Free Baseball: “O, How I’ve Missed You” Edition

Once an Oriole, always an Oriole.

Here are some former Baltimore Orioles playing the game. Only their uniforms have changed.

(What, you thought I’d never mention Nick Markakis again just because he’s a Brave now? And, not share last night’s baby video with you? What do you think I am, some kind of monster?)

10th Inning ~ Nelson Cruz

Sure, Nelson Cruz was only an Oriole for a season, but his league-leading 40 home runs last year helped the Orioles go deep into October. Thank you, Nelly!

Cruz took those home runs and parlayed them into a juicy, rich contract from the Seattle Mariners in the off season.

He returned to Camden Yards this week.

His reception? A warm standing ovation from Orioles fans. (The smattering of “boos” you hear are actually fans yelling “Cruuuuzzz,” just like they did all last season.)

nelson cruz

Watch here.

O’s fans didn’t begrudge Cruz his single. They weren’t quite as happy about his home run in his next at-bat, but they probably weren’t all that surprised.

11th Inning ~ Nick Markakis

I’m still sad about longtime Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis leaving for the Atlanta Braves this season.

I wouldn’t say he’s irreplaceable in right, but so far the O’s have tucked Delmon Young, Travis Snider, Steve Pearce, and Alejandro De Aza over there, and it’s just not the same.

Markakis is doing a-ok over in Atlanta. And, last night, after chasing a foul ball, he stopped to greet a young Braves fan. Watch here.

nick markakis

I still miss you, Nick.

Look close and you’ll see a bonus Oriole! That’s former Oriole closer Jim Johnson on the mound handily getting through a clean 8th inning in the Braves win last night.

12th Inning ~ Jake Arrieta

Jake Arrieta had a challenging few seasons in Baltimore. Everyone insisted he had the talent, but he just couldn’t get it together when it came time to pitch.

Arrieta is the perfect example of how a change of scenery – and a burst of facial hair – can make all the difference. Traded to the Chicago Cubs in 2013, he’s thrived as a go-to starter.

On May 12 he shut down the Mets with 10 strikeouts in a 6-1 victory. Watch here.

(Fun Fact: Earlier this month, the Orioles tried twice and couldn’t beat the Mets.)


If solid starting pitching isn’t your bag, try these cubs instead …


Six bear cubs at the Wildlife Center of Virginia goofing off on the live Critter Cam. Watch here.

They are adorable. Almost as adorable as that Nick Markakis video from last night.



Free Baseball refers to the extra innings that come after a nine-inning game ends in a tie. Here “Free Baseball” are the extra things that don’t quite fit into my regular-sized posts.

Just In The Nick Of Time

This is true (and it reveals more about me than most of my posts). In 1999, I began to fret about the aughts.

Not that Y2K thing, because worrying about complicated techy things is well beyond my scope of practice.

Instead, I was genuinely concerned about how we were going to say what year it would be.

2000. That one was easy. Two-Thousand. Done.

2001. Two-Thousand-One. Or, Two-Thousand-AND-One? Twenty-Oh-One?

For that first decade, we pretty much settled into the Two-Thousand model.

But, for the past few years, it’s back to the back-and-forth. Here it is the dawn of 2015, shouldn’t this be cleared up by now?

Is it nearly Twenty-Fifteen? Or, Two-Thousand-Fifteen?

Did they have this problem 100 years ago? Or, was Nineteen-Whatever always the unassailable, easy winner?

Will we ever decide?

So Happy Twenty-Fifteen.

If that’s what you call it.

Here’s some of what I learned in 2014.

(Twenty-Fourteen? Two-Thousand-Fourteen? Your choice.)

** Things Change.

I don’t like change … just to change. It should serve a purpose.

Strangely though, things often have a way of changing on their own without asking my approval.

Like this year.

Nick Markakis, the Ever-Oriole, goes to the Atlanta Braves.

markakis braves twitter

I’m forced to find a new home for my Yoga studio.

packing up the yoga studio

I didn’t approve either change. But, I’m stuck with them.

But, my new Yoga studio is now twice as large so people won’t have to press themselves together like ship stowaways anymore, huddled and smacking into each other whenever they twist.


It’s going to be great.

Maybe change is good afterall.

Unless your team just lost Nick Markakis, Nelson Cruz, and Andrew Miller.

Crappy change.

But, if Orioles GM Dan Duquette has an amazing January Surprise in store that will fill the outfield corners and bullpen, I might forgive him.

** Some Things Aren’t What They Seem.

I really like this photo I took in Charlottesville during the NCAA Super Regionals last June. It was the deciding Game 3, University of Maryland vs. University of Virginia.

Nick Howard Closer

© The Baseball Bloggess

That’s UVa closer Nick Howard (currently on the fast track with the Cincinnati Reds) on the mound looking a little harried. And, in the dugout, is a Maryland Terp, not troubled at all.

Which is funny, because it was the ninth inning and the score was 11-2, UVa.

Nick had it in the bag. And, that Terp’s season was two outs away from over.

But, you don’t get that from the picture.

In any event, I mostly like it because both players appear to be tipping their caps. Even though, that’s also not what it seems.

Other things that aren’t quite what they seem that I’ve written about this year?

The boy in Little League that turned out to be a girl – Tubby Johnston, the first girl ever to play Little League.


Photo Courtesy of Kay “Tubby” Johnston

And, Buttercup Dickerson, who’s credited with being the first Italian American to play major league baseball – except that I discovered he wasn’t Italian American at all.

Lewis Buttercup Dickerson Troy Trojans

Public Domain

 ** Be Prepared.

A photographer friend reminds me that a good photographer must anticipate where and when the spontaneous moment – and perfect picture – will occur.

I have yet to get my anticipation right at a game. Stolen base, breathtaking play in the outfield, close play at the plate? I’ve seen ‘em all and every single photo is just a little late. Never in the nick of time.

Except one.

It was right after that Nick Howard photo. One out, ninth inning, UVa is up 11-2.

What happens when a bunch of college boys are about to advance to the College World Series?

I knew.

So, with one out, I pointed my camera at the mound, fussed with the shutter, held it there, and waited.

True, it ain’t over ‘til it’s over.

Maryland singles. Man on first. Pop out. Two out. I kept checking the camera to make sure I still had it right. More waiting. And, then, strike three. Three out. Game Over.

Cue, dog pile.

UVa Dogpile

© The Baseball Bloggess


** War & Peace Is A Very Long Book.

Unlike baseball games which are not nearly as long as you think they are, War & Peace is long. First there’s peace, then there’s war, then more peace, then back to war.

Look, I’m halfway through …

Stevie Reads War And Peace

Stevie wishes she could read.

And, there is a central character named Nick. (Nikolai Rostov for you Tolstoy purists.)

jeremy brett as nikolai rostov 1956

Jeremy Brett as Nikolai in the 1956 film.

He’s an ordinary sort of fellow. Some pages ago he lost a bunch of money gambling. It was quite stupid of him and his ordinariness annoys me. When he shows up for a chapter or two, I find myself wondering what the more interesting characters are doing.

To be fair, Nikolai would agree with me. At one point, he tells his sister how tiresome and boring his life is.

But, there’s still a long way to go.

And, if there’s one thing I learned this year, things change and you gotta roll with it. Maybe things will change for Nikolai.


That’s my 2014 wrap-up.

Done, just in the nick of time …

Now, I’m off to teach my first classes in my new Yoga studio.

(See, change is good.)

See you in Twenty-Fif … Two-Thousand-Fift …

See you next year.



(I’ll miss you, Nick.)

There’s a lot of “suck” in the world today.

Crime and riots and war and disasters and oppression and intolerance and Ebola and famine and corruption and apathy and terrorism and racism and, as John Lennon once said, this-ism and that-ism. Just a whole load of flat-out evil.

It makes my heart hurt.

I don’t write about that. So many people write about it much better than I could.

I just write about simple things. Like baseball.

I suppose you expect me to write today about how it sucks that Nick Markakis – old reliable, life-time Oriole, working man, no flash, do your job and do it well, Nick Markakis – signed last night with the Atlanta Braves.



It sucks.

But, it’s just a game.

I sometimes use baseball like I use Yoga … as a little blanket fort to hide under.

Nothing really bad ever happens in baseball. Oh sure, the occasional PED thing. Some cheating. Bad calls. Some broken bones. John Lackey.

But, it’s just a game.

Nothing bad ever really happens in Yoga either. Except for this damn groin pull that’s been going on four months now. But, really … not so bad.

When it comes to doing business deals with friends (rarely a good idea), a friend once said, “Buddies are buddies and business is business.”

And, in baseball, “Business is business.”

And, that part of the game sucks for fans who have enough difficult “business is business” in our own world and look to baseball to be somehow above that.

It’s not above that.

Nick Markakis was drafted by the Orioles in 2003.

And, depending on who you listen to this morning, the Orioles shoo’d Nick away because their persnickety medical team was antsy over a neck issue … or Nick jumped to make a few million more and a longer contract.

Were the Orioles disloyal and cheap? Was Nick disloyal and greedy?

Maybe. I dunno.

There was a time when Cal Ripken played every game … every single day. Year in and year out, he played. Drafted an Oriole. Played as an Oriole. Retired as an Oriole.

But, that doesn’t happen much any more.

For any of us, really.

I changed jobs and careers.

Who doesn’t change jobs or put on a new uniform from time to time?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American has been with their current employer 4.6 years.

Nick was with the Orioles 11 years. We’re much flightier than he is.

I change things from time to time.

But not everything.

These things won’t change for me:

1) Cheese should never be served as dessert.

2) R.E.M. is the greatest band of all time.

3) The Baltimore Orioles are, win or lose, Nick or no Nick, my team.

When Orioles pitcher Mike Mussina left in 2000 to sign with the Yankees, I was devastated. I’m still pretty steamed about the Orioles letting him walk, although not at “Moose” (who deserves to be in the Hall of Fame).

I’m pretty sore about this Markakis thing, too. I’m gonna miss Old Reliable in Right.

And, I wonder how Orioles center fielder Adam Jones is going to cover his position – plus the now-empty left and right fields – next season.

Sure, the Oriole Twitterers are apoplectic today. (Yay, I got to use “apoplectic”!)  And, the Braves Twitterers seem resigned in a “Really? We signed who, why … wait, how much?” sort of way. (Relax, Braves Fans … he’ll be fine.)

There is so much more in the world to be truly sad about than a baseball guy changing teams.

It doesn’t suck. Not really.

(But, boy, I’m gonna miss you, Nick.)

Nick Markakis 2013

Oakland A’s at Baltimore Orioles, August 25, 2013. © The Baseball Bloggess



This Is About The Red Sox (& Yoga)

I am not a traitor.

Although, I admit, this might not look too good.

I’ve been sitting around for weeks waiting for the Baltimore Orioles to just get on with things and re-sign Nick Markakis.

How hard can it be? It’s not like he’s asking for $300 million. Or, 13 years.

Really, guys, sign someone. Anyone.

But, mostly Nick.

This happens every year. Thanksgiving comes. Thanksgiving goes. Christmas comes. Christmas goes. New Year’s …

Other teams spend money. The Orioles sit tight.

Patience is not my strong suit.

I was planning on a silent protest. Not saying a word on here until the Orioles did something.

(I know, that’d show ‘em.)

But, I miss you. So, I’m cancelling the boycott.

So, here’s the traitor thing. With no Orioles news to report, this post is about the Boston Red Sox.

As an Orioles fan, I’ve got no love for the Red Sox. Those are the rules.

That’s why I post this video from 2011, the only highlight in a lousy Orioles season, on here from time to time.

curse of the andino 2011

Just to relive a moment when we weren’t supposed to, but we beat the Red Sox anyway.

This weekend, the Red Sox apparently spent nearly $200 million to sign free agents Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval(Why, Panda, why?)

And, they’ve still got money to throw around.

The Orioles swept up a few minor leaguers last week, which is sweet and all, sort of like a hot night out at the Dollar Store. But, it’s always so sad to watch the free agent list scroll by … “nope” … “nope” … “can’t afford him” … “nope” … “nope” … “too expensive.”

Bye, bye Andrew Miller. Bye, bye, Nelson Cruz, too. (Probably.)  We’ll miss you.

I hate all this off-season money business. But, this post isn’t about money.

(Well, it’s not anymore.)

In September, my Red Sox-loving, baseball guru Jay arranged for us to go down on the field for batting practice when the Sox played the Orioles at Camden Yards.

So, while I wait for the Orioles to get Nick to sign on the dotted line, here are the Red Sox doing Yoga.

Second baseman Mookie Betts was so joyful in his stretch that this photo has become one of my favorites.

Mookie Betts Yoga

© The Baseball Bloggess

 Mookie Betts doing a modified “Cat Tail Asana.”

Lavarnway Yoga

© The Baseball Bloggess

 Ryan Lavarnway moving into “Supta Padangusthasana.” (That’s fancy talk for leg stretch.) 

Jackie Bradley Yoga1

© The Baseball Bloggess

 Jackie Bradley, Jr. reaching into “Janu Sirsasana.” (That’s head to knee pose.)

How can I dislike a team that has a Mookie doing Yoga?

Now, how about some “Free Agent Sign-asana”, Orioles, so I can stop writing about the Red Sox?

Nick Markakis ALCS

© The Baseball Bloggess

Photos: Red Sox vs. Orioles, September 20, 2014 & Royals vs. Orioles (ALCS Game 2), October 11, 2014.  Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore. © The Baseball Bloggess


Seven Gold Things

These things are gold.

1) This tee-shirt.

Golden Boy! 

“The reason he’s the Iron Man is because he goes out there and he plays every game.” 


2) Ponyboy.

pony boy

 “Stay gold, Ponyboy.  Stay gold.”

 What? Too obscure? Ask a woman between the ages of 40 and 60 to explain The Outsiders to you …


3) These mums.


© The Baseball Bloggess


4) This tree.


© The Baseball Bloggess


5) This glove.

JJ Hardy3

J.J. Hardy, Shortstop

Gold Gloves – 2012, 2013, 2014

 6) This glove.


Adam Jones, Center Field

Gold Gloves – 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014

 7) And, this glove.


Nick Markakis, Right Field

Gold Gloves – 2011, 2014

The Baltimore Orioles have been awarded 70 Gold Gloves, recognizing defensive excellence, since 1957 – the most in the American League and second only to the St. Louis Cardinals.



Baseball Free!

One of my Yoga students came to class this week and asked, “What are you going to do now that there’s no baseball?”

Apparently, some people believe that I am small, uninspired, and one-dimensional in my interests.

There is plenty to do in the off season, I’m told, and I am ready to do all of it.

I won’t bore you with ALL the things I will be doing. But, I assure you there will be lots of them.

Here are just five.

1) Sort Photos. 

I took hundreds of photos at baseball games this season.  (Actually probably more like a thousand, but “thousand” makes me sound weirdo-y, so let’s say, hundreds and leave it at that.)

It’s time to paw through them and see who’s in there …

Like …


© The Baseball Bloggess

 San Francisco Giants reliever, and one-time University of Virginia pitcher, Javier Lopez who just won his 4th World Series ring on Wednesday night.

And …


© The Baseball Bloggess

Former Richmond Flying Squirrel and rookie Giant Joe Panik, who just won his first.

Congratulations, Giants!

This project trumps my other photo project – sorting through my grandfather’s slides from the 1950s and ‘60s of people and places I don’t know or can’t recognize. Boxes and boxes of slide carousels fill an entire closet in our guest room. I suppose I could go through them. Or, I could put it off another year and continue to pile all the things that should be stored in the closet on the floor in our bedroom.

2)  Bake.

It’s free-agent time in baseball, which means the Baltimore Orioles will cut loose many players who have multimillion-dollar paydays coming.

Yes, it’s the cruel financial reality of being a small-market team … we can no longer afford many of our best players.

Am I happy to say “goodbye” to Andrew Miller and his 94 mph fastball and spaghetti legs?  No. Do I understand why the Orioles probably won’t pay $10 million+ a year to resign a one-inning reliever? No.

I mean, yes.

But, really, no.

andrew miller

© The Baseball Bloggess

Andrew Miller & his spaghetti legs

Also in the free-agent pool is longtime Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis. The Orioles have declined his option for 2015, but still remain hopeful they can re-sign him.  Will they? Maybe. Will someone else swoop in with a better offer? Maybe.

But, not if I can help it.

I want to do my part to help collect the millions that the Orioles will need to keep Nick Markakis.

I’m thinking, bake sale.

I can’t bake enough to keep Andrew Miller, Nelson Cruz, and Nick.

I stick with Nick.

Anyway, cupcakes.


Thousand dollar cupcakes.

I encourage you to bake some cupcakes for Nick, too.

Just remember, take all the money you raise and send it to:

Baltimore Orioles

Let’s Pay Nick Fund

Camden Yards

Baltimore, Maryland

3) Care for Munchie.

Among the unusual birthday gifts Editor/Husband gave me this year was this …



Editor/Husband thought a venus flytrap would solve a long-standing  kitchen problem.

When the compost pail gets kinda full-ish, it attracts fruit flies. Now, sure, you might take a moment to comment below with your good ideas of how to stop attracting fruit flies in our kitchen.  “Take out the compost more regularly,” you might suggest, or “Get rid of the stupid compost pail.”

Your suggestions, while interesting, would be wrong.

The best and only way to deal with fruit flies is to get a venus flytrap and hope he has a taste for them.

We have had Munchie for a couple days now, I’m not sure he’s caught any flies yet.


My first question to Editor/Husband after “You got me a venus flytrap? Really?” was “Do we have to find food for him? Do we feed him meat?”

Apparently, no.  You do not feed them meat.


Except all the “flytrappists” online insist you must. They say you have to buy flies and bloodworms and feed them to your plant. They do suggest you be careful, though, since many people are highly allergic to bloodworms and just touching one could kill you.

If the venus flytrap doesn’t get you first.

I’ll let you know if one of the cats goes missing.


4) Read War & Peace.

I am not kidding.

Tolstoy’s War & Peace is almost always listed as one of the greatest novels ever written. Which is funny because I know only one person who has actually read it.

None of my friends – even the fussy ones – has read it.

So, I’m reading it. Because they won’t. And, you probably won’t either.

I’m doing it for you.


Look, I’m already a quarter of the way through!

It’s actually very good.

Although, you have to wade through an awful lot of war to get to the peace parts.


Public Domain, 1903.

Napoleon Lajoie, the “Little Frenchman” and namesake of the Cleveland Naps (today, the Cleveland Indians), is not in War & Peace.

napoleon bonaparte

Public Domain

Napoleon Bonaparte, also a “Little Frenchman”, is.

Fun Fact: The original title for War and Peace was War – What Is It Good For?  Tolstoy’s mistress didn’t like the title and insisted that he change it to War and Peace.

See …


I think I will need to read 15 pages a day to be done by Spring Training.

5) I’ll keep you posted.

Just 111 110 days until pitchers and catchers report.

Photos: San Francisco Giants vs. Washington Nationals, Nationals Park. August 24, 2014

St. Louis Cardinals vs. Baltimore Orioles, Camden Yards, Baltimore. August 10, 2014


“We Are All Adults Here.”

“The weather may be tricky or a bat may slip or a ball may bounce in some unexpected way; now and then the best man may go stale or lose his nerve; the professional honor of the player, however, has been taken for granted. We do not trust cashiers, diplomats, policemen, or physicians as we trust an outfielder or shortstop. … The man at the bat, cheer him or hoot at him as we may, is supposed to be doing his best.” ~ The Nation magazine, October 13, 1920

Baltimore Orioles first baseman (and home-run slugger) Chris Davis was suspended today for 25 games for testing positive for Adderall, an amphetamine, which is restricted by Major League Baseball.


Chris Davis

His suspension means he will miss the rest of the regular season and the first eight games of the post-season – should the Orioles get that far.

Davis was having a weirdly unsuccessful (.196), successful (26 home runs) sort of season.

So, sure, it’s a weirdly insurmountable (who will hit home runs now?), surmountable (Nelson Cruz, Adam Jones, Steve Pearce, and all those other guys) problem for the Orioles as they make a run toward the post-season (something they’ve done only one other time this century).

I am mad at Chris Davis. Because I trusted him not to be stupid.

(Trusting guys in their 20s to not be stupid, I realize, is stupid. I have just put my head down on the keyboard in shame.)

I am mad at Chris Davis because he cheated and now he is screwing up everything. He has let down his team and fans. (If we don’t win the World Series this year – no matter what happens – I will blame him.)

But, I’m also mad at Orioles fans who have been whining since the news broke this morning, “He wasn’t really cheating. Adderall isn’t a performance-enhancing drug (PED). It’s not that bad. Oh, why does everyone gang up on the Orioles?”

Let me clear something up, you whining tweeters.

Yes, yes, he was cheating. Yes, it is that bad. And, no one was ganging up on the Orioles. Chris Davis broke the rules.

Davis used a drug he did not have permission to use. (He had a “therapeutic use exemption” for Adderall in previous seasons. He does not have it now.) This is his second offense – hence the 25-game suspension which begins today.

Adderall, used for Attention Deficit Disorders in children and adolescents, is one of those sneaky gray-area drugs. Its benefits to athletes aren’t physically obvious – with steroids you can see the effects in the beefy muscles and resulting power. Adderall acts more like a super dose of caffeine, enhancing concentration, focus, and reaction time.

Dr. Gary Wadler, a former chair of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Prohibited List Committee, told The Seattle Times in 2012 that Adderall is “one of the quintessential performance-enhancing drugs.”

Adderall, he said, “masks fatigue, masks pain, increases arousal — like being in The Zone. … It increases alertness, aggressiveness, attention, and concentration. It improves reaction time, especially when fatigued. Some think it enhances hand-eye coordination. Some believe it increases the mental aspects of performance.”

(Apparently, it does not enhance the “mental aspects” of making good decisions.)

Since Adderall has very little therapeutic value in adults, it’s curious that baseball offers exemptions to players. Nearly 10 percent of current major league players have an exemption.

And, Jayson Stark of ESPN pointed out: “Athletes who have taken it have told me that once you’re used to playing your sport when you’re taking Adderall, it’s incredibly difficult to play without it.”

Oh, sure, you wisenheimers can argue that Adderall was doing a lousy job of enhancing Chris Davis’ .196 batting average this year. But, you’re just being cheeky.

Davis had permission to take Adderall in the past, perhaps even during last year’s monster 53 home run season. If something gives you an edge or a boost or helps you achieve amazing things it can’t be easy to just up and quit. And, Adderall is highly addictive.

But, rules are rules and the rules say this – you cannot take Adderall without an exemption. Pretty simple.

I hate writing posts like this. (I’ve written this blog for two years and every season I’ve had to sigh and try to make sense of some cheater or other – relive previous cheatery here.)

I hate when stupid and ugly things get in the way of the game that I love.

Orioles rightfielder Nick Markakis has been outspoken regarding PED use in baseball.

nick in bw

 Nick Markakis

In an interview with The Baltimore Sun last season, Markakis said of players who fail drug tests, “These guys are big boys; they can make decisions. If I go out there and rob a convenience store, I know the consequences that are coming with it. We are all adults here.”

He continued: “These guys that are doing performance-enhancing drugs are taking away from a lot of other people that are doing it the right way. They are taking opportunities away and they are basically stealing.”

“I’m sorry” goes a long way with me. I forgave Nelson Cruz. (Cruz served a 50-game suspension for failing a drug test last season. He apologized.)

I’ll forgive you, too, Chris.

But, trust?

I still trust Nick Markakis.

Everyone else? I just don’t know.


Photos: Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland. August 10, 2014

Super Enough For Me

“Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.”  ~ Mark Twain

I was feeling pretty good about capturing last night’s “supermoon.”

Then, Mr. I’m-A-Very-Smart-Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson had to go and spoil it.

tyson tweets

Thanks for bumming out my moon photos.

So here.



And, here’s a cow with the Not-So-Supermoon.

Supermoon Cow

Here are lots of cows stampeding past the Not-So-Supermoon, becoming Ghost Cows in the process.

Supermoon Stampede

Not-So-Supermoon, feelings hurt by the rudeness of Astrophysicist, packs it in and heads for the clouds.

Supermoon Clouds

We spent Sunday’s pre-Supermoon daylight hours in Baltimore at the Orioles-Cardinals game (three-hour drive – each way – for those of you who wonder just how dedicated I am to baseball).

Here’s Super-Pitcher, But Not-Quite-So-Super-Today Kevin Gausman.

Kevin Gausman

gausman line

Here’s Rookie Catcher Caleb Joseph. He homered in each of his last five games, a club record for catchers.

caleb joseph1


joseph line

Not-so-super.  And, no home run.

Here’s Ever-Reliable Super Right Fielder Nick Markakis.

Markakis On First

Still super.

markakis line

Although 4-for-5 at the plate, he scored only twice, once thanks to a wild pitch. Thanks for nothing, rest of team.

Not a Super Day for the Orioles. They lose 8-3.

But, I saw baseball. And, a moon.

And, the Orioles are still in first.


Super enough for me.



Photos: Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland, August 10, 2014.

Super-ish Moon, Madison, Virginia, August 10, 2014.


Baseball’s Not A Spectator Sport … Vote for Nick!

A friend told me recently she hates baseball.

“I hate all spectator sports, but I especially hate baseball.”

I’m pretty sure she doesn’t read this blog.

I think her baseball-hate thing comes from a long-ago doofus boyfriend who would watch the Mets on television with his father and not include her.

Baseball, as in many things, has its share of doofuses.

But, you shouldn’t hate baseball, just because you dated a dolt. (And, really, if your boyfriend is bringing his dad to your date night, you’ve got relationship problems well beyond baseball.)

The thing that really bothers me, though, is that she called baseball a spectator sport – some boring, passive, sit-around-and-watch sort of thing.

Binge-watching Downton Abbey is a passive spectator sport.  Oh, and it will probably kill you.

Baseball is no spectator sport.

Even at our laziest, we always get up and stretch in the 7th inning.

To be a real baseball fan, however, requires a bit more than just a stretch. It takes commitment and, occasionally, Gatorade.

There are those slightly weird, old-fashioned purists who bring their scorecards to games and carefully pencil in every play.


Yeh, it’s mine. So?

(I met a nice old fella at an Orioles game this season who chuckled because I did my scorecard in pencil. He and his wife keep separate cards. In pen. Show offs!)

There are fans who will happily wear whatever in order to break a Guinness World Record in the middle of a game.

santa hats

Angels Fans in Santa Hats, 2014.

cowboy hats

… and in Cowboy Hats, 2012

Snuggieswigswrestling masks.

Wacky Angels fans don’t care. They’ll wear anything!

Always on alert, there are fans catching foul balls and home run balls at every turn, sometimes even while holding a baby.

homerun baby

There are fans who dance

dancing dodger

… and kiss


… and sing

take me out to the ballgame

Even if you aren’t actually at the game, there is still much doing to be done.

Have you voted for your All Stars, yet?

Because, you only have until this Thursday, July 3, to vote online for the starting line-ups for this year’s game.

You might think this is where I will beg you to vote for all the Baltimore Orioles.

You would be wrong. Even The Baseball Bloggess can’t vote for all of them.  Not this year.

But, I can vote for a few, and there’s one in particular that deserves – and needs – your support.

Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis.


His plays in the field are seldom flashy, simply because he positions himself so well, that he rarely has to overcorrect. (It’s often those over-correctors who make the highlight reels with their crazy chin-first swan dives into the ground.)

His uniform stays pretty clean in the field.

He made NO errors in 2013. He played right field in 155 games – all nine innings in 152 of them – and made NO errors. NO errors in his 74 games this season either.

I bet YOU made an error at work last year. Nick Markakis did not.

Trust me, it’s not for lack of work. It’s not like the Orioles crack team of starting pitchers is striking everybody out.

His glove stays plenty busy.

He is stellar in the outfield. But, unheralded, because he goes about his business without grandstanding.

Just one Gold Glove. (2011)

He is steady and reliable as the Orioles leadoff hitter, batting .298 this season. (Geek Alert: .358 OPB/.410 Slugging).

But, no showing off, no fancy home run handshakes, no bat flipping, no jawing at umpires.

And, in nine big league seasons NO All-Star Game appearance.

And, that just stinks.

So, Vote for Nick.

Because he does this …

nick catch

And, this …

4 hits

(Yes, they won.)

And, this …

nick another great catch

And, that was just in June.

Or, as Orioles’ Manager Buck Showalter says, “He makes our highlight reel every night.”

Don’t Be a Spectator.  Vote Here.

whos your all star

And, Vote for Nick.

An Incredibly Perfect Pie

My mom made an incredibly perfect pie.

Nearly every single one ever … perfect.

(If there was an imperfect pie from time to time, my mother was no frugal cook. She had no respect for cooks who would serve something that was a little off. When an imperfection did come up in her kitchen, no matter how small, she would dump the offending item down the garbage disposal with the efficiency of a cold, calculating hit man. Dump. Gone. She was scary that way.)

So, I thought for Mother’s Day, I would celebrate my mom’s pies.

And, as I was writing this, it struck me. My mom didn’t even like pie.

She’s not around to ask, but I’m suddenly very sure of this.

I think she found pies old fashioned and uninteresting.

I, on the other hand, loved pie.

Fruit pies, and especially rhubarb and juneberry pies, were kitschy and old fashioned and I wanted to be the interesting girl who liked the quirky pies.

My dad liked chocolate pie. No fancy chocolate pie, just the pudding-mix sort.

This must have been incredibly insulting to my mom who would have happily melted exotic chocolates in a double boiler to create a delicious pie.

So, she made me quirky pies and she made him chocolate pudding-mix pies.

But, now that I think about it, I never recall her ever eating a piece of pie, unless she was just being sociable, or to take a quick taste of what she had baked (and to ensure that she shouldn’t throw it out and start over). She was a nose-crinkler when something wasn’t quite right. And, I think I saw her take a small bite of pie from time to time and crinkle her nose the same way I do when the milk in the fridge doesn’t smell quite right.

My mom may have disliked pie, but she made some of the best.

(You may say that your mom made the best pie in the world, but this is my post and you are wrong.)

So, in honor of Mother’s Day, here’s a quick celebration of pie, with a little baseball on the side …

1) Pie-ing the hero of a baseball game is classy.

(Gatorade dumping, in contrast, is stupid and rarely hits the intended target.)

The Baltimore Orioles have made the pie game an art.

Last season, the Orioles even gave away tee-shirts honoring their pie-in-the-face fun.

shaving cream pie tee shirt

Traditionally, face-smash pies were made of shaving cream, presumably because ballplayers don’t have time to whip up a light and eggy custard pie. (And, as many players go shave-free during the season, I suppose there is plenty of excess shaving cream just sitting around.)

Eyes were burned with shaving cream pies.

This year, Dangerously Delicious Pies in Baltimore is supplying two real pies for every home game – just for pie-ing the hero of the game. (Spoiler Alert: No pie-ing today, the Orioles lost.)

Here’s what a proper pie-ing looks like …

clevenger pie

“It tastes pretty good.”

Catcher Steve Clevenger’s walk-off RBI double wins the game for the Orioles in the 10th against the Houston Astros on Saturday night.

But, there are some players who, through their tenure and superstar status, are exempt from pie-ing.

Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis is one of them.

Here’s how you appropriately pie a superstar veteran when his hit wins the game …

Markakis 2

April 26 vs the KC Royals.

(Please note at the :50 mark when someone from the bullpen – I don’t know who – leans over and tastes the pie off of the ground. This is why I love bullpen pitchers. Because they are weird.)

When the Orioles win the World Series this year (and they will), we will look back at this magical Markakis (and J.J. Hardy) moment and think, “But, of course.”

2) My mom taught me a lot, including how to make a pie crust.

pie postcard

I’m not a particularly fast learner and it took her a few years before I got it right. My mother was not a patient teacher and I think she was, deep down, embarrassed that it took me so long to figure it out.

The trick is cold vegetable shortening and ice cold water.

My mother would tell you this about that …

Yes, vegetable shortening. (Butter has its place in this world, but not in a pie crust. Unless you make your living slinging pies, just swallow your pride and stick to shortening.)

My mother would dismissively nose-crinkle you if you miss the important nuance of the water. Tap water is not “ice cold.” Ice cold tells you right there in its name that you need ice in your water, got it?

Here’s pretty much the pie crust recipe she taught me.

You may now roll out your perfect dough and commence to making the pie of your choice.

3) This is Felix Pie.

Felix Pie

Photo Courtesy of Keith Allison CC-BY-SA-2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

It is correctly pronounced “Pee-AY”, but I always called him Mr. Pie.

Felix Pie played for the Orioles, mainly in a utility role, from 2009 to 2011. He played for the Pirates last year, and seems to be playing for a South Korean team now.

I can’t think of any other reason to mention him here, except that he will always be Mr. Pie to me.


I can’t believe I just realized that my mom hated pie.

But, she made them anyway because I liked them.

I miss those pies. Thanks, mom.

Mom & me, sometime in the post-Mets years.  She could rock those sunglasses indoors & out!