Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Reliving Baseball Memories

Thanks to Powerline's Paul Mirengoff I found a cool site called Retrosheet that has box scores and play-by-play for major league games going back to 1957. The great thing about the site is it allows me to relive some of my favorite baseball memories.

Two games stand out for me, both of them 1-0 affairs. Both involve the Atlanta Braves and in both instances, the home team won.

The first one is July 25, 1992 at Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta. Charlie Liebrandt started against Danny Jackson and the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Braves had the lead going into the 9th inning when Alejandro Pena comes in to relieve Liebrandt. Shortstop Jay Bell singled with one out and that brought up center fielder and clutch hitter for the Pirates: Andy Van Slyke. Fortunately for us, we were in the bleachers in left center field. Van Slyke hits a fly ball that is a sure home run until Braves center fielder Otis Nixon makes a spectacular grab over the fence to rob Van Slyke of the home run and win the game for the Braves. From our vantage point we were able to watch the ball sail right into Nixon's glove. The clip of Nixon's catch was replayed numerous times for years afterward. It's even mentioned in Nixon's Wikipedia entry.

The second memorable game for me was April 6, 1993 at Wrigley Field. It was my first visit to Wrigley and one of the coldest days I'll ever remember. It was the second game of the season for the Chicago Cubs after being defeated the previous day by former Cub Greg Maddux and the Braves. Jose Guzman started for the Cubs against future hall of famer John Smoltz. The Cubs drew first blood in the bottom of the first. Rey Sanchez doubled and then Mark Grace singled him home. That was the only run the Cubs would score and it would be all they would need.

Guzman was perfect through the first seven innings. He walked Terry Pendleton to lead off the eighth inning. The crowd started booing when Guzman issued the walk. My wife, who was not paying close attention to the game (she was pretty cold so I cut her some slack) asked me why they were booing. She didn't realized that Guzman had just lost the perfect game. Deion Sanders came in to pinch run for Pendleton and then got caught stealing. David Justice then walked but Guzman settled down and got the next two batters out. Guzman lost the no-hitter in the ninth inning when he gave up a two-out single to Otis Nixon. But that was the only hit he allowed and the Cubs ended up winning 1-0.

I've only seen seven major league games in person. But I plan to see a whole lot more. Three of the ballparks I've been to don't exist any more. They are Fulton County Stadium (Atlanta), old Busch Stadium (St. Louis) and Memorial Stadium (Baltimore). Maybe I can get to the rest of the major league parks before another of these wonderful cathedrals gets torn down. At least there is a way to relive the memories even if the ballparks are no longer there. The memories will last forever.

Why I Am A Conservative

Novelist Andrew Klavan has written a column which, I think, says better than I could say on my own why it's good to be a conservative. Here's the open paragraph:

The thing I like best about being a conservative is that I don’t have to lie. I don’t have to pretend that men and women are the same. I don’t have to declare that failed or oppressive cultures are as good as mine. I don’t have to say that everyone’s special or that the rich cause poverty or that all religions are a path to God. I don’t have to claim that a bad writer like Alice Walker is a good one or that a good writer like Toni Morrison is a great one. I don’t have to pretend that Islam means peace.

Be sure to read the whole thing. Then check out Dadmanly's response to Klavan's column.

Hat tip: LaShawn Barber

Monday, April 23, 2007

A Case for Country Music

I'm not much of a country music fan but after listening to this speech by comedian Jeff Foxworthy I think I might have to start listening to it more often. (Hat tip: Evangelical Outpost)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

At A Loss For Words

Monday's shootings in Blacksburg have left me at a loss to know what to say or write. I live only about a hundred miles or so away so it feels like this happened right in our own backyard.

However, the words of this hymn, which was born out of tradgedy, keep coming to mind:

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul. (Refrain)

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul. (Refrain)

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul! (Refrain)

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul. (Refrain)

The lyrics were written by Horatio Spafford, a Chicago businessman who lost nearly everything in the great Chicago fire of 1871. In 1873, he decided to take his family to Europe. However, business delayed his departure and so he sent his wife and four daughters ahead. The ship they were travelling on was struck by another vessel and sank leaving his daughters among the victims. He sailed across the Atlantic to rejoin his wife and penned these words after passing the spot where the collision occurred. It would be the only hymn he would write.

It amazes me that in the midst of so much pain and loss Spafford was inspired to write this lyric. The truth that remains in the face of such evil is that God is still sovreign. We may not understand much about this event, but we can at least rest in the assurance of His sovreignity.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Time For The Media To Do Some Self-Examination

Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post rightly points out that the media should take a good hard look at how they handled their reporting of the Duke lacrosse scandal and learn a few things from the whole sordid episode:

There's a lot going on the last couple of days--MSNBC booting Imus, McCain's big speech on the war, Fred Thompson's cancer, Larry Birkhead prancing before the cameras, and, oh yeah, the Duke sexual assault charges were dropped.

I hope that last one gets plenty of coverage, even though it's been clear for some time that the case had fallen apart. As long as we're talking about how the Rutgers women were unfairly disparaged as "ho's," consider the nightmare that the three Duke lacrosse players have lived through.

But in all the coverage you read and see about the clearing of these young men, very little of it will be devoted to the media's role in ruining their lives. I didn't hear a single television analyst mention it yesterday, even though two of the players' lawyers took shots at the press.

It was an awful performance, no question about it. News organizations took one woman's shaky allegations and turned them into a national soap opera, pillorying the reputations of the players. Reade Seligmann, Colin Finnerty and David Evans were presumed innocent in a legal sense, but not in the court of media opinion.

We will now read 100 stories about how an obsessive prosecutor overreached in bringing the indictments in the first place, and that's fine. But keep in mind that the Duke case was all over the network newscasts, the morning shows, the cable channels and the front pages. Newsweek put two of the defendants' mug shots on the cover. "I'm so glad they didn't miss a lacrosse game over a little thing like gang rape," Nancy Grace said on Headline News.

The North Carolina AG spoke of "a tragic rush to accuse," and he just as easily could have been talking about journalists as Mike Nifong. Commentators have been chattering about whether Nifong will be disbarred, but no one gets to disbar the media.

What made this a case of aggravated media assault is that news outlets weren't content to focus on the three defendants. Attorney General Roy Cooper said there was a "rush to condemn a community and a state." Remember all the "trend" stories about "pampered" and "privileged" student athletes being "out of control"? Remember how the lacrosse players' homes were shown on TV? How the coach lost his job? How this case was depicted as being about the contrast between a white elite institution and a poor black community? All of that was built on what turned out to be lies.

Once discrepancies surfaced in the account of the accuser--who has still not been identified by the MSM, even though she's now been exposed as a liar--some news organizations did a good job of pursuing them. But just about everyone joined in the original frenzy over race and sports. And given the media's track record going back to Richard Jewell, I have zero confidence that this won't happen again.

I'd have to agree with Howard. I doubt that the media will change its ways.

However, http://hotair.com/archives/2007/04/11/breaking-nc-attorney-general-dismisses-charges-in-duke-lax-case/>here's one journalist who gets it (click on the second video clip).

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Servant, Husband, and Father First

As Zach Johnson was being interviewed following his improbable win in last weekend's Masters golf tournament, someone asked him if he knew that his life would be forever changed by his victory. His response was something along the lines of he didn't think so and was certain his son (who is 14 weeks old) wouldn't notice. While he might of been remarking on his son's youth and inability to see that his dad had achieved something remarkable, I think he was saying something much deeper and more important.

Johnson had already mentioned in an earlier interview that he was a Christian and that Jesus had been with him through the round. Obviously, his identity as a Christian is important to him and he is not afraid to say so.

But by making the remark about his son, I believe Johnson was saying something that all of us fathers need to remember: no matter what we may achieve in our respective professions that won't matter to our wives or our kids as much as how much we love them. No matter what I achieve either personally or professionally, it cannot change the fact that my wife and kids love me. They love me not because of what I can do or have done but because of who I am in Christ.

Men, our tendency is to allow our identities be defined by what we accomplish. My prayer is that we can see that who we are in Christ and as husbands and fathers matters much more than anything we can achieve. That includes winning golf tournaments.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Should Newt Run?

Marvin Olasky deals with this question in this week's cover story for WORLD Magazine. Although he doesn't come out and directly answer this question, he does indirectly answer it at the end of the article:

I met Newt Gingrich early in 1995 after I wrote a book, The Tragedy of American Compassion, that he read, liked, and recommended to others. I became an unofficial advisor to him regarding welfare reform that year, and met many of what are now his "former close advisors." I retain a great respect for him but I also wrote a history book in the late 1990s, The American Leadership Tradition, that views unfaithfulness to a wife as often a leading indicator of unfaithfulness to the nation.

This does not mean that a person who has committed adultery will necessarily be a bad president, and it certainly does not mean that someone who is faithful in marriage will be a good president—but, as Gingrich said in 1999, voters "have the right to know everything about a presidential candidate, everything, because they're going to be in an Oval Office with nuclear weapons, and you have the right to know in advance 'Who is this person?'"

It's ironic that Mr. Gingrich points to the very thing that could be the biggest hurdle in a potential presidential campaign. His own past may come back to haunt him and cost him votes, particularly among evangelicals. It's not clear whether his extramarital affair is an insurmountable obstacle to a White House bid. If the recent media attention from his appearance on "Focus on the Family" is any indication, he will likely face intense scrutinity from the mainstream media should he decide to run.

There is no doubt that Newt Gingrich is one of the smartest men in politics today. He has more ideas in a day than many leaders have in an entire career. But perhaps he would be better suited serving within an administration as an adviser rather than as President.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

"B.C." Creator Johnny Hart Has Died

Cartoonist Johnny Hart who was the creator of the comic strip "B.C.", died suddenly yesterday at the age of 76. His strip, which featured dinosaurs and prehistoric cavemen has appeared in newspapers all over the world since 1958. But the most important thing about Hart was that he was a committed Christian and would often incorporate Christian themes into his strips as can be seen in today's strip whch is fitting given that today is Easter Sunday.

He will truly be missed.

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin has a fitting tribute that is worth reading in it's entirety.

Friday, April 06, 2007

IPod a Life Saver?

According to these photos an Ipod that Kevin Garrad had in his coat pocket during a recent mission in Tikrit slowed down a bullet fired at close range just enough to prevent it from piercing his body armor. The photos (particularly the close up of the damaged Ipod) are pretty amazing.

It's story worthy of Mythbusters. In fact, the same person who posted the photos on Flickr has submitted the story to the show. Wouldn't it be great to see this story put to the test?

Hat tip: Michelle Malkin

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

"House" and Abortion

Last night, "House" (Tuesdays, 9 p.m. Eastern on Fox), showed why it is by far one of the best dramas on television in an episode that dealt with abortion in a way unlike any other show on television ever has before.

The episode opens with celebrity photographer Emma Sloan (who happens to be five months pregnant) coming to the hospital after suffering a stroke. After running a series of tests, House comes to the conclusion that it is the baby that is making the mother sick. The mother is dying and if the baby isn't delivered she will die. House is in essence, arguing for aborting the baby to save the mother. But Sloan wants to keep the baby and challenges House to find a way to save them both. The highlight of the episode is a scene involving an operation on the baby that no doubt was inspired by this famous incident that causes House to rethink his position not only on abortion but realize that he was dealing with a real human being and not just a clump of tissues.

This marks the second time this year that the show has tackled the subject of abortion. In another episode, House encounters a rape victim who became pregnant as a result. House argues that the best thing to do is terminate the pregnancy. While the girl resists at first she eventually decides to have the abortion.

The producers of "House" should be commended for tackling such a controversial subject. While the episodes may not necessarily change anyone's mind, they at least provide a good place to start a conversation on this subject.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

At Least He Can Poke Fun At Himself

President Bush has had to deal with more criticism than any president in recent memory. In spite of all the negative press, he still has managed to keep his sense of humor:

Hat tip: Two or Three.net

Monday, April 02, 2007

Wrongfully Accused

Eric Volz is an American reporter who was living in Nicaragua. On November 21, 2006, his girlfriend Doris Jiminez was brutally murdered in San Juan del Sur. At the time of the murder, Volz was two hours away in Managua. Despite a mountain of evidence that should have exonerated him, he was sentenced to thirty years in prison. The video below tells his story in more detail:

His parents have also appeared on NBC's Today Show to draw attention to the story.

The family and friends are asking people to contact their Senators and Representatives. More information about the case can be found at the Friends of Eric Volz website.

Hat tip: Stacy Harp