Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Lot Has Happened....

...Since New Year's.


Singing the classic U2 song New Year's Day, I will change it up a bit... "All's BEEN quiet SINCE New Year's Day." (Quiet, alluding to my activity on this site, early on in 2014).

Let's see.. where to begin with, the wife & I took the tree down early evening New Year's Day. We did a quite a bit of cleaning, that it almost appeared as an early edition of a Spring Cleaning. We had an apartment once again, the big Spruce Tree that we got this year was gone. How did we get rid of it? We flipped it over the 3rd floor balcony.

Hahahahaha      (No, seriously).

The night before (night of Dec 30th) I was on my last night of work for that stretch, I got in there thinking this will be a productive, yet smooth night. No, they surprised me with the news that, "Oh, it's hoods night" -- which for us maintenance guys can be the worst words muttered, especially with no heads-up on the matter. During hoods night, these two guys from a local company shoot chemicals all over the place (yay!) and spray down the chimneys all the grease & crud that's built up in the restaurant hoods. So they had the back door open for quite a but so that their truck/compressor machine can generate power & chemicals for the hoses that they sprayed up and down the chimneys.

That morning when I got off, my boss got there early and also ripped one of my manager's heads off for just simply being a "B", so I got the flock out of there, and went home. I decided to wake my beautiful wife up, and go out to breakfast with her at the Flap Jack Shack, I needed to get my frustrating night off of my chest, normally in this cold winter (and what a cold & snowy winter it has been here in the Mid-West), I would wear a snow hat, I wore a ball-cap instead. We went to breakfast, the air had that weird wet feeling (which I hate), and we did some quick errands to Meijer & Wal-Mart.

So back to New Year's Eve evening, we took the ornaments off the tree, we did a natural tree for the first (and likely last) time in our marriage. When I was a kid, I was always natural tree, now that I am an adult & realize that pine needles are almost as annoying as Mosquitoes in the south, yeah... GO ARTIFICIAL! While we got to the point with the tree & just the stand, we both looked at each other, yeah... we are not going to go natural again, so we don't need the stand as well. So we left the stand on, now in my defense, the wife & I are smart people, but for some reason we both brain-farted on this one. So when we started tilting the tree to get it out the balcony sliding-door, I hear water pouring onto the floor.

Yeah, Brain-fart indeed!

We finally get the tree to the edge of the balcony, Flip -- KA-RASSH The noise was awesome, the wife even chuckled. The cool thing is that we live on the forest side of the apartment, no way we throw this over on the parking lot side; also we were fortunate to have a snow-plowed path below so people in the buildings can walk their dogs out to do their business. So to cut to the chase, I went down, grabbed the tree, dragged it past two long buildings, threw it away in the trash dumpster. I then went to the car grabbed my shovel, shoveled off plenty of snow off the balcony, took a couple loads of garbage down. I was getting a bit of a workout, so there may have been under-linings of sweat going on, we had the sliding door open a bit, and I was wearing a coat & hat -- yes, but I was wearing these tight and comfortably warm sweat pants, but that's the thing, their sweatpants! My jeans were being washed. As we finally got the place situated, we kicked back & watched our "Big Bang Theory" -- and then momentarily watched in horror to see Carson Daly announcing the ball-dropping in Times Square.

Then 2 o'clock in the morning, that little tickle in my throat, starting becoming more sore... and then my throat started closing by the second. The good news is that I was scheduled off for Wednesday night (New Years Day), I had to return to my normal night Thursday night on 1/2. The morning of Thursday, it got much worse & when I woke up I felt like hell, I tried to get someone to cover for me Thursday night, but I got suckered into going in, I luckily had one of the managers Johnny help me get through the night. I gave them a heads up that I was going to the doctor's office & likely will be out for awhile. Everyone who knows me or has worked with me, that I'm like Cal Ripken when it came to going to work, okay... not exactly! I didn't go on some ridiculous streak, but I usually logged my 162 games a season, let's say.

So I got a doctor's note, and I currently fighting walking pneumonia -- YAY!!!


Days leading up to New Year's, I was asked the opportunity to substitute manage for the Stockton Wings in the Mid-West Winter League (The Winter edition of the Mid-West Baseball League). In the Winter League, the players used are taken place 25 years in the past to 1988, the year that Jose Canseco became the first Major League ballplayer ever to get 40/40 in a season (40 HR's & 40 steals). The interesting thing is Canseco plays for Stockton. The current owner was taking a leave of absence to deal with a serious family matter, I said I had no problem taking over the team's responsibilities.

For a long time, I have admired the Mid-West Baseball League and it's formats from afar, it is easily the best league out there for APBA Computer Baseball & also has a great community of owners, baseball lovers, and well-built friendships. This is a league that I have always wanted to be in. I took a chance & applied finally around Thanksgiving, and after a two-part application process & interview process -- everything seemed to go real well. There was no open franchises at the time, but Stray Corrado (the commissioner & now friend, of this great league) told be to stay patient, that I could sit in on the up-coming draft, they were excited as well to possibly add me to the league in the future. That was a really good feeling, but patience will have to by my virtue.

I eventually got word that I would take over Stockton briefly, over the next couple days I was studying the roster, and the possible trades to be made to improve the roster. Waited a few days for the upcoming game files, and that's when the league got some bad news.

Now, before I dive into this upcoming tragic news, I want to say that my blog is to report everything that goes on in my APBA life, and the game of baseball, so for me to tell my story on the blog I have to mention even the unfortunate, I hope in all ways possible it doesn't come off insensitive.

Remember with leagues and friendships that go on for many years, we all grow accustomed to each other and all become close friends; I have become friends with many people from all areas in the APBA realm, I became friends with Thomas Nelshoppen of The APBA Blog, before finally meeting him a the Chicagoland Tournament. I'm also friends with people in all shapes of life, Kenneth Heard who's an excellent writer for his APBA Blog Love, Life and APBA Baseball and his real-life job at the Arknasas Democrat-Gazzette. I am friends with a pastor in Rich Zawadzki, a man devoted to God, and a devoted APBA Card historian on the knowledge of what makes a great APBA Card; Rich and I shared travels to & from the Chicagoland Tournament together, got to know each other well. Doug Schuyler, a resident of the Chicago area, who co-anchored the successful Chicagoland Tournaments, we have become good friends. Now, I'm friends with Stray Corrado of the Mid-West Baseball League, among the guys joining my APBA Online league. It's the part of APBA life & life in general, so that's why it's never easy to hear of someone passing.

The unfortunate thing is that Stray & the MWBL got that news on New Year's Day I believe (everything is a big blur of late). I was messaged to contact the Commish ASAP, while also reading about it in our league game file. The owner's name was Mike, and he was a long-time member, one of the original founding owners, and has been with Stray going back to their days in the Iowa Confederacy league, 20 years. It really puts things into perspective, how delicate life can be, I'm now 37, and am currently battling walking pneumonia, I am no Spring chicken anymore, so I need to learn to relax & take better care of myself. My heart goes out to the league, because now on top of that, I am the one being asked to take over his MWBL & MWWL teams, which means I'm no longer taking over the Stockton Wings. I took over the Severn Express & Old Mill Legends -- which were now renamed the Traverse City Crusaders & Traverse City Tigers. Not exactly the way someone wants to join an exciting league, yet I plan to carry myself in the same manner & respect that Mike once did. Hopefully for the league's sake, we won't see death again for some time, we can only hope. It was the league's first experience with it, in twenty years, but when you look at all long-running APBA leagues, everyone has to deal with it at some point or another.

But as APBA fans we will try to do what we know best, and that's to move on by playing the game & company that we love.

So that's why I have not posted for some time, plenty has been going on.

God bless & stay safe my friends,

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