A few days ago I happened to walk past the side of the refrigerator where we normally keep the calendar. There scrawled across various days are the activities we need to be aware of. With four kids at home it is usually a logistical nightmare to try and manage everyone’s schedule. To Trina’s credit she is a mastermind at keeping track of what everyone is doing and where they need to be at any given moment. The calendar of course has been updated to reflect all the Diamondbacks games both home and away so that Trina and the kids know whether I will be home (away games) or away (home games). Usually I don’t pay much attention to the calendar as I am pretty oblivious to what is going on with regards to the kids lives. It is not that I am a neglectful father; quite the contrary I like to be involved with the kids activities (unless there is a game of course). That is usually the problem (the problem is not that there are games, the problem is that I like to be involved). The family usually cringes whenever I get involved as something usually goes unexplainably wrong and I swear it isn’t my fault. Well, not completely my fault. I will admit, I am single-handedly responsible for being banned from the science fair. But really who would have expected that I could possibly have gotten an entire grade of school children to believe that the earth is flat just by using a quarter? That’s a different subject and much too little baseball to be discussed here; let’s get back to the subject.


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When the Hollywood writers went on strike several months ago there were many who thought that it would be extremely detrimental to the country as networks would scramble to find programming that would fill the airwaves with shows that would be entertaining and interesting to the general public. I too wondered what would happen. Outside of baseball I don’t really watch that much television so I wasn’t sure how much a writer’s strike would have on me personally but my family on the other hand was a different story. We’ve had satellite television for nearly our entire marriage. The satellite dish era began when we lived in Idaho where without such a device you were able to tune exactly two stations in. Now I would describe the area as isolated and rural but growing up there we lived in the second largest city in Idaho with a population of 40,000. Hard to believe that the entire population of that town would fit within Chase Field and still have enough room that Rally Sally could dance with her flags in the upper deck. In those days satellite television was a necessity if you wanted any programming choices. Of course this was in the golden age of satellite before paid programming and scrambling. Not only were you able to find shows to watch but at the times you wanted to watch them. You were also seeing the feeds as they were being shot without editing which always made for great entertainment as you watched a national newscaster picking his nose or a female anchor adjusting herself so she did not look so lopsided on camera.


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A sure sign that baseball is nearly ready to begin is the frequency in which I hear from the Arizona Diamondbacks. During the dark off-season there may be weeks or months between communications with the team. With each passing day counting down the time when pitchers and catchers report, I hear from the team more and more often whether it be via e-mail or postal mail. Take today for example, I actually received both an email and a letter. The email arrived in my inbox to let me know that the Diamondbacks on-line team shop was having a sale on batting practice jerseys and hats. This was extremely important since the Diamondbacks batting practice jersey is also their Spring Training jersey. Any fan worth their weight in peanuts and Crackerjack is going to want to be dressed appropriately when attending a Cactus League game. I already have one of the Cool Base jerseys and I love it. It is soft and very comfortable. So comfortable that I made it my pajama top. There is just something comforting about putting on a Diamondbacks jersey before sliding into bed. You are pretty much guaranteed a night filled with great dreams about post season success and World Series championships. I initially tried using a batting practice hat as a sleeping attire accessory but Trina complained that when I rolled over the bill of my cap kept smacking her in the head. It didn’t wake me up so I wasn’t exactly sure what the problem was but after yet another ultimatum by my wife and a lecture about how I love the Diamondbacks more than her, I relented and now take the hat off prior to her coming to bed.


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It has been said that there must be opposition in all things otherwise we would be incapable of feeling. It is not possible for us to know happiness unless we have experienced pain. We cannot have joy without knowing sorrow. We would not know darkness unless we have first been exposed to light. The depths of our emotions are directly correlated to the polar limits we have experienced. Someone who lives their live in the middle of the road first will probably life a very short life since the middle of the road is not the safest place I have ever heard of living. Secondly and probably more applicable, someone who is emotionally in the center will not have much joy since they have not experienced much sorrow with which to compare it against. This is the philosophical premise that I have patterned my life against. There are both positive and negative aspects of such a pattern.


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Yesterday was one of those days that you have every now and again where everything just seems right with the world. You are able to somehow combine the things that you love with the ones that you love. After spending several hours at Chase Field at the Arizona Diamondbacks Fan Fest it was time for us to bid farewell to the stadium that we won’t see for another 7 weeks (that pains me just typing that). Trina and the kids had a difficult time pulling me away from the Chase Field concourse. Trina firmly believes that the team will have some repair work to do since she is convinced that I left fingernail marks along the floor as the family forcefully dragged me out of the stadium. I think she is exaggerating just a little, I cut my fingernails so they could not have left a mark. I did notice that the ends of my fingers are sore today and I seem to have cement burns on the tops of my fingers. And suggestions that I cried like a baby when we left are exaggerated. I wasn’t crying I just had something in my eye. But as we were walking across the Gila River Casino Plaza something interesting happened.


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At 3 AM I found myself lying in bed staring at the ceiling. At least I think it was the ceiling; it was dark so I can’t be sure. It was obvious that I wasn’t going to be able to get back to sleep I was way too excited. I’ve been looking forward to this day for quite a while and there was just no way I was going to go back to sleep and potentially sleep through the 3 alarm clocks that I had set around the room. No, I was better off getting out of bed and just starting my day a little earlier. I went downstairs and while I was waiting for my hot chocolate to actually get hot I decided to check my email and the web. Maybe there was an update to the Diamondbacks Fan Fest schedule that I needed to account for. Besides, I still needed to print out my map so I knew where to go and what time to be there. That sounds so funny; I need a map to Chase Field so I know where to go. That’s like saying I need to print out the instructions that tell me how to breathe. I am not positive but I think that after 10 years of trips to the ballpark my body is conditioned to the point that I could probably do it in my sleep. I’ll never actually be able to test that theory but I do have a degree of confidence that it could occur.


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I am not exactly sure what it is about my personality but for whatever reason I seem to be fascinated with numbers and countdowns. At any given moment I have identified some sort of event and I am counting down towards it. When I was a kid I counted down the hours on Independence Day until I could light fireworks. I counted down the number of days until Santa Claus arrived on Christmas Eve. I counted down the seconds until the big mirrored ball fell on television at Times Square. I counted down the days until school was over and summer vacation would arrive. As I have gotten older I figured I would outgrow this obsession with countdowns but the fascination has persisted. All that has really changed is the event I am counting down.


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