Edition No. 21
July 28, 2016
Welcome to another edition of the 7th Inning Stretch.t
Standings through July 26, 2016
Congrats to the Cubs and Wahoos for outstanding seasons thus far. They truly have separated themselves from the pack. It is really nice to see the Tigers in the heat of the race after a few disappointing years, and the Tigers are doing it with only 17 transactions (although some of those free agent pitchers are providing significant help, i.e. Hellickson and Kazmir). I remember the Blues being in 3rd place once upon a time. Those were the good old days.
Kershaw on Way to Historic Season
Leading Blues to Upper Level Finish
I must have written that headline a month ago, as the Blues first round pick was an owner's dream. It is no coincidence that the downward slid of the Blues started with Kershaw hitting the shelf.
Blues Score 18 Points and Move Up a Spot
This actually happened a couple of days ago. Wacky season. But alas the 18 point days are more frequent and the downward trend for the Blues continues.
A Tale of Two Games
I recognize that my reputation as the league curmudgeon is well earned. In fact, it remains a source of some small pride that I enjoy a reputation as a traditionalist when it comes to baseball games, but continuing to venture out to the stadium despite the onslaught of silly mascots, "Kiss-Cams" and music blaring from the speakers at every moment a pitch is not being thrown. (Thank you Dave for the recent texts from a minor league game in Tulsa with the photos of a herd of mascots, including one that clearly was a white toilet. Local Plumbing Co.????)
I have enjoyed two ninth inning comebacks at Kauffman Stadium this summer, one off the Nationals and Papelbon and one off the Indians and a reliever named Shaw. It has been a good season for home games, but a lack luster season over all for my Royals. But after last season's championship, the glow still covers us all, despite this year's team continually hovering around .500.
But this is brief story of two consecutive nights of complete butt-whoopings by the Houston Astros on June 24th and 25th. I was in attendance at both.
On June 24th, I was attending with law school classmate Bob Lannin and a couple of nephews. Bob had secured nice seats, just to the third base side of home plate, back of the first level, through another law school classmate, Mike Walla, whose assistant is married to a major league umpire. We have gotten some free tickets like this the last couple of years.
Just as my fanny hit the sat, Edison Volquez gave up a triple to the wall to the first batter. And as Chuck can tell you, as Volquez managed to go a minus 35 points that night, it might have been one of the worst outings for a starting pitcher in the history of the majors. The Royals were down 12-0 when Volquez was removed after facing three batters in the 2nd without recording an out. Volquez, 1 inning, 8 hits, 12 runs, 11 earned runs, 3 walks, no K's. Royals lost 13-4.
Chuck cans Volquez the next day.
On June 25th, we have seats near the foul pole in left field, where we watched the Royals lose 13-5 as Chris Young gives up 7 runs in 2-1/3 innings, and a couple of more relievers added gasoline to the fire to the point where "The Genius", Ned Yost, was forced to pitch back-up catcher Drew Butera in the 9th. (He did a respectable job, allowing only 1 hit, no runs.)
Yes, both games were over early, and both were embarrassing losses by my beloved Royals. Yet I stayed until the end of each. And here is the Tale: I enjoyed the first one … the 2nd may have been the most miserable evening I have ever spent at a ball park.
The difference? Stadium location and morons.
It is clear to me the Kaufmann Stadium designers knew where season ticket holders sit and where occasional fans sit.
Near the foul pole is apparently where the newest most modern speakers are located. Seriously, when the in between inning music or walk up song was blasting, it was so loud that the person next to me had to shout to be heard. Unfortunately, the Ozark family reunion behind me was not drowned out by the music, as I was able to hear every single stupid comment, complaint and criticism these two toothless yahoos said. While pretending to have knowledge of baseball, these two were complete idiots who managed to torture me with nonsense for 8 solid innings until finally exiting to their continued party at the local Motel 6. That, plus the 95 degree, no hint of a breeze night, made for a truly awful experience.
The night before was equally hot and the Royals' performance equally embarrassing. The difference: I was seated in the season ticket section. We were not bombarded by the music, but more importantly, I was seated with knowledgeable baseball fans whose comments were thoughtful, insightful and pleasant. Makes all the difference in the world, even when your team loses 13-5!
I guess that is why I enjoy going to ballgames with the Hot Stove League. Good seats. Great company. Thoughtful baseball men. Plus huge laughs.
Deb and I recently had the pleasure of a quick cocktail and meal with David and Michele Ernst as they were visiting Kansas City in their continued quest to see as many aging rock and roll acts as possible. This time: Steely Dan. While we could not join them for the concert, we spent an extremely enjoyable hour with the Ernsts. I feel compelled to tell you, if I have not before, that I think Michele is one of the most fun, most charming women I know. She is just a hoot. First of all, she has our dear Skipper totally enthralled which is also very entertaining to watch. But her personality of joy is just infectious. It is also a blast to watch her give the Ol' Skip a hard time. Very fun. Next time you see her ask to see the video of the Dave v. Michele running race in Scottsdale. Priceless! Skip, you have a wonderful lady there.
And while I do not recommend divorce to anyone, it is clear that Skipper has come out the other side much better and has a great companion for years of state capital visits, ancient rock concerts and minor league ballpark trips.
Speaking of Traveling
In a recent conversation with Mr. Ernst, a picture entered my head that just caused me to laugh out loud. Dave told me that our league's favorite non-flyer, BT, was headed out on a long promised trip to Spain with his lovely wife. I was just trying to envision Scott on a trans-Atlantic flight and I could not help but laugh. Did not know there were enough drugs on the planet to get Scott across the ocean. Way to go BT! God bless those flight attendants!
It is clear that the trip planning committee needs to be reworked, revamped and reinvigorated with new membership. This years' committee clearly failed in its trip planning as only five members (and rumors have reached me that Ted is now bailing) have committed to the trip. (Although Big Guy is also rumored to potentially be a late addition.) Next year, someone new needs to take this on and get a good group together again. I apologize for our committee failings.
But for those hearty four or five, I sure am looking forward to a couple of great games at a beautiful stadium, PNC. See you there.
For the rest of you, see you at the Winter Meeting on Fairacres Road. Ted, tell Tracy we are all on our way over to watch you hoist the trophy!