Say It Ain’t So Mike!

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Long ShotIt’s been about a week now since I finished the book. If you read any of my tweets while I plowed through it, you know already that I am deeply conflicted. First of all, I should be fair and link to the Amazon Kindle purchase page just in case you want to experience this for yourself. Long Shot If you don’t follow me on twitter or missed any of my blurbs, here are my 140 character reactionary bursts:

Piazza Tweets

I read some of the review on Amazon and it is interesting to see that about 1/2 the folks there who wrote one came away with the same taste in their mouths.

Mike Piazza, the person writes with a voice that is deeply insecure, defensive and quick to assume that anyone who EVER does ANYTHING he doesn’t agree with is somehow out to get him. For a guy who is writing this book with the intention of PROVING that he earned every accolade he receives on his own merits vs on the backs of his dad and his familial connection to the Dodgers organization – he utterly blows it.

In my humble opinion, every time he tried to clarify some detail from his past that he thought had been improperly sourced by the media, he simply dug himself into the mess deeper. It became a case of “I think he doth protest too much” on so many topics.

That’s not true of everything he tries to debunk. For instance, I do still believe that he never injected himself with any PED’s. I also think he is not gay. Both those rumors seemed easy enough for him to debunk and they came across as much more straight forward topics in his way of addressing them. At any rate – he didn’t seem to be WHINING about them as much!

When he whines is when he talks about nearly every personal and professional relationship he has while in the MLB. At some point he ends up disappointed in, or hurt by, or just plain angry at everyone. Along the way he ADMITS he has a chip on his shoulder and that he knows it sounds like he is making tons of excuses for himself but he just continues barreling down that path every time.

His interpretation of Vin Scully interviewing him while he was in his contract negotiation with the Dodgers – when he describes it as Vin “throwing him under the bus” is just absurd. Whether you read the transcript he puts in the book, or just go find the interview video online and watch it – I cannot see ANY evidence to support that claim! Especially given that Scully is otherwise never mentioned – clearly has NO vendetta or reason to spin anything against Mike – and clearly never DID.

I see that as encapsulating the entire problem I have with the book – everyone is out to get Mike and gosh darnit he’s going to show just how everyone did at every twist and turn in his career and if you don’t believe him then you are in on it too!

SIGH………………………

Poor embittered Mike.

On the other hand, there are also some really really enjoyable portions of the book for anyone who is simply a fan of the game. For all the whining and me me me presented – I do think Mike ADORES the game. Baseball was his obsession from the time he was very young. A pretty healthy set of OCD rituals made him enough of a standout that even when he was clearly taking advantage of opportunities presented to him thanks to his father’s connections, it was still up to him to make people take notice. The story of Ted Williams doing just that is darn awesome. Piazza’s own awe at that event is very well expressed. In fact, his overall writing style is pretty well done. Obviously the negatives came through loud & clear!  Since Mike is just a few years younger than me, his childhood baseball memories parallel mine and it was fun to relive those years through his eyes.

And I was very very pleasantly surprised to read the chapter on his time in San Diego. It seems to have been the one season that he focused on just being happy and enjoyed playing the game. How could he not when he got to play in the best city ever and have fans like these:

Padres Photo Day April 2006

Padres Photo Day April 2006

I will cheer just as loudly WHEN he gets into the Hall of Fame (and he should) as I would had I not read the book and discovered the less charming sides of his personality. He does a mighty fine job of tooting his own horn, but I do think he worked hard to get to that point. I am just sad to see that he still thinks he needs to prove some things – and I cannot help but wonder if it is more about proving things to HIMSELF vs to the rest of us.

Story Time – All About Baseball Cards

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Let’s all flashback to 1979-1980 shall we?

Even though this tale actually begins in the summer of 1975 when my friend Marie and I met at 10 years old hanging out in the back warehouse-type rooms of our parent’s workplaces. We had no where else to go when school was out so we hung out back there.

Sometimes I helped my mom add up stuff as she kept the books for their business (and we wonder why I am an accountant?).

Most though it was too hot back there and we kept the back door rolled up so I would wander along the line of the back alley of the business park. There I spotted another wayward girl hanging out in the back of the shop where her mom also worked and a lifelong friendship was born.

Even though we didn’t live in each other’s neighborhood or go to school together we had a lot in common.

Neither of us were girly girls.

We were both only children.

We both loved baseball.

Tucked away in the corner of the same strip mall of stores was the perfect place for us – a baseball card shop! We spent pretty much all of 1975-1981 hanging out together during school breaks and buying nearly entire collections of Topps cards (and oh weren’t those delightful rectangle pick sticks of bubble gum just the BEST?!)

Now, we weren’t modern day collectors by any means. Heck, that wasn’t why you bought cards back then. You bought them to PLAY with them. To trade them. We didn’t preserve them in baseball card holders or binders. Keep them in wrappers? Oh heck no!

Our cards were well well well worn! Some ended up clipped to our bike spokes to make that tell tale “clack clack clack” sound. Mostly though, we made up card games with our collection.

Instead of hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades we used teams as suits.

Our favorite game?

Well, a bit of variation on Old Maid.

Being the semi-barely-rebellious pre-teens and then early teenagers we were, we called it “Oh Shit”

You scored bonus points if you had one or both of our two favorite players – they were Wild Cards that could be used any way you wanted. You got negative points if you ended up with one of the two Oh Shit cards.

The cards?

Well, so named of course because we were girls who were starting to notice boys and naturally our favorite players were as much about being cute as they were about being good players (though I will point out that MY favorite in those days was a perennial All Star and did end up in the Hall of Fame):

1979 Bucky Dent

1979 Carlton Fisk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The two Oh Shit cards are naturally so named because that is pretty much how both of us reacted when we first saw them in our bubble gum packs:

1980 Bruce Bochy

1979 Jack Clark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course what is so funny about us naming Bruce Bochy as an “Oh Shit” is that as any long long time blog followers know, 15 and I had season tickets to the Padres from 2004-2006 (he was not 15 in those days of course!) The manager for the Padres? Bruce Bochy! And I kid you not but I would see his picture up on the jumbotron when they did the lineup announcements ‘As penciled in by the manager: #15 Bruuuce BOCHY!’ and a voice in the back recesses of my brain would say “Ooooohhhhhhh SHIT!”

Murphy’s Law, version 872

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Since I was not able to see Game 2 yesterday, naturally SportsBoy got the call to start at 2nd base – and he turned two double plays. He had one at bat and lined out to their 2nd baseman (a just reward?). However, 1 at bat in 7 innings tells you that the other team’s pitcher was mowing them down rather efficiently and they lost 4-0. He was so efficient that the game flew by and was over before I even packed up my laptop. Here’s hoping tomorrow’s game drags out a little longer so I can see some of it! They start at 3:15 and if I sneak out at 4:30 I figured I’d see an inning or two normally.

A new season begins

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High school baseball starts for real tomorrow. And I have learned that it is WAY MORE intense than football!

He has either a game or a practice 6 out of 7 days – Sunday is the only day of rest. Mother Nature is being kind to us and the only rain in site the next week is on a scheduled practice vs game day. Something tells me we will LOVE rain outs simply for the break they will provide.

As I wrote on Facebook ealier this week, if I don’t see you at either work, my workouts, or his baseball games – I’ll see you in June!

As such, my writing here may be even more sparse. I admit to a lack of creativity right now. But, that is connected to my most recent reading material which has largely been on political events as I blew through a small past due stack of magazines the last two weeks of Feb. So, those got my mind on that topic & I wrote a bit more over on that site. I also attracted my first ever, honest to goodness right wing troll. So stereotypical that he even uses Reagan in a cowboy hat as his avatar. I hoped he would calm down and provide some nice discussion/debate banter, but his second comment was so nasty I had to delete it and he even went over to another friend’s site and trashed her over there. Sigh…the internet can sure make people brave when they can hide behind psuedonyms & alternate pictures.

Oh, and my walking OCD has extended into my work day. Where once I would combine trips to places like the water cooler or the fax machine or to drop off paperwork or go to the bathroom or to the lunchroom – now, I purposefully make one trip per chore and I walk the longer way back through the hallways to my desk. Yes, I laugh at this.

I’ve also decided that if MY SPOT is open, I’ll take it and take the stairs down even if that means carrying my laptop. If it isnot, I’ll park further away. I’m sure you can all rest easier knowing that I’ve reached a compromise in my OCD conundrum 😉

Late Friday beauty – is there anything better than cats with kids?

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A rare moment when someone ELSE has a cat problem

I had to capture this moment last night – Amber actually sat in someone elses lap while mine was available on the same sofa! And? They are BOTH smiling! Doesn’t get better than that does it?

After 10 days of winter break, the first work week of 2011 has been survived – barely!

Each day did get easier, but MAN it was hard to focus on work all day long.  On Monday my eyes were literally hurting from looking at the computer after just 3 hours at the desk. It doesn’t help that we go full speed ahead into a month end close being in the accounting department. Which means no gradual adjusting – Just Do It!

The weekend wont get better. There’s the 1st freshmen winter baseball game tomorrow morning – 40 minutes away of course.  Then an August dad comes in town for business so we will hang out with him for dinner.

Sunday I drive up to LAX to pick up my long absent Sweet Prince who has been in China on business. Yes, he missed NYE & my birthday. He has some making up catching up to do!

If I get back down to San Diego in time, SB & I will go for our third workout of the week. Which is good since it seems like all I’ve blogged about up until now this year was FOOD 😉

Speaking of which, tonight I tried the slow cooker roasted chicken that I posted about a couple of weeks ago but with a twist. Bacon. Lots and LOTS of bacon. Shoved in the middle. Shoved under the skin. And then draped over the entire carcass. A whole pack of bacon.

And? My house smells divine and it tasted even more divine. Yeah, I think I better make sure I make it to that third workout!

And yes, I am a huge sports fan normally and YES, I would normally be grumbling about being away from the TV for the 1st weekend of NFL playoffs. But much like the baseball playoffs when the Padres were eliminated the last day of the regular season, my Chargers fell on their helmets this year and are done. And I am bitter. And this weekend anyway, I am FINE being too busy to watch. The rest of you who have teams still in it? Bite me!

And I mean that in the *nicest* possible way of course 🙂

(Not so) little boys ALWAYS find the mud!

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SportsBoy played in his first baseball game in a long time and of course he had to pull it off in style. it’s Freshman fall ball with the high school team and Saturday morning they played on a field at a high school that was in pretty good shape. Varsity field and all that. The last rain we had was a week ago so it was slightly damp, but only from the morning moisture. However, there WAS a patch of swampland in the shallow part of right field. Kind of behind where you would be if you were playing second base (which he was). In the last inning, as they were closing out a tight victory, the ball is hit on a low liner to second. He was positioned so that the ball basically hit the ground *right* where his glove was – he either should have stepped back to take it on a bounce or run in to catch it on the fly. But he got caught at the in between bounce and it skidded off the tip of his glove out into right field. He raced after it, slid to cut it off before it rolled all the way into the outfield and **SPLOOSH!** He came up literally dripping in mud.

Thus endeth the white pants!