Trick or Treat

As a kid you just had to love Halloween. What could be better than dressing up as a favorite character and go door-to-door and have people give you free candy? When we were kids we started trick-or-treating almost as soon as school let out and didn’t get home until nearly 10 PM. Our diet for the night consisted of whatever we got at the house we just visited. It was an innocent time filled with childhood dreams. As I have gotten older Halloween has lost some of its magic and luster. Now you have to worry about your kids leaving the neighborhood or if you have enough candy at the house for all the kids that will be coming to trick-or-treat. All this reminiscing about the past had me longing for my childhood. Of course at my age I have to worry about cavities and tooth decay so I wondered what if fans could trick-or-treat around Major League Baseball.


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I am not much of a Boston Red Sox fan. In fact the only team I like less than the Red Sox is the Colorado Rockies and their new mouthpiece, the “great Troy Tulowitzki”. That is why this year’s World Series was such a struggle for me. Asking me to choose a winner was like asking which side of Satan’s profile do you prefer. If I would have had my way it would have begun to snow in Boston and Denver on October 24 and not stopped until sometime in mid-March 2008. It would have been the perfect symbolization that it would be a cold day in baseball before either of these teams were world champions. That didn’t happen though so I just had to deal with it. With this match-up it was going to take more than just a game to get me involved. Fortunately Taco Bell had the answer.


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For the past week I have been attempting to piece together the Arizona Diamondbacks 2008 schedule. It’s like trying to discover the lost continent of Atlantis or something. You think there should be another continent but there are more superstitions and urban myths than there are hard facts as to where it is located. In the case of the Diamondbacks schedule, you have to follow the trail of bread crumbs then see if they all match up to make a complete loaf of bread. That all changed today when the Diamondbacks not only released an updated version of their home schedule but they also announced the away schedule including all game times. Finally the picture is starting to clear up and we can start to make plans for 2008.


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You would like to look back over the 2007 World Series and point to one or two plays that were a turning point to a closely matched series. Instead history will show a hot team that cooled in the high mountain air waiting 8 days to meet their opponent. Their opponent on the other hand battled back from a huge deficit to win their League Championship series in a tough seven game series and with momentum on their side they were able to take advantage and win the World Series in decisive fashion. This is the second year in a row where the hot team took advantage of their counterparts who had more rest and dominated a series. It makes you stop to ponder what it takes to be a world champion.


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Today marked Game 3 of the 2007 World Series. For the first time in the history of Major League Baseball it was being played a mile above sea level. This was indeed a “high point” for this World Series. (I’m sorry; I just could not resist that.) Playing at altitude is not without its challenges. First, the air is much thinner. That has positive and negative implications. For those players who have not had the opportunity of experiencing that, there are times when you just don’t seem to be able to catch your breath. The thinner air also is much drier than at sea level making it much easier for players to become dehydrated. From a pitching perspective, the thinner air means less resistance to pitches which in turn equates to less break. This is especially troublesome to those pitchers whose primary pitch is a breaking ball. I’ve seen enough hanging breaking balls in my time to know that Coors Field is definitely not a pitching friendly park. It has become more neutral since the installation and usage of the humidor for baseball storage.


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Trunk-or-Treat

With today being a travel day for the World Series you would have expected me to be a little off my game. Normally on days where there is no baseball I could best be compared to one of the polar bears at the zoo. Every time I ever go to a zoo I have to stop by the polar bear exhibit. There the magnificent white bear can be found pacing back and forth. They attempt to climb out but cannot seem to find a way to plot their escape. They try swimming in the moat that surrounds the exhibit but it too blocks any and all exit points. Now wet and cold the bear sits and stares out at the world not exactly sure what to do with himself. If you put a Sedona Red jersey and an official New Era Diamondbacks hat on the bear we could probably be twins. Well except for the fact that I don’t have a coat of white fir covering my body and I really don’t appreciate it when my handler (in this case Trina) throws raw fish in my direction thinking that I will pick it up and eat it with my bare (or is that bear?) paws. So the question becomes, what exactly is a bear to do when baseball season has gone into hibernation?


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As an Arizona Diamondbacks fan it was hard to watch last night’s debacle of Game 1 of the World Series and not say to yourself, “wow the Diamondbacks could have done better than that.” There was probably a few Little League coaches around the world who had similar thoughts pass through their heads as well. It was not so much that the Rockies had lost game 1 it was the manner in which they lost game 1. They were completely outplayed in pretty much every aspect of the game. The most telling sign was the 12 strike-outs recorded by Red Sox pitchers. Seven of the nine batters in the Rockies lineup struck out being led by Brad Hawpe who fanned 4 times in an 0-4 night. This was definitely one of those games that you just left the ballpark and went back to the hotel and crawled in bed pulling the blankets over your head and waited for morning to arrive. Perhaps Game 2 would be more favorable to the visiting team.


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