Thursday, March 29, 2012

Complete Game Shutout

Will described his complete-game shutout Thursday as the best pitching performance of his career.

The highlights:
…eleven strikeouts in 7 innings. He struck out the side in two innings.
…5-2/3 innings of no-hit pitching: Will came within four outs of a no-hitter.
…he threw a first pitch strike to 20 of the 25 batter he faced.
…ZERO walks. Will only got to a three ball count on 2 batters (both struck out).
…84 pitches, 62 strikes, 22 balls…74% strikes.
…Will allowed only three hits.
…two putouts, pitcher to first.

Additionally, combined with his last two pitching performances, in the last 10-1/3 shutout innings, Will had 18 strikeouts against one walk, and a stretch of 7-1/3 no-hit innings. One batter leaned into a pitch that barely grazed his shirtsleeve. Take that away, and it was 7-1/3 perfect innings of pitching.

Will also came around at the plate, with five hits in the doubleheader. He reached base seven straight times, scored 3 runs, and drove in two, from the leadoff spot.

Behind Will’s shutout, Crown beat South Atlanta 6-0 in the tournament’s 11 am opening game. In the bottom of the fourth Will chopped a full count payoff pitch through the hole into left field, driving in Ray from third. In the sixth Will had an RBI double to left.

After sitting out the two afternoon games, Crown’s bats woke up and beat McDonough’s New Creation Academy 13-4. Will scored three runs, reached base all five times, drove in a run, and collected a single, double, and triple.

Leading off the game for the visiting Knights, Will walked on a full count, advanced to third on Casey’s single, and scored on Perry’s single.

In the second Will doubled to right field, and in the third Will’s single to right drove in Ray. In the fifth inning Will tripled past the rightfielder, to drive in Andrew. Will scored on Casey’s double.

One of the features of this tournament Crown is hosting is having each batter announced over the loudspeaker as he comes to bat. In the first two games Tanner’s dad Jay did a quite professional job. During the second game Will rested above the concession stands and studied. He came downstairs for the start of game three, and took over the announcing duties from Jay.

While Will was announcing the game, Mary-Clayton arrived and sat by Will. When Will had to go warm up for his game, Mary-Clayton took over the announcing duties. She continued announcing during Crown’s game. As expected, hers was a polished, professional performance. Anna, attending her first Crown games of the season, sat with Mary-Clayton.

But as Will led off the sixth, Mary-Clayton broke form and announced “Leading off, my snuggy bear, Will Murphy!” The large crowd, both dugouts, and the players and umpires on the field had a good laugh. Will had to call time to compose himself. The 3-1 pitch was fired right at Will’s feet. He tried to leap out of the way, but couldn’t. After being hit in the foot, Will limped to first. He took second on a wild pitch, advanced to third on a single, then scored on Perry’s deep sacrifice fly.

Will made two good defensive plays at third base. He cut off a sharply hit ground ball in the hole and threw out the batter at first, and later ran far down the third base line to make a nice catch in foul territory.

Friday Crown plays the Carolina Spartans at 5:15, then Saturday plays another 11 am game against the Nashville Monarchs. All varsity tourney games are being played at Mt. Paran.

Matthew may have found his calling: working in the concession stand. I had to grill burgers for two games...a very tiring experience.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Home Grown

Then yesterday Ceil was talking about wanting to try a place called …further east on Memorial Drive. Menu looks good, but its only open for lunch. When Ceil looked at the menu, it wasn't what she expected, but she's still like to go. They were written up in the April Atlanta magazine. When we went to Oakland Cemetery Saturday a week ago, we almost ate at Six Feet Under. There were a few good-looking restaurants down there.

Sunday I watched a bunch of the Hawks game, but the kids came in and changed the channel. Now Sunday nights everyone comes over to our house for pancakes. Joel, Mary-Clayton, and Lucy. Joel stuck around until well after 11 pm. I went to bed, but they were singing praise songs. He was playing our little-used piano and Matthew's guitar, so it was like a music lesson for Matthew. Will was in the adjoining room, studying.

Saturday night Will worked backstage at the Talent Show that MC had organized. Joel was a judge!

I didn't fill out a NCAA bracket, and now I wish I had. Then I'd be more into the tourney. More interested in the women's tourney…Delaware, Baylor, GT, etc. Haven't looked, but I guess Notre Dame, Stanford, and UConn still remain as well.

Friday I left work shortly after noon, but halfway home Ceil called to say tonight's game had been cancelled. I turned around and came back to work. The afternoon went better than the morning did.

Interesting that for our kids, and their friends, Chipper has played for the Braves their entire life. Similar to me and Hank Aaron…but without the ending on the Brewers.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

March 23 Trivia: A Point From First

After two weeks away from trivia, I was ready for some action. Will was MIA, but Joel and Kevin were ready as well. The Hurts called to say they were coming, so Kevin saved them a prime table, and I answered the first three questions in their absence.
1. GEOGRAPHY: What country’s name means “Land of the Afgans”? After a second or two, it came to me: Afganistan. My teammates concurred.
2. GEORGIA: What Greek city lent its name to the Georgia town where REM was formed? After first thinking about Rome before the question had been fully read, I knew: Athens. Three points. During the song I chatted with Erin about how she’d left REM out of her list of Georgia artists. Ever the little nerd, she checked her computer. To make up for the slight, she played “Man on the Moon” after the next question.
3. POT POURI: What Scottish garmet’s name is based on the Middle English term for “fold” or “pleat”? Kilt was the only answer we knew, and it was right. One point. The Hurts arrived, but there was little time to chat.
4. SPORTS: What Japanese sport, not for the lean, dates back to the 17th century? Kevin and I looked at each other. The “not for the lean” clue gave it away: Sumo. Five points.
5. ANIMALS: What bird lays the largest egg? K & J knew first, and I agreed: Ostrich. Three points.
6. LANGUAGE: What is the world’s most populous Spanish speaking country? After a long discussion, we finally answered Mexico. One point.
7. OUTER SPACE: What is the average distance of 238,000 miles from earth? Kevin had to talk Joel out of his preprostous answer” astronomical unit”. I thought the moon was further away, but it was our right answer. Five points.
8. GAMES: What US city, and surrounding area, are the setting for the standard Monopoly board? Another long discussion. At first I thought it was NYC, until we started thinking about it. We correctly guessed Atlantic City, but only wagered one point. It would cost us the win.
9. TELEVISION: In the sitcom Friends, what fashion company did Rachel go to work for after losing her job at Bloomingdales? We didn’t know…a three point miss. It was Louis Vitton.
10. ELEMENTS: Name the element for the following Periodic Table abbreviations:
…P…Phosphorous. Kevin had studied, and Joel knew them too.
At halftime our single three-point miss placed four teams ahead of us, including the Hurts. Two teams had perfect scores. Bama was tied with us.
11. ART: Who designed the famous collection of buildings in Oak Park, Illinois? Having been dragged on a tour during our Chicago trip, I knew the answer: Frank Lloyd Wright. Six points. Even Bama didn’t know.
12. HISTORY: Which gulf lent its name to the Gulf War? The Persian Gulf. Four points.
13. COMIC STRIPS: In the Peanuts comic strip, how much does Lucy charge for advice? Another question that predated my younger teammates. Five cents. Two points.
14. JEWELRY: What two metals form the alloy white gold? Long discussion. Kevin and Joel correctly answered gold and silver. Two points. Wish we had wagered more.
15. MOVIES: What movie gave Julia Roberts the chance to explain to Hugh Grant that “I’m just a girl standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her"? I couldn’t think. Michael arrived, so we threw the question at him. He thought it was The Proposal. I should’ve thought harder. The Hurts knew: Notting Hill. I’d never seen it, but should’ve known. A crucial four point miss.
16. AMERICA: What state’s official motto is “North to the future”? After thinking for several seconds, it came to me: Alaska. A big six points.
17. ACRONYMS: What does MRI stand for? Kevin knew: Magnetic Resonance Imaging.
18. FOOD & DRINK: Which berry had the highest antioxidant content? Michael was sure it was the Acai, a berry I’d never heard of. He was right. Knowing the last question is always a killer, we wagered four points. Good decision.
19. MUSIC: Who became a major star after dropping out as a backup dancer from a Janet Jackson tour? We didn’t know. I guessed Paula Abdul. The Hurts were the only team to get it right: Jennifer Lopez.
Going into the final question our 62 points were five behind the leaders, Godzilla. The Hurts 66 points were in second, tied with the Gnomes. With 48, Bama had a rough second half.
20. FINAL: According to Billboard magazine, name the world’s top five best selling music artists, based on combined sales of albums, singles, downloads, etc. I started jotting down artists, and came up with a list of twenty. We settled on the Beatles, Michael Jackson, Elvis, the Rolling Stones, and Elton John. The second-place Hurts took a younger tack, thinking recent downloads of Katie Perry and Lady GaGa had outsold our legendary guesses. We got four of the top five, missing on Madonna instead of the Stones.
Erin was amazed at the closeness of the scores…
4th…72…the Hurts
2nd…74…us DoorHinges
1st…75…the Gnomes

At least we beat the Hurts.

Covenant field west

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Payoff Pitch on Lookout Mountain

High on top of Lookout Mountain Georgia, Crown came up just short in their bid to stage a second straight walk off victory Saturday. Down 4-1, the Knights scored a run in the fifth, then three straight singles to lead off the bottom of the seventh put them in great shape for the comeback.

But Ray’s dribbler back to the pitcher forced the first out at the plate. Pinch-hitter Ryan then hit a routine grounder to the third-baseman, who fielded the ball cleanly. The fielder looked to throw home, then changed his mind and threw to first…too late. Franklin scored on the fielder’s choice. In his first varsity at bat of the season, Caleb Norman worked the count to 2-2 before popping out to the first baseman in foul territory.

Two out, bottom of the last inning. Bases loaded. Tying run on third. Winning run on second. At bat: Will Murphy.

Knoxville Ambassadors pitcher David Bowers had only allowed six hits in the first six innings, striking out five good batters (Patrick, Braeden, Perry, Casey, and Sam) while walking none. Sitting behind the plate, I witnessed a masterful pitching performance. Bowers changed speeds, mixed pitches, threw inside and outside, high and low. If Patrick crowded the plate he buzzed him inside. If Sam set up far from the plate, Bowers nibbled on the outside corner. Bowers also had numerous deliveries: overhand, three-quarters, sidearm, and submarine. Sometimes during his delivery he even turned his back to the batter, like Gene Garber of the Braves.

The pitcher had a good teacher: Knoxville’s coach was ex-big leaguer Lee Guetterman, who pitched for several MLB teams, including the Yankees. Guetterman was a teammate of Crown left-fielder Casey Disney’s dad at Liberty University.

Bowers won the first two confrontations with Will by getting two strikes, then not giving him anything to hit. In the top of the first Will pulled a chopper foul down the third base line, took a ball outside, and took an inside pitch that the umpire called strike two. Forced to protect the plate, Will swung at a curve ball. He hit it solid, but not too hard: a line drive to the centerfielder.

In the third inning Will worked the count full, and then hit a line drive up the middle. Bowers threw up his glove in self-defense. With extreme rotation on the ball, it suddenly slowed…and settled into the pitcher’s glove for the out.

As the time limit drew near, Crown needed runs. Will led off the sixth inning determined to hit the first good pitch he saw. After a ball high, Will stroked a single up the middle. With Braeden, Perry, and Casey due, things were looking up for Crown. But Braeden was having the same struggles with Bowers, and he weakly popped out foul to the first baseman. On base Will was being careful, staying close, and then getting a larger secondary lead. Perry pulled a hard, low line drive on the first pitch he saw. Will’s lead had him leaning toward second, and on the hit he took another step toward second. But the line drive had been hit straight at the third-baseman, playing even with the bag. Making the catch, the third-baseman fired across the diamond to double off Will at first.

At third base Will played flawless defense, throwing out four runners at first base. He was also the middle man in a bizarre 2-5-4 putout to end the third inning. With a runner on first, Andrew uncorked a wild pitch, that bounded all the way to the distant first base on deck circle. The runner on first advanced to second, and then made a wide turn. Catcher Patrick chased down the ball and uncorked one of his patented unneeded wild throws, this time all the way across the diamond to Will, covering third. Will had to leap to catch the throw, and then he fired to second to catch the runner off third.

Covenant College has a breathtaking mountaintop campus, located just south of Chattanooga on Lookout Mountain. On the way up we passed the Incline Railway and Ruby Falls. The finely manicured baseball field was located just south of the campus. Foul balls fell far down the western slope of the mountain, and any home runs would go down the eastern side. The sun played hide and seek with the clouds, giving us fans a taste of the chilly mountain air.

Slender sophomore reliever Andrew came in and kept Crown in the game, working quickly and retiring the last eight batters he faced in order. This set the stage for the climatic Crown seventh inning.

Sticking to his successful sixth inning strategy, Will swung at Bowers’ first pitch, but missed. He fouled off the second pitch, putting him in the hole. Then Bowers tried to get Will to Chase an outside pitch, but Will resisted. Bowers’ 87th pitch was a slow, low, sweeping curveball. Later Will said is was a definite strike. Will had to wait on the pitch, shifted his weight forward, swung…and missed. Ball game.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Hunger Games Premier

Thursday night C, A, and M went to the midnight premiere of The Hunger Games. Have you read those books? Several adults have said they were great. I haven’t read them. A girl Anna performed with in The Wiz is a supporting character in the movie, and gets killed off once the actual games begin. Daughter of Kelly Lintz, who used to host “The Ten Before” announcements at NP.

Joel, Kevin, and I finished one point behind the winners in Thursday night trivia. The Hurt family had been beating us going into the last question, then we passed them. Working a half day Friday, then heading to Chattanooga for baseball.

Not a productive Thursday. Spent all morning walking over a mile all over our complex looking for lost material. Walked well over a mile. Turned out the vendor never shipped it. This afternoon I’ve been pricing parts in the conference room. Dropped a diet coke and it exploded, and I was drenched.

Walking around the plant always takes time, because I run into co-workers I only see once every year or two. Talked to Johnny, Sweatman, Lanney, Greg, Stan, Charles, Mike, Jarrod, Leigh, two Georges, and a maintenance man whose name I always forget. Vic is my age, and attended the game at Lakewood Stadium when we won the state championship, rooting for Douglas High. Hung was a neighbor of the Eatons, in the apartments off Lindburgh. Greg’s brother used to cut Lang’s hair in Buckhead.

Dominique is not the most eloquent of announcers. Lang would do a better job.

Maybe Lin is like Tebow…really good in the fourth quarter.

Any thoughts about Chipper’s announcement? Hope he has a good year, to quiet those who think he should’ve quit sooner. But they won’t be happy, even if he plays 162 games with MVP numbers.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Come From Behind Walk-Off Win

Crown came back from a five run deficit to claim an exciting 7-6 walk-off victory. The Knights loaded the bases with one out, and four straight singles by Will, Braeden, Perry, and Casey pushed across the tying and winning runs.

One following the game on GameChanger might think Will had a terrible game, but the internet only conveyed a small bit of the story.

With trivia friend Gary in attendance, Will retired the side in order in the top of the first, striking out the leadoff and number three hitter. Then in the bottom of the inning Will chopped a one-out double down the left field line. This produced the first run of the game, when Perry also doubled down the line.

In the top of the second some questionable ball-strike calls and an uneven mound contributed to four unearned Covenant runs. Will appeared to have one batter struck out, but the umpire instead signaled ball four. Then the next four batters attempted bunts. The first bunt was perfectly placed up the first base line. Even if Will had fielded it cleanly, he would‘ve had to make a spectacular play to get the out at first. This is the very definition of a base hit. I’m not even sure anyone was covering first on the play.

The next batter bunted near the third base line. Will made a fine play, smoothly fielding the ball, then quickly turning and firing the ball to third base to get the runner. An excellent play…except no one was covering third base. The throw sailed into foul territory, two runners scored, and the batter made it all the way around to third.

Unable to hit Will’s pitching, the next batter drew another full count walk. Still with no outs, the number nine batter bunted. Despite the need for an out, the catcher tried to catch the runner off third, but the play wasn’t close. Will struck out the leadoff hitter for the second straight time, got a force out at second, and a runner thrown out trying to steal. Rough inning: Covenant had scored five runs without hitting the ball into the outfield. Only one run was earned.

In the next inning the first batter chopped a grounder just over Will’s outstretched glove, then neither the second-baseman nor the shortstop could make the play. Another infield hit. But Crown was able to turn a clutch double play, then Will struck out the next batter to end the scoreless inning.

Will led off the bottom of the third with a four pitch walk, then advanced to second on an error. After Braeden struck out, Perry flew out to deep center. Will tagged up and easily advanced to third…but the umpire ruled he left second early. Sitting behind the plate, I had an excellent view of the catch and tag. It was a questionable call at best.

In the top of the fifth the leadoff batter hit a routine grounder to Will at third base. Will fielded it cleanly, but with all the time in the world, threw high to first. Braeden tried to make the catch while keeping his feet on the bag. Had he left his feet to make the catch, he had plenty of time to come back down on the bag before the batter arrived. A 6-4-3 double play and a 6-3 groundout retired the side, but the catcher’s ill-advised pickoff throw into the sun allowed the runner from third to score. This led to another unearned run, and Covenant led 6-1.

In the sixth Will had made a clutch play at third, cutting off a slow chopper to his left, then firing hard to first to get the out. Had Will let the ball go through to Perry, the shortstop would’ve had to stoop low to make the catch, then throw across his body to first with little momentum. A great play by Will.

Crown scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth, and came to bat in the bottom of the last inning needed two runs to tie. Franklin reached on an error, then Patrick popped out in foul territory. Will poked a single in front of the rightfielder. Braeden singled to left, loading the bases. With the outfield playing Perry deep, his pop fly landed in front of the centerfielder. Franklin scored.

The catcher tried to pick Will off third, and the throw bounced away, allowing Will to score the tying run. With the winning run on third, Covenant had to bring the infield and outfield in. Casey lined an 0-2 single into right-center, and Crown had an improbable, exciting walk-off win.

Patrick 0-4, run
Will 2-3, double, walk, 2 runs
Braeden 2-4, RBI, 2 runs
Perry 3-4, run, 2B, HR, 3 RBI
Casey 1-2, GWRBI
Andrew 0-2
Adam 1-3
Sam 1-3
Ray 0-3
Franklin 1-2, walk, run

Long, Eventful Weekend

Last Thursday night I stayed home from Trivia to get ready for our out of town guests. David Hurt had been thinking about going, then wasn't going, then finally went. Will, Joel, and Kevin beat the Hurt Family. I stayed up until almost 1:30 am cleaning. Watched Kate & Leopold while I cleaned.

Friday I was able to get caught up some at work. I was obviously tired, and I remained tired the rest of the weekend. Five of us took departing employee Thomas out for lunch at Dave & Busters. He had teriyaki steak. I had a grilled chicken Caesar salad. That night we had homemade pizza. Seems like everyone went off somewhere, and I stayed home and washed dishes.

On the way home from work I followed Will's Peachtree City game on my phone. He got hits his first three times up, including a double. The catcher and shortstop were late to the game, so Will had to start behind the plate. Later he moved to third, made a play, then played shortstop while Perry pitched. They lost 3-1, mostly due to four errors and no hitting.

Dawn's daughter Rachel needed to take pictures for a school project, so we toured Oakland Cemetery. I had never been. Dawn thought it was a great idea. Saw the graves of Margaret Mitchell, historian Franklin Garrett, Confederate VP Alexander Stevens, and Maynard Jackson. Couldn't find Bobby Jones. Rachel also took pictures at Little Five Points and the Plaza Theater, at Ponce & Highland. She bought her prom dress in Virginia Highland, then we took the back streets to Lenox Square. The mall was crowded, almost like Freaknik. Still, I drove straight to a front row covered parking place right by the Bloomingdales door.

We had lunch at the Corner Tavern in Little Five Points. I had the special, a double burger with cheese and a fried egg, served on a waffle bun. Ceil had a Greek salad, Dawn a grilled eggplant sandwich, Matthew a grilled cheese, and Anna and Rachel got turkey sandwiches. Saturday night Ceil cooked pork tenderloin and mashed potatoes.

Sunday morning we went to the 11 am Passion Service. We had a group of eleven on our row. Dawn had been asking about what went on for two hours, but afterwards she said she loved it. Thirty minutes of singing, 13 minutes for announcements and the offering, an hour of preaching, and 15 more minutes of singing. The girls went to lunch with a friend, and I went home and crashed. Watched a PBS special on the Carter Presidency. Later I picked up the girls, then even later I had to go get Matthew.

Monday I worked late, then we had grilled chicken strips, spinach, and spinach salad.

The latest Sports Illustrated finally came, with all the March Madness info. Big article on Brittney Griner, and a little on some other women's teams, but nothing on Delaware. Article on Antoine Walker, who lost over 100 million dollars. He now plays in the D league for Boise, and is 40 pounds overweight.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Passion City Church erected this 108 foot hand, to kick off thier 72 day fight against human slavery.

Oakland Cemetery

Saturday was my first ever visit to Atlanta's historic Oakland Cemetery. Took, Ceil, Anna, Matthew, Dawn, and Rachel. Saw the graves of Margaret Mitchell, Alexander Stevens, and Maynard Jackson. Couldn't find Bobby Jones.

Great views of the skyline.

The Last Two Weeks

I've been so busy the past two weeks, I haven't had time to write much, or update the blog. Here's all that I wrote.

Will almost broke up a double-play in a recent afternoon game…creating an incident by sliding hard into second baseman making the turn…causing the second-sacker to turn a flip. Then the shortstop pushed Will. Will pushed past, saying "that's baseball!" They won, but Will is experiencing what it's like to be cast aside a bit, after being the unquestioned best player the past two years. Everyone can't stop raving about the big, new shortstop, even though he's done little in the three games he's played. Yesterday Perry went 0-3, hit into the double play, and awkwardly converted his only chance at shortstop.

After not having much go his way lately, Will received a pick-me-up last night when he learned he's been chosen for his first choice in UAB's Honor's Program…the one Kara is in. He's down on Clemson after his cousin got accepted, and Will was only conditionally accepted at a lesser level. Even though Will had excellent grades in a much more challenging curriculum, and a more well-rounded resume, being out of state and "home-schooled" obviously held him back. He's still waiting to hear from UGA.

Headed down to Macon for Will's four games. I worked from 7 to 11, then got Will and drove down. Friday night after the games we went to Logans…Charlie had the meatloaf, Will had the tilapia, and I had a burger with a very bland bun. Saturday afternoon we stopped in McDonough at Moes. Later I cleaned the garage. After supper I saw so tired I read and went to bed early. Sunday I cleaned, did laundry, watched the ACC Final, a "Making the Monkees" rockumentary, and a forgettable movie "Please Give"

Will pitched three shutout innings last Tuesday...struck out four and walked none, and faced one of the minimum. Got a single, walked, and a Sac Fly RBI. Temperature was 73 degrees.

Love the questions people ask DOB and Mark Bowman, and the writers have to give the same answers over and over. It does sound like Simmons is going to be good. I'm trying to wean my fellow Braves fan here from worrying about every spring training result. I remind him the starters are pulled after a few innings, and that Kimbrell and Venters aren't closing every game.

In the NBA its hard to get a good return, trading an all star caliber player. Guess we're not on Dwight Howard's list, huh? Saw the USA Today article on Delle Donne and Delaware. I remember reading when she transferred from UConn.

Ceil's friend and daughter flew in from Virginia. I was supposed to chauffer everyone around, to Lenox and Little 5 Points, where we had lunch.

Haven't received confirmation on my Georgia tax return, but I went into Tax Act to print off the returns. When I was there I checked, and it said the state return had been submitted. I did Will's returns…he didn't pay any federal tax, but gets back $14.00 of state tax.

We continue to make progress on our kitchen and bathrooms. With the tax returns, we'll be able to finish the master bath. I need to go ahead and get a new garage door opener as well.

Working on a killer project here at work. Ogre being unreasonable. Working with new employee. Customer's busiest time. Left early Friday and Tuesday, but still working overtime. After a lunch meeting I doctored an official memo, to wish departing co-worker Thomas farewell. Received many laughs from the office.

HWSA Senior Write Up

At the Home School World Series in May, the program will feature a short write-up of each senior player. Here's what I wrote about Will:

Will loves playing baseball and going all out. He has been accepted into the Honors Program at the University of Alabama Birmingham, and plans on entering the medical profession. Besides baseball, Will enjoys golf, running half marathons, wearing bow ties, and outdoor activities like ropes courses, rock walls, and zip lines. He has led small groups at North Point Community Church for the last five years. Will loved playing in last year's HSWS, and looks forward to this week's competition.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The "I am a C" Song

I am a C

I am a C-H

I am a C-H-I-C-K-F-I-L-A

And I have C-H--I-C-K-E

In my M-O-U-T-H

And I will


(repeat indefinitely)

Sung to the tune of the old youth group song. I made up these lyrics back in 1980, when I worked downtown at the Chick-fil-A in the Omni International Hotel (now known as CNN Center). I started the first day the ChichfilA opened, in early January. An ad was posted at the Georgia Tech BSU. I had flunked out of Georgia Tech, and needed a job for three months. Later that first afternoon my longtime friend Don Lott walked in, and I knew he was there to get a job…he had flunked out as well.

I kept my job as the resident manager of the GT BSU, giving me a free place to live. Every weekday I would walk the mile down Techwood through the slums, help open the Chickfila, cook breakfast donuts and sausage biscuits, then start preparing for lunch. So every day I ate Chickfila breakfast and lunch. When I got off work at 4:30 I would grab a couple of sandwiches to take home for dinner. So five days a week all my meals are paid for. Since I worked nights looking after the BSU, I was getting paid at two jobs, not driving, with hardly any expenses.

I kept up this schedule for the three months of the 1980 winter quarter. Spring quarter I took morning classes in Clarkston at DeKalb Community College, and worked at Chickfila when I could. This was the original Omni Chickfila, located right by the doors leading outside to the old Omni arena. In addition to the small downstairs dining area, there were stairs leading up to tables upstairs, overlooking the cashiers. When the Omni was torn down, the new Phillips Arena was build into the CNN Center. Chickfila was then moved to its current location, in the center of CNN Center.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Departure Announcement

From: Artie
Sent: Wednesday, March 14, 2012 12:01 PM
To: all users
Subject: Announcement

Click on link or visit Artie to access the personnel announcement. Please distribute and/or post for employees without email access. Thank you.


date: March 14, 2012

to: All Employees

From: Tom Arnold

Subject: Announcement

Thomas Evangelista, Executive Vice EZGo VMI Protector & Chief Electronics Wizard, has decided to pursue a new career opportunity FAR outside of the metals service center industry, and therefore will resign effective March 16, 2012. We sincerely thank Thomas for his contribution to the business and his 23 months of semi-loyal service and wish him many Chick-fil-A’s in the future.

Upon Thomas’ departure, Tricia “Bean” Mashburn will assume Sandra Born’s role of interim Chief Harasser of Chunky Monkey Baldwin, and will hopefully remain until Bill makes her a permanent employee. Bill is ideally suited to eat rolls, with nearly 35 years of experience doing so. Bill was most recently seen fabricating small woodland creatures from old wood logs with a chain saw, in the mountains west of Ellijay, Georgia. Prior to that he was CFO in charge of renovating the interior of his boat, which could be found docked at Lake Lanier during summer months. He knows a CPA in the State of Georgia and holds a Master Catalog from Sears Roebuck, which he has absolutely no need of. Bill is also experienced in delaying employee anniversary celebrations, much to the chagrin of Dennis Arrowood (do not mention the word “cake” around Dennis). Bill will operate from the Ryerson’s Contract Group’s sleek new top floor headquarters in Norcross.

The transition between Thomas and Tricia began on March 5th, if you didn’t notice.

I would ask you to join with me in wishing Thomas some modicum of success in the distant future, and welcoming Tricia to the Ryerson team.

Tom Arnold

Former Moderately Successful Sit-Com Actor

Monday, March 12, 2012

When Holt came up to bat in the top of the first, someone noticed Holt's 33 ounce bat...that had just recently been ruled illigal. As the coaches (and parents) discussed the issue, Will and Holt had a chance to catch up.

With Will behind the plate, Holt smashed a double in right-center with his wood bat. Holt is also currently pictured on the right-hand panel of this blog, holding the spear next to Will.

After being hit by the pitcher's first pitch in the bottom of the first, Will swings and misses at a pitch low and away. Holt holds onto strike three.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

March 10: Game 1 Slugfest

Saturday started out chilly, but as the sun rose the day turned out beautifully, without a cloud in the sky. The breeze caused the pine pollen to literally rain down from the tall trees surrounding the field. Crown’s first opponent was the second-strongest private school team in the tournament, the Westfield Hornets.

As the visiting team, Will led off and reached base on the first pitch of the game, when the first-baseman couldn’t handle the shortstop’s low throw. The game quickly turned into a slugfest. Both teams scored at least three runs in each of the first five half innings.

Crown led 11 – 6, but then failed to capitalize on several scoring opportunities in the 4th and 5th innings. Will beat out a one-out infield single in the fourth, then broke for second on a steal. Casey then grounded the pitch into the hole vacated by the second-baseman, moving over the cover the base. The fielder reversed direction and retrieved the ball, but Will rounded second and made it to third on the infield hit.

After Casey was caught stealing, Braeden walked and took second on a wild pitch. The Westfield infield moved up close, hoping to prevent a run. Perry hit a fast roller that the shortstop dove and caught. Leading off third, Will was caught in an impossible situation. Caught in a rundown, all he could do was stay hung up until Braeden made it to third and Perry made it to second. With two out, Ray grounded out to end the inning.

Will was doing a fine job behind the plate. In the past few years he hasn’t had to catch much, just a game here and there. In addition to his knee, his arm was growing sore. Crown would throw 117 pitches in the first game, on top of the 64 pitches he had thrown the day before. He tagged a runner out at the plate in the first inning, and made several nice scoops and blocks, and framing pitches to get favorable calls from the amiable umpire.

Westfield scored two in the fourth. But up three going to the bottom of the last inning, Franklin got into a jam, allowing the first three hitters to load the bases. With nobody out and the tying run on first, a big play was needed. That’s just what came next.

The Westfield batter grounded a sharp one-hopper back to the mound. Franklin immediately threw home to Will for the force at home. Despite his sore arm, Will fired to first to complete the 1-2-3 double play…a huge pick-me-up after five Crown errors in the last four innings.

But the next batter singled in two runners, making it a one run game. He stole second. The next Westfield batter hit a line drive up the middle…but Franklin snagged the liner, ending the rally and the game. Crown won the 11-10 slugfest.

Game Two: Will Goes Down

Game Two was against the host team, Tatnall. TSA is one of Macon’s three top private school’s, with excellent facilities like the finely manicured baseball field. The Trojans sent their best pitcher out to face Crown, and he retired the first ten Knights batters in order.

Down a run, Will stepped in with one out in the fourth and poked a single into right-center, breaking up the no-hitter. He took second on a passed ball and advanced to third on Braeden’s groundout. After Perry struck out, Will scored on Casey’s infield single, tying the game.

The exciting sixth inning decided the game. With the score still tied, Will was hit by the first pitch of the inning. He went first to third on a single to right, but Braeden was picked off first. Perry was intentionally walked, even though he was hitless in his last eight at bats. Next up was Casey.

Trying to manufacture a run, Perry allowed himself to be caught in a rundown between first and second. This play often works in Little League, but rarely against experienced high-school teams. The second-baseman ran Perry back toward first, while keeping an eye on Will, leading off third. Feeling pressure to make something happen, Will finally broke for home. The second-baseman turned and fired home to the beefy catcher, who moonlights as a record-setting linebacker being recruited by the University of Georgia. The throw arrived well before Will, who briefly considered plowing through the catcher. Instead Will juked right, hopping in the air as the catcher applied the tag.

When Will landed on one foot, his knee bent backward. He quickly fell to the ground, writhing in pain, hardly ten feet in front of my front row seat. The coaches ran to his aide, along with two Tatnall trainers. While I wondered if Will’s baseball career was over, others wondered who would catch Saturday. Finally he was lifted to his feet. Then in typical Will fashion, he RAN off the field.

What momentum Crown had was now gone. Ray grounded out to end the inning. Adam had pitched a whale of a game, only allowing three hits. He had thrown 77 pitches in five innings, and came out to pitch the sixth. He struck out the first batter, the son of former Cy Young award winner Kevin Brown. But the next batter reached on an error. Then Adam struck out another batter, but the number nine hitter’s roller was slowed by the infield grass, to putting the winning run on third.

The runner on first took off on a steal of second. Crown catcher Patrick impulsively fired to second…but no one was covering. The ball sailed into centerfield, and on the error the runner trotted home from third with the go-ahead run. Another single plated another unearned run, and Tatnall led 3 – 1.

Crown had one more chance, but only managed one baserunner. The game ended with Will on deck.

When we got back to my parent’s house, Will was amazed to see the lights of the field from the driveway. He iced his knee, and said it felt weak. We ate at Logan’s, where Will had the tilapia, and Charlie the meatloaf.

March 9: Game One Win

Crown jumped into the meat of their much tougher 2012 schedule this weekend, playing four tough teams in a round-robin tournament in Macon. The Knights split the four games at Tatnall Square Academy, just around the corner from my parent’s house. Will had quite an eventful weekend, earning the win as the starting pitcher in Game One, scoring Crown’s only run in Game Two, and doing a great job catching the Saturday morning doubleheader despite his sore arm and injured knee.

Pitching the first two innings of Friday afternoon’s 3:30 game, Will struck out four batters, recorded assists to get the other two outs, and only allowed three Augusta batters to hit fair balls. The leadoff batter stuck out his bat and poked a soft opposite-field single. The third batter grounded back to Will for a fielder’s choice, and the cleanup hitter grounded back to Will. Playing third base the rest of the game, Will made two other putouts.

Batting second, Will reached base in three of his four plate appearances. In the second inning he scored from first on a double. Crown scored four runs in the inning, and cruised to a 7 – 2 win.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Crown Wins Fifth Straight

Playing their toughest competition of the year, Crown loaded the based in four of their six offensive innings, and won 7-3. Along with Casey, Will was once again the most productive offensive player on the team. He was the only player to reach base three times. He also stole a base and scored a run.

After Andrew retired the opposing CHS in order in the top of the first, the first three Crown hitters scored in the bottom of the inning. The first pitch of the game hit leadoff batter Patrick. Will followed with an infield single, then he stole second. Braeden’s chopper through the hole into left field plated Patrick, while Will was held at third. Perry was hit, loading the bases. Will scored on Sam’s fielder’s choice, then Braeden scored on an error.

In the bottom of the second Will walked with nobody out, loading the bases for the second straight inning. But Crown did not score: after Braeden struck out Perry with into a 6-4-3 double play. Will almost broke up the twin-killing, creating an incident by sliding hard into second baseman making the turn…causing the second-sacker to turn a flip. Then the shortstop pushed Will. Will pushed past his opponent, saying “that’s baseball!”

In the fifth inning Will walked again, and again Crown loaded the bases. But Perry popped out and Adam grounded out, and the Knights were only able to score one insurance run.

Playing third base and shortstop, Will got two balls hit his way. He went to his knees to catch a line drive, and almost made a great play cutting off a slow roller to his left.

Will: 1-2, SB, run, two BB…5

Casey: 2-2, RBI, 2 SB…5

Eric: 1-4, SB, 2 RBI…4

Braeden: 1-3, run, RBI, BB…4

Patrick: 0-3, run, HBP, 2 SB…4

Ryan: RBI, HBP, BB…3

Ray: 1-2, run, HBP…3

Sam: 0-1, RBI, run, BB…3

Charlie: 1-2, run…2

Franklin: 1-2, run…2

Andrew: 0-1, SB…1

Perry: 0-3, HBP…1

Adam: 0-2…0

Other interesting tidbits:

While Perry turned away from a pitch and was hit in his back, Patrick, Ray, and Ryan made less effort to get out of the way of pitches that hit them. That made it hard to argue when a CHS batter leaned across the plate to let a curveball hit him.

Franklin had back-to-back lapses: in a critical bases-loaded situation he was almost too nonchalant fielding a slow roller, when while lob to first barely beat the runner to end the inning. The leading off the bottom of the inning, Franklin hit a fly ball deep into the right field corner. As he ran to first the play was right in front of him, so both he and rookie first base coach Tanner should’ve known it was an easy double…but Franklin stopped at first. Later Ray didn’t run hard, and was thrown out at second.

For a veteran team with good pitchers, Christian Heritage did a poor job of fielding: I scored six errors. One slow grounder rolled past the pitcher, first-baseman, AND second-baseman when no one could decide who should field the ball and who should cover the base. Earlier the first-baseman couldn’t catch a Perry’s high pop in foul territory. Adam hit a slow grounder to the second-baseman, and the fielder chose to try to get the out at second. His throw was late, but he could’ve easily gotten the out at first.

All thirteen Knights reached base, either by a hit, walk, HBP, fielder’s choice, or error. The seven runs were scored by seven different players.

Originally scheduled to be a doubleheader, Christian Heritage begged out of the second game, perhaps due to a lack of pitching.

This weekend Will is going to be busy, playing back-to-back doubleheaders late Friday afternoon and early Saturday morning in Macon. With catcher Patrick missing the Saturday games, Will is scheduled to pitch Friday, then catch the Saturday doubleheader.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012


Friday night we were home when the storms hit. When the sirens went off I was upstairs reading, barefoot. We watched Glenn Burns track the storm through Marietta as it crossed 75, then move east just north of Highway 120 right toward us. C, A, & M huddled in the pantry under the stairs as I looked out the front window. The wind blew some, and it rained and hailed a little, but someone we missed the bad stuff. M and A pretty much took the storm in stride. I was more worried…just not worried enough to put on shoes. Saturday 120 was closed around the East Cobb Park , where trees were down. The Merchants Walk Home Depot shopping center was damaged as well.

That storm was hitting us around 9:30. Seems like Claire lives due north of us, maybe a little east. Glenn Burns said to put on shoes, and a soccer helmet. A lady we had just laid off north of Chattanooga was under her steps to her basement alone (her husband was at work). She held onto the doorknob as long as she could, but it finally blew away…her house was wrecked, but she was ok. Her photo was on the weather channel web site.

Nice that the Braves are back playing games. I didn’t listen, but it was good to get Mark Bowman’s tweets. I’m sure the bloggers will jump on the slow start, though its months too early to be concerned.

RedBoxed “The Debt” and “In Time”…both pretty decent movies. Also watched some of The Monkees marathon.

In addition to the June week in Destin, we’re also stated for our normal Myrtle Beach week in July. I kinda need to go to Lakeland with Will in May, for the Home School World Series. I got the go ahead for us to stay in a rented house with two coaches and several players. Last year they went to a minor league Tigers game. Tampa Bay is home every night that week, against the Mariners and A’s…except Sunday, which would’ve been the best day to go. I may need to do some month-end work on April 30, but hopefully that won’t be a problem. All that sucks up three of my four weeks.

Posted an old Sacramento Kings basketball jersey on EBay, and its drawing a bunch of interest. Next weekend should be interesting.

Seems like GT & UGA either play the late game (good for me) or the early afternoon game (bad).

Another killer day at work. Leaving early for Will’s game.

Monday, March 05, 2012

March Reading List

Outliers: The Story of Success, by Malcolm Gladwell. Highly recommended by many, so I’ll see for myself what the fuss is all about.

11/22/63, by Stephen King. I couldn’t wait to read this recently released fictionalized account of the Kennedy Assassination, so I’m on the waiting list at the library for it. Hopefully in March I’ll receive my summons.

2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clark. I’d never seen the movie, so I figured it was time to read the book. Feeds my inner nerd. Wonderful.

The Perfect Mile: Three Athletes, One Goal, and less than four minutes to achieve it (2004), by Neal Bascomb. A while back I read an interesting Roger Bannister article in Sports Illustrated, so this book should build on that.

Ford Country, by John Grisham.

The Confession, by John Grisham. Not sure if I’ve read this one yet, but I’ll soon see.

Trivia: March First

After staying until the end of Will’s Thursday night doubleheader, I hightailed it to Roswell for the second half of trivia. Joel had recruited Charles and Isaac to help.

1. POT POURI: What is the most popular last name in the USA? SMITH. Three points.

2. COFFEE: In what war did Americano coffee become popular? World War II. Five points.

3. LITERATURE: What classic John Steinbeck novel is about famers and their brothers? The Grapes of Wrath. Only a one point miss.

4: 1990's: What was the Spice Girls debut movie? Spice World. Another one point miss. Had I been there, I don’t think I would’ve remembered this.

5. NATURE: Which sex of mosquito bites? Female. Three points.

6. MOVIES: In the movie The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly, was Clint Eastwood good, bad, or ugly? Good. A five point miss. Like Joel, I would’ve had to guess.

7. ART: Which facial feature is missing on the Mona Lisa? Eyebrows. Five points. Joel knew this!?

8. JEWELRY: What country consumes the most diamonds? USA. One point.

9. FOOD & DRINK: What country consumes the most beer? China. A three point miss.

10. CAPITALS: Name the capitals of the following states: Minnesota (St.Paul), Missouri (Springfield), Pennsylvania (Harrisburg), New Hampshire (Concord), West Virginia (Charleston). Joel got four of five, missing on the Land of a Thousand Lakes.

11. POLITICS: What was Iran’s name before it was changed in 1934? I knew: Persia. Joel agreed. Six points.

12. GEORGIA: What 2 word fish is Georgia’s official state fish? Isaac thought it was the Blue Gill, which I had never heard of. I thought it was the Largemouth Bass. Joel flipped, and went with my answer. Two points.

13. SCIENCE: What was Sigmund Freud’s original branch of medicine? We didn’t know. I won’t tell you what I answered. Neurology was the correct answer. A four point miss.

14. OUTER SPACE: What planet rotates fastest around its own axis? We thought it was Mercury or Venus. Jupiter spins the fastest, followed by Saturn. No team got it right. A two point miss.

15. POT POURI: What is the name of a living plant that’s been pruned and trained into a specific ornamental shape? Isaac was first to answer Bonsai. Topiary was also accepted, like at Disneyland. Six points.

16. GEOGRAPHY: What country has the largest number of sheep? As we brainstormed, Joel suggested what turned out to be the correct answer: China. I talked him into answering Australia. Again, no team got this right. Another four point miss.

17. POT POURI: In 1888, what country held the first national beauty pageant? We didn’t know, so we went with Charles’ answer: France. It was Belgium. A two point miss.

18. DISNEY: At Walt Disney World, who or what pops out of the center tea pot in the It’s a Small World ride? Joel thought it was the Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. The correct answer was “a mouse.” A four point miss.

19. ACRONYMS: What does RADAR stand for? We didn’t know. Neither did any other team. I should’ve come up with a funny answer, like “Roswell’s Amazing Drinks And Rabble-rousers” It was Radio Detection And Ranging. A six point miss.

We had missed the last four questions, but it didn’t seem like many others teams were doing well, either. Before the final question, us DoorHinges were tied for third, four points behind second-place Bama, but 14 points behind a new team sitting at the bar. Sitting behind the brick fireplace, I got the idea of placing an empty coffee cup up on the ledge, and we started shooting little paper balls off the brick. Bad idea. Charles, Isaac, and Joel loved the idea…as did the young boy behind us. Caused a minor disruption.

20. FINAL: Name the five heaviest land mammals, from heaviest to 5th heaviest: Elephant, Hippo, Rhino, Giraffe, Buffalo. We didn’t think of the buffalo, perhaps because Joel was sure bears were so heavy (we talked him out of answering the lion). No one got all five in order, so we finished tied for third.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

The Week

Ceil and the kids when down to the candlelight service at Passion. Good weather to be outdoors. I ran after work, and needed to stop by the library. Stopped at Kroger for a frozen pizza, then when I got home I realized our new oven wasn't working…a part burned out. We're going to have to cut into the overhead cabinet and raise the microwave, because it hangs down so low over the stove.

Watched the George Clooney movie "The Ides of March" and the new Hank Haney show, with Sugar Ray Leonard, Angie Everhart, and chef Mario Batalli. C didn't get home until almost eleven.

The workers ripped out the tile in the kids bathroom. Hopefully they'll finish today. We should've repaired the huge hole in the master shower first…right now we're without a shower. Had to take a bath this morning.

At work our office restrooms have been out of order for three weeks. We have to walk out to the plant, or outside to a trailer with restrooms (I go out to the plant restrooms). That have to dig all the way to Buford Highway to fix it…almost half a mile. Will's game Tuesday was rained out, so I didn't have to leave early. Busy day. Young team member Thomas has turned in his notice. He has a friend taking his place: Patricia, who seems to be soaking everything in nicely.

Don Head came to Will's baseball game in Austell Saturday, and he told me about Dr. Sapp. Don said his mom is on the personnel committee, so they'll have to name a search committee. He also mentioned his sick niece.

My pet peeve is coaches, players, and umpires taking too much time. One pitching change took ten minutes. Finally Will stepped in to bat, then the pitcher turned and pointed to all four infielders, one at a time. He called them in for a conference. Finally the umpire had to walk out and break it up. Will's Tuesday game was rained out. Looks like this afternoon's doubleheader will also be cancelled…whenever its recently rained, the great East Cobb Baseball doesn't allow people on their sacred fields. And this weekend Will is going to miss his doubleheader in McDonough. Not a good start to the season.

ESPN devoted a ton of Sportscenter time to the Knick game, and I watched a bunch of that…after American Idol finally went off the air. A couple of days ago when they announced the new Dancing With the Stars cast on Headline News, they SAID Martina Navratilova, but displayed several photos of Martina Hingis. I rarely see such glaring errors!

EBay update: Sold my Dr. J jersey, a lime green Shareef Hawks jersey (to a UGA student), and a box of Matthew's old shoes. Also a Rangers hockey jersey, but evidently the buyer got cold feet. I had eleven pair of shoes that Matthew had outgrown that were still in good shape, that I decided to sell on eBay.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Another Doubleheader Sweep

Will was the winning pitcher in Game One, and again he was the most productive offensive player on his team, as Crown swept their Thursday afternoon doubleheader against South Atlanta. In game two he broke the game open with a stand-up RBI triple to deep centerfield, and also made the defensive play of the evening, an over-the-shoulder diving catch of a fly ball running full speed down the left field foul line with his back to the plate.

Crown started slow and sloppy, falling behind 5-1 in the second inning. Starting pitcher Adam allowed four of the first five baserunners to reach base. Braeden just missed snagging a line drive for a double play: instead the RBI double led to two South Atlanta runs.

When Adam’s arm started hurting Will came on in relief, but the sloppy defense continued. Nathan made an error at second base, then shortstop Perry threw one away, then mishandled a grounder. Still, Will induced seven ground balls to only two balls hit in the air. The defense settled down, and Will struck out five batters in 3-1/3 innings.

After a slow start at the plate, perhaps due to being moved from leadoff to second in the order (and from shortstop to third base), Will collected four straight hits. In the third his line drive to right center drove in Patrick from second. Will then stole second base, took third on a wild pitch, and scored on a grounder to third.

In the fourth inning Will singled through the hole into left field. He advanced to third on a double down the left field line, holding up at third since the Crown lead had grown large. He scored on Casey’s infield single.

Between games I encouraged Will to concentrate on hitting the ball up the middle. He appeared to be over-swinging on his fourth-inning single, over-anxiously pulling the ball down into the ground. In the first inning of Game Two, Will lined a 1-0 pitch into left-centerfield for a single. With Braeden up, Will stole second base to get into scoring position.

Sitting next to me, official scorekeeper Tim Nun asked me to consult my old-school scorebook: “How many stolen bases does Will have tonight?” It was his second. Tim was pretty sure that tied the Crown career stolen base record. As we spoke, Will stole third to break the record. Having missed over five weeks of the previous two seasons while on Living Science trips, Will broke the record in fewer games than the previous record-holder. As the first player to be removed from blowouts, Will has stolen most all of his bases while the outcome of the game was still in doubt.

With two out in the second Will launched a line drive over the centerfielder’s head to the deepest part of the plate, for a stand-up RBI triple. He later scored on an error by the catcher.
Will: 4-6, triple, 3 runs, 3 SB, 3 RBI……15/6
Adam: 2-3, 3 runs, RBI, SB……7/3
Braeden: 3-6, double, HR, 5 RBI, BB, 2 runs……15/7
Patrick: 2-4, double, 4 RBI, 5 runs, SB, 3 BB……16/8
Nathan: 1-1, 2 runs, RBI, SB, BB, HBP……6/3
Charlie: 3 runs, 3 BB……6/3
Casey: 2-2, run, 2 RBI……5/2
Perry: 3-6, double, HBP, SB, 2 RBI……8/6
Franklin: 1-4, 3 runs, RBI, 2 BBs……7/6
Ray: 1-4, RBI, HBP, BB, 2 runs……6/6
Eric: 1-2, run, sac fly, RBI……3/3
Sam: 0-1, run, 2 BBs……3/3
Andrew: 0-3, HBP, run……2/4

New Crown shortstop Perry played his first two games for the Knights, and may have suffered from the jitters at the plate and in the field. After his two early miscues in Game One, he finally made a long running catch in Game Two, literally taking the ball away from leftfielder Andrew, who could’ve made a much more routine catch coming in on the ball. At the plate he hit four ground balls in the first game, then two pop flies in Game Two.

After Braeden swung and missed at a second-inning pitch in Game One, on the other side of the grandstand the pitcher’s mother loudly chanted “You can’t hit what you can’t see!” Braeden swung at the next pitch, and sent it far over the centerfield fence. That was the last we heard from the pitcher’s mother.

Later on in Game One Patrick fouled a pitch back high over his head…over the backstop. Next we heard the sound of the glass breaking: the ball had shattered a huge light bulb. Glass showered down into the grandstand. Patrick looked at the spectacle with delight, until I shouted “You’ll get a bill for that!” Sitting next to me, Tim Nun was sure that he indeed would.

Several fans at the game: Mary-Clayton watched Game One. Will and Matthew’s longtime Mt. Paran coach Tracy Ellis sat with me and MC, so we were able to catch up. He goes to church with Patrick. Lucy arrived as Game One ended, and chatted with Mona, Ceil, and Anna during Game Two. Will’s former teammate Josiah George also showed up to watch Game Two. Josiah played his senior season for Crown, and set several records. After the games I played trivia with Josiah’s younger brother Isaac.

During the game a cell phone went off, with a Monday Night Football ring tone. All us guys looked around for the source. It was a teenage girl’s phone, sitting in front of us.

The games were played at East Cobb Baseball. One the smaller field behind us, a much younger ECB team was practicing. Several of us turned when we heard a coach berating the team. I exclaimed “Those seven-year olds better get their act together!”