All Eyes on Detroit

by on April 5th, 2012 in Uncategorized | No comment

Tonight was the eve of the Major League opener, another summer of baseball and 162 games of regular season baseball finally beginning to commence again.

Last season’s champs, the St. Louis Cardinals, took on a relocated team playing in a brand new ballpark, Miami’s Marlins Field. A fresh start for all of us, and yet time-honored tradition and nostalgia filled the Florida air.

The game started and the visiting team took the early lead, playing the game within a game that I have grown to love. Long summer nights were spent in Algonac, Michigan, where my mother was raised and where we would visit my grandparents, many weekends in my youth spent reeling in perch and bluegill by day and personally retreating to close of the weekend game, overhearing the revelry of my elders by night, as they would sit around the dining room table taking turns dealing cards in another game that I barely knew and never mastered; they call it Pinochle, and to this day the fundamentals of its scoring and strategy elude me.  But those evening baseball scores captivated me entirely.

And in 1984, we were blessed that summer with a truly tremendous team in the Detroit Tigers.  I can still recall with absolute clarity the opening sequence against the San Diego Padres, and Kirk Gibson’s inside-the-park home run, racing to third base on a ball hit into the corner, and an errant throw which sent him rounding the plate to home plate.

But tonight, the familiar chorus of baseball and the fresh start of a new season drew me home.  Not entirely focused on the play by play action, mind you.  I knew the opening game of the 2012 season was in progress and for the first hour I was preoccupied from turning my full attention to it.  I turned the game on to find out the Cardinals were ahead 3-0.  Sufficient for an update, but later and seven full innings into the first game of the season, the visiting pitcher had kept the home team from connecting for its first hit?  Now suddenly this was captivating.  Was it possible that a pitcher throw a no-hitter on opening day?  And had this ever happened in the hundred plus years of baseball tradition?  My imagination was preoccupied all over again with statistics and years of historical hardball legend.

Mind you, I read a book one summer on baseball trivia, and my life was possibly never the same.  And only one pitcher before had ever thrown the fabled no-hitter on opening day.

Do you remember your first your “dream job”?  The vocation which would never feel like a day of work, because you were living every day as if it were a constant joy, with none of the daily chore we so often find ourselves tasked?

For me growing up, my earliest dream was to be a baseball statistician.  And I mean that with utmost seriousness.  I entertained no goals of becoming a left-handed starting pitcher or the ace reliever for the Tigers, and short stop was always out of the question for a lefty like me.  No, there was really no question for a mathematically able yet athletically challenged kid like myself, statistician was the gift of my calling.

With my weekly allowance, I would bike down to our local 7-11 convenience store and buy packs of Topps and Dunlop baseball cards, hoping to unwrap a favorite player.  Several of which I have photographed here, including none other than Sparky Anderson, the manager of that ’84 Tigers team, and their ace reliever, Willy Hernandez.

This season, I was invited to participate in a league of fantasy baseball (my first foray into the world of fantasy sports).  The departure of a previous fantasy manager afforded me the #1 overall draft pick, and try as I might to resist, the allure of Miguel Cabrera was simply too great.

Could it be that 2012 will once again be the Year of the Tiger?  God willing, I’ll be watching tomorrow at 1pm as Detroit takes on the Boston Red Sox, and what will hopefully be the first win of another Dream Season.

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Her Name is Laika

by on March 25th, 2012 in Uncategorized | No comment

Yesterday we brought home a beautiful, sweet girl named Adele.

She’s a German Shepherd, with hints of Malamute ears and a blue tongue like an Akita.  We know she had puppies almost 4 months ago, and she is a little shy of 4 years old, herself.

She comes running when we call her or simply snap our fingers, but we’re not completely sure she recognizes the name Adele any more than Laika, which we’ve both taken to calling her.

Regardless of the name, her disposition won us over.  My wife has been patiently waiting to bring home such a creature ever since we lost her dog, Duncan, a few months ago.  That dog she found roaming freely in a park called Duncan Woods, and lived by that name for the ten years that they shared together.

Personally, this is the first time that I’ve signed papers and adopted a dog.  And while apprehension would have kept me second guessing any decision until non-decision ultimately won out, my wife’s determination prevailed in the end.

There will never be perfect timing.

We were planning a trip downstate for Dad’s birthday next weekend, knowing full well that any dog would be well matched by their three-pack of cats (themselves a rescue litter found days old in a woodpile built by my grandparents at their house, years ago).

And later next month, a week-long trip to Asheville, NC with dear friends who know that part of the country well.  Marilyn and I have not taken a week away from work since our honeymoon last June, so understandably there’s concern over kenneling a dog or leaving her with friends or relatives so soon after making her a part of our lives.

Or the fact that we’re both working parents who will leave her home 5 days a week, returning to her patiently waiting to chase the ball or drag us around the neighborhood as we have so many times already since bringing her home, just yesterday.

Last night both the dog and I slept like dogs, worn out from our first day together.  We learned she is strong enough to pull a sleigh by herself (thus the malamute blood, and what about those ears!) and she is no stranger to chasing a ball.

Nor is she afraid to get into a car with a stranger.  But she is here to stay, and we look forward to many long walks to come and new adventures together.

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Before the Internet…

by on March 2nd, 2012 in Uncategorized | One comment

March came in like a lion this year. Last Friday night we all waited for a storm to blow through which before it was over would dump over a foot of wet, heavy snow onto the surrounding trees, which in turn would break and drop several large pine boughs onto and through the mess of life lines connected to our home. Power inevitably returned, but it would be a few days before the cable company could reconnect the line running from the telephone pole out back, spanning over a hundred feet to our house.

It was the last major storm of the season, we all hope around here. But with downed power lines and our heat having been knocked out, my wife and I began thinking about the projects we could accomplish in the meanwhile.

I used to spend so many evenings writing in an unlined journal for months overseas, before returning home and the World Wide Web really became so much a part of my every day life, and it dawned on me (without an internet connection) that it was time to bring them both together, and to use this wonderful WordPress technology to get back in the habit of writing.

Which is why I hope to begin using this platform as an excuse, somewhat ironically, to write more.

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