Posts tagged with: baseball

The Last Gasp of Summer

Yesterday was one of those summer days we just hate around here, hot and muggy.  Oppressive.  Today, though, was nice.  The air felt light.  There was even a breeze, and the temperatures were down about 10 degrees from yesterday.  It was almost like, well, fall.

Now Dragon Con is upon us, ending on Labor Day.  While summer doesn’t officially end until September 22, Labor Day feels like it draws the curtain over summer and its freedom.  Maybe that’s because school used to start right after Labor Day, not in August like it does now.  For whatever reason, Dragon Con itself has become my signpost for summer’s end.

As far as food goes, the end has been in sight for a couple of weeks.  Watermelon starts being less good after July 4.  By Labor Day, it’s often pretty anemic in both appearance and flavor.  Corn on the cob is not as plump or as large.

NY2014_GramercyBirdhouseWhen I look back at the summer, I managed to do quite a few things I intended.  I ate more fruits and vegetables, cut back seriously on soda, and am exercising more–though not as much as I’d like to.  The boy and I got his travel arrangements made, and we had a nice, if short, family vacation and saw this unusual birdhouse in a park.  We even planted some irises, which steadfastly refused to bloom.

We even went to a minor league baseball game, courtesy of the boy’s boss.  The dh used to go to minor league games regularly until the stadium burned down and the team moved to South Carolina, but that’s a long, involved story!  Anyway, we were glad to experience this bit of Americana together.  And our team won–go, Knights!

And of course, as you may have seen on Facebook, I finally got to see a space shuttle.  And it was the Enterprise!  I know she never actually flew, but…the Enterprise!  I’d wanted to see the U.S.S. Intrepid Museum and the shuttle for a long time.

NY2014_N&Shuttle

 

BackyardOwl_2014A big event for us, though it seems fairly insignificant in the grander scheme of things, was spotting an owl in our back yard.   We stood under it, talking and taking pictures, and it ignored us totally.  It might be a sort of “I know I can take you if I have to” kind of attitude.  Still, we were all agog, and watching the big raptor was one of the highlights of our summer.

But I didn’t go out to our local park and watch the geese on the big artificial pond.  I didn’t whittle the TBR pile noticeably.  I didn’t learn to make pretty raffle baskets (I rely on other bandits for that), nor did I tinker around with changes to my website or paint the upstairs bathroom. *sigh*  I keep hoping the painting elves will just, you know, do that, but they haven’t so far!

What did you do this summer that you especially enjoyed?  What did you hope to do that you’re probably not going to get done before the seasonal calendar changes?

 

Lost and Found

lostfoundDo you ever lose things? No, I’m not talking about your cell phone or car keys. Those I can keep track of quite nicely. I mean things you’ll need once in a while or months later? You’ve put this object or objects away in a “safe” place so you’ll remember where to find it and when you go to get it…it’s not freaking there!! Yep, I’m having some problems with that these days.

Sometimes you know something is gone forever, but good news pops up anyways! But then sometimes you’re looking for one thing and find another! And sometimes, you find what you were looking for and it turns out better than you ever imagined!

Example #1. Baseball Tickets.

My husband and I are HUGE baseball fans. We currently have 2 favorite teams. Our #1 team is always The Cleveland Indians. (I’ve done entire blogs about the team!!) Our #2 team is the Texas Rangers, our new home team. We root for them as long as they aren’t playing The Indians. Hubby’s birthday is a few days before the annual start of Baseball season, so after we moved to Dallas, I started buying him tickets to the series of games when Cleveland played here against Texas. Yes, he was quite shocked. Every year I try to get better seats, near the field and right behind the visitors, (Cleveland)’s dugout. Well, this year the tickets came and unfortunately I didn’t put them away where I would find them.baseball_tickets_sm

So, after a massive search of the house and no sign of the tickets, I reach out to the Rangers ticket office. 

Ah! The lovely man on the other end of the line chuckled. “Happens all the time, ma’am. Just have your husband present the email with the confirmation at the ticket office anytime before the game and we’ll print him up new ones.” HALLELUJAH! Did I mention he was a lovely man?

Example #2. Rocky’s coat scratcher. 

A while back I noticed Rocky-the-wonder-dog’s coat was looking a bit mangy. He’s a short-haired dog, so he sheds the extra thickness in  his coat every year about this time. I went to look for his coat scratcher, It’s this metal thing with zigzag teeth that I pull through his coat and it thins out his coat, bringing all the old dead hair with it. Could. Not. Find. It. Anywhere. It wasn’t in the usual spot where I always put it when I’m done. What the heck did I do with it?  The more days I couldn’t find it, the mangier poor old Rocky looked.

IMAG0225_resizedSo, while I was hunting for tickets, what do I find? Yep! Rocky’s coat scratcher, outside, behind the chest where we store the out door furniture cushions in the winter. (Why was I looking for tickets out there? I was desperate, I tell you, desperate!) So, I spent the entire morning grooming Rocky, who did the bend-myself-in-two-because-it-feels-so-good act he does when I scratch him and now his coat is smooth and he looks way happier.

Example #3. VANISHED.

 A number of years ago, I was working on a book to follow KIDNAPPED and HUNTED. I’d started the book and then for presonal reasons, decided to change the entire book. So I began again, different premise, same characters. I worked on it for some time, but my heart was never into the new pages. In the mean time I had a WADD (Writer Attention Defecit Disorder) moment or two and moved on to other projects, eventually selling The Surrender of Lacy Morgan to Ellora’s Cave. 

Then I decided to try my hand at self publishing. KIDNAPPED and HUNTED  were out, but I knew I had more books in the series. I decided to make a novella with the married brother of the Edgars’ clan, Dave and his wife Judy. That turned into SEIZED, which will be out in June of this year. :) 

In the meantime, I revisited the idea of Luke’s story, (the youngest brother in the Edgars’ family). Unfortunately, my old computer died a year ago and when I moved files from it to this new one…I somehow manage to lose both the new and old stories I’d started for Luke. Dang it! I was going to have to start from scratch!! Sigh.

Well, back in January, I spent an entire 3 weeks unable to talk…no voice. So one day I’m sitting in my office staring at the hutch on my desk, when what do I spy? This little box containing those 3.5″ square discs I used to save my manuscripts to. OMG! You don’t think I could’ve possibly saved that original story there? 

A quick investigation found one labeled LUKE. OMG!! Hubby opened it on his computer, because my new one doesn’t have a drive for that and then he emailed it to me. Wha-la! There it was in all it’s glory!! Hallelujah!! I sat and read it. I still loved this original beginning and now felt it was the perfect way to tell Luke’s story. 

And the best part?

It was 12,500 words!!!

The working title is VANISHED, not because I couldn’t find it, but for other reasons, but hey, if the pun fits!! And hopefully, if I work really hard on it, YOU might get to read it in the fall.

 

So, do you ever lose things? Ever have something turn up when you least expect it? What was the oddest thing you ever lost? What was the most IMPORTANT thing you ever lost?What do you lose more than anything? 

 

What it was, was FOOTBALLL!!!!!

Football?  Really?

I know, I know, it’s BASEBALL season!  And yes, Bandita Suz and I are already laughing and poking at one another over our teams’ records and players.  She’s a fan of the Cleveland Indians.  Me?  I’m an Atlanta Braves fan, but I also have to root for the Washington Nationals and the Chicago Cubs.  Occasionally, in honor of my late Father-in-Law, I’ll have to root for the Chicago White Sox. 

I’m also totally caught up in baseball because my eldest son is a fabulous player.  (Even taking into account that I am his Mama, I have to say, he’s good!)  Now, my husband played football, baseball, basketball and rugby.  Ever seen the rugby bumper sticker that says “Give Blood, Play Rugby!”

Now, I have to let you in on a secret.  Shhhhhhhh!  Don’t tell the men of my household, but baseball is NOT my first love.  Nor is basketball, which my son also plays and plays well.

My favorite is FOOTBALL!!!  WOOHOOOO!!!  Love me some football.  And the reason I bring it up all out of season, is that the NFL Draft is coming up in 9 days.  I’d give you the hours and minutes, which I’m tracking, but I don’t want to bore you right away.  Ha!  So, in American football, the way the draft works is that the team with the absolute worst record in the previous season gets first pick of the new crop of kids coming out of college and applying for the draft.  Now, when it comes down to it, that doesn’t always happen, because that losing team with it’s first pick can trade that first-in slot to another team in trade for more seasoned players.  It’s a little bit like working a Vegas betting pool.

However, in the main, those losing-record teams generally keep their slots in hopes that young talent will somehow bring them a winning season THIS year. 

I love the game of football, with it’s associations to war games and strategy.  I love the pomp of it, the down-to-the-wire positioning, the mud games, the snow games, the torrential rain games.  I love the long bombs, the short passes that turn into 80-yard-runs; I even love the disasterous up the middle plays that so seldom work.

The Draft is fun too because I watch college football.  I’ve learned the skills and names of some of these wonderful young atheletes and look forward to seeing where they land.  It’s kind of like when, as an author, you read a contest entry and recognize the genius of a writer even while they’re at the “college level” and not yet in the “Big Game.”  You root for them.  You look forward to them making it and selling and, in the case of a good player, going in a high level pick of the Draft.  For me, I love to see writers who come into their own, sell big, or go for it and make it.  I just LOVE that.  I love it when people I know – or even those I don’t – make the sale, make the push to publish, or just win a contest.  It’s a “WIN!” and I’m thrilled for my friends when that happens. 

By the same token, I love when young men and women are part of teams, take on the task of learning a game and playing it well.  There’s something poetic about playing team sports and growing into the trust and camaraderie of a good, working team.  My son gets to experience this and I’m not only proud of him, I’m proud of his team.  As parents in the stands, we cheer for our kids and other people’s kids and we get to know a whole raft of people we might not otherwise meet. 

When you go to a football game, basketball, or a baseball game, whether it’s college or pro, there’s tailgating and serious fandom.    You “know” those fans, because they love the same thing you do.  That team.  The most rabid fans I’ve ever seen are football fans.  Have you ever been to a Florida Gator Game? (Go Gaaaaaaators!)  Or an Arkansas Razorback game?  What about the Crimson Tide of Alabama?  (ROLL TIDE!!)  UCLA?

Now, when it comes to serious college basketball, I love Duke, and UNC.  But football’s just not their thing, bless their Tarheel and Blue Devil Hearts.  My youngest son loves watching Duke basketball with me.  He’ll watch football with me too.  However, our darling Bandita Anna will be happy to know that his favorite sport is…drum roll….hockey.

And now…..

Do you even LIKE sports?

What’s your favorite? 

Do you have a favorite college or pro team, or both?

What do you think of the men of your favorite sport?

Do you own a jersey or team shirt?

Men Of Sports!

by Suzanne

Before I go any further, I’d like to announce that the pitchers and catchers have reported to spring training!! Whoohooo! The boys of summer are almost back!

Can you tell I adore baseball? I’m married to a Cleveland Indians fanatic, so I watch 161 games a year. I kid you not! But luckily for me, the scenery isn’t too hard on the eyes.


There’s Grady Sizemore out in Centerfield. He’s beautiful and beautiful to watch, especially when he’s stretched out going for a fly ball. They guy simply loves to play the sport and goes all out. And when he scores a run or steals a base, the grin he gives lights up his whole being!


Then there’s Travis Hafner, the DH, who hopefully will live up to his potential. I mean the man is a farm boy raised in South Dakota…built like an oak and when he’s on can hit the ball a country mile. Every time Travis comes to the plate there is a potential for a game altering swing of the bat! I love his intensity and focus as he eyes the pitcher and waits for the ball. And watching his body move to take it downtown…poetry!


And to my great pleasure, (and any other woman who’s stared at the backside of pitchers on the mound) Jake Westbrook, the best looking behind on a pitcher’s mound, is returning to the rotation after nearly 2 years. Jake is one of my favorite reasons for watching baseball. That and I consider baseball a thinking man’s, or woman’s, game.

Another sport I adore is football. American football. Sigh. Being a Cleveland Browns fan long before meeting my hubby, I’ve suffered many a disappointing season. There have been highlights over the years. Bernie Kosar’s throwing. Clay Matthews (#57) 16 years as a fabulous linebacker who knew how to hit and tackle. And now the explosive kickoff and punt returns of Joshua Cribbs (#16) and the power blocking of Joe Thomas, I think there might be a light at the end of the tunnel for my boys. But because I rarely get to root for my Browns in the post season, I also admit to admiring Petyon Manning and the Colts. Peyton is one of the most beautiful passers ever to play this game. And talk about confidence? Mmmm.


Of course, there’s always my Buckeyes. Jim Tressel is on the road to greatness as a coach, IMHO. Being an Ohioan transplanted in Texas, well let’s just say I’ve had more than one occasion to boast about my home team!


Now, these are tried and true sports for most Americans. There are those who love basketball. My coach is die-hard Kansas Jay Hawke fan and my husband is ga-ga over LeBron James and the Cavs this year. However, I am not really much of a fan, although I do sit through my fare share of games. (Usually with my nose in a book, or working on the king-sized afghan for my son’s bed…a Christmas present it will take me until next winter to make.)

But the other day I was vegging before getting ready to head to work, when my channel surfing came across something unique to TV in America.

RUGBY.

OMG!! It was like the heavens had opened up, a beam of light from above shone over me and I swear the choir of angels, (all female) hit a high C in perfect harmony!! (By the way, google rugby players and you won’t believe the pictures you get…uh, not for publication on the Bandit blog!)

Have y’all seen this? I mean truly watched the game? It’s like soccer, football and ultimate fighting all rolled into one glorious expression of male bonding and testosterone!!!

Super buff men in shorts…god they have great legs…no padding, literally beating each other up to get this huge football down the field. And when one of them is passing the ball in from the sidelines 2 guys lift a third way up in the air by his feet to catch it! Bloody noses, bloody lips, bloody eyes, dirt, twisted ankles and knees. (Yes, I’m slightly blood thirsty.) But I think I’ve found a wonderfully masculine game to watch.

Now, if I could just get the TV people to show more games!!

What does this have to do with books? Hmmm…well, I’ve read books with sports heroes in them. But I think it’s the whole males competing against males that piques my interest and I’d love to see more books with heroes from sports. (And yes I’ve read all of SEP’s books!)

So, what sport do you love to watch or at least don’t mind watching the men who play them? (Yes Anna…I know you adore hockey!) Anyone love rugby like me? Which sport would you like to see featured in a series of books?

Go Indians!!

Baseball and The Boys of October!

by Suzanne Welsh

Yes, I know it’s not quite Labor Day yet, but the run for the baseball playoffs is heating up! Especially in the American League Central division. The Cleveland Indians, my team, are leading by a slim margin of 2 and 1/2 games! And tonight they turned one of the rarest plays–an around the horn triple play. It was a thing of beauty.

I adore baseball. My mother and her two sisters in Tennessee were Cincinnati Reds fans back in the days of Johnny Bench, Pistol Pete Rose and the Big Red Machine. There was no such thing as ESPN and when the games weren’t on TV we listened to them over the radio on warm summer nights out on the back porch with the crickets chirping and fireflies blinking.

Then I married an Indians fan and changed allegiance more from attrition than from their excellent play. This was back in the eighties and quite frankly I watched them lose more than win. They were so bad, they made a fictional movie about them, Major League.

What got me hooked is that they showed up every day. They practiced hitting, running, catching, pitching…all as if they planned on winning. Coaches made decisions and players were traded or sent down to the minors in the hopes of the team having a winning season. Or at least not being on the bottom of the standings. Some people would say they were paid to do these things. That a salary is what prompted them. Maybe, but it didn’t make them play with passion and enthusiasm. They weren’t the super-paid men in pin-stripes. Many were making low-for-baseball-players salaries. They were the underdogs, my heroes. They plugged away for the love of the game.

Then things started to change. After a new stadium was built, and management made some changes the team started winning. They played to 455 consecutive sell-out games at Jacobs Field. (A number the team retired in honor of their fans.)They made a run for the pennant. Omar Visquel was a thing of beauty on the field, almost a ballerina turning a double play! Jim Thome looked like a mountain of a man at the plate just before he knocked one out of the park. They played in two world series!! But didn’t win either one.

Then time passed, they restructured the team and had a few rebuilding years.

Now they’re in the race again, with guys like the gorgeous Grady Sizemore making flying and diving catches in centerfield. Designated hitter, Travis Hafner and catcher, Victor Martinez leading their offenses. Pitchers CC Sabathia, Fausto Carmona and Paul Byrd setting records and winning games.

That’s sort of what it’s like for me as a romance writer. I plugged away in the early years because of my love of the game, (writing). Then things started to click, I won a contest that actually paid me! OMG, the next thing must be publication. After a couple of tries without reaching that goal, I had to step back and restructure. Then I started finaling in contests with my newer works, get positive feedback even in my rejections. Now I’m making a run at the series again, (an agent or a publishing contract).

Will I make it? I hope so. I’m working like I mean to achieve those things. I have two GH pins to show for the efforts so far. I have to believe they’re signs!

Will my Indians make the World Series again? I hope so. They turned a TRIPLE PLAY tonight. Somehow I have to think it’s a sign!

So what heroes in your life or books keeps you rooting for them even when all seems lost?