Archive for the ‘Baseball’ Category

Last I left you, SPW and I were in Everett, Washington, taking in the Boeing factory tour. I really enjoyed the museum shop… although I’m pretty sure SPW would’ve ditched my ass in a New York second if I bought some of the stuff they were selling. See, they had some kick ass furniture that was a lot out of my price range, especially since people keep winning my lottery jackpot. There was a table made from a repurposed 707 engine… as well as a chair made from the cowling of a Pratt & Whitey JT8D from a DC-9. Together, it would’ve been about $15K and that probably wouldn’t include shipping (and I just checked… shipping would be another $787. I settled for a couple of t-shirts and a book.

Once we were done, it was back into the Hyundai and south to Seattle. I blame a lot on Beci… the whole trip to PNW, for one thing, but I really need to blame this next one on her. She suggested a room at the Edgewater Hotel in Seattle. She said SPW would love it.

She was right.

The Beatles fishing from their room at The Edgewater

The Beatles fishing from their room at The Edgewater

A little history about this hotel. It’s quirky. Very quirky. It’s built right on a pier near the Seattle Aquarium, and it has played host to many famous folks throughout the years. That would include Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, Frank Zappa, Bill Clinton, and this other British band that someone took an iconic photograph of…

Yeah, those guys.


Ferris Wheel, as well as Century Link and Safeco Fields

While we weren’t in the same room, we were still treated to some lovely views. We lit the fireplace, opened the windows and just took in the boats and sunset. Very relaxing stuff. I did a total Forrest Gump and was waving at everyone going by on a boat. Because I could.

Perhaps the best view came as we were doing some fine dining on Wheat Thins and EZ Cheeze (don’t judge). SPW (skilled photog!) managed to get a great shot as two high masted boats sailed

After the sun set, we got some sleep and even slept in. We didn’t have to be anywhere until 12:30… we were going to tour Safeco Field (Home of the Mariners). Sadly, there was no baseball being played (All-Star break), but we figured we’d check it out regardless. First, though, we had to get there. Having read horror stories about the parking, we actually opted to start walking. We realized we were hungry, so we stopped at Anthony’s Seafood and grabbed an early lunch. This made it impossible to walk to Safeco in time. Enter Uber. I had never used it before, but it is really convenient. Since I didn’t exactly know what I was doing, our first ride was Uber Select, so the guy picked us up in a Lincoln Town Car. Sweet ride, for sure. He got us there in plenty of time and we toured the field. It’s a gorgeous stadium… one of the few with a retractable roof that is simply that… a roof. Or, as our guide kept calling it, an umbrella. It’s a truly massive structure, and we went from the top to the bottom. It was fascinating to hear about the construction and the facts of the field and roof.

Safeco Field

Safeco Field


After we were done at the ballpark, it was time to play tourist. We summoned another Uber ride (regular, this time) and headed to Seattle Center. A little history of the area… it was the site of the 1962 World’s Fair, or, Century 21 Exposition. It’s the home of many performing arts venues and athletic fields, as well as the most iconic structure of the Seattle skyline, the Space Needle. Rising 605 feet above Seattle, the structure was designed and built in under eight months. The observation deck is a mere 518 feet above ground and is reached via three exterior elevators. Now, I should note that both SPW and I are notorious acrophobics. They manifest differently, though. I love to fly, while SPW is not all that fond of the airborne experience. The tower-type stuff is a different story. I can look, but I have a white-knuckle grip on the railing. Because, if the tower collapses, me holding on to that railing will save me. I know… I’ll keep telling myself that.


One of Chihuly’s large scale installations

The Space Needle as seen from the Dale Chihuly Garden

The Space Needle as seen from the Dale Chihuly Garden

We bought our tickets, but our window didn’t open for another 90 minutes, so we saw there was a Dale Chihuly Garden next door that could be combined with the Space Needle tickets. It was, in a word, astounding. The glass looks alive more than anything. I managed to have yet another happy accident photograph, framing the Space Needle in a swirl of blown glass. After viewing both attractions, we took a seat by the EMP Museum and did some people watching.

Grabbed some dinner and headed back to the Edgewater to grab the car and off to SeaTac for our redeye flight back East.

We got the car returned, headed to the terminal, breezed through security (Thanks, TSA PreCheck) only to find that our flight was predicted to arrive in Boston 28 minutes late, giving us a whopping 7 minutes to get to our Baltimore flight.

That could be a bit of a problem, so I went to the JetBlue gate agent and asked what could be done. The captain of our flight overheard my concern and said, “I have a quick turnaround, too… we will get you there on time.” We landed five minutes early. I looked at my flight tracking app and saw we were traveling at 695 mph. In an A320. Helluva tailwind is all I can say.

I know that JetBlue has gotten a bad rap in some quarters, mostly due to circumstances beyond their control. I’ve found their agents and crew members to be very professional and I like the extra space they give you over Southwest, especially on a longer flight. We’ve not had a bad experience with them on any of our flights.

So, that’s our trip to the northwest. We met some great people and found that most folks we interacted with were super friendly. My only beef was the transportation infrastructure (or lack thereof) but you have that anywhere. I look forward to returning and spending some more time in the region, even making it to Oregon to experience some quality microbrews.





Greetings, good readers (if any of you are actually still out there)

I know I’ve really let the blog slide over the last year. Lack of focus, then the personal toll of losing my mom just really made me have no interest in a lot of things. Writing being one of them.

It’s been in my mind to start writing again, since I’ve backslid terribly in the past ten months. I’m not going to start being all rah-rah. That’s not my style. I do, however, want to discuss our latest travel adventure.

I write this from an eighth-floor hotel room in Denver, Colorado.

Yes, Colorado.

A state with no obvious Disney presence.

See? We do go places other than Orlando!

I write in the title that getting here was half the fun. Let me enlighten you.

We had booked this trip many months ago. Supportive Partner Woman (Sports Editor of Great Acumen!) is a member of AWSM, or The Association of Women in Sports Media. She noted that their annual convention was in Denver. I said, “OK. Let’s go. You can convention and I can see a game at Coors Field.” I found a decent airfare on Delta out of Harrisburg, PA, which is only 25 minutes from my house. I jumped on it. It was perfect… left around 10:00 AM, no getting up at the asscrack of dawn, etc.

Delta then changed the flights eight times. EIGHT FREAKIN’ TIMES!

Finally, we were leaving at 6:15 and getting into Denver around 10 AM MDT. I went on StubHub and scored club seats for the Rockies-Giants game at 2:15. Even got a great deal, although I’m pretty sure that since the Rockies don’t have a stellar record, that helped a lot.

We arrived at MDT (Harrisburg’s in-the-know airport code), got checked in, got boarded, they closed the door, the jetway pulled back and nothing. The pilot came on the intercom to inform us that there appeared to be some damage to the cabin door and they needed a mechanic to check it out. They then said it would be at least an hour before they could get a mechanic there to even look at it.I looked at SPW, said, “We only have an hour layover in Detroit… we’ll never make it.”

We deplaned and got in line to see our options. The gate agent was not very helpful. There was a guy in front of us in line trying to get to Spokane, and as he would try to explain what he wanted to do or ask questions, she would rudely cut him off.

After waiting patiently for around 10 minutes, I finally realized that the device in my pocket wasn’t just for looking at videos of cats, it could actually make phone calls. I dialed up Delta’s toll-free number, expecting to get “Too bad, so sad” from the person on the other end.

Instead, I got to talk to Kitty. I am not making that up.

Kitty, in a word, is awesome.

I explained the situation to her and she put me on hold as she looked to see what she could do. Her first option was a later flight on Delta, which I would have grudgingly accepted since it would have meant we would miss the game. I told her that it really wouldn’t work as I had tickets for the 2:15 game. She said, “Let me see what I can do,” put me on hold, and came back a few minutes later with the word that she had gotten us on to an American Airlines flight that would be getting into Denver around noon. She also would be refunding our seat and baggage fees.


We made it to the American gate about 10 minutes before boarding and we had managed to ask Delta to pull our checked bag and take it to the American gate. The agent at American, Don, was super helpful, got our bag on board (and didn’t charge the fee), got us seats together and we also got priority boarding. Plane left without incident and we got to O’Hare almost 30 minutes early.

That is a big damn airport.

We did the O’Hare death march and arrived at the new gate and got seats assigned. Toward the back of the bus, but c’est la vie. Got boarded, closed the door, jetway pulled back and pilot came on the intercom to tell us that there was an indicator light fault on the cabin door and they had to have someone look at it. Luckily that was fast, as O’Hare is a major American hub and mechanics abound. I was starting to feel cursed.

Two different cities, two different airlines, two different airplanes, issue with the same system. I’m suspecting sabotage by Disney because we weren’t going there. More on that later.

The flight gets to Denver International Airport, otherwise known as the headquarters for the New World Order (I am not making this up) without incident. Favorable winds, I guess, but we got there around 20 minutes early. Deplaned, got the luggage, which had miraculously accompanied us, and grabbed the rental car shuttle. It started to rain a little.

By the time we arrived at the Alamo lot, it had begun to rain rather heavily. We grabbed the first car in our row, which was a Nissan Altima, and headed to the exit gate. As we were being checked out, it started to rain in earnest. Along with some hail.

We hit the road for the hotel, and as we travelled the 25 miles to the city, well, the storm reached biblical proportions. Monsoon rain, thunder, lightning, hail, black clouds, water in the streets six inches deep… Ugh. Basically, it was like Noah, except I was in an ark built by the same company that gave us the Pulsar. I was not particularly confident.

Managed to make it to the hotel and get checked in. I might add that I was running on three hours sleep (I don’t sleep well on a plane) and SPW was working on whatever she managed to grab on the flights. I figure the game was a loss, but as we arrived at the room, the weather started to clear. SPW checked the Rockies Twitter feed and sure enough, they removed the tarp from the field. First pitch was scheduled for 4:25. Since the stadium is only 3/4 mile from the hotel, we opted to hoof it. It was windy and overcast, but dry.

Coors Field main entrance

Coors Field main entrance

Got to our seats, grabbed some grub along the way. A slice of Marco’s pizza did wonders, as our only food had been a Subway breakfast sandwich at Harrisburg. We sat down, the skies darkened, and the rain came. Again. This time, we had ponchos, and sat through it. Our patience was rewarded with what turned out to be a beautiful, albeit cold, afternoon. Thank God for fleece.

At any rate, I’ll be sure to update you all on the remainder of the trip.

Thanks for reading!

A sense of loss

Posted: March 5, 2014 in Baseball, family

It hasn’t been a particularly good week here in cow country. Sunday started with word that we lost a family member. My cousin Bill passed away late Saturday after a long illness.

He left a big hole in our family.

Bill was a larger-than-life character. He could tell stories (he had a million of them… seriously), he could take it as well as he could dish it out, and his visits were always anticipated, mainly because you knew it would be a fun time. Even as a somewhat angsty teenager, I looked forward to the chance to chat with him.

The man knew and loved baseball. Boy, did he know baseball. Watching a game with him was an education. He first pointed out the fact that the American League was a tougher league. I didn’t want to admit it, lifetime Phillies fan that I am, but he turned out to be correct. He was usually correct when it came to sports… much to my chagrin when I tried to play fantasy baseball against him and got beaten like a rented mule.

He could be stubborn… he was a Ford guy through and through and that’s all there was to it. Used to crack me up when he and my dad (lifelong Chevy guy) would start arguing cars.

He taught me that an argument is different than a fight… and if you wanted to argue, be prepared to back it up.

The fun times we had, though. I remember going to a Penn State game with him and a bunch of my other cousins. As we were heading out 322 to State College, we passed a group of women protesting an adult bookstore. Bill says, “Damn… I should’ve rolled down the window and yelled ‘Show us your ***s!'”

I don’t know that I had ever laughed that hard.

Bill wasn’t PC by any stretch of the imagination. But that’s OK. He was a good guy who would always be there to help you out. He loved his family through and through.

When I was recuperating from my surgery last year, he took the time to write me a real, actual letter. He was checking in, seeing how I was doing. I never replied to it, although I always meant to. That’s going to haunt me for awhile, because I thought I’d have more time.

We never have enough time.

So, we lost another good one… he left behind a legacy, though, not only of great memories, but some great people as well. Doug, Tom, Susan, Kurt, and Emily, your dad was one of the finest people I’ve had the honor to have known. And somehow, I just know he and my dad are arguing about cars somewhere in the afterlife.

Rest in peace, Bill… you earned it.

So, since Supportive Partner Woman (Editor extraordinaire!) had to work tonight, I headed off to the hinterlands of South Jersey to join in a family Christmas tradition at my cousin Kurt’s home.

I’m not sure if I mentioned this, but Kurt is a bit of an expert on ballparks. He’s written a series of e-books called Ballpark E-Guides, in which he tells you the best way to get to the park, best way to score low-price tickets, even the best concession deals. He puts a lot of time into the books and they are meticulously researched. I know because I went to a Brewers – Nationals game with him at Nationals Park and barely saw him… he was so busy checking sight lines and chatting up ballpark employees.

Anyway, Kurt and his lovely wife and daughter opened their home to a large contingent of the family. I drove down, survived the traffic at King of Prussia and the cattle chutes on the Walt Whitman Bridge, and spent an enjoyable afternoon with my favorite branch of the family.

Far_Side ©Gary Larson

Well, it’s a family tree.

Sadly, we don’t see each other enough. Usually of late, it’s been at a funeral, and that’s gotta stop. We have so much fun… my cousins are intelligent and able to hold a conversation on multiple topics at the same time. For example, when I arrived, there was a big discussion going on regarding the best double albums ever recorded and whether or not they would be OK as a single album.

This is the kind of stuff we talk about at family gatherings. For the record, we figured that there’s no way Tommy or Quadrophenia could e trimmed, however, my cousin Doug feels that The Wall could be trimmed. There was not much agreement on that one.

They can be loud and boisterous, but better people are hard to find. A few weeks ago, when I was feeling pretty down in the dumps, my cousin sent me a lovely e-mail that brought tears to my ears, reassuring me that the family had my back. Not only that, he called my mom to make sure I was doing OK.

That’s what I love about this particular branch of the family tree. Not only do they care, they can laugh at the antics of some other branches of said tree. During our Giant Catholic Wedding Circus©, one of my cousins from Pittsburgh got exceedingly trashed and pretty much surgically attached herself to SPW’s arm, slurring all the way. This is always good for some chuckles at family gatherings.

Speaking of family, I finally told my mother that I intend to have the gastric bypass surgery. She took it a lot better than I expected. She said that she respects the fact I didn’t rush right into it and I took the time to talk to people who have had the operation with varying degrees of success. That was one of the major hurdles, because I fully expected a load of objections about the risks and all that. I told her that in my mind, the rewards outweigh the risks. Yes, it’s major abdominal surgery. Yes, it’s general anesthesia. Yes, there are risks. The chance to live a life free of the syringe makes all the risk worthwhile. It’s not going to be an easy journey, but after a year, I want to be patient of the month at support group, telling how I managed to make my decision and get off the fence and how it helped me lead a normal, non-diabetic life.

Plus, not looking like a whale in a chair is a great incentive.

Have a great rest of the weekend, folks!

Song of the Day: I Believe in Father Christmas – Greg Lake
Currently reading: A Blaze of Glory – Jeff Shaara

What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family. – Mother Teresa

Check this out…

Posted: November 26, 2012 in Baseball, Great writing

I will periodically find some great writing and I like to share. Joe Posnanski wrote a wonderful story about Stan Musial that’s well worth the read.

Check it out here:

Seems like that’s the question our IT guys are always asking when we call to bitch about something not working.

I think it’s time for me to do a reboot of my life. Not a complete cold start, but that hold the home button and power switch on the iPhone until the Apple logo appears. I’ve been stressing hard, and well, it’s not a good place to be.

I mentioned howe pissed I was about the blister. It’s pretty much healed… in fact, I see the podiatrist tomorrow. I’m hoping he will see fit to say I can back to my usual workout routine. It has really been depressing the last few days, not being able to do the workout I’ve become accustomed to. I also have a consult session with Ryan on Tuesday. Hope I’ll be fully back into it by the end of the week. I will probably avoid the treadmill for another week, but the elliptical or arc trainer should be fine. I can hopefully start getting back over to Hempfield Rec on my off days. I just can’t believe how much I miss it.

We’ve also been dealing with some personal stuff here at Chez T that I’m not going to go into any details on. Suffice it to say that SPW and I are both fine, but there has been a recent issue that’s taken up a lot of our time.

The other place I really need to reboot is my attitude. It’s really not been particularly positive. A lot has to do with the job… well, not the job but with the work environment. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t mind people chatting, but for the love of God, please use the indoor voice and STOP CALLING ME DARLING OR DEAR OR HON! There are two people allowed to call me that stuff… one gave birth to me, the other married me. I might make an exception for elderly relatives, but it’s really unprofessional to call your coworkers stuff like that. You might think you’re being friendly, but it comes across reeking of insincerity and obsequiousness. I’d much prefer to be called Brian. Or if that’s too many syllables, I’ll even answer to “B”

So, as you can tell, I needed to do something fun. I had mentioned this to my friends Hollie & Charles and they turned around and invited me to the Lancaster Barnstormers game tonight. I had a lot of fun. We were sitting right behind the plate and it was nice to just relax, enjoy some nice weather and good company. It’s something I really needed. I also got to fix something yesterday. The electrician determined that a feedback loop in the cable modem’s transformer was causing isssues with the outlets in my office. I had to retire the 8-9 year old Linksys modem after so many year of faithful, pretty much 24/7 service. It’s been replaced by a new Motorola Surfboard. If it lasts half as long, I’ll be impressed. It’s amazing how costs have dropped. This ran around $53 at Best Buy. I remember buying a 14.4K telephone modem in 1991 or 1992 for around $300.

Next up on the docket is to start clearing space up here to add SPW’s desk. We’ve determined that it makes more sense to do it this way… especially now that the outlets are working right.

Well, as I mentioned, I have appointments the next two days. I’m thinking I need to do margaritas soon. There’s something about making them with fresh fruit that really does it for me. Here’s a couple of my favorite recipes:

Mango Margarita:

approx 10 oz of fresh mango chunks
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2/3 cup tequila
2 tbsp triple sec or Cointreau
2 tablespoons superfine sugar or simple syrup
Approx 2 cups ice

Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth, unless you have a frozen concoction maker, in which case, put everything but the ice in the blender, load the ice hopper and flip the switch.

Makes 4 cups (approx)

Pineapple margarita

2 cups ice
1 1/2 shots tequila (preferably silver)
1/2 shot triple sec
splash of fresh lime juice
splash of sweet and sour mix (or simple syrup)
1 1/2 cups of fresh cubed pineapple (or more)

Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth, unless you have a frozen concoction maker, in which case, put everything but the ice in the blender, load the ice hopper and flip the switch.

Makes approx 4 cups

So, that’s pretty much it. If you are interested in any way in Disney animation, Supportive Partner Woman (now being followed by Hollywood director types on Twitter!) has done a review of the upcoming animated short Paperman. Find that review here:

I’ll keep you posted on how my attitude adjustment and doctors appointments wind up going.

There’s a lot going on here at MOASTBFFG. Between work and getting ready for the Dreaded Yard Sale, Pt. Deux, the neverending cleanup and cooking a lot, well, it barely leaves me time to write whatever comes to mind. So, I’m going to see where the post takes me.

First of all, how about a stop in the NL East? Cliff Lee of the Phillies won  his first game of the season. Let me repeat that. CLIFF LEE won his FIRST game of the SEASON. On July 4. There’s something so wrong about that. This guy is considered to be one of the better pitchers in the game and it’s July. Goes to show you what having no offense can do for you.

On the homefront, I started a new project today. Nothing big… just making a pair of corner shelves for my office. Need to have someplace to display the Sopwith Camel, so I figured I’d make one for the other corner. Nothing too ornate, just simple and clean.Not sure what I’ll put on the other one yet, but I’ll think of something.

Proving yet again that Comcast has a lot of channels, but no real entertainment, I actually wound up watching the premiere episode of the new Dallas. Let me just say that it was 59 minutes of my life that I will never get back, but I found it to be strangely compelling. What I’ve taken away is that Charlene Tilton has NOT aged well, Steve Kanaly is NOT a good actor, and Linda Gray is so bad, she makes Susan Lucci look like Meryl Streep. A quick check on IMDb shows that Ken Kercheval will be returning. Surprised they haven’t talked Victoria Principal into a return. Like I said, I find it so bad, it’s almost good, and I’m glad they took a page from the Hawaii Five-O return and kept the theme song pretty much intact. It was a big part of my childhood.

So, tonight’s dinner was a bowl of chili with some cheese and a few oyster crackers. I did the same chili as I made a few weeks ago and I think this batch turned out even better. Still waiting for The Management to weigh in, though, as Supreme Arbiter of my cooking.

Tomorrow brings a fresh butt-kicking at the gym, followed by a bariatric support group meeting. Since the meeting time falls right in the middle of my working hours, I’m planning on going in early and taking a long lunch. As part of the program, they require you to attend at least one support group meeting, and everyone I talk to says it’s very helpful. Apparently they have a speaker or two and lots of times, Dr. McPhee will use the demo kitchen and show some new recipes or techniques. Should be fun.

Well, that’s all I have for you today. Gotta go check on the glue for my first shelf and put some tools away so we can get a car in the garage.

Happy 4th!