Sunday, November 27, 2022

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Vandegrift Band Chaperone Log (long)

UPDATES: 

  • Updated name of travel company. Lots of copy editing, correcting verb tense, formatting, and spelling mistakes

 

2022-11-10 (Thursday) Chaperone Meeting, Vandegrift High School

The first part of the evening was a meeting with all 385 students plus parents, ~40 chaperones, and ~30 band staff and others about the upcoming trip. After that, the band staff and the travel agent met with just the chaperones. 

This trip was insane.

The students, chaperones and staff were being split over 5 flights from Austin to all 3 New York airports, with a full itinerary including buses, subways, Broadway shows, museum visits, a dinner cruise, oh, and by the way, a parade. As chaperones, my wife and I were each in charge of 12 students, including our own. This was going to be exhausting. The sheer level of planning involved was overwhelming; I am glad Perform America-TX is doing all of that work. Oh, and there was another entire group called "Friends and Family" which Perform America-TX was also handling. They had their own itinerary, with planes, and buses, etc. Jade and I were overwhelmed. This was going to be some trip.

2022-11-18 (Friday) - Vandegrift vs. Converse Judson Playoff Game 

The night before the weekend we left, the band had to play at a playoff game for the Viper football team. Fortunately, this game was local, at the Kelly Reaves Athletic Complex in Round Rock. This meant that the kids were home by midnight. However, Jade was volunteering for the uniform group, and had to deal with getting the uniforms back from the kids from the playoff game, and getting them setup for the next day.

2022-11-19 (Saturday) - Sendoff concert; Meet the kids; Load the truck; Pack

It was raining. Band staff wisely moved all band activity to the competition gym instead of the football field or the band practice field. 

  • 7:30 AM Band hall opens 
  • 8:00 AM Run through rehearsal for Macy's show
  • 9:00 AM Get dressed for preview performance 
  • 10:00 AM Band presents preview performance. The gym does not have the correct shape to do the choreography for the show, so the kids just played it through for us twice without drill. It is awesome. 
  • 10:30 AM Opportunity for kids to pose with parents for pictures. 

Jade was dealing with uniforms in the band hall, so I tracked down both kids and got pics. 

  • 11:00 AM Kids shed uniforms, packed their shakos and instruments, made sure they had their flip folders, and left. Loading crew packed the semi, and it got on its way. It had to be in Stamford, CT by Monday morning for a rehearsal. 
  • 11:30 AM We met the kids we are in charge of. 

I knew my son, of course, and one of his friends. I had met one of the other kids once, and I am acquainted with the mother of two of the other boys, but most of these guys were strangers to me. I had them text me selfies with their names and pictures, and asked them for parents' phone numbers. I tried to setup a group chat with them, but for some reason, I could never get it to send to all 12 of them at once. It ended up being a real annoyance throughout the trip. Then we went home and start packing. Actually, we went shopping to get the last of what we needed. My wife overbought on long underwear and winter socks, but it did promise to be cold, so it was good to be prepared.

2022-11-20 (Sunday) - Let's go! 

  • 3:00 AM - Woke everybody up. Tried to stuff some food down sleepy, not hungry, children's throats. Loaded the car. 
  • 4:00 AM Met at Band Hall. 

This was half of the band; the other half met at 3:00 and had already departed. We were given our trip packets, consisting of a folder with an incredibly detailed itinerary, and a large manila envelope. Inside the envelope is a set of smaller manila envelopes, one for each day. Inside those are envelopes, one for each room of kids, and one for us, that had per diem money, Metrocards, and any tickets or wrist bands we would need. Handy! We also picked up our boarding passes for the flight to New York. Our flight would depart at 7:40 and would land at JFK at 12:25 PM EST. We loaded the buses (school buses). Since Jade and I were both going, Jade and the other chaperone on our school bus agreed to watch my kids while I drove the car to the airport myself. They were not providing transportation home from the airport on Friday, so we needed to do this so we would have a car when we got back. If this hadn't been allowed, I would have had to drive the car to the airport the day before, and we would have had to leave a second car parked at Vandegrift all week. And it would have been a really tight fit with all of our luggage in the second car.

  • 5:00 AM We arrived at ABIA, and the fun began. 

I parked the car in off-airport parking, and got to the terminal just in time to meet our bus. We overwhelmed security at the Austin airport. They eventually gave us a dedicated security line, and directed other passengers to the others in the airport. It took quite a while to get through, and two of the boys I was in charge of had their bags more thoroughly searched because they violated some minor TSA rule or other. The plan was to give them per diem money, and allow them to get food somewhere in the terminal. However, as we were walking towards the gate, they announced "Final boarding call". Two of my boys didn't yet have seat assignments, so we all waited while the American agent quickly took care of that problem. We were the only ones boarding, so I was convinced that plane was already full, and Jade and her girls were going to miss the flight. We got on board, and there was nobody there. Fortunately, this was a non-stop, so they held the plane long enough for the other 5-6 chaperone groups to get their students on board.

  • 7:40 AM We are on our way. 

Nobody got food. On the flight, we were each given a package with two cookies. And we could have drinks. This was going to be a long, hungry day.

  • 12:25 PM EST Landed at JFK with no incident. 

Band staff was telling everybody to get to baggage claim as fast as possible, so we did not get a restroom break or food inside the secure area of the airport. Got to baggage claim and got all of our bags OK, but the buses weren't there yet. And then they announced that they were stuck in traffic, and would be 1-2 hours. There were no bathrooms in the baggage claim area. We escorted kids up to the ticketing concourse so that they could go. In the baggage claim area we were, there was a Dunkin Donuts, a local pizza place, and a little sundries shop that had sandwiches. We overwhelmed them; they were not used to needing to feed 70+ people. After 45 minutes, the airport people moved us against the walls because more flights were arriving and their luggage was coming out onto the conveyors, and we were in the way. 

  • 2:30 PM - The buses got there, so we loaded, and headed out to Times Square. 

There was still traffic. Sunday before Thanksgiving and all. 

  • ~5:30 PM - Arrived at hotel.

 We were not allowed to get off the buses. A tour guide loaded the bus, and we proceeded to drive up 8th avenue to Harlem, then back down 5th avenue back to Times Square while the tour guide told us what was what. 

Independently of our other circumstances, I enjoyed it. We passed Columbia University. We heard about Duke Ellington's house. We heard about the history of Harlem. We passed the Apollo Theater. We heard about the industrialists who built mansions on 5th Avenue across from Central Park.

However, this was still too much. I bet most of the kids were asleep for more than half of that tour.

  • ~9:00 PM - Got off buses and flooded the New York Marriott Marquis. 

We went up the 3rd floor, where they passed out room keys. Told our kids to take their luggage upstairs, splash water on their faces, and meet back down at the 3rd floor. 

  • ~9:30 PM - All of my boys came back down.

We were starving. The boys were supposed to be back in their rooms for the night at 11:00, so we did not have much time. We went to Junior's across the street, and got on the list with three tables, but it was apparent that we were not going to finish in time. So we went to McDonald's at 45th and 7th. It was incredibly crowded as well, but at least we finally got some calories. One of my boys did not eat there, and got some felafel from a street vendor on the way back. We all had to wait for it to cook, and it was cold and windy. The boys got on his case a bit. It sure smelled good, though. I got them back to their rooms by 11:00. 

Jade and I felt bad that our kids did not get much to eat that day, so we bought each room a Junior's cheesecake for the night. We ended up with one extra, so we gave it to the head band director. She seemed overjoyed. 

2022-11-21 (Monday) 

  • 4:45 AM - Alarm went off 
  • 5:00 AM - Banged on kids' doors and make sure that all 12 were awake. 
  • 5:15 AM - Walked to Dallas BBQ on 42nd to get a catered breakfast. It was probably the only venue that we could use, since the entire band was eating there. 
  • 5:30 AM - Most buses were there to pick up kids, but our bus was not. Once again, we were waiting for buses. 
  • 6:15 AM -  Load buses 
  • 9:30 AM - Arrived at Chelsea Piers Athletic Complex for rehearsal. 

This was an incredible place. Two hockey rinks, squash courts, all kinds of stuff I did not get to see, and the 3rd floor was an indoor soccer field, where the band rehearsed. The band directors marked off the dimensions of the Herald Square area where the band was going to do its TV performance. Instruments, uniforms, and shakos had already been unloaded and were waiting for the kids. They get their instruments, and went inside. And the band rehearsed. This was the first time the chaperones get to see the drill for the show. And it was jaw-dropping. The also practiced being in a parade, practicing both turning left (turning from 7th Ave to Central Park South) and turning right (turning from Central Park South to 6th Avenue). 

  • 12:30 PM - Rehearsal finished. 

Kids came outside, put up their instruments, retrieved their uniforms and shakos, and put them all on buses. There were Chick-Fil-A sandwiches and water waiting for them; while Jade helped with uniforms, I got the food and water for our bus, and passed them out. I also helped (a little) the five tuba players on our bus get their horns in cases under the bus. We then go back to the hotel. 

  • 3:00 PM - Arrived back at hotel. 

Kids took instruments up to a storage on the 4th floor, and then took uniforms and shakos to their rooms, where the kids hung out the rest of the afternoon.

  • 5:30 PM - Got the kids for dinner. 

They had to have better-than-sweats-or-pajamas, since we would be going to a show afterwards. I walked my boys up to Ellen's Stardust Diner, but I made a mistake. That was for lunch the next day. Oops. So I had to walk them back and then go the other direction to John's Pizzeria. 

  • 7:15 PM - We walked to Radio City Music Hall. 
  • 8:00 PM - Christmas Spectacular featuring the Rockettes started. 

Kids really sat up and took notice of the Wooden Soldiers number. They marveled at how straight the lines that the Rockettes made really were. For me, I was really impressed with the flute and piccolo playing, but the bari sax/bass clarinet player was disappointing. They played all of the correct notes, but they did not have that sound that grabs you and won't let go. 

  • 10:00 PM - Made our way back to Times Square for a big group photo. 
  • 10:45 PM - Walked the very short distance back to hotel. 
  • 11:00 PM - Chaperone meeting 11:30 PM Room check. We brought the kids bagels. They were most enthustastic about them. 
  • 12:00 AM - Bed time 

By this time, kids were starting to get sick. We have a doctor in our chaperones, and a few others who are "medically-trained chaperones". The doctor had brought many flu kits, and was trying to get sick kids tamaflu or equivalent. We ran the local pharmacies out.

2022-11-22 (Tuesday) - The Slog 

  • 6:30 AM - Alarm 
  • 6:45 AM - Woke up rooms 

We were supposed to physically see all of the kids in the rooms at wake-up. When I got to one of my rooms, one of the boys was in the shower, so I waited. Everybody (including me) was reading their phones.

One of my Facebook memories was a video of me playing bass clarinet in a Cedar Park Winds rehearsal, and so played it. All three boys wanted to see it. One of them is a bass clarinetist himself, and he enjoyed the video.

I got to talk to all three of them about playing music "on the side" as an adult. It was fun, at least for me.

  • 7:00 AM - Walked to Dallas BBQ 

Breakfast was mediocre. Industrial hydraulic scrambled eggs. Bacon was pretty good, but not cooked enough for Jade. Greasy sausage links. French fries. Mediocre toast. Cereal in little individual serving packages. Bananas and oranges. Bad coffee. No diet soda. I don't normally do hot drinks, so I was going through caffeine withdrawal. 

  • 8:15 AM - Loaded buses to go to Central Park for concert for parents 
  • 8:45 AM - Arrived Central Park. Unloaded and walked to Naumburg Bandshell and setup. 
  • 9:30 AM - Performed.
  • 10:00 AM - Photo op.
  • 10:30 AM - Loaded instruments on buses.
  • 10:45 AM - Back to hotel.
  • 11:15 AM - Unloaded.
  • 12:30 PM - Walked to Ellen's Stardust Diner.

The show was great. The food was OK, although the people that got cheeseburgers complained that they were not cooked enough, and that evidently caused some kids some distress. No diet soda here; only Pepsi or water.

  • 2:15 PM - Took the subway to the American Natural History museum. 

I handed out subway Metrocards on the subway platform, but was short one. I did not realize I could simply use my watch for Apple Pay, so I bought another Metrocard. And then one of my boys discovered that I had given him two that were stuck together. So now I had two. Which came in handy later, as one of her girls lost hers. The boys and I had to try a few times to get the hang of swiping Metrocards. Some of them never did really figure it out. Got to Natural History Museum without further incident. 

  • 2:45 PM - Went into Natural History Museum. 

I headed straight for the dinosaurs, as I knew about their collection since I was a little kid. It did not disappoint. The bathrooms were hidden. Jade, the uniform manager, and I spent a long time trying to find them. The rest of the museum consisted of stuffed animals in weird little displays attempting to show them in their habitats. It was really, really dated, and I did not spend much time there. We also had very little time in general. 

Dinosaurs: Yes!; rest of museum: pass 

  • 4:45 PM - Assembled at subway to go find dinner.

A friend of Jade's (who was the mother of two of my boys) had recommended a place called Urban Hawker. It was an indoor food court on 50th near 6th that had a variety of stands of street food from Singapore. Looked great, so we decided to go there with both of our groups. However, this meant we were getting off of the subway one stop sooner than the other chaperone groups, who were going down to Times Square to scrounge. When we got off the subway, we ended up with one extra kid! Oops. He contacted his chaperone, and we did too, and we just took him with us. 

Urban Hawker was a treat. I had some coconut chicken curry that was delicious. It was enclosed, large enough to spread out, but small enough to be able to find all of the kids easily. We setup a table near the door we came in at so we could see the kids if they were going to try to leave. They are great kids, and did not try, of course. Thoroughly yummy, and since the Asian food scene in Austin is small and far away from Steiner Ranch, Jade and I really enjoyed it. 

  • 6:00 PM - Met at hotel to redistribute children. 

We had tickets for three different Broadway shows, Aladdin, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and Beetlejuice. But the kids got to pick their shows, and the chaperones got to make a list of preferences. What that meant is that we had to reallocate kids to chaperones based on which shows we were all going to. And the band staff were also taking kids. 

This meeting was a zoo. All 400+ of us were there, trying to get kids we did not know to join our groups for the walk to the various theaters. I got my kids together, and we headed ot to the New Amsterdam Theater for Aladdin. Once I got away from the crowd on 45th Street, I had six extra kids! I asked them where they were supposed to be, and they said that the head band director had told them to find a group with tickets who were going to Aladdin, and attach themselves. 

Great. 

So now I had 20 kids, 8 of which I did not know, to navigate. And other chaperone groups were also doing the same thing. I asked the kids I did not know to keep track of each other. We made it to the theater OK, but it was chaotic.

I had packed my pocket knife in my checked bag, because I normally always carry it, because it is so darned handy and useful, so I had it on me. Oops. So much for that pocket knife; theater security would not let me take it in. 

  • 7:00 PM - Show started.

It was great. This pit had a great bari sax/bass clarinet player. Played with sass and authority. The cast was talented and funny. The genie, of course, was the big star, and he was hilarious. The actor who played Jasmine had an essentially perfect voice. It was great.

  • 10:00 PM - Started walking back.

After I assembled my original theater group (the add-ons weren't there), the head band director was also trying to assemble her group, and was not succeeding (she was missing half of her kids). She asked me to take about a dozen more kids back with me. We made it. 

  • 10:45 PM - Chaperone meeting.

Head band director said "Thanks for doing 3 days worth of stuff today" and thanked us for being flexible during the chaos of getting to and from the theater. 

  • 11:15 PM - Room check.

One of Jade's girls got sick this day, and the doctor tested her for flu, and she was positive. Our daughter was one of her roommates. So, we had our daughter sleep on our fold-out sofabed, one of the other girls sleep on the couch in their room, and the sick girl and the other girl sleep in individual beds rather than two in a bed. And hoped.

2022-11-23 Memorium Day

  • 7:00 AM - Departed to Dallas BBQ for breakfast.

Band director had said if all of our kids wanted to sleep in and stay in the hotel, perhaps going to Starbucks, we could. But if any kids wanted to go to breakfast, we all had to go. One of my rooms did. The other two rooms accepted that gracefully, so we all went. It was pretty empty that morning. 

Another one of Jade's girls got sick and stayed in the room all day. The first one felt much better, and joined us for the day.

  • 8:30 AM - Back to hotel.
  • 9:00 AM - Subway down to the Freedom Tower and One World Observatory.

One of the chaperones left the subway one stop early and all of the kids followed him. So we got a nice walk in the west side of Lower Manhattan. 

  • 9:50 AM - Went up to One World Observatory.

The elevators had screens on the walls and displayed a cool montage of the development of lower Manhattan. It went up 108 stories in 47 seconds. My ears felt it. Great views all around. Kids were pretty wiped, though, so we spent maybe 30 minutes there. Got downstairs, and one of my kids had left his jacket. Took him back up to find it. Jade came down with her group while we were doing this, and took my group and hers outside to wait for us. We got the jacket back, and rejoined the rest of the group. 

  • 12:00 PM - Lunch.

We went to Brookfield Place, and let the kids wonder the mall in groups of 3 or more, and find the food courts to eat. Jade went to high school at an American school in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Most of her classmates' families were either diplomats or missionaries. One her classmates, the daughter of the Swedish ambassador to Argentina, now works for SAS Airlines, and was in town. She met us at Brookfield Place, and we got some food from one of the food courts there. They hadn't seen each other in 40+ years! We had a very pleasant lunch. 

  • 1:00 PM 9/11 - Museum and Memorial.

Took the kids into the 9/11 Museum.

I have not been watching replays the past few years when they come around in September; I have seen most of them, and I don't feel I need to relive that day very often. I am fortunate; I know nobody who died that day, nor any first responders who died later. But it was a painful day.

The museum is very good. It has artifacts from the World Trade Center site, and it actually has a marker inside for the ground level location where the first plane hit the North Tower 1200 feet higher. But the inside rooms are what the museum is about. Basically, it is a blow-by-blow timeline, with video replay, audio replay, text quotes painted on the walls, and artifacts. It has a room set off of the main aisle that has warnings about disturbing images where they show pictures of the people who jumped rather than be burned up. 

It was hard to take.

I had tears most of the way through. At one point, I was overcome, and stood staring at a blank wall, letting the sadness go through me for a few minutes before collecting myself again. I do feel, though, that it was cathartic and necessary, and some part of me is more at piece now with what happened that horrible day. 

  • 3:00 PM - Meeting kids at the memorial sites.

We looked at the reflecting pools. I quietly chided a couple of kids who were carrying on a pretty loud, inconsequential conversation, and reminded them of the people that died on the site. A few kids started asking me and Jade questions about that day, so we told our stories; Jade about being sick in Kentucky and not really understanding what was going on in her fevered daze, and me being woken up by Jade in California a few minutes after the Pentagon was hit (she called at 7:35 AM Pacific Time). We talked about what we saw on TV, what it was like at work at Apple that day, the emptiness of the skies from not having airplanes or contrails, and Jade's impressions of being one of the first flights out of Louisville back to San Francisco a few days later. The kids were respectful, listened, and asked really good questions. A great conversation. There is hope in this generation. 

  • 5:00 PM - Subway back to hotel.
  • 6:00 PM - Box supper.

Well, the hotel would not let the restaurant bring the box lunches in because of union stuff, so the kids, already in pajamas or sweats, all came down, and got their box dinners on 46th St right outside the hotel, and went back up. There were plenty of chaperones and band staff to help out. The sandwiches were from a local place, and they were delicious. 

  • 6:30 PM - Chaperone meeting. Big day tomorrow. Had to get up much too early. 
  • 7:00 PM - Room check.

We took the kids pastries from Carlo's Bakery. 

  • 8:00 PM - Bed time.

2022-11-24 Thanksgiving Day - Let's Have a Parade!

  • 1:15 AM - Alarm.
  • 1:30 AM - Room check.

All of my boys were awake and ready. It's amazing.

  • 2:15 AM  - Loaded buses in uniform with shakos and instruments out of cases except tubas and drums. Tubas took their bells on the bus...
  • 2:45 AM - Arrived near Herald Square for rehearsal.

Unloaded buses and proceeded to designated area. As I was doing so, daughter was coming back. She was not aware that she had to leave her cymbal bag on the bus. I took it from her, and she ran back. Put the bag on the bus, and ran myself.

Chaperones were herded to the side. There was a band in front of us rehearsing, and another one was assembling behind us.

Our Vandegrift High School sign had some problems. It was built for flat road, and New York streets are crowned.

  • 3:25 AM - Macy's Rehearsal.

They did two run-thoughs. This was the only chance that non-senior chaperones got to see the show live.

  • 3:50 AM - Loaded buses to go to breakfast.

This one is insane. Everybody, including drums and tubas, had to take instruments on board the bus. And they had to take off their performance tops and put them in garment bags, so that no food got on them at breakfast. 

Reminded me of the Marx Brothers stateroom scene in A Night at the Opera.

Fortunately, the drive back to 42 St was not very long, especially at 4:00 AM on Thanksgiving Day.

Meanwhile, some chaperones fixed the rolling sign. There really were some miracle workers in this crowd.

  • 4:00 AM - Arrived at Dallas BBQ for breakfast.

Tubas and drums had to leave their stuff on the ground floor of the restaurant. They were being asked to tape a promo for the reboot of Fraggle Rock for NBC/Peacock.

  • 5:30 AM - Tubas and drums left to prepare and film promo for Fraggle Rock.
  • 7:00 AM - Departed Dallas BBQ for Central Park and the parade.

Chaperones with no seniors were led to a subway, which we took to the east side of Central Park. We then walked Central Park South, and allowed into special grandstands to watch the parade.

The weather was great, but it was about 40 degrees F. I was dressed warmly enough normally for this, but the bleachers were aluminum, and sucked the heat out of me through my bottom. And when I stood in one place too long, I got a numbness in my leg and my back started hurting. I was not very happy right then.

  • 9:00 AM - Parade started.
  • 9:47 AM - Vandegrift passed us! They were awesome!

I started to show symptoms of hypothermia now. I was shivering and had balance problems. Jade, the uniform manager, and I decide to try to get back to hotel so I could get warm, and so we could watch the Herald Square performance on TV.

We made a fatal mistake, though. I wasn't thinking clearly, and the others decided not to go all the way back up to the 59th St. Subway station (the N line cross 6th Ave and was the right choice), and instead go down 5th and try to catch a subway there, or find a way to cross 6th, perhaps by going down into the subway and coming back up.

Well, the subway goes down 6th. And so does the parade.

We walked for a while down 5th, and I got some hot chocolate. Once it cooled down enough that I could drink it without burning my tongue, I basically guzzled it. It was great.

Of course, crossing 6th on street level was impossible. The subway entrances were blocked off. Supposedly, we could cross on 48th, as the would put a break in the parade and let people cross every once in a while. We got caught in the middle of the crowd, unable to move. My back was killing me, me leg was numb, and I really needed a bathroom.

But we had to wait until the parade was over. Jade and the uniform manager needed to meet the band back at the hotel to handle uniform stuff, so it was a race.

Finally got back to the hotel. I had to get up to the room; I was in bad shape. The band was just arriving, so Jade and the uniform manager went to the buses.

There was a long line just to get into the hotel. They had to meter it because otherwise the elevators would be too crowded. So I had to wait another 20 minutes.

Got back in, finally could use the bathroom, and collapsed on the bed, and slept about 30 minutes. Did not meet my boys at the bus, but Jade and other chaperones took care of that for me. Thanks!

  • 2:00 PM - Parents "checked out" some of the kids to spend some family time on Thanksgiving. Five of my boys do so. 

None of the kids who were left wanted to go out and eat. We got takeout from Juniors for them.

My son expressed interest in heading over the Bryant Park with his some of his friends. Once we got everybody food, I texted him and asked if he was ready, and he said he was in the bathroom.

I texted him again about 35 minutes later, and he said he was working on it.

I waited another hour, and told him that time was limited, and that if he wanted to go we needed to go right then. He texted that he understood.

And then, about 6:00, I told him it was too late. He said everybody chose to sleep instead.

  • 6:00 PM - Checked out kids returned.
  • 6:30 PM - Boarded subway to go down to Chelsea Piers for our dinner cruise. Reasonably long walk from subway station at the other end.
  • 7:00 PM - Dinner cruise started. 

Got to see most of lower Manhattan, and the shore of Jersey City. Saw the Staten Island Ferry terminal, and Governor's Island. The skyline was spectacular, of course, and could see most of New York's famous buildings. Saw the Brooklyn Bridge and Verrazano Narrows Bridge. Then we pulled up fairly close to Ellis Island and had good photo opportunities for the Statue of Liberty.

The kids got to dance on the second floor. It was fun seeing the ceiling bow down when the music said, "Left foot - STOMP!"

The food was decent. It was cold outside, but the views were stunning. And the kids got to blow off steam.

  • 10:30 PM - Full Group Meeting.
  • 10:45 PM - Chaperone Meeting.
  • 11:00 PM - Room check.
  • 11:15 PM - Bed time.

2022-11-25 Travel Day - Jade's and my 20th Wedding Anniversary

We were told all students had to go to Dallas BBQ no matter what. Our flight was leaving in the afternoon, so we had to get our stuff to the buses by 12:45 and we would leave at 1:00. I told my boys that I would wake them at 7:45 and we would go over at 8:00. We would not stay long; just put in our required appearance.

  • 7:15 AM - Alarm
  • 7:30 AM - Room wake up
  • 7:45 AM - Met downstairs

Band director informed us that there was a change of plans. Hotel was sold out for the weekend, and we need to get all of our stuff out of our room by 11, and load it on the bus, which would wait for us, and would leave to go to airport at the originally scheduled time.

We also got our boarding passes; however, they all said "See Gate Agent for a seat assignment". There were at least fifty people on this group; those gate agents were going to be swamped.

  • 8:00 AM - Walked to Dallas BBQ. A couple of the boys could not wait and ate something, but we did not stay long.
  • 8:15 AM - Walked to Juniors. They had six tables close to each other for us, so both Jade's and my kids could be seated!

I loved my omelette. The kids ate really well. Jade and I thought that this was a better alternative than relying on airport food for lunch. Have a big, good breakfast, and then they could scrounge in the airport. We got per diems for lunch and dinner; we used the lunch one at Juniors, and gave them their dinner one at the airport, when we finally got there. 

  • 10:30 AM - Back to hotel. Kids went upstairs, and waited for me to look at their rooms. I came up and inspected each room (found stuff they missed in 2 out of 3 rooms). We went downstairs, and they got their uniforms, instruments, and shakos and proceeded down to the lobby area.
  • 10:45 AM - We were told that our bus was Bus 3, and was on 46th.

Got down to 46th, and there was one bus there labelled Bus 9, not bus three. Driver said there were other buses on 45th, so went through breezeway over to 45th. Bus 3 was on our left. We were just starting to load when somebody told us that this was the Friends and Family Bus 3.

When we went the other way, there were a couple more buses, and one was labeled Bus 3. So we loaded everything onto it. The driver said to me, "OK, we are going to Newark, right?"

I said, "No, we are going to JFK. We are going to load the bus, and you are going to wait for us. We will be back in time to leave at 1:00".

He knew nothing about this. I explained what I was told a couple more times. Finally, the bus supervisor came over, and I told him what was going on, and he said, "Your bus is on 46th."

I responded, "But that is Bus 9".

He said, "We don't place those signs, but that is your bus. It is going to JFK at 1:00".

So we unloaded the bus, schlepped everything back through the breezeway and came up to the other bus. Somebody was replacing the sign as we walked up. We had a bus! Meanwhile, one of Jade's kids had a FedEx package in the lobby. Jade had to take the kid in to get it. I made sure Jade's and that girls stuff got on the bus, and that Jade's girls got everything loaded.

Dropped all of our stuff off. The girl who had marched the parade with the flu stayed on the bus, and the doctor stayed with her.

So I asked the boys where they wanted to go, and they said the M&M Store, and off we went.

They were only in the store 15 minutes or so, when they asked if we could go to the Nintendo store. I told them we did not have much time, and their time in the store would have to be limited to 20 minutes, and they said OK.

We walked over there, they melted into the store, and I set my timer for 20 minutes.

All but 2 came back early, clutching bags of loot that they had purchased. The last two boys were first in the checkout line, so I let them finish.

We high-tailied it back to the bus.

  • 12:45 PM - Loaded and boarded bus.
  • 1:00 PM - Jade and her girls were not back yet, and band director asked me to call her. Jade was close and they were hurrying back.
  • 1:04 PM - Jade and the last girls board bus, and we are off to JFK.
  • 2:15 PM - Arrive at JFK.

Passed out boarding passes and we got in line to check our bags. Once that was done we got in the TSA line. About 10 girls had boarding passes that would not scan, including four of Jade's charges. She asked another chaperone to look after the other eight.

This time, four of my boys had additional screening. 3 of them were false positives. Sigh.

We got to the gate and there was no agent. Let boys wonder around and get food.

  • 5:15 PM - Gate agent showed up and was immediately swamped as our entire entourage needed seat assignments. While we were in line, the other girls with the invalid boarding passes showed up.

The plane was oversold, and they could not get seat assignments for a couple of our girls. Another chaperone, a lawyer, calmly explained the situation to the gate agent, and stated that none of the remaining girls would get on the plane until they all had seat assignments.

On the plane, I ended up sitting next to the girl from Jade's group who was very sick. Poor dear was running fever, and was miserable.

Eventually, the gate agent came aboard the plane, and stated:

Folks, we have a large group with 49 children. We need two volunteers to give up their seat so that these children don't get separated from their group with no parents in site. American Airlines will give $900 for each of two volunteers who agree to give up their seats and fly at 8:00 to Austin.

 Two older women sitting next to each other, popped up, and volunteered.

All of us had seats.

Of course, the teenagers had been trading seats like crazy, so there was a scramble to seat the last dozen people SOMEWHERE.

  • 5:50 PM (20 minutes late) - Plane left gate and departed for Austin.
  • ~9:00 PM CST - Arrived in Austin. Made sure all of my boys had rides. We had agreed to take the girl who ended up being sick home. I went and got the car.
  • 10:00 PM - Pulled up in Terminal. Loaded car.
  • 11:00 PM - Dropped off sick girl.
  • 11:15 PM - Home.

What a trip. 

Epilog

This was an amazing trip. Jade and I both agree that it was the best anniversary trip we could have hoped for. Our kids are glowing and telling stories non-stop about the trip. Everybody is tired. But everybody is very happy.

 

Saturday, July 09, 2022

My weight loss journey

Enough people have asked when I have posted progress on social media, so I just thought I would document what I am doing. 

 As of 7/9/2022, I have lost 85 lbs since 10/21/2021.

Data from 10/21/2021 to 7/9/2022

 

I was a skinny, skinny kid, and as a teenager, was consuming between 3000 and 5000 calories daily. For my 17th birthday, my mother took me to Whataburger, a Texas-based burger chain, which is still my favorite. She told me I could eat as many Whataburgers as I wanted, with one order for fries, and one large Dr. Pepper. She would buy one burger at a time.

 I ate 7. 

 

That was an extreme day, but I ate a lot, not only burgers. I would go through apples, oranges, bananas, cheese, and ice cream like they were going out of style. I ate some veggies as well, but I also loaded up on mashed potatoes, rice, and pasta. 

At the time, I had just reached by current height of 6'0" (183 cm), but I weighed 120 lbs (54 kg). 

When I went to college, I did not have a car, and I rode my bike everywhere. I worked and eventually lived off-campus, so I was riding between 80 and 150 miles (130 to 240 km)/week. I bulked out to about 170 lbs (77 kg) by the end of my 4th year in college (I went five a half years). 

Then I bought a car.

Within 1.5 years, I was up to 200 lbs. I hit 230 in 1990 at the age of 24, and it kept going up. 

In 2001, I had almost hit 300 lbs. I was diagnosed per-diabetic, and had high-blood pressure. I quit sugar, and lost 45 lbs in six months! Alas, I increased all of my other intake.

In 2010, my triglycerides were normal, but I weighed 265. I somehow decided that I did not need to quit sugar anymore. Besides, when you have young children, it's impossible to keep a diet or exercise program.

During the months of September and October 2021, I receive three pretty critical diagnoses. I was diagnosed with depression, ADHD, and diabetes. And I was carrying 335 pounds.

This shit got real. 

I made the decision to live, and tackle everything.

I was put on Bupropiol for depression, Aderall for ADHD, and Ozempic for diabetes. The last two are appetite suppressants. 

I decided to mostly quit carbs. No more potatoes, rice, tortillas, bread, sweets, or pasta. I have mostly kept to it, although I still have 3 or 4 sandwiches or tacos/burritos per week. But no fries, or rice, or potatoes. 

With the anti-depressant medication, my mood is much more positive. The ADHD meds have left me more focused. And the appetite suppressants are working. 

With all of that, my resolve is firm, and I have good will power, and the weight has melted off. 

I do keep having to buy more clothes: 

  • Pant size used to be 52" waist; it's now 44" 
  • Shirt size used to be XXXL or XXXLB; for polos and tee-shirts, I can wear L, but for button-downs, I still need XXL. 
  • I had some fitted baseball caps size 7 5/8 or 7 1/2. I just bought a Bowling Green Hot Rods cap, size 7 3/8. 
  • I can wear my dress shoes again. 
  • The suit I bought in 2010 is now hanging a little loose on me. 
  • I need to have my custom-made tux altered before the next time I am required to wear one for a gig. 

But I feel great. I am much more limber and flexible, and have more energy. I have more cardio stamina, but I do get low on enery, so I have to watch that. But this has been fun. 

My weight app says that above 226 lbs is "Excess", and that if I can hit that goal, my weight will be "High". I don't know where this will stop, but that seems like a reasonable goal.

 

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Ode To a Tenor Titan

 I posted this review on GoodReads:



Ode to a Tenor Titan: The Life and Times and Music of Michael BreckerOde to a Tenor Titan: The Life and Times and Music of Michael Brecker by Bill Milkowski
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is an exhaustive biography of my favorite jazz musician, Michael Brecker, written by an expert jazz journalist.

There is an incredible amount of detail in this book, with interviews of dozens of musicians and others, documenting the various phases of Brecker's life. It does not flinch on the tough times of his life, and celebrates his triumphs.

For me, the gold in this book is the discography. Brecker is on thousands of recordings, but Milkowski selects the recordings that are the most important, or the most impactful, or the most historical, or the ones where Brecker simply shone.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, but if you are not a fan of jazz, and to some extent, New York, you might find the detail overwhelming.


View all my reviews

Check it out.

Saturday, January 01, 2022

#RIP2021

 This is a collection of people that were notable in my life somehow that passed in 2021.

2021 Death Roll


Friends

Irvin Barron
Jeff Eaton
Steven Grover
Lance Hosey
Doug Moffat
Juli Parsons
Michelle Steiner
Lynne Hsu Xavier

Athletics


Henry Aaron
Ray Fosse
Tommy Lasorda
John Madden
Mike Marshall
J. R. Richard
Eddie Robinson
Leon Spinks
Don Sutton
Bill Virdon

Business


James White

Education


C. Sidney Burrus

Hollywood


Ed Asner
Ned Beatty
JoAnna Cameron
Olympia Dukakis
Mira Furlan
Charles Grodin
Hal Holbrook
Cloris Leachman
Gavin MacLeod
Christopher Plummer
Stephen Sondheim
Dean Stockwell
Cicely Tyson
Betty White

Media


Norman Juster
Larry King
Roger Mudd

Music


Chick Corea
Curtis Fuller
Dusty Hill
Howard Johnson
Sammy Nestico

Politics


Walter Mondale
Colin Powell
Desmond Tutu

Science


Michael Collins


Tuesday, August 03, 2021

So I apparently have ADHD

Recently, somebody close to me went through screening for ADHD. I read a bunch about it, and it all seemed very familiar to me.

  • I am very good at losing things. When I was in 7th grade, I thought my mother would kill me because I lost at least 10 jackets or sweaters. I have left musical instruments at the gig and not realized it for days (fortunately, I got them all back). I have showed up to concerts without the right horns, or without the music. If I don't use my phone reminder system, I will forget things that I promised I have to do. Sometimes a few minutes later. 
  • I missed meetings, appointments, and other things all of the time when I was a kid. My mother gave me I don't know how many pocket calendars. And I would fill them out immediately. And then either leave them on my desk at home, in the bottom of my backpack, or just lose them. Every time.
  • I talk too much. I miss social clues that I am doing so. I dominate conversations, and at work, I have been criticized for "dominating meetings".
  • I also interrupt a lot and don't give other people a chance to talk.
  • When I was in school, I had a lot of trouble getting started on work I did not want to do. Despite the fact that I scored well on aptitude tests, and that pre-college work seemed super easy, I had trouble completing homework, and put off big projects until the last minute. In 8th grade, I actually blew off a really big project, and accused my teacher of losing it. (She appropriately gave me a 'D'). This really blew up in college, as the work was much harder than I was used to. Until a girlfriend taught me a methodology for studying, homework, and being a good student, I was on my way to failing out.
  • When I was a software manager, I was really good at pointing out what was going wrong, but I was criticized for being too negative. Or for not offering good solutions to problems. Or deflecting blame. I feel like part of that was just not reading social cues from my peers and my own managers.
  • When I was a young man, I was accused of staring at people too much, especially women. I know now that I creeped some out.
  • When I play community theater pit orchestras, when I first start rehearsals, I sight read the books better than most. However, as the show progresses, I start hearing everything else that is going on around me, like the flute is out of tune, or we are not agreeing on articulation, or that viola player just played an amazing solo. Meanwhile, I start making careless mistakes in my own part. Once I bear down and really learn my own part, I start listening to everything else again, but in a three week run, my 2nd week is usually not great.
  • When I was younger and I was playing music, if I felt I "knew" the music, I was obnoxious. I was commenting on my own playing all of the time. I was giving people "suggestions" and "corrections". I was complaining to other players when things weren't being played well. One time, during a production of West Side Story, my best friend, who was playing another book, took me aside and told me that I was being a complete asshole, and I needed to just shut up and play.
  • My first serious professional music gig in Austin, I played well, and I don't think I alienated anybody. What I did notice that what separated me from the full-time guys was the fact that their concentration was amazing. At the time, I figured it was because they did it all of the time...
  • There are some things I enjoy doing that most people would find mind-numbingly dull, like filling in daily baseball score results into spreadsheets. Or arranging music a few measures a month until I have a full concert band arrangement of the first part of the Rite of Spring.
  • In college, especially the first couple of years, I would attend class, watch my professor do a difficult math problem, and think that it made perfect sense! Easy! And then when I would try to do the homework, I had no idea how to do the problem.
  • I sometimes do have hyper-focus, particularly when programming computers.
  • My house is filled with bags of raw materials of projects that I had intended to do. I would start it, go to the hardware store, and get parts. Then I would get home, and we would have to have dinner, or go to bed or someone would call me or... and then I would find those parts years later after I had purchased another set and finished the project. I have a lot of screwdrivers.
  • When I was a young man, if I did not respect my immediate manager or my teacher or some other authority figure, I pissed them off. Every single time. I got demoted. I got corrective interviews. Performance improvement plans. I always thought I was smarter than they were. It took a demotion from manager back to grunt in food service at an amusement park to teach me that it did not matter whether or not I was smarter than they were, and that I had to behave like I respected them even if I did not.
  • I fidget entirely too much. I shake my leg. I drum my fingers. I doodle. I read my phone and stop paying attention to what is around me. Like conversation. Or presentations. I drive people around me crazy sometimes.
  • At work as a programmer, I can drive me teammates crazy because I have tendencies to bug them when I am stuck on something rather than Google it and figure it out.
  • When I know that there are other people around, I unconsciously start a running play-by-play of what I am doing. This must be SUPER ANNOYING, and when I catch myself doing it, I am horribly embarrassed.

So I had myself evaluated. I got the results back this week, and I have ADHD with inattentive tendencies.

OK. That makes sense. It explains all kinds of problems I have had most of my life, particularly before the age of 35.

So. I'm 57 years old with ADHD. Now what?

First of all, I have developed a lot of coping mechanisms. Most of them are common sense, and non-ADHD people do them to a certain extent.

  • I always have my phone, keys, inhaler, pocket knife and air pods with me. I always put them in the same pockets, and when I go to bed, I always set the phone and air pods in their chargers, and put the other stuff on my nightstand in the same place.
  • I use an app called "Due.app". With this I can set up reminders, and then I can postpone them, indefinitely if I need to. The best thing is, until I mark a task "Done", it will notify/annoy me. I have to make a conscious decision to not do it, procrastinate (and get notified again later), or complete it. 
  • I use an electronic calendar, and I actively manage the alert settings, particularly with meetings or appointments early in the morning. I set reminders for the night before, and when I plan to get up, so I don't miss it.
  • When I play music, I try to reach a meditative state, where I just focus on the notes on the page, and worry about my own playing problems, or what everybody else is doing, later.
  • I bought Air Tags and put them in all of my instrument cases.
  • I am still working on letting other people talk when I am in a group of people.
  • I don't stare anymore after deciding to change that behavior about 20 years ago.
  • My wife and family help take up some of the slack for my absent-mindedness.

But for the future, I was recommended a life coach to contact, and was told to contact my physician. There are medications available to help. While I am reluctant to take them (I think I am doing fine), a lot of patients with mental illness think that they don't need meds. I will try what my life coach and doctor say.

But this diagnosis is such a relief. It's such an amazing explanation of my troubles throughout my life. I will do the best I can so that I can live a better life, and make it better for those around me.

Thanks for your attention and understanding.

 

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Recruited By Tech

Somebody I know very well writes a blog about applying for jobs in the computer industry. If you know me, you almost certainly know the author. The blog is at:

https://recruitedby.tech

Check it out if you have time.

 

Thursday, December 31, 2020

#RIP2020

Since 2016, at the end of the year, I have posted a once-a-day-per-person tribute to people who have passed away whose work has had some kind of influence, or for whom I have had a personal connection. This year, that's too depressing. I will still post that for personal friends, but here is the list of others for this year:

2020 Death Roll

Friends


David Lee Hayes
Allen Thomas Richberg, Jr.

Artists


Christo

Athletics


Duck Allen
Lou Brock
Kobe Bryant
Steve Dalkowski
Tony Fernandez
Whitey Ford
Bob Gibson
Don Larsen
Miguel Marte
Joe Morgan
Fred “Curly” Neal
Phil Niekro
Tom Seaver
Don Shula
Roy Steele
David Stern
Bob Watson
Sam Wyche
Jimmy Wynn

Business


Jack Welch

Education


Carole Lipman
James Randi
Ronald Stebbings

Hollywood


Orson Bean
Chadwick Boseman
Wilford Brimley
Sean Connery
Robert Conrad
Olivia de Havilland
Brian Dennehey
Kirk Douglas
Buck Henry
Ian Holm
Grant Imahara
Terry Jones
Shirley Knight
David Lander
James Lipton
Tony Lister
David Prowse
Carl Reiner
Diana Rigg
Jerry Stiller
Max von Sydow
Alex Trebek
Lyle Waggoner
Dawn Wells
Fred Willard

Media


Hugh Downs
Jim Lehrer
Evin Thayer

Music


Jimmy Cobb
Richie Cole
Charlie Daniels
Mac Davis
Jimmy Heath
Lee Konitz
Ellis Marsalis
Lyle Mays
Lennie Niehaus
Neil Peart
Richard Wayne Penniman
Charlie Pride
Helen Reddy
Claudio Roditi
Kenny Rogers
Wallace Roney
McCoy Tyner
Eddie Van Halen
Ian Whitcomb
Bill Withers
Eugene Wright

Politics


Ruth Bader Ginsburg
John Lewis

Science and Engineering


Robert Adair, Jr.
Freeman Dyson
Katherine Johnson
Chuck Yeager

Writers


John le Carré
Christopher Tolkien

 

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Baseball Trip Replay - Addendum #3 - Stadium trivia

 Stadia I visited before 1994:

  • Astrodome, Houston, 1974
  • Candlestick Park, San Francisco, 1988 (destroyed)
  • Oakland-Alameda Coliseum, Oakland, 1988
  • Kingdome, Seattle, 1993 (destroyed)

 Stadia I visited on my trip and are still around:

  • Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles
  • Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City
  • Commiskey Park II, Chicago
  • Jacobs Field (now Progressive Field), Cleveland
  • Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore
  • Fenway Park, Boston
  • Wrigley Field, Chicago
  • SkyDome (now Rogers Centre), Toronto
  • Angels Stadium, Anaheim

Stadia I visited on my trip no longer used for baseball:

  • Candlestick Park, San Francisco
  • Jack Murphy Stadium, San Diego
  • Mile High Stadium, Denver
  • The Ballpark at Arlington, Arlington
  • County Stadium, Milwaukee
  • Tiger Stadium, Detroit
  • Riverfront Stadium, Cincinnati
  • Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis
  • Le Stade olympique, Montréal
  • Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh
  • Busch Stadium III, St. Louis
  • Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, Atlanta
  • Joe Robbie Stadium, Miami Gardens
  • Astrodome, Houston
  • Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia
  • Shea Stadium, Flushing Meadows
  • Yankee Stadium I, The Bronx

Stadia I have visited since my trip:

  • Turner Field, Atlanta, 1997
  • Pacific Bell Park (now Oracle Park), San Francisco, 2000
  • Enron Field (now Minute Made Park), Houston, 2000
  • Miller Park, Milwaukee, 2001
  • Great American Ballpark, Cincinnati, 2003

Stadia I missed:

  • Robert F. Kennedy Stadium, Washington 

 New stadia in service I have not been to:

  • Coors Field, Denver, 1995
  • Chase Field, Phoenix, 1998
  • Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, 1998 (originally built in 1985) 
  • T-Mobile Field, Seattle, 1999
  • Comerica Park, Detroit, 2000
  • PNC Park, Pittsburgh, 2001
  • Petco Park, San Diego, 2003
  • Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, 2004
  • Busch Stadium (IV), St. Louis, 2006
  • Nationals Park, Washington, 2008
  • Citi Field, Flushing, 2009
  • Yankee Stadium (II), The Bronx, 2009
  • Target Field, Minneapolis, 2010
  • Marlins Park, Miami, 2012
  • Truist Field (formerly Sun Trust Field), Cumberland, 2017
  • Globe Life Field, Arlington, 2020
 

Baseball Trip Replay - Addendum 2 - Hall of Famers

 These players are in the Hall of Fame as of 2020 (in order of induction):

  • Dave Winfield (Minnesota Twins)
  • Kirby Puckett (Minnesota Twins)
  • Ozzie Smith (St. Louis Cardinals)
  • Eddie Murray (Cleveland Indians)
  • Paul Molitor (Toronto Blue Jay)
  • Dennis Eckersley (Oakland Athletics)
  • Ryne Sandberg (Chicago Cubs)
  • Wade Boggs (New York Yankees)
  • Cal Ripken, Jr. (Baltimore Orioles)
  • Tony Gwynn (San Diego Padres)
  • Rickey Henderson (Oakland Athletics)
  • Andre Dawson (Boston Red Sox)
  • Roberto Alomar (Toronto Blue Jays)
  • Barry Larkin (Cincinnati Reds)
  • Frank Thomas (Chicago White Sox)
  • Greg Maddux (Atlanta Braves)
  • Craig Biggio (Houston Astros)
  • Mike Piazza (Los Angeles Dodgers)
  • Ken Griffey, Jr. (Seattle Mariners)
  • Ivan Rodriguez (Texas Rangers)
  • Tim Raines (Chicago White Sox)
  • Jeff Bagwell (Houston Astros)
  • Jim Thome (Cleveland Indians)
  • Trevor Hoffman (San Diego Padres)
  • Mike Mussina (Baltimore Orioles)
  • Edgar Martinez (Seattle Mariners)
  • Harold Baines (Baltimore Orioles)

 What a joy to see all of these guys play.


Friday, August 14, 2020

Baseball Trip Replay - Additional Game Notes - Part 2

June 8, 1994 - New York Yankees at Texas Rangers - Game started at 6:05 and it was 96 degrees. Ugh. Bernie Williams went 3-5 with two doubles and a home run. And he's a good jazz musician, too! My favorite Yankee (admittedly, I don't like too many of them!). His team still lost. Melido Perez gave up 5 runs in 6 innings, and the Yankees had a sloppy 7th where there was a balk, an error, and a bases-loaded walk. No individual Ranger had a standout offensive performance. Dan Smith came in with two Yankees on and one out and got a strikeout and a fly ball. He then pitched himself into a bases loaded situation and got a popup. Really fun game. TEX 6, NYA 5 

June 11, 1994  - Cleveland Indians at Milwaukee Brewers - Cleveland had their way. Alomar and Thome both homered. Jason Grimsley pitched a complete game, giving up 5 hits, 2 earned runs, 2 walks, and striking out 7. Cal Eldred shouldn't feel too bad giving up homers to two future Hall-of-Famers. CLE 5, MIL 2

June 13, 1994 - Oakland Athletics at Chicago White Sox - Maybe the best pitching performance on the trip, the St. Louis-Atlanta game later may be an exception. Jason Bere struck out 14 in 8 innings, giving up 2 hits and walking 6, with Roberto Hernandez pitching 1 1 hit inning for the save. Ron Darling also pitched a whale of a game, with 8 innings, 8 hits, 1 earned run, walking 3, and striking out 6. CHA 1, OAK 0

June 15, 1994 - Toronto Blue Jays at Cleveland Indians - This game was electric. The fans were phenomenal. They were pumped on the subway to and from the game. For Toronto, Roberto Alomar went 3 for 5 with only run scored and no RBI, and reached on an error. Joe Carter went 3 for 5 with no runs scored and one RBI. But the Blue Jays hit into 4 double plays. At least Alomar scored on one of them! It was a pretty dismal offensive showing. Todd Stottlemyre pitched 8 innings, allowing 8 hits, 3 earned runs, 2 walks, and struck out 6. Not bad, but not enough. Both pullpens pitched well in extra innings, but poor Scott Brow, with a total of 107 major league innings, allowed the mammoth walkoff to Jim Thome.

On the other side, Charles Nagy threw 9 innings, giving up 3 runs (2 earned), walking 2 and striking out 5. Erik Plunk, Derek Lilliquist, and Jose Mesa shut the door. Cleveland was down 3-0 going into the eighth, when Omar Vizquel doubled, Kenny Lofton doubled, and Wayne Kirby hit a homer.

Jim Thome's home run in the bottom of the 13th was a thing of beauty. Opposite-field, into the left field trees just left of center field. The fans in their shiny new, beautiful ballpark, were delirious. This was a fun, fun game. CLE 4, TOR 3, 13 innings

June 17, 1994 - Minnesota Twins at Baltimore Orioles - Baltimore laid a whuppin' on the visiting Twins. The venerable Dave Winfield hit a double, and Shane Mack hit a dinger, but those were the only Minnesota highlights, as the Orioles had lots of base runners against Kevin Tapani, Brett Merriman, and Carlos Pulido. Ben McDonald pitched a complete game, allowing 8 hits, 2 earned runs, walking nobody and striking out 5. Chris Sabo went 3 for 4 with a double, Rafael went 2 for 5 with a double, and Leo Gomez hit a home run, but there were hits up and down the Baltimore lineup. BAL 9, MIN 2

June 19, 1994 - Toronto Blue Jays at Detroit Tigers - Lots of pitching. Toronto loser Juan Guzman pitched an 9 inning complete game, but he allowed 3 runs on 5 hits with 3 walks. He did strikeout 9. Greg Gohr pitched 7 2/3 innings, allowing 6 hits, 1 earned run, walking 2, and striking out 7. Buddy Groom came in with a runner on 3rd and two outs in the eighth and got Jon Olerud to fly out, and Mike Gardiner pitched the 9th for the save. Home run by Mickey Tettleton. DET 3, TOR 1

June 22, 1994 - San Francisco Giants at Cincinnati Reds - Another game full of pitching, with Barry Larkin hitting a home run in the bottom of the 8th to give Cincinnati the one run lead that it needed to win. The starters, John Burkett, and John Roper, pitched at least 7. Burkett pitched into the eight, but was pulled after he gave up Larkin's home run and he walked another better. The Red's bullpen got both the win (Chuck McElroy) and the save (Jeff Brantley). CIN 2, SF 1

June 24, 1994 - Kansas City Royals at Minnesota Twins - Jim Deshaies did not have a good year in 1994; he led the league in both home runs allowed (30) and earned runs allowed (107), and finished with an ERA of 7.39. He also, inexplicably, let the league in game started (25). This night, though, he was great, allowing 4 hits, 1 earned run, walking 3 and striking out 8 in 8 innings pitched. Rick Aguilera had a rocky 9th, but closed it out with a save. Vince Coleman, of all people, hit one of his 2 home runs in 1994 off of Deshaies, but that was all of the offense the Royals could muster. The Twins had a 2-hit games from Chuck Knoblauch, Shane Mack, Pedro Munuz, and a 3 hit game from Jeff Reboulet (including 2 doubles). Kent Hrbek had one hit, but it knocked in two. MIN 4, KC 1

June 27, 1994 - Atlanta Braves at Montréal Expos - According to the Expos fans I know, this game will forever be known as the Cliff Floyd game, as he hit a 3 run bomb off of Greg Maddux to take the lead in the bottom of the 7th. Maddux lost only four games in 1994; this was one of them. The best team in the National League managed 4 walks and 9 hits off of the future Hall of Famer. Marquis Grissom was 4 for 5 with 2 doubles and 2 runs scored. The Expos stole 6 bases, 5 off of Maddux. Even defensive replacement Tim Spehr knocked in a scored a run. Ken Hill pitched 7 and 1/3 innings, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits, striking out 3. He did walk 6 batters. Which meant there were always men on base. 45289 fans, my wife, and I thoroughly enjoyed this excellent game in this miserable excuse of a ball park.

 


Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Baseball Trip Replay - Addendum - Statistics

 I don't expect many people to actually read this, but I wanted to capture it.

First of all, the raw data is here in this Google sheet.

 Overall, 26 years later, I am looking at how little offense there were in these 31 games. Batters had a batting average of .261, on-base percentage of .343, slugging of .389 (!), and OPS of .732. According to Baseball Reference, the slash lines for 1994 overall are .270/.339/.424, but an OPS of .763. 2010-2015 had lower OPS numbers, and the baseball stathead community certainly noticed. However, 1994 and 1995 (.755) were the lowest production overall until 2010. The interesting thing that is was the highest OPS to that point since 1930. Amazing how our perception of baseball changes over time. The nineties were where I really paid attention, and 1994 was a blip on the graph of rising offense. Overall OPS was .758 last year. 2006 was .763, and 2000 was .782. 

As far as home runs, there were 43 home runs hit during these 31 games, or .72 home runs/game. 1994 overall had 1.03 HR/Game, so I missed out. 2019 had 1.39 HR/game (!), which is the highest ever. The last few years had a higher rate, but before 2017 or so, the home run/game rate were fairly constant.

Now, time for the summaries.

Teams by games played

Games Teams
5 SFN, NYA, STL
4 COL, OAK
3 BAL, CHN, TOR
2 ATL, BOS, CIN, CLE, HOU, KCA, MIL, MIN, PIT, SDN
1 CAL, CHA, DET, FLO, LAA, MON, NYN, PHI, SEA, TEX

Standings

Team W L Pct




AL East


Baltimore 3 0 1.000
Detroit 1 0 1.000
Boston 1 1 0.500
New York 2 3 0.400
Toronto 0 3 0.000




AL Central


Cleveland 2 0 1.000
Chicago 1 0 1.000
Milwaukee 1 1 0.500
Minnesota 1 2 0.500
Kansas City 0 2 0.000




AL West


Seattle 1 0 1.000
Texas 1 0 1.000
Oakland 1 3 0.250
California 0 1 0.000




NL East


Florida 1 0 1.000
Montréal 1 0 1.000
New York 0 1 0.000
Philadelphia
0 1
0.000
Atlanta 0 2 0.000




NL Central


Cincinnati 2 0 1.000
Houston 2 0 1.000
Chicago 2 1 0.667
St. Louis 2 3 0.400
Pittsburgh 0 2 0.000




NL West


San Francisco 3 2 0.600
Colorado 2 2 0.500
San Diego 1 1 0.500
Los Angeles 0 1 0.000




Name Team Batting Average (>1 AB)
1 Slaught, Don PIT 1.000

Johnson, Lance CHA 1.000
3
Grissolm, Marquis
MON 0.800

Fernandez, Tony CIN 0.800
5 Hammonds, Jeffrey BAL 0.750
6 8 tied

0.667


Name Team On-base Percentage (PA > 1)
1 Slaught, Don BAL 1.000

Johnson, Lance CHA 1.000
3 Fernandez, Tony CIN 0.833
4 Thompson, Robbie SFN 0.800

Grissom, Marquiz MON 0.800

Buhner, Jay SEA 0.800
8 7 tied
0.750


Name Team Slugging Percentage (AB > 1)
1 Johnson, Lance CHA 1.333

Baberie, Bret FLO 1.333
3 Grissom, Marquis
MON 1.200
4 16 tied

1.000


Name TEAM OPS (PA > 1)
1 Johnson, Lance
CHA 2.333
2 Barberie, Bret FLO 2.083
3
Slaught, Don BAL 2.000

Grissom, Marquis MON 2.000
5 Fernandez, Tony
CIN 1.833
6 Thompson, Robbie SFN 1.800

Buhner, Jay SEA 1.800
8 Parrish, Lance PIT 1.750

Hammonds, Jeffrey
MIN 1.750

Davis, Chili CAL 1.750

Top 10 Batting


Name Team At Bats
1 Lankford, Ray STL 25
2 Zeile, Todd STL 21

Williams, Matt SFN 21

Tartabull, Danny NYA 21
5 Lewis, Darren SFN 20

Clayton, Royce SFN 20

Bichette, Dante SFN 20
8 Williams, Bernie NYA 19

Whiten, Mark STL 19

Smith, Ozzie STL 19

Bonds, Barry SFN 19


Name Team Runs
1 Leyritz, Jim NYA 6
2 Lankford, Ray STL 5

Bonds, Barry SFN 5
4 Whiten, Mark STL 4

Tartabull, Danny NYA 4

Smith, Ozzie STL 4

Lewis, Darren SFN 4

Kelly, Roberto ATL
4

Eusebio, Tony HOU 4

Biggio, Craig HOU 4


Name Team Hits
1 Lankford, Ray STL 8
2 Willams, Matt SFN 7

Williams, Bernie NYA 7

Tartabull, Danny NYA 7

Leyritz, Jim NYA 7

Clayton, Royce SFN 7

Carter, Joe TOR 7
8 9 tied
6


Name Team Runs Batted In
1 Leyritz, Jim
NYA 7
2 Bonds, Barry SFN 6
3 Lankford, Ray STL
5

Devereaux, Mike BAL 5
5 10 tied

4


Name Team Walks
1 Boggs, Wade BOS 5
2 Williams, Bernie NYA 4

Nilsson, Dave MIL 4

Mike, Gallego OAK 4

Biggio, Craig HOU
4

Anderson, Brady BAL 4
7 13 tied
3


Name Team Strikeouts
1 Lankford, Ray STL
8
2 Tartabull, Danny NYA 7

O'Neill, Paul NYA 7
4 Velarde, Randy NYA 6
5 Whiten, Mark STL 5

Neel, Troy OAK 5

Kelly, Roberto
ATL 5

Clayton, Royce SFN 5
9 11 tied
4


Name Team Doubles
1 Williams, Bernie NYA 3

Sosa, Sammy CHN 3

Cedeño, Andujar HOU 3

Bichette, Dante COL 3
5 19 tied
2


Name Team Triples
1 Whitaker, Lou DET 1

Watson, Allen STL 1

Steinback, Terry OAK 1

Sax, Steve OAK 1

Martinez, Dave SFN
1

Johnson, Lance CHA 1

Hammonds, Jeffrey BAL 1

Felder, Mike
HOU 1

Drabek, Doug HOU 1

Diaz, Mario FLO 1

Carter, Joe TOR 1

Brumfield, Jacob CIN 1

Biggio, Craig HOU 1

Bichette, Dante
COL 1

Berroa, Geronimo OAK 1

Alicea, Luis STL 1


Name Team Home Runs
1 Leyritz, Jim NYA 3

Bonds, Barry SFN 3
3 Thome, Jim CLE 2

Devereaux, Mike BAL 2
5 24 tied
1


Name Team Stolen Bases
1 Clayton, Royce SFN 4
2 Williams, Bernie NYA 2

Lewis, Darren SFN 2

Grissom, Marquis
MON 2

Fraizer, Lou MON 2

Coleman, Vince KCA 2
7 35 tied
1

Pitching



Name Team Wins
1 Tewsbury, Bob STL 2

Monteleone, Rich SFN 2

McDonald, Ben ATL 2
4 26 tied
1


Name Team IP ERA - Starters
1 Banks, Willie CHN 9.0 0.00

Bere, Jason CHA 8.0 0.00
3 Tewksbury, Bob STL 16.0 0.56
4 Deshaies, Jim MIN 8.0 1.13

Kamieniecki, Scott NYA 8.0 1.13
6 Witt, Bobby OAK 15.2 1.15
7 Gohr, Greg TOR 7.2 1.17
8 Freeman, Marvin COL 13.0 1.39
9 Bullinger, Jim CHN 6.0 1.50

McDonald, Ben BAL
18.0 1.50

Watson, Allen STL 6.0 1.50