Friday, January 27, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

Welcome back readers to the Bucket List.  I've been on a bit of a hiatus for the past few months.  I  know it's the off-season, but there are plenty of non-game related accomplishments I can achieve in the mean time.  In short, I've been lazy in updating my blog, and that's no excuse.  As I've been reading the blogs of many of my friends I was inspired by my friend Matt and his blog Perspectives of a Young Scientist.  About a week ago he posted his New Year's Resolutions and I noticed a lot of his were resolutions I set for myself in 2012.  Many of you here know in detail the events of late 2011 for me and 2012 is my rebound year.  So as I read Matt's entry I decided that just having resolutions was not enough.  I had to write those resolutions down in order to keep myself accountable.  So here's my list:

1.  Get out of my comfort zone - I don't typically shy away from many things, but what I mean by this is that I'm planning on doing things that I never would have imagined doing in a million years.  I already have a few things planned.  I plan on going skydiving with Matt, seeing as that's his #1 resolution.  I'm also planning on joining his team, Perpetual Motion Squad, in running the Indiana Spartan Sprint on April 21.

2.  Continue my workout success - Since late September I've been working out on a pretty regular basis.  I've recently bumped that up for training, but needless to say I (as well as many people close to me) have noticed results and it feels good.

3.  Be more dedicated to my blog - It's self explanatory.  I've got this goal I'm trying to accomplish and I'm not doing a good job following through. 

Last but not least, and probably the most important....

4.  Put myself back out there - If I truly want to put the events of 2011 behind me and move on, I have to seize the day.  I can't be afraid of something I have no control over; I need to roll the dice and see what happens.  And even if it turns out bad, at least I'll know.  This is the resolution I have to keep throughout the year.  I can fail at the other three, but if I succeed here, it'll have been a great year for me.

There you have it, my resolutions for 2012.  The next time I'll be back will be a baseball related blog.  I have  a 2 hour flight to Boston ahead of me, so I'm hoping to complete a book on Shoeless Joe.

Friday, December 9, 2011


So with the baseball off-season in full swing, the only bucket list items I have to work on are books and movies.  I love to read and love to watch movies, but doing so while taking notes to know what to write about reminds me of writing papers in college.  So that's been a slow process.  Since it's been a while since I last posted I thought I'd update my readers on what posts I'm working on plus what's going on in the MLB.

  • New Collective Bargaining Agreement (this one should be out soon, have to rely on ESPN and Yahoo)
  • Juicing the Game
  • Field of Dreams
MLB Happenings:
  • New CBA!!!
  • Miami Marlins officially unveiled new uniforms (somebody on Yahoo pointed out they look similar to the Miami Vice uniforms from BASEketball)
  • And they signed Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, and Heath Bell
  • Albert Pujols is leaving the NL Central (the clouds parted and sun shone down on Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati) for the LAA Angels, along with CJ Wilson
  • The BBWAA has cast their ballots for the HOF.  Announcement should be made Jan 9.  It's looking pretty good for Barry Larkin in his 3rd year on the ballot.  He needs a 13% increase from last year to get the required 75% of all votes to get inducted.  It seems reasonable since he increased from 51.5% in 2010 to 62.1% in 2011.  
So there's my update on baseball life.  I'm hoping to have the CBA post out next week, I've been working really hard to make it a noteworthy blog.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Moneyball...The Movie

So this is one of the first "detours" I plan to write.  As a quick note, a detour is going to be anything I feel should be on the list that isn't either due to being released after the book or it was just left out.  Moneyball, the movie at least, falls into the first category.  

The family and I went and saw Moneyball on Monday and I must say its quite possibly one of the best baseball movies I've seen in a long time.  In a nutshell, Billy Beane (Brad Pitt), the GM of the Oakland A's, along with the help of Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) put together the 2002 Oakland A's based solely on getting runs after their team was gutted from losing their top 3 players..  Brand, who is actually Paul DePodesta in real life, convinced Beane that by buying players that have high On-Base Percentage (OBP), the A's would get the necessary amount of runs needed to win.  As portrayed in the movie, these weren't the most talented players in baseball, but what Brand saw in their on-base stats got them a contract with the team. 

The methods used by Brand to evaluate players for Beane at the time was a slap in the face to baseball tradition.  Like the preview said, it was ignoring the work that scouts had done for 150 years.  In the movie, the talent scouts seemed more interested in the athletic ability, the look, and the "big" stats (HR, RBI, AB).  If the round table discussions that took place in the movie are any semblance of truth to how baseball scouts really work, then I'm shocked by the inner workings of baseball.  Although I would also be upset if the true reason Billy Beane tried out this method was to get back at the scouts who recruited him.  Beane was a great prospect, a real "5-tool" player.  But after floundering in the big leagues a subsequently in the minors he gave up playing to become a scout.  In truth, after losing their main talent from 2001, the A's had to replace these players.  The Oakland A's are one of the numerous "small market" teams in MLB.  They don't have the capital like the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox have, so clubs like Oakland have to develop talent in their farm system to get players.  By doing this, you get players for cheap early in their careers and possibly longer if they don't become an amazing player.  It's always a cyclical system for these teams to put their "best" players on the field.  Teams like the Yankees have enough money to buy any player they think will get them to a championship (A-Rod, Mark Teixeira, Nick Swisher). 

The year after Beane implemented this method of building a team, the Red Sox employed the same system, one that won them a championship in 2004 (That's what the movie says, but I call shenanigans.  They had a ton of money wrapped up in Manny Ramirez, Pedro Martinez, and Johnny Damon among others).  Oh and Boston yanked Damon away from the A's following their improbable run to the playoffs in 2001.  From what I can find the payroll for the 2002 Oakland A's was $ 40,004,167 broken up like this among it's roster.  They had 2 players making $7 mil that year, but for David Justice's salary, the Yankees were paying half.  The 2004 champion Red Sox team's payroll was $127,298,500 broken up like this.  They were paying more money to Ramirez than the top 2 of the A's were making.  So to say the Red Sox used the same system to create that championship team is a lie.  They had 11 players making under a million dollars that year compared to 17 players making under a million for the A's.  On a side note, about half of those 17 went on to have pretty good careers in the majors.  

I would recommend this movie to anyone who wants to get a glimpse of the inner workings of a baseball team.  Once I get the book read, I'll compare the two in another post.

Oh and this isn't on the list, so I guess it doesn't count. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Season in Review

The 2011 regular season comes to an end today and an exciting ending it will be.  With both AL and NL wild card spots on the line tonight, it will make for an interesting few hours on baseball.  As the season comes to a close, I have come to the point of reviewing my accomplishments of The Bucket List.  In a nut shell, I'm pretty disappointed with myself and how little (3 on the list and a "detour") on the list I accomplished this year.  I made it to 0 MLB games this year for the first time in recent memory.  I did make it to a Single A game in South Bend in late July, but due to circumstance changes (all you out there know what those are), I elected not to count it on my journey.  So in reflecting upon the season I decided that it was necessary for myself to set a list of which items on the list I plan on completing by the end of next season.  In the off-season, I plan to get a head start on watching a few of the movies on the list and reading a few of the books.  In particular, I plan to at least watch Field of Dreams (love this movie) and Eight Men Out and I plan to read Shoeless Joe and Ball Four.  Although not on the list, I plan to read and watch Moneyball because of all the hype its been getting as of late. 

I definitely hope to get more accomplished between the end of the World Series (here's hoping for a Braves/Tigers series.  Sorry to friends who root for other teams in the playoffs).  But at least with a list of some of the tasks to get accomplished, I can hopefully complete those.  As for the 2012 MLB, I am hoping to be able to attend 5 games.  One I know for sure (or at least going to die trying) is the Cincinnati Reds vs. Miami Marlins game on "Opening Day."  Matt Jackson, you better be coming to this game with me! 

Reported new logo for the Marlins. 
Did a 5 year old get on Photoshop for this?
Technically the first game of the season is taking place in Miami where the Marlins will face the Cardinals in their brand new stadium (which looks awesome!), but April 6 marks the first day of a complete MLB schedule.  I also am hoping to go to St. Louis, Detroit (Connor, road trip?), Kansas City, Cleveland, and maybe Chicago.  I think by writing down what I plan to do, I'll get it accomplished.

Until next time readers. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

"You're Killing Me, Smalls"

So this blog post is being published about 3 weeks after I intended for it to be, but such is life.

If you don't know what movie that line is from you either didn't grow up in the 90's or you didn't enjoy baseball as a kid.  The # 138 entry in the Baseball Fan's Bucket List is to watch The Sandlot.  Personally, I'm upset that this film is so low on the list considering its only 162 activities long.  This is one of my favorite baseball movies of all time because this movie embodied everything I wanted out of a summer.  I would have loved to play baseball every day, had a night game played under the fireworks, or even put the moves on Wendy Peffercorn.  But I didn't have enough friends that lived close enough who enjoyed playing baseball, an old diamond to play ball, or a cute lifeguard to put the moves on.  Regardless of these facts, this is one of my favorite childhood movies.  After I watched it, my brother commented to me that all the good sports movies were one's in which kids were involved (Rookie of the Year, Little Giants, Sandlot, and Angels in the Outfield).  I must say that I agree with him, but that could be due to the fact that all these movies came out when I was a kid and I enjoyed every one of them.

Now for a "review" of the movie in a nutshell since I'm guessing many of you may have seen the movie before.  So, Scott Smalls moves to a new town right before summer and has no friends.  He follows a group of 8 boys to an old abandoned baseball diamond to watch them play.  Eager to join them, Smalls stands out in left field and embarasses himself catching and throwing the ball.  To be quick, Benny takes a liking to Smalls, he invites him to play ball, teaches him to catch, throw, and hit and the rest of Smalls' summer is set.  The majority of the movie follows the kids as they try to retrieve a baseball signed by Babe Ruth that Smalls stole from his step-father's office to continue playing baseball from the neighborhood dog, Beast.  After many attempts and a dream Benny has involving the Great Bambino, Benny pickles the Beast and get the ball back from Mr. Mertle, but Mertle trades Smalls that chewed up ball for one signed by the entire 1927 New York Yankees team.  (Now I hate the Yankees, but classic Yankees are OK in my book).  Flash forward 30 years and Smalls in a radio announcer for the Dodgers and Benny "The Jet" is pinch running on 3rd base.

This is where the only problem I have with the movie occurs.  The kids are 11-12 throughout the movie in the 60s and then the film fast forwards 30 years to Benny playing for the Dodgers as a pinch-runner (at least in this game).  He'd be 41 or 42.  No baseball team would put a 40+ year old in to pinch run, I don't think Benny is Ricky Henderson, but I may be wrong.  And if that's the only issue I have with the movie, fine, because its a very minor detail to the whole movie.

In all, this movie rocks and I recommend it to anyone who hasn't seen it yet or has younger siblings/children that would enjoy sports movies.  This makes 2 entries completed in the bucket list...

...3 since I'm retroactively #24 Own a Baseball Glove, since I don't plan on buying a new one any time soon.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Purdue Baseball game

So this is not a bucket list entry, but baseball related nonetheless.  As a baseball fan, I'm ashamed that in my 5 years at Purdue I only just went to my first game at Lambert Field.  Purdue isn't exactly known as a baseball school like Florida or Cal. State Fullerton, but still at $2 a game, I should have gone to more.  Regardless of this fact, my buddy Matt and I went to Friday's opening game against rival IU.  Here's pictorial proof I was there:

Purdue Ace Matt Morgan on the
mound against IU.

IU struck first with a homerun by DH Alex Dickerson, but the Boilers were able to tie things up at 1 in the 3rd inning.  Going into the bottom of the 5th, Purdue was down 2-1.  Not too bad, but this next half inning was great and embarrassing.  Purdue got bases loaded with NO out and we walked away with only 2 runs off a 2-out single.  We should have blown this game open with the mixture of poor/stalling pitching by Blake Monar and a couple errors by IU 2B Micah Johnson (player of the game for PU).  He committed 3 of the 4 IU errors in the game.  In the 9th, IU took a 4-3 lead, which we tied up in the bottom half of the inning.  A quiet 10th and 11th inning that produced a couple singles for both teams, but not much else.  Our good old Boilermakers finally got the hit they needed and won the game on a single in the bottom of the 12th.  So to recap, for $2 I got 12 innings of baseball and got to watch a team that has a chance to win the regular season Big Ten.  (Going into Saturday's game, we're tied for 1st with Michigan St.). 

I had a blast at the game, I know Matt did, too.  I just wish I had gone to more games in my career here.  BTW, the new stadium next year is going to be awesome!!! Go check out the the pictures of the new facility:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Start

Welcome to The Bucket List.  A few of my friends have been writing their own blogs for a while now (Mildly Competent, The Pit, and Perspectives of a Young Scientist), so I thank them for inspiring me to do this.  Just a quick overview of what this blog is about:  Last year for my 22nd birthday, my mom got me this book right here:

I was pretty excited to thumb through the list to see what I had accomplished so far (probably about 10% of the entire list). Soon after, I decided that anything on the List that I had accomplished before getting this book would not count as a check-mark for my bucket list, so I'm starting at the beginning (with the exception of # 53 Maintain a Baseball Card Collection).  1/162 baseball related things to do before I die.  This book contains everything a baseball fan should expect to experience before they die: games at every park in Major League Baseball, watching great baseball movies (The Natural, Bull Durham, The Sandlot, etc) and reading a ton of baseball related books.  My goal is to accomplish all 162 items on this list and blog about each one of them and the experiences I had while doing them.  Wish me luck because this is going to be a long, fun journey.