Saturday, June 30, 2007

And So The Vacation Ends

After a week, our time in Panama City Beach has come to an end.

It's been a while since we've been down here ... or at the beach for any length of time.

The food ... in most places ... was great. In fact, we had to cut back to two meals a day, we ate so much.

The house was quiet, comfortable, and clean. My sister, The Mean One, has a standing rental at this place and has invited us down often in the past. However, every year, we've had conflicts of one kind or another.

This year, when she invited us, I knew my schedule was clear, and, as it turned out, so was the Wife's. So we gladly accepted.

As it turns out, no one else's schedule was compatible.

The Big Sister (who's 5'4'') had a conference or something. Plus her husband never goes anywhere, anyway.

The Little Sister (who's 6'0'') and her husband couldn't get away. Not necessarily related to all the stuff from when they were evacuated because of the north Florida fires. Just busy.

And the Mean Sister had a mission trip through the church. But don't feel too sorry for her, though. The mission trip was to ... the Bahamas. Hey, you go where the Lord calls you, huh?

Anyway, the place here was wonderful, as were the owners of the house.

But, the week is over now, and we're on our way back to reality.

But wait. Did I say the vacation is over?

Well, it is.

For now.

Until two week from today when we head to ... Vegas, baby!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Catfish Sweep Rome, In First Place

For the 19th time this season, the Columbus Catfish have beaten the Rome Braves. Tonight, Heath Rollins scattered 7 hits over 7 innings, striking out 6 as he notched his 8th win of the season in the Catfish' 4-2 win over Rome.

Joey Callender singled to center field in the 2nd inning, scoring Ryan Royster, who had led off the inning with a single, and moved to third on another single by Matt Fields.

The lead held until the 5th inning, when Rome tied the game. Rome took the lead, 2-1, in the 7th inning, threatening to ruin the night for Rollins.

The 8th inning proved the difference in the game. With 1 out, John Matulia singled, bringing on a pitching change. Cesar Suarez reached on an error that left Matulia at third. Nevin Ashley was unable to bring Matulia home when Rome 3B Robert Marcial threw him out trying to score on Ashley's ground ball to third. Royster hit his team-leading 14th home run of the season, a 3-run shot that put the Catfish up 4-2.

Ryan Reid came in to pitch the final two innings for the Catfish, and set down all 6 batters he faced, striking out 4 of them, as he earned his 6th save.

Royster and Matulia each had 2 hits for the Catfish. Six other Catfish batters recorded singles.

The Catfish have won 5 in a row, including the last 4 against Rome. The Catfish and Lake County ... the former Columbus RedStixx ... have the longest current winning streak in the South Atlantic League. The win, plus losses by Asheville, Greenville, and Charleston leaves the Catfish alone at the top of the Southern Division of the SAL in the 2nd half.

Parking in PCB

We've become accustomed to many unusual sights here while we're vacationing in Panama City Beach.

Like the one outside Calypso Beach Cafe and Sports Grill.

As you can see, it says "Parking For Expectant Mothers Only."

And, there was a vehicle parked there.

Want to see it?

Here you go...

Good Eatin' in PCB

I've mentioned a couple of places we've eaten this week while vacationing in Panama City Beach. And I've mentioned a couple of things that didn't go well. Like incompetent seating processes and lack of sweet tea.

But, to be fair, most places have seated us quickly. And most places have sweet tea. I've simply mentioned the exceptions. Most of the places we've eaten have been great.

One that was recommended by Jon, a regular commenter here who's also a Columbus resident as well as a baseball fan.

Jon said we should go to Pineapple Willy's.

Now, I've only been to PCB a couple of times before. And I'd never eaten at Pineapple Willy's.

Jon was right. I didn't know what I had been missing.

I had the ribs. They were great. The Wife had shrimp or something. She said it was good. And the sweet tea was very good, too.

We've eaten at several other places, and most of it very good. My Big Sister told me to stay away from this one place she didn't like. She couldn't remember the name of the place, but it had a big parking lot and a very large buffet.

Thanks, sis. That was real helpful.

Anyway, we've enjoyed most of the places we've eaten here. It's been great. And will end way too soon.

Catfish Beat Rome ... Again

The Columbus Catfish have dominated the Rome Braves all season long. Thursday, the Catfish beat Rome again, behind the pitching of Jeremy Hellickson, 7-5.
Hellickson (5-2) yielded two runs on six hits and a pair of walks with four strikeouts. The 20-year-old right-hander is 3-0 in six starts against the Braves (2-5), allowing just four earned runs over 35 innings.

Ryan Owen gave up a hit and struck out two over 2 1/3 scoreless frames to notch his sixth save for the Catfish (5-2).

Matthew Fields went 2-for-4 with three RBIs and Desmond Jennings cranked a three-run homer, his sixth, in the sixth for Columbus.

The win keeps the Catfish in 3rd place, 1/2 game behind division leaders Asheville and Greenville.

The series in Rome concludes tonight. The Catfish head to Savannah for 4 games starting Saturday.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Where Else But Panama City Beach

While heading to breakfast, we saw a place that, had I thought about it, wouldn't have raised an eyebrow. We are in Spring Break territory, after all.

Condom Knowledge

Yes, the name of the place is "Condom Knowledge."

Is there really a market for a store specializing in rubbers?

I'm reminded of the old Saturday Night Live skits about the Scotch Boutique in the mall. You remember. The place that sold nothing but Scotch Tape, but had every shape, size, and color of Scotch Tape that ever existed.

Condom Knowledge was somebody's brain child, to be sure. But, truth be told, they sell more than condoms. Research on the Internet shows they also sell videos, DVDs, pipes & "smokers articles," "novelties," lingerie, costumes, and women's clothing. Who'd've thunk it?

Tea Wars

I'm from the South. I drink sweet tea.

Now, being from the South doesn't mean you must drink sweet tea. And sweet tea isn't limited to being only for Southerners.

But I do believe that any restaurant in the South should serve sweet tea. Oh, also serving unsweetened (we call it "unsweet") tea is fine. Especially if you serve a bunch of Yankee tourists. But also because there are a number of others who are from the South who prefer unsweet tea. The Wife, for instance.

What brought this up?

Well, while we're vacationing in Panama City Beach, we've eaten at several different places, local and national. I will often get tea. And that means, sweet tea.

The other night, we went to Black Angus restaurant in Panama City. A little pricey for the amount of food you get (click here to see $1.59 worth of shrimp) but the food was good.

It would have been better with sweet tea, though.

They don't serve sweet tea. Which means one of two things. Either it's run by a bunch of Yankees who still think they're in New York City or something, or they are one of those who think offering sweet tea lowers the quality of their establishment. Or both.

Now, I happen to know that Panama City is in Florida. And I happen to know that Florida is south of Georgia and Alabama. But these jack-holes don't seem to grasp that fact.

You see, I wasn't the only one who ordered sweet tea and was told they didn't have sweet tea. The table to our right and the table to our left also ordered sweet tea, and were properly rebuked. Maybe "rebuked" is too strong a word. The server was very polite about it, but he had to tell all three tables I heard order (ours and the two tables to our left and right) that they couldn't get sweet tea.

But, thank goodness, it's not like that everywhere down here.

Last night, we went to Angelo's Steak Pit. That's the place with the big bull ("Big Gus") out front. And I ordered sweet tea.

I got sweet tea.

Boy, did I ever get sweet tea.

You could have poured it over pancakes, it was so sweet.

Maybe it was just one pitcher that was that sweet, because when I got a refill, it was much more to my liking. Or maybe I just got used to it.

Either way, the food was good, and the tea was sweet. And, yes, you can get unsweet tea there, if you prefer.

At Black Angus, the food tasted good, but I won't be going back to that place.

Angelo's? Of course we'll be going back.

A restaurant ... at least a restaurant in the South that plays on being in the South ... should offer sweet tea. And unsweet tea, too, for those that can't drink it for dietary or customary reasons. But they should offer sweet tea.

Or they should take their happy asses back up North.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Catfish Win In Ten

A 2-run, 10th inning home run gave the Columbus Catfish their 3rd consecutive win tonight, as they beat the Rome Braves, 5-3.

Down 3-0 going into the bottom of the 6th, the Catfish began chipping away at the Rome lead. With 1 out, Cesar Suarez and Nevin Ashley singled. Suarez moved to third on a fly ball by Ryan Royster. Quinn Stewart walked to load the bases. Matt Fields grounded to second to apparently end the inning, but Rome 1B Larry Williams misplayed the throw from 2B Chase Fontaine, allowing Suarez to score.

In the 8th, the Catfish tied the game. Suarez led off with a double. With 1 out, Royster doubled over the center field wall, scoring Suarez. After a pitching change, Stewart singled on a liner to left, plating Royster to tie the game.

In the 10th, Ashley began the inning with a double to center. Royster followed with his 13th homers of the season, clinching the game for the Catfish.

Royster was 3-for-5, a triple shy of the cycle, driving in 3 runs, and raised his team-leading batting average to .314 and moving into the top 10 in the league. Desmond Jennings went 2-for-4, upping his average to .311. Stewart, Ashley, and Suarez also had 2 hits for the Catfish.

Starter Woods Fines allowed 3 runs, 2 earned, on 5 hits in 6 innings, striking out 5 in a no-decision. Neal Frontz pitched 2 innings, allowing a hit and striking out 5 of the 7 batters he faced. Columbus native Brian Baker picked up his 2nd win, throwing 2 scoreless innings, allowing 1 hit and striking out 1.

The Catfish have won 17 of 21 games this season from Rome. The series continues Thursday night.


At the beach, humans are fascinated by everything.

Like dolphins.

At least, I think they were dolphins.

The Wife and I were sitting, relaxing on the beach, under the umbrella, in the recliner, cooler between us, almost snoozing... when we noticed people pointing at something.


Dolphins had swum close to shore and were putting on a little show for the people on the beach and in the water.

I never did get a really good picture. Or video.

But there were about 3-6 dolphins swimming around.

At least, I think they were dolphins.

But see that group on the left in the photo. I'm thinking there were more than 2 in that group.

Maybe they weren't dolphins after all.

Catfish Win Big, Again

The Columbus Catfish crossed the double-digit number in runs scored for the 3rd time in the 2nd half last night, as they beat the Rome Braves, 10-1.

Wade Townsend picked up the win, taking a no-hitter into the 6th inning.
The 24-year-old right-hander yielded just one hit and two walks while striking out eight and lowering his ERA to 3.95.

"I had good command of the fastball and curveball," he said. "I worked ahead and threw a lot of curveballs for strikes. I pitched without reservation and wasn't tentative, which was a problem in my last few starts."

Townsend missed all of last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. After a successful April, he strained his forearm on May 2 and spent two weeks on the disabled list. In seven starts since returning, he has a 6.03 ERA and surrendered eight runs over five innings in a June 14 loss at Greenville.

"I think going back to the disabled list messed with my head a lot," the former first-round draft pick admitted. "I felt like I was babying the ball the last month. When [pitching] coach [Bill] Moloney and I looked at the film, he showed me I was pushing the ball and that my elbow was lower than it should be in my delivery. He made me get my arm back up and it's showed my last few times out there."

Matthew Field went 2-for-2 with a two-run double and his 13th homer, a solo shot in the fourth inning. Jairo De La Rosa also smacked a two-run jack in the fourth and Ryan Royster crushed a solo blast, his 12th, in the sixth for for the Catfish (3-2).

The series with Rome continues tonight.

The Baseball Team That Doesn't Want To Sell Me A T-Shirt

I mentioned the other day about going to a baseball game and catching up with a ballplayer the Wife and I met when he played in Columbus.

Brandon Carter is playing for the Anderson Joes of the independent South Coast League. And, when they visited Macon recently, we went over to watch him play. He was nursing an injury and didn't play, but we caught up afterwards. The next day's game was rained out, and the following day was a day game ... and the Wife and I were working.

Anderson has a trip to Albany coming up soon, and the Wife and I are looking to catch at least one game over there. And, she wondered if we could get a t-shirt or something to wear, to show our support.

We're on vacation in Panama City Beach this week, but, as you can tell, I've found a way to get on the Internet from time to time. And, I've found the merchandise page for the Anderson Joes. They don't have a lot of stuff, but they do have 3 different t-shirts and 3 different hats available. But you can't buy them online.

They do have a telephone number to call. And I called it Monday afternoon. The answering machine picked up. It offered all kinds of different options, but not the first option about buying stuff. And, yes, this was the number on the Web page. Actually, it's their main number.

Anyway, the message said the box office was open at the stadium, and gave the number there. Seems the team's office is located on Main Street, but the ballpark is a couple of miles away, on White Street Extension. So, I called that number.

A fellow named Garrett answered. Not sure if that was Garrett Ball, Vice President of SC Operations/General Manager of the team. Nice fellow. Just that they were getting ready for a ballgame, and the lady that could help me would be in the next day. He took my number and said she'd call the next day.

She didn't.

Actually, the next morning, around 9:15 ET, I did attempt to call, and got the answering machine. No, I didn't leave a message. I had already left one with Garrett.

They had a day game ... which I did listen to, since they broadcast the games over the Internet (are you listening, Columbus Catfish?) ... so, I figured I'd be in the same position as before. You know, getting ready for a game and they couldn't help me.

After the game ... which they won, and in which Brandon scored the winning run ... I gave them about an hour, then called.

No answer.

At either the office or the ballpark. No, I didn't leave a message. I had done that already with Garret on Monday.

So, I fired off an email, asking how I could order something.

Will they respond to my email? Or return my telephone call?

I'm beginning to wonder.

Perhaps, though, they are selling enough merchandise that a sale of a couple of items to folks living 243 miles away isn't worth the trouble.

But I just have to wonder about a baseball team that doesn't want to sell me a t-shirt.

Update: It turns out they'd love to sell me a t-shirt. They just don't have any. They've sold out. That's what Ashley said when she emailed me this morning:
Unfortunately the only item we have from what you see online is the adjustable field hats. We have sold out of the rest and I was told we would not be receiving anymore of the other merchandise you see. Please let me know if you would like to purchase a hat or two or if you would like to wait until we get our online store set up with the new merchandise (should be within the next week or so). Sorry for the inconvenience and thanks!

Just a case of bad timing, huh? So, to order an adjustable hat ... and most don't fit me well, what with my big ol' head ... or to wait until their online store is up?

That's easy. I've now ordered a hat that might not wear well, and will check back for their online store.

At least I have the chance of having something to wear when we go to watch Brandon and the rest of the Anderson Joes play the South Georgia Peanuts in Albany next week.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Catfish, Biscuit players named players of the week

Earlier this week, we mentioned that Columbus Catfish 1B Matt Fields had broken out of a 5-for-50 slump in a big way. Well, it seems that the South Atlantic League noticed, too. The SAL named him player of the week:
The 21-year-old first baseman has homered in each of the past three ballgames, and four of his past five. On Friday, Fields went 3-for-4 with a homer, double, four RBIs and four runs scored as the Catfish routed Savannah, 11-1.

And, up at Double-A, Montgomery Biscuits 3B Evan Longoria picked up Southern League honors:
Longoria currently leads the league in both home runs (17) and RBIs (57). On Tuesday, the 21-year-old's homer lifted the Biscuits to a 1-0 win over Mobile. He had three hits and three RBIs in Montgomery's 7-0 triumph over Mississippi on Sunday.

It's great when players I see on a regular ... or semi-regular ... basis are recognized for their play.

Please wait to be seated. Oh, and wait some more.

We went to Tony Roma's for supper last night.

Yeah, I know. We're in Panama City Beach, and the only non-chain restaurant we've been to has been a local Chinese restaurant. All these local places, featuring food with a local flavor, and we go to Tony Roma's.

Still, we do like the food there, so we went.

The wait was only about 45 minutes.

Now, we don't go to Tony Roma's a lot. The nearest one to the house is ... this one. Or Savannah. So, I'm not sure what's a normal wait there.

But, after a few minutes, I think I figured out why the wait was so long.

It seems the young ladies ... bless their hearts ... that were in taking the seating requests and calling the groups to be seated, were going down the list. Strictly.

Now, if you have never thought about that, let's take a moment and think about that. I mean, those young ladies ... bless their hearts ... must not have thought about that. Nor does it appear that the folks that trained them seem to make a point of this.

Let's say you're doing that job. And you have, say:
  • Adam, party of 10

  • Bennett, party of 6

  • Charles, party of 4

  • Daniel, party of 8

  • Edward, party of 12

  • Frederick, party of 9

  • George, party of 7

  • Harold, party of 2

  • Ivan, party of 4

  • John, party of 6

and so on.

Now, let's say a booth, which cannot be moved, comes open. The booth seats 4. What do you do?

Well, if you're one of the young ladies ... bless their hearts ... seating at Tony Roma's last night, you wait until you have enough tables to put together for the party of 10 that's first on the list. Then you wait until a 6-seat booth or a 6-seat table, comes open and seat the party of 6 that's next on the list. Then, and only then, do you seat the party of 4 that's third on the list.

Me? If a seating arrangement comes open for a smaller party ... and we're talking a seating arrangement that can't be adjusted for a larger party ... I seat the smaller party.

Like last night, when we got there, across one wall were three booths that could seat up to 4.

You can't move a booth. So it can't be used with a larger party. It will seat up to 4, and that's it. Okay, 5 if there is a small child that needs a high chair. But that's it. No using as part of a party of 10, or anything else.

But did those young ladies ... bless their hearts ... seat anyone there? No, they made those smaller parties wait until they were able to move other tables together to seat larger parties ahead of them.

At least, until one of the more experienced servers came by and wanted to see why she had empty seating in her area.

She started pointing things out to those young ladies, and encouraged them to skip ahead to seat people at available seating. In a moment, the manager ... I guess that's who he was ... saw the discussion at the front and came by, then "took charge." They began seating folks at available seating, and the list suddenly got smaller.

Now, understand this, had they used all the smaller available seating when we got there, we would still have had a wait. Because there were enough small parties ahead of us to fill them all.

But we ... and everyone else ... had to wait, because those young ladies ... bless their hearts ... didn't know, or think, to seat people in a more efficient manner.

It still took us nearly 45 minutes to be seated, because it was 40 minutes after we got there before the experienced server started things rolling.

Will those young ladies ... bless their hearts ... learn from that? Or will they remain clueless?

My hope is the former. My money is on the latter.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Country Music?

While vacationing, we can't ... and certainly won't ... spend all our time on the beach. Sometimes we just lazy around the house watching TV.

At home, I usually ... but don't always ... have the remote.

Here, at the beach house we're staying at, the Wife seems to have the remote.

Which is why the TV ended up on CMT.

Only, the thing is, they had Bon Jovi on. Not the group, but Jon Bon Jovi.

And he was talking about other rockers.

Wait a second.

When did Bon Jovi become country?

I though country was folks like Loretta Lynn, George Jones, and folks like that. Not Jon Bon Jovi.

Am I the only one confused here? Can anyone explain this to me?

Or have I already spent too much time in the sun and have fried my brain?

At last! The beach!

Finally, on our third day in Panama City Beach, we actually went to the beach.

After breakfast, we walked down to the beach.

We had purchased some backpack chairs from Walgreen's. So, we packed out towels, sun screen, and such and put it in the backpacks. Grabbed the cooler and umbrella, and went tot he beach.

We set things up -- didn't take long at all -- and sat down in the recliners, enjoying the beach.

The wind, the surf, the sun ... it was all wonderful.

Somebody, however, brought reading material. A Domestications catalog.

I have the strangest feeling we're about to have the house redecorated. Maybe with a beach theme.

Or maybe not.

Perhaps she's just enjoying reading a catalog while on the beach.

Which I'm okay with.

It gives me a chance to just ... look around.

At all the others walking up and down the beach.

Yeah. You fellows know what I'm talking about. Yeah.

Only, it's not like that. This is real life, not some episode of Baywatch.

So, what song comes to mind while watching the girls walk up and down the beach? One of these:

  1. The Girl From Ipanema - Astrud Gilberto

  2. Beach Baby - First Class

  3. Aint' Gonna Bump No More With No Big Fat Woman - Joe Tex

If you took the third option, then you're a winner. That's right, most of the women on the beach looked like ... me. Only longer hair. And with boobies.

And, no, I have no photos. You really don't want photos.

But we did enjoy sitting on the beach, watching the waves roll in.
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It was great. And we'll be back on the beach later, enjoying more of it.

There's a beach over there!

On Sunday, our 2nd day in Panama City Beach, we actually saw the beach.

No, we didn't go to the beach. We just saw it.

We're here for the week. And decided to take it slow and easy this week. No rushing here or rushing there. So, we haven't rushed down to the beach or anything. In fact, the only part of the beach we saw Friday was driving up and down Front Beach Road, glancing off to the right or left -- depending on which way we were driving -- we'd see, over some of the fences, some water.

Sunday, we never made it to the beach. Until late last night, that is.

In walking distance of the house we're staying at are a couple of fast food chains. There are some local places, too, but until we knew more about them, which we'll pick up from the locals, we've pretty much stuck with the chains.

On the way to the closest public access are McDonald's and Arby's. We ate at Mickey D's already. So, about 9:00 or 10:00 o'clock last night ... depending on if I'm looking at the clock on the wall or the watch on my arm ... we decided that, yeah, we were hungry, and drove ... even though it's walking distance ... to Arby's.

They suffer what many fast food restaurants suffer from. New employees that need training.

Learning how to use a credit card machine can be a daunting task at times. In fact, it can take two people to do it.

And it can take two people around 3-1/2 minutes to perform a single credit card transaction. It was so perplexing to them, they were not only scratching their heads, but their asses, too.

Perhaps we erred by deciding to pay for a roast beef sandwich, a Reuben, an order of curly fries, and 2 drinks with a credit card. At 10:00 ... or 9:00 ... at night. Silly us.

Still, after several minutes, we had our receipt. The food took a little longer, because they had to cook the fries.

That would have held up all the people waiting in line. Except there weren't any.

Well, there was this one lady who ordered two sandwiches to go. She paid cash, so there wasn't a problem there.

Except they gave her two combos. But it was okay because they charged her for that. She seemed to accept that explanation.

Oh, and they put her food on a tray. So she got her husband out of the car to eat inside with her.

I must congratulate the Arby's staff for training their customers so well.

The Wife and I ate ours there because that's how we ordered it.

Then, afterwards, crossed the road to the public access, walked out on the boardwalk, and looked at the sand and gulf.

Oh, we didn't actually touch the sand or anything. Just looked.

Today's our 3rd day here. We're planning on getting closer to the beach this morning. We may actually walk on it. If we can get breakfast first, that is.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Catfish Gain Split With Savannah

So far in the second half, the Columbus Catfish have either lost close -- a 3-2 loss on Thursday and a 9-6 9th inning loss on Saturday -- or won big -- a 17-2 win Friday and now an 11-1 win tonight.

In the first half of the season, the Catfish were the only SAL team to not score in double digits. Four games into the second half, they've done it twice.

The Catfish got on the board early. Desmond Jennings led the Catfish 1st inning with an infield single. With 1 out, he stole second. Cesar Suarez reached on an error, then Jennings and Suarez both stole a base. Jennings scored on a sacrifice fly by Nevin Ashley, then Suarez came home when Ryan Royster doubled to center.

The 3rd inning was a big one for the Catfish. Up 2-0, the inning again began with a single by Jennings. With 1 out, Joey Callender, who had replaced Suarez, reached on a single. Another double steal put Jennings on third and Callender on second. Or would have, except for the throwing error by Savannah C Francisco Pena. Jennings scored and Callender would up on third. Ashley walked. With 2 out, Quinn Stewart hit his 10th homers of the year. Matt Fields followed with a solo shot of to make it 7-0 Catfish.

Savannah got on the board in the 4th inning when Brahiam Maldonado hit a 1-out solo homer off Catfish starter Heath Rollins. It was the only run they would tally.

In the bottom of the inning, the Catfish got the run back. Jairo De La Rosa singled, stole second, moved to third on an infield single by Jennings, then scored on a single by Brett Grandstrand.

In the 7th, Quinn Stewart walked, moved to third on Fields' double to left, and scored on a ground out by De La Rosa.

Up 9-0, the Catfish made it double digits for the second time in three games in the 8th. Grandstrand walked, Callender singled, then Seth Dhaenens, replacing Ashley as DH, singled to load the bases. Royster singled to score Grandstrand, then Stewart hit into a double play, but Callender scored, putting the Catfish up 11-1.

Fields was 3-for-5, with a double and a homer. Jennings was also 3-for-5, scoring twice. Callender went 3-for-4, also scoring twice. Stewart had but 1 hit, but it was a 3-run homer. He also walked and scored. Royster was 2-for-5 with a double and 2 RBIs.

The offensive attack was well-rounded. Every Catfish batter reached base at least once, both starters and subs.

Rollins broke a 3-game losing streak, picking up his 7th win. He pitched 6 innings and allowed 1 run on 4 hits. He struck out 5. Ryan Morse pitched 1 inning, allowing 1 hit and striking out 1. Ryan Reid pitched the final 2 innings, allowing 1 hit and striking out 3.

The win earned the Catfish a split with Savannah. They're in 4th place pending the outcome of the Asheville game 3rd place and a game out of first.

The Contest

Our first night of vacation in Panama City Beach, we were hungry. Anybody who has seen me knows that I eat when I get hungry. So, we went out to eat.

The folks who own the house where we're staying mentioned several different restaurants to us, including a Chinese restaurant that had a sushi bar.

I'm not a fan of sushi, but the Wife is. And since the place was a buffet place, that meant we'd be heading there at least one time while we were here. Saturday night was the night. We headed through that hell called Panama City Beach traffic, crossed the Hathaway bridge, and found the Empire China Restaurant.

Now, this is actually related. You'll see how in a minute.

Remember in The Princess Bride where the Dread Pirate Roberts (Westley, played by Cary Elwes) fought Fezzik (played by André the Giant)? After defeating Fezzik, the Dread Pirate Roberts told the unconscious giant "rest well ... and dream of large women."

Keep that image in your mind. The kind of women Fezzik would dream about. Not fat women. But large women.

What's that got to do with eating at a Chinese restaurant?

Well, there were, at various tables, large women. Not fat women, mind you. But large women. Of which Fezzik might dream.

That caught my eye, because you don't see that every day. Well, I don't, at least.

But something else caught my eye. Most were seating across from -- or at the table with -- small Mexican men.

While I ate my meal, I pondered that. And could reach no conclusion.

Unless the fact that we were in Panama City had something to do with it. It's a spring break town. It's a party town. And groups that visit places like that have unconventional contests.

Perhaps a group of young Mexican men were trying to see who could get the largest Caucasian woman.

Or perhaps a group of young White women were trying to see who could hook up with the smallest Mexican man.

Either way, it was going to be a close contest.

I can hardly wait to see what happens next.

Catfish Lose Late

Two errors and a shaky bullpen appearance did in the Columbus Catfish Saturday night. The Savannah Sand Gnats beat the Catfish 9-6.
The Sand Gnats (2-1) trailed, 6-4, before shelling reliever Brian Baker for five runs in the ninth. Jonathan Sanchez scored on third baseman Cesar Suarez's error and Joe Holden singled home Joaquin Rodriguez to tie the game. Hector Pellot scored the go-ahead run on another miscue by Suarez before Wabick, who went 4-for-5, lined a two-run single to right to cap the rally.

The Catfish need a win tonight to earn a split with Savannah.


It's vacation week. Well, one of the vacation weeks.

The Wife and I are in Panama City Beach, FL.

In fact, we're in the Burger King at the corner if US-78 and FL-79. That's on what used to be called Back Beach Road, for those that have been PCB before.

The back story on this is that the middle sister, the Mean One, has a standing rental of a house for a week there. Or, actually, here.

Anyway, she had the house this week. But the church had a mission trip scheduled for this week, and she chose to go on that, instead. But the house was paid for, and she asked the Wife and me if we wanted to go.

Okay, truth be told, she asked the Big Sister and the Little Sister first. And I don't know who all else. But they all couldn't go for one reason or another. So she asked me and the Wife if we wanted to go.

We did.

So here we are. In Panama City Beach. In a Burger King. Using the BK free WiFi.

Okay, I'm using the free BK WiFi. The Wife is looking around, bored. Waiting on me to finish.

And go to Wal-Mart, I suspect.

We're been in PCB for 26 hours now, and haven't been on the beach yet. Although we have been to Wal-Mart. Twice.

We went last night. We always seem to forget something when we go off on trips. So, when we get where we're going, we look for the closest Wal-Mart or Target or something.

And we found a Wal-Mart. It was only 45 minutes away. If you've ever driven Front Beach Road in Panama City on Saturday night, you know what I mean.

So, we went to Wal-Mart. On Saturday night. And so did half the state of Florida.

This may seem unrelated, but it's not. You ever see Harvey Korman and Tim Conway do one of those skits where Harvey is a customer of some kind being waited on by Tim's old man character. The Old Man moves oh, so slowly, and takes forever to do anything. And it's funny. Very funny.

Unless the Old Man is a woman working the register at Wal-Mart and you're Harvey Korman, at the end of a long line of people.

Actually, she wasn't that bad. Not at all. It just seemed like it took forever for the line to move.

And it was all so much fun, the Wife wanted to go again this morning. And I suspect, in just a few minutes.

Tell me we don't know how to have a good time on a vacation.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Catfish End Slide In Big Way

After dropping 5 games in a row for the first time this season, the Columbus Catfish broke out of their doldrums, plastering the Savannah Sand Gnats (Mets), 17-2.

It was the first time the Catfish had scored in double digits this season. They were the last team in the South Atlantic League to accomplish that feat. The Catfish had allowed double digits 4 times this season. The previous high score by the Catfish was 9 runs, accomplished against Rome twice this season.

In fact, the Catfish nearly scored double digits in the 8th inning alone tonight. They put up 8 runs in that inning, turning a 9-2 blowout into a 17-2 shellacking.

I won't be going into a scoring rundown. That might take all night. But the post-game fireworks weren't the only fireworks at the ballpark. You can read all about the game here. Or here. Instead, here are some interesting ... to me anyway ... items about the game.

Starter Woods Fines broke a 3-game losing streak, evening his record at 5-5. The Chapel Hill, NC native pitched 6 innings, allowing 2 runs on 7 hits, striking out a pair.

Reliever Neal Frontz had the unusual situation of having to keep the opposition to under 15 runs in order to earn a save. Not a bad situation, to be sure. He earned his 11th save by pitching the last 3 innings, allowing 2 hits. He also struck out two.

Offensively, every Catfish player in the game ... except the pitchers, of course ... had a hit. In fact, every Catfish batter except 1 had a hit in the 8th inning alone.

Desmond Jennings led all hitters for the night, going 4-for 6, scoring 3 times, driving in 4, and falling a triple short of the cycle. Matt Fields was 3-for-5, scoring 4 runs, driving in 4, and was also a triple shy of the cycle. Maiko Loyola and Cesar Suarez also had home runs.

Fields' homer was his 10th, tying him with Ryan Royster for the team lead. That means that the leading home run hitter on the Catfish ... one of them anyway ... is hitting just .216. His 3 hits broke him out of a 5-for-50 slump (.100) over his previous 16 games.

The Catfish are now 1-1, tied for 3rd place in the SAL Southern Division in the 2nd half. The series with Savannah continues Saturday night.

Catching Up With Brandon Carter

You may wonder just who Brandon Carter is.

Well, he's a professional baseball player. He's a former Columbus Catfish player, having played in late 2004, in all of 2005, and part of 2006.

What's so special about Brandon? Well, the Wife and I were his host family during the few weeks he was in Columbus in 2004 after moving up from Ogden (at the time, the Rookie team below Class-A Columbus). We realized pretty quick that he was a great kid. Okay, a great young man.

The next year, Brandon was assigned to a different family, and the Wife and I hosted two other players. But we still enjoyed spending the little bits of time with him.

Both years, Brandon suffered back injuries. And he's the first to tell you how difficult it is to overcome that kind of thing. Still, he stayed positive through it all, and continued to be the great person he is.

At the end of the 2005 season, Catfish fans voted him Citizen of the Year. The Wife and I weren't the only ones who realized the caliber of person Brandon is.

In 2006, things went really bad for Brandon. After appearing in 17 games for the Catfish, limited by his recurring injury, he was released by the Dodgers (the Catfish' Major League affiliate at the time).

Late in the year, he wound up with the Reno Silver Sox of the Golden Baseball League. The Silver Sox eventually won the league championship, but Brandon wasn't there to celebrate. He had been released in mid-August.

This year, the season began with Brandon playing for ... nobody.

But, he had appeared at tryouts in Arizona, and representatives from the South Coast League were there. And on June 6, five weeks into the SCL season, Brandon signed with the Anderson Joes.

The South Coast League is, like the Golden Baseball League, an independent league. Players not under contract to any Major League team. The level of play, from what I've seen of the SCL, is approximately Class A. Except, unlike in Class A, the pitchers bat; there's no DH. It's real baseball.

On Monday of this week, the Wife and I drove over to Macon after work. You see, the Macon Music were hosting the Anderson Joes. So there was the chance we'd get to see Brandon play.

Well, we saw Brandon. But we didn't see him play. He was coming off another injury. He had pulled a hamstring running out a ground ball about a week ago. He was resting that night.

Like I said, we didn't see him play. But we saw him. And he saw us. The look of recognition, shock, surprise and pleasure all registered on his face in less than a second. And after the game, when we actually got to talk to him, he was floored by the fact that we had traveled the 100 miles to Macon to watch him play.

We didn't get to see him play because the manager held him out to allow him another day to heal from the hamstring pull. The next day's game was canceled because of rain, and the following day's games were at noon.

The next opportunity to see him play will be in early July, when Anderson travels to Macon again Albany to play the South Georgia Peanuts.

Still, though we didn't see him play, we got to talk to him, and that was great in and of itself.

We took Brandon and a teammate -- they share a room when on the road -- out to eat. And we had a great time catching up.

He has a real positive outlook on life, not just on baseball. He hasn't let his injuries that lead to his release by two teams last year get him down. He's out there every day, giving his all, and contributing what he can to those around him.

We need more people like that in this world.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Five Game Losing Streak Puts Catfish at 0-1

The Columbus Catfish ended the first half with a 4-game losing streak. Tonight, they opened the second half dropping a 3-2 decision to the Savannah Sand Gnats (Mets).

Savannah scored unearned runs in the 1st and 2nd to take a 2-0 lead.

Ryan Royster and Maiko Loyola hit back to back doubles in the Catfish 2nd, closing the gap to 2-1.

Another run in the 7th gave Savannah a 3-1 lead.

The Catfish fought back, though. Cesar Suarez doubled to lead the Catfish 8th. He moved to third on a ground out by Nevin Ashley, and scored on a ground out by Royster, putting it 3-2. But that's as close as the Catfish could get.

For the night, the Catfish stranded 8 runners, 4 in scoring position.

Wade Townsend lost his 5th game in his last 6 decisions, despite not allowing an earned run. He allowed 4 hits in 5 innings, striking out 2, but walking 4. Ryan Morse allowed a run on 3 hits in 2 innings work, striking out a pair. Wilton Noel pitched an inning, allowing 1 hit, and striking out 1. Ryan Reid pitched an inning, with a strike out.

Royster had a pair of hits to lead the Catfish, scoring a run and driving in a run.

The series with Savannah continues Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. Friday is fireworks, and Saturday, they're giving away baseball cards. We'll see the fireworks, but miss the card giveaway. We're going to Panama City Beach Saturday.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Big Ass Trucks

I don't like big ass trucks.

By that, I'm not talking about really, really large trucks. I'm talking about big trucks driven by asses. Big asses.

Some people are asses when they get behind the wheel of a truck. But actually, when someone's an ass while in a truck, they're an ass when they're out of the truck.

And that's what I'm talking about. Trucks driven by big asses. Big ass trucks.

Like the big ass that parked his truck in such a way yesterday that it was difficult for other drivers.

In a parking garage I often use, the parking includes parking along the outside wall.

And, at the end of a row along the outside wall, there is the corner. And then parking along the next wall.

I parked in the end space. And a big ass parked his big truck in the end space of an adjoining wall.

And because he parked on the end, and because his truck is so large, and because he doesn't give a rat's ass about any other drivers, he blocked me in.

He was pulled all the way forward. The front of his truck was as far forward as it could be.

And this big ass Ford truck driver had blocked my Chevrolet in.

Now, to be honest, there was a little bit of space where I could move.

But, if you notice, his back wheel is not entirely in his space.

And my car is entirely within its space.

But a big ass truck driver like him doesn't seem to car about things like that.

He's not concerned with anyone other than himself.

Now, for full disclosure, the Wife has a large Ford truck. But rest assured, neither she nor I -- yes, I drive it, too -- park like that big ass does. You know, a little thing called consideration.

I was worried that I would have to wait on him to move his truck before I could leave. Or the vehicle parked next to me, that was parked correctly, so I could violate that space in working my way out of the space.

But, there was enough room for me to pull out. Barely.

And only because I have the habit of backing into a space. Had I pulled forward into the space, I'm not sure I could have navigated out of it safely.

But then, again, his truck was the same color as my car.

So, had we traded paint, it would have been barely noticeable.

I wonder if he reads this, if he'll continue to park like he does. Perhaps so.

But what if he finds out that my car is paid for ... while his truck likely still has payments left on it.

And that we've been planning to replace it later this year.

Another scratch or two here and there won't make much difference.

I wonder how Mr. Big Ass Truck Driver would feel about trading paint now?

Monday, June 18, 2007


I was guilty of watching Beavis and Butt-Head way back when.

Yes, it was stupid and lame. Juvenile humor. No redeeming value whatsoever. Of course I watched it.

I got the humor. Yes, juvenile, like I said. But I got it partly because I knew folks like Beavis and Butt-Head. Okay, a little bit like Beavis and Butt-Head.

I was reminded of it when TiVo decided to record Beavis and Butt-Head Do America the other day.

TiVo knows me too well, I think.

Anyway, there it was in the TiVo Suggestions section, just above It Happened One Night, the 1934 Oscar winner for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Actress.

Of course, you know which one I watched.

Beavis and Butt-Head reminded me of a situation that happened a little while back.

There's a new sports shop that's opened in the area. And around the time it opened, a group of us went to lunch. And the group included several different folks. Men. Women. Grown folks. And Beavis.

Or maybe he was Butt-Head.

He could have been either.

He's usually a pretty good fellow. But he had a little bit of Beavis and Butt-Head in him.

So, when this businessman started talking about going to Dick's Sporting Goods, knowing Beavis, I glanced over at him ... and saw that look on his face.

I wondered if I could have some fun with this one.

The businessman said, "Have any of you been to Dick's Sporting Goods?"

Beavis got that look.

I said, "No, is it open yet? I've been wondering when it was finally going to happen."

"Yes," the businessman replied, not looking directly at me. "I like Dick's."

I took the opportunity to glance at Beavis. He could hardly control himself.

"Do they have a lot of stuff?"

"Oh, yes. It's huge! They've got everything."

"Well, I need to stop by there and check it out," I said.

"Oh, yeah. You'll like Dick's," the businessman replied.

Beavis was about to burst a bladder.

And I enjoyed his discomfort.

But, if Beavis and Butt-Head still came on, I doubt I would watch it. I can watch it in real life nearly every day.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Biscuits Swept By Jacksonville

Former Columbus Catfish helped do in the current Catfish Double-A partner, the Montgomery Biscuits this afternoon as the Jacksonville Suns (Dodgers) beat the Biscuits, 5-4. It was the Biscuits 6th loss in a row, a season high, and the first time they've been swept this year.

The Biscuits got on the board first, scoring a run in the 2nd inning. With 1 out, 1B Gabriel Martinez reached on an error, moved to second on a single by RF Shaun Cumberland, and scored on a single by DH Patrick Breen.

In the 4th, 3B Evan Longoria led off with a single. C John Jaso homered to right, putting the Biscuits up 3-0.

The 5th inning saw Jacksonville tie the game and drive starter James Houser from the game. Juan Gonzalez singled to start the Jacksonville 5th. Former South Georgia Wave (the 2003 Columbus Catfish) A. J. Ellis doubled, scoring Gonzalez. With 1 out, former Catfish Xavier Paul sacrificed Ellis to third. Former Catfish Chin-Lung Hu then tripled to center scoring Ellis. Cory Dunlap walked, then Marshall McDougall singled, scoring Hu, tying the game, and driving Houser from the game.

In the 8th, Jacksonville put 2 more runs on the board. In the bottom of the 8th, the Biscuits closed the gap. 3B Brooks Badeaux singled to lead off the inning. SS Reid Brignac singled right, moving Badeaux to third. Longoria drove in Badeaux on a sacrifice fly to center, making it 5-4.

That's as close as the Biscuits could get.

Former Catfish Joey Norrito pitched 6-2/3 innings, allowing 3 runs, 2 earned, on 7 hits, striking out 3 Biscuits. Reliever (and former Catfish) Wesley Wright went an inning and a third, allowing a run on 2 hits, with a strike out, and picked up his 4th win. Former Catfish Jon Meloan pitched a perfect 9th, striking out the side, to grab his 12th save of the year.

Hu was 3-for-4, a homer short of the cycle, with a walk, a run scored, and an RBI.

For the Biscuits, Badeaux led batters by going 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored.

The Biscuits conclude the first half 35-35, 7 games behind first half champ Mississippi. Jacksonville finished the first half 41-29, a game off the pace. The second half begins tomorrow night for the Biscuits, as they host Mobile in the first of 5 games.

Catfish Swept To End First Half

The Columbus Catfish closed the first half on a down note, losing to the Greenville Drive 12-7 this afternoon. It was the Catfish 4th loss in a row, a season high, and their 8th loss in 11 games.

Greenville jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the 1st inning, but the Catfish tied it up in the 3rd.

With 2 out in the 3rd, CF Desmond Jennings doubled, then scored on a single by 3B Joey Callender. DH Cesar Suarez followed with a double, scoring Callender and tying the game at 2-2.

In the bottom of the 3rd, the bottom fell out. Greenville touch up starter Heath Rollins for 7 runs on an error, a walk, 4 singles, a double, 2 wild pitches, and a home run.

Down 9-2, the Catfish got a run back in the 5th. Jennings doubled, and moved to third on a ground out by Callender, then scored on a ground out by Suarez.

Greenville made it 11-3 in the 6th on a 2-run homer by Lars Anderson.

The Catfish put up 2 runs in the 8th. With 1 out, LF Ryan Royster walked, then, with 2 outs, stole second. 1B Matt Fields homered to make it 11-5.

Another Greenville run in the bottom of the 8th made it 12-5.

In the 9th, SS Jairo De La Rosa walked, then Jennings walked, then Callender singled to load the bases. Suarez followed with a single to right, scoring De La Rosa and Jennings. The Catfish couldn't put any more runs across, though. With 1 out, Royster singled to load the bases. After a pitching change, PH John Matulia popped out to deep second, and Callender was thrown out at home for the third out, ending the game.

Rollins took his third loss in a row, all coming since being named to the South Atlantic League All-Star game, which is in Rome Tuesday night. He allowed 9 runs, 8 earned, on 8 hits in 3 innings work, the 2nd game in a row he lasted just 3 innings. He struck out 3 Greenville batters and walked 2.

Ryan Morse pitched 3 innings, allowing 2 runs on 2 hits, with 1 strike out. Ryan Reid pitched the final 2 innings, allowing a run on 4 hits, striking out 2.

Jennings went 4-for-4, with 3 doubles and a walk, scoring 3 times. Callender was 2-for-4, with a walk, a run scored, and an RBI. Suarez was 2-for-5 with a double and 4 RBIs.

The Catfish finish the first half 41-29, in third place, 9 games behind first-half winner Augusta. The second half starts Thursday when Savannah comes to town for a 4-game series.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Waterless Urinal

During a recent trip to the mall, I needed to make a stop at the men's room.

I stepped up to the urinal ... and saw a sign that caught my attention.

It said that it was a waterless urinal.

Apparently that's the latest thing. It seems that Al Gore and Co. are interested in how I pee.

Anyway, it seems that there's now a market for waterless urinals. Folks are spending lots of bucks to install these things, I suppose.


You know, I had never used a waterless urinal before.

Unless you count the last time I walked into a porta-potty at the fair. Or at a construction site.

Of course, the first time I used a waterless toilet was a while back. It was the outhouse at my great-grandparents' place in Gum Branch, GA.

Wow. My great-grandparents were a hundred years ahead of their time.

No Joke

There's an old joke about the fellow who has the sad task of cleaning out his grandfather's attic.
He's going through all the old items stored, looking at them, being reminded of things, and finding other item, imagining what's behind it, why his grandfather kept it.

Like an old newspaper. No historic headline on the front page. So there must be something special somewhere inside.

Or like a picture of a group of people he doesn't recognize. Perhaps friends of his grandparents? People they knew long ago, but lost touch with? But still never forgot?

Or like a claim check from a jewelry store ...

Then an idea hits him. This is a claim check. Not a receipt.

Surely, they don't have the watch. The claim check is dated 1947. That's what, sixty years?

So he puts the claim check in his pocket, determined to follow up.

The next day, he heads to the jewelry store. It's still there. Been a fixture downtown for as long as he could remember.

He opens the door, and walks in while the little bell overhead jingles.

It's slightly dark. Oh, lighted, to be sure. But old florescent lamps that have lost some of their brightness.

There's an old man at the counter. Looking at the pictures on the wall, he recognizes him as the person who opened the store ... perhaps just after the second world war.

There's the same face, but younger, in an Army uniform.

There's the same young man, in a suit this time, with a lovely bride.

There's the couple in front of a store. Old, large, dark cars, obviously from the '40s, parked in the background.

There's a picture from inside the store, showing ...

"Yes, sir? May I help you?" the old man asks, jarring the younger man back to the present.

The younger man stutters a second, fumbles in his pocket, and pulls out the 60-year-old claim ticket. He hands it over to the old man.

The jeweler takes the ticket, adjusts his glasses, and looks intently at the ticket for about 10 seconds.

He looks up, meeting the young man's eyes, nods slightly, muttering "Just a second."

The old jeweler shuffles slowly to the back, claim check in hand.

After what seems like minutes, the old man returns, slowing walking back to the counter, paper in hand.

He looks up at the younger man, handing the paper back. "It'll be ready Tuesday."

That sort of happened to me.

I took a watch to a jewelry store in the mall. It's not an old watch, maybe 10 years old, but a good watch. One I liked. Worth over $100, but less than $200. A new version of the same watch still falls in that price range.

So, I thought it might be worth having it repaired.

That was in late March.

The jeweler said he'd have it in about 2 or 3 weeks, but would call me when he had it ready. He took my cell phone number.

Well, I put it out of my mind. A week or so ago, I noticed the claim check in my wallet. The Wife had a half-day at work the next day, and said she'd run by the mall and check on the watch. The notice "Not responsible for items left over 60 days" was sort of the impetus for that.

So, she went by.

And, sort of like in the joke, the old man went to the back, shuffled around, came back saying he had all the parts in, but hadn't finished it. He'd have it ready Tuesday.

Well, Tuesday came and went. And yesterday, Friday, after work, we went by the mall.

Still not ready.

But he'd have it ready Wednesday.

I hope he's right this time.

The joke is getting really old.

Catfish Drop Third Straight

For the first time this season, the Columbus Catfish have lost three games in a row. They dropped a back-and-forth game to the Greenville Drive, 5-4 last night.

Greenville put up a run in the 1st inning, and the Catfish tied it in the 2nd.

C Nevin Ashley walked, and moved to second on a ground out by LF Ryan Royster. With 2 outs, Ashley moved to third on a passed ball, then scored on a single by 1B Seth Dhaenens.

Greenville scored a pair in the 3rd, taking a 3-1 lead, but the Catfish tied it in the 5th.

RF Quinn Stewart walked to lead off the 5th, then moved to second on a ground out by Dhaenens, and to third on a wild pitch. 2B Joey Callender singled, scoring Stewart. SS Brett Grandstrand doubled, putting runners on second and third.CF Desmond Jennings sacrificed Callender home, tying the score.

In the 6th, the Catfish finally took the lead, when 3B Cesar Suarez led off with a home run to left.

Greenville scored on a 2-run homer in the bottom of the 6th, taking a 5-4 lead.

The Catfish put a runner in scoring position in the 7th, but couldn't push him across. And they went down in order in the 8th and 9th innings, taking their 3rd loss in a row.

Jeremy Hellickson pitched 6 innings, allowing all 5 runs on 9 hits, striking out 9 batters as he took his 2nd loss off the year. Neal Frontz pitched 2 innings, allowing one hit and striking out 3.

The first half of the season ends this afternoon as the series with Greenville concludes. The Catfish need a win to keep from being swept for the first time this season.

Catfish Drop Another To Greenville

The Columbus Catfish dropped their second game to the Greenville Drive last night, 5-3.

Down 3-0 after the 1st inning, the Catfish got on the board in the 3rd. With 1 out, C Craig Albernaz singled. SS Jairo De La Rosa and
CF Desmond Jennings doubled, scoring Albernaz and De La Rosa, making it 3-2.

Greenville added runs in the 4th and 5th to increase their lead to 5-2.

In the 6th, the Catfish closed the gap. LF John Matulia doubled, then moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by 2B Brett Grandstrand. With 2 outs, DH Ryan Royster singled to left, scoring Matulia, putting the score at 5-3.

The Catfish stranded 7 runners on base, 4 in scoring position.

Woods Fines took the loss for the Catfish. He allowed 4 runs on 8 hits, striking out 3 in 4 innings work. Brian Baker pitched 2 innings, allowing a run on 2 hits, striking out 3. Ryan Owen pitched a pair of innings, allowing a pair of singles.

The series with Greenville continues tonight, with the Catfish needing a win to have a chance to split the series.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Catfish Rocked By Greenville

Last night's game between the Columbus Catfish and the Greenville Drive (Red Sox) featured 7 home runs. For the Catfish, the bad news was that Greenville had six of them.

Starter Wade Townsend set down the first 3 and the last 3 batters he faced, but was hit hard by Greenville batters in between. He allowed 8 runs on 9 hits -- 5 of them homers -- in 5 innings work, as he took his 5th loss of the season. Reliever Matt Falk pitched 3 innings, and allowed 3 runs on 6 hits, one of them a solo homer to lead the 8th.

Down 8-0 in the 7th, finally got on the board with a Nevin Ashley leadoff homer. With 1 out, Quinn Stewart singled, then reached second on an error that allowed Matt Fields to reach first, and scored on a single by Joey Callender. Following a pitching change, Fields scored on the first of two passed balls in the inning. With 2 outs, the second passed ball allowed Callender to reach third. Callendar then scored on a Desmond Jennings single, cutting the lead to 8-4.

In the 8th, the Catfish closed the gap further. With 1 out, Ashley singled, and reached third on an error that let Ryan Royster reach base. After another pitching change, Stewart singled, scoring Ashley, making it 8-5. But that was as close as the Catfish got. Greenville scored 3 runs in the bottom of the 8th, putting the game at 11-5.

The series with Greenville continues tonight, before the first half ends Sunday. The All-Star break will have the Catfish sending 4 players to Rome. The second half opens Thursday.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Triple Play Saves The Day

The Columbus Catfish managed to turn a 4-2-4 triple play to snuff out a Rome Braves rally this afternoon, then went on to win the game in the 9th inning, 5-4, to take 2 of 3 in the series.

The Catfish had jumped out out to an early lead. In the 1st inning, with 1 out, CF John Matulia singled, then moved to second on a ground out, and scored on a double by DH Cesar Suarez. LF Ryan Royster then hit his team-leading 10th homer, making it 3-0.

Rome scored a run in the 3rd, to make it 3-1.

The Catfish got that run back in the 7th. With 1 out, 1B Seth Dhaenens and 3B Joey Callender both reached on errors. Dhaenens then scored on a sacrifice fly by C Craig Albernaz, to put the Catfish up 4-1.

Rome managed to tie the game in the bottom of the 7th, then threatened to take the lead in the 8th. Rome's Willie Cabrera singled, then took second on a wild pitch. Tyler Flowers singled, moving Cabrera to third. Chase Fontaine hit a grounder to Catfish 2B Brett Grandstrand, who tagged Flowers for the first out. He threw to Albernaz who tagged Cabrera out at home for the second out. Albernaz threw back to Grandstrand, who tagged out Tyler Flowers, who was trying to move to second on the play at the plate.

After turning the triple play, the Catfish took the lead in their next at bat. Royster doubles, and was replaced on the base paths by Desmond Jennings, who moved to third on a ground out by Dhaenens. Callender hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Jennings, and putting the Catfish up 5-4.

Rome went down in order in the 9th, and the Catfish had the win.

The first half ends after the Catfish play 4 games at Greenville. Game 1 of that series is tomorrow night.

Catfish Fall To Rome, Eliminated From First Half Title

The Columbus Catfish were eliminated from the Southern Division first half title last night, dropping an 8-0 game to the Rome Braves last night. Augusta swept Asheville in a doubleheader, giving them 13th wins in their last 14 games, and the first half title.

SAL All-Star pitcher Heath Rollins lost his 2nd game in a row, allowing 6 runs on 7 hits in 3 innings.

The Catfish were able to manage just 5 hits. CF Maiko Loyola and LF John Matulia each went 2-for-4. SS Jairo De La Rosa also had a single.

The series with Rome continues today, before the first half concludes with 4 games at Greenville.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Computin In West Virginia

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketBeing from the South, I understand the frustration when folks make fun of you, your area, or your state.

But, doggone it, sometimes some people make it so darn easy.

Take WVNet, for instance. Sure, West Virginia isn't a Southern state, but they get made fun of as much as ... or more than ... Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Georgia, and the rest.

But, like I said, sometimes some people make it so darn easy.

According to their site:
WVNET is the West Virginia Network, a dynamic service organization providing telecommunications and computing services within West Virginia. WVNET was created in 1975 to provide central computing facilities and wide-area network communications linking its "central site" computing resources in Morgantown with the campus computing systems at most of the colleges and universities throughout the state.

That's all well and good. But check out this image I captured from the visitor logs about a visitor from WVNet. Notice how they spell "West Virginia Network for Educational Telecomputing." Note the last word is spelled in the logs as "Telecomputin" and not "Telecomputing."

Now, in fairness to West Virginia and WVNet, they spell it right the whole time. On the bill that created WVNet (PDF), on the WHOIS search, and everywhere else I can find.

But it seems that the fates are determined to make fun of West Virginia. The Site Meter logs truncate the last letter. And that is what turns "Telecomputing" into "Telecomputin."

Sometimes you just can't win.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Catfish Domination of Rome Continues

After running into the brick wall known as the Charleston RiverDogs (Yankees), the Columbus Catfish continued to dominate a team they've mastered all season long. Opening the last road trip of the first half, the Catfish beat the Rome Braves 9-2.

It was all Catfish in a turnaround from the last time Jeremy Hellickson faced off on the mound against Tommy Hanson. On June 5, Hanson lost a 1-hitter, 1-0. Tonight, Hellickson allowed just one hit, but got run support from the Catfish batters.

In the 3rd inning, 1B Matthew Fields homered over the wall in left to put the Catfish up 1-0.

With 2 outs in the 4th, the Catfish offense came alive. C Nevin Ashley singled, and stole second. LF Ryan Royster walked. Then, DH Quinn Stewart homered to center, putting the Catfish up 4-0 and chasing Hanson from the game. Fields greeted Rome reliever Michael Broadway with a double to right. 2B Joey Callender followed with an RBI single, making it 5-0.

In the bottom of the 6th, Rome finally got a hit off Hellickson, but the 1-out single did not damage, and Hellickson completed 6 innings, up 5-0.

The Catfish offense upped his margin to 9-0 in the top of the 7th. With 1 out, SS Jairo De La Rosa singled, advanced to second on a botched pickoff attempt, then stole third. CF Desmond Jennings singled him home, and went to second on a walk by RF John Matulia. 3B Cesar Suarez hit his team-leading 19th double, scoring Jennings. Ashley sacrificed Matulia home, moving Suarez to third. After another pitching change, Royster singled in Suarez, making it 9-0.

Rome finally got on the board in the bottom of the 7th, scoring 2 runs off Catfish reliever Neal Frontz. Frontz settled down and kept Rome off the board the rest of the way.

Hellickson picked up his 4th win of the season, allowing just one hit in 6 innings work, striking out 5 along the way. His ERA is down to 1.93, second best on the team and 4th best in the league. Frontz pitched 3 innings relief, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits, striking out3, to pick up his team-leading 10th save.

The win pulls the Catfish into a virtual tie for 2nd, 5-1/2 games behind division-leading Augusta. The Catfish need a sweep of Rome and Greenville, and a virtual collapse of Augusta to have a shot at the first-half title.

The series with Rome continues Tuesday night.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Catfish Slide Continues

A week and a half ago, the Columbus Catfish were in first place in the Southern Division of the South Atlantic League, in the midst of a 3-team race for the 1st half title. They had the easiest schedule of the 3 teams, and looked like a shoo-in for a post-season spot.

Since then, they've dropped to 3rd place, 5-1/2 games behind Augusta, who's suddenly the hottest team in the league.

The cooling off of the Catfish continued tonight, with a 4-1 loss to the Charleston RiverDogs (Yankees). They've now lost 6 of their last 9 games against Charleston.

Falling behind 1-0 in the 2nd when Charleston scored an unearned run, the Catfish tied the game when CF Maiko Loyola bunted his way on base with 1 out. He then stole second. With 2 outs, he scored on a Joey Callender (2B) single.

And that was it for Catfish scoring. They had a runner on third on a Ryan Royster (LF) triple, but he was stranded there.

Royster doubled in the 7th, but again was stranded in scoring position.

They had runners on the corners in the 8th, but again couldn't push anyone across.

Lack of hitting was again a key. The Catfish managed only 4 hits, Royster's 2 extra-base hits, and singles by Loyola and Callender.

Woods Fines allowed 3 runs (2 earned) on 6 hits in 6 innings work, and took the loss, his 4th. He had a pair of strikeouts, walked 1, and hit a batter. Matt Falk pitched 2 perfect innings, striking out 1. Columbus native Brian Baker pitched the 9th, allowing an unearned run and striking out 2.

The Catfish are off Sunday, and open a 7-game road trip to wrap up the 2nd half. They play 3 games in Rome starting Monday, and 4 games in Greenville beginning Thursday.

What it was, was football

Yes, we went to the baseball game last night. But we also went to the football game.

You see, the Wife and I -- okay, it's me, but she goes along -- think that we should attend at least one game of the local sports teams.

We went to a basketball game when the NBDL team was here. Don't care for basketball, but the team was local, so...

We go to at least one Cottonmouths hockey game a year. When they were CHL, ECHL, and now SPHL. Don't care for ice hockey, but the team is local, so...

And, last year, we went to a Chattahoochee Valley Vipers game. The game was okay -- indoor football takes a little getting used to -- and I went back to more games.

That team was thrown out of town for not paying their bills, dropped from the league, and folded.

But several teams got together and started a new league. Including a different team in Columbus: the Columbus Lions. The league settled to four teams, and they started play this year.

Well, last night was the first football game the Wife and I went to. They played the Daytona Beach Thunder, a team from last year's league that jumped to the new league.

The game was scheduled to start at 7:00 PM. So, we got there about 6:00 so we could watch all the pre-game activities.

It turned out the pre-game activities consisted of:
  • "We sell food and soft drinks at this register, but no beer."

  • "A program? Hey, Charlie, how much are the programs? Two dollars? A dollar? A dollar."

  • "You see where the restrooms are?" "Yeah, they're over there."

Or so I thought.

Because we got our drinks, a program, and sat down to watch the stuff on the field.

Not much happened before 7:00.

But then, about 7:08, they cleared the field and the band lined up.

It was a bunch of high school kids from different schools in the area. And they sounded pretty good. But bands these days seem to included dancers instead of twirlers. And they did their spread-leg, pelvic-thrusting dancing that seems to be the thing to do. High school girls didn't do that when I was in high school. Not during the games, anyway.

There was a singer that sang a religious song. No, it wasn't one of those almost-religious songs. But neither as it a traditional hymn, either. Still, it was of a religious nature. Slow tempo, about like that of "Wind Beneath My Wings" or "My Tribute."
And the dancers danced along.

I'm not quite used to a line of girls in t-shirts and short shorts slow-dancing to a religious song. It looked like the choir from the Dirty Dancing A.M.E. Church.

Then, a drumline performance. Which I don't get, either.

Then, the band left and the team Dance Team came out. Not to be confused with the dancers in the band. These girls were grown. Yeah.

Finally, around 7:45, they were almost ready for the 7:00 game to start.

The game itself? Pretty good football. Not great, but good. Real good. Yeah, I'd go back.

To watch the football game. Not the Dance Team.

But, if the Dance Team is there, I'll be polite and watch. And maybe I'll get seats closer to the Dance Team. Uh, I mean closer to the football field.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Catfish Struggles With Charleston Continue

After beating the Charleston RiverDogs (Yankees) in 10 of their first 14 meetings, the Catfish' recent struggles continue. Charleston beat the Catfish 6-4 tonight, their 6th win over the Catfish in the last 8 meetings between the two.

Charleston drew first blood, scoring in the top of the first. The Catfish tied it up in the bottom of the inning. CF Desmond Jennings triples to left, then scored on a bunt single by DN John Matulia, tying the game at one.

With 1 out in the 2nd, 1B Seth Dhaenens and 2B Joey Callender singled, and Dhaenens movd to to third on a fielding error. Dhaenens scored on a ground ball by SS Brett Grandstrand. Callender then scored on a single by Jennings, putting the Catfish up 3-1.

Charleston scored runs in the 4th and 5th innings to tie the game. Two more in the 6th and 1 in the 7th gave Charleston a 6-3 lead.

The Catfish had loaded the bases with no one out in the 6th, but were unable to score.

In the 8th, with 1 out, RF Maiko Loyola singled, then LF Quinn Stewart walked. Dhaenens reached on a fielder's choice, moving Loyola to third. After a pitching change, PH Matt Fields singled home Loyola, closing it to 6-4, but that's as close as the Catfish could get.

The loss, coupled with wins by Augusta and Asheville puts the Catfish in 3rd place, 4-1/2 games out of first.

The series with Charleston concludes tomorrow. It's Military Appreciation Day. Military normally get in for half price, but tomorrow night, they get in free.

Fast Women

Some men like fast women.

There's one in particular that I have a thing for.

Only, it's not exactly like you might think. It's more literal than that.

Every couple has little differences. I like rock 'n roll. The Wife likes country.

I like baseball. She likes chickens and goats.

I like TiVo. She won't admit she likes TiVo.

I channel surf (when not watching TiVo). She will watch the commercials (when not watching TiVo).

I drive a Chevrolet car. She drives a Ford truck.

And she drives the Ford truck fast.

She won't admit she drives the Ford truck fast. But ask her when's the last time one of us got a ticket for driving too fast. She'll narrow her eyes and not respond.

So you might not want to mention driving too fast to her.

But I will.

What brought this up?

No, she didn't get a ticket recently. She probably should be getting them on a regular basis. But no, a ticket is not the impetus for this.

It was a telephone call.

We drove separate this morning. She gets off at noon today. I don't. So we drove separate.

She pulled out of the driveway first. She was facing east and went out the east drive. I was facing west and went out the west drive. We both turned east to head towards town.

When I pulled out, I looked to the right (west), then to the left (east), back to the right, back to the left, and pulled out, glancing quickly right again.

I look to the right often, because the little girl -- she's actually grown now -- that lives that way has a boyfriend and other guests that drive like bats out of hell. Those boys really need a good ass-kicking. But that's a rant for another day.

This morning, I pulled out, and on the road ahead of me was ... nobody.

The Wife had already rounded the curve a quarter-mile ahead.

I accelerated to 35 MPH ... the legal limit on the road ... and approached the curve.

I slowed to 30 ... it says 25, but yes, I speed on occasions ... rounded the curve, and saw ... nobody. She had traversed the half-mile from the curve to the highway and was gone.

I sped up to 35, got to the highway, made my right (east) turn ... and the phone rang.

After I was able, I checked the call log. It was the Wife.

I called her back.

"Where are you?" she asked.


"I looked in the mirror and didn't see you."

I paused. And couldn't hold back any longer. "I drove the speed limit."

I won't tell you what she said.

But it's a good thing we drove separate. I'm thinking had I been in the truck with her, my body still wouldn't be found.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Catfish Bounce Back, Beat Charleston

One night after everything that could go wrong did, things got back to normal for the Columbus Catfish tonight. Good pitching and timely hitting led to a 4-2 victory over the Charleston RiverDogs (Yankees).

3B Cesar Suarez hit his 3rd home run in 5 days off the St. Francis sign in left field to put the Catfish up 1-0 in the first inning.

In the 5th inning, the Catfish chased Charleston starter Gabe Medina after C Craig Albernaz and SS Jairo De La Rosa both singled, then DH Desmond Jennings hit his 4th homer of the year -- and 3rd against Charleston -- over the gate in left field, giving the Catfish a 4-0 lead.

Charleston finally got to starter Josh Butler for runs in the 7th and 8th innings, making it 4-2. Neal Frontz pitched the 9th, survived a scare, and finally picked up his 9th save.

There was some excitement in a couple of innings when a couple of calls went against the Catfish.

In the 3rd inning, De La Rosa was called out by the home plate umpire after a discussion with the field ump. I'm not sure what happened -- I had looked away on the pitch when I spoke with another fan and missed the action. I think it was a foul ball hit out of the batter's box, but I'm not certain. Perhaps the paper will have the details; perhaps not.

Manager Jim Morrison wasn't happy with the ruling. Neither, of course, was De La Rosa, who expressed disbelief at the call, but didn't argue.

Then, in the 4th, CF Maiko Loyola was thrown out at third when he ran through a stop sign and tried to stretch a double into a triple. It looked to me like he knew he had messed up, committing to third base before checking out the third base coach. He threw his batting helmet to the ground -- angry at himself, I thought -- and broke it. The field ump, Tom Walkoviak, who had made the out call immediately threw him out.

Skipper let the ump hear about it, but managed to not get thrown out.

An inning later, Skipper again had words for Walkoviak, making his case. Again, he restrained himself to prevent the ump from tossing him, but made every effort to get his point across.

Butler pitched 8 innings, his longest outing of the year, allowing 2 runs on 9 hits, striking out 5, and walking none. He improved his record to 4-1, winning back-to-back starts for the first time this season.

The Catfish turned 2 double plays to keep Charleston off the boards for most of the game. It could have been more, but 4 other potential double-plays were not executed because of off-target throws for dropped catches. Since they got the first out on 3 of these, no errors were charged on those plays. The slightly sloppy play is uncharacteristic for this team, and I hope they can get that out of their system.

The series with Charleston is now even at a game apiece. Friday night's game will feature post-game fireworks. It'll be fun.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

I'd Have Figured The Catfish Could Have Held Them To Under 15 Runs

The previous day, the Columbus Catfish were held to one hit, but won the game anyway. Tonight, they sent their undefeated All-Star ace to the mound, and offensively pounded out 11 hits and scored 6 runs.

It was nowhere near enough.

The Charleston RiverDogs' (Yankees) bats came alive as they scored 15 runs on 18 hits to beat the Catfish, 15-6.

Heath Rollins, named to the South Atlantic League All-Star game earlier in the day, allowed 8 runs (4 of them earned) on 9 hits, to suffer his 1st loss of the year. He's now 6-1, and his ERA has jumped to 1.51 -- still 2nd best in the league.

Offensively, Ryan Royster was 3-for-4 with a home run -- his 9th of the year. John Matulia was also 3-for-4. Desmond Jennings was 2-for-5.

The Catfish are now 9-7 against Charleston this season. Tonight's loss was the 3rd in a row to the RiverDogs, and the 5th in the last 6 games between the two teams.

The Catfish and Charleston continue their series Thursday night. The Catfish need to take three of four to stay on track for a playoff spot.

Catfish Place Four On All-Star Team

Four members of the Columbus Catfish roster ... and the manager ... have made the South Atlantic League All-Star roster. Manager Jim Morrison will be part of the coaching staff supporting Asheville's Joe Mikulik, who was named manager of the Southern Division team.

Catfish OF Ryan Royster, who broke up a no-hitter yesterday with a game-winning home run, is one of three position players on the roster. Royster has the highest batting average (.307), is tied for the team lead in home runs (7), and is second on the team in hits (58) and RBIs (33). In the outfield, he's played errorless ball.

OF Desmond Jennings, who leads the Catfish in stolen bases (22) and runs scored (34), and has the 2nd highest on-base percentage (.374) on the team, also was named to the roster.

C Nevin Ashley, who has split time with 2 other catchers, also made the team. He's hitting .286, is 3rd on the team in hits (55), 2nd in triples (5), and 4th in home runs (5) and RBIs (27).

One Catfish pitcher made the All-Star team. Heath Rollins is unbeaten at 6-0 in 11 starts. His 1.09 ERA is 2nd in the league and leads the league in strike-outs (69).

Left off the All-Star team were ... well, everybody else. And that's a shame.

The Catfish are in the midst of a race for a playoff spot. They are 38-21 (.644), have the 2nd best record in the division and 3rd best in the league.

Individually, Quinn Stewart and Matt Fields share the team home run lead with Royster (7). John Matulia has the 2nd highest batting average (.298) and is 2nd in the league in triples (5). Cesar Suarez leads the team in RBIs (34) and doubles (18). Maiko Loyola has the team's highest on-base percentage (.384).

Sure, I understand that other teams must be represented. And that other players on other teams have impressive stats, too. And perhaps I'm a little biased towards the Catfish. And that every year, someone who is deserving is left off the All-Star roster.

So, I won't whine ... too much ... about these omissions. I'll try to reserve my actions to congratulating the players that made the team. It's well deserved.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Rome One-Hits Catfish, Catfish Win Anyway

Rome Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson pitched a nearly masterful game against the Columbus Catfish. He threw 95 pitches in 7 innings, walked 2, hit 1, struck out 12, and allowed just one hit. But oh, that one hit.

With 2 outs, and a 1-2 count on Catfish DH Ryan Royster, Hanson's 4th pitch was sent sailing over the Tri-State sign in left field, giving the Catfish their only run ... and only hit ... of the game.

It was enough. The Catfish beat Rome, 1-0.

Catfish pitchers Jeremy Hellickson and Brian Baker combined to 4-hit Rome. Hellickson pitched 7 innings, allowing 4 hits, walking 3, and striking out 4. Baker pitched perfect 8th and 9th innings.

In the 3rd inning, back to back hits put runners on the corners for Rome with nobody out, but a fly ball to short, then a 4-3 double play got the Catfish out of trouble.

Rome put another runner in scoring position in the 6th, on a single and a passed ball wild pitch, but a fly ball and a strike out ended the inning.

The Catfish got only 3 baserunners ... other than Royster's rounding the bases on his solo shot ... in the game. In the 4th inning, 3B Cesar Suarez walked. In the 5th, 2B Brett Grandstrand was hit by a pitch. In the 6th, CF Desmond Jennings walked, went to second on a wild pitch, and stole third, but was stranded there. And that was it before Royster's home run.

The win is the 13th in 16 games with Rome this season, and gives the Catfish this series, 3 games to 1.

The Catfish remains in second place, 3-1/2 games out. Tonight's game between Augusta and Asheville will determine if it changes to 3 or 4 games out, but they're in second, regardless.

Tomorrow, the Catfish open a 4-game series with Charleston.

Monday, June 4, 2007

How To Be A Lesbian

No, I'm not about to offer tips on how to become a lesbian.

I don't think such things are possible. Although, not being a lesbian, I can't speak from personal experience.

But you may be wondering why anyone would write something called "How to be a lesbian."

Me too.

You see, I ran across that while going through a spam filter.

In case you aren't aware, blogs that accepts comments and/or trackbacks get spam.

That is, there are some folks that attempt to leave comments or links to Web pages for ... well, for all kind of purposes.

These comments or trackbacks don't have anything to do with the post. They are rude interruptions that are usually attempting to sucker people into buying stuff. Sometimes indirectly, sometimes directly.

Sometimes, these Websites are malicious. That is, they try to crack your computer via your Web browser.

And, there are probably other reasons that people leave spam.

But what amazed me was that I found one with the heading "How to be a lesbian."

Just who is this kind of thing targeting?

Horny teens (you know who you are) or just plain perverts (you know who you are, too)?

Or people that say "WTF?"

Or are spammers having a contest that we don't know about? Like, which spammer can come up with the most ridiculous topic for a spam session?

I just don't understand.

But then, the Wife doesn't understand why I like to watch Whacked Out Sports.