Memorial Day Picnic

Break out the back yard grills it’s Memorial Day – the unofficial beginning of Summer. Ah yes, I can smell the ‘dogs and ‘burgahs sizzlin’ on da grills. Someone gimme a brewskie; I’m headin’ for the hammock. Little history note: Memorial Day, as we know it, originates in Waterloo, New York – jes’ a li’l stretch down the road from my humble abode. Actually this day goes back to the late 1800’s when mothers and widows decorated the graves of our fallen heroes. LBJ officially designated the last Monday
in May as Memorial Day, and Waterloo was officially named its birthplace in 1966.

Spent the first part of the weekend traveling to the daughters’ soccer tournament in Columbia, Maryland; any chance we get to travel south of the Mason-Dixon Line, I look forward to. While there the better half requested that we attend the O’s game on Saturday night. Far be it from me to keep the wife from doing what she wants. After a couple of youth soccer matches we headed for the Inner Harbor. Our first stop inside Camden Yards was Boog’s Backyard Bar-B-Q. Mmmmmm…..great eats. Yes, the price is a little steep, but what can I say. The old boy greeted us in line, and yes I now have an O’s ticket with a Boog Powell autograph. I just put it on display with my other ticket stubs. We paid $15 for section 87 seats in left-center field: great view of the field. As it has been said so many times, Camden Yards is a jewel. If you haven’t been there, you gotta put it on your short list. Miggy said: “Hola! Hasta la Vista!!!!!” in the first inning and the Birds were off to 2-0 lead. Tejada and Roberts are no Belanger and Grich; Mora is no Robinson, and Patterson is no Blair, but the Orioles played some good defense the other night. Bringing up those names causes me think: Is the countdown on for when the O’s return to the cartoon bird, who could pass as Daffy Duck’s cousin, as opposed to the present-day Audobon Society representation they have on their current lid? I get a little sad when I think of all the great players that went through Rochester on their way to Baltimore, and then to consider the state of affairs with Orioles now. They had such a great tradition. For all the wild spending that Peter ‘Devil’os likes to boast of, one would think they could have a team that makes ends meet.

Downtown Baltimore was bustlin’ Saturday night as M & T Field hosted the National Lacrosse Semi’s. Almost some stinging irony for Duke University: their women’s team held a nine-goal lead before losing to Virginia. The men’s team watched an eight-goal lead disappear before eliminating Cornell to advance to today’s National Final against Johns Hopkins.

Obviously, it has been a tumultuous year for the Blue Devil Men’s Lacrosse program. Twelve months ago the Blue Devils watched the lacrosse finals as they forfeited their season, and head coach Mike Pressler was forced to resign amid a storm of legal controversies. One year later, all charges have been dropped, Duke has returned to the top of Men’s lacrosse, and Pressler is now the head coach at Bryant University. Pressler’s forthcoming book about his experiences last year should be an interesting read.

Something’s gotta give when the Cleveland Indians and the Boston Red Sox play at Fenway Park tonight. The Tribe swept the Tigers this past weekend while the Sox did some of their own broom work in Arlington. Hey Wally! What were you saying ‘bout the Tigers? Oh yeah, that’s right it’s May. Just thinking you were touting the Tigers as the AL’s team last week and all. Tonight marks Trot Nixon’s first return to Boston since signing as a free agent with the Indians. Wish I was there to join the Fenway Faithful as they give Trot a standing ovation.

On the topic of baseball – how good is John Lackey? He has a 2.36 era in eleven outings this year. Thankfully, the Angels are competitive because I am sure he is on Steinbrenner’s radar.

Now that the ping pong balls have fallen, and Portland and Seattle have a chance to rejuvenate their teams, let’s consider what the rest of the draft could hold for the remainder of the league. Everyone is completely focused on Greg Oden and Kevin Durant…and rightfully so. Let’s not forget about the likes of Al Horford, Corey Brewer, Jeff Green, and Brandan Wright. For that matter let’s not forget Chris Richard. He is my sleeper. The guy came off the bench for the Gators, but don’t confuse him with a bench-warmer. Chris Richard is a ball-getter. When you consider that Tony Parker was chosen 28th in the 2001 draft, Carlos Boozer was taken in the second round of the ’02 draft, and Tayshaun Prince was chosen with the 23rd pick in the ’02 draft, players can be found late in the draft. It is time for the front offices to get busy (Hello Danny, Billy, and Isaiah) and bring the NBA back to the East Coast.

On another note – the hotel we stayed at this weekend required us to pay thirty cents per minute of internet usage. Needless to say I did not even consider reaching for the wallet.

The Ottawa Senators open their quest tonight to bring the Cup back to Canada after a fourteen-year drought. Does it matter that there are more Canadian-born players on the Anaheim roster than the Ottawa roster? With the NHL and Versus in mind is anyone else intrigued by Bodog fighting? Is Michael Vick somehow involved?

Spring football practices have ended, and Charlie Weis is mum on his QB selection for next year…as he should be. Much could happen between now and September 1st when the Irish open against Georgia Tech. Weis used the Spring regimen to give equal opportunity to Evan Sharpley, Zach Frazer, Demetrius Jones, and the much-heralded Jimmy Clausen. Now he is reviewing the tapes. When was the last time a battle for a college position received so much scrutiny? After losing all of his skill players (Brady Quinn, Jeff Samardzija, Rhema McKnight, and Darius Walker) Weis received some good news: this year’s roster will include nine fifth-year seniors. That marks only the second time an Irish roster will include as many fifth-year players. Uncle Charlie will need to call on the likes of Tom Zbikowski, Travis Thomas, and John Carlson to lead his squad. The rest of the roster consists of forty-six players (68%) that will be freshmen and sophomores.

When you get a chance, thank a vet for your freedom. Enjoy the picnic!!!!!!

16 Responses to "Memorial Day Picnic"

  1. Aaron   May 28, 2007 at 9:22 pm

    Just call Camden Yards as Fenway Jr.. Because everytime the Sox play in Camden, 90% of the crowd is Red Sox fans. Incredible ballpark…

    I think we are up to the fourth standing O for Trot Nixon. Fenway faithful have done us all proud. Nice night starting with Mrs. Trot Nixon throwing out the first pitch with all of the Red Sox wives surrounding her at the mound.. The crowd rose to its feet several time s and honored a guy who played his heart out for the Sox..

    Another tidbit for Baltimore this weekend.. Division II (yeah, I know it is D II, but it is the best my school has), LeMoyne College won its third men’s lacrosse championship in 4 years. Back to back in 2006 and 2007. Congrats guys!!!

    Sox are winning and the Yankees are losing again.. Lead could be 13.5 games after tonight.. if all goes well. Does that lead scare anyone else? It does me..

  2. ccww   May 28, 2007 at 9:47 pm

    Cheers to the Dolphins from LeMoyne – and no shame being a D2 squad. John Beilein certainly is proud of his accomplishments at that D2 school. Any time my D3 Plattsburgh State Cardinals win a title, y’all gonna hear ’bout it.

    Casey

  3. Muels   May 28, 2007 at 10:02 pm

    Hey Paul- What’s with the Red Saux trash talking? It IS May- way too early for negative karma dude…

  4. ccww   May 28, 2007 at 10:09 pm

    red sox trash talking?????
    Casey

  5. ccww   May 29, 2007 at 5:49 am

    Whew! Does Paps need to make things so interesting?

    Casey

  6. Aaron   May 29, 2007 at 9:47 am

    Who thought Youk, the Greek God of walks had some wheels? Of course he looked like he was going to throw up in the dugout later, but hey, and inside the park homer is an inside the park homer..Congrat Youk and keep up the All-Star year!!

    Props to Schilling for responding to critics and his worst critic – himself. He had possibly his best outing last night against a very good Indians team. He made Travis Hafner look clueless up at the plate.

    13.5 games… Wow, I am shocked and I am interested to see whose head rolls.George might be ready to explode and he didn’t just spend $28 million on a pitcher to help get them back to .500.

  7. Aaron   May 29, 2007 at 11:29 am

    “I’m not worried about the Hall. I take care of me.” – Barry Bonds

    This was taken from a recent article about Bonds sharing his belongings with the Hall of Fame after he breaks Aaron’s record..

    And he wonders why the public perception towards him is so negative? Or is he like T.O. and just being taken out of context everytime.. ( I note that with a strong sprinkle of sarcasm)…

  8. ccww   May 29, 2007 at 2:44 pm

    Camden Yards is still on my list … with Fenway … don’t know when I’ll get to either, but they’re still on my list.

    Way too early for anyone to feel smug about a win here or there vs any other team … especially in baseball. Indians, Tigers, Twins and ChiSox will beat the crap out of eachother and likely two of them will go to the playoffs. Hard to find a better top 4 in any baseball division. By the time October rolls around, wonder if the Red Saux will be too fat and happy to beat the battle-tested teams from the Central? And then there’s injuries … who knows what will happen … or when?

    The Yankmees are a train wreck. Wonder if ol’ Roger isn’t wishing he joined the Saux for a few million less to play for a real contender? Right now, both sides … Cashman&George plus Clemens … are saying “Oops!” Ya gotta love it when the Yankmees screw themselves!!

    After all this, the Cubbies are only 5 games out. If they could only win a one run game once in awhile. Brewers are good, but appear mortal.

    Prior to Sunday’s games, the Palehose were hitting a paltry .232, which was by far dead last in the AL … and almost 20 points worse than the next closest team. That’s the bad news … a real head-scratcher. But the good news is that Thome is back from injury and Konerko is starting to heat up. This team has too many proven hitters not to be competitive. The pitching is decent.

    Spurs look to be headin’ to the NBA Finals after a typical grind-it-out road playoff win last night at Utah. Boy, is Deron Williams (Utah) the next glamour point guard or what?!?!? He’s single-handedly kept the Jazz in these games.

    AND FINALLY, THE QUESTION OF THE DAY: How good would Tim Duncan be if he possessed just average jumping ability???? The future hall-of-famer is 7 foot and it’s a good thing cuz ya can barely fit the Sunday newspaper under him when he jumps. To dunk, he needs a running start and nobody challenging. If there’s anyone 6’5″ or taller defending, he turns into Kim Duncan. Regardless, it somehow works.

    Wally

  9. ccww   May 29, 2007 at 3:42 pm

    AL Central is definitely the top division.

    Another great question – where will ARod go next year, and how much will he enjoy sticking it to George, Derek, and the Giambino?

    Wally, I thought you attended a game at Fenway?

    I am concerned, too, about the Sox getting fat. Actually, I am concerned about June, July, August, and September.

    As for Barry – I am glad he is not worried about the hall – now the writers should have zero qualms about not voting that guy in. I caught a little of the Bob Costas show on Saturday afternoon (while making a grocery store run for the team). He had a professor from NYU who specializes in the analysis of performance-enhancing supplements. What I caught of it was great. Costas did not skirt any of the issues. Questions like – how many hr’s could the drugs have helped with, how much do the drugs help with recovery, etc. One question I never considered was how steroids would increase bat speed which could then convert to plate coverage because Bonds can wait on a pitch a little longer than most. Great stuff.

    Casey

  10. ccww   May 29, 2007 at 8:24 pm

    Casey —
    I’ve been to a lot of baseball stadiums, but none at Fenway Park yet. Visiting my sister about 15 years ago when she lived near Boston, I drove right by the stadium but the Saux weren’t in town, so there was no game to go to.

    Planning a mid-August trip to Safeco in Seattle to see the Palehose. Second time there.

    Bonds … what an enigma! Without the juice, I view Bonds as a career 550-600 HR guy. It’s a shame that he tainted what would’ve been a great career w/o the ‘roids. He probably still wins 4-5 MVPs (not 7). He had all the tools to be a great all-round player, but he got too greedy and tried to stuff it all into the HR basket. He’s paid a very high price to be labeled a cheater because he would’ve been great anyway without the ‘roids. Plus, I wonder if he’d be “happier” w/o the roids instead of the moody SOB he became.

    Wally

  11. ccww   May 29, 2007 at 10:35 pm

    Will all of this home run hitting just diminish the long ball and how we view it?
    Some very interesting breakdowns in the recent Sporting News. Bonds and Aaron have both hit 40 hr’s in a season a total of 8 times. Both have led the NL in hr’s 4 times.
    How ’bout this stat: which player hit the most homers in a decade????
    George Herman Ruth 467 between 1920 and 1929. 2nd highest? Jimmie Foxx – 415 from 1930-1939. So much for the dead ball. McGwire hit 405 in the 90’s.
    Did anyone out there know that Ted Williams reached base safely in 84 consecutive games?!?!
    Wally your comment was the 500th in this site’s history.

    Casey

  12. Aaron   May 30, 2007 at 9:45 am

    Well if it is true what has been written and Bonds became jealous of McGwire and Sosa – then his jealousy has really tainted his place in baseball history. Wally is right.. a steep price to pay to cheat. In some regards it was too easy to detect. Guys at his age – start to lose their power and their bat speed slows down. All of a sudden rather then go down his shoots off the charts?

    While I think fans will always love the home run, steroids & performance enhancing durgs has forever tainted the home run. A guy hits a long home run – in the back of fans’ minds is “hmm is he on the juice”. Or a rookie comes in, bats .200 in his first year. Second year, he starts hitting and jerkin’ the ball outof the park. Rather then development is that performance enhancing drugs.

    Wally, not sure how long I am going to be in Boston – looking to move back to Rochester.. Should you decide to make a cross country pilgrimmage and see the cathedral that is called Fenway Park – you have a free place to stay.. Even if you like the palehose.

  13. Aaron   May 30, 2007 at 9:52 am

    How about Clemens not making his first start until Monday – the day after the Sox series. What a joke!!! You pay $4 million a month for a guy to skip on what could possibly be the most important series for your team?? Are you kidding me?

    OR is just a scared, pampered pitcher that never really pitched well in pressure situations? He would be EATEN ALIVE in Fenway.

    But I know one thing – if I was paying that kinda of money – I want him to have some huge macadamia nuts and pitch in the most important games of the year..

  14. ccww   May 30, 2007 at 2:37 pm

    Other than asking if I get a prize for being the 500th comment, I have no comment.

    Aaron — thanks for the offer. I will keep that in mind. Also, I agree with your Clemens comments … why pay a guy so much dough if you’re not willing to use him in an important/risky situation??? The Yankmees are toast.

    Casey — Nothing that Ted Williams did surprises me. His picture is in Websters next to the definition of Hitter. I personally believe he was the best hitter that ever lived. Pick your poison — BA, HRs, RBI, OBP, Slugging, etc. He had an amazing career, especially given it was interrupted, I think twice, by military service. No wonder he wrote “The Science of Hitting” … one of the first books I ever read.

    Wally

  15. ccww   May 30, 2007 at 4:21 pm

    This is not the first time the Yankees have allowed Roger to avoid a potentially difficult start. Remember the Subway Series after the Rocket had his meltdown with Piazza’s broken bat. Then he didn’t start the next year in Shea.

    Did you guys know of Williams’s 84 game streak before now?

    Casey

  16. Aaron   May 31, 2007 at 1:22 pm

    I knew Williams had a few incredible streaks of his own, but I didn’t realize that it was 84 games.. He was incredible…

    Amazing, the year he hit .400 – probably would have won the MVP most years. But DiMaggio had his 56 game hit streak that year and won.. Still not sure he should have won:

    Williams – 1941 143 games 37 HR 120 RBIs 147 walks 27 strikeouts .406 AVG .553 OBP

    DiMaggio – 1941 139 games 30 HR 125 RBI 76 walks 13 strikeouts .357 AVG .440 OBP

    Ultimately, I think Williams should have won, but considering his disdain for the media – it probably cost him..

    So A-Rod does another bush league play.. Why am I not surprised. The only thing I am enjoying it is against someone other then the Red Sox, so now it just not the Red Sox complaining about him. First the Bronson Arroyo slap, the Dustin Pedrioa slide and now calling out for the ball while running the bases. Obviously, there is contrasting stories, but considering A-Rod’s history and the fact that the Blue Jay players flipped out – I gotta go with the Blue Jays players account. Either way its bush league only taints what is a great career..

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