Sunday, April 29, 2007

Friends of Baseball/Portland Beavers Volunteer Awards

Here is another great opportunity to honor someone who devotes time and energy to youth baseball:

The Portland Beavers, Oregon Sports Authority and Friends of Baseball have announced the 2007 Coach and Volunteer of the Year awards. These partners are very excited to recognize these individuals at the Portland Beavers Youth Baseball/Softball Weekend June 2nd and 3rd.

These individuals will represent the thousands of coaches and volunteers who literally bring this game to life each spring and summer. They are in the final stages of receiving nominations, but it is not too late. Please take a moment to briefly compose your thoughts about someone very special to youth baseball/softball in your community.

You can find information at All nominations must be received no later than May 10th 2007. A $1000 team grant will be presented to each of the inductees in recognition for this annual award. Take a moment to recognize your teams’ hero!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Girls and Baseball

Twice in one day I had the pleasure of hanging out with fellow females who love baseball!

We are a rare breed -- truly, most moms my age complain that baseball is slow and boring and rarely played in the sunshine as it should be. It's difficult to keep the siblings occupied with the game and increasingly difficult to follow ("What inning are we in?") The kids need to be there extra early to hit whiffle balls turning the entire evening into one long game in wet grass with hungry kids and seeing your player maybe touch the ball twice. There is always some fan/grandfather who knows more than both coaches and umpires put together -- and shares that knowledge all game.

Having grown up in Portland, Oregon, with no professional baseball team, but being an avid softball player, I was open to attending a few AAA games downtown and that was it. When I attended college near San Francisco, my ears provided my first exposure to Major League Baseball.

Since my classmates were overwhelmingly from the greater Bay Area, they had grown up with MLB, gone to games routinely and followed baseball in the newspaper. They followed their teams, rival players and schedules. They knew when the A's or Giants "were in town." They knew, by heart, the flagship radio stations of both teams. Many outdoor barbeques and pick up basketball games and "parties" were serenaded with "the game" on in the background.

And thanks to them (I didn't have a car at college) and sometimes BART, I attended many games on both sides of the bay and became an A's fan because it was closer, sunnier, flashier, and did I say sunnier?

That all changed when I met my husband, who was born and raised in San Francisco, rode the L Taraval to Candlestick Park, attended every "The Giants present Japanese-American Day" and had a mother who kept book during the games and attended every "The Giants present Senior Citizen Day." He entertains our son with tales of sneaking down to the good seats with Marty and when his car was driving alongside Willie Mays' on the 280 between San Mateo and the City. So now, by marriage, I am a Giants fan. And since our son was born there, he is also a "415 guy" as he says (415 is the area code for San Francisco).

So, fast forward to 2002 when I am attending a college class reunion and reconnect with one of those Bay Area Kids Who Love The Giants who now lives in Tigard! What a wierd coincidence -- we live in Rock Creek -- let's get together! Also, she is a girl. She is the kind of girl who loves the Giants so much, she attends all three games of a homestand when she is in the Bay Area. Her sister-in-law works for the Giants and her husband works for Nike and gets to go to All-Star games and stuff (lucky!). Well, we met them at Chevy's on Friday and they presented our son with the latest Nike baseball shirt (you can see it on Daiseke tonight) and as a bonus, a Nike/SF Giants shirt.

Jack pawed those shirts all night. We made him try it on and her husband did a product demo of all the baseball-related features of this new shirt. Very cool way to spend the evening -- talking mostly baseball and some other topics, but really, mostly baseball.

Oh, and earlier in the evening, I enjoyed Happy Hour with a colleague who loves baseball, too. Mostly she loves baseball players ("A Rod is on My List") so that counts.

Remember, it is moms who can also instill a love for the game of baseball!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Getting My Little League Fix

Thanks to some dry spring weather, we actually watched some baseball yesterday!

Our son's Junior Baseball of Oregon (JBO) scrimmage was rained-out due to standing water on the diamond, so we ventured out to good old West Union field to see our old LL team, the Diamondbacks, take on the Braves. Family friends were in both dugouts and a pitching duel led to a quick game, DBacks 1, Braves 0. It was great to see the old AND new faces of SunCreek LL major's level.

And since the day was still young, we headed over to Sunset Park to watch the District 4 AAA Baseball tournament. Our minor-league favorite, the Volcanoes, played back-to-back games with local teams using a pitching machine and modified rules for quick play. The younger kids were stealing and stretching out hits as they were getting comfortable with the next level of competition.

The Volcanoes are named for the Giants affiliate, Salem-Keizer Volcanoes and their uniforms are awesome. I also love the other names of SunCreek LL's AAA teams: the Muckdogs, the Storm, and the Bats.

The sun is shining and we are organizing homework...ugh. The "day of rest" is now the "day of do all house chores." I'd rather be out at a ballfield...

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

"Diamonds in the Rough" contest

How does winning $5,000-10,000 towards upgrading a ballfield or purchasing bats, balls, mitts and uniforms sound?

The 2007 Diamonds in the Rough: Recognizing The Power Within contest encourages youth baseball and softball players to write a short essay recognizing an adult mentor or unsung hero who has helped him or her to achieve a goal or overcome an obstacle on or off the baseball field.

Twelve winning youth / mentor pairs will be named. Each winning pair will be awarded $5,000, and lawn equipment for the upkeep of their local field among other fun baseball prizes. One of the winning regional pairs will be chosen as the grand prize winner to receive $10,000 and equipment for the upkeep of their field, and a clinic hosted by former New York Yankee Tino Martinez.

This is a great opportunity for baseball-and-softball-playing kids to thank that one special person who makes a difference, and to give back to their community by refurbishing their local baseball field.

More about the essay and other contest rules can be found at the link above. Good luck and thanks to Briggs & Stratton for the opporunity to thank a mentor and help ballplayers at the same time!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Opening Day!

Wow, April is here, we are into Opening Day of Major League Baseball, and Little League, too. I came across this wonderful little book, and had to pass on some of my favorite passages:

A Prayer for the Opening of the Little League Season
by Willie Morris, First Voyager Books edition, 1999

It begins:

Dear Almighty God,

This is a prayer for all the kids of all races and creeds in the boundless
earthly springtime as baseball once more commences, as it has and will eternally
in the ordinance and charter of Thy inexorable seasons.

and continues:

Defend the little ballplayers when they drop flies or boot grounders, from the wrath of their fathers, for many are the fathers who fear not the timeless
injunction "Judge not, that ye be not judged." Forever shield the erring
boys from retributive daddies who know not even the Infield Fly Rule.

and my favorite:

Reward the faithful mothers as they transport their children to practice, launder their sullied uniforms, soothe their cuts and bruises, pacify their anxious qualms, and sustain them in triumph as in adversity with cheers and
acclamations from the bleachers, for theirs is rightfully the Kingdom of