Thursday, April 29, 2010

Mariners vs. Royals---Day 2: Third Royals Game in 2010

Yesterday (Wednesday) I went to my third Royals game of the year, second game verses the Mariners. This game was a day game and as I don't have classes on Wednesdays, I didn't skip anything. For this game, my friend Lane and I took advantage of a deal where it was "All You Can Eat Seats". They are in the Loge section (kinda inbetween the lower level and the upper deck) and on certain Wednesdays this section you can get all you can eat hot dogs, popcorn, nachos, pretzels, and drinks from the time gates open until the 7th inning and really the cost is the same for the tickets if you didn't have that so it's a pretty good deal.

Of course along with the excitement of that, there was the game. I was of course wearing my Griffey jersey again and cheering on the Mariners. This game was interesting as it was more scoring. It was 5-1 Seattle into the 6th inning before the Royals came roaring back to tie it up. Then the M's took the lead again getting to the Royals bullpen and ended up winning the game 6-5. Along with that, I got to see the #1 Web Gem on Baseball Tonight (the Jack Wilson snag and jump throw to get Kendall out).

After 3 games I've attended, the Royals are 0-3. However, in 2 games I've attended the Mariners are 2-0. I'm hoping that the next game I go to the Royals win. I'm also hoping to go to St. Louis in June and catch the M's play the Cards in interleague play.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Mariners vs. Royals---Day 1: Second Royals Game in 2010

Yesterday (Tuesday) night, I went to my second Royals game of the year, though I was cheering for the other team.  Yes, my "home" team, the Seattle Mariners were in town.  There were in Kansas City for the only time this season and I wanted to see them twice (since that's how many times I saw them last season) and so I got tickets back to back nights.

I got asked several times why I still root for them and I tell people because I still consider Seattle my second home.  I will root for Kansas City because I'm here now but deep down I'm a Mariners fan and will continue to be even though I don't live in Seattle.

Onto the game, I got there early to watch batting practice.  When I lived in Seattle I believe I saw them take batting practice once in three years.  So I went down by the dugout and watched.  I saw Ichiro, Griffey, and the rest of the guys up close.  It was really cool.  And I was this close to coming away with an autograph.  Mike Sweeney, the backup DH and former Royal, at one point saw some old friends of his and stopped to talk to them.  He literally jumped the railing and came into the stands to talk with them for a few minutes.  He was probably ten feet away from where I was standing.  I thought to myself "Hey I'll wait and see if I can get an autograph.  And I was literally standing right next to an usher who said nothing to me while BP was ending and Sweeney was standing there.  Unfortunately, another more stricter usher came down another aisle nearby and started to shoo people away.  This in turn made the one standing right next to me ask me "Do you have a ticket for this section?"  I sighed, shook my head no, and then grabbed my backpack and made the long walk back to my seat.  It was kinda disappointing but oh well.  Sometimes that's how it is.

It was Zack Grienke pitching for the Royals which meant more than likely it was going to be a low scoring game.  And sure enough it was.  It was fitting of the promotion of the night, buck night (1 dollar hot dogs, peanuts, Twinkies and small drinks) as runs were low.  It was 2-0 Royals through 7 innings as Grienke was pitching in a manner that was reminiscent of his Cy Young year last year.  The M's were gutting it out as the pitching was keeping it close.  Then it became a game of bullpens...and has been proven through the season so far, Mariners have a bullpen, Royals don't.  Royals gave up 3 runs in the 8th inning and then M's shut them down in the bottom of 8th and 9th to get the victory.

It's a weird feeling to be heavily outnumbered by fans and your team wins.  I walked out of that stadium wearing my Griffey jersey after the game ended on a fluky double play hit into by Podsednik and I felt bad for my friends Kyle and Lane but at the same time excited for my team and my friends and M's fans back in Seattle.  In games I've been to seeing the M's play since I moved to K.C. after last night's game, they were 2-2.  For the Royals they were 0-2 after last night's game of this season of games I've been to.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Twitter, Sports and Opportunities for Encouragment

I've thought about writing on this for awhile and finally have found the time to do it. One of the trends in the past few years is the use of Twitter. For those who don't know what Twitter is, it's a form of social media that people use 140 characters to convey messages about where they are, what they're doing, or what they're feeling as well as conversing with others. It has grown in scope and usage to where people from a variety of places and popularity use it. It has become a place where people get their news (I found out the death of Michael Jackson's death from Twitter first), some promote products or connect with other people. This is particularly the case with celebrities/athletes as many have Twitter accounts and regularly tweet (write a message).

Back in January there was an article written by Amy K. Nelson that touched on the access that Twitter has given to fans and athletes regarding Chad Ochocinco (Johnson) and a fan of his who passed away and the tribute Chad gave to the fan last season. I would recommend reading the article and you can find a link to the article here.

I personally initially did not get into Twitter but I eventually did get an account and have regularly tweeted since then. Of course most of what I've tweeted about has been either about my faith, what's going on in my life and about sports. I follow friends of mine along with following athletes, coaches, sports reporters, analysts, and other "famous" people in the arena of sports. From this, I've found it a great way to learn more about my favorite teams and players and people that I watch on TV. A great example of this is Mark Schlereth. He is an analyst for ESPN for the NFL. He was an offensive lineman who played for the Washington Redskins and Denver Broncos and on Super Bowl winning teams with both franchises. Along with tweets on the NFL and his chili that he promotes, he regularly talks about his faith. On Sundays, he shares a "churchy thought" which consists of sharing a Bible verse and a thought along with it. I've found it to be a nice source of reflection and a blessing to read as I'm out the door to church or back from church.

One of the cool things that Twitter allows people to do is a thing called at reply. Basically you put the @ symbol along with the username of someone on twitter and you can communicate with them. I use that a lot to talk to friends. I also use it to communicate with those athletes, coaches, reporters and analysts. It is a opportunity to communicate in ways that previously weren't there. And what I've tried to do along with expressing my opinion on sports is to also send a word of encouragement. I'm sure many of them get thousands of messages or more a day. But just as I'm called to encourage those I come in contact with in real life, in reflecting Christ to them, Twitter is a way to encourage and reflect Christ not only to those you know but also to those you don't. In some small way, I hope that word or two is an encouragement to them. I truly believe that God can use you through Twitter just as He can use you through other means of communication.

The cool thing is God has gifted each one with talents and passions to use for His glory. When we're doing that, He's being glorified and we're doing what He's called us to. So whatever your passion and talent, see how you can do it for God. For me, that's blogging and tweeting about Jesus and sports. :)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Playoff Hockey...Nothing Like It

Growing up in Tennessee, it may not look like it but I'm a huge hockey fan. I've mentioned before how as a teen I grew to love hockey and even more so when the Predators came to Nashville. I have been to a few games since the Preds started back in the fall of 1998, including one this year when I was home for spring break (which they won in a shootout against Phoenix).

But as great as regular season hockey is, it's even more so in the playoffs. I hope one of these days to go to a playoff game but in the meantime I watch it on TV.

To me, there's nothing like watching playoff hockey. The action is intense and even more so if it goes into overtime. If you've never seen a hockey game before, the playoffs are a great time to start. And if you'd like a team to root for, you can jump on the Predators bandwagon :)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Dueling Pitchers: First Royals Game of Review

It's the time of the year where spring is in the air and baseball teams are on the field. Yup, it's baseball season and with that comes going out to the ballpark and yesterday was the first opportunity of the year for that. I almost went the entire first homestand of the Royals without going but I ended up going because A) it was the Red Sox they were playing, B) it was a pitching matchup between Josh Beckett and Zack Grienke and C) it was free jersey night.

The weather was absolutely beautiful. The temp at first pitch was around 70 degrees which is probably 30 degrees more than it has been the last two first games I've been too in the previous two years. It felt like a late May day and definitely no complaining. Normally I'm wearing layers and trying to stay warm whereas this time around it was this time around wearing short sleeves and shorts.

At the game was me, my friend Kyle and a friend of his from class. The seats were in the outfield, out in left field, to the left of the Red Sox bullpen. It was a good game....unfortunately for the Royals...the Red Sox won 8-3. Some highlights:

*It was a pitcher's duel for probably about 5 innings. Beckett was pretty much on for most of the game. Grienke wasn't as much but held on a lead until giving up some runs. Beckett ended up winning the game and is still undefeated against the Royals.

*It was the first Red Sox game I had been to since 2008. That game I also saw Josh Beckett start and win the game.

*Sitting out by the fountains, you can't hear as well as normally can around the stadium...which is kind of to be expected.

*The fans in the outfield are a lot more rowdy than they are in other parts of the stadium. I learned this some last year at the first game of the year and it was confirmed again. There was some drunk guys who were yelling out at Rick Ankiel (the new CF) when he would make plays like "You're awesome Rick!" and stuff like that. It was almost like reverse heckling. Of course there was some regular heckling of Red Sox players and Red Sox fans. I was glad I went with the Royals gear and not with the Red Sox gear.

*There was also an "incident" that happened during the game. There was one drunk guy who sat below us who kept getting up and leaving every so often (mainly because the vendors didn't walk through the outfield as much as other areas so to get beer one had to get up and get it). I can't remember it it was in the fifth or sixth inning but I was looking out towards right field and all of a sudden I feel somebody just come crashing down on me. It startled me more than anything. When I turn around, I see it's this drunk guy from below us. He was trying to step down on the seat to try and get to his seat but he stumbled over the rail and fell onto me. He was all like "I'm sorry dude. Are you alright dude?" I answered I was fine, I was shocked more than anything. I felt bad for the guy as he was wasted. He ended up finally making it to his seat but then about an inning later he was gone again and never came back.

The Royals are now 0-1 in games I've been to this year. Hopefully, they'll win the next time I go and see them.