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Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

Seriously, the World Series?

While this is the ODTUG Blog, as the primary author behind most posts I feel I can take a day off here and there for non-ODTUG topics. Today is one of those days. However, before I go down that path, I’d like to encourage you to vote in the ODTUG Board Elections. The elections close on November 1st at midnight, PDT. Here is a link to take you to the candidates page:  http://www.odtug.com/apex/f?p=500:250:0

Now, how about the World Series? I live just outside of St. Louis, and have been a Cardinals fan all of my life. This year, however, was a year like no other. Spring training starts, and we lose one of our ace pitchers, Adam Wainwright, for the season to Tommy John elbow surgery. Matt Holliday lost a period of time with an emergency appendectomy. Albert Pujols breaks his wrist. Despite all that, the Cardinals continued to battle. The Milwaukee Brewers were the Cardinals main foe throughout the year. The Cardinals were 10 1/2 games out of the wild card chase in late August. No one (well maybe outside of the team) thought that they had any chance of making the playoffs. However, a funny thing happened. The team became a team. They got on a roll and started making up ground. Heading into the final week of the season, the Cardinals were still on the outside looking in. But they didn’t give up. On the last day of the season, the Cardinals won their game 8-0, and the Braves lost to the Phillies in 13 innings, sealing the wild card for the Cardinals.

The NLDS put the Cardinals up against the Philadelphia Phillies. The Cardinals were huge underdogs for that series. The Cardinals won the best of 5 game series on the road in Philadelphia, against arguably the best pitcher of the last few years in baseball, Roy Halladay. Chris Carpenter went to the mound for the Cardinals, and tossed a three hit shutout in the decisive game. What a series!

In the NLCS, the Cardinals went up against the Milwaukee Brewers. Both teams were fighting for the right to represent the National League in the World Series. I was lucky enough to secure a couple of tickets to Game 5 of this series, and Lisa and I looked forward with hope to see a good game. The game ended up being a Cardinal victory, 7-1, and the Game 6 in the series saw the Cardinals with the pennant on the road against the Brewers.

St. Louis Pictures

Lisa in front of Budweiser Wagon
Mike in front of Clydesdales
Lisa at Kiener Plaza Fountain
View of Arch from Kiener Plaza

Bring on the World Series and the Texas Rangers!

While we weren’t luucky enough to be able to secure tickets in St. Louis for any World Series games, I have a very good friend in Dallas that invited me down to experience the World Series from a different perspective – that of being in a distinct minority (50,000 people, probably 49,000 of them rabid Texas Rangers fans).

We had tickets to Games 3 & 4, which provided two radically different outcomes. The St. Louis Cardinals, riding on the stong shoulders of Albert Pujols, won Game 3, 16-7. The game saw perhaps the greatest single game offensive performance by a single player in World Series history. Albert Pujols tied the record for hits in a game (five), home runs in a game (three), RBIs in a game (six), runs scored in a game (four), and set a new record for total bases in a game (fourteen). The silence was deafening in the stadium when Pujols hit his first home run in the sixth inning. I left the stadium that day knowing that I had witnessed history, an individual game performance that may never be equaled.

The next evening, Derek Holland proved to be to tough of a pitcher for the Cardinals to handle on that night. The Cardinals fell to the Texas Rangers that night 4-0, to even back up the series at two games apiece.

Game 6 returned to St. Louis, and saw the home team have to come back from a 7-4 deficit. With one run in the 8th, and a dramatic, 2 out, two run triple from our hometown’s own David Freese, the Cardinals sent the game into extra innings. In the 10th, Josh Hamilton gave the Rangers a two run lead with his first home run of the series, forcing the Cardinals to score two to tie in the bottom of the 10th. Once again, the Cardinals came through to tie the game. Without scoring in the top of the 11th, the Cardinals only needed one run to send the Series to Game 7. David Freese once again took the stage, and cracked a home run that sent Cardinal Nation into a frenzy. What a dramatic game (that I’m sure my commentary did not do justice to). In Game 7, the Rangers started out the scoring, but a masterful pitching performance by Chris Carpenter, coupled with some good fortune and persistence by the St. Louis Cardinals led them to their 11th World title, which poetically came in 2011.

The series was very competitive, and the Texas Rangers and their fans have nothing to be ashamed of. They are a class organization, and have a wonderful fan base. We teased each other both nights that I was there, but never a rude word was said. I sincerely hope that they get to experience the joy of a World Series Championship in the very near future, just not when they’re facing my St. Louis Cardinals!

Texas Pictures

2 Cardinal Fans in Enemy Territory

Scoreboard at Ballpark in Arlington

National Anthem Ceremony

A Cardinal Fan and a Texas Legend

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Taking a break from the regular ODTUG KScope11 postings (still time to register before advance registration ends on June 9 – http://www.kscope11.com/registration), I thought I’d share with you a little bit of the joy the 13 year cicadas, also known as Brood XIX, or the Great Southern Brood. These cicadas follow a 13 year cycle, so the next occurrence will be in 2024.

I must tell you, I’m not particularly squeamish, but the sheer numbers of this brood of cicadas is mind-numbing. And the sound is ear-splitting. While I don’t have a decibel meter to measure the sound, I can tell you that it was loud enough to give me a headache after just a few minutes outside.

I had to take a leaf blower to the driveway to clear it off enough for my son to shoot baskets. I’ve swept the front porch several times a day, literally removing HUNDREDS of these insects each time. Standing at the bus stop with my son at 7:00 AM, I had several land on me thinking I looked like a good tree for them to climb on (I took it as a compliment!).

I’m posting a short one minute video of some of the sounds and sights, along with some photos that I took the other day. Here is the YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8FXqbLa8dg

Cicadas on Plants

If you haven’t experienced this year’s brood of cicadas, I guess I’d consider you lucky. But, you’re also missing out on one of the most intriguing events in the insect world. Enjoy!

Pile of Cicadas and Shells

Cicada Emerging From Its Shell

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