Category Archives: Baseball

W^2 – baseball is back

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, May 8, 2024

NOTE: This post was originally titled “Baseball”, but after reflecting overnight, I changed it to “baseball is back.” Enjoy

Tuesday night baseball at Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois. Tuesday April 23, 2024, 7:09 PM

It’s baseball season, again. Baseball season begins at the end of March and lasts until the final out in late October. Every team will play 162 games, the good ones will play more, and the best teams could play 173 or more. It all depends, because baseball is a funny game.

“The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game — it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and it could be again.”

“Ohhhhhhhh, people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come.”
Terrance Mann in Field of Dreams

I made it to my first game of the 2024 season two weeks ago and I am just now making time to write about it. I’ve been to Wrigley Field more times than I can remember. My first game was in 1993. Wrigley Field opened with its first baseball game one hundred ten years ago in 1914. It’s the second oldest ballpark in the major leagues and there is something magic about watching a game there. Continue reading W^2 – baseball is back

Tuesday’s Tune: Thank God I’m a Country Boy

Summer break is winding down and next week at this time, I’ll be getting ready for a new group of students. I am excited and I am looking forward to this year, it will be my twenty-fifth year of teaching.

Today, I am travelling home from last ballpark trip for the summer. I was in Florida for two games: Sunday in Tampa Bay and Monday in Miami – both indoor games. It was hot and humid in Florida much warmer than is comfortable for me.

A couple of weeks after school ended, I attended a professional development opportunity put on by Adobe to teach me how to use their newly updated software – Adobe Express. Click the link to check it out! I’ve been using Adobe Express this summer to edit photos, create a graphics,  and in general  playing with it toying with possibilities of using it with my students.  I am sticking with iMovie for videos because the software is the same on my iPhone, iPad, and my MacBook. And it is easy to use.

Monday night’s graphic

After each ballpark visit, I’ve created a video and posted it to my YouTube channel. I started during last year’s trip recording the seventh inning stretch and then adding the national anthem. I’ve been working on my video production and editing skills adding new elements to each video.

Sometimes I feel like a country boy as technology in the classroom continually evolves. My first year of teaching was almost entirely paper and pencil (or pen) for me and my students. This year, almost all of what I do will involve using technology for presentations to assignments and assessments but I still am going to ask them to use paper and pen for their notebooks in class.

last Thursday’s graphic – after 25 ball parks more than a hundred baseball games, I finally got a game ball.

Last week when I was in Baltimore, I recorded the national anthem and posted the video along with last week’s W^2 (wordless Wednesday) I changed the name to anthem, it made more sense to have a single word, rather than the phrase ‘O say can you see.’ Continue reading Tuesday’s Tune: Thank God I’m a Country Boy

W^2 – anthem (renamed)

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, August 9, 2023

It is Wednesday, and I am in Baltimore for another baseball trip. This city and ballpark make 25 of 30. I have one last trip before school starts in less than two weeks.

These baseball trips have been more than baseball. Each stop has been an adventure full of curiosity, history, learning and growth, and excitement. Sometimes it is planned, but most times it simply happens.

the Star-Spangled Banner, Fort McHenry Baltimore, Maryland August 8, 2023 2:14 PM

Yesterday, I arrived my flight from Chicago arrived late morning. I had planned to visit Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine before checking in to my hotel. Fort McHenry guards, or guarded, Baltimore Harbor in 1814 during the War of 1812. The British had planned to invade and take over Baltimore in September 1814. The War of 1812 was started by the fledgling United States who was losing the war to the might British Empire. Only weeks before, in August, the British had routed the Americans in Washington, D. C. and burned the White House.

But the British attack on Baltimore is the unravelling of the British advantage and the strengthening of American resolve. In battle it isn’t always might and strength which decides the outcome of a conflict. Sometimes it’s an idea.

During the British bombardment of Fort McHenry an American, Francis Scott Key, watched the battle from a ship in Baltimore harbor. When morning came, he looked across the harbor to see the fort and he saw the American flag flying through the ‘dawns early light.’ He retreated to his sea cabin and penned a poem which spread like wildfire across the young American nation.

In 1931, the United States adopted this poem as its national anthem. We know the poem as “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming?

The poem was four stanzas, and we sing only the first. Last night before the baseball game the crowd rose and sang the song proudly.

Today is going to be an amazing day, it just might be a million and six times better than yesterday although Tuesday night’s ballgame was the best baseball game, I’ve seen this season. Who knows? So, I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the days Count, one day at a time, exploring, learning, and being curious.

What adventure are you off to today?

POST PUBLICATION NOTE: I decided to change the post’s name, from O’ say can you see to anthem.

What I love about baseball

I am not exactly sure how my baseball bucket list adventures began, but I can backtrack the trail to Homer Bailey’s second no hitter on July 2, 2013.

I am sure you are wondering,

“How in the world can he be certain?”

Well, it started with Maribel, my late mother-in-law. She was up at the lake, and she wanted to listen the Cincinnati Reds game. Unfortunately, neither the Reds radio network nor the Reds television broadcast served norther lower Michigan. That area was Detroit Tigers territory. She was a Reds fan and she watched or listened to the Reds ballgames at home in southwestern Ohio.

 I signed up for MLB TV and we watched and listened to the ballgame using my computer in her bedroom. That night I signed up three times for MLB TV and I didn’t catch my mistake until my credit card billing statement arrived the following month. Thankfully, MLB TV was understanding and cancelled the two additional accounts. I’ve been renewing the package ever since.

About that time, my favorite team, the Houston Astros began to play better and since, I’ve been paying more attention since. Thank you, Maribel.

Since last summer, I’ve travelled to twelve cities and thirteen new ball parks in addition to the two ballparks in Chicago. I’ve met many people in my travels. I’ve attended all but one of those games by myself and each time I sit down to watch the game, I meet new people.

What I love about baseball is that I realize that it is truly America’s game. By attendance it is the most popular sport, but the baseball season is 162 games long and each team plays half of their games at home and the other half on the road. In 2022, over 64 million people watched a major league baseball game in person, attendance is down almost 10% compared to 2018.

the crowd in St. Louis with the Gateway Arch in the background

This past year MLB made rule changes to the game to speed up play and make the game more exciting. At first, I was apprehensive, but with four months (and seven games in a ballpark) into the season I agree. The game is more exciting and on average a ballgame is almost thirty minutes shorter this year compared to previous seasons. This season’s average is 2 hours and 39 minutes compared with the 2022 season average game length of 3 hours and 6 minutes. Continue reading What I love about baseball

W^2 – peanut

W^2, W2, or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Today is Day 23 and yesterday, I took the train from Chicagoland all the way to St. Louis. It was my first real train ride in the United States. Trains in the US were once a BIG deal, but with the advent of the car, a national road system, and air travel trains declined in my lifetime. I don’t recall ever riding a train to go anywhere until my brothers and I visited my father in Europe after my parents divorced. My first rail trip was to Glasgow from London on British Rail. We have a commuter rail system in Chicagoland, but I don’t use it often. However, I did take commuter rail into Union Station yesterday morning.

For this week’s Wordless Wednesday, I have a new peanut image from Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri.

Last night I added to my list of cities where Major League Baseball is played, twenty-three. Every game reminds me of how baseball is an integral part of our culture. I could say sport, but I don’t get this feeling with football, basketball, or other sports and I don’t know why. But last night I sat amongst St. Louis Cardinal fans whom I’d never met and had a great talking baseball and life.

Last night’s seats were the best seats I have ever had for a baseball game. I decided to splurge on these seats when I was planning my trip. To my right were two couples out for the ballgame and to my left was a group of friends, and in front of me were a father and son. None of us were regulars in these seats. The woman to my right was a mom whose thins were headed off to college this fall, JP to right was a graphic artist, and the young man in front of me reminded me who was winning the game – the Cardinals. It was a great night at the ballpark.

I have seven cities left on my list: Denver, Phoenix, Tampa Bay, Miami, Baltimore, Boston, and Toronto.

Today, I have a visit to the Gateway Arch, another baseball game tonight, and a train ride home tomorrow.

Today is going to be an amazing day, it could be a million and six times better than yesterday. So, I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the days Count, one day at a time, watching a baseball game, or enjoying the sights and sounds of a new city.

What will you explore today?

W^2 – summer

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, June 21, 2023

For this week’s Wordless Wednesday, I have two, errr three, images of summer captured in the spring. I chode baseball, but I could choose just about anything as an image of summer.

It is summer, officially at 10:57 AM CDT, but it’s felt like summer since school let the kiddos free June 2ndand me free the following Monday, the fifth.

a summer game played in the three seasons – April 6 at Target Field Minneapolis, Minnesota. Game time time temp low fifties. Beautiful day and great game Astros 2, Twins 3 in 10 innings

Today is Day 16 and it is a very different day than my first Day 16 post on MtDC:  Day 15 and 16: Takeoff and Landing – Day 1 in Paris. I look at those photos and remember each moment.

Last summer I got serious about my bucket list goal of visiting every major league baseball stadium with a seven day, seven game, six city, and ten baseball team trip beginning in New York City winding west finishing in Cleveland before driving home to Chicagoland. In all last year, I attended ten ballgames and watched one half of the teams in the MLB. I finished the 2022 season having seen 20 of the 30 present day ballparks.

T-Mobile Park in Seattle, Washington. Looking to left field. May 6th, Astros 5 Mariners 7.

This season, Continue reading W^2 – summer

Mother’s Day – 2023

It’s been five years since my mom, our mom, died. I miss her dearly. Especially on Mother’s Day and her birthday.

mom as a young girl, I think I got her curly hair. photo from early 1940s

When I started blogging, she became my reader and my critic. I miss those conversations and so much more. She taught me how to be who I am today. She taught me to be curious, to ask questions, and so much more.

Last year her sister, and our aunt, died. Those two sisters taught us more than I realized, and I miss them both.

Lynne, my mom, and Joyce, my aunt

Today, we are non-sequential, 61-60, and 58. In October, we we’ll be in order again until I mess it up and turn 62 a month later in November.

mom’s last birthday in 2018, she turned 80 and we celebrated as a big family. Left to right, David, Warren, and me. At the time it was 54, 56, and 57. We’ve gotten older and wiser.

It’s because of mom that I keep working at Making the Days Count. Each day, in some way, I work at it. I am thankful and full of gratitude for her patience and kindness when what I really, I needed (and deserved) was a kick in the pants and tough love.

It’s Mother’s Day and I’d better get going on it and jump in, jump out, and seize the day. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, looking back, looking forward, but always remembering.

What is one thing you learned from your mother?

October baseball and blog atrophy

It has been a long while since I sat down to write a blog post. And sadly, the busyness has sidelined some of my blog reading, too. Embarrassingly it’s been more than a month since my last post. In the interim my unread email has ballooned considerably, so what have I been up to?

this morning, the trees looking up

The end of September marked three weekends in row where I was away from home, the first in southern California, then two weekends at our lake house in Michigan.

BASEBALL
At the end of September, I took a baseball trip to Southern California. I was able to find a weekend when both the LA Dodgers and the LA Angels were in town for home games. The trip added two more stadiums to my list of baseball stadiums where I have watched a major league baseball game. I have ten more stadiums before I have seen a baseball game in every MLB city, but I’ll have to include three teams whose stadiums have changed since I watched a game in their city – Texas Rangers, San Francisco Giants, and the Atlanta Braves.

Friday, September 30 – Colorado Rockies vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (click to watch the video)

It has been four weeks and I still have “I’m still standing” running through my head…. click the picture for the Dodger Stadium video…

The trip to the Los Angeles area was a great trip, and there were two bonuses. First was the Elton John bubblehead at Dodger Stadium on Friday night and second the choice of a hike along the beach or in the mountains or the beach on Saturday afternoon. I chose the beach and thoroughly enjoyed listening to the pounding surf while I walked in the soft sand of the Pacific Ocean beach.

Saturday, October 1 – Texas Rangers vs. Los Angeles Angels

That was the final weekend of baseball’s regular season, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Four weeks later and there are at least three games remaining in the season, and possible five.

It’s the World Series and my team, the Houston Astros, is playing the Philadelphia Phillies. Last night the Astros tied the series 1-1 and the two team square off Monday night beginning three consecutive games in Philadelphia. I visited Philadelphia this summer as part of my epic seven-day, seven-game, six-city baseball trip and it was a fun park to watch baseball in but on Monday night the park will be full, loud, and unfriendly place for the Astros.

FALL LEAVES
Yes, it is that time again. Fall and leaf clean up. My wife and I spent the first weekend in Michigan at our lake house to do fall clean up there. Fall begins earlier in Michigan than it does at home in northern Illinois. We also had a weekend football game with our daughter at Michigan State. It was fun to be on campus, but the Spartan football team was not a match for the Ohio State Buckeye football team losing 49-20.

The plan for the first weekend was to get the yard, the garage, and the home ready for the winter by the lake, but we ran out of time and daylight on Sunday. Continue reading October baseball and blog atrophy

three words for the first week of school

What a great week! I am back to school for a twenty-fourth year of teaching. It was a great week for so many reasons, but I am going to share three BIG IDEAS – eight, hike, and inspirational. It was so good I think I am going to go back on Monday for another week.

the early morning air from my summer office

A few weeks ago, I read a blog post by Beth at I Didn’t Have My Glasses On. Her post was a clip of an article about a decree by the president of Turkmenistan concerning the cycle of life. According to the decree, life comes in cycles of 12 years and the cycles are:

  • Childhood (birth – 13 years)
  • Adolescence (13-25 years)
  • Youth (25 to 37 years)
  • Maturity (37 to 49 years)
  • Prophesy (49 to 61 years)
  • inspirational (61 to 73 years)
  • Wisdom (73 to 85 years)
  • Old Age (85 to 97 years)

I find myself on the cusp of prophecy and inspirational. However, when I look in the mirror, I can see all of the cycles, but I can identify with childhood and adolescence. I believe my kiddos see me where I am on the cusp of being prophetic and inspirational. For the next ten months that is where I will spend most of my weekdays working with kids teaching and learning, but mostly learning, bouncing between cycles.

It was a great week for so many reasons, but I am going to share three BIG IDEAS – eight, hike, and inspirational. Continue reading three words for the first week of school

at rest, in peace

I began writing this post two weeks ago in Cincinnati, Ohio and didn’t finish in the time I had. I started writing after the Reds game Friday night and worked on polishing it in the coffee shop Saturday morning. But I couldn’t quite find the right words or flow. It was the last full day of my epic baseball trip and I wanted to make it on time to Cleveland, so I stopped and crafted a different post.

Of all the cities and stadiums, I visited on my trip, Pittsburgh was my favorite. I felt connected from the moment I arrived, I felt welcome, I felt home.

PNC Park and the Pittsburgh Skyline, the yellow bridge is the Roberto Clemente Bridge dedicated after his death in 1973.

Before I left Pittsburgh, I visited my paternal grandparents. They are buried in a beautiful cemetery to the south of the city center. I had intended to visit them before the game, but I was late leaving Philadelphia. The cemetery where they lay at rest, in eternal peace, was in the general direction I was traveling. So, it was a win-win. I could visit them and get closer to Friday’s destination, Cincinnati.

my grandfather with me on the left and my Warren on the right. 1964, Bay City, Texas

My grandfather died in 1971 at the age of fifty-two. I was nine years old and remember the summer evening we learned of his death. He died peacefully on July 17, 1971.

It’s funny the things you remember from your childhood and growing up. Continue reading at rest, in peace