Thursday, March 31, 2011


Yesterday's game in Ohio was postponed due to snow....the snow began to heavily fall after the end of the third inning and continued into the night. The team got back on the bus and returned to campus (a mere 5 hours away). Here is my question....snow is usually picked up on the weather radar. Therefore, why was the game started at all? Tomorrow's home game was moved up three hours because of the threat of snow. Doesn't Ohio have this system too? Actually, I am sure that Ohio has the capability of predicting storms. It seems that no one was watching the weather report like they do here....24/ all the time. People can quote the barometric readings, amount of snow fall as well as the temperature as it moves in increments. Further, ask anyone, they have known the forecast for the Phillies home opener since August, 2010.

So, there you have it. Spring baseball in the northeast. The season is at the mercy of unpredictable weather. Snow, sleet, hail, cold rain, and wind. Why would anyone want to live here?

The answer to the last question has everything to do with weather. It is the 4 seasons. Spring and fall are amazing here. The flowers and trees are gorgeous. Since the winters can be tough, residents really appreciate the spring flowers and gentle breezes as well as the autumn changing of the leaves. Summer can be pretty nice too. True, lots of heat and humidity, but we have the beach and mountains within close proximity. It's a win-win-win-lose type of region. Therefore, we deal with it.

As far as baseball is concerned, a snow-out is a snow-out. The game will be rescheduled. The team may return to Ohio to finish. It is one of the joys and sorrows of northeast weather.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


In a few short minutes, Buddy's team will climb onto a bus and drive 7 hours to Ohio for a game this afternoon. With the injury, I thought that he would not go, however, the coach plans to pitch each pitcher 1 inning and save arms for the weekend.

This weekend begins the conference games. These are the most important games of the year as each team wants to be on the top in order to qualify for the College World Series. Over the years, Buddy has been glued to ESPN during the College World Series. He would watch diligently, know the players names, and dream of one day playing with the best in the country. I watched him watching the games and knew that he was in his own world visualizing himself on the mound and winning it all.

It was and is a dream.....if you work hard enough, sacrifice and listen to the coaches, it can happen. Sequentially, he has achieved each developmental goal. This year's goal is to pitch 20 innings. He is on his way, less than half way through the season, as he has pitched 9 scoreless innings. Once this goal is actualized, he will pick another one.....I do have some suggestions:

1. Complete all assignments...B's would be very nice (although C's in science are acceptable).
2. Keep the dorm room clean and free of bugs.
3. Call mom at least twice a week and to chat (not ask for money, supplies, or an appointment to be made)
4. Keep in touch with sister. She loves you too.
5. Eat nutritious foods and stay away from alcohol.
6. All drug tests are clean (no doubts here)
7. Get enough rest
8. Pick up your trash
9. Attend church on Sundays
10. No fighting
11. Be nice to the little kids who ask for a baseball or autograph
12. No cursing
13. No chewing tobacco (ewww)
14. Be true to who you are

As a mom, I like these goals. Yet, in his own way, he will create his own, work toward them, and not even look at my list. Why should he? I did not listen to my parents either....

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


The family can now exhale. Buddy has been cleared by the doctor to return to baseball. Once again, I consider him the luckiest guy around as he is alive and basically unharmed by the hit except some ringing in his left ear. On the other hand, I am now and will forever be grateful for this miracle....

I am not sure if the team is going to take him to Ohio tomorrow. I doubt if he would pitch since he threw for three innings on Sunday. Just as well, it is a very long bus drive beginning Wednesday at 9am and ending sometime on Thursday morning around 3am. So far, the travel has been enjoyable, yet he is a bit bored in the hotels. Again, he is a student, right? He probably has books, right? Perhaps he should read some of them, right?

The big guy is now the focus of a number of hard head, crazy guy, and 'what are you thinking' jokes around the dugout and locker room. By jumping up after the hit, grabbing the ball and throwing a couple of wacky pitches, he will live as a legend (perhaps in his own mind). As I look back on it, he had to be a 'little off' to continue to try to pitch. The local television station had been taping the game. I wonder if they captured the now infamous 'hit' with the head and hat flying into the air? If so, I see this going viral on the internet.

As I look back on it, while I was sitting next to the dugout waiting to see if he was alive, I could hear some of the players asking where the 'crazy' guy was....Is Buddy the 'crazy' guy? Is this a good adjective for my sweet son? As a parent, I am not sure that I want to be known as the mother of a wacko (with all due respect to the wackos in the world). Yet if I am the parent of a kid who is portrayed as a bit 'off' then so be it. I am proud of my little boy as he has worked hard for his success and the title of "psycho pitcher". I know the truth. The reality is that he is a wonderful guy, introverted, a hard worker, focused, soft hearted, and hard headed. Any mother would want a son who would Skype himself into the family dinner table on her birthday from college. He is loving and kind and sometimes misunderstood. His family and friends know the real kid and we love him. With that said....have a nice day..javascript:void(0)..

Monday, March 28, 2011


Dear Readers,

I started this blog to share my son's quest to play Division I baseball and all of the complexities associated with it. Usually I use a bit of humor to explain some of the oddities that happen along the way. Frankly, no one would believe it.

With that said, I leave the humor aside to write about something that happened yesterday that dropped my heart from the left side of my chest into my stomach. Buddy's number was called in relief in the 3rd inning of the second game of a double header. He had been prepared to go in for the past three days. The weather for the weekend of baseball was frigid (26-32 degrees with a chilly breeze). Everyone was cold...the players, coaches and umpires. The fans sat in the stadium with blankets and heavy coats waiting for the games to finish.

Buddy ran in from the bullpen with his walk on music blaring in the background. I took so many photos that my camera could not keep up with me. As he faced his first batter, the batter hit a single. Unfazed, he was able to work his way out of any trouble with no one scoring. One inning was less than 5 minutes, so he was in a groove and working fast. Then it happened. He was beginning to tire and threw a ball right over the plate. The batter hit it squarely and with force. The ball hit Buddy in the head and knocked him to the ground. All I could see was the ball, his head and hat fly into the air and land on the ground. I got up out of my seat ready to run onto the field, but he was able to get up on his own and proceeded to throw two more balls to the catcher to show everyone that he was all right....but was he? The pitching coach walked out and took him out the game and he disappeared into the dugout. I walked over to the dugout to see for my self that he was fine, but he was not visible. After a moment the pitching coach took me into the locker room to see him.

I was not sure what I was going to see. Where did the ball hit him? Careers have been ended with a ball hitting a head. There has been blindness and brain damage. This is really serious and I was scared. As I walked to the locker room, he approached me with ice on his face. There was a large red mark on his left check. He said that he was knocked out for a moment and got up because he did not want the batter to know that he got the best of him...are you kidding me? He had a strange expression on his face and said that the doctor said that he did not have a concussion and he would be fine....Let's review....a ball was hit squarely by a metal bat and flew and hit him directly on his face.....the doctor performed a 30 second neurological check and said that he was "fine." Then the doctor left the stadium. The trainer who looked like he was in 9th grade told me the same thing. I asked the trainer who would check on him during the night. He said that he would follow up through a text....a text? What if the injury is so bad that Buddy does not wake up? A text is going to sit in his mailbox and do nothing to assure me that he is going to be "fine." Yet, this was not about me. It was about my son and his health and life.

I left Buddy with the trainer and sat in the bleachers. I was scheduled to leave and drive the 3 hour route home, but something was bothering me. I'm not a neurosurgeon, but it seems to me that the kid needs more medical care or tests in lieu of take two Tylenol and call me in the morning. He had blacked out and was talking nonsense to the players and coaches....I was not leaving.

I grabbed Buddy and told the trainer that we were headed to the ER. We sat in the hospital waiting room for only a few minutes before he was sent to CAT Scan. He was still acting odd. He could not remember the date or his social security number or what he said after the injury. It was scary for both of us. Yet, we kept the mood light and joked about how hard his head is, how he got the bruise under his eye, what he mumbled to the opposing players, cursing off the first baseman and coaches....all kind of humorous....yet...not...He had his iPod and was singing a Katie Perry I know that he was hit in the head! (not really, KP is pretty good).

After the scan and x-rays were reviewed, he truly did not have a bleed or facial fracture. He was the luckiest guy on the planet. One millimeter up, down or to the right, he would not have been able to get up on his own accord. Truly miraculous! I thanked God for this one over and over again. I still see the hit in my mind. During the night, I had it on a rewind and replay button. It was horrific, yet such a miracle that he was not truly hurt.

While in the ER, I asked him what I should name this post...his comment was "ouch" there you have sums it all up...ouch!". Buddy is out of baseball for at least a week. The doctor was adamant that he not return for 7 days. She also mentioned that there was a possibility of a late bleed so he should be aware of the symptoms and report them immediately. She handed him a paper to read to contact the doctor if the following happens...she did not review it with him...he did not read I had to teach him about intracranial pressure and to call me immediately if he has vision changes, dizziness, severe headache, etc.

So there you have it. I watch the games in which he does not play and understand his frustration of not being called in. On the other hand, I watch when he is in the game and now I have a brand new fear....that he will be hit in the head again. I do wonder how this will affect him...whether he will be more tentative on the mound or more aggressive....

While we enjoyed a late supper and some very rotten Merlot, Buddy had a smile on his now swollen one scored....we won the earned run average is still zero....I had to add..."yes, and you are alive and well enough to enjoy it...." By the way, his new walk out song has been changed to "I get knocked down...but I get up again..." by Chubba Wubba....

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Wintery Weekend

This weekend the team plays 4 games. Tink and I planned on seeing 3 out of the 4. Generally, when a person watches baseball, your skin may sunburn. This weekend, we had wind burn. It was windy and frigid. I looked at the temperature on my cell phone once and it read 27 degrees at 2 pm. Yikes, it was like we were at an Olympics ski event.

Knowing that the temperature was going to below freezing motivated us to shop for the hand and feet warmers that hunters use and are found in sporting goods stores. The first place we stopped were out of them as the manager stated that the season was over....did he watch the weather report last night? Obviously not.....we were in luck with the second store and spent $35.00 on the warmers ($30.00 more than I had planned). However, they came in very handy and helped to keep us warm. Oddly, they became very very hot a few hours after the game.

At last we were prepared physically for the game with the warmers, heavy coats, triple sweaters, long underwear, heavy socks and boots. We could barely move in our attire as we tried to cover ourselves with a blanket. Tink and I are not very outdoor-sy. Play ball! Buddy's team won the game. The pitcher threw all nine innings and he did not play. I saw the back of his head and jacket twice. My hands were too cold to take a photo of his back for the 100th time so the camera stayed in its case.

Before we arrived at the game, Buddy texted me and told me that one of the assistant coaches was joking about him behind his back and saying that they should not be surprised if he turns into a serial killer. Naturally, the big guy was quite offended and could not figure out why the "coach" would talk "smack" about him in this way. I think that the serial killer joke was beyond funny and somewhat grizzly. Now, if he said that he was a "cereal" killer and ate all of his Rice Krispies....then it would have been funny.

Needless to say, Buddy was livid and wanted to talk to the coach about it after the game (which he did not do). At dinner, we talked at length about the comment or stupid joke. Could there be a bit of truth in it? Not from the killer perspective, but perhaps our Buddy is too intense. Perhaps he should relax a bit and laugh more. Perhaps the coach should watch what he says and keep his idiotic thoughts to himself.

While we chatted, Buddy admitted that he is very focused on the field and during practice. It is his way of preparing. Some athletes have a routine while preparing, practicing or playing a game. I watched today's pitcher deliberately side step the lines along the base path so that he would not step on the line. This pitcher also wears a Mike Tyson sweatshirt before each game. Other players eat the same food, swing the bat the same number of times, shave or don't shave, wear the same shirt under their jerseys, don't wash their socks and so on....all athletes have their way of concentrating. Buddy is no different, just the focus of the assistant's jokes.

Buddy sees nothing wrong with the way he prepares and his concentration level. "Mom, it got me this far to D1 baseball, why should I change?" Why, indeed.....So, I am not going to throw stones at the coach. He obviously made a very weird joke and is not funny. What I will say is, I am proud of Buddy as he navigates this new world of his and meets all kinds of odd people. Some will have your back and others will stab you in the back. With that said, it is important to know who your friends are and to ignore sophomoric statements from individuals who really should stop by the sporting goods store before the next practice to "buy a clue".....

Friday, March 25, 2011

Ready for the weekend

It is a cold one out there and will be frigid this weekend for the home opener. Tink and I are definitely headed north for the games. However, we need to be prepared with our "going to a baseball game in freezing weather" kit. What is this kit, you may ask?

The kit is as follows:
1. heavy coats (at least two)
2. wool hats
3. scarves
4. double wool socks
5. mittens (gloves are not warm enough)
6. some kind of pad to warm up the bleacher seats
7. sweater with turtleneck
8. warm boots
So far, we are prepared for a trek through the Alaskan tundra....not done yet....there is still a road trip and game to prepare for....

9. cooler with waters
10. snacks...skittles, twizzlers, baby carrots, granola bars
11. morning coffee
12. money
13. camera

I gave Buddy for Christmas the hand warmers that you can buy at the sporting goods stores. He already went through them. Tink and I should pick up a few more for him (and us).

The first game is this afternoon. I will listen on the radio rather than attend. It's almost like being there except we won't have the wind, snow, and bitter cold temperatures. I guess this is to be expected when you play a spring sports in the north. When I played college tennis, we started the spring season on February 28 of each year and would play tennis in freezing temperatures. At least we were moving, Buddy has to be content sitting in his heated bullpen with the other guys, waiting for their numbers to be called, spitting, and hanging out. Go team!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hotel Shopping

Hi! I missed posting yesterday. I wanted to focus on Big M's surgery which went pretty well. A big incision mixed with morphine equals smiles and goofiness. For a person who went through chemo and radiation, I give him kudos for making it through hell and back. Hang in there, Big M., you will win this one!

I heard from Buddy yesterday. He selected his "walk on" song for the home opener. The song is "Black Betty Ram Jam"....Ok...I took a deep breath and looked the song up on You tube. As I watched a rock group's video, I also saw that the Chipmunks recorded it. Sadly, Alvin's version is not as good. So, I was able to relax. Once I read the lyrics, I could breathe again. No 4-letter obscenities...a good beat...OK, the kid selected a good song (whew).

This weekend marks the home opener. Weather forecasts predict 34 degree temperatures with the threat of snow. Not exactly baseball weather. I am thinking football....a bit icy...chilly....frigid, perhaps? I have a rule...I do not attend football games (professional) after October. It is too expensive and I am too cold and can't enjoy the game. While sitting on a frozen plastic seat, all I can think of is the desire to be home. There are other things that I can do with the $150.00 ticket, like buy food or pay the mortgage.

Anyway, Tink and I are going to go on Saturday and stay until Sunday afternoon. Now that the decision has been made, I have been trying for the last hour to find a room within a 25 mile radius and am failing miserably. I can either stay in an hourly motel (ewww) or an expensive room that has a microwave and clean towels, hence the additional $100.00 on the rate. This has proven to be quite a challenge. Even with AAA card, the rates are unbelievable! I got a better rate at an inner city hotel in Virginia.

I am sure that I will find something somewhat reasonable where I can stay without bringing home the room guests such as bed bugs or roaches. One year, Buddy and I attended a showcase in the south. The room that we stayed in was 'unpleasant'. We wore our clothes to bed that night and kept the shoes on. Another time we were staying along I95 and as I awoke, I could see roaches running along my suitcase when I turned the light on (double-ew). So, I am kind of sensitive to where I stay these days, 'cause I don't want to bring my new bug friends home with me. It reminds me of camping, only dirtier....

Buddy has already left tickets for us and says that he may play. This is code for "come on up....I want to see you." I don't need a second invitation. Even if he does not play, we will be there for the free hot cider that the stadium is going to give out instead of the dollar hot dogs. With the weather forecast, they changed the opening weekend give away to hot cider.

Fortunately, the big guy has a heated dugout. If it gets unbearably cold, I will sit in the car to defrost for a bit and listen for the opening guitar of Black Betty Ram Jam and run back into the stadium. A fool proof plan....I think...stay warm ;-)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Little League Coaches

Good Morning. Tomorrow, my great friend and brother in law, Big M is scheduled for surgery to remove some very pesky cancer...good wishes...prayers....positive thoughts....he can beat this one.

I still have not made a complete decision about driving to tomorrow's game in the rain and snow. I am waiting for a phone call from Carol Brady for her sage advice. Again, if Greg Brady was going to pitch in the snow 6 hours away from home, would she gas up the station wagon and hit the turnpike? A conundrum.....yet as Big M faces surgery, I think that Buddy can pitch without me. I'll go to the hospital's the right thing to do. Problem solved....

Today's post is on little league coaches. I give two thumbs up to 99.9% of them. They are usually fathers, volunteers, and guys who care about the kids. Yet, there is a small percentage who are in it for the wrong reason. Clearly, I am not a man, therefore I do not have the entire picture of what it is like to be a father. I can only surmise as I watched my father, husband, brothers, friends, and so on parent their children in positive and meaningful ways. In contrast, I have also witnessed a number of passionate coaches who want to either promote their own child or win at any cost even at the age of 10 years old.

First, let's look at the "dad who coaches to play his son" phenomenon. He volunteers knowing that his son will be the pivotal kid in the line up. The boy always starts games and never sits on the bench. The kids usually gets a pass for bad language and behavior. The coach will sit other kids in favor of his own son. It is true that Buddy's dad coached him from 4 until 16 years old. However, Buddy suffered the consequences of his dad being the coach. He played less, hit lower in the line up, and was a bench sitter on a number of important occasions. As an accountant, dad created an Excel spreadsheet documenting the number of innings and positions the kids played to show that he did not favor his own son. On the contrary, Buddy played less. The documentation did not lie and for the most part, there were just a few controversies. (Obnoxious and delusional parents coming up in a future post).

The second type of little league coach was the "win at all costs, even if it means that I terrorize the kids in the process" coach. This coach used salty language and bullying techniques to motivate his 10 year-olds. I can distinctly remember staring at the coaches who would scream at the boys for errors, strike outs, and poor base running. They would try to intimate the opposing team and coaches. One incident that I call the "great clip board" drama included Buddy's dad as he had a disagreement with the opposing coach. The coach took the clip board and pushed it into dad's chest and hit him with it. Could this be construed as assault with a deadly clip board?

These incidents were few and far between, yet they happen. Kids leave the sport because they do not want the drama and they turn to lacrosse. It is a sad indictment on the quality of some of the volunteer coaches. My philosophy is volunteers are not professional coaches. A tiny percentage of the kids may become high school or college athletes. Therefore, the goal is to teach the boys to understand the game and teamwork, to learn listening skills and have an outlet for their energy and opportunity to have fun. That's it...sound simple, right? Just be careful of flying clip boards when you attend your next game...they can be dangerous.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Hostile Environment

Good morning! I never know the topic of my posts until I sit down with my morning coffee. In a way, it's like the caffeine is controlling my brain waves and thoughts. Kind of a scary thought, yet, not improbable. I am not addicted to coffee and caffeine, but I really enjoy a cup in the morning. I can give it up at any time, but I don't want reason....yet....

Anyway, I sat glued to the live feed on the iPad yesterday as I listened to Buddy's game. I had a feeling that he would enter the game, so I did not leave the house and waited patiently as I listened to an interesting game. It seems that the two teams were not great fans of each other. On Saturday and Sunday, benches were cleared in an effort to exert some testosterone and take the other team down. Buddy reports that the crowd was also very vocal and negative. The opposing assistant coach was thrown out of the game as it went into extra innings. The two head coaches had "words" on a number of occasions over the weekend. Buddy reports his coach verbalized that he was going to give the opposing head coach, a living legend, a colonoscopy without benefit of anesthesia (ouch).

With that said, as Sunday's game progressed, it went into extra innings. The broadcaster mentioned that the team's plane was scheduled to leave in two hours with the team still on the field. This would have been interesting as the team had to scurry to make the bus and flight (which they did). So, with extra innings and a plane to catch, pitching was very important. The game lasted 11 innings and finally Buddy's team won. He reported that he was slated to go into the last inning, but the left hander that he was to face was removed in favor of a right handed hitter, so he stayed in the bullpen. After the game, usually the teams slap hands and say "good game" or "nice job". With all of the shoving and salty language, I imagine the slap hands had sputum on them or something else gross with the players saying something like "I hate you"..."you @#$#@".....or something not so nice about their mothers (hey, I resent that one!).

I got a call from Buddy from the lay over in Atlanta. He reported the animosity, foul language, the shoving, calling each other out to meet behind the stadium, coaches disdain for one another as well as the hostile fans. In other words...he loved it. After missing out on pitching this weekend, he strongly felt that he would be in Wednesday's game. Unfortunately, the game is 6 hours away by car following the turnpike. I am considering making the trip yet am pretty uneasy since the forecast is rain showers and temperatures in the high 40's and low 50's. I love the big guy....really love him....he and his sister are the frosting on my cake, the flame on my candle, and the roof on my house....but I am not sure whether I want to travel alone 6 hours both ways to either sit in a cold rain or wet stadium with the chance of Buddy entering the game at 48% as the barometer rises.

Again, I call upon June Cleaver as my role model. "June, what would you do? Would you get in the car and drive to watch the Beaver sit in the bullpen and pitch maybe one or two innings?" I can also check in with other famous mothers such as Shirley Partridge or Carol Brady. I think Shirley would take the family bus to see Keith or Danny play baseball. Although I think that Carol Brady would send her maid Alice instead. Oh well, I have another day to watch the forecast and consider my options. With that said, have a good day.....

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring is Here!

Hurray! Spring time!

Spring always makes me happy as the flowers begin to bloom. It is a wonderful and unpredictable time of the year.

Unpredictable is a great word for any athlete or sports team. With March Madness, prognosticators predict the higher ranked teams, yet there are always one or two Cinderella teams who sneak in. I love cheering for the underdog. This is probably the reason why I never win an office pool and have stopped entering them. It's easier to bury the money in the ground, 'cause I know that I never win. I am the worst gambler (probably in the world). With Atlantic City in driving distance, I have never won a jackpot or taken home my money. I can lose my money in seconds, then have nothing to do while friends and family collect their winnings. Therefore, I have stopped gambling, no more trips to give "The Donald" or Harrahs or Borgota my hard earned money. The ten bucks stays with more slot roulette....done!

OK, how does unpredictable relate to baseball? The answer is 'many many' ways. Yesterday, I listened to Buddy's game on the radio again. I knew that he would not enter the game, yet stayed glued to the Ipad and the play by play description. The team managed to squeeze a victory passed the nationally ranked team due to great pitching and a few key hits. While listening to the game, one of the opposing team's infielder overthrew his target at third base and the ball sailed into Buddy's dugout. This happens on a number of occasions. No big deal...right? Wrong!

The announcer started to excitedly describe the players in the dugout having words with the infielders and pitchers...then he said that the players in the bullpen as well as the rest of the team stormed onto the playing field and there was some pushing and shoving as well as 'salty' language. Listening to the description, I heard 'bullpen', 'players', 'pushing' and 'salty language'....Immediately I thought "Buddy! you had better be in the bullpen behaving yourself!" Yet, I knew that he was one of the guys on the field protecting his team mates. A good thing perhaps? Inspiring...loyalty abound as each player looked to match up with an opposing player to push around...nice...very school yard....elementary school, perhaps?

After the game was over, Buddy called home and described the scene. He laughed as he talked about the coaches' responses as well as the players....lots of obscenities screamed at one another and a few pushes...that's it. No one was thrown out or injured....a pretty tame scene, he reported.

So, from my perspective, the unpredictable nature of any sport can be inherent in the score, the players' and their abilities to overcome a greater foe, as well as the chance of a melee adding drama to the day. In a way, I wish that I could have witnessed it. But to be honest, hearing the drama played out on the radio gave me a greater appreciation for announcers who have the skills to conjure an image in the listeners' minds. I was on the edge of my seat listening to the game. It brings me back to my days as a kid when I would watch my dad work outside and listen to the Phillies games. He never missed a pitch or at-bat, because he attended the game in his mind. Seeing a game in one's mind requires an imagination and the willingness to let the broadcaster take you on a journey to places like New York, Los Angeles, and Kansas without leaving the comfort of your home.

Have a good day!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Last Day of Winter

It's the last day of winter! Yahoo! As we celebrate the impending free Water ice of the first day of spring at Rita's Water ice, we are also mourning the loss of Buddy's baseball team to the Kansas team last night.

The aforementioned team is in the top 25 in the US and therefore was a formidable foe. With that said, I was able to use the iPad to locate the Kansas radio station broadcasting the game. I turned HGTV onto mute and listened to the game as I watched a London family silently search for a vacation home in Cyprus (pretty land). They chose the house that I would have selected as I intently listened to the broadcast and tried to figure out what the family of 5 were saying to each other. Perhaps next time I can figure out how to use the caption feature on the television.

Anyway, the broadcasters were excellent and I could visualize the game as they spoke. Unfortunately, what I mentally saw was...hit batter....walk...single...passed ball...wild pitch....5-0 by the end of the 2nd inning. The starting pitcher was removed at the bottom of the 3rd inning as the announcers said..."They are warming up a left handed pitcher...we cannot see his number..." Oh Buddy in this one? Can he stop the bleeding or will the hemorrhage continue?

As the starting ace was removed, a leftie was placed in the game, but it was not Buddy. Sadly, this kid also had a tough time stopping the team and the score grew to 7-0. Three more pitchers entered the game and the team lost 9-0. Can't win 'em all....

As predicted, Buddy called midnight-ish or later (I did not look at the clock). His dad went through the game with him as I listened to both of them laugh. Interesting...laughing after a major league pounding...but nonetheless laughing. It was my turn to speak to the big kid and we chatted about school and his impending projects. I am proud of him as he is looking to the future and not dwelling on a tough loss. The game today is scheduled for 2 pm (or is Kansas time). I will listen to it again as Buddy stands an excellent chance of entering it since the team ran through a number of pitchers last night including 2 of the 5 southpaws.

Some of the bright spots of the loss abound as I heard the kid laughing and I could hear the play by play on the radio. Besides that, I could not see any other positives regarding the game.

After a successful 10 day southern road trip, the team returned home on Monday morning around 4 am...attended classes, practiced, took tests, submitted papers, and left for Kansas on Thursday around 2pm. They will be home again on Monday morning around 3 or 4 am as they land in an airport 3 hours from campus. Finally, next week, the team will play at home. I am looking forward to traveling to campus to see the team play in their own environment. The kids enjoyed the travel, but I think that it is getting old and making them weary. It is time for them to play in their own stadium with their fans. Can this make a difference? I am not sure, yet I know that when Buddy is sitting the bullpen, spitting seeds from the side of his mouth, the bullpen will be heated...nice....

Friday, March 18, 2011


Good Morning! I want to send some good wishes to BD who has been sick since we saw her in NC two weeks ago...hang in there'll be back on the ball field before you know it...

This morning Tink turned the news on and I caught the back end of a report....the topic was paying people to be better parents. Apparently someone (the government perhaps?) is going to pay people with children (I call them parents) to attend parenting classes. Based on preliminary data, there has been an increase in the child's abilities when parents know what to do. If you have been reading this blog, you know that I am not going to let this one go....

My first thought was "where is my paycheck?" My oldest is 21 years old, so somewhere my check is sitting there, collecting dust, waiting for me to pick it up. Does anyone know where? Since I have two children, does this mean that I receive more money? Is it enough to send the kids through college or pay $5.00 a gallon for gas?

Paying parents to attend parenting classes goes against the latent democrat in me. I have never been paid to be a parent. In fact, I pay to be a parent....let's pooling, time off from work, cupcakes for bake sales, buying pizzas from the soccer team, uniforms and equipment for teams, trips to farms, museums, galleries, ball games, updated software for their new computers, paint to fix the damage on the walls from rough play or throwing objects in the house, books for class (always the night before they are due), lunch money ('cause they have to have a hot dog), movie money, school uniforms and shoes, sneakers, sneakers, sneakers, and more sneakers, and lastly, acne cream (teenage woes). All of this adds up to quite a bit of money with no assistance from a stipend parenting class administrator. Also, the trips to the store when we have "nothing to eat in this house..." add up to quite a bit of money.

The way I look at it is that it is a privilege to be a parent. No one has to pay me, even when we were creating those blasted dioramas for elementary school. With that said, whoever developed or created the concept of paying parents to learn how to parent was obviously ready to explode. I am sure that the grant writers had gone through a number of programs to encourage people to take interest in their children before the idea of money came up.

Yet, as I watched my parents and siblings care for their children, there was no discussion of salaries. No pay checks were collected however the return in the personal investment came from a number of other areas that you can't place a price tag on such as hugs, wet, sticky kisses, creative art work on the walls with permanent markers, and looks of love that would melt your heart. No money could purchase these can't be done...because they are priceless....

Have a good day.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Top Ten List

Today the team flies to Kansas for a weekend series. Buddy has never been to Kansas, however, I was there for a long weekend. While there, I noticed one very interesting phenomenon....the people are really nice and friendly. When I say nice and is legitimate. As someone who grew up in the northeast, I have a bit of an "edge" and not trusting of people that I initially meet. However, in Kansas, it took a while for me to believe that these people were the "real deal"...nice and genuine. It took me a few days before I actually accepted it. When I finally began to enjoy it, I had to leave. Memo to Buddy and team mates...."Yes, they are truly nice and try to be nice back."

Last weekend's four game series with the two double headers started thoughts in me that I want to share. First, I love attending the big guy's games, even if he does not play. It is a joy for me fly or drive to a game, watch some baseball, and see my son. It is more of a joy when he actually gets into the game. With that said, he entered the last game on the last day in the last inning of the weekend. Once I saw that he was going in, I was not going to leave until the bitter end despite the seat grates making a permanent imprint on my bottom.

However, as I sat through 99.5% of the games with nothing to really do, I started to work on my "Top Ten Things To Do When You Are Bored at a Baseball Game and Your Son is Sitting in the Bullpen Spitting Sunflower Seeds from the Side of His Mouth" list (too long of a title?).

The list is actually 25 things to do, but I will share my top ten.

1. Watch people in the stands (this can be very interesting as you can observe family dynamics, husband and wife bickering and realize that you are pretty normal)
2. Get a tan (the past few weekends have resulted in wind burn rather than a suntan)
3. Watch the game with great interest
4. Eat an apple (better than a pound of Twizzlers....although they are good to eat fat)
5. Read a book or magazine
6. Answer e-mails on cell phone blackberry
7. Watch the grass grow
8. Numb your mind (with several deep breaths, closed eyes, and passive thoughts, your mind can drift onto the clouds and take you away to a tropical island)
9. Hum a catchy tune
10. Update my will

I started this list as I sat in the bleachers on Saturday from 12:30 pm until 5:15p. I had a notebook and was scribbling some random thoughts that I they are as a psychologist or any random person can understand my state of mind at the it goes....
Random thoughts of a mom watching her son sit in the bullpen:
I like this.....I love this....I am a fan.....I have to enjoy the game or perish....I love my bottom hurts....can't leave, he might close....I need a Megamillions ticket since the jackpot is 173,000,000 ....I'm hungry...Got to return that library E-readers really work?....will Donald Trump really run for President?...I'm thirsty...I love ice cream....what's for dinner? that him? he warming up?...quick, get the camera ready....nah...he's headed to the restroom....I need a merlot (or 2).....

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Theme songs

On Saturday, Tink, Buddy and I sat around the room chatting about random things from the best burgers to how to throw a cutter (I am still not sure what a cutter is...perhaps something a butcher does....). Anyway, Buddy mentioned that he needed an introductory song for home games. The investigative reporter in me asked the question, "huh?" All ballplayers are introduced during games with a themes song in the background of their choice....everyone knows that...

For example, "Wild Thing" was the song that introduced Charlie Sheen in the Major League baseball movies. It was appropriate given his predisposition for throwing wild pitches (actually, it is appropriate for him today...). Also, Chase Utley is introduced by a Led Zeppelin song (I suppose he chose it). With that said, I asked Buddy what his choice would be. His response was some "rap song" that I never heard of. Aghast, I asked him NOT to choose a song with 4-letter words in it. "Don't worry, Mom, they edit the song..." edited obscene song with 4 letter words introducing the kid that I sent to Catholic school for 13 years....This is a mother's dream....

OK, so we still have a week before he has to submit his song to the team manager....I am thinking of some songs that would be more appropriate...I have eliminated Barry Manilow, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, and Jerry Vale. As someone who loves classic rock (the boy grew up listening to it in his car seat), I am thinking of the following songs:

1. Ring of Fire (Johnny Cash) (why not...he has a burning fast ball)...
2. Everybody dance now (it has a great opening phrase and is somewhat party-like)...
3. Me and Julio Down By the School Yard (what is there NOT to like about this song? Paul Simon nailed it with the drums and guitars)...
4. Great Balls of Fire (Jerry Lee Lewis and his piano and opening line....awesome!)
5. Under Pressure (David Bowie and Queen) (the opening few seconds with the bass are very memorable)
6. I Feel Good (The opening James Brown scream gets your attention)....
7. Let's Get it Started (Black Eyed Peas.....why not?)
8. Start Me Up (Rolling Stones....Mick J moving the crowd....)
9. You make me want to shout! (Isley Brothers and Animal House...classic song..even the preschoolers know this song)
10. Get Ready for This.....(a fun song...)

I am sure that none of these songs will be selected. I am hoping and praying that the song that defines my child in his freshman year is one that he can be proud of in the years to come.....go team!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mustache March

Hello! I just saw some daffodils beginning to sprout in the mulch. Spring is coming...someone alert Mother Nature as soon as possible!

The team returned home from their long trip at 5 am on Monday morning. It seems there was an accident on the road and they were stopped for a number of hours. I have to give credit to this bus driver...snow, sleet, rain...he gets them home safely. I don't care what time as long as they arrive in one piece.

It is mid-March and the beards on the team are looking scraggly. The theme of March is that all players will grow facial hair thereby promoting team unity. unity...they can all look like Moses together. With that said, some of the kids feel that it backfired on a few of the players as they have been in batting slumps. By Saturday, the team was strongly urging the "slump-ees" to shave. With that said, one of the slumping players removed the particularly heavy beard (it must have taken all night with a number of sharp blades) and proceeded to hit a double at the first at bat post hair removal. Then he stole 3 bases and hit a single before the end of the game.

I am NOT superstitious (the lucky sneakers are a joke), but this hair thing could have a life of its own...can you imagine all of the sports team shaving to win a game or play off series? How about people who purchase lottery tickets, they can grow beards, shave them, then buy a ticket? How about some of the Spelling Bee kids? Granted, they are pretty young for this, but some of them look like they could grow a beard...does anyone look at their birth certificates?

Our own Buddy's beard looks anemic. He has not shaved since February yet needs a millimeter ruler to measure the whiskers. As a mother, I am not keen on the look, but the concept is a good one, so I keep my mouth and eyes shut. He promises to shave at the end of the month.

I am not sure if April has a theme for the guys, but May is "Mohawk May." All of the players will shave their heads except for one hairy streak down the middle of their head. I have a vision of the game for kids....Woolly Willy, where you can move crushed magnets anywhere on his face to either create a beard or hair. Perhaps the freshmen could use their meal money to pick one up so they can visualize the May look. I am not so worried about this one since they wear baseball caps anyway.

It seems that anything that the captains and coaches do to promote unity can be a good thing. They play as a single unit. One player cannot solely win a game without the assistance of his team mates...With that said, we will watch the team play in two weeks. I will be interested in seeing who stuck it out and did not shave and who could no longer stand it and took the hair off. If this is all I have to worry about as a parent, I am very fortunate and will save money on Gillette disposable shavers.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Crime Fighting as a Second Career

My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Japan as they recover from the devastating earthquake and tsunami. May God bless them during this time of pain and rebuilding.

Based on my first thought, I realize how truly lucky and blessed I am as Diva Dog sits quietly on my lap and I reflect on the activities of the weekend. It was quite a trip as Tink and I headed to the coast of Virginia to watch two double headers on Saturday and Sunday. Knowing that Buddy might play in one of the games was all the motivation that we needed to start the trip at 5:30am on Saturday. As one would expect, traffic was very light and we arrived in record time. In fact, we were so early that we checked into the hotel before heading to the games. The hotel was packed with all kinds of activities. There were two college baseball teams, a formal wedding and lots of preteens attending a dance competition. This played a large part in our request to change our room as we were sandwiched between the girls and their activities. As they ran from room to room, decorated doors, and screamed, I thought that I would rather be on the wedding floor....I was really happy that the kids were having fun, but we were losing an hour to daylight savings time, so I was reluctant to listen to the fun all night....

Anyway, once we checked in for a second time, we were off to the games. The weather was nice, a bit chilly but we were prepared with our blankets, heavy jackets, cooler of snacks and water, camera, and lucky sneakers. Ready to go....the first game was pretty good from a player's perspective. The starting pitching was excellent and I realized quickly that Buddy would not make it in for this game. So, after a while, bored, I began to watch the people in the stands rather than the game and take a few notes. I could actually watch the game and write. This comes from years of watching TV, listening to the radio and dog barking, and doing my homework. It's a skill that I have honed over the years. Now people call it multitasking.

First, I watched the cluster of dads from a sociological perspective, who gathered together to chat, analyze each play and pitch, batters' stances, and umpire calls. It was like I was the Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin, and I was observing them in their habitat. I still have not figured out which dad goes with which player until this game, then it soon became apparent as each dad would be especially observant and critical of the umpire during a particular at-bat. Even watching the dad phenomenon, I became more bored. Nothing really interesting here except for some of their comments...."all right...good stick....good eye...come on blue...taking the bats out of their hands...pick 'em up....way to lay off....keep battling....we can do this....coming, coming, coming...yeah!....atta boy.....come on 2-3...." Taken out of baseball context, these phrases are puzzling, yet at a game, I understand them.

Tink let me use her notebook and I jotted down my thoughts and observations. During the second game, I started a list of ten things to do when a person is bored at a baseball game. Once I began the list, it turned into a 25 count bulleted list. So, this could actually turn into a posting of its own in the near future. Stay tuned....

Game two like game one on Saturday ended with a victory and no Buddy sighting. I was tired and in a bit of funk, so off to the hotel's lounge for a very expensive, cheap glass of Merlot. Tink had her usual Shirley Temple and we sat there and waited for the big guy to appear post shower. He was in a fairly good mood and he took us to one of his favorite spots for dinner, Johnny Rockets, a chain of burger joints. By the way, when I say that he "took us", I am referring to him showing us where the restaurant was located. I paid for dinner and he pocketed his meal stipend from the university. We walked to the mall, had dinner and walked back. The reputation of this city is one of high crime and a large police presence, but the mall was just a few blocks away and I was not too worried.

After dinner, Buddy, Tink and I sat in the room chatting about everything from the games, to school (lots of B's, he says), and future team travel. We made plans to attend early mass together and he left to pack. On Sunday, Tink and I were ready to Buddy...after a series of calls and texts, he finally showed up in a very 'salty' mood. "I'm tired", he says....."Who isn't?" was my reply. In fact, my changing rooms earlier from the pre teen scene backfired as the couple in the adjacent room spent the night arguing using a lot of profanity. The argument would die down and escalate. Yikes, I was hoping not to hear anyone getting physically hurt, but I could not help but wonder if they realized that the entire floor could hear them.

After church, I dropped the moody, tired kid at his favorite cheap bagel place next to the hotel so that he could grab breakfast and make the team bus to the game. "Good luck" we said....I think that I heard in reply..."Thanks mom, you're the greatest. I am dedicating this game to you..." Nah...I didn't hear that. What he said was something like "hmmm...grrrr....bye..." I watched him walk toward the restaurant, and we drove away. "Hey, Tink" I said, "let's find a place to eat a big breakfast and skip lunch."

As we sat in the car and thought about it, we remembered a street a few blocks away that had a number of little bistros and cafes. Since the city is a bit dangerous, we decided to drive. Turning the car around and making a left, we saw something that was on hindsight pretty frightening. It was Buddy walking quickly down the street with a man closely following him. This did not look good as he was gaining on my kid. So, I did what any super hero would do, I drove the Honda across the divide and yelled at him to get into the car. He ran to the car and we sped away. OK, what was going on? Apparently, this man was vigorously asking him for money and he would not take no for an answer. Interestingly, Buddy's salty morning mood turned into a very relieved and happy guy to see his mother and sister. This could possibly be attributed to our successful crime fighting prowess, but I can't be sure.

As we drove to a McDonald's to grab a #12 meal for him, he told us that the guys asked the local people for suggestions on where to eat when they arrived in town. The locals watched as the kids received their meal stipends in the lobby of the hotel and knew that the kids had money on them. What they did not know is that by Sunday, the money is long gone, so if you are going to rob a college ballplayer, do it at the beginning of the week and not at the end. With that said, we safely deposited him at the hotel's door and went to brunch. Tink and I found a nice place and as we looked at the menu, the man sitting next to us had a "not so concealed" gun on his belt. Ok, he's either an undercover cop (who has blown his cover with us) or a criminal (maybe?). Why else would you have an exposed gun? Not so unfazed, we sat and had breakfast before checking out of our hotel.

Off to games 3 and 4. We decided that if Buddy played in game 3, we would leave before the 4th and get home at a reasonable hour. The team lost and Buddy did not appear. Just my luck....time for game 4. Tink and I sat and watched a great pitching game where the team's starting pitcher was pitching a no-hitter. I soon realized that the kid would finish the game and Buddy would not enter the game. Since it was a no-hitter, we decided to stay. Toward the latter innings, Buddy's number was called and he began to warm up in the bullpen. OK, I can take some bullpen photos. Just as he began to warm up, the no-hitter was busted with a single. It was looking like the starting pitcher was tiring and was soon replaced with...yep....the very last inning of the very last game and the end of the afternoon...Buddy!

He warmed up and faced the first batter...Strike 1 (yeah!)....pitch...single between shortstop and third base (oh boy...).....happily, they did not take him out...the next pitch was hit by the batter and it went deep...deep...deep...and caught on the warning track (whew)....the next batter that he faced hit the ball for a double play. Game over...Buddy closed with success....yeah team...let's get out of here....later guys!

On the way home, Buddy texted me. As Tink read the text, he thanked us for coming, looked for us after the game, and told me that he had the ball from the last out that he wanted to give me. That was nice....I told him through my assistant Tink, that he played a great inning and we would see him in few weeks. Next week, the team travels to Kansas. Before he leaves, I am going to review Rule 124.26 from the Parent Kid Commandments (one that he had memorized until he left home)...."Thou shalt not talk with strangers and flash money on a city street...." After our crime fighting incident, I think that he should memorize it and write it on the blackboard 100 times...I will not talk to strangers.....I will not flash money....I will listen to my mother....

Friday, March 11, 2011

Memorable Mound Meltdowns

Good Morning!
I have held off writing about this phenomenon for some time for a number of reasons. First, it discloses some embarrassing parent and child moments. Second, I wasn't sure how to approach it. Lastly, I wanted Buddy's permission to discuss it. Out of the three reasons, the permission part, I did not get, so I am going to be very delicate as I write so as not to completely offend the big kid.

But let's keep in mind, he was a very young boy when these meltdowns occurred, therefore he gets a "pass" on them (at least from his mom).

During the game last week Einstein asked me if he was still temperamental...I looked at her and replied..."oh, have a very good memory..."

With that said, it was a very hot Saturday afternoon and I was working the snack bar with another mother. The boy (12 at the time) was pitching for the opposing team. As he threw a ball, he looked at the umpire and began to make some crazy faces. The batter hit the next ball and the fielder missed it. It was a very easy ball and Grandmom could have fielded it and threw it to first base before the batter left the batter's box. Nonetheless, it was an error. Since I had the best seat in the house at the snack bar, I looked at the pitcher and he began to cry, but he continued to pitch. Oy! I thought....if you are going to play baseball, you cannot's a no-crying zone...but he continued to throw with tears in his eyes. My colleague in the snack bar whispered to me, "he always does this..." Mentally, I thought about his they allow this type of behavior? Come on up! I felt badly for the kid, team, and his parents as he continued his meltdown, but he never stopped pitching....

My thoughts came back to haunt me as later in the season, I witnessed my own son having meltdowns that would become legend in our little baseball community. To this day, I have the memories and I am sure that the rest of the community has them too. Yet, I now have a philosophy and theory about these meltdowns that I will share at the end of this post.

The first meltdowns that I clearly remember occurred when he would bat. Buddy never struck out...never...I can count on one hand how many times this occurred, so he was considered a contact hitter. Not all of the hits were actually hits...he would be thrown out by the fielders. So, during little league, he would hit the ball and be thrown out at times. At a certain age (perhaps 10), he would get very very tears but he would either make a fist or smack his helmet with his hand....walk back to the dugout and sulk. Hmmm...whose kid is this, I would think....oh, right...mine....his dad is the coach (even better). This would go on and on, as a person cannot bat 1000 during a season (even if he is Babe Ruth). Finally, I mustered the mother in me and told him to knock it off. Naturally, he did not listen and continued to pout whenever he was thrown out. Finally I reminded him of Borg, a professional tennis player. Once he threw his racquet as a junior player and his mother broke it and would not let him play for a while until he could control his emotions. I told Buddy that I would take his Demarini Voodoo bat (the Ferrari of bats) and he would not get it back until he figured out how to stop the tears. Was I being a mean mom?

The next series of meltdowns continued whenever he was frustrated or was unable to achieve his goal. One of which happened as a elementary school player in a district play off game. He was placed in the game with the lead. He had to hold the lead and they would be champions. As fate would have it...walk...hit batter...three errors...score...score...score...score...pitcher removed from game and placed back on first base. While on first base, the tears flowed. He pulled his hat over his eyes and tried to hide them. I knew that he felt humiliated and could not look at the kids on the team. They lost and I had the immense privilege of driving him to his little league game. He was inconsolable and I will never forget that drive home. It was not all of his fault, since there were a number of errors that could have gotten them out of the inning unscathed, but that's baseball... My heart broke for him and I did everything I could to help him through you want a hot dog? Gatorade? ice cream? water? trip to Hawaii? a life saver? The following week, he was swimming with friends and one of the older kids walked up to him and told him that he was the reason that he lost that game, even though he was not there...this followed him for a number of years...not in a good way.

The last and most memorable meltdown that I witnessed occurred in high school during another playoff game (naturally). I was a bit late to the game and saw a woman who I went to college with. We chatted for a few minutes and Buddy was on the mound and pitching like a champ. Wow, she said...that pitcher is amazing! Then the words came out of my mouth that I regret saying (at the time)..."oh, he's my son..." This was statement that I made in front of the bleachers of the opposing team's parents. He was pitching very well...amazing...however..then it happened...a ball was tapped to first base...easy play...first baseman let it roll through his legs...batter safe. Buddy's face began to contort as his no-hitter began to disappear. Another hit into the outfield...outfielder dropped batter...single...double...Buddy losing it and losing it in a very big way....I can't take my eyes off of it...a bad movie...a bad TV show...a very bad moment. The coach walked to the mound twice during this meltdown and finally took him out (whew...thank goodness). Was that the end of it? oh no...he stormed to the bench which happened to be right next to our seats and began to tear his jersey off...and fling it into the woods...yes, this is my kid...the world knew it and watched. I finally had it. If the coach (his father) was not going to end the tirade, I would. I walked to the bench and told him to stop or get into the off mom....leave me alone. As the inning ended, he sat on the bench for two more innings until he was placed back on first base. "Why did he go back into the game"? I asked. The coach replied that he wanted him to gather his emotions and control them as he re entered the game. The team lost the play off series and I was unsure how to handle it as a parent except to ground him. Baseball was over for the season, so I could not keep him from a game. So, my hands were tied. I could not let it go, and we had discussion after discussion on controlling emotions. Once you lose it, you cannot get it back. So, he was going to have to figure out how to handle adversity and disappointment. son is a head case, one would think? Nope, he isn't. He is a guy (like the first kid) who is an extreme competitor. As he went through the teenage years, hormones would be rampant. He would have to learn how to control his passion for the sport and his disappointment when things did not go his way. Either figure it out or leave the sport. That was the choice that he had.

This story ends well. He did learn to control his zeal. He would step off the mound...breathe deeply...walk around the mound....take his hat off and place it back on his head...finally, he did it....Now, I can tell when he is beginning to feel the pressure...step off...hat off...breathe...hit the glove...give me the ball...He did it!!!

Last year, he was pitching in a play off game against another terrific pitcher. The team lost the game, not so much because of the pitching but because they could not score enough runs against the opposing pitcher. The high school season was officially over. A week later, the school held its annual sports banquet. The coaches have to make a speech about the seniors. As the baseball coach began to speak about Buddy, he said that he was going to tell the "psycho" story (I would have killed him), but instead read a letter that the school received from the umpire from the play off game. The letter was two paragraphs long in which he praised Buddy for his gentleman demeanor, behavior, and composure. The umpire wrote that he has never written a letter to a school before, but Buddy's extreme graciousness and abilities on the field warranted it. He wrote that the big kid was a terrific example of what kids should aspire to be....

Wow...this was about my son....suddenly, the mound meltdowns made sense. You see...Buddy has been a real competitor all of his life. He hates to lose and does everything in his power to win, just like the first kid in this post. With that said, this energy and passion had to evolve and manifest itself in order to be a tool in his game. In other words, once he could control these emotions, there was no stopping him. So, the years of watching these memorable mound meltdowns were significant in the developmental process. Lastly, the boy who cried on the mound and Buddy are the only kids still playing baseball in college.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Rain, rain, rain....hoping that it nourishes the grass and flowers and not my basement....Who needs a swimming pool there?

Tink and I have made our weekend plans. She has a nasty cold so we'll hold off from travel until Saturday morning. Hopefully, the worst part of it will have abated and she will be able to breathe freely. Nevertheless, we will leave around 6 am, arrive in Virginia around noon, watch a double header, stay in the team hotel (got a great rate), watch Sunday's game and leave for home...sounds like fun, eh? Actually, if the weather holds, it will be a nice time. Knowing that we may see him pitch once during the three games is fine. At least he will see some action based on his last performance.

Last week, Buddy and I had a conversation which surprised me. He said that his friends who are seniors in high school were now complaining about the spring work outs and the team dynamics. Dr Buddy told them to enjoy this time, because it can be the best in your life. A profound statement coming from a college freshman... Yet, the Oprah in me would not let it go without further interrogation (oh so 'Geraldo')....tell me...why was your senior year the best time of your life ('cause I remember it differently)? He replied that he loved being the best on the team and the go-to-guy. I guess I get it as he struggles to be noticed by the coaches in college and professional scouts...I get it...That was the end of the conversation because his paragraphs are two sentences in length and so is his dialogue. Therefore...end of discussion....moving on to dinner plans....

OK, I never spoke about his senior year. This was intentional as his struggles finally paid off. During the summer between his junior and senior year, he played legion baseball. His coach loved him (a phenomenon that he was not accustomed to) and he was the number one pitcher. Sadly, he got Lymes disease in June. He was out of action for a week before he forced himself to return to the mound. However, LD causes a number of physical problems such as weight loss, incredible fatigue, head and body aches, and lethargy. He had all of those symptoms yet pushed himself to return. As fate would have it, he lost considerable speed off his fast ball. This would impact the recruiting process significantly.

As he recovered from LD and his strength improved, there was a push to attend as many baseball showcases as possible for the schools that he wanted to attend. We traveled to NC, Va, NJ, CT, and Delaware. My only request was to keep the location three hours or less to home...that's it...As he threw during the showcases, coaches were impressed with his location but not his speed. There was nothing that he could do, because he was still recovering from LD and would not use it as an excuse. Therefore, schools were only mildly interested. He was pretty much devastated because he saw his peers signing their deals with universities early and he did not have an offer yet. He was despondent but did not give up. I knew that his fast ball was fast because he hit a player during the summer after LD and broke the kid's ankle.

We must have logged thousands of miles on the car, ate in dozens of fast food restaurants, and stayed in some not so nice hotels (think a haven for bedbugs and crawly creatures). Coaches spoke to him during the showcases, but again, no actual offers. As senior year began, he made a fall travel team that had the most significant impact on his college goals. This team traveled up and down the east coast and college coaches were in attendance. Unfortunately for the big kid, he was relegated to first base since that was his other position. He was very good at it and their first baseman was not as good, so there he was...upset that he was not pitching because he wanted to pitch in college. The fall season ended with again, only mild interest....

Senior year is always so stressful for the kids with the questions of where they would attend school. They now have admission applications on the internet, so the applicant does not have to wait by the mailbox but check on the website. As the year progressed, he was edgy and anxious...yet at the same time, he was confident. In a previous post, I mentioned his winter pitching coach, who plays in the Reds farm system. He tinkered with some of his mechanics and suddenly the kid was throwing mid 80's up to 89...He was shocked that Buddy had not been picked up and he began to make calls to his friends in the he began to see a great deal of interest since the college coaches respected this pitching coach's wisdom. Let's fast forward to January and the team of his dreams started the recruiting invitation to campus...tour of facilities....nutritionist, orthopedic specialist to monitor spines, arms, and all over the country...sports adviser...sports psychologist...mandatory study of grades weekly....catered pre game meal...and HEATED bullpens! He was immediately smitten and overwhelmed but had to visit two more schools before the final decision. The schools did not compare to the dream school and the decision was made.

It was a very very long and painful process for him. He had to continually prove his value and worth. The way that I look at is, it made him into a fierce competitor who will battle until the end...bloody...bruised...never giving up.....focus on can happen...Yet, even though it was mentally grueling for him, we had a lot of good memories as we traveled and laughed and saw new places around the country. I would not trade it for anything. We all gained from the experience and will always remember the trips, tournaments, games, and the times that we spent together as a family.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Good Morning!
I am not sure where to begin today except the beginning. Yesterday's game in Virginia started at 3 pm. Tink and I had the laptop open with the University's Game tracker on. If you have ever "watched" a game on Game tracker, you are really watching a screen with immobile pegs designated as players. If someone gets a hit, the peg moves. That's it. The pegs are identified as players who are currently in the game. A person could be watching this screen for three hours and have very little movement. Yet,under the virtual field, there is a synopsis of the game from batter to batter. Also, there is no sound. So, a person could be sitting in front of the computer screen and wait for several minutes for an update.

With that said, our own Buddy made it into the game in the fourth inning. No one was more shocked than me. I haven't missed an inning all season and I missed seeing him enter the game. His dad called from work and alerted me, so I began to watch the immobile pegs on the screen with a great deal of intensity.

The first batter that he faced....strike-out....(oh yeah!). Based on his previous game, I figured that he was done and would not see action for another three weeks. Wrong! He stayed in the game. One run was scored through the three innings that he pitched. It was unearned and on 2 fielder's errors. However, in the 3 innings, he struck out 4 batters and walked two. No other runs were scored and once he walked two batters in a row, he was taken out of the game. The team went on to win in 11 innings 6-1. This was very exciting. I was actually encouraging the team in my little virtual world. When he struck out a player, we would clap...when his photo flashed onto the screen, we, we sat on the sofa, watched the screen, ate goldfish (cheddar, not real ones) and drank was almost like being there (OK, not really...).

With that said, he called when he got back to his room. I could tell through the phone that he was smiling and very happy, yet humble and subdued. It was a long time coming. He faced a number of obstacles along the way. There were people including his own high school coaches who did not believe in his talents and skills. Therefore, this was a wonderful moment for him. The big kid mentioned that he began to fatigued and could not locate his pitches and therefore was taken out of the game. We both agreed that this is a function of conditioning and there is a reason for hard work pre and during the season. We finished the conversation with him revealing his plans to go to out to a place where you can eat all the wings you want for $6.00. Yum....not....

I looked at the university's website for a post game summary. The writer used adjectives like 'sensational' and 'force on the mound.' This article was very complimentary and I will download it and add it to his scrap book. However, once we celebrated this terrific feat, we go back to reality. The reality are only as good as your last continue to work hard to improve and perfect your do not sit back and rest on your laurels....Lastly, as high as you are today, you can be just as low tomorrow...there are no guarantees that he will enter a game soon or pitch as well. So it is very important to keep all emotions in check and take it day by by game...pitch by pitch, in order to stay sane. I sound like I am a downer....but I am not.

I know that the guys work hard to move to the top. They work even harder to stay there...some day, they will drop to the bottom again and he has to handle each victory and defeat the same...with grace and dignity....I always felt that the measure of a person is not in the way that they handled victory...but in the way that they handle defeat and adversity.

The following poem by Rudyard Kipling has been quoted in our home over and over again by Buddy's dad. Generally, I don't listen when he brings Kipling up, but this resonates as a great way to end this post...have a great day....

If by Rudyard Kipling (1865 – 1936)

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with King – nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Southern Men

Ok...I am not driving south today. So, I will hang out in the frigid northeast celebrating Fat Tuesday with Tink and Diva Dog. I will place some mardi gras beads around her neck....How is that for fun?

Actually, home is very nice and our haven. I have the week off from work and will try to sort out a closet or two (now, there's the fun!)...

Heard from the big kid yesterday. I asked him what kind of revenge he took on his former senior room mates after they partied on his bed over the it is...."I didn't clean the room before we left...." Now, there is the revenge...look out guys....he left the towels on the floor for those crazy partiers to pick up. That's my boy...

Today starts a two game series with a college in Virginia. The team had a practice yesterday in which Buddy tripped on the mound and landed on his knee. The knee is now swollen and a bit painful. I suggested ice, tylenol, elevation, and rest with a visit to the trainer. He took the tylenol, but nothing else. According to his dad, the injury cannot be that severe since the guys walked to a mall and stayed there for a few hours. However, this is not the case with his friend on the team. After each practice or game, his elbow would swell and he would have a great deal of pain. Instead of taking the southern trip with the team, he went home for an evaluation. Sadly he needs "Tommy John" surgery and will be out of action for 18 months.

This type of surgery on an 18 year old should not be necessary unless there has been some type of fundamentals breech or considerable overuse. As I reflect upon this, I cannot help but consider that the coaches and kids expect the pitchers to throw 90 mph each time they release a ball. This cannot be healthy for a 17 or 18 year old. With that said, why isn't someone advocating for these athletes? Why aren't the coaches and trainers telling the kids to "locate" the ball over the plate? Why is the ultimate goal 90-92 mph rather than a strike at 82 mph?

I remember little league very well. There was a player who was a tremendous athlete. He was definitely the best kid on the team. He could pitch like someone much older than his years and hit the ball farther than anyone around him. Buddy's dad was the coach at the time and the boy complained of elbow pain. Dad told the parents to have it checked, which they never did. As a result, once the boy was evaluated by a physician, it turned out that there was a fracture. The kid was playing with a broken arm and still hitting home runs. Needless to say, he never developed into the promise that he once had and his baseball career has ended. Parents...please listen to the cues from your children....playing in a game in little league means nothing compared to permanent disability.

With that said, my plan for the day, once the closets are cleaned out, is to sit in front of my computer and watch game tracker on the Internet. I can follow the game as if I was there (sort of). I will know if Buddy is in the game or taking pictures of the bullpen with his 'Buddy-cam'. I am telling you...a great idea...need to do some marketing...ESPN-ish...don't you think?

Have a great Fat Tuesday......go team!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Bullpen Phenomenon

I am back home and the weather is chilly, and breezy with some sun. Spring officially begins in a few weeks. While in NC, I saw pansies, buds on trees, and flowers blooming. Nice....really really nice....

Today the team has a work out in Virginia. If Buddy is told that he is going to play tomorrow or Wednesday, I will point the car south and hop onto I95 again. Actually, I had planned to stay in the south for the entire week, but changed my mind on Saturday when Sunday's game was canceled. It's interesting, I have never been a spontaneous person. All my moves are planned and somewhat calculated, but here I am the day before a game that is 6 hours away and I might go...On further thought, I would do anything for these kids including driving through DC traffic.

On Saturday, BD and I had a conversation about bullpen pitchers. A team never knows how a game is going to go. That is, will the starting pitcher throw a no-hitter and stay in the game for 9 innings? Will the starting pitcher be 'lit up' in the early innings and therefore be removed from the game in the first few innings? Will the team in the latter innings need a right or left handed pitcher? Will the bullpen relief pitcher be sent in with the bases loaded and no outs? Will the relief pitcher be sent in with an existing count and be expected to throw three 90-mile/hour fast balls? Lots of questions....lots of answers. So, it is time to reflect on the bullpen phenomenon....

The bullpen pitcher is an integral part of any game. In the major leagues, certain 'closers' have a reputation for finishing the game as a win for the starting pitcher. Batters often do not want to face the 'closer' on the opposing team, because the pitcher is equipped with a devastating curve ball and a fast ball thrown up to 100 mph (that's fast). On Buddy's team, there are 9 (I think) bullpen pitchers. Each pitcher has their own unique personality and abilities. In Buddy's case, he has a nasty fast ball and (when it is working) a curve ball that is un-hittable. However, he is a kid who requires intense mental preparation and warm up before entering a game. He has to be prepared in a moment's notice to enter a game and save it for the team. This is a huge responsibility and a guy has to be in a constant state of preparedness. Take Saturday's double header, for example, he completes pre-game preparations that take a few hours, then he sits, stands, leans in the bullpen while the game proceeds. At any point, his number will be called. What if he is sitting for 7-8 hours during a double header...he has to be ready for that length of time. No wonder the kid was so 'furious' on Saturday night. He was ready to go for 8 opportunity to expend this pent up energy....just sitting, standing, leaning and no throwing...tough situation for any competitor to be in...

So, this is one of the many reasons why I choose to attend as many games as possible. He needs a post game outlet to discharge his anxieties and frustrations. His family is very safe. We act as a sounding board and safe haven. I acknowledge his frustrations and continue to verbalize that he is a freshman and has to earn the coach's confidence. It's part of the hard...focus the energy on improvement....I never say..."yeah...rough deal....awful've been robbed....they don't appreciate you..." He appreciates the support and for me not giving in to some of his rants. When we are at an away game, he always comes to our room and joins us for is normal, safe, and comfortable for him. As one of my favorite poets (and yes, he is a poet) Paul Simon would sing..."after changes, we are more or less the same...." These kids may be in college and look like men....but they are still our sons...the babies that we nurtured....that will never change, no matter how old they get.

The rest of the guys hang out with their families too. One would think that the older they get, the less they need their families, but I don't really believe it. I don't hover. If he wants to be with his friends or team, he is excused from any family activities. It's part of life. But like the bullpen pitcher, we are in a constant state of preparedness ready to assist him at any time and embrace
Paul Simon's words as eloquent...."...after changes, we are more or less the same....more or less the same...."

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Back north

We're back home after a long drive. I was very surprised when we did not stop for a prolonged tour in DC. Washington traffic is notorious for long delays and construction. Every time I am stuck on I 95 between Baltimore and Richmond, I never see anyone working on the road, yet the lanes are closed. I have a theory....the government ran out of money for the DC construction project. The little funds that they have pay for one man with a shovel. He works 4 hours a day trying to finish the project. At this rate, he will finish the job around 2025. So, expect construction delays.

Yesterday was a very interesting day. My reasons for being in NC were twofold. First, Buddy was playing a nationally ranked team and the chance of him entering the game was pretty good. The second reason was to connect with family and friends. We stayed with Blue Devil in her amazing home. Never once did I worry about bedbugs. BD has a great house and was a super hostess even though she had a cold and had to leave for a business trip. Chill and The Hunter were there too. TH can fix anything, perhaps BP should let him tinker with the busted oil pipe in the Gulf and try to fix it permanently. On the other hand, Chill has definitely earned her nickname. As we sat at the game yesterday, she was frozen solid. She never complained and patiently waited for Buddy to enter the game.

On to the game....the first game began at 1 pm with a chilly wind in the forecast. Our team lost the first game as the pitcher walked a run in and loaded the bases. The team never had a chance to catch up. The second game started at 4:10 pm and our team was quick to score and scored often. During the 6th inning, the coach began to play with the bullpen. I could feel it...he's going to's going to happen! Well, the 6th inning came and went, so did the 7th and 8th....It was the 9th inning, he's going to close (I told myself). We sat in a very chilly stadium and waited for the big kid to enter the game....he never got in...not even to take a gatorade break in the dugout.....never came in, even though he should have (a mother's perspective). So, Chill (chilled to the bone), a sniffling BD, The Hunter (wishing for a bee-yah (beer in Boston)), Einstein, Einstein II, Tink, Wolfpack Man and I sat and sat and sat and waited and froze. Sadly, the only glimpse of Buddy was looking through my telephoto camera lens as he leaned against the fence in sheer boredom.

The second game ended too late for our group to have dinner together, so people said their good-byes and left the stadium. Tink and I went to the team's hotel and got a room for the night. After we checked in, I got a text from Buddy..."furious"....that says it all...he was a bit miffed. As he came to the room, I let him vent as he went on and on...."gonna transfer...not fair....unbelievable..." and so on. As he finished, I asked if he felt better...What do you think his answer was? If you answered the question 'no', you are correct. It was 8 o'clock and we needed to find a place to eat. Sadly, the only restaurant that would take a reservation was a fondue place. I thought that sounded intriguing....wrong, again. After dinner, famished Buddy ordered a pizza and bread sticks to be delivered to his room.

It was getting late, so Buddy said good night and went back to his room, pizza and senior room mates. We made plans to go to early mass before the bus took the team to Virginia and Tink and I headed home. After showers, we fell soundly asleep....that is until 3 am when there was a pounding on our door....who is it? Three guesses....the first two guesses don't count....yep...there he was...tee shirt, sweat pants, sneakers and cell phone....Problems? I asked.....then the growling started....

"They are having a party...spilling beer on my bed...15 people in the room...won't leave...I'm exhausted...can I stay here?"...Sure, I handed him a blanket and pillow and he settled in on the love seat. The love seat is about 4.5 feet in length. Buddy is around 6'4" and pretty broad. I figured he would curl up on it. When we got out of bed at 6:30, I looked at him. His legs were hanging over the end of the sofa and his right arm on the floor...quite a sight. His mood had not changed and he was quite 'salty'. We made it to mass. Buddy wore the same outfit that he slept in, did not comb his hair or brush his teeth. His attitude was equally as bad. After church, I dropped him and his friend off at the lobby where they had breakfast and got ready for the bus. He had some revenge plans in store for his room mates. At this moment, I am not sure what the plans were, but he was going to make a lot of noise this morning....yep, that will teach them not to party on his bed....

So, now we are home. The weekend was fun, Buddy did not play, yet all is not lost. He decided that he would work even harder to show the coaches how good he really is....(that was very positive). We also came up with a plan to place a mini camera on his baseball it "Buddy-cam"...he can take pictures of the dugout, field and team mates....perhaps we can market this to campuses around America.

Before I sign out, I did not realize how big baseball is in NC. Kids were hanging around the dugouts, bullpens and gates asking the players for their autographs...even Buddy was asked. It was pretty cute watching these little boys who are dreaming of becoming big league players talking with these bigger kids who just happened to be in college. After all, aren't all baseball players really big kids who are living a dream? Didn't this dream begin when they were 8 years old with their dads pitching to them in the driveways?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Back to the past

Good Morning
Today is the big double header and I think (I pray) that Buddy will see some action. He will have a fan base there as Tink, Einstein, Blue Devil, Chill, and the Hunter will be there to cheer him on. I have my fingers, toes and eyes crossed for 2 things....1. he gets into the game at least to face one batter 2. he strikes the guy out looking with his fast ball on the corner of the plate...That's it. That is all that I want for him. Is that too much to ask? Should I place my order with the coach? I am pretty sure that the coach does not know who I am, so I will just send some mental good wishes his way. Remember some of the Star Trek shows....there were a few aliens who could control Captain Kirk's mind and actions.....perhaps I can channel some of this psychic mind control and use it on the coach...then again....maybe not.

This brings me to reflect about upon coaching. Currently, I do not have any positive or negative thoughts about this one. He seems like a decent guy who knows and understands the game. He and his father played in the major leagues, so he understands how these athletes can achieve their goals. No one can tell me that these kids do not want to play in the majors one day. The work and commitment are way too hard for me to believe otherwise. The coaches understand it and they are pushing the kids to be their best. Each kid has to compete for a spot, therefore, our own Buddy is even more of a competitor than he once was when he left home. He understands that he as to fight to get into the games. It's a good lesson in sports and in life.

I actually coached a number of Tink's teams in elementary school. The lessons that I learned stay with me forever. The first year that she played basketball in third grade, I was the head coach. She played in a game that we lost 2-1. Yes, our team scored one point. We played 30 minutes running up and down the court never shooting the ball. I pleaded with them during each time out....please throw the ball up in the air....maybe it will go near the net...maybe have to try it. Even the referees were encouraging the girls to shoot. Finally, a player was fouled, she closed her eyes and one of the balls went in. It was a great moment.

Parents were always the fun part of coaching (not). Each parent felt that their daughter was the next Mia Hamm or Gabrielle Reese. As I look back, none of the girls are still playing any kind of organized sport except for one young woman who is playing D1 basketball. She had "game" even in the 4th grade. She was the only kid (or adult for that matter) who could dribble a ball between her legs and toss it in for a lay up. She was an amazing athlete and player who would practice day and night (again, that work ethic).

A parent once asked me why the girls did not "fast break". My response was that they did not know how to dribble yet. Anyway, she offered her daughter a dollar every time that she grabbed a rebound and ran down the court. The dollar seemed to motivate this kid. Sadly, her psychomotor skills were not developed and she lost the ball every time she crossed the center court.

I have other parent stories but will sign out for to run to Starbucks and then to a double header....

Friday, March 4, 2011

Road Trip

We pointed the car south this morning at 6am, turned on the tunes, and set the navigation system. Tink and I hit the open highway, stopping only a few times to stretch, grab some coffee, and refuel.

The first stop was only a few minutes from the house as we picked up some bagels and coffee. This should keep us fed for 8 hours; I thought to wrong I was....

As we hit I 95, we were in a a surgeon and scrub nurse....I would call out for Tink to hand to worms...chap stick....water bottle....It was a methodical and effective system. I never had to take my eyes off the road and always had what I needed, especially the coffee.

As one hour turned into two then three, the music became an important part of the trip as we sang along with Springsteen, Led Zeppelin, Stones, and oldies music....Hang on Sloopy was on the radio as Tink and I had a debate....The song title is "Sloopy"...not "Snoopy”...It's like the time she said to me "I like Q-tips in my salad"...perhaps she meant croutons? Anyway, as we tried to sing along, since we had no idea what the words were, we hummed, sang hang on sloopy and changed the station.

We made a few strategic stops along the way. The first stop was a Cracker Barrel since I knew the restrooms were clean and then found a Starbucks. My life was complete....back to I 95…

Once we found the stadium in NC, Tink and I sat in some very nice seats behind the third base line. I walked around a bit and found Buddy in the bull pen with the rest of the pitchers and scored some photos of his back, right ear and number….that’s it….I sat back down with Tink and waited and waited and waited for our Buddy to enter the game. Come on coach (I thought), let him pitch to one guy...just one...sadly, no Buddy...the game ended with our team scoring the winning run at the top of the 9th and they held on to win the game. Yeah team....
Tomorrow the teams play a double header beginning at 1pm. The Sunday game was cancelled because of torrential rain in the forecast, so they will try to play two on Saturday.

After the game, we picked Buddy up at the hotel and took him to dinner and shopping for some birthday clothes. Apparently he is still growing and needs clothes that fit. So, off to the mall we went…..while walking around, he confided in me that he could not find his wallet with his meal money and license in it. Wrong thing to admit to a very tired mother! Huh? No wallet? What about your ID? Your (actually my) credit card…is that missing too? Anything else missing besides my mind? How does a kid lose a wallet with money in it? What is he thinking or not thinking? Am I the only parent who has a kid who has lost all forms of identification and melts his credit cards? What did I miss telling him when he was growing up? Perhaps I neglected to mention driver’s licenses, wallets, money, and credit cards are to be protected at all times. Perhaps he slept through that lesson. He calmly assured me that he would find the wallet once he returned to the hotel and I was not to worry….Thanks pal…I will take the night off from worrying….Since I am now worry free, it’s time to have a merlot…..more tomorrow…

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Heading south

Good morning,
I finally have a day off to prepare for tomorrow's journey. Tink and I are looking forward to the weekend when we have the opportunity to see some of our favorite people, Buddy, Blue Devil, Chill, Hunter, and Einstein. I have known BD and Chill for 30 years. As far as Einstein is concerned, I have watched her grow up. I met her family when she was in preschool when they lived down the street. In high school, she was our number one she has a Masters degree from UNC and is a statistician in Chapel Hill (hence the name Einstein). So, I am feeling a bit old...yet Einstein is going to a college baseball game to see a boy who she fed formula to when she was 14 year old. Perhaps she will be feeling the 'age thing' too.

Anyway, Tink drove alone to work yesterday and made it home alive. She admitted to one incident where she almost hit the guardrail...that was a one time thing. After a calm question and answer period, she said that she learned something from the almost accident....she should not drive too close to the person in front of her...good lesson....this is going to give me gray hairs as she has her own merlot moments. I am not sure if I should or should not give her the keys for our southern journey, yet she needs the experience of driving long distances and staying focused. I may need to eliminate caffeine from my diet tomorrow if she is going to drive.

Buddy called last night. He was given two tickets for Friday's game that he left in my name. The tickets are only a few dollars, but he felt really good telling me that the tickets are on him. I doubt if the games are going to be sell outs, but the intention was very nice.

I have a list of errands to do before I leave....will post baseball updates as they are available.....

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Birthday Musings

Good morning. Natalie Cole is adding to my thoughts as she sings..."The very thought of you" on Pandora...what a great song..."I see your face in every flower....your eyes in stars above...." It's a love song....timeless....the mind wanders and rests on the people that I love...what are they doing? How are they feeling? Should I give them a call or send them a note? Do they know that I am thinking of them...

I guess I am in this reflective mood again as Buddy celebrated his 19th birthday yesterday. According to all published reports (Facebook), the day was a good one. I spoke with him a record number of times and had some good conversations. And as always, I spoke to him at 8:49 pm, the moment that he officially entered my life on the first of March, 19 years ago. It might seem corny to some, but to me, it was a monumental event like buying your first home or car, receiving your first credit card (AMEX...I remember that one very very well), and your wedding day. It's also a "mom" thing and for some reason, he puts up with me and my very sentimental nature.

During our conversations, we made plans for the weekend when the team travels south to NC and Va for 10 days. Sisters in law Chill and Blue Devil with be there along with brother in law...The Hunter....Buddy and Tink's former babysitter, Einstein, will also stop by to watch one of the games. It looks like the weather will hold and the weekend should be lots of fun. Hopefully, Buddy will actually get into a game and at least face one batter with us watching.....If not, we will still be there to support the rest of the team and take lots of pictures with him sitting in the bull pen. If he is in a 'snarky' mood, the photos will be of his back since he will not look at me when he is in that state especially when I have a camera in my hand.

Nineteen years old....It seems like last week when he picked up his plastic Fisher Price bat for the first time or threw his first left handed pitch. No one was happier than his father to see his son pitch and bat left handed. It was like he won the lottery, invested his winnings, and was living off a trust fund in a beach house that had air conditioning....Frankly, I was not impressed, but his dad was must be a "guy thing"....

With that said, it is time to pack the bags, check the gps navigation, choose a route, buy some snacks, call the dog sitter for Diva Dog, make sure there are enough funds in the debit account, fill up the gas tank, pack the lucky sneakers and baseball bag, and plug in the camera....Look out I-95...Mom and Tink are taking a road trip....