cooperstown or bust

our hotel room is booked. at the end of july, we’ll be heading to new york where we’ll join thousands of people hoping for a semi-decent seat for the baseball hall of fame induction in cooperstown. i am so excited. we’re staying in albany, so we hopefully will get to meet up with lisanne, which i am very excited about as well. she will be the first blogging friend i will have met!

the downside is that i may not be able to go to my friend’s wedding. i am supposed to be a bridesmaid, but we had to book our trip to cooperstown early to even get a hotel room, and julisa still doesn’t know when she will be getting married. we were first told june, and i could have gone by myself then, but now she says it will be either in july or october. if it’s in july, there’s no way i could even go by myself. october probably would be doable. we will see.

last night, joe and i rented “the last kiss”. the previews looked pretty good, and i like zach braff and rachel bilson, so i was excited about it. i must say, however, that it was one of the most depressing movies i have ever watched. i won’t ruin it for those of you who still want to see it, but all the couples have troubles, and there are cheating and breakups aplenty. i asked joe if he took the movie back and said, “my wife left me after this movie,” would they give him his money back. hehehe. but seriously, that and “the break up”, the last two date movies we saw, definitely are not date nights.

on a happier note, i finished a few of our wedding scrapbook pages today, and i think they turned out really well. i really like them. i’m a big fan of ribbons and bows, and i’m using them a lot throughout. joe says they’re my trademark. i just think they’re pretty.

2 hours left

it’s amazing how quickly 2006 went by. it was a wonderful year, but seemed as though it just sped past me. now, with only two hours and 12 minutes left in the year, i’m reflecting back.

  • we attended or were in four weddings — ours, ryan’s, rachel’s and our friend tim’s.
  • i married the man of my dreams in the wedding of my dreams.
  • joe got a much better job, moving out of journalism and up the chain of public relations.
  • my best friend got engaged.
  • i reconnected with friends from high school and elementary school, some of whom i never thought i’d talk to again.

i know many more things of significance occurred, but honestly, these are the ones that stick out the most. the major thing, as you all know, were all the weddings, especially my brother’s which happened two and a half weeks after ours. whew.

so far, we only know of two weddings in 2007 — my best friend’s, which i’m in, and a cousin of joe’s, which will be held on our anniversary weekend. for that reason, we are contemplating not going. we really want to, but we also want our first wedding anniversary to be special.

another big event in 2007 is our planned trip to cooperstown, n.y. for the baseball hall of fame induction. my favorite baseball player of all time, cal ripken jr., is on the list of potential inductees, but there’s not a doubt in my mind that he’ll make it. i think he’ll be unanimous, while joe thinks some jerky voters will hold out because he didn’t play as well the last few years of the streak. i can’t believe it’s already been five years since i met him after a press conference at turner field during his farewell tour and watched the game from the orioles’ dugout, sitting not even five feet from the man i grew up watching as a child in maryland. whether we were at memorial park and later camden yards with our season tickets or watching the game at home, i cheered him on. to be able to shake his hand and chit chat with him as i gave him a column i had written for the sports section of the newspaper i worked at was definitely one of my biggest dreams. to be there when he is inducted into the hall of fame will be another.

there are many big names on the ballot — cal, tony gwinn, mark mcguire, jose canseco, don mattingly — and i remember collecting their baseball cards when i was younger. how time flies.

yes, 2006 was a fantastic year, the best so far, but i know 2007 will be even better. in 2007, not only will i be settled into my life married to my husband, but we plan to start trying to have a baby . . . if everything works out the way they’re supposed to. even if we don’t, i know it still will be a great year. i can’t wait!

a new fan

joe has decided the atlanta braves aren’t enough for him. yes, he is a die-hard fan who will never, ever stop cheering for the braves — whether they win the division title or not — but he has wanted another team to cheer for.

that’s where the kansas city royals come in. joe is the author of a new column for the kansas city star about becoming a new fan. his first column ran in the paper last sunday, and now it will be an online feature on his blog http://royalsfan.blogspot.com. he’s had his blog up for three full days and already has almost 400 hits. it’s amazing how popular it’s become, and it’s interesting to see how wide-spread his audience is. i actually received a phone call today from the pastor who married us, who is a huge royals fan and saw joe’s picture on the kansas city star’s site.

check his blog out if you get a chance. he’s done a really good job with it. the plan is to turn his columns into a book, which i think would sell really well.

fantasy baseball blues

i am beginning to hate fantasy baseball.

and it’s only my first season playing. being in last place day after day, though, isn’t fun. i really should be doing better. my team isn’t that bad. take my catcher, brian mccann. he’s leading the national league right now with a .347 batting average. he has five home runs, 21 rbis, 19 runs and one stolen base out of 40 games. he also has just been put on the disabled list after player running home collided with him.

my main starting pitcher, ben sheets, is a monster. he was on the disabled list at the beginning of the season, but after returning struck out 28 batters in 20 innings pitched. that’s incredible. one strike out an inning is considered good. but, sheets also has been put back on the disabled list for right shoulder tendonitis. there’s no timetable for his return.

another one of my starting pitchers, daniel cabrera, struck out 43 batters in 41 inninigs pitched, but has been put on the disabled list for tightness in his right shoulder. they say he’s about two weeks from returning to the mound, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be pitching anytime soon.

do you sense a theme here? out of my 21 players, seven have been or are on the disbled list. that means trying to find someone to replace them, but the pickings are slim. most of the good, or even decent, players have been taken. i’m left with pitchers with high earned run averages and whips, and fielders who can’t seem to do anything with the ball.

my team is being carried by a few players. pittsburgh outfielder jason bay is my star. he has a .309 batting average this season with 37 runs, 15 home runs, 43 rbis and 5 stolen bases. i can always count on him to add to my stats.

though he had a rough start, atlanta outfielder jeff francouer is a big player on my team. last year’s power hitter and the “future of the braves”, francouer started out with a batting average teetering between .063 and .083. he’s now up to .249 with 24 runs, 10 home runs and 38 rbis. his game-winning grand slam against the washington nationals a few weeks ago was historic. he’s only 22, and he’s going to be a monster.

baltimore outfielder jay gibbons is another solid player. he’s hitting .268 with 21 runs, 10 home runs and 29 rbis. he’s another one i can count on consistently for numbers.

i recently picked up another baltimore outfielder, corey patterson. he has a .278 batting average, but i picked him up for his ability to steal bases, with 16 chalked up already this season. i can’t wait to see how many more he can pick up in the next few months.

i have a good team. if i hadn’t had so many injuries i think i’d be up towards the top of the pack. maybe next year. for now, i have to not let my 12th place ranking dampen my spirits. it will get better.

amazing recovery

saturday night’s braves-nationals matchup was the best baseball game i’ve ever seen. ever.

it began rough. starting pitcher jorge sosa just didn’t have it, and in six innings put the nationals two runs ahead of the braves. closer chris reitsma held the nationals at the top of the ninth, but fans already were filing out of the stadium, certain the braves would lose.

catcher brian mccann started the bottom of the ninth, hitting the ball deep into right field for a home run. left fielder ryan langerhans and second baseman marcus giles each singled, and short stop edgar renteria flew out. third baseman chipper jones got on base, loading them up, and center fielder andruw jones struck out.

that brought up right fielder jeff francoeur with two outs and the bases loaded. i thought the game was over. francouer’s been so streaky this season, i didn’t know if he could handle the pressure. the stadium was reverbrated with the braves’ theme music as all the fans — on their feet — did the tomahawk chop.

pitch one: strike

pitch two: francouer connected hard with the ball. as we watched it flying out in center field, we noticed the fielder wasn’t turning around. he kept running after the ball. that’s when we knew it was gone.

walk off grand slam. unbelieveable. the stadium erupted. i haven’t heard it that loud since the braves clinched the division championship last season. that’s definitely the last time joe and i have screamed so loud. francouer rounded the bases, flipped his helmet as he approached home and dove into his teammates, apparantly smacking chipper in the forehead.

man. what an amazing game. joe says the people who left should be banned from attending games for life. i have to agree. 🙂

can the braves come back?

the atlanta braves have won 14 straight division championships. they’re going to have to step it up if they want to make that 15.

this season has started out rough, more rough than it seemed to last year. the braves are 13 and 18, eight games back from the mets, who are leading the division. they’ve been surpassed by the phillies and now are in third place in the division.

it’s going to be a long road. they won the last of a three-game series against the mets. they needed to win at least two. last year’s power hitter jeff francouer has the worst average in baseball. at least now it’s in the triple digits. i guess that’s a plus.

chipper jones and edgar renteria were out at the same time with injuries. between their absences and francouer’s inability to distinguish the strike zone, the fielders have been struggling.

last year, the starting pitchers seemed to carry the team. this year is turning out to be about the same. the first few games were rough for atlanta’s starters, but they’ve been picking up their game only to have their leads lost by the braves’ bullpen (and i use the term bullpen losely) and fielders. besides closer chris reitsma, the bullpen is useless. something is going to have to be done to turn this team around fast.

otherwise, their streak will be over.