March 23, 2000
In Moby Dick, Captain Ahab had his white whale. He battles the great whale in a life long struggle. In Diamondbacks lore, my white whale is Matt Williams. I have been attempting for the past few months to get a picture of Matt without his hat on. Given he is folicly challenged, a picture of Matt without his hat would save me countless hours while creating a Chia head for him. I have seen Matt at golf tournaments, at parades, even around town. I have even spoken with him and asked for a picture with his hat off. Each time, he has eluded me. Today, the Arizona Diamondbacks are in Phoenix to play the San Diego Padres at Peoria Sports Complex. The quest for the picture drove me to leave work early and make my way to the ballpark, my camera in hand. I got there early for batting practice. With my camera glued to my eye, I followed the players around snapping shots that will soon become part of the web site. I took pictures of Travis Lee and Jay Bell, Tony Womack and Greg Colburnn. Damian Miller even stopped to sign autographs for the kids and let me take a few pictures. As practice ended, so did my roll of film. I watched as Matt left the field to get ready for the game. I unloaded my camera with plans to start another roll. When I got in my bag, I found I had just shot the last roll. Given that I had already taken 36 pictures at the game, I decided to put the camera away and enjoy the game.
Continue reading ‘Tracking the Neverending Forehead’ »
March 22, 2000
There are times that I wonder what I did before the Internet. Today happened to be one of those days. My normally reliable Internet connection decided it needed a break from the constant surfing and went walk-about for the better part of the day. This left me the technological equivalent of Gilligan. Granted, I didn’t have to share a hammock with an overweight co-worker who constantly referred to me as his “little buddy” but I was none the less stranded. I saw how long technical support kept Gilligan on hold after assuring him he would have service restored within a three hour window. After about an hour of not being able to get e-mail, update web pages, or surf in general, I began to wish I had access to someone like the professor. I mean, that guy was a genius when it came to coconut shells. I’m guessing that if I would have had him here, he could have fashioned a router and a network connection using nothing but coconuts, bamboo, and a little water from the lagoon. Not to mention the fact that this all would have been taken care of within 24 minutes if you didn’t count commercials. Instead, I sat here humming the theme song from the television show and wishing I could get some access. Trina sensing my frustration suggested that I use my time more wisely while the network was down. After all, there is only 13 more days until opening day and there were still a few items remaining on my list of things to do. Curses, I never heard Ginger or Mary Anne get on Gilligan while he was out searching for wild gorillas or Russian satellites that mistakenly landed on the island rather than on the moon. Why can’t life be as simple as television, or at least as reliable?
March 21, 2000
It has now been fifteen days since I was supposed to see the Arizona Diamondbacks play the Oakland Athletics at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. It has also been fifteen days since the Phoenix area has gotten rain. Today marks the second attempt the Diamondbacks will make to play Oakland in Phoenix. As I woke up this morning, I looked out the window to see the sky filled with clouds, a gray haze hovering around the valley. The good news was that it was not supposed to rain. The bad news was it was supposed to be cold and windy all day. I could deal with a little wind and I did have a jacket so I thought I would be ok. I thought that for about five seconds. Then Dakota wandered into the bedroom and crawled into bed with us. I reached over to cover him up as I went to get ready for work. When I touched him, he was extremely hot. The little dudester was obviously running a fever. There is nothing that makes a father feel more helpless than when a young child has a fever. They are miserable and as a result, so are you. He just wanted to be held and we either sat on the couch watching television or we were laying down taking a nap. Neither of these were what I had planned but that is the price you pay for being a father. I was hoping that by game time, Dakota would be feeling better and we could go to the game. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen so I spent the rest of the evening waiting for ESPN to update the scores at the bottom of the screen. It would appear I am not supposed to attend a Diamondbacks game this spring.
March 20, 2000
Today marks the official first day of spring with the coming of the spring equinox. I always mark this day on the calendar since it is the one day for me to display that I paid attention in eighth grade science. Mr. White was an interesting character, I believe he spent time in a hippie commune but I have no proof. He did make an impression on me with his interactive science experiments. I can remember countless useless science facts that make you the life of a party. I’m sure my parents were less than thrilled with his teaching methods given the number of trips they had to make to the Junior High School to explain to the principal that I would be severely punished for causing part of the science lab to explode. Looking back at my childhood, there were only two toys I would ever ask for and I did not receive either. The first was Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots. My mother seemed to think that the last thing her son needed was a toy that taught him to knock someone’s block off. The second toy was a chemistry set. Given my inquisitive nature and classification as a gifted child made for a bad combination when mixed with potentially explosive chemicals. That is not to say this made our house safe. It merely meant that I had to do some research before building these components. Needless to say, my mother was worried for no reason. I still have ten fingers and toes and no one has ever died from one of my experiments. Evacuated yes, scrubbed by the biohazard team yes, admitted to an emergency room yes, but never killed. Besides, I thought that was why she had three children. So that we had spares in case of an accident. Today’s experiment though had nothing to do with explosions, at least it wasn’t supposed to. It seems that on the spring equinox, it is possible to take a room temperature raw egg and make it stand on its end. This always fascinates the kids and makes our house very popular as all the neighbors come over to see the magic egg. Today, I was not as prepared as I should have been. I forgot to get the egg out of the refrigerator so that it was at room temperature. Cold eggs do not stand very well and when you are faced with an audience of five impatient kids, you improvise. In my case that meant warming up the egg in a hurry. What better appliance is there for heating things than the microwave oven. I probably would have been fine if I would have taken my time. Instead, I added an extra digit to the timer and ran upstairs to finish getting ready for work. It would appear that somewhere between one minute and three minutes, an egg will explode in the microwave. It is not quite as impressive as when house flies explode but it is still pretty cool. Well, its cool as long as your wife doesn’t find out. It’s grounds for another night of sleeping on the couch if she does find out.
March 20, 2000
With the regular season now less than two weeks away, it is time to look at the team and assess their progress. The hitters again seem to be ahead of the pitchers with many on the team putting up monster numbers at the plate. The Travis Lee experiment seems to be going nicely with Lee hitting .354 this spring with 8 doubles and a home run. He is getting a lot of at bats this spring to try and prove his offensive numbers last year were a fluke. Erubiel Durazo continues to be hampered this spring by tendinitis in his wrist that has limited his playing time this spring. Greg Colburnn has been on fire with the bat but as of late has suffered from an thigh bruise. This has left Buck with little choice but to use Travis Lee at first base. The positive from this has been the ability for Buck to look at David Dellucci in right field and see how he is progressing. David has been struggling at the plate and is in the middle of a 2-16 slump. The right field job appears to be going down to the wire with a decision being made in the last week of training camp. Based upon my observations, I look to see Dellucci start in Tucson so that he can get a few more at bats before joining the team in May.
Continue reading ‘Mid-Spring Report’ »
March 19, 2000
With only sixteen days remaining before Spring Training is over and the regular season begins, the games begin to take on more meaning. It is at this point where most of the roster spots have been won. Those that remain up for grabs are dog fights between a couple of players. This drama is what is so compelling to a fan. These guys are battling their brains out trying to make the team. Today it was the San Francisco Giants going to Tucson to play the Arizona Diamondbacks. After last year’s pennant race, the Giants and the Diamondbacks are creating quite a rivalry. This is also fueled by the fact that the San Francisco Giants have never beaten the Arizona Diamondbacks in an exhibition game in the histor of the Diamondbacks. With both teams playing each other what seems like every week, this is a strange fact. The games are usually quite close which adds to the drama. Today was no exception. The Giants lead the game only to have the Diamondbacks tie it up not once but twice. The result was extra innings which was ok with me. It was a great game with Lenny Harris being the player of the game. He threw out a runner at the plate from left field then scored the winning run in the bottom of the eleventh inning on a single by Turner Ward. The streak is alive and the Diamondbacks continue to be Giants killers.
March 18, 2000
In my rush out the door yesterday to get to the game, I forgot to pack the sun screen. Trina reminded of this fact ever half inning as we sat in the third base stands. That night when we got home, I took off my sunglasses and my jersey and got ready for bed. I didn’t look that bad, or so I thought. Something happened during the night because when I woke up, my skin had turned the color of a freshly boiled lobster. Everywhere I was red except around my eyes where I work my Oakley sunglasses. So I guess to be accurate, I looked like a really cool lobster that was wearing Oakley glasses. Trina and the kids took every opportunity to give me grief about my appearance. They also made sure that I was miserable by walking by and touching me to show each other that they could leave white finger prints on dad’s sun burn. I became a walking, whining science experiment. It didn’t matter though because I had gone to a Diamondbacks game and that was all that really counted. I spent this afternoon rubbing aloe gel on my skin and listening to the Arizona Diamondbacks game from Hermosillo Mexico. I should feel lucky, at least no one attempted to pour melted butter on me and chase me around the house with a tiny fork.
March 17, 2000
Today being St. Patricks Day, I decided it would be the perfect day to go to a ballgame. (As far as I am concerned, every day is the perfect day but if I have a holiday fall in there, it is easier to justify going.) This is the third year in a row that I am going to a Diamondbacks game on March 17. Today’s game is in Tucson at Hi Corbett Field against the Colorado Rockies. Since the kids are all out for Spring Break, the whole family is going to Tucson. Now this is the third attempt to go to Tucson, the other two being unsuccessful I was taking no chances. The game started at 1:05 PM so we left the house at 9:30 AM just so we could make it. Traffic was pretty bad and I resorted to weaving in and out of lanes to make good time. It seemed everything was going to plan. We reached Tucson at 11:00 AM and would be at Hi Corbett in time to watch batting practice, or so I thought. When I got into Tucson, I attempted to cut through downtown. I was one street away from pulling it off, then it happened. The police came and closed down the street in front and behind me essentially trapping me. I frantically tried to find out what was going on and was told that the St. Patricks Day parade was about to start and the street was now closed. I attempted to tell the officer I was on my way to a game but he didn’t seem to care. I was determined that this time would be different, I would not be denied going to the game. I drove down the entire parade route Barbie-waving to the confused crowd waiting for the parade. I could hear them asking, “Who is the guy in the Diamondbacks hat and jersey and why is he waving at us?” When I reached the end of the parade route, I made a dash for the exit and drove like a maniac to the ball field. I wasn’t sure whether the police would appreciate my stunt but I wasn’t about to stand around and wait for the reviews. I quickly parked the car and made my way to the stadium. At last, I was at a Diamondbacks game. I felt so grateful I knelt down to the ground and kissed the ground. Those standing around me stared, one old lady turned to her husband and exclaimed, “Lookie there John, that one’s drunk on green beer before he even got in the gates.” Almost as an after thought, the Diamondbacks won the game 6-3.
March 16, 2000
In a strange scheduling twist, the Diamondbacks have two days off during spring training and they are both on Thursdays. Today happens to be one of those days. Now given I am such a fan, I naturally assumed that I had the day off too. I woke up this morning, and rolled over smacking the alarm clock across the room making a perfect basket in the Diamondbacks wastebasket. Of course the force used to hurl the clock ripped the clock out of the wall breaking the outlet cover in the process. When the clock came to rest in the bottom of the metal can, the noise woke the dead or in my case, Dakota. He immediately bound into the bedroom up for the day. Knowing my sleep was over, I drug myself out of bed. As I shuffled across the floor, Dakota took my place in bed. “Thanks a lot!” Trina said as I made my way to the shower. It was much to early for sarcasm. Dog Dot Com also heard the commotion and she began to howl. I decided after my clock stunt, if I were going to get any rest, I better go to work. So I got dressed and headed to the office leaving Trina to deal with the wild bunch. I can see that I’m probably in for trouble when I get home tonight.