Sunday, July 31, 2011

2011 USTSA World Series Day 6

Up early, the Outlaws played the second elimination game against the #1 seeded So Cal Cavs at 9 a.m. They had lost to the Cavs on Tuesday in the first game of the tournament.

Every once and while, the Outlaws play a game where absolutely nothing goes right. There are games when even the positives are quickly wiped away by a negative. This was one of those games. Fuel was poured on the fire by what I would characterize as poor quality umpires, including a home plate umpire with an inconsistent strike zone. It was the same home plate umpire that Jack got so flummoxed with on Friday.

After harping on the coaches about being positive, I had planned to bark at them when they started to spin up. Given the course of the game, I ended up just letting them go off.

At the plate, Jack was 0 for 1 with two walks. The top of the first inning highlighted the problems of the day. Cooper reached on an error. After Trevor struck out, Jeremy singled to right to score Cooper and draw first blood. With Jeremy on second, Jack walked on five pitches. Jeremy stole third. On the second pitch to Josh, the coaches called for a suicide squeeze. Josh missed the pitch completely and Jeremy was out in a run down for the second out. Jack advanced all the way to third on the play. Josh then struck out looking to end the inning.

In the top of the third with one out, Jeremy singled to drive in Cooper and Trevor and tie the score at 3 to 3. The Cavs pitcher who had not made a move to first in the first three innings caught Jeremy leaning the wrong way and picked Jeremy off for the second out as he stumbled and fell. Jack then hit a 1 and 2 pitch into the hole. The shortstop made a nice stop and a solid throw to first. Jack had been getting out of the box and up the line extremely well all tournament. Jack was called out at first and the coaches and parents erupted. I honestly can't remember as loud a negative reactive from the parents on a call at first base in three years. From my angle, he was clearly safe. It just seemed like the Outlaws couldn't catch a break.

In the top of the sixth with no outs, Jack walked on five pitches. Josh singled to move Jack to second. Breyton popped up for the first out. The shortstop snuck in behind Jack and he was picked off in a close play for the second out. Jordan walked to put runners at first and second. After struggling all tournament, Bailey crushed a 1 and 0 pitched into right center for a triple. Jordan hesitated coming around third and caught in a run down to end the game. The Outlaws should have scored two more runs and still only had one out...

To add insult to injury, the Outlaws gave up four unearned runs on errors by the shortstop and right fielder. Finally, it seemed like the home plate umpire's inconsistent strike zone burned Josh at the worst possible point in the game. The Outlaws lost the game by the score of 9 to 4 and were eliminated from the tournament. The box score is here.

In spite of the last game, I left feeling good about the week. The Outlaws won 3 games and lost 3 games. They made it into the AAA bracket rather falling into the AA bracket. They won their first elimination game in an epic game and made it to the final day of the tournament. Add to this the boys playing in the pool on Wednesday night and on the beach Friday afternoon, the team dinners on Thursday and Saturday nights and the Padre game on Friday night with Alan and Patty, it was a very enjoyable trip.

One side note, the So Cal Cavs lost their next game to the Cal Bears from Chula Vista. The Cal Bears were the eventual tournament winner on Sunday afternoon. Trevor's dad and I walked by the Cal Bears on Saturday. Brian started to talking to them. He thought that they were a 14U team; they were huge.

After Sunday's game came the hard part: the drive home. Leaving the hotel about 12:20 p.m., it took us 4 1/2 hours to get through Los Angeles to Newhall. Including a 20 minute slow down for construction on I-5, it was 9:00 p.m. before we reached Elk Grove. We called ahead and picked up some food at Original Pete's and crashed at home. It is going to be a long time before I sign up for a 1,000 mile drive through Southern California to San Diego and back.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

GW RBI! [2011 USTSA World Series Day 5]

First, the game... Seeded 9th out of 18 teams after the pool games, the Outlaws played the 8th seeded Diamond Dogs in a late afternoon elimination game starting at 5 p.m. The Diamond Dogs are from Diamond Bar in Southern California near Pomona. This turned into one of the longest hard fought baseball games that Jack has played in the last three years of playing tournament baseball.

At the plate, Jack was 2 for 5 with a run scored and the game winning RBI. He also reached on an error and a fielders choice. In his first at bat, Jack struck out looking on three pitches. He hit a 2 and 2 pitch for a hard grounder to the right side in his second plate appearance. The first baseman could not find the handle and Jack out raced the pitcher to the bag. He stole second. After Josh walked, Breyton doubled to drive in both Jack and Chris who was running for Josh. These two runs tied the score at 3 to 3 in the top of the fourth.

Jack had a great third at bat. With the count 2 and 2, he fouled off 4 pitches before hitting a nasty chopper to the left side of the infield. Jack was safe at first. He went to second on a balk, but ended the inning there when Josh struck out.

With the scored still tied 3 to 3 in the top of seventh and Trevor on third and Jeremy on second with one out, Jack hit a sharp grounder to the left side in his fourth plate appearance. The shortstop tried to throw to third to get Trevor, but everyone was safe. I scored this as a fielders choice. Unfortunately, the Outlaws were unable to get the run across. Josh flied out to right and Breyton popped up to first base to end the inning. Jack came off the field muttering to himself about how much he and Coach Boyle have practiced hitting in that situation (runner on third with the infield drawn in) and how he did not get it done.

Jack got a second chance. The score was still tied 3 to 3 in the top of the ninth. With Trevor on third and Jeremy on second and no outs, Jack drove a 2 and 0 pitch into right for what turned out to be the game winning RBI! Jack stole second. With Jeremy on third and Jack on second, Josh hit a line drive to right center. Jeremy scored an insurance run. Coach Scott waved Jack home, but he was thrown out at the plate. The Outlaws added one more insurance run when Chris running for Josh scored on Jordan's infield error.

In the field, Jack played 9 innings at third base! He had two put-outs and two assists. Jack caught a pop-up to the left side and handled two grounders cleanly and made the throw to first for the out. In the bottom of the seventh with one out and a runner on second, Jeremy handled a grounder to the left side and threw to Jack to get the runner trying to advance to third.

In a 2 hour and 50 minute 9 inning game, the Outlaws prevailed by the score of 6 to 3. The box score is here.

It is important to remember that at this age the boys play a 1 hour and 50 minute 6 inning game. As a result, it was like playing another half a game.

It was almost 8 p.m. by the time the game ended. With the win, the Outlaws advanced to play the #1 seeded So Cal Cavs on Sunday morning.

Now for the rest of the day... After a long and late Friday [tournament game, beach and Padres game], Sharon and Jack slept late. I ran 6 miles on the treadmill.

We had a late breakfast at the hotel and then headed out to Cabrillo National Monument. A friend of Sharon's [Paul] died in 2006 and his ashes were spread off Point Loma. It was a very unusual spot. The point is higher than I expected with a great view of the bay and the city.

Afterwards, we drove into Old Town San Diego State Park for a late lunch. We had Mexican food at the Patio Restaurant. I had a chance to wander around for about 15 minutes looking for a couple of waymarks.

From there, we headed back to the hotel and then out to the game. After the game, we finished the day with a very late team dinner at Chili's. It was an adventure trying to get everyone to the same restaurant after the game. With the win and the chance to play on Sunday, the boys and the parents were in a great mood.

Friday, July 29, 2011

2011 USTSA World Series Day 4

Friday turned into a long and busy day... Up early, the Outlaws played the San Diego Scorpions in a 10 a.m. game. The Scorpions had two losses and a tie and I think that the Outlaws took them too lightly.

At the plate, Jack was 0 for 3, reached on an error and scored a run. In his first at bat, he grounded a 1 and 1 pitch to the shortstop and was thrown out at first. Jack hit the first pitch for a chopper down the third base line and was safe at first on an error by the third baseman in his second plate appearance. He stole second and went to third on a balk. Jack scored on Josh's ground rule double to right. In his third at bat, he struck out on three pitches. Jack was so flummoxed by the first two called strikes that he waved at a pitch off the plate for the third strike.

In the field, Jack played three innings at first and three innings at third. He had four put-outs at first on throws from the shortstop, third baseman and the pitcher.

Giving up three runs in the top of the first, the Outlaws ran themselves out of at least a run in the bottom of the first inning by leaving base too early on a sacrifice fly. The Outlaws eventually made the game close, but lost by the score of 6 to 5. The box score is here.

At the end of pool play on Friday, the Outlaws were seeded 9th out of the 18 teams in their division. They play the Diamond Dawgs at 5 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. The loss on Friday didn't effect the seeding that much. If Outlaws had beaten the Scorpions, they would have been seeded 6th and played the 3rd seeded All American Dirtbags. If Outlaws had tied the Scorpions, they would have only climbed to 8th and played the 9th seeded Diamond Dawgs.

After the game, everyone headed back to the hotel to get cleaned up. The plan for the afternoon was to take the team to the beach. The boys had a great time playing in the surf at Mission Beach.

Alan and I bought tickets on Thursday night to take our families to the Padres game. Heading back to the hotel and getting cleaned up, the two families took the trolley from the Fashion Fair Mall to Petco Park downtown. It is a very nice ballpark set in downtown San Diego. We had two sets of seats: 4 in row 18 in section 105 and 3 in row 18 section 107. Putting the three boys in section 107, the adults had a great evening. We spent a couple of innings in the middle of the game upstairs having sushi in a restaurant overlooking the field.

Most of the team ended up going to the game, but Sharon, Patty, Alan and I never ended up connecting with them. The Rockies won the game by the score of 3 to 2.

After the game, we got back on the trolley and wound our way back to the hotel. By the time we got to bed, it was after midnight. Like I said, a long day...

Thursday, July 28, 2011

2011 USTSA World Series Day 3

After a couple of late nights, Jack and I slept late and had a lazy morning. After a late breakfast, I ran 6 miles on the treadmill. Jack and I wandered the mall near hotel looking at lens for the camera, had a bite to eat and then headed to the game.

The Outlaws played the White Rock All Stars in an afternoon game. This is a little league all star team from Canada. I believe that they were from somewhere near Vancouver.

At the plate, Jack was 1 for 2 with a ground rule double, a run scored and hit by a pitch. In his first at bat with two outs and Jeremy on first, Jack drove a 3 and 2 pitch into right center for a ground rule double. He scored from first on Josh's infield error to the second baseman. Jack was hit by the second pitch in his second plate appearance. He was thrown out trying to steal second. In his third at bat, Jack hit the first pitch for a soft line drive. I thought that it was going to drop into right center, but the second baseman caught up to it and made a nice catch.

In the field, Jack played six innings at third base. He had one assist on a slow roller to the left side. Jack fielded it cleanly and threw the runner out at first.

The Outlaws beat the White Rock All Stars by the score of 9 to 2. The box score is here.

With a record of 2 wins and 1 losses, I calculated that the Outlaws were seeded 6th out of the 18 teams in their division.

Sharon rolled up in a taxi about 30 minutes after we got back to the hotel. She was working in Paso Robles on Monday and Tuesday and flew down to join us for the last couple days of the tournament.

We finished the night with a team dinner at Fuddruckers near the hotel.

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Madeleine Peyroux - The Kind You Can't Afford

The complete list of Starbucks iTunes picks of the week is here!
Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Madeleine Peyroux - The Kind You Can't Afford

Code Expiration: October 21, 2011

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

2011 USTSA Word Series Day 2

I spent the two or three weeks before the Outlaws came to San Diego barking at the coaches about being positive and upbeat. I kept reminding them that the Outlaws are who they are and we need to enjoy the trip no matter what happened. I then got madder during the first game than I have been any time since Jack was playing with the Gunners in the fall of 2008.

The Outlaws played the So Cal Cavs in the the first game of the tournament. The Cavs are from Los Angeles.

At the plate, Jack was 0 for 2 reaching base on a fielders choice. In his first at-bat with Trevor on second and Jeremy on first, Jack hit a 1 and 2 pitch back to the pitcher. The pitcher threw to the shortstop to force Jeremy out at second. Jack was safe at first. Jack stole second. Josh walked to load the bases, but Breyton grounded out to end the inning. Jack hit the first pitch deep into left center for an out in his second plate appearance. He just missed a home run.

In the field, Jack played four innings at third base and pitched the third inning. At third, Jack had three put-outs on pop-ups to the left side.

Jack pitched the third inning. It was a train wreck. He gave up a home run on the first pitch he threw. Jack ended up throwing 33 pitches, 16 balls and 17 strikes. He ended up striking out one, hitting a batter, walking two, giving up three hits, four earned runs and six totals runs. Oy Vey...

The Outlaws lost to the Cavs by the score of 9 to 1. The box score is here.

I was upset during and after the game about the pitcher that the coaches started and that they ran Jack out to pitch. Jack has only pitched three innings in tournaments in the last seven months. I grabbed Jack and we left the ballpark to find somewhere to have lunch. At lunch, I realized that I was taking it harder than Jack was. To break the ice, I did something that Jack is always after me to do when I ordered lunch and that got him laughing. After looking for one nearby waymark [the smallest Spanish land grant in California], we headed back to the ballpark. Most of my anger had bled off...

The Outlaws played Fogball BBC in the second game. Fogball is from Brawley in the Imperial Valley.

At the plate, Jack was 2 for 2 with a walk, two RBIs and three runs scored. In his first at bat with two outs and Trevor on third, Jack drove the first pitch over the right center field on one bounce for a ground rule double and a RBI. He stole third and came home on a balk. With the count 0 and 2, Jack blooped one just behind the pitcher for a single. It was a low pitch and it looked like he had hit a pitching wedge. He stole second and then came home on an error on Josh's infield grounder. Jack walked on four pitches in his third at bat. He stole second and scored on Josh's line drive to left center.

In the field, Jack played four innings at third base. In one of those odd games, he had no assists, put-outs or errors. Jack handled the ball in an odd run down between first and second where Cooper ended up tagging the runner out when he stepped off the base after getting out of the pickle.

The Outlaws beat Fogball by the score of 12 to 2. The box score is here.

At the end of the day, I calculated that the Outlaws were seeded 7th of the 18 teams in their division.

Heading back to the hotel, the team spent the evening around the pool. The boys had a great time swimming, while the parents visited. Eventually, we ordered pizza for the group.

Rod, Ben, Alan, Scott and I finished the evening closing down the bar in the hotel.

2001 Outlaws Spring Pic #6

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

2011 USTSA World Series Day 1

Up at 4 a.m., Jack and I had the car loaded and were on the road by 5:30 a.m. Jack's baseball team is spending the next few days playing in a tournament in San Diego. My goal for the morning was to try and chase down Rod and Scott. They had left at 4:10 a.m. By the time I had reached the Grapevine, I had closed the gap to about 25 miles.

We stopped for about an hour to have lunch with Drew and see his apartment and I lost any chance of running down Rod and Scott. I really enjoyed the opportunity to visit with Drew. His new band is taking off. I am very proud of what he is accomplishing.

We got to the hotel about 2 p.m. At almost 500 miles, this is the longest drive that I have made in a long, long time. It went fast, but about 30 miles from San Diego I was ready to be done.

We connected up with the Rod's family. After hanging out in there room for a bit, we took off for the opening ceremonies. Unfortunately, many of the boys had the Cooperstown opening ceremonies in mind and they were disappointed. The gathering did give them a chance to trade pins with a number of teams. After an hour plus wait in line, the food was not bad (taco plate plus I purchased a couple of tamales). In general, the opening ceremonies were something that could have been skipped...

We headed back to the hotel. Rod and I finished the evening in the hotel bar trying to solve the world's problems.

There is one footnote to the trip to Southern California. Between my junior and senior years in college, I drove tomato truck up and down the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys for a a company called The Morning Star Trucking Company. Along I-5, I must have passed almost a dozen Morning Star Trucks. They rent truck tractors from Hertz and slap their name on the doors. At the time, it was a small company with two owners. Seeing the truck brought back a lot of memories.



California Historical Landmark #283

Top of Grapevine Pass
where Don Pedro Fages passed in 1772

California State Historical Landmark #283

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This landmark is located on Lebec Road, 0.6 miles north of Lebec, California. There are 47 other California State Historical Landmarks in Kern County. The GPS coordinates for this location are N 37° 47.468 W 122° 23.966.

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California Historical Landmark #283

In 1772, Don Pedro Fages passed this site, traveling from San Diego to San Luis Obispo via Cajón Pass, Mojave Desert, Hughes Lake, Antelope Valley, Tejón Pass, Cañada de los Uvas (Grapevine Canyon), and Buena Vista Lake. He left the first written record of exploration in the south San Joaquin Valley.

California Historical Landmark #283

Kern County

California Historical Landmarks in Kern County
{GPS Coordinates of Site Location}

@NO. 133 SEBASTIAN INDIAN RESERVATION - {34.94138 -118.93258}
*NO. 283 Don Perdo Fages - [map] - {34.834033,-118.865717}
@NO. 300 ROSE STATION - {34.941383 -118.932583}
@NO. 371 OUTERMOST POINT IN THE SOUTH SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY (VISITED BY PADRE GARCES IN 1776) - {+35° 12' 28.98", -118° 49' 16.98"}
@NO. 492 BUTTONWILLOW TREE - {35.406833 -119.474283}
@NO. 540 SINKS OF THE TEJON - {35.092833 -118.91505}
NO. 581 WELL, 2-6
@NO. 588 KERN RIVER SLOUGH STATION - {+35° 16' 0.42", -118° 58' 7.81"}

List of California Counties

Monday, July 25, 2011

USTSA 2011 World Series

The Outlaws are heading to San Diego this week to play in the Xtreme Diamond Sports World Series.  There are 170 teams playing in eight age groups.  There are 30 12U teams in the tournament.  It looks like there will be 18 teams from Texas, Arizona, Southern California, Northern California and Canada in the Outlaws division.

The Outlaws schedule for the week is:

Wednesday, July 27th

9:00A Outlaws Baseball versus So Cal Cavs
1:00P Outlaws Baseball versus Fogball BBC

Thursday, July 28th

03:00P Outlaws Baseball versus White Rock All Stars

Friday, July 29th

10:00 San Diego Scorpions vs. Outlaws Baseball

Saturday, July 30

Single Elimination Games at 9:00 a.m.

The schedule is posted here.  It has changed once already and might change again!

I am looking forward to the trip.  With most of the team staying at one hotel, I think that it is going to be a more social trip than Cooperstown.  At Cooperstown, everyone was spread out across the countryside and the boys and coaches were sequestered in the park.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Harry Potter and Pizza Rock

After the scrimmage on Saturday, Sharon, Jack and I met Tom and Eric at the IMAX to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. We saw Part 1 with Tom and Kevin in December. I pushed the idea of seeing the 3D version at the IMAX. While I enjoyed the giant screen, I don't think that 3D added much to the movie. Overall, everyone felt like it was a satisfying conclusion to the franchise.

Afterwards, we went to Pizza Rock for dinner. While Sharon had been there before, this was the first time that I have had a chance to eat there.  The three of us tried to get in last fall after a baseball tournament, but there was a two hour wait.  The pizza was very good. Additionally, the menu has so much variety that we will definitely go back again.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Outlaws versus Washington All Stars Scrimmage

The Outlaws had a scrimmage against the Washington Little League All Stars. While the Outlaws are 12Us with one 10u filling in (Carlito), the Washington team had two 14 year olds, seven 13 year olds and one 12 year old.

At the plate, I am scoring Jack as 3 for 7. He also reached base on an error by the second baseman and a fielder's choice by the shortstop. Jack is making good contact. The only two outs were a blooper which the shortstop caught deep in the hole and a shot to left center that the center fielder handled nicely.

In the field, Jack pitched the two innings. He gave up two unearned runs in the first inning. Jack is getting bigger and stronger and it seems like his pitching has been more effective recently. He played the next two innings in center field and had one nice put-out on a long run on a high fly ball to left center. Jack played four innings at third base. He had two assists on grounders to the left side and throws to first and an error. With Josh pitching and the bases loaded and no outs, Jack took his eyes off a slower roller watching the runner go home and never got a handle on the ball. He also played one uneventful inning at shortstop.

In a sloppily played game on both sides, the nine inning, 3 hour and 45 minute scrimmage ended in 17 to 17 tie. The Washington catcher (a big 14 year old) hit three home runs.

The Outlaws are going to finish the 12U season with a tournament in San Diego next week. It is going to be interesting to see how they do against a mix of teams from Northern California, Southern California, Arizona and Texas. There is also one team from Canada. Given the format of the tournament, I think that there is a good chance that they will still be playing next Sunday.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Polaris by Jack McDevitt

I finished reading Polaris by Jack McDevitt. This is the second book in the Alex Benedict series. It was nominated for a Nebula Award in 2005. I read the first book in the series--A Talent for War--about two year ago. I started reading the series because I was interested in the he third book in the series--Seeker--which won the Nebula in 2006.

In the story, antiquities dealer Alex Benedict and his employee, Chase Kolpath, become involved in a mystery involving the disappearance of the passengers and crew of an interstellar yacht. The luxury space yacht Polaris carried an elite group of the wealthy and curious thousands of light-years from Earth to witness a spectacular stellar phenomenon. It never returned. The search party sent to investigate found the Polaris empty and adrift in space, the fate of its pilot and passengers a mystery. Sixty years later, Alex Benedict is determined to unravel the mystery.

I read science fiction partly because I love to see how authors play with ideas about technology. There are very few interesting ideas about technology in this book.

The other thing that I disliked about this book was the way that the characters zipped around the universe and got in and out catastrophe situations without a scratch. I made the same remark in Tom Clancy's Dead or Alive. About the fifth time the characters extract themselves out of some wild situation, it just gets unbelievable.

Frankly, I am very surprised that this book was nominated for a Nebula Award. I gave the first book in the series a lukewarm recommendation. I don't recommend this book at all.

I was intrigued by the style of the novel. It is written in a very causal first person voice. I have a novel in my head that I am going to write someday and like this voice. More about that on August 16...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

migration by Morgan Heringer

I bought a copy of migration by Morgan Heringer from last night!

Milo Greene: 1957 - Today's Top Tune on KCRW

Every Thursday in July, we're featuring artists performing at the Hammer Museum's summer music series, Also I Like to Rock. This week, we spotlight local pop quintet Milo Greene. Today's Top Tune features pretty harmonies and a big chorus. It's called "1957."
And check out Eric J. Lawrence's Daily Bruin feature on Milo Greene and the Hammer's music series.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

California Historical Landmark #861

Site of First California State Fair
California State Historical Landmark #861

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This landmark is located at 269 Bush Street, San Francisco , San Francisco, California. There are 48 other California State Historical Landmarks in San Francisco County. The GPS coordinates for this location are N 37° 47.458 W 122° 24.106.

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California Historical Landmark #861

California's first state fair was held on this site on October 4, 1854. Sponsored by the California State Agricultural Society, the exhibition of 'horses, cattle, mules, and other stock, and agricultural, mechanical, and domestic manufacture and productions' promoted the new state's growing agricultural industry. A different city held the fair each year, until Sacramento became the permanent location in 1861.

California Historical Landmark #861

Starbucks iTunes Pick of Week - Motopony - Kings of Diamonds

The complete list of Starbucks iTunes picks of the week is here!
Starbucks iTunes Pick of Week - Motopony - Kings of Diamonds

Code Expiration: October 14, 2011

Monday, July 18, 2011

Milo Greene on Tour opening for The Civil Wars

Drew, Marlana and Robbie's new band--Milo Greene--is gaining substantial momentum. They will going on a 26 city tour this fall opening for the The Civil Wars. More details to come!

you MUST watch this new @MiloGreene video. SO excited that they'll be touring with us in North America this Fall! than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

hey! we'd like to welcome @milogreene to the high road touring family !!!less than a minute ago via TweetDeck Favorite Retweet Reply

Sunday, July 17, 2011

3rd not-so-annual Bocce Ball Tournament

After the scrimmage on Saturday, we headed to Sharon's brother's Tom house for his third not-so-annual Bocce Ball Tournament.  While we made the first tournament, we missed the second event.

I was eliminated in the first round...  By the time they finished the last round, they were essentially playing in the dark.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Outlaws versus Elk Grove Cal Ripken Scrimmage

The Outlaws played a double header scrimmage against the Elk Grove Cal Ripken 12U team. This is essentially the same Longhorn team that they scrimmaged in April. There are several players on the Elk Grove Team that Jack played with on the Gunners, including Austin, A.D. and Dylan. With Cooper gone for the weekend, the Outlaws had three or four nonroster players, including Jeremy's cousin playing with them.

Jack was 1 for 4 with an RBI and a strike-out in the first game. In his third at bat, Jack drove a pitch deep into the hole on the left side to score Trevor.

Jack played one inning at shortstop, three innings at third base and pitched two innings. Jack had one put-out at shortstop. On a throw from Jeremy at catcher, he tagged out A.D. trying to steal second. Jack pitched the fifth and sixth innings. In 37 games this spring, he has only pitched 3 innings! With some help from the defense, Jack pitched two scoreless innings.

Elk Grove's two top pitchers--Austin and Tanner--are very good. They pitched the first fourth innings of the first game. Elk Grove won the first game by the score of 7 to 5.

Jack was 2 for 4 with a walk and three RBIs in the second game. He walked in his first at-bat, but ended the inning at third, when Jordan grounded out with the bases loaded. Jack ran for Jordan in the third inning. He eventually scored. Coming home he dodged the catcher's tag and then had to scramble back to touch the plate. In his fourth plate appearance, he drove one through the left side to drive in a run. Jack doubled off the right center fence in his last at-bat to drive in two more runs.

Jack played four innings at third base. In one of those odd games, he never had a ball hit to him.

With the Outlaws starting to get to Elk Grove's pitching in the second game, the Outlaws won by the score of 13 to 11. It should be noted that with the Outlaws batting with two outs in the bottom of the fifth, Elk Grove decided to skip their at bats in the top of the six and play the bottom of the sixth...

The Outlaws are planning to finish the season by playing in a 30 team tournament in San Diego starting July 27.

Elk Grove won the Northern California Cal Ripken tournament earlier in July and will be playing in the regional tournament in Hawaii starting July 25.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Departed

With Jack out with a group of this classmates watching Transformers 3 at the Century, Sharon and I took the opportunity to watch The Departed on DVD.

While Sharon had seen the film in the theater, I hadn't seen it before. Usually, I will read about a movie before I watch it. I didn't this time and the plot did not go where I expected it to go! I was very surprised by how the last 20 minutes unfolded.

The film has an amazing cast including: Leonardo DiCaprio; Matt Damon; Jack Nicholson; Mark Wahlberg; Martin Sheen; and Alec Baldwin.

The Departed won the Oscar for the best picture in 2007.

California Historical Landmark #876

City of Paris Building
California State Historical Landmark #876

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This landmark is located at the southeast corner of Geary and Stockton Streets, San Francisco, California. There are 48 other California State Historical Landmarks in San Francisco County. The GPS coordinates for this location are N 37° 47.468 W 122° 23.966.

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The City of Paris Dry Goods Company (later City of Paris) was one of San Francisco's most important department stores from 1850 to 1976, located diagonally opposite Union Square. The main San Francisco store was demolished in 1980 after a lengthy preservation fight to build a new Neiman Marcus, although the store's original rotunda and glass dome were preserved and incorporated into the new design.

California Historical Landmark #876

It was 1850 when the Verdier brothers, immigrants from France, opened a store aboard the ship La Ville de Paris to serve the Argonauts passing through San Francisco's harbor. In 1896 the business, which stayed in the family for over a century and a quarter, moved into a new building designed by architect Clinton Day, damaged by the 1906 earthquake, its interior was reconstructed by architects John Bakewell and Arthur J. Brown. The old City of Paris building was one of the finest examples of the beaux-arts style of commercial building in California.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Confession by Olen Steinhauer

Almost two years ago, Sharon's brother Tom recommended a series of books by Olen Steinhauer. I read the first book--The Bridge of Sighs--in the series last fall. I enjoyed that book enough that I bought the second book--The Confession--and finished it on the flight to Washington D.C.

Set in a small, unnamed Eastern European country in 1956, the book has the same set of main characters as the first book; the novel revolves around a set of homicide detectives. The story takes places eight years after The Bridge of Sighs. Interestingly, the author switches main characters. The story is told from the perspective of a different detective than the first book. The novel is part police procedural, part erotic romance, part noir mystery and part reflection on totalitarian excesses.

Part of what makes the book so intriguing is how it captures the atmosphere of the place and time and what it does to the people. In communist Eastern Europe in 1956, the people have had to accept the dominance of State Security and their puppet-masters in Moscow. But with Stalin gone, neighboring Hungary is trying to revolt.

This is the second book in a series of five. The third story is set in the 1960's.  I am definitely going to add the next book to my pile.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

2011 SJE Summer Basketball Game #10

The SEAS Eagles played their tenth basketball game of the summer league against Sacred Heart. Jack missed two games last week while we were on vacation.

Jack had 11 points on 4 for 8 from two point range and 1 from 2 from three point range. He added 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals.

Sacred Heart had a very large, very young team. The Eagles ran out to a 21 to 5 first quarter lead and cruised to a 76 to 17 victory. The box score is here.

Their record for the summer league is now 5 wins and 5 losses. The game log is here.

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Gillian Welch - Hard Times

The complete list of Starbucks iTunes picks of the week is here!
Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Gillian Welch - Hard Times

Code Expiration: October 7, 2011

Monday, July 11, 2011

Theodore Roosevelt Island National Memorial

On Friday afternoon when we were in Washington D.C., Jack and I rode bikes out to the Theodore Roosevelt Island National Memorial. I have read a number of books on Teddy Roosevelt and I am fascinated by all of the things that he accomplished in his relatively short life.

Theodore Roosevelt Island National Memorial
National Register of Historic Places #1966000869

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This historic place is located south of the Key Bridge in the Potomac River in the District of Columbia. The GPS coordinates for this location are N 38° 53.845 W 077° 03.838.

You can log your visit to this landmark at

Theodore Roosevelt Island National Memorial

In 1931, the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Association purchased the island from the gas company with the intention of erecting a memorial honoring Roosevelt. Congress authorized the memorial on May 21, 1932, but did not appropriate funds for the memorial for almost three decades.

Funds were finally designated by Congress in 1960. The memorial was dedicated on October 27, 1967. Designed by Eric Gugler, the memorial includes a 17-foot statue by sculptor Paul Manship, four large stone monoliths with some of Roosevelt's more famous quotations, and two large fountains.

Theodore Roosevelt Island National Memorial

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Washington D.C. to Sacramento

2011 Washington D.C. Day 9

After sleeping fairly late, we got up and started to pack up the room. We had a two bedroom unit with a kitchen and had a lot of stuff spread everywhere. Checking out and leaving our luggage with the hotel, we jumped on the Metro and headed to Arlington Cemetery.

Wallen and I had wandered through Arlington Cemetery on foot in 2005. Sharon did not want to walk so we got tickets for the tourmobile. The first stop was the JFK gravesite and eternal flame. Robert and Teddy's graves are nearby. Getting back on the bus, we went to the tomb of the unknown soldier. We wandered around this area more while we waited for the changing of the guard. Back on the bus again, we stopped at the Arlington House; this was Robert E. Lee's home. This spot has some great views of Washington D.C.

After finishing up at Arlington, we took the Metro back to the hotel. We had a late lunch at the Cafe Soleil.

Walking back to the hotel, we picked up our luggage and got a car to the airport. As we were checking in, they were announcing Mass at the chapel. After going through security, we headed to the international terminal and attended Mass.

The flight to Sacramento left about 10 minutes late. Unfortunately, the seats behind us had a woman and two 14 month old twin boys who were crazed for most of the five hour flight. Sharon was not pleased. Grabbing our luggage, we were home before 11:00 p.m.

It was a great trip!

Friday, July 08, 2011

2011 Washington D.C. Day 8

With Sharon feeling under the weather, Jack and I wandered down the street for a quick breakfast and then headed for the National Mall. Sharon originally had been talking about renting bikes for the day. As we were walking, a bike went by with Capital Bikeshare written on the side. We stopped at bench and googled this company on the iPhone. There was rack with a kiosk where we could rent bikes less than a block away.

Jack and I rented two bikes. Over the next three plus hours, we probably covered more than 10 miles. We headed to the Vietnam Memorial and walked our bikes through the memorial.  We continued up the mall to the Lincoln Memorial and then to Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. This is a very unusual memorial. It has different sections for each of FDR's four terms in office. After checking with a ranger, we walked our bikes through the lengthy memorial.

From there we headed to the Jefferson Memorial. There is a separate pond with another statue of Jefferson that we had not seen on Sunday. After stopping for a drink, we rode the bikes back along the Tidal Basin to the Martin Luther King Memorial. This is currently under construction and due to be dedicated at the end of August.

Crossing back to the National Mall at the World War II Memorial, we looped back by the Lincoln Memorial again and tried to find our way across the Key Bridge to get the Theodore Roosevelt Island. After a couple of dead ends, we were able to find a way up on to the bridge by going around the Kennedy Center. We rode across into Virginia and then walked our bikes across the foot bridge to the island and up to the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial. I am a fan of Teddy's and this was one of the sites that I wanted to see while we were here.

Riding our bikes back over the bridge and around to the Lincoln Memorial, we headed up the National Mall along the Reflecting Pond. We stopped for a drink just past the Washington Monument. At this point, we decided to ride all the way to the Capitol. We rode up one side, stopped for a couple of pictures and then rode back down the other side.

We then headed back to the hotel. There was a spot to return the bikes less than a block from the hotel.

Jack and I covered a lot of ground. It was a great way to experience the city.

The plan for the evening was to go to the Nationals versus Rockies Major League Baseball Game. With it raining heavily, we took the Metro to the game. We had some great seats two rows up just off the visitors dugout. We got there early enough that Jack had a chance to get a couple of autographs. Jack bought a Rockies hat before we left Sacramento. He was able to get Ubaldo Jimenez, Jonathan Herrera and one other player to sign it. In spite of the earlier rain, the weather was great during the game.

The Rockies won the game by the score of 3 to 2. Jason Werth looked horrible for the Nationals; he is batting .219 for the season.  With two outs and runners on first and second in the top of the ninth, we got to see Jason Giambi pitch hit for the Rockies.  He hit a deep fly out to centerfield.

After the game, we caught a cab near the Metro station and headed back to the hotel.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

2011 Washington D.C. Day 7

The plan for the day was to explore the area around the Capitol. We took the Metro to Union Square and walked to the Liaison Hotel. We had breakfast at the Art and Soul Restaurant in the hotel.

After breakfast, we walked to Supreme Court Building. We took a couple of pictures of Sharon in front of the building.

Next, we went to the Library of Congress. The view from the balcony into the reading room is impressive. Sharon noted that the building is as impressive as anything that we have seen in Europe. They toured the exhibits, including the display of the Jefferson Library, some of the first maps of the United States, and a collection of photos of civil war soldiers.

We delayed about 15 minutes going to the Capitol; it was on lock down. When we got into the line to go into the visitor center, one of the staff people said that someone had left a backpack in the brushes and that brought the bomb squad and the lock down. We got tickets for the public tour. We had hoped that we might get a tour from Jim Ellis' daughter, but with Congress in session she was not available. The public tour included a short film in the visitor center and a visit to the Rotunda and the Statuary Room.

We did get tickets to the House Gallery from Jim's daughter. This was pretty amazing. The House was in session and voting on a series of amendments to the Defense Appropriation Bills. The House floor was a beehive of activity. Walking to and from the House Gallery also gave us a chance to see some more of the Capitol Building.

After a quick bite to eat in the visitor center cafeteria, we headed back to the Metro stop at Union Station. We went to the National Portrait Gallery. Here, we focused on one part of the museum: the collection of portraits of each of the presidents. I enjoyed this a lot. There are a number of presidents from the 19th century that are pretty obscure. I am going to start a reading list of books for each of the presidents.

We jumped back on the Metro and headed to the hotel. As we were heading back, I got a text from Nooter. He was finishing up a meeting downtown and we made plans to meet at the top of the Washington Hotel. They have an open air roof top bar with great views of the city, including the Washington Monument and the White House. We had a chance to catch up for a about an hour and half. At this point, Mary and Sharon joined us. Nooter rolled about 30 minutes later; it was a nice visit, but I still feel like I did not get a chance to see enough of him.

I took off a little after that. Sharon eventually met me back at the hotel and we had dinner just the two of us around the corner at a Spanish restaurant called Taberna Del Alabardero. We had a great dinner of scallops, squid, shrimp and lobster Paella. It was after 10:30 p.m. by the time we got back to the room; one of the earliest nights we have been in this week!

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

2011 Washington D.C. Day 6

Through our congressman, we were able to get tickets to tour the White House. We were up before 6 a.m. and in line by 7:15 a.m. for a 7:30 a.m. tour. Sharon had talked to a couple of people who had done the tour before and were disappointed. As a result, I went with very low expectations.

I was pleasantly surprised. The tour started in the ground floor going pass the Vermeil and China rooms. It continued up on the State Floor through the East Room, Green Room, Blue Room, Red Room and State Dining Room. You exited through the Entrance and Cross Halls and ended up outside on the North Portico (the front door of the White House).

Afterwards, we walked over and explored the White House Visitor's Center. From there, we made a brief stop at the hotel.

Jumping on the Metro, we headed to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Visually, there are some neat things, but the exhibits are almost overwhelming; there is so much information. Jack and I rode in a fighter jet simulator with him flying and me serving as the gunner. We had an early lunch and then watched a 3D IMAX film called the Legends of Flight.

After the film, we wandered across the National Mall to the National Gallery of Art. In a little over two hours we covered probably about 75% of the museum focusing on a number of the highlights. I was surprised to find a Hieronymus Bosch: Death and Miser. We had seen Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights at the Prado last summer. I also tracked down a Picasso that I wanted to see: Family of Saltimbanques. This is one of the major paintings highlighted in the first volume of the Picasso biography that I read. I was also very impressed with Jacques-Louis David's The Emperor Napoleon in His Study.

Taking the Metro back to the hotel, Sharon and Jack relaxed while I ran for 30 minutes and 3 miles on the treadmill.

Jim Ellis, one of Sharon and her brothers' childhood friends, picked us up and drove us to Old Alexandria. We had an Italian dinner at the Landini Brothers. After dinner, we walked along the water front before heading home to crash.

Outlaws 2011 Spring Pic #3

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

2011 Washington D.C. Day 5

The plan for the day is to visit Monticello. This was Thomas Jefferson's home. I got up before 6:30 a.m., took the Metro to Union Station and picked up a rental car. I headed back to the hotel and scooped up Sharon and Jack.

Monday night, Barb and I had a discussion about the best way to get from Washington D.C. to Monticello. Google Maps had a route charted down I95. Both Barb and Rob felt strongly that it was better to take Highway 66. Luckily, setting the Neverlost in the Hertz rental, it sent us down Highway 66.

It is almost a three hour drive. With a quick stop for coffee and a bite to eat, it was after 11 a.m. by the time we rolled into Monticello.

I had gotten tickets online for the House Tour and the Behind The Scenes Tour. After wandering the grounds and under the house, we took a house tour. I was very impressed; the guide was excellent. As I mentioned in the last couple of days, I have not read a book about Jefferson. I am going to have to find a book about Jefferson and a book about Lafayette.

After the House Tour, we walked down the hillside to the grave site and then to the visitors center for lunch. We took a Behind The Scenes Tour after lunch. This tour is fairly new and covers the second and third floors and then ends up in the basement. I also enjoyed this tour a great deal; I highly recommend it.

We then wandered the gardens for a bit and then caught a shuttle bus back to the visitors center, the gift shop and the car. It was after 4 p.m. by the time we were back on the road.

We decided to try and stop at a Virginia winery on the way back. We ended up finding the Barboursville Winery. Sharon and I tasted quite a few whites and reds that were frankly not very good. There was a Cabernet Franc that Sharon thought was passable, but we did not even consider buying a bottle.

The detour to the winery put us farther east and the GPS routed us home via I95. We were back in Washington D.C. about 7:30 p.m. I dropped Sharon and Jack at the hotel and returned the rental car to Union Station. Walking on to a Metro train, I was back at the hotel a litte after 8 p.m.

We finished the night with a very late dinner at the Founding Farmers. Sharon had soup and a salad, while I tried the chili.  It was another long day...

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - City and Colour - Fragile Bird

The complete list of Starbucks iTunes picks of the week is here!
Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - City and Colour - Fragile Bird

Code Expiration: September 30, 2011

Monday, July 04, 2011

2011 Washington D.C. Day 4

With Morgan having to work on Tuesday, we got up fairly early and took everyone to breakfast at the Cafe de Parc in the historic Willard Hotel. After breakfast, we walked to the Metro Central and sent Morgan on her way to Union Station to catch a train back to New York. All of us were sad to see her go!

Heading back to the hotel, Sharon took a nap and I ran on the treadmill for an hour and 6 miles.

After getting cleaned up, Sharon, Jack and I walked about six or seven blocks to Trader Joes. The plan for the evening is to host a small get together at the hotel with drinks and hors d'oeuvres and then head over to the National Mall to watch the fireworks. We bought a couple of bags of drinks and food, wandered back out to Pennsylvania Avenue and caught a cab back to the hotel.

Sharon wandered off to do some shopping, while Jack and I relaxed in the room. Just as she was heading back, Jack and I took off to run a couple of errands. This crossing of paths resulted in an interesting comedy of errors.

When Sharon got back to the room, her key would not work. The front desk tried to reprogram the electronic lock, but it was completely dead. At this point, Jack and I showed up and joined Sharon sitting in the hall outside our room. Eventually, maintenance had to virtually break down the door to get into the room!

Once we got back into the room, we scurried around and got everything organized. Rob, Barb and Mary showed up about 5:30 p.m. We visited until about 8:00 p.m. At this point, we took off for the National Mall. The six of us walked to the Lincoln Memorial and found a great spot on the plaza in front of the Lincoln Memorial to watch the fireworks. We are all pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to get there and find a spot.

It was a fantastic fireworks show! Sitting on the Lincoln Memorial and watching fireworks over the Washington Memorial is a great way to celebrate the Fourth of July!

Afterwards, we wandered back to the hotel. Rob and Barb's daughter Maddy and a friend of hers joined us for a dessert of strawberry shortcake.

It was a very successful evening.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

2011 Washington D.C. Day 3

With everyone else still sleeping, I got up and ran on the treadmill in the hotel for 30 minutes and 3 miles. After getting cleaned up and having a quick bite to eat (Starbucks again!), Sharon, Morgan, Jack and I headed to the National Mall. For the morning, we had tickets to go to the top of Washington Monument. Although I am not a heights person, I have to admit this offered some amazing views of the city.

From there, we walked around to the Jefferson Memorial. While I have read biographies on Washington, Franklin and Adams, I have not read a biography on Thomas Jefferson. I am going to have to find one and add it to the growing pile of books that I have. We are planning to go to Monticello on Tuesday.

Jumping in a taxi, we headed to the National Archives and met up with Mary Maloney. The high point of this stop was the originals of the United States Constitution and the Bills of Rights. I was surprised by the size of the paper that both of documents were written on; the sheets were much larger than I would have expected.

The five of us had a quick lunch at a tapas restaurant called Jaleo. From here, Mary dropped off and the four of us headed to Ford's Theater. Both Sharon and I read Manhunt, The 12 day Chase for Lincoln's Killer. This is an excellent book about the assassination of President Lincoln and the subsequent search for John Wilkes Booth. Ford's Theater plays a prominent role in that book and ever since reading it I have wanted to visit the Theater. We had audio tours for a nice museum downstairs. I surprised to see the gun that John Wilkes Booth used to shoot Lincoln. The program finishes up with a lengthy recounting of the events surrounding the assassination of Lincoln by a park ranger while you are sitting in the theater. I really enjoyed this stop.

We walked back to the hotel from Ford's Theater. Over the course of the day while we were waiting in various lines, Jack and Morgan got very involved with each playing Zombie Farm on their iPhones!?!

Back at the hotel, we got cleaned up for dinner. Just as we were about ready to leave, it started pouring rain with lightning and thunder. We waited for the rain to subside a little and then went out to the street to flag down a cab. The plan for the night was to have dinner with Mary Maloney at the Capitol Grill. Sharon and Mary had eaten there before, really enjoyed the meal and wanted to go back. The five of us had a very nice dinner with lots of red meat.

After dinner, we walked all the way down to the Capitol Building with a stop to explore a water feature at the Canadian Embassy. Turning around at the Capitol, we walked back to the Navy Memorial and then to Mary's condo. From there, we caught a cab back to the hotel. By the time we were in bed, it was after 12:30 a.m. and everyone was beat.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

2011 Washington D.C. Day 2

After a couple of long days, we slept late and were moving slow. Few of the restaurants in the area around the hotel are open on weekends so we ended up having some breakfast at Starbucks.

Afterwards, we walked over to take a couple more pictures of the White House and then headed to the Metro station to meet Morgan. She took the train from Penn Station in New York to Union Station in Washington DC and then boarded the Metro to get to our hotel.

Stopping briefly at the room, we got on the Metro and headed for the National Mall. We headed to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. They have an amazing display of animals. In Edmund Morris's book The Colonel which examines Roosevelt's life after he was president, Roosevelt spent a year in Africa hunting and collecting specimens. The Smithsonian Institution co-sponsored the expedition. Many of the specimens were destined for the new U.S. National Museum building, then under construction on the Mall and today known as the National Museum of Natural History.

We bought a new camera in the last week. Jack decided he should carry it and went crazy taking pictures in the museum. Halfway through the museum, we met up with Mary Maloney.

When we were done, we had lunch on the National Mall. There was a exhibition of Columbia culture. We had late lunch of Columbian food and then dove into the Smithsonian National Museum of American History for a quick visit. They have a large exhibit of the flag that hung at Fort Ross and inspired the Star Spangled Banner. We also checked out the Revolutionary War Gunboat Philadephia. At this point, Sharon needed to start to get ready for dinner and we caught the Metro back to the hotel. We will come back to the Museum of American History again later in the week.

We got cleaned up and jumped back on the Metro. The plan for the evening is dinner with the Nooters. I have not seen Rob since 2008. We took the Metro to the West Falls Church stop and Nooter picked us up in the parking lot. They barbecued tri-tip and salmon for dinner. It was a nice evening, but too short. I am hoping that I will get a chance to see Rob again during the week. He dropped us back at the Metro and we wound our way home. Again it was almost midnight by the time we got to bed.

Friday, July 01, 2011

2011 Washington D.C. Day 1

Up early, we headed to the Sacramento Airport for an early flight to Washington D.C. Sharon made the flight arrangements and had been telling me for months that we were flying into Reagan. When we checked in, it turned out that we were flying to Dulles! It was a very easy 4 1/2 hour flight.

We caught a cab at Dulles. We are spending the next week at the AKA Whitehouse, an extended stay hotel about two blocks from the Whitehouse.

After checking in, we walked through Lafayette Park to the front of the Whitehouse and met up with Mary Maloney. Sharon and I worked with her at Farm Credit. From there, we headed to the Old Ebbitt Grill for drinks and then dinner.

After dinner, the four of us walked behind the Whitehouse and up the National Mall. We wandered through the Vietnam Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Korean War Memorial and World War II Memorial. The Korean War and World War II Memorials were very cool at night.

Although I have been to Washington D.C. a number of times to see Nooter, it has been thirty years since I wandered the National Mall. We will be back a number of times in the next few days.

By the time we got back to the room, it was almost midnight.

Sacramento to Washington D.C.