Hello and welcome to a special Friday edition of deep thoughts. It seems like forever since I have written a blog. I had a work emergency two weeks ago and was out of town all day Tuesday. Thanks to Johnny Monkey and Frag for filling in for me the past two Wednesdays. My son received an invitation to a baseball tryout called Area Code. Eight MLB teams across the country have tryouts and select a team of 25 to 30 players. The regional tryout my son attended was at Baseball USA in Houston. If you have been to Houston in the summer, you know that heat and humidity are the norm. What we experienced on Tuesday is difficult to describe. It has been very hot the past few days, but normally, Houston is cooled somewhat by the gulf breeze. At the 8:00 am sign in, there was little breeze…so I figured we were in for a long hot day. Blake got signed in and we settled in to try watch the tryouts. Although these tryouts were sponsored by the Texas Rangers, there were many college scouts in attendance. Players were divided into to OF/3B/1B/C. OF’s were hit balls and threw to 3rd and home. Middle infielders were hit balls at 3B and threw to 1st. 1B were hit balls and threw to 3B. Each throw was clocked with radar guns. Catchers were timed throwing to 2B. This is called "pop time". I had Blake just under 1.80, but the official time was 1.9. There were a few guys that threw 88 across the infield. Blake threw 78 to 2B, which is fairly good. I suspect out of 30 catchers that Blake was 3 or 4. The top throw by a catcher was 87 and the kid committed to Texas threw 84, which is amazing considering that you don't get a stride or a crow hop...just receive, pivot and let it fly.
I saw some really impressive young pitchers. You could always tell when a highly rated prospect was throwing as dozens of guns appeared to clock each pitch. Chicks may dig the long balls, but scouts dig heat. The harder the pitchers threw… the more activity among the scouts. One of the pitchers that Blake plays HS ball with was clocked at 92. He made he team, I think. Maybe one day pitchers will be judged on how they pitch and not how hard they throw.
Hitting was more or less a home run derby. Blake has been working very hard at staying on the ball and hitting the outside pitch to the right field gap. He hit well, but I must admit that he did not come prepared with good wood. We recently bought a new BBCOR bat, but did not realize that he would need a wood bat for the tryout. Oh well, sometimes you just have to hit what you have. There are some very talented young guys out there. I think Blake understands now how much work he has ahead of him.
I had to share one last experience that we had Monday evening. After checking into the hotel, we went to get a bite to eat. There is a chain in Houston called Papa…Papadeaux is seafood, Papasitas is Mexican food, Papas is BBQ. This group has done a great job of establishing a great product at every restaurant that I have visited. After ordering our food, we waited for our food. Then we waited some more. After 40 minutes, I began to look around and realized that there was no food coming out of the kitchen. Our waitress came over and apologized for the delay. She had no reason for the delay, but was sorry. I said we have an early morning and in 10 minutes we would have to go somewhere and eat a burger. The manager came over to apologize and let us know that it would not be much longer. She sent the waitress back to make us a special they call “floor guacamole”. The waitress wheeled this big cart over and started peeling avocados. Since I love guacamole, I did not complain. By the time she was finished, our food was there. I have to admit that the food was fantastic. Blake and I had tenderloin fajitas with shrimp stuffed with crab. Damn was it good. Julie had a chipotle salmon that she said was the best she had ever had. Apparently the kitchen was working two cooks short…instead of three, they had one. All I know is that when they opened the door to the kitchen, it looked like someone had been shooting fireworks. That poor guy was busting it. I have to say, it was worth the wait. What really sets this chain apart was what the manager did…she came by to let us know that the meal was on her. She said, “we are better than that”. Please come back and we will do better next time. You can be sure that I will go back.
Here are a few pictures from our trip:
8:00 am check in. It was only 92 then. After lunch, it was 108 all day. What a broiler of a day...
The guy in the black is a scout for The University of Missouri.
Blake with the catcher's preparing to hit.
This was half of the catchers. The others were sent to catch bullpens.
On the way home. Not bad for driving and taking a picture at 70 mph.
This was one of Fitzpatricks victims...
I have been thinking about the mess at Penn State in the aftermath of the Sandusky trial. I know that many are calling for heads to roll at Penn State but I doubt that the NCAA has the stomach or the nads to do anything. So much attention has been given to this incident that I have tried to take a step back to try to determine how this was allowed to happen. As I pondered this…I realized that this is not the first time that a cover up of this magnitude has happened. It has not been that long ago that the Catholic Church had a problem with priests abusing young boys and then trying to cover up the act. I stumbled upon an article about Donald Fitzpatrick. If you are a very astute baseball fan, you may recognize this name as the former Red Sox clubhouse manager. I was stunned to read before Sandusky…there was Fitzpatrick. What? I never even heard about this. In truth, it was creepy how similar these two predators were. They used the glory of a sports program to draw young boys in and then abused them. The Red Sox covered these acts, just as Penn State attempted to do. One of the clubhouse boys that had been abused told Red Sox home clubhouse manager Vince Orlando that Fitzpatrick had abused him for the previous three seasons. Orlando fired the boy. According to two sources that requested anonymity, a player encountered Fitzpatrick in the shower with a clubhouse boy. Like McCreary, he went to the team instead of the police. Fitzpatrick kept his job. The question that screams in my brain is…why? How do good people allow such evil to continue? Is the scrutiny of reporting a predator too great? While we all are horrified to read about Sandusky, what really scares me is that it will probably happen again. How do we change our culture to prevent this? I guess the reality is that we have to fight this one battle at a time. Perhaps Penn State must be made an example of so that schools, teams and companies get the message. I think this is necessary, but I wonder if the NCAA is even the right group to bring the hammer down.
Here is the link to this article, there is much more that I did not cover:
So, we are finally going to have a playoff in D1 football. Although I wish they would have opted for an 8 team playoff, I certainly like the 4 team format over the BCS. In most years, how many teams really "deserve" to be in a playoff? One of the complaints that so many had regarding a playoff is that the playoff would make the regular season meaningless. It appears that strength of schedule will be a big component of selecting teams. Guess what this means? To me, this means that the Big East and ACC will have little chance of having teams in the playoff. What this means to me is that there will be more movement. B.O.B suggested a Notre Dame to the Big 12...that really makes sense when you think about it. The Big 12 could add Florida State and Notre Dame and have a conference that would rival the SEC. Notre Dame is not stupid, they see what is happening and a move to the Big 12 would do nothing but help their recruiting. We shall see what happens, but thank goodness we finally have a playoff. Any bets on how long it will take before this becomes an 8 team playoff? $$ is the driving force in college football and they are leaving billions on the table with only 4 teams in the dance.
The Dodgers need Kemp to get well quickly...
Before I close, I had to remark a bit about MLB. Have you noticed what has happened in the NL West? The Giants just swept the Dodgers to tie them for the lead. In all of the years of playing, the Dodgers have never been shut out in a series by the Giants. Three games…not one run. Lincecum finally pitched like we all expected him to. If he is finding his groove, this division race will be a battle. I am still not convinced that Harvey’s DBacks are out of the race. A young phenom made his debut tonight against the Braves. Although he did not pitch long enough to get the win, he looks like he will be a keeper. For those of you thinking the Yankees are going to run away and hide…Sabathia and Pettitte both landed on the DL this week. Red Sox lost a tough one tonight, but I have a suspicion that they are not out of the race. Have you noticed that the Rays are falling and can’t seem to get up? When is Longoria due back? They really need his bat, leadership and defense.
That’s all I have this week, but I will leave you with a bit of Jack Handey to take with you:
When I die, I want to go peacefully in my sleep like Grandfather did -- not screaming in terror like the passengers in his car.
If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason.
Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a few deep thoughts of your own...