Tuesday, March 9, 2010


I'm sure most of you typically have those moments when you visit back home and you get to hang out with old friends at old places and it brings back a ton of memories. I had such an experience over the past few days.

Though I wasn't necessarily hanging out with old friends, I encountered lots of old smells when I came back home and it reminded me of the days of old. For instance, the smell of spring was definitely in the air as I drove into town, and this reminded me of all the spring baseball I played for my school back in the day. Also, I went to the town bakery and the smell reminded me early-morning bakery runs before class when I was in high school. Furthermore, when I first walked into my house (the same house I lived in for the first 18 years of my life), there was a smell that reminded me of my grandma's house — she died about 12 years ago — which consisted of cigarette smoke, fried chicken and probably some ointment or powder of some sort that Mom is starting to use to ease her ailing joints; either that or she is using an old-person-scented candle called Geriatric Geranium or something of the sort.

What I'm getting at is that our noses are a key part of our ability to remember. If I smell freshly cut grass, I think of baseball. When I think of baseball, I think of St. Louis Cardinals games. When I think of Cardinals games, I think of family trips to St. Louis that included a trip to Six Flags with a lunch picnic outside of the park. All of these memories from my childhood can flood back to me through my olfactory memory; it's truly amazing.

Next time you're reading in II Corinthians 2, remember how strong one's olfactory memory can prove to be when you come across verses 14-16:

14But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. 15For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task?

Are we attempting to spread the fragrance of God? Are we being the aroma of Christ, filling the nostrils of the lost with a scent of love so powerful that associating with us will bring their minds closer to God? This works for other Christians as well. If we are the aroma of Christ to Christians who have become apathetic then our actions, however simple, can remind them of our God and His great yearning to have us intimately know Him as Abba Father.

Sunday, August 5, 2007


Well, lots of things have happened since my last entry. There are several things I'd like to talk about, so grab a snack and enjoy.

Redbird Rollercoaster: The Cardinals have put me on an absolute emotional rollercoaster during the last few weeks. Last weekend, the Cards took three of four from the first-place Brewers and showed signs of a potential comeback in the NL Central. They scratched their way back into two games and comfortably won another against the Brew Crew, and I was very excited about the quality of baseball I was seeing. The pitching was good (13 scoreless innings by the 'pen), the hitting was timely, and the Cards were showing an energy that fans haven't seen for quite some time.

Then, the Cardinals traveled to Pittsburgh with the opportunity to really gain some ground on the Brewers and Cubs, as they were taking on the Mets and Phillies respectively. St. Louis took game one, and things were looking very promising. And on the second day, Tony LaRussa sent Braden Looper to the mound, and God said, "Let there be multiple Pirate hits and runs." The Pirates saw Loopers fastballs, and they said the pitches were good. I couldn't resist putting this Bible reference in because I remember thinking that only divine intervention could possibly keep the Pirates from burning Looper for seven earned through four innings. The final score was 15-1 in favor of the mighty Bucs.

Game three between the Cards and Pirates went 11 innings, and the Pirates came out on top after a David Eckstein error allowed the the eventual winning run to reach base. At that point, I felt so alone. I thought to myself that the Cards could salvage the road trip by doing well against the Nationals -- I mean, they ARE the Nationals. Surely, I thought, the Cards could take three from the NATIONALS.

Game One: The Nationals win in the bottom of the 9th to give the Cards another walk-off loss.

Game Two: The Cards get mashed 12-1 by the Nats. Mike Maroth was laughable, giving up five runs in 2/3 of an inning. During his previous apperance, he gave up seven earned in 1.2 innings. His ERA is now over 11 with the Cards. I think I can finally see how he lost 21 games a few years ago.

Game Three: The Nats win 6-3, thus pretty much driving a nail into the Cards' coffin.

The only hope for St. Louis is to dominate their final series with the Cubs and Brewers, but given their recent play against two of the worst teams in the majors, I'm not too hopeful.

I'll now give my impressions on some of the milestons that were reached this past week.

Glavine wins number 300: Congrats to one of the best pitchers to ever throw a baseball. He's only the 5th lefty to ever win 300 games. I think he'll be the last pitcher for a long time, maybe even ever, to reach the 300 win mark. Randy Johnson is 16 away from 300, but he just had back surgery and might not ever pitch again. If Johnson doesn't do it, I think that may be the end of the line for 300-game winners. Mike Mussina has the most wins of any active pitcher behind Johnson, but he's only got 245. Pitchers just don't throw as often as they used to, and they come out of games earlier, thus giving them fewer decisions in games where the bullpen is relied upon to finish the job. Again, congrats to one of the classiest guys in the game today.

A-Rod hits number 500: I just hate that he had to do it in a Yankee uniform. I, along with most other followers of baseball, believe he will ultimately hit 800-plus homers IF he stays healthy. Motivation will also be another factor since he is making such a ridiculous amount of money so quickly. If he does become the all-time homerun king, I hope he's not still in a Yankee uniform. P.S. - I hate the Yanks.

Bonds hits homerun number 755: Baseball fans have known it was inevitable for quite some time now. So, how do I feel? Well, as a baseball lover, I'm deeply saddened that there has to be so much controversy over Bonds' accomplishments. I do appreciate the fact that he has hit 755 homerun, and I will continue to do so until he is found guilty of steroid use. Do I think he used them? Yes, but until he is actually proven guilty, I will appreciate his feats -- even if I have to really grin and bear it. People must still realize that strength does NOT equal homeruns, and much skill is still involved to hit a round ball with a round bat, squarely. That's the baseball purist in me; however, if he is proven guilty, I will lose the respect that I have for him right now. I just wish it didn't have to happen like this.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Unlucky Number 7

On the luckiest day of the millenium, 7/7/07, the Cardinals had the worst luck of the millenium. Actually, luck has nothing to do with the 7th inning (ironic, no?) blow-up of shortstop Aaron Miles; lack of concentration, however, has everything to do with the fiasco.

Let's flash back to that fateful 7th inning, where the chance of a Cardinal victory was punched directly in the nose thrice.

With runners on second and third with one out in a 3-3 game, a slow roller was tapped to Aaron Miles. The Redbird shortstop scooped it up, looked home, looked to first, and air-mailed a throw to first that Albert Pujols barely knocked down. One run scored, and Miles was credited with an E-6.

Two batters later, a ground ball rolled under the glove of Miles. Two runs scored, and Miles was credited with an E-6.

The next batter hit a grounder to Miles, who promptly skipped an unpickable ball to first base. One run scored, and Miles was credited with an E-6. The Cardinal fans then showed their appreciation for Miles' hat trick with a showering of boos (which I don't agree with, but that's another post).

The score at the end of the inning: Giants 7, Cardinals 3.

Final score: Giants 7, Cardinals 6.

Tonight's loss was especially frustrating considering that So Taguchi cost the Cardinals the game yesterday by committing an error in centerfield that allowed three unearned runs to score with two outs. Toss in the fact that a run scored because Juan Encarnacion let two catchable balls fall in front of him in the first inning because he was in no great hurry to actually run, and you have all the ingredients that lead me to a heart-wrenching realization: The Cardinals will most likely be absent from the playoffs this season.

No desire, no heart, no hustle, no urgency.

No wins.

P.S. - Carlos Delgado hit a homer tonight at 7:07 on 7/7/07. How fantastic is that?

Sunday, June 24, 2007


I've gone quite some time without blogging because of work, but I'm rejuvenated after a weekend at the lake and a July 4th break on the horizon.

I usually blog about sports, namely the Cardinals, but given the fact that the Redbirds have been awful, I have nothing to say. Therefore, I'll give you a little taste of my summer job and the frustrations that lie therein.

Essentially, I work for the Missouri Government and their Summer Feeding Program. I arrive at a school cafeteria in Kennett at about 6:30 each morning and help to prepare, wrap, pack, and deliver free meals to surrounding towns for kids who don't have a whole lot.

The work, I thought, would be quite gratifying given the fact that I would have an opportunity to serve others, and through serving, minister to the less-fortunate by providing a smiling face and a warm meal. Though I do feel like I've made an impression on some people as a Christian, I feel saddened at how ungrateful the majority of the kids are that come and receive these meals for free.

Very rarely does a "thank you" escape the lips of these kids; however, such a fault lies not on them, but on their parents or guardians. I see the way that the parents of the kids act, and then I realize how important a good role model is because the children routinely participate in the same actions as their parents. For instance, one lady brings her children to eat every day and constantly cusses at them, threatens to beat them, and just mentally and verbally abuses them. In turn, I've noticed that the kids struggle to be kids---they can't do anything without being yelled at. Also, because those kids have been shown no respect, they show no respect, which is evident when they constantly badger me and try to break the rules at the serving site.

I honestly believe God has presented me with this job in order to test my patience and anger management. I am a former hot-head who would've erupted earlier if presented with these same circumstances. I think He placed me in a situation in which I thought people would be much more cooperative and understanding, given the fact that they are receiving lunches for free, in order to let me practice patience and calmness for use later on down the road.

I've been cussed at, yelled at, and made fun of simply for handing out lunches and enforcing rules.

As long as I continue to smile and serve, I think I'll eventually shine through as someone who is different, and that's just what I want to be.

I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thank you, Lord, for opportunities to shine your light to children who have only known what their parents have taught them. May I be as much of a blessing to them as they are to me. Amen.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Not our year

The Cardinals have had the most terrible luck this season; in fact, their lack of luck is almost humorous.

If someone stings the ball to the outfield, it's right at someone. If they sting one in the gap with men on, the outfielders make a diving catch, get up, and double a runner off to end the inning. Basehits that would normally score a man turn into outfield assists. Cards that are safe are called out, and opponenets that are out are called safe. Double play balls thrown by the Cardinals are deflected by the pitcher for infield hits. Pitches in the opposite batter's box are called strikes against the Cards, but borderline pitches for us are called balls. Our pitchers make good pitches that result in broken-bat singles or off-balance homers---absolutely nothing is going our way.

The Cards are also plagued with injuries. I'll enumerate them.

Chris Carpenter - Cy Young winner that is out because of elbow surgery.
Mark Mulder - A guy that you can traditionally count on for 15+ wins. He's yet to pitch an inning this season.
David Eckstein - Ecky was just starting to get hot, but now he's day-to-day with a lower back injury. He'll have to get his timing back.
Yadier Molina - He was finally having a productive offensive year; not to mention he's one of the best defensive catchers in the game today. He's out 4-6 weeks with a broken wrist suffered earlier this week.
Chris Duncan - He's putting up the best power numbers of any Cardinal while hitting a respectable .277, but he's day-to-day with a leg injury.
Scott Spiezio - By far the Cards' best pinch-hitter. Also a very valuable utility player who is one of their best clutch hitters. Day-to-day with a stomach bug.

Also, let's not forget about the car crash that killed reliever Josh Hancock earlier in the season.

I suppose the luck that the Tigers' pitchers experienced in last year's World Series has found its home in the St. Louis clubhouse.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


Congratulations are in order for the Missouri Tigers baseball team that has been selected to host one of 16 NCAA Regionals, thus beginning the road to Omaha and the College World Series.

The Tigers boast a 40-16 record, a second place finish in the Big 12, and a number 11 national ranking.

If the Tigers can get past their four-team Regional, they will move on to a two-team Super Regional where they will have to win two of three to move on to Rosenblatt Stadium, home of the College World Series.

Last year, Mizzou beat nationally ranked Pepperdine twice in the Regional round to advance to a Super Regional matchup with a perennially dominant Cal State Fullerton squad, but the Titans advanced to the World Series.

Here are some Mizzou players to look out for in the tournament (pardon the sentence fragments):

Jacob Priday - The Tigers' biggest offensive threat. Hitting .299 with 10 homers and 55 RBI in 54 games. Hottest hitter in the lineup down the stretch, coming off of a 5 RBI game in a 13-1 rout of Oklahoma State (38-19).

Evan Frey - Run-scoring machine. Has scored 64 times in 53 games. Hitting .346, with 11 doubles, 5 triples, and 4 homers. Has also swiped 10 bases.

Brock Bond - Always on base. Hitting .319 and has scored 52 times in 55 games. 38 walks and 24 HBP to help spark the Tiger offense.

Aaron Crow - Boasts a 3.17 ERA in 108 innings of work. Leads Mizzou with an 8-3 record in 16 starts.

Scooter Hicks and Ryan Gargano - Big-time bullpen combo with combined 1.31 ERA in 48.2 innings. Allowed just 30 hits and 12 walks combined for a WHIP of less than 1.00.

Hopefully these players, along with the others, can carry Mizzou to Rosenblatt Stadium--- what I consider to be a real baseball heaven.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

That's a winner

Ah, yes...the Cardinals have made me happy the last two games.

Let's start with yesterday's 9-4 win over the Pirates.

Eckstein was back in the leadoff spot. He recorded three hits, scored once, and brought his customary scrappiness back to the top of the order.

Duncan, Encarnacion, Miles and Rolen all joined Ecky with multi-hit games, which is very encouraging, especially for the struggling Rolen. Perhaps this was his coming out party, so to speak.

Most importantly, however, Wainwright kept us in the game on the mound. He gave up 9 hits in his 5.1 innings of work, yet gave up just 2 runs as he pitched his way out of several jams. What this showed me is that Wainwright can win without his best stuff if he just bears down and makes some key pitches instead of getting flustered. He kept his head, made pitches, and came out on top.

Tonight's game was great because the Cards actually displayed some power (five homers in the month of May coming into the game). Eckstein led off with a homer, Edmonds hit an absolute moonshot, and Duncan homered in his third straight game.

The Cards also showed a bit of a killer instinct, tacking on an insurance run in the 8th. Though it may sound like I'm just looking for something to praise the Cardinals for, that's not the case. I was genuinely excited to see Spiezio drill a pinch-hit single to drive in the Card's fifth run because insurance runs just haven't crossed the plate for us this year.

Wells finally picked up a win, throwing seven solid innings while giving up two runs (1 earned) on five hits. He picked up key strikeouts in tough situations, and I was glad to see that LaRussa had confidence in him by sending him out to pitch the 7th.

Flores had a bad outing in relief, giving up a run in 1/3 of an inning, but Isringhausen picked him up, throwing 1.2 innings for the save. Izzy inherited the tying run on second, but struck out two batters to get out of the inning. He threw a perfect 9th to record his 11th save.

Beautiful day.

Only another Yankee loss would've made it sweeter.