Sunday, February 21, 2016

Sunday Potpourri No. 24

Second Chances

Brian Flynn
One of the toughest decisions Royals manager Ned Yost had to make at the conclusion of the team's 2015 Spring Training season was whether to keep young LHP Brian Flynn (who had an excellent spring) or RHP Ryan Madson, a veteran free agent from the Philadelphia Phillies signed during the 2014 off-season. Yost chose to keep Madson mostly because Flynn still had minor league options left, but admitted that he "felt terrible" about the decision at the time.

Madson wound up having a fine season and playing an important role for the 2015 World Series Champions (68 appearances,
3 saves, 20 holds, 2.13 ERA). He departed via free agency during the offseason, signing with the Oakland Athletics.

Meanwhile, Flynn was sent to Omaha, got injured, and missed the entire 2015 season anyway. It was quite a setback.

Now he's back in Surprise, Arizona competing for a spot with the defending champions. He's grateful for the opportunity, and glad to be healthy enough to compete. It will be interesting to see if Brian can put together another strong spring and make the team.

"A flame-throwing lefty would be a nice bullpen piece to have."

It absolutely would be, yes...

Wild Kingdom Bed & Breakfast Update

"More dried fruit and peanuts, if you don't mind."
It has been unseasonably warm
this week, and for the first time since winter began I saw (and heard) a blue jay on the patio.

We're just a few weeks away from the first day of spring, so I imagine a lot of species I haven't seen for awhile will start turning up again. Everybody's welcome at the B&B,
of course. That's the whole point...

Another Lenten Sacrifice

One of the things I chose to give up for Lent was Starbucks coffee drinks (just the ones I get from their store; I'm still allowed to use their ground coffee at home).

That turned out to be more of a sacrifice than I had thought, as they have introduced a new beverage: the Smoked Butterscotch Latte.

The barista at my local Starbucks couldn't tell me how long this item would be available, so I can only hope it is still available after Easter. She was able to tell me that she wasn't allowed to sell me a bottle of the syrup they use to make the beverage...

Molecular Gastronomy

From the delightful comic strip FoxTrot, by Bill Amend, which you should read every Sunday, as I do.

Until Next Time...

One of my favorite things about seeing baseball games in person is being present for the national anthem. Seeing how the home team has chosen to handle this song at a particular game is always interesting. It is a famously difficult song for vocalists, so it is not unusual for teams to prefer instrumental renditions.

On special occasions (Opening Day, 4th of July, playoff games, etc.) teams playing at home will often go in for big productions of the song, which makes those occasions even more memorable.

Van Cliburn in concert in 2003

For their Opening Day in 1994, the Texas Rangers made the unusual choice of legendary classical pianist Van Cliburn (a Texan and resident of nearby Fort Worth), playing with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. What followed was one of the best instrumental renditions of the anthem I've ever heard, and the fans in attendance gave it quite an ovation.

Today's send-off is the official MLB video of Cliburn's stirring performance. Enjoy...

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