Saturday, August 28, 2010

Milestone Eve

I don't know if it's a big deal for most kids to go to professional baseball game, or if their first glimpse of the field inside a real stadium is magic moment, but it was for me.

I have spoken with other guys my age who can vividly recount their first big league game, so I think it might be worthy of "milestone" status. By that I mean, one of those events that is intensely anticipated, yet still turns out to be every bit as good as expected. Milestones are those experiences that make indelible footprints on the path to a fulfilling life.

Tomorrow, I will visit Angel stadium with Romeo to see them play the Orioles in a game that is all but meaningless for both teams. Meaningless, that is, in terms of the 2010 MLB post-season, but it is not a meaningless game to us. We have planned this for a long time and my 4-year old, baseball-crazy son has been counting down to this day all summer long

I bought two front row tickets behind home plate and two more front row tickets up against the bullpen in left field. We plan to move around, catch a few home run balls during batting practice, chat with the bullpen pitchers, befriend the on-deck hitters, and run the bases. That's right -- it is "run the bases" day for kids under 12 so we will be allowed on the field for a single, glorious lap.

I don't know what Romeo has up his sleeve, but here's my plan: I will sprint to first and make a proper, wide turn in foul ground so that I can accelerate across the inside corner of the bag toward second. I will go hard into second with a pop-up slide, eliminating any chance of an imaginary double-play, before digging hard and low toward third, where I will arrive with a dramatic, head-first slide. Without even spitting the dirt out of my mouth, I will scamper up, head for home, and bowl into any kids awaiting their turn to run, scattering them like tenpins.

Look for me on Sports Center. I'll be the guy covered in dirt, wearing the proud expression of a man who took his son out to achieve a milestone but ended up bagging one of his own.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Reggie Bush and the Heisman Trophy

I know my imaginary readers don't dwell in Southern California, if they did, I could complain to them out loud and I wouldn't need a blog to blow off steam. Anyway, is there anyone in the sports media who isn't dumber than Miss South Carolina?

Case in point, the non-stop disucssion about whether or not Reggie Bush should give back the Heisman Trophy, with which he was honored in 2005.

For those of you not awash in the details of this ridiculous story, Reggie's parents accepted some free transportation to his road games during the season when he won the Heisman, which is a violation of NCAA regulations. The NCAA has since discovered this violation and severely penalized USC by reducing their athletic scholarships and banning them from bowl eligibility for awhile.

It's a severe punishment, it has dampened the viability of the very popular USC football program, and lots of locals are really mad at Reggie Bush. Hence the question: Should he give back the Heisman?

What's that you say? You don't understand how the back story leads to that question? Exactly! It's ridiculous on multiple levels.

Here's an analogy: Once I wrote a paper that won an award given annually by some private group. I also violated the regulations of my Home Owners Association by using the pool late at night after it was closed. Should I give back the award I won for the paper?

The main source of my exasperation with this coverage is that the media seems not to understand the difference between the honor (winning the award) and the symbol of the honor (the actual trophy). It's not up to Reggie if he should retain or concede the honor; that decision rests with the Heisman Trophy Trust of New York City, for it is they who bestow the award each year.

If they strip him of the honor, his mere possession of the trophy would mean nothing. Conversely, if he gives the trophy back but they do not strip him of the honor, he will still be forever memorialized as the 2005 Heisman Trophy winner.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Dad Life

This video was called to my attention by faithful WWDS reader Rick Bohon, who is living the "Dad Life" in Switzerland. (That's right, WWDS has a global, imaginary following!) Not sure why I didn't write, direct, sing or star in this video but I should have...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Best Friends

I saw this video posted on cousin Debbie's Facebook page. Thought it was worthy of pushing on the entire WWDS readership. Enjoy!

Monday, August 16, 2010

One of Those Days

There are certain dates that trigger my mind to recall particular events. Today, August 16th, is one of those dates.
I am not sure why I remember that these four events all occurred on the same day but, for some reason, they seem related in my mind and I never seem to forget them.

No need to elaborate extensively; I'll just list them chronologically with a short comment:

August 16, 1920 - Ray Chapman became first and only batter to be killed by a pitched ball in Major League Baseball. This changed the game in many ways including the rule that newer, whiter balls be used. That particular change meant that old, dirty, dead balls could not be used and the newer, more tightly wound replacements ushered in the era of the power hitter. Which leads to...

August 16, 1948 - Babe Ruth died. He was probably the greatest beneficiary of the changes to the game that favored power hitters. His on-field abilities drew attention to his colorful social life and he drove "celebrity status" to a new level for professional athletes and entertainers. Celebrity status brings us to...

August 16, 1958 - Louise Ciccone was born near Detroit and later changed her name to Madonna. Her fame grew to the point where, at the height of her notoriety, she was on a very short list of the most well-known figures on the planet. To that point in history, the only other musical entertainer who had achieved such widespread fame was Elvis, who died on...

August 16, 1977 - That's right. Same day. Heard the news from Joe Nemi. Even though many of us think of "young Elvis" and "old Elvis", the latter term referring to his bloated final years, he was never really old. He died at 42.

August 16th is just one of those days...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Soxy thing

Contributed by Auggie
In golf it’s called “scrambling”. Player A splits the fairway with his drive, knocks his second shot 15 feet from the pin and two putts for a par (ho-hum). Player B, the scrambler, hits a drive into the woods, punches out to the rough, hits his third shot to the fringe and drains a 30-footer for par. Player A is demoralized. High level scrambling is not for the weak, it requires perseverance, determination, heart and an unwavering will to win. Ladies and gentlemen, meet your 2010 Boston Red Sox. To use the golf analogy, this team is definitely scrambling.

I’ve heard it said that the 2010 Red Sox are boring. I don’t disagree. They are not the lovable losers they were during the curse era, they don’t have the outsized personalities of the idiot era (Ramirez, Damon, Millar), and they don’t really have a superstar as the face of the organization. What they do have is resilience. As a baseball fan it’s hard not to respect what they have done so far this season.

Lets review. Due to an aberrant rash of injuries this season, the Sox have been winning with players named Bill Hall, Daniel Nava, Darnell McDonald, Elvis Patterson, Eddie Haskell, Felix Doubront and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. (I only made up one of those). Meanwhile, established stars like Pedroia, Youkilis, Ellsbury, Martinez, Drew and Varitek have spent considerable time on the disabled list while other players they were counting on have not lived up to expectations - the prize offseason acquisition (Lackey) has lived up to his name, Josh “overrated” Beckett continues to be a non factor and Jonathan “extremely overrated” Papelbon hasn’t thrown a 1-2-3 inning since sixth grade. Today they sit 3.5 games out of the wildcard spot and I honestly don’t know how. Terry Francona must be a good manager.

I don’t know how the season will end (unless I’ve jinxed them, and then I do know) but it’s been an exciting ride for a boring team.