2010 Season

Edition No. 6

February 17, 2010








The Day of Days is finally here.  Our first harbinger of Spring after a miserable Winter is that beautiful phrase:  Pitchers and Catchers Report.


Having just returned from five days in Scottsdale, I can assure you that there are in fact certain portions of this country that are not presently inundated with snow, although anyone trapped in the Midwest since last October would probably need to see it for themselves to believe it.  Unfortunately, my part-work, part-pleasure trip to the Valley of the Sun was a bit too early in the year to allow for any viewing of Spring Training baseball games, but our 18 holes of golf at Talking Stick and at Troon North went a long way to make up for it.  Getting to see the Suns and Steve Nash take on the Portland Trailblazers at the United Center was an added bonus. 






Late last summer I printed off a 50-item baseball bucket list of Jim Caple of ESPN Page 2, with the intention of making a check list and seeing how many items I could check off as having seen or done, while adding a few new items to my own Baseball Bucket List.  I finally got around to doing this on my flight down to Scottsdale, and so I share it with all of you here and now:



Caple’s Item

Been There, Done




Spend a week at spring training.

1/2 credit

Have not been for a full week (yet), so only one-half credit.


Learn to keep score.

Please.  This was right after potty training for me.


Learn about Tommy John surgery by throwing out your arm at the stadium speed pitch station.

Pittsburgh 1992 (speed not listed because radar gun was obviously malfunctioning)


Watch “Field of Dreams,” “Bull Durham,” “A League of Their Own,” “The Bad News Bears” (the original) and “The Natural.”

Multiple times, except for “The Natural,” which was so cheesy I could only suffer through it once.


Use a wood bat.

I am actually one of the dinosaurs who really used a wood bat during my high school playing days, and I still have my Jackie Robinson model from that glorious final campaign of 1975.


Enjoy a beer in the bleachers at Wrigley Field on a sunny summer day.

Have done so many times, and hope to do it many more.


Listen to Vin Scully call an entire Dodgers game.


1/2 credit

Wish I could say I have listened to him for a full nine innings, but I have thrilled to his golden voice for many partial games. 


Read “Ball Four,” “The Boys of Summer,” “Nine Innings,” “The Glory of Their Times,” and any (preferably all) of Roger Angell’s collections.


1/2 credit

All except “Nine Innings,” which is next on my list.  More later on Angell’s writings. 


Go to Japan’s Koshien high school tournament (i.e., where Dice K threw his famous no-hitter)

Probably won’t happen. 


Hit a home run.

Three or four jacks in Little Chiefs; two I can remember from Midget ball; none in high school; a considerable number in slow-pitch softball. 


Coach a Little League team.

Many times for Joe and Will (and God, how I loved it!).


Ump a Little League game.

Everyone should do this. 


Boo the Yankees in person.

Sorry, Mouse and Screech, but at Fenway, I couldn’t help myself.


Play Strat-O-Matic, APBA, Dynasty League or a similar computer-simulation game.



Attend a fantasy camp and have more fun than you can imagine feeling old and young at the same time.

Someday, maybe.


Tour the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.


Three times, at least 2 or 3 more times in the future. 


Oil your glove and stuff it under your mattress for the winter, then play catch the first day of spring with your parent/child.

It could happen.


Get to a game early enough to watch batting practice.

A must.


Go to the College World Series.

A luxury.


Play pepper.

A staple.


Go to a batting cage and see what it’s like to hit a 90 mph fastball.  Or, more likely, fail to hit a 90 mph fastball.

Or maybe a Reuschel-like 60 mph. 


Attend a townball game in Minnesota (the smaller the town the better).

Maybe one day. 


Visit the “Field of Dreams” site in Dyersville, Iowa and the old Durham Athletic Park (where “Bull Durham” takes place).

Maybe this summer on our trip, for the former; would love to visit the latter one day. 


Take your kids to see The Chicken or The Phanatic.

Philly—June 2010.  Book it. 


Run around the bases after a big league game.

Would they let us?



See Derek Jeter, Albert Pujols and Ichiro play in person and chant their names with a stadium packed with fans.



Buy a fitted cap to replace the cheap stadium giveaway you got with the plastic adjustable strap in the back and the Piggly Wiggly logo on the side.

Makes sense.


Sing “Sweet Caroline” at Fenway Park.

This summer, with Joe and Will, I hope.


Recite “Casey at the Bat” and “Tinker to Evers to Chance.”

Read, not yet recited.


Read the box scores religiously. 



Joint SABR.

Do it.  You’ll be glad. 


Get your favorite player’s autograph.

Pujols—someday, unless I have to pay for it. 


Learn to throw a curveball.

Uncle Charlie and I were at one time acquainted. 


Take a week-long road trip through the minors, the lower the league the better, and make sure to include a team owned by Mike Veeck.

This summer with Joe and will.  This is the plan.


Cheer the Rally Monkey

Can’t do it.  Stretch, you up for this one?


Eat at Boog’s barbecue pit at Camden Yards;

1/5 credit

Joe Ernst says this is the best BBQ anywhere. 

Enjoy a Primanu Brothers sandwich at Pittsburgh’s ballpark;

I’ll try one this summer on my annual trip to Iron City.

The fish tacos in San Diego;

I don’t think I can do it.

A Dodger Dog at Dodger Stadium;

1/5 credit

Oh, yes.  Nothing tastier. 

And garlic fries while circling the concourse in Seattle.

It’s on my list for this Fall. 


Attend a game in the Caribbean.

Definitely on my personal baseball bucket list. 


Buy a bleacher ticket and sneak into a box seat.

UBob—you game?  Beware the Turk!


Passionately argue in a bar over who belongs in the Hall of Fame.

We HSLers have never done this, have we.


Collect baseball cards.  Get your favorite player’s rookie card and store it in a plastic sleeve.  Treat all others the way God intended:  by clothes-pinning them to the spokes of your bicycle in a pathetic attempt to make an engine noise.

BT, where are those 12,000 Hensley Muelen cards we invested in when we need them?


Rub the Babe’s nose at Monument Park.

Will do.  Promise.


Camp out in front of the stadium for tickets to see your favorite team in the postseason.

Don’t need to.


Try to throw a knuckleball.

Can do.


Try to catch a knuckleball.

Could do, once upon a time.


Catch a foul ball.  And then hand it to the nearest kid.

Hope to.


Disobey your parents by staying up late to listen to a game with your transistor radio/iPhone tucked under your pillow.

Some of my fondest memories from my yoot.


Go to the All-Star Game.

Coors Field, 1998


Kayak in McCovey Cove (yeah, Barry Bonds is gone, but San Francisco Bay is still there).

A possibility.


Eat a hot-fudge sundae in a mini-batting helmet.

Did this at Mike Witt’s perfect game.


See your team play in the World Series.  (Sorry, this might not be applicable to Cubs, Mariners, Rangers and Nationals fans.)

The Cardinals were too my team in October of 2006!




27.9  /  50


Can anyone top this?


Keep that Message Board banter coming, fellas.  We all need something to take our minds off this bleak winter. 


Have a great rest of the week.