Saturday, March 28, 2009

And that's it for the trip...

The Pirates beat the Phillies 10-4 in a 2 hour 45 minute game. That followed a game that only took 2:10 last night. The Phillies brought a lot of their starters including Rollins, Howard and Victorino. Howard hit a monster homer to center over the batter's eye. We also enjoyed the story about Paulino who we saw check for the Phillies on Thursday, he was traded to the Giants and then within another day was traded to the Marlins.

After the game we went and ate an early dinner at Hickory Hollow Barbecue in Ellenton. Phil had hog shanks.

Bruce, Phil, Andy and Jamie will head back to Tallahassee, Biloxi, Gulfport and Baton Rouge tomorrow morning, and I will head back to Jacksonville.

We have had a fun time and enjoyed all the baseball, great food and great weather.

Game 5: Philadelphia Phillies @ Pittsburgh Pirates

We are back in Bradenton this afternoon for our last game. The temperature is in the mid-80s, some clouds and very windy.

We checked on reserved seats last night but they were sold out for today so we bought tickets on the street just like last night. Once again $15 for the $18 seats. The guy started at $25 but came down very quickly on price. Phil decided to buy a cheaper bleacher seat since he walked around most of the game last night.

We drove to Sarasota and ate at Yoder's Amish Restaurant again this morning. I had the spinach, mushroom and swiss cheese omelet with home fries and banana nut bread. And once again it was very good. I also went to their market and bought some cookies and homemade apple butter.

And word from Andy and Phil is my brother belongs in the designated "snoring room."

Friday, March 27, 2009

Game #4 in 2 days...

..Is in the books. The Blue Jays beat the Pirates 4-1. And now we get fireworks for the 2nd night in a row.

Toronto Blue Jays @ Pittsburgh Pirates

We are in Bradenton tonight. It is picture perfect evening for baseball with a strong breeze blowing out from right to left.

Roy Halladay is pitching for the Blue Jays and Scott Rolen is at third.

The ticket office was sold out of reserved seats but the guys were able to secure $18 tickets for $15. The seats are just above the 3rd base dugout which is the visitor's side.

Walk off in the 10th

The Cardinals score 4 in the top of the 9th to take an 8-7 lead then the Red Sox tied it in the bottom of the 9th. In the 10th with 2 on and 2 out the Red Sox end the game with a 3 run homer to win 11-8. The Red Sox had 21 hits and the Cards 11.

Now on to Bradenton.

St. Louis Cardinals at Boston Red Sox

Today we drove down to Fort Myers and purchased tickets on the street to the sold out Cards/Red Sox game. Our back plan was the Rays @ Twins. The Twins also train in Fort Myers but at the newer stadium.

This morning we ate at an Amish restaurant in Sarasota called Yoder's. It was really good. I had french toast and a sweet roll. The bread is homemade and the french toast was very thick. We all thought it was delicious. Josh Beckett is pitching for the Red Sox.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

We made it to Sarasota...

We had to deal with the traffic leaving Clearwater through Tampa but made it to our hotel, checked in and then took off for Sarasota to see the Minnesota Twins at Cincinnati Reds. And a quick bite to eat at Chick-fil-a.

2009 Spring Training Trip

Well I am on my way to Clearwater today to start 5 games in 3 days with the Yankees @ Phillies. I am picking up Paul in Tampa and then meeting my brother Bruce, Jamie, Phil and Andy at Lenny's Restaurant in Clearwater. I started this blog last spring to chronicle my week long spring training trip with Jamie. And for previous readers, Lenny's is where we met the owner of the restaurant...the late Lenny's wife...who liked to frequent the casinos in Biloxi. We then ended up in their suite for the Rays/Phillies game which turned out to be a preview of the 2008 World Series. And it rained. I think today's forecast is much better.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Missing the SEC Championship Game

I am heading back home to Jacksonville. I wish I was staying to see the championship game but I want to make it back for my own basketball game at 4 pm.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Day 3 @ the SEC Tournament

Mississippi State just upset LSU in the first semifinal 67-57 to advance to the championship game tomorrow.

Next up in 12 minutes is Tennessee vs Auburn. Auburn held on to beat a partisan Florida crowd last night 61-58.

At the fan fest before the game I had my picture taken with the Chick-fil-A cow. They give you a postcard of it with the tournament logo on it.

On the home front Ashlyn had a softball game this morning and said she had fun when I spoke with her. Also yesterday she brought home a letter from school asking for permission to test her for the gifted program at school. Gina and I were just discussing earlier this week how she was like me in relation to some of her math homework. Now there is one more thing to add to the similarities.

Friday, March 13, 2009

SEC Tournament Day 2

Day 1 with 4 games finished about 11:45 last night with Florida beating Arkansas. Then I ended up watching the finish of the 6 overtime game between Syracuse and UConn.

Today starts off with LSU, which was presented the regular season championship trophy before the game, and Kentucky. LSU is off to a quick 15-7 lead.

The rest of today's schedule has South Carolina vs Mississippi State followed by Tennessee vs Alabama and finishing with Auburn vs Florida.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

SEC Basketball Tournament - Day 1

Attending the tournament with my friend Howard who lives here in Tampa. 4 games and 11 hours of basketball today.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The encore to last week's basketball performance...

This week's newsletter mentioned the 31 points I scored last week was the 3rd most in D4 history. Well after today's game last week's 31 is now the 4th most in D4 history as my 39 points earlier today is the new record for D4. We only had 5 there again...last week Nate was out but this week it was Danielle. We won 71-56. We were down 28-24 at the half. I think I went 13 in the 1st and 26 in the 2nd. 8 3-pointers, 7 of 10 from the line (I missed my first two shots of the day) and 4 2-pointers. I almost think I might have had 1 2-pointer that didn't get recorded. After one of my teammates told me I had the record at 39 I was trying to get to 40. I was actually fouled twice with the ball as time was winding down but the refs would not call it. I then missed a contested shot and was right there for my own rebound but one of my teammates grabbed it and put it back in for the layup with 10 or so seconds remaining. One of the refs said after the game that if he knew I was going for 40 he would have actually called the foul. Of course I was like if it is a foul then call it. Oh well. It was fun. After the guy I was chatting with the league director and some guys from the team we played and they were questioning him on putting me in D4. I said I signed up saying I wanted to play D2 but figured I was placed where I was to make a team of everyone who signed up individually.

Gina and the kids were there. She was recording the game but as it turns out the hard drive on our video camera ended filling up in the 1st half so yet again I missed out on having one of my good games captured on video.

Now a little background on the league from what I understand is that the Christ's Church league has been in existence for 12 or 13 seasons. There are 4 divisions...D1 being the best down to D4. When I completed my application to play, I requested D2 as I knew a few guys who had played and based on playing against them figured that would be the appropriate level for me. Well obviously I was placed in D4 and as previously mentioned none of us knew each other on the team. Also when I went to an open run for individual players who signed up 3 of us were there playing against the D2 champions from last year and who are now undefeated in D1 this season. I've seen a few games where the talent discrepancy isn't as great as I would have thought. The biggest difference is the depth of the talent on each team.

Ashlyn and Softball Season

Ashlyn played her first two softball games this past week (Monday and Saturday). I am helping as an assistant coach when I can. Apparently it on a more formal basis than informal which is what I was striving for. They actually gave me a jersey and a cap. All coaches have to complete a background check as well...which I passed and have the approved id to prove it. The results of the first two games were not good. But our group of girls is young and are learning to play. The two teams they played were older and bigger as 8 year olds go. Ashlyn was much more lively with the game on Saturday. She can do very well when she wants to but tends to need to be reminded to swing hard like she wants to be up their hitting or to run fast and not jog.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Friday Afternoon Nap

Enough said...Gina worked me too hard reorganizing the kitchen. So I knocked off around 1 PM I think. And Ethan went along for the nap as well...and Doggie and Bear and I believe Pony is in the mix as well. Oh and the clothes you see behind us on the couch...that is the normal staging area as the clothes make their way from the dryer to the appropriate drawer/closet. See this blog isn't called "Open Drawers" for nothing. In fact sometimes the production crew takes a break and the clothes get halted at this stage for a couple of days. Hopefully the crew never decides to go on strike.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Picture of Ashlyn's Basketball Team

From L to R (Coach Mike, Gracie, Trinity, Ashley, Sophia, Ashlyn, Sara, Coach Ed)
The Upwards Awards Ceremony to conclude the season was on Sunday, March 8th. Ashlyn enjoyed playing this year and improved tremendously from the beginning of the year to the end.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

We lost again, but...

I scored 31 points today...6 3-pointers, 5-5 from the foul line and quite a number of steals as well. This was the game I needed to have Gina there with the video camera. Ashlyn came with me but Gina and Ethan stayed home. I had 11 in the first half and 20 in the 2nd. As for the game, we lost 72-60 this afternoon. There are only 6 people on our roster and only 5 showed up today so no subs for us. That made it very difficult. I know we cut the lead to 39-37 earlier in the second half and maybe around 45-42 but then the other team hit another of their hot shooting stretches and pulled away. I do think we are getting better and understanding what each person on the team can do. Keep in mind none of us knew the other 4 weeks ago. They also had a game summary newsletter for week 2 and 3 which stated I scored 14 and 20 points those two week. I'm shooting around 86% from the foul line.