Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sunday Potpourri No. 43

Requiescat in Pace

July 31, 1992 - September 25, 2016
One of my least favorite things is waking up to learn that the big news since I went to bed the night before is something tragic.

That was certainly the case today, as I awoke to the heartbreaking news that 24-year-old major league pitcher Jose Fernandez had died in a boating accident earlier this morning, as did at least two others whom he was with.

Jose's moving personal story and his infectious enthusiasm for the game he loved will never be forgotten. We grieve with his family and friends today, as we do with the loved ones of the others who lost their lives as well, and we shall remember all of them in our prayers.

In two career starts against my beloved Kansas City Royals, Jose was 2-0 with a perfect ERA of 0.00. He didn't allow a run in 14 innings, and struck out 15 Royals hitters.

Me too, old friend...a painful reminder that life is precious, and fleeting...


Cyclone Celebration
There wasn't a lot for me to be happy about regarding yesterday's college football results. Notre Dame lost, as did my best friend Skip's beloved Penn State. Army suffered its first defeat of the season, a tough overtime loss on the road.

To make matters worse, both Nebraska and Iowa won, and the detested Kansas Jayhawks escaped another satisfying defeat by not playing at all.

The high points were Iowa State's home victory over San Jose State, their first win for new coach Matt Campbell, and Air Force's win on the road at Utah State. The Falcons are now 3-0.

"Now I know what all that cursing was about yesterday."

I'm sorry about that, but there really were quite a few upsetting outcomes...


The numbers say that my beloved Kansas City Royals' opportunity to defend their 2015 World Series Championship will officially end very soon now. They remain six games out of the final Wild Card playoff berth, and there are now just seven games left in the regular season. Yesterday at Comerica Park in Detroit the Royals broke a four-game losing streak with a 7-4 win over the Tigers that featured a 5-run outburst in the top of the 9th inning.
Now 2-1, 25 saves, 2.06 ERA

Royals starter Yordano Ventura
was not sharp, but he and relievers Peter Moylan, Matt Strahm, Kevin McCarthy, and Joakim Soria kept the game close.

All-Star closer Wade Davis came on to pitch the bottom of the 8th with the Royals still trailing 4-2. That put him in line to be the winning pitcher when the Royals rallied. All-Star Kelvin Herrera needed just 10 pitches in the bottom of the 9th to record the save.

The dramatic 9th inning rally
was keyed by CF Paulo Orlando's two-out, two-run double and capped off by All-Star 1B Eric Hosmer's three-run home run
(No. 24). That gave Eric 100 RBIs on the season, the first time he has accomplished that feat.

DH Kendrys Morales hit his 30th homer of the season in the 6th inning, driving in his 90th RBI of the season.

"Do they still have a shot at their fourth straight winning season?"

Yes...they need to win four of the next seven games to do that...

Happy Birthday!

On September 25, 1897 William Cuthbert Faulkner was born in New Albany, Mississippi.

A born storyteller, Faulkner would go on to become one of the best American writers of the 20th century. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949, in addition to two Pulitzer Prizes for Fiction (in 1952 and again in 1964).

During my many years teaching American literature I never taught any Faulkner novels, but greatly enjoyed teaching his short stories, including "A Rose for Emily" and "The Bear."

I would also typically have my students read his marvelous Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech.

Get Some New Material, Kid

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

Until Next Time...

As I have noted in this space on previous occasions, from the earliest days of my life
as a record-buyer I have had a fondness for live recordings. That is particularly true for artists whom I have actually seen perform in concert.

I saw the Steve Miller Band at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City on July 31, 1977.
I attended (reluctantly) with a friend who had convinced me it was time to begin enjoying life again following the death of my wife almost two months prior.

There were other acts on the bill for the concert, and Miller wasn't even the headliner, but he was touring in support of his multi-platinum albums Fly Like an Eagle (1976) and Book of Dreams (which had been released just weeks before the concert). I was a big fan of those albums, and seeing him perform that music live is one of the highlights of my concert-going experiences. Enjoying that show was also an important step in my healing process.

On September 25, 1982 the group played an outdoor gig at the Pine Knob Amphitheatre in Clarkston, Michigan. The set list for the show included Miller's most popular material, going all the way back
to 1974's "The Joker," his first Billboard No. 1 hit.

When Steve Miller Band Live! was released in April 1983 I had just returned from interviewing for a teaching gig in Casper, Wyoming.
I listened to it often as I made my preparations for the move.

It has been my experience during my many moves that a little air guitar here and there makes the process marginally less odious.

Today's send-off is the live version of Miller's 1976 No. 1 hit "Rock'n Me," to which
I have played air guitar countless times. Enjoy...

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