Sunday, July 26, 2009

Monday Morning Meissnervations











It's Monday Morning. (Well, at least that's what my calendar says) Here's what's happening....

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Mark Buerhle threw the 18th perfect game in Major League history last week, as the Chicago White Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 5-0 this past Thursday. I was sitting home, hanging out with Jimmy as usual when I thought: "The Rays are playing. I'd better turn on the TV. I tuned in in the top of the 7th and thought: "Ooh. I'd better watch this." I have long thought that Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen was just, well, a guy umpires enjoy ejecting. But, what a brilliant move he made, putting Dewayne Wise into centerfield in the ninth innng for defensive purposes. Wise flew to the wall in left center and robbed Gabe Kapler of a home run with a leaping, then juggling catch. It's an amazing catch anytime, but to preserve a perfect game? Wow! And from what I've seen and heard, Buerhle is one of the class guys in baseball, a guy who really seems to appreciate the game and is grateful to be a part of it. I say: Good for him! (BTW: In 2001, the year he broke into the big leagues, he threw two consecutive complete games. The first was a one-hitter against the Rays.)

Oh, it's amazing the coincidences that can occur, not just in life, but in baseball too. Eric Cooper was the home plate umpire on Thursday. He was the home plate umpire when Buerhle no-hit Texas on April 18th, 2007 and they both wear number 56. As the great Yankee announcer Mel Allen used to say: "How about that!"

The Rays seem to be in one of those 6-4 modes right now. But, they are hanging in in the A.L. East race. And it appears they may have found a closer in lefty J.P. Howell, who has been lights out from the bullpen recently. They might figure in the race yet come September.

And in case you haven't heard, quite a debate about a new stadium is raging around these parts. I saw a bumper sticker yesterday that said: "$500 million to move a stadium 16 blocks?" Heck, if they (the Rays and City of St. Petersburg) can do it that cheap, I say "Go for it!"

As my friend Rod Pedersen says in his blog's Monday Morning Goalie (this inspiration for this featuer here) this week: "Life goes on."

Yankees lead the AL East by 2 1/2 over Boston and 6 1/2 over Tampa Bay. Detroit leads the AL Central by 2 over the White Sox and 4 over Minnesota. In the AL West, the Angels are 3 1/2 in front of Texas and 7 1/2 ahead of Seattle. In the wild card race, Boston leads Texas by 2 games, Tampa Bay by 4 and Seattle by 6 1/2. Kansas City brings up the rear, 19 games back. (I wonder just how many people are listening to Royals baseball in Kearney, Nebraska these days?)

In the National League, Philadelphia leads the East by 6 1/2 over both Atlanta and Florida(Marlins-Rays World Series anyone?), the Cubs are now 1/2 game ahead of St. Louis in the Central, while the Dodgers lead Colorado by 8 in the West. In the Wild Card, Colorado leads San Francisco by 2 games and St. Louis by 2 1/2. Washington(First in war, first in peace and now last in the National League) is 24 games back.


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The Saskatchewan Roughriders built a 22 point lead Saturday, but lost to the Edmonton Eskimos 38-33. Edmonton may well have saved their season with the win. And while some in Rider Nation are thinking "We suck" right now, rest assured that your team, heck, OUR team! has plenty of season left and will be in the thick of the West pennant chase when all is said and done. Two biggies coming up on the road though, Calgary and BC. Those will be tough! Coach Miller will have the boys ready. Saturday though was kinda frustrating. While the Riders built the 22 point lead, the defense was flying, special teams was getting it done(Tad Kornegay stripping thye ball from punt returner Tristan Jackson was WAY cool!) and the crowd at Taylor Field was really into it. But Eskimo boss Richie Hall, who spent 20 years in Regina as a player and coach didn't panic and got his team back on track. Saskatchewan didn't blow the game, the Eskimos came back and took it.

Saskatchewan, Calgary and Edmonton are tied for first in the West, with BC 2 points back. Montreal, the CFL's last unbeaten team, sits atop the East, 4 points ahead of Hamilton and Toronto and 6 ahead of Winnipeg.


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My wife and I had lots of fun watching the Dunedin Blue Jays-Sarasota Reds Florida State League game Saturday. (I had to watch the 4th quarter of the Riders game after we came home.) Three home runs and a 6-2 Baby Jays win. Jimmy spent a lot of time talking to the fans around us and sitting on our laps. I enjoyed watching the umpires work, as I always do. But it made me feel closer to retirement than I've ever felt, watching them run like gazelles all over the field covering plays. If you go to a game sometime, whether it's big leagues or minor leagues, watch the umpires. It's poetry in motion out there the way they work, often with no apparent outward communication at all. Best of all, these two guys, A.J. Johnson on the plate and Matt Cunningham on the bases, got an 8 1/2 inning game over with in a blazing hour fifty-three! Great job guys!

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At Holy Trinity Episcopal in Clearwater, we said goodbye to the Allison family yesterday, as they leave for seminary in Wisconsin next Saturday. My wife Kim and I have known them for a very short time, but they have had a very profound effect on our lives with their kindness to us. Roy has become one of the best friends I have ever had, Marcia is Kim's supervisor at work and their daughter Heather is an absolute delight(Jimmy thinks she's pretty cool!). And, if you want to look at it this way, they are the "players to be named later" in the Wisconsin-Florida trade that brought us from the freezing cold Wisconsin winter, back to the Florida sunshine this past January, while the Allisons prepare to head to Wisconsin, as Roy follows the Lord's calling and enters seminary. Please support them with your prayers. The Allisons are tremendous people and will no doubt be very successful. We love you guys and miss you already! God's blessings on you Roy, Marcia and Heather!

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Why am I up just past 3:00am writing this week's entry? Well, it's because I had a very unpleaseant nightmare, related to something that happened during our time in Cocoa. (Some of you know what I'm talking about.) It's simply amazing how someone's actions can have such an effect on others. And when those actions are bad AND they are intentional, it magnifies things a great deal. Then, when someone you thought was your friend could have corrected a very nasty situation, but did nothing because of how it would have affected him and his business, well, that makes it even worse. I'm not sure this "friend" really understands what effect this had on our family, especially me. My "friend" and I have tried fixing our relationship, but it just doesn't seem like it's happening, you know? He should feel great shame by his inaction and what it did to me and my family, but I doubt he does.

We really did meet Satan during our time in Cocoa, in the form of the person (not my friend) who pulled the crap on us he did during our time there. But, we truly have met Jesus during our time here in Tampa Bay, in the form of several different people at Holy Trinity. Good (and God) is definately winning this battle!

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Oh, before I forget: I love my family!!!! Kim, Jimmy, Snoopy and Smoke are as absolutely as good as it gets. Ours was one of those classic boy and girl meet on an internet chat group for those owned by schnauzers stories. (You don't own schnauzers, they own you!) Life may not be perfect and it often times might be a struggle, but I consider myself a very lucky man. I am blessed with the greatest family in the history of family!

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Okay, the "heavy stuff" is over. Have a great week everyone!

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