Baseball Season

For those of you not in the know, I’m pretty active with my son’s baseball teams during the Spring months.  If you have trouble getting in touch with me, whatever the method, please realize that my family takes priority.  I’m not saying I won’t get back to you, just that it may take me longer.

I generally won’t schedule readings, interviews, signings and conferences during this two and half month period.  The writing groups that I regularly attend suffer from my absence during this time frame too, unfortunately.  But it doesn’t last forever and I’m back to the fold soon enough.

Tyrmia, Starstrikers and Baseball

The third draft of my next novel, Tyrmia, is out to fellow writers for crits.  So I’m refusing to even look at it for the next month or so.  In the meantime, I am going over Starstrikers with a fine toothed comb, once again.  If anyone has particularly good proofing skills and wants to give me a hand at that little task, email me.  All I can offer you in return is my thanks, a mention in the acknowledgments and a signed, free paperback of the finished novel.

Baseball season is just getting under way here in Treasure Valley, Idaho.  Snow is confined to the foothills and warmer weather is still another month or so away, but soon the kids will be going to practice wearing coats.  I’m Spencer’s assistant coach this year and I will be helping out with Jack’s team when I can.  Both of the kids are on the Oregon State team this year – Go Beavers!  Jack, my oldest was moved up again and is now playing in AAA Cal Ripken.  He’s a pretty good little athlete.  Spencer has a great feel for the game and I think he will blossom this year in Rookie league.

All these baseball teams are going to put a serious dent in my free writing time.  As is the case every Spring around our house, I won’t be generating much new content.  Aside from putting out Starstrikers and an e-book anthology.

WAC Champions

Everyone who knows me knows I’m a BSU Bronco Football fan.  Yesterday the Broncos won their second straight Western Athletic Conference Championship.  Congratulations are well in order!  Another perfect 13-0 season for the boys in blue.

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Later today we will find out if the Broncos will get invited back to the BCS Bowl for the second time in four years.  Thanks to a last second field goal by Texas to win their title game last night against Nebraska, it looks like all the stars are finally aligning for BSU to return to the BCS this year.

For several seniors, it will be dejavu if they return to the Fiesta Bowl having been to the first appearance in the Fiesta during their freshman year.

I, like all of Bronco Nation, will be watching the bowl selection announcements tonight, and hoping for a chance to watch my team succeed again on the national stage.  I doubt we will get a game for the ages like last time, but a win, will be very sweet indeed.

GO BRONCOS!

boisestatebirdkiller

A Road Trip to Remember

My oldest son’s baseball team has not won a game yet.  They have come so close to getting their first win the last two games.  Their coach has a deal with them.  If they win, he will shave his head.  They really love their coach and of course want to see him bald.

Today they have a double hitter in Kuna, a small town near Boise.  Their coach pulled some strings and got them a stretch limo for the 40 minute ride.  How cool is that?  I hope they get a win today, I really do.  But even if they lose again, you can’t beat the memory of arriving in style.  Just look at that smile.

Do you think he's excited?

UPDATED:  The team made such a grand entrance in the Limo, that their opponents were intimidated enough to be beaten by the winless team from Boise.  In the second game of the double hitter, they lost again, but it was much closer than the first game.

Formula One Racers

Have you seen the cars they are driving lately in Formula One racing?  They are like some kind of crazy, Sci-Fi starships or something.  Go on over to the Big Picture and take a look at them.  What you don’t see in these pics is the steering wheel.  Nearly all of the car’s instruments are located on the hub of the steering wheel.  Again, so scify!  This is necessitated by the lack of space in the car’s interior as you can see in the side view below.  Where the frak does his body go?

Chinese Formula One Car
Chinese Formula One Car
Where's the laser guns?
Where's the laser guns?

Baseball Season

The only sport I played when I was a kid was baseball. Over the years, I’ve grown particularly fond of the game that’s all about losing. A Chicago Cubs fan since high school, a transplanted Seattle Mariners fan as of late, I love the game. My oldest son is starting his second year of T-ball and so my love of the game is being passed on to the next generation.

I watched the first Mariners Spring Training game on TV the other night and life was good. I waste far too much of my time in the spring and summer months watching baseball. I’m sure I would be more productive if I simply didn’t enjoy the game so much. So be it. The smell of leather, the sound of a wooden bat cracking and the beauty that is the double play, are hard for me to deny.

Chicago Cubs Logo

Seattle Mariners Logo

The Greatest Game

I have to be honest, I have not been thinking of Null_Pointer much this week. All my spare brain cycles have been spent on analysing what many feel is the best ever game of college football by our local university – Boise State. I’m still in awe of what happened. Am I surprised that my team won? No. Sure the Broncos were the Cinderella team for everyone outside of the WAC, but to us Bosians, we knew they were damn good. What we didn’t know, was that they were capable of pulling off what arguably could be the greatest game in the history of football.

When you look closely at the many plot lines that converged on that day, from the redemption of the quarterback to the proposal on the field after the improbable overtime win, you begin to see that the story is truly the stuff of legends. The only proper way to fully explore the topic would be for Ken Burns to make a documentary with the narrator being that guy from NFL Films.

In case you missed it or are not a fan of football, read this Sports Illustrated article.

Most people will remember the trick plays and Ian Johnson’s proposal on live TV, but what should not be forgotten is more important. The Defensive and Offensive lines of the Broncos out played their opponents for much of the game. It was not until the final quarter of the game that the mighty Sooners waked up from their incredulous haze to mount a comeback that was sparked by a rare, bad bounce of the football that handed the Sooners the ball on Boise State’s front door. Had that chance event not taken place, BSU would have ground off the clock and won the game. End of story.

But fate stepped in, forcing the team with the most desire to step it up and play for all the marbles. Again, the stuff of legends. Don’t get me wrong, the Sooners are a great football team, they played hard after that and proved that they were capable of winning the game. They took advantage of a pick six by the BSU quarterback, forcing the Broncos to step it up again in the waining seconds of regulation play.

What happened on the last offensive play of the game for the Broncos was football at it’s finest. Forth and 18 yards, there are only two plays that have any chance of succeeding. The long ball and the lateral. How many exciting games have the underdogs tried either of those plays to win a football game. Countless. How many times has it actually worked. Very, very few. The odds are almost astronomically high against any offense. The Broncos pulled it off with perfect, execution and a balls to the wall run and dive into the end-zone. Proving again who had the most heart and who wanted to win the most.

But the Sooners were not out of it. They came right back, and scored first in overtime with a single play by their star running back making BSU look like amateurs once again. No one was surprised by how quickly they scored. That was what they were told to expect in the media and by the Sooner legend. It was a great game Cinderella, now go home before the clock runs out and your game turns into a pumpkin.

The Broncos battled back, like battle hardened veterans. It was ugly but it got them within reach of the end-zone and the game once again, came down to one play. For most teams, this would once again have been where the story would have ended. Another foiled run from the little guy into the big red mountain of Sooner defense that would come up short. Game over.

Not quite. When great teams step it up in desperate times, they rely on every team member contributing something to the cause. For BSU, it was Vinny Perretta. A walk on kid who played hard all season took the snap and tossed a single throw into the end-zone, over the heads of the much bigger Sooner defense for the touchdown. Once again, the Broncos had beaten the odds and scored on the last possible play of OT.

Much has been said about the attempt to go for two points and win the game. But it all boils down to confidence and execution by the BSU offense. In a scene straight out of a Hollywood movie, the little guys struck a sucker punch and put the game into the history books. The Broncos came to the line, showing three receivers lined up to the wide right. The Sooners call time out.

Coming back from the time out, the Broncos huddled one last time. “We just won this game,” said Legedu Naanee. Everyone in the huddle knew it. When they broke the huddle, they again lined up wide right. The Sooner defense was expecting some kind of a trick play, but the Broncos appeared for all the world like they were going to toss it outside and hope for a miracle.

Zabransky took the snap, back peddled and tossed an apparent pass, to his right. Nobody knew it at the time, but the South Paw QB tossed with his right hand. The defense lurched to their left to pursue the pass. “I swear I saw him throw the ball,” a Sooner defender later claimed.

Z then handed the football behind his back (in a version of the school yard Statue of Liberty play) to Ian Johnson who ran it into the end-zone untouched for two points. Game over. Ian tossed the game ball to his father in the stands and then leaped into the stands to greet his fans and his family. After a brief interview on live TV, he got down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend, the Captain of the Bronco’s cheerleader squad. If this were a movie only Spielberg could have made that not seem hokey.

In a country known for appreciating the underdogs, the Boise State Broncos have suddenly become America’s Team. In the past two weeks, BSU has sold more team related gear than they sold all last year. If you too were inspired by the courage and determination of the Broncos, please get your official team gear from the BSU Bookstore. All proceeds go to student scholarships.

No matter what happens at the Championship game between Ohio State(1) and Florida(2), the 2007 Fiesta Bowl will always be remembered for being the best game of football this writer has ever seen.