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.

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The commentator that saves me

Funny the things that come back to remind you of past events. This day last year, I got up just after 6.30 in the morning, to watch live NFL from London. Well, more a case of I got up about that hour, and it was on! Yes, sort of funny, watching it from my home country, from thousands of miles away very early in the morning. This year, I started watching at 2.30 in the afternoon, from about 150 miles away from Wembley.

The thing is, I’m used to either US commentary people, or the excellent group of people who provide the coverage on Sky Sports over here. To those wondering, we get the Thursday, Sunday, and Monday night games, plus 2 day games over here on a Sunday to view, a pretty good deal.

So yes, what happened this afternoon, err, not so good. Yes, it seems the London games this year are being covered on BBC, and to say their presentation team havent got a clue, would be putting it mildly! I know, those who dont subscribe to Sky, probably dont know how bad it was, and as for what Americans would have made of it, I dont want to know! Sadly, in 3 weeks time, I have to survive the BBC team again, and again a week later, for the other 2 London games, ah well…Even more so as the next one involves the LA team lol!

Oh, and while I’m mentioning commentators, for the last time, I promise, Vin Scully! Yes, tonight, in San Francisco, and then thats it, after an incredible 67 years! He’s decided he’s not doing any play off games, even though the Dodgers are there, so… Thanks for everything, Vin, even if I’ve only known you a few glorious years of your reign. Enjoy your retirement. Oh, and should you want to meet a strange, British lady next May, I’d love it!

Video time. I couldnt find anything that really worked for this, so I’ll go out of left field, and give you an acoustic version of a big Oasis hit. Even better news, its Noel singing, not Liam!

What A Difference A Year Makes

Well, yes, in ideal circumstances, I’d have written this on either Tuesday, or Wednesday, but if I planned to do that, in all honesty, it wouldnt happen. So lets settle for today, especially as Facebook conveniently reminded me about it this morning, not that I needed reminding!

Thats right, one year ago, which was actually the Friday, so I must have been keen, I was commenting on my forthcoming trip to Los Angeles, for 4 glorious weeks, starting on the Wednesday. Though actually, it was only the second thing on the comment, as firstly was the job interview I had on the Tuesday, the last thing I would do before leaving. As history now knows, I didnt get that job, actually found out that fact on arrival in California, ah well…

Now, here I sit, looking at a probable return to Los Angeles next May, though dates, and duration are currently yet to be decided, until I know what week work will let me have, and whether I can get a few days on top, either side of it. Also, I will have to take a look at finances early next year, see what I think I can afford, and play it from there. Ideally, 10 days, but if it has to only be 7, then so be it. In that sense, its going to be a hotel, not an apartment, just because it wont be practical to buy provisions for just 7, or 10 days, as opposed to 4 weeks.

Fine, if that little apartment in Verbena Drive was available, then maybe I’d have been tempted, but now… going to be a hotel, I’m sure.

But yes, its going to be funny when I leave here on Wednesday, and head to Bradford, not Hollywood, to think back about it. The other funny thing, that first proper pay going into my bank on Friday, that will be good.

OK, while we’re on about Los Angeles, lets talk baseball! Yes, the Dodgers are now one win, or one Giants loss away from winning the division again. Would be lovely if it happened today, as its Vin Scully’s last home commentary before retirement. He has got 3 more games, next weekend, in San Francisco, but that will be it, after 67 years! Yes, 8 years before I was born, he began commentating on Dodgers games, in Brooklyn, and only now he’s retiring! Believe me, he will be so missed! If there is one Dodger I would love to meet, its him, though technically he wont be one by the time I’m next there. So fine, Clayton Kershaw might have that role then, though the chances of me meeting either, is probably zero. Yes, about as likely as talking to Jean Harlow’s ghost at Glendale!

So where do I go to on Wednesday? Well, last year, it was Hollywood, this year, Bradford! At least the latter pays me money. Now, if Hollywood want to offer me money too…?

The video, well, I’ve given a clue, I guess?

Another suitcase, in another airport

No, not me, for heavens sake, I only wish it was, and that I was planning a trip to Los Angeles, or beyond. But unless I find a generous donor, or something, I’m not going anywhere major, before next year, for sure. But yes, earlier today, a Dodgers related baseball thread had me realizing that we are only 6 weeks away from the end of the regular season.

Sadly, this year, I’m not going to get to a live game anywhere, and I’m not going to be able to relax, and watch the play off matches at all, in a comfy little apartment in Hollywood. I know, someone could donate me a large sum of money, and it might happen yet, or some wealthy soul might decide to make me the latest version of Marion Davies, and set me up in luxury, in that wonderful city. But yes, the odds on that happening are only slightly less than me hitting the winning home run in the World Series! Yes, I’m 58, female, and never played baseball in my life, so the chances of that happening, well…!

What the thread was about, was the now fast impending retirement of Vin Scully, as the spokesman of the Dodgers, in a TV sense at least. I know, its his 67th season, the guy is in his late 80’s, and never leaves California nowadays, but its not going to be the same without him. Yes, much though in a sense, it would be my dream job, calling every Dodgers game, every season (I could manage about 30 years before I reach his age), but lets face it, its going to be the job from hell, trying to replace him. Still, if someone wants to offer it to me, I’d give it a go, I guess, but I couldnt hope to match the legend. But I’m sure I’ll say more than that, when the Dodgers season is over, hopefully at the end of the World Series, either way.

But what struck me this week, was the amount of travel that these baseball people have to do. I know a lot are ridiculously well paid, but when you see what they have to put up with, travel, and play wise, for 6 months of the year, eek!

Take the Red Sox, who I got to see their Monday matinee game this week, as an example. Sunday, they played in Boston, the last game of the series with Arizona. From there, they flew to Cleveland, for said Monday game, a make up of a postponed fixture from April. After that, they flew back to Baltimore, for 2 games, being delayed on Wednesday night, by the weather. From there, they had to fly back to Detroit, for 4 more games, including an afternoon game on Thursday afternoon! When that series ends on Sunday, they then need to fly all the way down to Tampa Bay, before Monday evening. Then finally, for the Friday, they are allowed back home to Boston!

I know, if I was doing it, in the Vin Scully role, I probably would find it hard, but survivable. But given that on top of all that, they have to play a game of top level baseball, each day, wow! As I say, I know some earn millions in a year, but the beating their bodies must take, earning it, eek!

Oh fine, if the Dodgers came calling, as the commentator, would I say no? No chance!

Right, video time. What these baseball players must feel their lives consist of. I will say, this gorgeous song from Evita never got the kudos it deserved

Lets liven up the All Star Game events!

Before we get to the entertaining developments surrounding Baseball’s forthcoming All Star Game, which I had planned for tonight, lets get sadly serious first.

Over the weekend, very sadly, 50 brave people (at the last count) lost their lives in a club in Orlando. Well, actually, 1 of those dead was the lunatic who carried out the massacre, but anyway…Given he was a homophobic wife beater, maybe his death was for the best? The other 49 though, a very tragic loss. Just to say that all my thoughts, best wishes, and sympathies go out to the families, and friends of those whose lives were taken by this ghastly man.

I also briefly want to mention the thankful fact that before a white man, equally equipped with weapons was stopped, before he reached L.A Pride is only a blessing. Just proves, only too sadly, that the fight against homophobia is far from over.

Oh fine, now lets get to the, err, serious(?) stuff.

Given the baseball season is fast approaching halfway, it means that we are getting ever closer to the show, that is the All Star game. Like most of these games, its generally taken less than seriously, probably for the best, but its the only one that actually affects other events, in that the winning conference gets the extra home game in the World Series. But despite that, its not the most competitive game of the year, shall we say?

One of the side events at this, is the lunacy known as the Home Run Derby. This is where the best hitters of the conferences get fed soft pitches, and attempt to smash as many out of the park as possible. Well, thats what happens normally, this year might just give us something different. The AL pitchers only ever hit when they play in an NL park. So its fair to say that most of them have hitting skills, only slightly better than mine. Yes, that bad! In truth, most of the NL pitchers arent a lot better! But there are a few, who not only enjoy batting, they are quite decent at it too!

The best one, plays for the San Francisco Giants (the Dodgers fan in me turns away at this point), goes by the name of Madison Bumgarner, and this guy really can bat. Hey, he’s hit 2 home runs off my beloved Clayton Kershaw, and there’s not many that can say that! And, being a character, and a good bat, he wants to have a go at the Home Run Derby himself. The snag, it means one less top hitter from the NL having a go, but given events like this could always to with a shake up, it might not be that bad a thing? His team, understandably arent sure about the idea, mainly because of the injury issue, so whether it will happen?

The thing is, now a few other pitchers, who enjoy hitting the ball, also want to join in!

http://www.12up.com/posts/3325545-report-pitcher-home-run-derby-being-discussed-for-all-star-weekend?a_aid=40030

I must admit, if the clubs involved will agree to it, it would be fun. I admit it, adding another challenge to the Kershaw/Bumgarner/Greinke (among others) rivalry like this, would be a lot of fun. The snag of course, is that generally, its at least theoretically a contest between the 2 leagues, and the AL pitchers, well, they cant really play a part in this, because they dont bat. So I dont know, maybe the 3 divisions in the NL could do something?

I’m not sure if the new event could be fitted into the schedule this year, or not? I suspect if it was impossible, that MLB wouldnt discuss the matter, so I assume it can. Equally, I suspect Madison wants to go in the Home Run Derby proper, so we will see? Yes, I hope so!

Now all we need is to convince Vin Scully to commentate on the All Star Game festivities, and… 😀

Fine, video time. What a baseball might be saying to a pitcher, at the All Star Game, just maybe?

Starting young

Fine, so sue me, its Los Angeles baseball tonight, I wasnt inspired for much else. Feel free to suggest, believe me.

Tonight, unless something goes wrong in the next few hours, the Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher tonight, will not have even seen his 20th Birthday yet. Yes, Julio Urias will be pitching in the Major League tonight, against the New York Mets, at the grand age of 19 years, and 288 days. For reference point, for baseball fans, thats about 4 months earlier than Clayton Kershaw started his career! Mind, thats turned out pretty well, so…

I cant even remember being 19, to be honest. And fine, obvious issues aside, I’m sure I wasnt at a point, mentally, where I could have even vaguely been prepared for playing in a massive game like this. So, kudos to the kid for this. I hope it all works out for him, I must say.

One thing is for sure, regardless of how tonight goes, its a certainty that before very long, he will be pitching for the Dodgers, earning a sum of money that would just blow my mind! Oh, and Clayton, darling, if you’re reading this, and have $50K or more, you could throw my way, you dont know how grateful I would be, could put so many things right. Oh, and afford to come and watch you pitch again, and have the chance to meet Vin Scully, and … Yeah, yeah, you get the drift!

Talking of Vin, I think everyone, and their army wants him to commentate on the All Star Game, in his last year before retirement. Its only down the road, so was possible. Sadly, for now at least, it wont be happening. Why? Because he feels it would take the limelight off the players if he did so! Vin, honey, I suspect most of the players wouldnt care about that, everyone loves you. Well, maybe Ortiz, in his last year, but even thats only a maybe?

If you, or anyone connected to you should read this, please reconsider, not just for me! Mind, I know there is also a campaign (if practical) for him to do at least some of the World Series, so please…

Fine, the video. Lets go back to Mr Urias, shall we? I have no idea if he is free, or single, but this song came to mind.

This could be a case of Dodgers, and Scully

Yes, fine, there’s a reason for the blog title, a slight tweak on a song lyric.

As I write this, I’m listening to the dulcet tones of Vin Scully, commentating on the opening home game of the Dodgers season. Ironically, this is almost certainly because I am in the UK, and ESPN UK are taking the coverage from TWC Cable, a privilege that far too many in LA cant do, because of the financial demands said cable company makes on other broadcasters in the area, to take their coverage. I know there has been efforts to get this sorted out this year, for a major reason, but I have no idea how successful that has been.

Yes, this marks the start of Vin Scully’s last season doing the commentaries for the Dodgers games, sad news. Fine, he’s been doing it for nearly 70 years, first in Brooklyn, then of course, for most of those years, in Los Angeles. To say he is probably the most legendary baseball commentary man, would be putting it mildly! Oh, and how many people in their late 80’s could be as sharp, and informative as him?

Irony is, I saw the Dodgers live a few times last season, but the only times I heard Vin, I was in the UK. I was either at the game, or it was the playoffs, and you got the national coverage, and besides, as I was in Hollywood, I probably couldnt have got the pictures of TWC, and the voice of Scully, for reasons mentioned above.

I’m not sure I’ve ever heard anyone say a bad word about Mr Scully. Mind, I have only listened to him for the last few years of his long career, but even so…I doubt they have!

In truth, short of a miracle, I’m never going to meet the legend, but hopefully over the course of this season, as well as tonight, I’ll hear him a few times more. Yes, fine, in an ideal world, I’d get back to Hollywood this year, go to a Dodgers game, and meet him. Yes, reality, none of that is going to happen without a miracle at present!

But fine, for the next couple of hours or so, before bed, I’m going to enjoy listening to him.

Oh, the video. Well, it mentions Scully, though not the one I’m listening to, tonight.

There is one more retirement this year I want to mention, David Ortiz, in Boston. Yes, fine, same issues with seeing him live this year, I guess?

Edited to add 2 things. Firstly the road leading up to Dodgers Stadium has now been renamed. Yes, you guessed it, Vin Scully Avenue!

Secondly, tonight, one of those pure Scully moments. One of the Arizona players is named Socrates, so we got one of those special stories, about the Ancient Greek of the same name, while he was batting. Heaven!