Saturday, April 24, 2010

Take Me the ballgame

I and my girl have watched this, and she being a recent, but rabid baseball fan/convert by osmosis, was quite tickled by this one. My gut reaction when I saw the replay,(and after realizing it wasn't Japanese ball) was "cool, but likely against the rules" ........apparently not, at least in that league, as it technically is not addressed as "running out of the baseline", I don't think, anyway. I suspect there will be a base running altitude ceiling considered by rule makers at some point as a result of this one. This could in fact, revolutionize the approach major league scouts take to their jobs. You might see a few scouts taking in some high school and NCAA track and field events in the not too distant future. In defense of the runner taking flight as opposed to tunneling in at home, the catcher had every opportunity to slap a tag on him on his final approach before landing. The runner just got the drop on him.

This all makes me reflect back on one night at a Little League game I played in Port O'Connor back in about '62. I was playing catcher, for our team, my dad being the manager. I guess to really make this a clearer picture for you, I need to remind you all that at age 11-13, there is a rather wide range in the sizes of bayrat ballplayers. Some being runts, just barely pushing 90-100lbs and not yet tall enough to go on certain rides at the carnival, while some others are pushing six feet and 175-180lbs, sporting some chin whiskers and a birds nest in their full cup, and looking big enough to take the helm of a dump truck without anyone giving them a second glance.

That said, in this particular game, yours truly was the diminutive catcher, awaiting, ball clamped firmly in mitt, the runner bearing down on him trying to score from third. For those unschooled here(please, the rest of you experts, bear with me), I will toss in some rules of baseball. You see, a base runner may when running to first base, slide(not advised-adds time to the equation), turn and round the base, or just blast through the base, turning out of the baseline into foul territory, optimizing his speed, and generally the preferred method on a close play. At second and third, depending on the situation, generally, the runner will either keep running, go in standing, or slide to avoid a tag, the notable exception, being the old "hard" slide to break up a double play at second base, which occasionally, results in some questionable "slides", and less frequently, fisticuffs, over a less than legal "slide".........which brings us back to home plate, and the real subject of this story. You see, at home, they added one more method of reaching that final, run scoring pay station. That being the mano a mano, runaway train, collision at the dish, with the intention of this little rule they apparently stole from schoolboy dodge ball, being to allow the runner to by sheer impact and brute force, take his best shot at separating the catcher from the baseball clamped in his mitt, whereby he will if successful, have scored a run.........
Okay, we just hit 88mph again, and the flux capacitor has done its magic, and we are back in 1962.......little pilot the catcher, clutching the ball looking at one Dennis Raby, looking for all the world, like a prize brangus from hell, snorting fire, bearing down on me from third base, as I dug in and squeezed the ball tighter.

They tell me I hung on to the ball almost until I hit the backstop..........
Next thing I remember, was opening my eyes while making those croaking sounds one makes after having the wind knocked out of them, looking up at Rocky, Jackie, Donald, and I swear, Alfred Hitchcock, and Dale Evans, with Lassie licking me in the face.
In retrospect, I wish now that Dennis had high hurdled me, but probably so do a lot of other folks who get to hear this story every time they are watching a game on TV with me, and there is a collision at the plate...........

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Man of Many Hats.....well, one or two, and a few ball caps

What started as a comment on my wall on another blog site, then noted by my "lady" mentioned a couple of lines down, is to be the subject of this blog. Someone observed the hat that I wear in the profile photo I have posted on both blogs and inquired as to its origin, current fate, and any "comical" stories????? about it. So here dear girl, is the "story you recommended I make it into.

While my day to day attire normally includes a gimme, bubba ball cap from Costa Rica, or South Padre Bank, or my black, jalapeno print cap from Marble Falls Marine, I do indeed still wear my "Pat Hat" as my lady refers to it, quite proudly, on many occasions from dining in or out with friends, to the occasional Jackson Browne, David Gray, or Jimmy Buffett concert. When I am not wearing it, it becomes the headwear for a wooden bear carved from a tree with a chainsaw, that I purchased from a roadside vendor in Colorado years back, that sits in a display case full of various Gulf rig coral, antique mike nelson scuba gear I have retired, various collectible musical instruments, antique glass insulators I unscrewed from pole lines I dismantled with the death of the railroad communications system many years ago, and a host of books and atlases, and last but not least, the one eared teddy bear my folks bought for me before I was born, almost sixty years ago. No, I don't think I have ever written a piece on that hat, just as I have never written a piece on my favorite old purple and black ski parka, or my last cool pair of shades I bought, when I could still see without prescription spectacles. I have had a few compliments on it, when on the town, but this is the first time anyone was ever really focused on it as an "inquiring mind", looking for some in depth info on it....... It was a gift from a dear friend who on occasion, wears one similar to it, and bought it for me after he saw them on some old Portuguese guys on a European vacation, and deemed it something that he thought I must have. He is an old wordsmith, and retired newspaperman, who has likely forgotten more about story telling, old time printing, journalism and newspaperin' than most modern "journalists" will ever learn. "

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Houston Sports Venue Naming Rights 101

This one is probably just a product of too much time on my hands, but I couldn't help but think that maybe our local sports venues first shots at licensing their stadiums as far as naming rights, left a little to be desired.......well, since after the Astrodome anyway. It's not exactly like the Astros had anything to do with the demise of Enron, in allowing their beautiful ballpark at Union Station to be renamed "Enron Field", but history speaks for itself.........

Now we have the Rockets' new home........The Toyota Center. That does seem a fitting name for a building housing a sports franchise that obviously is in serious need of a recall though, doesn't it? While "Come see the home team floor it at the Toyota Center" would have been a cool promo it does appear that that this year's cagers apparently had their accelerator stuck on "idle".