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My Daughters Speech

“Baseball is happiness.” I read this in the biography of the twitter account @_baseballbuddha. I investigated further into the account and noticed, in shock, the amount of followers the account has, 5,000. Who is this “Baseball Buddha” and why do they have so many followers? Well @_baseballbuddha goes by the name of John Reimer, or more commonly known to me as Dad. In February 2014, @_baseballbuddha will depart on a daring journey across the United States.  For nine months he will be traveling to every state and observing a new baseball game each day. For nine months, my adventurous, dependable, and optimistic dad will be on an excursion of a life time.

Ever since he was born in (deleted year), John Reimer has maintained an adventurous spirit, whether it was hiking through the bluffs of Devils Lake, or traveling to India on a Buddhist retreat. He is always seeking a new place to explore.  His spirit has led him to his newest journey across the nation. John Reimer will be traveling to, and camping in, each state in the U.S. As he explores each state and the culture within, he will also be attending a game of baseball per day, ranging from the major to little leagues. As he explores each state, he will “document the experience day by day, each game, and every moment until the final pitch is thrown and the last out is played.” As he explores each state, he will not only reunite with his love for baseball, but will also fulfill his need for adventure.

Even though my father will be away for nine months, he will maintain his role as the dependable father that I have grown up with. My father has always been the type of person that goes out of his way for others when they are in need of help. I for one have experienced this first hand. On multiple occasions he has altered his schedule, no matter how busy, to be with me in a time of need. He has been there for me through my highs and lows, whether I’ve been good or bad, and always ready to listen. He is always ready with words of wisdom and is dependable whether I want someone to hang out with, or just somebody to listen to me unload. My father is much more than just that to me, he is my best friend, and as he embarks on his journey, I know he will be there for me every step of the way of mine.

No matter what my father experiences during these next few months, I know that he will be looking at every situation with “the glass is half full” perspective. I know this because it is a part of him. He has always viewed things on the brighter side, and no one can ever change that about him. John Reimer is the kind of man that could be on the side of a cliff holding on for dear life and still be thinking “wow, what a nice view.” He’s a person to turn to, regardless of the situation, and regardless of your relationship with him. He is always looking for someone to help, whether it is his daughter, sibling, or just a random civilian on a street. No matter the scenario, he has the ability to show one the positive side and how to grow from it. To top it all off, he will never let one down with his advice. The man is as bright as the sun getting in the eyes of an outfielder trying to catch a fly ball. As my father begins this new chapter in his life, the one thing that I know for certain is that every day, whether it’s rain or shine, he will be sitting in the bleachers somewhere with a pen in his hand and a smile on his face, loving life.

Buddha once said “Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” To me, this quote is the perfect explanation for why my father is beginning his journey. My father is a candle, and baseball has lit him ablaze. His ultimate goal over the next few months is to light as many more candles as he can, spreading the joy he experiences from baseball with the world. As his new excursion takes flight across America I’m certain that his adventurous spirit, dependability, and optimism will rub off on the local citizen’s fortunate enough to cross paths with him. Now, as I scroll through my twitter feed each day, I will not only be reading about what’s on my best friend’s mind, or what Kim Kardashian is doing today, but also tracking the progress that has been made by the one and only @_baseballbuddha.

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Day 84 “Asked & Answered!”

April28th 1075I was in New Orleans last night and watched the Zephyrs crush the Iowa Cubs, 9-1.  There are times I am finding that I have become very obsessed with the game that I want to concentrate on certain things.  I purchased a stop watch yesterday and I was timing the pitchers from the moment they step on the pitching rubber to the moment they released the ball, about 9 seconds for both when they didn’t have a base runner. Timing was all over the board when there was someone on base. I did this ‘timed set-up with release’ for two innings. I know it is weird and it serves no purpose but I was enjoying it. I also was referring back to the book “Watching Baseball Smarter” on different things.  Needless to say, I was self absorbed and didn’t really talk to anyone, so I thought I would put together a list of frequently asked questions.

I get asked a lot of questions, since I am picking up a lot more followers lately. I am going to create a ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ page on my website, but I figure I will utilize the blog to let everyone know about it!

  1. Are you independently wealthy, how can you afford to do this?  I am not independently wealthy. If that was the case I won’t be sleeping in my car as often as I do.  I am able to afford to do this trip since I don’t have a home or a rent payment, I packed all my stuff up and it is being stored at my sister Meg’s house and my ex-wife Jane’s storage locker.  In addition, I received large donations from Bruno Independent Living Aids, my brother Chad’s family and many small donations on my website.
  2. If you don’t have a house, where is your mail sent?  My ex-wife has been gracious enough to let me have my mail forwarded to her home.
  3. You AREN’T married are you?  I am not married nor am I dating at the moment. I like how it is assumed that I am not, that one always makes me laugh.
  4. Why are you doing this? This is a complex question and I don’t always know where to begin with my answer.  I suppose the main reason is that “life is short” and I am not getting any younger. I am blown away at how fast life has flown by since I graduated from high school. I think I’m like most wanting to make a mark in life, but I never really knew in what ‘occupation’, or how to accomplish my mark.  A lot of people just know and they go about living their plan. I was lost for a very long time. I am very much a “daydreamer”, but I let my fears and other peoples societal constraints dictate to me.  I wanted to fit in for a very long time, but I was always attracted to people that lived on the fringe.  When my Dad had his triple by pass it affected me. I didn’t like seeing my Dad that vulnerable. The thought of losing him never occurred to me because he always seemed young to me. I knew that one day, possibly I would possibly be ‘in his shoes’. Spending time together and our conversations about life, I knew it was time to start doing things that I “needed” to do.  That is the short answer. However, there is more depth to my reason(s).
  5. Are you a writer or journalist?  I am neither, but I do like to write. I thought it was painfully obvious, since my grammar is bad and I use to many commas. I have been told I have a very unique writing style, I know my sister Debbie really likes how I write.  My Mom said I was very good writer years ago.  I have always wanted to write a book (I think a lot of people do).  However, when I read what I write, I don’t like it most of the time or I don’t think it makes sense. I have learned that I will always be my own worst critic and I will never be perfect.  Writing is a process, I am trying to enjoy it as I go along. Some of my stuff will work and some won’t, it is what it is.  I have to say that I am blown away that people are actually reading what I have written.  I have to thank Beth Chapman for editing my posts, I usually post my first draft and she will go in later and clean them up a bit!
  6. What has been your favorite experience so far?  I have had so many great experiences, I can’t lump them together however.  My favorite story so far has been Day 43 “Who replaced Steve Garvey?”.  The most fascinating person I have met has been Day 76 “Mr. Willie”.  The most entertaining experiences have all been at college games with my boys at Colorado Mesa Day 58 “The Pit”, at Southern Miss Day 66 “The Roost” and Clemson Day 72 “The Cheap Seats”.  I have enjoyed speaking to everyone that I have met along the way.  I think in the beginning I was learning and getting comfortable.  I will probably classify the stories when this is over. (check back these may change, I am only a third of the way through)
  7. What kind of car do you drive?  2004 Lexus ES330.  How many miles are on it?  Currently 185,000. How many miles have you put on the car this trip?  17,000 (as of May 9th).
  8. Do you have any kids?  I have one beautiful daughter Sami.  She is finishing up her freshman year at the University of Wisconsin. I couldn’t be more proud of her. She wrote a very touching paper about me and this trip. I shared it before the trip started, click “My Daughters Speech”, for a fantastic write-up.
  9. What do you plan on doing when you get done? I have not given it much thought. Obviously I would love to continue with something in baseball, but will be just fine if that is not in the cards. I truly have no expectations about this trip or how it will affect my life after.
  10. Can I come with you?  I don’t have very much space in my car and besides I don’t think your husband will be to happy about it.
  11. Do you get sick of baseball?  No, I am getting more obsessed with it.  Currently reading: “The Knucklebook” by Dave Clark, “Watching Baseball Smarter” by Zack Hample, “The Physics of Pitching”, and Baseball America’s 2014 Prospect Handbook.  I have been reading some historical stuff also, learning to keep the scorebook properly, and tuning into to the radio broadcasts.
  12. Do you get scared sleeping in Wal-Mart parking lots? In the beginning it was a little nerve racking but like anything you get comfortable.  I have met some very interesting people, so I am grateful for those experiences.
  13. Do you get lonely?  Yes, it can get lonely, especially when I am driving late at night and I wish I had someone to talk too!  I do get texts from a fair number of friends and family so that helps.  But during the day I am actually quite busy.
  14. Are you a Buddhist?  No, however I did go to India where I attended a 10 day Introduction to Buddhism retreat.  Even though I like a lot of things about it, I use what I feel benefits me and leave the rest. I believe we can learn great things from all cultures.

A question that has never been asked…

  1. What is your favorite music to listen to on this trip?  70’s music! There are some songs that get to me and I will sing along. Think Tommy Boy when they are singing “Superstar” by the Carpenters, that is totally me when  “Everything I Own” by Bread comes on.  I love the soft pop songs of the 70’s the most, I am no longer ashamed of it!  Oh!! If Gloria Gaynor’s, “I Will Survive” comes on you can bet I am all over it!  (I no longer like Tiffany, Rob Dwyer.)

If you enjoy this story and you would like to help me complete the “Baseball in America Tour 2014”, which is roughly 265 days, please click on the following link to see how you can help at http://www.baseballbuddha.com/sponsor.html. Please share this on your Facebook page and Twitter. I appreciate all the help I can get!

 

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Day 160 “It is definitely me!”

Today was one of those days where I was sensitive about everything and it started when I woke up. I was in a rest area in Washington.  Their rest areas serve free coffee and treats, it is normally non profit volunteers that sit and man these stations.  My “weed” smoking friend from yesterday explained all this to me.  I used the facilities and decided to get a coffee and a cookie, I was going to donate a couple of bucks and be on my way.  I approached the area (think elementary school store), I asked for a coffee and spotted the cookie I wanted. It was buried under a peanut butter one that I reluctantly ate the night before. I didn’t want to make the same mistake. I reached for the one I wanted, grabbed it, kinda bobbled it and recovered. As all this was going on one silver-haired women, who was manning the cookie plate, with brow furrowed, scolded me. “You are not to grab your own cookie.” she stated with authority.  This firmness in speech caught me off guard. Another silver-haired lady, who was manning the coffee pot, stop pouring my free cup. I was bewildered and then got slightly miffed. I then decided to deposit the cookie into the trash, apologize over my error in judgment and walk away as the coffee ‘lady’ tried to hand me my coffee.

As I drove down the highway, I thought how a stupid little thing like that got me upset and how foolish I must have looked walking away from, not one but two, old women who were just trying to raise money by dispensing “free” cookies and coffee, at least they got a couple of bucks, I did envision them high fiving each other, with one saying to the other, “that guy is an a$$hole.”  I stopped at the nearest Starbucks drive-thru, and my payback was swift. I had to wait about ten minutes to get a coffee since they were just brewing a fresh pot.  They did give me a coupon for a free drink of my choice next time I stopped since I had to wait so long. I was very kind and kept thinking positive thoughts. I wanted to be rid of the bad juju I created twenty minutes before.

Me, Linnea and Jillian
Me, Linnea and Jillian

I had gone to a college summer baseball game in Bellingham last night and had a great time with another Ashland Oredocker that has lived out in Washington for the past 25 years. Linnea (Mackey) Nielsen along with her daughter, Jillian, met me at the game.  Linnea and I caught up on all things Ashland. We discussed a wide variety of subjects; I loved it. Her daughter didn’t so much, but hung in there until the end of the game with bribes of hot dogs and ice cream.  Jillian didn’t understand how a guy like me who was “a little bit” famous was living in a car and not in a house.  I assured her that my “fame” was fleeting and that I hope that I would be able to afford a small apartment when I was done with driving my car around.  As I left Bellingham last night and headed towards Tacoma I was feeling a lot of gratitude. I was also thinking of my daughter. We had gotten into a heated disagreement over something.  Something I felt strongly about. I was going to text her and apologize for being so stern in my responses to her.  When I pulled into the rest area, my daughter had already texted me about something else. I felt needed and content.  Then I woke up to the coffee and cookies…

I went to a Tacoma Rainiers game today which they won in 14 innings, 4-3, over Sacramento. I was flustered and annoyed from the moment I arrived at the stadium.  I loved the look and feel of the place that had recently been remodeled.  You could see Mount Rainier from the outfield seating; however, I was told that the grass area was sold out. I needed to purchase a ticket that was twice as much.  The lady said that I got a “free” drink with that ticket. I wanted to tell her that there is nothing “free”, but she was too young to understand.  I was told that the area was in the new “R” deck in left field.  I went to the area and was expecting smiles and maybe an “enjoy the game”, but I didn’t get any of that.  I have begun to expect all that kind of stuff at baseball games and when it doesn’t happen, I notice and get a little upset.

Sitting and texting where food is prepared...
Sitting and texting where food is prepared…

Martie Cordero, of the Omaha Storm Chasers, has set the bar high. I measure all places against him and the Reno Aces.  Tacoma is in dire need of Martie’s expertise! I got out to the left field area and was told I could only stay in a little area in the corner of the “R” deck.  I was miffed that I wasn’t informed of this earlier. I went to get my “free” drink and ordered a burger. I was impressed that the burgers were made to order.  In my head I thought that was a great idea since it would be probably be fresh meat and not the premade patties, I was wrong.  The kid that gave me the “free” drink wasn’t very helpful and he actually rolled his eyes at an elderly couple that were ordering burgers, also.  The kid that was preparing the burgers was sitting on the food prep table, I took a picture and tweeted to the Rainiers. The stadium seemed messy, the table I was sitting at had this oily film on it. I asked the elderly couple to check it just to have someone else’s opinion.

Sold out "Grass Area" in the 4th inning...
Sold out “Grass Area” in the 4th inning…

I left the “R” deck after a few innings, the ushers in the area were more interested in talking to each other and texting friends than actually helping patrons. Security seemed a little overzealous; but, I was thinking that I was now on high alert and needed to remove myself, since I kept looking at the grass area which only looked 20% full.  I wandered around the stadium. I kept thinking, the Rainiers have so many positives and they just needed someone who understood hospitality. The first thing I would do would be to explain that a smile and a “thank you” goes a long way.  Not all the staff were rude and one usher seemed to know a lot of the fans. I love seeing that; however, they have a long way to go to get to the level of the Storm Chasers.  I left when the game ended in the 14th inning. My positive for the moment, the game was exciting to watch.  The Rainiers acknowledged my Tweet, but their response felt like an empty acknowledgment.

I stopped at a Starbucks to get a Sweet Green Juice and a coffee for my drive to Portland, Oregon. Thankfully, I was in a better mood.  Starbucks knows hospitality. I went through the drive thru, ordered my drinks and remembered I had a free one coming. I gave the coupon to the Barista manning the window and she promptly took the $2 off the bill. I asked why she deducted the least expensive of the two drinks. She asked if I would like the most expensive one deducted, I looked at her incredulously. I said that I would, she gave me a little attitude, I said thank you. I told her that her attitude was “noted”. I got on I-5 towards Portland and had one of those belly laughs, saying to myself, “it is definitely me!”  “Happiness is a choice”, I told myself, and everyone is entitled to an ‘off day’. I had one, as did everyone else I came across today.

If you enjoy this story and you would like to help me complete the “Baseball in America Tour 2014″, which is roughly 265 days, please click on the following link to see how you can help at www.baseballbuddha.com. Follow me on Twitter and like my Facebook page! Please share this on your Facebook page and Twitter. I appreciate all the help I can get!

 

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Committed

There is a lot to get done within the next month!  I am packing up my apartment, trying to get some more things up on the website, stay focused at my job until the 31st, make sure I have plenty of shorts, sunscreen, etc…  Besides the constant thought in my head of “what in the hell are you doing”, I am so excited to do this project, at this particular moment I am not worried about how it turns out, just that I have the courage to go out and do it.  I stayed home from work today and started packing up my apartment, I had to text my daughter to let her know I was getting a little sad, even though I didn’t necessarily like this place, it was home for 5 years.  My daughter lived with me here and we did create some very good memories, so as I was packing up some things it really hit me that she might not ever live with me again.  She will be done with winter break this weekend and the 2nd semester starts next week and I will be leaving in the middle of February.  I won’t see her until summer most likely.  Her attitude has been amazing regarding this!  I will share a speech she gave at school about me before I leave on this trip, but tonight her response to my text was, “Love You Dad and remember new chapters in life are always good!”  So yeah, here I sit with some tears in my eyes, knowing that I am committed to doing this!  Thanks for reading this little rant, more to come I am sure.