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Monthly Archives: May 2011

The dreaded eighth inning

Baseball fans always talk about how hard it is to get those last three outs of a game.

I contend that the 22nd, 23rd and 24th outs are even harder — because your eighth-inning setup man doesn’t have the “stuff” that your ninth-inning guy does.

Tonight, for example, four games featured decisive rallies in the eighth inning. And there are still three games in progress.

Why are the Dodgers having such a bad season? Among other reasons, it’s the eighth and ninth innings. Los Angeles has scored 25 runs in the last two innings this year. Opponents have scored 63.

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Posted by on May 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Fun facts from MLB standings

  • Cleveland is 19-6 at home.
  • Boston started 0-6. Since then? 30-18.
  • Kansas City is 6-16 on the road.
  • Two and a half games separate the first-place and last-place teams in the AL West.
  • San Francisco is 16-9 in its division.
  • San Diego is 9-20 at home, 14-11 on the road.
  • Minnesota is 14.5 games out of first place.
  • Atlanta is 12-6 against the NL Central.
  • The Cubs have played just five games against the NL East. Smallest number in the majors against any division.
 
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Posted by on May 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Did you see who is leading the NL West?

I follow Major League Baseball about as closely as you can without doing it for a living. I watch parts of 5-10 games a week, and I read the baseball page in the newspaper religiously.

Still, it’s hard to follow 30 teams and know how all their players are doing at any given moment. So maybe it shouldn’t be surprising that I was unaware that Arizona is leading the NL West entering today’s games.

I was shocked when I looked at standings in today’s newspaper and saw the D’backs perched atop the division. That’s the division I usually follow the most, for goodness sake.

Granted, it’s just a half-game lead, but still — it’s the D’backs. They have been awful the last few years.

How did this happen? Well, Colorado has been sliding for weeks after a great April. San Francisco has been sort of stuck in neutral and was dealt a blow when catcher Buster Posey was lost for the season. The Dodgers and Padres have become irrelevant.

Meanwhile, Arizona has been playing extremely well, winning six straight and nine of 10. So the Snakes are likely to return to Earth soon, which will give the Giants and Rockies a chance to get back on top.

I’m happy for ol’ Kirk Gibson, who manages the D’backs. But I have to think that if Arizona can get hot and contend in the West, maybe the Dodgers can, too.

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

There are cheaper ways to reminisce

Gramma McBride and I were best of friends when I was a kid. I loved hanging out at her house, which was next door to my house.

Gramma always had Coca-Cola, vanilla ice cream and Ding Dongs. I’ll never outgrow my love of Ding Dongs.

(Footnote: Gramma always kept her Ding Dongs in the fridge. They are best chilled.)

So a couple weeks ago, I walked past the Hostess aisle at Hy-Vee and said to myself, “I haven’t purchased a box of Ding Dongs in years. I’m going to get some.”

I got to work and bit into one. Almost as good as I remembered. Then I looked at the receipt — $4.99 for a box of 12!!! What a ripoff!!!

Something tells me Gramma wasn’t paying quite that much back in the early 1980s.

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Another footnote: Ding Dongs tasted better when they wrapped them in aluminum foil. Just one man’s opinion.

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

These pitchers can hit

I told some co-workers one time that Carlos Zambrano would hit .275 with 20 home runs if he played every day. They respectfully disagreed.

Whatever the case, the Cubs pitcher can really swing the bat. He went 3-for-3 yesterday and drove in a run. His batting average is .375 this season.

Over in Philly, starting pitcher Cliff Lee had two hits and drove in three runs in yesterday.

I think the DH should be in both leagues, but if more pitchers could hit like Carlos and Cliff, I might change my opinion.

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Had a nice visit the night before last with pals Mark and Tommy, here at the house.

Jill made an outstanding dinner, and we followed that with some NHL and NBA playoffs on TV, and an 18-inning Phillies-Reds game over on ESPN2. We also sprinkled in some music by The Cars via YouTube on our laptop. 🙂

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Jill and I watched Oscar-winning film “The King’s Speech” last night. It was excellent.

The three of us enjoyed the beautiful weather yesterday. Went for a bike ride, played at the park and then played wiffle ball in our driveway.

Jill tried to be Hank Aaron and hit the ball out of the park. I got a little nervous when her line drives ricocheted off the house. Hahaha.

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I’m not sure how the Farley Hawks are able to throw a new pitcher out there every day. They played Sunday at Bernard, Tuesday at Rickardsville and Thursday at Peosta. Their schedule says they play again tonight against Cascade.

The Hawks must have a 12-man pitching staff, just like the big-league teams. 😉

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Chewing tobacco is a disgusting habit

I’ll never understand why chewing on something is such a pleasurable activity while playing and watching baseball games.

For me, it’s sunflower seeds. I ate them by the pound during my short-lived playing career, and I still enjoy spitting seeds when I’m watching games as an adult.

For many/most baseball players, it’s chewing tobacco. It’s one of the few things I detest about baseball. So many players have to keep a big chaw in their gum or cheek, and it’s disgusting and deadly.

Last week, Twins legend Harmon Killebrew died of cancer of the esophagus. He was 74.

Today, former Royals pitcher Paul Splittorff died of oral cancer. He was 64.

I have no idea whether either of those guys chewed tobacco. But the fact of the matter is that a lot of players do, and they’re putting their health at risk.

I hope the next generation of ball players can kick the tobacco and perhaps reach for the seeds or gum.

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Honoring the memory of my Dad

My family will sponsor the Leon Kramer Most Valuable Player Award at next month’s Farley Baseball Tournament.

Almost all of my family will be back for the awards ceremony.

It will be a nice tribute to a great man. A man who loved God, his country, his family and baseball.

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2011 in Uncategorized