Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Baseball and 4th of July

I had the great pleasure of attending a semi-pro baseball game her in Bellingham, WA today. It was great. The sun was out and the hotdogs were bad and the local team won.

Today being Independence Day I felt particularly patriotic to be at a baseball game. A few years ago I was at a game where Bob Feller was giving autographs. It was a pretty lengthy line, but he was patient, always willing to pose for a picture. The only time he stopped until the line was empty was during the playing of the national anthem. He stood, removed his hat and stood at attention.

For those of you too young to remember, Feller threw 3 no hitters. The reason I'm remembering him on Independence day is that he served 4 years in the Navy during WWII. Unlike many of the MLB players who ended up playing on barnstorming teams that entertained troops, Feller was a gunner on a navy ship and received four battle stars.

The picture above is of my wife Lorna, Bob Feller and me, taken about 15 years ago. In these days were baseball players are called "heroes" when they're really little more than public idols, Bob Feller stands well above most players and is a true hero.

I had an "aha" moment when I realized that the leather lunged fan that yells loudest at the umpire, knows the least about baseball. I'm thinking of making it a corollary to my "whoever argues loudest and most aggressively in an argument or debate it most likely to be be wrong.

I took a bath on my baseball picks yesterday. 1 and 4. Only the Astros came through for me. That makes me 20 and 20 for the year and in a tie with the dreaded coin.

No picks for today, the coin refuses to work holidays.

Happy Independence Day. Happy Baseball.

Have a nice, good day and let's play ball!

Monday, July 03, 2006

July 3 picks.

On vacation recently in Oklahoma City, I had the opportunity to visit Mickey Mantle's Steakhouse Located at #7 Mickey Mantle Dr. across from the Brickyard Baseball Park.

The food there is excellent. I had tournedos with bernaise sauce done medium rare and found with pleasure that they steak was extremely tender, genuinely able to be cut with a fork and the bernaise was very nice, but a little less strong than I'm used to. I also had a mushroom risotto that was excellent. It had been finished with cream and with the fresh parmesan, was very reminiscient of a light alfredo sauce.

Yesterday I went 2 and 3.

Y-T-D percentage is now 52% and 19 and 16. I'm still beating the dreaded coin, but the day's young.

Today's picks:

White Sox over Orioles
Yankees over Indians
Mets over Pirates
Redsox over Devil Rays
Astros over Cubs.

Have a nice, good day and let's play ball!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Cardinals Haiku-Dizzy Dean

I found a cute haiku about the the Cardinals.


I found myself wondering if the Dizzying referred to Dizzy Dean, the great St. Louis pitcher. He's before my time as a player, but I loved him as a national tv broadcaster in the early to mid-sixties with P.W. Reese.

"That's a blue darter!"

Have a nice, good day and let's play ball!

July 2 Picks

Yesterday I went 2 and 3. My y-t-d totals are 17 and 13 for 56%. I'm still ahead of the coin, but I'm no longer leaving the coin in the dust, so I apologize to the dreaded, fickle disk.

One of my wins yesterday was CWS over the Cubbies. I was routing all the way and excited to see the Cubs be ahead with two out and nobody on. Dempsey could have been a hero instead of a goat, but his failure to to close out against pinch hitter Gload after having a 1-2 count and failing to field a ground, he walked Dye on five pitches and served up a hanging slider to Pierzynski that ended up on Sheffield avenue.

You should have heard Ron Santos. As soon as Dempsey missed the grounder, he began to sense the beginning of the end. "I don't like feeling like this," he said while Dempster was walking Dye. Ron is a very good color man and I love listening to his comments during the games, but this one was hard to take. That's baseball.

On the local level, the Mariners are sitting alone in second place. I still expect them to collapse, but will be glad to be wrong.

Today's picks:

Tigers over Pirates
Cardinals over Royals
Oakland over Arizona
Rangers over the Astros
Mariners over Rockies
Detroit may be the best team in baseball right now. They certainly have one of the premier managers.

I've got to keep picking the Cardinals and picking against the Royals. There's something wrong with the baseball karma in Missouri, but it's got to straighten out soon.

Zito will not let Oakland be swept by the lowly D-backs.

Tough call with Rangers over Astros, but the AL has been cleaning the NL's clock.

Tough call for the Mariners, too. Washburn hasn't panned out, but he seems to be hot and cold. Last time he was cold.

Have a nice, good day and let's play ball!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Mickey Mantle IV and today's picks

On Friday, I picked 4 of 5 correctly giving me a y-t-d of 15 and 10 for a percentage of 60, so I'm slowly climbing my way up the ladder after the disastrous 1 and 4 day earlier this week. I'm leaving the dreaded fickle coin in the dust.

The game I got wrong was due to the Royals beating the Cards in the tenth inning.

Today's picks:

  • White Sox over Cubs. I hate to pick against both Maddux and the Cubs, but it's mostly for sentimental reasons. The Cubs seem to be finding ways to lose and their offense has been mediorcre on their good days.
  • Yankees over the Mets. Randy seems to be working his way back to his winning ways. This is a bit of a sentimental pick too. I watched him pitch for years when he was in Seattle and still remember how overpowering he can be. I hate to see Alex at third.
  • Cards over the Royals. For much the same reasons as yesterday. The Cardinals have gone 1 and 9 in the last ten. That can't last. Neither can the Royals', clearly an inferior team, 7 and 3 in the last ten.
  • Orioles over the Braves. Partly a hunch and partly because I can seen Russ Ortiz pitching very well against his old team. I was lucky enough to see Russ in his first professional season here in Bellingham when he was the closer for the Bellingham Giants. You could tell from his first appearance that he would make it into the majors if he didn't get hurt.
  • Brewers over the Twins. Based purely on the starting pitching.

Have a nice good day and let's play ball!

Friday, June 30, 2006

Mickey Mantle's Home Part III & Daily Predictions

Those of you who have read recent posts know that my family and Mickey Mantle's family knew each other and were neighbors in the early thirties.

Dad told me about a trip to Tulsa he and Mutt (Mickey's father) and some of the other men of Spavinaw, OK made. A barnstorming team including Mickey Cochran played there. Mutt was so impressed with Cochrane's play that he decided right then to name his son Mickey.

I did pretty well yesterday, 4 out of 5. I should have known better picking the Cubs over the Brewers, but I like the Cubs and think Wrigley is the best baseball experience in the major leagues and I've never quite forgiven the Brewers for leaving Seattle.

Anyway, my y-t-d totals are 11-9 or 55% so I'm finally better than that fateful flipping coin.

Today's picks:

  • Chisox over Cubs-the Cubs sometimes seem to be trying to lose. They're not playing as a team and are trying too hard so they make mistakes. Unfortunately this may cost Dusty Baker his job.
  • Tigers over the Pirates. Jim Leyland has done an incredible job and at this point should be manager of the year.
  • Cardninals over the Royals. St. Louis needs to get back to winning ways, and there's nothing like a series against the lowly Kansas City team to make that happen.
  • Marlins over Bosox. I love Boston and strongly dislike the Marlins, largely due to the way habit they have of building a good team, winning, then dumping the team. I also hate the way Willis wears his hat. As far as I'm concerned that's a mockery of baseball. When I become commissioner, that will stop. However, Boston's 12 game winning streak is due to come to an end and it just might be tonight.
  • Reds over the Indians.

Have a very good, nice day, and let's play ball.


Thursday, June 29, 2006

Daily predictions

Yesterday I was 3 and 2. That brings my ytd total to 7-8 or 46%. I'm still not as smart as that dreaded coin.

Shock of the week for me is that the Mariners have climbed above .500 and are only two games out of first. I don't expect this to last.

I suppose I'm pleased about this, but frankly I'm having trouble watching the Mariners this year. I have attended one of their games, but frankly I'm tired of American League baseball and that's the way Mike Hargrove manages. It seems to me that when a team has lesser talent you've got to play little baseball instead of base to base like the AL does. I guess the problem with that is that a lot of people love the home run. And it is a business. Team owners would be happy to lose every game as long as they fill all the seats.

This must be the time of the season where losing teams make a run at winning. The Royals are 7-3 in their last 10 games. This won't last either.

Today's picks:

The premier game of the day is Boston vs NYM. Schilling vs Glavine. The teams have almost identical records, so I'll go with the home field advantage.

My sentimental pick is the Cubs over the Brewers.

Cubs over Brewers
Bosox over the Mets
Blue Jays over the Nats
Reds over the Royals
A's over Padres

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Predictions of the day

Well I can't do too much worse than I did yesterday. I was 1 and 4 for my predictions, bringing my y-t-d total to 4 and 6 for a 40% correct prediction rate.

That means I'm slightly dumber than flipping a coin. Oh, well.

Today's picks:

White Sox over Pirates-Freddy is pitching and he's become a good pitcher. When he first came up he'd let a bad call, or least what he thought was a bad call, get to him and he'd lose his stuff. He's matured and is a good solid picture.

I pick the Mets over the Bosox. It's hard to go against Boston at home, but it's even harder to go against Pedro, especially after the ovation he got yesterday at Fenway. It will be interesting to see how he is received today.

Cardinals over the Indians. St. Louis is sliding, but they can't keep losing forever.

I'll go with the Mariners over the D-backs. Felix Hernandez is pitching today. Someday he may be a great pitcher, but not yet. I think he needs a strong, older catcher that will keep him in line. Not that there's anything wrong with Jojhima, but he's not old enough to mentor Felix. I can't go away without noticing that the Mariners have crawled bat to .500, frankly I didn't think it would happen this year. I hope it continues.

Finally, the A's over the Padres. Oakland is doing their typical turning up the heat in June. They're looking awfully good.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Ichiro's Pre-game Routine

There's a great article by Scott Miller at CBS News.

It talks about the routine Ichiro uses before games and how that makes his first appearance at the plate a high percentage hit plate appearance. According to the article Ichiro feels many people are trying to feel out the pitcher during their first at bat and aren't really trying to get a hit.

In effect, this results in Ichiro having an extra at bat in each game over many other starters. This helps explain why he is well on his way to his sixth consecutive 200+ hit season.

It's well worth a read

Peter Gammons Illness

Peter Gammons, one of if not the most knowledgeable baseball analyst, suffered a brain aneurysm today at his home in Cape Cod. He has been flown to NYC and is undergoing surgery.

Read the story on CBS MLB

Let's hope we see him back at Fenway soon

Best wishes to Peter and his family.

Mickey Mantle's Home Part II

Sadly to say, the house where Mickey Mantle was born is no longer there. It is currently a Church of Christ.

I don't know when the change took place. I was last in the area in 1965. I wish I had a picture of it I could share with you.

During the early 30s, the Mantles were neighbors of my parents. In fact, at one time my parents owned the house and one of my sisters was born there in the same room where Mickey was born. That's not too surprising because it was a small house in the dirt poor town of Spavinaw, Oklahoma. One of my older sisters was good friends with Mickey's older sister and my mother used to babysit Mickey and had changed it's diaper. If she'd kept it instead of washing it out, it might be worth a fortune today .

Today's Major League Baseball Picks:

Houston Astros over Detroit Tigers
St. Louis Cardinals over the Cleveland Indians
Texas Rangers over the San Francisco Giants
Chicago Cubs over the Milwaukee Brewers
Chicago White Sox over the Pittsburgh Pirates

Year to day prediction percentage 60% 3 out of 5.

Have a very good, nice day, and let's play ball.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Great Baseball Day

This is the last day of my vacation except for flying home tomorrow.

It was a great baseball day.

We spent the afternoon in Oklahoma City watching the OKC Redhawks lose to the New Orleans Zephyrs. The temperature was in the high eighties, a few clouds to bring some much needed shade occacionally. A steady wind blowing in that helped as well.

It was a good game until the tenth inning, but OKC then fell apart.

It's a beautiful stadium though. I took quite a few pictures and will be sharing them with you.

After the game we ate at Mickey Mantle's restaurant across the street. It was great too and I'll have more information for you in the next day or two.

When we got to our hotel, I watched most of the second College World Series game between North Carolina and Oregon State University. I'm not usually a fan of higher scoring games, but this was fun and exciting.

I'm now watching the Astros beating the Whitesox. It's the top of the ninth and the score is 9 to 5.

BTW, if you want to add RSS feeds of this blog to your newsreader and haven't figured out how to add a blogger site, check out my other blog

Mickey Mantle's Home Part I

I went to a family reuninion yesterday in Spavinaw, Oklahoma, the birthplace of Mickey Mantle. I'll have a few pictures in the next few days or so.

I didn't do that great yesterday on my prediction.

I missed the Reds over the Indians and the Cards over the Tigers. My prediction rate was 60% and since it's the first time I've done it this year, my YTD percentage is also 60%.

I'm hoping to make it to Oklahoma City in time to attend the OKC game against New Orleans. I'll let you know tomorrow how it turns out.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Guillen Fine and Daily Predictions

It's tough to pick a winner in interleague play, but here goes:

Reds over the Indians
Cardinals over the Tigers
Twins over the Cubs
White Sox over the Astros
Mariners over the Padres

I'm not sure I agree with punishing somone for speaking his mind. I could see maybe the Whitesox fining him if he broke a rule because he's their employee. It's hard for me to see the league doing it though, unless it's during a game.

What about the 1st Amendment rights to free speech?

I'm getting really tired of the so-called political correctness. Often it seems like political correctness just something to give those people who can't think of something meaningful to say a chance to say something. It rarely adds anything of value to a discussion and frequently deflects meaningful conversation into another subject.

These days there are only three groups that it is politically corrrect to badmouth in the United States. The first is white males, second are older people, and third are obese people. One can say just about anything one wants about any of this group, especially white males and fat people.

I happen to fit into all three categories so I'm pretty much open to any vergal abuse anyone would care to heap.

I have recently started a website about health and weightloss.
Check it out.

I'm currently on vacation is Oklahoma and have been eating the heavy food of the area. When I get back I'm planning on some weightloss. I'll be putting up a diary blow. The address will follow.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Cal State Fullerton Comeback

What a comback for CSF!

Top of the ninth, 2 out, man of first, base hit and an intentional walk to load the bases. Three ending up scoring and CSF defeats Georgia Tech in an elimination game at the College World Series in Omaha.

If you ever get a chance to go to Omaha for baseball, do it. The atmosphere is fantastic. It's the only place I've ever seen cheerleaders for baseball.

I was able to go from 1973-1976 when I was stationed there while in the Air Force. At that time, it wasn't such a big deal. This was before ESPN and the games weren't even televised. I used to get free tickets at the looking convenience stores for free. It was the same with the Omaha Royals KC's AAA team. I never had to pay for a ticket because they were free at the convenience stores.

I visited Rosenblatt stadium a couple of years ago. It was absolutely fantastic. The stadium has been remodeled remodeled and there are some really interesting baseball statues outside.

Stop by if you ever get a chance, even if it's not baseball season.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Favorite Baseball Memory

In 1977 I went to my first MLB game. It was between the Seattle Mariners and the New York Yankees.

That year the Yankess were stockpiled with talent. What a surprise.

During the Yankee batting practice all of the high priced talent was standing around, not working up a sweat. In foul territory, in front of the dugout, Yogi Berra was hitting sharp grownders to three "no name" infielders. Yogi would toss up the ball, take a swing and hit the ball. At the same time, his pants would slip a little and he'd grab his pants and give them a good jerk upwards. Then he would catch the toss from the infielder who had caught the ball and go through the whole process again.

Yogi looked like he was having so much fun! Yogi looked like a little boy playing baseball on "The Hill" in St. Louis.

Of all the people on the field Yogi looked like the only one who was having fun. Only Yogi remembered that baseball was a game.

We could use more people like Yogi in the game today.

Baseball Announcers

I've been watching a lot of baseball the last three years.

Two years ago I bought the On Demand Baseball package through my cable carrier, Comcast and started watching a lot of games, especially National League games.

This year I bought the package through ESPN that allows me to watch and listen to games on my computer while I work. Since I spend a good deal of time on my computer, this is ideal.


I have learned that there are a lot of TV baseball announcers that are really bad. They are still announcing the way they have always announced, that is for the home crowd. That was okay when they were just broadcasting to the local fans, but it's no longer the way to broadcast.

Come on guys, you are now announcing to the world. Give us some background, talk about the players as if you are talking to people who haven't been fans of the team for years.

Oh, and it might be a good idea if you talk about the game once and a while.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Jump on the Bondwagon

In one of my other blogs, I wrote a piece after Barry Bonds passed Babe Ruth into second place for the most homerunes. I thought you might enjoy it.

A Baby Boomer's Common Sense Guide to the Universe et. al.: Bonds versus Ruth-Who Acted Illegally?

Check back soon. I'm going to explore the "Beergate" issue and report back to my readers.

Infield fly rule

The infield fly rule needs to be changed!

I'm not a big fan of changing baseball rules, but one rule that does need to be changed is the infield fly rule.

I've been a baseball fan since 1960 and have never seen the infield fly rule do anything except: the batter is out and runners stay at the base they currently occupy.

Boring Baseball Rule Alert!

Here's the rule: An INFIELD FLY is a fair fly ball (not including a line drive nor an attempted bunt) which can be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort, when first and second, or first, second and third bases are occupied, before two are out. The pitcher, catcher and any outfielder who stations himself in the infield on the play shall be considered infielders for the purpose of this rule.
When it seems apparent that a batted ball will be an Infield Fly, the umpire shall immediately declare “Infield Fly” for the benefit of the runners. If the ball is near the baselines, the umpire shall declare “Infield Fly, if Fair.”
The ball is alive and runners may advance at the risk of the ball being caught, or retouch and advance after the ball is touched, the same as on any fly ball. If the hit becomes a foul ball, it is treated the same as any foul.

The part I don't like is in bold above. I think it should be changed to allow runners to try and advance as soon as the infield fly is called. That would add some excitement to the game instead of just having the runners stay at their base which is what happens now. I wouldn't change any other part of the rule, the batter is still out, I'd just allow the runners to, well, run.

Imagine the excitement of a bases loaded, bottom of the ninth game with less than two outs where an infield fly allows the runner to streak toward home while an infielder tries to catch the ball and throw it home in time for the tag.

Wouldn't that be better than just calling the batter out, watching the runners stay on base and waiting for another batter to come to the plate?

BTW, here's a link to the official rules on the Major League Baseball Website