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Tides Win 6-4 in Friday Night Battle with the Bulls, Arrieta, Montanez and Castillo Shine

Jake Arrieta pitched 5 scoreless innings

After losing their opener 5-3 on Thursday night the Tides came back to defeat the Bulls at Harbor Park on a cool and crisp early April evening by a score of 6-4.

Tides starter Jake Arrieta pitched 5 scoreless innings giving up only 2 hits and striking out 2 to set the pace for the Tides who jumped out to a 3-0 lead on Bull’s starter Heath Phillips who had to be one of the most frustrated players at the park last night. In the bottom of the fourth Phillips gave up a single to Lou Montanez who took second on a balk to Brandon Snyder.  Montanez then took third on a wild pitch and scored when Snyder grounded out to short.  In the 5th Phillips ran into trouble. With one out Tides catcher Adam Donachie doubled and advanced to third when Jonathan Tucker grounded out to second. With two out Phillips walked Joey Gathright and Justin Turner to load the bases.  Phillips then walked Lou Montanez to score Donachie.  Phillips was pulled for Heath Rollins who gave up a walk to Brandon Snyder to score Gathright before getting Josh Bell to ground out to end the inning.

Lou Montanez after beating the run down

In the top of the 6th Jim Miller came into the game for the Tides. Miller who has spent most of his career as a closer is now working middle relief for the Tides a role that he began last year.  After striking out Bull’s Matt Joyce and Justin Ruggiano who then was ejected by umpire Fran Burke for saying something inappropriate on his way back to the dugout, I imagine that he was questioning Burke’s parentage, sexual preference or some other behavior and not the call and when tossed came back and gave Burke a piece of his mind.

Justin Ruggiano loses his arguement with umpire Fran Burke

Miller then faced Dan Johnson and with 2 strikes on Johnson gave up a monster home run that hit the back of the right field party deck awning before quite possibly heading into the Elizabeth River.  That shook Miller who seemed to lose confidence and control walking Joe Dillon before giving up a double to deep left center to Ryan Shealy which scored Dillon from first. Miller then got Angel Chavez to ground out to end the inning. The Tides went down in order in the bottom of the 6th.

In the 7th Miller came back out gave up a walk but then got Elliott Johnson to line out into a double play when Alvin Colina got caught too far off of first.  Miller then gave up a base hit to Rashad Eldridge and was replaced by Frank Mata.  Eldridge stole second and was driven in on a single to center by Matt Joyce.  Joyce then stole second off of Mata who then walked Chris Richard and gave up a single to Dan Johnson to score Joyce before retiring the side.

Jim Miller gets Ruggiano on a called third strike

The Tides did not wait long to come back.  The hitting which had not gone well in the first part of the game took off with two outs the bottom of the 7th.  Justin Turner singled and Lou Montanez tripled deep to center field driving in Turner. As Montanez came into third the throw got away and Montanez started down the third base line after hesitating for a moment.  He was then caught in a run down and avoided a tag by catcher Alvin Colina and scored easily when as no one covered the plate for the Bulls.  In the top of the 8th Mata took the Bulls down in order. In the bottom of the 8th Adam Donachie singled to drive in Scott more for an insurance run.

Castillo ties up and strikes out Chris Richard

Alberto Castillo came in to close the game for the Tides.  He gave up a leadoff double to Elliott Johnson but then struck out the side on a combination of 94 mile an hour fastballs and some good off speed pitching leaving Johnson to die at second.  In the win Lou Montanez led the offense going 3 for 3 and a walk scoring twice and driving in two.  Arrieta and Castillo showed excellent stuff and Mata got the win after having a rough outing in the top of the 7th. The win evened the series 1-1 and the teams play Saturday night with Alfredo Simon making his Norfolk 2010 debut against the Bull’s David Bennett.

Castillo on his way to striking out the side for his first save of 2010

At the Major League level the Orioles new closer Mike Gonzales lost his second time in 3 outings lowing a 9th in inning lead for the second time and the Orioles lost to the Jays 7-6.  Out on the West Coast the Giants downed the Braves 5-4 in 13 innings and the A’s clipped the Angels 10-4 in Anaheim.

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Oral Passes, Tiger Crashes, Baseball Dances and Odd Thoughts

A few thoughts for the mid-week…

First an Icon of American Religious life passed away yesterday.  Oral Roberts died at the age of 91.  Regardless of one’s views of his ministry, theology or lifestyle Reverend Roberts was a trendsetter. For better or worse he was a major influence on American religious life. Roberts in his television ministry, crusades and university helped to bring Pentecostalism into the mainstream of American life.  His positive message of “Something good is going to happen to you” inspired many who were not Pentecostals.   The University that bears his will likely be his legacy in merging his beliefs with an institution that became regionally accredited breaking out of the simple unaccredited Bible College tradition that was a hallmark of Pentecostalism and Evangelicalism.  There are some that loved him and some that loathed him but one cannot deny his influence on the American religious life and culture.  His departure from the scene leaves Billy Graham, Pat Robertson and Paul Crouch from the pioneers of modern Christian media.  While Roberts was controversial in terms of some of his pleas for financial support and criticism of his lifestyle, he never seemed to me to have the angry edge of other early televangelists including Jimmy Swaggart, Jerry Fallwell (in his early ministry) and others.  Having worked in a television ministry while I was in seminary back in the early 1990s I am not a big fan of  television ministries from the standpoint of the huge amounts of money involved and potential for abuse.  However one cannot deny the impact that Oral Roberts had on the American religious scene.

Tiger Woods has crashed hard and I pray that for the sake of him and his family that he will be reconciled with his wife and make amends.  I have no double that he will return to greatness on the PGA Tour but for now I hope that he is able to reclaim his life.  As much as his actions speak poorly of him as a person I am disappointed with the media which has used every opportunity to take him down further.  Of course this was aided by his media advisers who let him be a target and did not pre-empt  things that they obviously knew would come to light.  Can anyone say Bill Clinton or Richard Nixon?  I hope that the media frenzy around Tiger dies down so he and his wife can attempt to salvage their marriage if it is even possible now.

The Phillies, Blue Jays and Mariners deal to bring Roy Halliday to Philly and send Cliff Lee to Seattle looks to me like a bad deal for the Phillies, Halliday is a great pitcher but unproven in the post-season and the Phillies gave up their best pitcher and top pitching prospect to get him.  The addition of John Lackey to the Red Sox makes their rotation very strong.  The departure of Hideki Matsui for the Yankees to the Angels helps the Halos who had lost Chone Figgens and Lackey.  The Angels will need to find a good starter to replace Lackey.  The Yankees picked up Curtis Granderson from the Tigers at very little expense to them.  The Giants have not done much as of yet and the Orioles acquired starting pitcher Kevin Millwood from the Rangers and came to terms with Matt Albers and Cla Meredith.  The Orioles could use some power in their offensive lineup.

Barry Bonds agent Jeff Borris stated last week that Barry Bonds would not return to playing baseball.  Bonds has not played the last two season but not retired.  His name will be forever linked to the steroids controversy and his reputation tainted for years to come.  I do not know if he will get in the Hall of Fame, but if the players from the 1940s and 1950s who used amphetamines can be admitted and Gaylord Perry who admitted using the spit-ball, which was illegal can be in the club I see no reason not to admit Bonds.  Many players have been named in the scandal but only Bonds has been pursued by investigators and prosecutors who have spent millions of dollars of our tax money over the past number of years to attempt to catch Bonds.  However, their misconduct of investigators and prosecutors themselves who violated the law in attempt to gather evidence to convict Bonds is shameful and their inability to get charges to stick shows the weakness of their case.  It is time for the investigation of Bonds and the others to end. Let baseball fans, writers and players determine their future.

The Most Valuable Network which I had been invited on in the summer to write The View From 102 went Tango Uniform last week.  I had been unable to post as they had been going through a transition that did not work out. I am contacting media outlets who are taking writers from MVN to relaunch the View from 102.

The Navy released the promotion zone message for FY 2011.  I am right in the middle of the zone for consideration to the grade of Commander.  I hope that I make it.

My Bishop for the Armed Services visited this week for a trip to the USS Carl Vinson.  We had a nice time with him and I deeply appreciate him.  Bishop Woodall is a dear friend.

I am looking at a couple of writing projects for actual books.  As they develop you may see snippets of them here.

I watched two of my favorite Christmas movies last night Scrooged and Christmas Vacation. They are classic albeit a bit twisted.  Would you expect anything else from me?

In less than two weeks I will have oral surgery to emplace my implant where the Undead Tooth of Terror used to live. While I look forward to getting something back into the empty slot were the Undead Tooth of Terror lived, thrived and survived I am not looking forward to the surgery, the anesthesia or the excavation and drilling process.

Christmas is coming and I am nowhere near ready.  Maybe I should move my celebration to January 6th, the Russian Orthodox Christmas…more time plus post Christmas sales….hmmm….

I have duty tomorrow, get to stay in house at the medical center.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Padre Steve’s World Series Prediction and Book and Bible Burning Update

“The key to winning baseball games is pitching, fundamentals, and three run homers.” Earl Weaver

*Mar 06 - 00:05*C C Sabathia

Well Baseball Fans here we are, the day before the beginning of the World Series of Baseball to be played between the current World Champion Philadelphia Phillies and the resurgent New York Yankees. The series arguably should be one of the best in years.  There is no doubt that these teams are the best in baseball and no controversy that one or the other does not deserve to be in the series and if you can sum up who will win this series it is just like Earl Weaver said: “The key to winning baseball games is pitching, fundamentals, and three run homers.”  The two teams are well matched with each having great seasons and dominating their playoff opponents.

cliff-lee-philliesCliff Lee

Charlie Manuel took his Phillies from last year’s series title to the very hard to achieve return to the series in the following year.  Manuel is a great manager who survived some rocky times where the ever loving Philadelphia fans and sports writers were calling for his public execution outside Independence Hall. In doing this he managed the Phillies to a 93-69 record in the regular season, a 4 game win over the red hot Colorado Rockies in the Division Series and a 4-1 thumping of the Dodgers in the National League Championship Series.  Phillies hitting and the pitching of late season acquisition Cliff Lee from the Indians have been the secret to the Phillies success.  Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth provide the power for the Phillies who hit 244 home runs in the regular season and scored 820 runs with a team batting average of .258.  Their pitching staff had an ERA of 4.16. Since the Phillies are in the National League their pitchers hit which has to drive down the team average. The Phillies pitching which was at times problematic held up in the playoffs with only one meltdown by the bullpen in game 2 against Colorado and one shelling of a starter, Cole Hammels in game 2 of the NLCS in Los Angeles.  Brad Lidge who went from the best reliever in the league to being relieved of his closer duties toward the end of the season came back and has not allowed a run in the playoffs.  Speaking of the playoffs the Phillies were 7-2 and hit 14 home runs, batted .261 with their pitchers having a .304 ERA.

charlie-manuelCharlie Manuel

The Yankees make their first return to the series since 2003 when they lost to the Marlins and the collapse in the 2004 ALCS which spelled beginning of the end of the Joe Torre dynasty in the Bronx.  Under new skipper Joe Girardi the Yankees failed to make the playoffs in 2008 for the first time since 1994.  The job of managing a team like the Yankees requires a certain finesse, to quote Earl Weaver “A manager’s job is simple. For one hundred sixty-two games you try not to screw up all that smart stuff your organization did last December.”  In the off season the Yankees added C.C. Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and A.J. Burnett to their arsenal, improved their bullpen as their “home grown” relief staff matured into a formidable force, and overcame off season controversy and injury with Alex Rodriguez and Girardi was able to make the adjustments and the Yankees came together as a team, not just a high priced bunch of individuals who happen to play together.  During the regular season the Yankees went 103-59 with the best record in the Majors.  They hit 244 home runs with a team average of .283 and the team ERA of 4.26.  In the playoff they went 7-2 with 14 Home Runs, a team batting average of .262 and ERA of 2.04.

ryan-howard1Ryan Howard

During the regular season the teams met for one three game series at Yankee Stadium where the Phillies took 2 out of 3.  Game one the Phillies won 7-3 with Jimmy Rollins hitting the first pitch out against A.J. Burnett in a game that netted 7 home runs.  The Yankees won the second game 5-4 coming from behind as Alex Rodriguez hit a tying home run of Brad Lidge and Melky Cabrera singled in the winning run giving Lidge the loss.  The rubber game was won by the Phillies 4-3 in 11 after Lidge blew a second save attempt in the 9th.

Mariners Yankees BaseballAlex Rodriguez

Looking ahead at match ups we know that both teams can hit, so the key will be pitching, as Earl Weaver said: “The only thing that matters is what happens on the little hump out in the middle of the field.” Game one will see C.C. Sabathia against Cliff Lee.  The two former Indians team-mates have performed magnificently in the playoffs with both dominating their opponents Lee pitching 24.1 innings with a 0.74 ERA and Sabathia 22.2 innings with a 1.19 ERA.  This one should be close and it will likely be decided on a big hit or a mistake, if the game gets to the bullpen and is close the Yankees should win.  In his career Lee has faced the Yankees 9 times and is 4-4 with a 5.02 ERA and a .297 team ERA when facing him in 52 innings work.  Sabathia has a career record of 1-1 against Philadelphia and a 4.36 ERA with Phillies hitters having a .265 average against him in 20.2 innings pitched.  All things equal I have to go on past performance and give the Yankees game one.

mariano-riveraMariano Rivera

Game two pits Pedro Martinez against A.J. Burnett.  Both men are capable of big game performances and both are no stranger to the other team.  Martinez has faced the Yankees 32 times with a career record of 11-11 against the Bronx Bombers including big games in the 2004 ALCS when pitching for the Red Sox.  He has a career 3.20 ERA against the Yankees as well as holding them to a .211 team batting average.  Martinez has had a long recovery period and is not the same as he was a few years back but he owned the Dodgers.  Since returning his is 5-1 in the regular season with a 3.63 ERA.  He gave up 7 home runs in 44.2 innings.  Burnett has a career record of 5-8 against the Phillies with a 4.75 ERA and with the Phillies and an opponent team batting average of .263.  In his one appearance this year against Philadelphia he gave up 5 runs on 8 hits including 3 home runs in 6 inning work.  This game is hard to call but I think that the Phillies take this one unless Pedro has a very bad outing.  If the game is close and Burnett can get the game to the bullpen the advantage shifts to the Yankees with Mariano Rivera in waiting in the bullpen.  He is the Yankees silver bullet should the game be close.

The series should go back to Philadelphia knotted at one.  In game 3 the Phillies will pitch Cole Hammels against Andy Pettitte.  Hammels was MVP of last year’s World Series.  Hammels is a career 0-1 against the Yankees in 2 starts in which he has pitched 13 innings with a 2.77 ERA and a .286 opposing team batting average.  This year he got knocked around a bit in Yankee Stadium.  This year Hammels has went 10-11 in 32 appearances with a 4.32 ERA and his opponents hitting .277 against him.  In the playoff he has suffered in 3 games and 14.2 innings work he has a 1-1 record but has given up 20 hits including 6 home runs, 12 walks with a 6.75 ERA.  Making him the game 3 starter is a good move by Charlie Manuel giving him the start in Philadelphia rather than New York but I do not think that this will save him.  I expect that the Yankees will hit him hard.  Andy Pettitte gets the start for the Yankees.  In 7 career starts against the Phillies he is 1-1 with a 3.67 ERA and a .273 opposing batting average.  He was knocked around by the Phillies in his appearance against them this year though the game was a no-decision for him.   During the regular season Pettitte went 14-8 with a 4.16 ERA and an opposing batting average of .271.  During the playoffs he is 2-0 in 3 starts with a 2.37 ERA and .246.  I give the advantage to the Yankees as I do not see Hammels pulling this one off.

When we get to game 4 the starters are not announced by assuming that the Yankees will pitch Sabathia and that they will win.  I expect that the Phillies will take game 5 with Cliff Lee back on the mound and force the series back to New York where Andy Pettitte will get the win.  If by some chance the Phillies win game 6 the Yankees will take it in game 7 with C.C. Sabathia going strong and Rivera closing the game out.  Two other factors could play a part in this series, the first is the weather and while the weather is not expected to be too bad you never know what happens this time of year.  The second factor that will likely hurt the Yankees is the lack of the designated hitter in the games in Philadelphia.

My prediction is the Yankees in 6 with an outside chance that the series will go seven games.  I expect that there will be much drama as the two teams are stacked with talent and personality. Jimmy Rollins has predicted a 5 game Phillies win which if you ask me is a pretty ballsy statement. The Phillies certainly are confident as the reigning champs and will not go down easily.  This has the makings of a classic World Series that no matter who wins should be amazing to watch.

And now a Book and Bible Burning Update:  The Grand Master Pastor Marc has announced “game on” and that he is going ahead with the Halloween Book burning at Amazing Grace Baptist Church in Canton North Carolina.  It begins at &PM until all the books are done… well done.  Anyway, don’t bother to bring the marshmallows or beer as Grand Master Pasto Marc has put this announcement on his website:

“This event is not open to the public. Only our members and those by special invitation from the pastor only. All others are tresspassing.” (Marc’s misspelling and grammar errors not mine.) Of course the Beloved Grand Master Pastor Marc is a “true scholar” as opposed to the rest of us apostates by his reasoning that a “A true scholar is one who believes the Bible (KJV) whether he understands it or not.” And a ‘scholar’ (most) today is someone who does not believe the Bible (KJV) is the Word of God, but questions it.”

He advertises “Great preaching and singing” but since he will likely be the preacher, and maybe his daddy too it seems a little like chest pounding to me.  The fact that this great preaching and singing will be simply entertaining the faithful versus reaching the lost seems a little disingenuous when he talks about wanting to save souls while not attracting media attention.  Anyone who posts to the web knows that it will be seen and if controversial picked up by the media.  Likewise his stated goal of only wanting “to make a statement to our community not to the world” rings hollow as he put it on the web, attempted to advertise in the newspaper and gave a TV interview.  He claims that it has been twisted and lied about by “commentators, reporters, and announcers” about but they are his words on TV as well as the website.  It’s hard to twist someone as straight forward as the Grand Master Pastor Marc.   He loves his community and the media, especially the media of whom he makes the following comparison. Our Media 2000 Years Ago-Same As Today.

Acts 17:5″But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason (this is not your typical brother that would be “Blown away”), and sought to bring them out to the people.” As far as I know the media in Canton and Ashville is not heavily Jewish, nor have I heard about anyone assaulting his house, unless assaulting is meant being asked for media interviews.  The problem for the Grand Master Pastor Marc is that he wants to control and spin the message, and the one time he got on TV he looked stupid simply because he answered their questions.  Oh well if you want to get an invitation I do suggest calling him at 828-648-0213 or e-mail jonmarcgrizzard@aol.com

The website is here:  http://amazinggracebaptistchurchkjv.com/Download99.html

The church if you want to do a tail-gaiter off campus the address of the church and location of the book burning is 6841 Cruso Road Canton , N.C. 28716.  Look for the Sheriff and Fire Marshal who will be parked out front waiting to cite him for burning without a permit.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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34 Hours: Reflections on Family, Service and Baseball amid Life and Death

91788333NM088_New_York_YankJohn Lackey and the Angels fought back to Send the ALCS back to New York defeating the Yankess 7-6 in Anaheim

Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

I’m a bit reflective today after a long on-call duty in the medical center that lasted from about 0615 on Wednesday until 1630 today.  About 34 hours in house with about 4 hours of fitful sleep as I left my sleep meds at home.  It was a busy night and once again it seemed that I was dealing with patients and families similar to mine.  The patients were retired Navy Chief Petty Officers about the age of my father and of course their children, who like me are “Navy Brats.”  I’m pretty tired as the day has been very full complete with me being the acting department head for much of the day and having to deal with a number of situations outside the clinical setting.  It’s kind of funny how “Company Commander Steve” can show back up, and thankfully not in a bad or asshole kind of way. I guess that the Deity Herself has given me a bit of grace to only allow the best of the old company commander to show up.  Thankfully I work with a lot of really great people.

Last night was very intense and there were no easy cases, all took a long time and the work went deep into the night. I did not even get a chance to catch any of the Phillies game against the Evil Dodgers.  I only found out the Phillies had won before I trundled off to the call room about 0200.  Of course for me there was cause for rejoicing as my “anti-Dodgers” wear did not go the waste, which is of course my San Francisco Giants apparel.   What I find interesting is just how many of the players in both the NLCS and ALCS that I have seen play in the minors to include Shane Victorino who I saw a lot in Kinston North Carolina when he played for the Kinston Indians, and Ryan Howard who I saw the first time playing for the Reading Phillies in Harrisburg back on our wedding anniversary in 2004.

It is humbling to be with people who have similar histories to me and my family and to be with them as they “walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death.” Of course what goes through my mind is that I would hope that there would be someone there for my parents, especially my dad who still lingers in a nursing facility with end stage Alzheimer’s disease.  My mother seems more introspective and reflective than she has been in a long time. She seems to be preparing for the inevitable with my dad, trying to visit him within the limits of her physical condition and letting him know that she loves him and even tries to be with him when one of their Lutheran pastors when he brings Communion to my father.  Likewise she seems to be preparing just in case something happens to her, asking me to help her decide the disposition of various belongings.  This is a first.  So I wonder what is going on.

Since my dad has held on for many months longer than his physicians expected I will be travelling to California to visit my parents to see them as well as well as take care of more administrative, banking and other matters with my brother and mother.   I’ll be out there about a week.

It is funny too that all of this is taking place during the MLB playoffs and in particular as the Angels are playing the Yankees in Anaheim.   Our time in Long Beach California was probably one of the most magical couple of years in my childhood, and much was due to the time that my dad took in teaching me the game of baseball and taking me to game after game at Anaheim Stadium.

Me and Lefty PhillipsMemories at Anaheim Stadium, Me with Manager Lefty Phillips in 1970

As I looked at the stadium I can see the areas that we would sit when we attended the games.  Since dad always got us there as soon as the gates opened we would get to see batting practice, shag fly balls and meet players before the game.  That really was a special time and really did make a lasting impression on me, so as I watch the game tonight I am more reflective than usual, not in a morose way but in a way that somehow blends appreciation for those that I am honored to serve with in their life crisis, my own family situation as well as baseball and wonderful memories from the “Big A.”

Tonight’s game was full of drama and for the most part free of the egregious bad calls.  The Angels went up 4-0 in the first inning and then in the top of the 7th the Yankees scored 6 runs.  The Angles came right back in the bottom of the 7th scoring three of their own to go back up 7-6.  The drama continued in the 8th and finally with the bases loaded after an intentional walk, a walk and a hit batsman Nick Swisher popped up to end the game. The series goes back to New York with the Angels resurgent after being clobbered by the Yankees in game 4.

Well, I’m tired and it’s time to go to bed.

Peace, Padre Steve+

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The Worst Call Ever Made: I Hate to Say it but We Need Replay Now and LCS Updates

“The best umpired game is the game in which the fans cannot recall the umpires who worked it.” Bill Klemm

blown callAngels Catcher Mike Natoli Puts Both Posada and Cano Out…Well Not According to Umpire Tim MacClelland

Monday was such a great night for baseball, two excellent games both decided by walk off hits which left the Angels back in their series with the Yankees and the Phillies within a game of going back to the World Series when they came back in the 9th inning with 2 outs and Jimmy Rollins at the plate with two strikes on him.  It was awesome to behold and it looked like all was well again in the 2009 MLB League Championship Series.

Then fallen humanity struck…

And 3rd Base Umpire Tim McClelland has now discovered what it means to be remembered for all the wrong reasons, two badly blown calls and a lame excuse for blowing them.

See the calls:

http://sports.yahoo.com/video/player/mlb;_ylt=Ahzw4dvilocLtjFLCKQAyusRvLYF#mlb/16204489

As I sat watching the Yankees destroy the Angels last night I was amazed at the bad calls.  Now this playoff season there have been a number of really grotesque calls on the part of umpires. This year I have found some of the calls so unbelievably bad that even I, a traditionalist in the Church of Baseball who detests replay reviews in the NFL think that the time has come to consider some form of replay.

My view that that baseball is the most human of sports, perfection is seldom reached and never maintained.  People who hit .300 make it to All-Star teams as well as the Hall of Fame.  Rain delays, bad calls and close calls that could go either way are all part of the fabric of baseball.  In principle I don’t like replay.  I believe that umpires, like everyone else are human and that the imperfection of the umpires is as much as part of the game as a fielding error, wild pitch or bad at bat.  However some of the calls this post-season have been particularly egregious and the crew chief on the field should have overruled to call, especially when Angels Catcher Mike Napoli clearly tagged out Robinson Cano and Jorge Posada who were both well of the base. McClellan’s excuse about how he missed the call was lame and he compounded the issue by calling Nick Swisher out for supposedly leaving third base early on a sacrifice fly, which the replay showed that he had not done so and should have scored.  Once again though there were two extra umpires no one caught the play.

My recommendation is for an “eye in the sky” umpire who can review the call in real time and overrule the call on the field if the call is clearly wrong, this would not apply to called balls and strikes, but only on balls that are put in play.  To overturn the call the “eye in the sky” umpire would have to determine that the play was clearly blown and not simply a call that could have gone either way.  He would have to account for the umpires position and visibility in relationship to the play and if it could be reasonably expected that any umpire would make the same call.  If the replay clearly shows that the umpire on the field missed the call the “eye in the sky” umpire could then overturn the call.  Such a mechanism would maintain the flow of the game as the umpire on the field would not have to go to a replay booth, taking valuable time and would provide some measure of accountability when a play is as badly called as McClellan’s.  It would not take out the human factor of calls that can go either way or where bad positioning or visibility could have affected the call.  It would however ensure that calls like last night’s by McClellan are quickly rectified with minimal delay to the game, calls that could easily decide the fate of a series in a close game.  Thankfully because of the blowout of neither Angels nor the Yankees could claim that the calls affected the game’s outcome.

I missed the game tonight because of being involved with critical situations here at the Medical Center, but the Evil Dodgers were crushed by the Phillies tonight 10-4 ending their season.  I picked the Phillies in 7 because I thought that the Dodgers bullpen would make a difference but the Dodgers bullpen was about as effective as a pocketknife in a gunfight and the Phillies bullpen, derided by many stepped up, especially closer Brad Lidge who had such a miserable and ineffective season after a great 2008 where he was just about perfect.  The Phillies hitters owned the Dodgers pitching staff driving in 45 runs in the 5 games of the series.  Anytime a team averages nine runs a game it will win the series.

Tonight the Yankees and Angels square off in Anaheim for what could be the deciding game of their series. The question is can the Angels mount a comeback and will the “X” factor of Nick Adenhart inspire them enough to win the game and get the series back to New York?  I had picked the Angels in six figuring that the Yankees could not keep up the pace, but the Yankees are locked on, they have an edge and every member of the team is playing hard, Alex Rodriguez is in the process of establishing himself as a clutch Mr.October the likes which have not been seen since Reggie Jackson.  Derek Jeter has helped lead the team and hit well while the pitching staff led by C.C. Sabathia has been amazing and Mariano Rivera as usual has been a hero.  Joe Girardi has managed the team exceptionally well and is getting performance and teamwork out of the Yankees far more effectively than Joe Torre who was ushered out of the playoffs with the Dodgers in much the same way that he was ushered out with the Yankees from 2003 to the end of 2007.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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A Winter Epic in New York: 13 Innings of Drama in Horrible Conditions

Last night the Yankees and the Angels placed an epic game in the New Yankee Stadium.  It was the kind of game that only can happen in baseball because of its nature. The drama kept me glued to the television once I returned from patient visits during my on-call duty earlier in the evening.  I have seen these types of games before and when they get to extra innings they take on a life of their own.

The weather conditions in New York were terrible.  If it was the regular season the game would have been postponed.  With temperatures which started at 47 degrees they dropped into the lower 40s as the game went on with a stiff wind and mist and drizzle, which turned worse as the rain became steady with the wind blowing rain into player’s faces as they attempted to catch fly balls.  The conditions were some of the worst that I have ever watched with the exception of the 2005 home opener for the Norfolk Tides at Harbor Park where the temperature was 38 degrees at game time with a 25-40 knot wind coming out of left center.  Thank God for global warming or we would have really frozen our asses off that night.

The Yankees got out to a 2-0 lead with one of the runs coming off of a Derek Jeter home run in the 3rd. In the top of the 5th the Angels tied the game using some small ball as well as a wild pitch which scored the tying run.  The game would remain knotted at 2 each another 6 innings until the 11th inning.   With the weather getting worse and both teams beginning to scrape the bottom of their bullpens the Angels scored when Chone Figgins singled to drive in Gary Matthews Junior with 1 out.  The Yankees gave the intentional walk to Bobby Abreu to load the bases and Tory Hunter grounded into a double play to end the inning.  Had Hunter gotten a hit the Angels might well have gone back to Anaheim with a split in the City.

In the bottom of the 11th with the Angels leading 3-3 Alex Ramirez led off for the Yankees.  Angels pitcher Brian Fuentes got ahead of Rodriguez quickly and with a 0-2 count served up a fastball low and outside that Rodriguez lined into the right field bleachers about 18 inches over the outstretched glove of Tory Hunter.  Fuentes got out of the inning but blew the save.  The 12th inning saw the Angels with another chance to move ahead but could not get a runner across the plate.  The Yankees now left the bases loaded in the bottom of the 12th allowing the Angels another shot at them.  They got runners to second and third but Vladimir Guerrero grounded out to the pitcher.  Once again a great scoring opportunity was lost.

In the bottom of the 13th the Yankees got their leadoff hitter, Jerry Hairston on base and he was advanced on a sacrifice grounder.   The Angels intentionally walked Robinson Cano to set up a chance at a double play.  Melky Cabrera hit a ground ball to Angels 2nd Baseman Maicer Izturis who attempted to get the runner at second but threw the ball away skipping it past Erick Aybar and Chone Figgins who could not get the ball to make the play at the plate which allowed Hairston to score the winning run. The game was a marathon lasting over 5 hours and will go down as a memorable game.

The hero of the game was Alex Rodriguez.  His 11th inning home run kept the Yankees in the game and was his third home run in clutch situations this post season.

I picked the Angles in 6 figuring a split in New York.  I have the feeling that this series could quickly go south for the Halo’s if they are unable to get things back together in Anaheim.  Though I picked the Angels, largely due to the “X” factor of Nick Adenhart, the Yankees in my view are the best team in baseball, something that I have said for months.  They are playing with an attitude and there is not a player on the team who is not hungry to bring the World Series Championship back to New York.  Rodriguez and C.C. Sabathia are shedding their reputations as players who “choke” in the playoffs.  The Yankees are for real and I do not know if the Angels can come back.  It is true that they have owned the Yankees in Anaheim this year but these Yankees do not look like they will be at all intimidated by what happened in the regular season in Anaheim.

More commentary in the coming days my friends, so until then stay safe, be blessed and take care.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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MLB League Championship Series so Far, I will wear Short Pants until the World Series is Over and Learning that I am a “Wounded Healer”

So far things appear to be working out the way that I thought that they would in the MLC League Championship Series between the Phillies and Dodgers. I predicted that the teams would split at Chavez Ravine and go back to Philly knotted.  The Phillies took game one and looked like they had game two in the bag with Pedro Martinez shutting the Dodgers out through seven giving up only two hits.  Then the Phillies problematic bullpen took over in the eighth and it went down from there with the Dodgers coming back to win.

The ALCS has been played at the new Yankee Stadium amid the din of a Nor’easter.  The Yankees took game one 4-1 as the Angels quite literally “froze” in the cold and damp weather.  Game two played in even worse conditions has been influenced by the weather and was a superb pitcher’s duel.  The game went into extra innings tied at two and though the Angels went ahead in the top of the 11th as the rain started coming down harder only to have Alex Rodriguez come up big again for the Yankees in the bottom of the 11th with a home run to tie the game.  The game went to the bottom of the 13th when with one out the Yankees scored on a throwing error to win the game 4-3.  It was an amazing game that I could not pull myself away from but will write more about later.

On another note, the weather here in Hampton Roads has been miserable as we also have had some of the residue of the Nor’easter with cold rain, fog and drizzle that has not let up.  Amid this positively crappy weather I am maintaining my vow to wear short pants as long as I can with the exceptions being my uniform and going to church.  This means that I am bundling up from the belt up while keeping my legs bare.  I have never done this before which means either I’m nuts or I’m nuts, but nonetheless I am in this until the World Series is over at the minimum.  Since with the exception of church, work and one social event where shorts were unacceptable I have not worn long pants since sometime in April.  Tonight I had a Norfolk Tides jacket and sweatshirt on.  We’ll see how this goes…

I have the duty this weekend and have been in and out of the hospital a number of times.  One of the visits called to mind just how much I am like the people I serve and what it means to have to ask the same questions about God, faith and what it is to be human and a Christian. What got me tonight was a gentleman struggling with his faith, much as I have after returning from Iraq and battling PTSD and other nagging injuries.  Having him ask the same questions that I have wrestled with and having him ask me directly what I thought.  I have learned that I don’t have to “fake it” and try to give the man some textbook answer of how he needed to believe more, read his Bible more, go to church more, pray more or harder.  Instead I was able to be honest that I have wrestled with the same question but somehow the words of the 23rd Psalm speak to me.  “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me.”  The Psalm is very reassuring for me as it is so honest.  Reality is that we do walk through the valley of the shadow of death.  In fact it is a difficult and pain filled world.  That I will fear no evil means that evil is in fact very real but in the middle of this there is an understanding that God is still with us.  It is an understanding that even when life is more like Good Friday than Easter, that God as far away as he may seem is still there.  Maybe that is actually the miracle that most people need, the miracle to know that no matter how bad things suck, and I do use the word “suck” because that is how it is sometimes, especially when there is no “miracle” to be had otherwise.  When I told the man that I had spent the past 18 months wrestling with those questions he opened up and we had a wonderful discussion and prayer.   I am totally okay with this somehow God uses me in my weakness more than when I had all the answers.

Tonight I discovered that  Bishop John Holloway, the medically retired former Ordinary of the Charismatic Episcopal Church Diocese of the Mid-South and one of the early leaders of the Church, his wife Elaine and two youngest children have to leave their home in Thomaston Georgia.  They moved there as a missionary bishop giving up pension and medical from the Methodist Church to follow God’s call into the CEC.  The home is being foreclosed on after the church, which has no pension or insurance plan in most dioceses for clergy and had provided a great deal of money to help pay off debts in the past has had to reduce the money they were providing by half and now according it the Holloways’ son Jared to nothing.  Their home is being foreclosed on and they have to be out by December 1st and if you want to read more go to his blog: http://jzholloway.wordpress.com/  If there is a question as to how the CEC currently handles finaces go to www.cechome.com where the budgets and expenses of every diocese are posted.  There had been great problems in the past in the finacial management of the CEC largely done by people no longer associated with the church, including some former bishops.  I think this is getting better under Archbishop Bates unfotunately the residue and distaste of that era is still out there.

I really don’t know what to think about that except that I did talk to a CEC Bishop about it and hear that there are other parts to the story.  That aside, when the CEC was formed and one of the things that drew me to it was that the CEC was to would be more personal and relational than churches where the bishops did not really know their clergy. I think that is still the ideal in the Church but what Jared is reporting and what I hear from Elaine on Facebook gives me some cause for concern because it deals with a bishop who can no longer function and is completely disabled. Additionally Elaine is a cancer survivor who has exeeded her life expectancy with the disease.  Obiviously things are not good for them and I have to trust that the situation will be resolved in a spirit of love and reconcilliation and that ultimately the Holloways will be taken care of by the church and God’s people.  I cannot say anything else because I do not know anything else, but to say how this grieves me as Bishop Holloway was and I’m sure, even in his greatly de-habilitated and totally dependent state is a gracious and giving man.  I always felt comfortable and safe around him.  He ordained my friend Father Stu King back in 2001.  Stu has left the CEC having been accepted into Seminary and in now working to become a Roman Catholic Priest.  I’m sure that Bishop John would approve and give his blessing.  Please keep the Holloways in your prayers. I have no idea if there is anything that can be done to help them, if there is Jared may know or one could contact the Mid South Diocese of the CEC.

I also found that a friend, the sister of our dear friend Dr Helen Linkey who taught at Marshall University who battled breast cancer for two years before succumbing to it in 2005 has found a lump in her breast. She is going in for a biopsy which is expected to find cancer. Maryellen occasionally comments on my website and her news was included in her comment to my post from last night at https://padresteve.wordpress.com/2009/10/16/war-remembrance-and-healing-a-chaplain-officer-and-historian-makes-his-way-home/

Please keep Maryellen in your prayers also. Anyway, it is time for me to try to get to sleep.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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Filed under Baseball, healthcare, Pastoral Care, philosophy, PTSD