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Category: baseball (Page 1 of 5)

ten on tuesday: headlines from the year you were born

I’m not a regular player in the “Ten on Tuesday” game, but this week’s topic is a good one. So, just like Sarah, I plundered the Internet to find some tidbits of intrigue from my birth year. And, just like Sarah said, I don’t remember any of these things actually happening, though many of them affected me and helped form the person I am.

1. Pink Floyd releases The Dark Side of the Moon. (March 1)

One of my favorite albums of all time, really turned me on to both prog rock as a teen and the lyrics (written by Roger Waters when he was 29) are wise beyond their years. I can’t wait for the immersion version box set of this album to come out later this month, because it should sound lovely and provide a ton of excellent live tracks and outtakes.

2. Supreme Court rules on Roe v. Wade. (January 22)

I’m a firm believer in the rights of women to have the final say on all of their healthcare choices. As a man, I have no right to tell a woman what she can or can’t do with her own body. Abortion should be safe, legal and rare.

3. President Nixon suspends all U.S. military operations in Vietnam. (January 15)

This senseless war had deep impact on my teenage years, as the baby boomers started to make sense of its aftermath via movies. And the anti-war protest songs make up a great deal of my favorite songs of all time. Less than a month after Nixon ended operations, the first POWs were released.

4. The World Trade Center opens in New York City. (April 4)

We all know the fate of these twin towers. But on this day, they were a symbol of new optimism in a world that was just getting its global trade system back in order after World Ward II. (Note: just one month later, the Sears Tower opened in Chicago, beating the WTC for right to “world’s tallest building.”)

5. Ron Blomberg of the New York Yankees becomes the first designated hitter in Major League Baseball. (April 6)

Worst. rule. change. ever. Thanks for nothing, George Steinbrenner. The DH was brought about as a way to try and drum up fan support for MLB. Unfortunately, it ended up contributing to pitchers who are as wide as they are tall, with precious few skills other than throwing a ball. Thank goodness the National League hasn’t fallen for the DH (save for spring training and inter-league play at AL ballparks).

6. Skylab is launched. (May 14)

As a kid (and heck, even now) I was a huge fan of outer space, NASA, astronauts and everything associated with them. Skylab paved the way for the Space Shuttle and in the International Space Station – not a bad track record for a flawed space station. The Skylab exhibit at National Air and Space Museum is one of my favorites.

7. Secretariat wins the Triple Crown. (June 9)

The horse that many consider the greatest of all time won the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes in 1973. Sure, I’m not a big fan of horse racing, but it’s still quite the achievement for a young horse.

8. Gen. Augusto Pinochet leads successful U.S.-backed military coup in Chile. (September 11)

Proof positive that, throughout the years, the United States isn’t always on the “right side” of history.

9. Nixon orders the “Saturday Night Massacre.” (October 20)

Sure, there were plenty of Watergate moments I could have chosen in 1973. But this one is the first one that raised calls for Nixon’s impeachment. I mean, on November 17 he famously proclaimed, “I am not a crook!”

10. The American Psychiatric Association removes homosexuality from DSM-II. (December 15)

One of the landmark decisions in the ongoing quest for recognition of and equality for the LGBT population of the United States – and an appropriate ending to this list, given today is the day that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” finally became history.

back from mudville

Yeah, it’s been a while.

I went out of town.

Saw the Mets beat the Phillies on a final trip to Shea.

Rode a wonderful century through the Berkshires in three states.

And enjoyed a lot of music, the company of friends, and lots of mud at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival.

More on all of that soon. Right now, I need some sleep.

friday my:dc : ballpark

There’s really nothing more to say about it: Nationals Park can be lovely.

Nats Park sunset

random thoughts for the beginning of april

Just a few things I’ve pondered in the last…. day or two:

  • David Cook should win American Idol, as he’s the only one who seems to be willing to push boundaries and mix up styles. Now that I’ve said this, he’s guaranteed not to win.
  • The new Nationals Park is a nice ballpark, and it was fun to see the Nats win their season opener in dramatic fashion.
  • Two great rides in the past three days: riding the Catoctins (past Camp David) on Sunday, and the first “Downtown Breakaway” of the 2008 season tonight (which featured cherry blossoms). Full reports to come soon.
  • Today was a lovely, 75 degree day after a gloomy morning – nice!
  • I’m tired of the calls and emails about the unpledged delegate add-on election this Thursday. I’ve made up my mind already, thanks.
  • I’m a fan of red arrows.

Also, I upgraded the site to WordPress 2.5, which has a lot of great new features.

ballparks updated

I updated my “Ballparks From Space” entry to reflect all of the changes in both Google Maps and the ballpark landscape – check it out!

letdowns

It’s not fun as a baseball fan when two teams you root for let you down on the same day.

First, the New York Mets completed their historic collapse by losing to the Florida Marlins. Tom Glavine performed every bit the part of a player who should hang up his glove, giving up 7 runs to just a single out in less than one inning of work. Ugh. And that it was the last place Florida Marlins who dealt the blow was most cruel.

However, that was only the first letdown, because less than 10 minutes after the Mets lost, the Washington Nationals lost to the Philadelphia Phillies, thus handing the Phils the division championship in the NL East. The Nats could’ve saved the Mets’ bacon with a win, but they also failed to find a good bat or and effective pitching strategy to hold off the resurgent team from Philadelphia.

Bugger.

At least the Boston Red Sox have home field advantage for as long as they remain in the AL playoffs. That’s something.

last game at rfk

Well, the last baseball game, at least.

sprite and I had a great time at the game. I managed to get us seats in the outfield mezzanine, which allowed for a great view from left field. We really got to see the extent of the crowd on hand, which was the largest attendance for a Nats game in 2007 (slightly over 41,000 seats sold – not a sellout, amazingly enough, given the historic nature of the game).

The Presidents Race was a fun one, as the Nats’ bullpen emptied to try and help Teddy win. They blocked Abe, George and Tom, but to no avail: Teddy ended up at the new ballpark, where he ran to home plate with no competition (or live audience, other than construction workers and a camera crew). The audience booed the other presidents, chanting “we want Teddy” for a few minutes after the race’s conclusion.

And the Nats played well. They went out to win their final outing at RFK, and kept on the offensive and defensive pressure throughout the game. Even though Chad “The Chief” Cordero threatened to blow his save opportunity by allowing a run, but he then struck out the final batter – “theeeeee Nats win!”

And after the game’s conclusion, the ceremonies continued for another hour or so. The players gave away their game jerseys to lucky fans. Manny Acta dug up home plate to transfer it to the new ballpark. Screech the Eagle entered RFK on a zipline. Fireworks were launched over the outfield for the final time.

sprite and I wandered around the stadium for a few minutes before leaving. We went up to the yellow, upper-deck seats to see one of the white seats where Frank Howard’s home runs landed in the late-60s and early-70s. We marveled at exactly how long these home runs were, looking back toward home plate from almost 500 feet away.

And then it was over.

Fare thee well, RFK. Sure, I’ll be back for DC United games and the occasional concert, but I’ll miss baseball in your old, shaky shell.

(You can see photos from the game here.)

tuesday quick quips

Some things that have crossed my mind today:

  • WAMU’s decision to relegate their bluegrass programming to the HD range is flat-out stupid. The powers-that-be at WAMU continue to prove that they know how to implode a local radio station, creating more of the same (political talk radio and over-syndicated NPR content) rather than provide a format that’s unique. If anybody from the “home of Kojo” is reading this: take a long, hard look at WFUV, KRCL or WXPN to see how independent public radio is done. Seriously: we don’t need rehash of stuff that every other NPR affiliate is doing.
  • The first public beta release of Eudora’s new mail client, code named “Penelope”, is a major letdown. Let me summarize: it’s essentially Thunderbird with Eudora’s icons and sounds. If I were a Eudora user, I’d be miffed that we’ve waited all this time for a version of Thunderbird with new curtains. Where are the features of the old program that made it a standout? Are they in some internal build that will see the light of day in 2012? Disappointing, Mr. Dorner and open-source dev crowd – simply disappointing.
  • It was refreshing to hear a Republican consultant on this past Sunday’s Meet The Press admit that Fox News is the official media outlet for the GOP. Finally: a theocon who says something that isn’t mealy-mouthed and half (if that) true!
  • I’m still not sold on any of the current crop of presidential candidates. However, there are some who continue to inch their way down in favor, including Bill Richardson (miffing the question on whether being gay is a choice or genetic, and doing an “I don’t know” on the $50 billion Iraq funding bill).

Now, off to a ball game….

a fun weekend

After a last-minute cleaning blitz – most of the responsibility for the cleaning goes to sprite – we welcomed her parents into town for a weekend of dining and baseball. It was wonderful to have them back in town (they lived here nearly full-time for 14 years), and they got to see the Mets crush the Nats today, 8-2.

It’s somewhat sad that, just as they left to resume full-time residence in Connecticut, DC got a MLB team. But they’ve been back every year to take in a Mets-Nats game. And with this year’s win, the Mets are now 2-1 in games the family attends together at RFK.

Of note is the fair-weather fandom of the Nats fans at today’s game. By the 7th inning stretch, after the Mets went ahead for good, fans in Nats gear started to make their way home. This worsened in the 8th, when the Mets added insurance runs. A few die-hard Nats fans stayed, including a very vocal man about 3 rows behind us, who tried to get the crowd to chant “let’s go Nats.” A happy usher urged him to continue, saying “it’s not over yet” as the Mets continued to score runs.

But the crowd also had its fair share of Mets fans (DC is a city of transplants, after all, and NYC is a short train, bus or plane ride away), and the chants of “let’s go Mets” were loud, with the reactionary “boos” from Nats fans getting less and less audible as fortunes turned towards the boys from Flushing.

Being a quartet of Mets fans, we stayed to the very end – after all, the Mets have an uncanny reputation for blowing leads in the 9th. But the Mets held on, giving up nothing in the end.

A funny sight at the game: Sandy Alomar, Sr. (3B coach for the Mets), giving signals to Sandy Alomar, Jr. (C for the Mets) during the latter’s first at-bat in the game. “Junior” was called up from New Orleans yesterday, as their top two catchers – Paul LoDuca and Ramon Castro – are on the disabled list. And at 41, he still does a great job as catcher.

16 more home games at RFK before its baseball days are over.

random fri… er, saturday thoughts

Haven’t been on a bike since last Saturday. I’m itching to get back on, but I know that my ribs need to mend. If it’s any consolation, it doesn’t hurt (much) to cough anymore. And I should be ready to go when next I lead a PPTC ride….

Congrats to the St. Louis Cardinals – and a big congrats to David Eckstein, who deserved the World Series MVP award. I’m glad that MLB didn’t cave and give it to Albert Pujols, who is a big money-maker for the bean counters….

I love Forefox 2! It’s faster than version 1.5, and really purrs on both the G5 at work and the Intel Mac at home. And most of my key plug-ins are working well – another big bonus….

So Borat will be on Letterman on Monday night – that’ll be a thing to behold!

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