Monthly Archives: October 2014

A good-looking group

My Kramer uncles and aunts (and Gramma Kramer) enjoyed a recent trip up north to look at leaves.


Leave a comment

Posted by on October 21, 2014 in Uncategorized


Oh my goodness this video is awesome

George Martin, The Beatles’ iconic producer, visits the Los Angeles home of music savant Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys.

This video blew me away. 🙂

Leave a comment

Posted by on October 19, 2014 in Uncategorized


This is a keeper


My friend and mentor, Randy Brubaker, took a trip to New York a few months before he died and picked up this postcard for me.

It’s a picture of Dodger fans celebrating the team’s 1941 National League championship at a Brooklyn bar. The Dodgers ended a 21-year World Series drought, losing to the Yankees in the Fall Classic.

The Dodgers’ current World Series drought (26 years) is the longest in franchise history.

Leave a comment

Posted by on October 19, 2014 in Uncategorized


Maisa, Papa and a 1957 Farmall (that was the Dodgers’ last year in Brooklyn)


1 Comment

Posted by on October 19, 2014 in Uncategorized


The day I stopped being a kid

I heard Barry Larkin on the radio last night, and it reminded me of Game 1 of the 1990 World Series.

Larkin was the Cincinnati Reds shortstop for so many years. He’s a Hall of Famer now. His Reds swept the A’s in the 1990 Series.

Barry Larkin and the Reds celebrate the 1990 World Series.

Barry Larkin and the Reds celebrate the 1990 World Series championship.

I remember coming home from basketball practice or something, and Dad and Dan were watching the opening game of that series. In the years prior to that, I watched every pitch of the postseason and recorded many of the games on VCR tapes for posterity.

But that night in 1990, I had very little interest in watching.

(In fact, I don’t recall watching many World Series games at all from 1990-94. And I was more interested in the Farley Hawks than the Los Angeles Dodgers in those years.)

Maybe it was the magnitude of a new decade starting. The 1980s were over, and that was the only decade I had ever known.

Maybe it was because CBS had taken over the national broadcasts that year. Vin Scully did the games for NBC throughout the ’80s, and adjusting to Jack Buck’s gravelly voice on CBS was quite a transition for me.

But more likely it was because I was no longer a “kid.” I was starting to have interests outside of baseball. Basketball was huge for me at that time. I was developing new friendships. High school was just over the horizon. Times were a-changing.

So 1990 was a threshold year for me. Hearing Larkin last night brought all of that into focus for me.

Leave a comment

Posted by on October 18, 2014 in Uncategorized


Love this blog post by the brilliant Jon Weisman
Dodger Insider

By Jon Weisman

Almost all the time, I spend too much time worrying about my own house to worry about anyone else’s.

Then comes the time when the Giants are still playing baseball and the Dodgers aren’t, and the bitterness creeps in. Postseason baseball in San Francisco tolerable as a fluke, but as a recurring event, it’s brutal to suffer through. And it hasn’t been helped by the Cardinals flying on, oblivious to any concept of whose turn it is to bask in October’s magic glow.

I’ve watched about five pitches of the National League Championship Series, but so far, that’s been plenty. My love for hardball drama has been trumped by my disgust with these two teams.

Kansas City and Baltimore would appear to offer a refuge. Even more than the Dodgers, the Royals qualify as an “it’s their turn” team, while I still retain a soft spot for the Orioles from my time living in Washington D.C., when splendid Camden Yards was months old and they were the only baseball show around.

But even with the Royals, there are issues. If they make the World Series on their first postseason trip in 29 years, much less win the dang thing, I don’t know how I’ll feel. The Dodgers have played 43 postseason games since their last World Series. Kansas City has played six, with as few as two to go. It’s not quite as bad as the Marlins’ habit of only going to the World Series every time they just win at least 90 games, but it does strike me that even after a long exile from the playoffs, you should also have some postseason penance to pay. Just ask the Pittsburgh Pirates.

So I guess my rooting interest is with Baltimore, which has only been to four playoffs in the past 30 years and has gone even longer than the Dodgers and Royals since their last World Series.

But those last five paragraphs represent much more focus on other teams than I want to feel. I’m still in a place where baseball could just go into suspended animation and I wouldn’t mind, care or necessarily notice. I saw a headline Monday about a rainout in the American League Championship Series, and my shrug shrugged.

I’m still having trouble letting go of the 2014 Dodgers.

Six days after elimination, while I walked my kids to school, a neighbor made a completely conventional and harmless joke, asking me if I’d seen the ad the Dodgers took out in the paper. I thought he meant the full-page thank you to the fans in Sunday’s Times sports section, but no, it was “the classified ad looking for a relief pitcher.” Those who might accuse me of having no sense of humor would have reveled in my edgy reaction: I wasn’t ready to laugh it off. Still bitter.

Later in the day at work, someone brought up the dates of the Cy Young (November 12) and Most Valuable Player (November 13) award announcements. And my first thought was a worry: Would Dodger fans have had enough time to process Clayton Kershaw’s National League Division Series defeats to savor the well-deserved honor or honors that Kershaw will receive? How I hope the sniping is diminished by then.

And then my thoughts return to the Giants and the Cardinals — I can’t help it. Why in the Giants’ last NLDS game was Joe Panik able to score a third run on a wild pitch, but not in the Dodgers’ last NLDS game, Andre Ethier was fooled into an out? Why did Madison Bumgarner make it to the eighth inning against the Cardinals and not Kershaw? Why is Yadier Molina having oblique trouble this week and not last?

Why them and not us?

Keep in mind that I was raised by a Chicago native and Cubs fan, so any feelings of self-pity are immediately countered by “Why you and not them?” I tell my kids not to fret over other people’s successes: “Your job is to be the best people you can be.” And then you make the best of wherever that takes you. Just relive the joy and let go of the sorrow.

But it’s hard, man. It’s hard.

Leave a comment

Posted by on October 15, 2014 in Uncategorized


4 random thoughts on a Wednesday

1. Jill is a lot like Gramma Kramer in one important way: Both of them know all of the baseball players.

Last night Jill said something that I guarantee no other woman said: “Billy Butler of the Royals looks like Matt Stairs.”

Stairs used to play for the Phillies. He retired five years ago. Jill remembers him, though.


2. I told Maisa that Mommy had an important meeting this morning so we can’t call her.

“What are meetings?” she asked innocently.

So I did my best to describe them.


3. Maisa brought home a reading log from school. She is supposed to read 20 books by the end of October.

Uh, I’m pretty sure she’ll reach that goal. She read about 15 books last night alone. 🙂


4. Jill’s no-bake cookies are proof that God exists. My goodness, they are good.


Leave a comment

Posted by on October 15, 2014 in Uncategorized