Sunday, July 20, 2008


Originally uploaded by shawn_rodriguez
I see more and more empty sandlots, unlike when I was a kid.

Sandlot Ballgames and Bubblegum Cards

A hot, sunny, summer day in the old neighborhood usually meant that it was time to go round up the ol' gang of bubblegum chewin', baseball card tradin' buddies of yours, and head out to the nearest ball field in your hometown for a sweet escape from reality.

Those days seem like a thing of the past.

I can drive by my old neighborhood anytime of day in the summer and look at an empty ball field. I know that this neighborhood is filled with kids. Where are they?

Video games, iPods, and computers could be a part of the finger pointing, but they're not entirely to blame. Being overweight and not exercising seems to be on the rise also.

What I really notice is that kids have so many options nowadays.

Especially if both parents are working. When I was a kid, we breathed baseball. Mom was a housewife, and I can tell you that on a nice day, you weren't layin around the house. You were outside. At least until lunchtime or until the street lights came on.

The truth is we wanted to be outside. "Let's get Tommy, he's got an extra mitt!"
And Tommy had a pool for after the game. Bonus.

I know that after I got older, I would get tired of playing baseball in the summer, mainly because I was playing organized ball at school. It turned into a chore. Then it turned into a dream of yesterday.

Where are the sandlotters like when I was a kid? And as for bubblegum cards, most kids can't afford them them anymore, and most of them don't come with that gnarly gum that splintered into a thousand pieces of sugary bliss and tasted too damn good to be true anyway.

It truly is a different era. I would put a Whitey Ford or a Tom Tresh in the spokes of my bike cause everybody hated them and you couldn't give them away much less trade for an Al Kaline or a Bill Freehan card.
I didn't put them in a binder to sell off later on eBay when the market was right.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Metrodome in Minneapolis, MN

The Detroit Tigers vs The Metrodome

The Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins have both been hot teams of late, however injuries are beginning to plague both clubs.
With right fielders Magglio Ordonez (Tigers) and Michael Cuddyer (Twins) out with injuries, the teams have had to fill in these holes with players from their respective triple A affiliates.

With this series tied at one game apiece, today's game turns into an important rubber game for these two American League Central Division rivals.
The first two games have each been decided by one run, the Tigers taking the first 5-4, and the Twins taking the second 6-5.
Each of these games were very exciting to watch, having all the elements of great Major League Baseball, clutch hitting, pitching, base stealing, bunting, and home runs.

Minnesota is a very good small -ball team that can manufacture runs seemingly with ease.
Rising star Carlos Gomez continues to be a threat on the base paths as well as in center field.
Justin Morneau has always been a big powered bat for the Twins.

The Tigers on the other hand seem to be trying to emulate the Twins style of play. Are the Tigers a small-ball type of club? Not really. The Tigers tend to depend too much on power hitting and free swinging.
Sure they can set the table pretty well with players like Curtis Granderson and Placido Polanco, but usually depend on Marcus Thames or Gary Sheffield to deliver the big hit, which more often than not come up short. There has been countless times they hit into a double play or hit a lazy fly ball, when they should be pushing runners over or putting the ball in play instead of free swinging their way into a strikeout.
With the injury list getting long, the Tigers will need the younger players to step up and deliver.
Newcomers like Clete Thomas, Matt Joyce, and Dane Sardinha are still just getting their feet wet in the Major Leagues.
The bullpen for Detroit is beginning to shape up a little with Fernando Rodney, Joel Zumaya, and Casey Fossum all being called up in late June and have been pitching some solid innings in relief.
Playing in the Metrodome is a whole different type of baseball. Ground balls seem to die or scoot by infielders that normally seem playable anywhere else. Infield hits are quite common. If you have runners on your best bet would be to hit the ball on the ground because there is a big chance that the ball will do funny things. Advantage Twins. The Twins know how to play at home and will continue to eek out hits with their good speed on the base paths.
I like the match up with these two teams, it makes for some pretty exciting baseball to watch.
With Detroit in the Metrodome you never know what to expect. A comedy of errors could turn into some pretty outstanding defensive plays.
The Metrodome is like a box of chocolates Forrest, ya never know what you're gonna get.
Right now the Tigers are playing the Twins and the Metrodome.