Friday, March 30, 2012

Baseball Stuff Shared

A 1950's Earl Battey catcher's glove

I have loved the game of baseball since I can remember. There always is a rhythm to the game and a season. I try to go to as many games as I can. Either Cal, Stockton, Sacramento, Modesto, San Jose, Oakland or San Francisco. Even when I am on vacation the first thing I always ask is where is the nearest ballpark.

From behind home plate at Aces Ballpark-Reno, NV.

I have been very lucky that I have been to many ballparks across the United States in my travels. From historic Grayson Stadium-Home of the Class A Savannah Sand Gants to the modern Aces Ballpark-home of the Triple A Reno Aces. It is amazing how every time I go to a ballpark the same sense of excitement comes over me. It is like a new story is being written every game and you are a part of it. I hope that feeling never goes away.

One thing about going to a lot of games is that you tend to collect a lot of stuff. I am not a collector per se, but I have a lot of junk. I used to have a lot more, but some jerks broke into a storage unit I had and stole a lot. I guess that was a good thing as it means I can collect more and have the space for it. 

I do have a lot of autographs (I will deal with that later), but it is the some of items I still retained that I wanted to share.

These are lineup cards that are from two different Class A Visalia Oaks-Stockton Ports games that I went to. I must have twenty or thirty lineup cards from different Class A games and college games. I have found out that it easier to obtain these items right after the game. It is funny, I usually head down to the dugout right as the game is ending. Many kids are asking for bats, balls, gloves, etc and are ignored. I ask for the lineup card and they always give it to me. It is something nice to take away from the game.

One of cooler things that I got at a game was this bat (right), I was at the San Jose Giants game in 2009 and I was looking for a lineup card and Conor Gillaspie handed over his bat. He just said "Here". That was pretty big time. I know that he has only been up with the Giants here and there over his career, but I will root for him where ever he goes.

As for balls, I have only caught one at a major league game, but a bunch at minor league games. To the left is a California League ball. I have balls from the Southern League, Pacific Coast League and this one below from the then Pac-10 Conference from a Cal game.

As for hats I own many. I have a rule if I think it is cool and unique then I will get it. I own hats from many teams but I think my favorite is one that I ordered on-line. It is the hat of the Sydney Blue Sox (below) of the Australian Baseball League. And yes I do follow them on-line and have become a big fan of them.

Well, tomorrow I am heading out to AT&T Park in San Francisco to watch the University of San Diego play USF. I have been to AT&T for many Giants games, but never a college game. It should be interesting and hopefully I can add to my little collection. As I said every game is a new story waiting to be told.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

GSW -It is a Great Time Out.

Had some fun and went to the Golden St. Warriors game tonight. They were playing the New Orleans Hornets. When I go basketball games, it is usually college, mostly women's games (Go Cal Bears). I haven't been to a Warriors game is a long time, even though I am a big fan of theirs for over 35 years. It just seems like things get in the way of going to the game. Plus, I enjoy listening to the game on KNBR-680 with Tim Roye doing the play by play or watching on CSN Bay Area and listening to the best team in basketball-Bob Fitzgerald and Jim Barnett.

Game action from my seats
Tonight I got a deal on some tickets ($18) for some pretty good seats. I was pretty pleased. Getting into Oracle Arena was interesting as it was almost like going into an airport. They do not allow backpacks into the Oracle and you had to take everything out of your pockets and go through a metal detector. Which was interesting. But I guess in this day and age, you have to do that.

As I said I go to many college basketball games and I have never seen the amount of high heels as I did at the Warriors. Now, that was a show in itself.

As for the game itself, it wasn't much of a game. You can see the halftime score with the Hornets boatracing the Warriors. The W's ended up losing by 15. But they did give out some really cool rally towels. I guess it was suppose to be given out to the first 15,000 fans, but somehow I ended up with two(below). It was a Great Time Out and I will be back at Oracle.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Baseball Books

From top left: 1954 Mutual Baseball Almanac, 1949 Bill Stern's Favorite Baseball stories, 1967 Major League Baseball Preview, Donald Davidson's Caught Short
Wow, the 2012 Major League Baseball season starts Wednesday morning with the A's and the Mariners playing in Japan. I am a huge baseball fan and have been all of my life. There is just something about the game that I love. I also love reading about it, so here are some of my favorite baseball books.

The four books above I love because they are from a different era, The Mutual Baseball Almanac I picked up a few weeks ago for fifty cents and I love it. It has everything player records (most say in military service somewhere), managers, how to run a club and a schematic from every ballpark that they played in that year. The 1967 Major League Preview is cool because it has a chapter about Baseball in 1970, which includes divisional play, interleague play and wild cards. The thing is that some of these things did not happen into well into the 90's.

This has been one of my favorites for over twenty years. Wood, went to all 26 ballparks in the summer of 1985 and wrote about it. I know that everybody in their dog does it now, but back then nobody really did. This is a copy that I found and bought a couple of weeks ago to replace the one that I had for a long time. That one sadly was burned and needed to go. I would love to e-mail Robert Wood to see about his feelings on the game and all of the new ballparks.

I remember reading The Wrong Stuff in high school and Bill Lee became a hero of mine. My 11th grade English teacher hated the book report I handed in, but gave me an A anyway. The "Have Glove Will Travel" copy is a printers proof and it is a great book about Lee's travels in the the game after being blackballed. Through both books you can tell that Lee truly loves the game and is a great ambassador for the game. He travels all over still playing the game he loves for free. He is what the game is about.

Robert Whiting is a great author who looks at the game from the Japanese point of view. "You Gotta Have Wa." is the primer for the Japanese game. It was written in the late 80's. It is a continuation of "The Chrysanthemum and the Bat" which was written in the 70's. "The Meaning of Ichiro" was written in the early 2000's and you can see how the Japanese game had changed from both the front office and on the field. If you like your game on an international scale, these books are for you

"Lords of the Realm takes a look at the game from business side and the labor side. It goes into the history of the game. You may think something like this would be long and boring, but it is cool and breezy. Helyar does a great job of taking a really boring subject and bringing it to life. He brings the whole front office and ownership side of baseball to life. It is well worth reading.

The Giants Hall of Fame Announcer and his 1963 Autobiography

Now, this is a great book. I first checked it out in my high school library over 25 years ago. I used to check it from a local library every year. They had to go to a local university library to get it. One day I went to a library book sale. It was fill up a bag for three dollars and I saw this sitting on the sports table with the dust cover on. Man, I jumped on this in a heartbeat. Hodges, does a great job of telling about his life and his love of the Giants. He loved the Giants for all of his life. What is really cool is that he worked with Mel Allen with the Yankees and then when the Giants moved to San Francisco he teamed with another Hall of Famer Lon Simmons.

This is one that I came about by accident. I guess I was looking for something to read and picked it up. I love the personal touches that Shropshire gives the book. Besides, looking at a bad ball club it brings the 70's into view. It just a great read about how baseball used to be before free agency and the some of the characters that can not exist in today's world.

Now, I know the Baseball Encyclopedia is the end all for stats but this Almanac is awesome if you need the quick stat. Burt Sugar (RIP as he passed yesterday at 75) does a great job and it has almost every stat and answer to trivia question that you can almost think of. He has it broken down by hitters, pitchers, all-star games, teams, etc. This is my favorite reference for baseball. I hope that somebody picks up his torch and comes out with a third edition in a couple of years. This is the newest edition which came out in 2010.  A must have.

Even though I can go, I will end with Curt Smith. Nobody covers the broadcast booth like Curt Smith. Baseball is a game on the field, but there is magic in listening to the game on the radio. Even though we are in the media age, there is a certain magic listening to a game. Whenever I go to the park, I always have a radio with me and I can get the game. The book on the right looks at the great broadcasters of the game to the 1990's before internet and everything. The one of the left came out last year and it is the current broadcasters of the game telling their stories of the game. It is a wonderful book.

I know that I left some out, but these are the books about baseball I really enjoy. I hope that everybody has read these, if not take a spin on these books.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A Different Set of People

It is a rainy Saturday and I am sitting here writing this. Who really cares, but anyway....Two things stand out:

1) When I wrote yesterday, I kept on spelling Haight St. wrong. I kept spelling it Height, when it is Haight St. even though my dumb butt put a picture up that had the correct spelling-duh!

2) Sometimes coming up with a catchy title is hard. A catchy title is a way to draw people into reading this prose that I post. But I guess what I write and other things are most important.

Yesterday, I headed out to Berkeley and Telegraph Ave. It was a nice day and I haven't been out there for a while. Sometimes I just need to walk around and see what it going on in one of the most interesting places on the planet. Telegraph and Bancroft is at the entrance at the University of California at Berkeley or where a lot of the 1960's happen. The cool thing is that Telegraph still has a lot of the 60's still there. With the different street vendors and such. Like most things, it has gone corporate. It has an American Apparel, Hot Topic and other so-called places of the 2000's, but it still has the cool vibe of the 1960's there.

As, I said I like the walking around because you will never know what you will encounter with the street vendors: As you can see from this guy as he suggests how Cookie Monster gets the munchies. He is a fixture on Telegraph, selling his hemp made products and such.

Or this dude, who was trying to trying to sell his tye-dye products while doing some cool juggling. He had some nice stuff, but every time I tried to take a pic of him he turned away and I guess he did not want any free press or free advertising. My thinking is that he thinks I am some kind of narc or cop who was taking pictures to bust him one day.

But most vendors are cool. I like D.B. Sammon who is a sculptor and jeweler who makes some nice pieces. He makes everything from necklaces to pipes to sculptures from stone. He makes some really cool stuff. He just asked for some "ink".

One person I missed yesterday was my friend Russell who has been selling his stuff on Telegraph for at least 20 years. He sells homemade pottery. I guess he decided to take the take off.

 Another thing on Telegraph are the street performs. Who knows why they are out there? They could be down on there luck or like this gentleman to my left. He says he has a job and was off so he came down to Telegraph to make an extra buck or two. Look at his bowl and I guess he was not having a good day.

One of the said things about Telegraph is that there are number of homeless who are panhandling on the streets. Most of them are homeless and have a drug and alcohol problems. Some have been on the street for years. Some are runaways. It is a sad situation that needs to be dealt with. Hopefully, this person is okay as their stuff was just left in the corner.

As I left Telegraph, I decided to take a short cut through Cal. I down a service road that takes me right past the Water Polo Center, Haas Pavilion, Evans Diamond and the Hellman Tennis Complex. Cal had a match vs. Sacramento State. The thing that is cool is that Cal is a world class university and plays big time sports and this all the advertising they do for a match. I sat down for a couple since it was free and enjoyed a tennis match featuring the defending D-I NCAA women's champion: Jana Juricova.

Telegraph Ave in Berkeley has it all. It is truly a different set of people that spend their day on it is streets on a daily basis.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Changing Times

Yesterday, I had time off and decided to hit Height Street in San Francisco and see what is going on there. I like the vibe there. But everytime I am up there. It seems to change. I used to love going to this really cool bookstore and now it is gone-just an empty storefront. Across the street from it was a really cool coffee shop (I love tea, but I the vibe of coffeeshops, the more funkier the better) and now that is gone replaced by a burger joint.

The biggest blow came a couple of months ago when the Red Vic movie house closed, that was a little bit of a blow. I loved the place. It was weird and funky in a good kind of way. They did not show first run movies, but movies that were more independent in nature. They had couches and usually the film maker would should up and give a talk about is flick and answer questions.

As I went up there yesterday, I was a little hungry and headed to my favorite place-The People's Cafe. That place had the best food- burgers, sandwiches, nachos. Man, everything was great there. Well, anyway I went and saw the sign and noticed it was closed. Darn as I said these are changing times and the world is changing with it.

But there is one place that always remains the same up in the Height and that is Amoeba Music. Love that place. It just has more music than every place I know and it has almost everything you can ask for. Plus, the people that work there are nice. I mean, someone there spent about 15 minutes looking for the "USA for Africa" CD from 1985 for me. Didn't find it, but still.  I can spend hours there. Yesterday, I was only there for a little bit. Got the soundtrack from "Some Kind of Wonderful" on CD to download and it was in the clearance section, plus the first season of St. Elsewhere on the cheap. Pretty cool.

Hopefully that place will never change.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Let' see..NCAA Dance version

Another day if the life....

Hoping that Cal wins tonight. I know that the Golden Bears were the last team in and hopefully they can make some noise in the tourney. At work and will not be able to see it since we do not have cable. But at leasgt put these "First Four" games on TNT or something instead of truTV.

 I mean truTV-It is the home of a show that I happened to see while flipping channels (It taught me to use the guide that Comcast provides from now on)-Southern Fried Stings last summer. I mean I guess the people in that show do not believe in something called the U.S. Constitution as they break it all of the time. I guess I was the stupid one as I sat there and watched this crap (two shows) for an hour with my jaw open. I am a huge fan of the U.S. Constitution and how it protects us. Well, anyway after watching that, I couldn't believe what I had seen and decided to write the show and told them all of the violations of the U.S. Constitution the so-called law in the show had done. Well, anyway they sent back a reply of "Please do not watch"-I thought it was funny was suprised that whoever thought up that crap could put together a complete sentence. Of course, I was the dumb one as I wasted an hour of my life on watching it and another 45 minutes e-mailing the bastards. Of course, turTV is home of Lizard Lick Towing-someone showed me the pics of this turkey (thank god, I have not watched it, of course if I do I might be a lobotomy).

But anyway, I got on a Tangent. As for the Tourney it will be a good one. I think that most teams are pretty even. I think that Cal will win tonight and beat Temple in their next game then losing in the Round of 32. The other local team Saint Mary's will also lose in the Round of 32.

My Final Four on the men's side will be: Kentucky, Missouri, Florida St and UNC with Kentucky winning it all. Just way too much talent on the Wildcats.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Life would be better if....

The other day I was at the grocery store and at the register paying for my items and a lady kept coming up and asking for price checks on different items. The checker each time stopped my order and did her price check. After about the sixth time, I said "Well, he is helping me right now" and she replied "I am more important than you". That line blew me away and got me thinking (which could be good or bad)about how times have changed.

I think it blew me away because I raised (and a lot of people in my generation) were raised on being courteous, helping other people and "Do as to others as you want done onto yourself." This woman seemed about my age and I guess as I was answering the daily quiz-o-gram on the scoreboard times have changed.

A little over 50 years ago a President said "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country". Well, I think this has change to "Do what is good for me and screw the rest of you."

It used to be that people would uphold rules and such, but not any more. The man checking me out was the assistant manager of the store. I asked him "Why did you keep putting me on hold while you were helping me to deal with her?" He replied "Well, she might start yelling and raising a stink.", I said " Aren't you encouraging bad behavior in your store, by doing this." He said "Well, I have never thought of it like that."

I found that last statement-it was like "Wow", he is in management of a major national chain and I am telling him about customer service 101.

I see this all the time, I try to follow the arrows at the gas station and see people go every which way and get pissed with each other. One time I followed the arrows, pulled up and was getting gas and some guy started screaming at me. He had literally parked his car sideways and following his own rules and was pissed at people who were following the rules.

These are just two examples of how we need to be a little more courteous of each other and if we follow the rules we can make life a little better for everybody.

And yes, I try to lead by example with my two kids and they do not like me for it at times.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Life on the Bubble

As I sit here and await Cal's, Washington's and other teams on the so-called NCAA bubble for the Big Dance I have been pondering that our day-to-day lives are always on the bubble. I am not talking about dying in an instant, but our mere daily lives.

In mornings that I decide to to take the bus to the BART station (the Bay Area's subway system) I am always on the bubble, since it is the first bus of the morning who knows if the driver is going to early or late. She often early which means I need to be at the stop early and if I am on the bus who knows if she going to stop for coffee or not, which means I miss I will miss the BART train by one minute (which means I have to wait 15 minutes for the next one and have a backup plan). If I catch the train I want, then it is getting on S.F.'s light rail and who knows about that. That puts me on the bubble again because it has many problems and there are often delays. Finally, I get to work and that has different bubble issues.

I just used that for example, but we all go through the day "Living Life on the Bubble." Any stories that people want to share?

Friday, March 9, 2012


Just going to Dart here and there while listening to Howard Jones:

-As much as I love the Conference Tourney's going on, there is some serious bad basketball in the college ranks. I was keeping track of the San Jose St-Nevada game last night and geez it was bad. It was San Jose St up 14-13 at the half. Nevada won in the end, but it is a symbolic of where the college game is right now.

- Started to read a book about America and the 1968 Olympics called "Something in the Air", it looks very promising.

-Spring training is here and looking at the both of the local nines (the A's and Giants) and it might be an interesting here is the Bay.

-Looks like we will have two teams from the Bay in the Dance-Saint Mary's is in and hopefully Cal gets in also

-If you get a chance, go and see the one man play by Brian Copeland called "The Waiting Game", like is other one man play "Not a Genuine Black Man" it is powerful. This one is about his wait for a gun license (it is ten days after you apply) so he could buy a gun and commit suicide. Copeland was very depressed at the time and wanted to kill him, but first had to wait for a gun license to buy his weapon of demise. It goes into what one does in his 240 hours and his thoughts. Copeland in the end does not kill himself, but it is very powerful look at a pressing issue of today.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

It is Tourney Time

Well, it is Conference Tourney time in College Basketball. I love this time of year, it is win or go home or in NASCAR it is called Checkers of Wreckers. But anyway, it is so fun to see every team get a chance to get into the Big Dance.

Like last night when Western Kentucky won the Sun Belt and will be headed to NCAA Tournament with a losing record. In theory they have a chance to play for the National Championship. It is just fun to watch.

I am a big Cal fan and even though they are 23-8, they are on the bubble. That is another great thing-The Bubble again it is win or sit an await your fate. Just the great drama, it is reality TV at its best.

I mean look at UConn and their March magic. Last year they won five games in five days to win the Big East (yes, they were on the bubble) and they won the National Championship.

This year they come into the Big East Tourney on the bubble and win yesterday and stage a huge comeback today to beat West Virginia in OT. Love it.

So, away I go into Tourney land.....It will be a fun ride

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Here I am

Just so people do not think that I am some scary dude with a computer. Here is a pic of me. A face made for radio, need to lose some weight (working on it) but I am a real person. This is me at Haas Pavilion, the home of Cal basketball.

Might as well try again

Might as well try this again..Hee, heee. I need to write and I guess I will share some pics as I guess people will want to pics with their reading. And hopefully, I will not dump about my ex-wife I try to keep things positive, but...

I guess I must tell about my great find. I go to a lot of used book sales and such. And sometimes I have a great find, this past weekend I went to the White Elephant sale that the Oakland Museum puts on every year. I love Doonesbury and have a lot of of the books (42), but anyway I looked and found one signed by the Master himself-Garry Trudeau, that was pretty cool.

Now if I can find one by Berke Breathed of Bloom County fame, that would be great