Thursday, October 27, 2005

Just as sports has its place, so does humor

I'm in a very down mood today. Not because the Astros lost, but due to a tragedy that occurred within our community involving people with whom we were acquainted. Violent and senseless. Many questions will never be answered. To protect the privacy of the people involved, that is all I will reveal.

"Kicked in the gut" is perhaps the best way I can describe my feeling. To be sure, I've felt it before but that in no way removes the mental anguish I am currently experiencing. So, I do my usual routine of getting online and reading my normal sites, both blogs and print media. Then I decided to turn to James Lileks. The Bleat gave me some chuckles, then I found one of his Star-Tribune columns, which had me howling for a few minutes. Afterward, I felt just a little better. A little.

Please, PLEASE do not misunderstand me. I am not saying that death and destruction, particularly when they hit close to home, can just be "laughed off," nor should they. But in certain situations appropriate (read: gentle, positive, sparing, and healthy) use of humor can be helpful. It's another way those of us who struggle through things in this world can cope.

No more sports blogging (at least for now)

So the baseball season is over. Turns out my prediction was more accurate than first thought. But I am still happy the Astros finally went to the Series.

As a child, I remember my surprise when learning that the Super Bowl was only one game, winner take all. I recall wondering: "What if one of the teams just has an off-day that day?" Now I can look at this Series and say to myself: "Even in a series of games, a team can slump." Is that a fair description of the Astros and Angels, or are the White Sox just that good?

Probably a little of both.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

I was wrong, and man, am I happy!

Look at this entry's title.

And I was wrong in another sense. From the post below, the Astros lost that playoff series to Philadelphia in 1980, not '81.

Houston (the city and the team) deserves every moment of this.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


I probably jinxed it anyway.

This is what will happen: The Cardinals will win the final two games, then we will see a repeat of last year's Series in that the Cardinals will fail to participate in the games. Expect a four-game sweep by the White Sox.

What took place last night at Minute Maid Park is not as visually dramatic as the ball rolling through Bill Buckner's legs, or Steve Bartman reaching for the foul ball, but it might just as well be.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Not Just Yet!

It seems most of the sports prognosticators (actually all of the ones I've heard today) are expecting the Astros to go to the World Series. After all, they have already won three games to the Cardinals one, and the team from Houston seems to possess one of the best starting rotations outside of The Bronx.

Before I jump on that bandwagon, let me write with the point of view of someone who's familiar with Houston professional sports. I'll wait until that final out before I start celebrating. Now I am aware that many Astros fans will want to pummel me for making such a comment. But remember history. I believe it was 1981 (I am typing this off the top of my head, before the first pitch of tonight's game.. so forgive me if I'm a little off) when the Astros and Phillies went head to head for the right to go to the World Series. Close, but no cigar. Excitement all around Houston, but the Phillies won the playoff and went on to win it all.

I also recall the old Houston Oilers, who were one of the more average NFL teams for most of the 70's, but in the early 80's they were kept out of the Super Bowl at least twice by Pittsburgh. Then the club moves to Tennessee and misses the Vince Lombardi trophy by about 2 yards. (OK, a touchdown would likely have sent the game to overtime, but I think you get my point.)

I have several family members who probably know many true long-suffering Houston baseball and football fans. Those folks likely will understand my caution at this time.

By the way, I won't be watching any of tonight's game. I actually haven't seen any of the games so far, and I don't want to jinx it..........

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Winning and Losing

It’s happening in Boston.

And New York City.

And as of Tuesday it’s now happening here in the Valley of the Sun.

Wailing, gnashing of teeth, and even some torn garments. All over the state of various professional sports in the given area, whether it is regarding a player or an entire team. Scott Bordow’s column gives a good argument for folks in the Grand Canyon State to be dysphoric.

How quickly we forget the pleasure. How long we hold onto the pain.

It still seems not so long ago that the Diamondbacks defeated the Yankees in game 7 of the 2001 World Series. One of the most dramatic and exciting endings of recent memory. One that gave the Valley its first top-tier world championship.

But the fans here seem to dwell on the woes of this past season regarding the ‘Backs. Me, how about a “Don’t fret, they’ll get better. Their day will come again.” Too optimistic? Perhaps, but it’s still better than the aforementioned emotional pain. I can always recall the World Series victory.

I used to live in Houston and I still root for the Astros. But they have never won a pennant. Never been to the “big one.” As any long-term Houston resident can attest, professional sports suffering just comes with the territory. (At least the Rockets won back to back titles in the 90's, before Air Jordan came out of retirement the first time.)

Winning is nice. Winning feels good. But sometimes it’s just fun to go to the game.

I plan to attend several D-Back’s games in 2006. Regardless of where they are in the standings. While I’m at the ballpark, I can look at the 2001 World Series title sign as long as I want.

No losing record will ever take that away.

Monday, October 10, 2005

I'll admit it

...I turned 40 last week.

It's not as bad as I would have imagined it some years ago. Truth be told, I am more satisfied with my life overall now than when I turned 30 (the throes of graduate school and low-paying work), or even 20 (wondering what the @*!! to do with my life).

And I don't have any gray hair. At least none that's visible.

Plus, I have my four-year-old daughter Geoana, who is next to me as I type this. Perhaps she keeps me younger than my years. Just finished playing a game of Chutes and Ladders (she cheats when daddy's not looking) while watching The Incredibles.

But I did realize within the past day or so that in 10 more years, I will be able to join AARP. Then I was reading James Lileks' column, which contained this segment:

"Not to say that young people were always avid consumers of newspapers. I do not recall the Fonzie-wannabees of my high school ripping my paper from my hands so they could read what Jack Anderson had to say about ABSCAM. (If that previous sentence made sense to you, you may now head off to Denny's and present your AARP discount card.)"

And I understood the whole thing!

But I still don't feel old.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Sunday Sports and Leisure

It's October. Randy Johnson won't get to "stick it" to Curt Schilling in a head to head pitching matchup this postseason. Johnson gets booed out of Game 3. Hey, he wanted to play for the Yankees. Let him deal with the New York media and the New York fans. Neither is as kind as the variety you'll find here in sunny Arizona.

My beloved Astros sent the Braves packing, again. :) :) :)

Temps are cool today. Only in the 80's. Hey, that's cool for the Arizona desert.

Making some red beans and rice for the evening meal.

I'm not sure this day could get any better...