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Monthly Archives: September 2016

2016 Dodgers: a model of consistency

My favorite Dodger teams are the ones who are consistent winners. In other words, no long losing streaks.

This year’s Dodger squad fits that description. Going into the final week of the season, they had been swept just one time all year in 3- and 4-game series.

One sweep all season long. That’s impressive. Even the powerhouse Cubs had a 6-20 stretch in July.

The Dodgers just seemed to win 11 out of 20, 11 out of 20, 11 out of 20 — all season long.

And a .550 winning percentage will keep you in the pennant race almost every year.

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Posted by on September 30, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

After the crowd arrived

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Campaign trail

This is the view from my office window. Hillary Clinton will be campaigning here later today. 

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Best trade in Dodgers history?

Four years ago, the Dodgers took on hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts in a trade that netted Adrian Gonzalez from Boston.

The Dodgers were widely criticized for the trade. Experts said they were crazy to take on the huge, burdensome contracts of Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford.

In retrospect, I would argue that it may have been the best trade in Dodgers history.

The Dodgers have always struggled to produce consistent offense since moving to Los Angeles. So acquiring a guy like Gonzalez, one of the most dependable run-producers in the major leagues for the last decade, was the most essential piece of the puzzle as the team looked to build a winning team. 

You can’t argue with the results. The Dodgers have won four consecutive division championships since Gonzalez arrived. That is the most sustained period of success in franchise history. 

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Filmmakers couldn’t have picked a better spot

Click on the headline or photo below to read an essay that speaks to three things I’m passionate about: baseball, Dubuque County and “Field of Dreams.”

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DUBUQUE COUNTY IS THE PERFECT SPOT FOR FIELD OF DREAMS
by James Kramer

The images, sounds and themes of “Field of Dreams” are never far from my mind. The film and the field have had a stranglehold on my soul since the movie was released in 1989.

W.P. Kinsella’s recent death brought back all the emotions I have about the film and its meaning. This week marks six years since my dad’s death, so naturally I’ve been thinking about the final scene when Ray and his father have a catch.

I grew up in Farley, a tiny Dubuque County town located just a few miles from the Field of Dreams in Dyersville. They filmed the school-board meeting in the gymnasium of my elementary school.

Dad and I saw the movie shortly after it was released, and I was instantly mesmerized by the magic of the story. I was at a very impressionable age (12 or so), so I was hooked for life. My poor dad had to drive me to the FoD so many times to practice groundballs or pitching off the mound.

I’ve seen the movie upward of 100 times. I used to cry during the climactic final scene; now I cry for practically all 107 minutes. “Why are you sad?” my 8-year-old daughter asks. Answer: I feel a deep-seated connection to the field, the film and fathers.

I’ve always felt that the filmmakers chose the perfect location to shoot the movie inspired by Kinsella’s book “Shoeless Joe.” The fact is, Dubuque County is an absolute hotbed for baseball tradition.

–The area has a long, rich history of town-team ball (frequently called “semi-pro ball” in Dubuque County). Most teams play 50+ games every year, and the competition is fierce.

–Every little town has an 8- or 16-team tournament during the summer. Some of those tournaments have been in business for 50 or 60 years. Dyersville used to routinely draw 5,000 spectators to Queen’s Night, and gave away a car.

–Most of the towns have immaculate ball diamonds. Farley’s baseball facility is spectacular almost beyond belief.

–When I was a kid, everyone I knew was a baseball nut. It’s just what we did. Dubuque County’s most revered institutions were the Catholic Church, JFK and baseball (not necessarily in that order).

–The best high school baseball rivalry in the state, hands down, is Dyersville Beckman vs. Cascade. It’s Yankees-Red Sox of the Hawkeye State.

–When the makers of “Field of Dreams” needed talented players to portray the ghosts, they found an abundance of longtime semi-pro players in the county. Some of those ghosts are Dubuque County Baseball Hall of Famers and former minor-leaguers. They didn’t have to “act” like ballplayers.

So it’s only fitting that “Field of Dreams,” arguably the best baseball movie ever made, was filmed in my baseball-crazy home county. The good folks who live there have done a wonderful job nurturing the field and its legacy.

It pleases me to no end that my daughter loves baseball/softball and the film as much as I do. She doesn’t understand why Dad cries the whole movie, but I suspect someday she will.

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Another runner-up trophy 

Maisa’s competitive-level softball team finished second in the North Des Moines league tournament Sunday. 

The girls notched two mercy-rule victories before falling in the championship game.

Sunday was Maisa’s best day of the year at the plate. She kept hitting these hard line drives into left field. I wanna say she reached base and scored every time, but Jill would know for sure because she keeps the scorebook for the team.

So, for the weekend, Maisa’s softball teams recorded five wins and two losses. Pretty darn good winning percentage. 😀👍🏼⚾️

Maisa and her teammates had a lot of fun, and they really love softball. 

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Baseball is so much more than winning championships 

Today’s game at Chavez Ravine was one of the most special moments of my three decades as a Dodger fan.

Thank you, God, for giving us the gift of Vin Scully all these years. 

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2016 in Uncategorized