baseball and bagels

have i mentioned how excited i am about our trip to new york city this weekend? i haven’t? oh, well let me tell you then. i am SO FREAKIN EXCITED. it’s going to be a short trip, but it will be fun.

we’re leaving tomorrow morning, and as soon as we get settled at our hotel, we’re heading to queens. we’ll have several hours in between arriving and tomorrow night’s mets game, but we want time to find lunch and wander around the area near the stadium. i’ve heard there are a lot of neat shops there.

tomorrow night’s mets game is the whole point of our trip. we had to go to shea stadium before it’s torn down after this season. our friends who are going with us have been in nyc all week to catch a game at yankee stadium. it, too, is being torn down after this season. i’m pysched about this game. i’m so excited about possibly really pissing off the mets fans. we hate the mets down here. not only are they one of our big division rivals, but their fans just suck. so, in the spirit of good fun, i’m going to wear my chipper jones shirt. the mets fans *hate* chipper. to taunt them, he named his son shea after the mets stadium because he hits so many home runs there. so, if you hear on the news of someone being stoned out in the parking lot (and by stoned i do not mean getting high), that probably will be me. 🙂

our first priority sunday is to track down a good ol’ jewish deli for some bagels. once you’ve had a new york bagel you can’t go back. after that, we have no plans, which is good. last time we went to new york we did a lot of the touristy thing, so this time we may spend time on 5th avenue. and, i’d like to hit rockefeller center and central park, since we didn’t have time for those during our last trip.

and then on monday we’re coming home. i’m also taking tuesday off, since my parents are coming to spend the night before our early morning trip to the airport on wednesday to see ryan and oriona off. i probably should take wednesday off too. i’ll probably roll in a little late that day.

what are your plans for this weekend?

class act to reach third milestone

what do the numbers 200, 150 and 3,000 have in common? they’re all milestones reached by atlanta braves pitcher john smoltz. well, almost all have been reached. tonight, smoltz is expected to reach 3,000 strikeouts. he comes into tonight’s game against the nationals only four strikeouts away.

but, not only will smoltz join only 15 other pitchers to record 3,000 strikeouts but he will become the *only* pitcher to rack up 200 wins, 150 saves and 3,000 strikeouts. he also is the only pitcher to ever go from starter to closer and back to starter successfully. both positions are demanding, hard jobs. the starter has to try to strikeout the other team and keep the score low. the closer has to come in at the 9th inning if his team is up by no more than three runs and knock out the last batters to win the game. that has to be the hardest position in baseball, and there are very few closers who are good. it’s very tough mentally. so, you can see how going back and forth between the two positions is hard.

it’s going to be a great game tonight at turner field. it’s one of those nights when i wish i could be there in person.

san francisco

i have been to san francisco twice. once was the summer after my sophomore year in high school traveled to paradise, california with my grandparents to visit my aunt, uncle and cousins in paradise, california. we went to san francisco for the weekend, which was fun. we did a lot of the touristy things, and also saw where my grandpa grew up and visited the grave and urn of his parents.

a year later, i went back to san francisco with my high school classmates for our senior class trip. we went in march, so the weather was nice, and that was definitely the best spring trip i’ve ever been on. we had so much fun. there are so many things to do in san francisco. we were divided into groups, and when we were out in the city we were supposed to be with the adult assigned to our group. my group had one of our class sponsors, and i remember he walked so fast, we had to run through the streets to keep up with him.

one of my best memories of the trip was the night we arrived. we were on two different flights, and when my flight got in we were starving. by the time we got to our hotel, it was pouring, but me, my friend penny and some of the guys in our class went wandering around the area in the pouring rain to find food. we found a chinese place and had a blast.

while we were there, the movie “the wedding planner” was being filmed, and we saw streets blocked off for the taping. several of the girls in my class were at one spot when a scene was being filmed and got to meet matthew mcconaughy. they got his autograph, and he kept the butterfly pen one of my classmates gave him to write with. they talked about that for the rest of the trip, and i was so bummed i wasn’t with them. that would have been so awesome.

i can’t wait to go back to san francisco. i went on my class trip to a giants game at candlestick park, but joe and i want to go to the giants’ new stadium. we want to plan a california trip to hit as many of the west coast stadiums as we can, such as oakland, la and san diego. while we’re out there, i want to make sure we do the touristy-thing. there are sight-seeing tours offered by trusted tours and attractions that could be fun. that company also offers san diego zoo tickets. when we do make it to san diego for a padres game, whether it’s during the san francisco trip or not, i really want to go to the san diego zoo. it’s pretty well-known. i’m at least signing up for their newsletter. if you do, you get a chance to win a handheld gps system, which i would love since i tend to get lost. 🙂

strange start to the season

it’s like hell has frozen over in the baseball world. for the first few weeks of the season, the baltimore orioles and kansas city royals led their divisons. the florida marlins continue to hold first place in their division (which includes my new hometown team, the braves).

these three teams sucked it up last year. they all maintained last place in their divisions through the entire season. i had no hope for them then, and i had no hope going into this season. i was more than excited when my orioles topped their division, and even though they’re now in second place i think this is going to be a good season for them. they sure need it.

the braves need a good season too. they’re 5-8 and in second to last place. they need to get out of this slump which, in my opinion, means scrapping the bullpen and starting over. it’s going to be a long season if they don’t.

in other upbeat news, though, my fantasy team is in second place (bouncing back and forth between first and second), and the team joe and i are co-managing is in first. joe’s team is in second place in his league too. yay.

the power of the rally cap

i’m not one for sports superstitions. when joe told me how he and a college roommate spent an entire baseball game sitting indian-style on the floor because they thought getting up would cause the braves to lose, i laughed. when he put his baseball hat on inside out and wore it as a rally cap at another game, i rolled my eyes.

after monday night, i’m starting to become a believer in superstitions. it was a chilly night at turner field, and our section in the outfield was packed. fans pulled their jacket collars up over their necks, hunched in their seats and huddled under thick blankets as we watched as the braves and pirates battled it out during the home opener. the score fluctuated back and forth, but in the 9th inning, the pirates broke out of the tie and scored five runs, bringing the score to 9-4. by the bottom of the 9th, the stadium emptied as most of the fans left, sure that the braves couldn’t come back.

but that was when the braves started to come to life. and that was when we started to rally. my section began to do the tomahawk chop non-stop. i found that when we did it, the braves threw more strikes and got more hits. the chops and cheers continued as the team came back to tie the score again 9-9.

opening day 1

two scoreless innings passed, and in the 12th inning around midnight, the pirates’ xavier nady hit a 3-run homer off braves reliever blaine boyer. at that point i think we were all tired and again down because we had fallen behind. more fans left. i was ready to go home. but, when the braves came back up to bat, one of the guys in our section said, “come on guys, it’s time to put our rally hats back on.”

another replied, “i never took mine off.”

and despite the late hour and being down by three runs, we jumped to our feet. we cheered. we did the tomahawk chop. and when jeff francoeur hit a home run and mark kotsay hit a double to knock in a second run, we high-fived and hugged each other. there was still a chance.

and then the game ended with one catch of a fly ball. and just as quickly, we quietly gathered up our belongings and left the stadium. some say it was “an opener to forget“. i see it as a game that will always stand out in my mind. yes, it was disappointing to lose the home opener and start the season with an 0-2 record, but it was the hard core cheering, the rally caps and the superstitions, and the devoted few who stayed no matter the hour or the score that made it great. that’s what baseball is all about.

opening day 2

a comedy of errors

joe and i watched a show of atlanta braves bloopers last night. at least that’s what it seemed like we were watching. the first inning of the braves vs. nationals last night was anything but good. it was a bad throw here and a missed catch there along with many bad pitches by starting pitcher tim hudson.

it was the first time i had wanted to turn off the game during the first inning. hudson and the rest of the team got their acts together from the second inning on, but the damage was done. the only positive moment was that the first home run hit in the nationals’ new stadium was by our chipper jones.

we fought back and tied the score in the ninth 2-2, but the nationals ended up losing when reliever peter moylan gave up a run. one thing we can always count on is that our bullpen will screw things up.

joe and i are headed to turner field today for the braves’ home opener. we’re pumped, and tonight’s game better be good. tom glavine is pitching, the first time he’s been in a braves uniform in a number of years, and they’ll have the home crowd on their side. it’s time to start our winning streak.