Posted on 1 Comment

Day 46 “Opening Day”

My Seat!
My Seat!

I went to the Opening Day game between the Seattle Mariners and LA Angels at Angels Stadium of Anaheim, I got a great seat, it was situated between home plate and the first base dugout, 20 rows from the field.  The place was packed, the people excited, the pageantry of Opening Day was on full display.  This excitement I felt the night before in San Diego, it is a coming together of people, everyone with high hopes of the season.  People were spending lots of money to buy team apparel, to show the world who they represent.  I was grateful to be at the game to watch and to listen to all that was happening, watching the dad who spent a fortune on a Mike Trout jersey for his 10 year old daughter, along with the “rally monkey” she absolutely had to have.   He needs to work some overtime to make up for that out lay of cash, but they have the moment embedded into their memory of being at Opening Day 2014.

The guy next to me talked non stop to the guy behind him about how knowledgeable he was about the Angels and the game of baseball, the guy behind was probably wondering why he got stuck with this “know it all”, since he looked and talked like he knew nothing of the game but got free company tickets and thought he would see what all the fuss was about, I don’t think he will be coming back since he spent as much time on his phone as the wife of the “know it all”.  I enjoyed how it all played out, this type of scenario was happening all over the stadium.  People discussing the Angels chances this year, Mike Trout signing that huge contract and then not disappointing in his first at bat of the season by hitting a 2 run home run, the fans booing Robinson Cano, I didn’t understand all the boos, until I heard the “know it all” say something about the contract, I wondered why he didn’t boo Mike Trout then…  The guy was even trying to explain what Don Baylor did to hurt himself on the cerimorinal first pitch, he was way off, as was I, my guess was that he twisted his ankle, but he broke his femur!  I hope he is okay!

Don Baylor's freak accident...
Don Baylor’s freak accident…

I didn’t feel like walking around the stadium, I liked the place but it was one like many I have seen in the past, it is converted multi sport complex that was changed to baseball only, it is surrounded by parking lots, there isn’t a lot of personality to it, but I have to say that I am grateful that they still utilize it.  It has some history to it and they have been adding features.  Angel Stadium has been the home of the Angels since their move from Los Angeles. In 1964, ground was broken for Anaheim Stadium and in 1966, the then-California Angels moved into their new home after having spent four seasons renting Dodger Stadium (referred to during Angels games as Chavez Ravine Stadium) from the Dodgers.  I found a great website call Stadium Journey that I have been utilizing and I have posted a few reviews on their site, I highly recommend that you take a look at it, here is the link to their review of Angels Stadium:

I got to my seat about a half hour before the first pitch, I didn’t leave it until after the game, I wanted to observe, I was feeling tired, I didn’t feel like talking to anyone.  Being at the game made me feel secure, I have been traveling so much and not knowing where I going to end up on a day to day basis the one “comfortable” thing in my life is the baseball game that I will be at.  If that sounds weird it really isn’t, we are creatures of habit and comfort, why do people stay in bad relationships?  Because it is familiar, it is comfortable…  I love the journey I am on, I am finding out a lot about who I am as a person, what things I have taken for granted, the people I have also taken for granted, the simple things I miss, the things I don’t miss.  I am finding out that as a person I can adjust to things, not get so upset by things, not be so attached to people or places.  The biggest thing I am learning is the more I open up and show the world who I am the more I am embraced.  Do I recommend this for everyone? Not what I am doing, but I do recommend to get out of your comfort zone more often, be courageous and have NO expectations of people, places or things, you will find some happiness that you never knew existed!  Anyway, the Angels got beat by the Mariners 10-3, the fans still had a fun time and I heard on guy yelling, “161-1 we can do it!”  Please read the next sentence, I really do need help, not just financial!

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  Please, also ,share this on your Facebook page and Twitter, I appreciate all the help I can get!

Posted on 1 Comment

Day 24 “Go Jacks!”

I headed back to the Snowbird Baseball Classic to watch some college ball yesterday and was able to watch 3 games. I was going to just sit and watch a game before I found a story.  As I was setting up my chair and getting situated at the South Dakota State Jackrabbits game against the Georgetown Hoyas, someone asked me if I was the “Baseball Buddha”, I said I was. My ego got the best of me in that moment also. I asked her if she followed me, she looked at me kind of confused and said “no but I can read”.  She pointed to my shirt and hat, I laughed at myself…  she then yelled, “Come on Gumby”, she startled me a little at her intensity but I loved her enthusiasm for the players and the game.

Lori Machbitz
Lori Machbitz

Lori, 48, mother of Aaron Machbitz the starting 1st baseman for South Dakota State (a SDSU senior who will be an athletic trainer when he graduates) was willing to talk to me to get some exposure for the Jackrabbits baseball program. I explained to her what I do and that I am more interested in her story than what is happening on the field.  She jokingly told me she didn’t want to talk to me then. I looked at her to see if she was serious. She smiled and then looked at her husband Marc whom she has been married to for the past 24 years, he shrugged his shoulders as if to say “why not”. Again I got my story with very little effort.  As we spoke Aaron was batting and her intensity picked up. Her foot started shaking, I didn’t realize it was Aaron at the time. “They pitched him inside and he turned on it and grounded to shortstop. They have him scouted to death. He hasn’t seen a fastball in years,” Lori said in frustration. I apologized to her for talking as Aaron batted, she laughed and said it was her fault. She should have been up and walking around, she isn’t used to just sitting and watching the game.

Love of baseball started at an early age for Lori. She grew up in an all male family and they moved around a lot. She was born in Sacramento, her family moved to St. Louis when she was two, New Orleans after the 4th grade, and during 8th grade moved back to Northern California.  She told me that she and her brothers were San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals fans, depending on where they were living. Now she is a hard core Texas Rangers fanatic! She goes to 20-25 games a year with her husband and always has it on the TV, or radio, when not at the game. That is on top of the games that they see Aaron play with SDSU. She said, “last year it was about 25 games and also traveled up to Milwaukee to see him play for the Lakeshore Chinooks of the Northwood’s League.” (one of the top summer leagues for college underclassmen).

She graduated high school and went to San Jose State where she got her degree.  She owned and operated 2 women’s shoes stores and also taught 2nd grade for a few years.  Her passion is her kids and decided to become a full time mom when her daughter Rachel was in the 4th grade and Aaron in 2nd.  Marc retired from Chevron, where he worked for 30 years, and they decided to move to Dallas after figuring out where the best schools, sports and overall opportunities lie for their kids. Lori had to get up while we were talking. She was getting nervous and started pacing behind the bleachers. On occasion I would hear her yell, “Come on Jacks” or “Lets go three three”. Lori was blaming her not walking around on Georgetown coming back from a 4-0 deficit.  As all this was playing out, Aaron made a excellent play at first base, catching a line shot, then tagging the bag at first to double up the runner. Lori came over to tell me that “Aaron was just as good as Mitch Moreland (Texas Rangers, first baseman) defensively, not quite as good with the bat “yet”, but he will be better than “Goldie” (Paul Goldschmidt, first baseman, Arizona Diamondbacks), not as good as Mike Trout (Outfielder for the LA Angels). I am realistic”, she said with a laugh.

As Lori was walking around I talked to her daughter, Rachel, who was down at the game because “its a free trip” according to her mom (she said it with a chuckle). Rachel is a senior at UT-Arlington and is set to graduate this December with a degree in Industrial Engineering.  Rachel said she wasn’t as big a fan of baseball as her mom, dad or brother, but enjoys supporting the team and her families passion for it. Her mom has always supported whatever her kids wanted to do.  Rachel started her own business selling comic books and art online a year ago, She is very ambitious as her website states, “We are striving to become one of the first comic book and commissioned art retailers online. Not only do we sell back issue comics, we are also proud to offer unique commissioned art. As members of the “Nerd” culture to which many films, comics and media forms are created for, Mash Up Comics and Art will be able to reach consumers on their level, with their level of excitement and commitment.”  Please check out her site, I don’t think you will be disappointed!

Lori and I talked about what it was like when Aaron played elite level baseball in Texas. Since Aaron was passionate about the game, Lori encouraged him and made sure that he had the correct pitching and hitting coaches. “To succeed at all the levels most parents did that”‘ she said.  “It was tough because you had to be realistic of where you put your money.” Lori put it towards the camps, showcases, and had him on 2-3 teams at a time. Lots of teams would travel to Georgia or Florida for the different tournaments and it cost a lot of money. She didn’t do that much preferring to stay around Texas to save money. Lori said, “she would have done more of that type of stuff but she’s just very grateful that she got to spend a lot of time with Aaron growing up because of baseball.”  Lori says, “you must play a lot to be a good baseball player, it is a smart man’s game.”  She says that “Aaron is a real student of the game”. Some pro scouts have taken a look at Aaron and he wants to move on to the next level after college. I was impressed with what I saw and I remember him when he played for the Chinooks last summer in Milwaukee. He went 2 for 4 against the Hoyas in a losing effort, 7-4. His dad told me, “he also went 2 for 4 in the morning game they played against Maine”.

I got a real kick out of Lori’s intensity, her passion for her kids and the game of baseball. I also want to mention that the other South Dakota State fans were some of the friendliest I have come across.  I definitely will be keeping an eye on Aaron and the Jacks!

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 .  Please also share this on your Facebook page and Twitter, I appreciate all the help I can get!