Tag Archives: baseball

Albert Pujols

You have probably gathered by this point that I like Albert Pujols.  Of course, that would be the wrong conclusion for you to draw.  I LOVE Albert Pujols.  And I am not alone.  Not only did the man take my favorite team from the doldrums of the 90’s to World Series titles in 2006 and 2011, but he did it with a work-ethic, a grace, and a power that restored my faith in a sport that had been rocked by scandal and steroid use.  He restored my faith in humanity.  He is not only a sports hero.  He is a really great human being… a super hero.  Did you watch the 60-Minutes’ piece?  There isn’t anything more to say about that.  Humility is part of the equation.

 

I got my love of baseball from listening to games on the radio with my Great Grandpa Raymond.  We listened to the Minnesota Twins take on the baseball world on KGLO Radio in Mason City, Iowa.  I heard Harmon Killebrew smack homers and Tony Oliva get key hits in crucial situations.  I followed the exploits of Rod Carew.  And then, the St. Louis Cardinals took over the 60’s.  They were in the World Series three times and won it twice.  Bob Gibson was pitching.  Lou Brock played Left Field and stole bases.  It was miraculous.  I would go on to live and die with the Cardinals every baseball season, even though I could only follow them through the newspaper and occasionally when they played the Cubs on TV.   Tim McCarver, Ted Simmons, Willie McGee, Tommy Herr, Ozzie Smith, Jack Clark, Mark Macgwire, Scott Carpenter, Scott Rolen…  If those names don’t mean anything to you then you are not really a baseball fan, and you probably didn’t read this far anyway.

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Anyway… he did it.  600 home runs.  He is now part of an elite group in the record books.  And there is no doubt he is one of the best baseball players that ever lived.

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Filed under autobiography, baseball fan, cardinals, heroes, inspiration, sports, St. Louis

The World is Ending, the Cubs are Winning

The Cubs, those lovable losers from Wrigley who haven’t won the world series in a century, came from behind in the 9th inning and closed out the hated Giants.  They are going to the National League Championship.  If they win the World Series, the world will end.  And I have to say, in spite of being a Cardinals’ fan and wanting the world to survive, I am rooting for them to do it.

For the record, two critical Cubs are actually Cardinals in Cub suits.  John Lackey and Jason Heyward were both part of the Cardinals’ 100-win season last season.  In my heart, they will always be Cardinals.  If they can’t win the series with St. Louis, at least they deserve to win it with the team that stole them.  And, of course, the Cardinals themselves didn’t make the playoffs, and the Texas Rangers were blasted out of the playoffs by Toronto.  I can’t root for any of the other teams that remain.

So I end up rooting for the world to end.  The goat’s curse will be broken.  Donald Trump will be president.  And solar winds from the sun will strip the biosphere off the planet.  Why would I want such a thing?  Because it is baseball… and baseball is a life.

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Filed under baseball, baseball fan, goofy thoughts, humor, metaphor, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Magnificent Maisey on the Mound

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Okay, I am taking over this danged silly old blog today to talk about something important!  Baseball!!!  Yeah, and even more important, I wanna talk about how girls can be good at baseball.

My name is Maisey Moira Morgan.  I am a left-handed pitcher for the Carrollton Cardinals.  That’s a boys’ Little League team, in case ya didn’t know.  I ain’t the only girl in boys’ Little League, but I am the only girl on the Cardinals’ team.  The only girl pitcher.  The only WINNING girl pitcher.  I woulda been an undefeated winning girl pitcher if Tyree Suggs hadn’t dropped that fly ball in the bottom of the ninth inning out in right field two weeks ago.  I ended my season at 3 wins and 1 loss.

You see, the thing is, I know the secret to striking out boys at the plate.  First of all, I am a left-handed pitcher.  Those danged boys are all used to seeing the ball flung at ’em from the right side.  Ninety-nine and two-tenths per cent of all pitchers in our league are right-handed.  So are most of the batters.  So that futzes them up right there.  And on top of that, Uncle Milt taught me to throw a knuckle-ball two years ago.  That is one amazingly hard pitch to hit square if you do it right.  You curl your fingers on the ball and give a little sorta push-out with your fingertips as you let it go.  And you try really hard to make the ball not spin as you push it towards the batter.  It can do amazing things after it leaves my hand.  Uncle Milt swears that he saw one of my pitches double-dip and then corkscrew as it went across the plate low in the strike zone.  A mere boy can’t really get a good swing at a pitch if it flutters around like a crazy bug with butterfly wings.

But that ain’t even the real secret to my baseball success.  You see, them danged boys all think they can step up to the plate and put their bat on any ball thrown at ’em by a mere girl.  They are not afraid of me, even the third time they get up to bat after striking out twice before.  My uniform is not exactly sexy, but all I really have to do is wiggle my behind a little and smile at them, and they don’t even seem to be thinking about hitting the ball any more.  I get an even bigger smile on my sweet little face when strike three flutters past ’em.  I always take ’em by surprise.

I expect to be the first woman pitcher in the major leagues one day.  Remember my name.  Maisey Moira Morgan.  Future Hall of Famer.

(Disclaimer; Maisey might actually have a hard time claiming her place in the Baseball Hall of Fame, not because the major leagues don’t have any women in them, but because she is an entirely fictional human being, only existing in Mickey’s stupid little head.)

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Filed under baseball, baseball fan, characters, humor, kids, Paffooney, pen and ink

Potpourri

“Potpourri” is a word I learned in 5th grade from Mrs. Reitz, my 5th and 6th grade teacher in Rowan Elementary School.  It means a mixture of flower petals and spices put together in a cloth bag or in a bowl, placed in a room to make it smell better in a perfumed sort of way.  But on her yellow bulletin board in dark blue letters, she taught us that it meant a mixture of things put together to make things better.  And she told us that education was a kind of potpourri because it took many different things all put together to truly educate a child.

So, why am I writing about a goofy word like that?  Well, thanks to Mrs. Reitz with her 1960’s polka-dotted old-lady dresses, her black and very staid cat-eye glasses that magnified her eyes, and her sensible shoes… I know that potpourri is the real secret to good writing.  That is my excuse for why this blog is so full of a variety of excessively goofy and off-the-wall things.  But it is not easy to do this every day, cherry-picking excessively goofy stuff out of my library, or out of my memory, or out of my own teaching experience, or even my nightly nightmares to post as another interesting bug in my butterfly-collection-style blog.  Therefore today’s post will be one of those gawd-awful list posts that gives you fair warning about what my fevered old retired teacher brain is trying to cook up for the daily lesson.

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  1.  It is time to do the happy dance because my curse worked.  For the 107th straight year the Chicago Cubs will not win another World Series.  The Mets beat them in four straight games.  I did it by switching my allegiance temporarily from the Cardinals to the Cubs.  They have always been either my second or third favorite team in all of baseball.  Yet, every time I want them to win something, they lose.  Important regular season games, playoff games after the Cardinals are eliminated, or even happen-to-be-watching Saturday afternoon games between the Cubs and a team I hate like the San Francisco Giants, the Cubs always lose.  (I know it is not nice to hate anybody, but really, what is baseball good for without teams to hate like the Giants, the Yankees, and the Reds?  There have to be hated foes for the good guys to overcome.)  Me rooting for the Cubs to win is a much more effective curse than anything Bill Sianis’ stupid pet billy goat could ever conjure.
  2. I watched a PBS Frontline documentary about the struggle in Congress to create immigration reform and the unsuccessful Herculean efforts of Democratic Congressman Luis Gutierrez from Chicago to build a consensus in the House of Representatives.
    Representative Luis Gutierrez of Illinois

    Representative Luis Gutierrez of Illinois

    Immigration is important to me because my wife is an immigrant.  So far, after 20 years of marriage she is still not a U.S. citizen.  And with Donald Trump preaching venom against anchor babies, we could end up having my wife and kids deported to the Philippines simply because all the mean old white guys in Congress (and possibly Ben Carson) hate foreigners on principle and only allow them as means to high profits.  This is an issue I care about because of my family and so many of my ESL students whom I love and treasure.  And this is an issue that can potentially be combatted by cartoon.  Trump and Congressman Trey Gowdy (with a football-shaped head) and basset-hound-looking Paul Ryan (and possibly Ben Carson) are all already cartoon characters who I would only have to draw realistically to make them into funny cartoons.  They are also key players in this ring-around-the-rosy-all-fall-down debate.

  3. I also need to tell you more stories about wonderful teachers like Mrs. Reitz and Mrs. Mennenga.  And about kids I have taught who lit my pants on fire (both figuratively and metaphorically), made my blood pressure rise, and touched my heart.  It goes without saying that those stories are probably the most valuable things I have hoarded over the course of my career as a teacher.  They will lose all their value if they go unshared before I die.
  4. I want to tell you about some of my cartoonist heroes.  I haven’t blogged anything yet about Walt Kelly, the wonderful Disney veteran who created Pogo and Albert Alligator.
    comicsalliance.com

    comicsalliance.com

    I plan to go on and on like this in bumblebee fashion, from flowering idea to blossoms of insight to posies of great beauty… flower, to flower, to flower… making potpourri.

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Filed under humor, potpourri, writing

Baseball Season

Every Spring is a new beginning, a new hope, a new chance to win the pennant.

DSCN5273When the baseball season starts fresh each year, it renews me, makes feel like I have another chance to make things happen and conquer the world again.  It makes me feel alive again… even now when I am old and retired and in constant pain.

People say to me, “Baseball is boring and slow and not as great a game as…” and then they try to tell me stuff about football and soccer and NBA basketball.  I’m not buying it, even when it is my eldest son selling it.

Baseball became my sport when I was a child in the 1960’s.  Great Grandpa Raymond was a frail and ancient man then, too elderly to share much of anything with me as I was young and full of energy.  But on Sunday afternoons in Spring and Summer, we listened to the Minnesota Twins play baseball on the radio.  I heard Harmon Killebrew hit homers and Tony Oliva make game-winning hits.  I learned that the game was about numbers and strategy… a team game, yet filled with moments of man versus man, star of one team facing off against the star of another, skill versus skill, willpower versus willpower.  I learned that baseball was a fundamental metaphor for how we live our lives.

I remember when Bob Gibson was the greatest pitcher in baseball, and he played an entire career with my favorite team, the St. Louis Cardinals.  I remember Lou Brock setting the record for stealing bases in a single season, a monumental accomplishment.  I actually saw Lou Brock steal a base in a game against the Houston Astros, though not in the record-setting year.  I was there in person.  I listened to Bob Gibson’s no hitter of the Pittsburgh Pirates on the radio, listening in a campground in St. Louis while the Cardinals actually played in Pittsburgh.  I didn’t get to see Stan Musial play ball.  He retired before I first became aware of the game.  But he was on TV quite a lot on game day, and I hung on every word.

970012_598081996889896_1749856650_n 10407396_841407729243846_8153033581544611964_n 252384_10151150805491840_424979047_nBaseball has gotten me through some very rough times in my life.  I used to play ball, baseball and softball.  I was a center fielder for our 4-H team and made some game-saving catches in the field, hit a home run once, and once saved a game for our side when I threw out a runner at home plate from center field.  And I have religiously followed the Cardinals year after year.  In 2011, when health problems and family problems and depression threatened to destroy me… the Cardinals won the World Series in seven hard-fought games.  When you reach a moment of crisis, with the game on the line, you can reach deep inside for that old baseball player magic… tell yourself, “I will not lose this day!” and find the power within you to make that throw, get that hit, catch that long fly ball…

Baseball is a connection to family and friends… teammates… everyone who has ever shared the love of the game.  If you don’t win it all this time… there’s always next Spring.  God, I love baseball.

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Filed under baseball, humor, inspiration, Paffooney