Friday, July 24, 2009

My Daddies

The Jonas Brothers and Six Flags are to me what the Yankees were to Pedro Martinez in 2004 – my daddies.

After reading Drew’s post I was re-inspired. I had prepared a rather somber, serious piece to post in Shauna’s world – she kindly allows me to use her space –, but I realize people come here for laughs and jubilation. The last thing we need is too much reality.

Drew’s post inspired because I tread the waters of fatherhood right along with y’all, everyday. Like Drew has been hinted to, I have been told, “I’ll pay all the ones I owe with two girls!”


You see, when we were PWKs (People Without Kids), life was astonishingly boring, or so we conclude today, my bride and I. I mean, we have no time for ourselves these days, so we musta ran out of things to do before, right? How did we occupy our time before?

The dinner parties and weekend getaways with like-PWKs (back in the day) were dandy, but what did we have at the end of it all? Plenty of hangovers and mostly shallow pleasantries.

Let me explain…

So, we returned from a very tough trip back in the homeland, after a tragic death in our family. We needed a little boost, so, we headed to a local sports bar for some College World Series action. In said place of food and drink, I overheard a lady tell her four girls (an anomaly at this place, the lady and four girls), “Are you ready to see the Jonas Brothers? Let’s go!”

Wait a minute! Did we forget the concert was today? Here we sat quietly – the girls and I – and this lady was headed to the concert?

So, on a trip to the restroom, she stood outside the girls’ and I just had to ask – I’m good like that, approaching complete strangers, probably scaring them to death.

“Excuse me, are you going to the concert today?”

“Oh no, today is rehearsal. You can get free tickets right outside the stadium!”

Decision time…

At this point, none of the girls had noticed I was talking to the very attractive lady by the bathroom. I DIDN’T have to say there were free tickets to the rehearsal, did I? I could have avoided going to the stadium that night. After all, we had tickets to the grand show the next day.

Guess what I did? Guess?

Yes, I told them. Yes, we devoured the rest of our meal and cold drinks. Yes, I ran home to get the SLR and the “baddest” lens I could muster. Yes, we hung out until midnight-ish outside the Dallas Cowboys Stadium’s main tunnel, until finally, the boys emerged each in a separate vehicle.

The silver lining?

Two of the boys – I forget which Jonas bros – lowered they’re windows, slowed down and extended their hands. My girls go to touch them for a second.

The twinkle in they’re little faces? Perfect, as Drew so eloquently stated.

The next day, at the concert, the Jonas Brothers took me for a lot of money, again -- shirts, posters…all of it. On the bright side, I was able to medicate myself with cold drinks, though at $8 a pop, my dosage was low. The concert completely wiped us clean of energy and disposable income, at least for the month.

Yes, the Jonas Brothers are my daddies.

For the PWKs still wondering the earth, yes, get scared. You will be broke and worn out the entire time you have children.

Would I change it? Not for anything in the world.

One of the things I admire the most about Shauna is her honesty. I laugh along with all her fandom, but I know they are happy group. How you ask, since I’ve never seen them live?

Look at all the pictures. It’s reflected in those children.

So, Drew and all of you waiting, trying…I so hope you enjoy my joy very soon.

Oh, about Six Flags…

We misplaced the season passes. Mind you, we’ve been season pass holders since the girls were of age, yea repeat customers.

For a family of four, season passes and season parking for the grand park will run upwards $350.00, and that’s not including all the nick-knacks every time you visit.

You would think that if you’ve been loyal, caring customers for that last 6 years, re-printing ours (at least the first offense) would be a courtesy.

Well, it’s not. Beware. They give you one mulligan to get in the park, once you can’t find yours. After that, you’ll pay some $22.00 per to get new ones. Creative cash streams? Absolutely.

I have no choice.

They are my daddies, too.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Stats or "It" Factor. You Decide.

The first time Orlando Cabrera stepped onto to the plate at Fenway Park out of a Red Sox uni, after that 2004 championship season, he was given something of a 30-second standing ovation. He was an Angel now, newly signed out of free agency.

Just a short year before, the first time he stepped up in a Red Sox uniform, after a 4-team trade right at the deadline (which included the great Nomar Garciaparra), he hit a home run. The Nomar "Nomah" Garciaparra trade angered many Sox faithful, but the Cabrera HR surely eased the pain. Without getting into the nitty gritty of that trade, Theo sent Nomah to the Cubbies; got Orlando Cabrera from the now-defunct Expos; Doug Mientkiewicz from the Twins; and Dave Roberts from the Dodgers. Indulge me here, while I relive the 2004 season as a Red Sox fan. It was magical.

Recently, a friend and I put up a bet in the first Boston@Texas series. Nothing big. And, as the Texas Rangers were poised to sweep the Red Sox, the trash talk began. And, a comment was made about the desperation of Theo to add bats to the Red Sox line-up by trading for LaRoche from the Pirates.

So, a further conversation ensued. The argument is this: What matters most? The "feel" for a player or pure stats? Numbers never lie, but then again, they have to be the right numbers at the right time. It's, well, like poker.

Of the trade, which brought Cabrera to the Red Sox, Curt "Father Curt" Schilling said, "He is a game-changer in the field for me." The intent in Theo's trades were to fortify the defense. And, he did. Not only was Schilling money, but Pedro Martinez found his form and with then-closer Ketih Foulke, the Red Sox went on a run and made history. The acquisition of Cabrera at shortstop and Mientkiewicz at first gave the rotation a huge boost.

What about Dave Roberts? Did he make a difference?

Top of the 9th. 2004 AlCS. Game 4. Yankees up 3-0. The Red Sox had been strapped down to the electric chair --again -- , and were about to be executed, again. Just as the warden was about to turn the switch, the governor called...

Mariano Rivera allows a lead-off walk to Millar. Dave Roberts, one of the last-minute trades that July, came in to run.

Roberts steals second. Mueller singles and scores Roberts. Red Sox tie the game at 4, and folks that steal began one of the greatest sports accomplishments in all sporting history.

One stolen base by a guy who was not a Red Sox when the season opened in 2004.

The Red Sox would not lose again. They humiliated the Yankees by coming back from 0-3, and swept the Cardinals in the World Series.

Explanation? Was it in the numbers? Did Theo Epstein, boy wonder GM for the Red Sox, "feel"this was the thing to do in July of 2004?

How lonely do you think he was the night it became public Nomar Garciaparra had been traded? Think there was a contract for his head in New England?

We can go on for hours about this topic and probably not come to any logical conclusion. Bill James followers will prove to you it's all in the numbers. Baseball lovers will argue, yes, maybe in the numbers, but you have to have a feel for the game, the players.

And then there's that good ol' luck. It worked for Chris Moneymaker in the most famous World Series of Poker.

October baseball is about many things. The gods of baseball have to be on your side. You can buy free agents all day long (Yankees), but that doesn't guarantee you anything, even a place in the tournament (see 2008 Yankees).

All I can truly tell you about what makes an October magical for a team may have more to do with the gods blessing you with the right players, at the right time for the right reasons.

When O-Cab (Orlando Cabrera) came to Boston, he instituted well documented hand shakes in the dug out, which brought the team very close together. Mientkiewicz is quote as saying he was aghast when he learned his trade to the Red Sox included letting go of Nomar. Dave Roberts will forever be the man with The Steal. There was the Damon hair and beard; Schilling red sock.

The gods were with us.

Amazingly, none of those traded guys were Red Sox the next season.


Most of the time, no.

This 2009 Rangers team seems to have that magic about them.

Magic and luck have a lot to do with winning teams in this free agency era.

Maybe the gods of baseball have made a stop in Arlington this year. Let's hope so.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

My Favorite Nothing

When I was a kid, I thought I was weird. Everybody had their list of "favorite things," and I could never decide on anything. Color? It usually depended on my mood. Movie? Food? Friends? It all depended on variables.

Deciding on favorite things made/make no sense, so I lied. I always thought, "How could you have a favorite movie at 8, when there's many more movies to come by the time I'm 18?! I would tell people what my "favorite" things were, but it was all, well, made up.

So, I don't participate in many of these Facebook things, but thought the "my favorites" questionnaire might prove to be fun. I knew at best my closest family and friends could not score above 50%. And, I was right.

There were a few exceptions. My favorite color is black. Black clothes did me favors when I was 40 lbs. overweight. Besides, black is the combination of all colors, so, I never have to choose just one by choosing black. But, red is a very second close. Red cheers me up.

The Range Rover is my favorite dream car because it's the only car I can envision myself splurging on, had I the means. I cannot see myself dropping $180,000 for a vehicle that's a conglomeration of metal, plastic and copper. I mean, the Lambo is probably very sweet, but I'd feel guilty every time I'd sit in it knowing that money could be put to better use. I would probably rent one for a weekend and cruise with my girls. The Rover, though, yes, I would get one, though probably used with about 25k miles.

If all the sporting events I listed would be on at the same time, I wouldn't settle on one. If you have been to a Super Bowl party at my house, I have the ability to wire it for at least 5 televisions. So, I'd find a way to have them all going -- at once. Could not miss any of them .

The drinks, book, actors, movies, et al, are my choice when I think of each of those categories. Sometimes, there's nothing better than an ice-cold Miller Lite. But, sometimes the mood calls for a smooth Scotch or Pinot. It's all in the moods.

So, you see, it's very hard to predict my favorites. I like change and thrive in it. I like new challenges and begin to shut down when I'm not advancing.

Idaly just got her hair cut REAL short. I love it. I love change. A couple of my male friends were shocked that "I let her" cut it so short. It's simple. She takes on a whole new personality with a new do. She feels better about herself and even her dress changes. It's like living with a new person, and though that sounds bad, when you think about it, it works. She will always be the mother of my children and my wife, but re-invention is the ticket to longevity.

Don't worry, she knows the above statement. She tells people, "That's fine, as long as he doesn't want to change me for someone else." That's the point. By changing ourselves, it's never in danger of stagnating.

Water? If you let it pool somewhere without flow or new water, what happens? It becomes green and stinks.

That's why I love being a dad. It's never the same. I cut both of my girls' umbilical cords and now go from concert to concert with their favorite bands. Every day its a new adventure with them. It's beyond words!

I think you sell yourself short by having favorites. I've done many, many things in my short life, and many of them do not fit the other.

Anyhow, if you scored low on that Facebook thing, good. It was designed that way. I didn't want anybody to get better than a 50% .

It's all about change and improvement.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Back To The Ol' Days

We've decided to revisit our country dancing days by hanging out at Billy Bob's Texas, the 10-time CMA and ACM winner for country music clubs. On Thursdays, Billy Bob's offers free dance lessons, and the bonus is we can bring the girls!

So, opening night for us saw a real nice family reunion for us, complete with dancing and cold drinks.