Talkin’ Baseball: Jackie Robinson Day 2017!!!

Today marks the 70th anniversary of Major League Baseball’s colour barrier being shattered by the late, great Jackie Robinson! From MLB.com:

Saturday will mark the 70th anniversary of Jackie Robinson taking the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers and breaking Major League Baseball’s color barrier, and special activities planned for this Jackie Robinson Day will include the unveiling of the Hall of Famer’s statue at Dodger Stadium, the introduction of a “Trailblazer Series” for girls, the annual donning of No. 42 by all active players and a lot of buzz about the upcoming Jackie Robinson Museum.

In what promises to be an emotional ceremony before the Dodgers’ 9:15 p.m. ET home game against Arizona, Robinson’s 94-year-old wife Rachel and their children Sharon and David will be on hand for the unveiling of a statue depicting Jackie in his rookie season of 1947, sliding into home plate in his signature style. Dodgers owner Magic Johnson, Dodgers President Stan Kasten, and legends Frank Robinson, Sandy Koufax, Tommy Lasorda, Don Newcombe and Vin Scully will among participants in that invitation-only dedication a few hours before the game. The first 40,000 fans in attendance will receive a replica Jackie Robinson statue, with seats available at dodgers.com/tickets.

As has been tradition each year since 2009, MLB will celebrate Jackie Robinson Day with all players and on-field personnel wearing the now-retired No. 42 during all Saturday games. One jersey will be signed by each member of every club and auctioned live on Saturday at MLB.com/42jersey, with proceeds benefitting the Jackie Robinson Foundation.”

This man has always been an admirable individual, displaying the attributes of courage, strength, dedication, selflessness, and humility. According to his official website, he was born to a family of sharecroppers in 1919. His mother single-handedly raised him and his four other siblings. They were a close-knit family, united against the prejudice and hatred they faced from their neighbours as they were the only Black family on the block in the area in which they lived:

Growing up in a large, single-parent family, Jackie excelled early at all sports and learned to make his own way in life. At UCLA, Jackie became the first athlete to win varsity letters in four sports: baseball, basketball, football and track. In 1941, he was named to the All-American football team. Due to financial difficulties, he was forced to leave college, and eventually decided to enlist in the U.S. Army. After two years in the army, he had progressed to second lieutenant. Jackie’s army career was cut short when he was court-martialed in relation to his objections with incidents of racial discrimination. In the end, Jackie left the Army with an honorable discharge.

In 1945, Jackie played one season in the Negro Baseball League, traveling all over the Midwest with the Kansas City Monarchs. But greater challenges and achievements were in store for him. In 1947, Brooklyn Dodgers president Branch Rickey approached Jackie about joining the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Major Leagues had not had an African-American player since 1889, when baseball became segregated. When Jackie first donned a Brooklyn Dodger uniform, he pioneered the integration of professional athletics in America. By breaking the color barrier in baseball, the nation’s preeminent sport, he courageously challenged the deeply rooted custom of racial segregation in both the North and the South.”

There will be many events at baseball parks across the USA commemorating this historic day. On Thursday, 13 April, the Seattle Mariners unveiled a statue celebrating our own hometown hero, Ken Griffey Jr. A little-known fact: Ken Griffey Jr. was a prime motivator behind getting all players in the MLB to wear Jackie Robinson’s number, 42, on Jackie Robinson Day. From the Seattle Mariners website:

Ken Griffey Jr. takes immense pride in the fact his retired No. 24 hangs alongside Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 in center field at Safeco Field. He relishes his role in getting every Major League player and coach to wear No. 42 now every year on Jackie Robinson Day.
So yes, as MLB celebrates another Jackie Robinson Day on Saturday, Griffey fully appreciates his latest link to baseball’s African-American pioneer as part of the intricate detail of the new statue of his likeness that was unveiled Thursday at the front gate to Safeco Field.

Sculptor Lou Cella included a Jackie Robinson patch on the right sleeve of the seven-foot bronze statue, much to Griffey’s approval. “Like I tell everybody, if it wasn’t for him, when’s the next time somebody would have played?” Griffey said. “For him to sacrifice pretty much his life and go through the trials and tribulations that he had to go through [is greatly appreciated].” Griffey’s home in Orlando is 35 minutes from Sanford, Fla., where Robinson lived during his first Spring Training in 1946 with the Montreal Royals, the Dodgers’ Triple-A farm club, in a time of considerable racial tension…Griffey was the first player to wear Robinson’s No. 42 as a tribute on Jackie Robinson Day, having the Mariners flip-flop his normal 24 to 42 on the 50th anniversary of the day Robinson broke into the big leagues on April 15, 1997.

Ten years later, when Griffey was with the Reds, he called then-Commissioner Bud Selig to ask if he could again wear No. 42 on the 60th anniversary of Robinson’s historic day since MLB had by then retired the number throughout baseball.

Selig not only granted his approval, he liked the idea so much that the process began where now everyone wears 42 on Jackie Robinson Day.”

Here’s to Jackie Robinson on his day in history. His contributions were many, and should not be diminished.

Monday Musings: Seattle Mariners Home Opener!

It’s pouring down rain right now, with bursts of hail here and there. The weather perfectly matches my feelings over the dismal start that my Seattle Mariners have had so far this season! They trail the American League West with a 1 – 6 record, a .143 percentage rating, and four games out of first place.

I’m certain that the roof at Safeco Field will be firmly shut for the first home game, where the Mariners will face the Houston Astros for the second time in a week. The home-field advantage will be nice, but the bats definitely need to continue the momentum that exploded for a brief, shining moment in yesterday’s exciting, but depressing game against the LA Angels. Pitching went into the dirt after Hisashi Iwakuma left the game after seven innings, and the solid 9 – 3 lead vanished in puff of smoke in the ninth inning.

The promise shown during Spring Training has gone back into hibernation, at least for the time being. Hopefully the guys shake off last week’s losses and start turning things around – starting today!

The weather has me thinking about my favourite rain-related songs, so here are three to set Monday’s mood…enjoy!

MLB Monday: Opening Day 2017!

Finally…Spring Training is over and baseball season has officially begun! Today marks Opening Day of Major League Baseball (MLB), with the first games of the season for teams across the American League (AL) and the National League (NL). The official ‘Home Opener’ for my Seattle Mariners is next Monday, 10 April, but they do play today down in Texas against the Houston Astros. I sure wish that the home opener was being held today! The weather is picture-perfect, so the retractable roof would be wide open to let in the warm sun and gentle breeze. Safeco Field is one of the nicest MLB stadiums that I’ve seen, and I acknowledge that I might be slightly biased, LOL!

Watching the game on television is all right, but nothing compares to seeing a game live, in-person, at your local ball-park and cheering along with other fans! I was hoping to do so at least twice this year, but unexpected roofing issues have cropped up, so house repairs will eat into our savings this year. At least taxes are out of the way…

The Seattle Mariners website has five Opening Day facts listed, so I figured that I’d do a bonus ‘Five Fun Facts’ and post them! I learned a few things about my team, hopefully there is something of interest to other baseball fans as well:.

HOUSTON — With Seattle set to begin its season Monday night against the Astros, here are five interesting facts related to Mariners’ Opening Day.

1. The churn continues

Only seven of the 25 players who’ll be in uniform Monday were on the Opening Day roster last year when general manager Jerry Dipoto and Scott Servais started their new tenures. The select seven: Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager, Leonys Martin, Nelson Cruz, Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma and Nick Vincent. Seven others joined the team midway through last season: Mike Zunino, Guillermo Heredia, James Paxton, Ariel Miranda, Edwin Diaz, Evan Scribner and Dan Altavilla. The other 11 players were added in the offseason.

2. Opening Day newbies

While the Mariners have a solid veteran core, eight players made their first Opening Day roster, including starting right fielder Mitch Haniger. The other first-timers are Taylor Motter, James Pazos, Dillon Overton, Miranda, Heredia, Diaz and Altavilla.

3. The King’s reign continues

When Hernandez takes the mound, he’ll be making his ninth consecutive Opening Day start, the longest active streak in the Majors. Next closest is Clayton Kershaw, who will pitch his seventh straight opener for the Dodgers. No one else has more than four in a row, and both of those are having their streaks snapped, as Adam Wainwright will pitch the second game of the season for the Cardinals this year and David Price is opening the year on the disabled list with a strained elbow in Boston. King Felix has not only pitched a lot of openers, he has been extremely good. In nine Opening Day starts — he also started Opening Day in 2007 before beginning his current streak in ’09 — Hernandez is 6-1 with a 1.49 ERA. The lone loss came last year at Texas despite allowing just one hit.

4. Don’t feel left out

When Jarrod Dyson starts Monday’s game, he’ll become the eighth different Opening Day left fielder in the past 10 years for Seattle. The revolving door has seen Raul Ibanez (2008), Endy Chavez (’09), Milton Bradley (’10-11), Mike Carp (’12), Michael Morse (’13), Dustin Ackley (’14-15) and Norichika Aoki (’16) precede Dyson.

5. They open well

Thanks in large part to Hernandez’s mound mastery, the Mariners have the fourth-best Opening Day record of any franchise in the Majors since their inception in 1977. Seattle is 24-16 in season openers, trailing only the Mets (29-11), Orioles (26-14) and White Sox (25-15) in that span. Seattle had won nine straight until last year’s 3-2 loss to Texas, which left the Mariners one shy of the MLB record of 10 straight by the Boston Beaneaters from 1887-96. Of course, Hernandez started eight of those previous nine openers, with Erik Bedard starting the only other game in 2008 in a 5-2 win over the Rangers. Seattle has not allowed more than three runs in any of its past 10 openers. This will be the first time they’ve opened against the Astros, but the eighth time in the past nine years they’ve debuted on the road.”

My Opening Day post wouldn’t be complete with the song “Centerfield” by John Fogerty. I also added some of the best Mariners-related commercials, just for the hell of it! Whomever you’re rooting for, I hope that your first day of regular-season Major-league baseball is awesome – unless, of course, you’re rooting for the Astros…then, no hard feelings, either way. It’s just a game, after all! Game-time is at 1700 PDT; you’ll have to check your own local listings for your respective team(s). With that…PLAY BALL!!!

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Soggy Saturday!

It is sprinkling lightly outside right now, but has been raining since late afternoon. There was a brief respite from the precipitation yesterday – the sun was actually out in the morning! Shocking to see at the height of the “rainy season,” but certainly welcome. Temperatures here have only varied by five degrees between the daytime and nighttime hours since the end of October; that finally changes this week when the lows get down to all of 45F, while the highs stay in the mid-50s. Hopefully it will cool down enough to kill the algae that have stalled the crabbing season!

I’m missing out on delicious Dungeness, which I usually consume while watching football games – and having a nice dish of fresh, steamed crab would have made the Huskies win during yesterday’s Apple Cup that much sweeter! The “big Dawgs” destroyed the mangy Cougars 45 – 17, and I was pleased to see it happen. I always support my purple and gold! At least my football teams are doing well; the Huskies won handily, and the Seahawks have made a good, strong showing so far – I’m hoping that they keep up what they’re doing! Some trades made this week by the Mariners have me shaking my head in disbelief yet again, so MLB’s Spring Training will be something that I watch a little closer than usual – I want to see if those trades were well-made, or if the manager is just throwing darts at trade options and hoping for a hat-trick! So many players who have been traded out end up on teams that win the World Series, while the Ms still struggle to grab that golden ring! Now that the Cubs finally ended their drought, will it be 50 years before the Ms do anything worthwhile? Time will tell…

I’m behind on my NaNoWriMo word-count, but not feeling bad over it. Remember when I said that the local utility district did well with clearing out dead trees and branches before the storms hit? Well, that was true – there have been no power outages related to the weather, at least here…but, there was an outage yesterday that was solely caused by some moron in a pickup truck taking out a power-pole. The idiot must have been “pulling an Anthony,” since he missed a turn in the road that is easy to navigate if you’re actually paying attention to said road, and the road wasn’t wet. The accident happened around 2 p.m., but the power was taken off at 5:15 p.m. for the repairs to be made. I’d say that the power was out for a good 12 hours, so that cut into my writing time considerably! Typing by the light of a candle or kerosene-burning hurricane lantern is doable, but the smoke from the candles and lantern build up after a while. So, it was the perfect time to cuddle, snuggle, and spoon, and then catch up on sleep that has been lost since starting this NaNo challenge! My brain on overdrive causes horrible insomnia and makes me grouchy; combine that with being around family after the election and before the holidays, well…suffice to say, it isn’t a recipe for positivity! So, the blogging award that I was going to post will be deferred until I complete the NaNo challenge. I’m still prioritizing, but the likelihood of getting to that 50K word-count in four days is pretty slim. Good thing I didn’t bother buying any of the merchandise declaring myself a “NaNo Winner!” At the very least, I can give myself an “A” for effort and following the “honor system” of the challenge. I read the rules and stuck to them, and didn’t ask a soul for assistance. I think that’s pretty damned good, right there!

Time for some weekend music…enjoy!

Weekend Fun – 30 October 2016

Samhain draws near…can you feel it in the air? I certainly can! It’s a good thing.

Time to talk sports for a bit: Game 5 of the MLB 2016 World Series is today, and will be played in Cleveland Chicago. The Cleveland Indians lead the series 3 – 1 right now. Both teams have been phenomenal so far, but Cleveland has been dominant. If they win today, it will be their first championship won since 1948 – so, the hunger is real! Fans of “the Cubbies” certainly looked glum after last night’s 7 – 2 loss, and I definitely feel their pain…I’ve had that expression multiple times when watching my Seattle Mariners!

Since the baseball season will be over soon, it’s time for football! My Seattle Seahawks take on the New Orleans Saints today – I get a double dose of sports, LOL! I like the Saints and usually root for them, but the Seahawks are my home team, so…sorry, Saints! Gotta support my home team, win or lose.

Time to get some stew started, then I’ll do some computer gaming before (and possibly during) the football and baseball games – time for a completely relaxed, lazy day! I’m even going to live-stream my gaming sessions, which you can find by clicking on this link right here. You can also find it in my ‘Multimedia Links’ page on my blog, if you’re inclined to look at some of my other content. The sessions will be occurring on and off throughout the day, so be patient if I’m taking a short break…at least I have a decent picture displayed when I’m offline! There is also a Samhain / Hallowe’en theme going on in-game, so I hope that you enjoy it when you see what it is…

If you get bored while waiting for the gaming to begin, check out these sports-related videos! Just a bit of silliness and music to amuse and entertain. With that, I’m off – have a great day, all!

Sunday Songs: Stalker Edition!

For some reason, the song “Hard Habit to Break” by Chicago was running through my mind when I woke up this morning. It made me think of people who simply can’t let go of other people when a relationship, of any sort, ends – which made me think of stalkers, psychos, and people who have the “if I can’t have you, then NOBODY CAN” creepazoid mentality. It could be due to watching the grand movie Ladyhawke yesterday, before watching the Seattle Mariners crush the Milwaukie Brewers 8 – 2! Hoping for a sweet sweep today…anyway, enjoy my top three “Songs for Stalkers!”

Talkin’ Baseball: Opening Day 2016!!!

Ah, yes – it’s that time of year again; the “Boys of Summer” are back! My Seattle Mariners will play the Texas Rangers on their home turf, with our ace pitcher “King” Felix Hernandez starting on the mound.

I see some familiar faces returning when I look at the roster of active players (25): Hisashi Iwakuma, Taijuan Walker, Mike Montgomery, Robinson Cano, and Kyle Seager, just to name a few. The full roster (40) has a few more of the players whom I expected to see; I suppose we’ll see if they get added to the active list later on in the season. Other familiar names and faces include Norichika Aoki and Dae-Ho Lee, newly added to the Mariners roster.

I think that it’s a shame that Lloyd McClendon was let go as bullpen manager – I thought that he did a decent job and could have done more, if he’d been allowed to by his higher-ups. He had to deal with a death in his family last season, for one thing – and that is an event that can affect the best and brightest, no matter what. Hopefully he finds a good place with another good team, but seeing as how segregation is still firmly intact in most sports, I won’t hold my breath. He probably isn’t, either…

The game is still going, so I’ll just leave off with my three favourite baseball and sports-related songs! Enjoy…

Friday Milestone…100 Followers!!!

I am ecstatic, elated, humbled and honoured! After grinding in my MMORPG from 2:30 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. PDT (-8 GMT) and taking a much-needed nap after completing an in-game campaign, I woke up to this wonderful notification: 100 WordPress followers…wow!

I’m speechless, LOL – I didn’t think I would reach 100 followers before the end of the year, especially since I sometimes seem to lose as many followers as I gain! There is at least one person who has been here from day one…I STILL SEE YOU, HERNIE!!! For now, I’ll simply post five in-game screenshots from the past 24 hours:

…also, here are five great songs to start the weekend off right – enjoy!

Tuesday Tidbits: 1 September 2015

A new month begins…wow, this year is flying by! Staying busy and involved with various projects seems to speed time up – there aren’t enough hours in the day to get things done, sometimes. Still, I’m not rushing anything. I used to have that bad habit of doing too much at once; call it the curse of the over-achiever, LOL – so I’ve learned to slow down and take my time, and enjoy each accomplishment as they’re completed before starting something new.

Speaking of being busy, I forgot to mention a notable date in baseball yesterday. On 31 August of 1990, Ken Griffey, Sr. and Ken Griffey, Jr. became the first father-son team-mates in MLB history! From MLB.com:

Major League history is filled with prodigious bloodlines. Some, like Barry and Bobby Bonds, featured two generations of stars, while other families like the Bells, Boones and LaRoches, seem to have enough Major League players in their families to field their very own teams. 

But despite the 140-something years of Major League Baseball and the thousands of players to have put on a jersey, only two father-son duos have ever taken the field at the same time. Long before Tim Raines and Tim Raines, Jr. accomplished it in Oct. 2001, Ken Griffey Jr. and Sr. did it for the Mariners on Aug. 31, 1990. 

Which, when you think about it, is absurd. Here are all the things that need to go right to make this happen (at least until medical science replaces us all with robots): 

– The father has to be a Major League player

– And not just a Major League player, but one who is good enough and remained healthy enough to be a viable big leaguer for decades.

– Who has a son that is also talented enough to be a Major Leaguer

– And not just good enough, but a phenom, ensuring that they reach the Majors and are successful at a very young age. 

– And if all of those conditions are met, the team would need to have a need or opening at two positions to fit both the elder and younger on the team at the same time. 

Fortunately, the Mariners were able to do it in 1990 — when Griffey was just 20 years old and coming off his first All-Star appearance, and Ken Griffey Sr. was 41 and in his second stint with the Reds. Even then, though, it wasn’t entirely easy. Griffey Sr. first had to deal with his Reds contract.

That’s one hell of an accomplishment, and I love the fact that my Seattle Mariners have done some pretty awesome things over the years. Too bad they won’t make the playoffs this season, and the trades have already begun. General Manager Jack Zduriencik was let go from the team on Friday, 28 August; former closing pitcher Fernando Rodney was traded to the Chicago Cubs on 27 August, outfielder Justin Ruggiano was traded to the L. A. Dodgers, and Austin Jackson was traded to the Cubs yesterday for an as-yet unknown player. Win or lose, they are my home team, and I’ve never been a fair-weather fan – I can be loyal to a fault, sometimes!

I’ll close with my five favourite Mariners commercials – “True to the Blue!”

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Mindless Midweek Musings…

Credit: jamesticknor.blogspot.com

Jumping right on in: may I say that I’m tired of politics already? Ye gawds…2016 seems so far away, even though it’s already halfway through August, which is more than halfway through this year. The so-called presidential ‘campaign’ is already taking its toll. Yes, Jon Stewart is no longer at The Daily Show, but Trevor Noah will soon be taking the helm – that will be awesome. To my knowledge, he debuts on Monday, 28 September. Stephen Colbert will launch his show on Tuesday, 8 September, and the new Doctor Who series airs on BBC America on Saturday, 19 September – so I’m set. In the meantime, Larry Wilmore and Conan O’Brien have my political information at the ready, so that I can deal with all of the horror involved in politics, and the news in general, without feeling the need to weep uncontrollably. I can actually watch and laugh at the idiocy of it all. Speaking of which, here are two links to the most recent episodes of The Nightly Show. They are well worth watching, IMHO!

The Nightly Show: 10 August, 2015

The Nightly Show: 11 August, 2015

Also, here’s a re-posting of one of the funniest video game reviews that I’ve ever seen – just because!

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Conan O’Brien reviews The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Xbox360)

Credit: memegenerator.net

What else…oh, yeah – baseball! The Seattle Mariners helped make MLB history last night in their 10-inning, 6 – 5 victory over the Baltimore Orioles. Every team that played at their home stadium yesterday came away with a victory on the same day…that’s 15 teams. First time ever!

Austin Jackson, who hit the winning run, gets doused by team-mate Logan Morrison

Hisashi Iwakuma pitches a perfect no-hitter in his first complete major-league game

Secondly, Hisashi Iwakuma pitched a perfect no-hitter today, elevating the Mariners to a delicious 3 – 0 win over Baltimore! It was the first time that an A.L. team had pitched one since…well, when “King” Felix Hernandez did it on 15 August 2012! Ah, I love my team…win or lose, I really enjoy watching them. At the end of the baseball season, I plan on doing my usual tribute to my favourite players of the season, as well as a small recap of the top three or five Mariners commercials. There are always some great ones, LOL

Credit: consumerist.com

I’m working on a huge, nerdly, self-indulgent project that involves Twitch, learning live-streaming, and gaming, although learning that Amazon owns Twitch and it’s been hacked fairly recently makes me a bit nervous. I sincerely hope that I don’t need a camera on my computer; if so, then I’m not doing it, LOL

In nerd-speak, my project essentially involves this:

Gotta hook up the TS chat-line and group with some friends and guild-members to do a major zerg-ball on the castle. First, though, we have to do an extended siege and get some point-farming done on the bridge, because we can expect the heaviest resistance there. Watch out for the gank-squads on the way; we have some spotters hunkered down at the well to take out any noobs, and we have some small scouting squads checking the outpost perimeter so that they can’t flag it and cut off our mode of transport if you need to rez. Take care if you see the emperor or empress – you’ll get rekt hardcore and they will t-bag you mercilessly if you make a move on them!

Sorry if that wasn’t understandable…I speak geek (and Klingon, if you really must know)!

Finally, don’t forget to cast your vote on if you think I should change my avatar or leave it the same. The link to the post with the vote in it is here – I hope that I don’t have the settings buggered on it!

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Credit: managewp.com

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