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Posted on: February 19, 2009 9:15 pm
Edited on: February 19, 2009 9:54 pm
 

Feeling Nostalgic

Yesterday, Ken Griffey Jr. decided that he was going to return to the Seattle Mariners, where he started his career 20 years ago. This was probably the best non-Orioles related news I heard this entire tumultuous offseason. In a winter that saw Mark Teixeira sign with the Yankees, and thus spurning his hometown team, finally someone chose where to play with his heart and not his wallet. Seeing a player do something like that is nice, but not why I really care. This story runs much deeper than that. 

Ken Griffey Jr. begin his career in 1989, and it was clear from the start that he was going to be one of the all-time greats. This same year, I was being nurtured in my mother's womb before being born on November 28th. As his career was taking off, so was my life, which makes it easier to see how we have become entwined. However, the similarities run deeper than this. Ken Griffey was born in Donora, PA, which is about 3 and half hours west of where I was born and raised in the great state of Pennsylvania. As I was growing up, he was my favorite player not only in baseball, but any sport. He had the kind of personality that everyone loved, and he played the game it was supposed to be played. I can still clearly remember getting baseball cards at a very young age of Griffey, and once winning one at a YMCA summer camp for knowing the two capitals of Bolivia (Sucre and La Paz by the way). The day after winning the card, one of my brother's friends brought me a special case for the card. I don't know what spurred this random act of kindness, but I was very happy to say the least. I guess Griffey just brought out the best in everyone. 

As I continued to grow up in the 90's, I was the lone Mariners fan in a house filled with Orioles fans. Despite this, I was still taken to Orioles games, and I loved every minute of it. In 1995, as Cal Ripken Jr. was chasing the consecutive games played record, we went down to see the Orioles play the Mariners the week before he broke it. I remember the place was packed, and everyone was there to see Ripken...except me. I wanted to see my hero play. I don't remember how well he did or even what the final score was, but I can still somewhat remember being there. One of the many great moments I've witnessed in Camden Yards over the years. Of course, it was a much happier time for a 5 year old than it was for my mother. At the time, my grandpa was in the hospital with a brain tumor at the time, not that I was really aware of that. She's told me in past years that while he was laying in the hospital he asked the nurses to turn on the Orioles game so he could watch 2131. They said ok, but only if he didn't get too excited. It wasn't too long afterwards that he lost his battle with cancer, and I can still remember my mom coming home one day and laying on the couch crying for hours after he died, but that's not what this story is about. This story is about Griffey, and soon after this event my aunt and uncle bought me a Ken Griffey Jr. poster for Christmas that defined excellence at the bottom of it. 1. The state or act of excelling, 2. Surpassing others in accomplishment or achievement. That poster has hung in my room since then and is still there in the original frame that it was given to me in. It's always been there to motivate me to be the best that I could be. 

Finally after years of playing in Seattle, Griffey was traded to the Reds. I remember being so upset that every time I heard "Centerfield" by John Fogerty, it made me sad because that was the song they played for Griffey when he was up to bat in Seattle. I still rooted for the Mariners and Griffey in Cincinnati, but it wasn't the same. Plus, since I was never able to see any of the Mariners games, I really couldn't follow them too well. Then, one year, I watched the Orioles play on Opening Day against the Red Sox. The Orioles won, and I wanted to keep watching, so I did. Ever since then, I've become a diehard Orioles fan because I was finally able to watch a team play and develop. Also, seeing as I've been raised in an Orioles family, it was an easy transition. I've always gone to Orioles games and rooted for them. It just became more meaningful to me, as it quickly became my favorite sport and the Orioles my favorite team. I still root for the Mariners, but I've been through too much with the O's for me to ever consider myself anything other than an Orioles fan. 

Now, Griffey is back in a Mariners uniform, and I couldn't be happier. I imagine that seeing Griffey wearing a Mariners uniform on Opening Day will rank up there in booing Mark Teixeira in Baltimore as my favorite memories from this year's beginning. It'll never be the same for me, but I hope that he brings back prosperity and happiness to the fans of Seattle that have been searching for it since he left. Maybe those folks will be feeling nostalgic too as they hear, "Now batting, Ken Griffey Jr!" as "Centerfield" by John Fogerty is played. I know I will be. 

 

Category: MLB
Posted on: February 6, 2009 1:18 am
Edited on: February 6, 2009 1:21 am
 

25...err....34 things about me!

I did this for Facebook, but I thought I'd post it on here for my cbs friends to see.

1. I think music is the best thing ever invented.

2. I listen to a wide variety of music, but most of it is old. When I thought that music couldn't get worse than it was 5 years ago, people like Kelly Clarkson and Fall Out Boy were there to prove me wrong.

3. My favorite band is The Who, but the greatest band of all time is The Rolling Stones. Nobody can match their resume.

4. Really old movies are the best, and my favorite is The Apartment.

5. Sometimes I have the most amazing things to say, but nobody to say them to.

6. I love sports and am loyal to my teams to no end.

7. My dream was always to go to Duke, but I think I ended up where I was supposed to be.

8. I don't like to hurt people's feelings, but I like to make them laugh at themselves.

9. I love laughing, but I'd much rather make other people laugh.

10. I don't think you should ever laugh at your own jokes, but sometimes the shit I say is so ridiculous that I can't help it.

11. I hold conversations with myself aloud when nobody is around because nobody else knows what questions I need to be asked to make up my mind.

12. If I need to talk to someone, I don't go to my family or necessarily my best friend. I find the person that I'm most comfortable talking to about whatever it may be.

13. I don't like to lead, but I think people listen when I do.

14. Sometimes my thoughts and feelings get lost between my brain and my mouth and come out completely wrong.

15. Basketball is my favorite sport to play, but there's nothing I'd rather do than take in a baseball game in Baltimore.

16. I take great pride in what I've achieved, but sometimes I wish that I would have had to work harder for it.

17. If someone gets on my bad side, it's damn near impossible to get back on my good side, unless I want you there.

18. According to Ray, I'm destined to marry a girl named Debra.

19. I like to write, but only out of my own free will.

20. It never ceases to amaze me how many idiots I see smoking on a daily basis. (no offense Johnny)

21. I used to love snow, but that was before I lived somewhere that it snowed every week.

22. My favorite poster in my room I have had since I was a kid. It's a picture of Ken Griffey Jr. with the definition of excellence at the bottom of it.

24. I love the number 24, but I despise 23.

25. The best song to start a Pandora station from is "Half A Mile Away" by Billy Joel.

26. I don't like to be told what I can or can't do, which is why I'm doing as many of these numbers as I want.

27. I'd much rather sit and think about some ridiculous theory as to how the Earth was created than go to church and believe in another.

28. I love November because it has Thanksgiving and my birthday in it!

29. March is the greatest month ever. March madness + spring training = AWESOME.

30. Johnny Cash is his own genre.

31. I don't understand how someone can believe that they are superior to someone else solely based on the color of their skin.

32. Too many people in this world walk around with a false sense of accomplishment.

33. I have amazing calves, and I'm not too shy to tell you about it.

34. I could go on with this list forever, but I get too easily distracted.

35. I'd like to end with a line ======> ___________________________________

Category: General
Posted on: December 18, 2008 2:56 am
Edited on: December 18, 2008 2:57 am
 

A Rough Day

Have you ever had one of those days where you woke up and you just knew it was going to be a great day? You have you last exam, you're feeling like the O's are gonna sign Tex, and you're coming home for almost a month. Then, quickly, everything falls apart. You get to your exam and realize that maybe you weren't completely prepared. Sure, you knew a lot of the answers, but you still felt uneasy the whole time. Then while you're waiting in line to hand in your exam, you read on your cell phone that the O's are falling out of the running for Tex because they haven't "upped their original offer." (I still dispute this claim because....1. The O's GM doesn't let ANYTHING come out and....2. The day before, a colleague said that when one team upped their offer, all the other teams did as well......someone HAS to be wrong!) So, you go back to your dorm feeling less than thrilled, but still excited because you know you're going home! Then you see your exam score from Monday and realize you didn't do so hot. It's ok though, because you're GOING HOME!!!! So, your mom finally arrives and you're going out to eat before heading home. Once you sit down, she informs you that your dad has melanoma (Stage II C) and more tests are going to happen in the next two weeks to see if it has spread and how serious it is. Finally you get home and realize that you have to sleep on the couch because your brother is sleeping in his bed where you were supposed to sleep because your grandma is staying with you while she recovers from an accident falling down the stairs.

Yeah...it's been one of those days. You know what I mean?

Category: General
Posted on: December 10, 2008 2:46 pm
Edited on: December 18, 2008 2:56 am
 

Religion

This is an excerpt from an essay I wrote about my life that created my political identity. This part talks specifically about religion and my view on it as I grew up. Please share your thoughts!

Religion’s a very interesting subject in my life. It’s always a very touchy subject around my house because of my differing views from my parents. They raised me in a Lutheran Church and expected me to grow up to be a “good Christian” like they are. As I grew up, I went to church, never really enjoying it but not questioning it. Finally, it was time for me to be confirmed. In order to do this, you have to go through Catechism class. I took the class, got through it, and was finally confirmed. I haven’t been to church since that day. The funny thing about taking Catechism is what happens to you as you take it. For most people, it gives them a better understanding of the Bible and brings them closer to their faith. For me, however, it made me question the things I was being taught. While questioning the beliefs, I started to realize that I didn’t agree with what they believed in. I started to ask myself questions such as, “Is there a God?” I decided that there’s no way that I can be sure that there is one. That led to another question: “If there is a God, why should I worship him?” There are the obvious answers that involve going to heaven, thanking him for creating me, and being grateful for Jesus dying on the cross for me. It was at this point that I realized that it didn’t make any logical sense to me how Jesus could be considered the son of God. We’ve all seen the crazed people in this world that will blindly follow someone because they say something charismatic or act differently. How does someone know that Jesus wasn’t just another fraud trying to make a name for himself? The only answer I ever get when I ask that question is, “That’s why they call it a faith.” As a math major, that answer wasn’t good enough for me. I need proof, and there’s no way you can prove that there is a God. So, I decided that I didn’t want to spend my time worshipping a God that I wasn’t sure I believed in. Also, if I were to believe in a God, is that a good enough reason to think that I’m going to heaven? Lutherans believe that faith is enough to get you into heaven, and I think that’s ridiculous. So, I’ve decided that I don’t want to be a “good Christian”, but rather a good person. If there is a heaven, I think that should be enough.

Category: General
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com