6.26.2015

06.26.2015

When I awoke this morning, like I do every morning, I first reached for my phone to check the news alerts and emails I received over night. We’re on vacation, though, so it was a little delayed this morning. It was a few minutes past 9:30 a.m., and the girls already were awake and downstairs.

That’s when I saw the news that the Supreme Court had ruled same-sex marriage should be legal in all 50 states. It’s one of those “Where were you when …” days our society will talk about years from now.



Without getting too political, I’m pleased. Pleased that our country now provides equal rights for all to marry who they want. I’m pleased for the people I know personally who have waited for a long time for this day to come … Just a few minutes after I saw the news, Kates came up to the bedroom and I shared the news with her. I then handed her my phone on which I had opened Facebook to see, at the top of my newsfeed, posts by two friends who are in separate same-sex relationships. …

The first from my friend Tim read: Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all.

The second from my friend Diane read: We are free to move about the country and live as wife and wife in any state in the union. HOT DAMN!!

Pretty cool.

Throughout the day, I’ve sat here and watched the endless stream of tweets and posts about the decision, and the momentous cultural shift. Late this morning, it occurred to me – Man, what a week our culture and society!

After all, yesterday the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act, saving healthcare for millions, and the Confederate flag is coming down any day now at the South Carolina capitol grounds … Tonight, the federal prison escapees on the run for weeks in New York appear to have met their demise.

To top it off, President Obama launched into a solo of "Amazing Grace," while delivering a eulogy at one of the funeral services today in remembrance of the nine people killed in a senseless act at a church last week in Charleston, S.C.



Here's how the NBC Nightly News ended its broadcast tonight.



From Time, here are today’s best marriage equality memes.

This one is my favorite.


This is one of my favorite cartoons of the day



And then there’s the White House, which is lit tonight in celebration of today’s decision.


Beautiful.

(Updated 06.27.15)

Here are two more entertaining bits related to this week's news ...

First, from NowThis on President Obama's week ...



And second, in line with the debate about the Confederate flag in South Carolina, every state flag is wrong, and here is why. As my friend Ann, who initially shared it, wrote, this is funny and worth every minute of your reading time.

6.24.2015

Oh baby, what a catch!

Is it just me, or has there been a crazy number of fans catching baseballs while holding babies this season?

I caught the latest play last night, via Twitter, as it unfolded. And it may just go down as the catch of the year. ... Though "Daddy Dearest" clearly snatched the ball from Adrian Gonzalez, and the umpires got it right on the review. On the other hand, he was just trying to protect his family, and I imagine I would have done the same thing.

6.19.2015

How Royals fans have turned MLB's All-Star voting into anarchy

So the doubt about the legitimacy of the All-Star voting process and Royals players leading nearly every position is continuing.

This appeared in a Yahoo sports story today. And it’s awesome.
In every corner of the Kansas City Royals' clubhouse, they revel in the chaos, each player's face contorted into something that resembles a Guy Fawkes mask. Somehow, the American League All-Star team's lineup as of today consists of eight Royals and the best player in the world, and this, to them, is the most glorious kind of anarchy, one everybody involved wants to believe is built on the back of pure passion.

It may well be that the 25th-sized market of Major League Baseball's 26 mobilized, rocked the vote and did so without the help of a sneaky Python script or an undetectable Perl script or any of the ways around the system that for the first time has gone online only and seen itself turned completely on its head. Because right now, the single worst offensive player in baseball is the AL starter at second base and the single best offensive player in the AL is not starting and the entire thing is like a coastal fever dream in which the Midwest rises up and fights back for all those years of flyover jokes.
I don’t for a second believe any of the talk that the disproportionate voting for Royals players is the work of some hack job or cheating by Royals fans. As Ned Yost and many other Royals players have pointed out multiple times, every other fan of every other team in the country has the same opportunities to vote for their players. If you don’t like the way the roster is shaping up and want to see your hometown players in the staring slots, then vote. It’s as simple as that.

Heck, the Royals sent me an email inviting me to vote, so I did. With online voting now, it’s easier than ever to vote for the All-Star team, and my participation in the process this year is unprecedented. Before this year, I can’t recall the last time I submitted even one ballot – I think it’s been at least since my youth. This year being the first that paper ballots are no longer distributed at ballparks, I usually collected the paper ballots for posterity, not voting.

In a matter of minutes I had burned my maximum 35 votes, and I was finished. I made my selections. No more voting for me. … And frankly, I didn’t go into it thinking, I’m going to vote for all of the Royals players I can. As I do every year, I scanned the selections, and I checked off the players who I enjoy watching most. This year, that just happened to include more Royals than players from other teams.

Forget about all of the conspiracy theories. MLB says the Royals' votes are legit

But let’s not forget in all of this that the Royals – though most of America seems to have forgotten – are the defending American League Champions, who pushed the World Series to seven games last fall and came within 90 agonizing feet of tying that last game in the bottom of the ninth inning. So this shouldn’t be that surprising, and for that reason I believe every player in the Royals starting lineup – with the exception of Alex Rios, who wasn’t a member of the Royals last season and has been injured for most of this season – is deserving of being at or near the top spot at every position.



And I wouldn’t mind if the San Francisco Giants, as the defending National League Champions were doing the same in their league – but they’re not.

For the record, I selected Salvador Perez, Eric Hosmer, Alcides Escobar, Mike Moustakas, Alex Gordon, Lorenzo Cain and Kendrys Morales for my American League picks, along with Dustin Pedroia at second base and Mike Trout as the third outfielder. Trout, as one of the best players in the game, is a no-brainer, and I only slightly regret selecting Hosmer over Miguel Cabrera. But that’s another vote for the American League Champion Royals for which Hosmer plays and Cabrera does not.

For the National League, I selected my favorites, not necessarily because of the seasons they’re having. Buster Posey, Anthony Rizzo, Kolton Wong, Brandon Crawford, Kris Bryant, Brian Harper, Ryan Braun and Giancarlo Stanton.

Or ...



This is the first time in decades the Royals are a legitimate contender, capable of placing multiple players in the starting lineup, and if this year's Royals were playing anything like they played during the previous two decades, I don’t think we’d be having this debate.

Meanwhile, across the state, the so-called model baseball franchise in St. Louis is being investigated for hacking into the Houston Astros’ computer system. Now that’s a story.

(Update 06.25.15) I caught this podcast today, which features Joe Posnanski discussing the All-Star voting and attributing the high number of Royals players getting votes to "an extraordinary display of enthusiasm." Makes sense to me. Start listening around the 27-minute mark.

6.18.2015

This week in softball

Another softball season is behind me tonight.

It seems as though we’ve had rain almost daily since early May – I’ll take it any summer month over the drought that some forecasters we’re predicting for us again this summer – and that means a lot of our softball games have been rained out. … Well, this week the parks and rec department decided it was time to make ‘em up.

So we played four games in three days. We played the first three games in a span of 22 hours over two nights.

We won game one easily Tuesday night, and I contributed by going 2-for-3 at the plate – two singles, a walk and a flyout to left, while scoring all three times I reached base – and playing third base.

Game two was quite a bit more entertaining. We couldn’t get our bats going and found ourselves down 14-2 after the early innings. They got their bats going, for sure, with a couple home runs including one shot that shattered the window of a storage building about 50 feet beyond the center field fence – on the fly. … But then we came back and eventually took a 21-17 lead. We held the opponent for one inning, but in the next inning they came out by slapping a couple hot shots my way, and I failed to handle them. Our center fielder dropped a routine fly ball, too. In a blink, our lead was gone, and the other guys soon closed it out with a walk-off.

By the time we showed up at the ballpark for the third game last night, most of us were sore and not exactly excited to play. We’re all in our mid 30s and older, after all. … We lost the game and it was our worst offensive effort of the season as we managed only a few hits and scored just one run. The game also snapped my streak of hitting safely in every game this season – a streak I think probably extended into early last season as well if I had kept better track.

We played that third game so fast that we finished it 20 minutes ahead of our time limit. We started taking the field to play another inning when the umpire alerted us of the situation and invited us to keep playing if we wanted. Without skipping a beat, we shrugged and turned back toward the dugout, telling the umpire we were done. It was a hilarious scene.

We concluded the week’s games tonight with an easy win and saw a return to form with our bats. I had two hits including a nice ground ball up the middle that I stretched into a double and then a fly ball to left field that the fielder misplayed and allowed to fall over his head. 

So that’s that. My team will keep playing with more games next week and the playoffs the week after that. But, with Kates and I taking the girls for some vacation time next week, my season is done.

I’m putting away my equipment bag and will wait to see what the possibility of another season brings next spring.