Changing Doppler With The Seasons

This is a sad year for the Phillies. In baseball terms, they suck. They’re getting older (not that there’s anything wrong with that), slower and less able to hit for power. The pitching staff has been so weak at times I expected walk-ons from the stands to toss a few innings.

We’ve seen them at Dodger Stadium and Angels Stadium. They’ll be in San Diego soon. It’s driveable. Maybe. But why?

Our attention now turns to the Eagles. There are high expectations for this team. I’ve heard it before, but never as positively as now.

Kiss of death? Probably.

To mark the changing of the season Doppler has lost her worn out Phillies tag and gone green!

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It’s Deja Vu All Over Again

“It will happen,” I said at the time to anyone who asked, “when I grow a second penis.” I actually didn’t say penis.

Our governor, Hartford’s mayor and a bunch of other prominent Connecticut residents were played. When all was said and done they looked naive and foolish.

PatslogoI remember the fall of ’98 like it was yesterday. Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, spent the summer flirting with Connecticut. He was using us to make his ‘real girlfriend,’ Massachusetts, jealous.

Gov. John G. Rowland of Connecticut and the owner of the New England Patriots scheduled a news conference at the Capitol today to announce an agreement to move the National Football League team from Massachusetts to downtown Hartford, a spokesman for the Governor said this morning. – NYTimes 11/19/98

“It will happen,” I said at the time to anyone who asked, “when I grow a second penis.”

I actually didn’t say penis.

Our governor, Hartford’s mayor and a bunch of other prominent Connecticut residents were played. Kraft saw us as bumpkins. We were.

By the way, I will never root for the Patriots as long as Kraft is associated with it in any way. I am still bitter. It may have been good business, but it was bad faith.

los-angeles-angels-of-anaheim-logoWhere were we?

Oh, yeah… I’m reminded of the Patriots story because of something going on down here. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are going through contentious negotiations over the team’s lease with Anaheim, their stadium’s owner.

Angels owner Arte Moreno wants the Moon and the stars. The City of Anaheim doesn’t want to get fleeced. The prevailing wisdom is the current lease has been a lot better for Moreno than Anaheim.

Now, Moreno has pulled a Kraft!

Angels owner Arte Moreno met with officials from the City of Tustin last week to discuss the possibility of building a new baseball stadium, a team spokesman confirmed Saturday.

One potential site would be the decommissioned Marine Corps Air Station, which would be accessible via the 5, 405 and 55 Freeways and is across the street from the Tustin Metrolink train station. LATimes 2/15/14

Tustin is the next city north from here. It is not the only stranger being kissed while Anaheim looks on.

Amid tense negotiations with Anaheim, the Los Angeles Angels baseball team has said it talked with FivePoint Communities, the developer of homes surrounding the Great Park in Irvine. What kind of talk, no one knows – or will say in much detail. OCRegister 5/2/14

I could walk to the games! We’re around a mile northeast of the park.

I’ll grow a second penis before any of this happens.

Moreno is playing hardball, but he doesn’t want to move ten miles farther from Los Angeles. The Angels are best served staying right where they are with a little stadium upgrade. It’s all about money.

I hope Anaheim remains firm.

Southern California’s Palace Of Baseball

We brought a picnic of leftovers! OMG! All sorts of goodies from Sunday that made it into a soft sided bag and past security. The Foxes dined at the park!

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As Phillies fans, Helaine and I were excited by the chance of seeing West Coast games in person. Last night was a first chance. We dropped Doppler at the sitter and headed up ‘the 5’ toward Chavez Ravine. Phillies versus Dodgers.

LA has traffic. Get used to it. It took 1:20 door-to-door. I can live with that.

IMG_20140421_181714-w1400-h1400Helaine got us great seats down low just up the line from first base. We had an unobstructed view of everything. It was a little tough to judge inside/outside pitches, but other than that, perfect.

We came early. The park is different when the teams are on the field taking batting and fielding practice. We watched A.J. Burnett walk up to the fence, sign autographs and take pics with fans.

Did he have to? No. Class act.

IMG_20140421_193333-w1400-h1400Speaking of which, thank you Dodger Stadium for being a class act too. Every employee we came across was helpful and friendly even though we were wearing Phillies gear. Maybe baseball realizes at the current cost for tickets we deserve to be treated well.

The stadium itself seems to be in pristine condition. It’s cool to see the zig-zag roof over the bleachers and hexagonal scoreboards, now in sparkling high def color. There are more advertising signs than in ’62, but this isn’t a 21st century glitter palace.

IMG_20140421_180820-w1400-h1400We brought a picnic of leftovers! OMG! All sorts of goodies from Sunday that made it into a soft sided bag and past security. The Foxes dined at the park!

The Phils opened with two runs in the first and never looked back. The Dodgers looked lackluster–like patsies on this night. It got chilly toward the end. We were prepared.

380828_20140421_184132-97324829.jpg_1024x1024Nice place to see a game. We should do it more often. Angels Stadium is even closer.

How I Met Jerry Coleman

jerry coleman baseball cardJerry Coleman died today. Seven decades in baseball. World Series MVP as a player. Broadcaster. Manager.

I met Jerry in the late 70s. I was working in Philadelphia radio and our helicopter traffic guy, Walt McDonald, knew Jerry from San Diego. Could he arrange for me to watch a Phillies/Padres game from the broadcast booth as Jerry did play-by-play?

Done.

I headed to the Vet a few Saturdays later and was escorted into the booth directly behind home plate. I was a little overwhelmed. Jerry Coleman was a big deal former major leaguer with a very distinctive voice. There was no mistaking whose hand I was shaking. He didn’t pass unnoticed in a baseball stadium.

The Padres took an early lead, but between innings Coleman explained how the Phillies looked like they’d figured out the Padres pitcher, who was beginning to tire. I saw none of this, but nodded anyway.

Next inning the Phillies blew it open! The Padres pitcher was chased, just as Coleman predicted and when he predicted it.

Both Jerry Coleman and his broadcast partner, Dave Campbell, were gracious that afternoon. It was my own personal reality show to take in and remember.

Over 35 years later, I still remember. It still makes me smile. I am one of many who will not forget Jerry Coleman.

The Season Begins For The Phils

“This game is really long.” That was Helaine a few minutes ago.

Baseball games usually run about three hours. The Phillies’ season is only an hour and a half old. Just four innings into 2013 and there’s already trouble.

Cole Hamels, the Phillies ace, has given up four runs to the Atlanta Braves. Philly bats have been mainly silent.

I’m willing to watch for love of the game alone, but I’d much rather follow the Phillies on a pennant chase.

Last year’s injuries have healed. Only Carlos Ruiz is missing tonight, suspended 25 games after failing two drug tests for Adderall.

I know, there’s plenty more baseball tonight and all season. It’s just too easy to be a pessimist after last year. And there’s no doubt, when it comes to baseball pessimism rules!

Gotta run. The Phils just loaded the bases. Maybe I’m writing too soon?

Time For Baseball

IMG_0577 MLBTVReal baseball begins Sunday night. Warm weather is nearly here.

Once again we’ve signed on with the MLB computer package. That puts the Phillies on all our devices.

In 2010, Helaine watched Roy Halladay’s perfect game as we drove up the Pacific Coast Highway toward Santa Barbara. We’ve got devices!

It’s surprising how many spring training games were on TV this year and how few were on radio. Every day it’s tougher to make a buck in radio.

Live sports on TV still does very well. Without live sports cable would be dead.

I’m watching MLB TV now. The Padres are visiting the Texas Rangers in San Antonio. This is a replay from Saturday afternoon. It’s just random noise made more interesting by the play-by-play guy, Dick Enberg.

If you follow sports you know Dick Enberg from the NFL. For the past few years he’s been doing the Padres’ broadcasts and he’s great. Thorough. Smart. Witty.

Wikipedia says he’s 78. You’d never be able to convince anyone listening that’s true.

H and I enjoy baseball. We’re scared it’s going to be a very long season for Phillies fans. We’ll still watch.

It’s Tough To Be A Fan

“Put something else on.” It was Helaine speaking. It was Sunday. The Eagles had already passed bad and were starting to be embarrassing to watch.

She didn’t want them put out of their misery as much as she wanted them put out of her misery! It’s tough to be a sports fan.

The Eagles offensive line is so bad this year that anyone showing up at “The Linc” who’s taller than 6′ 3″ and heavier than 325 lbs. has a decent chance of being asked to suit up.

It was the same with the Phillies. By the All-Star break they were so far back the owners began to dismantle the team. Starters like Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence were given a plane ticket and a slap on the tush.

The funny thing is in this modern era the only team loyalty is from fans to teams. It’s certainly not from teams to players or teams to fans.

It’s sad. We’ll continue to watch the Eagles play, but I’m not sure why. The Eagles should be playing for a playoff berth. Instead I’m thinking they’re playing to avoid injury.

And So It Begins: Baseball

I am so upset. The baseball season has opened in a totally strange way. Bad feng shui!

By tradition the first game is played in the afternoon in Cincinnati. Not this year. Miami opened a new stadium and played St. Louis tonight. Last week Oakland and Seattle played a couple of real games in Japan.

I think MLB considers last week’s two games a “soft opening.” Who can tell anymore?

The Phillies play Pittsburgh at PNC Park Thursday afternoon. We’re big Phillies fans in the Fox household.

Right now most of the team seems injured. The rest are considering AARP cards. I don’t sense a winner. I hope I’m wrong.

It could be worse. We could be Mets fans.

Baseball is different than any other sport. Most of the time most of the players really aren’t involved in the action. Even so the season is long and grueling.

We’ll see some games. My sister and brother-in-law have invited us to Milwaukee to catch a weekend series. A former boss has offered Helaine and me seats in his company’s box at Citizen Bank Park.

We’ve got the MLB video package for the computer again. We can see nearly every game (and Helaine will). I can watch on my phone, tablet, Roku and PC.

Baseball’s Most Exciting Night

It was crazy. This was like two simultaneous races won by photo finish. It took all 162 games to reach a decision! Wow.

Tonight was the most exciting baseball night I can ever remember. That’s good. The Fox Family likes baseball!

It’s a game much easier to follow nowadays and more enjoyable with computers and high def video. Actually, tonight’s results would have stood out even when you had to wait for the morning newspaper to know what happened!

In the American League Boston gave up an extra inning lead to lose to Baltimore. Tampa Bay came from seven runs down to beat the Yankees. Tampa goes to the playoffs. Boston goes home.

In the National League the Phils beat the Braves, also coming from behind and sweeping their three game series. St. Louis blew out Houston. St Louis in. Atlanta out.

At work both the Yakees and Red Sox games were on throughout the newsroom. We’re encouraged to watch TV at work. 🙂

I watched the Phillies game on my phone followed by the Red Sox/Baltimore, then Yankees/Tampa Bay from the car. John Sterling was suitably impressed with what had gone on around him.

It was crazy. This was like two simultaneous races won by photo finish. It took all 162 games to reach a decision! Wow.

I asked some online friends for quotes.

Donna DeMarco Reyes Rocks then Rolls. Rays Rejoice. Red Sox ‘Retch & Reel. Remarkable.
Kelly LaMesa How about: Half of Connecticut can focus on more important things now.
David Friedman Baseball is a humbling sport. It’s the one that breaks hearts. Bart Giamatti had a quote about that-&#185
Sherri- Tommy Clark the difference between the yankees and the red sox is you can buy a hotdog at yankee stadium in october….
Foz McDermott how about… red sox suck…. go phillies.. you can use both of those if you wish….
Michael Lano yes it was. I was at the sox game. I’m a yankees fan and that was one of the best games I’ve been to. O’s fans are so passionate.

And now the post season begins. Everyone starts at zero.

Go Phillies!

&#185 – David probably means: “It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone.” – Source: A. Bartlett Giamatti, The Green Fields of the Mind (Yale Alumni Magazine, November 1977)

What A Baseball Game!

This is crazy. This doesn’t happen in any other sport. Think flight attendant piloting the plane.

This is great. I don’t really care who wins right now. I’ve got the Phils game on. It started six hours ago. They’re in the 19th inning. The Phils have run out of players!

Wilson Valdez is pitching. He has never pitched before–not in the majors, not in the minors. He got the first man out. He just plunked one on Scott Rollen.

The fans are going nuts.

Valdez, sensing the situation, went to manager Charlie Manuel and said, “I can pitch.”

“Are you sure?” Manual replied.

Two out now.

The guy playing third was the catcher. He, Carlos Ruiz, chased a foul over the tarp. Two other players have moved to unusual positions.

Oh my! Three out. Valdez goes an inning scoreless.

The fans, those few still left, are giving Valdez a standing ovation.

This is crazy. This doesn’t happen in any other sport. Think flight attendant piloting the plane.

In the bottom of the 19th the Phils loaded the bases then sacrificed home the winning run. Wilson Valdez picks up the win.

God, this is too good. Put another one in the win column for the Phighting Phils.

Baseball On My TV

Baseball is the natural enemy of snow.

I’ve got baseball on my TV right now! The Yankees are hosting the Phils. It’s still early. There are players on-the-field with uniform numbers in the 60s, 70s and 80s.

Spring training serves as a milepost. It’s not spring here yet, but it soon will be.

Baseball is the natural enemy of snow.

How I’ll Watch Two Games At Once Tonight

This is the techno equivalent of rubbing your stomach while patting your head and hopping on one leg.

Comcast has upgraded our DVR. Actually that may not be the proper characterization. They’ve changed and prettied it. Upgrade? The jury’s still out.

In order to enable the new stuff Comcast eliminated a few minor never used features like the picture-in-picture I want to use today! The Eagles and Phillies are both playing at 8:00 PM.

It’s the 21st Century. I can ad lib a solution… maybe.

Our Vizio TV has picture-in-picture built in, but one picture will have to be the cable tuner in HD and the other the set’s built-in tuner. It too might be HD. I’m really not sure at this point. This is the techno equivalent of rubbing your stomach while patting your head and hopping on one leg.

In case you’re wondering what I’ll be doing during halftime of the Giants/Texans game you now know.

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Conclusion: Wow, it works! The setup to split the screen was reasonably straightforward… if you’re nerdy. Seriously, this is not for the faint of heart.

On top of that there is the ability to actually make the split 50/50 and swap audio from side to side.

As it turns out the picture-in-picture Comcast removed was inferior to what I already had.

America’s Most Beloved Ballpark: Fenway

Amazingly, while in the car on the way up we heard about this Red Sox newbie and Helaine predicted he’d ruin our day hitting for the cycle. He was 2 for 4 with a double plus the homer. Close enough.

It’s a week early, but I got my Father’s Day gift from Helaine this weekend. We drove to Boston and caught Saturday and Sunday’s games: Phils versus Sox. In spite of an ugly loss Saturday the trip was great. The Phils held on to win 5-3 on Sunday.

Saturday’s game was marked by a grand slam home run from a player making his major league debut, Daniel Nava. He did it on the very first pitch!

Amazingly, while in the car on the way up we heard about this Red Sox newbie and Helaine predicted he’d ruin our day hitting for the cycle. He was 2 for 4 with a double plus the homer all while wearing a number usually reserved for non-roster pitchers during spring training–60. Close enough.

It’s tough to describe what makes Fenway so special. Part of it is size. As you walk down Brookline Avenue toward the stadium other than the crowd there’s no sign a major sports venue is near!

Even the crowd’s not so large. The stadium only holds around 37,000.

Once we got to the stadium the vibe couldn’t have been better. We came carrying a small soft sided cooler with bottled water ($3.75 per bottle inside), my camera bag with lenses and two Subway sandwiches. No problem. Come on in. This stuff is allowed. The security guards and ticket takers were all smiling and in a good mood.

Inside the no hassle policy continued though we wore Phils shirts both days. There were plenty of Phillies fans, many of whom came early enough to watch batting practice.

The stadium itself is a lovingly restored antique. The new “throwback” stadiums are throwing back toward this!

The main scoreboard is fully human powered! Many of the painted ads are limited to green and white. They fit in rather than stand out. That’s a nice touch.

Though some recorded music is played there is also the traditional organist. He specializes in taking the soul out of even the most soulful songs.

By Sunday afternoon I was pleased enough with Fenway to join in on Sweet Caroline – “So good. So good. So good.”

Saturday’s seats had a pole directly between me and home plate! Uh oh. Luckily a seat was opened and we slid left.

Alas, behind home plate means behind the protective screen. It’s just not good to be behind screen. Oh–forget picture taking too.

Sunday we sat in the grandstand down the third base line. These seats were spectacular with perfect sightlines in all directions.

One doesn’t question gifts, but I think the better Sunday seats were the cheaper seats.

It rained a good part of Saturday’s game and stayed gloomy for Sunday. It made no diff. We were under cover and protected. I wouldn’t have complained had it been a little warmer than the 60&#176s we sat through both days.

I was extremely impressed by the Fenway grounds crew. It goes without saying a big league field will be well maintained but these guys are animals!

On Saturday’s game we watched them groom the infield three or four times valiantly fighting and winning against the rain. They were out with shovels and rakes and bags of that beautifully red infield dirt. They poured enough dirt that the basepaths should have been elevated from the rest of the field!

I asked Helaine if she noticed how many people were wearing team jerseys and t-shirts? It’s grown over the years. Major League Baseball’s merchandising is very effective.

What did bother us was one food item sold by vendors–New England Clam Chowder. I love chowder, but this doesn’t seem like the right place. On top of that it’s $7.50 for a small cardboard bowl!

Finally a liquid more expensive than ink jet printer ink!

As we were walking to pick up the car Helaine asked if I’d like to go on a Phillies road trip again? Absolutely.

My Wicked Pissah Father’s Day

Father’s Day is still weeks away, but last night on our drive from the airport Helaine revealed my gift.

I am tough to buy for. When there’s something I want it’s usually specific and esoteric like a lens or motherboard. At the moment there’s really nothing I want/need. Father’s Day is still weeks away, but last night on our drive from the airport Helaine revealed my gift.

“You said you wanted to see the Phillies out-of-town.”

Helaine was right. While snow was on the ground I’d scoured the Phils schedule looking for an opportune weekend in some city served by Southwest.

And then she told me–we’re going to Fenway this weekend. The Phils play the Sox in an interleague series. We’ve got tickets for Saturday and Sunday.

I am VERY excited.

The forecast isn’t perfect, but our seats are in the grandstand under cover. It doesn’t make much difference. Fenway is a special place. It’s like a beautifully restored and loved masterpiece.

Cameras and video cameras are permitted inside Fenway Park, but cannot be used to reproduce the game and must not interfere with other fans’ enjoyment of the game.

Clicky’s coming too!