Monday, March 30, 2009

Ahhh....spring is in the air

6 days, 21 hours till the 1st pitch for the Red Sox...I love it...when I ran on Saturday, crocuses, daffodils, and even the forsythias are starting to pop. This time of year is fantastic, especially if you run and bike. I ran for 90 minutes on Saturday, and felt great. I was able to go in shorts, and a fleece type windbreaker and no gloves. Hopefully, I'll be able to bike outdoors for the 1st time this season, within the week.

Next Sunday is one of my favorite season openers, Brian's Beachside Boogie. But, I've given my mountain bike to my son Seth, and never replaced it. So, looks like my 1st race of the season will have to wait till May 3, (my birthday) to do the Greenwich Duathlon. My indoor biking seems like it's getting stronger. I've concentrated this winter on using 2 of Troy Jacobson's DVD's. The Time Trial hour, and the single loop of the Lake Placid Ironman. They're tough and good workouts. And my swimming seems to be fairly strong. I attribute it all to the core strength training that Eric taught me in Jan., and I've tried to do it twice a week since. I definitely feel a difference in my arms, and my lower back. Both feel stronger.

Max continues to do well pitching. He won this past Friday night against St. Leo, he's now 5-0, with an ERA of 3, and this morning the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper has them rank #1 in the country for D-II. The team is 28-5, and undefeated at home. It's getting a little nerve racking.

And I've got 3 of the 4 teams in the final 4 of the NCAA. Michigan State, UConn, and North Carolina...and the Duke - Villanova game may be the best game I've seen all year. After reading an article in yesterday's New York Times about Facebook...I've started a page. Here's the link: All else is pretty good...

Monday, March 23, 2009

A great week with the Florida son!

And in the sun! After sleeping into the early afternoon of last Mon. due to our late arrival, we grabbed some food, and made our way to the ball field. Max's team beat St. Michael's from Vt. Our 4th game, and 3rd win since arriving. Got another run in on Tuesday, and the weather was next to perfect. 85 degrees and sunny. We got to have lunch with Max, and made a run to the local Beal's to get him some needed shirts and pants. Max has practice every day, Mon. through Fri., after classes from 3:00 to 6:30. They usually play 4 games/week. Either Mon. or Tues. night games, and then always a game Friday night, and a double header on Saturday. His schedule, like all NCAA athletes, is brutal. I have so much more respect for all college athletes than ever before. Between practice and studies, it's a very full schedule every day and every week.

Had a terrific meeting with Max's coach, Jim Tyrell, after lunch on Wednesday. He feels that Max is exceeding their expectations. He's also doing very well academically. Wednesday night we met up with Max's long time girlfriend and family for dinner. Max has been dating her since high school, and lucky for him, she and her family moved down to Florida right after her high school graduation. We had dynamite steaks at a place called the Texas Cattle Company. Excellent food if you ever get to Lakeland, FL.

Thursday, after another really good run, we took off for Sarasota to take the tour of the John and Mable Ringling Art Museum and estate. Prior to 1929, Ringling was 1 of the 10 richest men in the world. Made his fortune running the famous circus named after him and his 4 brothers. He built this unbelievable estate with his wife on 66 acres overlooking Sarasota Bay. So we took the tour of the house and his private museum of mainly 17th century Baroque period art....but truly the highlight was the Circus Museum. It's a fabulous collection of wardrobe props, and all types of circus equipment including the carved parade wagons that used to bring the circus into town. We had a tour guide who abilities as a docent were excellent.

Then after a great Italian dinner at Caraguila's in downtown Sarasota, and a walk around the docks, where the average size of the yachts is about 100', we were off to see our Red Sox take on the Cincinnati Reds, in exhibition baseball. We saw John Lester pitch 4 1/3 great innings, giving up 1 earned run, 3 hits, and had 6 strikouts. Jed Lowrie went 3 for 4, with 3 RBI's including a 2 run home. The Sox won 9-1. What a great day!

Max pitched Friday night again, and had a super outing against Rollins College. He went 8 full innings, only 2 hits, and 10 strikeouts. Awesome! Saturday it was back to the ball park for our final double header. Florida Southern ends up sweeping Rollins, going into 1st place in the division, and is now ranked #1 in the country by Collegiate Baseball for Division II. In 10 days, Marla and I saw 7 Florida Southern games, they won 6, and Max pitched 2 of them. And we caught a Red Sox game...8 games in 10 days, we loved it! Now it's back to reality here in CT. If Max and his team continue on this track, we'll have to go back for the Regionals, and perhaps the Nationals at the end of May....stay tuned.

I hope I don't sound too much like the doting dad that I am. There's not too much that can beat watching your children succeed at something they love. It's one of the greatest parts of parenthood. I can only wish the same for everyone.

Monday, March 16, 2009

the rockets' red glare....

Greetings from sunny Florida. Marla and I arrived on Thurs. (3/12), in Orlando, and drove down to Melbourne to see Florida Southern play 3 games in 2 days against Florida Tech. Max pitched Fri. afternoon. Went 6 2/3 innings gave up 3 hits...had a great no decision, but the team went on to win the game 4-3. Then on Sat. they spit a double header. So, now they're 19-5 and 3rd in the Sunshine State Conference.

My parents were to fly into Orlando on Sunday, we would pick them up and take them to Lakeland to spend the rest of the week. Dad ended up back in the hospital on Sat. with low blood pressure, he's o.k., in fact already back home, but the Doc won't let him fly. So, Marla and I decided to make our way up to the Kennedy Space Center and try and watch the launch of the Shuttle Discovery. The Space Center itself is o.k....not great, in fact we both agreed that the National Air and Space Museum in D.C. is far superior in almost every way.....except, they don't have launches. I've always been enthralled and intrigued with the space program. It was 2 days after my 11th birthday when Alan Shepard 1st went into space in the Mercury program for a whopping 15 minutes, followed by Virgil Grissom and then that All Amercian...John Glenn. We saw the original Freedom 7 and Redstone Rocket in Rocket Park at the Space Center...these guys were incredible cowboys to climb on top of these virtual firecrackers and take a ride.

But if you really want to feel the earth move under you feet (like Carole King sings), then you have to witness a launch 1st hand . Absolutely incredible! Should be on every one's "bucket list". The buses at the Space Center take you out to a causeway where there is seating, they're broadcasting the countdown, and even vendors for food and sweaters if you're cold. You have a very clear, albeit 6 miles away, view of the launch site, and the Shuttle. I cannot describe the feeling that you get when you see essentially the fuse lit on the bottom of this rocket, and 7 million pounds of thrust lift this approx. 170,000 lb. shuttle off the ground and it reaches a speed of 17,500 mph in about 6 minutes! This was a night time launch, and you get to see it for almost the whole 6 minutes, before it disappears into the night. The pictures attached were taken with my little Canon pocket camera...but what you're missing is the ground shaking, the incredible sound, the bright glow of the rockets, and the sonic boom aftermath...awesome!

Now, if that's the great news, the bad news is it took us about 6 hours to drive 96 miles to the hotel in Lakeland, arriving here about 3 AM...the traffic on all roads and highways was insane. I can bike faster than that. I asked a number of people, including toll collectors (and there are many of them) and they all say it's the volume of people that went to see the Shuttle blastoff.

Max's team has a game tonight against St. Michael's from Vermont, but he won't pitch again until Friday night's game against Rollins. So, we get to hang out in sunny Florida till next Sunday before we go home. We have planned a meeting with Max's coach, and we have tickets for the Thursday night Red Sox vs. Cincinnati game in Sarasota. I've gotten a couple of hour long flat runs in already, and I hope a swim or 2 at Florida Southern this week. Stay tuned...I'll post again at the end of the week...right now it's 85 and partly cloudy, so I have to endure...

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Eye of the Tigers

Although I had a great week swimming, biking and running, this week wasn't about was about my younger son Max, who is a sophomore at Florida Southern College. He's a left handed pitcher on a top notch Div. II team that's won the NCAA's 9 times. They're located in Lakeland, FL, home of the Detroit Tigers for spring training. The only college team that Detroit plays in the exhibition season is Florida Southern, and that game was this past Monday. Max had just come off his 2nd win of the season the Friday before, but the coach gave him the ball for the 1st inning against the Tigers. He retired the side in order on 10 pitches. Batters were: Cale Iorg, a top prospect at short stop, Marcus Thames the right fielder, and Casper Wells, the center fielder. Awesome! Florida Southern ended up losing the game 7-1, but Max was outstanding.

After a couple days of rest, Max started the Friday night game (3/6) against West Chester, a top Div. II school from outside Philadelphia, currently ranked 10th in the country. He took the game into into the 6th inning leading 17-3, and picked up his third win without a loss. So, this week is about him. Marla and I head down there on Thursday this week, for 10 days, and will hopefully see him pitch 2 Friday nights in a row. The 1st one (3/13) against Florida Tech in Melbourne, and the 2nd one will be (3/20) against Rollins, both of these games are Sunshine State Conference games. In a repeat performance of last year, I'm taking my father (88), who is a huge Red Sox and baseball fan, and my mom. It'll be nice to get into the warmth, especially after a day like today that was so spring like.

In other news, I read with great interest about Eric's training camp in Tucson. What an incredible week. And with me aging (I'll be 59 in 2 months) I was real interested in reading about one of the participants, Steve from Canada, who is 64 and put in a phenomenal week. It inspires hope in all of us, but certainly me. I don't know him, but great job Steve. I'll hopefully post a couple of blogs from Florida...