Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ron Santo at Nationals Park (8/24/2010)

Pictured (left to right): Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano, WGN 720 AM sportscaster and former Cubs third baseman Ron Santo, Nationals left fielder Josh Willingham, Nationals hitting coach Rick Eckstein, and Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo.

The Cubs Come to Washington: August 2010 Edition (in pictures)

The team gets ready for batting practice.

3B Aramis Ramirez loosens up before hitting the cage.

Former battery-mate's Jason Marquis and Geovany Soto catch-up before game time.

Ramirez prepping for BP.

Pre-game w/ coverage of Lou Pinella.

Former Nat and current Cub Alfonso Soriano speaks with Nats broadcaster Charlie Slowes.

Team prepping for game time.

Rookie SS Starlin Castro mentally preparing for BP.

Cubs catchers Geovany Soto and Koyie Hill stretching.

Soto and Marquis part ways after a pleasant catch-up session.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Google Makes My Day: Wizard of Oz Edition

This morning I received a text from a friend of mine telling me to go to Google.com as soon as possible. I didn't understand why she was so specific. Usually when people tell me to "google" something, I go to the search engine and type in some text. Not this time.

My friend was specific. She said go to Google.com, not "google (insert random mundane word here).

Much to my pleasant surprise the following photo appeared:

Today in 1939, "The Wizard of Oz" premiered in Oconomowoc, WI. -- the same town in which my dad attended camp as a kid.

For those of you who don't know why the Wizard of Oz has a special place in my heart, let me explain. My dad was one of the biggest Oz collectors around. He restored all of L. Frank Baum's first edition books in the Oz series and was known throughout the Oz collecting world by many.

After his passing in January 2009, he received high praise not only from those who bought his "Oz Artifacts" off Ebay but from fellow collectors in general.

Our house is filled with first edition children's books, Oz memorabilia and more copies of the Wizard of Oz on VHS or DVD then anyone should really have. My mom also made sure to have the canter sing "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" at my dad's funeral -- which he ended up singing at the graveside service as the lowered him to eternal rest at Chicago's Rosehill Cemetery.

I could get sad and upset, allowing the sight of this photo to numb my senses all day long but instead I'll relish it and smile and whistle "If I Only Had Brain" to myself.

Sounds like a good day to me.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Now THAT'S Funny: How I'd Like To Commemorate My Summer As A Cub Reporter Following The Nats

As you might have noticed, I'm in my rookie season as a cub reporter on the Nats beat for We Love DC. It's pretty much the baseball equivalent of being the kid in Almost Famous, at least in my eyes. So I thought I'd have a little fun.

No -- I'm not actually going to BUY the jersey or t-shirt, but I did find it quite ironic that my attempt to commemorate my season as a cub reporter with the Nationals could make for quite a funny screen shot:

In either case, this Cubs fan turned MLB beat writer for the Nats has certainly enjoyed the humor produced from the pictures above.

Monday, August 2, 2010

What I Did This Summer

The Glover Park Co-Ed Softball League has been a mainstay of fun times, social activity, and athletic prowess for longer than I've been alive. Some of the players on my team might not enjoy that fact since, at the age of 23, I was by far the baby of the team by quite a few years.

What started out as the brain child of the Michael "Crash" Crescenzo, quickly solidified itself as the Summer spot in people's lives on Sunday.

I signed up after the season already started up not knowing what I was getting myself into. At the time, I was looking for an excuse to get out of my studio apartment on Sunday and an excuse to get in a little athletic time while I'm at it.

It didn't take long to learn that no matter how competative you are, this league is about one thing -- fun. I assure you, it is more than fun.

The characters I met on the sidelines and in the dugout are a treasured bunch thrown together all looking to make memories based around one of their favorite past-times. Yeah it does suck when your team loses, because nobody really LIKES to lose, but winning and losing isn't the point.

I might sound like a kindergarden teacher trying to moviate kids after a big championship loss, which is pretty close to what happened to my team the Near Misses yesterday, but it's true nontheless.

Baseball -- or softball in this case -- is supposed to be fun. The punch of a loss can be quickly masked by a few cold beers, a round of corn hole with your league-mates, and watching a couple other teams square off on the diamond.

Glover Park Softball is that place and I'm lucky to have just completed my rookie season. Was I skeptical of how I would fit in at first? You bet I was. Like I said, some players on my team have been playing on this team longer than I've been alive. The league started in 1982 and I'm pretty sure that since my team's "owner" started that league that we've been around since then. I was born in 1987. I rest my case.

It wasn't until our season celebratory party a night before the final day of the season that I knew I'd found new summer family, even if we do only see each other once a week. My rookie hazing included singing a song in front of the team and their families. Lucky for me, I can sing. It's been said I sang the best song in Near Misses history, so I'll take the compliment ... since my playing is as you might say a bit not so good? Ha. I was better in high school, but it's of no consequence.

2010 was a great rookie season with a fantastic team of ragtag characters and beyond memorable moments. Here's to next year!

Adam Dunn Stays with the Washington Nationals After Crazy Trade Rumors

This had to be shared somewhere on the internet. Credit to WLDC Author & Photographer Max Cook for this lovely shot from the Saturday July, 31 Nationals-Phillies game (click photo to enlarge it):

Check out that gum action. Seriously. Either way, Washington is happy to have Dunn on their side.