Thursday, June 9, 2016

Being a FAN: Texas Rangers and beyond for the love of a team

Being a fan: 

It is no secret that I love baseball and more specifically the Texas Rangers.  In years past I have spent up to 35 games a regular season at the ballpark.  I was single and it was my entire social scene for a long time.   While I don't have the time or money to make that commitment at this time in my life,  I plan to be at the ballpark at least 10 times this season.   When you consider the investment, 2-3 tickets averaging $35 each (sometimes more, sometimes less depending on my mood and bank account) plus parking at $15-$20 per game, the money invested is substantial and that doesn't even include beer, soda, and nachos or whatever else you choose to consume or not consume at the ballpark, none of it cheap.  A night at the game for a family of 3 can easily exceed $200 and that is before you figure the cost of the shirts you purchased to attend and the refreshments you brought to tailgate.  

But more than that there is time invested. even if you don't go to the games as much as I do, which is nothing compared to some people (who would probably not consider me a good fan, because I am not there enough) there are games on TV.  At minimum, 162 games a season which I devote my viewing life to from the end of March until whenever the season ends, sometime in late October if I am really lucky.   Do I miss a game?  Sometimes it happens.  I mean, life happens for all of us.  Usually, I miss part of a game at most. 

So when you are a fan, you get to know your team, the players and if you are on Twitter, other fans.  There are no rules to being a fan except that you love the team.  For me, I have a personal rule never to boo my team when I am at the ballpark.  That does not mean however, that I can't be critical of a player or players who are hurting the team.  When you watch a player struggle, usually you begin by feeling bad for that player and hoping they snap out of it.   After a while however, they just become a burden to the team and as such, the fans.   When a pitcher just can't find the strike zone he is frustrating to watch.  When a hitter can't hit the ball and kills an offensive drive, he makes fans crazy.  

There is an emotional investment in the team and fans are critical, even of their own players and you know what?  We have that right.  We can get mad when a player is hurting the team.  We get to be upset when a player isn't performing up to his billing or contract.  We spend our hard earned money and our precious time so we have a right to voice our displeasure.  It doesn't mean we are bad fans.  It is actually the opposite, we love the team so much that we are miserable watching a player who continually under performs and we don't follow the player blindly at the expense of the team.  That doesn't mean we won't be thrilled if/when the player snaps out of it.  That doesn't mean if, for example the Texas Rangers Shawn Tolleson finds the strike zone and becomes a machine, we won't all be cheering or if Prince Fielder suddenly manages to connect with the baseball and break out of his season long miserable slump, we won't all be calling him a beast again.  It simply means we want the best players on the field every day and maybe that player is Sam Dyson or Jurickson Profar. 

Some fans have silly rules, nobody over a certain age should wear a jersey.  Nobody should leave the sticker on their cap.  Caps must have the brims bent.  Yada, Yada, Yada.  There is one rule for baseball games: No WAVE!   Okay, so that is my rule and believe me, my husband breaks it just to annoy me.  The wave belongs at football games, end of story.  Wear what you want.  Wear it any way you want.  Although know this, if you wear high heels to a baseball game, I am going to laugh at you.  

Being a fan simply means living and dying with your team.  You don't have to be mean to other fans, although some of us are.  You don't have to be critical of players, although you have that right.  You don't have to spend  10, 40, or 81 games a season at the ballpark, although some of us do.   You don't need a large Twitter following to be a good fan, although some of us have them, it isn't a popularity contest.  You don't need 3 pair of shoes, 35 shirts, 8 pair of earrings, necklaces, handbags, bracelets, and team rings, although I have them.  (Seriously, I am like a walking billboard when I go to a game).  
Some of the best Texas Rangers fans that I know live in other states Iowa, California, North Carolina and Canada.  They love the team just as much as I do, maybe more.  They are fans.  They may not be the most vocal fans.  They may not be the most critical fans.  They may not be in attendance at every game or any game, but they are amazing fans.   

So even if you are a fan of the Astros, Yankees, or the hated Toronto Blue Jays, it is your team. Own it. Shoot, you may not be a baseball fan at all, that's okay.  Some people like football.  Believe it or not, there are some Cowboys fans in Dallas-Ft Worth.  I know. I know. Crazy, right.   We even have a hockey team called the Dallas Stars and a basketball team, the Dallas Mavericks, those teams have fans too.  It's okay to be a fan of those teams too, I am. (Not the way I am the Rangers but I am to a way lesser extent, especially on the Cowboys who I just find frustrating.) 

Fans:  Love their team.  End of story. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

What I'm loving Wednesday #1 of 2016 Really?

Hey there party people.  Happy hump day! Is this really the first actual "What I'm Loving" post I have done this year?  I can't believe it!  I should be on my way to work by now but I thought I wold stop in to my blog and say hello and share a few things I am loving this week.  Ready?  

*I am going to start writing for our local backyard chicken coop tour blog.  Yep, me.  I'm super excited.  I get to interview awesome coop owners and find out all about them and their chickens!  Now for those who don't know, I always intended to be a journalist when I graduated high school and went to college but that plan went somewhere out in way left field.  

Speaking of chickens how cute does Patches look in her saddle?  Now aside from being a totally fashion forward hen, this saddle is protecting her back feathers from my frisky Roosters.  Patches and her hen friend Ruby are the favorites and they pay with missing feathers.   

Baseball is making me very happy right now!  The Rangers above and the Cubs below, are trying to make my dream World Series happen! 

*Yu Darvish the Rangers pitcher who returned from surgery and Juricksen Profar who is a shortstop but has also played second and now first is also returning from surgery and both have been very good.  Yu Darvish is probably my favorite current player and I am so happy with the idea of Profar moving to first that I tweeted this last night: 

*I am loving that the dogs got a bath last night.  They needed it!  

And I am loving that mama hen Lemon takes her babies out and shows them the lay of the land and important stuff like the garden.  Of course being kids, they don't listen! 

So what are you loving? 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Take me out to the ballgame!

I'm a little or lot behind on blogging.  My new job is kicking my butt.  These photos are from the game at the end of May when Yu Darvish returned after almost 2 years.   

He likes going to the games but he hates me taking selfies.   Before the game all my Rangers bling set off the metal detector.   That's never happened before.   I may have had one too many bracelets on.  

Yu has made one home start and one road start now.  Both wins.  I missed him. 

Here is the updated standings: 

Okay so other things I have been doing besides baseball?  

I actually painted my nails twice.  This is a shocking development, believe me!

Tending to the flock, of course.  I volunteered to do some work with the local coop community. More on that later.

Reading:  I am currently reading Riffs of Regret by Micah Chaplin.  I don't know much about the Indy music scene but the characters are so real that it doesn't matter.   

Reminder:  it's Opening Day:  
Available today! 
  I told y'all about Dropped Third Strike during the cover release.  Well today is the day!  The book is available on Kindle.  Mine showed up this morning since I pre-ordered it.   
Here is the info on the book if you missed my other blog. you can find out all the ordering info there but the book is available today.  Did I mention it is on Amazon? : 


Kate Marks is hitting it out of the park as general manager of the Portland Pioneers. Her childhood friend Reid Benjamin is struggling to hit anything at all and, as a result, has suddenly found himself out of a job. When Kate hires him as hitting coach for the Pioneers, she's determined to keep everything strictly professional, but she has underestimated Reid's charm. His proximity has forced her to face a past she would rather forget. Reid wants another chance, but Kate isn't convinced he's changed his game.

Information about the Book
Title: Dropped Third Strike (A Portland Pioneers Novel #1)
Author: Micah Chaplin
Release Date: 6th June
Genre: Adult Romance
Publisher: Self-Published
Format: Ebook

Especially for the release, here is an excerpt: 

------ EXCERPT ------

As her brisk walk turned into a slow jog, Kate plugged her headphones into the treadmill’s console and looked up at the television in front of her machine. Her feet pounded against the belt as the one-liners and laughter of The Office chased work concerns from Kate’s mind. She didn’t watch much TV, but one of the guys she briefly dated had mentioned this show. While the relationship hadn’t worked out, his sense of humor had been one of his most endearing qualities, so Kate checked it out one night. She loved it immediately, and since the episodes were only 30 minutes long, Kate found it easy to catch up and keep up.
When the credits rolled, Kate began flipping through the channels. Unable to find anything else she could get into, she finally stopped it on the MLB Network, where they were discussing some of the latest transactions. It might have been a little too work-related for what was supposed to be off-time, but Kate couldn’t resist. Even before she’d entered the baseball industry as a professional, she’d had a hunger for constant information on the sport and the business behind it. As a GM now, she was always interested to see what her colleagues were doing. Most of the topics were old news to her, as she’d received calls and e-mails about various transactions and happenings all day. However, there was one announcement that nearly made her trip on the treadmill.
“After designating him for assignment early last week, the Mets have released outfielder Reid Benjamin. A one-time top prospect, Benjamin’s stock has been steadily dropping since his debut. He hit .250 with 30 walks and 120 strikeouts in his second season as the starting centerfielder after signing a five-year contract worth $100 million. Despite tallying 89 RBI, 20 home runs, and 40 doubles last year, he has not been able to put together a full season without injury or incident. His troubles off the field have also undoubtedly influenced New York’s decision. In the last few years, Benjamin has been arrested a handful of times on charges ranging from public intoxication to disorderly conduct. Just two weeks ago, he was kicked out of a popular nightclub after punching a bouncer. That appears to have been the final straw for the Mets. Benjamin now becomes a free agent. Between the size of his contract, his offensive troubles, and the late off-season nature of his release, finding work will be quite the scramble for him.”
Kate’s gait stuttered a bit as the segment started. Fortunately, she was able to stop the treadmill and find the side rails with her feet before looking like a klutz in the near-empty gym. For several long moments after the TV had gone to commercial, Kate’s gaze remained on the screen, letting the name resonate through her brain – Reid Benjamin.
From a professional standpoint, Kate was not all that surprised by the news of Reid’s release. His off-field headlines combined with his declining value and a saturated outfielder market would likely leave Reid without a job this season. She actually felt a bit sorry for him, and that sympathy annoyed her. Why should she feel sorry for Reid? He certainly hadn’t done anything to deserve it.
Kate knew Reid well – far better than any of those scouts, managers, or GMs who had been drooling over him for years. Reid also knew her quite well – in ways she preferred not to think about. Much to her chagrin, they occasionally snuck up on her. Usually on nights when she let her mind wander a little too far into the past.
This is not going to be one of those nights.
She unplugged her headphones and went over to the free weights section of the facility. For the next hour, Kate drove Reid Benjamin from her mind with every lunge, squat, and curl. After she stretched and cooled down, she showered and headed home for a quick late dinner and bed.

Kate’s reprieve from hearing Reid Benjamin’s name didn’t last long. Even though she was at her office by the ungodly hour of six, she already had three voicemails mentioning his name. The last one was from the team’s owner. She shook her head and took a sip of her coffee as she picked up the phone to dial his number and set him straight.
“Please tell me you’ve already set up an interview with Benjamin,” Mr. Scott blurted out, almost before Kate could even say “hello.”
“I haven’t,” Kate managed to answer.
“And why not?” Mr. Scott demanded. “He would be perfect.”
“For what?” Kate asked. “You’re aware of his history, right? On and off the field, he’s a huge liability. I wouldn’t sign him as a player, and I definitely don’t want him coaching and mentoring. Even if he wasn’t such a bad influence, he has no experience.”
“Clearly, you are the one who has not looked at his résumé,” the owner replied. “During the off-seasons, he went to his alma mater and helped fine-tune the mechanics of many players there. Most of them have been or will be drafted.”
“Then why was he so horrible at the plate?” Kate asked.
“You know what they say – those who can’t do teach,” Mr. Scott said. “Interview and sign him. Fan Fest is in two days. I want to make the announcement then.”
“OK, I’ll interview him, but I can’t guarantee I’ll hire him,” Kate said.
In her mind, the possibility was very doubtful. Her personal bias against Reid Benjamin aside, she could not imagine him as a proper fit for the Pioneers – professionally or otherwise. Neither his batting stats nor his rap sheet inspired her. Besides, who was to say he would be interested in a coaching position? Regardless, the owner had given her an order. She had to carry it through. Honestly, it wasn’t as though she had many other options. The other candidates had failed to impress her. Reid was likely to follow suit, but at the owner’s command, she had to at least interview him.
Now she needed to figure out how to get in touch with Reid. His information was still in her phone contact list, but she wasn’t sure the number still worked. Years had passed since she’d even attempted to use it. Trying to shake that memory, she turned on her computer and opened her e-mail. The answer was in her inbox. More than one of the replies to her plea for help had suggested Reid and included his contact information. Some of them were time stamped before the evening announcement, so either they had insider information or they’d seen the writing on the wall. Interestingly enough, his number was still the same as it had been five years earlier. She took a deep breath and picked up the phone, dialing the number slowly.
When he answered sounding sleepy, Kate inhaled quickly. Knowing how his voice had once affected her – particularly when laced with the sexy, barely awake tone it carried now – why hadn’t she rehearsed something to say?
Fortunately, “Professional Kate” mode kicked in.
“Reid Benjamin?” she asked in a cool, even manner.
“Yeah,” he mumbled. “Who is this?”
He didn’t recognize her voice. Given their history and the time that had lapsed since their last conversation, this shouldn’t have shocked her or even bothered her. But it did. She felt a distinct and familiar twinge of pain. Somehow, she found a way to push on without sounding affected.
“Kate Marks, general manager of the Portland Pioneers,” she said. “I’d like to talk to you about the hitting coach position in our organization.”
There was a silent pause on the other end, and she wondered what was going through his head. Then she heard a rustle of fabric, which suggested he was sitting up or getting out of bed. The mental picture rattled her as much as his voice had. She closed her eyes, but that only made the image more vivid. She snapped them open and turned to look out the window, nearly pulling the phone off the desk in the process. She scurried to catch it and reposition it smoothly. She wondered if he had heard any of the clatter in his silence.
“Sorry, you woke me up,” Reid said finally. “Can you repeat that?”
Kate repeated what she had said, though she could hear a slight tremor in her voice that hadn’t previously been there. She hoped he didn’t notice it. The odds were in her favor though as Reid had never been particularly observant where she was concerned.
“Oh,” Reid said. “I guess the good news of my release traveled fast.”
She heard a catch in his voice. She couldn’t tell if it was hurt or annoyance, maybe a combination of both. Kate, in turn, felt a little bad for her negative thoughts about him.
“Yeah, I heard it last night,” Kate admitted. “I know it’s probably too soon for me to be calling you about this opening, but I felt like I needed to jump on you before someone else did.”
Kate immediately regretted her choice of words, especially when she heard him chuckle. Apparently, he heard the unintended innuendo as well.
“Well, you might be a bit late for that,” he said in a low voice, still clearly amused. “Except in terms of employment; I’m still open on that front. I could fly out next week.”
“Actually, I’d like to talk to you sooner than that,” Kate said. “I could make arrangements for you to be here this afternoon. We would cover the costs, of course.”
“This afternoon?” Reid asked. “Wow…you must really be desperate. Well, OK, but I can handle the costs. As you know, I made a pretty good living while I was employed. I’ll call the airline and get back to you with my ETA. What was your name again?”
Kate rolled her eyes and gave him her name again along with her number.

As he hung up the phone, Reid smiled to himself. He hadn’t heard that voice in a long time, but he’d recognized it instantly.  He’d never heard the woman speak in such a business-like tone – but he still knew who was on the other end of the line before she identified herself. Despite the years that had passed and the substances he’d ingested in the interim, Reid had never managed to erase Kate Marks from his memory, even though he preferred to have her believe that was the case. He would have preferred that to be the case too, but it hadn’t happened. Clearly. His reaction to hearing her voice on the phone was unsettling, to say the least. And now he would have to face her in a matter of hours.

Okay y'all, busy week.  My boss is off so I am officially in charge.  Pray for me.  

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