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Archive for August, 2010

I recently turned the big 3-0 on Friday, and man is it depressing.  Honestly, due to the stresses of work and studying for the CPA exam, I didn’t have any time to think much of it.  In fact, we didn’t even have anything really planned to celebrate because I’m just not into drawing that much attention my way.  For whatever reason, it makes me very uncomfortable.

For weeks/months, my incredible sister, who is very outgoing and social, had been asking me how I want to celebrate my 30th B-day.  For hers and her husband’s 30th, each party was a big shindig where all their friends and family came from miles around.  And that seemed to be perfect for them.  But she seemed to be very put out when I told her that the thought of a lot of people lavishing attention on me was quite disconcerting.  So much so that I started to get annoyed anytime she would bring it up, although she was possibly hoping that I might change my mind and say “OK, please invite every person who has ever heard my name.”  

We finally compromised to have a joint birthday party with my niece who was born exactly on my birthday and was celebrating her first.  And I told my sister that if my niece wanted to invite any of her hot friends, I wouldn’t stand in the way.  Sarcasm aside, I really do appreciate her enthusiasm and the enjoyment she gets from being the center of attention for one evening, but for me it’s nails-on-a-chalkboard awful.

So the night of my birthday came, and due to our babysitting group changing from the usual Saturday to Friday, my wife and I found ourselves at home alone without the boys.  I was feverishly studying, and she was working on her latest project for the new baby who is due to arrive in just a few weeks, but I guess the silence was deafening and we decided to get out of the house and go to a BBQ at some neighbor friends’ house.

It wasn’t long after we arrived and started talking that they found out it was my birthday.  I was surprised at how incredulous they were that I would be spending my birthday, let alone my 30th birthday, with them instead of having some huge party somewhere else.  But once the incredulity wore off, we enjoyed a very nice evening as we talked about anything from sports to politics to babies.

After we left to pick up the boys, I decided that because it was such a nice night outside, I’d like to go and get ice cream from Marble Slab with my beautiful wife and incredible boys, despite the fact that a cake was waiting at our home ready to be eaten.  But the informal outing turned out to be the most relaxing, wonderful part of my birthday as we just sat and talked and watched as both boys attempted to keep their melting ice cream from dripping onto their clothes.  Needless to say, they were pretty messy when we got home, but still very adorable.

The next night we went to the family party which was held at the clubhouse of the neighborhood where my sister and bro-in-law lived.  There was a lot of family there, and even though we were celebrating my niece’s birthday as well, I still didn’t like the attention that I was getting, especially since not many of them had seen me since I shaved my head.

All throughout dinner, I couldn’t wait to escape and I was grateful when my boys begged me to take them swimming in the pool.  Once I got outside to let my social claustrophobia breathe a little, I felt much better and was ready to go back in and open presents.  Fortunately, almost all the attention went to the one-year-old who had finished stuffing her face with cake and was very ready to rip wrapping paper.  Very cute.

Anyway, all of this being said, I posed the following question to myself the other day:  At what age does your birthday stop being about you and start being about other people?  If I had it my way, Friday night would have been totally sufficient and Saturday night could have gladly been left by the wayside.  I don’t know if it’s the formality of the whole thing or the fact that I’m becoming more of a curmudgeon in my old age.  But whatever it is, less is certainly more as far as I’m concerned.

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Aug 7, 2010
   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9        R   H   E 
Tampa Bay Rays (67-43) 0 0 2 0 3 0 2 0 4   11 9 1
Toronto Blue Jays (58-52) 1 2 3 2 5 1 3 0 X   17 20 2

Over the past two days, I have watched two baseball games that are the absolute quintessential of why I love this sport so much.  Yes, the Red Sox and Yankees are playing an important series at the Stadium, but I have not seen a minute of either of those games as they have become less about baseball, which has not been very good recently between those two teams, and more about the rivalry, which has been so overblown that it’s impossible to enjoy the contests.

Anyway, the series between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Toronto Blue Jays has been much more entertaining, specifically the games from yesterday and today, although they were each on complete opposite ends.

Yesterday, the Blue Jays won the game 17-11, which may not seem like it was a good game based on the score, but it was incredibly entertaining.  First, the Blue Jays hit eight home runs, six off of James Shields alone, which tied a modern-era record for most home runs off of one pitcher in a game, and increased their major-league-leading season home run total to 175, which is almost 30 higher than the next club. 

[Editors note: I believe that the Blue Jays players have taken it upon themselves to try and hit a home run every time they come to the plate because they know that the only way they are going to win is to out slug the opponents; thus, while they lead MLB in home runs (175) and slugging (.463), they have the 6th worst batting average (.251), 4th worst on-base percentage (.314), and 4th fewest walks (317), which means they are playing only for power and not just to get on base.] 

Second, the Jays’ minor-league call-up, JP Arencibia, who has been hyped up as a kind of wonder kid, hitting 31 bombs in AAA Las Vegas this year, hit a home run on the very first pitch of his very first at bat in the big leagues.  The first pitch!  He followed that up with a double in his second at bat, and single in his third at bat, and capped it with his second home run of the day and of his career.  Truly amazing.

Third, even with a 17-7 lead going into the top of the ninth, you didn’t feel like the game was over, as the Rays scored 4 runs relatively easily and were only a few baserunners away from it being a save situation–even though the Jays had scored 17 runs!

Aug 8, 2010
   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9        R   H   E 
Tama Bay Rays (67-44) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0   0 1 0
Toronto Blue Jays (59-52) 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 X   1 5 1

But today’s game was totally different, even though it was the same two teams playing on the same field, just one day removed from a 28-run outburst.

With two outs in the top of the ninth, the Blue Jays starting pitcher, Brandon Morrow, was one out away from pitching the first no-hitter of his career, and fourth that the Rays would have been a part of this season! (The Rays lost two of the previous no-hitters, one of which was a perfect game).  But with two outs, Evan Longoria hit it to the right side that ricocheted off the second baseman’s glove and into right field for the Rays’ first hit of the game, which was correctly ruled a hit and not an error.

Moreover, Morrow struck out 17 Rays hitters on his way to his first complete-game shutout of his career and was absolutely dominant.  Also the only run of the game was scored in the first inning when Yunel Escobar moved from first to third on a ground out to the third baseman Longoria, which was one of the most gutsy and incredible base running plays I’ve ever seen.  I mean, he went from first to third on an infield ground out.  Talk about speed and guts.  Two batters later Vernon Wells drove him in for the eventual game-winning run, which held up due to Morrow’s incredible pitching as the Jays won 1-0.

Anyway, sorry to gush so much about this great game, but you can’t possibly have any more diametrically opposing back-to-back games and be as thoroughly entertained as I was.  So much so, that I had to write about it.

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