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Monthly Archives: March 2012

Let’s toast #39

Just feels like a good day to honor the memory of Dodger icon Roy Campanella.

  • Three-time National League most valuable player (1951, 1953, 1955).
  • Eight-time all-star catcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers dynasty of the 1950s.
  • Played in five World Series.
  • Inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969.
  • Longtime mentor for hundreds if not thousands of Dodger minor-leaguers at spring training in Vero Beach.
  • An inspiration for millions for how he lived his life after being paralyzed in an auto accident.

One of the all-time greats behind the plate -- and with a bat in his hands.

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Will Dodgers’ new owners have the Magic touch?

If you watch TV at all today, be prepared to hear a lot about Magic Johnson becoming a co-owner of the Dodgers.

The news hasn’t fully sunk in yet for me, and probably won’t for a few months or even years. The ownership group that includes Magic was chosen among three finalists to take over the Dodgers. Purchase price: $2 billion, easily a record for a North American sports franchise.

I’ve loved Magic since I was a kid, for obvious reasons. He led the Lakers to five NBA titles. He led The Dream Team to a gold medal in 1992. He’s considered the best point guard in basketball history. He boldly announced that he had HIV 20 years ago, and he has defeated that opponent, too. He has become an extremely wealthy businessman. He’s been wildly successful in every endeavor of his life.

So there is no better scenario for Dodger fans than for Earvin “Magic” Johnson to become the face of the franchise. Hell, why not? The guy is arguably the most beloved figure in the city’s history. He gives the Dodgers instant credibility.

My main concern is the $2 billion price tag. I hope the new owners have some money left over to operate the ballclub. The team is expected to enter into a multi-billion-dollar TV contract in the next year or two (just like the Angels did, which allowed them to sign Albert Pujols).

Hopefully that TV deal and the new ownership’s Magic touch can turn the Dodgers into an annual World Series contender again.

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Date night at Wells Fargo Arena

Jill and I attended the NCAA women’s basketball regional final in downtown Des Moines last night.

We had a nice time and it will be a good memory for us. We don’t have many date nights anymore. 🙂

Baylor beat Tennessee to advance to the Final Four. Baylor has one of the best women’s players ever in Brittney Griner. And Tennessee legend Pat Summitt may have been coaching her last game due to early onset dementia.

Wells Fargo Arena had a very good crowd, with the lower bowl completely full and a few folks sitting in the upper bowl. Just shy of 10,000 in the house.

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

50 never looked so good

I am proud to have attended seven games at Dodger Stadium in my life.

Fifty years ago next month, Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley opened up his gorgeous ballpark at Chavez Ravine.

Dodger Stadium is still the most unique park in Major League Baseball, with breathtaking views of downtown Los Angeles, the Elysian hills and the San Gabriel Mountains.

But what really makes Dodger Stadium special among ballparks is the number of people who show up for games — year after year after year, decade after decade after decade.

Dodger Stadium has drawn 140 million fans, easily the most in baseball history. (By comparison, Fenway Park in Boston has drawn 130 million fans despite opening in 1912).

More interesting facts about Dodger Stadium, courtesy of Dodgers.com:

–The 56,000-seat stadium has parking for 16,000 automobiles on 21 terraced lots adjacent to the same elevations as the six different seating levels.

–More than 3,400 trees cover the 300 acres of beautiful landscape, which is maintained by a full-time staff of gardeners.

–The Dodgers employ a full-time grounds crew and maintenance staff that keeps all aspects of the stadium in immaculate condition throughout the season making Dodger Stadium one of the best maintained facilities in the country.

–The Dodger Stadium field was named the best in baseball by Sports Illustrated in 2003 in a poll of Major League players. Of the responses, 23.2 percent of players rated Dodger Stadium as the best-quality playing field, more than twice as many as any other stadium.

–At the gates, an average of more than 2.85 million fans have watched Dodger games at Dodger Stadium per season. In 1978, Dodger Stadium became the first ballpark to host more than three million fans in a season when the Dodgers drew 3,347,845 in attendance.

–Following another three-million attendance mark in 1980, the Dodgers set the all-time Major League season attendance record in 1982, drawing 3,608,881 fans. Toronto, Colorado and Atlanta have since topped that mark, but the Dodgers can also boast seasons of more than three million in attendance from 1983-86, 1990-91, 1993 and 1996-2006. Nine of the top 25 NL single-season attendance marks have been recorded at Dodger Stadium.

–During the 20th century, the only privately-financed ballparks in Major League Baseball were Yankee Stadium (built in 1923) and Dodger Stadium. Walter O’Malley and architect Emil Praeger set the stage for baseball’s most popular and beautiful showplace when they began designing the Dodgers’ new home. The stadium opened its doors on April 10, 1962 and the Dodgers won their first game at their new home the next day on April 11 when they defeated the Cincinnati Reds, 6-2. The Dodgers drew 2,755,184 fans at Dodger Stadium during its inaugural season.

–Dodger Stadium has hosted eight World Series and the Dodgers have won four World Championships (1963, 1965, 1981 and 1988), eight NL pennants (1963, 1965, 1966, 1974, 1977, 1978, 1981, 1988), 11 NL Western Division crowns (1974, 1977, 1978, 1981, 1983, 1985, 1988, 1995, 2004, 2008, 2009) and two NL Wild Card berths (1996, 2006).

–The stadium hosted the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in 1980 and the Olympic Games’ baseball competition in 1984. The eight-team competition during the 1984 Olympic Games marked baseball’s greatest involvement in the Olympic Games to that point.

–Dodger Stadium has been the site of several non-baseball major events, as Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass at Dodger Stadium on Sept. 16, 1987. Entertainers from around the world have performed there as well, such as KISS, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, The Bee Gees, Elton John, Simon and Garfunkel, Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Genesis, Eric Clapton, U2, the Dave Matthews Band, and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Dodger Stadium also staged one of the world’s greatest entertainment events in 1994 when internationally renowned tenors Jose Carreras, Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti reunited for a spectacular concert performance “Encore – The Three Tenors” with conductor Zubin Mehta.

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

My first (official) year in the 13 pool

The check’s in the mail, and when Grampa B. opens the envelope, Jill and I will officially become co-owners of his “13 pool” team.

I’ve followed the 13s with interest in recent years, but never forked over the money needed to enter the league. This year, I broke down and made the investment.

Team Brinker-Kramer was assigned the Tampa Bay Rays in a random selection draft last week. So whenever the Rays score exactly 13 runs in a game, we win the jackpot.

That’s a pretty cool draft pick, actually, because the Rays are my favorite American League team to watch. Them and the Angels.

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The Easter Bunny is going to bring Maisa a brand-new bicycle this year. (Shhhh! It’s a secret!) Can’t wait to see the look on her face.

Maisa was riding our neighbor girl’s bike on Saturday, and did a great job. After just a few minutes, Maisa was pedaling down the sidewalk like a veteran. So it’ll be nice for her to have a bike of her own.

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One of our neighbors spent the winter snowbirding in Texas. Yesterday he brought over a bag full of Texas oranges and grapefruit. They are exceptionally tasty and juicy.

Maisa loves oranges, but I couldn’t talk her into trying the grapefruit this morning. She did enjoy the grapefruit juice I squeezed into her cup, however.

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Let her act her age

I’m challenging myself to just let Maisa be a kid.

I do OK at this sometimes, but other times I find myself hovering, overparenting and overcorrecting.

I’m going to try to back off a little bit — it’ll do her and me some good. 🙂

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Leaning Tower, and more!

I work six straight days starting today, so I tried to milk everything I could out of Thursday’s off day.

Maisa and I spent a lot of time outside (wagon ride, tricycle ride, stroller ride, yard work), and the sun actually came out during our afternoon bicycle ride.

Jill treated us to Leaning Tower of Pizza in uptown Ankeny for supper. That place has incredible pizza, so if you’re ever in town…

By 10:30, after watching some NCAA hoops and “American Idol,” I was ready for bed.

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2012 in Uncategorized