis)…grey/red…top wear-around shoe

4. Suedes…red

5. Warm-ups…blue/white/grey

6. Roma…white/blue/tan soles

7. California (tennis)…grey/white…worn by Will & Matthew

New Balance

I have enough pair of nice New Balance running shoes where you’d think I wouldn’t need to get any more. They have so much support, I don’t get tired standing around all day in them.

1. 993 grey…tongue loose

2. 992 black D…new

3. 992 grey USA anniversary model…wide

4. 991 grey D…new

5. 991 grey narrow

6. 991 grey 10.5 for Will

The special anniversary pair was bought for Will, but didn’t fit. He and Anna each have another pair of more casual New Balances.

Golf Shirts

I always have a hard time picking out a golf shirt to wear to work, as if I didn’t have many to choose from. So I decided to make a list to see. There are ten nice shirts in my closet, five maybes (with issues), and five more to wear around on weekends. Most came from my favorite source.

1. Black…adidas

2. Green…Masters polyester

3. Black…Bobby Jones

4. Navy…Callaway

5. Black stripe… Arnold Palmer

6. Olive…Bobby Jones

7. Tan…Callaway

8. Red stripe…Polo… Amelia Island

9. Royal…Ryerson …new

10. White…Ryerson …new

11. Green stripe…Masters…kinda small

12. Purple…Callaway…kinda big…new

13. Royal…Cutter Buck…kinda big

14. Green…Masters cotton…kinda big…new

15. Yellow…Izod…small…new

16. White…Izod…casual

17. Blue stripe…Eddie Bauer…casual…new

18. Navy…casual

19. Black…Callaway…casual

20. Green stripe…Masters…too big

Monday, May 17, 2010

Crazed Coeds Cheer Rays to Victory

Will's East Cobb Rays played an entertaining Saturday triple-header, highlighted by an appearance of four friends at the nightcap. Earlier the grandfathers reminded me I hadn’t sent many game recaps lately, so I had to write. When I thought up the title, I figured I’d post it here as well.

1…ECB Rays

3…Hullu (Huntsville)

...In the top of the first Bradley scored after Will beat out an infield hit. Hullu scored three unearned runs in the bottom of the inning. Both teams threatened, but the rest of the game was scoreless. Michael pitched three scoreless innings, then Will pitched two. Will struck out two.

2…ECB Rays

1…Team Gwinnett

...The Rays scored single runs in the 5th and 7th, then held off Gwinnett for the win. Jake singled home Richie, then Kyle’s single to right plated Parker. Ryan T pitched four shutout innings, then Jake added two more.

...In the first Will blasted a line drive that hit high off the 40 foot centerfield fence. Will played four innings at third, and three innings at short, turning a game-ending double play.

...After the doubleheader at Walton, we had 1:15 to get to Kell for the next game. We grabbed a bite at Willies, then got gas. Only then did we remember the Living Science graduation party, not too far from Kell. We swung by for five minutes.

0…Kennesaw Rocks

6…ECB Rays

...After Will led off the second with a single to left, he was replaced with a pinch-runner, since he was catching. While he was donning his tools of ignorance in the dugout, up walked his friends Charissa, Lisa, Hailey, and Jen. All four had just returned from their freshman year in college. Much to the delight of Will’s teammates (and their parents), the coeds had a wonderful time cheering and embarrassing Will.

...In the inning just after the girls arrived, a Kennesaw batter struck out. Will hopped up, tossed the ball in front of the mound, and trotted toward the dugout. Unfortunately, it was only the second out of the inning.

...All the excitement seemed to rally the tired team, and they reeled off six runs in their next at bat. Richie doubled, Austin reached on an error, and RT was hit, loading the bases. Jake walked, Bradley reached on an error, and Will was hit, forcing home three runs. Parker’s double plated two more, and Kyle’s single drove in the sixth run of the inning.

...The girls kept the evening fun, making observations about player nicknames, and the habit of calling a player by his number. This led to a conversation about numbers they had worn, and what sports they’d played (or might play…it was hard to concentrate on the game!). I offered my own fascinating anecdotes, which I’m sure were appreciated.

...Pitchers Dustin and Ryan G never faced more than four batters in any one inning, allowing only two hits while striking out nine. The game ended just before eleven. Exhausted, Will considered sleeping in his filthy uniform.

5…ECB Rays

7…Bases Loaded Bombers (Birmingham)

...The Rays wilted in the late Sunday morning heat, managing only one run until the last inning. Down 7-1, Richie singled in Michael, then Jake’s bases-loaded double brought the Rays within two.

...Will walked, handled his only chance at third, and caught a fly ball in his only inning playing right field (while the usual right-fielder, Richie, pitched).

...Will also just missed making a great catch, wandering far into foul territory just behind the third-base dugout. Just as the fly fell into his glove, he tripped over all the opposition’s batbags, laying haphazardly in play. He dropped the ball, and received no favorable ruling from the umpires.

First Impressions

Here are some first impressions on the East Cobb Baseball 16U Rays, with positions played, school, and whether they played with Will on the Prowlers, or on the rival Sidewinders…

AJ…C, P… Lassiter…Prowlers…good catcher and clutch hitter. 10th grader called up for HS playoffs.

AUSTIN…P, LF…Pace…recovering from overuse at Pace, he has yet to pitch.

BRADLEY…CF…Kell…Sidewinders...leading hitter so far, quite smooth at the plate, in the field, and on the bases. Lefty.

COLE…2B, C, P…Harrison… along with Will, the team utility man. Plays infield better than Will, he’s also a more consistent hitter. Bats left.

DUSTIN…P, LF…Centennial…pitched confidently Sat nite. Can’t bat due to hurt wrist. Hustles, retrieves balls, good attitude.

JAKE…SS, P…Kell…Sidewinders…a better shortstop than Will…same hard-nosed approach…hustles. Bats left.

KYLE K…1B…Kell…Sidewinders…under-rated, hard workers, excellent fielding lefty, takes game seriously, especially hitting. Parents on Kell baseball board, and help run concessions. Dad keeps score.

KYLE R …P…currently hurt, can only pinch run.

MICHAEL…P, 1B…Lassiter…Prowlers…mainly a pitcher. Fun, great attitude.

PARKER…INF…Lassiter…Prowlers…has put on muscle since last summer, playing football. Crazy fraternal twin brother is Lassiter’s mascot. Older brother plays lacrosse at UConn.

RICHIE…RF, P…Pope…Sidewinders…Will’s teammate in 2007 & 2008, on Wildcats. Good fielder & aggressive hitter and baserunner. Mom loves to cook, grandfather a fun, old-school New Yorker who loves to talk movies and back-when baseball.

RYAN G…C, P…Pope…Prowlers…great fundamentals, good hitter. Lives near us, dad works near me. “Would rather play ball than go to prom.” Older brother played ECB.

RYAN T …INF, P…Pope…Prowlers…steady fielder, hit HR for Pope JV. Dad coached Prowlers. Family attends Roswell St. Baptist.

TYLER…P, 1B, RF…Lassiter…Prowlers…slender slugger led Prowlers in most hitting categories last year, currently on Lassiter varsity for playoffs. Dad coaches at Lassiter. Bats left.

WILL…3B, C, P, SS, OF…Veritas…Prowlers…starts at third, but backs up at short, catcher, pitcher, and outfield. Has Rays longest hit, off wall at Walton HS. Needs to get going on his hitting, but still has a .500 OBP.

The batting order and team dynamic will change when AJ and Tyler return from the high school playoffs, and when the injured players are ready to contribute. Adding three more pitchers will help. Hopefully the entire team hitting will soon improve.

Defense has been good. Shortstop Jake made all the plays before having a bad fielding day Sunday (though he responded with a bases-loaded double after his bad inning).

I Had a Dream (Two, Actually)

Last night I dreamed that I performed improve with Steve Martin. Nervous, so I only added safe, fun lines/bits. Still, afterwards Martin overly critiqued my performance.

I also dreamt the expedition skit had a Scooby-Doo ending. When the mask was pulled off old man Hoffer, it was Russ. Russ thought the ending to be anti-climatic, probably because of where it was placed in the skit.

Every month I go to the same bank on the 15th, and park in the same area. These last three times I’ve gone I’ve noticed the same green candy sucker stuck on the ground, outside the front door. Not only is it bad that it’s been there so long, but it must be made from artificial chemicals that even the ants don’t like.

Spring Recital, Etc.

Busy weekend. Friday Matthew, my mother in law, and I went to O’Charleys to meet Will and my father in law, coming from batting practice. Afterward I took my mother in law up to Anna’s dress rehearsal.

Rain put off Will’s morning game until the afternoon, so we all went to Anna’s 10 am recital. I got to visit for a long time beforehand with the Freunds. Chris has just graduated from nursing school, and Abby just finished her freshman year at Emory, on scholarship. Anna danced five dances, but I noticed she wasn’t in one particular dance that she did last year, that included girls older and younger than her. Things like that may be part of her frustration with ballet. She did have a dance solo in both recitals. Both sets of grandparents stayed for both morning and afternoon recitals.

Took Will home to get ready for his game, then realized his batbag was in his grandfather’s trunk, at ballet. So I dropped Will off at Walton and went back to get it. The grandparents didn’t miss much of Will’s first game, and both saw his shot high off the wall in right-center. Sunday I wrote a tourney recap, that’ll I’ll bless you with separately.

After game two the in-laws took C, A, and M to Olive Garden.

Missed church Sunday, and after the game I didn’t do much…watched the Braves, did some laundry, and went swimming with Matthew.

Will practices Thursday, and has games Tuesday, Friday, Saturday (two), and at least one Sunday. The Tuesday 5:30 game is at Sprayberry.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Shaq

Just read the SI article about Shaq. Nice long part on how he loves life and jokes around…that’s the off-court Shaq I’ve always liked. Didn’t like him much at LSU and Orlando. The article didn’t mention injuries…wasn’t he hobbled for years with foot and knee injuries? Hard to work out and lose weight during those times. Should’ve shot foul shot granny-style. I don’t know why poor foul shooters wouldn’t shoot jumpers.

Left yesterday at 4:25 to deliver a check off Windy Hill. Took an hour to get up to Woodstock to get Will. He practiced from 6:30-nine, taking extra grounders and BP. Picked up Anna as well.

In-laws in town, which usually means an O’Charleys or Cal Pizza Kitchen run.

The transactional sales group just let an underperformer go, that hadn’t been here 9 months. He had struggled the whole time.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Presentation


Anna shows off her project to her Living Science class.

Will vs Holt


Will catches as buddy Holt bats, in the Crown vs Barons game at East Cobb.

First Loss

Will’s ECB Rays lost last night at Kell HS. The Rangers had recruited Will and got Audie. They scored seven in the first off Ryan T, then six in the third off Michael. The Rays chipped at the lead, making the 13-9 final score somewhat respectable.

Will played third and misplayed his only chance, a tough between-hop grounder he should’ve charged. He walked twice and grounded into two fielder’s choices, scoring one run. Ryan G had a tough game catching, throwing high on three stolen base attempts, and dropping a throw to the plate. He did get two hits.

Yesterday I wrote that long piece about Will’s spring team, to blow off steam. The coach’s freshman son, who mainly platooned in rightfield, was given the “best hitter” and “best fielder” award, because he had the highest batting average and made the least errors. His dad kept the scorebook all year, which apparently didn’t agree with mine.

The Braves finally rolled off a couple of wins. Hopefully they can keep it up against a tough pitcher this afternoon.

See any of the Braves game Sunday? Pitcher KK batted with no out and a runner on first. He bunted, too hard, and the pitcher wheeled and threw to second, starting a DP. During the replay, the Braves announcers said something about “giving it a three” then the other said “I gave it a four.” Hear that? What were they talking about? Any idea?

It does seem like Andy repeatedly hits on what could be called the basics, the stuff that people most need to hear. Probably has to do with so many new people coming in. Something said two years ago hasn’t been heard by a good portion of the crowd.

After working with teens from 82-93, I was ready for a break. Now I really enjoy being back working with the Living Science kids. They’re certainly different, and sometimes supervising them in hotel rooms can be an adventure.

My World, and Welcome to It

During the baseball banquet Monday night, the head coach reserved several of his nicest comments for Will. I paraphrase:

“When I heard this young man was joining our team, I was excited. Then when I heard about his schedule, less so” (I could certainly understand his feelings).

“He missed three weeks of the six week season” (Slight exaggeration. He missed 2-1/2 weeks, and the original schedule was 11 weeks).

”Probably the most talented player in the program.”

“Great leader. The other players rallied around him.”

“Even when he wasn’t playing well, the other players played better with him around”

“He is a fine spiritual leader”

While speaking about Will, the coach told how the team voted for captains at the beginning of the season. One player got nine votes, and another received eight. Since he would miss the 2-1/2 weeks, no captains were named. The coach also mentioned that “if a dad comes to practice and helps, I consider him an assistant.” That’s a good thing in my book, especially if the coaches can help provide more individual instruction.

With all the rainouts and JV games, I hadn’t thought that Will had missed that many games. Still, I thought it an honor that he was given the “Armor Award” for his character. Like when Chipper played less than 130 games and missed out on Gold Glove consideration, I thought it nice that Will still received one of four awards, despite having missed the 2-1/2 weeks.

Obviously, this baseball team was not Will’s top priority. Many of the players probably missed little or no time. All three of the other award winners missed at least a couple of the games I attended. For two of them, it was obvious that baseball was their top priority. At this time when young people are involved with so many things, some things are “mandatory” and can’t be missed. When I was in high school, the expectation was that every practice, game, and meeting would be attended. I’m sure that those expectations are still in place on public school teams.

I was quite happy that Will played most every inning of the games he attended, at shortstop, catcher, second, center, or pitcher. He almost always batted second or third. My main goal for his season was for him to play as much as possible, preparing for the summer ECB season. For at least half the season Will struggled at the plate. He made a few errors at shortstop. He was mostly brought to pitch in tough situations, with runners in scoring position,. For the most part he pitched well, striking out many more than he walked.

Several freshmen pitched more innings than Will. My guess is two things: Younger players pitched to get experience for next season, and Will was needed more at other positions, for defense. And Will would be available to pitch the team out of jams.

Tanner was voted MVP, an easy choice. He tied for the team lead in home runs, and hit well for most of the year. He also pitched consistently, probably leading the team in innings pitched. Generally, Tanner throws strikes. A junior, he probably only missed a game or two. It was his third season playing for Crown. His parents are quite involved: his mom serves on the baseball committee, and his dad is an assistant coach. All three worked hard to pull off the banquet.

During the banquet there was no delineation mentioned between varsity and JV games. The team record was not mentioned, only that 32 of 42 scheduled games were played. Several of these were JV only, and others the second game of doubleheaders. Sometimes people only count game one in the standings. It was apparent that the statistics quoted at the banquet combined the JV and varsity games, from my observation and scorekeeping. I am well aware how statistics can be made to prove different points.

Scorekeeping is quite the inexact science. I’ve been scoring games for the better part of my life, and am well aware how bias comes into play. It’s so hard to determine hits versus errors at any time, and even more so when your child is involved. To be as impartial as possible, I have read extensively on the subject. A MLB error is quite different from a T-ball error, in my opinion. What’s the difference between an ECB error, an East Cobb public school varsity error, and a home school high-school error? JV vs. Varsity? Freshman vs. Senior? Should there be any difference?

The other awards were for Best Hitter and Best Fielder. They appeared to be given to the players with the highest batting average, and the player committing the fewest errors. That means the awards were somewhat in the hands of the team scorekeeper, who decided hits and errors. I didn’t see all the games, and I didn’t see any JV games. In the games I did see, there was a huge disparity between the two players who tied with the highest average. One slugged numerous doubles into the gaps, while the other went hitless in the February and March varsity games I attended (he walked once). Small in stature, he appeared to be held out or replaced at times when he was obviously overmatched. You would think another stat could break the tie.

The player who made the least errors was a freshman who mainly played rightfield. He did pitch, and played some first-base and centerfield. While all the freshmen were given as much playing time as possible, the award winner played more than the other freshmen. Ian, the slick-fielding freshman shortstop/second-baseman, made several great plays, but also a few errors…because he was in the middle of things all the time. In my world, these awards would not be merely statistical.

Life ain’t fair. We all know that. I accept that the Crown season (and awards) played out based on the leadership’s wishes, based on their perception of reality. Going in I knew Will would play when and where the coaches wished, as would the rest of the players. Same with ECB this summer. I had no desire to help coach, to try to influence things. I can’t be there for the rest of my children’s lives to make their paths smooth. They’ll have to make their own way at some point. Whatever happens, there’s a good chance something will be unfair.

Interestingly, rival Flight doesn’t hand out such awards. Crown has never beaten Flight.

MY batting order:

SS…Ian Fr SS, 2B…should’ve played every inning at shortstop.

C…Will Jr C, SS, P, CF…I would’ve caught and pitched him more. Hit 2 HR.

1B…Braden So 1B, P…hit very well. Great player. Missed several games.

DH…Tanner Jr, P, 3B, 1B…Hit and pitched well, but struggled playing third & running bases.

RF…Trey So, P, RF…hit two clutch HRs…should’ve played more. Had health problems.

CF…Sam Fr 3B, OF…hit a HR, should’ve played more.

LF…Patrick So C, OF, 2B, P…did well in OF, and held his own against older teams.

3B…Chris, Sr P, INF, OF…struggled more this spring than last year. A good leader, perhaps the Armor Award should’ve gone to him.

2B…Russell Fr OF, 2B, P…played well for a freshman.

P…Nate Sr, P…pitcher only…seems like he could’ve pitched more.

Subs

Charlie Fr OF, P…pitched well in spots.

Matthew Fr OF, 2B, P…overmatched at times.

Michael Fr OF, 1B, P…played well for a freshman, but was overmatched at times.

Nathan Fr C, 2B…fastest on team. Should’ve batted left, and played second & OF.

Nathaniel Sr RF…like brother Chris, struggled more this year than last. Led fall team in hitting.

Many of the freshmen were often overmatched, usually playing against seniors and juniors. It was evident to me that the season was devoted toward seasoning young players. Winning can’t be an equal goal with this. That's fine, though possibly frustrating to upperclassmen (Will never voiced this). It was announced that next year Crown will play in a small Christian private school league, so they can play for a championship. Reading between the lines, this means the competition could well be easier…perhaps eliminating games against superior teams like the Barons and Home Plate.

Perhaps Will would be better served playing rec ball at Sandy Plains . The competition would be the same, at a far lower cost. Everyone has their own reality, be it hits or errors or giving awards. This is my own little world. My reality.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Horton House, Jekyll Island


Constructed around 1740, this site represents one of the most significant tabby ruins remaining on the Georgia coast. Consisting of a mixture of shells, lime, sand, and water, tabby has long been a popular building material along the Georgia and Florida coasts. Built by Major William Horton, one of James Oglethorpe's most trusted officers, the Horton House served both as a British Empire outpost and Horton's residence until his death in Savannah in 1748.

Bored, On Board


Matthew during the tour of the replica Nina, Pinta, & Santa Maria.

Anna on Bike


Anna rides on Jekyll Island, with part of the huge new bridge to St. Simons Island behind her.
Had I not taken this photo from a moving car, perhaps I might've framed the shot better.

Rays Win Opener

Will’s summer team the East Cobb Rays, won their first game Saturday 7-2, over the ECB Diamondbacks. The Rays were without our players, including both catchers. Despite being nervous, Will went 1-2 with two walks, scoring a run, and almost beat out a Sunday-hop chopper to shortstop.

He pitched one scoreless inning, allowing no hits; facing four batters, walking one and striking out two. He caught the last three innings. Will started the game playing third base. He dove to his left to catch a sharply hit grounder, preventing a run from scoring. Plenty of talent on the team, so Will is going to have to play well to stay on the field.

As bad as Melky played rightfield yesterday, I was believing the Rowland’s Office report that he’d been released. I loved how the crowd got behind Moyer Friday night, even when he was batting.

Friday night Will and Ceil went to the Living Science Banquet. Anna, Matthew, and I watched the Blind Side. Ceil and I got a lot of cleaning done Saturday before the game.

After the 9 am service I walked out of the NP building. The shuttle was fixing to leave. Normally I walk, but since the timing was perfect I got the guy to re-open the door, and I hopped on board. The bus made a strange, immediate turn, and I remembered that on the way in with Matthew before the service, the driver was a woman. I was on the wrong shuttle. With no good place to hop off, I had to walk from the upper Travelers lot, across the busy four lane entrance/exit, to the other lot. Funny Stanley family video to end the service.

Had a late lunch at California Pizza Kitchen, then Ceil took a nap. I took Anna to see a classmate play lacrosse in Roswell…Will Acuff, son of Lynn . During the game I took Matthew shopping…he got a vest, so he could be “in style.” Later I took Matthew swimming, for the first time this year. He said the pool wasn’t too cold.

Philly chicken for lunch, and BBQ tonight.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Joel & Will


Joel & Will provide teaching during the skit...a bit they came up with almost on the spot. Alyssa thinks something is funny.

At Fort Frederica, St. Simons Island


On the April Living Science Expedition

June 2009 vs ECB Colt 45s


American Legion Field, Alpharetta


Will forgot to change into his spikes, so he bats wearing his adidas turf shoes.

Headfirst


Nice June 2009 photo by Audie's mom, Michelle.

Friday

Co-worker Matt returned to work today, after several weeks recovering from successful back surgery. He lost over 50 pounds, and looks much younger.

We figured the heavy Wednesday afternoon traffic was due to Cinco de Mayo. I left at five so I could get Will to his 6:30 ECB practice…barely made it. This teams is tons more talented (& older) than his Crown team. Going in the coach had said he already had a SS & centerfielder. Will doesn’t really care what position he plays, but wanted to play with the guys from last year. He really doesn’t care about SS, and as I’ve said before, it isn’t his best position. Wednesday he took a lot of balls at third, and Jake did look good at short.

Will appeared to hit well in BP, and it carried over to last night’s Crown finale. He had two doubles and a long foul drive in the loss, and two stolen bases. Took Ryan G home from practice Wednesday. Both he and Will liked their new ECB shorts. Last night I saw Ryan in Publix, and he was wearing his ECB shorts and cap. Good kid, can play anywhere. Said he’d rather play ball than go to his Saturday pm prom.

I missed Will’s game to take Anna to ballet, so Ceil could stay at the game. Ran at Wheeler High. Last night I started loading trip pictures on Facebook. Tried to download trip pictures Wednesday night, but I tried to download too many at one time. Hated to see Willie Harris get the game-winning hit.

Tonight Ceil and Will are going to the Living Science banquet. The skit I wrote for it should be good: Will, DJ, Kevin, & Holt should steal the show. Joel and Matt Ellis are singing. I want them to be the musical stars of next year’s expedition skit.

Saturday Will has a 5 pm ECB game, against his old coach, that wanted him as the centerpiece of his team. Even shorthanded, Will’s Rays is more talented. Hopefully Will will shine at catcher, since he won’t get much time back there.

Hawks hung tough for a long time, but it looks like this will be a short series. Ainge: Guess it’s ok for players to throw towels, but not GMs!? I saw that article, but hadn’t read it yet.

Many times the Ogre will not take off when he says he is. But he will go on at least one big vacation, usually every year. He’s been to Vegas several times, and periodically returns to visit family in Buffalo . Said his phone wouldn’t work in Jamaica , so he’ll be out of contact. If he just takes off to work around the house, he will call and email…even from his boat on Lanier, or his RV at a campground.

Bryan A

Bryan seemed excited about the conference NP was putting on. I was surprised that there was a NP family he didn’t know…Will’s friend Kevin. I had ducked out of KidStuf to look for Will in the West. Looked for you at the same time. When I returned to KidStuf, Will was in there looking for me. I really need to learn to text.

Also passed Lanny Donnahoo, who really gave me a long look. Lanny had really long hair. Perhaps he recognized me from Facebook.

Funny analogy…Strat-o-Matic & D&D. I had friends play D&D at Tech, but that’s not my genre. I have been watching a little Harry Potter, but I doubt I’d read the books. Played a lot of Risk at GT, and backgammon.

Watched the Hawks on early, but was forced turn it to American Idol, then I had to go pick up Anna at ballet. Next I heard, they were down by 40. Had two straight evenings without baseball, but the summer team practices tonight, and they will soon be pretty busy.

My boss, who I call the Ogre, is in Jamaica the rest of the week, on vacation. Not good…when the cat’s away, the mice will play.

Sunday I had one of those new Angus burgers from McDonalds…ok. At four bucks, I won’t be eating many of them.