Monday, June 29, 2009

I'm Going To Miss This Guy



Sadly Billy Mays died yesterday.

I usually get up around 6:30 AM daily. As I'm getting dressed with the news on in the background, the first of many Billy Mays product pitch ads I'd see during my day would come on. For some reason I never really got tired of him. Maybe it was the voice. Maybe it was the great beard he had. I'd watch and yeah I'd always wonder to myself: Can it really do all that? I never found out as I'm not one to order stuff off TV. I'm more of an Amazon.com and MLB.com guy.

In the evening as we're unwinding I'd watch a little TV with Benjamin on PBS Kids Sprout or Noggin and bam, there's Billy Mays. I'd watch a ball game later, there's Billy again.

He was just 50 years old. Mr. Yell and Sell as he was often called was probably one of the greatest TV pitchmen ever.

My favorite was the office ad for ESPN360.com


For more on Billy Mays, go here

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Hello, I Guess Its Been Awhile

Been awhile since the last post. Since then I had a nice Father's Day with Benjamin.

Took in a Nats-Red Sox game from Nats Park, renamed Fenway South for this series as I'd say 70 percent of the almost 42,000 fans there each night were Red Sox fans.

I got there early and took some batting and fielding practice pics. The Nats were finishing up and the place erupted when the Red Sox came out. I had tickets in section 308 but didn't like the wire that holds up the screen behind home plate obstructing my view so I moved to some empty seats in section 128 for half the game. Enjoy the shots.












Pitcher Jordan Zimmermann drops the bunt.


John Smoltz making his Boston debut. He's become one of my favorite ball players over the years. He's a hell of a pitcher and a scratch golfer who plays and bets with Tiger Woods a lot. He's shared his golf stories on various radio shows and if I could hang out with one baseball player for a day he's probably it right now though my golf game is awful.


Nats rookie Jordan Zimmermann, 7 IP 5 hits, a run, 6 strike outs. Nice!


I really like this shot.


Ryan Zimmerman


Too bad Dukes didn't make contact here. It would have been a cool pic if he had.


Fun game. If you click and enlarge the pic, you'll see the Battle of the Bard's. I think that was a nickname for Shakespeare.


This was for a long time family friend Tom K who passed away at the end of last year. He loved the Red Sox so I thought I'd honor him. Over the year's we would talk baseball and discuss the Orioles and Red Sox. One of my favorite stories of him was on my wedding day, September 7, 2002. I'm walking down the aisle and he sees me and says with a thumbs up "Hey, the Red Sox won 7-2 last night over Toronto". I took this cap with me when I moved down to the box seat area and left it there.

Then we went to Virginia Beach this weekend. Benjamin had fun as you can see.


Benjamin and Timber


Bean bag toss


Determination


Muscle man!


Video games with Uncle Marc


Classic video games

Thursday, June 18, 2009

U.S. Open Golf



Today the U.S. Open starts at Bethpage Black. The Black as it is called, previously hosted the U.S. Open in 2002 (won by Tiger Woods). This year it is playing over 7,400yards long and par is 70. Throw in a couple days worth of rain and it's going to be a long course for these guys.

One has to like Tiger's chances as he's defending champion and he's won at the Black before. He also won his last start two weeks ago at The Memorial.

Some quotes I liked as I read some articles prior to the tournament:

“I haven’t really played much courses with warning signs,” Henrik Stenson said. “It’s more for the ski slopes, isn’t it?”

“When I practiced yesterday, (it was) the first time that I saw one of the more difficult golf courses in my life, probably because of the rain,” Eduardo Romero said Wednesday.

From tee to green, this golf course is all you want,” said Tiger Woods, the defending champion and the winner the last time the Open was played on Bethpage Black. “With the weather coming in here this week, it’s only going to get longer and harder and it’s going to be even more difficult.”

Follow the tournament here

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Whole New Ballgame



I saw this book about the 1969 Washington Senators in Dan Steinberg's Sports Bog so I had to order it at Amazon.com

In 1969 the Washington Senators had a record of 86-76. They finished 23 games back of the American League champion Baltimore Orioles. I remember seeing the Senators play at RFK Stadium a bunch of times as a little kid. Dad and Mom would take me. My friend John would have his birthday party at his house, then we would all pile into a couple cars and ride down to the stadium for a game. Bat day (they gave you a nice bat from Thompson Dairy before the game) was the best. I can still remember popping empty beer cups in the upper deck of RFK with these.

Stephen Walker interviewed 16 former Senators for the book, including my favorite Frank Howard, pitcher Dick Bosman, outfielder Del Unser and Eddie Brinkman, one of the best fielding shortstops in the game back then.

The manager during that season was Ted Williams, the Hall of Famer and former Boston Red Sox slugger. Bosman led the league in ERA that year at 2.19 and the Senators had third baseman Ken McMullen, who hit 19 homers and drove in 87 runs. Howard hit 48 homers which is the club record.

Sadly the Senators would never approach that record again.

After the conclusion of the 1971 season, owner Robert Short moved the Senators to Texas where they became the Rangers. We all loved baseball back then so all my friends became Orioles fans after that with the exception of BC, who is still a big fan of the Rangers today.

Looking forward to this book and the memories it will bring back.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Stanley Cup Playoffs Video Tribute

And so the NHL post season is now over. As I get older I appreciate the Stanley Cup playoffs a little more each year. I was fortunate to get to three Capitals playoff games this year and I brought my camera. I have great memories as well as some pretty good photos. Tough the way they checked out in game 7 of round two but that's hockey and they lost to the eventual champions.

I've been asked what event would I like to see the most, Super Bowl, The Masters, Kentucky Derby and I don't even have to think about it. All I want to see is the Capitals raise the Stanley Cup once.

Enjoy the videos.



My favorite part of this video was the Chicago fan in the white jersey sitting betweeen all the red clad Calgary fans.



The song in the second video is "Sleeping Sickness" by City and Colour. Great song.

Thanks to On Frozen Blog for the video and their great coverage during the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Stanley Cup Champions

Road Warriors: Two game seven victories on the road in the playoffs is impressive. The Penguins won the Stanley Cup tonight with a 2-1 win at Detroit.



Exciting game in Detroit. I don't plan to write much about it because, I'll be honest, I'm not a fan of the Penguins. In their playoff meetings vs the Capitals, the Penguins have won seven of the eight series since 1991. Included in that post season domination is a 7th game triumph this year in Washington.

Congratulations to their organization, players and fans. They made some great moves in February by acquiring a couple key players at the trading deadline and making a coaching change. It all worked.

I did get to watch this game with Benjamin as he couldn't sleep so he came down to the basement and we hung out together until the end. He's not a Penguins fan either.

Looking ahead, I just hope when the Capitals finally break on through and win the Stanley Cup that one of the teams they knock off is Pittsburgh.

Game 7 recap

Stanley Cup Finals, Game 7



Detroit Red Wings vs Pittsburgh Penguins

In the history of the Stanley Cup Finals there has only been 14 game seven's. The home team has won 12 out of those 14. The two home teams to lose in game seven of the finals were the Chicago Blackhawks in 1971 and the Red Wings in 1945.

In a Stanley Cup Final game 7 anything can happen though and I have a feeling this game will be a game to remember and talked about a long time.

The Red Wings have won all three of their home games in these finals as have the Penguins. When the teams in Detroit for game five, the Red Wings hammered the Penguins 5-0. I like Detroit's chances tonight a lot.

In this year's playoffs both teams were involved in a 7th game. I still have nightmares how the Penguins just blitzed the Caps 6-2 here in DC in game 7 of the second round. Detroit beat Anaheim in 7 games, also in the second round.

So pull up a chair, grab your favorite beverage and enjoy this because its going to be great!

My prediction: Red Wings 4, Pens 3 in OT!

Tarik El-Bashir of The Washingon Post
History, Experience Favor the Red Wings

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Benjamin's Day Care

I'm usually the one who picks up Benjamin at his day care. Thanks to a flexible work schedule I am able to leave daily at 4:30 PM and if traffic is moving, I arrive at 4:45 PM. Normally when I get there, he goes and hugs his teacher good bye and I get a hug. He'll say a good bye to his friends, then we leave.

Not anymore. Benjamin insists I stuck around when he is in the Music room. So for fifteen or twenty minutes I sit with him while he and his group sing or listen to a story. Today they played musical chairs and there I was rooting Benjamin on and encouraging the other kids too. Fun stuff.

This is now the highlight of my day and I'm even starting to bond with the kids there. They all come up to me to say hello or give me a high five. I just hope I'm not in the way of his teacher. I do appreciate this time a lot and hope it continues.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Tiger Woods and Roger Federer





Tiger Woods won his fourth Memorial Tournament by a shot over Jim Furyk. Woods entered the day at -5 and was four shots out of the lead which was shared by Matt Bettencourt and Mark Wilson. Not exactly two really big household names on the PGA Tour but Wilson has a couple wins in his career and Bettencourt was an excellent player on the Nationwide Tour before gaining his PGA Tour card. I'm sure after Geoff Ogilvy's record-setting 63 in the third round Tiger knew the number he needed to win and that the conditions were there to be able to overcome that deficit. That number was 65 and by closing with birdies in the final two holes he posted 65 and finished as champion at -12. Just another day at the office for Mr. Woods.

Here's an interesting little Tiger stat I heard during the week:
Tiger's never won a U.S. Open when arriving at the championship with less than two previous wins that year. Ever. Prior to today, he had won once at Arnold Palmer's tournament. Tiger did miss a portion of this year recovering from knee surgery. He's defending U.S. Open champion and he just won a tournament with one of the best fields ever by shooting 68-65 on the weekend. I'd say he's the favorite for another major championship in a couple weeks.

Speaking of major championships, today Roger Federer completed the tennis career grand slam by winning the only major that has eluded him, the French Open. He now has tied Pete Sampras with 14 major tournament wins. Sampras, as great as he was, never won the French Open and did not complete the tennis career Grand Slam.

As with Woods, it doesn't look like Federer's done winning anytime soon. After losing the 2008 Wimbledon final to Rafael Nadal, conceding the top ranking, Federer has won two of the last three Grand Slams and may well regain the No. 1 spot with this win today.

So kick back and appreciate these two as all they do is raise trophies.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Book Review: The Way Home by George Pelecanos



The Way Home is another excellent Pelecanos book. The only *bad* thing about a Pelecanos book is I get hooked and finish these in a couple days and I have to wait for the next one ;)

The Way Home is much less violent than past books. It is about the relationship between a father and son and how it is possible to change over time and earn a second chance.

A little tease because I do not want to spoil the book. Chris Flynn and his friend Ben are working for Chris’s father’s carpet business. One day, Chris and Ben come across $50,000 stashed in a gym bag after removing a cut out floor board while installing a carpet in an empty house that’s for sale. They leave it there even though the temptation is to take it. Both have been in trouble before and they met in a juvenile detention center and are trying to go straight. Both figured someone put it there and someone would be back for it eventually and neither of them wanted to get mixed up in someone else's business. One night when drinking, Ben lets the secret out to another ex inmate Lawrence and……

This book found me rooting for the guys to succeed after they were released from the detention center. In this book and in past books, Pelecanos creates these people who resonate with the reader. They are people we feel we know or could know and that’s one of the things that he does that makes his books excellent reads.

A couple places, The Dancing Crab and Mitchell's Sporting Goods Store, were mentioned in The Way Home. I drank at Dancing Crab a lot back in my younger days. You could have called it my second home at times. I used to venture in to Mitchell's when I was a kid to check out gear. One thing I like about his books is how he mentions these places and I feel like I am a part of the story since I've lived in the DC area all my life and frequented some of these places. Just something I like and look forward to when I pick up one of his books.