October 31, 2000
Halloween is always one of the children’s favorite holidays. And why not, after all they get to go door-to-door begging for candy dressed like little devils or other odd characters. This year as no exception. The kids were dressed and ready to go out well before it got dark. I was able to talk Mallorie into staying home and handing out candy while Trina and I took the younger kids around the neighborhood. Dakota is relatively new at this endeavor and was not quite sure how it worked. Trina has been working with him for the past week or so teaching him how this scam worked. You dress up in a costume, go to a complete stranger’s house, knock on their door and when they answer you say trick-or-treat. At that point they will admire your cute costume and then give you candy. You then proceed to the next house and continue the process. When I got home, Dakota came to me and explained the process word for word what his mother told me. I stood there and nodded in understanding as he tried to sort things out like only a three-year-old can. When he finished, he was quite pleased with learning this new concept. I shook my head in understanding and then proceeded to explain to him that wasn’t quite right. Most of the instructions were correct until the part where you said trick-or-treat. That was not all of the saying I explained. The whole saying was trick-or-treat, smell my feet. Dakota rolled on the floor laughing. That made much more sense to a little boy than what mom told him. Armed with this new information, he quickly got ready to go. Soon he had on his Bear in the Big Blue House costume and was begging Trina to get going. She finally had everything ready and we were out the door. At first neighbor’s house, Trina took him up to the door and helped him ring the doorbell. The owner of the house came to the door and Dakota belted out TRICK-OR-TREAT, SMELL MY FEET! I am not sure who had a more shocked look on their face, the homeowner or Trina. After a quick apology, candy was given and Dakota was off. When Trina arrived back at the sidewalk where I was standing, she didn’t say a word. She merely hit me in the face with a Tootsie Roll and walked away. Maybe there are things you aren’t supposed to teach a child.
October 30, 2000
After a long and drawn out process, the Arizona Diamondbacks finally names a replacement for the fired Buck Showalter. Television announcer Bob Brenly today became the second manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks. So it is official, we blew a Buck to get a Bob. Jerry Colangelo must have something about the name Bob. With Bank One Ballpark known as the BOB, I am going to have a hard time dealing with the prospect of going to the BOB to see Bob manage the Diamondbacks. I can see it now though, there will be a Bob day at the ballpark where the first 10,000 people named Bob who come to the BOB will be admitted early to bob for apples to the music of Bob Marley. Now that there is a new manager, will the Diamondbacks be changing the name of the dollar seats to Bob seats rather than the Buck seats they have been for the past three years? I’m still not sure about this announcement, I guess only time will tell. Something tells me that this is going to be a very interesting year in 2001. With Buck Showalter doing color analysis for ESPN during the playoffs and the World Series, could this mean that he will join the broadcasting team for the Arizona Diamondbacks? That would seem to be poetic justice having Showalter critique Brenly from the booth. After all, with the hiring of Brenly as manager there is an opening on the television team. This is becoming a better story every day. I can hardly wait to see what tomorrow brings.
October 29, 2000
With Halloween quickly approaching, it became time to sit down with the kids and begin to carve their pumpkins into Jack O’Lanterns. This was always an enjoyable time of year for me and allowed me to allow my creative forces to come out. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to partake in a lot of different pumpkin carving experiences. Whether it was carving faces with a hunting knife during a deer hunt in central Idaho or using a diving knife and carving pumpkins while scuba diving off the coast of California (note, pumpkins are VERY buoyant and are a pain to actually get under water although there is nothing more eery than a glowing Jack O’Lantern under 80 feet of water.) This year, seemed quit pale by comparison. I didn’t have to bring my own oxygen and the knives were much smaller. I sat in the garage and began to cut the top of the pumpkins to scoop out the guts. Of course none of the girls wanted anything to do with the slimy mess that was inside the pumpkin. They would be more than happy to help once they were cleaned out. So much like a fisherman after a big catch, I sat there with goo up to my elbows. Dakota thought this was the coolest part, especially when we made the guts make sloop sounds on the newspaper. With each handful, we would sit there and laugh. When we finally got all done, Trina came out and informed me that I needed to save the seeds so that she could roast them. I spent another hour separating seeds and placing them in a bowl. This would have been a pain except that when we were finished, came the fun part, the actual carving. As I sat there pondering what type of face to carve on this round pumpkin, my mind began to wander to longer days when the boys of summer were still playing and I was spending my time at the ballpark. I could almost smell the hot dogs and popcorn and hear the cheering of the crowd as the Diamondbacks came up to bat. Before long, I was returned back to reality by the sounds of Trina’s voice. “What in the world were you thinking when you started to carve that pumpkin?” Huh? With that I looked down to find that I had carved what looked like Matt Williams face in the side of the pumpkin. It seemed only fitting though since the pumpkin and Matt have the same amount of hair growing on it.
October 28, 2000
Growing up in Idaho, I am used to Halloween evenings where everyone is dressed as their favorite Eskimo. There is nothing quite like spending a huge amount of time shopping for the perfect Halloween costume only to find that the night when you can actually use it, it is 20 degrees with a howling wind. I can remember countless times when I took the kids our trick-or-treating on sleds with it snowing all around us. So when we moved to Arizona seven years ago, this holiday took on a whole new meaning. Children could actually go around in the costumes that they had picked out. Besides the nice weather, we were also introduced to a Halloween tradition that was very foreign to us, the trunk-or-treat. This is an activity where a community group all park in a large parking lot with the back of their cars facing each other. The parents decorate the trunks of their cars and the children make their way to each car in their costumes and are rewarded with candy. I suppose that this activity was born from a fear by the parents of allowing their children to wander the streets begging for candy to the houses of complete strangers. It is fun to see how everyone decorates their cars and the kids seem to really enjoy themselves. This activity has the same problem as trick-or-treating though, there are always a few kids who are well beyond the trick-or-treating age. These kids mostly come dressed as themselves and act like punks hoping to bully adults into giving them candy. Well, I came prepared this year with a case of silly string. Each child who was older than I thought appropriate was doused in multi-colored silly string. It was great. It didn’t take more than a handful of these older kids before word got out to avoid the White Suburban with the Diamondbacks decorations. That holiday ain’t half bad.
October 27, 2000
On days like today, I am reminded of the Hanna Barbera cartoon Yogi Bear. All summer, Yogi and his little buddy Boo-Boo hang around Jellystone Park snatching picnic baskets and giving grief to Mr. Ranger. Life is care-free in Jellystone. Yogi always seems to have the upper hand and gets himself out of trouble and more importantly out of work. When the summer ends and the tourists have all left for the season, Yogi and Boo-Boo head to their cave to spend a nice quiet winter sleeping and dreaming of next year’s picnic baskets. As a child, I never quite made the connection of this cartoon with baseball, but as I sit here watching it on the Cartoon Network with Dakota, I am struck by the subtle references to baseball and life in general. The picnic baskets are a representation of a baseball game while Ranger Smith is analagous to my wife Trina. Yogi is only happy when he is outwitting Mr. Ranger to sneak away for one more picnic basket. Boo-Boo is always Yogi’s conscience trying to keep him out of trouble. In my life, it is my kids who try to keep me from getting into Trina’s dog house. Unfortunately, I am much like Yogi, just to enamored with the picnic baskets to see the trouble he is getting into. And like Yogi, as soon as the tourists are gone and the picnic basket supply has ended, I too am ready for a winter of hibernation. The one small difference between me and Yogi is that I am not allowed to run around wearing just a neck tie and a hat.
October 26, 2000
Emotionally I am struggling tonight. On one hand, I am depressed and melancholy as I now have to come to the realization that the 2000 baseball season is now over. Although the Diamondbacks did not make the play-offs, it was still October baseball and you would have to be insane not to find the post season exciting. I had of course predicted that the World Series would be contested between San Francisco and Seattle with the Mariners winning in 6 games. This of course displayed to everyone that is why I am writing software rather than living the life of leisure as a Las Vegas bookie. I sat and watched each playoff game and World Series game and rooted against New York at each juncture. It didn’t matter whether it was the Yankees or the Mets, as long as they lost. When it became apparent that it would be Subway series, I became more depressed. Then one day I began to think about it closer. No matter what happened, New York would lose the World Series. Now that was something to cheer for. There I found myself for five games, rooting for whichever New York team was behind to overtake New York and beat their brains out. Tonight, as Bernie Williams caught the final fly ball off the bat of Mike Piazza, I cheered. Not because the Yankees won their third straight world championship but because the New York Mets had lost. That lasting impression will have to keep me warm during the dark days of winter while I wait for spring training to start again.
October 25, 2000
There are some players who seem to shrink as the spotlight becomes brighter. Whether it is bad luck, stress, or just plain choking these players never seem to live up to the expectations that they put on themselves or those put on them by the media and the fans. History is riddled with those people who throughout their careers they played well until they got into the post season. On the other hand, there are a handful of players who seem to shine whenever the game is on the line. They seem to step up and deliver in each and every clutch situation. Those are the players who become legends. People like Bob Gibson, Reggie Jackson and Babe Ruth. You know that they could come into a series in a huge slump but when the game was on the line, they delivered. Derek Jeter is quickly becoming one of those type of players. It never ceases to amaze me how Jeter seems to step up his game a notch when he needs to. Tonight was a prime example. With the Yankees struggling from the lead off position, Joe Torre asked Jeter to bat first to try and get something started. With the first pitch of the game, he drove it over the left field wall for a home run. He followed this in the third inning when he drove a ball to deep right center for a triple. In his first two at bats, he had hit for the toughest half of a cycle. Derek Jeter almost single handedly beat the New York Mets by scoring 2 of the 3 Yankee runs. Even though I can’t stand the New York teams, I do have to tip my hat to this fantastic shortstop.
October 24, 2000
As much as I enjoy baseball and especially the World Series, I cannot help but be disappointed by the series so far. It is not that the baseball is bad. In fact, I cannot remember ever not watching a baseball game regardless of how much I detested the teams playing or the poor quality of baseball being displayed. After all, I suffered through several years of watching beginning girls softball as a father so I am used to the permutations that baseball can manifest. Even with all of this experience and training, I cannot help but find the World Series bitter sweet this year. On one hand, it is the World Series, the culmination of 162 games of the regular season plus a possible 12 games of post season to match the teams most resiliant. Notice I did not say the best two teams. In many cases, it comes down to who was hot at what point. Take the Mets and Yankees for instance. For much of the year, these two teams struggled and both fell completely flat during the last month of the season but because the teams behind them also struggled, they backed into the playoffs. Once they got there though, each team caught a few breaks and found themselves winning against teams that at least on paper were better than the New York teams. This spark of momentum was much like a snowball rolled from the top of a large hill. It started out small enough but with each passing game or lucky break, these two teams began to believe they deserved to be in the World Series. There is something to be said for confidence. It shall be interesting to see how these two teams fare against each other in this series. I’m just glad there is still baseball to watch.
October 23, 2000
Being a baseball fan, the World Series and all of the hype that goes along with it are the pinnacle of the season. Regardless of which two teams are playing, there is always some sort of drama involved in the series. This year was no exception. Besides being a subway series between the two New York teams, there is also the sub-plot of Roger Clemens versus Mike Piazza. This sub-story is based upon an incident that happened during the season when these two teams met in Interleague Play. At that time, Roger Clemens took the opportunity to hit Piazza in the head with a fastball taking him not only out of the game but also out of the All-star game. Words were exchanged and the media took off with the story. This incident is the biggest argument against the designated hitter. Since the Yankees are in the American League, Clemens never has to worry about retribution because he will never come to bat. This has played out in the World Series as well since Clemens has only pitched in Yankee stadium, never at Shea. During yesterday’s game, Piazza again came up to bat. This time, Clemens threw a strike and Piazza hit it shattering the bat. Part of the barrel went towards the pitcher’s mound. Clemens picked it up and threw it at a running Piazza. I had little respect for Roger Clemens before this incident, what respect I had is now long gone. He is nothing but a punk. I hope Major League Baseball makes an example out of him. He deserves whatever punishment he gets.