Friday, May 4, 2012

Baseball-Sometimes you just gotta Smile, Kick Back, and Enjoy!

Yesterday blew in hot, and somewhat humid, but not unbearable....I mowed the back yard....working up a sweat in only 15 minutes...damn medications!  I had been to the lab in the morning, and had blood drawn for my recheck at the cardio docs next week....not sure what they will say, but one thing I won't do, regardless, is add any meds to my diet.  Hopefully I can cut back a pill or two, but I will not add any, without dropping something else.   That you can bank on....I don't like what is going on with those I am taking, let alone add more.

Why I Love Baseball_______

Baseball has always been my favorite sport....since the day I remember watching the 1955 All Star Game on the small black and white TV, when we lived in South Venice, Florida, at Alston's Cottages.  That is the first baseball I remember....for the following 57 years, baseball has been a part of my life that will define me, regardless of how long I remain on this planet.

Sure the Majors are a joke these days...mediocre ball players getting millions of dollars, while the likes of Mantle, Mays, and Ruth,  played for virtual peanuts back in the glory years.  Can you imagine what kind of money Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, and Jackie Robinson, would command in today's game?

While MLB may be a sad shadow of what it was...the game really hasn't changed much....America however, has.  Growing up in Venice in the late 50s and addition to playing Little League baseball, along with my brother Mike, and now deceased friends, Barry Young, and Mike Graff, those that I don't know what happened to, like Jackie Dye, Robert Haskins, and those names that have slipped from my memory banks.  In addition to controlled and sanctioned Little League, we had a ball diamond in the Edgewood Section of Venice that we always had a sandlot or pickup game going on at, we played, for the most part, 12 months a year.  Those days are long gone, America, as it was back then is gone as well....and we are not better, nor or our kids and grandkids, for it.


Highlight of the Frustrating Season___

Having played, coached, and/or umpired baseball for much of my life....this umpiring season has been difficult for me.   With the Carotid Surgery in March, I was late getting started, then more delays before getting behind the plate.  Having to work the bases for most of the first few weeks.  Of late however, even with the windy and at times cold weather, I have been getting back into it full force....this week marked the highlights of the season, even as the Spring portion winds down.

After I worked the bases Tuesday at LCC in their 4-3 win over Columbus Grove, which gave the Thunderbirds a share of the NWC Title...last night Garry and I were at Crestview, where LCC could win the title outright, but a Knight win would have the two teams sharing the crown.

The game was a joy to work...some close plays, a bit of controversy, too many errors for these two good teams, perhaps a bit on nervousness?  But it was a good one regardless....and here are some highlights from one of the local stations:

Now a word to announcers, fans, and others that don't know the rules, but think they do...."Andy' the announcer, says "The Umpire{referring to Garry} Said He Tagged Up" Andy, the runner did tag up on the ball that was bobbled and then caught in foul is the rule...."Once the ball is touched on the fly by a fielder, the runner can tag and attempt to move up"....Not caught, but touched!  Once the Crestview right fielder touched the ball, even though he bobbled it, and grabbed it a second later...once he touched it, the runner can, and in this case did, move up.  I got the catch correct, and Garry got the tag up correct as well....

Regardless, it was a great game...Crestview, by virtue of the 5-4 win, gains a share of the title... these kind of games, are the reason I got back into umpiring some dozen or so years ago.

Tonight, if the rain holds off, I have a league make-up game in the Putnam County League, at Ottoville vs Miller City....then tomorrow at Noon, I head to Lima Shawnee High School, to kick off the tournament trail....a opening round in Division 3, games between Delphos Jefferson and Bluffton, followed by a Rockford Parkway vs Lima Bath match up....

This weeks games remind me of why I love baseball....but I'm sure there are games and mistakes I will make down the road, that will have me second guessing those feelings.


back later>>>>

Photos-Brother Mike and Me, back in 1958...when we played for The Venice Elks little league team in South Florida....My childhood hero, warts and all, was Mickey Mantle, Hell I even rooted for the Yankees back in those days....not so much any more.  And Babe Ruth, who made a $100,000 thousand back in his playing days, an astronomical sum back then...can you imagine what baseball's greatest player{nobody else is close} would command today?

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