Seven Octobers

Seven Octobers now we’ve been hosting Baseball Open House at the Rocketship, and this year’s has to rank as our most successful: * We had good friends in attendance throughout, ranging from two or three people all the way to a high of eleven (plus me and Stacey) for Kenny Rogers’s glorious (pine-tar-aided?) dismantling of the Yankees in the LDS. * Half a dozen or so friends made their first Baseball Open House appearance. * We hosted people for every night game in the entire playoffs except three, two of which were graciously hosted by TITANIA, and the other, the World Series opener, which we watched with the whole Stahl family at my brother’s house in Indianapolis following my running of the Indy marathon. * We cooked up a mess of food, relying more than in any previous October on the seasonal produce that we get each week from our membership in a local community-supported farm; in that way, we were closer to the autumn outdoors than ever before. * Stacey’s baseball jack-o-lanterns ran their World Series game-winning streak to 10. Damon went 4-0 in 2004, Ozzie Guillen went 4-0 in 2005, and the Yadi-o-lantern went 2-0 to close out the 2006 series. * Despite the brevity of many of the series–the teams only played six games over the minimum this October–we saw some very exciting baseball. As my mom put it on the phone minutes after Adam Wainwright struck out Carlos Beltran with the bases loaded to put St. Louis in the World Series, “That one nearly killed me!” Even the fans without a rooting interest in the game knew what she meant. * We had champagne in the fridge, and we got to use it. We drank some after the aforementioned strikeout of Beltran, and we put back more of it after Wainwright snapped off the same curveball against Brandon Inge . . . which leads to the final reason this Baseball Open House was such a success . . . . * THE CARDINALS WON THE WORLD SERIES! FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE I WAS EIGHT YEARS

OLD AND NOT YET REALLY A FAN! Thanks, Cardinals. Thanks, everyone who came out. Thanks, Jim, for another season of BRPA. I’ll try to be a more reliable poster in 2007, and maybe you can make it for Baseball Open House next October. The only proper way to end this is to turn the mike over to the Rajah:

“People ask me what I do in the winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.”–Rogers Hornsby

Pitchers and catchers report in about 100 days.

Disappointed they aren’t real cardinals and tigers

2006 ends as it began…with Chessie on the floor near a TV that’s showing a baseball

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Rain delay food and pumpkins

Levi’s normally a vegetarian, except when the Cardinals are in the World Series, and that’s because he has a superstition that involves eating Lit’l Smokies. And therefore…

Note that Levi is looking around furtively for any fellow vegetarians who might be ready to pounce upon him for this breach of vegetarianism.

Also note that this picture was taken Wednesday night, and Levi is in his kitchen instead of being in front of the TV. Suddenly introducing meat can cause problems for digestive systems that aren’t used to it — and something else that can cause problems for digestive systems is four episodes of “The War at Home” interspersed with Joe Buck telling America that it’s still raining in St. Louis. So Levi is wisely attempting to minimize the amount of Kaopectate he’ll need later.

On another note, after Johnny Damon in 2004 and Ozzie Guillen in 2005, this year’s baseball-related jack-o’-lantern carved by Stacey is…

…Yadier Molina.

Also, in today’s L.A. Times, Bill Plaschke writes a column that boils down to “the baseball season should start 10 days earlier so I’m not quite as cold while I’m being paid to attend the World Series.” You know, it’s warmer during the day, too.

I’ve been reading lately

I have recently finished reading Jim Knows: The Book. Unfortunately, it was not written by me, it was written by a man named John Hodgman. And he chose not to call it Jim Knows: The Book, but instead The Areas of My Expertise. Obviously, since I’m mentioning it on this web site, there is some baseball-related content. It comes from the section titled “Some Prophets Who Were Not Actuaries.”

SARAH WOODHOPE grew up in the suburbs around Boston and was noted in her high school yearbook as the school’s only guitar player and its first practicing Wiccan. In the fall of 1985, at the age of seventeen, she had a strange and vivid dream: a Patriot win over the heavily favored Dolphins in the AFC championship. She only mentioned the dream to one or two friends. But when it came true, she tearfully confessed that she had been dreaming of sporting events every night since she had gotten into Bryn Mawr early. She saw flashes of hockey games, whole innings of baseball that would not be played until the following summer, the tips of Larry Bird’s fingers releasing the ball in what would be the last NBA game he would ever play. “I never asked for this,” she told the Boston Globe when her strange gift became known. “Why would Gaia put these awful images in my head? I only wish it would stop.”

Woodhope’s visions continued, however, and Bostonians will recall that she eventually agreed to share them once a week with local disc jockey Dale Dorman during his drivetime shift on KISS-108. Her glimpses of the sporting future did not always predict a winner, and indeed they were often incomplete and imperfectly understood by Woodhope herself: She never quite grasped the rules of football, for example, and expressed surprise when she was told that William “The Refrigerator” Perry was an actual human and not a fantastic invention of her unconscious. “I thought…,” she said in a laughing declaration that would be played by Dorman again and again over the years, “I thought he was some kind of beautiful ogre!” At the end of each segment, Woodhope would explain a principle of Wicca and encourage the listeners to help heal the earth through enlightened white magick. This was her condition for appearing, and her advocacy is at least partly responsible for the large number of covens in Boston today, as well as the tradition of burning incense before Bruins games.

The following September, Woodhope went to Bryn Mawr, where she became an English major and would go on to write feminist fantasy novels. According to her autobiography, Cauldron Sister, her dreams ceased once she left Massachusetts. But there was one final vision she held back from Dorman: She dreamed of a short grounder along the first-base line, the ball hop-rolling gaily through the legs of an instantly ruined Bill Buckner and continuing on over the queasy green outfield at Shea Stadium. It was, of course, Game 6 of the upcoming 1986 World Series. This was the first time, she wrote, that she actually understood what she had seen, and what it would mean to Dorman and his listeners: that Boston would have to wait another eighteen years before it could break the curse laid on the Red Sox by Babe Ruth, that noted warlock of swat.

“I couldn’t put that kind of sadness out into the world,” she wrote, “especially since I knew it would only come back to me threefold: that is the Law.” Still, an unlikely friendship had developed between the DJ and the composed young witch, and so on her last broadcast that Labor Day, she kept her silence, offering only a hopeful Wiccan farewell: “Hoof and horn, hoof and horn, all that dies shall be reborn. Corn and grain, corn and grain, all that falls shall rise again. So mote it be!”

I actually wish this had been written before the 2004 World Series so it didn’t include the “another eighteen years”; it’s obviously much more melancholy if you think about a vision of the Red Sox never winning the World Series.

Yes, if you like this excerpt, you will like the book. As another endorsement, when interviewed on “The Daily Show” about this book, John Hodgman made Jon Stewart laugh repeatedly to the point that he had trouble getting his questions out, in a way I have not seen before or since. Why, if there had been a wall behind him, he might have hit his head from throwing it backwards as a result of all the uproariousness.

Now, please feel free to comment on all this, so that I can continue to post excerpts from books under the guise of “fair use for the purpose of criticism and commentary,” at least until spring training starts.

Score that play 6-3, and thus ends 2005

Wow, every time Levi’s wife makes a jack-o’-lantern involving a baseball personality, their team with which they’re associated wins the World Series! Levi, how does it feel to be married to someone with magic powers? I hope you’re more accepting of it than Darrin Stephens!

No, seriously, I’m sure Stacey would be the first to tell you there’s nothing otherworldly about her pumpkin carvings. However, consider the following: we started this blog at the beginning of the 2004 baseball season, and since then…

  • The World Series was won by a team that hadn’t won in 86 years.
  • Then the World Series was won by a team that hadn’t won in 88 years, after winning the American League pennant for the first time in 46 years.
  • Also making a World Series appearance was a team that had never been there before, in 43 years of trying, and their uniforms look a lot better now than they did for many of those 43 years.
  • The Yankees have not gone to a World Series.
  • The first four “Complete Peanuts” volumes have been released, right on schedule, and they are awesome.

Clearly, the existence of this blog has been a major force for good in the world of baseball. Therefore, I’m considering starting a few more blogs.

  • Cure-for-Cancer-Related Program Activities
  • Democratic-Party-Related Program Activities
  • Origin-of-the-Universe-Related Program Activities
  • Jim’s-Sex-Life-Related Program Activities

Uh, but just for interest’s sake, Stacey, whose face do you foresee rendering on a gourd next October?


A hell of a full-body beatdown is administered to Phil “Scrap Iron” Garner by Tom Verducci at

And every word of it seems right on. The manager did take several chances last night to put his team into the best position to win, then he complained about their effort afterwards.

That’s a couple of the key ingredients for longterm bad karma.

Longer than there’ve been fishes in the oceans

Six hours into the broadcast — reflecting Fox’s ridiculously unrealistic 3-hour time slot plus the maximum 3 hours of TiVo padding, it was the top of the 14th…

The good news is that I had caught up to the live

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broadcast at 10:30, and set a manual recording for 11:00 until — well, just in case, I set it to go until, well, about the time the morning news was going to start. So I was a little disappointed that it was “only” 11:20 when the game actually ended. But I have to assume I was one of a very select few not in Houston or Chicago who actually saw the game from beginning to end, although it’s admittedly a lot easier to sit through 14 innings of baseball when you can fast-forward through the commercials…

That Chicago Sun-Times “Market Wrap” edition isn’t looking like such a silly idea now, is it, Levi? That might be the only way for Chicagoans to get the box score of this game in their newspaper tomorrow — uh, I mean today.

Hey, speaking of silly ideas, where was Aaron Neville in the middle of the 14th to sing the real song? Actually, Bud Selig probably would have insisted on a reprise of “God Bless America” for no good reason.

On a TV note: since I grew up in the Eastern time zone, I’m used to sporting events that run long being followed by the local affiliate’s 11:00 or 10:00 news in its entirety, whether it’s at 12:00, 12:30, or even later. Therefore, I was a little surprised to discover that Fox’s flagship station in Los Angeles must have their entire 10:00 news crew home, because when the coverage of the game ended, they went straight to their regularly scheduled 11:30 “Simpsons” rerun.

The Ozzie Guillen pumpkin

Clearly, if the Sox win, Stacey should be voted a full World Series

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In the ninth innning of Sunday’s Sox win, Scott Podsednik at the plate, Joe Buck says to Tim McCarver, “You know, Tim, a lot of people thought Garner should have put Lidge into game six of the NLCS, just to get the taste of that Pujols home run out of his mouth. What do you think?”

“Well, Joe, I don’t think that taste is there.”

But right around the time McCarver said “taste,” the ballgame was ending as Podsednik’s homer cleared the right field wall.

Maybe that taste is there after all? Tastes a bit coppery, like blood.