Vertical Plyo

I have the best workout partner ever. It is hard to take breaks when she is yelling “no breaks” at me.

You will notice me wanting to take a break about 30 seconds in, but refusing because she is still jumping. That is freakin’ motivation. Aviendha has become one Shakeology drinking, Shaun T. and Tony Horton loving kid, and I could not be happier.

My legs felt amazing tonight at softball (which is remarkable in that they never feel good at softball) and I believe PAP is responsible. I collected 4 more hits tonight (in 5 ABs) and continue to rake. If only I had taken up this sport years ago.

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Completely Preoccupied

Last week flew by, so much that the weekend arrived and I had no idea what day it was.

I think part of this was the weirdness of having a holiday in the middle of the week. Mike Greenberg of ESPN’s Mike and Mike in the morning has the idea to move the Fourth of July to the first Thursday in July and call it Independence Day, thus giving everyone a four-day weekend and avoiding the mid-week holiday. I completely agree. I actually vote we do this with all major holidays, like we do currently with Thanksgiving.

During last week’s craziness, I was able to “almost” complete the deck. I will have pictures up when it is done. Having never built anything like this before, I did not have a clue what to expect. It came out a lot better than I had hoped. I am in sort of the finishing touches stage, which is nice. I felt bad for Avi last week. I tried really hard to attend to her needs while also getting a major construction project completed. Not easy.

We celebrated Avi’s birthday with her school friends on Saturday. It was a bit before her real birthday, due to scheduling and what not. We were all afraid it was going to be a nightmare. Something about 15-20 four to five year-old kids in a pool together with only me and my father to keep an eye on them scared the crap out of me. It was actually a really nice time. The kids were really well-behaved and Avi seemed to have an awesome time and was incredibly gracious opening her presents. Two weeks from today my kid turns 5. If I close my eyes, I can see exactly the way she appeared the first time I laid my eyes on her tiny face. The sun rose twice on July 23rd, 2007 and my life has been brighter ever since.

I am reading a really good book that my sister suggested for me. It is called “The Art of Fielding”. If you were to ask me what it is about, the easy answer would be “baseball”, but it is really about so much more than that. I highly recommend it, to anyone. Baseball fan or not. Last night I was sitting on the deck (who knew a 18 foot x 16 foot platform could be so relaxing, it’s where I am typing this now) reading the book. I was startled out of my trance by a too-low flying by-plane. I looked up and the clouds were doing the most beautiful thing. I sat and stared at them for no less than five minutes. My eyes started to water because I forgot to blink. I truly love summer.

For the third month in a row, I switched up my Shakeology flavor. Last month it was Greenberry, the month before that Chocolate. For July (and probably August) I am going Tropical Strawberry. It just feels “right” for summer. I am mixing it with either almond or skim milk (sometimes half orange juice) a handful of Dole frozen tropical fruit and vanilla whey protein. I am loving it.

I realize this post jumps around a bit, but I think that is where I am at right now. I have a bit of an unsettled feeling. Being unemployed, not sure that I will have a job this fall. Hating the summer class I signed up for. Finishing the deck. Playing with Avi. My brain is a bit jumpy right now.

The Mets Are Killing My Relationship

Something new and wonderful and awful is happening.

In the three years that Danielle and I have been together, by June, the Mets have fallen out of the playoff hunt. Often during those three years, they have been borderline un-watchable. This has been great for our relationship, because although I have continued to pay a cursory level of attention to the goings on on the field for fantasy baseball purposes, I have not felt a longing to actually watch any of the games (you can only watch Mike Pelfrey get shelled so many times before you become numb to it.)

Unfortunately for our relationships sake, this is not the case this year. As a Mets fan, I could not be happier. Not only are the Mets in the thick of the playoff hunt, they are fun and entertaining to watch. They are young, they play hard, they pitch well and as evidenced by their 11 runs against the Phillies last night, they can hit the crap out of the ball at times. R.A. Dickey’s starts have become must-see-TV. Johan has already thrown a No-Hitter this year. Jon Niese gets better with every start (as does my fantasy team thanks to his pitching). David Wright is the MVP of the NL in the first half of the season. They are so good, it almost makes you forget about that guy who used to play short stop and wear uniform #7.

What this means for our household however, is that my attention is clearly not focused on being anything close to a good partner. At the Jazz Fest Saturday (check out Trombone Shorty!) I was more focused on the fact that Johan had given up only two hits in 8 innings than I was on enjoying our night out. Twice in the last week, Danielle has said something to me that I heard none of because I was thinking about the pitching match-ups in the Mets upcoming games.

They say the first step towards recovery is accepting that there is a problem. I am 100% aware that this is a problem. I am also 100% aware that until either the Mets fall flat on their faces and drop out of the race (I actually do not see any possibility of this happening) or the season ends, I am not going to become less interested in this team. There was a magical feel to the 2006 team, and looking back this feels very similar.

For now, I am going to stick to my “three games a week” rule and choose wisely which games I decide to watch.

Red Wings Game

We took Avi to the Red Wings game last night.

I have tried really hard to not shove baseball in her face. The way Avi works, if you gently nudge her towards something (Harry Potter, Lego’s, Josh Freeman etc.) she tends to become somewhat interested in it.

I have tried to take this approach to baseball. The other day we were listening to the ESPN Radio fantasy baseball podcast (the best 45 minutes of my day) and she asked me: “Dad, why do you love the Mets so much?” Which was a really tough question to answer. On a side note, one of the audio drops on the show is for when a player records a “Combo Meal”, which consists of hitting a home run and stealing a base in the same game (as Andrew McCutchen did last night). On the drop, there is Latin music and a voice says “Ay… It’s a Combo Meal, home run plus a steal”. Now, whenever I say “Ay…” Avi will follow-up with “It’s a combo meal”.

The other day we were laying on the floor at my parents house watching the Mets game. She laid down next to me and started watching the game. So I took the opportunity to show her how a pitch can be a ball or a strike, and how the batter gets either 3 strikes or 4 balls (foul balls complicate things). She started trying to tell me which pitches were strikes and which were balls. By giving her something to look for, she started to pay a bit more attention. It didn’t last long, but I didn’t push it on her, and she cared, a little.

Last night at the game, we were sitting very close (thanks again for the tickets, Mike).

And like she does when going to a movie, she sat with her pretzel and popcorn, in her too-big-for-her seat munching on her goodies. It wasn’t until the 4th or 5th inning that it dawned on me that she was basically completely unaware that there was a game going on less than 30 feet from where we were sitting. So I pointed out to her where the pitcher and batter were, how there were two teams, 3 outs etc. She became slightly more interested in the action on the field, but once again, I wasn’t pushy.

At the end of the day, she got a ball (which we got Mitsy to sign, which is really all she cared about) and had Spikes sign her glove (which she asked to put on to try to catch a foul ball). It was a perfect night at the park. Avi had her family with her, and I got to continue the process of introducing her to my favorite game. What could be better?

Mets Baseball- 4-0

I feel like I have been here before.

I actually started this post yesterday, and the title was “Mets Baseball- 3-0.” I had to change it this morning, because this team just keeps winning.

Look, I am not an idiot. I realize there will be a time in the next few weeks where this team loses 3-5. But, right now they are doing all the little things right and winning by playing good baseball, pitching well and getting timely hits.

They are fun to watch. They are young and hungry (enter Raheem Morris joke here).

I thought last night, as the wheels started to come off for Mike Pelfrey, that we were starting to see what this team would really be. Then something unheard of last year happened. Big Pelf calmed down, and battled through 5.2 innings allowing 3 runs and striking out 8.

There is something going on here. I am not prepared to announce that this team is a legit contender in the NL East. Due to the nature of the baseball season, you cannot read too much into any one game. You have to judge a team on 7-10 games at a time. I will reassess where the Mets are at the end of the week. But right now, Steven Strausberg v. Johan Santana Wednesday it must watch TV,

Lets Go Mets.

Opening Day- It’s Only One Game

Yesterday was opening day, and yes, it was only one game in the big scheme of things. The Mets are 1-0 on the season and in first place.

But, when I think about it, I wrote that first sentence wrong. It wasn’t only one game in the big scheme of things. In the little scheme of things, it was one game. In the big scheme of things, it was a giant leap away from what this team has been for so long. It was a massive stride away from the last five or so years. It was a breath of fresh air in a room that has been so clouded and stuffy for so damn long.

All I need as a Mets fan is a little bit of hope. Don’t give me a ton of hope, just a shot glass full. Too much hope is a problem, because with it comes expectations that too  many times this team has failed to meet. Just a little bit of hope fills me with just a little bit of excitement, and that is right where I want to be with this team.

I would be lying if I didn’t follow every one of Johan Santana’s 89 pitches yesterday on MLB Gameday. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t totally engrossed in the end of the game at the bar for happy hour with my coworkers.

The reality is, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, till I am freakin’ dead, I am stuck with this team. If I am stuck with them, I am going to make the best of it. I am going to watch and enjoy the games, because for the first time in a long time, these guys seem to care. They are young. They are not 30-year-old millionaires. They are mostly guys making the minimum looking to get that first big contract. They are Ike Davis, Lucas Duda and Jon Niese, and they are fun to watch.

The last few seasons, I didn’t go in feeling like this (or did I?). Like a battered spouse, I always forget about the bad times. They only do it because they love me, right?

Yes, it was only one game. And in the big scheme of things, it was a huge step in the right direction.

Opening Day is Here

I realize that this is basically the definition of insanity. But I cannot help myself. I am excited about opening day.

I am excited about Johan Santana pitching for the first time in over a year. I am excited about seeing if David Wright can bounce back. He hasn’t been the same player since Matt Cain drilled him in the noggin with a 95mph heater. I am excited about seeing Ike Davis, Lucas “the Dude” Duda, and others.

I realize that it is crazy for me to be hopeful for this season. At the end of the day, I don’t care. Just as you cannot tell your heart who to love, you cannot control which professional sports teams you will devote endless hours to supporting.

The likelihood that this season will end any different from any of the previous ten for the Mets is slim at best, and I don’t care. I wouldn’t be a Mets fan if I did.

The last few years have been brutal. From the moment that Carlos Beltran watched Adam Wainwright’s curveball bend in for strike three in the ’06 NLDS, things have gone terribly wrong for this franchise. I don’t believe that will change until there is a change in ownership, but it doesn’t mean that this team is doomed to be this epically terrible, all the time, does it?

I will save the rest of my rantings about the horrors of the last five years for another time. Today is opening day, first pitch is in 45 minutes, and I have to find a way to watch the game will also teaching until 3pm…