How Being a Journalist Takes Over Normal Life

So I caught this fun journalism link today ...

I do every one of these during my working hours ...

But even during off hours, I'm still fully committed to Nos. 3 ... 5 (although, I substitute Mountain Dew for coffee) ... 7 ... 8 ... 9 ... 10 ... and 11.


End of a season

What a glorious Sunday.

The baseball season wrapped up nicely with another Royals come-from-behind win -- and a no-hitter to boot for the Washington Nationals.

The Packers beat up on the Bears, too. After church and lunch, I quietly retired to our downstairs family room, took residence on my favorite couch, flipped back and forth from the Packers to the Royals games on TV and dozed off for a great nap. Glorious.

I woke up in time to see the Royals inserting their backups in what was then a losing cause. And then had the pleasure of watching them take the lead and win.

The Tigers, Cardinals and Athletics clinched their spots, joining the Royals, Angels, Orioles, Giants, Nationals, Dodgers and Pirates in the postseason. There will be no game 163 drama.

I'm still reveling in Friday night's clincher. As the Royals broadcast analysts mused, it was interesting to watch their game morph from one with playoff implications to one that had the feel of a spring training game after the Tigers clinched. As the action unfolded the Denny Matthews and the crew sent shoutouts to just about every one in the Royals front office and their production crew, in between reflections on the Royals' previous postseason dances -- from a ill-informed decision not to work out in Kansas City in the days prior to the 1980 World Series and their comebacks to win the ALCS and World Series in 1985.  

Tuesday night's wild card game can't come soon enough. Although, I remain cautiously optimistic, knowing the the game will be in Kansas City, and the Royals have been lackluster at home in front of big crowds.

For the record, the fan in me is pulling for the Royals all the way. The realist in me thinks they have the team to do it, but they lack the offensive consistency necessary to get them there. Plus, as I said, they haven't played well in big games at home.

I predict Kansas City beats Anaheim and Baltimore beats Detroit in the American League Division Series. Then Baltimore beats Kansas City in the Championship Series.

In the National League, Washington beats Pittsburgh, and Los Angeles beats St. Louis in the Division Series. Washington beats Los Angeles in the Championship Series.

We'll get a Baltimore-Washington World Series. ... Then I'll root for Baltimore to win it all.

(Updated 9.29.2014) Good reads ...


They're in!

Last night it happened.

The Kansas City Royals punched a ticket to their first postseason since 1985.

Congratulations to the Toronto Blue Jays. You now have the longest postseason drought at 21 years, which seems crazy. It doesn’t seem like that long ago that those guys were the toast of baseball.

The excitement and anticipation that built Thursday carried into Friday. I had a busy day that included working with media at a large scale disaster simulation hosted by the university and helping to christen our new cricket pitch on the campus. By 5:30, the girls and I were meeting at home to regroup and head to the high school for the school district’s family funfest – hot dogs and a half-dozen inflatable attractions, followed by the high school football game. We only stayed until the end of the first quarter, but the route was already on. They won 62-28.

As we were getting into our car, Phoebe asked if she could stay up to watch the Royals game, noting it was “a special game.” Kati looked at me with a laugh. I looked back at her and tried to clear myself of any wrongdoing. “Hey, I didn’t say anything!” … Not Friday evening, anyway. I might have said something, however, while I was taking the girls to school Friday morning.

By the time we arrived home, settled in and found the game on the TV, the Royals were leading the White Sox comfortably, 3-0, in the bottom of the third inning.

Behind Jeremy Guthrie, they cruised through the innings and I started counting the remaining outs in the seventh inning. All four of us managed to stay awake for the entire game – which is a feat at our house on Friday nights.

Then Greg Holland came in, as he does so well, to close out the came.

As Salavador Perez eyed a pop fly for the final out, I stood up from my chair, threw my hands in the air like a football referee signaling a touchdown and shouted one word: “Royaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaals!” … The ball landed safely in Salvy’s glove and the celebration was on. Phoebe laid on the couch next to me and we watched every minute – from the hugs on the field, to the champagne spraying in the clubhouse, to the interaction with the remaining Royals fans on the field – with amusement.

My Twitter friends and followees were posting so fast I could barely keep up …

Phoebe is 6 now. I was 6 when the Royals last made the postseason.

Yet, for the record, I have no recollection whatsoever of watching Major League Baseball in 1985, let alone the Kansas City Royals. My first memories of watching baseball extend only as far back as 1988 and falling in love with the Dodgers that fall. I learned everything I know about baseball prior to that time by watching endless highlight shows and documentaries. 

I became a Royals fan in 1991 when my family moved to suburban Kansas City and we began attending games at what was then the turf-surface Royals Stadium almost immediately. As I’ve reminisced before, I took pleasure in watching George Brett’s final years, and there was some glory in 1994 before the franchise began its plummet. I've reminisced about those days a few times here.

For the remainder of the 1990s and early 2000s, we went to Royals games mostly to see their opponents. Frank Thomas’ Chicago White Sox, Ken Griffey Jr.’s Seattle Mariners, Cal Ripken Jr.’s Baltimore Orioles, and the great Cleveland Indian and New York Yankee teams of the late 1990s.

There were blips of greatness. Like when I was lucky enough to attend opening day in 1999 and – even though they lost the game to Pedro Martinez and the Boston Red Sox – was wowed by a lineup that featured Carlos Beltran, Johnny Damon, Jermaine Dye and Rey Sanchez. I never thought much of their manager at that time, Tony Muser, but truly thought the Royals were finally on the verge of something special. Then all of those players were given away, of course, during what felt like the Royals’ never-ending rebuilding project.

I moved away from Kansas City in 2001, watched their 2003 fluke from afar, and returned in 2010, having been spoiled by the winning ways of the Milwaukee Brewers and the Chicago Cubs during my tenure away from Kansas City. I was encouraged by the Royals’ hiring of former Brewers manager Ned Yost that spring, and a wild doubleheader that August. Phoebe and I also went out to meet Billy Butler – currently her favorite player – Danny Duffy and Greg Holland on a Saturday afternoon a couple Januaries ago.

It feels to me as though everything changed the night of July 24, 2013. … That was the night the Royals started playing like a contending baseball team, and I’ve been tuned in nearly every night since.

This morning the sun is shining and I woke up knowing the Royals are going to play postseason baseball.

I’m still trying to make sense of it.

Here are just some of the images from last night.


Awesome of the week

Various things I found awesome this week ...

Orbit dances to 'Bye Bye Bye', draws out the N'Sync in all of us...

"Lost." Has it really been 10 years. My favorite letter on this list: P for Pilot.  
Lost's first episode — half of the two-part series premiere, the most expensive pilot ever produced by a network at the time — is as close to a perfect hour of television as you're likely to find.
Ok, this one isn't just from this week ... But I get a kick out of this commercial every time I catch it. ...

One game

With apologies to my Milwaukee Brewers -- Jonathan Lucroy says, 'We got what we deserved'
 -- and Chicago Cubs fan friends, the Kansas City Royals’ magic number tonight is … one.

They just knocked off the White Sox, and there are three games left to play in the regular season. They’ve clinched at least a Monday night play-in game and need to play within one game of Oakland over the last three to host the wild card game.

They are so, so close. They got a big win last night, and today the water cooler talk around the campus had such a “We’re so in” theme that it made me a little nervous we were jinxing it and it could all fall apart. … Just watching Ned Yost’s postgame news conference now, you could sense the anxiety and anticipation in his voice. Now Joel Goldberg and Jeff Montgomery are talking about how “it’s gonna happen” during their postgame broadcast.

Despite losing critical series this month against Detroit and Boston, this team has been resilient when they’ve needed to be all season long. And I’m feeling like they’re getting hot again at just the right time.

Tomorrow night could be huge. … Considering I cried when the Kansas Jayhawks won it all, I can hardly imagine what it may feel like to finally see the Royals finally playing a postseason game after decades of losing seasons.

And as usual …

* * *

Then there’s the other big story in baseball tonight

Derek Jeter played his last game at Yankee Stadium. … Because, well, the Yankees aren’t THE YANKEES this season, and their postseason hopes have been erased by the – I love this, and I love Buck Showalter – Baltimore Orioles.

I had a lecture to mediate on campus tonight, so I worked in my office later than usual. And thanks to the magic of TweetDeck, I caught on to a live feed of Jeter’s first at-bat. He roped the first pitch he saw for double that bounced just under the top off the wall, and I nearly jumped out of my desk chair.

Then, as I settled in at home tonight, Derek Jeter does this.

Hearing Joe Girardi encouraging him to “take a walk” was a smile-worthy moment on its own. Then, seeing the members of The Core Four waiting for him beyond the baselines sent chills through my body. In the moment, it didn’t matter how much I hated watching those guys win consecutive titles and stroll into the playoffs year after year. They always did it with class, and for that I have the utmost respect for them. I honestly can’t recall a time that I didn’t at least cheer for Jeter.

And the frenzy nearly broke Twitter …

I couldn’t help but read and collect good reads and stuff about Jeter throughout the day. …
 (Updated 09.26.2014)

And the commercials ...

Thanks, Derek

Re2pect for the Captain

To end this post, this tweet’s for Faye – who this morning vomited her breakfast on me and the outfit in which I was dressing her while she was in the midst of a classic terrible two tantrum because she didn’t like the outfit that Kates had picked out for her to wear because it was picture day today – because she loves Elmo.


Kansas City drops Sale, sits half-game back of Tigers

The Royals snagged another important win tonight ...

And Nori Aoki is on fire ... While Kansas City fans affectionately call him Nori Okie Dokie Aoki, Phoebe has a nickname of her own -- Nori Aoki Karaoke.

The hunt for a Blue October continues.

And there's this guy: Artist raps jock jam for boys in blue


Stealing a win

Holy moly.

It was a rough day. I’m buried at work and there’s no end in sight. … And having to balance my work responsibilities with the needs of my family is tough.

Kates carted Phoebe to her gymnastics practice tonight. Which left me to do the bath and bedtime battle with Faye. … It took me nearly an hour to get the girl to sleep tonight. She lays in her bed oh-so-quietly, just watching, to make sure Kates or I are at her bedside. Then, when we’re sure she’s asleep and we try to leave, she’ll call out, and we remain her prisoner. Kates and I think she has sonar.

I was drained. The icing on the cake was when I opened the freezer in search of something to eat for supper and a pan of miniature tomatoes – which had been balanced precariously on a bag of chicken nuggets – spilled all the way into the deepest corner of the living room.

As I started laundry, I turned on the Royals game and kept it going in the background. But they were losing 3-0 to the White Sox and showing no signs of closing the gap.

Kates and I caught up with each other about our days. We caught up on some TV.

Then I tuned back into the Royals game for the bottom of the ninth inning.

A little base stealing, and they did it again.

Call the cops, the Royals stole it! said Rex Hudler.

It’s worth noting I had a chance to go to tonight’s game. One of Kates’ friends offered up tickets. But I passed. … Dang.

Sam Mellinger tweeted “a column of a Royals win so crazy George Brett said he's never seen anything like it in his life.”
The most exciting, important, and at times infuriating Royals season in a generation has its latest plot twist. A day after losing a game in which the manager misused the bullpen, the Royals appeared mostly lifeless for six innings, and then for the last three innings like the team that just might end the longest playoff drought in North American sports.
You could say something very similar about their entire season, right?
This group has been through so much, even by the standards of a major-league baseball season. They’ve been effectively out of the race, and then in first place, sometimes in the same month.
This is a team of friends. There are cliques like any other large group, but a genuine feeling of togetherness. They hang out with each other in their spare time, many of their inside jokes and memories going all the way back to the minor leagues. They celebrate every win, and hard, with a fog machine and loud music and at home a neon sign of a deer. There is no way to know for sure, of course, but it’s quite possible they haven’t celebrated any win as hard as they celebrated this one.

In other news, the Angels are in.

The Royals magic number is 12.



Awesome of the week

A couple things I saw on the interwebs during the last week that I thought were kind of awesome ...

And this. A brief look at this gal's YouTube channel shows she's got some real talent ...

All About That Bass ... and more Frozen

We have a new go-to song in our house ... along with Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off."

Meghan Trainor's "All About That Bass."

It's a great catchy little diddy about loving your body just the way it is. And it had Phoebe and I hooked the first time we caught it on VH1 several weeks ago.

Thursday night, Jimmy Fallon invited Trainor into his musical classroom, and the result was all over social media Friday. ... We made the segment part of our Friday Night Movie Night here at home.

The feature presentation for our night was our DVR recording of Tuesday night's ABC special, "The Story of Frozen: Making a Disney Animated Classic."

Here's a good read, featuring 16 things we learned from the making of "Frozen" special. ... I can't begin to imagine a "Frozen" without "Do You Want To Build a Snowman."