2011 Season

Edition No. 17

August 23, 2011









For those of you who missed the 27th Annual Hot Stove League Trip, you won’t ever want to miss one again.  While I am sworn to secrecy as to those certain components of the 2011 Trip which led to the “Best Trip Ever” tag line, I will share with you now a few of the less-monumental but still important and rewarding moments and highlights from this year’s junket:



The look of relief on B.T.’s mug after he was able to find us at the airport for the start of our Trip, in spite of multiple memory breakdowns, sparing him the embarrassment of having to ask the airport security to page his pals by their Delta Chi nicknames:  Shamu, Big Guy, Skipper and Stretch McBlunder.  (Maybe one of these days he can get everyone’s first and last name and cell phone number into his own cell phone in case of just such an emergency.)



Friday afternoon burgers and beers on the rooftop terrace of the highly-regarded Sports Column Restaurant across from the Coors Field.




Securing primo ducats for the Friday night’s game in Section 126, Row 14, on the aisle, behind home plate, and B.T.’s favorite feature, six seats to a row and aisles on either side. 






Ice Cream. 




Witnessing Trent Oeltjen’s inside-the-park home run after Dimwit Dexter’s diving miss of a line-drive. 


Oeltjen collides with Rockies catcher Chris Iannetta



Experiencing the instantaneous change in Shamu’s disposition from sunny and bright to dark and disconsolate after his attempt to go nil in spades went south on the very first trick. 



Speculating about Big Guy’s excellent opportunity to catch a foul ball that landed mere feet behind him, prompting his protestation that, “Nobody told me to go for it!”  (Been married a long time, haven’t you, Rick?) 



The look of sheer childlike joy on Shamu’s face when he learned that they were giving away Tulo bobblehead dolls to the first 5000 arrivals at Saturday’s game (later leading to his utter despair when he clicked through the turnstiles at Fan No. 5003). 



Our Magnificent Saturday morning breakfast at Sam’s, followed by our Stupendous Sunday morning breakfast feast at, yes, Sam’s.  (When you have a winning formula, why go away from it?)





Watching McJester’s boy, Rubby, get rubbed up by the Dodgers, who scattered 12 hits against him in 6 innings. 



Seeing the game go into extra innings after the teams were tied at 4 at the end of regulation, and then watching in amazement as the Dodgers’ 5-foot-2 sparkplug, Aaron Miles, cracked his second home run of the season to unlock the tie. 




Watching Saturday’s game from rock star seats in Section 137 along the third base line, precisely even with the pitching mound, 8 or 9 rows behind the Dodgers’ visitors’ dugout (and in the shade, and at face value, no less!). 



Watching in awe one of the greatest at-bats of all time by Todd Helton who  fouled off 8 two-strike pitches from Dodgers’ stopper Javy Guerra before lining a double to right field to score Dexter Fowler and to help set up the tying run.  This prolific at-bat occurred on Helton’s 38th birthday, and kept the Rockies in the game until they could muster up the winning run in the bottom of the 13th.  A Hall of Fame at-bat, for sure. 




Apart from the above, perhaps the most memorable event of the weekend occurred as we were walking back from the saloons and taverns on Friday evening, making our way toward our hotel on a side street littered with vagabonds and homeless types.  As we walked, a heckler among the downtrodden suddenly and without provocation barked out to one of us, “Wow, how’d you get to be so CORN-FED?”  Rather than respond with a stinging riposte or a flurry of fisticuffs, the member of our quintet to whom this barb was directed merely kept his nose pointed forward and his feet moving, effectively turning the other cheek.  Or, at our ages, maybe he simply did not hear him.  No matter.   Still the stuff of legends. 





Congratulations and thanks to the five Hot Stove League stalwarts who made time away from family and friends and work obligations and other stuff to attend the 27th Annual Hot Stove League Trip:



Big Guy





Well done, men.  It is good to be able to call you friends.  Thanks for helping to keep this great skein alive.  




Of the eight league members who did not make this year’s Trip, there were some very legitimate excuses for some, and some entirely lame excuses for others.  As best we can tell here at From the Bullpen, the following is an unofficial roster of non-attendees and their excuses: 



Decided to rush a frat at UNL with his best friend Dean while allegedly assisting Zack in moving into the dorms. 



Committed to follow-up survey work for the Michelle Bachman campaign in the aftermath of the Iowa caucuses. 



Unable to attend because of conflicting trip to Kansas City for a Royals-Red Sox baseball game, possibly as part of Possum’s involvement in another fantasy league in a parallel universe (in which all of the owners appear to be creations of Pablo Picasso).





Detained in Norway as a “person of interest” in the recent mass slaying. 



Still suffering from dysentery after a three-week long trip to Bangladesh (or was it Marrakesh?). 



Reportedly traveling to India or China or Indochina with ESPN reporter Shelley Smith in search of a heartwarming sports story. 




Reportedly sighted in Sandusky, Ohio at the world-famous Cedar Point Amusement Park, trying out the rollercoaster and matching wits with the carnival barker who runs the basketball shooting contest. 


(Is Tirebiter trying to compensate for something?)



Allegedly too busy running the Krause empire and personally cleaning the ArtFX screenprinting screens to attend. 



So you can see, it is a busy, diverse group, and so perhaps we should feel lucky that five of us were able to make the Trip.  That said, next year we need to get the Trip on the calendar early, and to commit to having as many of us attend as we can.  The fellowship, fun and relaxation is simply too much to be missed. 




It was unanimously agreed by all of the 2011 Trip attendees that we will venture to Miami next year for the annual HSL Trip, allowing us all to add a new ballpark to our resumes. 





We decided that we should try to book this trip early, like for the month of April, when the weather in Miami will be far preferable to that in Omaha, and before most of us are caught up in busy summer schedules.  I have already blocked off the last two weeks of April 2012 from my calendar so that nothing will prevent me from going on the Trip.  I highly recommend that each of you do the same.  Right now, I mean!  Do it!


* * * * * *


And finally, in closing, I share with you just a few photographs from the 2011 Trip.  It was great to be part of it. 




BT:  Where the hell is that beer I ordered two minutes ago.

Stretch:  Is that really our waitress, topless?



All better.



The Gang of 5

Keeps the Skein Alive.



Another B.T. Senior Moment:  (Why am I here

and who are these four nice fellas who keep hanging around?



Drinking to forget the “corn-fed” crack?



B.T.:  “I’m sorry, what was your name again?”



What exactly is Shamu’s right hand doing?



Now that’s a dog, eh, Stretch?



Saturday, at the Park.



“Are you going to finish that plate

of nachos, miss?”