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

Saturday, August 08, 2020

Friday, August 07, 2020

Baseball Trip Replay - Additional Game Notes - Part 1

 Memories and other notes about the games on the trip. Not all games will have memories. I listed the retrosheet links in my posts, but you can find them if you really want to.

April 9, 1994 - St. Louis Cardinals at San Francisco Giants, double-header - Cindy Crawford, representing Old Navy threw out the first pitch. She had quite the entourage on the field with her. I actually taped it, but it's on the missing tape, so I couldn't post footage. The second game, I actually touched a foul ball. It came up to where I was and stopped near me, but the crowd quickly gathered and grabbed the ball after I almost had it.

April 30, 1994 - New York Yankees at Oakland Athletics - Jim Leyritz (who crushed the Astros hopes playing for the Padres in the 1998 NLDS) hit two home runs for the Yankees. Stan Javier went 4 for 5 for the A's with 2 doubles. NYA 7, OAK 5

May 1, 1994 - New York Yankees at Oakland Athletics - A's scored 8 runs without a home run. Geronimo Berroa when 2 for 4, including a triple, driving in 3. Troy Neel (who?) went 2 for 5, both singles, but drove in 4. Bobby Witt pitched 7 and 2/3 innings, giving up 8 hits, 1 earned run, and 3 walks, while striking out 8. OAK 8, NYA 1

May 3, 1994 - Baltimore Orioles at Oakland Athletics - Jeffrey Hammond went 3 for 4 with a triple and 3 runs scored. Hall of Famer Harold Baines (really?) went 2 for 5 with 3 RBI. and Mike Devereux hit 2 home runs and a single, driving in 3 more. Ben McDonald pitched a complete game, allowing 5 hits, 1 earned run, walking 3, and striking out 8. BAL 9, OAK 1

May 24, 1994 - Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Dodgers -  Willie Banks pitched a complete game shutout, allowing 4 hits, 3 walks, and he struck out 7. They had a no video policy in Dodger Stadium; I wonder what they do now with that everybody can take video all of the time? CHI 2, LAN 0

May 25, 1994 - San Francisco Giants at San Diego Padres - It was Law Enforcement Night at Jack Murphy Stadium. Pre-game had the outfield wall lined with mounted police and motorcycle cops. These days, that image is chilling. I had amazing seats; the Padres were bad and their owners told the fans that they would be. And Bonds put on a show. And that home run is on that missing video tape. Sigh. SF  5, SD2

June 3, 1994 - Pittsburgh Pirates at Colorado Rockies - So, we got to Mile High Stadium, and my seats were in the highest deck behind home plate. I walked up all of the ramps and almost passed out. The mile high air triggered my asthma. At least I wasn't alone; there were dozens of people huffing and puffing at the tops of those ramps. Our first seats' view was blocked by a railing (probably why you could get them), so we moved after a while. Dante Bichette put on a mile-high show. He went 3 for 4 with a double and a home run. Joe Girardi went 3 for 3 with a home run of his own, and he got hit. The Pirates were reeling from their second year without Bonds; they wouldn't be good again for another 20 years. The Rockies had their first playoff appearance the next year; they were up and coming and talented. And in this absolutely monster stadium, it looked like a good crowd, but the count was 53737. There was a ten year period where this team just printed money. COL 6, PIT 4

June 6, 1994 - Baltimore Orioles at Kansas City Royals - Ahh, Mike Mussina. 7 and one-thrid innings, 7 hits, 2 earned runs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts. I had great seats, and that was fun to watch. BAL 4, KC 2

More game notes later.




Thursday, August 06, 2020

Baseball Trip Replay - 26 years later

That was some kind of summer, wasn't it? Whew...

I am going to put down a few thoughts about the trip here. I will post a few more things that nobody will look at, like a complete map, and baseball statistics and the like, but I feel that it is important to capture a few things.

What I missed

 

So, I was away from home for 11 weeks. What did I miss? Well, I missed trivial stuff, like the finale of Star Trek Next Generation, which aired the night before I left. At work, I finished the FileMaker Developer Kit on the Friday before I left, so I did not get to see it roll out and experience and feedback real time.

But it was home where I missed the most. My ex and I decided to buy a house in 1994, and she had a real push to find one before I left. And we did. She did all of the heavy lifting, using my power-of-attorney to sign things. This was probably not the wisest thing I ever did. I had been planning this trip for 2-3 years, so I would not have cancelled it. But did we have to make an offer as I was on the way out the door? There would have been other houses in August instead of May...

Changes in the world

 

There were several changes in the my world that happened. Here are a few:

  • Radio Stations - 26 years ago, there were no podcasts. There was not really widespread internet. So, for me, radio was an essential part of my driving experience. I had an extensive cassette library I also listened to, but I listened to a lot of radio. When I left, the Bay Area had two jazz stations (KJAZ and KCSM) and two classical stations (KDFC and KKHI). They each had their strengths and weakness. While I was gone, they were both sold. KJAZ had been hard to pick up on the Penisula and in the South Bay, which is where I mostly hung out, but I would suffer the static when KCSM was busy doing NPR (so much NPR in the Bay Area). However, I listened to KKHI a lot; the average year that all of their music was written in was closer to 1850, whereas KDFC's average year was around 1750. I really missed them when I got back.
  • Internet - NCSA Mosaic's first beta was released in alpha in June of 1993, and Mac and Windows versions were released later that year. And Netscape Navigator was released in 1994 (and in 1995, Netscape had one of the first mega-successful tech IPOs). When I got back to work, we were already talking about what we were going to do with FileMaker on the Internet.
  • Magic the Gathering - When I left, my friends were playing various board games and role playing games. My Houston friends were still playing Star Fleet Battles. By the time I got back, everybody was playing Magic. It's a great game that I am not terribly good at.
On a personal basis, buying the house did not save my marriage. It may have hastened its demise. Since my ex got to do most of the moving, I had very little personal space in the new house. And she resented doing most of the work. We had been married about 18 months when I left, and things were already a little chilly. Plus, she had the bad combination of been extremely introverted, and an almost phobia about being alone. I should have been more sensitive to that problem, probably, but she really did not enjoy baseball, or driving trips, so she had no interest in going, and I had been planning it since before I got married.

So I was selfish. And she had her own issues.

We separated in late 1996 and finally divorced in late 1997.

Changes in baseball

 

I got back on August 5th. On August 12th, the players went on strike. The strike ended up cancelling the rest of season, the play-offs, and the World Series, and went on long enough where the owners were hiring replacement players. They did get an agreement in spring of 1995, but the 1995 season was shortened as well. I won't go into an essay on all of the ins-and-outs of baseball labor relations. However, I am still sad about a few things:
  • The resurgent Yankees had to wait a year for their playoff spot. Now, I am not in any way a Yankees fan, but baseball is healthier when the Yankees are good. And they had not been to the playoffs in 13 years in 1994.
  • Cleveland was already good in 1994, and had a real shot at their first World Series appearance since 1954. They did go to the World Series in 1995 and 1997, so all was not lost.
  • My favorite team, the Astros were good again after their rebuilding. Although I doubt they would have overcome the Reds for the division title, it would have been interesting. Bagwell's MVP was great, but a lot of people put an asterisk on it because it was not a full season. And, he got hit on the hand the last week, and would have been out 4-6 weeks.
  • Matt Williams had a legitimate shot at breaking Babe Ruth's single season home run record (since passed by McGwire, Sosa, and Bonds).
But the biggest baseball tragedy was what happened to the 1994 Montréal Expos. They were playing on a 105-win pace for a 162-game season. They had an amazing offense. Solid pitching. Likeable players. And the fans were coming out; the game I went to drew 47000+ fans.

When the strike hit, and dragged on, it robbed those fans of their chance to see their team win a World Series. They were certainly the best team in baseball at the time.

In 1995, the ownership group decided that they did not make any money by being good, so they started selling off the pieces, and then the owner bought the Marlins. Major League Baseball ran the team for a while, but the team played terribly at that point. They finally sold the team to an ownership group that took them to Washington in 2005. 14 years later, they finally won that World Series, but I doubt anybody in Quebec cared by that point.

(BTW, I wrote that last paragraph from memory. There are many excellent sources out there talking about this. The one that is most factual was a book, but the author of that book turned out to be a major scumbag, a serial domestic abuser, so I won't recommend you buy it)

The strike killed the Expos. And the world is a worse place without them.

My relationship with baseball

 

I grew up in Houston, an Astros fan. It was harder (particularly before the Internet) in 1988 to root for an out of town team, but I had trouble rooting for a division rival with a truly awful ballpark (Giants), and I positively despised Jose Canseco (As), so until the late 90s, I went to Giants and As games here and there, especially when the Astros came to town.

In the late 90s, however, the As changed. Even before Billy Bean brought Moneyball, Sandy Alderson had embraced on-base percentage when drafting and developing minor-league players. I remember an interview with visiting Yankee Cecil Fielder on the radio where he talked about envying the hitting instruction the minor league A's player were receiving, and how he would have like to work on plate discipline when he was young.

In 1999, they finished 2nd in the wild card. They weren't close to catching Boston, but there were pretty good.

In 2000, I had started dating my now wife, and towards August, I mentioned the surging As, and how I thought that they were built the right way, and how they were going to be good for several more years. She said, bless her heart, "You should get season tickets!" So we did. We got the playoff strip for 2000, and we had season tickets from 2001-2006, when we moved to Austin. In 2002, I got to witness another game where an 11-run lead was blown! The A's won anyway. You might know about this game; it was the A's 20th win in a row, and was the centerpiece of the book and movie called "Moneyball".

After we moved to Austin, a town without a major league team, I have had a more nuanced fanship. Made it a game in Houston or Arlington every once in a while. When I was working remotely for Silicon Valley companies, I tried to go to games when I went out to California.

I also spent 11 years in a fantasy baseball league with sharks. Those guys knew their stuff, and the founder went to work for the Cleveland Indians. I learned a lot during that time, and established methodologies for analytics and player projections.

However, the big thing was trying to get a job in baseball. Since Moneyball came in, analytics took over the game, and I had been doing that for 30 years. Over the years, I talked to a couple of teams (Royals and Dodgers). But in 2019, a job came up with the Astros.

I applied, and did their assessment, and they called me to talk about next steps. But, they could not pay me what I make currently.

I don't apply to baseball positions anymore, because apparently they don't want to pay industry wages for what I do. I'm not terribly surprised.

And, frankly, I am glad for other reasons. While I admire a lot of how the Astros used data to win, the sexist attacks, the sign-stealing, the apparent sociopathy of the owner and the GM... well, I did not need to be part of that kind of company. I've mostly avoided those kinds of companies, and they paid a lot better, anyway.

And with the pandemic, a lot of those jobs disappeared.

So, I will stay over here, in my little corner, and watch baseball on TV, and be fans of individual players, and of bad teams coming out of the wilderness and surprising everybody.

Would I do it again?

 

I would like to. My current wife has wanderlust, and we talked about buying an RV when we retire, and just letting it drive and seeing where it goes. I would probably break it up into smaller trips in consecutive summers. Maybe the American League one summer, and National League the next? Or by division? Or pairing the Eastern divisions, Central divisions, and Western divisions? We'll have to see. Raising a family has been our primary concern, and we are not done with that.

Thank you for reading along my journey. It wasn't "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" by any means, but I did grow, and it was great to see so many people I knew, both friends and family.

I hope you and yours stay healthy, and that at some point, trips like this can happen again. I also hope you find your piece.


Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Baseball Trip Replay - Day 74 - August 5, 1994

August 5 - Came home. Home, however, was gone. The sale for the new house had closed on July 29, and Anna had moved quite a bit of stuff to the new place. While I was gone, a jazz station, KJAZ, and a classical station, KKHI, had sold out. So it was kind of strange. New house, my stuff in the old house, and the two stations I listened to the most gone. I spent the next week getting all of my stuff to the new house. On August 12, the players walked out. It's too bad that this season was wiped. I had seen just about every player play and had kept up with the penant races forever more. I was the ultimate baseball fan in 1994, and then it was gone. I am happy I got home before the strike, but it was kind of depressing.

Route - California 137 to California 99. California 99 North to California 152. California 152 West to US 101. US 101 North to Menlo Park and HOME!

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Baseball Trip Replay - Day 73 - August 4, 1994

August 4 - Went to my father-in-law's house in Porterville, something I had intended to do when I started, but the house stuff preempted it. Had a good time talking to him. Nothing much to do in Porterville, so we ate at a local steakhouse, and just had a good time.

Route - California 22 West to I-405. I-405 North to I-5. I-5 North to California 99. California 99 North to California 65. California 65 North to Porterville.



Going down the Grapevine. This is fun at 2x!


Monday, August 03, 2020

Baseball Trip Replay - Day 72 - August 3, 1994

August 3 - Exciting Anaheim. I had been to Disneyland. I had been to the beach. I did not get up early enough to drive to Hollywood to Universal Studios and try to get back to Anaheim Stadium in time for the game. So I slept and read in my room. Went to the game. Since this was rescheduled from Seattle, all tickets were $6. So all kinds of people that had never sat closer than the left field foul pole were behind home plate. Anaheim Stadium had some damage from the Northridge Quake. The big A behind the left field scoreboard fell in on the stadium and destroyed the scoreboard. Most of the season, the Angels had a relatively small large screen TV in the lower deck in left field. The Angels were supposed to be on a three week road trip starting with the All-Star Break, and the stadium chose that time to install the new large screen TV in left field. Since the game was rescheduled, however, they were still working on it, and as a matter of fact, they were working on it during the game. Seattle won the game 8-4, and they were in complete control the game the whole time. During the game, everybody started flapping their arms slowly. I asked my neighbor what was going on. It seems that this was what Angels' fans did in the movie Angels on the Outfield. Fun time at the last game on the trip.




Construction to repair damage to Anaheim Stadium from January earthquake.

Ken Griffey, Jr., strikes out

Mark Langston

It's been a long time. I had forgotten that Bo Jackson was once an Angel.

Ken Griffey gets a single and an RBI.

Lou Piniella



Scoresheet for 1994-08-03 SEA at CAL - Visitors


Scoresheet for 1994-08-03 SEA at CAL - Home

Sunday, August 02, 2020

Baseball Trip Replay - Day 71 - August 2, 1994

August 2 - Decided to add another 15 minutes to my drive by going down Historical Route 66. The towns along there are dying now because I-40 bypasses them kind of sad. There are a lot of Indian shops in Eastern Arizona. I really liked Flagstaff; it's at 7000 feet, and as a result, it has trees and plants and it's not quite so hot. Western Arizona is hot. Lake Havasu City had a reading of 116 degrees at 5:00. Gross. My car didn't like going up the ten mile long 6% grade at 65 mph with the AC on full blast when it was 110+ on I-40 going up to Needles. So I turned off the AC and slowed down and everything was OK. And I got up the hill before the inside of the car heated up. And then I turned the AC on. I got to Barstow at sunset, and had real trouble dealing with the sun at sunset. Somehow managed to find the exit for I-15, despite not being able to see anything. Arrived in Anaheim, and stayed at the Jolly Roger.

Route - I-40 West to I-15. I-15 South to California 91. California 91 West to Anaheim.




I did stop here. Spent about an hour. I think it was $10, which seems a little expensive now.

Short clip of a random fireworks show as I drove through California.

Saturday, August 01, 2020

Baseball Trip Replay - Day 70 - August 1, 1994

August 1 - Oklahoma. Panhandle of Texas again. New Mexico.

Actually, Eastern Oklahoma is a lot like Arkansas and Missouri with lots of trees and stuff. Its just when you get past Tulsa that it turns awful. Pulled off the highway in OK City to eat and get gas, and ran into a Two Pesos. Good lunch.

About five o'clock in New Mexico, I ran into hailstorms. At one point, the hail was so bad that everybody had to pull off of the freeway because we could not see. The hail was marble sized, so it didn't really damage anything. When I got back on the freeway, it was covered with ice. Melted pretty quickly though. After a particularly bad spell of wind and hail, I stopped in Albuquerque at the Black-Eyed Pea and ate entirely too much fattening food. Pulled in to Gallup, NM, and stopped to sleep.

Route - I-44 West to I-40. I-40 West to Gallup, NM.




Friday, July 31, 2020

Baseball Trip Replay - Day 69 - July 31, 1994

July 31 - Back to the grind. Left for Columbus. Drove through Indianapolis, St. Louis, and Branson. Exciting drive. Stopped in Afton, OK. Actually, the drive through Missouri was quite beautiful, especially at sunset. Also, since I picked up old Route 66 at St. Louis, there was lots of really kitsch kinds of old gas stations and roadside stores.

Route - I-70 West to I-44. I-44 West to Afton, OK.



Thursday, July 30, 2020

Baseball Trip Replay - Day 68 - July 30, 1994

July 30 - Slept late. Got up and talked with Rhonda some more. Wish I could have had more time. Left around 4. So I was going to Anaheim instead of Seattle because of the stupid tiles. I wanted to stop in Cleveland, and I tried. There were no motels in available in Cleveland. Nor on I-71. I went 120 miles in 4 hours, and I stopped at every single place. I finally found a place in Columbus about midnight. And got to sleep.

Route - New York 13 West to New York 17. New York 17 West to I-90. I-90 West to I-71. I-71 South to Columbus.



Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Baseball Trip Replay - Day 67 - July 29, 1994

July 29 - Got up at 6:30 so I could get out of Toronto before they towed my car again since we could not find an overnight place to park. So I headed out for Ithaca to visit an old friend from Rice, Rhonda Reese. I got to her apartment about noon, and her boyfriend answered the door. He looked really confused, until I told him who I was. He then remembered I was supposed to be there, so it was ok. His name is Dan, but I never got his last name. Anyway, Rhonda was teaching a class, so she was going to be there later, so I took a nap. (Getting up at 6:30 is not my speed.)

Rhonda got home later, and she, Dan and I talked for a while. Dan was going to a play that night, so Rhonda and I went to dinner and caught up. After dinner, we went to the Cornell gaming group and played games until way too late. It was here I was introduced to Magic the Addiction. Ah, the start of the downfall.

Route - Queen Elizabeth Way to I-190. I-190 South to I-290. I-290 East to I-90. I-90 East to New York 87. New York 87 South to Ithaca.


Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Baseball Trip Replay - Day 66 - July 28, 1994

July 28 - I hadn't had a chance to sleep in for about a week, so I slept until 1:15. When I did get up, I read a Calvin and Hobbes book. Anna called about 4 to say that she got a cashier's check from my bank, and everything went ok. Got ready to leave for the game, went outside, and my car had been towed. Sigh.

Went back in, and traced through the bureaucracy and found it. Took the subway downtown, and walked to the pound. Paid $138.03 Canadian to get it out of the lot, and left $40 more with Laura and Michael to pay the ticket. Seems there is no place close to their place to park past 7:30 AM, which meant that I would have to get up early the next day and leave. Drove to SkyDome and parked.

SkyDome is a very good compromise. It is multi-purpose, which means that it is not an ideal stadium for any sport. For baseball, there is too much foul territory, which means the stands are too far away. Also, you have to look pretty far left to see the plate in the seats down the line. The roof is very impressive however. I wish I could see it open, and see it closing. Oh, well. MacDonald's runs the concessions, but I have had worse. The hotel rooms in the outfield are way cool, and I wish that I could stay there someday.

Milwaukee took a 4-2 lead off of Dave Stewart, but Joe Carter tied it in the bottom of the 8th with a 2-run home run. The Brewers scored one in the top of the 9th, however, and won 5-4. Texas Rangers pitcher Kenny Rogers pitched a perfect game also. The players voted on a strike deadline of August 12th. And the league rejected Seattle's proposal to play at the AAA park in Tacoma, so the game I was to go to will be played in Anaheim. I won't be going to Seattle after all.
It was good seeing Michael Gemar again. I didn't know him that well at Rice, but it turns out that he is as big a baseball fan as I am. We both were ticked, however, when the guy in front of us asked us to shut up so he could concentrate on the game. "Why don't you take your conversation up there (pointing to the upper deck) so us real fans can pay attention to the game?" What are real fans? We paid out $23. He left in the seventh inning anyway. Some real fan he turned out to be. Toronto has the quietest fans I have ever seen, and I guess Michael's and my jabbering just got on his nerves. His twins daughters were bored out of their skull, and he kept yelling at them. I don't know what his problem was.





Scoresheet for 1994-07-28 MIL at TOR - Vistors

Scoresheet for 1994-07-28 MIL at TOR - Home

Monday, July 27, 2020

Baseball Trip Replay - Day 65 - July 27, 1994

July 27 - Well, it was time to go to Toronto. It was also time to get the money for the down payment to the title company. They wanted me to wire it. Well, I tried to, but I had to be there to sign the wire order. I fed-exed a check to Anna, and hoped that she could cash it. I also changed my oil. This is very condensed; I finally got on the road to Toronto about 2:15 after having woken up at 8:30. Had a nice, long, uneventful drive to Toronto. This time at the border, it was five questions, and drive, so that was cool. Got to Toronto about 12, and I found Laura McRae's apartment, and I went to bed.

Route - I-95 South to I-80. I-80 West to Garden State Parkway. Garden State Parkway North to I-87. I-87 North to I-90. I-90 West to I-290. I-290 West to I-190. I-190 North to Ontario 403. Ontario 403 West to Queen Elizabeth Way. Queen Elizabeth Way to Toronto.




Sunday, July 26, 2020

Bone Jarring - Shutting down

Note: This blog entry is copied from the blog at www.bonejarring.com. That website will disappear soon, so I am reproducing the final blog here.

Life changes.

I started this effort in 2012. At the time, I was being paid, but the company I was working for was a zombie company waiting for its death blow, and I had no idea what I was going to do. In 2014, I setup the company, the website, and the github repo, and started working on the side, as I had a good full-time job at this time.

I have not been able to devote enough side time to make this work. And in the meantime, a website came along which captures the spirit of what I was trying to do. It’s not exactly aligned, but it’s close. Please checkout:

https://roll20.net

It’s really good.

Am I disappointed? No. I learned a lot about IOS, and Swift, and SwiftUI, and that has served me in my rejuvenated career as a software developer.

Could I have made this a full-time venture and got this off the ground? Maybe. The real problem is cost of healthcare for my family, and especially, me. I have some major health concerns which don’t affect me day-to-day, but which makes insurance very expensive or impossible to get. I had a potential investor, and Austin is a great place to startup a company. However, I love my full-time job, and the benefits are awesome.

What’s going to happen to the assets of Bone Jarring? I am assigning the ownership of the copyright to myself, Syd Polk. I am making all of the repositories on github public. Nobody was looking at this, but still… The website is paid for until July, at which point it will disappear.

Honestly, there isn’t much there, which is one of the problems I have. I have to pay to maintain the LLC and all of the digital assets, and I don’t want to do that anymore. If I had something close to being ready for the App Store, or if I had a service people were using, I would have explored selling the company to Roll20 or Paizo or Wizards of the Coast, but there is not enough to sell here.

For those few of you who have read along with me the past several years, thanks!

But most of all, keep playing table-top RPGs. Support your local game store, Roll20, Paizo, Wizards, DriveThru RPG, and any game companies that you love their products. It’s a great hobby!

But in this time of COVID-19, checkout Roll20. It’s really good.


Baseball Trip Replay - Day 64 - July 26, 1994

July 26 - Since I was ending the night at Yankee Stadium, and one does not drive to Yankee Stadium, I decided to take a cab to Manhattan. Cost $53. Live and learn. You see, Staten Island is the one borough of the five that make New York City without any train service whatsoever. The ferry runs from 6 AM to 11:30 PM. After that, you drive. Sucks rocks.
Anyway, I asked the cab to take me to the Metropolitan Museum. He didn't know where it was, and the cab company gave him the wrong address. I found a cop, and he told me where it was. I was dropped of on the wrong side of Central Park and 12 blocks downtown from it. Aargh. My feet hurt already from yesterday's walk, and I haven't even been in the museum yet.

This place is huge. The highlight for me was the musical instrument collection. All sorts of really rare European instruments in one room; the other room had non-European instruments, and I have no idea how rare they are. Was a really cool place.

Another highlight was the Rodin statues in the 19th century European art section. It seems that Rodin had this grand vision of a huge work called the Gates of Hell, of which the large Thinker (there are several Thinkers) was just supposed to be a small part. He never put them together, and kind of gave up later, and made the pieces more elaborate so they wouldn't fit together anyway. But the unifying theme is quite dramatic, and the Met has at least six of the statues in the series. Their Impressionistic collection was large, but Philadelphia's was better quality. They had a special exhibit on Picasso's Weeping Women, which as exhibits go, isn't supposed to be very good. However, I gained a new appreciation for his work. They had another on Salvador Dali. I really like a few of Dali's works, the more surrealistic, the better, but the rest of his art was kind of bland. The exhibit was well done, however.

About 3:30, I couldn't take anymore. My brain was spinning, and my feet hurt, so I bought a mystery novel, and sat in a cafe on Madison Ave. and read until time for the game. I took a cab to Yankee Stadium. They started on time, but it looked real iffy. It was raining quite hard there for a while. The Yanks blew a 5-0 first inning lead and lost 10-7. The best part about this was the bleacher bums. They reminded me more of the Rice Student Section at a football game than anything else. They were chanting and clapping in unison throughout the game. They were obnoxious but funny. I glad I wasn't sitting there, but they were fun to watch.







Scoresheet for 1994-07-26 BOS at NYA - Visitors
I got the date wrong on the scoresheet. Oops.


Scoresheet for 1997-07-26 BOS at NYA - Home





Saturday, July 25, 2020

Baseball Trip Replay - Day 63 - July 25, 1994

July 25 - I had wanted to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. However, it's not open on Mondays. Seems that a lot of things are not open on Mondays. So I took the ferry, and parked my car in Greenwich Village, since that is where I was going to end up that night. I took a cab to the Guggenheim Museum. Way cool building. It's built as a spiral, with the largest layer at the top. You theoretically start at the top and work your way down to the floor. The art, well, it's 20th century. There is some neat stuff, but there is a lot of circle-of-rocks and three-flourescent-tubes-on-an-otherwise-blank-white-wall type of stuff. I was disappointed, though. It only took two hours to go through.

So now it's 11:30, and the first set at the Village Vanguard is at 9:30. Hmm. So I took a cab to the Central Park Zoo. Should have gone to the Bronx Zoo instead. The Central Park Zoo is very, very small. Took 45 minutes to get through. They did have snow monkeys and red pandas, but what a tiny little place.

So now it is 12:30. Hmm. Only nine hours to go. Just about all of the other attractions either didn't really interest me or were closed on Monday. So I decided to go to Music Store Row on 48th Street.

The last time I had tried to go, summer of 1982, I was mugged. I guess this was the get-back-on-the-horse test. I was tired of shelling out money for cabs, and I had plenty of time anyway, so I walked. From 64th and 5th Avenue to 48th and 7th Avenue. Not too bad. There are six stores in this block that sell woodwinds, so I went into all of them. There were a couple of stores that consisted of walls of saxophones with a repairman in the middle who is the owner. One of these had a contrabass saxophone. It looked new. There are less than ten of these in existence. He wanted $40000 for it. That's about right. The best of the stores is Sam Ash. It is split into four stores, one for woodwinds, brass, and sheet music, one for guitars, one for drums, and one for keyboards and computers. The woodwind store had a few things to drool over, like a silver Selmer Mark VI bari sax for $5500. The salesclerk knew of all of the Bay Area stores, so we talked for a while. Priced a few things and left. I have been meaning to buy a keyboard to use with the MIDI setup and my Mac, so I went to the keyboard store. Got a couple of ideas, although it will be a while before I get one.

So now it is 4:00. Well, at this point, I am stymied. I walk back to the Village, 11th Street and Greenwich Avenue, and pick up a Village Voice. They have movie listings. So I go see Speed, a truly silly movie. It does have lots of action, but there is very, very little plot, even for an action movie. Sigh. I ate at an Italian Restaurant, and hung out at a Village coffee shop for a while. Cafe Barrone at home is much better; the prices are better, it is cleaner, the food is better, etc. But what can you do?

Finally, got in to the Village Vanguard. On Monday nights, the Village Vanguard has the Village Vanguard Band, which used to be the Mel Lewis Band, which used to be the Thad Jones and Mel Lewis Band. I call this the And Band, since Thad Jones and Mel Lewis are both gone. The band is tight as ever, and they have some good soloists. The piano player, John Hampton, stole the show. He was amazing. One chart started with just the piano, bass and drums, and he started with an extremely out, harmonically advanced chorus or two, and gradually worked his way over several choruses back to a very soulful blues. Quite effective. The lead trumpet and bass trombone players were great. The trumpet soloists were ok. There were two trombone soloists, one who played a bluesy, plunger-and-straight mute solo, and one which played a bebop solo. I think my friend Clint does a better job with the plunger stuff by far. The sax players were all very good, although the bari player did not take a solo. They couldn't double for spit, though. The lead alto player's flute was fine, but the second alto player's clarinet was awful, the second tenor player's flute was very, very bad, the bari player's bass clarinet was inaudible, and the first tenor just played everything on tenor. Was a joke, but they all solo rings around me, so what if they can't play flutes and clarinets? Had to leave after the first set, since Chuck's brother Mike had to lock up after I got home and was waiting up for me.