In the 1992 movie a League of Their Own Tom Hanks
Tonight at Minute Maid Park the New York Yankees will face the Houston Astros for the first of three games to end the regular season.
Having been eliminated from the postseason Wednesday night with a loss to the Tampa Bay Rays the Yankees will end their season Sunday afternoon and prepare for next year.
With losses at an all-time record setting pace the Houston Astros will end their season Sunday and will most likely prepare for more of the same next season.
So with two teams facing off with really nothing to play for tonight it makes for an interesting combination of seasons that did not go as planned.
On a personal note when I take my seat for the game tonight it will complete a 12-year journey to see all 30 Major League teams in a single ballpark.
While many in Houston have complained about the Astros moving to the American League the change in scenery allowed me to cross off the Mariners, Athletics, Orioles, Twins, Angels, and Yankees this season.
Although I had already seen all of the National League teams and some American League teams during Inter-league play over the years it would have taken many more seasons to be able to see all 30 teams had the Astros stayed in the National League and I waited for the teams to come through on the regular Interleague schedule.
So from a purely selfish perspective the Astros moving to the American League served me well in my quest to see all 30 teams at least once at Minute Maid Park.
It seems fitting in a way that the final team to cross off my list is the New York Yankees since they are both respected and despised among the baseball world.
The Yankees are making only their second trip to Minute Maid Park. I cannot recall why it was that I missed their last visit to town but I definitely knew I would not be missing this one despite the price gouging committed by the Astros.
My ticket that would normally cost $5 was
If one stops to think about it life is full of routines.
From the hours we work, to the route we take to get to work, there are routines that tend to be the same day after day.
There is even an order in the way we get ready each morning. Any deviation in the routine such as putting on the deodorant too soon can lead to stains on one
Yesterday was the first day of fall, or autumn if you prefer.
Fall is the time when temperatures and leaves both start to drop.
Fall is also the time when pumpkins and nutmeg make their yearly appearance in everything from pies to beverages at various restaurants.
Fall is also a time when the summer clothes get put away and the sweaters and jackets come out.
Of course despite the calendar saying that fall is here and temperatures should be falling it tends to arrive in different parts of the country at different times.
I was recently reminded of this fact over the weekend while watching some college football games.
While the fans in the stadiums of many of the games were wearing their fall best as temperatures were likely in the 60’s I was sitting in shorts and a t-shirt and experiencing 80 degrees outside.
Despite fall’s arrival throughout much of the country for Gulf Coast residents fall does not arrive until late October or early November most years.
As much as I would love to be enjoying the flavors of fall such as soups and pumpkin flavored coffees it is still way to hot to even think about any of that here. With temperatures still forecast to hit the 90’s this week the calendar telling me it is the first day of fall does not really mean anything to me.
So while I still need to wait a bit for the fall temperatures to arrive there is no lack of excitement on the baseball schedule to keep me entertained while I wait for the autumn chill.
Starting today there are only seven days left in the regular season of Major League Baseball as teams jockey for position to be included in the Fall Classic known as the World Series.
Some teams have already clinched a spot in the postseason while others are still battling for their ticket to the postseason.
Perhaps no where is that neck and neck race more intense than in the American League Wildcard race.
The Tampa Bay Rays hold a half game lead over the Cleveland Indians for the top spot in the Wildcard race. So, if the season ended today the Rays would host the Indians in a one-game winner takes all wildcard showdown at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.
Of course, the season does not end today and the Rays have seven games left to play in the regular season. After finishing the series with the Baltimore Orioles today the Rays have three games against the Yankees in New York and three games north of the border against the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Indians have six games left in the season with a home set against the Chicago White Sox and a road series against the Minnesota Twins.
On paper the Rays have a more difficult schedule remaining over the Indians who were able to pad their push to the Wildcard with a sweep over the Houston “yes, we really are still a Major League team” Astros.
The Texas Rangers who were the second Wildcard team until a few days ago will hope that a series against the Astros helps restore their postseason hopes as they have been in a tailspin in Kansas City falling to the Royals on consecutive days.
While the Wildcard round certainly allows more teams to make the postseason it certainly makes for some long fall nights watching the games and pulling for teams to win and others to lose.
So while the rest of the country takes out those fall sweaters and windbreakers I will be rolling out the Tampa Bay Rays rally t-shirts and polo shirts and watching a lot of games on television.
Once the dust is settled and the playoff teams have been identified there will be time to think about all of those fall scents and flavors. Until then it is still time for the Boys of Summer to play a little longer.
Now if you’ll excuse me all of this talk about the flavors of fall has me craving a pumpkin flavored beverage.
Copyright 2013 R. Anderson
For Sherlock Holmes, it was Professor James Moriarty.
For the Hatfields, it was the McCoys.
For Inigo Montoya, it was the Six-fingered Man
For Superman, it was kryptonite.
For Batman, it was the Joker
For the New York Yankees, it was and forever will be the Boston Red Sox.
History and literature are full of examples of epic rivals facing off.
Usually the best of these rivalries occur when both parties are equally matched and either one could secure victory on any given day.
For the past three years another rivalry has been quietly building between the Texas Rangers and the Tampa Bay Rays.
For those who question the Rangers and Rays as rivals consider this, the path to the postseason for each team for three of the past four seasons has come down to a battle between them.
In 2010 the Rays faced the Rangers in the American League Division Series and lost two games to three.
In 2011 the Rays once again found themselves facing the Rangers in the Division Series and this time only managed a single victory in the series.
Although the Rays were defeated by the Rangers in two consecutive years they can take some solace in the fact that the Rangers went onto the World Series both years. After all, somehow losing to the eventual pennant winner provides some small comfort.
Both teams were shut out of the postseason in 2012 which brings us to this season. Currently the Rays and the Rangers are battling each other for the top seed in the wildcard race.
After splitting a four game series in Tropicana Field this week the Rays and the Rangers remain tied for the top Wild Card spot.
It is highly probable that the Rays and Rangers will meet in the winner takes all Wild Card game this year marking the third time in four years that the road to the World Series runs through them.
So while the Rangers and Rays have not been rivals for as long as some of the historic rivalries in sports, it should certainly not be discounted in terms of intensity.
And while one could argue that the Rangers
Last night the Houston Astros lost their 100th game of the year marking the third straight year that they have accomplished that dubious feat.
In 2011 the Astros went 56-106 in recording their first 100 loss season in team history. Their second straight 100 loss campaign followed in 2012 with a record of 55-107. As of last night the Astros are carrying a 51-100 record for the 2013 season.
Time will tell how many of the remaining games the Astros end up losing. With a series against the Texas Rangers and the New York Yankees still to go this season it is highly probable that we have not seen the last Astros loss of the season.
While few people should be surprised at the fact that the Astros have lost 100 games and counting this season, it is surprising based on their play at certain points this year that is took them until September to reach that milestone.
On paper it seemed more reasonable for the Astros to hit the 100th loss mark in August based on the way the team has played.
And of course the 100th loss, much like the previous 99, had its share of errant throws and even a
Over this past weekend I watched a lot of football.
I watched the South Carolina Gamecocks play the Vanderbilt Commodores.
I watched the Texas A&M Aggies play the Alabama Crimson Tide.
I watched the New Orleans Saints battle the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
I watched the Seattle Seahawks take on the San Francisco 49ers.
But the best football game I watched over the weekend was not televised. The stands were not full of screaming fans waving rally towels. There weren’t bands belting out fight songs and show tunes. Instead, the best game of the weekend was football at its purest and simplest.
The game I am referring to happened right outside of my back porch in a public courtyard
For the past several years or so a group of Native Americans has been trying to get the name of a certain football franchise changed since they find it offensive.
Time after time their efforts have fallen short as the courts have sided with the franchise over the Native American plaintiffs.
Recently several high profile football writers have joined the campaign to have the Washington Redskins change the
If you happen to be reading this right now, it means that you have arrived at the 100th column entry here at Triple B.
Now, 100 columns is certainly a milestone worth noting and as it got closer there were increased thoughts at the Triple B Gigaplex regarding the best way to celebrate it.
The first thought of how to celebrate the occasion was actually to not celebrate it at all.
For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated with the idea of visiting Cuba.
Of course, with all of the travel restrictions and trade embargoes in place traveling to Cuba is not really an option for me at the moment.
The closest I ever came to visiting Cuba was on a cruise ship in the late 80’s when the ship was heading back towards Miami from the U.S. Virgin Islands. As we approached the island the captain made an announcement along the lines of if you look out to our starboard side you will see Cuba.
I recall that the island was covered in a sort of rainy haze which made it both intriguing and beckoning at the same time. I also remember briefly thinking that I hoped the captain did not drift into Cuban waters by mistake and lead to an international incident.
In the end we passed without incident and as Cuba got smaller and smaller on the horizon behind us I was even more convinced than ever that I wanted to one day step foot on that mysterious rock.
Stories of the pre Cuban Missile Crisis and Bay of Pigs Cuba have always fascinated me. I was not alive during the tense days when the U.S. Naval blockade was in place to keep Russian ships from supplying missiles to the island so it is likely that my opinion towards Cuba may be different if I had lived through those tense days that almost led to World War III.
Instead, to me Cuba represents a land where Earnest Hemingway and other figures spent their days fishing and their nights in smokey rooms, or crowded ballparks enjoying the freshest of Cuban cuisine and culture while getting from point A to point B in various cars from Detroit.
I guess one could say I want to experience the vision of Cuba that I have in my head. I want to sit and watch a baseball game played in a ballpark where the air and the accents are both thick and rich with history.
I want to sit in a road side cafe and eat my weight in Cuban pork and plantains while watching the hustle and bustle along the street.
I want to visit Finca Vigia, Earnest Hemingway’s home in Cuba where he wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea.
I want to see those old cars that were on the road when Hemingway walked the streets and are still being driven today due to the ingenuity of the Cuban people to keep those cars roadworthy for all these years.
I want to tour a cigar factory and see people using the same hand rolling techniques that their great great great grandfathers used.
I want to do all of these things and more in Cuba but sadly under the current rules of travel that is not an option for me at the moment.
Our friends north of the border in Canada can come and go as they please to Havana but for those with America stamped on the cover page of their passports it is a different story.
Of course, I certainly hope to get to visit Cuba without having to become a Canadian citizen first and feel that I will get a chance in my lifetime to do so.
While I have many things on my list to see when I do get to Cuba, there was another item that I heard about that also seems worth checking out on the island 90 miles away from Florida.
I am of course talking about Pancho the pet pelican.
There was a story in USA Today about Pancho, a pelican that wanders the streets of Havana with his owner who nursed him back to health.
Now, before I saw the story I had never even considered the idea of having a pelican as a pet.
I am a huge fan of pelicans and I love to watch them fly and do their pelican thing but never once in my wildest dreams would I have thought that a pelican would follow me around without me having to carry a fish to lure him.
So while conditions in Cuba and the surrounding political system may not be the best for individual freedoms I think that a country that allows its citizens to have pet pelicans cannot be all bad.
Okay, let me clarify before I get angry cards and letters that I am in no way endorsing communism as a preferred form of government over democracy. I am merely stating that I think it is pretty cool that there are people in Cuba with pet pelicans regardless of what form of government they live under.
When I lived in Florida I had many friends from Cuba who told me first hand of the atrocities that they had witnessed under Fidel Castro so I know that it is not all pet pelicans and sunshine.