Walk of life, and death.

When it comes to US sports, my longest term love has to be the NFL. Primarily because it was the first one shown on TV over here, back in the mid 1980’s, and I’ve pretty much followed it ever since then. In that time, its changed channels, its changed from being recorded highlights, to 1 game a week, to the numerous games per week we have now over the years, but its always been around.

For many years now, providing most of that much improved coverage has been Sky Sports. Even then, they’ve been through a few presenters over the years, but for many of them, there was 1 American guy there, who definitely knew what he was talking about (unlike some of the UK ones), and even better, was a fellow Buffalo Bills fan, through thick and thin. Well, I suppose had a good reason, he was born in the city, whereas I just picked them out purely at random!

Then tonight, when the coverage of the game from London started, I heard the sad news that he’d passed away, at the age of 62! Hey, he’s not that much older than me, and believe me, I feel my age at present, anyway! So…I just want to say, Kevin Cadle, I’m going to miss seeing you on TV, and yes, rest in peace.

I guess it would be wrong (and I’d hate myself if I didnt) not to mention a certain team in the World Series, starting Tuesday (strictly, Wednesday morning, my time), the Los Angeles Dodgers. Yes, its a shame its only happened the first year after Vin Scully retired, though such is life. I have seen people hoping he will do something, but hey, he’s fast approaching 90, so I dont blame him for saying no, so far at least. Who me, a Dodgers fan? Well…

No, I wont see any of it live, all going to happen in the middle of the night over here, and I’m too old, and fragile for things like that, even if I wasnt working! I’ll see some presentation hopefully, though no idea how much? But yes, naturally, I’ll be dreaming of a Dodgers Championship, though only from afar. It will actually be strange next May, assuming I decide I’m up to the trip, when I see a game in Seattle, its been a long time since I saw one other than Dodgers Stadium, but…I can at least add another to my stadium visit list, as I say, health permitting. With luck, and finances, I hope to add the White Sox to my collection next September, though that might be a step too far on both counts!

The video is one with plenty of NFL, plenty of baseball, and some basketball too, which Cadle was a top coach in. Yes, its an oldie, the Houston Oilers no longer exist, so…

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Memories Are Made Of This

I know, strictly the baseball playoffs started 2 days ago, with the 2 wild card games, but in a sense the serious stuff starts tonight! Not that the 2 games so far have been dull (31 runs scored in 2 games already!), but now the maneuvering stuff starts tonight, with the American League Divisional series. Tomorrow sees the start of the National League matches, including the Dodgers, but fine, for now I’ll root for the Red Sox in the AL, given the Kansas City Royals arent there this year, but more on them shortly.

Its hard to believe now, it seems so much longer ago, but just 2 years ago, I had the thrill of watching a lot of the playoffs from a wonderful apartment in the Hollywood Hills. To say that was an amazing 4 weeks would be putting it mildly. Sadly, as I have previously reported, returning to that wonderful home from home on Verbena Drive isnt going to happen, as a mere few months later, the owners of the whole home (the apartment was a separate building, below the main home) sold the place, so never again. Not that the place I stayed in this year was bad, but it wasnt the same.

It was a series of mixed emotions for me, the Dodgers not lasting that long, but the Royals kept winning, and winning, and indeed, on my last night in that apartment, I saw them win Game 1 of the World Series, in a crazy number of innings, against the Mets, and of course, a week or so later, they won the World Series, and I really felt part of it, because in truth, I was, because I saw them live so often, which I could never have done at home in the UK.

And here we are, 2 years on, and I get to see some of the first divisional series match tonight, before bedtime, between Houston, and Boston, because it starts at 9 pm over here. Given work tomorrow, I wont see the end though, for sure. Tomorrow night, or more strictly in my time, early Saturday morning, the Dodgers will start their journey, hopefully further than 2 years ago, fingers crossed.

And oh, I kept the streak, the 1 game I saw in a stadium this year, both teams are in the play offs! Yes, that night, in about 12 (or 13?) innings, they beat Arizona! Guess who they meet in the playoffs, yes, same team!

But yes, for now, I’ll look back 2 years, to that Royals Championship, and hope that maybe this year, my NL team, the Dodgers can match them.

Yes, tonights video is black and white, and could well be from a time when the team was the Brooklyn Dodgers, just maybe?

A look into the future?

Normally my baseball fix is provided by Major League Players, taking things seriously, usually only on TV, though I do occasionally get to live games, as I did in May, when I managed to see the Dodgers win, which was nice. Mind, seemingly they’ve done plenty of that this season, almost got boring lol! No, seriously, its nice, but yes, if it doesnt happen in the playoffs now, it is going to be a letdown to some degree, for sure. Not that I’m competitive, and normally prefer to support the underdog, but never mind…

But at this time of year, I tend to get my baseball fix from a much younger age group, from people from all over the world, not just the US, though to be fair, half the teams are from the US, but anyway… Yes, its Little League World Series time again. I know, everyone is so competitive, its just me that is so laid back about such matters, or so it seems? Fine, it might help if I had affiliation to one of these teams, but without that, nope.

Today though, for the youngsters (most are between 10, and 13) brought a different type of fun, meeting up with the ‘big boys’ from the MLB. Yes, tonight, St Louis, and Pittsburgh will play a game, not in the normal stadium in Pittsburgh, but in a stadium close to where the youngsters are playing, and it seems they’ve got a mass invite. What was fun today, was seeing the two groups interacting with each other. Some of the big names have played in the LLWS in the past, and some of this years teams will play in the MLB in the future, for sure.

I know, I know, a lot of it for the MLB players is probably just PR stuff, but its fair to say that everyone seemed to be enjoying it. I just find it all rather delightful, as I cant imagine many of our star soccer/football (depending on where you read this) players doing the same thing, with young 12 year old footballers. Maybe I’m doing them down, who knows, but I suspect not?

Right, video time. Maybe I shouldnt go with this, because time doesnt seem to have been kind to this group, but given I’ve never heard of a music festival at Ullapool, in the north of Scotland before, lets roll with it.

Oh fine, for those of a nervous disposition, an extended version of the original record

To the Pacific, and back, via public transport

Oh fine, I know, a lot of catching up to be done, so lets get things nicely up to date here.

Sunday

The main event of note on Sunday was a trip along Sunset Boulevard, to a lovely bookshop serving the acting industry, for a series of short pieces written, and directed by women. No, before the men reading this start muttering about rabid feminists, a number of the actors reading were men! Though fine, one of the funniest was a spoof about make up just for lesbians, and if you werent one already, and you wore it, well, you might soon be one! Met up again with some delightful ladies I met just over 2 years ago, had a great time.

Monday

Due to some good news, I had to start changing plans on my days out, more on the news, probably in next blog. So I headed out to one of my favorite coastal places around here, Pacific Palisades. Its funny, I’d normally groan at the thought of nearly 90 minutes on a bus, without comfy seats, but for this route, especially the last part, I can make an exception. Had a nice stroll around, though I passed on walking down the canyon to the beach, because I knew I’d see the ocean again, plus you limit your bus options back, if you do that. But yes, I’m going to miss that place.

Tuesday

Known now as the day that if anything could go wrong, it would. A lovely man I know purchased me a nice seat for the Dodgers game that evening, snag was, I had to get the ticket printed off, and obviously my apartment doesnt have a printer, and I dont have a smart phone, so…I walked to a Fedex office in town, got on their internet, to grab the email, print off the ticket, and… Hotmail decided it was suspicious activity, and so wanted me to get a code sent to another email address. Fine, except that when I tried to get into that box, to get the code, it wouldnt let me in, and wanted to send a code to the other address it wouldnt let me into!
Fortunately, he’d sent a copy of it to my Facebook messenger page, assuming I could save it on my smart phone which I dont have, but I printed that off, and it got me into the game. Snag was, I didnt notice at the time, it didnt give all the details of my seat number! More on that later…

Finally, about an hour later than planned, I headed to Venice, the California one! You know, with the beach, and the muscles, and…a certain statue! Back in 1922, a shy(?) student named Myrna Williams posed for a statue that was to stand outside the high school. Oh, you might know her by her acting name, Myrna Loy! Unfortunately, with everything, I arrived in the school lunch hour, which made getting to her trickier that it might have been if the students had been in class. Anyway, having given my regards to her, I set off back to the bus stop, to get a bus to the beach, and waited…and waited…and waited. In the end, 2 buses more or less came along together!
After a stroll along the boardwalk, I set off to find the muscle, on the beach. Yes, it might be lively at weekends, but on a Tuesday afternoon, grand total of 3 guys doing their thing! Fine, it was something, but…I suspect a weekend visit is more, err, fruitful in that sense?

Given that I needed to get back at a reasonable hour to get to the Dodgers game, I set off to get home, which should have taken 90 minutes max! Actually took just over 2 hours. Not traffic mainly, just crazy passengers delaying things! Which meant I ended up leaving here late, hitting the crowds trying to get into the stadium, and then…

I normally sit up ‘in the Gods’ at baseball games. Yes, your view is limited, but the seats are cheap! And when you’re on a budget… Last night, I was down at field level, which is a long way down from the entry area at Dodgers stadium. No idea where I was going, took the wrong turn, got there eventually, though I missed the first half of the first innings, ah well…Yes, thats when I found out my ticket didnt actually give seat details. Anyway, at the second attempt, I found a seat no one else wanted, and watched most of the game.

Yes, one of those games that goes on forever, I left at the 11th innings mark, and headed for the buses back into town, to head home. Unfortunately, despite the bus being very full, the driver wasnt keen on leaving while the game was still going on. Eventually he did, before the Dodgers finally won, after 13 innings! Snag was, there were a lot of very drunk, very loud youngsters on the bus, screaming and shouting at regular intervals, but eventually we arrived at Union Station, and… There is meant to be a train at that time of night, every 20 minutes. 25 minutes after arriving on the platform, a train finally turned up! Given there were already people waiting, I would guess, at least 30 minutes, if not more, after the previous one.

I’ll save today, as this is far too long already! I need to thank Sarah for finding this apt video for me. Looks like Madonna was trying to portray a few golden age actresses, but warning, it is Madonna, and some of it might not be suitable for children, just saying…

The games people play

Well, we’ve reached that time of year where one of the big US sports is just getting over the hype of the draft, and the so called experts are trying to work out what it all means. In truth, until those people make it, or otherwise this summer, we wont even start to see what the outcome of that is. But yes, NFL is desperately trying to keep itself in the news, so…

Two of the other ‘Big 4’ are now in the middle of their playoffs, and the loosest (and it is loose) interest I have in either, is Anaheim in the NHL. Its close to LA, and any team called the Ducks has to be worthy of support lol! Still as all US sports seem to do, the playoffs take on a life of their own, for a month or more!

So soon, for a couple of months at least, America’s favorite summer sport will take over events, baseball! Oh, and probably my favorite too, though I will watch football, both pro, and college, when I get the chance. Later this month, for the first time in over 18 months, I will get to see live baseball again, in the flesh. Yes, Dodgers, so sue me! 😛 In truth, you can get a seat for not that unreasonable a price, especially compared to soccer over here, and the NFL over there. Yes, you can pay a ridiculous sum for a seat, but I wont be doing that! No, not commenting on food prices, but yes, I will get some, all the same… One game, definitely, two if I can fix it, but if you twisted my arm, I’d probably say one will be as good as it gets!

Over here, the soccer season is also coming to an end, and talking of drawn out hype, we now have play offs to decide the last promotion position. Not quite as drawn out as play offs in the US, but even so…Oh fine, my local team, Huddersfield, and the team from the town where I work, Bradford City, are both in their respective play offs, so I’m told. Yes, that will be the only mention of it I plan to make! Well, I suppose if Huddersfield make the Premier League, I might, but otherwise…

Right, video time. A real oldie, which I doubt many of my readers have heard before, but I remembered it, and it seemed apt, so…

These are the days of our baseball

Yes, I know, it only seems like yesterday that all the fuss about the Cubs winning the World Series, and now we’re about to start the new season. Well, technically we are, but…fine, the regular season doesnt actually start until April 2, but the pre season stuff starts on Wednesday, with one match between an MLB team, and a college team, but then its baseball, non stop (almost) for about 250 days, depending on how far the World Series goes. If it goes to Game 7, like last year, it will be 252 days!

As I say, almost. There is a 1 day break before the All Star game, and a couple of blank days after that to cope with. Its also likely that the first day after the end of the regular season might be blank, unless there is a play off game to decide a title, or wild card spot. And of course, if all play off series dont go to the last games, we might end up with a blank day there, but you get my drift!

I know, hardly anyone, if anyone plays in all 162 games. A few might get close, someone might do it, but on the whole…no! But the amount of travel these people, and the staff make in a season, frightening stuff. Even more so for teams a long way from anyone (like Seattle, for example), though of course coast to coast trips get planned to minimize the mileage as best they can.

The irony for me is that this year, the matinee games wont be as easy to watch as they have been in recent times. Working until 7.00 means that by the time I get home, the 1.00 (or so) ET games that ESPN tend to show will be 2/3 over by the time I get home. Ah well, the money is handy, but…

At least this year, I will get to some live baseball, in my beloved Dodgers stadium. Definitely going to 1 game in May, and if I can afford the time, and money, well, I might fit in 2! Snag is, one of those series is the Cubs, and I suspect that will be sold out before I get the chance. They play Miami, which definitely appeals, given they are managed by the former manager of the Dodgers! The one sad fact this year, Vin Scully will not be in the commentary box, and even if I dont get to hear him at the stadium, its going to be weird. Oh, and I have no idea whether where I will be staying will have the channel that covers the Dodgers games. Fingers crossed, but…

September, I have no idea if I’m getting to Fenway, or not, depends on what Kate has planned, and that will be top secret until I land at Logan Airport! Wont be the same without Ortiz hitting the ball miles, anyway.

Who will win it all? Who knows? One thing is for sure, we’ll find that out at the beginning of November, probably! Still hard to believe I saw a World Series game live, if only on TV. Cant see me doing it this October unless a very wealthy person falls for my charms lol!

OK, the video. That haunting last video that Freddie Mercury made with Queen.

108 years of hurt

Yes, it would be remiss of a baseball fan like myself, if I didnt mention events earlier this week. Yes, despite the fact that they knocked the Dodgers out in the previous round, it still has to be said, congratulations, Chicago Cubs!

Thats right, after 108 years, they’ve finally broken the jinx, and won the World Series again. There is no way to compare the team of today, with the team of 1908, even with the longevity of Wrigley Field, it wasnt their home stadium then! A humble, wooden built stadium called West Side Park hosted the Cubs in the glory years of 1907, and 1908.

The other huge difference between those World Series, and this year, all games back then were played during the day! No floodlights, and indeed the Cubs were the last team to bring in floodlights, as late as 1988! They still play more day games than most, a hint to that tradition.

The funniest thing about 1908? A few days after the Cubs beat the Detroit Tigers to win the World Series on the Wednesday, they played again on the Sunday, as part of the festivities! Also all sorts of other events were done around that game, including races, and the like. Yes, just imagine Anthony Rizzo having a foot race against Mike Napoli now, four days after the Series was over!

Ironically, the longest streak since a World Series win now passes to the team they beat, the Cleveland Indians. Yes, next season, they will have 69 years of hurt to try and solve! Fine, the Dodgers breaking that 29 year jinx would suit me better, but…

Meeting Vin Scully next May could cure a lot of personal ills, mind!

The video. Well, it wont mean much to baseball fans, but given its talking about 30 years of hurt, it seemed rather apt. Yes, baseball is coming home to Chicago’s north side, after 108 years, congrats.