Peanuts, Popcorn & American Presidents
I love reading anything baseball. A while back I received an email from a fellow named Nicholas asking if I would review this book about American Presidents and baseball. I agreed hoping it was a short book as I don’t have a whole lot of free time right now with the regular baseball season getting ready to start.
The book is 11 pages which is right up my alley.
DID YOU KNOW?
William Howard Taft was the first president to throw out a ceremonial first pitch. He did it on April 14th to usher in the 1910 baseball season.
That President George Bush Sr. was a Boston Red Sox fan who later flipped and became a Houston Astros fan? The senior Bush was also the Captain of his Yale Baseball team.
Here’s another one, did you know that when President Roosevelt threw an inaugural pitch, someone was always on hand to prevent him from toppling over.
This little book is filled with tid-bits of information like that.
About the book.
Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball,” wrote Jacques Barzun, the late French-born historian of American culture. Barzun might have added that any U.S. politician with his eye on the White House had better know the difference between a ball and a strike. Since baseball became the National Pastime it has enjoyed a favored relationship with the seats of power—in Congress and even in the Supreme Court, but certainly with the chief executive.
The venerable sportswriter Ray Robinson surveys the presidential attitude toward the “best game” since the early twentieth century, separating the enthusiasts from the pretenders.
A little bit about the Author Ray Robinson.
Ray Robinson, a former magazine editor, is the author of the widely acclaimed biography Iron Horse: Lou Gehrig in His Time as
well as biographies of Knute Rockne, Christy Mathewson, Will Rogers, and Stan Musial. His writings appear frequently in the New York Times. He lives in New York City.
Where can I purchase this book?
Also available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and I-Tunes.
I’m “D” the Ranter…Is it first pitch yet?
Rockies vs White Sox..Camelback Ranch
Last day in Arizona.
This was my first time visiting the Ranch(home to the Dodgers and White Sox). As far as spring training facilities go this one is a real gem. It’s beautifully laid out with little ponds and walkways everywhere.
We were there on a Monday and the back fields were almost deserted.
I wandered around, enjoying the early morning sun, reflecting on the past few days and thinking about life in general. How many spring training facilities can you get enough peace and quiet to actually relax and ponder shit?
While I was “Zone’n” I noticed some players gathering in the outfield of one of the practice fields. I watched as one of the coaches started hitting pop-flys right up against the outfield wall and players were jumping trying to catch them and keep ‘em from going over the fence. I hurried over to where the balls were going over the fence and I noticed it was just me there. For a few short minutes it was yours truely catching the baseballs that the minor league players couldn’t snag. Eventually folks saw me having the time of my life and decided to join.
All in all probably 25 baseballs were hit out.
As soon as that drill was finished the minor leaguers started their batting practice. Sitt’n with seven baseballs already I was having a great day. BP was a bit more crowded but I manged to catch one on the bounce and one on the fly preventing a bystander from getting hit in the face with a home run ball.
Dude didn’t even say thank you….Dick
Folks, this place is special even if it is enemy territory.
Today wound up being not only a good day for baseballs but it was a great day for autographs.
I managed to get Todd Helton to sign my baseball, Eric Young Jr to sign a picture, and Skipper Walt Weiss signed my 1993 photo ball of him.
Plus, Dante signed a baseball card the Rox Addict hooked me up with.
Check out this motley autograph Crue..Left to Right, James, Eric, and Mike the Rox Addict.
James is the guy who made the “Helmer is my Homeboy” T-Shirts. Maybe it’s time for some Ranter shirts?
I don’t have many of these…Here’s Tulo smiling.
The Rockies lose this one to the White Sox. Matter of fact, the Rockies lost every game we saw them play the week we were in Arizona except for when they played the USA WBC team.
I have no idea what we’re in for this season as far as the Rockies go.
I’m ”D” the Ranter…I’d like to thank the Rox Addict for splitt’n the costs and being good company.
It was fun, but this year’s trip is done. 20 days till the first home game at Coors Field!
See you there…“D”
World Baseball Classic USA vs Mexico…Chase Field
I don’t claim to know much about the World Baseball Classic.
All I knew was this event was taking place during my yearly spring training trek and it was an opportunity to see something new, visit Chase Field for the first time and hopefully snag a World Baseball Classic game ball or BP ball. So being the open-minded baseball enthusiast I am I was like WTF, let’s see what it’s all about.
As per usual my week in Phoenix coincided with Arizona’s yearly two-day monsoon season, but this time I one-upped Mother Nature. The weather for Friday and Saturday called for rain and cold. My WBC games were Friday night and Saturday.
Inside Chase Field
As we approached the Chase Field district there was definitely a crazy baseball vibe going on.
I’d love to tell you it was a home country vibe but it was not. Team Mexico’s loyal supporters were out in full effect and the drinking and partying had started way before the game did.
Once I get inside a ballpark my thinking is as follows…Catch a baseball or two or three, then wander over and see what the autograph situation is. The autograph wall was six rows of people deep and I’d have had better luck standing there in that mob than I did in left field. The left field bleachers were jam-packed with Team USA and Mexico fans desperately looking to bring home one of these.
I believe I can relate.
Now when I say left field was full I mean full like it was the Home Run Derby full. A lot of these folks were willing to get a little bit scrappy in their quest for a ball. I’ll fight to defend my lady, but there’s no way I’ll fight for a baseball.
I’ve decided I like Chase Field for ballhawking. Chase Field’s left field bleachers are similar to the Pavilion bleachers at Coors Field and I feel like I can maneuver those shin busters with the best of ‘em.
I needed the baseball Gods to shine on me today but I guess they couldn’t penetrate the retractable roof on Chase Field. It became evident quick that this Ranter would not be taking any WBC baseballs back to his hotel. No WBC balls were caught during BP because they were using regular old MLB baseballs.
Random game shots. To give you a play by-play I would have had to pay attention.
I’ve been to some loud baseball games but this one by far was the loudest. If I learned one thing by watching and listening to this game I learned that Mexicans take their World Baseball serious as a heart attack. Mike and I kept commenting on the World Cup Soccer feel in this place.
I most definitely am not a fan of World Cup Soccer.
The noise inside this covered stadium had my head ringing like those matracas that every other fan seemed to have. This thing is the wooden equivalent of nails on a chalk board.
This overly festive game concluded with a Team Mexico win over Team USA 5-2.
Post-game as I was trying to escape from Chase Field I couldn’t figure out if I was impressed or revolted with what I just experienced. I kept thinking…”It’s just baseball this is Nucking Futs”.
I’m “D” the Ranter, Gett’n my dings…Trying new things.
My first and last trip to Hohokam Stadium.
(Rox Addict and his famous Running Man pose out front).
This joint is the spring training/winter home of the Chicago Cubs. The main reason I won’t be back is because this is Hohukum’s last year housing the Cubs. The Cubs move into a brand new facility next year. This stadium is a lot like other stadiums in the Phoenix area only older and for some strange reason..More expensive?
The Cubs suck because they stick it to their fans during spring training as well as the regular season. The going price here is 20 bucks for a berm ticket…OUCH!
Here’s the other reason I won’t be back.
Mike and I did our usual thing and showed up early for BP. I was stoked because I found out BP would be taking place inside the stadium and this place has a beautiful berm. Well I was stoked until I went inside and actually tried to access the berm. I was told it was off-limits during batting practice. The Usher was kind enough to let me know that as soon as the players were done I could walk anywhere on the berm. Thanks buddy.
WTF?? So I asked the Usher why? He informed me that the cleaning crew were still cleaning the berm. I found this totally unacceptable and walked away pissed that I wasted my time and showed up early. I paid 25 bucks for a crappy grandstand seat and then to be denied access to the berm during BP.
So as I was standing along the first base line hoping for a foul ball I observed this.
Lined up like ballhawking soldiers are the employees who are supposed to be cleaning the berm. The spent the entire batting practice chasing home run balls. I was jealous and pissed at the same time. Getting paid to snag baseballs that’s my f’kn dream job.
In reality all I can do is let you know how jacked up I think that is.
So now you know.
Today, the plan was to meet up with my folks at the stadium and take in a game.
We did just that. Beautiful day too. Mom and Pops thanks for coming up :).
Cool looking old stadium.
A few game shots.
Fans scrambling for a home run ball.
A packed left field berm.
A packed right field berm.
Some aerial entertainment.
I didn’t kill it with pictures today. It was fun just hang’n with my folks and watching the game feeling lucky to be warm.
White Sox cream the cheap ass Cubbies 8-3.
You can tell rain is a coming.
No worries, next game is a WBC game and it’s indoors
I’m “D” the Ranter and I will ballhawk for cash.
When the plane landed in Phoenix we headed immediately to the car rental joint, picked up a snazzy Ford Focus, then drove straight to Talking Stick. We rolled up about 9:30 and the facility couldn’t have been prettier. The sun was shining with temperature in the mid 60’s. Being the first fan to ever attend a game here I have a special affiliation with Salt River Fields at Talking Stick even if there’s only a handful of fans that know of my accomplishment.
We meandered the backfields in search of anyone partaking in a little batting practice. It was eerily quiet on the Rockies side. ‘cept for a wee bit of minor league action going on so I hung out on the side lines and it paid off. I managed to snag two foul balls in a 10 minute time frame. Back in the game!
The goal was to see Team USA warm-up and we learned that they wouldn’t be out till this afternoon. At that point we figured it was time to take a visit to the local In and Out Burger and then check into our room. On the way back to the car I spotted my third ball of the day.
My first Easter egg of the season!
Food and hotel taken care of it was back to Salt River Fields where Mike and I ran into Eric B. After a quick hello I took off as I noticed Team USA was beginning to take BP on the D-backs side (bonus)!
There were probably 20 other ballhawks out in left field all salivating at the chance to snag a USA World Baseball. I hung out there for 45 minutes and had play on three balls. One I managed to snag as it bounced off of the gravel. I looked at it and unfortunately it was just a regular old MLB baseball.
Not long after that I witnessed the Rox Addict snag one on the fly. His was a plain old MLB ball too. I’ll give him big props as it was a sweet catch in the tip of his glove and he was surrounded by greedy ballhawks.
Tonight’s game was the Rockies vs Team USA. I had a seat in the front row along the Rockies side so I used the opportunity to snag a few autographs. I managed to get Todd Helton, Tyler Colvin, Dante Bichette, Jordan Pacheco and Eric Young Jr.
I have a great picture of Tulo in the Snow I’d love autographed, but as is usually the case “The Deuce” took the low road and exited the field ignoring his fans.
The redeye flight and no sleep was catching up with me so I took just a couple of pictures during the game and spent the last part of the game hang’n with Jersey Geoff, his buddy Mike, and the Rox Addict.
Rockies made it interesting in the 9th after trailing the entire game and actually pulled out a win. Funny though, Rockies did Team USA no favors when they actually had to loan them a few pitchers.
The four of us ended up in the outfield with absolutely no competition for home run balls and wouldn’t you know it, diddly squat came our way. You have no idea how funny it would have been had a home run been hit in our general direction. The scramble for that ball by the four of us would have been hilarious.
I’m “D” the Ranter and today was an excellent first day! My only goals for the first day were to bust out some shorts for the first time in 6 months and get a nice sunburn started.
Spring training is more than just pre-season baseball for me.
It’s a fresh start each year with new strategies, new people and new attitudes.
Living in the mountains makes the baseball off-season seriously drag. Don’t get me wrong I love my snow (and my Broncos). Truthfully, for me winter is just the space between the end of one baseball season and the start of another one.
I crave variety. The Cactus League is full just that.
Each little Spring Training facility is a small taste of another team. I love the Rockies, but baseball is history and I’m a sponge when I’m down in Cactus League Country. Only true baseball fans make the yearly trek to Spring Training each year to watch and support their team.
Yes the games are meaningless, but these are fans that need this little dose of baseball to get them through till Opening Day. I for one am guilty as charged. I feel if I didn’t have my yearly trip to Phoenix to bask in the sun, chase baseballs, harass players, eat a years worth of In n Out burgers in a week, act like a fool and bump into Rantics I’d implode.
As sure as the brown hairs in my beard are being replaced by white ones, the Rox Addict and I will be wandering the Phoenix area in search of baseball history, memories and souvenirs one short week from now.
Next entry for me will be Wednesday March 6th when the Rox Addict and I land in Phoenix.
I’m “D” the Ranter…It’s almost time to shine.
If you read the Rant on any kind of regular basis you know who Dan and Emily are.
Dan is a regular in the front row of the Pavilion and usually by his side is his daughter Emily and the last couple of years his son Ryan.
Emily is 9 years old has been to 455 Rockies games in her lifetime. With that number of games under her belt she’s allowed to talk(or sing) a little Rockies smack.
Emily is entering a video contest sponsored by Woody Paige. Here’s a link to the contest:
Here is Emily’s parody video about the Rockies pitching. It’s so good it’s worth sharing
Call Me Maybe
Rockies fans…Let Emily and Woody know what you think of her video by sharing it or leaving a comment.
Good Luck Emily!!
I’m “D” the Ranter and 11 days left till the Rox Addict and I report for Spring Training.
Pete Rose or his likeness has not appeared on his own Topps card since Major League Baseball banned him in 1989.
Topps who holds the exclusive rights to produce MLB-licensed trading cards, has removed all references to Pete Rose on their cards starting with the release of 2013 Topps Series One.
The cards feature a “career chase” blurb on the back, indicating how far away players are from certain career milestones.
This is AJ Pierzynski’s card. No mention that Rose holds that record.
Look on Parnell’s card, Jesse Orosco is mentioned as the record holder for games pitched??
No mention of Charlie Hustle.. It’s not an error on Pierzynski’s card, as every other card where hits are mentioned in the Career Chase features no mention of Rose.
Topps said the omission was a “simple decision”.
Something I thought interesting… Rose is not be cited as the all-time hits king, however..Steriod monster Barry Bonds is referenced on the cards as the all-time home run king…Doesn’t seem fair to me.
Pete’s 71 now..and goes out multiple times a week to sign autographs to support his family. You don’t make a living by signing your autograph if folks dont love you.
It’s obvious that some folks in baseball don’t care for Pete…But it’s not hard to tell Pete still loves baseball.
I’m “D” the Ranter…
Hunter and I met Pete Rose at an Office Depot in Westminster Colorado about 10 years ago and we both got to shake his hand. To this day it’s still one of my favorite memories.
Sorry Pete…The noose is a whole lot looser if you were a juicer…”D”
Spring Training in Arizona.
For some of us, there is no regular season without a trip south just to check things out.
Knowing that sometime in March I’ll be traipsing through the backfield at some team’s facility scouring for baseballs or innocently(wink wink) wandering into a restricted area fill my winter time thoughts.
I know it will be warm and I’ll be wearing shorts, sunglasses and sport’n my trademark Ranter hat.
Plus Arizona has In and Out Burger joints :)…Yeah!
Daydreaming about spring training is what gets me through the Colorado winter. I know for a fact I’m not the only one who daydreams about the southwest sun and cacti.
Rantics, I see your FACEBOOK posts
Spring Training for the players is intense at times but for me it’s how I decompress from life. I’ve stopped setting goals for myself and I plan to focus on having a good time. Setting goals creates pressure and as I just mentioned that’s not what I’m shooting for. The goal if any is to relax, have fun, hang with baseball friends, make some new friends, catch some baseballs, watch 3 World Baseball Classic games, wander the back fields of random spring training facilities, and take LOTS of pictures.
Then tell you all about it because that’s what the Number #1 Rockies MLBlogger for the last 6 years does
As far as autographs go I plan to bring some of my pictures along and hopefully get a few of my favorites signed. I have no idea of what to get autographed at the WBC??
Maybe a WBC bat or jersey?
I feel like I crank out some of my best blogs during Spring Training. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m relaxed or because I’m more focused by not being distracted by my normal routine?
I guess stuff is just more fun to write about when you had a blast doing it.
Same as last year I’ll be hang’n with my partner in crime the Rox Addict and there’s usually never a dull moment with us two exploring a ballpark or a restricted area
We’re sort of a Dynamic Rockies Blogging Duo of sorts.
This year will be my 6th year attending Spring Training in Arizona. So in tribute to that here are some links and a few pictures from my Spring Training adventures in years past.
The Mobile Blogging Unit and Hi Corbett Field. I loved that place.(2009).
Rockies win that first game in the new stadium 8-7.
Next Time Put Up a Sign (2012)
Mike the Rox Addicts first game ball: (2012)…He Snagged the ball Green hat and all
I figured out why I chase baseballs.
As a kid some of my fondest memories were going to hockey games with my pops. We had a local farm team and my thing was I liked to try and snag a puck or two when I was there. This was way before they used nets and pucks would often fly into the stands and kids would scramble for them. I guess chasing baseballs takes me back to a happy place in my childhood.
We all need something like that.
I’m “D” the Ranter
Spring Training brings out the kid in me. Six weeks till I get to play.
See you kids down there
Alternative title was:
Whadaya Know…Joe Can Throw
Layers food and adrenaline are how you deal with extended periods of cold when tail-gat’n.
Some might say booze helps. We all know it doesn’t really, but it does make being out in the cold a whole lot more tolerable. Plus if ever there was a right time and right place..Today qualified.
COLD..I like my cold with snow. No snow today. I heard a rumor this was the coldest Broncos home game since 1972. I believe it, I’ve never been cold at any sporting event like I was cold at this game. During the game unless you had club level seats there was nowhere to go to warm up.
By halftime my Coke was frozen in my cup…No joke!
Sitt’n here writing this blog entry a day later, I’m in shock, my head hurts, my bones are still cold from 7 hours in the elements and I can’t for the life of me wrap my head around this season being over.
Where was my man Champ Baily? I figured he’d be money this game.
Why did the Broncos take a knee with time on the clock?
Why did Moore let Jacoby Jones get in front of him? (Worst Play Ever)
Was it something I did or didn’t do. Was it my new Jersey?
What happened to this being Peyton’s house? Denver Defense?
I felt like I did my part.
It just didn’t seem like the same team I watched win 11 straight games before today. For sure the Broncos didn’t look like a SuperBowl bound team.
I’m totally kerfuffled.
I start to wonder does Manning have a post-season jinx?(He’s now 9-11) Was it the combination of the pressure and the weather? Was his neck bugg’n him? I know when it’s cold out my back just plain hurts.
Begrudgingly…Props to the Baltimore Ravens! What a game plan on both sides. That’s all I’m gonna say about that. Best of luck to ya Ray Lewis(Snitch).
K and I showed up about 3 hours early each with about 5 layers of clothes and multiple hand and foot warmers. Underneath everything I was wearing my new Broncos jersey.
It’s the one I won for the winning the Bud Light Bottle Race back in December of 2011. Long story short they it took them 11 months to send the first jersey and it was a size 56 XXXL. I had requested a 52 XXL.
It was returned back to the Broncos and just in time for this game I received my customized size 52 XXL Players Jersey. Thank you Broncos!!
I was extremely pleased with my Nikon camera for holding up in the single digit temps.
Here’s the game from a fans point of view sitting there freezing his ass off.
5th level front row.
Quick look…No worries.
That’s how you start a game!
A fired up Champ Baily..Before the cold set in.
Champ about to get beat bad.
I feel ya Champ…Gett’n old sucks.
What’s up with the Broncos fan wearing a Manning jersey cheering the Ravens extra point?
Tight end Joel Dreesson, starting to turn a nice pink color.
This gets ugly.
Decker gett’n manhandled.
Hit hard and the ball is loose.
Graham eyes it.
At this point in the game my stomach started to feel a lil queezy.
The Ravens kept changing the momentum of this game. As much as Broncos fans were cheering and making noise, it was in vain. This bird soared into the end zone.
Stomach still queezy now my toes were gett’n cold.
Manning with a sweet pass to Stokley.
Stokley with a sweet catch for a TD!
Ray Lewis giving Stokley some luv.
Manning to Moreno.
Von pressuring Flacco. I wanted to see more of this.
Unfortunately that pissed Flacco off.
This is seconds before Broncos fans Superbowl dreams get crushed. Flacco worms his way into position.
Throws a Hail-Mary.
Why Moore is where he is…Is beyond me?
One helluva catch.
The rest explains itself.
The extra point was good and so were K and I.
I hadn’t felt my toes in about an hour and my fingers couldn’t work my camera anymore. K and I decided it was time to go.
We missed nothing.
There will be NO Superbowl for Denver this year.
If Manning is gonna make (sometimes extremely cold)Denver his home for the next couple of years, the folks that can may wanna consider putt’n a retractable lid on ‘ole Mile High.
This way we can keep Manning’s hands warm and his head in the game.
Manning’s play was obviously affected by the weather. I get that, but how do you fix that? 78,000 of us witnessed first hand Manning rapidly degrade as the temperature went from damn cold to nut shriveling.
This is a sad day for Broncos fans.
Let me just say…You gotta be hardcore to be a Colorado Sports fan.
I’m ”D” the Ranter…Still in Shocko from Flacco.