This Is Sam.


This is Sam.

Sam calls me from time to time … sometimes twice a day, sometimes more.

Most days I don’t answer.  (Sorry Sam, baseball season is a very busy time for me.)

But, I have talked to him.

Sam says he’s from Microsoft Windows and that he has been monitoring my computer and that I am uploading malicious things.  He must mean these blog posts.

(Hurtful, Sam. And, stop hating on baseball.)

Sam is a scam.

But, he’s a tenacious fellow and just keeps calling.

Sam called one night at 10:30.  You shouldn’t call us after 10 p.m. unless you are:

1) Baltimore Orioles Manager Buck Showalter calling Editor/Husband for bullpen advice. Editor/Husband will tell Buck, “For God’s sake, Buck, what in the world are you doing? Keep Britton out there for the ninth. He’s fine. FINE! Tommy Hunter … what the hell??  Why is he warming up?  You just want to lose this game, don’t you? Well, now we’re going to lose. Great.”

(Actually, we won and Tommy Hunter got the save.  But, Editor/Husband is still asputter.)

2) There is no #2.  Orioles Manager Buck Showalter can call after 10 p.m.  You can’t.

tommy hunter liner

Tommy Hunter For The Save!

Usually, we just let the phone ring when we see that it’s Sam.

The other day, though, I decided I would talk to him again.

I wanted to ask Sam why he had a job whose main description is, best I can tell, to take advantage of, and steal from, innocent people.

I thought it would be interesting to ask a crook why he was crooking. I figured I could reason with Sam.

“Why do you hurt people, Sam? Why are you trying to steal from me?”

My tough love question would pierce his heart. There would be an uncomfortably long pause as Sam thought deeply about what I had said. Then Sam, seeing the error of his ways, would thank me for setting him right. He would leave his job of cheating and hurting people and set off on a new course of helping people.

After a time of reflection, Sam would start a volunteer-run food pantry in his village … his small way of giving back to humanity. One day – a year or two from now – Sam would call me again.  “Thank you,” he would say softly.  “You have changed my life.”

You may think I’m making this up for the sake of this post. I assure you, I am the idiot you think I am. I really believed this would happen.

I had it all planned out … I had my dialogue and Sam’s.  (Although in the movie version Sam’s English, while still fractured, would be much easier to understand.)

This could not go wrong.

I did my part just right.

I interrupted his spiel, “Sam? Sam? Sam, wait, can I ask you a question?”

Pause. Then “Yes.”

“Sam, I know that you’re not with Windows. I know that there’s nothing wrong with my computer. I know that you’re being dishonest. Why would you do that? Why would you try to hurt me and other people by lying about who you are? Why are you trying to steal from me?”

Then I waited for the long and remorseful pause from Sam.

And, this is when he started yelling at me.

Sam was yelling about my computer doing malicious things. And, my Windows ID number that he had, but that I did not.  He started yelling a long string of random numbers and letters.

“There! There! That is your ID number. You do not know your ID number! Do YOU???  DO YOU??? Tell me your ID number! You can’t!  You do not know it! I do! I have your ID number! What is it? Tell me! TELL ME!!”

This was crazy talk. Sam was ruining everything.

“Stop yelling at me. I don’t like to be yelled at.”

I told him I was going to hang up. (I’m exceedingly polite at times.) “Sam. I am hanging up now.” And, I did.

I’m sort of sad about Sam, but I know that he is so far up in the crooking business that it would take more than one person to pull him out.

I’m also mad at Sam for being a crook and for ruining my plan and ruining this post.

Sam called again the other day. But, I didn’t take his call. My heart just wasn’t in it.

All I can do is ask you this.

If some day soon you get a call from a U.S. Cellular number somewhere in Maine, it might be Sam.  Please tell him “hi” for me. Maybe you can reason with him.

This Isn’t Baseball. This Is September.

Baseball is a wonderful game. Win or lose, it makes me happy. But, it can be especially stressful this time of year. Losing stinks in September.

I admitted to my friend Jay that a game earlier this week stressed me out so much I started to cry (just a little bit). He reminded me, “There is no crying in baseball.” My response: “This isn’t baseball. This is September.”

Just a few games left to go in the regular season. The Baltimore Orioles are hanging on … still in the running for the post-season. Just barely.

But, they need to win their next few games or their season will be over just as October begins.

If my team is going to lose a game, I ask just four things of them …

1) Don’t get no-hit.

2) Don’t get shut out.

3) Don’t get hurt.

4) Don’t take all night to lose.

They violated Rule #4 last night/this morning – taking 18 innings and nearly seven hours to lose to the Tampa Bay Rays. It was the longest game in Orioles’ history. Sigh.

After long games, Orioles Manager Buck Showalter will always say, “Sleep fast.”

Because there’s another game today. Another chance to win.

esta miguel2

Orioles Pitcher Miguel Gonzalez — starts today against Tampa Bay. Go Miguel!
photo credit: me!

It’s not over yet. Gotta find a new lucky shirt to wear (I’ve squeezed all the luck out of my few trusty favorites.)

And, I’ll sleep in November.

Help The Milwaukee Brewers Get Dressed!

Three things you should know about me …

1) I’m not really a Milwaukee Brewers fan.  About all I know about the Brewers is that they were, at one time, an American League team, and that at some point in the late 1990s, Orioles non-legend Ben McDonald pitched out the end of his career there.  I also know that they began their life as the Seattle Pilots (which in the late 1960s enjoyed its one season as a major league team, but is forever remembered thanks to Jim Bouton’s bawdy book Ball Four, which my dad finally let me read when I was 30).

2) I have a degree in political science.  This shows itself whenever there is an opportunity to vote.  Voting is my democratic right.  I will vote for anything.  Primary.  General Election. I will vote for American Idol.  If I’m sitting in a meeting and someone says, “It’s time for lunch, let’s take a vote, pizza or sandwiches?” I get very excited.  I take my duty seriously.  If there is an opportunity to vote, I will vote.

3) I think baseball uniforms are oddly, weirdly cool. I think the Seinfeld episode about changing the Yankees’ uniforms from polyester to cotton (and featuring Zen Master Buck Showalter) is Gold, Jerry,  Gold!  Watch the moment here.

Zen Master Buck Showalter wasn't always the Orioles Manager ... once, long ago, he was on Seinfeld and he also  some other teams ... including the Yankee- something-or-others.

Zen Master Buck Showalter wasn’t always the Orioles Manager … once, long ago, he was on Seinfeld, and, oh yes, he managed a little-known team called the Yankees.

So, if you give me the chance to vote on which fan-designed Milwaukee Brewers uniform will be worn by the team this season …

Oh sweet heaven, this is the best January ever!  So, the deal is this …

Three fans designed uniforms …

Brewers Ron from Maryland

Ron from Maryland’s Design

Nicholas from Wisconsin's Design

Nicholas from Wisconsin’s Design

Ben from Minnesota's Design

Ben from Minnesota’s Design

I’m ready to vote.  I’m going with Ron from Maryland.  I’m so glad you asked why.  I like that throwback Milwaukee Brewers logo.  I like that bright blue.  I like that Ron included socks. And, I like that Ron is from Maryland — maybe he’s really an Orioles fan just killing time until Spring Training.  Good enough for me … Vote Ron!

(Ben from Minnesota? You were a close second. But you lost me with the Texas Rangers cowboy font on the back. Plus, the cap.  Is that a toaster?)

To vote, just visit the Major League Baseball website, which you can do by clicking here.  You have until January 22.

After you’ve voted, go ahead and read Jim Bouton’s Ball Four about a crazy, raunchy season in baseball. (Unless you’re a 12-year-old … in which case, please wait until you’re 30.)

ball four

Go Out & Have Fun

Sometimes my Yoga students scowl in class. They try so hard to move into – or stay in – an asana (pose). They want to succeed and show their body who’s boss.  And, their faces get all scrunched up sometimes, and their brows crinkle. They are trying so hard to be perfect.

When I see all the serious frowns in class, I’ll remind them to soften their face or smile. Or, I’ll say something irrelevant and stupid to get them to lighten up.

After all, it’s only a pose.

There is so much stress in our daily lives, no need to make more on the mat. It’s important to remember the playfulness of Yoga.

If you’ve been following along, you’ll know that for me Yoga and baseball have many parallels.

And, so here’s where baseball gets serious, too.

The Baltimore Orioles clinched yesterday. They’re now assured at least one playoff game for the first time in 15 years. They’ve proven their many, many, many, (many) detractors wrong. They have heartily and forcefully won the arguments of those who said their season was merely luck.

And, as they played yesterday (sweeping the Red Sox incidentally), I noticed a change in the fans. Lots of happy. Lots of cheering. But, also, lots of serious. People clenching their hands, frowning with worry, on the verge of tears. I was tense, too.

My Editor/Husband (formerly a Yankees fan, but now coming over from the dark side to all that is good and Oriole), is getting a bit testy during the games as well – barking at a crummy pitch or a poorly played ball. (Hi Honey. Lighten up on Jim Johnson will you? He’s fine.) I tend to look away during tense moments, try not to care too much, to ease the stress.

I talk a good game – I love baseball, because it’s baseball. I love the Orioles because they’re the team that “brung me”. I don’t get swept up in the victories. I love the game for the game.

But, now I’m getting excited. And, getting stressed because the games mean something more.

Over-zealous fans sort of bug me. There they are rubbing it in loudly with every victory … and then getting angry or defensive with the next loss. They seem to take it too seriously sometimes.

They miss the point.

It’s only baseball. It’s a game. 

Manny Machado is smiling & having fun. So, I will, too.

Orioles third-baseman Manny Machado (Hakuna Machado!) said in a recent interview that Orioles Skipper Buck Showalter has reminded everyone to have fun.

And, that’s the lesson for me this week, too … even if it only goes one extra post-season game.

It’s too darn fun to be in a playoff race to let stress and tension and worry mess up the good.

Strangely, I think I carried some of the excitement and stress over to my Yoga mat yesterday.  I think I hyper-extended my sternum.  I’m not even sure that one can do that.  But, I think I did … trying to be a Yoga superstar and push through a pose, trying to show my body who’s boss.

Life is stressful.

But, Yoga shouldn’t be. And, neither should baseball.

So, I’m going to enjoy this week, no matter what it brings.

Go O’s!