Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I was there ... the 1982 US Open

Y’all know this … but reading this article just made me smile … and want to share the memory … again …

Tom Watson's shot on #17 at 1982 US Open at Pebble Beach

My Dad & I had a great day at Pebble Beach that day … we got there bright and early … and Dad had a good strategy: we’d follow guys a while … then find a good spot to watch a few groups play thru … I think we made it round the course a couple of times … got my first up-close look at what a good caddie does (Lanny Wadkins caddy put down the bag, sprinted up the hill to the green and sprinted back, gave Lanny 2 numbers, something like 163/171 = distances to the front of the green and to the pin, hand Lanny a club, and then watch Lanny drop the golf ball *right* on the flag!) … the beautiful scenery was matched by exciting scoreboard watching … and just a good time being with Dad.

As the day, and tournament, was coming to a close, the crowd had fewer and fewer places to go … and we were at the back of the pack. Watson and Nicklaus were tied … no way to get to 18 in time to see Nicklaus finish … so we decided to get the best look we could at Watson on 17 … and even that wasn’t great … we were on the right side … about mid-hole = 100 yards from tee, 100 yards from green … but we had a good look at both. After Watson’s drive, the mood was bummer … since Watson was in the rough, above the hole, it looked like we’d see him lose the tournament rather than win it. The flag was between us and him … we could see him talking with his caddie … taking test swings to gage the rough, which his feet sank into, so we knew the ball was deep into. We could see how high he was over the hole, perhaps our view exaggerated that. The time came to take the shot … the quiet of the moment … the few seconds of expectation … the BURST of the crowd when the ball disappeared … we were THERE!!! We instantly knew we’d seen history … everybody knew … it was sweet. We felt a bit smug that all the people who invested in a view of 18 only heard the roar from those of us in the peanut gallery (so to speak).

It’s been fun over the years to see this highlight many times … and I’m sure it will be played several times over the next couple of weeks leading up to and during the 2010 US Open at Pebble Beach …

Tom Watson has been playing well lately … made a run at last year’s British Open … got an exemption into this year’s US Open … maybe he’ll have some more 17th hole magic for us  (note: but it won’t be from the same spot, the article linked above says that spot got washed out by the ocean during a storm!)

See ya!
Howard

OT - this history of the smily is interesting and funny ...

Original Bboard Thread in which :-) was proposed

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I'm getting married :-)

For details, check out this blog ...

http://howardandkate.blogspot.com/

Monday, September 29, 2008

Corvallis Fall Festival 10K

If you ever want to set a personal record for a running race, here's a formula for success ... put in some miles of training ... and then get a friend who's a long & fast runner who's willing to run the race at your goal pace (ie. at a slooow training pace for him) ... voila!

BIG thanks to Marv Newcombe for being that friend for me today!

I needed a boost ... the training runs have felt like they've been sap'ing me ... and I have not felt like I've been making progress ... after today, I can see again that I am making progress!
The bottom line for today was 10K in 56:50 ... here's the Garmin data with Google Map ...
http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/6873902
I went in with a goal of 9:20/mile ... which is what the McMillan calculator ( http://www.mcmillanrunning.com/cgi-bin/calculations.pl) says is the equivalent of a 9:00/mile pace for 5K ... a pace I could not keep in my previous 5K on July 12th ... so I felt that a 9:20 goal was aggressive ...

When we started out with an 8:55 first mile, and my HR was at 168 just about 3/4ths of a mile into the race, I was a bit worried that I'd made the classic mistake of starting out too fast ... but, to some extent, it felt like I couldn't go any slower ... the only evidence to the contrary being the HR ... and so I/we backed off on the pace ... and the HR did drop back down to the low 160s. The 3rd mile was a slight incline ... and the HR got up to 170ish at the peak ... but came down quickly when we turned around and went back down the incline. I felt good that I was able to do that 3rd mile at my target pace (9:19). There was a water station at about 3.25 miles ... and I decided to walk thru that and drink a bit of water ... the weather was a bit warmer than usual (race didn't start until 9:15, and it was a clear blue sky) ... but with the decline, I was still able to finish that 4th mile right at pace (9:20). The decline continued thru the 5th mile and that resulted in 9:08 ... cool! That's when I became 100% confident that I'd be under an hour ... I could tell that I wasn't going to collapse ... in fact, I could tell that I was going to be able to pick up the pace for the final mile.

My secondary goal for the race was do the 6th mile in under 9 minutes ... but that was based on an assumption that it was mostly downhill ... oops ... turned out the 5-mile mark was pretty much at the bottom of the course ... and much of that 6th mile was incline ... but with Marv's encouragement, I was able to pick up the pace and keep it up so that when we did get to the final decline stretch, that 6th mile came in at 8:58 ... which was pretty energizing for me ...
So much so that I opt'd to go for my third goal for the race ... which was to sprint to the finish and leave Marv in my dust :-) At what I thought was about 2 blocks to go, I kicked the sprint into gear ... and indeed I did leave Marv behind ... but it turned out I was 3-4 blocks out when I started ... and I totally ran out of gas ... with my HR at 183, I just didn't have anything left to finish that last ~100m ... and Marv reeled me in! If I were him, I woulda blown by and shown the soles of my shoes ... but that's not Marv's style at all ... he got up to me and just kept the encouragement coming ... and got me to the finish line under the 57 minute mark ... man, was I hurtin' ... whatever my VO2Max is, I was *there* at that moment! It sure felt like I was at my max heart rate ... I could not get my mouth open wide enough to get more air inside me ...

It's fun to kick to the finish ... I just need to make sure I've got the finish line in sight before doing it :-)

So ... 5 weeks until the Half-Marathon @ San Francisco ... now I think I can keep up my training ... now I think I can reach my goal of doing it at less than a 10-min/mile pace ... McMillan calc says 9:40 min/mile based on what I did for 10K today ... I don't know about that ... especially given the hills and potential wind on the GG bridge ... but I think a 10-min/mile pace is a good goal to shoot for ... I'm looking forward to it ... both for the milestone it will represent and because 2 of my support team, will be running it with me! See you there, Gary! See you there, Dur! Let's go get 'em!!!

I'm thinking I've got one more goal for 2008 ... and it will bring this running journey full circle ... my first 5K was the "Run Wild" 5K at Golden Gate Park (SF) on the Sunday after Thanksgiving last year ... I was not able to run the full 5K at that time ... in fact, I had to stop and walk 2 times ... finished in over 33 minutes ... well over my goal of 10mins/mile ... well, this year, I'll go back ... and my goal will be sub-9mins/mile! And I think I'll be able to recover from the HM and get into shape for doing just that! http://www.rhodyco.com/runwild.html ... and this year, I won't plan to drive home (ie. to Corvallis) that same day ... now *that* was nutso! :-)

Onward!

ps.
Here's a picture of me and Marv from back in May after he ran the Eugene Half-Marathon and I did it's 5K ... http://picasaweb.google.com/LynchMob98/EugeneMarathon#5196759072363118914 ... he's doing the Portland Marathon next Sunday ... GO MARV!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

7 months of runnin' fun ... leading up to 5K at the Eugene Marathon

Back in mid-October, I joined a challenge from my Pastor to men in my church to "improve the temple" ... in other words, to get fit. What he primarily had in mind was losing weight ... what I primarily had in mind was to be able to run 3 miles in 30 minutes, an aribrary benchmark at the time. I had no idea what "5K" was ... and I certainly knew that running a marathon was on the list of most outlandish things that I could possibly imagine.

The next day, I got on a treadmill at the fitness center here where I work ... and I ran until fear and ignorance and fatigue prompted me to slow to a walk after 4 minutes ... but I was on my way. And, not knowing anything else, I committed myself to, each time I got on the treadmill, running for 1 more minute ... simple!

When I did realize that 3 miles and 5K were about the same thing ... and that 5K races were pretty common, I caught some kind of bug that I'm still carrying with me to this day ... I signed up for and ran my first 5K in San Francisco on the Sunday after Thanksgiving to end my annual trip to the Bay Area that weekend. I had only worked myself up to being able to sustain running for about 18 minutes ... not nearly enough to get thru 5K at my plodding pace ... but after 2 stretches of walking to catch my breath, I finished that first 5K in 33:30 ... transistion from "on my way" to "on the board" ... still short of my goal (which had a deadline of January 5th), but for the first time, I did feel like that goal was do-able ... hunh, how about that?

Next up was another 5K in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park a few days before Chirstmas ... this time with Gary Gan, a classmate from Stanford, whose in-laws lived just blocks north of where we'd be running, so his whole family came for the event, and his oldest son, who had run some cross-country in high school, joined us also. I remember seeing them slowly pull away from me right from the start ... and then learning that Gary got a taste of that experience as his son pulled away from him about mid-race. A 30:27 finish meant that I had met my goal ... for the 3.1 mile race, 30:27 is sub-10-minutes-per-mile pace! A little more training and my first dose of encouragement from Gary and his son had pushed me into new territory!

And I had 5K/GO Fever bad, still ... and went ahead with plans to run another 5K on that Christmas holiday trip to the Bay Area ... on New Year's Day in Santa Rosa ... a "Resolution Run" ... put on by the local runner's club ... with the start/finish line at the high school which my brother-in-law graduated from! And as I was stretching in prep for the race, a rumor got confirmed when my sister, Alyson, showed up ... READY TO RUN! Well, one outrageous turn deserves another, I s'pose. What I remember about that race was not knowing where the route was and standing at what I thought was the back of the pack talking to Aly when the gun went off and everyone started running and I was really standing right on the starting line (just off to one side) ... hey ... so long, Aly ... see you later! But being in front was not kind to me ... when I crossed a chalk mark in the street that said "1 mile", my watch said 8:43 ... could that be??? Well, yes ... as evidenced by all the people who proceeded to pass me non-stop for the rest of race as I totally ran out of gas. But I finished in 29:30 ... and another milestone/barrier was broken! After gulping down a few bottles of water and scarfing a few bananas, I was fresh as a daisy ... well, fresh as a wilted daisy, perhaps ... and I started walking back up the course until I met up with Aly and did the run/walk thing with her for about the last 1/3-mile ... after which we shared both smiles and groans as we basked in the thrill of our accomplishment and the aches in our legs. 2008 was off to a terrific start ... and my goal had been met!

Oregon in winter is not really conducive to running ... but I continued to pound the treadmill and eliptical machines indoors at the fitness center. I found 2 races to run down in Eugune ... the first was a pretty fun event called the "Winter Predictor" ... runners were not allowed to wear stop watches and the "winner" would be the person who most closely predicted their finishing time ... with the key wrench being that the race was 6K (rather than the normal 5K). It was a cold, cold morning ... pockets of ice on the sidewalks ... but all the runners just bundled up and had a good time ... with some nice hot chili and chicken soup served at the finish line .... hmm, hmm, good! I guess I wasn't feeling confident when I predicted 39:53 ... but came in right at my 10-min-per-mile pace with a 36:42 finish ... so whilest I didn't win the "predictor" event (the winner was just off by 1 second!), I was certainly please that I pushed my abililty to do my 10min/mi pace out to 3.71 miles. The next event was 2 weeks later ... and was 4 miles long ... so stretched it out just a bit further ... and my 38:37 finish proved to me that I had really left the 10min/mi pace behind ... so, what's next?

I wanted to run a race in my hometown, Corvallis, so I found a 5K to be run on the OSU campus. Wanting to continue to stretch myself, and calculating on google maps that the starting line was only about 3 miles from my apartment, I decided to jog to it! All was well ... until about half way thru the race and it started to absolutely *pour* ... still managed to finish in 29:32 ... so not a record, but, given the 3-mile warm-up jog and the inclement weather, I still chalked it up as a success. But, given how wet I was, I think it was wise that I bailed out (pun intended?) on plans to jog home, and just caught a bus, which I did have to run a bit to catch, btw :-)

I don't remember when I first got the idea ... but many days I found myself surfing running web pages and dreaming at the all the events I could do ... and I knew I was going to Phoenix for spring training baseball, so I checked to see if they had a race that looked fun in March ... and what I found was a Half Marathon ... gulp! But the interesting twist was that you could enter it as a relay team! Surely I could find some suckers to run it with me? YES! For reasons beyond my comprehension, the date worked out for both Paul Fisher, another Stanford classmate, from Seattle, WA, and Dan Lynch, a counsin from Franklin, TN ... and so we converged on the Usery Mountain Recreation Area and had at it! Many things about that weekend were fantastic ... starting with how the breakdown of our relay assignments worked out. I was ready to try a 10K ... so I took the first 2 legs ... Dan was in training for an upcoming Half Marathon and he wanted to do about 7 miles at a run-walk pace, and so he did that for the 2nd-half of the Half Marathon ... and Paul, breaking out of a near-30-year running slumber, was only interested to get his feet wet for 5K ... so we gave him the uphill-finishing-5K-leg ... which he naviagated quite quickly to a 9th place finish for our team (LynchMob) in the Open Men's division! And then what proved most fun for me was that, after running my 10K in 1:02 (with 31:00 + 31:00 splits ... right at 10min/mi!), I was good to go and finish the Half Marathon keeping up with Dan's run-walk pace ... WHAT A BLAST that was! So I actually ended up doing a Half Marathon in 2:28 ... what? Yup, that's right, folks ... I put a Half Marathon on my resume! The scenary out in the Arizona desert and inspiration and movitation and encouragment from both Dan and Paul was AMAZINGLY powerful ... and that time doing the run-walk with Dan just *flew* by, that was actually *fun*. Taking our picture after the race, we were all beaming and flaunting our medals ... which we even wore to the spring training baseball game that afternoon ... sweeeeeet!

That event took over a week to "recover" from ... but the stiffness/soreness in my left heel/achilles finally did work it's way out .. but I did let that kinda be an excuse to ease off the running a bit ... that, combined with playing some golf in April, got me convinced to just be in "maintenance mode" for a while. As my next scheduled event approached, and a few stretches of non-rainy weather occurred, I did get energized to get out and pound the pavement and prep for it a bit. That event was today, the 5K portion of the Eugene Marathon ... which I signed up for way back in December, and even talked a good friend, Marv Newcombe, into doing ... and egging him into signing up for the Half Marathon ... his first attempt at such a feat (after several years of getting himself into shape by running 3-5 miles at a pop, but never doing a "race"). We enjoyed our trip yesterday down to the "expo" to pick up our race packets with bib's and chip's ... staples of the modern mega-race. I got up at 4am (really woke up at 330am with the coming excitement just preventing any more sleep) ... scarf'd a banana and granola bar and drank a bunch of water ... and then headed out pick up Marv ... and his running buddy whom he'd talked into doing the Half Marathon ... and *his* running buddy whom he'd talked into doing the Half Marathon! Seriously, my pastor's enthusiasm to "improve the temple" had trickled down, in this case, to a 4th generation! See what encouragement, and friendship can do? Yes, that does scare me. We got down to the race finish area at University of Oregon's Autzen Stadium about 530 and by 6 had shuttled to the starting line at UofO's Hayward Field (site of this summer's US Olympic Trials!) ... and joined the 6000-or-so other runners in the mass of humanity who were stretched out and primed to GO, GO, GO! The Half Marathoners went off at 7am ... and I started the 5K at 715. You can see the details of my run at this web site ... thanks to the wonders of the new Garmin 305 heart-rate-monitor / GPS-enable stop watch that I had gotten just a few ago (Marv and his bud both had this also). The summary page shows I ran 3.12 miles in 28:23 for a 9:06 pace ... YOWZA! If you click around a bit, you can get several flavors of graphs, many of which have the option to superimpose heart-rate on it ... which shows that mine got up into the low-180s by the end. I'm not confident of the calibration of the HRM, but suffice it say that I was *gas*d by the end of the race. But I'm also not sure about 28:23 time. The most troubling part of the whole event was the fuzzy finish line ... first there was a blue chip mat .. then an overhead banner that said "finish line" ... and then a pair of blue chip mats after that ... and it was putting my foot on the first of that second set of blue chip mats that seemed to "beep" an indication that I had indeed finished ... but I stop'd my watch when hit that first mat ... so I'm going to be interested to see my "chip time" when the results finally get posted. I'm guessing it will be a couple of seconds more than 28:23 ... whatever. But the other troubling/confusing thing about finish time is what you see if you look at the "Laps". I have the watch program'd to "auto lap" every mile ... well, that data shows I only ran 3.06 miles ... and did so at 9:12 + 9:26 + 9:15 for the first 3 miles ... so it's not clear to me how I could have finished with a 9:06 pace. And those lap splits more closely align with my perception of how I was doing ... when the watch said I had run 1-mile, I knew was around 9:10ish ... and just under 19:00 for 2-miles ... and I know I picked up the pace a bit for the 3rd mile. Eh, I need to use this new-fangled HRM/GPS thingy and see I can figure out any patterns to the noise in the data. For now, it sure is closeenough ... and it's fun data to have during the run ... and it's fun to look at afterwards, especially the route superimposed on a google map!

A few pics of the gang before and after and a couple of videos of Marv, at about 9.2 miles and at the finish ... a day to remember.

Anyway today's results get sliced, it took another step to my next goal ... a 9min/mi pace! That seems do-able ... asumming I put in some work and really "train". Can and will do!

I'm hoping that next up will be a 15K in Coronado, CA ... the place I was born ... on July 4th. I've spent the 4th of July down in San Diego for the past 3 years ... so that part of it is now an annual trip (pilgrimage?) to visit my best friends, Al & Cindy Cullins. As an added bonus this year, Al's brother, Larry, is expecting his first child right around that time, and so I'm very much looking forward to seeing them also. My goal for the 15K will be sub-1:30 ... ie. doing 3 sub-30-minute 5Ks back-to-back-to-back. I may not be fast, but I'm gonna see if I can "go long"!

As I know you all know, my ultimate goal this year is doing the US Half Marathon in San Francisco. Again, Gary Gan is signed up to do that with me. He's scheming to do a Half Marathon prior to that ... he's been doing some serious training in prep for that until he was recently derailed just a bit with a calf injury. You know, one of the aliases that "running" turns out to have is "injury and risk management". There's injuries underfoot, literally, for each of us while we work on staying fit, and have fun running race. It's just part of the process, pure and simple. Perhaps it's nature's way of saying "hey, you, take a break"? My plan on how I'll try to handle that when it happens to me is to "think long term". I'm gonna do races again next summer ... perhaps expand out to "spring triathlons" (about a 1/2 hour swim, plus about a 1/2 hour bike ride, plus a 5K) ... yo! Perhaps a marathon??? No way, right? No way, right? Hmmm ... I'll just say this ... I've got the bug ... I've got the fever ... and my best friend has run a marathon in 5 hours and 15 minutes ... and I'm pretty sure I can beat that time :-) :-) :-) Now *that* is what it's all about!

Onward!

UPDATE: Results of the 5K http://www.onlineraceresults.com/race/view_race.php?race_id=7581 ... 28:24 is my official time ... 9:10 pace ... BOOK IT! But, in my heart and mind, I'm feeling like I did 5K in 28:46ish = 9:17 pace ... still success ... and still feeling like a 9min/mi pace is within reach!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Is Trevor Hoffman "Done"?

Here’s a way to chime in on a group-think look at the question of “Is Trevor Done?” …

http://www.predictify.com/auctionview.aspx?ID=3873

The question for the group is this: What will be the ratio of the number of Saves + Wins that Trevor Hoffman, pitcher for the San Diego Padres, gets credited with versus the number of Blown Saves + Losses that Trevor Hoffman gets credited with, during the month of May, 2008?

You have until the end of April to weigh in … so far, 19 folks have predicted … and the distribution of preditions so far is pretty mixed.

We’ll see if this helps us learn anything … your comments are welcome.

Friday, April 18, 2008

A Baseball Story

Once upon a time, there was a boy who loved baseball. He thrilled to the home runs of Frank Howard, and didn't despair at the loses piled up by the Washington Senators. When he moved to San Diego in 1969, he met a new love on April 8th ... the San Diego Padres. Again despite the team's loses, hope sprang eternal, and joy was found in the slugging feats of Nate Colbert, in the pitching feats of Randy Jones, in the speed of Gene Richards, and, finally, in the sometimes winning ways the team played with HOFer Tony Gwynn in the lineup.

As a teenager, one of his first paying jobs was as a scorekeeper (who doubled as the PA announcer) for the city league softball ... triple-header nights behind a microphone and with a pen & scorebook in hand. It was fun ... and it paid decently ... but it was also an introduction to pressure. The flow of the games depended on the scorekeeper ... and the 6-hours of non-stop games never seemed to end ... literally. The pressure of those evenings would get pent up inside ... but come flowing out as nightmares ... as any and all flubs or slipups were relived from 2am to 5am.

That was me ... many years ago. Since then, I've been to many games ... major leagues, minor leagues, college, high school ... even little league, coaching my daughter, and lately connecting with friends with kids who are playing. A couple of those friends have 12-year-old sons playing their prime little league season ... and they asked me if I could help them out by being an umpire for their games. Hey, that does sound like fun ... I'm in!

Rather than commit to a first game, I decided that I wanted to go watch a game and keep a keen eye on the umps ...I know the basics, sure ... but nothing local or specific to this league, these fields, this level of play. Fate would go a different direction.

While walking onto the grounds, one of my friends saw me ... he was a bit panic'd ... and relieved to see an option ... he needed an ump for his game that started in 5 minutes ... could I do it? Sure, I'm in. I figure if they are that desparate, they'll take what they can get and I'll be a bit off the hook if things go poorly :-)

I got pointed to the shack with the gear I'd need ... shin guards, a chest protector, a mask, and a ball bag with a ball/strike counter and a brush in it. Hustling back to the field, I don the gear ... rats, the chest protector straps don't have clips ... bag it, I don't want that thing flopin' all around ... they don't protect much anyway, do they?

I got a few tips (ex. a bigger strike zone will keep the game moving and encourage the kids to swing more) ... met the coaches and the base ump ... and yelled "Play Ball" ... aaahhh, I have always wanted to do that! The first inning sailed by ... I was able to keep track of balls & strikes ... managed to keep home plate clean ... and get out of the way of a few wild pitches.

The second inning introduced me to the concept of pitches that were on the border of the strike zone ... having been reminded that the key to success for the home plate blue is consistency, I found myself learning quickly how I introduced inconsistency into my calls. I realized sometimes I was setting up inside, sometimes outside ... sometimes standing up high, sometimes crouching low ... and always feeling a twinge of guilt when a pitch was close enough that I wasn't *sure* that it was a strike ... and letting that twinge influence me to want to "even out" what felt like a possible bad call. All those demons got combated for the next 4 innings ... never letting them dominate me ... but never leaving me alone, either.

In the third inning, I got my first nick ... a pitch in the dirt got by the catcher and plunked me in the toe ... ouch! Hmmm, that reminded me that I don't have that chest protector on ... perhaps that wasn't a good decision. After the 3rd inning, I figured out that I could put the chest protector on under my sweatshirt ... ah, that works.

Besides the ubiquitous borderline ball/strike calls, my first tough call was on a play at the plate ... throw and runner ariving at the same time ... catcher catches the ball as the runner slides in ... OUT, I call. Hmmm, is that the ball rolling away from the catcher? What happened there? Yo, the coach is yelling at me! Time-out ... I'll go talk to the base ump ... and figure out a way to change my call :-)

In the fouth inning, men (boys, really) on base ... the pitcher balks ... I call "balk" ... everyone groans ... I guess they don't have balks in little league ... who knew? With a runner on third, a wild pitch gets by the catcher and the runner breaks for home and scores ... where's the ball? It's bounced up into some netting high up on the backstop ... huh? Play on, but ask the coaches later what the ruling on that should have been (note to self: ball thrown out of play, runners advance).

The game marches along at what seems like a pretty good pace ... I hear a few parents commenting on that (I guess their last game drag'd on and on and on). A moment that made me both cringe and laugh at myself (on the inside) was in the fifth inning when an inside pitch appeared to hit the batter ... I instantly called out "it hit him, take your base" ... and then when the hitter looked at me, with a bit of a surprised look on his face, I said "it did hit you, right?" ... and when he looked at me with even more surprise and said "ya", I realized my folly :-)

A 5-2 lead for the visiting team going into the 6th (and last) inning becomes a 10-2 lead with a bit of a rally and some struggling by the pitchers. I only learned that fact in retrospect ... as the game seemed much closer ... but it was easy to not pay attention to the score of the game ... I was getting the knack of "being in the moment" ... being focus'd on the play that was happening "now". But as the home team got a rally going in the bottom of the 6th, it was easy to get caught up in the excitement as a couple of runs scored and it seemed like surely one of the baserunners represented the tieing run, if not the wining run. With 2 outs, the batter hits a HIGH popup, right in front of home plate ... the catcher, who'd just caught a similar popup in foul territory, moved into position, made the call ... and flub'd it ... OUCH! You could feel all the players and parents and coaches sigh and groan ... until one of the players realizes that the batter hasn't run and there's yelling and screaming to get the ball to first base, and for the runner to run to first base all while the runner from 3rd base has already crossed the plate. Can you picture the bedlam? I run out and call the batter out at first ... which ignites the 1st base coach ... what's he saying? He's saying it's a foul ball? How could that be? Could that be? He's pointing and yelling that the catcher never touched the ball and that it spun foul ... really? Perhaps ... rats ... wait ... I heard the ball tip the catcher's hand or mitt ... I'm sure I did ... right? I'm sure, right? Sure ... I'm sure ... well, I'm sure enough ... I bark out "ball was touched in fair territory ... fair ball ... batter is out". The coach gave me a bit of a whine and a bit of a dirty look ... but quickly & respectfully backed off as the opposing team celebrated its victory. Hmmm, that was the final out of the game ... now that's a bummer.

I'm reminded of the line from Terms of Endearment ... that close to a clean getaway :-)

Was it a good call? Yes, of that I'm sure. Was it the right call? I'm not sure ... I think so ... which is why I know it was a good call ... but there's no way to be sure. I wish I'd hustled into a better position to see the catch / no-catch ... I wish I'd made an emphatic "fair ball" signal right away. I got a bit of a cold shoulder from the coaches and parents/fans of the losing team ... I think they honestly think I blew the call ... and for sure nobody did or said anything rude or disrespectful ... but it was awkward ... just a bummer ... that such a good game ended on a controversial play.

I changed out of my gear ... and hung around to chat with my friend after he had given his post-game talk to his team ... and, man, were those boys excited to win that game! That was fun to be around. My friend told me that the catcher, who turned out to be his son, told him that he did, indeed, touch the ball ... with his bare hand ... it bent one of his fingers backward and it was sore ... I believe the kid ... at least I think I do ... man, now I'm not sure of *anything*!

As I drove away, I began to calm down ... to relax ... and also to rehash the game in my mind ... and I felt a twinge of something deeply familiar ... reliving the pressure. It will be interesting to see how I sleep tonight ... I expect I'll be OK ... I'm a bigger boy now ... and ever more in love with baseball :-)


ps. It's also nice that I could go out after the game and run a couple of miles ... a time to think and reflect on who I am ... where I've been ... where I am ... and where I'm going ... and who and what I love ... on a day and a lifetime that God has blessed.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Meeting Randy Jones!

On my way into Petco on Wednesday, June 28th (vs A's), Randy was meeting his customers and greeted me warmly ... we swap'd stories about Dave Friesleben :-)

http://sdpf.blogspot.com/2006/06/top-100-san-diego-padres-82-dave.html

A fun recap of Randy's career can be found at ...

http://www.padresnation.com/oldschool/randyjones.html

At the game ... after the Feed ...

For the game, I sat behind Dex and Jonny Dub ... 2 of *the* GasLampGang ... ... and next to Didi ... hey, Didi, what's your friend's name again? That's Dave Pease on the right.
... and, on the other side of me, next to Richard, Rich, and Geoff. Hey, Rich! Wake up! We're about to win the game in the bottom of the 9th! :-)
... I kinda like this view ... by this time next year, that construction will be done! That's my best friend, Al ... he took all the pics @ the Feed (THANKS, Al!).
... looking down at the field from Section 310 ...

Me and Dave :-)

I warned Dave that, contrary to Sandy's comments, this photo would make its way to the WWW! Aw, shucks ...

Post-Feed milling around ...


Had to get my new book signed by Dave Pease (even though he wasn't one of the books authors)! The book is "Baseball Between the Numbers", author'd by several of the BP writers ... good stuff! That's BP's Joe Sheehan in the blue shirt. If you are, or know, other attendees in this photo, let me know!

Baseball Prospectus Pizza Feed @ Petco, 2006

Here's our speaker, Padres CEO Sandy Alderson ... I was sitting in about the 3rd row of chairs ... out of about 6 deep ... and probably 12 across ... not packed in so I figure 40-50 folks there, maybe fewer ...

What a fine bunch of folks ... Padre fans, indeed! For this post-Feed photo, they are, left to right: Richard B Wade, Sandra Young, Dex, Rich Campbell, Geoff Young, Vinny Kumar, and me. Anyone ID the folks in the background? We could spy the game going on out the widows to the right ...