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Archive for December, 2011

Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!

You ever get something in the mail and you have no idea where it came from? A total surprise from out in left field? I can honestly say that it has happened to me less than a handful of times, but one of these times happened earlier this year…

I was scheduled to leave my job  a few days before year’s end 2010 and a few days prior I happened to have to sit through a meeting, they were talking about a yearly bonus… They just happened to mention that if you left before the end of the year, even if you left 12/31, you wouldn’t get this bonus. I wasn’t sure about it but I knew that I had put in notice to leave a few days prior to this so I rearranged my new job schedule to start a week later and finished out the year. So in the end of February of 2011 I got a nice bonus check. I already had some plans for it, a new drum set and maybe a trip… A trip to see the Angels play opening day. They were to be in Kansas City so I priced flights there, they were more than I expected so I priced flights to Santa Ana and they were barely more and it was a home game! So it was set, we would be in Anaheim for opening day! I had never set foot in California and figured this might be the only chance to do so…

So the plan was for my son and I to fly to California for opening day and attend the first three home games but as it turned out there were no corresponding flights for us to see the last game and get home in a timely manner. I went ahead and purchased airline tickets, hotel room and a rental car and then got the game tickets! We were pretty stoked about it!

Now being from Texas and being a huge Angels fan is, I don’t think, the norm… So my thought is hey, maybe I can use my disadvantage (living in Texas) to my advantage. I’m not afraid to ask for things even if it may seem there is no shot of getting it so I decided to email a couple of newspaper guys in California to see if I could get any help. I wanted to make this trip as memorable as possible for my son so I thought I’d love to meet some players or even one or two! Any would be fine by me… My son’s favorite players were Chone Figgins (gone already), Bobby Abreu and Torii Hunter… He likes them all but has identified them as his favorites. So I decided to email a few people up there to see if I could get any response, here is exactly what I sent them:

My name is Stephen, I live in Fort Worth Texas and on Friday my 7-year-old son and I are flying in to John Wayne airport in Santa Ana to attend opening day for our beloved Angels! We are really excited about it. We are going to the Friday and Saturday games. The reason I am emailing is maybe a stab in the dark but I will ask anyway… We attend games at the ballpark in Arlington when the Angels are in town and see different people getting to meet players or get pics or get on the field to watch batting practice and the like, I know that you are a media guy that reports on the Angels and just wanted to know if there is any way that we could maybe get to meet a player or anything like I have mentioned. I know it is opening weekend but I just thought I’d give it a shot, I don’t know if you have any strings that you can pull since we are fans from where the hated Rangers are from but I just couldn’t not ask. My son’s favorite Angel is Bobby Abreu as well as Torii Hunter. We are both really excited to finally get to go to a home game for our Angels and I just thought if there was any way I could enhance the trip and have one of those stories that my son would always remember even more than just going to the game I’d love for him to have that.

Like I said I don’t know if you can help or not but if you can that is great and if you can’t if you know of anyone that could possibly help with this request please let me know!

Thanks a bunch for anything you can help with!

So out of this letter I got one reply that there wasn’t really a way to help and no other replies… I thought well, at least it was worth a try. We were still getting to go to the games and that would be fun enough! Not to mention that I sent this just a week or two before the scheduled games… We went and had a blast! I have a saved draft that I am working on from out trip, back to the story!

I was at work one day and the secretary says hey you have a package at the desk, I get it and it’s a Fedex package with my name on it, delivered to my job. I am thinking it is something job related, obviously. No return address or anything identifying where  it came from either. So I open up the package and pull out an autographed picture of Bobby Abreu! I am kind of tripping out at this point! Where the heck did this come from? I am looking around hard as well, I figure someone must have me on camera or something because I am freaking out… Where did this come from I keep thinking? Maybe it was the guy from California visiting his son at TCU that I met last weekend?! No idea… But I reach in again and there is another picture! A signed picture of Torii Hunter! What the?! I am still super excited but also wondering where the heck this came from! I am thinking maybe my boss ordered this as a gift, but he wouldn’t do that either…  I called my wife at work and asked her “have you ordered me anything”? She said no, why? I told her the story and she was like what?

So I looked around and found the address for the Angels Stadium and a phone number etc… Called and explained I got the pics and wasn’t sure why, she said let me check with someone and call back. She called back a bit later and said they mailed them to you for your charity auction, I said I have no charity auction… She said well that was the info I got from his secretary, let me get directly with him… A few hours later she calls and says that one of the newspaper guys (the one that didn’t reply) forwarded my email to him and since they weren’t able to do anything for us while we were there they wanted to send these to me as a gesture of good faith… I couldn’t believe my ears! How awesome is that!?!

So anyways, that’s the story of how I got the pictures… Pretty freakin cool if you ask me! Talk about a way to increase your fandom! Oh, and I did send the guy an email of sincere thanks as well, still never heard a peep!

Peace out!


Angels should’ve made 2011 post season…

Say what you want about our team not having enough offense last season but we were one good starter and one good closer (and maybe one decent hitting catcher) away from winning the west… We were in the playoff race up until the last week of the season. After losing Scott Kazmir at the beginning of the season and having Joel Piniero out at the beginning of the season we had to turn to Double A pitcher Tyler Chatwood… Chatwood ended up starting 25 games for the Angels in 2011, ending with a record of 6-11, but the beginning of his season wasn’t as bad as how it ended. He did very well at first and just hit a wall where as for Piniero,when he finally got back up to the show he pitched very well and seemed to have started drinking the same water that Kazmir must have been drinking because it was like the wheels fell off the train and completely derailed for him. He was gone for a while and came out of the bullpen later and seemed to have his moments and in my opinion, toward the end of the season he seemed to be righting the ship for himself, albeit slowly. When they brought Jerome Williams in, he was just about perfect for us (as I heard he was in winter ball) but it was just a little to late for the Angels…

Our closer on opening day was Fernando Rodney, better than Brian Fuentes? Not necessarily. I remember people starting the let Rodney close campaign in 2010 when Fuentas kept doing “his thing” and blowing games for us… Rodney had a moment or two but seemed to do the same thing that Fuentes did so when he started off shaky in 2011, Mike Scioscia (God Bless Him!) went ahead and demoted Rodney right away and put rookie Jordan Walden in… I’ve seen it debated all offseason whether or not Walden did a good job but he saved 32 games for us, more than I think Rodney would’ve given us. However he also blew 10 saves for us, when you think about the fact that we lost the west by 10 games and missed the wild card by much less than that?! I believe that if given the chance he will progress into a better closer next year but if they shore up the bullpen a little more I won’t be offended either!

Now with the additions of C.J. Wilson, a full season of Jerome Williams, Chris Ianetta and Albert Pujols as well as the “loss” of Jeff Mathis, next year is looking bright! So like my son below, here’s looking to the future!

Peace out!


Running away, blowing up and rocking out… Part 1

Driving into Colorado with my parents, the Rocky Mountains, we were listening to John Denver… My brother and sister were sitting back in their seats, but not me! I had scoot up in my seat and was right between my parents (and much to their dismay) singing along to the music as loud as I could…

For as long as I can remember really, I have had a major love for music…

Growing up my parents were playing many different things around the house… Chicago, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Crosby Stills and Nash, Gordon Lightfoot, John Denver, lots of what I’d call hippy music! So naturally I gravitated toward music a lot. The first thing I really remember listening to that got me going into rock music a lot was like Quiet Riot, Twisted Sister and Kiss. But Kiss is the band, for me, that really drove me (and my family) crazy! My mom bought me a Kiss tape (yes, a cassette) for my birthday in 1985 and I can remember just wearing that thing out. Then at Christmas I got the previous two albums which I had bootleg copies of (from my cousin Chris) which I was wearing out as well and continued to do…I then dove heavily into their back catalog. On January 29, 1986 I got Kiss Alive…

Ahh yes, I definitely remember getting the Kiss Alive album on January 29, 1986… Why do I remember this date? Well on January 28th my cousin (and best friend) Chris ran away from home… No one knew where he was, my mom had gotten me out of school early that day because we just didn’t know what to expect. I can remember my mom back and forth on the phone with my aunt Michaelene because I guess maybe they thought since we were best friends he’d come our way… Well on this same day something else important happened, the Space Shuttle Challenger blew up just after take off. It was the only thing on TV that day, if I saw it blow up once I saw it blow up 100 times that day. We just kept sitting around waiting for some news on Chris. The Space Shuttle didn’t mean anything to me to be honest with you. I know some people were really affected by it but I just did not care. Maybe it was the fact that something a lot more personal was happening in my life as well as the fact that I was 13 years old.

So I don’t remember what time it was but there was a knock on the door and lo and behold it was my cousin Chris! We were never so happy to see him! I can remember my mom running to the phone to call my aunt… I can only imagine the tears shed at their house that moment. The next thing I really remember may disturb some people, but I remember my cousin and I were in the living room eating and watching the space shuttle blow up over and over and over and over and over etc… And I don’t know if it was the elation of each of us to have an emotional day closing down or what but we just kept watching the space shuttle blow up and we started laughing hysterically… I know it’s not because of what happened with the shuttle or that we are that sadistic people! I also remember he said that he was picked up by a guy on the highway, he said that the guy was blasting out Twisted Sister! It’s funny the odd facts that you remember in life! So the next day my mom took us to Ridgmar Mall and I got Kiss Alive, and although I can’t remember what Chris got that’s why I remember that date so easily!

So anyways, as I grew in my musical tastes I got into many other bands including W.A.S.P., Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, The Cult, Motley Crue, Metallica, Megadeth, King Diamond, Dangerous Toys, Guns-n-Roses, L.A. Guns, Alice Cooper, Anthrax, Slayer, Lillian Axe, Pantera, Dirty Looks, Dokken, Lynch Mob, Babylon A.D., Ace Frehley, Brother Cane, Nirvana, Queensryche, Pearl Jam, Tesla, Ozzy Osbourne, Type O Negative, Metal Church, Faith No More, Black Sabbath, Testament, Pride and Glory, Cinderella, Pink Floyd, Alice in Chains… I am sure there are a lot I am leaving off of this list. It’s like I could never get enough!

I can remember going to my first concert, guess who it was? Of course it was Kiss! My good friend Carl Richardson (R.I.P.) and I went, his mom took us! It was an eye opener! I thought I listened to music loud until the opener came out… The opener was Ted Nugent (my aunt Jan’s secret crush) and oh my word it was so loud! I love loud music but this was taking it to another level! That is the biggest impression I have from that concert… The volume. So loud, that helped shape my life I think!

There is a song by Kiss called I Love It Loud… Not really that great of a song but the chorus sums it up:

I love it loud! I wanna hear it loud! Right between the Eyes!

I love it loud! I wanna hear it loud! I don’t want no compromise!

Those lyrics define my way of listening to music!

More later! Peace out!


A simple man…

You ever take an automobile engine apart and put it back together? Do you know how to do that? I don’t, but I still drive a car…

You ever take an air conditioning unit apart and put it back together? Do you know how to do that? I don’t, but I still use it…

You ever take a television apart and put it back together? Do you know how? I don’t but I still watch it…

I was thinking about things, I don’t understand why people feel like they have to know everything. I don’t know how to do any of the things listed above but I do know that whether or not I know how to do those things doesn’t determine whether they are factual things. I was thinking, how do bugs keep existing, or maybe where did they come from? How do they keep on going? What about fish? I mean they are just in the water and they die and there are more of them… Same with people. I know that sex between a man and a woman can create a baby but I don’t get how that really works?! Either way, it still works…

I know many people don’t believe in God or think it’s a fraud or whatever, I guess because they can’t explain it it must not be real… There are lots of things about God that I don’t understand, don’t get or can’t explain and that is frustrating. People wonder about suffering and why it happens and there is an explanation but maybe I don’t have it, and I’m okay with that.

Someone knows how to take apart and put an automobile engine back together… Someone knows how to take an air conditioner apart and put it back together… Someone knows how to put a television back together when it has been taken apart. I don’t have to know everything, and I’m okay with that. Someone can explain why people suffer ( I think I can). Someone knows how to put all the intricate parts of a computer together… There are people that know more than me, I am okay with that.

I am a simple guy, I don’t have all the answers and I don’t have a problem admitting that… When someone denies there is a god because they can’t explain it or don’t understand every aspect of it, that is ignorant… It’s like not driving a car because you don’t know all the details. It’s like not using a computer because you don’t understand all the inner workings of it. It’s like well, you get the drift…

For a person to deny there is a god is just mind boggling to me, I don’t understand how that works… And I am okay with that. If you don’t want to watch television, I still will… If you don’t want to use automobiles that’s okay as well, I still will… If you don’t want to use a computer, for whatever reason, I still will… If you want to deny there is a god, or that He has a son that was born at some point during the year and we just happen to acknowledge it on December 25th, that is okay with me, I will still acknowledge it and believe it. It isn’t my job to convince you that God is real and I won’t try to do that either. I am not going to throw a bunch of lingo at you either, that’s not the way I roll… But just so you know, it’s okay if you don’t know everything.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Peace out…


Pregnant?!

I remember being single. I got to go where I wanted, when I wanted, and didn’t have to ask anyone for permission to do so… I didn’t have to find anyone to watch the kids or make sure the schedule worked out. Problem was, always having to find someone to go and do stuff with, and that wasn’t always easy.

May, 2001, I got married… Weekend trips, week long trips, go do whatever we want, whenever we want and we didn’t ever have to ask anyone! And I didn’t have to find anyone to go with either.

Then that day arrived, in March of 2003… A couple of weeks prior to this day I had sprained my ankle, was off work and at home with nothing to do except watch tv and listen to music. My wife came home from work and proceeded to tell me that she was pregnant. So now I had to sit home and think about this! On top of this bombshell I had convinced myself, for years, that I was unable to have kids… Not sure why I convinced myself of this but I did. So being told that I was going to be a dad was absolute culture shock to me. What about the weekend trips? Coming and going as we pleased? Total freedom? What would happen to this?!

December, 2003, I had been working a 7 day a week night shift for about two months. I’d go to work at 7 p.m. and get off at 7 a.m. On December 23rd, I got off work at 7 a.m. which was the end of my time on that shift. December 24th, 2 a.m. my wife went into labor and we had to go to the hospital… About 17 hours later Noah was born and my world would never be the same… But wait there’s more.

Back again to March 2003, my wife tells me that she is pregnant and in my mind my world turns upside down! During a time that should’ve been exciting for us, I was a total butt head to my wife. I wanted nothing to do with it, I wasn’t in to it at all, AT ALL! I did as little as possible to participate in what could have been a great time for us together. It’s not something that I like to think about but it is a fact and I am not one to run away from the truth.

So anyways, Noah was born… It was Christmas eve, he was the best gift I could’ve ever asked for. I can’t stress enough how much changed with me when I heard him cry for the first time. I cried about everything for about a week, someone gave us a teddy bear for him, it was his first one, and I just balled about it! It was interesting that’s for sure. After years I realize that the full emotions of that entire year that I had denied had all caught up with me at once. I can’t imagine my life without my children in it, they are so awesome and such a blessing to my wife and I… It has been a wild ride full of hospital and doctor visits, great laughs and fun times together for these last 8 years…

So to the real reason that I wrote this… I was watching a video of the day that Noah was born, waiting in the room for the time that “baby person” was to be born, going into the room when he was about to be born, coming out and telling my family and friends “it’s a boy”, watching Vanessa hold Noah for the first time, all with Noah sitting in the room. And of course Sarah Beth watching it with us saying “where was I at”?! Funny stuff. Anyways, I looked at Noah while watching the video and just can’t believe that he is about to be 8 years old. He is a great son, a great brother and a ton of fun! He likes the Angels, the Redskins and the Mavericks too, he is the perfect sports match for me! He is well behaved, helpful to others as well as his family, very loving and caring too… I believe that he is this way because my wife prayed for him during her pregnancy.

Thanks for the best Christmas present anyone could ever ask for, Vanessa! I love you!

Hope you enjoyed this!

Peace out…


For the love of the game…

I’ve been thinking about writing my history of being a fan and I realize that I have truly loved two baseball teams in my life… When I was young it was the Texas Rangers, for 10 years running it’s been the Anaheim Angels.

I grew up in Arlington, TX, so of course I grew up going to Rangers games and being a fan of them… Not just a fan but a huge fan ( I cried when they fired Don Zimmer!). I used to lay in bed and listen to the Rangers games on AM radio (back when every game wasn’t on TV). My family moved to a small Texas town (Grandview) from Arlington and I kind of lost that interest in them. I guess we just didn’t go to games and for whatever reasons I just kind of lost interest.

As I hit my 20’s, I started going to games in Arlington occasionally… I don’t think it was so I could support the Rangers but so I could just attend an MLB game. As the years went by I usually watched the playoffs and the world series. In the mid 90’s I started getting interested in the Yankees because I guess they were just interesting with a group of players with no real star. As I watched the playoffs through those late 90’s it got me into baseball a little more and more…

In 2002 the Angels changed their logo so I bought a new logo’d Anaheim Angels cap, I liked the new look and decided to just follow them (I know it’s odd but hey, everyone has something that draws them)… So the playoffs came, they made it, played the Yankees in the playoffs and for the first time I cheered against the Yanks. The Angels ended up going to and winning the World Series that year, it made me deciding to follow them starting that year a good call and easy to stay as well! Over the years I casually followed them and went to games in Arlington to see them play. It isn’t easy to follow a team from out of state and really get into supporting them when you can’t watch many games, at least that’s my opinion.

Fast forward to 2009, I had been priming my son to be an Angels fan… I had bought him a few Angels hats and wanted to take him to see the Angels play. So I took him to see the Angels play the Rangers… I don’t remember if this was the very first Angels/Rangers game he attended with me but it was the first one where he knew why he was there etc…He was 5 years old and we were having a good time, in the 9th inning, with two outs and two on and the Angels trailing 4-7, Juan Rivera hit a 3 run homer and we went crazy! Then, after all the elation, Justin Speier gave up a 2 run homer in the bottom of the 9th to Hank Blalock with two outs to ruin it for us! At that point my son said he wanted to root for the Rangers. I wasn’t happy but it’s not gonna kill me so I took him to the team shop and bought him a Rangers hat and ball.

Now it’s October, the Angels are playing the Red Sox, their playoff Goliath for many years. My son and I watched them sweep the Sox and we were just overjoyed!During that series my son decided he wanted to just be an Angels fan. He even gave his Rangers hat away to someone! Of course we then watched them get beat by the Yankees in 6 which was horrible but since then my son has always loved the Angels with me.

In 2010 I took the plunge and purchased the MLB package for us and wow, it gave us the opportunity to watch Angels games on pretty much a daily basis. We were able to keep up and feel connected with the players and I was really able to start to have a love for a team again. I purchased the MLB package again in 2011 but even better than that, my son and I (thanks to a bonus from my job) were able to attend opening day at the big A in Anaheim! We went to the first two games and then during the summer we went to Disneyland for vacation and got to attend two more games as well! It was so great! On top of that I found a page called Halo Space on Facebook and have been able to talk baseball with Angels fans while getting more in depth info and it has helped my fandom so much!

This offseason has earned its own blog so I won’t say anything about that just yet!

Peace out!


Too many blogs out there…

I have always enjoyed writing, there is something about writing something that brings out emotions and opinions in people… I’ve read that the purpose of someone who writes or someone talking on the radio is to get reactions from people. When you listen to talk radio shows you can see that that is totally obvious. Nowadays so many people blog as well as post on facebook and twitter, everyone is a writer!

I’ve been told that no one will read my blog. My response is that I want people to read it but ultimately I am doing this for myself, to put myself out there and allow people some extra insight into my likes, dislikes and personality… There is much that defines each person and I feel that it’s also a way to get my creativity flowing again.

I remember being in high school and my English teacher, an old bag (to me) that I didn’t like (and I think the feeling was mutual), had us go into the library to find a book on a career that we’d be interested in doing for a living. I got a book on radio broadcasting. We were to find out the specifics of the job as well as the pay etc… I don’t remember much about it except that she ultimately told me that wasn’t a good career to get into. During my senior year I took a journalism class and I really enjoyed that. I didn’t do anything with that but looking back I can see that I had interest in an outspoken type of career.

Here I am all these years later and I realize that nowadays everyone is a writer, or has a blog, or a facebook, or a twitter, etc… The world is flooded with people expressing their opinions, there is no such shortage of that! It seems that one persons opinions will just get lost out there and I kind of sense that as well. I also believe that as a person, no matter how much of a goofball I am, no matter how simplistic I am as a person, that I have a lot of good things that people need or will want to read.

Ultimately, I wrote this to just say that whether or not people come and read this, comment on it or whatever, this is for me… Not for you! Of course I want you to read it, I want you to comment on it, I want you to like it as well but if you don’t… I will still do it!

Feel free to comment!

Peace out…