July 31, 2000
The baseball trade deadline is about the closest thing that a baseball fan has to Christmas. It is by this day that his or her team will try to make themselves better for a playoff run. I find myself up early this morning and monitoring all of the news services to see what has happened. I am hopeful that the Diamondbacks make a deal for a right fielder who can hit for power. This would eliminate any doubts that I have about whether they can hold off the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The deadline ends at 1:00 PM Arizona time and I find myself finding things to do at work in order to pass the time. I am as nervous as an expectant father. All morning, I have people coming into my office to see how I am doing and to see if I have heard about any trades that have taken place. CNNSI just reported that the Cubs have gotten Rondell White. That is followed by the Marlins picking up Henry Rodriguez. Well, there is still hope. I would like to see Jeromy Burnitz come to the Diamondbacks and I have heard a couple of rumors but nothing specific. The Cardinals picked up Will Clark. I guess the injury to Mark McGwire is more serious than they are letting on. Al Martin is sent to Seattle. I wonder which of his two wives will follow him up to Washington. The Dodgers send Todd Hollandsworth to Colorado for Tom Goodwin. Interesting trade that I cannot understand. By 1:00 PM, the trading frenzy is done and the Diamondbacks have not made a single move. For a team that has struggled all year to score runs, I cannot quite figure that out. I guess that is why I write software for a living while Joe Gargiola Jr. is the general manager for the Diamondbacks. I have to admit, I am still concerned about the Diamondbacks chances to repeat as NL West champions.
July 30, 2000
With the Diamondbacks completing this current road trip in Florida and having an early game, I find myself with a rare free evening at home. What better way to spend a Sunday evening than watching ESPN Sunday Night Baseball. So armed with a bowl of popcorn and a frosty mug of A&W Root Beer, I headed for the family room. As I turned the corner to head for my trusty recliner and the television remote control, I was met by five women in the room. What I saw next would bring terror to the eyes of most male sports fans. The girls had confiscated the room and the remote control and were not going to relinquish it. In fact, they even took my bowl of popcorn! If I were going to stay in this room, I would be watching what they were watching. There on my big screen television were the Olympic Trials for gymnastics. I desperately tried to explain how important baseball is, even if the game was an American League game and I would have to put up with the designated hitter. My arguments fell on deaf ears as the girls were more interested in whether small Oompa-Loompa’s wearing leotards would “stick” their landing. If I were going to watch baseball, it would have to be upstairs. Rather than watch one more floor exercise, I sprinted up the stairs before I missed another half inning. When I got to the bedroom, I was met there by Dakota who was partially through the latest adventures of Pokemon. He too was not about to relinquish the television without a fight. Dejected, I trudged downstairs where I sat in a darkened living room staring out the windows. Across the street through the neighbor’s window, I could barely make out what looked like ESPN. I wonder what the police would say if they saw me staring through the neighbor’s window with binoculars? I’m guessing they would not believe me if I told them I was watching their television. I’m thinking it would be prudent to instead listen to the game over the Internet and keep my dignity intact.
July 29, 2000
Each year at Christmas, our house is filled with decorations. It is the one holiday that we go all out for. There is the 10 foot Christmas Tree, 3,000 lights in the yard and on the house, what seems like hundreds of gifts for family and friends, and of course an LGB train. The train is really the focal point as far as the kids are concerned. I originally bought the train when Trina and I first got married. It is nearly 20 years old but it is in perfect condition. Well, almost perfect condition. There were those couple of times when the throttle stuck wide open hurling the train and its little plastic engineer across the room bashing the little dudester’s arm off. It is because of this that all new trains are equipped with seat belts for all passengers I believe. The train only comes out at Christmas time. At all other times of the year, it is stored in its original packaging under our bed. The kids anxiously await the first of December when the tree and the train come out. We leave the train up the entire month of December then it is put away until next year. Today, Dakota and I were up in my room watching as the Diamondbacks lost to the Florida Marlins on the poor pitching by Byung-Hyun Kim and the fielding errors by Danny Bautista. Dakota had become less than interested in the game after the Diamondbacks went behind and began exploring the bedroom. He happened to crawl under the bed and came across the train. He of course wanted to get it out and set it up to play with. I tried to explain to him that we only got the train out for Christmas. He shook his head and left the room. A few minutes later, he came back into the room with Trina in tow. He was telling his mother that it was Christmas and time to get the train out. We began to explain to him that it was not yet Christmas but he was positive that it was. It is difficult for a three-year-old child to understand the concept of time and dates. I tried desperately to help him understand when Christmas would be here. I first tried telling him the kids had to go back to school before it would be Christmas. That pacified him for only a couple of minutes. He was certain that the kids were already in school so he persisted. I then explained that the weather had to change and it would be cold when Christmas arrived. He ran down stairs and began feeling outside to determine if it had cooled down. Within a half hour, he was back insisting it was indeed colder than it was yesterday. Finally I explained that it would not be Christmas until after the World Series was over. Now that he understood. From that point, he ceased asking to put up the train. In the off chance that I am wrong and it is Christmas, I want Santa to know that I have been a good boy and I would like a left-handed right fielder who can hit for power to help the Diamondbacks down the stretch run to the playoffs. Oh yeah, and a remote control car. That would be cool.
July 28, 2000
I am beginning to wonder if I am leading a normal and well rounded life. The Diamondbacks are in the midst of a nine game road trip which means that I am at home for a week while the team is traveling. As such, I am able to spend a lot more time with Trina than I usually do. It is not really my fault that we don’t spend more time together. On the contrary, it is Trina that has chosen not to be with me rather than the other way around. She is more than welcome to go to the game with me whenever she would like. She simply chooses to stay at home rather than go to the ball park. Although I don’t understand her priorities and I question her committment to this marriage at times, so far it has worked out. At least I thought it had until tonight. I sit here at the computer after Trina became agitated and began yelling at me and I am not really sure why. I guess it is one of those mysteries that all men go through when women use that classic line, “well if you don’t know what you have done, I am not going to tell you!” Replaying the evening, all I know is this. Trina had somehow found somewhere for the kids to disappear for a few hours giving us a quiet evening together. She had made a nice dinner for the two of us. It was at this point that there appeared to be some tension. I made one small suggestion that this was a perfect evening. Curt Schilling is making his Diamondbacks debut and we had the entire house to ourselves and would she like to watch the game during dinner. I thought I was being a perfect gentleman in giving her the choice of watching the game or listening to it on the radio. After dinner, Trina disappeared upstairs and after a couple of innings, she called down for me to come up to the bedroom. At the next half inning, I went up to see what she needed. The room was relatively dark and there was a hint of background music. I could see her silloette on the bed. She motioned me over to the bed and whispered in my ear, “So what’s your fantasy?” My mind raced with various thoughts before I came up with the perfect answer.
Continue reading ‘What’s Your Fantasy?’ »
July 27, 2000
Less than three days after Dakota attempted to fly off the furniture and had to have his head glued shut, he was once again on the war path and causing grief. Today, he decided to go on adventure and see what types of mischief he could cause while staying in the house. With temperatures hovering around 112 degrees, the kids don’t play much outside unless they are in the pool. Trina is running around getting ready for her meeting tonight and I am glued to the television as I watch to see if the Diamondbacks can avoid being swept in St. Louis. I soon came to the realization that things were way to quiet. This could mean only one thing, Dakota was up to no good. The best analogy I can come up with is that it is very similar to what sailors must feel just before a large storm envelopes their ship. Where there was sunshine and a slight breeze, it is now cloudy and the winds are silent. Then, just when you are lulled into thinking all is well, hurricane winds lash out at the ship causing death and destruction. As I was pondering this thought, I heard Dakota scream and yell as he came flying down the stairs. He was holding his face and calling for his mother. Trina and I rushed to find out what was happening. There did not appear to be a blood trail so that was an immediate plus to the situation. As we got near Dakota, he wreeked of an odor I was unfamilar with. I could hardly stand to be next to the boy. “What is that smell!” I asked over the screaming boy. “Clove Oil” was Trina’s response. It seems that Dakota had stumbled onto a small bottle of clove oil and decided the bottle looked remarkably close to Trina’s perfume. Since he didn’t want to stink, he put some on his face around his mouth and chin. As if that was not enough, he also decided to put a dab on his lips. Anyone who has been around a three-year-old knows that a little boy’s toungue never stays in his mouth. Whether he is making faces at his sisters or tasting everything in sight, Dakota took a big lick of the lips getting clove oil in his mouth. He was now screaming and spitting as Trina and I attempted to help him get the stink and the taste off his little body. The thing about clove oil is that it not only stinks, it also deadens the nerves. It is like stinky novacaine. By the time we had assessed the situation, poor Dakota had lost feeling on the right side of his mouth. I tried to be helpful and gave him a popsicle to get the taste out of his mouth. Instead, he stuck the popsicle to the side of his cheek in an attempt to get the feeling to return to his face. I have to admit, there is not a whole lot of things in this world funnier than seeing a kid with an orange popsicle stuck to the side of his face. I would like to think that Dakota learned his lesson but I am pretty sure he didn’t. I dread thinking what his next adventure is going to be.
July 26, 2000
It has become an all to familiar chord among professional athletes in today’s society. The whine and cry about wanting long term stability and guaranteed contracts to safeguard against injury. They threaten to leave to another team if their demands are not met. Franchises succumb to these threats and provide the players with enormous contracts that rival some third world country’s Gross National Product. The player then gets into this new contract and when the team cannot field a contender due to the fact that the majority of the club’s money is being used on a handful of players, they squawk that the team is not doing enough to put a winner on the field. The disgruntled player then demands that he be traded to a contender where his talents will be appreciated. The player feels slighted if they are not given the opportunity to contend for a world championship. Don’t these players think that everyone within the organization is hoping for the same end result? I am fairly confident that there are very few teams out there that are hoping the do NOT make the playoffs this year. In all cases, all members of the organization are working towards that goal. But you don’t hear the bat boy or the usher or the ticket taker go to management and demand a trade if the team is not competitive. Better yet, perhaps the season ticket holders of these teams that are not competitive should go back to the ball club and demand that they be traded to a team that has a chance to make the playoffs. I can just see the lines forming in Minnesota and Montreal to demand season tickets to the New York Yankees and the Atlanta Braves. With the trading deadline looming on Monday at 1:00 PM Arizona time, I am sure we will hear a lot from these mercenary players who will be demanding a trade to become the next gun for hire. It should be an interesting second half of the season. I can hardly wait.
July 25, 2000
It is interesting how we as human beings adapt based upon our experiences and surroundings. Take for example Randy Johnson. As a baseball fan, I understand that he is one of the premier pitchers in the game today. I am also well aware that this season he has been completely dominating. Each outing he pitches well into the game striking out batters in the double digits, throwing fast balls that approach 100 miles per hour and throwing knee-buckling sliders that make hitters cringe when they see it coming. What we are witnessing comes along maybe once a lifetime. In an era where pitchers are roughed up every night and the league average for Earned Run Average is around 4.5, it is amazing what Randy is doing. Good pitching has become an anomaly, as rare cheap gasoline. So why is it that after a half a season of dominance that we as fans have come to expect that Randy will continue this season? How can we justify the comments of disappointment and disgust when Randy gives up a run or walks a batter. I watched the game tonight at the pizza parlor since it was on Fox AZ Sports and I do not get that channel. I watched as Randy struggled with his control walking seven batters and striking out seven. I watched as he gave up a two-run home run and left the game with runners in scoring position with the game tied. As I watched, I heard others around me begin to complain that Randy just didn’t have it and that perhaps we were watching the slow death spiral of a career. I could not believe it. This is a guy that has lost 3 games all season and these people were writing him off as a fluke. I could barely force down my pepperoni pizza after hearing this. It is interesting how success breeds contempt in today’s society.
July 24, 2000
It was an off day for the Arizona Diamondbacks, at least that is what the schedule said. Instead of traveling from Cincinnati to St. Louis and relaxing on their day off, the Diamondbacks are flying to Cooperstown to play an exhibition game with the Cleveland Indians as part of the Hall of Fame weekend festivities. On the night before the game, the Diamondbacks and Indians were allowed to tour the Baseball Hall of Fame on a private tour after the museum had closed. For many of the young players, this marked the first time they had been to the Hall of Fame. For others, it was a chance to see where they would be enshrined one day. It was an emotional time for many of the players and coaches as they soaked in the holy shrine of baseball. After a long deserved night of rest, both teams had a full day ahead of them. It began with a home run contest that saw Alex Cabrera launch 7 home runs at the houses around the field. It tied the record for the most home runs hit during the home run contest. The Diamondbacks then played the Indians. Both teams brought up several minor league players to showcase them in the game. Nick Bierbrodt, the Diamondbacks first ever draft pick was on hand to pitch for the Diamondbacks. It was an exciting day for players and fans alike and gave them all an insight into what it means to be in the Hall of Fame.
July 23, 2000
After raising 4 girls, it is hard to believe how different it is to raise a little boy. Everyone always said how much different the two sexes were in child rearing but I did not believe them. At every corner though, we are met with obstacles that I had not encountered with the girls. For example, both Dakota and the girls each play with dolls (much to the horror of their father I might add) but the type of play is entirely different. The girls would always dress Barbie up and have tea parties with her. Dakota on the other hand strips her naked, ties her up to the Hot Wheels track and proceeds to drive cars and trucks over her like some sort of track ramp. Trina is of course horrified at this behavior. I merely blame television and then watch intently to see which car flies the farthest off Barbie’s head. This is but one example, another is how they enter and exit furniture. The girls politely sit down and get up off the chairs and couches. Dakota on the other hand believes furniture is something that you should loot and pillage leaping to and from the couch or end tables like some sort of pirate boarding party. This plan back fired on Bubba last night as he dove from one chair to another he slipped and fell to his doom, in this case, the edge of a Bank One Ballpark chair. He split his head like a melon and was covered in blood screaming by the time Trina and I got into the room. We immediately surveyed the situation, put ice on his head and loaded into the car for what seems like our monthly visit to the emergency room. I am beginning to think we should have named Dakota Norm instead. It seems everyone at the emergency room knows his name. I have to admit, he is getting better. The hospital used to freak him out, now he is just annoyed when they don’t stitch him up fast enough. In this instance, Dakota was given an alternative treatment. Instead of stitches, they glued the wound back together. He thought that was pretty cool and even asked his mother if she could just hot glue him back together next time to save a trip to the doctor. Dakota was more bummed that they cut his hair around the wound than about the injury itself. He’s a tough little bugger, I only hope he makes it to the age of four.