Category Archives: Sports

Back At The Field

Between life and the pandemic and quarantine and more life, it’s been like three years (maybe four? No, gotta just be three. I hope!) since we were last at an Angels game in Anaheim.

Thanks to my sister, who had tickets that she couldn’t use, we’re out and about, watching batting practice and breathing in ballpark air.

We got here early enough so that I had time to find one of the most wonderful gifts I’ve ever received – a memorial brick out in the courtyard at the main entrance, which our kids got for me!

See it?!

It’s hot dog time! Plenty of time tomorrow for more stress and deadlines. Tonight, we play ball!

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Filed under LA Angels, Sports

Leaving Las Vegas

Our four days in Las Vegas were up. Leaving town we passed a site where I expect to return some day as a sworn enemy.

“There is evil there which does not sleep…”

But why “as a sworn enemy” you might ask if you’re not familiar with American professional sports? “Evil”?

Oh. Yeah. That.

My current masks have attracted a bit of  notice in Las Vegas. This is a good thing!

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Filed under KC Chiefs, Photography, Sports

2021 – Three Months In

So on the one hand in the blink of an eye, on the other hand with the passing of a couple of eons, we’re now three months into 2021, almost 25% of the year gone by.

Okay, it’s definitely better than 2020. We did have that whole little attempted coup on January 6th and we had to put up with “the previous guy” for about three weeks in January. But those are small potatoes compared to the unrelenting disaster that 2020 was.

Since then, the vaccines have started to flow, there were actual plans put forward to get them into arms, the infection rates and ICU usage rates are way down, and if we can avoid being morons (the percentages of folks not wearing masks at all or just not attempting to wear them properly at today’s Opening Day baseball games don’t bode well) then in another three months we might actually be able to see the end of the tunnel instead of just a dim glow off in the distance.

And MLB’s Opening Day is here! There’s still an undiluted joy to seeing and listening to the game, to hearing the crack of the bat, to feeling that pop of the glove into the catcher’s mitt, to smelling the cut grass of the field. Okay, so we weren’t there, and it will probably be late May at the very earliest and probably early June before we can get to a game. It was just the smell of cut grass from our back yard, but any port in a storm!

While most stadiums were at 20% or maybe 50%, at least one stadium will be at 100% capacity when they open at home next week. That’s just stupid, which raises the immediate question – is we talking about a stadium in Texas or Florida? (It’s Texas.)

Welcome to spring. Wear your mask, even if you’ve been vaccinated, especially if you haven’t. Stay safe, stay socially distanced. We want you alive and well to actually hang out at a game in July. Or August. Or better yet, June! But September at the latest…

We don’t have a clue what we’re doing, do we? One foot in front of another.

Masked.

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Filed under CoronaVirus, Sports

Unanchored

Sunday nights seem to be the worst.

The whole world’s going crazy and it’s getting harder to hold on to a sense of balance. So much going on at home, trying to just hold on to a sense of normalcy in our own bubble. So much to do at work, trying to carry my weight and help where I can for those who need it. So much to do at the hangar as we’re shut down but still trying to survive. So much to going on across our country as actual forces of evil are trying to divide and destroy us from within.

Am I doing enough? Or am I doing too much and will I recognize the straw that breaks the camel’s back? Or does that whole “you’re stronger than you know” thing still apply and I need to buck up, get my ass in gear, and do even more?

Overlying all is a growing anxiety and fear over the COVID-19 virus. We’re still healthy, but know folks who aren’t, and have seen just how bad it can be.

Where’s the center in all of this? Where’s the balance point? Or is there one, or is it constantly shifting and moving?

There’s a little bit of relief on the weekend as we can force ourselves to make time to relax, to watch a ballgame or movie. But even there I feel a constant dread, a guilt, a pressure that time is being wasted when I watch that game or show. Which I know is wrong, but which in turn just feeds into the cycle of angst.

Baseball is back, which is good – but I can’t help but feel that the other shoe is going to drop any day, with a whole COVID outbreak that could devastate a team, teams, or the league. Hockey and basketball return this weekend, and pro football is less than six weeks away. Who even knows if we’ll get college sports in the fall.

So much uncertainty, so much stress, so much impending doom. But tomorrow we’ll tackle it all again and do our best. Mainly because we really don’t have any choice. As the saying goes, “The only way out is through.”

But Sunday nights seem to be the worst.

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Filed under CoronaVirus, Deep Thoughts, Sports

Someplace Special – April 08th

Fenway Park, Boston

August, 2004. I took most of the family (The Son was overseas in the Air Force) to Boston. Being us, we had to go to a baseball game there in what was to them a new baseball stadium. In what was to me a cathedral, and old friend, a long-lost happy place.

It had been sort of a shitty vacation up to that point. We had been up in Vermont visiting my mother, which was nice, and had gone to visit Montreal, which was nice right up until our car got broken into, our luggage and my briefcase stolen, and we got the pleasure of spending most of the next three days trying to cancel credit cards and bank accounts before the identity theft got too bad.

We were going to the 2004 Worldcon in Boston and knew the Angels were in town against the Red Sox, so we spent more on 3rd row seats behind the Angels dugout than we spent on airfare. (Thank goodness the tickets had been left in Vermont and weren’t in my stolen briefcase!)

The Sox were up early and after seven innings the Angels were losing, 10-1. The Daughters had brought their rally monkeys (which were ALL the rage that year) and were waving them wildly despite the score. And we scored two in the eighth inning. And then scored four in the ninth inning…

I remember having at least one guy still on base and maybe two, so the tying run was at the plate before they finally got us out and won the game. A lot of the Boston faithful had left early, but those that remained were giving us some serious stink eye.

It was glorious.


I know the world has an abnormally high ratio of shit in it right now – but it also still has a lot of good things, and good things that will come back to us. It’s important to remember that. So let’s remember that and hold onto it when we need it.

Our family and many others are missing the simple pleasures now, like going to a ballgame, or even just watching one on television. It sucks. It’s a constant, nagging reminder that things are not right.

But so far we’re all healthy – I hope you are too. This will pass, and the baseball games will return.

We need to be doing this now in order to help as many of us as possible be around when they do.

Wash your hands. Wear a face mask. Maintain physical distancing.

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Filed under LA Angels, Photography, Sports, Travel

“It’s Not The Years, Honey…”

“…it’s the mileage.” – Indiana Jones

Yes, that is my toe starting to stick out of the left shoe. Running shoes do that after enough miles.

We were reminded at the beginning of the week that:

  1. The COVID-19 virus situation was getting worse (based on the situation in Italy and how little was being done in the US)
  2. The stock market was expected to dive even further (based on the futures market over last weekend)
  3. He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named was still in the White House (which explains a LOT about items #1 and #2)
  4. We had the freakin’ time change to Daylight Savings Time to mess with our heads.
  5. There’s a Friday the 13th today! (I’m 100% ***NOT*** superstitious, truly, but hey, sometimes an omen is an omen, know what I mean?)

CONGRATULATIONS! We all survived it!

With all of that “doom and gloom” on the horizon, no one was even warning us that the NBA, NHL, MLB, NCAA, NASCAR, MLS, and every other capitalized sports acronym on the planet was going to pull the plug.

Hell, Disneyland is shutting down! I believe that’s actually mentioned in the Book of Revelations as one of the Seven Signs of the Apocalypse.

There might not be toilet paper in the stores (there probably is if you just bother to go to the smaller stores instead of Costco) but there are a gazillion alternatives – if you don’t believe me, read the words of someone much more erudite than me.

Let’s be smart as a society, even if we have a world class moron as a “leader.” Ignore what he says and listen to the actual doctors say. A key is going to be “smoothing the curve,” spreading out the growth of COVID-19 so that people who get really badly infected and need ICU beds will have them over four to six to twelve months instead of all needing them at once in four to six weeks. It’s not rocket science.

Wash your hands.

Stay home if you’re sick.

Help others in need.

Then wash your hands again. Seriously.

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Filed under Health, Photography, Sports

Pitchers & Catchers

It’s odd. Usually the day that spring training baseball camps open (like, today!) is a much bigger deal to me. Pitchers & catchers reporting marks the beginning of yet another baseball season with the World Series Championship shining like a beacon in far off October.

But again, we see how much of everything is perception and the relative good or bad brought to our lives by other factors. In this case, my beloved Chiefs.

Most years at this point, the Chiefs haven’t played in about six weeks. Even in the good years, where it might have been only four weeks, that four weeks was punctuated with a horrible, gut wrenching loss snatched from the jaws of victory.

But this year…

We’re still basking in the glory. The memes are glorious. The flags are still up and I’m still watching replays of the playoff games. Today’s mail brought me my copy of the Kansas City Star from Monday, Feburary 3rd. (Guess what’s on the cover?)

So the first spring training games aren’t for another eleven days. Instead of leaping on the baseball bandwagon like a drowning man pushing Rose off of the door into the drink, let’s mosey on toward baseball.

I like this. I could get used to it.

Every year.

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Filed under KC Chiefs, LA Angels, Sports

Super Bowl Champions Monday

We won.

There was BBQ at our house because, well… Kansas City! BBQ! Duh!

(Click to enlarge.)

There was some tension being behind by ten points with only about eight minutes left – but you have seen us play, right? Like, really?

There was champagne that we had been saving for a special occasion, and they don’t get just a whole lot more special than this.

There was hanging out and celebrating and watching Andy Reid get his awards and Patrick Mahomes get his and everyone else looking at wedding pictures.

See you next year, same time, same place – back to back!

(And pitchers and catchers report in eight days…)

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Filed under Castle Willett, KC Chiefs, Panorama, Photography, Sports, Video

That Was A Lot Of Adrenaline

I hate my brain sometimes.

On Friday I wrote about the SpaceX Launch Abort flight that they were going to try to fly this weekend. I mentioned how it was scheduled for way too damn early on the West Coast, but thanks to social media I knew that the schedule had been pushed back from about 04:00 to about 07:30 or so. I’m normally awake by then, so I turned off my alarms. Then when the Saturday morning launch attempt got scrubbed completely, I saw that update almost immediately when I woke up – so I went back to sleep.

They rescheduled for this morning, but later, about 05:30. Even though I didn’t have any alarms set, my idiot brain got me up anyway, only to find that there was another weather delay, this time until about 07:00. I went back to sleep, only to have my smartass brain wake me up then.

The good news is that the test was an amazing success. About eighty seconds into the launch, traveling at about Mach 2.2 (I’m remembering these figures from my sleepy state this morning, they might be off by a tad), the Dragon spacecraft commanded the Falcon 9 launch vehicle to shut down and then fired the escape rockets. It worked perfectly! The Dragon separated, took off like a bat out of hell, then re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere and deployed the parachutes, splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean about 40 km off shore.

That was fantastic! Here’s to hoping that we’re now within mere weeks of once again launching American crews into space from American soil on American rockets. (That’s not jingoistic, it’s begging for redundant systems for a critical component of human space flight. If there’s only one way to get to orbit and back and something happens to that one thing, you’re screwed. Right now that only one way is on a Russian Soyuz. It had a launch abort last year and there were concerns that we might have to evacuate the ISS when the next crew rotation came up. Plus there’s that whole “political thing” with the Russians trying to overthrow our government…)

Then this afternoon my beloved Kansas City Chiefs played for the Conference Championship and the opportunity to go to the Super Bowl in two weeks.

The Chiefs played in Super Bowl I (and lost) and in Super Bowl IV (and won). Since then, fifty long years, it’s been nada. Zilch. Zip. Bupkis. Last year we were within minutes or seconds of winning the Championship game, only to let the opportunity slip away.

In today’s game we again fell behind early. Last week it was 24-0 before we got on track, this week not so bad but still down 17-7. But as we did last week, we hit our stride, got our game in gear, and ended up kicking ass and winning.

In both the launch and the game there was a LOT of adrenaline spent. It was “happy adrenaline,” not that “oh shit, there’s a cheetah behind me” kind. For that I’m grateful, but for now I’m crashing as that particular hormone burns it way out of my system.

I’ve never in my life been more happy to have a holiday coming up tomorrow. I’m freaking exhausted.

But happy. Happy exhausted.

We play the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl in Miami on February 2nd. Well before summer, we’ll see a crew going to ISS on a SpaceX Dragon.

50 years between Super Bowls for the Chiefs.

9 years between crewed flights out of Florida.

WTFL (Way Too Freakin’ Long) in both cases, but the light at the end of the tunnel is there!

 

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Filed under KC Chiefs, Space, Sports

What A Ride

It’s not a secret that I’m a huge fan of the Kansas City Chiefs. Remember Christmas 2018 when we went on a road trip to Seattle and KC to watch them? And we saw them play the Chargers and the Rams in Los Angeles last year?

This has been a bit of a roller coaster year, with our MVP quarterback being hurt for several games. We lost four of five games in the middle of the season, but came on strong in the second half and finished 12-4, and even managed to squeak into the #2 spot in the standings and getting a bye in the first week of the playoffs.

Then came yesterday…

Many bad words were uttered as we gave up long touchdown passes, blocked punts, and muffed kickoffs. MANY bad words.

My indomitable faith in the team was rewarded when they came back with the biggest, most spectacular, most amazing comeback quarter of football in the history of the game. Not a comeback from 24 points down in a game – they did it in ONE QUARTER.

Then they kept me calm and my blood pressure down by keeping the pedal to the metal.

Yes, it’s no secret at the office that I’m a Chiefs fan – we have a healthy football culture in the office with fans of teams from all over the league. So, yes, everyone in the office wanted to talk about THAT game.

Next weekend, don’t bother me between noon and 15:00. I’ll be preoccupied.

And with luck we’ll get to host one hell of a party on February 2nd.

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Filed under KC Chiefs, Sports