Thursday, April 30, 2009

My kids are funny ... and fun ... and I love 'em

Two peas in a pod - funny faces and all. Gotta love a good laundry basket picture.

Just so you know, that's dancing they're doing ... I think. They're having fun, so who cares? Right? My son had to have his wrist taped like my starting catcher, by the way. So, Daddy pulled out his pre-wrap and athletic tape, and so we have a "real-life" baseball player in the house. Which is true - since he'll be playing in a T-ball league starting in a couple weeks. He's pretty anxious, to say the least.

And yes, my daughter is wearing underwear! Yeah! Potty-training goin' on! She does really well. Almost no accidents during the day. Still wearing the diapers while she sleeps, but she loves her new underwear and pees well whenever she needs to on the potty.

11th inning thriller ...

Just in case you don't already know ... and judging by the attendance figures ... you don't ... the Pirates played almost 11 full innings with the Centennial Cougars last night. Now, those of you who know about pitchers and pitch counts, don't get too upset until you read the WHOLE story. My junior pitcher threw a COMPLETE GAME. That's right. 10 2/3rds innings (because we lost in the bottom of the 11th at Centennial).

Here's the scoop: their pitcher threw well. Ours threw better. The umpire behind the plate was "horrible" (that's the word I'll use, because I want this blog to be family-friendly). And I don't complain about umpires. Our pitcher threw a no-hitter into the 6th inning, giving up an infield single that I don't believe the hitter beat out at first - but no matter. Then, he didn't give up another hit until the 11th inning. Only threw 140 pitches in 10 and 2/3rds innings - never an inning above 17. Not bad. Really good, in fact. Lots of strikes. Not a lot of well-hit baseballs.

Lead off single for the Cougars in the 11th was probably the best-hit ball. Bunted him over. One out. Next batter - out. Two outs, runner on second. Ground ball to the 1st basemen. E-3. The inning continues. Next batter, runners on 1st and 3rd, slicing fly ball to left. Left fielder takes the wrong first step then busts his hind end to get to the ball ... but never does. Game winning single. Pirates lose.

I'm proud of our effort. Some Centennial students behind home plate were "chirping" at our players all game. We ended up saying and doing some things I wasn't proud of at the end, but in a hostile environment, sometimes you get pulled into the unsportsmanlike behavior. Never again. Last night, we deserved victory - we just didn't get it.

Today's another day. We expect to play well again - and with class! Defend our home field. And Deserve Victory! Again!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Swept by Anoka

I really don't believe that we got swept by the Tornadoes this year. They played well in two games against us, beating us early and then beating us 7-2 last night. I really thought that they were a team that we could beat this year, but apparently not. It still burns inside me. I only wish I knew how badly it burns inside some of our ballplayers. I want them to feel it, too - to want it as bad as I do - and work hard to get it - and feel the satisfaction of getting something when you've worked so hard for it. But I can't GIVE that to them. They need to find it, work at it, earn it themselves ... and they will. Deserve Victory.

PS - I promise more kid picks to come soon. I need some family time for sure!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Ups and downs

Life's full of 'em - ups and downs, that is. Like this past week's baseball games. Lose 9-1 Tuesday to a decent Osseo team (but we didn't play with the right attitude). Win at Champlin Park 9-3 Wednesday (and we played pretty well). Lose 15-0 in 5 innings versus Maple Grove on Thursday (but we played flat and poorly). Expectations need to be higher - ballplayers should expect to play well - and keep working at it!

We start the second half of our conference schedule this week. We NEED to play more consistantly ... and WE WILL! Deserve Victory!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

We beat our friends from Champlin Park, 9-3

Our senior pitcher threw a complete game, giving up only five hits. For the most part, we communicated well and picked each other up. We came out and scored 2 runs in the first. The Rebels came back and scored 2 runs in the bottom half. We kept our spirits up and kept scoring. We had a focused defensive effort - zero errors, and only one misplay of a ball for a hit. We played aggressively, stealing a base and legging out a triple, as well as attacking strikes at the plate. We bunted successfully 2 times for sacrifices. We did fail on two bunt attempts - but we were successfull overall. We scored 9 times, leaving only 8 men in scoring position, so we were over 50% on driving runners in from scoring position. We attempted a suicide bunt - unsuccesfully - but, hey, you have to try. We dove all over, got dirty and went all out. We threw strikes - by my count our senior threw 66% strikes. We knew what we wanted to do, did it, and played OUR game, not theirs. Everyone knew their role, from starting pitcher, to courtesy runner and first base coach - and they played it to the best of their ability. Awesome win.

Now - if we only could've remember ALL of our equipment. We forgot our helmets and catchers' equipment bag, so Coach Johnson had to run back with one of the dads to get them. We used CP helmets for our first inning up to bat. Always room for improvement.

3 and 5 on the season with the deadly Crimson coming to our place tonight. Undefeated. Ranked #1? Time for the Pirates to focus and play the way that we can. We haven't won at home yet. Is tonight the night? Only one way to find out. Let's play ball! and Deserve Victory!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Darn Orange Birds

Well, Osseo got us last night. Allowed 9 runs (4 earned) to a team with a Division 1 pitcher. We did score one off him. We had runners on base against him in the 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 6th, but couldn't get it done. Three fairly costly errors and a team turned pretty flat. We gotta pick it up again tonight and "Deserve Victory."

Monday, April 20, 2009

Breezy Point Weekend

All the kids up north this past weekend. You can't tell, but we had a blast. Our friends invited us north to Breezy Point on Pelican Lake. No lake front view, but we were right on the fairway of one hole of the golf course. Which was neat to use to play football with the kids. I was surprised to see the lakes were mostly still frozen over - even though the temps reached up to 70 on the day we got there. The indoor pool was great. Newly built and since we have early risers, usually no one to join us there. Too bad the adults had no fun. :) I especially liked taking the lead and winning on the last had of hearts on Saturday night. :) We all talked about doing a vacation like this again. My daughter especially liked groovin' to the music on the patio. Heaven help us, she's a dancing machine. Must take after her mother, huh?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Park Center 12, Coon Rapids 8

No, really, we beat the defending state champions this afternoon. Granted, we were both on our fourth game of the week, but our team pounded out 19 hits, including 7 doubles, a triple and a home run. I'm not quite sure how to feel about a week in which we went 1 and 3, with a 9-2 loss, a 21-4 loss, a 3-1 loss, and a 12-6 win, but right now I feel pretty good about finishing with the two better games.

I don't know if I've ever seen this either: Our sixth hitter was 1 for 1, with a home run, three walks and a hit-by-pitch. He took a walk to drive in a run in the first, then got walked again in the second, hit by a pitch in the fourth, and hit a 2-run homer in the fifth, before getting walked again to lead off the seventh. Interesting, to say the least. Everyone in the starting lineup got a hit tonight, and our lead-off hitter was on-base everytime up except his last - scored four runs.

Humble in victory and defeat, though. Have to remember that we're only 2 and 4 in our first six games. Three big games to come next week. Of course every day is a new day - we need to get better ... always. Deserve Victory.

Good game. Tough loss.

Played Blaine Wednesday night. Lost 3-1. We could've beat them. We played well. Still need to hit the ball a bit better - in the right situations; putting hits together; zero bat at-bats. Our pitcher threw a great game. 3 runs, 1 earned. Gotta go out and get the defending state champs tonight. Deserve Victory!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Beautiful days, not so beautiful games

So, it's been gorgeous around here. Beautiful weather ... for the kids ... for playing baseball. Absolutely sunny and sixty degrees. My favorite weather. Field could use some water, but I am not going to complain. My son and daughter are loving the weather - getting outside, even getting to the game last night.

Speaking of which ... no so beautiful. Gave up a lot of runs over the last two nights. Hopefully going on the road the next two nights will help us. So far, since we won our first game, we have given up 9, 9, and 20 runs. Last night we did it without the aid of any errors. That's right - our opponent scored 20 runs and we committed zero errors. We did misplay a couple balls in the outfield and not catch 1 or 2 fly balls on long runs that we should've caught. But all in all, the other team hit the ... well, you know .... out of the ball. I was surprised to get the game balls back at the end of the game ... they still had covers on them!

Today's another day. Another beautiful day. Can't wait to get back on the field and do something about our little losing streak. Bengals, here we come - ready to compete ... every day! Deserve Victory.

Monday, April 13, 2009


Easter Sunday. Kids were really well behaved at church - which is good, since we haven't been to an hour and a half mass since Christmas. My son noticed that there were many more people in church than the week before. I told him that it was because it was Easter Sunday. He actually liked putting on the shirt and tie. My daughter always loves putting on "princess dresses" so we had very little to do to get them ready in the morning.

Since we went to the Globetrotters on Saturday (pictures below as well), we didn't travel anywhere to be with family. The four of us decided to have a "fancy" dinner. My wife bought a ham and made seven-layer salad (actually 6 since I don't like celery). I made twice-baked potatoes, and we ate with the nice china and flatware - and nice crystal glasses, too. It was so nice outside that the kids ate quickly and were out playing with their friends before we got too much of a chance to enjoy it all. It was still nice - and we all did sit down to a nice dinner for a while, even if it was only for 15 or 20 minutes. Happy Easter everybody. I know I'm late :)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Easter Eggs

The big guy and little girl colored Easter eggs tonight. I was impressed with their handling of the eggs. Zero drops. Zero mess. Plenty of beautiful eggs. Of course, my son wanted a "W" on a red one, and a "Cubs C" on a blue one ... so I obliged with the wax crayon - and he was happy!

My little girl is growing up for sure. She was very receptive to instructions tonight - which is a surprise, since her two-year-old independence usually tells her to say "No" a lot. She's a blessing, though. She and her brother each colored eight eggs tonight without any fuss.

When they were done, the eggs went into a special "holder" to dry. The big guy was good at placing them in very gently. Then, we had to take the shell off of one of the cracked eggs (Daddy's fault during hard-boiling process). Same as the fried egg pattern, my daughter ate all the white, but passed on eating the now-hardened yoke. My son could've eaten two eggs no problem, but he had just finished a plate of food for dinner, so one was enough tonight.

Both of them were excited to get their "credit cards" in Gramma and Grampa's cards today. The frog gift card from Target was for "her" and the "normal" Target gift card thrilled "him" beyond normal. It's amazing how simple things can make you happy. Just like watching my kids have fun with Mommy coloring eggs :)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Loss #1

Well, so much for expecting the same effort every night. We didn't give it the effort we needed to tonight. Four errors is one thing, but we didn't pick each other up. Our talk wasn't very positive - or loud - at all. We hit the ball pretty hard, but didn't get the breaks. Anoka took advantage and hammered out 9 runs on 12 hits and held us to 2 runs. It's good to know we get right back at it next week Monday through Thursday. I'd like to think that our team can pull itself back up. After all, it takes an entire roster to fill nine positions on the field - and we already have shown that we can do it. Now we just need to trust ourselves and do it again ... and again ... and again. Get better every day! Deserve Victory!

Win #1

Thank you to everyone. It's been a long time coming, but I got my first varsity BASEBALL win last night. We had a total team effort with each starter garnering a hit and our starting pitcher going 6 innings. Zero errors. No big innings for the other team. No walks allowed in the first 5 innings. Scored 9 runs and only left 7 on base. Big effort. I couldn't be more proud. I know that they all won't be that easy, but I can expect the same effort - and I know this team will give it.

"Deserve Victory"
Pirate Baseball 2009

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Distractions - Snowmobiling

While going to the community center to pick up our Globetrotter tickets, my daughter got pretty upset that only my son and I would be getting tickets for the game. I'm not sure whether or not she was actually upset that she wasn't going to be able to go to the game. I think she was just upset that she wouldn't get a ticket. Anyway, to distract her, I told them that I would let them ride the snowmobile that they have in the lobby. Usually we get on and take a pretend ride without putting the coins in to make it go. (It's one of those children's rides that takes 75 cents to make go) After each of the kids got their own turn "riding" it without moving, they got on together and had a blast. And I tell you what - they got their money's worth. It went for a long time. I couldn't believe it, to be honest. The big guy loved driving, and his sister held on to him for dear life (well, not really - but she did hold on). I wish I would've had my camera or camcorder. I have to start taking them with us - they're both so small - and they take way better pictures than my phone. Oh well. This'll have to do for now. At least we weren't actually out on any snow while we snowmobiled today. :)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


How bad do you want something? Bad enough to lose your ego to get it? Will you sell out to a system ... to a team? Will you give whatever it takes? Will you fill the hole? Will you do your part? Will you be a champion?

The world is filled with those who think "me first" and get nowhere. The world is filled with those who want first and do for others later.

Are you respectful? ... enthusiastic? ... unselfish? ... aggressive? ... mentally tough? ... loyal? ... determined?

Are you a champion? Or do you "wannabe" one? Do you play the game, live your life? Or do you live the game, work for success? Wanting to get better ... and helping your teammates, family, friends get better ... everyday?

What's YOUR agenda? What's OUR agenda? The whole is indeed larger than the sum of its parts. It takes an entire roster to fill nine spots on a field, an entire family to raise a child. It takes humility, grace, class, character, and hard work. Will your ego get in the way of where you want to go? Or will your determination and character help lead the way?

Success is not measured by whether we succeed. It is measured by how we succeed. Will your success be measured in small steps ... or by the larger steps of the group? By what you have done for yourself ... or what you have done for and with others? You are a part of something bigger than yourself ... whether you like it or not. You have made a choice - to live, to work, to play TOGETHER! You get nowhere in life alone. We are a team - in our family lives, our communities, our schools, in the way that we worship, work, and play. Each team is a success only because we work together.

Do you want it bad enough to be a champion? Because "everybody on a championship doesn't get publicity, but everybody can say he's a champion!" - Earvin Johnson.

I ask you - success - how bad do you want it?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Weekend Activities

Went to Orchestra Hall with the big kiddo on Friday. You can see from the picture below that he follows in his daddy's footsteps - a natural with the cello ... probably doesn't even need to practice :)
On Saturday, we made it out to the mall. My daughter shows me her best grumpy face at the play area. Then it actually snowed again Saturday night. Nice. I guess it's a good thin we already cancelled monday's baseball game. Hopefully the warmer weather will come as expected on Tuesday so we can actually play baseball on Wednesday.