11 Minutes. No Football.

How will you spend your Sunday?

Yeh, I know. There’s a “super” bowl on.

I know all about your Patriots and your Seahawks. And, your Marshawn Lynch. And, your “Deflategate.” I learned all about it on Saturday Night Live last night. I know about these things.

Today’s Super Bowl will take up hours and hours and hours of airtime. Yet, if you add up the actual football action? Eleven minutes.

Between the Budweiser commercials, the broadcasters jabbering, and Katy Perry, there will be 11 minutes of actual football … 67 minutes of football players just standing around … 17 minutes of replays … and more than an hour of beer and truck commercials. (And, probably a concussion or two.)

SportsGrid broke it down in this easy-to-follow pie chart:

pie chart

Fun Fact: The average baseball game? 18 minutes of action. That’s 67 percent MORE baseball, people.

I gave up on football a few years back with the ugly revelations of the game’s concussion crisis and the National Football League’s irresponsible inaction.

So, I won’t be spending my 11 minutes watching football tonight.

And, just maybe, you won’t be either. So, here are some things we can do with the 11 minutes we just freed up!

** Make Chocolate Chip Cookies for the nice fella who fixed the coat rack in your Yoga studio. (Or, for any nice person you know.)




Bake for just 11 minutes in a 350 oven.

** Do Yoga.

If you’re in the groove, you’ll squeeze 11 rounds of Sun Salutations into your 11 minutes. (Cat preferred, but always optional.)


** Listen to Bob Dylan’s Desolation Row”.

highway 61 revisited

Einstein, disguised as Robin Hood
With his memories in a trunk
Passed this way an hour ago
With his friend, a jealous monk 


When you’re done, you can tell me what the hell he’s singing about for 11 minutes. But, it’s a good song, even if I don’t get it.

** Read War & Peace.

** Read a CHAPTER of War & Peace.

read war and peace

Just 300 pages left.

** Break in your new baseball glove before heading to Spring Training.

But, if you’re going to microwave it, heed the advice of former Twin-Angel-Tiger and current Twin (again) Torii Hunter who warns you that if you nuke it for more than a minute it will start to cook. He also recommends softening it up in your hot tub first. After nuking, give it some good smacks with your baseball bat.

Just 18 days ‘til Pitchers and Catchers report. So let’s get those gloves in the hot tub, Birdland!

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.



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