Swing Away If The Rain Will Go Away!

Tonight I am supposed to play league softball at Fenton Park. As I type this, the windows here are being pelted with strong wind and rain. This may translate into a rain out and no softball for me. If that happens I will be sad because I was really looking forward to getting in BP (batting practice) to divert some of my inner frustrations and depressing thoughts.

What do I have to be frustrated and depressed about? Too much to type here and for the record no one cares anyway so why bother to waste the energy expounding on the topic. Normally I would shunt this kind of post to my Tumblr account but today I’m just in give up and don’t care mode.

I hope your day is going better than the pathetic mental progression I was stepping through last night at the Dollar Tree in Arnold (MO).

Peace.

For the record I am not perfect, nor have I ever said or implied that I am.

Waiting for the Wings…

First off let me get in a free plug for Holties (Bar and Restaurant) in Barnhart. In my opinion, they have the “BEST TRASHED WINGS” in the area. Their regular hot wings are pretty good as well. One other bit of business before I hop into my blog topic: WHY THE HELL IS HIGHWAY M STILL CLOSED AT 55? If someone could answer that for me, that would be greeeeaaaat.

One night late last week, I sat down at the bar and placed my order with the lady bartender: a cheese burger with fries and two orders of wings to go. I ordered a batch of regular hot wings and a second for trashed wings (MINE!). This young looking Caucasian guy who introduced himself as Joshua (apparently he works at Mobil on the Run in Pevely!), obviously a bit drunk, sits down next to me and shout-talks to me about how he wanted to punch the guy in the mirror in the bathroom. I said, wouldn’t that guy in the mirror be your face? Slurring his words, he said: No actually it was your face! (he smiled warily) Diffusing the moment, I distracted him by asking how he shattered the face of his smartphone. From here he starts telling me about how great Castlewood State Park (near Ballwin, MO) is for hiking because that is where he dropped his phone face down on some rocks. I informed him that I disliked hiking but I did like dogs and often there are people walking their dogs at parks. He proceeded to show me a picture of his friend’s dog who was hiking with them earlier that day (spooky coincidence). Overhead on the bar TV the Cardinals game was over and they were recapping the low lights. Again I must remind you, Joshua was shout-talking as some drunk are want people do. The lady bartender tried to coax him into speaking in a normal inside voice but to no avail. He insisted that I add him on Snapchat but I did not have service in the bar (thanks T-Mobile!). I put on a frown and conveyed that I was unable to make that happen for him. For the ten minutes or so that I sat at the bar waiting for my food, he pretty much sat there shouting my ear off but not in mean way mind you so it wasn’t too bad. Actually I kind of took the situation as a challenge. I tried to think of random topics and mention them to him to see how he would respond.

After awhile one of the servers took pity on me and asked, “Aren’t you waiting on food?” I replied that I was indeed and she retrieved the cooked items from the prep area. Taking my take out, I bid Joshua a good night and told him to get home safe. Some people might have been annoyed by this stranger and just blew him off. But it was only ten minutes out of my life and my jaw was not wired shut so what would it hurt to talk to him? If nothing else, I think I entertained the staff of Holties by keeping this young man out of their collective hair and let them do their jobs without interruption for a bit.

Morale of my story…sometimes go with the flow and see where it takes you.

Have a great Hump Day!

Peace.

<<08-09-2017>>

Holties Pub and Restaurant – Facebook

Pet Peeve

Greetings Humpers! (It’s Hump Day)

I know I have mentioned this before but I’m going to mention it again. One of my pet peeves is people who back into a parking space. Make no mistake, I’m not talking about people who are parallel parking or people who ‘pull through’ back to back spaces to have their front end ready to pull out when they leave. I am specifically calling out those pretentious people who take like six minutes to pull past a spot, then back up with excruciating slowness into a spot. Most of the time it takes them a couple of tries to get aligned right or judge the correct depth of the space in relation to the length of their vehicle. I don’t care who you are, you are a wank. Because most of the time it takes too long and then the person is either crooked or didn’t back up far enough and the front end of their vehicle is askew or jutting out into the area for traffic to drive by. Just pull into the damn spot ‘nose’ first and back out like the rest of us!

Rant over…
(Mic drop)

OK for no other reason than I mentioned him on the Sports Stalkers podcast the other night, here is Ronnie Milsap’s website. (www.ronniemilsap.com) For the record (ha, see what I did there?) he is still alive and you can get all 21 of his albums for a special price right now…

Peace.

<<07-26-2017>>

Leave Out All The Rest…

When my time comes
Forget the wrong that I’ve done
Help me leave behind some reasons to be missed
And don’t resent me
And when you’re feeling empty
Keep me in your memory
Leave out all the rest
Leave out all the rest

Forgetting
All the hurt inside you’ve learned to hide so well
Pretending
Someone else can come and save me from myself
I can’t be who you are

 

Eerily this is one of my favorite Linkin Park songs and this passage is tragically appropriate today. It was only two months ago I posted a tribute to Chris Cornell acknowledging his suicidal passing. Today, on Chris’s birthday, the world lost a tremendous talent and creative force from within the band Linkin Park. Chester Bennington has passed from this world and the world will never be the same.

As someone who has struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts since I was 14 it’s a hammer blow to absorb. On many of my darkest days, I used music to help me ride the roller coaster of emotions that tormented and eroded my spirit. It’s a highly sensitive subject and not one I’m looking to debate today.

I noted in my piece on Robin Williams that it is amazing how someone you have never spoken to or met can have such a profound effect on your life, philosophy and emotions. To Robin, Chris and Chester…RIP and thank you for what you have given me.

A moment for everyone’s loss…

Peace.

<<07-20-2017>>

Cleveland Indians 7-19-2017 Underwhelming Defending AL Champs

Somewhere there is a sunset in progress. It just depends on where on this Earth you are if you can view it or not. That is a nice tranquil thought and mental picture. Now let’s talk about my Cleveland Indians in first place in the American League Central Division of Major League Baseball.

Meh.

That is a pretty accurate way to describe the state of the Indians these days. Five games after the All-Star Break against the bottom feeders from California, Oakland and San Francisco respectively, and the team is 1-4. In those five games they have scored: 0, 3, 3, 5 and 1 in terms of runs. By MLB standards that is sub-standard. In the month of July, for the team that was tied in the ninth inning of game seven of the World Series in 2016, Cleveland has won only 6 of 14 games. They lead second place Minnesota by 1.5 games and third place Kansas City by 3 games. The Indians won-loss record is presently 48 wins and 44 losses putting them on par with the New York Yankees who currently occupy the second wildcard position for postseason play positioning.

From a personnel standpoint, the fourth and fifth starters in the pitching rotation (Josh Tomlin and Trevor Bauer) have been tough to watch for the most part. For the most part the pitching staff has been quasi-healthy minus Kluber’s hiatus for his back. The enigmatic Danny Salazar was minimally effective before developing a convenient injury. A slew of injuries has put a harsh spotlight on the thin offensive depth of the team. Offensively speaking, there has been a huge hole caused by Jason Kipnis being injured. When Jose Ramirez is plugged in at second base for defense, that opens up a hole at third base. The biggest problem has been the revolving door in the outfield with Lonnie Chisenhall visiting the DL multiple times and Tyler Naquin not being healthy almost all year. Brandon Guyer has been atrocious (period). Austin Jackson has been a nice surprise but cannot stay healthy and Abraham Almonte is a 4th-5th outfielder on most teams. The catching tandem of Roberto Perez and Yan Gomes has given virtually nothing on the offensive side. They both hit right around the Mendoza line and have combined to produce 7 homeruns and 37 RBI while striking out nearly 30 percent of the time. There is a similar production line or lack thereof from Jason Kipnis this year with his 8 homeruns and 26 RBI. He is only striking out about 19 percent of the time but he is also on pace for about 10 stolen bases this year which would be his lowest total since his rookie season when he stole 5 bases in 36 games. Which brings us to Carlos Santana. Is he a first baseman or is he a DH? You look at his body of work this year and with the glaring exception of the homerun category he is on pace to basically do what he has done the past three years. With the presence of Juan Encarnacion, Carlos seems a bit redundant in his skill set.

OK with the rundown of what isn’t working so far this year, the question shifts to what should/can be done to fix it? A Major League baseball team is a tough thing to boil down to a formula. Every single game can hinge on literally one pitch to take a win and make it into a loss. Even the best teams every year find a way to lose around 60 ball games in the regular season. There is no ‘running game’ for a baseball contest to limit the other team’s chances. You have to get at minimum of 27 outs (barring weather shortened games) from the other team and all the necessary pitches and catches that accompany those. Even on the worst teams, there are still guys trying to do well so they can keep their Major League job for this year or to parlay their stats into a big payday for years to come. So here is my list of guys to package up and trade or straight up DFA: Tomlin, Bauer, Gomes, Guyer, Almonte, Santana, Salazar, Kipnis and Jackson. Some of these guys are currently injured which makes this process difficult.

Each team has an active 25-man roster so in doing the math, I am suggesting a pretty significant amount of shuffling of the current roster. The last three players noted are on the disabled list but the rest are all fair game. As I see it, the club currently needs an everyday centerfielder, a new second baseman, a fresh face at catcher and at least one new member of the rotation if not two. It was about this time last year that Josh Tomlin got demoted to the bullpen so history may be repeating itself soon. Bauer has been a perplexing, head-shaking case of talent versus harnessing his talent (see Jason Davis circa 2002).

I know this sounds like the ranting of a frustrated Indians fan and it most certainly is. Last year was such a vicious tease and this year has been a great opportunity that has mostly been squandered. I will suggest trading for the St Louis Cardinals Carson Kelly, the Oakland A’s Sonny Gray and the Atlanta Braves Brandon Phillips. From there I will just hope no one else gets hurt and Tyler Naquin can return and play like he did last year. If not, this team may be done before the first week of October is over.

Go Tribe!

P.S. Tito stop eating all the junk food. Have some asparagus at least twice a week and it will be all good.
P.S.S. On their current pace, the team would finish with a won-loss record of 85 wins and 77 losses which is pretty sad and probably not going to get it done in terms of clinching a playoff spot. #JustSaying

Peace.

I’m not afraid to…

…piss people off.

Hi, good morning. Hope you are enjoining some coffee or your preferred beverage of choice.

OK so let me explain my thought process on this. No, not the beverage thing…my stance on pissing people off. Don’t get me wrong, I am not just indiscriminately looking for people to piss off with mindless personal attacks. I’m just saying I am not scared to speak my mind and when I see something I perceive as wrong or a debatable topic, I don’t hold back. I may temper my opinions in a diplomatic turn of phrase but you can usually tell where my point/opinion is going.

Some of you in your minds are saying: here we go pointless drama. Nope. No ma’am, no sir. I am not here to spread gossip to pile on someone having a bad day just to be a bully. Everyone running around or wheeling around today has positive and negative aspects of their lives. Some are great parents, some lavish love and attention on their animals while others run businesses that provide incomes and purposes for others to provide for their families and loved ones. While I can try to find the silver lining in many different human clouds, there is always the ying to their yang.

I’m guessing at this point you are trying to discern a point that may take shape coming from the above fog. I am flawed and at times I am an internal mess. But aint we all? The important thing is not to take yourself too seriously and be true with your actions and words. If you see something that emotionally or mentally goes against your grain, you can do a couple of things. First you can ignore it and remove yourself from the situation and go binge watch GOT episodes. If you feel you must have your voice be heard (either literally or figuratively), think first.

Sometimes another human or an issue can cause such a visceral response that we lash out without thinking. Like when I’m on the highway and I see aggressive drivers switching lanes without blinkers or cutting people off when they could have just as easily have slowed down and settled in behind another car. My list of hated traffic grievances is about on par with the proverbial list of naughty boys and girls Santa has to deal with.

Animal abuse, child punishments, softball drama, social media, my Cleveland IndiansĀ and long car trips are just a handful of things I have a strong opinion on and my views may not be all unicorns, cotton candy and smiley emoji’s to the casual reader. Is my position the end all be all of opinions? Certainly not but I will do my best to state my case as to why I think that way about a topic. Have I launched into a tirade before about my opinion only to have someone chime in later with some bit of information I wasn’t privy to? Guilty. Did it radically change my stance? Not really but I filed that addition information away to be digested and further flavor my viewpoint.

Most everyone is so wrapped up in being ‘right’ that they lose sight of the spirit of exchanging ideas. Most people when they express their opinions, whether in the majority or minority, are on the razor’s edge for rebuttals. Expressing a dissenting opinion is on par with attacking that person’s most cherished loved one. One of my most favorite quotes I saw on Twitter said: “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” This quote is attributed to Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change. That quote is an ugly truth. I myself am guilty of this about half of the time. It happens when I argue with Kristi or Ayden or a co-worker or a softball friend or on my Sports Stalkers podcast partner Jeremy. We as a society are conditioned to be put on the spot and come up with a quip or an answer to prove our wittiness or competency. So much in our daily lives is submerged in self-doubt and competition, so we must be seen as competent at the bare minimum. And in the panic of the moment when we might possibly lose, we resort to snarkyness and name-calling in lieu of stopping and thinking about the basis of our opinions and how it may be colored by our life experiences as opposed to someone from a completely different background.

Take racism and discrimination for example. And no they are not exclusively the same thing. Discrimination is denying someone or a group based on extraneous circumstances that have no bearing on the criteria needed. Some of the biggest racists I know are the ones who play the race card. In my life I have known some people of color who have been the perpetrators of discrimination. There are no absolutes in this world when it comes to discrimination and racism. There are black people who are racist against white people and vice versa. Just as there are people of all ages who are discriminatory against other age groups.

See no name calling, no gross stereo-types and a note that I myself am not 100% above reproach here (see the listening quote). There is nothing wrong with absorbing and dissecting someone else’s opinion or view. The sticky-wicket is when we start questioning that person’s view and instead of listening to understand what we are asking, they are loading up mentally to respond based on a basal reaction to a perceived challenge.

Enough psychology for one day. I was just trying to simply offer up my ‘excuse’ on why I feel OK about sounding off with my thoughts and opinions even if you do not care. We all have a back story on our opinions. Did your parents instill that view in you? Perhaps your church? Or just life experiences? That is for each of us to carry around with us every day and decide if we are comfortable enough to share and if need be, defend as needed.

As usual, thank you for surfing in and reading some bits and pieces that migrated from my brain to my fingers. I hope you found something amusing, thought provoking or at least something that caused you to stop for a moment to at least consider.

Haffy Hump Day! That is a cross breed of Happy and Taffy just so you don’t think I am a horrible speller!

Peace.