2014 Season                    Edition No. 15                    August 12, 2014






























At this point in the season I’m not sure anyone even reads these Bullpens so my gut reaction is to just half-ass this edition or I could just full-ass it like the Redbirds and Skipjacks.   We’re approaching the final month of the season with some tight battles, I currently find myself in a struggle with the Bears, which is like sliding in coed softball…………………..embarrassing.


Kudos to Jeff for selecting Edwin Encarnarcion in the first round of the draft this year--that took some marbles, then I thought he lost a few of them with the David Wright selection in the second round, he’s let more people down over the years than the Otis elevator company, but with the scarcity of third basemen I guess it really wasn’t a stretch.  It was a strange draft; I felt I was totally out of players who I thought should be worthy of a second round selection by the third pick in the second round.  I thought beforehand that Encarnarcion would probably be available in the second round but I wasn’t sure I wanted him or Beltre who I ended up taking; they both seemed older than their years and I didn’t feel comfortable trying to put a saddle on either one of them, of course Edwin buckled and found his way to the DL but only after having a terrific first half.  Beltre immediately threw a shoe and headed for the DL and as always I was left with that familiar feeling of “Big hat, no cattle”.  As it turned out he was the least of my problems and the rest of my team got spooked and are currently scattered across the country on various DL lists.



Someone found my team on the side of the road

 I would have liked to have made the league trip to Chicago and Milwaukee this year  but it was in direct conflict with my cruise with my in-laws on a floating Golden Corral…a seven day cruise…….with my chain smoking in-laws…………. let that sink in.  I’m not a cruise guy, I’m convinced there are about 3 to 4 different vendors who stay on the ship who hurriedly get off the boat when it docks and erect their “exotic local” T-shirts kiosks in the dark before the passengers embark-- at the “same” island over and over again and then are herded back onboard where they are pointed in the direction of the nearest buffet so they don’t have time to compare stories on how familiar some of the t-shirt barkers looked and they just repeat those steps until the cruise is over, maybe even throw in a flu bug for good measure.



 I have this interest with America’s limited attention span and how it has ranged from our fascination of Texas Hold’em poker, which brought the game out of the smoke filled backrooms of seedy casinos to our living rooms for a  run of “why did we care?” and making temporary rock stars out of hopeful dreamers only to send them right back to the dimly lit tables after our fascination has worn off, then it was off to watching Cajuns shoot alligators, Alaskans living in the wilderness and fishing for crab, to people buying storage units in hope of striking it rich, to Pickers and Pawn Stars sorting through our junk for treasures.  All legitimate careers I guess, but we only care about them for a few years.  The only one with an enduring chance of lasting is Looking for Bigfoot, only because…..well, there aren’t any….. I would imagine that it probably takes a while to find something that’s not there.  Even then we only give them a small window to accomplish the impossible.  We’re an odd lot with a very short attention span. Thank God we’ve been able to maintain our interest in the Hotstove league, I know everyone is extremely busy in their business and personal lives and I love it that we all seem able to find the time to run our teams and continue to the enjoy this experience.

Unfortunately baseball as a sport keeps sliding down America’s interest, although interest at the games themselves seems to be maintaining a certain level which is good for the sport but interest outside of the stadium is almost non-existent.  I listen to sports talk radio in my car and they talk about every sport and I mean every sport except baseball.  At night I usually have to suffer through hours of Pro football ramblings followed by basketball, then golf, and every four years, soccer.  Then a recorded announcer will come on and read the nights baseball scores in a measured mono-tone drone with the same enthusiasm as someone reading off the possible side effects off the back of a Prilosec bottle and just as fast, and we’re right in the middle of a season of a sport that is actually IN season, amazing. 

The fix for soccer seems simple, give them two thirty minute periods to perform their random acts of “nothingness” and then it goes to sudden death.  You would think the French would dominate a sport that is comprised mostly of a lot of huffing, puffing, flopping and grandstanding. They’re not giving the sport its due, something as important as the world cup should have its own celebratory time frame, like every 8 years or 16 years instead of every 4 and bring back the vuvuzela horn so we have something concrete that we can vent our frustration on. Done.



 I’m always near the back of the pack when it comes to experiencing new inventions and refusing to give up on the old.  The other day my daughter handed me her phone and told me to take a picture of her and her niece, after trying to peek through every porthole the phone offered she became frustrated with me and told me there were no “holes” to look through, just point the phone and click. “Yeah, that’s it, you’re getting close, OK..………….. Now, flip it over, there you go” she said, through clenched teeth.  Older people screwing things up is nothing new and I was just adding to that enduring perception, but what really set me back was a 20 minute conversation I had with Scott about his Swedish coffee pot, The Jura.

Somehow we got on the topic of the enjoyment of experiencing that “perfect cup of coffee” and how elusive it is, or how elusive I thought it was.  I think we can all agree it is truly one of the great pleasures of life.  I love walking down the isle of a coffee shop and smelling the different kinds of coffee and I’ve spent plenty of money trying to convert that great smell at the store into the “perfect cup of coffee” at home, to no avail. Scott said he stumbled on the cure, The Jura, and it literally makes the “perfect cup of coffee”. 

While Scott said the Jura is designed to develop that wonderful smell into actual coffee, Mr. Coffee on the other hand is designed to transform any coffee, Jamaican, Kenyan, Hawaiian, Italian, and Himalayan into just plain old Folgers.  Of course the sticker shock of the Jura alone accomplished the task of coffee in that my pulse rate exploded at both the cost of owning one and the certain drop kick my Mr. Coffee was about to receive.  So, it’s not the coffee, it’s the coffee pot?  How can the internal workings of a coffee machine affect the taste of coffee beans?   And who outside of ABBA, Dolph Lundgren and Scott know about The Jura?  That’s the beauty of life, at 58 years old I’m still learning new things, I’m not any closer to getting a perfect cup of coffee but at least I know why, and in a pinch, I think I can take a picture with someone’s phone.  I’d like to take a picture of someone’s oblique muscle and show it to Willie Mays or Hank Aaron, I guarantee you they’ve never seen or heard of it.



I find it really hard not to keep repeating myself about how big of Nancy’s I consider major league ballplayers to be and it just seems to be getting worse.  On one of the many fantasy baseball sights on the internet that I frequent and a particular favorite of mine, has a great take on players and the disabled list.  He thinks teams should employee a crusty old school nurse and the players are sent to her to plead their case for going on the DL.  I guarantee you there would be fewer players on the disabled list, you can bullshit the trainer but try pushing one of those cock and bull stories past a grizzled veteran like a school nurse and see what happens.  There has to be better equity between paying and playing, going 0 for 15 or having a rough night on the mound shouldn’t be the criteria for a stint on the DL and yet we see it over and over, a little blurb by their name followed by a vague description of a phantom ailment.  Make that player stand in front of Nurse Doris and stutter out their excuse, after hearing “No, I’m not calling your parents.  No, you don’t have a temperature.  No, your stomach doesn’t hurt and Billy telling you, to tell me, you have plantar fasciitis isn’t going to work either, if you can’t spell it you don’t have it, now march back out there and do your job” maybe after a tongue lashing they will rethink their plans for a 2 week summer vacation and focus why they are there in the first place. 


I would support shortening the season from 162 games to say…....5 games, the number of starting pitchers on most major league teams.  That way every pitcher gets a chance to blow their elbow out and playing in 5 consecutive games would most likely exhaust the majority of the rosters of “everyday players” an oxymoron if I’ve ever heard one.  I blame this all on one unsavory scoundrel, Carlos Quentin, AKA “Ferris Bueller” who has had more of an effect on baseball than Curt Flood and his pioneering effort to create free agency.  In fact, he’s had more of a profound presence than global warming, Asian carp in our waterways or Arabs on our airplanes.  This year Ferris found the time while sitting at the end of the bench to tutor one of my “good……meh” pitchers, Andrew Cashner, AKA “Cameron” who has gone on the DL twice this season…..when he wasn’t even pitching.  They’ve been seen at art museums, parades and even drinking beer in the stands at Padre games.  Carlos has done more damage to baseball than Carl Lewis throwing out the first pitch.  Wil Myers hasn’t been seen for 3 months and he hasn’t even called home, his mother and I are worried sick.  Get rid of Ferris and the other lemmings will fall into place, I’m just saying?


Not all vacations are bad, a trip to Abby Road with the

Grandkids was fun, courtesy of our artist.


Stay vigilant Jeff, anything can happen.  I had Denny run my team for the week when I was on vacation and he got me to within 99 points of the lead, 3 weeks later I was 650 points off the pace.  Some people were meant to lead, some to follow, and some to get the hell out of the way, and on that note I will now get out of the way.