Saturday, August 25, 2001

Top five baseball games*:

  1. May 2, 1998; Cubs 4, Cardinals 3 (11); Wrigley Field. It's the twilight of my final year in college, and Hank and Suzie are visiting for the weekend. For most of the game the score is tied at 3. With two outs in the bottom of the 11th and Mark Grace on first, Sammy Sosa hits a line drive to the gap in left. Grace, notorious for having the speed of a tugboat, ignores the stop sign at third and plows home, barreling through the catcher just ahead of the relay throw. Cubs win! Cubs win!

  2. Aug. 11, 1990; Rangers 7, White Sox 5; Comiskey Park. I am 14. Grandpa, Dad and I drive from Wisconsin to see a game in the park's last year. I spend a lot of time exploring, and before the game I get a groundskeeper to scoop some dirt into a jelly jar I brought.

    The game is forgettable, but it was tangential to begin with; this is my only trip to Comiskey and would be my last game with Grandpa. Still, it's curious to recall the names in the lineup. Jeff Huson scores two runs for the Rangers; Huson would later figure into my baseball destiny. And in the second inning, the White Sox' right fielder allows three runs to score when a ball goes through his legs. This player would bat .233 in 1990, and after hitting .203 with 10 home runs in 1991, he would be unloaded to the Cubs. Exactly 10 years later, I would see him hit his 36th home run of the year, one of 50 for the season. His name? Sammy Sosa.

  3. April 10, 2000; Cubs 4, Braves 3; Wrigley Field. Neal, Sandy, Nikki and I struggle to stay warm in the home opener of what would be a 97-loss season. Leading 3-0 in the ninth, Atlanta is unable to call upon its closer, John Rocker, who has been suspended for taking issue with New York City's transit system. Two walks and a Shane Andrews home run tie the game. Then, with Damon Buford on second and snowflakes falling, pinch hitter Jeff Reed singles to right to win the game.

  4. May 18, 1996; Rockies 9, Cardinals 8; Coors Field. Manager Tony LaRussa has come to St. Louis with a bunch of A's in tow, including closer Dennis Eckersley, pitching coach Dave Duncan, even trainer Barry Weinberg. It's clear that Eckersley no longer intimidates as he did with the A's. The Cardinals, helped by John Mabry's cycle, the first at Coors Field, enter the ninth with an 8-4 lead. Eckersley yields a two-run home run to Ellis Burks. Three batters later, John Vander Wal hits a pinch three-run homer to win the game and give Eckersley an 0-4 record.

  5. Aug. 3, 1991; Twins 8, A's 6; Oakland Coliseum. You ever get caught in one of those thunderstorms that arrive with such speed and fury that by the time you find shelter, the storm has passed but you're soaked to your Hanes? This is one of those storms for A's manager LaRussa.

    Oakland enters the eighth inning leading 5-0, all on solo home runs, one each by Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire and three by Dave Henderson. (Henderson has 22 the first week of August, but would hit only three more this season.) By the time LaRussa thinks to warm up Eckersley, his team is down 7-5, and Minnesota's Rick Aguilera gets the save instead.

* that I have attended and remember offhand


Friday, August 24, 2001

I've added our second car game: The License Plate Game. Sorry, readers, but this is a game for just the two of us. However, there is still a week for to play our first car game: How Far Will They Go? Entries are pouring in!


Where we'll be sitting, fourth in a series:

Game number five is at historic Yankee Stadium. Friday, Sept. 7, 7:05 p.m. Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees. This will be our third Red Sox game in a row, and probably the most charged game of our trip. A night game in the middle of a pennant race between two of the greatest rivals in baseball? We should remember to bring an ESPN poster to get on camera. (e.g. "Everyone Salute Pedro, Natch!" Uh... we'll have to work on it.)

From the Yankees' web site, you can see where we'll be sitting (you guess it, the arrow is ours):

Yankee Stadium

Unfortunately, the seats for this game are in section 667. About as nosebleed as you can get a Yankee Stadium. I don't suppose our chances of upgrading will be very good, considering the importance of this game. The site doesn't offer any example views from our seats, but I imagine bringing the binoculars will be key. Still, we'll be in Yankee Stadium, and that's enough to bring the overall grade of these seats up to a B-.


Great news! September schedules were posted this evening, and I am off Sept. 9. I had expected that I'd have to work at 4 that afternoon. This means I won't have to break one of my etiquette codes by leaving our last game early.

It also means I'll probably drive to Wisconsin that evening to return my brother's truck. The Brewers are out of town, so I won't be able to shoot for an eighth game. This is probably not a bad thing.


Thursday, August 23, 2001

We've updated the design a little bit to accomodate for all the pictures we're going to take and the books we're going to keep. Baseball is a game of details, and we've come up with our own scorecard of sorts to track the details we feel are important. If you think we're missing anything, please, pass it on.


Wednesday, August 22, 2001

We both recently read Anthony Bourdain's autobiography, "Kitchen Confidential." I checked to see whether the Dreadnaught, the first restaurant to employ Bourdain, still operated in Provincetown, Mass. If it did, we could check it out on one of our free afternoons in Boston. Unfortunately, it is 'naught.


Tuesday, August 21, 2001

Luke's Codes of Baseball Etiquette, one in a series:

Don't be a boor.

How to be a boor, in 10 easy steps:

1. Arrive late. Ask everyone what you missed.

2. Be loud. Swear. When someone points out the doe-eyed six-year-old sitting behind you, say, "Oops, my bad," but do not use this as an excuse to cease your swearing.

3. One inning, one beer.

4. Tip your beer man a quarter. Act as though you just bought him a car.

5. Pepper your jeers with such witticisms as "You suck!", "You suck!" and, for variety, "You suck!"

6. On every grounder from the visiting team, yell "Double play ball!" That there are two outs does not mean you should not do this.

7. When cheering, mispronounce your own team's players, such as "Denial" for "Delino," "Petterman" for "Patterson" and "this fucking Mexican kid" for "Zambrano."

8. When your team's slugger hits any fly ball, out of the infield or not, be the first to stand and scream: "Oh, he jacked that one! It's out of here!"

9. If a ballgirl declines to toss a ball into the stands, mutter. "That bitch."

10. Leave after last call. When waddling out, step on as many toes as possible. Any beer left in your cup should be dribbled on the row in front of you.

I got a bad-manners seminar Monday night when I sat in front of a father-son boor battery, each trying to out-jackass the other. It was a double header, natch. Last call didn't come for six hours, so of 18 innings, only for the last three did I enjoy relative peace and quiet.


Monday, August 20, 2001

There will be times on this trip when words fail us, so we'll need a digital camera. Sandy thinks he can borrow a Nikon Coolpix 950, but it has a flaky power supply. I'm tempted to tap my so-called tax rebate and buy either a new Coolpix or an Olympus C-700. The Nikon would be the better deal, but long ago I promised myself I'd never buy a device with the word "cool" in its name.

Any advice?


Not that we'll have a lot of spare time driving between cities, but if we manage to scrounge some together, we should rely a to figure out where to go.


Sunday, August 19, 2001

Top five baseball names*:

1. Bud Smith, Cardinals
2. Nick Bierbrodt, Devil Rays
3. Stubby Clapp III, Cardinals
4. Homer Bush, Blue Jays
5. Pokey Reese, Reds

Things being equal, I'd give the win to Bierbrodt (pronounced "beer brat"), but Smith gets it for having a name made not only for baseball but for Busch Stadium in particular.

*Current players; minimum 20 at-bats or 25 innings pitched



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