Friday, May 28, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend 2010

Gang, I am taking the weekend off(unless something real exciting comes up)...with the rains pushing back the Regional Baseball Tournament Finals back to tomorrow, the Mrs Houseworth being with her family in Wisconsin, and me doing the what I need to do here at home.

I honor the Memory of all of my fellow War Veterans, and salute those Veterans both of whom have served and are serving now. And a flip of the Middle Finger at our so-called Commander-in-Chief, Barack Insane Obama...the "man" who is selling our country out....and his supporters.

We are on the cuspis of a "real" change...Obama and company just haven't figured it out yet....Salute to the Real Americans...and screw the low lifes and invaders that want to bring us down to their levels. We know what this weekend is about, and where "our" country has to go to return to it's glory days.

I will post if I feel a need, otherwise enjoy the long weekend.

Back at you later>>>>

Remember the American Veterans...not the American Politicians, on this Memorial Day Weekend:

March 2010 Vietnam Security Police of the Air Force at Wright Patterson AFB, Dayton, Ohio, March 2010: Left to Right....Wayne DeZarn, 632nd SPS Binh Thuy, AB, RVN, 1967-68, Rick Adams, 823rd Safeside 1969-70, RVN, Mike Tillman, 366th SPS, Phan Rang, AB, RVN, 1966, Sam Lewis, 35th SPS, Phan Rang AB, RVN 1967-68, Jack Smith 377th SPS Tan Son Nhut 1967-68, and Pat Houseworth 14th SPS, Nha Trang 1969, and 377th SPS Tan Son Nhut 1970----Remember what Memorial Day is all about!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Honoring One of Our Own...42 years later!

I headed out towards Dayton yesterday about 9 in the morning...I decided to drive the Jeep with top down, the temperatures were scheduled to hover around 85 with some humidity, a perfect day to get my forehead sunburned, and my white hair even whiter from the bleaching the sun would give it. As I filled up the Wrangler at my favorite Marathon Station on the north end of Celina, and grabbed a large coffee for the trip, my phone of our VSPA Buddies, Dave Maltzen, was on the road from northern lower Michigan, and headed to Wright-Patterson for the ceremony as well. Now that's a man, 6 hours from his area of Michigan to celebrate this honor for one of our own. Dave would be the long distance traveler of the half dozen of us to be on hand from our association:

After giving Dave my best directions down I-75, I started out, but would forgo the Interstate and take the 2 lane US 127 as far as I could before heading east on I-70 towards the Air Force was a great day for a drive, the aging Jeep did it's job and I was at the Museum at 11:20, a full hour and a half before the Luther Young Bronze Star presentation. Mike Tillman, Jack "Old Cowboy" Smith, his wife Roberta, and Tommy Webb, were already there...Bob Griffith, who works at the Base, came along a short time later...Dave got there as we were heading towards the Security Police Defender Statue. We would join some 100 others, including Luther's family and old Military bosses, for the Ceremony. The 88th detachment of the Security Forces Squadron were on hand, along with a color guard and small Air Force Band from the base.

Sgt Luther W. Young, Bronze Star with "V" for Valor____

I did not know Luther Young personally until yesterday, but here is a short story of how he came to be honored:

Young was stationed at Ben Hoa Air Base...Ben Hoa, much like Tan Son Nhut was located near Saigon, the South Vietnam Capital, during the war....except TSN was at Saigon and Ben Hoa, also a large base(some disputes over whether Tan Son Nhut or Ben Hoa was the largest)...Sgt Young was assigned "C" Flight Security and his primary post was a watch/guard tower in the Bomb Dump...during his time there, 1967-68 Ben Hoa was under major rocket and mortar attacks from the North Vietnamese Army. On one such occasion Young stayed in his tower, a dicey thing considering that if the Bomb and Munitions Area was hit, Luther Young would have been vaporized in a heartbeat. Young declined orders to climb down from his post, and lucky for the several dozen pilots and aircraft crew members he did...he called the alarm for incoming, just in time for the crews to leave their barracks and head for the assigned bunkers...seconds later that Air Crew Living Quarters suffered a direct hit....those men could thank Sgt Luther Young for saving their lives.

Luther Young served out his year at Ben Hoa, and decided to serve another tour in the war zone...he took his 30 days free leave to be home with his family before heading bad luck would have it, Young's brother, a Marine, was killed in action while Luther was home on leave...with that, his Vietnam service came to an end....and Luther spent the remainder of his 4 years stateside.

Forward 40 years_____

In 2008 Luther Young's Ben Hoa Commander Col. Martin "Marty" Strones, remembered the young Sergeant from those days and began a campaign to find Young and see that he got the recognition he deserved...he contacted another leader of the 3rd Security Police at that time, Lt Col Kent Miller, and also Major General Mary Kay Hertog, who at that time was Commander/Director of the Security Forces in Washington D.C.Today General Hertog is the Commander of the 2nd Air Force at Kessler AFB in Mississippi. Through their work, they found Luther Young in Independence, Missouri, and began the work to honor him for his service with valor.

Yesterday at the Security Police Statue on the grounds of the Air Force Museum, Luther Young received his just honor...a honor he did not campaign or ask for. Luther Young, like most of us in the VSPA was a young one term Airman, he became an unlikely hero, and was honored so yesterday in Dayton, Ohio.

My Salute Luther, you earned it!
After meeting many of Luther's family members in attendance, and saying so long to my 5 cohorts in the Vietnam Security Police Association...I climbed in the Jeep and headed the 80 miles home..taking I-70 this time to Ohio 49 where I headed north through the farm country with the knowledge that summer is at hand and it's time to enjoy the season.

back later>>>>

Photos-Sgt Luther Wade Young wearing his Bronze Star with "V" attached/The Defender Fortis Statue just before the Ceremony/Major General Mary Kay Hertog, with Luther Young in the foreground during the awards ceremony/5 Old Vietnam Sky Cop in the Museum Cafe...from left to right Mike Tillman, Pat Houseworth, Tommy Webb, Bob Griffith, and Jack Smith/Tommy Webb(L) and Dave Maltzen(center) talk with 3rd SPS Retired Lt. Col Kent Miller/and Bob Griffith talks with his old stateside commander Col. Marty Strones...Col Strones was the Commander at Ben Hoa who began the paperwork to get his Airman Luther Young awarded the Bronze Star with V for Valor.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Off to Wright-Patterson AFB

Have not had much time to hang around the blog or Internet of late....and today will be no exception.

I will be leaving in a half hour or so for Dayton, and the Air Force Museum at Wright Patterson Air Force Base...this will be my 4th trip there in the past 15 months or so, mostly for events/reunions related to my service as a Security Policeman while stationed in Vietnam. No war hero stories on my part, but plenty of found old and new friends from those days.

Today will be a little different, I will be there to join in a ceremony honoring and presenting the Bronze Star with "V" for Valor for a old "Sky Cop" that I don't know in person...but being one of our small group, and getting this award almost 45 years after the events, is reason enough to honor him, get some photos, and come up with a story for the next issue of Guardmount Magazine...the on-line paper for our Vietnam Security Police Association:

Sgt Luther Young was a tower spotter/guard at Ben Hoa Air Base, Vietnam, back in 1967-68, at least a full year before I arrived at Nha Trang...his job on "C" Flight(Overnight) Security was spotting activity and incoming rockets, and warn the base and his fellow SP's...for that, he will receive his Bronze Star today at the Defensor Fortis Statue on the Grounds of the Museum. I should mention that Luther Young's Tower was located in the Ammo Storage area at Ben well placed Rocket or Mortar from the VC or NVA, and Luther would have been just a vapor/memory, despite the danger and orders to leave his post, he held his position and many lives, including those of the base air crew, were saved. Several of us old SPs from our days in Vietnam, will be there to salute him, this afternoon.

Story and photos coming tomorrow...back later>>>>
Photos-The Defender Statue honoring Air Force Security Police of the Vietnam War, located on the grounds of the Air Force Museum...and a few Old Sky Cops at the statue from our Mini Reunion back in March. Wayne DeZarn, Rick Adams, Mike Tillman, Sam Lewis, Jack "Old Cowboy" Smith, and me....some of the same gang will be there today to honor Luther Young.

Monday, May 24, 2010

FLYERS OUST THE CANADIANS.. Bring on the Black Hawks!

Philadelphia knocks out Montreal 4-2 Monday Night and 4 games to 1 to take the East....

Something has Gotta Give...Chicago hasn't won the Stanley Cup since 1961...Philadelphia, not since 1975....GO FLYERS!!!!!!

Wrapping up the Weekend 5/22-5/23/10

In the old days, when I actually held a real job, the weekends always seemed to fly by, and were never long enough...they still aren't, but these days, with working baseball and other sports at various times during the seasons....that just doesn't seem to bother me as much. Not that I like to see the weekends fly by, but it's just not as big a "bummer" these days.

After the rains cancelled most of the Baseball and Softball Tournament action on Friday, things were pushed into Saturday and even tonight. It worked to my advantage...

I got a call from the Elida Tournament Director early Saturday Morning...thinking "OK the games are moved back to Sunday afternoon"...wrong! The District Division 3 Final between Coldwater and Bluffton would be played as scheduled...however, the Division 4 final between Delphos St. Johns and Miller City, would be played at 5PM since it had been washed out the previous evening. Dave's question was "can you work the 2nd game as well"? Seems all 3 other umpires had something going on. One a Wedding, one a Softball final, and something else with the Bob, Mark, and I, got a chance to work 2 District Finals...
I was scheduled to work the D3 at 3rd base, and the rotation would have me move to first base in the second game....I switched with Bob on that one, since I will be working 3rd base for the Regional Final at the same location this coming Friday, I figured, might as well practice. You see, seldom do we work a 3 man crew in High School Baseball....the usual 2 man crew works regular season through the only work 3 man for District and Regional Games...then a 4 man crew if you are lucky/good enough to be assigned a State Final or Semi Final contest.

The field was in excellent condition and both games went smoothly and quickly(both less than 1 hour 45 minutes)...the 2 MAC, Midwest Athletic Conference, schools won going away. Coldwater took it's 4 straight District with a 11-1, five inning win over Bluffton, while Delphos St. Johns, a team that started out 3 wins and 7 losses, improved to 15-10 with a 6-1 win over Putnam County Champion, Miller City, in a game that featured a couple of mammoth blasts over the Center Field Fence. If Coldwater wins it's D3 Regional Semi at Elida on Thursday, Bob(plate) and me(3rd base) will see them again, our partner for that contest to decide the D3 Regional will be Ron Goleman(first base), who is the Secretary of our Van Wert Association.....

With baseball done for the weekend, I spent the early hours of Sunday mowing lawns...first over to Mom's, then home to finish the job that Patricia had started...I spent the rest of the afternoon, smoking cigars and drinking cold Miller Lites out back...bad habit to waste a Sunday Afternoon like that, but you know, sometimes it just seems the thing to least I was outdoors in the rare good weather.

It appears that Summer will pay a visit for the next 10 days or so...and if you can believe the extended forecasts(and you can't very often), no rain in our area until the late days of the Memorial Day Weekend...

Patricia is finished with school for the year on Thursday...and then will fly out to Wisconsin to spend a handful of days with her parents and visiting siblings...I'll finish up my High School season on Friday with the Regional Championship, and then daughter Anissa will visit for a few hours each day on Saturday, Sunday, and Memorial Day Monday, otherwise it will be me, the Airedale, and the Cat to fend for ourselves, well Sam has to be home Friday to replace me in an ACME game, but otherwise the Bachelor Life for a few days....Patricia will return Tuesday Evening...and by that time I will be fully into the Summer Baseball season, with ACME(Summer High School) and American Legion games...of all the months of sports April and June are the busiest...I looked at the schedule, and barring rain outs or cancellations...I have June 8th and 2 Sundays open in the Month...and those may get filled as well. July will see things slow down somewhat, then it's football time in mid to late August...

Here I am looking ahead to the end of Summer and it's still May....that is sad indeed!

Errands to take care of and chores to complete...back later>>>>

Friday, May 21, 2010

Some Flowers Bloom, despite/because of the Rains?

We managed one decent day, well almost a decent entire day in between bouts of rain, storms, and drizzle...

Yesterday I headed out to Elida to work the 2 semi-final games of the Division 3 District there....unlike last year's blowouts, this season the Elida District got off to a good start...2 well played competitive games. Perennial power Coldwater had to come from behind and rally to defeat Evergreen in the late game...last year it was a run ruled 5 inning game with Coldwater winning, this year the Cavilers got a scare before prevailing by a 5-3 count...with me behind the plate for the second straight year in this match up.

The first game, with me as first base umpire, saw Bluffton pull out a tight game over Liberty-Benton by a 4-3 count...plating the winning run on a wild pitch. The 2 winners will square off tomorrow at 2pm...At least that is the schedule, with the overnight rains, and more on the way...time and field conditions will tell. If the games get moved back, we would have that final on Sunday Afternoon.

By the time our umpiring crew had cleared out of the locker room, the clouds had moved the time I arrived home in Celina at 8PM it had started to became another full fledged downpour in the overnight hours.

Despite little sun and plenty of moister, cool temperatures, and clouds...the fence area flowers have continued to bloom, a variety at a time....the photos today were taken this morning.

Enjoy the weekend, I'll be back with more later>>>>

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Districts

The District High School Baseball Tournaments began around Northwest and West Central Ohio last night....the time of the season where the pretenders and contenders are seperated. Problem is, sometimes you get very good teams in the same Sectionals...that was the case for Division 3 in this area...where you had Coldwater, Lima Central Catholic, Bluffton, St. Henry, and Riverdale, all in the same Sectional at Lima Senior...3 of those 5 teams were going to be eliminated, even though all 5 were certainly good enough to make a run to the Regional or maybe the State Tournament in early June....Coldwater and Bluffton came through, and will play today at Elida in the Semi Finals, where if successful, they would meet up Saturday in the District Championship Game...Elida is where I'll be in a few hours, working those Division 3 games at Elida for the second straight year.

Last night however, I headed to Coldwater, where without the home team in action, the Division 4 Districts of the umpires was Chad Snyder out of Arlington, I worked with Chad in the Elida District and Patrick Henry Regional last season. 4 teams I am well familar with, Fort Jennings and Crestview out of the Northwest Conference, and Parkway and Minster from the MAC...the conferences split the difference last night, with Parkway knocking out Jennings 13-9, and Crestview shutting down Minster 3-0(a team that had defeated them 18-1 during the regular season) to move on to Friday's District Final. Although rain may push both Friday and Saturday finals this weekend...What else is new?

Anyway back to Elida.....

A good facility(although few can top Coldwater for atmosphere and field conditions, not to mention good lighting for night games like last night's second contest)...Liberty-Benton will take on Bluffton in the opener at 2pm, then Coldwater in a rematch with Evergreen in the 5pm game. I am scheduled to work first base in the opener, and do the plate in the second game...however it looks like that may be switched due to one of our crew running late from work, which means I would do the opener behind the plate and the Coldwater game at first base....for the scheduled Championship Game on Saturday, I will work 3rd base. Once again, rain is in the forecast, so who knows if that will get pushed back to Monday or Tuesday...Mother Nature will decide that.

I will head out about noon after taking care of some chores....

Despite the forecast of rain for Friday and Saturday, we will get through today sunny and dry. Yesterday I pulled out the lawn mower and as I did the sun finally broke through at about 3pm...for the first time since early Saturday has been a miserable spell, weather wise.
Mushroom Hunting___

Not so for Rick, Clint, and the gang, Mushroom Hunting in the Boyne Falls area of Northern Lower Michigan...300 miles north they are getting warm and sunny weather through the weekend, while, excluding today, we will remain, wet, cloudy, and cool....go figure?

Sad to say for the 2nd straight year I will not be joining them....but when it comes to hobbies and entertainment, if the higher ups in the State of Ohio Baseball World come calling for District and Regional Assignments, I have to answer...the money is good, but aside from that, the ego is big, and I take the games, hopefully next year, I'll get back to Michigan and the Hunt.

Back Later>>>
Photos-The Baseball Tournament Time is at hand, and I'm deeply involved...and the last Mushroom Hunt I was on...2008 in Mesick, Michigan....Rick, Clint, and the Boys, are a hour or so north of there this time around.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Another Gloomy Tuesday in Western Ohio

Did I actually spell Gloomy-Gloomly in the original title? :} Where the Hell was spell check when I needed it???

To say the weather has SUCKED in West Central Ohio and the lower Midwest the past couple of weeks would be an understatement....the weekends have been wet, windy, and somewhat cool, the weekdays even worse....Today in no exception. After the miserable 53 degree and rain all day we experienced yesterday(cancelling my final Regular Game for the High School Season), while somewhat dryer, is equally cloudy, and clammy out of doors. The good news is, things are slated to improve in time for the District Baseball Tournaments scheduled for tomorrow through most of the weekend, although showers could reappear Friday and maybe Saturday. My D3 District at Elida is set to kick off on Thursday Afternoon at 2pm. Liberty-Benton from the Findlay area will take on Bluffton in game one, then for the second straight year, I am scheduled to work the plate for the Coldwater vs Evergreen game at 5pm....the Championship of the District will be held, weather permitting, at 2pm Saturday, with the winners of game one and game 2 in a match up to move on to the Regional, also at Elida, next week...where I am scheduled to work 3rd base for the Championship on May 28th. In the District, in addition to the plate in game 2, I have first base in game 1, and 3rd base in the Championship.

Spent much of the morning on the phone with my old buddy Andy....Andy, his wife Amy, and their 2 young sons live in Louisville, Kentucky....both are from the Cleveland area, but moved to Louisville a few years back for Andy's job....he called me this morning from Dallas, where his office sent him.

Andy, although much younger than me(he just turned 50), and I have been friends since our days at WCSM Radio...I was the Program Director in 1981, when we hired him to be the afternoon DJ...we have been close friends ever since, even though we don't see much of each other these days. We plan on ending that this June when the Indians come to Cincinnati to take on the Reds, we will hook up for the final Sunday game of that late June series.

Hal also called, bummed that he got a speeding ticket this morning near Dayton...only his 2nd one in 10 years of driving....I told him I've had 5 in 45 years...and 3 of those were withing a 2 year span.

I cropped some limbs off the back yard Maple Tree, those being stressed by the heavy load of "Helicopters"(Maple seeds) and the recent rains...a couple limbs were cracked, and a few more hanging near the I dispatched of those....

That has been the excitement thus far a way too sheltered life I am. I am looking forward to game #2 in the Philly-Montreal NHL East Series...Go Flyers! Other than that? Pretty boring around here....

Rick, Clint, and Rick's Boys will head for the Michigan Mushroom Hunt tomorrow, I'll miss it for the second straight and the chance to do Tournament action comes first...although I do wish that they had waited until next week, we will see what they bring back in this early sojourn to the Boyne Falls area.

back later>>>>

Photos-The Gray Skies Continue in West Central Ohio....and a look at the vines on the west side of the garage as they looked in the final days of last fall, and today as they have made their comeback from the dormant Winter....

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Fort Wayne Komets Hoist Another Cup!

Saturday dawned bright and sunny, and the original projected weekend weather was warm and sunny for the duration...the Weather Channel lied again. Of course given the fact the WC is now owned by the Obama lap dogs at NBC, it should come as no surprise, they can't figure out politics or the weather...comes from still believing that "Global Warming" is real....

Garry and I headed off to Bluffton to work a regular season game between the homestanding Pirates and visiting Napoleon. I'll see the Pirates again this week, as I work the District at Elida...Bluffton takes on Liberty-Benton in game #1. Meanwhile the Wildcats, coached by Coldwater product Justin Firks, had been eliminated from the tournament, but were looking for win #20....Bluffton got the pitching, and just enough hits to come away with a 4-0 win.

We stopped at Buffalo Wild Wings in Lima on the way home, had a couple of beers, and by the time we strolled out to the car, the sun had been replace by leaden clouds....the rest of the weekend, like every weekend for the past 6 weeks, left something to be desired, weather wise.

Yesterday I headed over to Mom's to clear out some weeds from the plants around the house...running smack into some Poison Ivy, I worked around it best I I wait to see if I stayed away from the vile little weed.

I used to be pretty susceptible to getting PI, but not so much of late....maybe the cortisone shots I got the last time I had a nasty case, have keep me safe...but I'm not taking any chances...I should know if I made contact in short order, it usually doesn't take long for the blisters to show.

Once home, Patricia and I worked the back yard weeds...and I ended up planting more Sunflowers of all varieties, and some other border flowers....still a few more to add, if the weather cooperates, which at this point is iffy.

Weekend Sports_____

It was a pretty good weekend for my professional sports teams. After the Philadelphia Flyers came back from 3-0 down in both series and game 7, they took out the Montreal Canadians in game #1 last night. A 6-0 blowout to go up 1-0 in games, but as we know, it's only 1 will still be a long series in my opinion. The Chicago Blackhawks defeated San Jose to take a 1-0 lead in the West....

The Cincinnati Reds, with Hal in attendance on Saturday Night, took two of 3 from the St. Louis Cardinals, to move into first place in the NL Central....the first time the Reds have lead the Division this late since August 2007....can they hold on? Probably not, but at least they are keeping the season interesting past the first month.

The Fort Wayne Komets, Another Turner Cup:

The Fort Wayne Komets have been around for 60 years or so in that northeast Indiana any estimations, franchise wise, they are among the most successful, both in records and attendance of any Minor League team.

For the first time in their History, the Komets, are on a 3peat roll, defeating the Flint Generals by 4 games to 1 to wrap up their 3rd straight cup....all this while leading the International Hockey League in attendance, by a proverbial mile....usually 8000+ seats out of 10,000 seats are filled, many nights are sold out. The Komets put out a good product, and the food and beer are priced at reasonable rates.

One of the Komets selling points is their long time broadcaster Bob Chase, who has been the radio voice of Fort Wayne since the in his mid 80s, Bob has been the Komets play-by-play man since before I started listening to them back in Venice, Florida, with my little transistor radio. Pulling in WOWO Radio out of Fort Wayne, Indiana, back in the late 50s.

The Komets, Flyers, and Cincinnati was a pretty good weekend for this fan.

Photos-The pennants of the Komets and Flyers have been around the house since the 1970s, they are about as old as my 1977 Buick, and in about as good shape. The Komets are on a roll of 3 straight Turner Cups in the IHL....

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Flyers...What A Comeback!

After completing my game at Fort Jennings last night, I headed I did, I tuned the XM Radio to the final game of the NHL Eastern Semi-Finals between Boston and my favorite team the Philadelphia Flyers...the Flyers had gotten off to a bad start, and were quickly down 3 games to none in the series, and the season seemed lost. Showing some guts, Philly pulled back to 3 games each, and had the momentum going into game 7 at Boston....The Bruins quickly stole that by scoring 3 quick goals in the first dozen minutes and all that comeback effort seemed lost....

I was resigned to say good-bye to the season, even when Philadelphia scored late in the first period to make it 3-1.....all of a sudden The Flyers seized the "moe'" and things were knotted up at the end of 2...3-3.

A late power play goal by Simon Gagne, and The Flyers had pulled off the miracle...a 4-3 win in both the game and the series, coming back from 3-0 down in each...only the 3rd time in NHL and the 4th time in pro sports history a team had done this...Montreal is next, a 7 vs an 8 seed, something else that has never happened.


Off to Bluffton for a Saturday game...Garry will work the plate/back later>>>>

Friday, May 14, 2010

Marathon Man....aka 14 Innings Behind the Plate

Despite a tornado watch, and a 80% chance of strong thunderstorms(which didn't develop locally), I headed for Convoy about 3:30 yesterday for the scheduled Sectional Baseball final in Division 4...a game between Fort Jennings and Antwerp, with the winner to move on to Coldwater for the District.

The Senior Fort Jennings pitcher(the grandson of my old Celina buddy Whitey Klosterman), walked the first batter, who came across to score without the benefit of a hit, after that he was lights out....pitching the allowed 10 innings, giving up just a single, and another walk, before being taken off the mound(as High School Federation rules mandate)...Fort Jennings tied the game at 1 on their last scheduled at bat in the bottom of the 7th...on a suicide squeeze no less.

The game moved on, finally reaching the 14th inning, where Jennings would push across the winning run on a misplayed double to right...2-1 the final, Antwerp pitching was equal to Fort Jennings, and the game was the longest of my High School umpiring career.

Up until this time, I had done a 13 inning game in the field, and a 10 inning game behind the plate, making it the longest I can remember. Despite the inning length, the pitching was such(only a total of 4 walks and 11 hits total in 14 innings) that the game was only 55 minutes old when the 7th inning ended up going 2 hours 40 minutes, which would make it a long game in the regulation 7 inning contest...but a quick moving and interesting game to work....despite the length of it, I never lost concentration, or got bored. I was however glad to see it right knee was feeling the effects squatting down for that much baseball.

When I got home, I poured myself outback with a bottle of Guinness Extra Stout and a good cigar.....a 1876 Torpedo...a few minutes after I sat down, Garry showed up with a 6 pack of speciality beers, mixed variety...we sat and finished those over the next 90 minutes and discussed baseball....he had worked a regular season game at Fort Recovery, and we are scheduled to work a regular season game tomorrow together at Bluffton against Napoleon, both teams are still in the District hunt.

Tonight I am at Fort Jennings....less than 24 hours after finishing up their game that lasted 14 innings, as they play a Putnam County League game against Ottoville...needless to say, I plan on asking my partner to do the dish(plate) knee needs a rest.

back later>>>>

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Heroes and Villains of our Youth

It seems that we wait for an eternity for Winter to end...then we wait out Spring for the weather to turn decent, then we wait some more.....

This Winter in Western Ohio was long, not overly cold, but plenty of snow. The Spring, while warm in April, has been windy, and now 3 weeks into May, we are saddled with more rain than we can use in 2 months. The past few days have went from cold, rainy, and very windy, to downright wet....more rain yesterday, overnight, and this afternoon, once the fog lifts, we are expecting strong storms....especially north and northwest of here.

What this means for me, and the Sectional Baseball Tournaments, remains to be seen....I doubt if most got played last night, this afternoon's games look in danger of postponement as well. I will wait with cell phone in pocket, and see if I get that call, if not, I'll head for Convoy about 3:30 and work the plate for the Sectional Bracket final between Ft. Jennings and Antwerp, 2 teams that I am familiar with. If that gets pushed back, my game at Fort Jennings tomorrow, a Putnam County League game, will be of now, my season, beginning next week, will be down to the Elida 3 game District Tournament in Division 3, then the Regional Final, same place, same division. After than, it's on to Summer Baseball with ACME and American Legion on the agenda for June and July.

In the meantime, I will wait on the rains, and the phone calls.....
Heroes and Villains____

I was thinking, always dangerous, the other day about what is facing this matter how you turn the key, it's not good......

We have a corrupt President who is out to turn the country into his own personal failed Kingdom, and he is doing so by dividing us by race, religion, age, and political ideology...he is also driving the country's economy towards hardcore Socialism, and economic disaster, and pushing the courts to something the Founding Fathers would be shouting to disband...yes indeed, 2010 is nowhere close to 1775 in America, except that we may be heading for another Revolution. I know which side I will stand with, after all, at 61, not much they can do to me that will have a long term effect.

The thought process got me to thinking about growing up in South Florida...yes, we moved to Ohio in time for my High School years, but I always consider growing up, to be the years before those. I have written about growing up in 1950s Venice in length on this blog...just click on the Venice, Florida, label to find those. Those were the simple life consisted basically of fishing, at the Beach on the Gulf of Mexico, hanging out with friends, playing baseball, catching snakes, toads, and exploring the then unexplored areas of south Sarasota County...Wild Boars, Snakes of every variety, Coon Hounds, and wild crtitters of every variety were part of my life.

We were naive, and now 50 years later, I am glad I heroes were simple, and didn't take a lot of thought...Mickey Mantle was then, and will always be my favorite ball player, I loved the Yankees, the Cleveland Browns, and the Florida Gators. Funny part is, today I cannot stand those teams...leaning more to the Reds, Bengals, and Ohio State, along with Duke in Basketball. My music taste followed Elvis, The Everly Brothers, and Ricky Nelson. I loved Westerns, and Film Noir Mysterys, when I would go to the Venice Theater on Friday Nights.

When it came to politics, I grew up a fan of the Republican Party. Dad and Mom were Republicans, more or less...not sure how often the voted, but they were was Grandma Houseworth, a hard core Pentecostal Conservative of her day. Mom's side on the other hand, the DeVores, and the other Irish American Catholics on that side, were union supporting Democrats, the surviving members of that clan, still are today.

Eisenhower, Nixon, and Goldwater, were my political heroes...the Kennedys, LBJ, and those of that persuasion were on my despise list.....The 1960 Campaign was fun, for an 11 year old, even though my side lost.

Times have changed, Ike, Tricky Dick, Goldwater, and even Mickey Mantle, have been shown to have warts...The Kennedys, LBJ, Jimmy Carter, and those like them remain, in my mind, American Trash, although JFK was much better than the inbred bunch that remain the Kennedy Dynasty today. The current resident in our White House, will in time, do more to destroy America, than even LBJ and Carter did.

Our kids and grand kids, although they might disagree, have no heroes...Pop Culture, Political Correctness, garbage Rap Music, and gadgets of every kind are their heroes/gods...and we as a nation and people are poorer for it.

back later>>>>
Photos-Mickey Mantle remains my favorite sports figure of all time...warts and all, nothing will change that from my childhood. Barry Goldwater was a political favorite, I actually met him at Nha Trang AB in Vietnam, when he was a General in the Air Force Reserve, and visiting...Goldwater's support for Abortion and his later writings took the shine off his star, at least for me. The Kennedy Bunch...JFK turned out to be the best of a sorry lot, Teddy the worst, I'm sure a special place in Hell is reserved for him. And Nixon/Lodge in 1960 seemed pretty good compared to Kennedy/Johnson, but especially when you consider the trash that currently resides in the The White House and Congress.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

It's a Jungle Out There

Yesterday appeared to be the one 'dry' day of the week.....

After the Noon Hour Board Meeting at Mercer Residential, I headed over to Mom's to cut down a couple of small trees that were infesting one of the flower beds in her yard...then it was home to tackle the young Maple Trees that were growing tall among the bushes that guard the east side of our yard.

The bushes have become a catching ground for the "helicopters" that the Maple Trees produce every spring...thousands upon thousands of the seeds flying around the yard each year and deposit themselves wherever they wish...the problem being when they drop into the bushes that line the yard, they are impossible to detect until they start growing...and they need to be gotten rid of....I let only one grow in the 15 years we have lived here....and it rests near the raspberry bushes in the back yard...having grown some 15 or 20 feet high in those years....

The cutting down of the interlopers took an hour or so...and I deposited them curbside for the weekly brush pickup which occurs in Celina throughout the Summer....the yard, with the winds and rains of late, has indeed become a "Jungle".

Once that chore was completed, I showered and headed off to Spencerville to work with Chuck Etzler, as the Bearcats took on St. Henry....last year Sam and I did this late season match-up with the Visiting Redskins coming out on top by 20-1 or so...this year would be different.

Just a short 1o days ago, St Henry was sitting near the top of the Division 3 state baseball rankings, with a 16-2 record and undefeated in MAC play....they then proceeded to lose 4 games, including 2 in the league, and then were knocked out of the Sectional Tournament by Bluffton. Meanwhile underdog Spencerville, was staggering along with a handful of wins, when they drew Wayne Trace in the D4 Sectional at Crestview...they came away with a 1 run win, and are still very much alive and will face the host Knights in Convoy tomorrow(weather permitting)....

Down 4-0 Spencerville rallied back and pulled out a hard fought 6-4 win....2 teams fortunes moving in different directions to say the least....

Tonight I am scheduled to umpire at Delphos Jefferson as the regular season winds down, and the Tournament action heats up....that is not going to happen however, the rains, even though no confirmation yet, will likely wash that one out(Game has been Cancelled due to wet grounds)...Wednesday is an off/make up date, and Thursday I am scheduled to head to Crestview for a Sectional Final between Fort Jennings and Antwerp, with the winner moving on to District action....rain and results will decided when and where I work.

back later>>>>
Photos-The random wild Maples that I cleared out of the bushes set waiting for pickup along rain soaked Brandon Avenue...The lone Maple that I have let grow in the back yard, serving as a refuge and feeding station for the neighborhood Squirrels and birds...and finally a cluster of the "helicopters" that hang each May from the backyard Maple Tree.....

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Road to Bascom...Sectional Baseball

For the 3rd straight season, Sam and I have been asked to do the opening games at the Hopewell-Loudon High School Sectional...and for the 3rd straight year, the weather has been something to contend with.
Storms rolled through West Ohio Friday night, and those in the Northern part of the region were more sever than we had....add the 40 and 50 MPH winds, and the drop in temperature between Friday and Saturday, you knew the conditions were not be favorable to baseball playing.

I left Celina at 9am for the 95 mile or so trip north and east...Sam had a similar mile drive up Route 23 from Columbus. As usual I arrived early. For the 12 Noon start, I was at the High School at 10:45...Sam came chugging along about 11:30. The conditions were "raw" to say the least. The digital thermometer in the Intrepid read 47 degrees...the wind was blowing out of the west/northwest at about the same(47) in mph...a few sprinkles were being blown along on that strong breeze....these were going to be "interesting" playing conditions.

The games started at High Noon, and both were quick affairs...2 teams, Bettsville and Old Fort are both beginning their second year back in varsity baseball play...and for the second straight year they would play veteran clubs that had them outmatched. Both game were run rule affairs lasting 4 1/2 inning. In the first game Danbury moved on with a 10-0 win over Bettsville, a game that was competitive until the bottom of the 4th when the Lakers scored 2 unearned runs to put the game out of reach...I did the plate and the game lasted only 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Sam had the "dish" in game #2, and after a scoreless first inning, Tiffin Calvert had their way with Old Fort, and pulled away for a 23-0 whitewash....that game lasted a little over an hour and a half...we were done by 3:45pm and on our way to our respective destinations....home!

The interesting take on the second game...was the weather, it turned worse as the day progressed. The winds stayed strong, it rained a bit, it mixed with what can only be described as snow, a light, wet, snow....pretty miserable, but around the area, most Sectionals in Baseball and Softball were kicked delay that start of the tournament season on this first weekend would be a minor disaster, pushing the regular season finishes and the tournament season back, making them even more at the mercy of the weather...which looks to be wet, real wet for the coming week.
There were some shockers in the area game wise, to open the Sectionals.... State Ranked #8 St. Henry was defeated by unranked Bluffton in D3, Ridgemont defeated Lima Central Catholic in the same Sectional, opening the way for Coldwater to ease it's way into the District and probably the Regional again this year....but you never know, strange things happen on the way to the State Tournaments.
Spencerville won yesterday while St Henry, as mentioned, lost....which makes my scheduled regular season game between those 2 teams at Spencerville tomorrow a contrast to past years...usually SH is still in the hunt, while in recent years the Bearcats have been ousted early....a flip flop this season. After tomorrow however, rain and storms are back in the picture...and could play havoc with the schedule. Time will tell.
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Photos-Arriving at Hopewell-Loudon High School under the clouds and winds...which was blowing out hard to left field at the diamond.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Working Fifth Third Field in Dayton

Big storms are forming and moving north...looks like Paulding, where I am scheduled to work tonight, had a few storms roll through...Bascom, Ohio, home of Hopewell-Loudon High School, where Sam and I are to hook up for a Sectional Double Header tomorrow, has had rain as well....if we get the games in, tomorrow looks like about 50 degrees with winds to match...rough baseball weather, just in time for the beginning tournament action. As Sam and I are heading north from Columbus(Sam) and Celina(Me)..Patricia will head south to the Dayton area...for Hal's girlfriend Lisa's College Law School graduation party....Sunday will be a day to relax, or if dry, maybe do some planting in the flower beds out back.

Speaking of Dayton____

I left Celina about 1:45 yesterday for Dayton's Fifth/Third Field...working my way around traffic, and getting directions from missed detours from my scheduled partner Jerry...I found my way to the Stadium Parking Lot about 3:15...Jerry and I took our time in the umpire dressing rooms before walking out into the bright sunshine.

A double header was scheduled, Jerry and I were working the first game, Graham and Bellefontaine....Urbana and Tipp City followed, and that game was worked by 2 West Central Association umps.

The game lasted 6 innings, with Bellefontaine coming back from a first inning deficit, to win in a run rule 14-4...working in a professional ballpark is different to say the least. Went through 18 new baseballs, and a couple of "field" balls, as foul balls were flying into the upper deck at an alarming rate...the game was interesting to work in a completely different setting...I worked up a sweat behind the plate, even though the temperatures were only in the Mid 70s, with low humidity...a well worked game that saw no problems or complaints(that we could hear anyway) from the coaches.

After the game, I made my way the 75 or 80 miles towards home using a combination of I-75, Ohio 29, and some back roads...pulling into the drive-way and opening up a couple of cold ones and taking a well needed shower.

I am not sure what the next few days, or next week will bring as far as baseball is concerned...the weather looks to have some rain in the forecast, for the last regular week of the High School Baseball season, and the completion of Sectional action.....then it's on to District, and Regional action for me...the State Tournament ends the High School season the first weekend of June...then it's time for Summer Baseball, in the form of ACME and American Legion games.

The Season goes by way too fast sometimes.....

I talked with Rick yesterday, they have moved into the new house on the 17 acre spread...still waiting for the completion of the septic system...and are using the holding tanks until the ground dries out.

We also discussed the upcoming Mushroom Hunt in north lower Michigan....looks like Rick, Clint, and the boys were head up on Wednesday May 19th....if the hunting is good, I will leave after the May 22nd District final and join Rick...looks like the boys will be shifting back and the plans are not complete, but I hope to get a couple of days in, after missing out last year. We will see how that goes.

That does it for now.....back later>>>>

Photos-Top, the large colorful scoreboard at 5th/3rd Field in Dayton, and looking out at home plate where I would work for the next 2+ hours in the the outfield welcomes Graham and Bellefontaine to the Park. May 2008, at Mesick, Michigan, which was the last time I made the Spring Mushroom Hunt...Clint, Rick, and a 25 pounds heavier me...this year(like last) the hunt moves north some 90 miles to near the Boyne area....hopefully I can get in a day or 2 of hunting....

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Off to Fifth 3rd Field in Dayton

Worked a 17-11 game at Wayne Trace last night, with visiting LCC coming up with a high scoring win, as showers and thunder storms skirted Blue Creek I'm off to work the long anticipated game between Bellfontaine and St. Paris Graham at the Dayton Dragon's(Reds Class A Farm Team) home field in downtown Dayton....

Will report back with details of how it went, tonight or(most likely) tomorrow...

back later>>>>

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

"Weighty" Milestones, 2nd place, and long drives...

After I posted yesterday, saying despite my game cancellation at Antwerp, I would head that way anyhow, and take Mom along with me...we would visit Uncle Jack, her younger brother, in the northwest Ohio town...go out for a bite. and talk with Jack and some of my cousins. Well not 15 minutes after that, I received a call from the Athletic Director at Edon High School...Edon is located up near the Ohio Turnpike, a couple of miles east of the Indiana State Line and not far from the Michigan Border...right in the middle of that Tri State Corner of Ohio. Seems Edon was rescheduling a game that had been hit by the previous nights storms, that game was a BBC League encounter with North Central out of Pioneer, Ohio...the team Antwerp had been scheduled to play yesterday. Edon is just about 84 miles from Celina...normally I might have stepped back from this game, but with me taking Mom north to Antwerp anyway, I said..."Why Not"?

Edon is about 25 miles north of Antwerp, right on Ohio I figured I would drop Mom off at her brother's place...they could talk, and if I got done at a reasonable time, I would join them and my cousin Linda and her husband Tom at the local Pub/Restaurant, The Oasis, in Antwerp, and grab a bite to eat and have a beer.

I met up with Jim Siler at Edon, Jim a 35+ year veteran umpire was scheduled to work with me at it was an easy 15 mile drive from his home in Hicksville to Edon. Jim asked me to do the plate, since he has North Central in the opening round of the Sectional this weekend...I said "No Problem". The game began with underdog NC having 1 out and a runner on 2nd base....3 runs later they were out of their first inning up 3-0. After that both pitchers were on, and the team from Pioneer came out on top by a final of 4-2 over the hometown Bombers...only the 3rd loss for Edon, now standing at 16 wins 3 defeats on the winding down season.

The game was a pleasure to do...2 good teams, 2 coaches who didn't complain, despite a couple of calls that could have went either way....only an occasional muttering from some old geezers in the stands about my "low" strike zone(it's obvious they had never seen me work before), and we were out of there in less than an hour and a half. Talked post game with Jim, and headed south to Antwerp and the Oasis.

I met up with the family and had a couple of beers, and a good sandwich...we visited another 90 minutes or so, and Mom and I headed the 55 miles back to Celina...finally arriving at 9:30 last night...a long day indeed.

Tonight, if the storms don't arrive before hand, I head to the old family stomping grounds at Haviland and Blue Creek Township, where Wayne Trace will host Lima Central Catholic(the 5th time I have them this year, which may increase since I have the District and Regional they are assigned to if they get by Coldwater and other powerhouses)....Tomorrow it's off to Dayton's 5th/3rd Field for the Bellefontaine/Graham game at that Minor League Diamond.
184 and counting____

This morning I climbed on the digital scale, it read "184.8" pounds....below 185 for the first time in at least 20 years....and less than a handful of pounds away from the goal I set for myself last Labor Day....25 pounds in 8 months, the slow and steady pace is working. The Blood Pressue remains good, and the sugar was better on the last check 2 months ago...I will drop a couple of more pounds, and then continue on the course I mapped out at the end of last summer....I cannot see me going back to the old self...this diet of sorts has been pretty easy to stick with, and I will not return to the old ways...I just don't see that happening.

Hal...2nd place, again!____

Sad to say youngest son Hal, still looking for a High School History/Social Studies job came in 2nd, for the 2nd time in recent interviews..."If we had 2 jobs you would get one", they told him...that of course in good to hear, but does not get you what you want. Making the final 4 and last week teaching a class, Hal once again waited for a call...yesterday it came, and he finished runner up.

The job at Wapak would have proven tough on his car, and he would have had to spend part of the week living with us, and the rest down in Beavercreek, where he would continue his work with Autistic although we are all disappointed he didn't get the position, because he really wants to teach in a classroom setting, this may work out in the long run. A job closer to Dayton and his girl Lisa, who has her graduation from Law School party this weekend, may be best...meanwhile he will continue to work his full time job with Autistic youth and be glad he has quality work in this Economy of the ObamaNation.

Enough yapping for now...time to go mow a yard ahead of the approaching storms....

back later>>>>
Photos-Me this morning at 184 and a decade ago in my weight training days some 30 pounds heavier....but 10 years younger.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Baseball and Wall Clouds....

Finished up the NWC Game at Lima Central Catholic about 7pm yesterday...a 3-1 win by the home team over visiting Columbus Grove. I had checked the weather radar about 3:30 before I left for LCC...and some storms were forming back in Illinois and northern Indiana. They appeared to be moving rather quickly, and I figured...they would hit between 7 and 8pm. That turned out to be a pretty good guess.

Dave West and I told both coaches to keep the game moving fast as they could, within reason. They did, and we were done in an hour and 45 minutes or so. As I headed south and west towards home driving the back roads, I noticed the sun was being replaced on the western horizon by a large single mass of black clouds. As I maneuvered the 35 miles or so towards Celina, the clouds appeared more menacing and dark...And I found myself wishing I had brought along the camera...Drat! I had left it at home, so was forced to drive into the approaching storm without benefit of a camera to prove the ominous Wall Clouds that I was approaching.

As I got to the halfway point, just outside of the small town of Neptune...Garry called, he was on his way from a game at Fort Loramie, and was approaching the same storm from the broke loose a few minutes later, with plenty of wind, some small hail, but not a large amount of rain...enough, but nothing out of the ordinary. The above photo was hoisted from the National Weather Service....

The game tonight has been postponed, and I could opt to grab another opening, but will forgo that....I had planned on taking mom to Antwerp, so she could see her brother I'll still do that, and go out and have a beer with Uncle Jack and his family, while him and mom visit....the rest of the week looks hit and miss with more rain showers and storms. Tomorrow, Friday, and Saturday, have the chances of rain, hopefully Saturday gets played, otherwise the Tournaments will be pushed back and thus causing havoc with those. Sam and I are supposed to be at Bascom Hopewell-Loudon, a long drive, and we certainly don't need the hassle of a rain out for that one, but Mother Nature will decide that, not much we can do about it.

For now Thursday looks rain free, and that is the day I travel to Fifth Third Field in Dayton(Home of the Cincinnati Red's Class A Farm Team, the Dayton Dragons) do the first of 2 games I have there this season...Bellefontaine against Graham....long drive, but I am looking forward to doing at least 1 game at the pro ballpark.

The first round of the baseball season moves on...I picked up another Sectional Tournament game, this one at Crestview, in Convoy, a Sectional Final in Division 4...will work this one with Chuck Etzler, another veteran umpire, who plans on calling it a career after this season...and he will go out with a State Tournament game...he has had several, and deserves them, he's a good umpire, who I am scheduled to work with next week in a regular season game as well, marking the 4th time we have teamed up this season.

That's about it for you can tell from my last few posts...not a lot of going on out of the ordinary in this life....

back later>>>>

Monday, May 3, 2010

Rains, Oil Spills, and the world moves on...

Plenty of rain around againn over the weekend...enough to wash out my double headed for the second straight weekend, but nowhere near what the folks down in Arkansas, Tennessee, and Kentucky, had to deal with...add the "Obama's Katrina"..aka Gulf of Mexico oil spill to the mix, and it was pretty much a disaster news cycle. Then of course you have the failed attempt at blowing up a section of Times Square in NY...and you ask yourself..."How much better are we off, how much safer, under The ObamaNation than we were under Bush"? Not much, not much at all folks....Barry's On-The-Job Training isn't going well, despite the best efforts of the Lap Dog Main Stream Press, and so called counter culture speakers like Jon Stewart, and Nazi Bill Maher to keep him afloat....Obama is a failure, and no amount of BS by Left Wing talking heads is going to make it better.....

A busy week, depending on the rains, is ahead for me....Tonight at Lima Central Catholic, with my old Buddy Dave West, for a NWC game with Columbus Grove...tomorrow I am scheduled to umpire in Antwerp, which will give me a chance to take Mom with me, so she can visit with her youngest brother, Uncle Jack....Jack had a fall a couple of weeks ago, and I'm sure is antsy about getting back on the Golf Course....even at 80, he still plays often. I'll drop mom off at his place, then pick her up when the game is completed.

Wednesday it's LCC at Wayne Trace, and then Thursday, weather permitting, I will make the drive to Dayton and get an opportunity to work a game on the Dayton Dragons Diamond at 5th/3rd Field, between Bellfontaine and St. Paris Graham....Friday north to Paulding for a game, and then Saturday, Sam and I are scheduled to kick off the Spring Tournament Season with a Sectional opening day double header at Bascom, Ohio,(a 100 mile drive each way) to Hopewell-Loudon High School, where this will be our 3rd straight year working this Sectional together....As I said though, weather permitting....seems the rains are coming about every 3rd day and last for a day or 2.

Tomorrow my wife, a few years younger than me, marks her birthday...she was born in Watertown, Wisconsin, back sometime in the 1950s....

Lawn mowing is also on the agenda....such is the exciting life of the semi-retired...

back later>>>>>
Obama's Lap Dogs in the Media continue to roll over and play dead for their Master...and a shot of Fifth/Third Field in Dayton, where I am scheduled to work on Thursday.