Congrats Atlanta !!!

Last night, I watched the second National League game of this playoffs. It’s sort of weird, since my number one team, the Colorado Rockies, are in the National League, but they didn’t quite make the playoffs this year. By that, I mean they were 40 games out or so. Actually, the did better than I expected this season. I had them figured for about 55 wins this year, they got 74 and finished in 4th place in the division. And, after checking, they were only 32.5 games out, so I exaggerated.

I digress.

So yesterday, I watched the LA Dodgers play the Atlanta Braves in game 6 of the NLCS. Going back a few weeks, I was hoping that the Cardinals would eliminate the Dodgers in the Wild Card game. No such luck, the Dodgers won and had to face the Giants in the NLCS. It was sort of weird really. The 107 game winning Giants were hosting the 106 game winning Dodgers. Some thing that with that record, the Dodgers shouldn’t have been the Wild Card team, or seedings should have been reset for playoffs. Well, I think those people are wrong. Yes, a team with over 100 wins was going to be eliminated from the playoffs, oh well. Unfortunately, it was the wrong team. LA somehow defeated the Dodgers. I was disappointed.

Again. I digress.

I watched yesterdays game to see, hopefully and finally, the LA Dodgers get eliminated from the post-season. I am unsure why I hate the Dodgers so much, it’s relatively recent, but I do. Thankfully, last night was not their night and the Braves won the game in epic fashion. The final was 4-2, it was a great game. I am sure that the fans in LA are disappointed, as if my friend in California, the only other Dodgers fan, but I am also sure that they’ll get over it.

Congratulations to the Braves on a great season and making the 2021 World Series. You now get to face my favourite American League team, the Houston Astros. I hope we mop the field with you. Up until last evening, I supported the Braves as I wanted them to eliminate LA. They did and now I am no longer rooting for them.

May the best team win.

Play Ball !!!

Posted in Personal | Leave a comment

Congrats Astros !!!

I figured, for sure, that with the injuries to pitchers, that the Houston Astros were not going to be able to get by the Boston Red Sox. They won game one in epic fashion, it was a very exciting game.

Game two, the starter got rocked, early and often. I turned the game off (in disgust) but the Astros tried to make a game out of it and lost 9-5, so not horrible. If anything, the Astros bats are typically red hot.

In game 3, Boston crushed Houston and I thought that the series was over. Game 4 saw the Astros even up the series and crush Boston, so it seemed like we were going to see a bit of everything in the series. I was out so I missed both of those games.

The Astros continued bashing runs in and won game 5 by a score of 9-1. Now the series was on the verge of being won and the Astros turned things around in only a few games.

Last night they returned to Houston and the game 2 starter was on the mound. As opposed to the stinker he threw in game 2, he was nearly perfect, in fact, threw a no-hitter until the 5th. He left with a 2-0 lead in the game when the bullpen took over. The Astros hit a 3-run homer in the 8th to pad the lead and the closer got 3 up and 3 down in the 9th to secure Houston’s spot in the World Series.

All in all, a very exciting series and some great baseball. I am hoping that McCullers is able to return for the World Series, they will have their hands full with either the Braves or Dodgers. I am hoping, beyond hope, that it’s the Braves as I really can’t stand the Dodgers.

Game 6 is tonight, back in Atlanta with the Braves up 3 games to 2. I have not watched any of the NLCS, but I am surprised how well the Braves have been playing. I will watch tonight, should be good.

I think that after umpiring all summer and fall that I am a bit baseballed out. I umpired only 45 games this season and enjoyed almost every minute of it, but it means, or seems to mean, that I am not as excited by MLB playoffs as I normally am. Good luck tonight Braves, punch your ticket to the World Series against the Astros.

Play Ball !!!

Posted in Personal | Leave a comment

Ontario bound, next week…

I am going to drop the dogs off on Tuesday morning and then am heading to Calgary. I decided to stay over on Tuesday evening as opposed to driving up to Calgary on Tuesday. Living in the middle of nowhere, you learn that driving at dawn and dusk is risky due to the number of animals that attempt to commit suicide by running in front of your vehicle.

Now, that can happen at any time of day, obviously, but, at dawn and dusk, the animals seem to be more active and the light conditions are great for seeing these animals. I can do some stuff around Calgary on Tuesday afternoon and meet with a friend on Tuesday evening.

I booked myself into the motel that I used all summer when I was umpiring. The rates have gone up by $15 or so from summer, I guess everything is going up. Still, the room was $80, not too bad. I looked at parking for the truck while I am away as well.

I kept it at a lot near the airport the last time and they drop you off and pick you up, not a bad deal. I am going there again this time around. The only issue is that the lot is surrounded by gravel roads, so the dust is something else. I looked at a lot at a hotel near the airport, it was about the same price and was slightly cheaper, if you stay one night at the hotel, the only issue there was that the hotel was $50 a night more than what I am paying. Sure, they have a pool, but I highly doubt that I am going to go for a swim anyway.

I drop my truck off early on Wednesday morning and will get to the airport probably around 3 to 3.5 hours early. I have a pass to the Air Canada lounge, so I plan on relaxing and having a bite to eat after checking in.

On the Toronto side of things, I hope that I don’t have to wait nearly an hour for my bag. I am checking a bag since it’s included with my flight, it will make it easier than trying to pack everything into a weekend bag.

I have a busy agenda while I am back, but I am not travelling all over the place. I only have a rental car for getting from the airport to St. Catharines. I am taking the Go Train to head back to Toronto. I have not decided how I am getting from my aunt’s place to the airport when I head home, I may just take a taxi, will have to see. It will be more expensive, but far more convenient than taking TTC, faster as well. My return flight was moved up and I fly out before 9am. I likely won’t be able to take advantage of the Air Canada lounge in Toronto. Oh well.

I get back to Calgary before 11am on the Thursday, will have to wait for my bad, although typically, the Calgary airport is pretty quick. I will then head home, stopping for the dogs on the way. I should be back by mid-afternoon. I am hoping that we won’t have 3 feet of snow on the ground.

All in all, it should be a good and relaxing trip. I am looking forward to it.

Posted in Personal | Leave a comment

Kayaking and casinos…

Last week, Thursday or Friday, I saw a post on Facebook in one of the Crowsnest Pass groups about a local kayaking club that was looking for volunteers to assist with their casino event. I have done it before in Calgary for a few organizations and I have just recently gotten into kayaking, so I figured I’d reply.

I didn’t know there was a kayaking club in the area, it makes sense, it’s a popular activity and there are tons of great places to kayak here. I was looking forward to talking kayaking with people who have more experience than I do, which is almost everyone.

I did some kayaking back when I worked at a kids camp back when I was 20 and 21, but that is now 29 years ago. I took up kayaking this past summer and absolutely love it. It’s great exercise, full body as well, obviously your shoulders and back, but I had forgotten how much of a work-out your legs get. Two hours out on the water is quite tiring.

So, I had a call with one of the club members who was organizing the casino volunteers and I agreed to help out. My shift was yesterday, 1pm until 8pm. I got to Lethbridge at about 1230. The day went by quickly, although we were not busy, that’s for sure. The casino was sort of dead. I am guessing that Covid has really slowed things down. We were given a free dinner and the food was excellent. After balancing, I left at about 8:15pm. I picked up the dogs on the way home, so I don’t need to get them this morning. I was home by 10pm.

I am looking forward to continuing with the kayak club and learning from people who’ve been doing it forever. Should work out well.

Posted in Personal | Leave a comment

Not a good Monday in sports…

Yesterday was not a good day in sports for me.

I had a conflict between baseball and football. The Astros were playing in game three of the ALCS and the Bills were playing against the Titans. I wasn’t sure which way to go, so I used some male sports logic.

I watched game 1 of the ALCS and Houston won. In game two, I was at my neighbours place for the start of the game and when I looked at my phone, I saw they were quickly down 4-0. At the time, I didn’t realize it was a grand slam. When I got home and checked, I saw it was 8-0. I don’t mind blow-outs, but it’s typically when my team is doing the blowing out. I didn’t turn the game on.

That game 2 loss could be my fault. So, I had to watch game 3. I turned it on with some expectations, although with the injuries to pitchers, I figured that the Astros might have some issues, at least they bash the ball about. They were down 2-0 fairly quickly, but that is easy to come back from. I turned the game off, in disgust, when the Astros gave up their third grand slam in the past 2 games. Down 6-0, I figured that the game was over and as I said to a friend of mine who’s a Red Sox fan, whoever wins game 3 will likely win the series. Grienke is on the mound this evening, so that might get the Astros the win, time will tell.

After turning off the baseball game, I started up DAZN to watch the Bills. I will note that due to umpiring and another conflict with baseball, the only Bills game I have watched this year was the season opener (it rained that day, so baseball was washed out), and the Bills lost. I watched the Bills kick a field goal to go up, 6-0 I think it was at the time. The second play that I saw was a 76 yard TD run by the Titans. Although the game was still well within reach, I decided that perhaps Monday wasn’t my night for sports. I turned the game off.

I am sure that the Bills will bounce back. They have a good club. I am not sure what went wrong yesterday, I suppose I wasn’t in the mood to watch to find out. The Astros, well, with pitching injuries and lackluster bats, they may be done. I can’t watch tonight, I will be out.

I saw a post on Facebook last week, it was the Pincher Creek Kayaking Club looking for volunteers to assist with a casino they are running in Lethbridge. I have done that before in Calgary and I have recently rediscovered kayaking, so I figured I would offer to assist. It should be a fun afternoon and evening and I am sure I will get to discuss kayaking with people far more knowledgeable than I am about the sport. Baseball will take a back seat, unfortunately, as I enjoy watching Grienke pitching. I wish them well and a win will go a long way in them coming back in the series. A loss tonight and I think they are done. Coming back for 3 straight wins is a tall order.

I am not worried about the Bills, no one thought they’d go the rest of the season without a loss. I will pick them back up this coming weekend.

Oh, on another sports note, I am a Calgary Flames fan as well and I see they lost in OT.

So, all in all, Monday was not a good day in sports for me.

Posted in Personal | Leave a comment

Heading to Ontario…

I am heading back to Ontario in 10 days for an 8 day trip. Flights are still ridiculously inexpensive, typically, a return flight Calgary-Toronto is somewhere around $550, I booked this flight for $222 return. Not bad at all.

I have a friend on Facebook who flies all over and he’s very nicely given me a pass to upgrade with Air Canada, I get a few free checked bags, priority boarding, access to the Air Canada lounges both in Calgary and Toronto, it’s very nice. I typically fly back to Ontario on the Red Eye, but this time around, I am not doing that, I am leaving on a morning flight which gets to Ontario around dinner time.

I have rented a car to get from the airport to St. Catharines. It is cheaper to rent a car and have it for 24 hours than it is to get Niagara Air Bus to take me from the airport to my brother in laws place. I thought that was a bit insane. I plan on having a much lower-key trip this time around. I am not driving all over the place, I am sticking to St. Catharines and then back to Toronto.

We are having a late Thanksgiving dinner on October 30, so a Halloween Thanksgiving I guess. I love a full turkey dinner. My brother in law has invited my aunt and cousin to join us as well, so that will be good. I am spending one night at a friend’s place in Welland and seeing some other people, it’ll be busy but I just won’t be driving much, which works for me.

I head back to Toronto on Monday morning, November 1 – going to take the Go Train to Toronto and then spend a few days with my aunt and cousin, as well as have dinner with an ex-coworker. I head back to Alberta on the 4th.

The dogs will be boarding with my friends. They love it there, lots of room to play and they have a Great Dane puppy that Hera absolutely loves to play with.

So, it should be a good trip and likely the last trip I will make back there for a while.

Posted in Personal | Leave a comment

Play Ball !!!

Unless you don’t follow MLB at all, you know that the playoffs are happening. It’s October after all.

I was happy to see, a few weeks ago now, that the Red Sox defeated the Yankees and sent them packing. Any night that sees the Yankees eliminated is a good night, in my books. In the NL Wild Card, the Cardinals had one job – eliminate the Dodgers. I didn’t think it would happen and sure enough, it didn’t. Sigh.

I am a Houston Astros fan. People bug me about that because of the cheating scandal and what not. Well, guess what – I wasn’t involved with the scandal. I have been a fan since the late 90’s, and I am not changing allegiances after 20 some years. I am also a fan of the Colorado Rockies, but we won’t talk about them, they don’t play after the end of September.

Anyway, the Astros likely got the easiest draw in the playoffs, the White Sox. They dispatched them in 4 games, so that was good. The games were fun to watch, well, except where the Astros got blown away, but, give Chicago something to feel good about. Their manager is in his 80s (isn’t he? he’s ancient, anyway), so give him some good memories. He should have stayed retired.

The Red Sox met the team in the AL with the best record and I honestly didn’t give them a shot at winning. Well, they shocked us all and won. Nice job. That stamped their ticket to play the Astros in the ALCS.

In a series that I couldn’t have cared less about, the Braves and Brewers met in the NLDS. I watched one game that the Braves won 3-0 and I completely understood why some people say baseball is boring. In the other NLDS, two teams with 100+ winning seasons met, the Dodgers and the Giants. I had my hopes pinned on the Giants to knock off the team I hate the most. They didn’t do it, they lost in game 5 and the Dodgers are again in the NLCS, like a bad rash, they just won’t go away.

Last night, the Astros hosted game 1 of the ALCS and it was thrilling. The Astros came back (from a 3-1 deficit) and won the game 5-4, they even gave up a home run in the 9th to make it all the more nail biting. It’s going to be a great series, I am sure. Tonight, the Braves host the Dodgers. I am hoping, beyond hope, that the Braves can win, but, I am not holding my breath. We’ll see.

I am predicting an Astros – Dodgers World Series, a repeat of 2017 (was it that long ago?). At any rate, it’s been some good ball and some awful ball. Looking forward to the next two weeks.

Play Ball !!!

Posted in Personal | Leave a comment

Another trip to Calgary…

Back in May, I wanted to upgrade my phone. Ever since i started using smartphones, I’ve always wanted the newest models, for whatever reason. I had a Pixel 3a XL and it was a great phone. Back during my visit to California (February 2020) the phone got wrecked and I replaced it with the same model, then, just over a year later, wanted an upgrade. Perhaps it’s a sickness, I don’t know.

Anyway, I was going to upgrade to a Pixel 5. When I looked at pricing options, at the time, it was fairly expensive so I decided against getting the Pixel 5 and I opted instead to return to the Samsung world of phones. I didn’t get their newest and greatest, I went one model older, the S20 Ultra.

I had forgotten how nice stock Android was. The hardware for the S20 is great, top notch, but the operating system, absolutely horrible what Samsung had done to it. They add all their own crap to it, crap that they also don’t allow you to get rid of. I did my best to make it look and feel like a Pixel phone, but was only so successful.

So, over the last few weeks, I’ve been looking for a used Pixel 5 on Facebook Marketplace. I did look at upgrading through the carrier (Rogers, in my case) but I’d have to buy the S20 out, an expensive proposition. I looked at adding a second line, nope, not spending $70 a month just to get a better phone.

Late last week, I saw someone in Calgary offering a Pixel 5, new and unopened. I was surprised. I contacted him and arranged to go and get it. The dogs and I headed to Calgary yesterday morning. When we arrived, I messaged that we were there and didn’t get a response. I though oh great, it was a fake ad. We waited for about 30 minutes and no response. I was disappointed for sure.

We headed off to the dog park for a walk and on the way, I got a reply. He apologized, said he didn’t see my message. We finished our walk and headed back, the seller had given his phone number so I could call him when we returned. All was well, not a fake ad. It was, indeed, a brand new Pixel 5. Cool.

So, anyway, I’m using that Pixel 5 to write this blog entry. I had it basically setup shortly after getting it, but it needed some 6GB worth of updates that I didn’t really want to get over wireless, so they waited until I got home. The dogs and I did some other running around and a stop at Costco, it was a productive day. I just finished installing the last security update, it’ll be nice getting those right away again.

I’ll know better next time, stick with what you know. I’ve had Pixel phones and before that the Nexus line if phones from Google for the past 9 years or so and they’ve been awesome. For someone coming new to Android, the phones that Samsung offers are fine, as I said, the hardware is fantastic and you wouldn’t notice the differences in the operating system. For me, a long time stock Android user, I just couldn’t adapt I guess.

In all honesty, I think I’d have preferred the newest iPhone over the S20, but that’s just me. Glad to be back with Pixel, should have known better than to leave.

Posted in Personal | Leave a comment

And that’s a wrap…

This was the final weekend for Babe Ruth Fall Ball in Calgary. I dropped the dogs off on Saturday morning at about 8am and headed north. I had plenty of time, so there was absolutely no rush.

I arrived at the park around 1030, the game wasn’t slotted to start until noon.

The first playoff game, a Tier 1 matchup was not much of a game. It was 15-0 after 2 innings and that’s the way it ended after 4. The starting pitcher left in the 1st inning trailing 6-0. The second pitcher was doing better, but got hit with a line drive and edited the game, he was ok, thankfully. The 3rd pitcher just couldn’t find the strike zone, even though I had expanded it beyond what it should have been. The odd time that he did throw a strike, it would get smashed. Just one of those games I guess, it could just have easily been the other way around.

The afternoon game was excellent. After 7 innings, it was all tied up, so, onto extra innings we went. The starting pitcher for the winning team threw a complete game. It was a pleasure umpiring that game and such a difference from the first one.

Since I had brought my trailer back to the Pass, I checked I to the motel I used all summer. Had a relaxing evening and went to bed early.

Sunday started out well, it was about 14C. The Tier 2 Championship started well, with the first place team holding a 6-3 lead. In the 5th inning, they drove in a bunch of runs and ended up winning 13-3 in a 5-inning mercy win.

The weather changed mid-game, the temperature dropped about 10 degrees. We decided to move up the start time for the Tier 1 Championship by 30 minutes.

It was a cold start to the game, temps around 4C. It back back and forth, but close. In the 3rd inning, the snow started, along with strong winds. At the end of the 3rd, my partner and I, along with the coaches decided to call the game due to the weather. The cold temps are not good for throwing arms and visibility was getting low. I’m unsure if the game will stand, I’d imagine it will though. This time of October, finding a warm day to complete the game would be tough. The game ended with th visitors up 4-3, so I figure they are the Tier 1 Champs.

All in all, Fall Ball was great. We had some bad weather on the first weekend (rain) but otherwise, the weather was great right until the final.

I’ll miss umpiring, it was a lot of fun, but I’m not going to miss going to Calgary every weekend. Now onto MLB Playoffs and football. Should be a good rest of Fall.

Posted in Personal | Leave a comment

Wrapping up the Fall Ball season…

I am heading back to Calgary tomorrow morning to umpire the last of Fall Ball for Babe Ruth. It definitely won’t feel like baseball weather. Saturday’s games don’t start until noon, as opposed to 10am, and I can only assume it’s because of cold morning temperatures. At any rate, I have 2 games Saturday and 2 games Sunday. Two double-headers will be a breeze compared to last weekend where I did 7 games in 2 days.

Since the trailer has been brought back down to the Pass, I am staying in a motel on Saturday evening. It was cheaper for the motel room than to store the trailer for another month in Calgary and towing it to Calgary and back this weekend would have used at least an entire tank of gas, whereas just a return trip is about a half tank of gas.

I have really enjoyed my return to umpiring this season. I totaled it up and I have done 45 games this season. Not a lot, compared to some years. I did lose about 8 games due to rain-outs, smoke-outs and 2 games where I was “injured”. Speaking of being injured, I got hit in the facemask with a ball back at the end of June. In an, abundance of caution, I presume, someone called an ambulance that I really didn’t need. Well, AHA (Alberta Health Services) sent me a bill for the ambulance to the tune of $250. I thought this was odd as one might think this would be covered by our universal health coverage that we enjoy in Canada. No such luck. I have sent the bill off to Babe Ruth Calgary to cover. I was a bit shocked at receiving a bill and that the bill was as much as it was. Had they decided to take me to a hospital, I can only imagine what that would have cost. So, anyone who thinks Canada has “free” health care, think again. First off, nothing is free, it’s all paid for via taxes and second, even then we do pay for a lot. End of rant, if that was a rant.

So, I fully plan on umpiring again next season. I quite enjoy it and when you’re behind the plate, you have the best view of the game. The money isn’t all that bad either, it covers my expenses in going to Calgary and what not, so it’s not a bad deal all in all.

In MLB action, the Red Sox eliminated the Evil Empire of the Yankees on Tuesday evening. The useless Cardinals couldn’t do me the favour of getting rid of the Dodgers on Wednesday, unfortunately, so they are still around. Yesterday, my Astros took care of the White Sox and in the evening game, the Rays demolished the Red Sox. Today, there are a total of 4 games, I plan on watching 3, I think. Not much else going on. Gotta love October baseball.

Posted in Personal | Leave a comment