From bad to worse…

I thought, perhaps, that my AA home opener might have been one of the low points of the season. Then, we played Saturday. 

It was cold and windy, at times, I am sure the windchill was below zero. The sun was hiding behind thick, gray clouds. 

Pitching was suspect. Lack of control a major issue. My one lefty is going to be good, unfortunately,  he can’t pitch every inning of every game… We don’t have any outfield defence, not that I can see anyway. Infield isn’t too bad, base running is mediocre. All in all, work is needed. On paper, they are an excellent team. On grass, well, some might think they were using grass before the game.

Anyway, two games, two blowouts. This one was a 23-5 beating. That sounds more like a football score than a baseball score. It was, from what I can recall, the low point in my coaching career. I don’t think I’ve ever had a team give up that many runs. This may go without needing to be said, but we gave up those 23 runs in 5 innings.

For the second game of the day, I covered the Managerial duties for the AAA team. I started one of the top pitchers in the league and he cruised through 6 innings before giving up a 3 run homer to right field, it bounced off of the light post and back onto the playing field. A quick chat from one of the coaches settled him and he got the next 6 outs for a complete game 5-3 win.

The second half of the double header saw us facing a great hitting Giants team. They clubbed us for 12 runs while their starter threw a 5 inning no hitter. The final was 12-0. Still, might have been a better game than the AA game from the morning…

So, works has to be done, on both teams. It was known that pitching would be suspect at the AAA level. AA is always an unknown entity anyway.

Today is an off day, Babe Ruth has their opening ceremonies and BBQ sausages which are some of the best you’d ever have. Action on the diamon continues for both teams Tuesday night. 

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End of tax season

April 30 is the end of the tax season.  Since I work for an Accounting firm, today marks the end of the accountants madness.

I like to tell them, yet fear for my safety when I do, that during their busy season, it is quite slow for those of us in IT.  The accountants only report issues if it stops them from being able to do taxes and what not.  Minor issues don’t get reported.  Not until after today.

Tomorrow, a lot of staff will be off.  A lot of staff also take next week off.  Then, the following week, typically anyway, IT becomes insane again with issues being reported that have been simmering for the last two months.  I look forward to being a little busier, the days go by more quickly.

So, tonight we have the end of tax season party.  We are going to a close by hotel for dinner followed by a casino night.  Should be fun.

So, wish me luck in the casino, maybe I will win enough to get some decent prizes.  A buffet for dinner is always good so it will be a good night regardless.

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A bit of a stinker…

We had our season opener for the AA Rockies last evening. It was a bit of a stinker.

Pitching was pretty solid. The defence, in general, behind that pitching was not. I ended up using 4 pitchers in a lop-sided 15-4, 5 inning loss, a mercy loss at that. And believe me, by not playing the last two innings, it was a mercy…

The u lire behind the plate appeared to be squeezing the strike zone on us a bit. This was the same umpire that tossed me at the end of the previous season. I’d hate to think that he was still angry at me or something… When several pitches, in a row come in and the catcher is setup on the middle of the plate and doesn’t move his glove and it is a ball, one has to question it. Getting tossed again in a blowout game doesn’t make sense, so I behaved myself. 

We really haven’t practiced on the field as a team as yet. We’ve had a lot of indoor workouts, but it isn’t the same. We aren’t actually scheduled to have a practice until May 7 and it is an indoor practice to boot. So, we play Saturday at 11am and I have asked the boys to be there for 9am for a full 1.5 hour practice session. We have a lot of little things to cover. 

One of the biggest issues last night seemed to be that the guys were being lazy. Outfield balls allowed to drop in front of them. Base runners giving up and slowing down because they think they are going to be called out. 

Anyway, it is only one game and the issues should be easy to correct.  Lots of ball left. Go Rockies !!!

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Let’s get the regular season going…

We have our final pre-season coaches meeting tonight.  I will be able to pick up uniforms for both the AA and AAA teams.  We didn’t have uniforms for the new players on the weekend for the exhibition games but it was too cold anyway, they had many, many layers on.

The Umpires Association, of which I am a member, are apparently doing some sort of presentation tonight.  The presenter is an interesting gent.  He’s one of the more arrogant, condescending people I have ever had the privilege to meet.  Oh well, I will survive.

The AA team opens the regular season tomorrow evening.  We go from playing Saturday night in near zero degree weather to what is supposed to be in the mid 20’s tomorrow.  I can go for that all season.

Saturday, the AA’s play again and then the AAA team has a double header.  The AAA staff are currently away so I will be doing a triple header on Saturday.  It will be like the old days with tournaments.

Have a great season Rockies !!!

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It was a cold day for baseball

Both my AAA and AA teams played exhibition games yesterday. It was a cold day in late April. The temperature at noon was around 6C. For the later game, it had dropped and by the end of the game, it was hovering around zero. Just a bit cold to baseball.

Both teams ended up losing the games but played well. The AAA club played first and ended up on the losing end, 13-9 I think the final was. We had a few errors, not too bad. The pitching was solid as was the hitting. 

The AA team had some very solid pitching. It is very encouraging. The hitting was a little lacklustre but it’ll come around. 

The AA’s play again today at noon. It is supposed to be a little warmer, that’s a good thing, we nearly froze last night.

We follow with our home opener on Tuesday night and temps are supposed to be in the mid 20’s. Looking forward to an awesome summer of baseball.

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It is here…

Today is the Babe Ruth Calgary Jamboree Opening Tournament at Optimist Athletic Park. It is going to be a cold one, the expected high is around 8C. Not the perfect weather for baseball, that’s for sure.

I don’t think I’ve looked forward to my first game of the season this much since my first year coaching all star baseball way back in the 90’s with St. Catharines Minor Baseball.

Last year, this tournament was snowed out. This year, Mother Nature is partially cooperating. 

Last year, I wasn’t excited about the beginning of the season. I wasn’t happy to be coaching again. I wasn’t sure why at the time. With a year to reflect, I think I know why. 

Back in Ontario, I coached some higher level all star and elite clubs. We may not have achieved all of our goals, but we generally had pretty successful seasons. When I decided to coach with Babe Ruth, I think I had to get my head around the fact that this isn’t high performance baseball. 

I’m ok with that. In fact, I am really enjoying it. As opposed to running a team one year and then the next year running a different team, I am now the club manager for two teams and I have to plans and draft players for multiple years. This adds something that I haven’t had before.

I have also taken a much more active role this year, a role I should have taken last year. I am 100% into it, as I should be, I do feel like I let the team down a bit last year. Not now, i am pumped for a great season of Rockies baseball. Let’s get ’em… :-)

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Getting old…

Although I am only 43, sometimes I feel much older than that. 

I decided to walk to the Best Buy yesterday. From my place, it is approximately 2km. I did my shopping, no problem. I decided to continue onto the office to harass some co-workers since I am off and they aren’t. 

I received a phone call on my way and decided to sit on a concrete wall while talking. I sat for about 5 minutes and when I got up, there was a dull pain in my right-lower back. I had a bit of a walk to the office and it got progressively worse. I took a bus home since there was no way I was walking back.

So, how exactly does one hurt themselves just sitting on a wall? That’s insane. 

While I was at the office, my co-worker said that he hurt his neck in the morning simply by turning his head. He is 2 months younger than I am…

I have a back massager that I have been using pretty steady since last night. It is helping. So are the extra strength Tylenol. 

This morning, I decided to call my doctor to see if I could get in. I called around 930 and got an appointment for 1130. Not bad. 

I arrived at 1125 and was told it would be a minute and to have a seat. After waiting for 20 minutes, I heard the receptionist say to another patient that the doctor was about 20 minutes behind, turns out that was optimistic of her. At the 40 minute mark, I asked how long it would be. I wasn’t told how long, but was told I was next. Next to likely sit in an examination room for who knows how long. 

After still not being seen 45 minutes after my appointment time, I told them I was leaving. They did apologize and seemed shocked that I would leave. Although I am off work, I do have better things to do than sit in a waiting room for hours on end. One would think I was in the emergency room at a hospital. 

I don’t plan on returning to this doctor. I have only seen him once since coming to Calgary. I signed up for a doctor before I moved from the east end to the west. It is now a 25 minute drive. So, I applied for a new doctor, closer to home. 

For now, I wil tend to my back myself. I should be ok I a day or two. I’ll survive until then…

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Talking about death…

I am not sure on how to put this into words exactly.  It isn’t something that I have written about before, not something that I have thought about writing before.

I am writing this for myself.  I write all my entries for myself.  I post them so that others can read them as well, but really, it is for me.

My sister, Barbara D’Arcy passed away.  She was my older sister, by 18 years nearly.  She was 61.  61 isn’t considered old anymore, not by any means.

I lost my mother when I was 16.  That was tough.  I would imagine that it is tough at any age but when you are a teenager, I think it is a little harder.  I had the support of my family and friends and teachers at school.  She had been sick for a while, cancer.  The ugly “C” word.  I don’t remember when she was diagnosed, probably about when I was 13 or so.  She had chemo therapy, it made her sick of course.  I remember one time when the nurse put the needle in incorrectly and her hand swelled up and didn’t go down for weeks. Shortly before she passed away, she had a seizure.  I was home, so was my dad.  I called the paramedics and they took her to the hospital.  I was scared at the time, I didn’t know what was going on.  She was in the hospital for a bit, don’t remember how long and came home.  She had another seizure and went back in.  More tests and tumors were discovered in her brain.  She had radiation treatments, there wasn’t enough time for that to help.  On February 20, 1988, she passed away.  That was one of the hardest days of my life.  Why was she taken away at the age of 59?  I didn’t understand it then and even now, I still don’t. It has been 27 years and that is now long enough that I don’t remember what the sound of her voice was like.  Unfortunately, I don’t have many pictures of her.  Video cameras were bulky back then and besides that, they used tapes.  Who has a VCR now to watch those, even if they were ever taken?

Nearly 10 years ago, September 18, 2005, my Dad died after a short illness.  He had just turned 80 years old.  He stayed in his own house until the end.  He didn’t want to move into a retirement home.  I lived with him until I was and was pretty well done with school, 24 year old. The years between when my Mom passed and I moved out were tough.  I don’t imagine for a minute that it was easy for him either.  I was a teenager who didn’t like to follow the rules.  He likely didn’t really want me in his house.  We got along a LOT better after I moved out.

So, now one of my 3 siblings has also passed away.  She had a short illness that was very serious and it was touch and go in the hospital.  She was living in Toronto and I am in Calgary so unfortunately, I have not seen my sister recently.  Her condition in the hospital did improve so there wasn’t an  immediate need for me to fly back to Ontario.

She was released from the hospital, likely too soon.  Funding for our medical system is never enough.  She did go back in at least once, maybe twice but, we thought, she was on the mend.

My sister would often not keep in touch with family members.  Shortly after I got to Alberta, I wasn’t able to get a hold of her for a few days.  Typically, if you message someone or you call them and you leave a voice mail, they will get back to you either that day or the next.  There have been a few period in the last few years that she wouldn’t contact us for a week or more.  Being family, we would worry.  She lived alone so there is no one there that would know she is all right.  The time recently that I wasn’t able to get a hold of her, I called the Toronto Police Service and had them do a welfare check on her.  They were excellent, I received a call back that same evening that she was fine.  She said she had a migraine for a few days and didn’t respond to anyone.  Years earlier, I sent my Aunt to her place to check on her – same thing, she had a migraine.

It was tough for us at times.  Not knowing what was going on with someone.  I live alone myself but my family knows that I am fine.  I posted regularly to Facebook or Twitter or I call a few times per week.  Now, I work from home as well, so co-workers see me online and I interact with people.  I would hate to think that if I didn’t wake up one morning that my dogs would not have anyone to look after them.  I don’t think that I would be out of contact for more than a few days before my co-worker came to check on me.

Shortly after Easter, my sister stopped responding to calls and emails.  At times, her phone would take a message and then it wouldn’t.  I don’t know if this was because it was full and then after a few days the messages would automatically delete but that is what I suspect.

This time, the welfare check ended in a way that no one would want it to.

I haven’t spoken with my sister for a little over a year.  I haven’t seen her in almost two, mind you, I haven’t seen any of my family in that time.  I had a disagreement with her that caused us to not speak.  I didn’t try to mend that fence, neither did she.  I will have to live with that.

I hope that she has found peace.  I feel better writing this on my BLOG.  Had to get it off of my chest.

Love you always, Mom, Dad and Barb and of course for those who are around to listen to me complain and those of you who might read about my complaints here.

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The baseball front

I seem to write a lot about baseball.  I don’t have a lot of other hobbies, etc., so I will write what I know about, I guess.

We had our first outdoor workout last evening.  I am still having issues with many of the players not showing up on time.  Actually, I ask them to show up a bit early, 15 minutes before the start time so that they will be ready to go once the “start” time arrives.  Cleats take a minute or two to put on, gloves be found, bats out of the bag, etc.

We typically start with a run.  Well, I don’t run because I don’t care for running, but my players run.  I use the word “we” as in the “team”.  I am part of the team, but it is one of those do as I say not do as I do, which is watch you run and then yell if you stop.  :)  OK, well, that is part of being the coach.  Actually, I am the manager, but I digress.

So, we start with a run and then throwing to warm up.  Since this was our first outside practice, we wanted the guys to start a little long toss to help strengthen the arms.  It is a slow process, we haven’t been able to throw any further than 80′ or so since we started indoor workouts.  It will take some time.

At the moment, the AA and AAA clubs are still practicing together.  We had 20 guys last evening, I think, it may have been 21.  We divided up, AAA players on the infield and AA guys doing outfield drills.  I was happy with the AA guys and their fielding skills.  Arms are another issue – they will come around.  We then switched it up.

For the last 30 minutes we did a quick pickup game.  We started the count at 1-1 otherwise it would have taken all night.  I wanted each batter to hit so we allowed each side to bat through the order.  Not a lot of offence, that is for sure.  One team did turn a nice double play though so that was positive.

We ended with a talk about the upcoming exhibition games this weekend.  The AA team plays two games and the AAA team plays one.  Hopefully the weather will cooperate.  It is supposed to be cold on Saturday with a high of only 8C or so, I am hoping that the forecast rain, or drizzle I guess will hold off.  The regular season starts on the 28th for AA and the following weekend for the AAA team.  I am really looking forward to it.

On another front, I received a letter from the Calgary Centre Conservative Riding Association on Monday.  Previously, I had met the President of the Association and indicated that I had moved to this riding and was interested in joining the Board.  After I moved, I called him, twice and also emailed twice and never received a response.  I thought it was pretty bad…  A volunteer organization not getting back to a potential volunteer.

Well, this letter was signed by a different President so I decided to call him. He told me that he had taken over from the previous President and didn’t know I had ever tried to make contact.  OK, great.  So I again have volunteered.  Their AGM is coming up and I plan on attending, if I can and standing for a Board position.

Being involved with politics allows me to make connections with like minded people and help out for a cause I believe in. We will see how it goes.

For now, I am out.  Have a good day. :)

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First outdoor practice

Well, it is April 21 and there is no snow on the ground in Calgary.  Actually, I shouldn’t say something like that, it might tempt Mother Nature, the bitch that she can be.

The Rockies have our first outdoor workout tonight.  The diamonds are ready and the ground is dry.  Good news for this time of year for sure.  We split the players up last night into AA and AAA teams.  We will still practice together here and there but pretty much from here on out, we are separate entities.

The weather forecast for the weekend doesn’t look particularly good at the moment.  Mind you, it is only Tuesday so I don’t put too much trust into a 5 day forecast.  Right now, they are calling for cool and wet conditions for the weekend.  So, if all goes according to how it normally does, it will be warm and dry.

We have three games this weekend.  Two AA games and one AAA game.  Very short games, 5 innings or two hours, free movement of players.  We just need to get a feel for the upcoming season.

Speaking of the season, we open it with a game a week from tonight.  Nice to be able to play baseball in April, or at the very least, have it scheduled for April.

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