Thursday, October 28, 2010

Baseball and the Giants in the World Series...

Oh, Andrew!

I am sitting here in the dark the morning after, on the couch, watching the introductions of Game One of the 2010 MLB World Series which I recorded last night. It's in San Francisco, Andrew...the Giants are in the World Series! I wish you were here to watch it. I recorded it so I could watch it for you.

I just watched the starters being introduced, observing each player's demeanor...the excitement as they waved and smiled, or simply just ran out on the field when their name was called without any fanfare...each one an individual. I thought of you and how you approached every game with excitement and intensity. These teams have reached the series for the first time in many, many years -- Texas Rangers vs. San Francisco Giants.

OMG! The batter has your look...he stares down toward the pitcher's mound and is reining in his focus. He takes a pitch, steps out, swings the bat a few more time. Steps back in, winds up his bat, check swings, holds his stance and then swings on the pitch...foul ball.

The first batter has reached base, and the pitcher looks him back, then throws down to first to make sure he goes back. The batter takes a quick breath before stepping back in. The pitch is a ball and he draws a walk.

Batter number 3, batting left, already has a 2-2 count. He hits a roller up to first and the 2 runners advance to scoring position. Come on Lincecum, don't make it this easy for Texas to get on the board...this is supposed to be a pitching dual.

The pitcher barely looks 18. He is tall and skinny with long, shoulder-length hair. He pitches, and the ball is hit right back at him, deflects off his leg and goes through to the outfield. Texas scores its first run -- Vladdy Guerrero! I bet you have some of his baseball cards.

God, I haven't watched a game all year, but in the first half of the first inning, it all comes rushing back. They all have something of you in them: the pitcher, batter, catcher, the fielders, third base...your spots. David, of course, is at first base, Danny at second....
They walk like you did, they look around the field like you did, adjusting their hats, smoothing their hands on their thighs, wiping off the excess sweat.

Oh geez, the pitcher picks up a short hopper and turns to the runner coming from third, stops him, and sort of chases him back in slow motion--no out and bases are loaded. Oh man, Andrew, you wouldda loved this game!

Finally, a hit to third, force out on the bag and the they have three outs. Time for SF to go to bat!

First batter, Torres, strikes out looking. Next batter, Sanchez, hits the first pitch down the first base line, breaking the bat into splinters. He runs, rounds and keeps on going to get to second, safely as the throw is just a little late. Giants are in scoring position with one out.

The catcher, Posey, is batting third now. Works it to a 2-2 count already. Inside corner ball, full count. Drama now! Pops it up over first base, right in the pocket, but no--second baseman is there and makes the catch and the throw to second and gets the out. No score for the Giants this inning.

Andrew, Andrew, Andrew! I wish you were here!

I am going to record these games and watch this series for you, son. Remember the time we went to San Francisco for that writing conferences when you were at Cuesta? Oh, Andrew, you could have been there at the game now, covering it for one of the newspapers. You would've had credentials, man, and been right there in the thick of it. You would be interviewing players and coaches and writing your fingers off!

Texas just scored again in the top of the second inning--Benji Molina. You remember him, the catcher. Oh boy, they are making a statement. SF better step it up in front of this California crowd. Sacrifice fly and Texas scores a second time...this could be a rout!

I miss you, kiddo! You would have really enjoyed this series.

Giants left one on in the second inning. A bat flew into the stands. A left hit one down the right sideline for a base hit. Full count with 2 outs...Lee strikes out #5 Juan Uribe and leaves a runner on. So goes the bottom of the scoreless second.

Giants get three out to stop the Rangers in the third and go up to bat. Vlad Guerrero gets a line drive to center and is on base in the bottom of the third. Cliff Lee is a hard thrower for Texas and is looking good, but they are hitting him. An error at third and Renteria is on base! Lincecum strikes out, followed by a hit batter and two on base. Giants are coming back! 1-2, 1 out and Sanchez is swinging. Line drive to left and Renteria scores! Giants are on the board. RBI Sanchez! Whoo-hoo! and I mean that with a sigh of relief!

Geez, I wish you were writing this, Andrew, because you would know all those little baseball card facts and could make it so fun and interesting to read with little sidebars and all.

Another base hit and Torres scores to tie it up! Posey hit a liner to center--beautiful! Now Burrell, batting cleanup, is at bat with two on first and third. Oh crap! KO looking...right down the pipe, too! Okay, its #13 Ross's chance to be a hero and put the Giants ahead. It goes to full count...and strike on the outside corner ends this opportunity.

Okay, Lincecum is warming up now...two K's in the top of the fourth already. Texas, where'd your bats go? Making this skinny kid look pretty good now...oooh-oh, spoke too soon. Moreland #18 just got a double to right center. Rangers' pitcher Lee is at pressure here! Is he gonna help himself out? Weak hit, out at first...nope. Go Giants!

This is the stuff of your dreams, Andrew! When were you last in SF stadium? Where were your seats? The boats are all in the water, fishing for baseballs. Gotta love SF!

Oh! Uribe is up again. Fouling off a lotta pitches...hard! They bounce back and hit him in the box. Ouch. Come on, dude, hit one into the water for Andrew! Make it happen. Nope! Lee wins this round...

One Two Three for Lincecum in the top of the fifth, now he is batting again--pitcher vs. pitcher...mano vs. mano...fitting. What goes through their minds? Everyone in the dugout is chewing and spitting seeds at warp speed. Weak contact and an out. Lead-off batter Torres is up and get a double-base hit! Two-spot Sanchez is up and hungry! Is this gonna be SF's big inning?

OMG! Huge hit to center and a run scores--Giants take the lead and the fans go crazy! Stat: Freddy Sanchez is the first player in MLB history to have three straight doubles in his first 3 at bats in a World Series. HOT!!! Now Posey's up, but strikes out looking--again. I think he did that last time, or maybe it was his first at-bat...oh well, come on Burrell. Show us why you bat clean up.

3-2 and a pop up! Fighting, fighting with 2 outs...Sanchez is still on second base. Burrell is move, or??? MVP Ross is up. 91 MPH fastball, high. 1-2 count, 2 outs and he hits dead up the center, almost taking off Lee's head in the process. He was still bent over finishing his pitch when the ball whizzed past. Sanchez scores from second and its a 2-run Giants lead!!! Ross is The Man! The celebration begins!!!

Oh geez! Another hit as Huff drives in Burrell. Its 5-2 and Lee is leaving the game. Darn-I liked him! O'Day comes in with his side-arm delivery to face Uribe with two on and two out. High fly ball to left and Uribe shoots one out, clearing the bases! Oh what a great time to be watching baseball! Texas is looking down, coaches making lots of notations.

The shortstop Renteria is up with absolutely no pressure on him. Oops...weird fastball spins in and hits him on the forearm. Now Lincecum again...enjoying this moment in his second at-bat of the inning. Geez, he hits a weak bouncer up the middle that is bobbled by the shortstop and he is on base now. Probably time for a new Texas pitcher? Conference on the mound. Love it!

They let O'Day try for the last out. Torres takes ball two inside, then strikes out. O'Day finishes a rough inning.

Top of the sixth and Rangers are going DOWN! Lincecum is totally confident, pitching hard and determined. The kid is looking invincible with two outs here...I am sure Nolan Ryan, President of the Rangers organization, would have to agree as he looks on, or rather, tries not to look.

Oops. Kinsler walks. Oh wow...Molina just hits and scores a run. How'd that happen on two outs? Reality check. Bullpen is warming up another pitcher, Casilla. Lincecum gets hit again by a line drive and Moreland gets a base hit out of it as Molina advances to third base. Murphy gets an RBI base hit and Giants pull their starting pitcher. It's 8-4 Giants, top of the sixth.

So what's it gonna be, Drew? Is San Fran gonna hang on with their bullpen and pull out Game One? Is Texas gonna come back? Both starters are done for this day.

Andrus is up for the Rangers in the top of their lineup, facing Casilla on the mound. Casilla is throwing in the 96-97 MPH range here. He gets the out and now the Giants get to finish this inning at bat.

Ogando is on the mound for the Rangers, facing Sanchez who is a hitting machine tonight. The ball is hit to right field, but is easily caught for out number one. Ogando, Casilla...hard throwers. You would love to study their mechanics, Drew. I can visualize you practicing in front of the mirror now...

He blows one by Posey for the second out. Burrell is next. Ogando is mixing it up with pitches ranging from 84-97 MPH and gets him swinging at a fastball on the outside corner.

7th inning time! I've got 30 minutes of recorded ball on the DVR, so I hope I got it all! Casilla is facing 3rd baseman Michael Young, who grounds out. Hamilton and Guerro are next up. Fly to centerfor an out followed by a ball hit to the right side scored as an error. Cruz is up with one one and two outs. Can he start a rally for Texas? Not with that fly ball...oh boy! Giants, at bat with six defensive outs to go.

God Bless him...Tony Bennett is singing the National Anthem and "I Left My Heart in San Francisco". Tradition is what really makes baseball great, dontcha think? Willie McCovey, with other retired Giants Orlando Cepeda, Juan Marichal, Gaylord Perry and Monte Irvin looking on, threw out the ceremonial first pitch of the game. I love it!

On one out, Huff gets a base hit (his 3rd hit of the night!) and Ogando doesn't look happy. Uribe is up, swings and misses on a hit and run as Huff is out at second base. Molina is looking so fine at catcher! He is a shining star for Texas. I know you can appreciate that, Andrew! That play was worth a couple of instant replays with the DVR. Uribe K's to end the seventh.

Six outs to go, Giants! Sergio Romo on the mound--is this the Beard we are to fear? Remember, I haven't watched any games this season... Kinsler at bat, Molina on deck. Base hit by Kinsler, then he turns to go but is tagged out...doofus! Molina is out. Manager Bruce Bochy goes to the mound and pulls Romo...must not be the right beard, after all. Javier Lopez is in...ahh! I remember this name. Two outs, top of the 8th. Moreland grounds out.

Mark Lowe is in for Texas on the pitching mound, facing Renteria, batting 8th in the lineup. Base hit to right, followed by an error to advance him to third base. Not looking good, Rangers! Can you say, put a nail in the coffin?

Oh crud! My recording just ended! I gotta figure out another way to see the end of the game with all the rallies!!!! Turn to ESPN highlights. No, MLB "At Bat" stats: Sanchez (3 runs, 3 RBIs) gets it going in the bottom of the 8th and Giants score 3 runs. Rangers answer back with 3 runs in the top of the 9th but come up short as the Giants take Game One, 11-7. That's a pretty action-packed ballgame!

It was great to get to watch it with you, Andrew!

Friday, October 22, 2010

One goal down...

I can now say I have been there, done that, and got the T-shirt to prove it!

I completed my 5K Run in the City to Sea event at Shell Beach two weeks ago. I did it! I ran with a huge group of people who mostly passed me up, but I kept moving and finished the race in 42:14 minutes. It wasn't the time I was shooting for, and the course seemed a lot longer than my measured training runs, but Hey! It was my first race, and it won't be the last.

Starting in a large group, I got caught up in the excitement and was going way to fast. I got to the first corner and had to walk, but I worked it out to jogging about 300 yards and walking 100 yards, then repeating. Mile Marker 1 took a long time to get to. I was moving with the middle of the pack...lots of real fast people finished in 15 to 20 minutes, while others took over an hour, so I guess my time was pretty average. That's okay. Luckily there was this one woman who kept passing me, then I would pass her, etc., until we got to the final stretch. At that point, I was resolved to not let one more old lady pass me up -- her approaching footsteps motivated me to keep moving faster and stay ahead. It was fun!

I had to think of Andrew during my run and ask him for inspiration to keep going. He was such a competitor in everything he did, and I wanted some of that strength. I think I got it.

I want to keep moving, so I will run in another event in November. Then I want to enter the Hounds N Hares 5K in March. It is an event I helped organize several years ago and I always wanted to be able to compete in it, so now's my chance. Then I think I have my husband and his friend talked into being a team with me in the SLO Triathalon in July. I will run, Nick can ride a bike and Lee can swim. That will be fun to train for and compete in.

The best part was at my Weight Watcher's weigh-in this week: I lost over a pound! Happy, happy! Thanks, Drew : )

Monday, October 11, 2010

Understanding others in time of loss...

Another young man has taken his life this past week and left his family reeling in grief and shock.

He was the nephew of my former boss, my best friends' cousin, step-brother to my girlfriend and classmate of many people I know. I feel their pain. I know everyone touched by this loss feels intense pain and sorry because they somehow couldn't see it coming or didn't take steps to prevent it from happening. I did go through all those emotions, but I finally concluded that my son just had too much pain to bear, and in sacrificing himself, he released his pain forever and spread it on to all our shoulders to bear for him. We now are the ones bearing the pain and having to deal with that person's issues in the wake.

Its not a desirable outcome as far as those left behind are concerned, but I can see how someone going through unbearable stress or pain or mental illness might have those thoughts and act on them one day. If we are lucky, we channel that pain and put it into a positive light. Just about every hard task I undertake these days is given over to Andrew to help me bear. He was a beautiful, strong and accomplished person who I loved and looked up to, and doing things in honor of him gives me enormous strength and inspiration. I am truly grateful for the time on earth I had to spend with him, and the schedules I had to keep to accommodate his activities -- it was not time wasted.

I do wish I could have been able to solve his dilemma's and make him feel happy and healthy. I am sorry if I ever failed him in any way. But I remember him often, with love.