Day Two Disneyland. After what seemed like endless lines and bad food, we were once again up for another day of happy furry animals surrounded by children and foreign tourists toting an average of three cameras per person. The crowds today were much lighter than they were yesterday. This allowed us to spend our time on the rides rather than in line. With Dakota only being three, he was not yet tall enough to ride many of the major rides. This required us to use the old “baby switch”. I have to give Disney credit for that one. One parent takes the children on a ride while the other parent waits with the child that cannot ride. Once the ride is completed, the parents switch and the other goes to the front of the line to ride. This allowed both parents to ride and the kids got to go twice. One ride that was very popular with the kids was the bobsled races at the Matterhorn. We had planned to do the baby switch but found that Dakota could actually ride the ride. We all stood in line patiently waiting for our turn. As we approached the front, the kids noticed that the bobsleds all had numbers on them. It was interesting watching them, they did not refer to the bobsleds by their numbers. Instead, they equated these numbers to Diamondbacks jersey numbers. Tiffany of course wanted to ride the Matt Mantei sled (31) while Mallorie was hoping to get the Luis Gonzalez (20). When it got to be our turn, we were placed in the Travis Lee (16) and sent on our way. Over the course of the three days, the kids rode the Matterhorn several times. They rode Randy Johnson, Travis Lee, Matt Mantei (we had to allow the group behind us to go ahead to get that one), and Danny Klassen.


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After Mallorie’s performance today, she spent the rest of the day at Disneyland. During the evening, there was an awards banquet where her middle school was awarded the third place trophy for their performance. In order to celebrate this moment with her, we had purchased 3-day passes to Disneyland and we would spend the weekend and Monday in the park. As we approached the entry gates, we were greeted by numerous Disney employees and signs inviting us to enter “The Happiest Place on Earth”. The kids were obviously excited. Dakota had never been to Disneyland before and Whitney was was only 6 months old when she had been there. It was all new and exciting. The crowds were large, but none of them seemed to mind. Each time we stood in line for an hour to ride a 10 minute ride, I would breath deeply and try to think happy thoughts so as not to go nuts at the number of people most of whom seem to speak little or no English. Each happy thought that went through my mind always came back to the same theme, baseball. I quickly realized that Disneyland wasn’t “The Happiest Place on Earth”, it was the second happiest. After all, how could this park even compare? There was no retractable roof, no swimming pool in right-center field, no outfield or pitchers mound, no on-deck circle, no Big Unit, no visiting team special at the concession stand, no team shop, and the only Diamondbacks logo I could find was on my shirt and hat. Besides, who among us could listen to 162 renditions of “It’s a Small World” without taking some form of medication? Disneyland is a great place to visit, but it is no Bank One Ballpark.


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With the Diamondbacks gone on a nine game road trip, I had some time to spend with the family. I had anticipated a relaxing week at home but plans soon changed. Mallorie’s middle school band was scheduled to play in a festival in Fullerton California and we decided as a family that we would go over and watch her perform and spend a few days there on vacation. I have come to the conclusion that it is physically impossible for a family of seven to make a spontaneous decision. Taking this family on vacation takes planning very similar to a military invasion. First, Ashley and Dog Dot Com were staying home for track meets, work, and the chewing of lucky hats and other non-food items. Mallorie left last evening with the band and we would meet her there. This left Trina, Tiffany, Whitney, Dakota, and myself. I had thought packing for a subset would be easier, I was mistaken. The first pass had each child with two suitcases for a four day excursion. This was unacceptable and required we start from scratch. Needless to say, it took us four tries before I was able to whittle down the belongings to two suitcases for the family. Once that was done, we packed the car and began our journey. I had hoped to be on the road by 9:00 AM but looking back I realize I was being delusional. At 11:00 AM we pulled out of the driveway to hit the road. Before I even made it to the freeway ramp I heard an all to familiar cry from the back seat, “I have to go potty!” After a 20 minute bathroom break, we were finally on the road. With my calculations I determined that at this rate I should arrive in Anaheim sometime next Thursday. One positive of this delay was that I was able to listen to the Diamondbacks game against the Chicago Cubs for part of the trip. Of course I lost the signal at about the sixth inning so I would not know who won the game until late that evening. After six hours driving, six potty breaks, two meal breaks, and countless cries of “Dakota is touching me!”, we finally arrived. What a day!


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Three years ago today, I was sitting in a hospital, my arm in a brace at a 90 degree angle after my third reconstructive surgery on my pitching arm. I was not in the hospital for me though. Instead, I was there with Trina as she gave birth to my son Dakota. Seeing my son born was one of the greatest experiences of my life even if the doctor did use my arm as a staging area for towels and instruments. Now Dakota, or Bubba as he is known to his friends and siblings is having a birthday. He is pretty jazzed about having all of this attention. As the day was approaching, I asked him what he wanted for his birthday. Without a second of hesitation he exclaimed that he would like an Arizona Diamondbacks jersey. How could a father not give in to such a brilliant child? As he opened his presents, each of them built joy in his face. He would be all decked out for the next home game. First he got a new Diamondbacks hat, a couple of Diamondbacks shirts and shorts, and a skateboard (it was Hot Wheels. I can’t believe the Diamondbacks have not licensed their logo to put on a skateboard!) Finally, he opened his jersey. He had to immediately change clothes to put on his new jersey. There he stood with his hat, jersey, shorts, and new shoes atop his skateboard. Bubba was definitely a stylin’ dude. There is nothing quite like a father and his son enjoying a special moment like a birthday or a ballgame.


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One of the great things about working in the computer industry is that you get to play with new technologies as they arrive. Sometimes you can even justify doing something fun while calling it work. That was the case today. We are working on implementing streaming video throughout the company but of course it needs to be tested before we move it to production. What better way to test this capability than to broadcast the Arizona Diamondbacks games across the Intranet directly to our desktop. To accomplish this, we always send one team member home to set his computer next to his television to encode the telecast. It is then broadcast from his computer across the network to a server which sends it to all of our desktops. In this way, I can continue to work and still keep an eye on the game. This is the ultimate usage of time and bandwidth. I cannot believe someone is not doing this on the Internet for all of the Major League Baseball games. This would open up whole new demographic and give access to those fans who do not have cable television or a satellite dish. Sometimes I think baseball is well behind the curve when it comes to taking advantage of new technology and marketing tools.


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After an off-day that seemed to last an eternity, the Diamondbacks are once again playing ball. They are out of town so I am forced to watch the games on television. Before the game started, I got onto the Internet to check line-ups pitching match-ups, and weather forecasts for Philadelphia. I found that the weather was to be cold and windy at the game tonight. In order to get into the spirit of things, I decided to simulate game conditions. I closed all of the windows in the house and cranked the air conditioning down to 55 degrees. I out on my long pants, a turtle neck, a sweatshirt, and a jacket. I placed a circulating fan on top of the television and sat in my replica Bank One Ballpark seat to watch the game. By the second inning I was getting a little cold so I made some hot chocolate and continued to watch the game. Things were going well with the Diamondbacks winning when Trina arrive home from her meeting. As she walked into the house she began screaming, “Who has been messing with the air conditioning!” The kids who were also outside plead ignorance claiming they had been outside ever since she had left since it was to cold to go into the house. I sat there blowing on my hands to warm them up and did what every other man would do in this situation, I blamed the dog. I don’t think she bought it.


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My Dad

The Diamondbacks had their first day off of the season today. This is also the first day I have had where I was not at or watching some type of baseball. Trina had banished me from the television deciding I had seen enough baseball that I could last 24 hours without a game. Today marks my father’s sixtieth birthday. It is hard to believe that he is reaching retirement age in the next five years. In my eyes, he will always be a young man. I owe my father a lot. He has worked hard all of his life to provide for our family. Most of all though, he is the man that gave me my love of baseball. At a very early age, he bought me my first mitt and taught me how to throw and catch a baseball. He spent countless hours in the front yard helping me hone my baseball skills. Being hopelessly left-handed, I made it difficult for him to teach me. Dad made sure that once I had gathered enough skills that I was able to play tee ball to continue my development. When I became old enough for Little League, he again made sure I tried out. When the league was in danger of not fielding teams due to lack of coaches, my father volunteered his time to teach a bunch of nine year olds how to play the game. The first season we won our league championship and my father stayed in the league for nearly fifteen years coaching first his sons and countless other youth the game. From his teams rose several all-state players who went on to play high school and college ball even to the minor leagues. Those are the memories I have of my father. I am sure he had other things he would much rather have done than play ball with his son but his dedication to his family was the most important thing in his life. On this his birthday, I want to thank him and tell him that I love him for all that he has done for me in my life.


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