Tag Archives: baseball

The Boys of Summer

The Tampa Bay Rays have the best record in the MLB. They’re KICKING MAJOR ASS!

This is it folks. It’s not just a pipe dream. The Rays made it to the World Series two years ago. To show that it wasn’t just a fluke, they’re showing the baseball world right now that these young guys are out there to make things happen. The bats have been hot. Even overpaid Pat Burrell is nearly earning his millions. Ain’t it great! The Rays are comin’ atcha’!

I’ve been a baseball fan since I was a little kid. I wish I still had all those Topps baseball cards that were in that shoebox in my closet back then. When the Rays (AKA Devil Rays) first appeared in the Tampa Bay area, I tried to get over to St. Petersburg (across the Bay from me here in Tampa) as often as I could to watch the games live. I love to support the Rays. Unfortunately, that trip to the Trop (Tropicana Field) isn’t too convenient for me nor do I have the funds this year to spend on that stuff, so it’s radio for me.

It’s just like the old days. I was out in my workshop last Saturday evening listening to the game on the radio out there while I wiped/reformatted/reinstalled Win XP on a friend’s system. Are you old enough to remember baseball on the radio? It was an every day thing back when I was a kid. Of course, back then you could catch quite a few games on broadcast television. Those days are gone, sadly. About the only time you’ll see a regular season game on broadcast (not cable, not satellite) television nowadays is on Fox’s Saturday afternoon game of the week. That’s it. One game a week on TV these days. Man, that sucks. Baseball used to be everyone’s favorite pastime. Not so anymore, I guess.

Back to the Rays, though…

There are some of the veterans from the ’08 team still there, but there are also some new faces. All are putting forth some impressive efforts so far this season. It’s early, though. I’m confident they’ll continue to do well. They’re a young team with a fabulous manager (Joe Maddon) and a coaching staff. I’m looking forward to a spectacular season and an exciting run to the Series! It’s gonna’ be a blast!

GO RAYS!

If you have a team near you, go on out there and take in a game one afternoon. Have a dog and a beer. It’ll bring back some great memories of simpler times and pleasures.

Until next time…

~Eric

P. S. Keep ol’ Bob Uecker in your thoughts as he goes in for heart surgery shortly. Bob is the voice of the Milwaukee Brewers. He’s been in baseball in one way or another for over 50 years.

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Fresh Cut Grass, the Buzz of Bees, and Baseball!

It must be getting close to summertime!

I don’t like the hot, humid Florida summers these days as much as I did when I was a kid. Of course, I loved summertime back then because it meant a temporary release from Stalag Luftschool 13 and the care of Sister Mary Himmler of Our Blessed Ladies of the Gestapo.

Another thing that always meant summertime for me was baseball. I remember following my favorite teams; the Baltimore Orioles with legendary players like Frank Robinson, Boog Powell, Brooks Robinson, and Davey Johnson. Or the Pittsburgh Pirates, with future Hall-of-Famers Willy Stargell and Roberto Clemente. Ah… the memories.

Back then in Tampa, just a few blocks from my house, was a baseball park called Al Lopez Field. It was named for Hall of Fame player Al Lopez, a Tampa native. It was also the home field for the Cincinnati Reds during their Spring Training exhibition schedule. The Reds training facility was just three blocks from my house. It was called Redsland. Currently, that same training facility is used by the NY Yankees.

When I was a wee tot, my dad used to take me to Al Lopez field to watch the pro exhibition games, or more often the Tampa Tarpons (Florida Grapefruit League) games. I think that’s where I really developed my love for live baseball. To this day, I love the smells of the park… the fresh cut grass, the food smells, even the stale beer smell. It all brings back those memories of going to the park with my dad when I was a kid. My older brother took me a few times, too.

Speaking of my older brother, he actually played professional ball for a while with the KC Royals and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Cool, huh? He never got a shot in the Big League, but he played well in the minors. I was looking at a site the other day with his stats from back then. They were pretty impressive. I think the reality of family life and the need for a higher paying career ended his baseball playing days.

Here’s a picture of ol’ Al Lopez Field. It was torn down years ago to make room for Raymond James Stadium (Home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers). These days I follow the Tampa Bay Rays. I was listening to their opening game on the radio when I first started to write this article. They WON! Rays 4 – Orioles 3.

Baseball season has started. That means the long, hot summer is ahead of us. All things are possible. Take a deep breath. Smell that fresh cut grass. Ahhh…

Play ball!

~Eric