Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Baseball as Life............Learn to Play

I'm a pretty big sports fan.

Mostly of baseball and football, but I appreciate and like participating in a variety of sports. I'm a pretty good bowler, I love playing volleyball, the NBA playoffs are fun to watch, as is a good hockey game. Does darts count, too???? How about competitive eating????

Anyway, people know me best as a really big NY Yankees fan.
The Yankees are the one sports team that I follow with the most dedication and loyalty.

But while its obvious I'm a huge Yanks fan, above that, I'm a huge BASEBALL fan.
I just love the sport -- playing it, watching it, discussing it, analyzing it, etc.

I may love the Yanks, but I'd love to watch any baseball game played at any level.
EVEN at Fenway!! Seriously!!!

Baseball has been such a big part of me since I was young (thanks, Dad).
The lessons learned and emotions felt by being a part of baseball team run the gamut of human experience -- making baseball, at least to me, a complete microcosm of life itself.

I'll make a confession that some people may already know: I love baseball movies.
Well...........not ALL baseball movies (ie Angels in the Outfield) but decent baseball movies.
Field of Dreams, Eight Men Out, The Rookie, The Natural..........
.....these are all considered classics to me, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't get teary-eyed at some point in most of those movies.....
Also, Baseball by Ken Burns was simply a m a z i n g.

Anyway, today I read a story about a college softball game that serves as a good example of sports relating to the human spirit.
Its not about to be turned into a Hollywood movie anytime soon, but still, a heart-warming story (at least to me). So check it out.....

.............and of course, can't complete a quality blog without some humor, right???

She Has A Boyfriend - Watch more free videos

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Carpe Diem

Wow............what a dry spell, huh???

Sorry the supply of blogs hasn't been keeping up with the demand.
I probably lost a reader or 2...........which for me, is like 75% of my audience.


So here's a cool pict of my li'l bro Pat with the carp he caught when we went fishing in Passaic this past Sunday:

Thats a pretty nice 6+ pound, 22-inch Carp.
He caught it about 10 mins before we were about to leave because it was kinda chilly out.


..........and for anyone who's like "WTF?? Passaic?!? Where can you fish in Passaic?? There's no fish in the ghetto."

Oh how wrong you are, my friend.......
Believe me, there are not only huge carp in there, but supposedly big catfish as well.
We're going to try to catch a cat next time we go there.

"So, B.................whatchu been up to??"

Well thanks for asking!
Not too much goin on.............
Last week I got my super-sweet tax refund from Uncle Sam.
Today I got my refund from NJ.
This past Saturday I went to Ag Field Day at Rutgers and ate a bug.
This coming Saturday I finally go for an MRI on my shoulder.
Then Sunday I'm going to the Yankees game against the Mariners.
.........BLAH BLAH BLAH!!!
I don't like talking about lets just get to the funny:

korean baby singing hey jude

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Dying Advice - The Last Lecture

Imagine you were told you had only a few months to live.

What would you do?
How would you handle it?

What would you want to say to your family???

Moreso, how would your attitude towards life and death change?

Its a question we sometimes ponder when we see it in a movie or are sitting around BS'ing about things with friends, etc., but one professor from Carnegie Mellon University is actually living this scenario.

CMU has this lecture series called "The Last Lecture" which is for professors or other speakers to give a talk as if its the last time they'd get to, and in this case, its for real.

Professor Randy Pausch is dying of pancreatic cancer and gave a lecture that is incredibly inspirational to say the least.

You can't help but admire him for his strength and positive outlook on his situation.

I strongly encourage all to watch it:

Thursday, April 10, 2008

About My Shoulder...... (Part 1)

I love baseball.

I started playing when I was about 7 yrs old in Pony League, then moved onto Little League when I was 9-12, and then there was Babe Ruth League for 2 years before moving onto High School ball.

Passaic High Indians represent!!!!

So there was Freshman, then JV and finally Varsity. Also 3 years of American Legion summer ball thrown in there.

After graduating from high school, I was excited to go away to college, but had no plans of playing college ball. You see, at this point I didn't think I was realistically good enough to play at Rutgers since they were a reputable Division IA school. Not only that, they had a rigorous practice and workout regimen and I had already signed up for Marching Band (queue the laughter.......) so I didn't think I'd have time anyway when considering classes on top of that.

Fast forward 6 years later..........
I've already graduated college and working full time now.
For some reason, I just started really missing playing baseball.

I never truly had a passion for it before (even though I had always played) but now I was really eager to compete and hit and throw again. I was young, healthy, confident, and in great shape after college and was ready to test my skills once again on the diamond.
I missed the smell of the freshly cut grass, the clickety-clack of my cleats, catching, throwing, and the indescribable feeling of swinging a bat and connecting perfectly on a pitch and driving it deep into the outfield.......(and maybe out of the park!)

So after doing some research online, I found an amateur league in north Jersey, made some phone calls and joined a team.

Welcome to the Newark Cubs.

Not to toot my own horn, but considering this was my first time playing organized ball in 6 years, I think I did pretty well.
I went 16 for 49 for a .327 batting average and 13 RBIs..................not too shabby!!

So that was the first Spring of playing ball again and it went pretty well.
I then played Fall ball and the following Spring, and then the following Fall and Spring after that.

However, although I was doing alright at the plate, for some reason I had lost a significant amount of my throwing accuracy. Mind you, I had been a pitcher in high school and used to be able to throw strikes at will, but now, I was overthrowing and underthrowing left and right and couldn't figure out why. But I still had my velocity, which is good.

Anyway, I think I tried to compensate for my inaccuracy by throwing harder.

Overtime, my shoulder started to really bother me.
I started icing on a regular basis and stretching and continuing to work out, but it got worse.

It got to the point where I would awake in the middle of the night with my shoulder throbbing in pain. I took it upon myself to do my own rehab and started a strict regimen of icing, stretching, and laying off the heavy weights.

Most of the pain subsided over time (or I just got used to it) , but it never really totally went away.
At random times, I'd hear a snap or pop, which was usually followed by pain.
I also couldn't do a regular flat bench press without my shoulder feeling like it was about to fall apart at any moment. I tried to overcome this by doing other chest exercises like flies and incline/decline presses which were fine for some reason.

Fast forward 2 years to the present and - out of curiosity more than anything - I decided to
FINALLY go to the doctor to get it checked out...........................(right now everyone reading this is like "WTF is wrong with you for waiting so long??!!")

So the other day I went to the Orthopedic Specialist and got the standard run-through of moving my arm around in different ways and being asked "Does this hurt?" "How about this?" "This?" "How about now?" "Any pain?" "..and now?"

After a few minutes of that, I got some Xrays which the Doc checked out and didn't see anything unusual on. Thats good news.

The preliminary diagnosis: a SLAP tear

So the next step?

An arthrogram.

Its basically an MRI along with dye thats injected directly into my shoulder.
The dye seeps into any gaps or spaces in the joint, making it easier to see where there perhaps should be a tendon or muscle that has torn away.

So I'm waiting to hear back about my insurance to schedule the appointment.

And then, the story shall continue....................

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Get in my Belly, Trout!

For anyone that actually followed my little countdown, trout season officially opened this past Saturday and of course, I was out there for the first cast of the season at 8am sharp.

I should've been a little more prepared as a somewhat-experienced fisherman.
I had, of course, respooled all my reels with fresh, new line, but I didn't check the drag.
That came back to bite me in the ass when an hour into my fishing I hooked a large trout and started reeling that sucker in.
The drag was too loose and he kept pulling line out, so I paused for a second to tighten the drag and that sucker got off the hook.

DAMMIT!!! Not another year in a row!!!

(For those who read my Myspace blog, you'll see I made a similar yet even dumber mistake last year that cost me a big trout also)

But of course, I let out a few foul words and fumed for a few minutes, but kept right on fishing, and soon enough, my first trout of 2008 took the lure and success was mine!!

There he all his glory............on my cutting board before I deliciously prepared and devoured him. Hmmmmmm.........
For those not privy to the different species of trout, this is a Lake Trout.

Anyway, I'm excited that the weather is FINALLY getting nicer and I can get out and fish more.

This may be incredibly dorky, but I made a list of all the different types of fish I want to catch this year.

Lake Trout?

But theres about 10 more, so I'm just getting started.....

So anyone want to come fishing with me????
Its an open invitation!!

In the meantime, enjoy this awesome still shot of me doing Stevie Wonder's "Overjoyed" at this rockin karaoke joint:

I do Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, people.
Email me.