Monday, April 30, 2012

Warm and Wet Beginning to May?

Saturday dawned as one of the potentially most miserable late Spring baseball games I was about to embark on, umpiring-wise.....Sam was home, he had double header slated at Waynesfield-Goshen, but that was "killed" off early as they anticipated the coming rain mix, so he would head back to Columbus to work the video/audio play-by-play for the Ohio State vs Lewis final Men's Volleyball match for entry to the "Final Four" that night....Anissa went with Patricia as they headed to the Dayton area to sit with Grandson "The K-Man", while Hal and Lisa participated in a Autism Walk, in mostly miserable conditions.  Me? Well the rain was holding off, and I was out the door by 8:40am and heading north on 127 the 40 miles or so to Paulding.

I arrived at the diamonds in plenty of time...happy to be working the plate, because the extra gear was going to help keep me warm...Chris, the Paulding AD paid me, and commented, "Looks like we may be able to get this game in"...I wasn't so sure.  My partner Nick showed and we decided to see if we could get started a bit early....just as we headed to the filed, Sleet began to fall....and it was a hard sleet, the ice pellets sticking on jacket and in my hair.   We had the pre-game discussion with the Paulding and visiting Elida coaches, none of sure just how far we would get into this one.

Well we got to the top of the 2nd inning, I finally stopped play with 2 out and 2 on base...Elida had built a 4-0 lead, but with the mixture of ice pellets and large rain drops, it wasn't going to fly....we waited another 15 minutes but I finally called it off....from 80 miles away in Anna, Garry text me saying he had thunderstorms with some hail, and they never got their game started.  Seems Waynesfield was ahead of the game, they cancelled before having to pay the umpires.  Most everybody else, but not all, canceled as well....one of the few wash out days of the mostly dry season thus far.

Tonight is "iffy" game and weather wise....we have a 60% chance of storms, but the first batch moved north and east, and missed us....the next batch appears to be diminishing, but there is more coming.  I am at Lima Central Catholic tonight for a big NWC league game between two of the league powers, LCC and Columbus Grove, the bases tonight for me.....but that game status is in doubt.  To be honest, despite the windy and cool weather the past three weeks, I have not had a game canceled before starting it, and getting paid....pretty amazing streak, and the season is winding down, at least the regular season...Division Tournaments begin Saturday, when I am scheduled to work the D3 Sectional at Lima Shawnee.

A Warm Beginning to May_____

While the winter was much above normal, and March, along with the first week of April, was even more so....the last three weeks have been a mix of cool, windy, and at times seasonal temperatures....the lack of rain has been the most noticeable condition that one does not expect for West Central Ohio.

The forecast as we hit the last day of April is appearing to say, a warm first week of May is in store, along with some more normal rain potential....frankly I would like to see it stay dry for a couple more weeks...getting my tournament games in, and my Michigan Mushroom Hunt completed as well....but Mother Nature is going to do what she always does....and throw us a few curve balls....on that you can count.

Now that my cold, a rare one indeed for me, is about over, I am getting ready to plant the seeds from the flower packets....plenty of differing varieties of Sunflowers, we will try the Moon Walkers in a different location, they were successful last year, but I think we can do better with them elsewhere.  Hopefully we can have that done this week....a bit of rain won't hurt, but not too much.

On the other hand, the flowers that pop up on their own, as you can see from the attached photos, including some left over Sunflower seeds, are making themselves shown....Spring is finally here, and although a day or two in May is usually miserable, for the most part, we can count on "outdoor" weather between now and mid October....and I am ready for it!

back later>>>>

Photos-The March/early April backyard flowers have moved on, and the late April/early May Flowers have arrived....now time to plant those that will come up in late Summer, including my favorites, the different samples of Sunflowers in all shades and sizes.....below one, complete with bee, from the Summer of 2010 in my back yard.
 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Bugs, Wind, Hockey Playoffs....

Despite skipping yesterday on the Blogging Circuit....I survived, and was back on the baseball diamond by yesterday afternoon.  I was at Botkins down a few miles on I-75, the only game south of Grand Lake, other than the District Tournament at Coldwater, that I have on my calendar this Spring season.   Cold Bug, Flu Bug, or whatever the Hell it is, is still with me...usually worse after coming home from umpire work, not so bad by the early afternoon, if I get a decent nights sleep...regardless, it sucks.

I have to say, the last 6 weeks, yes it has been 6 weeks today, since I got my carotid artery cut open and stint placed in the right side of my neck, have been pretty miserable.  Yes, I did get back out on the ball fields, probably too soon.  I resumed much of my usual activities, other than baseball, which included beer drinking, blogging around on the computer, and enjoying the outdoors, out my back door, when the weather was worth venturing outside.  But frankly, it just has not been the same.  The medications have made me tired, at least that is what I'm guessing is the cause, so I have not resumed my workouts in the basement weight room...I was, in my mind, was moving forward, feeling "ok", and not discouraged...until Monday evening, when I came down with "The Bug".  The smart thing would have been to shut down the games and stay home....that, if you know the workings of the contract system, is easier said than done.  Most nights, except perhaps Wednesday, you cannot find umpires that are qualified to work varsity games on short notice...sure I could stick the Athletic Directors with that task....but that's not me.  I've worked too many years and seasons to leave these guys holding the bag...I don't get the tournament and league assignments I do, because I can't be relied on...so I am pushing forward, "Bug" or no bug, and hopeful of a rain out for tomorrow, because it looks like the weather for Saturday is going to be awful.

At Fort Jennings tonight for a Putnam County League game with Kalida....then tomorrow a 10am single game(moved down from a double header) at Paulding vs Elida{not to be confused with Kalida}...40 degrees with rain showers are predicted at game time....now you know why I am rooting for a rain out.

The NHL Stanley Cup round #1 ends...Flyers move on vs New Jersey____

The first round of the NHL dragged on last night, as Flyer fans waited for their round two opponent to be named....we knew it would not be the Rangers, whether they won or lost.  When the New Yorkers pulled out a 2-1 regulation win over Ottawa in game 7 of their series it came down to Florida or New Jersey.  If Florida won, the series would open in Miami, if the Devils won game 7 on the road, they would open the Eastern Semi Finals in Philly.....it took 2 overtimes, but New Jersey pulled out a 3-2 win, after blowing a 2-0 lead in the 3rd period....so three teams from the same Atlantic Division, New York, Philadelphia, and New Jersey, will make up 3/4th of the Eastern Semis...joined by the Washington Capitols.  New Jersey and the Flyers are the last of the four series to start...Sunday at 3pm.on NBC.   Nashville and Phoenix kick the West off tonight in Arizona.


Here is a preview of the Flyers/Devils match up

http://flyers.nhl.com/index.html

Don't forget the Fort Wayne Komets____

While the NHL moves into the second round, in the long drawn out Stanley Cup Playoffs  ... The minor leagues don't  take nearly as much time.  And my favorite, since I was a kid,  the Fort Wayne Komets, have moved on to the finals of the CHL against the Wichita Thunder:

http://www.komets.com/

The Komets and their play-by-play announcer Bob Chase have been around since the early 1950s, and Fort Wayne is, year in and year out, the top attended minor league hockey team around.  This year was no exception, averaging 8000 fans per contest in the War Memorial Coliseum.

So that's my plan as I recover from "The Bug"..watch some Hockey, umpire some baseball, and hopefully watch the weather warm up....at least that is what they are saying...of course rain may come along with the warm as we move into May, what else can you expect.....perfect weather?  That's not going to happen in West Ohio....back later>>>>



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Bug Day 2....

Another wind blown outing, this one at Ottoville, yesterday afternoon...the hometown Big Green came back from a 4-1 deficit in the 6th inning to pull out a 6-5 win over visiting Lima Perry...scoring the final two runs with 2 outs in the bottom of the 7th.....

The wind was constant at 40mph out of the west and northwest....and did little good for the "bug" that has plagued me since Monday evening....I feel somewhat better today, after a rough night, but frankly if the approaching rains wash out tonight's game at Wayne Trace, I won't be disappointed.  No rainouts so far this season, and couple of those probably won't bother most of the coaches....the pitching has to be getting thin by this time of the season.

Looking ahead...I see the "High" temperature Saturday is only slated to be 45 degrees!!!  WTF?  Another date I would be more than a little happy to see canceled, this one at Paulding....umpiring in these conditions is anything but pleasant...and with the effects of the cold/flu or whatever the Hell "bug" I have, would be worse.

This morning the excitement is getting a haircut, followed by turning on The Big Ten Network and see oldest son Sam work the Women's Softball game at Ohio State.....that game begins at Noon Eastern Time...

OK, that's the short and boring of it....off to get those ears lowered....

back later>>>>

Photos-Worked a wind blown game for the 3rd time in a row, this one at Ottoville's Big Green yesterday....and Sam, seen here working a Ohio State Volleyball game, will be on The Big Ten Network doing women's Softball at Noon (EDT) today


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Bug....

Not sure if it's the flu or cold, but one thing for sure, it sucks....

A raw windy day on the ball diamond at Paulding yesterday, but other than some congestion I made it through the 2 hour game...a 8-2 win by visiting Ada, who had been beaten just last Thursday in a league game 42-4, giving up 25 runs in the first inning...they also were outscored 32-2 on Saturday in a double header.  The visiting Bulldogs jumped out early and won going away over the host Panthers...not without some complaining directed at me by the youthful Paulding coach however.  It did seem most of the close calls went against his team, but you know what?  You call them the way you see them, and I'm pretty sure I got all of them right....regardless of what he may have thought....besides, when you lose 8-2, those calls didn't make a hill of beans difference in the outcome.

After the game, on the way home...taking the back roads from Van Wert, I felt wore down from the constant 40mph winds that blew during the contest.  By the time I showered, had a bite to eat, and poured a beer, I knew something wasn't right...a couple hours later, I knew I probably had caught what my mom had...I stopped by her place yesterday and she was pretty much "out of it"....this morning I figured out that I had been messing around on her computer on Sunday, and most likely had picked up what she had, from the keyboard and mouse contact.

About 10 or 12 years ago, I had changed my eating habits, workout habits, and vitamin intake...and as a result, I have not had the flu since the beginning of the new century, and the handful of cold I had acquired, were the day long and mild variety....Not so with this one!  It's a full blow something...not sure it it's the flu or just a nasty head cold...but it sure stinks.

Game slated at Ottoville tonight....and I will probably try to work it, despite the way I feel...but I will be hitting the hay early....and let you know how it all goes tomorrow.

back later>>>>

Monday, April 23, 2012

And the Wind Continues......post season Baseball Assignments

Youngest son Hal flew into Buffalo yesterday afternoon, once step ahead of the major eastern storm that is heading towards the northeast....and will be driving into Toronto for a work related meeting today....it looks like he will be driving into some snow...April 23rd?

Having lived for a couple of years in the Mohawk Valley of Upstate New York, I know what April and May, even June can bring...so the snow of this week should come as no surprise up that way.  I can remember June 5, 1971, at Griffiss Air Force Base, when a C5A landed at the base, and I was assigned to provide security for that larger than life plane...June 5th it was, and it was a snowing....large, heavy, flakes, coming down on my security vehicle, and the two young Airman I had assigned to guard it the massive plane, on that day.....

The winter of 1970-71 was so cold and snow infested,  the piles of gritty, grimy, snow, stacked off the base runways didn't totally melt until early July...we had over 300 inches of snow that season, my first winter back from Vietnam...damn I hated that.   Hated it so much in fact, that I volunteered to go back to Vietnam and Southeast Asia..."Sure they said, if you'll extend your enlistment for another two years"...well that ended that...no way I was staying in the military any longer than I had signed up for.   So I was stuck in snowy Upstate New York for two winters.....

This winter past, and the month of March were well above normal temperature wise, and we received very little snow in this area of Ohio...the latter part of April it seems, will try to make up for some of that "nice" weather.  The wind has been a constant...and the once above normal temperatures have settled into the normal and a bit below normal range, we have however remained dry for the most part.

With this past Friday, a rare day off from baseball, I awoke early Saturday, knowing that I had a double header scheduled at Wayne Trace...a 9am double header to boot.  The rain from Friday, as light as it was, had ended, but the cloud cover stayed as I drove the 35 miles north to the windy diamond, located in Blue Creek Township of Paulding County.  The neon clock/temperature sign read 37 degrees when I passed though Van Wert on my way....it would stay cool and windy for the next 6 hours.  I worked the plate the first game, a 8-4 North Central win, and the gear helped me to stay warm....by the second game, this a 9-5 Pioneer victory, the temperatures had risen into the mid to upper 40s and a peek on occasion the sun would make....not comfortable conditions, but I have worked in worse.

This afternoon it's back to Paulding County, this time in the county seat of the same name...to work a NWC League game between the home standing Panthers and visiting Ada...hopefully the visiting Bulldogs don't start off like they did last Thursday, when Columbus Grove put up a 25 run first inning(an all time Ohio Varsity record), on their way to a 42-4 win....one of the most lopsided games in Ohio High School Baseball history....in these windy conditions, we don't need that.  I had Ada last Monday at Lincolnview, they lost, but it was actually a competitive game most of the way...hopefully today's will be likewise.

The Post Season....just around the corner____

Yesterday I checked my e-mail just after the noon hour, and saw a couple of messages from the Ohio High School Athletic Association...I clicked on it's website at myOHSAA, and saw three contracts up for the District Baseball Tournaments.  The District drive won't be far this year....as I am assigned to the Coldwater Division 4 District...just an eight mile drive.  May 16th and 18th, a Wednesday and Friday are the dates...and my partners are Garry, who I work often with during the regular season, and Big Ed from the St. Marys Association.  Ed has nearly 40 years of High School umpiring under his belt, and although we don't work a lot of spring baseball with each, we do work often in the Summer in ACME games....should be a good crew, and this District will  likely have several good teams, which probably will include the defending D4 State Champions from Minster, if they make it out of their own Sectional.

The three games in District will bring my total of post season assignments to six...with three sectionals, 2 at Lima Shawnee, and another at Convoy Crestview(whose sectional feeds into the Coldwater District)...this also will mark the 4 time in 5 years I have received a District Assignment{last year being the exception}...to go with the Regional assignments over the same years.....

Flyers Win!

My favorite hockey team, Philadelphia, moved on to round two, the Eastern Conference Semi Finals yesterday.  They knocked off hated rival, Pittsburgh, 5-1 to take the best of seven series 4 games to 2....The Penguins had entered the Stanley Cup Playoffs as favorites....but the prim dona Pens couldn't handle the rough and tumble Flyers, despite their efforts at "Gooning it Up"...55 goals in total were scored, and with scores like 10-3, 8-5, and 8-4, it hardly seemed like playoff hockey....but we will take it, as Philly awaits their next opponent, yet to be decided.

 Speaking of windy, this post was long winded enough today....so I will cut it loose for now...

 back later>>>>

Photos-The C5A...at that time in 1971, the largest of the fleet in the Air Force...Me in from of the Security Police living quarters in the winter of 70-71 at Griffiss AFB....some of the 300 inches of snow we received that season...my first back from Vietnam...The District Assignments are out, and I will be working the 3 man crew at Coldwater this year in Division IV....and the Philly Flyers move on!

Friday, April 20, 2012

A Rare Day Off from the Baseball Diamond

First thing I notice is that Blogger has, in baseball terms, tossed us a curveball....not sure what the Hell is going on with them changing the way you publish your work.....seems they just can't leave well enough alone...you won't notice it, when published, but it does affect the way it appears when I am working on the daily rant.

No Baseball Today.....

For the first time since the season began, at least my late starting season, I don't have a game....today and May 2nd are the only days, except Sundays, that I am off....I will use that time to clean up my equipment, and mow the lawn.

Yesterday, Sam coming home from Columbus, called and said he forgot his equipment for working behind the plate....and could I do the dish?  OK, so much for another day of the "easy" work...but the temperatures were great, middle 70s, and not much of a wind, plenty of sun, as we arrived for the Northwest Conference game at Allen East High School.  The pitchers were on, especially the young Freshman hurling for AE, and the home team defeated visiting Delphos Jefferson 4-1 in a well played game...both teams are very young, and will improve as time moves forward...a couple of close plays for Sam on the bases, nothing out of the ordinary for me, and despite a late start, we still finished up by 7pm and were on our way back to Celina.

While I am off today, Sam travels back to the Columbus area, and works a game at Jonathan Alter HS...tomorrow he has a round robin tournament double headed in the afternoon at Jackson Center, while I have that dreaded 9am prom cause beginning at Wayne Trace....some of that depends on the rain that is predicted for this afternoon and early tonight.  Thus that is why I want to mow the yard....temps after today won't get out of the 50s for the next three of four days. 


The Crazy World We Live In.....

I made the mistake of getting on facebook last night, after having a couple of beers...despite having 1800 or so "friends" on the list, the most vocal seem to be the liberals and atheist types that I attract to my "audience"....arguing with these fools used to be fodder for consuming a few minutes a day.  Now it has become a chore.  

To these folks, anybody that doesn't agree with their warped view of the world is either a racist, fool, or "fu*ked up" if they aren't Politically Correct, think all blacks get a raw deal{see Trayvon Martin}from "Whitey", believe in a divine being, or actually believe that books like the "Left Behind" series are read by people other than fools....no matter they are fiction, you just have to be an idiot if you  read that stuff...

Crazy bastards they are...living in their own little world, where mankind is king of the animal world, and liberals are the smartest of the creatures that inhabit this spear.  I invite these numskulls to live in the inner city, the African, South American, or Pacific wilderness...and even the shithole cities of Europe, and tell me just how enlightened the Liberal and Progressive world is....better yet, go visit their Goat Fornicating brothers in the Middle East....and tell me again, just how peaceful these people are....and my aren't they advanced?

OK...enough for today...things to do, and time to do it....enjoy your weekend.

back later>>>>


 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Class Reunions, Everyday is another Day....Race Baiting 101


Finally a day wearing short sleeves.....

Worked a non league varsity game at Delphos yesterday, St. Johns out of the MAC hosted Lima Bath out of the WBL....not many rain outs and both teams dug deep into their bullpens.  Surprisingly both hurlers pitched well, at least into the fifth inning, with the score at goose eggs 0-0 in the bottom of the first, host DSJ plated 3, and added six more in the 6th, to coast to a 9-0 win.  I worked the bases again, letting my partner, working his first game of the week, take the plate....same story tonight, with Sam coming from Columbus, we will head to Allen East, some 45 miles east and north to work a NWC game between the host Mustangs and visiting Delphos Jefferson.  Sam can have the dish, I'll take the bases, then with tomorrow nothing on the schedule{except thunderstorms}...I will mow the lawn early, and kick back the rest of the day, perhaps trying one of the hand rolled Cigars that Garry brought me back from his trip to New Orleans.

Saturday, with it appearing a prom night, our double header at Wayne Trace, begins at 9am!!! meaning I will have to pull out of the driveway about 7:45am...hopefully be done not too far past 1pm...but with the pitching stretched to a limit, you never know...it also looks like Saturday, if the fields are dry, might be a cold one.....lows in the 30s for Friday night/Saturday morning....brr... 

Facebook fiasco...Race Baiting 101

I have some 1800 "friends" on the social network Facebook...frankly most I wouldn't know from the Man in the Moon, if I ever met them....of those 1800, which rises and drops by a handful each day, depending on whom I piss off with my comments, or please with other rants, there are a dozen or so "left of center" types....some I know from the Vietnam groups, some from the local area, and a handful of left leaning family members ...there are other "moderate' types as well...the vast majority of course are hard rock Conservatives.

The few lefties that challenge our belief that Barack Obama is a "gay Marxist, Kenyan born, half breed, half witted, Islamic terrorist, child molesting, son of a Kansas whore"...have been getting real shrill of late.  Telling all of us that think Obammy should be shipped back to Africa, or better yet, hanged from a white Oak Tree for treason, if convicted of course....that we indeed are racists.  Never mind the fact that I despised Bill and Hillary equally to Barry and Moo~Shell, or the fact I despise political class of  liberals to the Nth degree, regardless of skin pigmentation...in their warped minds, we just have to be "Racist" because we aren't enlightened enough to worship their ebony skinned "Messiah"....

As I tell them, and will tell anybody that asks....I despise that SOB in the White House, in fact IMO, he is the racist, who is dividing this country by race, religion, and personal wealth...frankly I'm not sure why some of them hang around....not like they are going to convince me or other like minds, that their BS is legit?  But hang around they do....and I let them.  Perhaps they think if the can get me mad enough I will say something that appears "racist"....lol...screw that, I am sure I have done that many a time....let's be honest, we all are bigots/racists in one way or the other....anybody that believes otherwise is living in a fools paradise.  We may not want it to be that way....but it is, has been, and likely will be...even thousands of years down the road.  Even if and when we are a world of equally mixed races, there will something else to divide us.....and even though none of us will be around{unless you are into reincarnation} you can bet that will be the case.

45 year Reunion....

I receive in the mail last night a post card from some long forgotten, except by name, classmates of the graduating class of 1967 from Celina High School...telling me to "Mark Your Calenders" for October 6th...seems the CHS Class of 67 will be having a 45th reunion that date...damn does time fly.

I have attended exactly one reunion since they began some five years after we graduated...that was the 20th at the American Legion back in 1987....I planed on going to the 30th in 97, but was involved in a baseball tournament which ended late, and being hot, tired, and sweaty, I oped for a few cold beers on my front porch, instead of checking out the people I really didn't hang out with so many years before.  Will I go to this one?  Off hand I will probably not attend....I live in Celina, and really don't need to return to the hometown to see how all of us "hicks" are surviving in Dullsville, America.  But I might change my mind, after all, I have over 5 months to think about it....actually I thought if I survived until the 50th reunion, the herd would have been thinned enough that I might stand a few hours mingling with people with bigger waist lines and thinner hair lines than mine, whom I stopped seeing a couple of generations ago.

I see a few class members on occasion, still am friends, some here, some out of town, with a handful...but frankly, those days in high school, were the jumping off point for me of that life.  I have always felt more akin to the kids I went to Elementary and Junior High School in Venice, Florida,  than most of those I shared time with in Celina...and frankly I have more contact with most of them...via e-mail, facebook, and the blogs....but then again, October 6th is a long way in the future, I may change my mind.

back later>>>>

Photos-A few good warm days, then a cool down with some rain over the coming weekend in the Grand Lake region....Cigars, good Cigars, are a luxury....Garry brought me these back from his trip with wife Lisa to New Orleans....I have yet to smoke any due to the recent Carotid Surgery...but hopefully if the weather cooperates tomorrow, I might sit outside and finally fire one up...one cigar since October, and I could use a good smoke. Make no mistake who the real racists are....Obama, and his posse'...White Liberals are along for the ride, it goes hand in hand with them, those white liberals, being the most naive and dumbest sons a bitches on the planet...look no farther than Europe and see what a craphole it has become due to Political Correctness.  And the 45th Reunion at Celina is set for this fall.....will I go?  Probably not, but you learn never to say never.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!


That's the way I'm feeling today...beam me up Scotty!

Still gotta believe the Plavix and BP meds are mostly responsible for the tired feeling of late...if not the blood work next month will maybe shed some light on it....or maybe, the post surgery recovery is just slower than I hoped.

Last night's game, which I worked the plate, was at Ottoville against Leipsic ...the visitors, 14 wins and 1 loss on the season came out on top in a quick 1 hour 25 minute contest...the usual minor bitching about my strike zone, was about all I can remember, otherwise it was a smooth contest.  Gotta love the K zone bitching...guess they are not used to somebody with one my size....guess they better figure it out, because it's not getting any smaller.   "Swing the Gawd Damn Bat", I hate walk-a-thons....I think there was one walk last night, and I rang at least 8 or 9 batters up on called third strikes...once again..."Swing the Bat".

Tonight I work at Delphos St. Johns, a non league game with Lima Bath...my partner is out of Lima, 14 years experience, whom I have never worked with....which with that many years experience, is a surprise.  We are scheduled to work together later in the season, at Delphos, as well.  Tomorrow, Sam runs home from Columbus, and we will work a NWC game between Allen East and visiting Delphos Jefferson....off Friday, when the rains are scheduled to move in....if things are dry, I have a double headers at Wayne Trace on Saturday...At 9am!!!  I suspect it must be prom night for one or both schools....otherwise things wouldn't be teeing off that early.

Think I'll head out and get some sun...and try to wake up.

back later>>>>

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

April in Ohio, and the Wind Blows...

Yesterday was brutal, weather wise, at least....

The overnight rains, which didn't amount to much after the front crossed the Indiana line into Ohio, ended about 9am yesterday, and the sun made it's effort to shine through swiftly moving clouds.  The wind picked up, and by the time Garry and I headed for Lincolnview High School, the wind machine had picked up speed, and was blowing at a constant 40mph with gusts higher.  It would make for an "interesting" day on the ball diamond.

Lincolnview is located between Van Wert and the small village of Middle Point, Ohio....the school is located just south of the "Ridge", which is the ancient sand mounds that once marked the beach of Lake Erie, many millions of years ago...anyway it is flat and usually windy.  With the fierce winds of yesterday coming from the west, it seemed those winds were as bad as I had ever done a ball game in, over all these years, even stronger than last Monday at Wayne Trace.

Garry had the plate, and we discussed "The Infield Fly Rule" with the coaches before the game....no way there was going to be anything resembling a "routine fly ball"...and we ended up with a couple of them early on...we called no "infield fly balls" despite there being several...the winds were that bad.  Fortunately the temperatures, while not warm, were in the low 60s dropping to the upper 50s by games end, so at least we didn't freeze.  The game itself took a bit over 2 hours with the home team winning in 6 innings 15-5, after trailing going into the bottom of the third by a score of 5-2
  

April in Ohio, always an adventure.....

April, with the exception of the usually bitter January, is probably my least favorite month weather wise in Western Ohio.  Sure the weather for the most part has stopped snowing, and the freezes are less...but if it isn't raining, the wind is howling, the temperatures fluctuating between 30 and 80, with most days just not being that pleasant.  So despite being out umpiring baseball or mowing, etc...the conditions nearly always leave something to be desired.  May comes and things start to settle down...but April, that month, is usually a disappointment.   You think Spring, but you get a mix of winter, fall, and on occasion a bit of good weather, but those days are few and far between....yesterday's howling winds were a prime example.

Today will be a better day...low 60s, the winds have died down, and plenty of sun.....I work the plate at Ottoville tonight with one of the young up and coming umpires...who also coaches the Lima Legion Summer team...tomorrow at Delphos St. Johns, then Thursday Sam comes north from Columbus, and we will work together at Allen East, if the rains stay away for a few more days...

This morning I will head to mom's to mow.....while the weather is agreeable....

By the way....minus Reagan the Airedale, the house is still very quite....

back later>>>>

photo-Wind Turbines numbering in the hundreds are scattered around Van Wert and Paulding Counties in the flatlands of Western Ohio....some, just a stones throw from the ball diamonds at Lincolnview, Antwerp, Wayne Trace, and Crestview, High Schools.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Quiet House.....

We have went through an amazing streak so far this spring..nary a game rained out....which in part makes up for the games and scrimmages I had to give up early, after the Carotid Artery surgery, just over 4 weeks ago.  In fact the surgery was a month ago, on March 16th, my 63rd birthday.  Since then, the health has improved, the voice has improved, but a long way to go still remains....a month after surgery, I still have some issues....however, I believe some, if not most of those, are due to the prescription meds that I am now consuming on a daily basis....and I don't like it...however, I will stay the course, for now.

Speaking of rains and games....

Rather than the usual double header on Saturday at Noon time, my game was a single, pushed back to 2pm due to the schools and state having ACT/SAT tests on Saturday morning.....

Rain hung around the area, and after getting the game started near the 2pm starting time, we made it to the fifth inning...Crestview on top 4-0 over visiting Ottoville, we stopped play, and finally called it quits about a half hour later.  It was considered a complete game, so the seasons personal record, for me, remains intact.  More rain this morning, but not sure it will be enough to cancel the game at Lincolnview...Garry and I are schedule for a NWC league game there tonight vs Ada....the sun has come out, and a the wind has picked up, possibly giving the fields time to dry...we will see.

Reagan the Airedale 1998-2012

As I headed home from Convoy late Saturday afternoon, my thoughts turned to our old Airedale, Reagan the Roo....the latest in a long line of Airedales that Patricia and I had raised since even before we were married.  Rags was our first purebred Airedale{our family had one that was a mixed Airedale back in the 1960s}, we purchased her just after Christmas on December 27, 1975....we have had at least one, usually more, for the past 36+ years.

Reagan, approaching 14 years old, ancient by Airedale Terrier standards, had slowed down over the past year or two, and frankly, as I have blogged here, I knew her days were numbered...she had went down hill in a swift manner over the past week, and my only question was, would she pass on her own, or would we have to take matters on our own....I always hope for the former, most of our dogs, when it is time, have went quietly and seemingly without pain, on their own.

When I got home, Patricia said Reagan was not doing well, laying on carpets in the back "mud rood" as we called it....Hal and Lisa's dogs, visiting us for the week, had done their best to ignore the sleeping larger dog, and she barley knew they were around....

Patricia had to get some items, and left for the stores....I walked into the back room, where Reagan was having labored breathing...I patted her, said a few words, and she took one last deep breath, I touched her head, she took a small jump with her head....and stopped breathing.  

Our oldest Airedale, 13 years 9 months, and 8 days, had passed away.  That was Saturday...Patricia went out and purchased new throw rugs to go across the living room hard wood floors, we cleaned, rather she cleaned, those floors, and dug a resting spot for Reagan in the area with the flowing Raspberry Bush area of the back yard, a area frequented during here long life, in dog years, often.  

Yesterday Hal, back from a business trip in Denver, brought the grandson "The K-man" with him from Centerville, to pick up their dogs...he took us out to lunch, along with Anissa, at "CJs" as payment for watching the pups....when they had left, I settled down and watched the Philadelphia Flyers take a 3/0 lead in the best of 7 Stanley Cup opener over hated Pittsburgh and the Prima Donna Penguins....the house, even the cat noticed, was empty and quiet.


The Quiet House____

The cat, probably 12 years old herself, is never underfoot...and she and Reagan managed to live pretty much ignoring each other over the years....on occasion in her younger years, Reagan would engage her{Airedales and cats are notorious enemies}...but they lived in the same house without major conflict.  Now the cat, almost never underfoot, managed to get herself stepped on, not once, but twice...once by Patricia and then later by me...seems she realized that the house was going to be pretty empty, without the 75 pound Airedale no longer around,  she will be stuck with only humans around to interact with...

I really noticed early this morning, with Patrica headed back to work...just how empty the place would be without Reagan.  Even though without her being that active over the past several months, she was still around, and needed to be tended to....

I found myself heading to the back door to let her out....before catching myself, realizing that there would be no more need for that....the cat has her 'sand box' in the basement, and never ventures outside.  No there will be no more need to get up at 3am to let the old Airedale out, because, like me, she could no longer make it an entire night without needing to relieve herself...those days are gone, now my only excuse for getting up in the middle of the night, will be to relieve myself.

We settle now for having no Airedales in the house or yard for first time in over 35 years...and for now, we will go dog less....the cat, being an indoor one, will probably live another handful or more years.  Will we get another dog?  Perhaps, will it be another Airedale?  Perhaps...but for now, we have no plans to do that...we will go on without a dog....Airedale, Mutt, or Other.

The Quiet House however, will take some time to get used to.....

Good Bye Reagan...Rest in Peace:   Born July 6, 1998  Died April 14, 2012

back later>>>>

Photos-Reagan through the years.....

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday April 13th....looking back

A Friday April the 13th is upon us....cannot say anything bad about it...youngest son Hal was born back in 1984 on a Friday the 13th...which happened to be his Grandmother, my Mom's 60th BD...so as Hal turns 28 today, Mom turns 88...

Speaking of that date, it was the day that Pete Rose, wearing a Montreal Expo uniform, not a Reds or Phillies, got his number 4000 hit....he would break the record in a Reds uniform some 17 months later in Cincinnati.

An early riser.....

I have been up since 2:30 or so this morning....old Reagan had issues through the night, and once I took care of the aging Airedale, entering her last days, I tried, but failed, to get back to sleep....fruitless it was, and I got back out of bed, showered and ate an early breakfast...at 4:30am.  It will be a long day as I am not much for naps.  This afternoon I am back to Van Wert for the second straight day, as VW takes on Kenton, in a WBL match up.  Last night, the host Cougars, beat perennial power Coldwater 12-1 in five innings....probably one of the few times the Cavs have been run ruled in many years...I certainly cannot recall the last time that happened.  Tomorrow, if the predicted rains stay away, I have a single game at Crestview at 2pm...a late start due to SAT or ACT Tests in the state.

Last nights contest did see me work my third straight game behind the plate....and it seems that I am getting much more comfortable with the new helmet mask and extra protection it affords me, after the recent Carotid Surgery....the worst wound so far this season, in my five games behind the plate, was on Tuesday night, when I took a fastball off the catcher's glove on my left wrist....that still is swollen, but not broken.

Lake Photography....


With the early rise, I did get out and snap a few photos around the lake....much of it was the same old stuff, making me think that I have to find a few new spots come this summer to shoot photos in and around Grand Lake....some of this mornings are attached on today's blog.

We are still watching Hal and Lisa's pups.....they will pick them up on Sunday, as for Reagan, if she survives until then, I will have to make a painful decision soon thereafter.....she cannot go on like this.  She doesn't appear to be in pain, but she is losing her functions and not eating much.

enjoy your weekend.....back later>>>>

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Bloggers Come and Bloggers Pass On....

Good Bye Sarge.....

I jumped on this "blogging" some five years ago, well it will be five full years this July.  Not knowing if I had the time or writing skills to embark on the journey, but determined to do the best I could to jot down my thoughts and photos...a daily diary of sorts.  Never did I imagine that within a few years I would be receiving 4000 to 5000 visits and nearly 7000 page views per month.  Nothing world shattering, but still not bad in the blogging world, especially for someone with no real agenda, and whose posts range far and wide from the insipid to the down right boring...although I admit to slacking off much of late, to baseball and personal health issues.

In the beginning.....

When I started in July of 2007, I picked out several people, some with common interests, others not so much, that were blogging, and had been successful to that point in time.  They included a photographer from New Zealand named David, a retired Air Force guy living in a trailer/camper in New Mexico, named Buck....another former Vietnam Air Force Cop from Tennessee, Mushy, a good old Texas boy going by the name Fat Hairy Bastard.  There was Lin living in New Mexico, Cookie, a retired Seabee and Cop from Upstate New York, Shrinky from across the Atlantic, living on a small island off the British Coast...The Hermit from the North Georgia woods, also from Georgia a women named Deb, Ron Simpson from Oklahoma, a re-settled farm boy from Indiana named Jerry, and a conservative from Delaware, Ohio, but living in Illinois..and who could forget "Bruno" the larger than life personality from the boot heel of Missouri, or Guy, who at that time lived near my brother Mike in Homosassa, Florida.  And then there was Sarge Charlie, a patriot, and fellow Vietnam Veteran, who spent his time between homes in Georgia and Florida, but loved more than anything it seemed, taking long cruises with his wife Bee, and family.

Where have they all gone?

Out of the small group of bloggers I started with...some still blog on a daily basis, Buck does for sure...I do most days, others like Mushy, FHB, Shrinky, Cookie, do so semi weekly or once in awhile.  Others like Lin, David the Photographer, and more, have stopped blogging, but we keep in contact via e-mail...some like Deb, Guy, Jerry, Mushy, FHB, and Ron are on my facebook page...Hermit, the Georgia Mountain Dweller, decided a little information was too much for a corrupt Government, so he cut ties with the Internet and Blogging scene altogether....and seems to have disappeared into thin air.

I admit, I don't stop by my "Blog Buddies" as I have them listed on my e-mail page, as often as I used to.  I prefer to write 4 or 5 days a week, it usually takes an hour, and then I stop by facebook for another hour or so....and then I get the Hell of the computer, too much is a bad thing.  So I sadly admit to not having checked in with fellow Vietnam Veteran and fellow Conservative Patriot, Sarge Charlie in a couple of months, when last night I decided to check in and see his latest.


To my shock and sadness, his latest post was listed as January 29, 2012>>>>

http://sargecharlie.blogspot.com/

I had last commented on the Sarge Blog a few days earlier.....Sarge it appeared had beaten his battle with cancer, but it seems the Big C has the last say...I should have known, Sarge was known for stopping by on occasion and dropping me a comment and some encouragement....

Sarge was a Christian, a Vietnam Veteran, and a Patriot....God Rest his Soul:

So what do I do now?

One thing for sure....I plan on going back and checking in on those that still blog....and over the next few days or week, telling them all, that I still consider them friends that help get me started and kept me going in this "Blogging" thing.

For those that have the time and inclination, check out the right side of my blog and make it a point to visit a few of my blogger friends.  It is amazing how much changes in a few short years....most are not doing or living the same as they were when I got started back in July of 2007...time and lives change and end, in the blink of an eye.

Photos-Sarge Charlie American Patriot, passed away in late January, I'll miss his wit and his writings....other early bloggers I "met" on line included Paul "Mushy" Mashburn a fellow Vietnam Air Force sky cop and VSPA member, The Fat Hairy One, who I met in person on a couple of occasions, this one with his lady Denise at a restaurant in Dayton in 2008, and retired Air Force goy Buck Pennington, who has moved form his camper in New Mexico to a real home, since I began blogging in July 2007...Buck and I share the love of a good cigar, and a good dark beer.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

"Normal" April....Weather and Baseball

They, The Weather Channel and others, were calling for mostly sunny, windy, and cool, conditions yesterday, high in the low 50s...not a pleasant day, but more so than what it ended up being.  As I headed towards Lima Temple Christian School on the north end of Lima, the early sun had changed to a cloud cover, and the incessant winds had increased into the 30 to 40mph range...it was not going to be a pleasant day on the diamond.  Arriving at about 4:25, some 35 minutes before game time, I waited for my partner, Denny, who hails from Lima, to arrive....once the veteran umpire arrived, it was decided I would work the plate...for only the third time in my 15 games to date.  Even with my surgery, and the issues that the neck/artery wound had presented, I felt the need to get behind the plate...and frankly the idea of wearing the extra gear in the bitter cold seemed a pretty good idea.

The game, played between the host Temple Pioneers and visiting Hardin-Northern, was played in cloudy weather, with a strong wind blowing straight in from Center Field, and some snow flurries, which arrived by the 3rd inning...lasted about 2 hours, as HN came away with a 7-2 win.  And while I took no shots off my full face mask, I did manage to take a strike off the catcher's glove straight on my left wrist....and while it was not a fracture, it did swell to the size of a baked potato by game's end.  Yes indeed, welcome back...wind, cold, snow, and a shot off some part of my body.....now that's the spring baseball I am used to!

It does indeed seem that Mother Nature, not to let us feel too good about the warm winter, and very warm March....it in the mood for some payback weather.  By the time I left the ballpark, just after 7pm...the temperature on the neon sign at the combination school/church read 37 degrees...I suspect the chill factor was close to 20.  My wrist throbbed and I was ready to put some ice on it, and down a couple of cold ones, after the 35 mile drive home.

Tonight I will once again don my new full helmet mask, with my personal makeshift neck guard, which goes hand-in-hand with the regular factory neck/throat guard....still aware that I am less than four weeks out of major surgery....last night, although nothing came close to my neck area, still reminded me that the days that I went behind the plate free of most concerns, are long gone.  The question is, can I still do the job good enough, despite the concerns?  I did note last night, despite having a game that was free from complaints, that I was still concerned that the neck/throat was fully protected...with the plate tonight and again tomorrow at Van Wert, hopefully those concerns will be somewhat abated....frankly though I have to believe, this season will be different than years past...especially due to personal concerns.

Going to the Dogs______


In addition to a full week of baseball....I am "dog sitting" with Hal and Lisa's mixed breed Schnauzer pups....Avery and Kameron....we will have them until Sunday, which adds much action to the house.  Old Reagan, sadly is not doing well, and for the most part avoid and ignores the noisy duo, as does the cat. Reagan is nearing the end....the Airedale is now an amazing 13 years 9 1/2 months old....but sadly, won't likely make it to 14....but as it is, she has outlived, and much longer than any of the many Airedales we have raised.....

So that's the story of my week, weather and baseball, getting back to normal, and pup sitting....back later>>>>

Photos-Although the snow at Lima yesterday was nowhere this heavy, the lite snow along with the strong winds make for uncomfortable conditions...The wrist as it looked this morning, the swelling is down, but I can still "feel it"...in addition to the full face hockey mask, with factory throat guard....I have added my own for more protection, but even with this, there are no guarantees, just like in most things in this life.  And Avery(bottom) and Kam, Hal and Lisa's dogs are here for the week, adding some additional spice to my somewhat retired life.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Baseball and "The Hawk"{aka, The Wind Howls}....

Blue Creek Baseball and the Wind....

One thing you can usually, almost always, count on in Blue Creek Township, up in Paulding County, is the wind will be blowing strong when you arrive for a baseball game.  Yesterday was no exception, in fact the wind was about as strong as I have seen it up that way....not gusty, but a constant blowing wind at the 30 to 40 mph range.  At least the sun was out and the temperature, at least when we got started was in the upper 50s or so.
   

Baseball, Rules and BS....


April it seems, after the warm winter and very warm beginning to baseball season has reverted to "normal"...windy and a mix of mild and not-so-mild days.  Yesterday, my 3rd game involving Western Buckeye League's Ottawa-Glandorf Titans was played in anything buy pleasant conditions...it was also my third game with O-G in the past week, all on the bases...the old saying that "familiarity breeds contempt" was starting to ring true by the time the 12-1 Titan win, in about 2 1/2 hours, ended.

Wayne Trace spotted O-G a 7-1 lead early, held on long enough to keep the game to a full seven innings {rather than getting run ruled} before giving up a 5 spot in the top of the 7th to make the final 12-1.  In addition to the wind, which caused it's own problems, there were a couple of situations that brought conflict with umpires and coaches.  The first one was that the veteran Raiders coach, who was their skipper back in the 1970s through early 90s, and decided to return this season, decided to "appeal" a runner leaving early...which he, the runner, didn't, to try to prove a point.  I guess that he knew more than the umpires, or more likely to show them up.  Not a good thing....he finally brought out the NBF Rule Book to "prove" his point between innings...which didn't need proven, the call was what it was and it wasn't changing...so my only guess is that he wanted to show his players he know more than the umpires...His Point?  Hell if I know?....the runner didn't leave early, but don't bring the freaking rule book out on me....especially if you want to show me a page with a rule that has four different interpretations.....That is something I put in my memory banks, like an old elephant, I don't forget when someone is trying to "prove a point, or show me up".

Infield Fly Rules when "The Hawk" howls...

The second pissing match, albeit mild, came when with runners on first and second and nobody out for O-G, the batter popped one high in the wind on the infield....this would be a normal "infield fly rule" situation....not so today, with the wind, and we had discussed it with the coaches before hand.  I pointed skyward to my partner Brett, that this would likely be a "Infield Fly", with runners advancing at their own risk....I waited till the last second and called "Infield Fly", the Wayne Trace first baseman promptly let the ball fall to the ground{not on purpose}....didn't matter, the batter was out, the runners, on their own, took off.  I watched the runner heading for second, Brett took the runner attempting to go to third.

Here comes the coach from WT...I stopped him at the first base line....in no mood to argue this call.  He came out anyway...now I'm pissed off for a second time....

I pointed to Brett, he calls the runner out at 3rd, saying he was tagged before he reached the base....O-G not happy....frankly the entire play was a cluster fox trot....but we got it right.  Now the assistant coach on Ottawa yells at Brett that it wasn't his call...."Oh yes it was"....the plate umpire always takes the lead runner in that situation.  This resulted in mistake #2 for O-G followed quickly by mistake #3.  The basic rule now days in High School baseball....The assistant coaches need to shut up and coach...they don't argue the calls.  I don't mind giving some leeway, but I'm not taking any guff...as I walk back to my position, the first base coach yells at me..."you have to be more vocal"...now given the fact my of my recent surgery and the fact that this coach knows my voice is somewhat conflicted, him knowing the fact, along with the wind, really pisses me off.  I yell at him that I know my voice is screwed up, but still loud enough, even with the wind, so stow the comments.  After that things settled in, and the rest of the game went somewhat more smoothly...

I was actually pleased that I didn't fly off the handle and set somebody on the bench....but more than a bit pissed off that my voice is still not 100%....and even more so that a coach would try to use that as an issue, given the wind and conditions, and the fact that my partner heard my call loud and clear.  I hate "Red Herrings" and crap like that also goes in my memory banks.   I don't hold grudges, but I do remember when someone tries to pull BS on me....it's all a matter of checks and balance.  Having played, coached, and umpired this game for over 55 years, it's not a stretch to say, I've seen and heard just about all there is, but on occasion something new does come along.

"The Hawk" in years past.....

Over 40 years ago, while in the Air Force, working security at Dover AFB, Delaware, we security guys were well versed in the lingo of "The Hawk"....it was the term, not so fondly, we used for the wind that howled down and around the Nuclear Storage Mounds on the outer perimeter of the base that the Security Police guarded.  That winter of 1968-69, was a cold and windy winter by east coast standards...just my luck. 

That fall and winter that saw Richard Nixon elected President, was my first touch of Air Force life and my first taste of "humping" the outer reaches of air bases and around aircraft parked with nukes on the out edges of Dover....I knew right then and there, that four years would be the extent of my Air Force time....the duty, the lifers, the weather, and the assorted Chicken Shit, were not in my future nor in the way I could live my life.  I never did take well to being ordered around, or having to be somewhere, cut my hair, or listen to some asshole with a room temperature IQ telling me what to do, can you read this Jack Adkins? and how to do what I didn't like doing.

Anyway the wind, much like the wind in the homestead county of my Great Grandparents, Blue Creek Township, was something I came to remember about a place in time...."The Hawk" always brings a memory or two from my past years and life.

Dodge City was another place that I called "home" for a short while back in 1979-80, that had a constant wind....most days the southwest prevailing "Hawk" would blow in excess of 30 mph by the time the clock rolled around to the afternoon.  In the summer however, that wind, rather than cooling things down, served more as  a blast furnace...blowing the hot dry 100 plus degree heat around with the prairie tumbleweeds....

Dodge City, Kansas, Dover, Delaware, and Blue Creek Township, Paulding County, Ohio....three places I have lived that 'The Hawk" was a constant.....

 back later>>>>

Photos-The Winter of 1968-69 At Dover Air Force Base...down in the bowels of the Nuke Storage Area...hiding from "The Hawk"....Blue Creek Township, located in southern Paulding County, Ohio, is dead center in the middle of the old Black Swamp, and home to as flat of land as you'll find, windmills, and the strong wind that drives them...Jack Gates and Ron Turcotte, two fellow Sky Cops who worked the wind and hills of "the mounds" at Dover...and Front Street in Dodge City, Kansas, where, like Dover and Blue Creek Township, the wind is always a constant.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Weekend 2012

Just a quickie today....

Sam and worked a JV double header here in Celina on Saturday...Celina JV vs Sidney, and Celina came out on top 10-0 and 10-1, while the varsity was sweeping a twin bill down in Sidney.  Tonight I am at windy Wayne Trace up in Paulding's Blue Creek Township, where my Great Grandparents settled some 150 or so years ago....the weather says it will be windy, but then again it is always windy on the flatlands of Blue Creek Township.  I will work the bases...still easing into the plate work, have done two so far....and will likely work a couple this week...but still not 100% with the voice or throat.

After the games Saturday, we headed over to sister Marty's and husband the other Pat in the family and their place.   All 3 of my kids were there, along with mom, Mike, grandson "The K-Man". and most of Marty's family, except for Mikki who lives out in So Cal.....

Here are some photos of the day.....

Me and the "K-man",  Kasyn and Luke his second cousin, Great Grandma Houseworth and Kasyn, and Hal, Lisa, and Kasyn....

Friday, April 6, 2012

Tonight At San Diego...The Battle of the West(Western Ohio That Is}

I survived another game on the bases last night...this one at Van Wert, in Western Buckeye League action.  Visiting Ottawa Glandorf, with MLB scouts from various teams in attendance, looking at their top ranked Ohio High School catcher, defeated the homestanding Cougars 7-2.  Garry did the plate, and I froze out on the bases. I now have 10 games under my belt...9 on the bases, still not confident to work behind the plate with my recent surgery.

I have to admit, with the lack of plate work{I usually work 70-75% of games behind the dish}I am gaining a new appreciation for the bases...and frankly I am, after all of these years, getting more aware out there.  So, like it or not, I am having a learning experience.

 Tomorrow, Sam will be home and we will work a double header here in Celina...a JV double...I rarely work JV games, but will on the weekends or an occasional Wednesday, when most teams take the night off.  Sam will work the first game behind the plate....and I will do the second, with a air filled sac between my full face hockey mask and my carotid artery scar....still not quite sure this is what I should be trying, but just as determined to do it....knowing I have never been hit there in all my years of umpire work.

The Battle of Western Ohio.....in Southern California.

Two young MLB National League Pitchers will face off tonight in San Diego.  Nothing new there, but what makes this so unusual is that not only are they up and coming starters for their respective teams, San Diego and the LA Dodgers, they are both from my neck of the woods in Western Ohio.  And to add to that, both of these pitchers are men that I umpired behind the plate when they pitched back in their high school and American Legion baseball days.


http://sandiego.padres.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2012_04_06_lanmlb_sdnmlb_1&mode=preview&c_id=sd

 Cory Luebke spent three years at Ohio State after graduation from Maria Stein Marion Local High School....Cory had his break out season last year, and has just signed a new long term contract with the Padres.  Chad Billingsley took another route.  After graduation and being drafted by the Dodgers organization...he signed and immediately went into the LA Minor League Farm System.  He was on the fast track and in a couple of years had moved into the Dodger starting rotation.  Chad slipped a bit last season, but appears to be back on track after a fine spring.   In addition to me umpiring these guy's games back in the day...youngest son Hal was Cory's summer coach for a season at Marion Local during the ACME Season, and he faced Chad Billingsley's team in Summer and Spring ball, as they were in the same league, the Western Buckeye League.

So here it is...two of three MLB Pitchers I worked when they were in High School, the other is Jon Niese, also out of Defiance, who hurlers for the Mets....and there is another from our area, North Star, Ohio.  Craig Stamman, who is on the staff of the Washington Nationals....admittedly though I never worked a game where he was pitching back in his days at Versailles High School.  So four young men, from the flat lands of western Ohio are making their living pitching....all in the National League....another from Ottawa Glandorf may be joining them as a catcher, not far down the road.

Speaking of oldest son Sam....here is a sample of his work with the Big Ten Network last night...majoring in Actuarial Science, he is still doing much of his work at the Ohio State College Sports scene....check out the second video on this Big Ten Report as he and his color chick wrap up the Ohio State Men's Volleyball win over Grand Canyon(Az):


http://btn.com/2012/04/05/thursday-video-roundup/

The same two squads face each other tonight...then Sam heads home for Easter and a double header with the old man tomorrow.

That is the late and short report for this Good Friday afternoon...I wish you all a Happy and Blessed Easter.


back later>>>>

Photos-Cory Luebke, Chad Billingsley, and then there is me....who had the opportunity to call balls and strikes when both pitched back in their high school days.