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Padre Steve’s Road Trip

David Thomas rips a 3 run home run in the bottom of the 4th inning

Well friends, countrymen and baseball fans Padre Steve was able to take in one last ball game in Mudville aka Stockton California before flying back tomorrow to the home of the Navy and site of the first landing by English Colonists in the New World, Norfolk and Virginia Beach Virginia.  While I look forward to coming home and being with my wife Judy, the Abbess of the Abbey Normal, I shall miss the lack of humidity here in the “Big Valley” aka the Central Valley of California.

The weather has heated up to the kind of weather that I remember growing up with, 100 degrees plus but low humidity which if you ask me makes all the difference in the world. Even though I have adapted to the mugginess of the East Coast and Mid Atlantic region I am always amazed when I can sit comfortably through a day game with temps in the high 90’s and low 100’s without much effort other than adding copious amounts of 50 weight Banana Boat sun screen to my fragile Northern European genetically engineered skin.

Grant Green gets tied up and struck out while Jermaine Mitchell attempts to run, Mitchell was thrown out at second base

Today I attended the second game of the Stockton Ports series against the Bakersfield Blaze with my old high school classmate and US Navy Master Chief Petty Officer, retired Tony Melendez. It was great to see the game with Tony sharing what was happening in our lives and talking baseball while enjoying Tecate beer and an Alpine Hot Dog.  The game was interesting because it was an 1105 AM start, early by my books but with the heat of the Central Valley not a bad idea as the temperatures only get hotter until about 5 PM when they begin to cool down.  The game was the first Ports game ever televised on the Major League Baseball Network and Comcast Sports Hometown.

Lance Sewell got the Win for the Ports

In preparation for the game I wore my Norfolk Tides road jersey and the orange and black hat which has been worn interchangeably at home and on the road this season.  Additionally I made pilgrimage to Wally World to get some poster board and black and orange Sharpies to make a double sided sign with one side saying “Padre Steve’s Road Trip….Go Tides!” and the other “Steve Loves Judy” only with a heart in it.  I think that I got on TV at the 7th inning stretch so if anyone saw it let me know. Since I was the only person in the park with a sign I figured that I should get on at least once.

Paul Smythe got his 11th save for the Ports

The game was much more of a hitters show today than the pitcher’s duel of the preceding night and was error free.  The Ports had 8 runs on 9 hits with no errors leaving 3 men on base. The Blaze, the affiliate of the Texas Rangers in the California League had 6 runs on 10 hits and no errors leaving 8 runners stranded.  Lance Sewell (2-0 3.12 ERA) pitching 2.1 innings of perfect relief got the win for the Ports and Paul Smyth, (3-2 1.80 ERA) got his 11th save of the campaign.  Kennil Gomez (2-6 6.24 ERA) got the loss for the Blaze.

The Blaze led early scoring 2 in the 2nd inning and 1 in the 3rd inning but the Ports scored 4 in the 4th to take the lead. The Blaze would take the lead again in the 6th inning but surrendered it in the 7th when Ports shortstop Grant Green pounded a two run shot while Jeremy Barfield added a solo blast in the 8th inning.

The hitting was driven by the long ball with each team having three apiece the difference that the Blaze homers were single shots with no runners on base and two of the Ports homers came with men on base, one a three run homer by David Thomas with 2 on and 2 out in the bottom of the 4th inning.

Shipmates: Master Chief Tony Melendez USN Retired and Padre Steve also classmates from Edison High School Class of 1978

After the game I met Pat Filiponne the President and General Manager of the Ports through Tony. Pat knows the Tides Owner Ken Young and General Manager Dave Rosenfield and is also the owner and President of the Del Marva Shorebirds in the Orioles organization.  I was able to take in a light dinner at Arroyo’s Café, a Stockton fixture and tradition for many years and enjoyed some really excellent California Mexican Food.  It was interesting to listen to the men at the bar talking about the state of the city, state and country.  If they are any barometer there is a lot of discontent in the country and anger at politicians of all stripes as well as the corporations they feel they are in cahoots with.

Tomorrow I head home the road trip to help my mother and brother following the death of my father and to honor his memory.  When I get back I still have some leave and the Tides who won in Charlotte this evening defeating the Knights by a score of 12 to 3 will return home to Harbor Park on Thursday to play three at home against their southern division rival Knights and I expect to be there.  So see you there.

Peace,

Steve+

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Filed under Baseball, Batlimore Orioles, beer, norfolk tides

Mulligan Stew…Adventures on the Golf Course and the Bar

Me at the 18thMe at the 18th after a Day of “Mulligan Stew”

I have not golfed since last August when I was last out here.  My shoulders and tendonitis which have bothered me since my return from Iraq have been too bad to play the game despite having a set of clubs and a city golf course less than a mile from my home in Virginia.  Today was interesting.  I went out with Jeff and his friends Steve and Frank.  Great guys all of them.  I enjoyed the hell out of the day.

Now as far as my golfing goes…It is safe to say I’m never going to be on the PGA or even the LPGA tour and never going to give Tiger Woods a run for his money.  In fact it might be hard for me to compete against Larry Curley and Moe.   Despite this it does seem, at least according to what my brother and his friends say that I have a pretty good swing for someone who golf’s as little as I do.  Apparently the Deity Herself gave me a great amount of grace.  Now to be honest I had some pretty good shots as well as some incredibly bad shots.  I lost 4 balls in 18 holes, 2 to water and 2 to grass that was so I that I dared not venture into it.  I guess the environmentalists are trying to ensure that some vermin has a place to live.  I also left a pitching wedge at the 9th hole which I did not recover. Thankfully it was an old club that only I might use when I come into town. My right shoulder began to hurt pretty bad by the 9th hole and for a while until I figured out the mechanics of what I was doing I was not doing well.  Thankfully after Iraq I can sense what my body is doing better than I could ever before I went there.  I was able to adjust much faster than usual and I was able to do pretty good, actually scoring a legitimate par on the 16th hole.  My drives and fairway shots got better.  Depending on a very forgiving 2 Wood I started hitting some very nice shots from the tee and the fairway. My approach shots to the green, especially with the pitching wedge or sand wedge after I lost the pitching wedge became very consistent and my puts started getting the range.  All in all it was not a bad round.  Now I while the rest of the foursome kept score I did not.  I took a lot of “Mulligan’s” when things were not going well in order not to slow up the game for everyone else.  Now the true golf aficionado would condemn me to golf hell for such infractions but despite my Scottish last name I do have a bit of Irish in me. I have just enough Irish in me not to take bad shots too seriously, especially when I have not golfed more than 5 times in the last 7 years.  Simply realizing that made my day enjoyable.  I was able to enjoy conversation while working on my game.  In all the day was simply great.  I think I surprised Frank when I suggested that he “bean” one of the golfers ahead of us who were going to slow for my taste so that we could play through.  He was shocked to hear a priest say such a thing, but I had to admit that they were going far too slow.  Heck, even I was playing better and faster than them and they had more expensive clubs and gear than I did and he was horrible.  He deserved it.  Thus I fall back to my old defense: “If they deserve it is it still a sin?”  Sometimes I wonder.  My confessor told me that it was still a sin even if here were extenuating circumstances, but sometimes I wonder.

Following the round Jeff and I got with my high school buddy Jeff and had a blast talking about life over at Maxim’s restaurant and bar.  I had a couple pints of Newcastle’s and we split some very gooey nachos.  It was good to see my friend Jeff again.  We went to high school together and did several cruises as NJROTC cadets while at Edison High School.  Jeff spent three years in the Army after high school serving in Korea, Texas and Kentucky.  After this my brother Jeff and I went to his house where we had dinner with his wife and kids and my mom.  That too was a good visit and after a nice visit I went to pick me up a bottle of Burt’s Bees Aloe and Linden Flower After Sun Lotion to sooth my lobster like skin.  Despite having bought two tubes of Banana Boat Sunscreen, one when getting my coffee this morning I forgot to put the damned stuff on.  It does very little good to purchase good sunscreen with a high SPF if you forget to put it on.

So now I sit writing this post and watching the Giants play the Mets on TV.  Soon I will be packing and putting myself in bed so I get see dad on the way to the airport.  As always thank you for your thoughts, kind words and prayers.

Blessings, Steve+

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Filed under alzheimer's disease, golf, Loose thoughts and musings