Monday, March 27, 2006

Yeah, and Junction Jack's the Easter Bunny

Like the "Easter" egg I made?

This is Ukrainian-style--a wax-resist method, sort of like batik. The ancient Ukrainians decorated eggs for many reasons. They were put into wedding dowries and used as charms against bad luck. They were also placed into barns, feed troughs, and crop fields to encourage production.

Maybe I should send this to the grounds crew at Minute Maid to put into the batter's box. Judging by our ST numbers, it couldn't hurt!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Spring Training

Warning: rant to follow.

I've made it clear here that I'm a Roger Clemens fan. The guy's an incredible pitcher, and an amazing athlete as well (despite those that refer to him as "Fat Roger"). I had hoped (and still do) that he would return for one more go-round with the 'Stros.

But, this? Pissed me all kinds of off.

Dude. You want to retire, you want to play, whatever. Do what you want, the choice is yours and you know it. You want to go play at baseball with your son? I applaud you.

But you should have f***ing stayed away from Jeff Bagwell's press conference. "Sneak in unnoticed," my ass. I'm sure you would say that you were there to support your former teammate, but even given the reporter's slant, you didn't say one word about Baggy's situation. The best thing you could have done, if you wanted to show respect, would have been to say nothing.

Okay, rant over.

I was going to post a little bit about the rest of my vacation, including day trips to St. Augustine and Mount Dora, but this is a baseball blog, isn't it? So. . . .

Went to the Astros-Indians game at Osceola County Stadium last Wednesday night. The stadium is small, and open-air. Olsen Field at Texas A&M is larger than this place was, so even with the game sold out (over 5000 in attendence, but I didn't catch the exact number), it had a little bit of a high-school feel. (Except at high school games, you can't buy beer. Hee!) Anyway, it was a little chilly but otherwise the weather was fabulous. The Astros' lineup was Taylor Buckholz starting, Ausmus catching, Berkman at first, Biggio second, Everett at short, Ensberg 3B, then Wilson, Taverez, and Lane in the outfield (so the boys were fielding close to an opening day roster). Bagwell was DHing, which Cleveland was happy to agree to apparently, even though we were the home team. Biggio was hitting leadoff and Bags in the #2 slot, so I got this picture of the two of them together in the on-deck circle (above).

Anyway. I don't know if it's because it was my first game to attend this year, or if it's because I had such great seats (six rows up, right behind home) or what, but I just had such a wonderful time at that game. Buckholtz (and later Nieve) looked pretty good, but we only managed 4 hits, and ended up losing 2-1. Even so, I wouldn't have traded it. I was positively surrounded by scouts, and each one of them had their own radar gun (what a great job--watch baseball! Play with fun toys!). They seemed to be scouting the Tribe more than the 'Stros, for whatever reason. The guy sitting next to me worked for MLB, so he was scouting both. I was trying to peek at his notes but it was pretty difficult to be discreet about it, so I kinda gave up. But at one point I turned to him and asked, "Hey, can I have a copy of that for my fantasy league?"

Oh man. The look on his face was PRICEless. I didn't think it was possible for one human being to actually back away from another while remaining seated, but he was doing a pretty good job of it. And he was sort of furtively glancing around to see where the nearest security guard was. I finally said, "Dude. I'm kidding."

At that point, he looked incredibly relieved, and said, "Man, I was thinking, this lady is INTENSE."

Yeeaaah. . . not exactly.

Anyway, the game was televised on Fox Sports Southwest, and my friends Jason and Emily both saw me on TV. Emily kept texting me, and at one point she was like, "I can C U on TV texting me back!" Later, though, she chided me for not paying enough attention to the game while responding to her text messages. Lord. I felt like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, when Richard Gere told her, "Quit answering the phone!" and she said, "Well, stop calling me!"

The finale to this marvelous evening was an absolutely spectacular fireworks show. It seemed to go on almost forever, and was a sparkling culmination of my spring training "experience."

Saturday, March 25, 2006

DL for Bagwell

Even though I knew it was coming, it's still a sad, sad day.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Dunn deal


Back home now after a simply marvelous vacation. So much to blog. It's a bit daunting to think of sitting here and writing it all at once, so I've decided to do several mini-posts over the next day or so.

So, starting with last weekend--spent Friday night at the local Irish pub, drinking heavily. A good time was had by all, or at least by me. Left on Saturday morning for Houston, got my hair cut (yay!), then caught up with my friends to go to Rodeo. A huge crowd of people went, and as is normal in those situations, it was a bit difficult to get everyone on the same page to actually do stuff. Lots of small children in the group too, so we watched them ride the ferris wheel, the carousel, etc. They were so excited. I remember those days.

It was finals at Rodeo. The announcers kept saying things like, "He's got to be excited with that purse of $15,000. He's a rich man now!" Hmm. But what if that's all he won all year? That's poverty level by any definition. I didn't realize rodeo prize money was so scanty.

The day before we went, a steer apparently was killed during the steer wrestling competition. It planted its feet in an odd way right as the competitor went for the take-down, and the steer's neck snapped. Thankfully, no such incidences when I was there. Of course, since it was finals, they gave out what they call the High Flyin' Award, which has something to do with the most impressive injury, or something. I personally thought that the bulldogger who had the Joe Theismann-like wrist injury should have won, but seeing as how it's not American Idol, we didn't get to vote. . . .

Anyway, Rodeo ended that night with a concert by Brooks and Dunn. They were PHENOMENAL, which, frankly, surprised me. I've always been sort of pleasantly indifferent to their music, but I was very impressed. Ronnie Dunn can BELT it, y'all.

(And to those who thought this might be a post about an Adam Dunn trade. . . sorry.)

Thursday, March 16, 2006

I exist


Having difficulty finding time to post. Lots of overtime. Still living the dream.

Whatever. Thank GOD I am on vacation next week.

Heading to Orlando next week to visit friends, after a brief sojourn in Houston for Rodeo and to catch up with some of my post-season-game companions. Will attend the Astros-Indians game in Kissimmee on Wednesday. It will be televised (Fox Sports Southwest). I will be sitting right behind home plate, about 6 rows up.

Photos and updates to follow. Cheers!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Hit or miss

If anyone actually reads this blog (anyone who isn't moving, anyway) and has been hoping for any kind of update (after all, Spring Training has actually started), I apologize. I had over sixteen hours of overtime this week alone.

Livin' the dream, y'all.

Anyway, this post will be random ramblings about things I liked, or not, over the past week.

First things first: it's back!!

I'm speaking, of course, about Morgan Ensberg's hair. (Photo by Karen Warren of the Houston Chronicle.)

Mercy, that man has lovely hair. He buzzed it last summer to the point that he looked like a nine-year-old boy.

I was crushed.

But for now, he's wearing it long again.

I must say, though, I liked last year's highlights better. More understated.

Anyway. Slow start to Spring Training for the boys (not that it matters much, at least to me); at this point, a record of 1-4. Actually plated 11 runs on Friday (eleven!) against Cleveland, including a solo homer by Jason Lane (Pretty Boy above waited until Saturday to go yard). Non-roster invitee and knuckleballer Steve Sparks has given up the most runs so far, I think, but I lost track. Or lost count. (His fantasy baseball number is 43, compared to Randy Johnson at 1919. I'm confused as to why he was invited to Spring Training, unless he's just going to be extremely cheap.)

Rocket, of course, has been in the news this week. After pitching batting practice and simulated game innings at the 'Stros' minor league camp, does anyone really think he'll go to another team? I'd be very, very surprised if he signed elsewhere, although it wouldn't surprise me if he did actually "retire." Anyway, the story about his giving Koby a little chin music just cracked my old ass up. I hope Clemens the Younger realizes that his dad is actually doing him a favor--with that name, somebody, sometime, is gonna school the boy, and it might as well be Pops, who certainly has experience and control on his side.

As this story notes, Jeff Bagwell managed a somewhat uneasy but nonetheless uneventful arrival and assimilation into camp. Thank heavens, and good luck, Bags!

This story about Brad Lidge amused the hell out of me (but then, anything involving Brad Ausmus is pretty much guaranteed to be entertaining--yeah, yeah, he didn't make eye contact with all of his fans [namely me, since that's what I'm all about] but he is one hell of a funny and smart guy). And I have to say that the way Lidge has handled himself during camp has been impressive. I think that I was probably at every single game last year in which Lidge blew the save (regular and post-season), leaving a personal impression that he was not as consistent and reliable as most scouting reports would indicate. That he's comporting himself with grace and class is simply lovely, in my opinion. A rare thing indeed.

Until next time. . . .