Monthly Archives: March 2012

Ichiro At the Bat in Tokyo!

Ichiro at the Bat in Tokyo, March, 2012. Courtesy this morning of Drew Silva, NBC Hardball.

“From Jeff Baker of the Seattle Times comes this shot of Mariners outfielder and native of Japan Ichiro Suzuki getting ready to bat in Saturday’s exhibition game against the Hanshin Tigers. The Mariners lost the game 5-0 in front of a raucous sold out crowd of 55,000 at the Tokyo Dome.”   Drew Silva, NBC Hardball. 

I love this picture, probably because it’s rumored and most likely true that 2012 will probably be Ichiro Suzuki’s last year not only as a Seattle Mariner, but also in Major League Baseball.   I hear he’ll probably be returning to baseball in Japan and who could blame him?  Evidently you can mail a letter to Ichiro in Japan, addressed only to “Ichiro” and he’ll get it.  That’s how popular he is in Japan and he may be just as popular here,  especially in the Seattle area.

The Seattle Mariners are in Japan for a two-day stand to open the 2012 regular season against the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday and Thursday of this week.  Wouldn’t you just love to be there?   But hang tough. We’re almost there – to opening day I mean!

The “D-Train” Has Left the Station. “We Hardly Knew ye D”

Dontrelle Willis

I’m really sad this morning to read about Dontrelle Willis being released from yet another team, this time the Philadelphia Phillies.  I’ve been following this kid since his 2003 debut with the Florida Marlins.  He was just so much fun to watch,  with that wild and goofy wind-up he had and always a big smile.  I’d never seen anything like it before and probably never will again.

He was dynamite back then!  And I wasn’t the only one who was enthralled with the kid.  He was named the 2003 National League Rookie of the Year.   And that wasn’t all he did in 2003.   In game 4 of the 2003 NL Division Series he hit 3 for 3 (one was a triple) and scored a run, this all being done as a “pitcher”, and then beat the socks off my home team, the San Francisco Giants.  The Marlins won the 2003 World Series, and I’ll never forget Dontrelle Willis in that series.

Dontrelle Willis & Miguel Cabrera in Detroit

Dontrelle was born and raised in Oakland and raised by his very strong, tough and intelligent mother, Joyce.  She was not only a commercial welder, working on such bridges as the Golden Gate and Bay Bridge, but she was also a softball catcher and avid Oakland A’s fan.  This was the defining influence on Dontrelle that propelled him all the way to the Major Leagues.  His dad bailed out when he was a toddler.  I don’t know this, but I think they probably had a pretty tough time during those early years.  We  know one thing though.  He loved his mama!

I’m sorry the “D-Train’s” career has been de-railed again.  In December, 2011 the Phillies signed him to a one year million dollar deal with expectations that he’d be a bullpen pitcher.  He was released  yesterday after just three spring training appearances.

Not so long ago

It’s been a wild and rocky road.  Will he be back?  I don’t know.  But I know one thing.  Dontrelle Willis provided me with some of my most memorable baseball experiences and I hope he does come back, though at 40 years old it’s unlikely.

To Dontrelle Willis:  Best Wishes.  I wish we could have gotten to know you better kid!

Best Food at the Ballpark in 2012? ~ You Decide!

"Strasburg: Last year's version with butterflied hotdog on top"

I found a great little ditty this morning at the Washington Post.  The Nationals are going to highlight special food from the visiting team’s home town each time they play in Washington.   I recommend you take advantage of  San Francisco’s special food “Garlic Fries” this year, especially since the Giants will be playing at Nationals Park on the 4th of July, and not just because they’re our namesake, but because they’re really, really good!

But for sure you gotta love the special food presented by the Washington Nationals this year, honoring their special pitcher, Stephen Strasburg.  I hear it includes 12 pickles, representing the twelve strike-outs the Stras got in his first outing.   Great article written by Dan Steinberg, from the Washington Post.

Nationals Park introduces 8-pound ‘StrasBurger’

By , Washington Post  Posted at 02:06 PM ET, 03/12/2012

 

The new 8 lb. Strasburger includes fries and a coke! Courtesy "Yardbarker"

(Marvin Joseph – TWP.) As the baseball season approaches, you know what that means on this here blog: lots of updates on the concessions available at Nationals Park.

Our first update concerns the Red Porch, and a brand-new menu item that will get lots of attention from media and fans: The StrasBurger. Via my favorite friends in Nats PR:

Weighing eight pounds total (including toppings), the StrasBurger is a monstrous all beef burger (combination of ground brisket, chuck and short ribs). The burger is served on a large burger bun with our secret sauce, American cheese, shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes, sliced red onions, pickle chips and served with a cone basket of fresh cut fries and a pitcher of your choice of soft drink. This signature dish is the perfect entrée to share at this affordably-priced family restaurant.

In case you missed the key phrase, this burger WEIGHS EIGHT POUNDS TOTAL, which is a lot of pounds. Even if some of them are onion pounds. Every TV station in this market will have hosts merrily attempting to grapple with the StrasBurger next month. At least, I hope so.The Red Porch will also feature special food and beer pairings that will spotlight area brews, including those from Dogfish Head and Flying Dog. Any time I get to type “Dogfish Head,” I consider that a win.

Also, the Taste of the Majors stand — which has spotlighted a few items from other MLB cities — will now feature a special dish from the city of each visiting opponent while they’re actually in D.C. Those items will all be limited time only offers, obviously.  The list:

Atlanta:   Smothered Fried Chicken Platter
Baltimore:  Pit Beef Sandwich Platter
Arizona:  Dog Platter
Chicago:  Dog Platter
Cincinnati:   5-Way Cincinnati Chili
Colorado:  Mile High Burger
Houston:  Houston Nacho
Los Angeles:  Dog Platter
Miami:   Cuban Dog
Milwaukee:   Beer Brat Platter
New York (Mets and Yankees):   Coney Dog Platter
Philadelphia:   Philly Chicken Cheese Steak Platter
Pittsburgh:   Pitts Burger Platter
St. Louis:   BBQ Rib Platter
San Diego:   Fish Taco Platter
San Francisco:   Garlic Fries and Shrimp Platter
Tampa Bay:  Salty Dog Platter

Geez, this is all making me hungry!  Only 23 Days to Opening Day ~  See you at the ballpark!

“A Game for Bryan Stow”

Bryan Stow with his children.

I grabbed this gem from the internet.  It’s written by  Michael who  grew up a Mets  fan, but quickly acknowledges he’s a genuine fan of anything baseball.

A Game for Bryan Stow

Written March 7, 2012 by Grubby Glove

A Heartbreaking Anniversary Is Approaching. On Thursday, March 31, 2011  after the season-opening game in which the Dodgers defeated the San Francisco Giants 2 to 1 in Los Angeles, Bryan Stow, a father, husband, paramedic and Giants fan wearing his orange and black colors, was viciously beaten by two men in a parking lot outside Dodger stadium. A reaction of universal condemnation was immediate. People everywhere showed their support. Many fans attending the next game at Dodger Stadium wore the colors of both teams.

Tragic Consequences. The fact that this occurred to Bryan Stow is a tragedy, but it didn’t happen to just him. It happened to his wife, children, mother, and friends, young EMT’s he would have mentored, his ambulance partner, the patients who would have benefitted from his skill and countless others. A man who had dedicated himself to responding to and assisting others in moments of great duress requiring immediate, life-saving actions was himself rendered to a condition where his very hold on life was tenuous. He has been hospitalized since that moment. One estimate has his medical treatment costing in excess of $50 million. *

A Random Act. I am not pointing my finger at the Dodgers players, fans or its community at large. I have lived in Los Angeles and know firsthand its citizens are decent, law-abiding people who love their teams and are passionate about them. Take a heated rivalry, factor in a close game on opening night, mix in hatred and an absence of respect for human life, and you have the makings of a beating.

A Larger Community. Although we all root for different teams, we are more alike than we think. Regardless of your team, we share the same passion. Each fan believes his team is the best. What happened to Bryan Stow could have happened to any one of us. Bryan Stow is any fan, in any city, rooting for any team, and wearing its colors that happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. He is part of larger baseball community. He’s your Dad, brother, husband, friend, you or me. He’s family.

A Game for Bryan Stow. Bryan Stow attended one game and nearly lost all. He may never be the man he once was. I am asking that this season, we each pick one game to give back to him. Instead of purchasing tickets for the game, please consider forgoing the game and donating those funds to assist with his medical treatment. Our baseball community is tens of millions strong. If we each give Bryan Stow one game in this fashion, we can make a huge impact. Thank you.”

Donations can be made here: http://support4bryanstow.com/

* source: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/09/bryan-stow-medical-costs.html

Scoring the Old Fashioned Way ~ Paper and Pencil!

Book Review

“HOW TO SCORE BASEBALL, Advanced Edition” By Robert Bulka

This is a comprehensive, well-written book that could easily have been titled “Everything you always wanted to know about scoring a baseball game, but were afraid to ask.”   It’s been years since I’ve scored a game but I wasn’t the least bit daunted in reading the book. I mean how many things could have changed in the last few decades?  A hit’s a hit, a ball’s a ball and a run’s a run.  Well to start with a hit isn’t necessarily a hit as Robert carefully points out in his score keeping basics.

Standard Baseball Scorecard

But this isn’t your ordinary book.  This is a book full of instruction and explanation that helps the reader understand “why” each entry must be carefully entered into a specific area on the scorecard.  It’s a how-to book that’s actually fun as I felt like a school kid learning something for the first time.  And actually I was, as I realized the method I’d learned to score back in the old days was the most basic of basics.  This is the real thing, as it gets into not only runs, hits and errors, but takes you into recording unusual situations such as the four strike-out inning, catcher’s interference and the double switch and much more.

“Scorekeeper photo courtesy of Google Images”

I’m an accountant by trade so one of the more interesting aspects of the scorekeeping was “Proving a Box Score”, or how to be sure your book is in balance so to speak.   But my favorite was the list of formulas the author included for calculating statistics.  If you’ve struggled with Sabermetrics this is a great primer for learning how the various percentages are calculated.

The book is available in Kindle and PDF format, but I’d really love to be able to read it in a regular book format also. The information available in this great little book is such a great resource I’d have the pages folded and yellow highlighting and post-its on every other page.

In case you’re not aware, you can download a Kindle book even if you don’t have a Kindle.  It can be downloaded to any PC, laptop and/or Kindle.

I’m aware there are a lot of electronic scoring systems out there, but to be honest I don’t see how you could become a very good scorer without understanding how and why you’re entering information in a specific place.  This will teach you to do that.

I really enjoyed this book and I’d recommend it to anyone who’s learning to score for the first time or for someone who just needs a refresher course.  Today my new score book arrived in the mail and I can hardly wait to settle in and begin practicing my new-found skills with Bulka’s handy little e-book by my side.

“How to Score Baseball”  is available for purchase through Amazon.com.