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!

 

Day 82 “Now you know…”

hankI had something that I wanted to write about today but it is going to take longer than I have!  I went to Hank Aaron Stadium, which was right off Satchel Page Drive in Mobile, Alabama, last night to see the Bay Bears play the Mississippi Braves.  The two Braves pitchers were on fire and only allowed one hit and no runs beating the Bay Bears, 2-0.  I enjoyed the game and I liked how the stadium was laid out.  They had all the luxury boxes on the field level and the stands above it.  It was an older stadium but it seemed clean and well taken care of. There was not a lot of people in the stands since it was a mid-week game. However, I did get two balls. I chased after the one and found the other one right next to it, it was labeled  “Minor League Practice Ball” – hey I will take it!  Makes for a good story!

I have been reading the book, “Watching Baseball Smarter” by Zack Hample, before the games.  I have to say that I have learned a lot from this book!  It says that Zack “…is an obsessed fan who regularly writes about minor league baseball.  He has collected more than 7,000 baseballs from major league games”, he sounds like my kind of guy!  Last night I learned that catchers can be called for a “balk”. Something new because I didn’t know this. “The catcher must keep at least one foot within the catcher’s box until the pitcher releases the ball.  If he doesn’t, the ump will charge him with a catcher’s balk, so he stands and extends one arm to give the pitcher a wide target.”

I also read in Zack’s book that a batter at times will tap his helmet twice to let the second base umpire know he is in his sight line. The umpire will then re-position himself.  I finally learned how they calculated On-Base Percentage (OBP) and Slugging Percentage (SLG). We all have seen them on the scoreboard but did you really know what they meant or how they came up with the percentage.  I have been around baseball for a  long time and all I knew was, the higher the better!  This is where I start feeling like a fraud, I need Eggo again!  Therefore,  here goes the formula for  “On Base Percentage”:  “Add the player’s hits, walks, and times hit by a pitch.  Write that number and keep it separate. Now figure out a second number by adding his at-bats, walks, times hit by a pitch, and sacrifice files.  Write this new number after the first number and stick a division sign in the middle.   That’ll give you his on-base percentage.  (Anything above .400 is fantastic.)  Here’s the formula: (H+BB+HP) / (AB+BB+HP+SF).”  Joey Votto, first baseman for the Cincinnati Reds. is the current active MLB leader in OBP, with a career mark of .4193, so that means he gets on base almost 42% of the time!

Slugging Percentage (SLG) is a little easier to understand.  Divide the players total bases by his at-bats is all you have to do. “Total bases are the number of bases resulting in hits; a single is one base, a double is two, and so on.  The simple formula is TB/AB, but first you might have to some arithmetic to figure out the number of total bases.”  Anybody that is above a .500 slugging percentage is good, .550 is great, and above .600 is extraordinary, since only a few do it each season.  As of today, the Colorado Rockies as a team has a .506 slugging percentage, which is very good!  They hit just as many extra base hits as they do singles.

I love Zack’s book and I highly recommend it. I hoped you enjoyed a few of the nuggets I pulled out of it. If you want to order one, click – Watching Baseball Smarter. I don’t get any royalties so I have no ulterior motive.  I am also reading some historical books on the integration of baseball in the south, Mr. Willie really got me interested.  I love that I learning all of this!

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!