Tag Archives: baseball

End of the Season

The long national nightmare has begun. The baseball season came to end this week. Congrats to the San Francisco Giants and their fans. So here is my end-of-the-season baseball blog.

I made a trip to Minneapolis in late September and attended two Twins games at Target Field.  Since I live near Seattle and attend several games there each year I was asked how Target Field compares to Safeco Field. Here are my observations:

Food: Safeco has the iconic Garlic Fries and Ichi Roll sushi along with the typical ballpark fare. Seafood legend Ivars brings a local presence. Target Field has a cuban sandwich shop operated by former Twin Tony Oliva (how is this man not in the Hall of Fame?) and former first baseman Kent Hrbek has a sports bar at the park. But for the regular Twins fan it’s the State Fair food (if you don’t know about the Fair read my post “The Great Minnesota Get-Together”) like cheese curds and mini donuts that makes it’s mark at Target. Advantage: Target Field.

Weather: All around Minneapolis has better weather than Seattle. But it rains a lot in Seattle. Safeco has this amazing rolling roof that guarantees that a little rain isn’t going to get in the way of baseball. Target Field has no such roof and it’s been known to snow as late as June there! Imagine finishing up a World Series in early November in Minneapolis. Advantage: Safeco.

Design: Safeco was built to look like an old stadium with exposed steel girders, old style lettering – even a hand operated score board. Target Field has a very modernistic design to it. I couldn’t help but feel like I was walking around a Target store. There are plenty of uniquely Minnesota elements at Target Field from the outdoor Hall of Fame, a neon original Twins logo in center field and plenty of stone and vegetation common to Minnesota. Advantage: Safeco

Transportation: Safeco Field is located in a warehouse section of Seattle called SODO (South Of DOwntown) while Target Field is located in the heart of the Minneapolis entertainment district right next to the Target Center. I took a bus to the game. The stop was one block away and the pick-up after the game was directly in the front of the stadium. Light rail originates on the other side of the stadium and the train stops less than a block away. Safeco is very convenient for those who drive and parking is plentiful. There is light rail and bus service about 3 blocks away but light rail is new to Seattle and has limited service. Advantage: Target Field

Fan Experience:Safeco has some great areas to roam like the Mariner’s Hall of Fame and the Bullpen Market that places you up-close-and-personal to the pitching staff of both teams. The field itself is phenomenal managed by one of the best ground crews in baseball. And Target painted the Twins logo behind home plate in all white – during the inaugural season! Really! No color?  To their credit the Twins organization somehow got their hands on the original Twins ballpark flagpole. (Metropolitan Stadium was torn down 30 years ago for the Mall of America. They have installed the flag pole inside the park and every night a veteran is introduced (Army,  Navy, Marines, etc) and he or she raises the flag during the national anthem. The vendors at Target are a cut above. Advantage: Target Field

Mascot: Let’s see. The Twins Bear or the Mariner’s Moose. The Bear looks like he works summers  at the Valley Fair amusement park. Very uninspired. The Mariner’s Moose is one of the best sports mascots in professional sports. Advantage: Safeco

Overall, if I had to choose which stadium I would prefer to have season tickets to my heart leans toward Target Field. But my head tells me that I would face the very real possibility of rain or snow delaying or postponing a game. I like the certainty of games at Safeco, rain or shine but I would much rather watch the Twins than the Mariner’s. When it boils down to it I can’t choose. Both are great parks with their own strengths. I would recommend that you attend baseball at your nearest ballpark and if you’re ever in Seattle or Minneapolis……

Monday Musings

It’s the last full week of October! Here are a few items that I hope you find interesting and worthwhile!

Financial Peace University has a special  for churches  that host a Financial Peace University course by the end of November! Just pre-pay for 5 lifetime memberships and the coordinators packet (a $299 value) is FREE! I like free! I ordered our packet today. We are starting the course at our church in a few weeks. The course consists of 13 2-hr sessions so you may have to be creative in fitting it into your established training/education model. We are offering it on Sunday mornings 8:30 – 10:30.

 

What’s up with Randy Quaid!Just when you thought it couldn’t get any weirder he and his wife show up in Canada asking for asylum. (Insert punchline here!) This article come from the Mpls StarTribune.

 

NextGen Mentoring has been a great experience for me and the six other guys who have participated. Tonight is our second-to-last session. By the final session we will have read 10 books together, memorized 18 verses, worked on our relationships with our respective spouses, and been formed into a group of solid guys that support and encourage one another. I am making preliminary plans to mentor a second group in 2011. I highly recommend it.

 

Restaurant Review. My wife and I recently enjoyed a great Italian meal at Sorci’s Italian Cafe & Enoteca in Sumner, WA. This smaller, slightly funky cafe serves full-portioned meals with bold flavors. The creative owners offer cooking classes followed by dinner and several take-and-bake items. If you live in S. King County or Pierce County, WA put this one on your GPS and enjoy! (Reservations recommended for dinner.)

 

Yoga Anyone? The latest hub-bub concerning Mars Hill’s Mark Driscoll is over some comments he has made about Christians and the practice of Yoga. Our friends over at Relevant have joined the fray taking umbrage with Driscoll’s position. What do you think? Should Christians practice Yoga?

 

America’s Four Gods.  A friend passed along this link to me yesterday at church. Of particular interest is the God Test that you can take.  The authors write: They show that regardless of religious tradition (or lack thereof), Americans worship four distinct deities: the Authoritative God, who is both engaged with the world and judgmental; the Benevolent God, who loves and aids us in spite of our failings; the Critical God, who catalogs our sins but does not punish them (at least not in this life); and the Distant God, who stands apart from the world He created. The authors show that these four images of God form the basis of our worldviews and are among the most powerful predictors of our feelings on America’s most contentious issues. ” What are your thoughts on the Four Gods?

 

World Series. The Rangers and the Giants have made it to the Fall Classic. Both of these underdog teams deserve to be there and it should be a good series. Who are you hoping/expecting to win? I’ll be cheering for Texas after the way they took care of the Yankees.

Monday Musings

1. Here’s a great post by Kevin DeYoung who argues for more faithful, risk taking plodders as church leaders. Doesn’t exactly sound like the stereotypical church planter these days but that’s the point!

2. My wife and I stumbled on a little restaurant in Sumner, WA called the Buttered Biscuit. They advertise “gramma food” which appears to be true of their breakfast menu. We stopped in for lunch and had some tasty sandwiches that didn’t remind me of my grandma’s cooking at all! I’m not sure they know who they really are as a restaurant (too many themes seem to be going on at once – comfort food, Mexican, Italian, ribs, etc.) but the food we ordered was good and the service was friendly so I think we’ll go back for breakfast some day. I couldn’t find a website for the Buttered Bisquit but there is a mention on TripAdvisor.

3. We’re going to start a men’s group/class this fall at our church that focuses on developing men of godly character. Some of the themes we will address will be honesty, integrity, purity, generosity, leadership, etc. Our desire is to help men develop supportive, encouraging relationships with other men that will help them grow as disciples but we don’t want this to be a dry men’s “Sunday School” class. I would like to hear from others about how you have effectively helped men become better leaders, husbands, fathers, friends, and followers.

4. I’m a semi-committed baseball fan. Having lived in the NW for 15 years I have developed an appreciation for the Seattle Mariners (insert favorite punch line here). My wife and I attend about 10 games each year at Safeco but I’m a life-long Twins fan. It’s been fun watching the Twins field a competitive team these past three years. (Today the surging Twins lead the American League Central by 5 games!) This Saturday my wife and I will be at Safeco when the Twins come to town. And thanks to a brother and a brother-in-law in Minnesota with ticket connections, I might get to attend two Twins games at the new Target Field next month! I hear it’s an amazing ballpark.

5. Two of my favorite missionaries are John & Mel Bjorgen – young first-term missionaries to Belize. They are the real deal and I enjoy reading their blog posts. You might, too.

6. We used to live in Spokane, WA. Here’s a few of our favorite Spokane restaurants: Maggies South Hill Grill is a great owner-operated eatery on Spokane’s South Hill that is almost always busy! A very creative and great-tasting menu. Tomato Street is a fun Italian place for the whole family on Spokane’s north side. Good portions. Just make sure you don’t fill up on their fantastic garlic bread!  The Park Bench is a seasonal walk-up in Spokane’s historic Manito Park. It’s a great place for lunch in the midst of several outstanding gardens – and they’re all FREE (the gardens, that is). A great place for appetizers is the Steel Head Grill on N Howard.

Have a great week!

Monday Musings

1. It may be mid-July but summer still evades us here in Seattle. Highs in the 60’s yesterday, mid-70’s today while the rest of the nation is bracing for a second summer heat wave. According to the NCDC the city of Seattle gets sunny days 43% of the time. Where does your city rank?

2. Neither our soccer team (Sounders) or our baseball team (Mariners) are hot either. Last night the Sounder’s utilized a goalie who had never played in the MLS. Saturday night Jordan Jennings played in front of 25 people. Sunday night he took the field in front of over 45,000!

3. Tonight the Mariners try to give my Twins a hand by taking on the White Sox. The Twins closed the gap a little over the weekend by winning 3 of 4 against the Windy City’s Sox. This hit in the bottom of the 9th capped a 4-run ninth Sunday for the Twins walk-off victory. I’ll be in the stands at Safeco on Wed night with my brother-in-law from MN. Both of us will be cheering for the Mariners and watching the scoreboard to see how the Twins are doing against the Indians.

4. I enjoyed this interview of Lauren Sandler by Jason Boyett on the myth of the Only Child Syndrome. (I am the parent of an only who breaks all the stereotypes!)

5. Performing my first wedding in over 3 years on July 31 in beautiful downtown Centralia, WA. Working on my wedding meditation today. Leaning toward a few words about what covenantal relationships look like. Let me know if you have any other ideas!

6. Anne Jackson (@flowerdust) is riding a bicycle across the country as part of the Ride:Well tour to raise awareness for clean drinking water in Africa.. She has a few open dates on her speaking calendar at the end of the summer. Check out the details of her cause and her open dates at her blog – Flowerdust.net.

7. A thoughtful article on the missional nature of orphan adoption in the current issue of CT.

8. Another post by Jason Boyett – this time in Relevant on 9 things You Should Know Before You Turn 30! (I wish I had but maybe there’s still time for you!)

9. Finally, I got to help build our new worship center. The framers needed help raising the first wall and most of the staff jumped at the chance to help. That’s me in the red hard-hat 5th from the left.

The Kid Retires

I was lucky enough to see Ken Griffey Jr at the plate in two Mariner’s home openers. They were his last two – not his first two.  Still, for this baseball fan those two games remain some of my best baseball memories. Ken Griffey Jr retired from baseball yesterday on the 23rd anniversary of his signing with the Mariner’s as the first round draft pick overall.  He was the best baseball player I ever saw play – and I’ve seen several Hall of Famers play the game.

Griffey deserved to enter retirement with more fanfare than a written statement released to the press. But maybe he wanted to avoid an emotional display that would be recorded and replayed countless times. Hopefully, he’ll come back to the House that Jr Built for a proper send-off.

Now Ichiro takes the stage as the only super-star on the team. He’s an amazing player in his own right whose play and love for the games was enhanced last season with Jr on the team. So maybe Jr saved baseball in Seattle twice. The first time back in ’95 when the Mariner’s beat the Yankees (see photo above) to advance to the American League Championship series and then in ’09 when Griffey came back to end his career in Seattle – and helped to keep Ichiro in Seattle.

It will seem a little strange to attend my next Mariner’s game without Griffey on the team. But time marches on and it was time for Griffey to retire from the game that has been so good to him and that he was so good for. He had the sweetest swing in baseball and for most of his career was the best in the game. Remarkable defensive skills and power at the plate. Had he not suffered so many injuries in Cincinnati he would be higher than 5th all-time on the HR list – maybe even 1st. He retired with the highest total of any active player. A position now held by former team mate Alex Rodriguez.  Griffey is a guaranteed first-time unanimous selection to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Thanks for the memories.

Good Luck, Kid!

That Is Just Wrong!

I’m pretty sure that this is not a national movement but I was surprised to read in the Tacoma News-Tribune this morning that a sports writer is advocating a play-clock in baseball!  Is he crazy? That is just wrong! The joy of baseball is its unhurried pace. The contest matches the skill of the pitcher against the skill of the batter. It pits the throwing ability of the fielders against the quickness and agility of the runners. We watch and wait (emphasis on ‘wait’) to see if the pitcher will be able to strike out the batter or if the batter will jump on a bad pitch and get a hit. Then we wait to see what that runner will do once on base. Its an intricate game with numerous battles taking place on the field over a span of nine innings – not a fixed time period.

According to the article, umpires would assess a walk against any pitcher that took more than 20 seconds between pitches! Why not just call a strike on every foul ball (not just the first two) to prevent a batter from fouling off an unlimited number of pitches? While you’re at it you could assess a ball on a throw to first base that does not get the runner out. Perhaps the best idea is to limit the total number of pitches that may be thrown against any one batter to to 6.  If you can’t get the batter out in 6 pitches then he is awarded first base. That would certainly move the game along and would likely result in more runs (most of them by walks). Now wouldn’t that be exciting! If high scores are your goal than prohibit the insertion of a relief pitcher during innings! Make him pitch an entire inning unless injured. And if he claims an injury in order to be removed he must go on the 10-day disabled list!

Don’t you just love messing with all the rules?

I say, leave the clock to sports that were created with a time limit as part of the contest and leave baseball to set its own pace!

What do you think!