Thursday, September 27, 2007

So, Sis, how well do you know your brother's musical tastes?

To which of my three sisters am I directing the question?

Each of them.

Notice I didn't say "all of them." Because that would imply it's okay to collaborate. It's not.

Each of you must answer the question independently. And you might get help from the others by reading their comments. But no collaboration, sis. Or sisses.

So, to the Big Sister (who's 5'4''), the Little Sister (who's 6'0''), and the Mean Sister (who's 5'6''), I ask the question: How well do you know your brother's musical tastes.

Here's how we'll find out.

I'm listing 10 songs. Seven of them are on iTunes. Seven of them are on my iPod. The three that are not on iTunes may or may not be the ones not on my iPod.

You don't have to try to figure out which songs are or aren't on iTunes. But it may help if you searched iTunes and found that out. Then, again, it may not help. Heh.

So, you ready? Good.

Here are the 10 songs.
  • Colors -- Ice T

  • Friends in Low Places -- Garth Brooks

  • Funk #49 -- James Gang

  • Gangsta's Paradise -- Coolio

  • Hello, Goodbye -- The Beatles

  • I Feel Fine -- The Beatles

  • In The Mood -- Glenn Miller

  • King of the Road -- Roger Mlller

  • Life In The Fast Lane -- Eagles

  • Ridin' -- Chamillionaire

So, which 7 do I have on my iPod? Or which 3 do I not have on my iPod?

Keep in mind, just because I don't have it doesn't mean I won't get it. But, at this time, at least one of the songs I don't have, I don't plan to get. At least one of the songs I don't have, I do plan to get.

All this means you need to know, not only what songs I would put on my iPod to listen to, but what songs might I get before others, since at least one I don't have, I plan to get.

Yes, sis, it's complicated. Did you expect any less?

So, sis. Just how well do you know your brother's musical tastes?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Problems with Safari browser and WordPress

See update.

¶ If this post is hard to read, it's because I'm using the Safari browser to write this on a WordPress blog. ¶ You see, I got a MacBook computer recently. And I've been trying out all the functions of a Mac as I make the change from 20+ years of PC computing. ¶ Now, to be sure, I do like the MacBook. I like it a lot. Oh, sure, there are some differences. But the main thing is, the MacBook is easy to use. Really easy to use. ¶ But it's not perfect. ¶ You see, Apple has their own browser: Safari. ¶ It's a fine browser, to be sure. It's pretty fast. Everything on the Mac is fast. Except for my Microsoft Office 2004 suite. ¶ So, Safari is fast. But it has a bug with WordPress. ¶ Now, if you don't use WordPress, you might be just fine. But WordPress and Safari don't play nice together. ¶ It seems that if you use the Visual Editor for writing ... and I do ... the paragraph formatting screws up. ¶ How bad? Well, you see those little paragraph marks all through this post? That's where I put paragraphs when I wrote this. ¶ And, you see how this has all run together as one big paragraph? That's because of the bug in Safari. ¶ Now, there are reports that the new version of Safari has solved this issue. ¶ But it hasn't. ¶ You see, I'm using Safari 3.0.3 (522.12.1) ... and WordPress 2.2.3. ¶ Yes, that's a beta version. But it's the version that they say has the issue fixed. And it doesn't. ¶ So, excuse how this post looks. But it looks this way because Safari 3 hasn't fixed the bug. ¶ Which means I'll continue using Firefox. Which I like. And won't be using Safari. Which I thought I'd like ... and would if Apple would get off their butts and get it fixed.

UPDATE: Some time in the past year, things got better. They play nice now. Read about it here.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Holiday, Holy Day?

Have you been to Wal-mart lately?

They're decorated for Hallowe'en. And have been for a bit.

Yeah, I know. Kids love the whole trick or treat thing. I did, as a child.

Not too keen on it now, though. Comes from being an old, grumpy fart, I suspect.

Still, the stores are decorating for the holiday.

And that's the rub.

Isn't holiday short for holy day?

Well, what's so darn holy about Hallowe'en?

Oh, sure. It was originally All Hallows' Eve, or All Hallows Even. The evening before All Hallows' Day, or All Saints Day.

But, in the U.S., it's now the night to dress up as witches and ghosts and vampires and monsters and such.

And, like I said, there's not much holy about that.

I wonder if maybe Wal-mart's trying to give Satan equal time to make up for Christmas.

But then, again, I don't recall seeing anything Christ-like about Wal-mart at Christmas.

Oh, well. They're all decorated up for Hallowe'en.

Yeah, maybe I'm just an old, grumpy fart. Because I don't like Hallowe'en.

Until the kids ring the doorbell.

A Chicken Bacon Gardenia sandwich

Met the Wife for lunch at Subway today. Still there as I write this, by the way.

She likes the roast beef sandwiches. Orders them most of the time. Me, I prefer the Subway Melt or the Italian BMT.

But, today, I decided to go crazy and and order a chicken bacon ranch sandwich. I've had them before. And they're good. McDonald's also has a similar sandwich. I like it, too. But we weren't at McDonald's. We were at Subway. Their Internet connection works. Plus I like the staff.

One thing that the Wife and I do is carry hand sanitizer. I carry Purell. She carries Avon.

Well, I got the sandwiches while she found a table (which is sometimes a premium at the Subway on Broadway in Columbus). And, when I got to the table with all the food, chips, apple parts, and sandwiches, I also broke out my Purell.

Only, she didn't want that. She wanted her Avon hand stuff. And asked me if I wanted some of that.

"Sure," I said, not realizing the full impact of that statement.

Now, the Purell must be rubbed in, of course, but can be rubbed in fairly easily.

Not so with the Avon.

This Avon stuff seems to stick around. I rubbed my hands together for what seemed like forever. The stuff was gone, and I was simply rubbing off skin. But it still felt like the Avon hand sanitizer was on my hands. And smelled like it, too.

I used a napkin to try to get the stuff off, but to no avail.

I ate my chicken bacon ranch sandwich. And my hands smelled like gardenias. And smell impacts taste, in case you didn't know.

So, I ended up eating a chicken bacon gardenia sandwich.

Yeah, I should have just gone and washed it off, but I didn't. But I will next time.

Which is sad. The fact that there will be a next time.

I should have learned better. But I doubt it.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Okay, I think I get it now...

A while back, the Wife ... and then I ... got iPods. She got the Shuffle ... and that's really cool, by the way ... while I got the big iPod. Not the Nano, but the one with the bigger video screen.

Of course, this was all shortly before they came out with the new iPods. Just my luck on timing, huh?

But, I'm not unhappy with the iPod. On the contrary. I think I get it now.

You see, I was always one of those that looked at folks carrying an iPod and wondered what that was all about.

And, when I got one, I wondered if it was a good decision.

The Shuffle? I liked it immediately. It was the iPod with video ... my iPod ... that I wasn't too sure about.

Well, I think I get it now.

I was listening to "Sweet Home Alabama" on the iPod yesterday. I've heard that song hundreds of times since it was released over 30 years ago.But, I never heard the sampling of the Neil Young song.

Oh, I knew all about Van Zant's writing the song in response to "Southern Man," but in all these years, in all the hearings of the song, I never heard, the sampling of "Southern Man" ... or what I now understand is Al Kooper's impersonation of Neil Young's singing ... until yesterday.

Never once, while playing the song on an 8-track. Never once, while playing a cassette with the song. Never while playing a 12-inch vinyl album or a 7-inch 45. Never once while playing a CD. Never once while listening on the radio.

Okay, I may be the only person on the planet that never heard it. But I never heard it. Until yesterday. On my iPod.

The point? Simple. Stuff sound good. Real good.

But, actually, the music was the easy part. I "got it" when we got the iPod Shuffle.

It was actually the video part that I just didn't get.

I mean, who would try to watch a video, whether it be a music video, a TV show, or a movie, on a small screen like that?

I just didn't understand it.

Until yesterday.

I had downloaded some music videos to entertain the oldest granddaughter. She thinks Weird Al is cool. Or at least one of his videos ("The Saga Begins").

But I was watching another one of them ("Smells Like Nirvana") while sitting on the couch, and looked up at the TV sitting across the room.

I looked back down at the iPod. Then back at the TV.





Then, I held the iPod up at watchable distance in front of the TV, then slowly slid it to the side.

I repeated it, only this time, slowly sliding it down.

I was comparing the height and width of the screens.

The 29-inch TV sitting across the room vs. the 3-1/2 inch iPod screen in my hand.

They're just about the same size.

And, the iPod's picture is clearer.

I think I get it now.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Baggy pants

You've read or heard, I'm sure, about some cities looking to ban baggy pants that are so popular with many of the youth today.

Some are opposing the bans because they're "targeting young black men." Well, that's bogus. If for no other reason than because the "young black man" with baggy pants I just saw was actually a white boy. Whiter than me.

No, this whole baggy pants thing isn't about race. It's about youth.

Now, my son doesn't wear pants like that. He'll be 21 this year. On most days, he could use a haircut. And a shave. But I haven't seen him wearing the baggy pants.

Of course, I don't see him that much. So he might wear them when he knows he won't be around me.

Because I don't approve of the whole baggy pants thing.

But I'm opposed to banning them.

Now, if someone wears their pants low and their ass is showing, that's improper. And there are plenty of laws already on the books about showing your ass (literally) that we don't need another law. Just enforce the ones already on the books.

But while I personally don't like the whole baggy pants fad -- and that's what it is, a fad -- I don't think cities ought to be banning them.

You see, I think Bill Engvall was on to something a while back.

In his famous "Here's Your Sign" routine, he began it all by saying that it would be helpful if stupid people wore signs saying that they were stupid.

Well, that's what the baggy pants are. A sign of an immature kid.

If I run across someone like that, I know exactly what I'm dealing with.

It's their sign.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

23 days later

The car door is fixedIt took over three weeks ... 23 days to be exact ... but the whole episode with someone backing into the car is now behind me.

Actually, the repair shop had the car ready yesterday ... and I picked it up yesterday. But, USAA wouldn't pay the repair shop ... even though I used a repair shop on their "preferred" list.

Just to recap, back on August 26, at the conclusion of a Catfish game, someone backed into the car. They crunched the rear passenger door. No other damage, or so it appeared. And the police report said he backed into me. And he said he backed into me.

It got complicated because it wasn't his vehicle he was driving. His insurance (Progressive) said I needed to contact the owner's insurance.

So, I called USAA, which was her insurance.

The person assigned to the case never called me back.

I called them, told them what I thought about it all ... and it wasn't nice ... and asked to speak to someone higher up the food chain.

He spoke to me and said he'd get it resolved.

And, he did. Pretty much.

He assigned another person to the incident. And the new guy did call me back.I took the car over to one of their "approved" or "preferred" body shop. The shop was great. They got on it, although it took longer than expected. But, that was because they wanted to work out an issue with the door seal. And they got it.

So, yesterday, I went to pick the car up. Only, right as I got there, they called me to let me know of an issue.

Seems that USAA ... contrary to what I had asked them to do and what the body shop was agreeable to ... wouldn't send them a check. They told the body shop that they had already sent me a check.

Only, I hadn't received a check.

So, I had to pony up $1,270.42 to pick up the car. Then took the little German car back to Enterprise.

Well, the check from USAA came in the mail today.

So, this whole unpleasant episode is now behind me.

I hope.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Former Catfish leads Biscuits to title

Montgomery BiscuitsA year ago, he was a South Atlantic League all-star for the Columbus Catfish. This year, he's the hero of game five of the Southern League championship series.

Sergio Pedroza belted a 3-run homer in the top of the 9th inning to lead the Montgomery Biscuits to a 4-3 win in the deciding game of the SL championship against the Huntsville Stars (Brewers).

The Biscuits got on the board first, scoring in the first inning, when Reid Brignac hit a 2-out double and Chris Nowak followed with an RBI single to left, putting the Biscuits up 1-0.

Huntsville struck back in the 5th, scoring 3 runs on a double, a walk, an error, and a single, to take a 3-1 lead that held up until the 9th.

The Biscuits had runners on base in the 4th, 6th, 7th, and 8th, but couldn't convert. But the 9th was a different story.

Nowak singled to start the inning. With 1 out, Gabriel Martinez singled, putting runners on the corner. That's when Pedroza hit his 3-run shot to left field, putting the Biscuits up 4-3.

Huntsville put a pair of runners on base in the bottom of the 9th, but a 6-3 double play saved the day for the Biscuits, giving them back-to-back Southern League titles. Last year, the Biscuits beat Huntsville in 4 games to win the league championship.

The Wife and I weren't able to stick around Huntsville for the game. We saw the Biscuits 4-1 loss Saturday night in game four, and wanted to stay for Sunday's game five, but the distance and our work schedule prevented that.

But, we're happy for the Biscuits ... and happy that a former Catfish favorite contributed to the win. We've come to be familiar with some of the Biscuits players because of our attending games in Montgomery over the last couple of years. But it's really special when a former Catfish player takes the field.

Oh, one other thing.

Now that baseball season is over (since the Braves are all but eliminated), football may now commence. Just when does football season begin, anyway?

Winless powers?

USA Today had an article online this morning talking about the Michigan-Notre Dame game.

The headline: "Michigan blanks Notre Dame in battle of winless powers"

Now, think about that for a minute.

"Winless powers?"

Isn't that a contradiction in terms, an oxymoron?

Like "jumbo shrimp." Or "working vacation." Or "Microsoft Works." Or "liberal thinking?"

Two teams that are 0-2 each, getting beaten badly, and still called "powers."

I'm thinking that if Florida had opened the season 0-2, any reference to them would have been qualified. Like "traditional power" or "former power" or something other than just plain "power."

But it was Michigan and Notre Dame.

So all facts are out the window.

Just like when it comes to reporting news. The mainstream media supports the party line. Only, it's a football party, this time.

And there's nothing really wrong with a football party. As long as its on the tailgate of a truck in the parking lot.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Squandered opportunities cost Biscuits game four

We're in Huntsville for a Biscuits game. And the Montgomery Biscuits had plenty of opportunities tonight, but couldn't close the deal, falling to the Huntsville Stars (Brewers) 4-1 in game 4 of the Southern League finals.

The loss evens the series at 2 games apiece. The decisive game 5 will be tomorrow night, but we won't be able to make that game.

Tonight, though, the Biscuits jumped out to an early lead. Fernando Perez started the game with a walk, and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Josh Asanovich. Reid Brignac walked, and Perez moved to third on a wild ball four pitch. Chris Nowak walked to load the bases. John Jaso grounded into a force out at second that scored Perez and put the Biscuits up 1-0. Though they had the lead, a bases-loaded, 1-out situation ended up netting but the one run.

In the second, a scoring opportunity was wasted. The Biscuits had runners on first and third with no one out, but couldn't convert, but still had the 1-0 lead.

The lead held until the 3rd. A walk, sacrifice bunt, and a single put runners on the corner for Huntsville with 1 out. Starter Mike Prochaska coaxed a grounder to third out of Alcides Escobar for what looked like a 5-4-3 double play, but Escobar beat the relay allowing Steve Moss to score. Steven Sollmann followed with a homer over the Yellow Pages sign in left, putting Huntsville up 3-1.

In the 4th, the Biscuits loaded the bases, but stranded all three runners. And, in the 5th, a triple and a hit batsman put runners on the corners with 1 out, and again, the Biscuits couldn't convert. A runner in the 6th was also left stranded by the Biscuits.

Huntsville put up another run in the 8th, to extend their lead. The Biscuits managed a base runner in the 9th, but again, could do nothing, and the game ended with Huntsville up 4-1.

The Southern League championship series ends Sunday night. The best-of-five series is tied at two games each. The series is a rematch of last year's Southern League championship series, which the Biscuits won, 3 games to 1. It's also the second Devil Rays vs Brewers matchups in Minor League Baseball. The Columbus Catfish swept the West Virginia Power (Brewers) in 3 games in the Class A South Atlantic League earlier this week.

We're working Monday morning, and have decided we won't try to hang around for the Sunday night game.

The good news is, we got a chance to meet c.a.Marks (Alabama Improper), the Gent, and the rest of the family for supper and a ballgame. Though the game didn't end up like we would have liked, we couldn't have asked for better company. Thanks, y'all!

How would you do it in large bills?

We're in Huntsville for the Southern League finals between the Montgomery Biscuits and the Huntsville Stars (Brewers).

And they have a sign up concerning parking.

They want four dollars ... "in small bills."

I'm wondering what kind of money they're using. Or what the exchange rate is here on American money.

I mean, they have a problem with people carrying four dollars in LARGE bills?

Money must be a concern here, for sure.

I mentioned earlier that we had a hard time finding a hotel close to the ballpark. Didn't in fact. But we found a boat-load of banks.

I assume all those banks have money in them. If not, there must be about 400 empty bank vaults. So, I assume there's some serious money in this town.

But if it they can potentially have four dollars in large bills ... then I'm not sure if they have as much money as they think they do.

Oh, I considered stopping by one of those many banks and changing four dollars in bills for coins. But they might not have seen the humor in the situation.

Set a spell...

The Wife and I ... and the oldest granddaughter ... are in Huntsville.

Yes, the Catfish season is over ... and it ended on a great note with the South Atlantic League championship ... but the Biscuits are still playing.

The Southern League championship series is underway, and the Montgomery Biscuits are in the finals against the Huntsville Stars (Brewers).

We're going to the game with c.a.Marks (Alabama Improper) and the Gent. And the family.

We went to a ballgame with them a couple of years back. We're looking forward to another great game ... and a great time with her and the family.

Anyhow, we got to Huntsville and found the stadium. Drove right past it ... twice ... while we were trying to follow the directions we printed out. Finally tossed the directions and went right to it.

Got our tickets and started looking for a hotel. This whole trip was last-minute ... sort of ... and we made no plans ahead of time. So, we went searching for a hotel.

It seems that Huntsville wants you to visit the ballpark and the stores in the area. But they don't want you to stay.

Finally found a hotel a ways away from the ballpark. Decided to stay at the Marriott by the Space Center. It's as close as anything else ... and we're building up points. So, we're at the Marriott.

Meeting c.a.Marks and the group for supper, then off to the ballpark.

I wish her team the best of luck. A second-place finish would be just wonderful for the Stars, dontcha think?

Go Biscuits.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Catfish win S.A.L. title

Got good reason to smile tonight.

The Columbus Catfish beat the West Virginia Power (Brewers) tonight, 6-0, to win their first South Atlantic League championship in a 3-game sweep.

Photo: Columbus Catfish
What started out as a pitcher's duel between the Catfish' Jeremy Hellickson (13-3, 2.67 ERA season; 1-0, 1.00 ERA playoffs) and West Virginia's Donovan Hand (3-4, 2.95 ERA season; 1-0, 4.00 ERA playoffs) was washed away due to a 1:54 rain delay.

Catfish reliever Wilton Noel took over to start the 4th following the delay, pitched 3 innings, allowing 2 hits, issuing 1 walk, and striking 1 out as he took the win, as, for the first time in the championship series, the Catfish scored off the West Virginia bullpen.

West Virginia nearly got on the board first in the 4th inning. With 1 out, Matt LaPorta, whose dad I had the chance to chat briefly with during the rain delay, walked, and moved to second on John Alonso's 1-out single. Kenneth Holmberg then singled to left, and LaPorta tried to score. C Nevin Ashley was unable to handle Royster's throw to the plate and Noel backed him up, spotted that Alonso missed the plate, tossed the ball to Ashley, who tagged Alonso for out three. West Virginia argued the call, but the umpire stood his ground, and the threat was squashed.

In the 5th, the Catfish finally solved the West Virginia bullpen. Matt Fields homered to the deepest part of the field, just to the left of straight-away center, putting the Catfish up 1-0.

In the 6th, John Matulia singled to start the inning. With 1 out, Nevin Ashley singles to, putting runners on the corner. Didn't matter where they were, as it turned out, as Ryan Royster broke out of a 1-for-September slump with a blast that cleared the wall in the left field corner. The 3-run shot put the Catfish up 4-0.

And, in the 7th, the Catfish put up two more. John Matulia doubled, then scored when Cesar Suarez hit an inside pitch to left field, making it 6-0.

The Catfish bullpen pitched strong tonight. Following West Virginia's near-score in the 4th, they went down in order until the 8th, when Stephen Chapman off reliever Ryan Owen, who had pitched a perfect 7th. Columbus native Brian Baker, who led Columbus High to the state championship and Columbus State to the Division II championship, came in and coaxed two ground balls to record a force, then a double play to end the threat.

Neal Frontz got in a little trouble in the 9th, when West Virginia put runners on first and second with no one out. But a double play got the lead runner at third, and a grounder to short ended the game, giving Columbus the South Atlantic League title.

[The YouTube]

Naturally, a celebration started at first base, and worked its way to home plate, amidst SAL president John H. Moss presenting the championship trophy to Catfish manager Jim Morrison.

Skipper gave all the credit to his players and staff, telling the crowd of 1,317 that they were a special group of young men, many of whom we'd be seeing in the majors.

The team managed to dump a bucket of ice on Skipper while Moss was congratulating him. They put on their championship t-shirts and threw hats to the crowd before leaving the field.

I don't yet know who will be the playoff MVP, although Quinn Stewart and Maiko Loyola made their cases. Stewart hit .471 and Loyola hit .381. Of course, Heath Rollins won a pair of games, the openers of each series. Those come immediately to mind, but that's not to slight any of the players on the team.

Photo: Columbus Catfish
The storming through Augusta, and the sweep of West Virginia, has shown just how good and balanced this Catfish team is. I seen some good players this season. None with quite the flash that some of the Dodgers players had during the last 3 years. But the Dodgers never put a championship team on the field. This Catfish team is head and shoulders above the rest of the South Atlantic League, as shown by their dominance of two of the best teams in Class A ball: Augusta, who the Catfish beat for the Division championship, and West Virginia, who powered past most of their opponents all season long.

It's late. I'm tired. But I'm excited. And I'm happy for those 27 young men who now hold the title of South Atlantic League champions.

Update: One bit of trivia. Catfish reliever Brian Baker, who pitched in the 8th inning tonight, is no stranger to winning championships in Columbus. He helped Columbus High school win the state title in 2000, and was Most Outstanding Player in the 2002 Division II championship, won by Columbus State. He's won at high school, college, and now pros.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Scary foreigners

In today's edition of the local newspaper, the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, there was a letter from some fans supporting the Columbus Catfish.

Well, in the online edition, there was a comment left by someone ... anonymously of course ... who showed just how big of an ass some people are:
The Catfish are 95% players with names that end in 'EZ'

It is doubtful you'd see any of them around town, or be able to interact. They barely speak English, if any at all.

I tried to post a comment about it, but I went on too long, I suppose, because it wouldn't take it.

But, since I do have my own little blog, I can post my comment here.
> The Catfish are 95% players with names that end in 'EZ'

> It is doubtful you'd see any of them around town,
> or be able to interact.
> They barely speak English, if any at all.

Wow. Just wow.

People can think like this and still manage to breathe?

Let's check the roster, shall we?

Catchers: Nevin Ashley, Matt Spring, Craig Albernaz

Maybe you're talking about Albernaz (but it's 'az' not 'ez'). No, he's from Falls River, Mass.

Maybe you're talking about the infielders: Matt Fields, Seth Dhaenens, Brett Grandstrand, Joey Callender ... oh, here we go ... Cesar Suarez. The 3B from Maracaibo,Venezuela. Who came to this country legally. And played in the Yankees and Cleveland organizations previously.

Obviously, he's the guy, right?

Maybe it's the other infielder, Jairo De La Rosa, from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, that you don't like. He is also here legally, with an actual job and everything.

Maybe it's the outfielders: Quinn Stewart, Ryan Royster, Desmond Jennings, John Matulia (I hope I don't have to tell you he's from Thomaston, GA), or ... oh, here's the guy ... Maiko Loyola, from Juan Baron, Dominican Republic, also here legally, with a job and everything.

Or is it the pitchers? Let's see.

Brian Baker, Hunter Davis, Matt Falk, Woods Fines, Neal Frontz, Jeremy Hall, Jeremy Hellickson, Will Kline, Ryan Morse, Wilton Noel, Ryan Owen, Ryan Reid, Heath Rollins, Wade Townsend ... hmmm, no scary 'ez' people there.

Now, just in case you missed my point, I'm not saying "Oh, they've only got 3 players (out of 28) who are scary foreigners." No, I'm throwing numbers at you, hoping to show that you don't know what the hell you're talking about. The part about you being a bigoted dumbass is understood and doesn't need to be pointed out.

You know, if that's the mentally of the people that might otherwise go to a Catfish game, I'm glad they are staying home, watching the Braves on TV.

That way, they can cheer for Havana natives Brayan Pena and Yunel Escobar. And Colombia native Edgar Renteria. And those Dominicans, Julio Franco and Rafael Soriano. And Venezuelans Martin Prado and Jose Ascanio. And the Panamanian Manny Acosta. And that Mexican guy, Oscar Villarreal.

Gosh, I hope I haven't ruined your enjoyment of the game.

Little German car

A couple of weeks ago, someone backed into my car. His fault.

And trying to deal with USAA insurance has been a pain. A huge pain.

First, when I contacted USAA, they didn't return my calls and haven't decided that they are responsible.

Harsh words were said. By me. I gave them a piece of my mind. Which I need to be careful about doing, because I don't have all that much to begin with.

Anyway, after several calls, they finally decided they needed to pay for fixing my car ... and to furnish me a rental during downtime.

Maybe I'll give all the details about what all I had to say about their operation. Maybe.

But, right now, they're fixing the car. And set me up with a rental.

Now, my car is an older vehicle. A Chevrolet Lumina. They don't make those any more.

But, it's a car. Not what I would call a large car, but it's big enough for my fat ass.

And they told Enterprise (who, like they advertise, will pick you up) to hook me up with a standard car.

Well, "standard" doesn't mean a car that's ... well ... my size.

It means a Volkwagen Jetta.

It's a little German car.

Insofar as it seems to be built to hold little Germans, not a full-sized American like me.

Not a bad car, to be sure. But smaller than I like.

The seat pokes me in the kidneys. I don't think it's on purpose. But still, it pokes me there. It's supposed to wrap slightly around me, I suppose. But since I'm wider than the seat, I feel the car seat poking me.

The brakes work. Very well. Takes a lot of getting used to. But I'm getting better at it. I no longer feel like I'm going to crash through the windshield when I step on the brakes.

It's got a big trunk, though. Looks like it would hold 3 bodies.

And it's black. Jet black. Maybe it's Jetta Black, I don't know.

Actually, it only looks black. To me.

It seems to be invisible to every one else. Twice today, asses driving other vehicles ran red lights and nearly hit me.

Maybe they don't like German cars. Or little Germans.

Or, maybe they're just dumbasses who can't drive.

I'd just as soon not get in a wreck until I get rid of this little rental car.

Actually, I'd just as soon not get in a wreck at all. I wish everyone felt that way.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Catfish on verge of sweep, Sally League title

Another 5-2 win tonight put the Columbus Catfish one win away from the South Atlantic League title. Last night, the Catfish took game one of the best-of-five series by a 5-2 come-from-behind win over the West Virginia Power (Brewers). Tonight, though, the Catfish led the whole way.

In the first inning, Maiko Loyola led off with a solo home run on the 2nd pitch of the game, putting the Catfish up 1-0. John Matulia doubled, then scored on a single by Cesar Suarez, and they were up 2-0.

West Virginia cut the lead in half in the bottom of the 1st, scoring a run on a pair of singles with a walk sandwiched in between.

West Virginia threatened in the 2nd, and forced pitcher Will Kline to throw over 50 pitches in the first three innings, but Kline managed to keep them off the board before being lifted after the end of the 3rd.

In the 4th, with 2 outs, Seth Dhaenens walked and Matt Fields singled, and moved to third on a play at third. Quinn Stewart then singled to center, scoring both runners and putting the Catfish up 4-1.

In the bottom of the 4th, John Alonso, who batted .400 for West Virginia during the last 2 weeks of the regular season, homered to cut the lead again, 4-2.

In the 6th, Ryan Royster walked, stole second, and moved to third on an error. With 1 out, Quinn Stewart sacrificed him home, giving the Catfish a 5-2 lead.

West Virginia continued to threaten throughout the game, but couldn't manage to punch anything across against the Catfish.

Kline got in trouble in the first 2 innings, but set West Virginia down in order in the 3rd, but was lifted due to his high pitch count, and was ineligible for the win. He allowed 3 hits, a run, 2 walks, and struck out 4.

New Catfish pitcher Jeremy Hall, who made one appearance during the regular season after being promoted to Columbus, went 4-1/3 innings, allowing a run on 3 hits, walking 1 and striking out 1. He picked up his first post-season win, and second as a Catfish.

Ryan Owen faced three batters, retiring them all, 2 by strikeout, to set it up for Ryan Reid, who set down the final 2 batters to end the game.

Fields and Suarez each had 2 hits for the Catfish. Stewart had 3 RBIs, bringing his post-season total to 7.

Defensively, the Catfish managed to strand 6 West Virginia runners, 4 in scoring position. Loyola threw out one West Virginia base runner trying to stretch and RBI single into a double, to help the 1st inning from getting out of control.

The win puts the Catfish one win away from their first title since the team was founded in 2001 as the Wilmington Waves. A South Atlantic League title would be the first baseball league title for Columbus since 1986, when the Columbus Astros won the Southern League championship.

If the Catfish win Wednesday, they'd be the first Minor League Baseball (affiliated ball) full-season team this year to sweep through the playoffs with a title. The Appalachian League plays a 68-game schedule and has a single-round best-of-three title series, won in 2 games by the Elizabethton Twins. The West Michigan Whitecaps are also unbeaten in post-season play, and could complete a post-season sweep with wins Wednesday and Thursday.

But I'll be at the Catfish game. And I've got tickets standing by for a Charleston, West Virginia newspaperman (and blogger), should he decided to cover the series. But I wouldn't blame him if he passed on the opportunity. That's a long ride back to West Virginia.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Catfish take game one of finals

This was more like what was expected.

In the Southern Division series, the Columbus Catfish swept the Augusta GreenJackets (Giants) in two games, wreaking havoc on what was considered the best pitching staff in the league.

And, though it took three games, the West Virginia Power (Brewers) took the Northern Division series from Hickory Crawdads (Pirates) in a series where the closest game was a 5-run difference.

With all the great pitchers in the league, in five games, no one picked up a save.

That changed tonight. Neal Frontz picked up the first save of the South Atlantic League post-season, as the Catfish edged West Virginia, 5-2, to take a 1-0 lead in the best of five series for the league title.

Down 1-0 after 1 inning, the Catfish took the lead in the 3rd. Matt Fields and Quinn Stewart led off with singles. With 1 out, Maiko Loyola moved them over on a ground out to first. John Matulia doubled to right, putting the Catfish up 2-1.

In the 4th, Fields hit a 2-out double that he tried to extend to a triple, but was thrown out at the bag. But Nevin Ashley, who had walked, scored ahead of the out, giving the Catfish a 3-1 lead.

Another run in the 5th inning extended the lead. Stewart tripled to start things. He came home on a 1-out sacrifice fly by Loyola.

Catfish starter Heath Rollins got into a no-out, bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the 5th, but 2 ground balls kept West Virginia from making a big inning, and only one run was scored, and the Catfish lead was cut to 4-2.

Cesar Suarez closed the scoring in the top of the 6th, with a lead-off homer to left field.

Up 5-2, Catfish reliever and Columbus native Brian Baker came in to pitch the 7th and 8th innings, allowing a single to start the 7th, but nothing further that inning. A 2-out walk in the 8th was the last base runner West Virginia would get.

Neal Frontz pitched a perfect 9th, striking out the side, earning a save, and securing the win for Rollins and the Catfish.

Rollins allowed the 2 runs on 6 hits in 6 innings work. He walked 2 and struck out 4, and picked up his 2nd post-season win. Baker allowed just the 1 hit and 1 walk in 2 innings work, striking 1 out.

Stewart led Catfish batters, going 3-for-4 with a triple. The only at-bat that didn't register a hit was a 9th inning fly to right that West Virginia's Chuck Caufield robbed of a homer with a leaping catch over the wall. Fields had 2 hits, including his RBI-double, to help pace the Catfish. Matulia had 2 RBIs on a double.

The story again was the completeness of the Catfish performance. Stellar pitching, combined with timely hitting made the victory. West Virginia accomplished what Augusta did: keeping Ryan Royster, the top slugger in the league and the batter with the highest average on the Catfish this season, from getting a hit. But the Catfish showed they are a complete team. Six of the Catfish' 9 hits came from the bottom three of the batting order.

Game two of the series will be tomorrow night in Charleston, West Virginia, with the home team hoping to salvage a split, and the Catfish looking to go up 2-0 before returning to Columbus to finish the series.

Will Kline is scheduled to take the mound for the Catfish tomorrow. He was 0-4 with a 4.97 ERA in 9 appearances this season, after signing with Tampa Bay in June. But what most forget is that other than one really bad outing, Kline's ERA is an impressive 1.67 in the other 8 appearances. Three of his losses came from lack of run support. In those 4 losses, the Catfish scored a total of 5 runs.

I'm looking forward to another great contest tomorrow night. Charleston's too far to travel ... during a work week ... so I'll be following the game online. carries the broadcast from the radio station in Charleston.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Making change

This past weekend, I went to a ballgame in Augusta. Then stopped by and spent some time with my Big Sister and her husband, the Chief.

It was a great ballgame ... and a great visit.

We chatted. We caught up on things we haven't caught up on in email. And we watched some Star Trek. The original pilot, "The Cage".

And, after eating them out of house and home, I left to head back west.

On the way, I stopped and got gas. And decided to fill up my stomach, too.

I pulled into a McDonald's on I-16. Near Dublin. And ordered a McNuggets meal. And some cookies.

The girl on the speaker told me it was six dollars and something. I don't hear as well as I used to. But six dollars and some change sounded about right, so I pulled around.

I had to wait for a bit, while the vehicles in front of me paid for and received their food.

Finally, it was my time to settle up and get my grub.

"Six-oh-five," said the girl at the register. High school girl, maybe. Perhaps just out of school. Saturday night, so I guess she could have been younger.

I handed her a twenty, and reached into the door to get some change.

On the vehicle I was in, the door handle has a depression that doesn't go all the way through. It's perfect for putting loose change. It'll hold a dollar or more in pocket change.

So, after handing the girl the twenty, I was rummaging through the change for a nickel. Moved quarters out of the way. Pennies too. And dimes. But no nickels were to be found. So I handed her a dime.

She had already punched in 20.00 on her register and found out she owed me $13.95.

When I tried to give her the dime, she shook her head and said, "I didn't know how to do that."

She was unable to tell that if I gave her $20.10 for a $6.05 order that she owed me $14.05.

I had to keep my dime, and add 95 more cents to my stash.

I have the feeling that she'll be at McDonald's for a long, long time.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Baseball IV

We've been talking baseball. For my sisters. Who really don't care.

There's the diamond on which the teams play, there's the offense (batters) and defense (pitcher, catcher, infielders, outfielders), and such. Let's talk about base runners.

Once a batter gets on base (hit, error, walk, hit by pitch, dropped third strike, catcher's interference, or as a pinch runner) he can pretty much do anything he wants.

His job is to touch all the bases and make it home, scoring a run for his team. And, the team with the most runs wins, so that's a good thing.

Now, only one runner can be on base at the same time. Legally, that is.
Two runners may not occupy a base, but if, while the ball is alive, two runners are touching a base, the following runner shall be out when tagged. The preceding runner is entitled to the base.

In fact, there was once almost a time when three runners were on the same base at the same time. But that was illegal, and caused all kinds of confusion.

In 1926, the Braves (back then, the Boston Braves) were playing against the Dodgers (back then, the Brooklyn Dodgers). And, with the score tied, strange things happened:
The Braves are at Ebbets Field with Brooklyn's Hank DeBerry on 3B, Dazzy Vance on 2B, and Chick Fewster on 1B, when Babe Herman drives a vicious liner against the RF wall that caroms back towards the second baseman, Doc Gautreau. DeBerry scores, but Vance initially holds up, then rounds 3B headed for home. Fewster stops at 3B. Gautreau throws home and traps Vance, who heads back to 3B. Herman slides into 3B joining the crowd, as Fewster steps off. Herman is ruled out for passing a base runner. Fewster, thinking he's out, too, walks off with Babe, and gets tagged out. Vance, still on 3B, later admits it was his fault. Poor Herman, who thought he had a triple but merely doubles into a double play, gets the blame.

After a foul ball, the base runner must retouch his base, but otherwise, he isn't required to stay on base. He can do most anything he wants. If he decides to run the the next base, he can. But, if he's tagged while off a base, he's out.

Running to the next base, without benefit of a hit baseball, a wild pitch (the ball gets passed the catcher, and it's the pitcher's fault) or passed ball (the ball gets passed the catcher, and it's his fault), or an awarding of a base (walk, hit by pitch, balk), is called a "stolen base." And any base ... except first ... can be stolen.

Actually, according to baseball legend, a player once ... and maybe twice ... stole first base. But it wasn't a good idea then. And it's really not a good idea now, since it's illegal.
Any runner is out when --
(i) After he has acquired legal possession of a base, he runs the bases in reverse order for the purpose of confusing the defense or making a travesty of the game. The umpire shall immediately call "Time" and declare the runner out;

According one version of the story, an early American League game between Cleveland and Detroit had Germany Schaefer stealing first base:
Playing Cleveland, the Tigers had the speed Davy Jones on third base and Schaefer on first in the ninth inning and tried a delayed double steal, but the catcher, Nig Clarke, didn't throw. Schaefer ran back to first base on the next pitch, then shouted across to Jones that he was going to second base again. The catcher, rattled, threw down to second and Jones scored the winning run. That tactic was then outlawed.

Oh, by the way, remember the three-on-third story? You may have picked up that one of the base runners was out for passing another runner. You can't do that.
Any runner is out when --
(h) He passes a preceding runner before such runner is out;

In fact, one of the most famous games in history included a situation of a runner passing another runner. And of of those runners was one of the most famous ball players in history.

On May 26, 1959, Pittsburgh lefthander Harvey Haddix was pitching a perfect game. Not just 9 innings of perfect ball. Not just 10 innings. Or 11. Or 12. But into the thirteenth inning, Haddix had not allowed a single Milwaukee Braves player to reach base.

Braves pitcher Lew Burdette had allowed 12 hits, but no runs. So the game continued into the 13th.

A Braves runner finally reached base on an error, blowing the perfect game, but keeping the no-hitter alive. With one out, Hank Aaron was walked, and Braves first baseman Joe Adcock hit a home run to end the game.

Only, it turned out to not be a home run.

You see, Aaron didn't realize the ball had cleared the fence. He thought it was still in play, and the game over because the winning run had scored ahead of him. So, after he reached second base, he left the field.

He shouldn't have done that. Because Adcock passed Aaron's position on the base path when he reached third base, and, by rule, was out.

Since the last base he legally touched was second base, he was credited with a double.

So, it's not quite as simple as a base runner being able to do what he wants. But he pretty much can.

Catfish sweep Augusta, South Division champs

Another promised pitcher's duel only half-delivered last night. Columbus Catfish starter Jeremy Hellickson did his part, scattering 4 hits and striking out 5 in 6 innings work as the Catfish beat the Augusta GreenJackets (Giants) 7-1 to take the South Atlantic League Southern Division title in a two game sweep.

Hellickson ran into trouble early, allowing runners on 2nd and 3rd with no one out in the first inning. He got out of it with only one run scored, thanks to handy infield play and a K.

A leadoff triple by Augusta in the 3rd went nowhere. Likewise, a 2-out double in the 4th went for naught.

Offensively, the Catfish took until the 5th inning to solve SAL all-star Ben Snyder. But solve him, they did. Quinn Stewart doubled to get things started. After 2 outs, Jairo De La Rosa doubled, tying the game at 1. Maiko Loyola, who hit 4 homers for the Catfish in 67 games, send a 2-run shot over the wall in right field, giving the Catfish the lead. Joey Callender singled to right, keeping things going. Then Cesar Suarez reached on an error. On the play, Callender scored when the Augusta defense committed a second error on the play. Nevin Ashley singled, scoring Suarez. After Snyder was lifted, Ryan Royster walked. Then, Quinn Stewart tripled, putting the Catfish up 7-1.

The Catfish threatened in the 6th and 8th innings, but couldn't get another run across.

Augusta got 1 base runner the rest of the way, a 1-out walk in the 7th. But the Catfish bullpen held Augusta hitless ... and scoreless. Ryan Owen, Brian Baker, and Neal Frontz pitched near-perfect relief, the only blemish the walk Owen allowed in the 7th. Baker struck out 1 and Frontz 2 as the Catfish won game two of the best-of-three series.

Loyola's three hits paced the Catfish. Stewart was the only other Catfish with multiple hits, as the scoring effort was spread across the lineup.

The Catfish are in the finals for the first time in the franchise history, which only dates to the 2001 Wilmington (NC) Waves. The last Columbus team to make it to league finals were the 2002 RedStixx, who lost to Hickory, 3 games to 2.

The Catfish will either play Hickory or West Virginia for the Sally League title. The Northern Division series will be decided tonight. They are tied at a game apiece.

There weren't a lot of Columbus fans who made the trip to Augusta for the game. Four of us (counting the pre-schooler) sat on one row. And I won't be making the trip to Charleston, West Virginia (or Hickory, North Carolina) Monday for the championship series opener. But I'll be in Columbus Thursday for game three of the series.

The Catfish are trying to bring Columbus their first baseball league championship since the 1986 Columbus Astros won the Southern League, beating Huntsville, 3 games to 1. The last South Atlantic League title won by a Columbus team was the 1940 Red Birds that beat the Macon Peaches, 4 games to 2. That team went on to win the Little Dixie championship, beating Southeastern League champion Jackson (MS) Senators, 4 games to 1. Columbus could have won the SAL title in 1959, but the team moved to Gastonia, NC on July 6 of that year. The Gastonia Pirates won the SAL title in a 3-game sweep of the Charleston ChaSox.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Catfish take game one

In the South Atlantic League Southern Divisional series, the Columbus Catfish took game one in a big way, blasting the Augusta Greenjackets (Giants), 11-2.

It was supposed to be a pitcher's duel. It turned into a rout.

The Catfish scored three in the 2nd inning, when Matt Fields homered off the billboards behind left-center, driving in Seth Dhaenens, who led the inning with a single to left. Quinn Stewart followed with a double, moved to third on a 1-out single by Maiko Loyola, then scored on a ground out by John Matulia to give the Catfish an early 3-0 lead.

In the 5th, the Catfish increased their lead. Fields walked, then scored when Stewart homered to left field ( audio). With 1 out, Loyola and Matulia singled, chasing league ERA leader Kevin Pucetas from the game. After a double steal, Cesar Suarez drove in Loyola on a grounds out to third. Nevin Ashley followed with a 2-run homer, giving the Catfish and starter Heath Rollins an 8-0 lead.

Augusta closed the gap ... somewhat ... in the 6th, scoring on two doubles, and making it 8-1.

But the Catfish weren't done. In the bottom of the 6th, with 1 out, Loyola singled and stole second. Matulia singled to right, scoring Loyola. Suarez followed with a single that prompted another pitching change. A wild pitch by Augusta's Wayne Foltin allowed both runners to move up. Ashley singled, scoring Matulia. Then Ryan Royster reached on a fielder's choice that allowed Ashley to take second on an error and Suarez to scores. That put the Catfish up 11-1.

Augusta scored an unearned run in the 9th inning on a double, a two-out single, and a error, but it was way to little, way too late.

Rollins allowed one earned run in 7 innings work, allowing 5 hits, walking 2, and striking out three. He didn't allow a hit until the 4th inning.

Brian Baker pitched a perfect 8th, including 1 strikeout. Ryan Reid struck out three in the 9th, despite allowing an unearned run.

The Catfish 12-hit attack was paced by Loyola, who was 3-for-5 and 2 runs scored. Matulia, Ashley, and Stewart each had two hits. Fields, Ashley, and Stewart went long for the Catfish, accounting for 6 runs on those blasts.

Matulia and Loyola each stole a pair of bases for the Catfish, taking a page from the Augusta playbook. Augusta led the SAL in stolen bases (212), but some might be surprised to find that the Catfish were second in that department (200).

With the win, the Catfish are poised to take the Southern Division title and a berth in the SAL championship series. All they have to do is win one of a possible two games. Augusta will host game two of the series Friday night. If game three is necessary, Augusta will host on Saturday.

Update: The West Virginia Power (Brewers) were overpowering in their win against the Hickory Crawdads (Pirates) in the Northern Division series. West Virginia beat Hickory 12-2. The series will head to Charleston, WV for game two, and perhaps three. I know some folks are quite happy with tonight's game.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Rollins SAL Pitcher of the Week. For the fourth time.

Photo: Columbus Catfish

For the fourth time this season, Columbus Catfish pitcher Heath Rollins was named Pitcher of the Week in the South Atlantic League for the week ending September 3.
Heath Rollins, Columbus
1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 1 CG, 1 SHO, 7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 SO
Heath Rollins has been virtually unhittable most of the season and this week was no different as the righty racked up his fourth Pitcher of the Week award. Rollins made sure Columbus earned a playoff berth by pitching the first complete game of his career. He went seven innings, giving up an unearned run on four hits without a walk. Rollins became the first pitcher in the SAL to reach 17 wins since Fausto Carmona in 2003. Rollins is one of three Minor League pitchers with 17 victories this season.

Rollins was also named Pitcher of the Week two weeks ago, on July 15 and on May 27. Rollins is set to open the South Atlantic League Southern Division series tomorrow night against Augusta.

Catfish in three? likes the Columbus Catfish.

Okay, let me rephrase that.

Jonathan Mayo, a reporter for, writes for

And he thinks the Catfish will beat the Augusta Greenjackets (Giants) in the best-of-three series. Of course, he says it'll go all three games. They always do, for these short playoff series. And did, for all three Class A playoffs that start this week.

Still, Mayo says the Catfish in three.

I'm fine with that. Although Catfish in two would mean I don't have to spend two nights in Augusta. Not that there's anything wrong with Augusta. It's just, I'd just as soon the Catfish get the series over with quick.

But it'll be a tough series. This year, the teams met 12 times: 4 games in Columbus, which was split 2-2, and 8 games in Augusta, two 4-game series that the Catfish won 3-1 each time. So, for the year, the Catfish lead the series, 8-4.

The feature will be the pitching, but neither team is a slouch at the plate. The Catfish hit .265 for the year, 5th best in the league. Augusta hit .264, 7th best. Emmanuel Burriss, at .321, was the only Augusta player to hit over .300. The Catfish were led by Ryan Royster's .329, Desmond Jennings' .315, and Cesar Suarez' .306.

The Catfish hit 121 home runs, paced by league leader Royster's 30. Quinn Stewart hit 21 and Matt Fields hit 19. Ryan Rohlinger lead Augusta with 18.

Nevin Ashley was 4th in the league in triples with 8. John Matulia had 7 while Jennings had 5. August was paced by James Simmons, who hit 5.

Brett Pill led Augusta and the league with 47 doubles. Teammates Matthew Weston had 35, while Ryan Rohlinger and Robert Felmy each had 31. The Catfish' Suarez was 2nd in the league with 42 doubles. Royster hit 31 two-baggers.

Jennings, who was hurt late in the season, stole 45 bases, 4th best in the league. Suarez stole 31. Burriss, for Augusta, was 3rd in the league with 51. He was the only Augusta player with more than 30 steals, although Marcus Sanders and Tyler Graham had 29 each, while Felmy had 26. Brian Bocock also had 26, but he was promoted to San Jose a while back.

Augusta averages 5.1 runs a game. The Catfish average 4.9. So, offensively, a couple of evenly matched teams.

Mayo points out the series features the best pitching staffs in the South Atlantic League squaring off:
This is a matchup of the league's two best pitching staffs, with the league's ERA and wins leader doing battle to start things off.

The ERA leader is Augusta's Kevin Pucetas (15-4, 1.86 ERA). The Minor League Baseball wins leader is the Catfish' Heath Rollins (17-4, 2.54).

And that's just game one. Game two, which will be in Augusta on Friday, matches Catfish starter Jeremy Hellickson (13-3, 2.67) against Augusta's Clayton Tanner (12-7, 3.29).

And, if it goes three games? I'm thinking the Catfish will start either Will Kline (0-4, 4.97) or Jeremy Hall (1-0, 1.50).

Kline was thrown into the fire after signing as Tampa Bay's number two overall pick this June. Of his 9 starts, he's only had one bad outing. But it was bad. However, if you take away that one bad game and his ERA drops to 1.67. The other three losses came because of no run support.

Hall was on pace to be pitcher of the year for Princeton of the Appalachian League, before being promoted to the Catfish.

But, that's game three.

Game one, tomorrow night, should be a classic. Game two, also. And, if things work out, there won't need to be a game three.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Walking for Addison

You may remember that last summer, the Wife and I went to a wedding in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida.

But you may not know events that happened since then.

The bride, who was a good friend of the Wife, eventually became a mother. Addison was born earlier this year.

And while that sounds like a happy story ... and it is ... it took a tragic turn.

Addison, the baby, was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), an often fatal disease. And Addison died on July 25.

I had never heard of SMA before Addison was diagnosed. But I've heard of it now.

And the Wife and I are supporting a walk for SMA that the FSMA is sponsoring in Birmingham on September 29. And we're asking you to consider it, too.

If you can afford to give a few dollars, it would be a big help. I'm not so much concerned with Jennifer reaching her fund-raising goal as I am trying to get a little bit of money raised to help fight SMA. So, if you can spare a couple of bucks, consider donating to that cause.

We won't get little Addison back. But we might eventually keep another family from going through that.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Catfish clinch!

Thanks to Mother Nature, the Columbus Catfish won the South Atlantic League South Division 2nd half title, and a spot in the playoffs.

Needing to avoiding losing 4 straight games, the Catfish were scheduled to end the season in Savannah, playing the Sand Gnats (Mets). But it rained. A lot.

Grayson Stadium, Savannah
Photo: Savannah Sand Gnats

So much so, that, try as they might, they couldn't get one game in.

The Wife and I were in Savannah this weekend, hoping to catch a game. Instead, we got wet.

Saturday, too.

Sunday, after lunch, we went to Grayson Stadium. The Catfish were there. And Savannah staff was looking at the field, along with Catfish field manager Jim Morrison.

Talking to the Sand Gnats staff, they said it would take two days to get the field ready, if the rain stopped then. And the rain didn't stop then. And the forecast was for more rain through the night. And on Monday.

So, while they couldn't tell me that the games were canceled, their description of the situation told me they were canceled.

And, the Wife and I left.

The cancellation became official while we were on the way back.

Golden Park, Columbus, Sunday afternoonBut all this rain got me to thinking.

You may know that the Catfish have had games postponed or canceled because of unplayable conditions.

You may or may not know that the RedStixx, the team that left Columbus after the 2002 season, had to play all of their playoff games on the road, because of problems with the field.

Since the RedStixx left, this year is the first year that Columbus has had a playoff team. And I was worried about a repeat of playoffs on the road.

So, I ran by Golden Park, where the Catfish play. And, yes, there is some rain standing on the field. But not nearly as much as I saw on the field in Savannah.

Golden Park, Columbus, Sunday afternoonAnd, there was someone working on it. So, if the rain keeps up, we might lose the home game Wednesday. But it won't be because no effort was being made.

I've already got my tickets to the game Wednesday.

And I don't want to have to drive to Augusta.

At least, not until Friday.

Update: Just so you don't feel too bad for the Charleston RiverDogs (Yankees), they lost to the Rome Braves today, 7-5. That means that, even if the Catfish and Savannah had played all four games, and if Savannah beat the Catfish in all four games, the Catfish would still have won the division.

So, while the cancellations made it official, it wouldn't have mattered, as it turns out.


Last Sunday night ... one week ago tonight ... somebody backed into my car.

Oh, I know who did he. He was leaving a note on the car with his name and phone number when I walked up.

What happened was, he went to the baseball game ... as did I ... and got to his vehicle before I got to mine. He went to back out, turned too sharply, and crunched my door. The rear passenger door.

Yeah, we called the police. And officer showed up and filled out a report.

Only, the thing is, there's an issue with the insurance.

Ain't it always that way?

Seems the driver of the vehicle isn't the owner of the vehicle.

So, when I called Monday, spoke with the insurance company (Progressive), they were all nice and helpful. Then they called me back. The car wasn't on their policy, and they found out the insurance company that was carrying the car.

So, on Tuesday, I called the insurance company of the vehicle's owner (USAA). They needed to verify the information, and would call me back.

That was Tuesday.

So, they'll be hearing from me.

Because this issue is pretty simple.

A guy backed into my car. And my car was legally parked within a parking space.

It's all so simple when people are involved.

It gets complicated when insurance companies get involved.

This may go on for a while.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Catfish rained out ... again

For the second night in a row, the Columbus Catfish have been rained out. Because of the rain all day in Savannah, the doubleheader against the Sand Gnats (Mets) has been postponed.

For now, the Catfish and Savannah are scheduled to play two games Sunday evening ... and two games Monday afternoon.

The reason I say "for now," is that the weather forecast calls for an 80% chance of rain at game time. Actually, it calls for rain all day, including tomorrow night.

What happens if one or more games is canceled, not just postponed?

Charleston will be hopping mad, that's what. Because a cancellation ... as opposed to a postponement ... would give the Catfish the 2nd half division championship.

You see, Charleston is vying for the final playoff spot in the South Atlantic League, along with the Catfish. In the North, West Virginia won the first half, and Hickory won the second half. In the South, Augusta won the first half, and the Catfish lead the race in the second half.

The other team still in the race is Charleston. And, with three games against Rome left on their schedule, the River Dogs are 39-28, a .582 winning percentage. If they win their three remaining games with Rome, they'd end up 42-28, which is a .600 percentage.

The Catfish, with an earlier game against Kannapolis canceled ... and not to be made up ... have 4 games against Savannah left on their schedule. They are 41-24 (.631) ... and if they lose all 4 games, they would end up 41-28 (.594).

However, if one game is canceled, the worst they could do is 41-27 (.603). And that's better than Charleston can do. Because .603 is a better winning percentage than .600 ... at least it is around here.

So, unless the Catfish lose 4 games, they win the second half. If they win just one game, they're in. If they don't play one of their remaining games, they're in. If Charleston loses a game, the Catfish are in.

Now, I'd rather see the Catfish win 4 games.

But I won't see them win any tonight.

Maybe tomorrow.