Monday, March 31, 2008

Ahhhh Baseball is Back

Baseball, glorious baseball.

I watched the Twins home opener on FSN West (all the other feeds were blacked out because it was Angels at Twins). It was Torii Hunter's first game back at the Metrodome in an Angels' uniform. The crowd cheered enthusiastically for him when he was introduced and he looked like he appreciated it. It was a great game to watch.

Last year's Twins team, and the year before, for that matter, struggled in the first innings of games. It seemed as if most of the teams got to the Twins early in the game and there were many games that the Twins never could recover from the first inning. Today's game was not like that at all. The Angels went down in order in the first inning, and the Twins in the bottom were able to score a run.

The final score was 3-2 Twins. Torii Hunter went 0 fer in his first game back. But Torii's bat has always been on the streaky side. And since he is on a team with the free-swinging Vladimir Guerrero, he may tend to pick up those bad habits. Carlos Gomez played very well in center field. The kid has incredible range out there. Only time will tell if he is a center fielder in the model of Kirby Puckett and Torii Hunter, but I sure enjoyed watching him out there.

Livan Hernandez pitched an absolute gem of a game. He went a full seven innings, which kind of surprised me. Not that he is not durable, or anything, just that it is early in the season and often times managers will pull a pitcher after six. Pat Neshek came in and pitched the 8th, not entirely an uneventful inning but he worked himself out of a jam with only one run scoring. Neshek's delivery is unorthodox, to say the least, but it is really fun to watch a sidearmer throw. Nathan closed it down in the top of the ninth with his typical dramatic flair.

I kept score on a piece of notebook paper. When I made up the score sheet, I deliberately only drew the lines for eight at bat innings for the Twins. I figured if I drew the ninth inning, they would have to bat in the ninth. I am almost as superstitious as a lot of ball players.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


Looks like we are getting a bona fide thunderstorm here in the OC today. This is a really rare occasion, the natives are probably hiding in their closets saying, "WTF?" Me, I am practically giddy about it. I love a good electrical storm. Something about it is really cleansing to me. I especially love how green everything is after the storm. It is as if vibrant green paint came out of the sky with the rain.

I just heard thunder a minute ago. It was cool.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Photos from Opening Day

Here are some Opening Day softball photos. It was a beautiful day for a ball game.

The girls had a wonderful time. The ball bounced around the infield a lot, the throws were rather errant, and there were flying bats. I love watching the development of ball players. At the end of the game our coach had the girls do a "2-4-6-8, who do we appreciate" cheer for the other team. Since no score is kept at this level, both teams won. I was very happy to see our coach emphasizing good sportsmanship.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

I Love the Smell of Agrilime in the Morning

Today was opening day for the Irvine Girls Softball league. My daughter is on a 6U team, and this was her first experience playing a team sport. IGSA does opening day up in a rather large way. All the teams met up at 8 am today at the park right next to city hall. They had their photos taken, the teams got to march onto the main stadium field in a parade, there was a "motivational" speaker (essentially a former softball star from the area who had obtained a full ride athletic scholarship to the University of Washington). A local dermatologist gave an "importance of sunscreen" speech, and all sorts of other fanfare. It was pretty cool, albeit over the top compared to the youth sports scene in Minnesota.

In 6U, the girls bat off a tee, they all come up to bat each inning, and they all play in the field. I have volunteered to be the bench coach for the girls. It is quite a thing to see, having 12 girls in the field. The ball still bounces around for like half a minute, even with all those girls out there. No score is kept, of course, since it is about teaching the girls how to play the game. K had a fantastic time and immediately after the game, she told me she wants to play next year. Her team is named the Blue Dolphins. And, of course, there is another Blue Dolphins team in the 6U class (big grin). There are six teams in all in the 6U league, and out of the six teams there are a total of only 4 unique team names. There are two Angels teams in 6U as well (chuckle). Our Blue Dolphins team wears royal blue, and the other Blue Dolphins team wears aqua blue.

The uniforms are really really nice, albeit quite large. K could wear her jersey as a dress, and needs to wear something underneath it because the neckline plunges a bit deeply. We can't have any Janet Jackson moments here. The socks that came with the uniforms are a tie dye royal blue and white. The girls look very cute in them. Even if they do clash with the pink helmets, the pink gloves and the pink and black cleats!

Friday, March 7, 2008


Today, I had the opportunity to drive by the foothills near us that were engulfed with the fires back in October. I was very pleased to see how green everything was, and that there were wild flowers blooming in orange, purple and yellow. It was not nearly as green and vibrant last spring. The green of spring is one thing I miss from back home. Every April and May in Minnesota, I always enjoyed watching the trees bud, and everything turn green. I think it only gets really green here in the spring after we have had a lot of rain, like we have had this year. Otherwise, it has not seemed to get as vibrant. I also miss the blue sky. We have so much smog here that the sky is never really blue.

My daughter is getting over pneumonia. It has been a heckuva week and a half around here. She has been to the doctor's office, the urgent care, and the ER over at CHOC since February 27th. She had the influenza, and because she has asthma, it ended up turning into pneumonia. We spent last Saturday night in the ER because her fever was not responding to either Tylenol or Motrin. Plus her breathing had deteriorated. They took a chest x-ray, and sure enough, she had pneumonia. She missed 5 days of school and is really behind on her homework, but she is doing so much better than she was a week ago.

At CHOC, they triage the children through St. Joseph's Hospital ER(which is connected), and when we got there the waiting room was overflowing. I thought we would be waiting for hours just to be triaged. While we were waiting to be called back (we got called back within 20 minutes of arriving), K threw up. Poor thing. So we had to get the janitor out there to clean up, because we did not get her to the trash can in time. Later she apologized for throwing up on my leg (she was concerned about that). I told her that she did not need to worry about that at all, that I just wanted her to get better.

I was really impressed with all but one of the CHOC ER staff. The nurses, the resident physician, the attending physician, and one out of two of the respiratory therapists were awesome. The other respiratory therapist contradicted what everyone else was saying by telling me that K's lungs were perfectly clear. Everyone else had told us that her lungs had crackles and I could see that her intercostal and neck muscles were retracting while she was breathing. Her sats were at 92%, so I know she was not getting very much oxygen, and here is this RT, talking out his rear end about how K's lungs were clear. It was certainly unprofessional to say the least, since he contradicted two MDs.