29 September 2011

The greatest night for baseball this year

Last night was one of the best nights for baseball drama in years. Two teams in each league tied for the last playoff spot, the Cardinals and Braves in the NL, and the Rays and Red Sox in the AL. For a good part of the evening it looked like there would be two more games today to determine the wild card winners. In the end the Braves just ran out of gas while the combination of a Rays run explosion and Baltimore's hitters clicking in the 9th sent the redsox packing.

For me the greatest thing was that the Cardinals won, obviously. They just smoked the Astros, one of the sports teams I always despise. Don't know why, but I think it started with those orange striped uniforms in the 70's. The redsox, for reasons documented many times on this blog, are also on my bad list. For the Cards to be in the playoffs means all is right in the baseball world. Things are as they are supposed to be.

By the way, the stupidest thing of the evening was a little celebration that you would only see if you were watching in Minnesota. The twins beat KC last night and managed to escape the season with only 99 losses, not the dreaded 100. They actually celebrated on the field as though this was something to be proud of. I think it is the most idiotic thing I have ever seen on a baseball field and an embarrassment to the few twins fans on the planet. A picture of the celebration, from the twins website, is below.

But I guess even stupid things like this from the twins will soon be missed as the leaves fall and the snow begins. It won't be long before we will be wishing for a trip, any trip, to a ball park. Last night was a bit of what we love about baseball, the way that the highs and lows of the season can drag out to the last hours of regular season play. When it does, all the previous 161 games cast a shadow over the field. It didnt have to end this way, down to the wire of pain and elation. Change the outcome of one game in April or May and this night means nothing. On May 22nd the Cardinals blew a six run lead at Kansas City that sent the game into extra innings. They put runners on the bases in the sixth, seventh, eighth innings and loaded them in the ninth but didnt bring any of them home. Finally the Cards scored two in the 10th, off back to back bases-loaded walks. That never happens, but it did that night. The Royals added one more run and lost. Odd way of winning, odd way of losing for the Royals. Perhaps a game the Cardinals should have lost. But they didnt. Had they done so, no celebration in Houston, no post season.
Go Cards!!!!


21 September 2011

Top Five Hikes

Hiking in the Black Hills of SD this past weekend caused me to think about the best hikes of my life. Here are the top five.
1) Pinnacle Mountain - Pulaski County, Arkansas. Not the most scenic but the hike I've done the most with my family. A store of good memories.
2) Sunday Gulch - Black Hills, near Lake Sylvan. Fresh in my mind, hard not to put it on the list.
3) Blue Mountains - Katoomba, NSW, Australia. Echo Point, near the Three Sisters formation. Like being in another country. (I know this sounds pretentious but its my one and only hike outside the US and really is beautiful)
4) Carver's Gap - Roan Mountain, Tennessee. You can just bury me here.
5) Crabtree Falls - near Steele's Tavern, Virginia

Other great ones that my wife says are not hikes because they don't go up and down... Exit Glacier in Seward Alaska, The Grand Canyon - south Rim, Central Park to Times Square, the refrigerator to the couch, Mackinac Island loop.

20 September 2011

Weekend in the Black Hills

If it wasn't for the monotonous drive across South Dakota, I could spend every weekend in the Black Hills. Except for a sidetrip to Deadwood, everything was worth another visit. Most of our time spent in and around Hill City. This picture is from Sylvan Lake. Behind these boulders is a steep trail down Sunday Gulch, one of the most scenic hikes of my life.

16 September 2011

Kickers

On every flight there is a seat kicker. Delta puts them behind me. I think it's in my Diamond Elite profile.

Sometimes it's a kid 1) with legs too short to hang down but just long enough to kick my seat and 2) a parent who does not care and probably shouldnt be a parent in the first place. I bet Charles Manson's mom let him kick the back of airline seats, Marilyn Manson's too.

More often it is an adult who thinks that by kicking me I will return my seat to the upright position. It aint gonna happen buddy.