Friday, April 30, 2010

"Wild Wings"

It appears we will have a windy warm one today, then another wet weekend ahead...storms for later tonight and through until Sunday...bummer! After 3 weekends, getting in 7 games, tomorrow appears headed for a possible wash out...but you never know.

Last night Veteran/Hall of Fame umpire/official Dave West and I had a NWC game at Ada, Ohio....Crestview won a 5 inning run ruled contest 12-2 with Dave behind the plate. We are scheduled to work Monday in a key NWC match up at Lima Central Catholic against Columbus Grove. I'll do the "dish" at that one, if the fields dry out from the weekend rains....

Dave at 62 is just a year older than me, but has a world of experience in the 3 sports we both do....while I started doing baseball again later in life and more recently picked up Football then Basketball, Dave had over 100 seasons worked in the 3 sports...37 years in Football, 35 in round ball and 33 in Baseball...looks like 105 seasons worked, makes my 20 some pale in comparison....and that's why he's getting inducted into the Ohio HS Athletic Association Hall of Fame for Officials.

After the game I headed a few miles south and west to Allen East, where Garry was finishing up his game between AE and ended as I got there, and we made our way towards Buffalo Wild Wings on the west side of Lima.....a couple of brews, and we downed some Wild Buffalo Wings...he ordered his with the "Wild Sauce", and without thinking, I said "That sounds good to me!"....turns out the sauce is the hottest of the varieties....tastes good, but I could only down 4 of the half dozen I ordered, gave Garry the rest. My tongue feels it this morning. Damn was that stuff hot...a couple of cold ones when I got home eased the pain, but I still feel the burn this morning, wish I had taken a couple of photos of the things.

Game between home team Ottoville and Spencerville tonight, then will wait to see what tomorrow brings weather wise.....more rain means more green in the yard, and more lawns to mow and more often....such is Spring in Ohio.

Back Later>>>>

Photos-A lone Cardinal gets his morning ration of feed, before the Squirrels and scavenger Sparrows run him off.....and the Buffalo Wild Wing location on Lima's west side...the scene of last night's "Wild Sauce"....Hot, Hot, stuff I tell you.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tournament Assignments

BG and I headed to Van Wert last night for a non-league game between the home standing Cougars and Crestview...towns separated by about 5 miles and abutting school districts....gotta say it was one of the strangest games in recent memory. Close plays at first base, lost baseball in grass, BG getting hit 3 times behind the plate, balks, non balks....too many to go into detail, but we survived the 6-4 Van Wert win in less than 1 hour 45 minutes, and headed back to Celina in one piece.

Turns out BG(who like I used to, does play-by-play for basketball and football on a local Celina radio station, my old station to be exact) and I are working the Division 3 District games at Elida, and the Regional Final at the same spot....he has been umpire about twice as long as me in this stint...and in the Regional we also are working with Ron, my umpire association secretary...between us, we are 176 years old(me being the oldest at 61, Ron 60, and BG the youngest at 55)...probably one of the oldest trio groups to be working a Regional far as experiece, we have about 56 years, with me being the "rookie" with 11 years in, BG and Ron with each over 20.

In the District BG and I will work with Mark W, a Defiance Cop, who I worked with in both the Elida District and Patrick Henry Regional last year....

The only fly in this ointment is that it pushes around my trip to Michigan with Rick and Sons, and Nick, for our annual Mushroom Hunt...last year it knocked me out completly...I won't let that happen this year....right after the District Final on May 22nd, I will head north towards Mesick and Boyne Falls. I think Rick plans on leaving that will get me out of setting things up.

Ok, that does it for now, I've got a game in Ada this afternoon, against Crestview(again), this time in a NWC League contest...a meeting this afternoon, and some quick banking and shopping to get donw before I leave....

I did get both yards mowed, ours Tuesday and Wednesday I finished off Mom's that is taken care of for a few days...

Back Later>>>>
photos-my electronic contract for a Regional game/I cannot believe the regular season is almost done...the season, like time when you hit 60, flies....

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Green, Green,

Awoke this morning to a strong northeast wind, a mix of clouds/sun, and cool temperatures...something you would expect for late April. The clouds that had brought the weekend rains, finally broke up in mid afternoon yesterday, but not before depositing a few more drops, and cancelling the scheduled baseball games in the area....mine at Fort Jennings was moved to May 14th. As luck of the schedule would have it, I have FJ at Spencerville on the schedule for tonight...will the wind and sun dry things off in time to play that NWC game? Maybe.

I had planned on mowing both our and Mom's yards today...but after a quick trip outside and to the bank....I may or may not get that done...the yards are drying, but I'm not a big fan of mowing in cold weather, and trust me, with the does feel a bit like March....I may wait for warmer temperatures tomorrow.

The rains, which we had been lacking for a couple of weeks, did do one thing...they greened up the grass big time....once the sun came out yesterday afternoon, The Airedale Reagan, and I headed out to the back yard....I poured a Guinness Extra Stout, and fired up a torpedo...and enjoyed those and the moderate temps. I snapped a couple of photos, of me, Reagan, and the bright green backyard...amazing how a month changes things in nature.

While we await the outcome of youngest son Hal's interview at an area High School, confident that whether he gets this job or not, that he is indeed working in this Obama Depression(both the economy and state of mind)...and things are working out for him. Meanwhile, oldest son Sam, entering his Junior year at Ohio State at the ripe old age of 28, will be doing his own interview for a summer internship this afternoon at Springfield, Ohio. Sam, who headed back to school after the bottom dropped out of the economy and the Recreational Vehicle business, is majoring in Actuarial Science, and has been a regular on the Dean's List at OSU, with grades in the 3.7(out of 4.0) range. Actuarial Science is closely aligned with the Insurance business and the rates they use and charge...takes Math skills, which both sons were blessed with, unlike their old man....I may have majored in the Biological Sciences...but I never claimed to be an expert, not even close...even after 20 years working in the Environmental Health field. I was always more comfortable behind the radio microphone, home plate, or serving up drinks in the local pubs.

I can say that despite 20 years at the 2 Health Departments I have worked, or faked working at a variety of occupations....Even while in the Environmental Health Field, I was always working doing something else as well...whether it be radio, cable TV, or sports officiating. Since my retirement from EH, I have worked a variety of part time jobs, including the 5+ year stint driving RVs across the country....and with something else in the works, I may add another "occupation" to that list.

Time for a 3rd cup of coffee, and then decide if I will mow, 1, 2, or zero, yards today...before the game at 5pm.

back later>>>>>

Photos-Me, with a pint of Guinness Extra Stout in hand and Cigar, and Reagan were out in the greening back yard yesterday, after the clouds parted.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Wash Out!

After getting in 15 straight games, Saturday saw my double header at Convoy rained out...and probably about half the other scheduled games, depending on which side of the storms you were on. Yesterday around Noon, the rains began again, and we still have showers at this hour in the area. A pretty sure bet that my game at Fort Jennings is going to get cancelled....things may start to dry out before Tuesday, but those games are in danger of getting postponed as far, unlike last season, most of the League games are getting played, and depending on the next couple of weeks, there may not be a large amount of make up games....regardless, my schedule if full, so no help from this side.

Mom and Mike made it back from Florida about 4pm yesterday....just in time for the warm and dry weather to make it's exit...and cooler and rain to return.

Patricia finished up her work at Bowling Green State University over the weekend...and became a Martha Jennings Scholar. Now, I have to admit that I have no clue as to what that is...but it is apparently a good thing, and she received a nice silver tray in addition to continuing education requirements completed...Congrats to my hard working wife...

Youngest son Hal is at an area High School at this hour, teaching a class on Social Studies...this is the final "interview" for the position that is open...Hal, once again, is in the final cut...and is one of 4 to be given a chance at the opening. Hopefully it all goes well, our prayers are with him....few regular teaching jobs out there at this point. The Ohio Economy, like the nation, is in the crapper, and despite what you read and hear from the main stream media....the economic times are not improving...Obama's Press is lying to protect his failed Presidency....things will get worse, before(or if) they improve.

Anyway, Hal is working with Autistic Kids and has a job...but his goal is to teach History in the Classroom, and work with the autistics on a part time(in the evening) basis....we will see how things work out.

Best of Luck Hal!

Not much else to type....but will be back when something jumps out....


Sunday, April 25, 2010

On the Road to Hilltop, Deshler, and Back....part 2

As I mentioned yesterday, I was "rained out" at Convoy Crestview in a double header, those were the first games cancelled since it soaked us out back on April 7th and far for the year we are sitting at 25 games played, 6 cancelled....add that to 3 scrimmages played and 3 rained out, it's been a busy Spring thus far...the remainder of the 15 days of regular season are "iffy" at times, but we all know the forecasters are not hot looking that far into their Chrystal balls.

The Road Home from Deshler____

After stopping out at the stables Friday, visiting Tom and the horses, I said my so long, and headed out of town, towards Celina. This trip would take me by several baseball and basketball facilities that I work in season in the northern part of my umpire and officiating work. I took Ohio 18 and eventually hooked up on Ohio 65, US 224, and then the familiar back roads I knew from my days traveling the out regions of Van Wert County, working as Environmental Health Director/Sanitarian, with the VW County Health Department....

Past Patrick Henry High School, location of the Regional Baseball Tournament I umpired last Spring, through the village of Hamler, onto 65 and south and west towards Lepsic and then Ottawa...I stopped in Ottawa just past Hermiller Gymnasium, where I worked a couple of games last Basketball season, and where I am scheduled to work a Girls game this coming December...I pulled into the local McDonald's Drive Thru to grab another coffee, and decided to blow breakfast on a McBurrito....something I have done seldom since I went on my diet to avoid the pitfalls of Diabetes 2 last September...down 27 pounds since last Summer, and no signs of any relapse, so I figured "What the Hell?"...I was at 186 yesterday morning...just a handful of pounds from my original goal....another 3 should do the trick, especially with the BP and Sugar down to acceptable levels at this stage of the game.

Sipping on my large coffee, I headed out past Kalida and Ottoville, on 224. I am scheduled for a game at Ottoville this week, and at Kalida for a Summer ACME double header with Sam in early June...Kalida has a classic old ballpark that feels like the 1940s Minor League diamonds...Ottoville replaced their diamond with a brand new ball field a couple of years ago, where I had the opportunity to umpire the first home game played there.

Crossing into Van Wert County, I decided to avoid towns along the federal route 224, and headed down south on the Middle Point-Wetzel Road towards Middle Point and the Van Del Drive In Theater(for Van Wert and Delphos, the mid point on old 30). I was listening to WKSD Radio(the last station I worked for a few years ago, doing play-by-play for Basketball and Football)...and the Van Del was advertising the shows for this weekend as a celebration of the aging classics 62nd Birthday..."62 Cents a Person" was the line...62 cents a person to watch the latest Chipmunk and Sandra Bullock Movies...strange combination I thought.

The Van Del and Van Wert Drive In(on the west side of Van Wert on old US 30) were built as twin drive in theaters back in the hey day of the Midwest love affair...before our family moved to Florida in the early 1950s. I remember, even as a 3 year old going to the Drive Ins....The Van Wert facility remained open until it was destroyed by the Killer Tornado of November 2002....the Van Del is one of 3 that still are in operation in the area today...the others being east and south of Celina...the Van Del is in as good of condition as any around these days.
Here is the timeline of the November 2002 Tornado that destroyed the Van Del's sister Drive In and adjacent movie theater:
I snapped a couple of photos and headed towards Celina and home....I arrived at 9am and waited to see if our game at Marion Local would be was, and I was ready for the weekend, and what it would bring.
Heading Home from Florida____
Mike and Mom headed up I-75 towards north Georgia yesterday through the storms, the planned on stopping north of Atlanta for the night...I expect them to be pulling in the driveway in the early or mid afternoon today....I had planned on mowing both yards, but the wet grass and more showers on the way, will likely delay that for a day or 2.

back later>>>>
Photos---The Van Del Drive In located between Van Wert and Delphos on old US 30 (Lincoln Highway) is celebrating 62 years in business this weekend. One of the dozen or so 2 and 3 years old Trotters and Pacers that Tom works with at the Stables located outside Deshler....and the morning sun rising across the training track and into the stable area early Friday Morning/

Saturday, April 24, 2010

On the Road to Hilltop, Deshler, and Back....part 1

The Athletic Director at Crestview High School in Convoy just called, the double header for this morning has been cancelled due to wet grounds.....heavy rain pushed through Van Wert County last night, down here we got a little less. In reality, we needed the rain. And even though I don't like rain outs, I had gotten 15 straight games in, including 7 over the past 3 Saturdays, with a couple of Triple Headers and a Single Game last weekend. Unlike last season when a full 40% of the scheduled games were washed out, thus far this regular season, I have 22 games in and this was only my 5th and 6th rainouts.....I'm not complaining, plus to be honest, my knee, the right knee "kneeded" a rest....I've been trying a new stance behind home plate to better see around the catchers and pick up the late breaking pitches...and this has put some muscles around that right knee in a bit of discomfort.

The rain and storms look to be around at least through Monday, so we will see what happens to the schedule for the upcoming week....

Mom and Mike leave Florida this morning, and should arrive home sometime tomorrow afternoon....I see big rains and some heavy storms are hanging throughout Georgia on I-75, so that could slow their progress as well.

The Trip North to West Unity_____

Thursday I may my longest trip of the season up US 127 towards the Michigan State Line...almost 80 miles from my house to the ballpark at West Unity, where Hilltop High School plays it's Varsity games. It was in the low 70s with plenty of sunshine, and the cruise up 127 took me past the old family haunts of Scott and Blue Creek Township on the way north.

I left early, and stopped along the way to take a few photos...but even that didn't prevent me from arriving a full hour+ before the game...pleny of time to relax and take in the park. When my young partner arrived, he wanted me to do the plate, so I obliged...the game went without incident, and the homestanding Hilltop club defeated the young Fayette Team(in their first year back to a Varsity Schedule) in 5 innings by a 12-2 score(run rule is 10 after 5 at bats)...and I was out of town and on my way to Tom's place at Deshler before 7PM.

I arrived at his place around 8, changed clothes, and we headed up to the Corn City Bar/Pub to grab a bite to eat and down some beers....I started out with a Blue Moon, but at $3 a pop, I looked for something easier on my wallet...and spied a rack of Pabst Blue Ribbon long necks....Bingo! PBR was my beer of choice back in High School, until I left for the Air Force in father-in-law, who may drink a beer a week, still swears by Pabst, on the rare occasion that he downs a beer.

We watched NFL Draft without interest, and the Cleveland Cavs vs Bulls NBA Playoff Game, again without interest....we downed about a 6 pack each...and headed back to his place where I crashed....Tom was up by 6 to work and feed the horses, and clean the stables...I showered and was out by 7am...headed to the Shell Station to grab a 20 oz Coffee, then head out to the Ivan's Stables on Ohio 18, to see the horses that they are working with for the coming racing season....mostly Pacers with a few Trotters in the mix of 2 and 3 year olds....

Snapped some pictures, said our good byes, and I headed back through "Corn City", past the Patrick Henry High School Baseball Diamond, where I umpired a Northwest Regional Game last May, and picked my way through the backs roads the remaining 70 miles to Celina.....Garry and I were slated to umpire a Midwest Athletic Game between Delphos St. Johns and Marion Local at Maria Stein...the rain held off and we got the game in within an hour and 40 minutes. We expected a close contest, both teams were evenly matched in our minds, but DSJ jumped on top early and pulled away with a 16-4 run rule contest...a pleasant treat to say the least.

We headed for the Chickasaw Tavern after the game where we met up with Garry's wife and some friends....I downed a couple and headed home....a busy week completed, and actually I'm not disappointed in the day off today, and the usual Sunday break from Baseball.....

Enjoy the Weekend....I'll be back later, Part 2 next time

Photos-The Courthouse in Paulding, Ohio, where I started with much of my Family Genealogy research:

My Great-Grandparents moved to Paulding County after the Civil War and settled in Blue Creek Township. A back view of the Scott Elevator in my old home town as it looked this past Thursday, and as it looked some 100 years ago about has burned down on several occasions only to be rebuilt anew...the last being in 1960. The Cary Grubaugh Farm on 127 just south of Scott...this is where the Outlaw Marvin Kuhns met his demise in June of 1907...That's old Marvin on his death bed in Van Wert, and the .38 Smith and Wesson that put Marvin Kuhns in his grave...still in excellent condition today.

And a PBR Long Neck....I downed a few Thursday in Deshler, Ohio.....the first time in years I have tried favorite beer as a teenager in the late 1960s.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Alan Caruba...This Guy gets it!

Did my first Junior High(Middle School) game yesterday in about a decade....what looked like a run rule 90 minute game turned on 5 runs in the 5th inning, and ended up being 3 hours 5 minutes, and ended up being 7 innings. Now I know why I don't do the lower levels in baseball, football and to a lesser extent basketball, the games run shorter or about the same as varsity...not so in baseball.
Tonight I go back to Varsity, and head 78 or so miles north to Hilltop High School at West Unity....after that, Mother Nature make take care of the rest of the week and weekend schedule.

This guy gets it____

Last night I got an bulk e-mail that claimed a nicely written slam on our fearful leader, one Barry Soetoro, aka Barrack Insane Obama....the e-mail claimed the story was written by some guy named "Eddie Sessions" at the Wall Street Journal. I passed it along to a few friends, then decided I better check it I headed to that far left wing site: Snopes.Com

Snopes and the 2 far left loons that run it, are always on the hunt to protect the American Left from anything and everything that may tarnish the agenda of the "progressives"...I checked out the story from "Eddie"...and saw a big RED DOT. The red of course meant the story wasn't true...but the catch being in this case, the written story was true, but the fact that it was written by some guy named Eddie for the WSJ wasn't.

The story was written by a Alan Caruba, and was on his well written blog, back on January 2nd of this year:

This guy gets much so, I have added his blog to The Right(Wing) Stuff on the border of this blog.....

Stop by and read what he has to say.....

Off to get a few chores done, and then north I go....will stay at my horse training buddy, Tom's tonight, and be back around Noon tomorrow.....

back later, the good Lord willing, and if the creek don't rise..


Did I forget to mention it's Earth Day? If so, it was by design...just another contrived "observance" by the left wing loons of the world.....I worked in Environmental Health for 20 years...I don't need some stinking Marxist Holiday telling me to celebrate "Mother Earth"....Protecting the Environment Yes, Observing some Bullshit phony day...No Thanks!

back later>>>>

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

More Spring Springing....

More sun on the agenda for today....and not a lot of time. Baseball tonight, my first Junior High(Middle School) game in a decade or so....will do that solo, should be interesting. This morning I'm heading over to mom's(her and brother Mike return from Florida this weekend), to haul her junk out of the garage for pick-up by the City. Our section of town is the first to participate in the yearly junk and trash hauling, her neighborhood is the last, and that happens this Saturday, before she returns. I will haul the stuff out a little early, since I won't be around much the rest of the week.....

Tomorrow I head almost 80 miles north for a Varsity game at West Unity, Ohio, and then will drive over to my horse training buddy Tom's place...for a beer and sandwich, will crash there for the night, return to Celina on Friday, in time for the MAC League game at Marion Local, where Garry and I will switch duties, I will do the plate this time around. Some rain is in the forecast for late Friday and Saturday, so that could throw a monkey wrench into the weekend games....time will tell.

In the meantime, I will leave you with some more photos of the blooming flowers around the yard....yesterday I picked up 5 varieties of Sun Flowers, which I'll wait until mid May to put in the ground...most of the Frost should be out of the area by that time....

back later>>>>

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tuning Out Politics/More Spring has Sprung

Garry and I finished off the NWC battle for first place in good fashion last night....about an hour and 45 minutes of game time as homestanding Lima Central Catholic came from behind to defeat Paulding 8-5. Down 3-0 early, LCC put a 6 spot on in the 3rd inning and takes over first place in the league with a 4-0 conference record, while the Panthers slip to 3-1.

We slipped out of the umpire gear and uniforms and headed for the Beer Barrel down the road for a few quality brews and a bite to eat....they make a good Rubin Sandwich, so I grabbed hold of one of those. We were home by 8:30. Tonight back to Van Wert for a WBL game...between the home Cougars and visiting Lima Bath....tomorrow I do a game by myself, my first Junior High Game in about 8 years...that should be interesting, a one man crew, and my strike zone....I may have to "expand" that for this level of ball, or we could be there all night. Thursday I make the 75 mile trip north to West Unity, and after the game, I will probably stay at Tom's place in Deshler...he just returned from his horse training winter in Florida, and is back in Ohio. We will likely grab a couple of beer at the local watering hole, and a quick sandwich. The weather looks like it may turn wet after that....but predictions this far in advance are usually risky, and not always accurate...time will tell.

Patricia is pretty busy with school, as it winds down for another year....5 or 6 weeks to go, so we don't see all that much of each other, baseball is my busy season, and it matches her at school, and she is busy with the mandated stuff from the State and Feds.

Speaking of school...Hal is involved in another round of interviews at an area High School, he is one of 4 left in the running for a Social Studies position....he wants to teach HS and continue working with Autistic Kids on the side, so hopefully before fall he will latch on to one of these jobs...he's been close, coming in 2nd place twice, but unlike horseshoes and grenades, close doesn't count...Good Luck Hal!

Spring Fling____

We have had enough rains to keep things green, but of late, it has been dry enough to get most of the games in(although as mentioned above, that dry weather may not last much longer). The moister in the ground and what little rain we have had of late, combined with the sunshine, is keeping the lawn green and growing, and the flowers around the house in full bloom.

The photos on today's blog are those I clicked and around the back yard.

Tuning Out____

I made a planned decision to tune out the newsmakers on radio and TV for awhile. Anybody that reads this blog or knows me, does so knowing I am pretty radical and right(far right) when it comes to my political leanings and views. I respect the likes of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and others. I watch Fox News for much of the days happenings...I tune out MSNBC, CNN, the Major Networks, and the left wing loons that toss bullshit at us from those outlets. However, I don't need the daily barrage from either side to know what I believe is true. So I have tuned out most of it....I catch the daily BS from Yahoo, Fox.Com, Drudge, and a few other Internet spots....and form my opinions from these biased sources....I don't buy what all are saying.

That is the reason I no longer choose to listen to 3 or more hours from anybody....I can pick and choose what I want to hear or watch. These days the TV remains off until evening, and the radio is tuned to either 60s music or Classic Old Time Radio on XM.....these keep the Blood Pressure down, and the anger of what the SOBs, lead by Obama and Pelosi, are doing to us(as opposed to for us) in Washington DC.

I'll probably start to listen again when events warrant...but for now, the non-stop political news, whether from Beck, Rush, Mister self important Bill O'Reilly, or the numbskulls(see Chris Matthews), gay blades(see Keith Olberman), and dykes(see Rachel MadCow), on the left, is something I have weened myself off of for the foreseeable future....and I've gotta say, it seems to be working: My Blood Pressure was down to 116/65 and pulse was 62 per minute yesterday. I am sure the 25 pounds or so I've lost since last September is the main reason, but the tuning out politics unless necessary, cannot hurt.

We will see how long that lasts.....

back later>>>>
Photos...The Lilacs and Tulips are in bloom around the yard and fence line.....I enjoy Rush, Beck, and Fox, but for the time being, I'm stepping away from listening to or watching politics every free minute...I know the left and Obama are out to destroy our way of life....and listening to people that agree with my views 24/7, does not accomplish the goal to vote or throw them the Hell out of office.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Bucket List/Runs Rule!

It was sunny and cool for most of the meaning temps in the mid 50s, just a tad lower than normal...but right in the range we can expect this time of year. It was windy but dry on Saturday when Sam and I did our first game of the year together...Sam did the plate, and I stood out in the wind(right in the face) on the bases...a pretty non-eventful game, with homestanding Lincolnview winning in routine fashion by a 14-5 tally over Waynesfield-Goshen. This got me to thinking just how many runners I had seen cross the plate in the 9 days and 10 games that I had umpired since the previous Friday...Drum Roll Please:

188 Runs!!!!

Now, we're not talking Slow Pitch Softball, Little League Baseball, or Tee Ball, we are talking 18.8 runs per game for High School Varsity Baseball(with the exception of 3 games in the JV ranks from the previous Saturday's Triple Header)...I'm not sure I have seen that kind of scoring in the last decade or so since I re-entered the umpiring ranks. Winds blowing out, dry weather causing pitching staffs to be a little worn out may have contributed to the high scores...but regardless, it made for long games and worn out baseballs....

Tonight Garry and I head for Lima Central Catholic...this will be my 3rd visit there this season with 1 more to go...and it's Garry's turn at the dish(home plate), when we work again this Friday in a MAC League game at Marion Local, I will go behind the plate.....Varsity game at Van Wert, a rare Jr High game(first one in 8 seasons and only one that I scheduled this season) at Lima Perry, and my longest trip of the year to Hilltop High School at West Unity, Ohio(some 75 miles north) will fill out the middle of my baseball work week.

The Bucket List_____

A term used for folks reaching towards the end of life, making a list of things they would like to do or accomplish before they "check out", assume room temperature, croak, etc...A couple of years ago, there was a movie starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman by the same name....2 old farts running around trying to see what they could accomplish before time ran out.

Now, I'm 61 and have no issues that say I'm checking out anytime soon...but hey, you never know? Anyway on one of the websites I frequent on occasion the Bucket List thing came up with some younger folks giving their opinions what they would like to do before the Grim Reaper came calling....most of the things were of a simple the senior member of this 40 or so person website, I listed mine...some serious, some not, and some just plain is what I listed that I wanted to see happen before "He" comes a calling:

(1) Live long enough to see Obama and family evicted from our White House....the SOB needs to know, he and Queen Michelle are only there temporarily...we Americans own the when we throw your sorry ass out, get out, and stay out!

(2) Outlive Bill Clinton....has anybody seen that Hillbilly of late? He looks like he has AIDS....having said that I hope he lives until he's 95....

(3) See Noker(one of the younger posters, and a Obama loving far left loon, but a good kid) realize that Liberals are the scum of the earth...and see him driving a new Toyota Pick Up Truck with a Palin For President 2016 Bumper Sticker on it....(Noker loves the UAW and American Made Cars, can't stand Sarah).

(4) See Duke win another NCAA Basketball Championship, just to piss off the Duke haters...

(5) Find the perfect beer.....Guinness Double Stout and Sam Adams Winter Larger are as close as it comes.....I gotta believe there is even something better out there.

(6) Find the perfect hand rolled Cigar....Arturo Fuente Don Carlos #2 Torpedoes are great, but at $11 a smoke, I hope to find something more in my cash out range.

(7) See the Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Flyers, and Cincinnati Bengals, win another(or in the Bengals case, a first) World Championship....only because I figure that will take at least 40 years, and that will make me 101....

Sounds like a plan!

Back Later >>>>>

The Bucket List, some of the items, on mine!

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Just time for a quick "Hey" this morning....Sam is home and we are scheduled to work a game this morning at Lincolnview. This is the only game we are to work together during the Regular Season...we do have a Sectional Tournament Double Header May 8th, some 100 miles north of here at Hopewell-Loudon High School in Bascom, Ohio. This will be the 3rd consecutive year we will work this tournament...maybe the last, with Sam being down at Columbus, pretty much on a full time basis until he graduates in (hopefully) the Spring of 2012.

Yesterday, got the lawn mowed while it was still warm, then the wind and clouds picked up, and some areas got plenty of rain...both Celina and my game site of Bellefontaine remained relatively dry...although with the 15 degree drop in temps and the 40 mph winds did not make for ideal playing or umpiring conditions.

The Game? Well the homestanding Chieftains put up a 10 spot in the first inning, and ran away from Visiting Greenon by a count of 26-1 in a game that was halted via the run rule after 4 1/2 innings. Bellefontaine had defeated Greenon earlier in the season by a county of 17-4...43-5 were the season totals, in favor of Mark Brunswick's team...Mark was out with the flu yesterday however, and missed to carnage.

Off to Lincolnview...back later

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Good Games/Bad Games/Half Assed Games

After my strike zone rant of yesterday, and the discussion of joy killing attitudes of some coaches in the game of High School Baseball....I headed to Lima Central Catholic yesterday afternoon. My partner was a replacement for Vince, who I had worked with last week...Vince had a family death and had to opt out, and was replaced by a younger umpire, in his forth year from Wapakoneta.

I told Aaron that it was his turn to do the plate, since it was Vince's spot in our rotation, and he did an excellent job behind the dish. LCC taking on Lehman Catholic out of Sidney, in the sunshine and 75 degree weather. Lehman has a veteran coach, LCC a younger coach who is making great strides in the program....what a treat, especially after the bitch session on Tuesday. Both coaching staffs have respect for the game, the players under them, and the work the umpires do....The homestanding Thunderbirds won 12-4, surviving a first pitch Home Run by the Cavaliers. Lima Central Catholic, fresh off the State Basketball Championship is looking good for a run in baseball as well.

Refreshed that the game, despite some close calls and a warning to a young Freshman about the illegality of "faking" a tag without the ball, the game was in complete contrast to the one the day bitching, no complains, just good old fashion baseball, the way it was ment to be played and worked...tonight I am with Chuck(who I worked with Monday at Van Wert), at Spencerville, in a NWC League game against perennial power Crestview. I have the plate, and the temperatures will reach a near record 80 or more by the time the game begins at 5pm.


The Stanley Cup Playoffs began last night...and much to my pleasant surprise, the Philly Flyers opened with a win at New Jersey, pulling out a 2-1 victory....meanwhile other road winners were Ottawa at the Pittsburgh Penguins, and Colorado shocking the top ranked team in the West, San Jose...the only home team victory went to Phoenix over favorite Detroit in another 1 goal win, 3-2. In fact each of the 4 games last night was decided by a single goal...this bodes well for the ratings of the playoffs, sad to say, I will have to settle for watching Philadelphia on the Computer or catching it on XM Radio...unlike last year, when Philly was on VS Network almost every game until eliminated, this year they are being ignored. Not that they haven't deserved that "honor".

Some things to do around the house...mow the lawn? That may have to wait until tomorrow...

back later>>>>

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

And So It Goes.....Baseball's Real Strike Zone!

A chilly east wind cut through the park filled with baseball diamonds at St. Marys yesterday afternoon....those winds brought the smell of fresh spread manure, from the farms bordering the town, our way....the 65 degree temperatures and sunshine helped, but the smell stayed throughout the game.

I did the plate, it was my rotation with Dan The Man, whom I work more with on basketball than baseball these days. The game was between 2 middle of the road teams in the WBL...and both teams are led by hard nosed coaches that I have had "disagreements" with in the past. The visiting coach I noticed, never appears to enjoy or lose it appears, he has contempt for umpires in general...that contempt spills over to some of his players, yesterday was no exception.

The visiting teams starting pitcher, was giving the look my way with every pitch he tossed that I didn't call a the time they had blown a 4-1 lead, he was back behind the plate as old position. I caught throughout my playing career, whether in baseball or softball, not because I love the position, but because I pretty much sucked at the rest...I could hit, yep, no doubt about that, especially in my 20s when I was playing fast pitch softball in the Air Force...Field? Not so to keep my bat in the line up, I caught. Having been a catcher, I know better that to piss off or try to show up the umpire...this kid hasn't learned that lesson yet...he had that attitude last year, he still has it this year. Life lessons are hard, if he keeps playing, he will learn baseball's lessons the hard way.

The coach was consistently bitching about the strike zone...a no-no for sure, and something that is more than likely to get you tossed from the game sooner or later...I nipped that in the bud, but because of his constant complaints, he managed to get a few of his players(most kept their heads with them and never complained) and a couple of leather lunged "fans" riled up....we got through the game, they lost 6-4 in about 2 hours, and I was home relaxing with a couple of beers....reviewing the game.

My thoughts were the same now as they were last night....I had a pretty damn good game, if some whining coach, cannot get his players to adjust to my strike zone(I sure the Hell am not adjusting my zone to his wishes)that is not my problem. Despite being behind, the home coach, whom I have banged heads with before, never had a complaint...well at least not one that I could hear, and the scored 5 unanswered runs to pull out the victory. So, good game umpired for me, Dan the Man made no mistakes that I caught...and we got out of there in 2 hours. I'm sure I will get a low rating from the visiting coach for last night...O' Well, those coach's ratings and $2 will get you a beer at the Friendly Tavern, they are meaningless to me. I know where I stand, and have the Umpiring Resume to prove it....Damn! Sometimes I really enjoy getting older, and giving a rat's ass even less than I did when I was 25. It's just a shame when you have a coach that cannot enjoy what he does...most aren't like that(I enjoyed the coaching no matter how my teams fared for those 25 years I did that gig), but some would be better off getting out, or actually "teaching", after all that's what they are supposed to be know? setting an example for the youth.

The Strike Zone____

The diagram at the top is the classic Strike an umpire, and former coach, I like pitchers to work in the lower part of that zone, you have a much better chance of getting the hitter out. No coach worth his salt, or pitcher than wants to succeed, wants to see the pitches in the high part of that zone....those end up in the gap or out of the park.

And contrary to the old wives tale, that was put forth by our idiot VP Joe "The Plagiarist" Biden, during the Roberts Supreme Court Hearings...the strike zone is not from the shoulders to the knees.

My little lesson for politicians and baseball aficionados for today:

Tonight back at it at Lima Central Catholic, tomorrow at Spencerville, and I've picked up a important game at Bellfontaine for Friday...a long drive, but always worth it for good baseball and well coached teams....Sam and I work for the first time this season on Saturday, at Lincolnview.

back later>>>>
Photos-The Strike Zone to which I pretty much ahear...and in High School, the finger point gets you questions asked!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Nostalgia, Early Wynn and 55 Years of Baseball Memories

Last night I travel the 23 miles, taking the back roads, to the town of my birth, Van Wert, Ohio, to do another baseball game. I was the voice of the Van Wert Cougars for some 15 years back in the 1980s through the mid 90s. For that reason I avoided doing sports officiating for the Cougars for many years, especially Varsity High School Sports...much the same reason I stayed away from doing Celina Varsity Sports. I never wanted to get into a situation that I could be accused of being a "homer" for either of those schools....not that I ever did or would as an official or umpire, but I just didn't need anybody thinking I could or would, so I avoided working sports in Van Wert.

The VW Athletic Director finally approached me last year about doing some work, and I figured...15 years away from the cable broadcast booth doing Cougar games was long enough, and I could officiate at the school without any lingering memories. Anyway, I took a girls basketball game this past season, and contracted 5 dates for baseball this spring, 4 Varsity and the JV 3 team triple header that I umpired this past Saturday...things have went about "normal", catching my share of grief, while sticking with my "If I make a mistake, tough luck, I'm sticking with the call" attitude...

Last night I worked a Varsity game between Van Wert and Sherwood Fairview, with another Veteran umpire, Chuck Etzler. Chuck is originally from Convoy, and has lived in Fort Recovery for many 63 he is still one of the best around, and one of the good guys. Between the 2 of us, that's 124 years old, and probably one of the oldest "tandems" you will see doing a Varsity Baseball Game. Like me, Chuck got back into umpire work later in life...I think he was probably 48 or so, and I was 50...both of us had been coaches inbetween umpire stints.

Last night started off more like a football score...Fairview put a 10 spot up in the first inning, Van Wert countered with 6...and we had 16 runs in 1 inning that lasted 40 looked like a long night. Fortunately things settled down, pitching wise, and the game was done in a semi long 2 hours 20 minutes, with The Apaches holding off the Cougars by a final of 17-12. Chuck was pretty much flawless behind the plate, while I got myself out of position at 3rd base in the first inning, he had my back however, and we got the call right. Later on I made a early "out" call on a steal, only to see the ball kicked out of the 2nd baseman's glove as the runner slide in...I overruled myself quickly, and the rest of the evening was pretty much mistake free...sometimes you have good games, bad games, and half assed games, as an umpire. Chuck had a good game in my opinion, I had a half assed game....Chuck and I will work again in a Northwest Conference Game between Crestview at Spencerville, with me behind the plate, meanwhile I work with one of my basketball partners, Dan Minnich, tonight at St. Marys in a WBL contest with Elida...tomorrow I'm at Lima Central Catholic for a game with Sidney Lehman Catholic...the weather looks excellent for those games, in the 70s with plenty of sunshine.

55 years of Baseball_____

Driving home, after that not so great, on my part, game....I got to thinking about just how long I have been involved in baseball and what a large part of my life it has been. Sure, I like Hockey, Football, Basketball, and even Soccer, Tennis, and on occasion Golf, but those sports have never been the stuff of my life, like baseball has.

Perhaps it was growing up in the 1950s in South Florida, following the Yankees? Perhaps it was surrounded by friends like Mike Graff, Jackie Dye, Mickey Lawrence, Barry Young, Terry Haskins, my brother Mike, cousin Gary, and others in Venice, Florida, playing sandlot baseball on the dusty playgrounds fields of the Edgewood Section of town, when we weren't over by the Venice Airport learning the game for the Little League coaches, on the main was something else. Baseball was, and always will be my favorite sport, and despite a bad or so-so game now and then, I still enjoy umpiring the contests, even when confronted verbally by clueless fans and coaches on occasion.

Baseball Nostalgia____

In the days of my youth in Venice, then later as a broadcaster, I have had a chance to meet many Hall of Fame ballplayers, some with egos bigger than their batting averages or ERA, some just down to earth guys. Joe Nuxhall and Tom "Perferct Game" Browning come to mind as the later.

While growing up in Venice, Dad had a gas station in South Venice, just down the road from the City of Venice. Across the street, there was a Bowling Alley owned by furture 300 game winner and future Hall of Famer, Early Wynn. He toiled in the Major Leagues from 1939 through 1963, with the Senators, Indiana, White Sox, and back with the Indians in Cleveland, where he won his 300th and last game in 1963, just after we had moved back to Ohio.

I learned to bowl at Early Wynn Lanes...and got to meet Early on several occasions.....Early was always free with an autograph and a "Hello" during the off season when he was home. After his Hall of Fame career, Early went on to the White Sox broadcast booth, before he passed away about a decade ago. In the meantime I still have an autograph baseball and about a dozen post cards with Early's Autograph...the ball is well worn, but the card autographs are in excellent shape. The prize Early Wynn gift to us however, was brother Mike's baseball, which is autographed by the entire 1959 American League Champion Chicago White is locked away in a safe deposit box, but the last I saw it, it was still in pristine condition.

Al Lopez, Nellie Fox, Louis Aparicio, Minnie Minoso, Jungle Jim Rivera, Pete Ward, are among the famous names, along with Early Wynn, on that baseball from over a half century ago....Where has the time went? Blink and it and the people are gone....
We moved to South Venice from Ohio in 1954....and I fell in love with baseball soon thereafter, playing softball in the shaded acres of Alston's Cottages and Court those first 3 years....I still remember watching my first baseball game on the tube...the 1955 All Star Game from Milwaukee.

Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Stan "The Man" Musial, and even Early Wynn(who tossed 3 shutout innings) were in the line up....I don't remember much of the game, although the NL came from behind, I read, to win in the 12th inning. But that game, nearly 56 years ago, started my love for baseball...and I have spent most of those years, playing(even though not great), coaching(same), and umpiring(maybe the best of the 3, maybe) the game....and all of those years being a fan.

back later, time for some more baseball>>>>
Photos-Mike Houseworth/Pat Houseworth with the Venice Elks LL Team in 1958...the well worn Early Wynn baseball from 1959, and an autograph Early Wynn postcard from the same time, with Early standing at the Bar of his Bowling Alley in South Venice, Florida.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Spring Has Sprung....

A fast moving weekend, in which I spent most of it outdoors...sun and windy Saturday for baseball...mostly sunny and not as windy yesterday. Finished off the lawns, and finally fired up a nice Torpedo Cigar and a few Miller Lites outback, just as the wind turned from the north and cooled things down....

Weekend Sports____

Yesterday the Philly Flyers despite stinking up the ice the final month of the season, managed to beat the New York Rangers in the final game of the season...the loser was going to be out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, while the winners would clinch a spot. It ended up a sudden death contest, as regulation ended in a 1-1 tie, despite Philadelphia out shooting NY by a 47-25 count. The OT went scoreless, then Philly scored 2 in the shootout to the Rangers single tally...Rangers eliminated, Flyers squeeze into 7th place and will take on their hated rivals, New Jersey's Devils in the first round this week.

Meanwhile at the Masters Golf Tournament....Tigger Would(sarcasm) didn't. Woods proved he still has game, but not enough to overcome an emotional classic from Phil Mickelson. Phil with ailing wife in the gallery for the final round, came away with a 3 shot victory over Lee Westwood, who came up short in another Major....How ironic is it? Tiger's wife and kids nowhere to be seen, after his admitted scandal sheet of cheating, while Mickelson's cancer stricken wife, came out for the final round, to see "Lefty" play the rounds of his that is a feel good story.

In Major League Baseball_____

The Reds take 2 of 3 from the Chicago Cubs, and finish the first homestand of the season at 3-3...Hal and girlfriend Lisa were at Friday Night's come-from-behind victory....I stayed up and watched the Milwaukee Brewers bullpen blow and late lead in the 9th....before getting a walk off homer to pull out the victory...if there is a better player in recent years than Albert Pujols, I know of none.

MRS meeting at back at Van Wert(again) this afternoon....

back later>>>>

Photos-Flowers from the beds that surround the house and fence are in full April bloom....Flyers will face the Devils, and "Lefty" wins his 3rd Masters.