Archive for the ‘Baseball’ category

The Hurler’s Prayer

July 25, 2018

Coach in Heaven,
Fuel my strength.
Protect my arm.
Protect my shoulder.
Protect my ulnar collateral ligament.
Allow my pitches to find their targets, with the force to move mountains.
May flyballs land in gloves.
May ground balls stay in the infield.
Help me fool the opposition.
Fuel my strength.
In Cy Young’s name,
Amen.

ER

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Father and Son: A Baseball Microstory

June 11, 2018

“So this is what retirement feels like?” I asked.

“This is it,” my father replied. “What do you think?”

I gave the question some thought.

“Honestly,” I said. “I still have the urge to put on the uniform and grab my glove and bat. The feelings I had out there haven’t gone away yet.”

“Good,” my father said smiling. “It’s normal to feel that way. That urge will always exist. My advice: Don’t try to disconnect from it. It’ll drive you crazy. Just embrace it.”

Such wise words that guided me out from darkness.

I was going to be alright.

ER

No Confidence: A Baseball Microstory

May 10, 2018

Those fucking nerves tear my stomach apart.

What did Dr. Garcia say? Take several breaths? Remember, it’s just baseball; not life-or-death?

I’ve solicited advice. Yet every time….every damn time the manager calls on me, I want to disappear.

Use to be the best closer in baseball. Simply unstoppable. Then I made a fatal mistake: Threw one bad pitch and fucked up the World Series. Since then, my confidence has been estranged.

It is life-or-death. The stadium is full of demons and they’re all watching me.

Maybe, if I’m lucky, I’ll have a heart attack before I reach the mound.

ER

Real Pain: A Baseball Microstory

April 16, 2018

The room was spacious, but he felt trapped.

Such was the case when one attends a baseball game, attempts to catch a foul ball, misses, falls onto unforgiving concrete and is taken to a nearby hospital.

Stitches were needed and there were likely a few dental surgeries in his future. Calling himself a mess was generous. Worst of all, he missed the rest of the game.

And as he stared at the ceiling, contemplating his painful predicament, the doctor walked in and announced the final score.

Despite the cuts, bruises and broken teeth, news of his team’s defeat hurt more.

ER

Why stop at pitchers? Let’s put everything on a pace-of-play clock! 

February 7, 2018

Oh, that Commissioner Manfred and his persistent pursuit of the pace-of-play paradigm.

It seems he’s intending to have a pitch clock, as well as limits on mound visits. Rest assured, Manfred isn’t going to stop until he get what he wants. Players are on board? Doesn’t matter to him. Implemented in 2018 or pushed to 2019 or beyond? Doesn’t matter.

Debating the merits of such a change is pointless. The traditionalists/purists will lock in and say pitch clocks will ruin the integrity of the game. The contemporaries will argue that it will speed up the game, benefiting casual fans and TV audiences.

So if this does actually happen, why is Manfred just focusing on pitchers? Why not go all in and institute a pace-of-play clock on EVERYTHING?

Think about it:

  • The anthem must be finished in two minutes (four for both anthems). If it goes longer, the home side loses three ABs.
  • All pre-game ceremonies must be completed in five minutes or less. Anything longer will result in the cancellation of any hot dog/peanut/ex-President/condiment race occurring that day.
  • All concession sales must be completed within 90 seconds or it’s free.
  • Third base coaches can only flash one signal to the hitter. If they try to sneak a second signal, the hitter is assessed a strike.
  • Seventh inning stretch must be completed in three minutes or fans leaving the match get free peanuts or crackerjacks.

Ridiculous? Absolutely. But so is debating about changes to the game. Baseball has evolved over decades and it shouldn’t be be surprising if some fans accept changes under protest. You can be for or against evolution; but make no mistake: evolution occurs whether we like it not. It’s kind of out of our control.

Damn. This post took a dark turn.

ER

Short, scribbled final thoughts about the 2017 World Series

November 2, 2017

Mazel Tov to the Houston Astros! Finally – after 56 seaons – a World Series parade will be held in their city.

Granted, it doesn’t even compare to when the Chicago Cubs ended their 108-year-old drought. However, that doesn’t mean it’s any less significant. This championship not only belongs to the 2017 team, but also to the countless players who wore an Astros uniform in the past. Today, I’m thinking about Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Roy Oswalt, Lance Berkman (my childhood/era) and many others . My hope is that they are enjoying this moment as much as Verlander, Altuve, Springer, Keuchel and the rest of the current roster.

Not too long ago, things were bleak for the Astros. They were one of the worst teams and very beatable; unless – it seemed – they hosted the Blue Jays at Minute Maid Park. But all that misery and pain allowed them to draft and cultivate young talent with tons of potential. As luck would have it, all that young talent achieved its potential and developed into the best team in baseball. The Astros redefined the meaning of a blue print and have reset the example of building a winning ball team.

At the end of every World Series, I always like to search the winning team’s roster for former Blue Jay players and coaches. This year, an extra congrats goes to Francisco Liriano; traded to Houston back in July for Teoscar Hernandez and Nori Aoki. Liriano started the season getting blown out by Tampa Bay, but ended things on a much more positive note.

Despite playing for the losing side, a tip of cap also goes to Brandon Morrow. It was wonderful seeing him healthy again and making a significant impact for the Dodgers. Here’s hoping he continues to build from a mostly successful 2017 performance.

ER

World Series Prediction/Guess

October 24, 2017

My desire for a Cubs-Astros World Series unravelled last week. Wasn’t surprised Los Angeles won the National League Pennant. What was shocking was how the Dodgers captured the title: Victory by technical knockout. 

Houston showed us the true meaning of home field advantage. The Yankees didn’t stand a chance playing three games with the magical pinstripes and four with their dull, grey road uniforms. 

So we have an old-school NL West matchup for the World Series. Good fortune will fall upon the Houston Astros and it will occur in six games. 

I’m sure you have seen the 2014 Sports Illustrated cover that declared Houston would be victorious in 2017. Back in 2012, I wrote a piece about the Astros for TheGoodPoint.com. At the time, fans of the team were furious. On top of poor performances on the field, there was a significant contingent of fans unhappy that Houston was moving to the American League. It was also the Astros’ 50th anniversary. 

Amazing how things can change 😉

Enjoy the World Series!

ER



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