Hello and welcome to another Wednesday of deep thoughts. Many weeks ago, I wrote about my son transferring to Ranger College to play Junior College baseball this year. Julie and I looked forward to watching baseball in the fall, but have discovered that much of the games are really nothing more than scrimmages. Last weekend Ranger traveled to Nacogdoches to play three games that more or less complete the baseball part of the fall. After a quick discussion, we decided to take off early Friday and hit the road. Of course, with the best laid plans…there always seems to be “surprises”. Ours was that we had to tie up the loose ends on finalizing the car deal for my daughter…which meant that we needed the insurance check to be delivered before we left. So, we packed and waited for the Fed Ex guy to show up. To make a long story short, we did not get off in time to see the Friday night game. I have always preferred to drive at night as the traffic is less and it usually means that I don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn. Anyway, we rolled up just as the players were walking off the field and I got a few minutes to talk to my son. He was pretty pumped about how he had played behind the plate. Three runners attempted to steal and all three went back to the bench. Ranger was down by a run in the last inning and Blake led off the inning with a walk. They ended up with runners on 1st and 3rd and one out. A medium ground ball looked to be enough to get the tying runner home, but the SFA player recruited to umpire 1st base must have been ready to leave as he raised the thumb to signal a double play and end the game.
When we decided to make the trip to Nacogdoches, we had no idea that Saturday was home coming for Stephen F Austin State University. The town was crowded with alumni and there was a tinge of excitement in the air. Since Nacogdoches was a new destination for us, we used the break between games to check out downtown. It is funny, but with all of the travels we have had in the past few years…I realize now that we have been sizing each location as a potential retirement spot. Austin has been a great place to live and raise kids, but with the increased population and traffic…we are seeking a something different for the next phase of life. A city like Nacogdoches has possibilities. It is big enough (32,000) to have decent restaurants, stores, etc…but not too big. Honestly, I was very impressed with the school. It is a fairly large school (12,000 students), but the university has a very traditional quality that we both found appealing. I did not realize it, but Nacogdoches is the oldest town in Texas. Sam Houston was a resident for several years and what was a surprise to me is that 9 flags have flown over this city in its history. Reportedly, there have been residents in the area for an amazing 10,000 years…pretty cool. All in all, it was a great weekend. Although the Ranger team packed up and drove home Saturday night, we decided to stay Saturday night and enjoy the scenery on the way home. Here are a few pics from our trip:
From our last trip to Ranger.
From this angle, I thought I had found the Go Fart Center. It turns out it was Cole Art and I was bummed.
We were admiring this art at a shop and found out that we were talking to the artist. Mary Hooper does amazing watercolors.
Stephen F. Austin State University...a beautiful campus
Some of the tournament games were a few miles down the road. This is Angelina College in Lufkin
This the night game back in Nacogdoches.
We found this wonderful little lake in the middle of the Davy Crockett National Forest
You never know when you will run across some great BBQ. This little spot in Centerville had awesome brisket.
I almost forgot...Happy Halloween to everyone. Remember to be drive safely as those young trick or treaters will be on the streets this Friday.
Halloween 2014 with Steve and Laura...a Halloween tradition.
Since I was out of pocket most of the weekend, I did not have a chance to watch much football. Based upon the comments I read about the Texas game against Kansas State, I suppose I am lucky to have missed that game. If ever there was a team that has had the Longhorns number it is Kansas State. I got to thinking about Bill Snyder and just how damn good of a coach he is. While you don’t hear much about Snyder, those that know football are quick to acknowledge his football genius. When he took the Kansas State job in 1988, the Wildcats were quite literally the dregs of college football. They were voted the nations “worst” football team by Sports Illustrated and it was clear that Snyder had his hands full. In his first year of competition The Wildcats won one game in 1989, a last second win over North Texas. One win may not seem like a big deal, but it was the first victory for Kansas State in three years. From that meager beginning, Snyder quickly had the Wildcats playing and winning bowl games. In 1998, Snyder’s team made it all the way to the #1 spot in the nation. Barry Switzer called Snyder the coach of the century for the job he had done at Kansas State…and he makes a damn good point. Coach Snyder is the type of coach that we would all love to have our son’s play for. He is what is right about college football and despite his habit of whipping my favorite team; I have to admit that I have a great deal of admiration for the man. So, even though I was disappointed in the result Saturday…there is no shame to losing to Kansas State. Having tipped my hat to Snyder, I still believe that the Longhorns are moving in the right direction. After the Iowa State game, I was hopeful that the Horns might go on a nice run and find a way to win 6 games. At 3 and 5, the Longhorns now face an uphill battle to reach 6 wins. With four games remaining against Texas Tech, West Virginia, Oklahoma State and TCU…I only see one game that looks to be an “easy” win. And…considering that “easy” game is in Lubbock, perhaps I should reevaluate that “easy” word. Tech is struggling for sure, but they always are tough at home against the Longhorns. Thankfully, Texas plays West Virginia at home, but make no doubt…it will still be a battle. Last year, I stood behind Mack Brown and voiced my support for the university to honor the remaining year of his contract. Remember that the Horns were one loss to Baylor from winning the Big 12 last year. While I support the changes that Charlie Strong has implemented…I scratch my head when I see that Malcom Brown only had 6 carries against Kansas State. Last year, Brown nearly carried the Horns to a Big 12 title and suddenly he only gets 6 carries in a shut out loss to the Wildcats? While much of what Strong has done makes sense, this game plan makes no sense to me at all. Again I will say that Strong is on the right path, but there are rumblings in Austin after this game.
There are also rumblings around Dallas after the Cowboys loss to the Redskins on Monday night football. While some will use this game as a chance to bust the chops of Tony Romo, that is an ignorant take for me. I will put this loss solely on the coaching staff. If you know much about football, you will surely recognize that 5 linemen cannot block 7 or 8 defenders. The Redskins repeatedly sold out with blitzes, but the Cowboys never made adjustments to the blitzes. Football 101 says, if something is working, keep doing it until the other team stops it. Haslett was right to continue to blitz as the Cowboys never did anything to make him stop. My question is why? In this age of high tech football, coaches sitting high above can see exactly what is being done. I am not a football genius, but from my recliner I am wondering why the Cowboys did not go to max protect on 3rd down. It was interesting to see the success Dallas had after Romo left the game due to injury. This was not because of the great play of Brandon Weeden (although he was efficient), but because the Cowboys relied on the running game to move the ball. I appreciate the toughness of Tony Romo for coming back into the game; I know this won’t be forgotten in the locker room. But honestly, I am not so sure that the Cowboys might not have been better off with Weeden and the conservative running attack in overtime. When it mattered most, the Cowboys forgot a basic rule of football that Jim Haslett used to beat Dallas. If something is working, keep doing it. When Demarco Murray gained 8 yards on the first play of overtime, I expected the Cowboys to continue to pound the rock. Instead, the Cowboys never ran the ball again. For me, that is poor play calling and not on the abilities of Tony Romo. The Cowboys have won 6 games because they have done a superb job of protecting their defense with a power running attack. When it mattered most, the Cowboys forgot who they were and this cost them a loss on Monday night.
To be honest, I was nervous about the Monday night game against the Redskins. While the Cowboys have played much better than Washington this year…it was still a rivalry game and a Monday night game to boot. For me, this game looked very much like the proverbial “trap” game. The Redskins are not a team without talent, but have had a difficult time staying in games due to turnovers. The belief that backup QB Cousins might be a better fit for the Redskins offense than RG III has proven to be a false. In desperation, Jay Gruden turned to forgotten man Colt McCoy. To the surprise of many, McCoy rallied the Skins to a last minute win over the Titans. I watched Colt grow up as a QB at Texas and knew that his mobility and accuracy might present problems for Dallas. I was hoping for a great game for Colt that fell just short of a victory. Despite the loss, watching Steve Young and company laud McCoy after the game made me smile. After being kicked to the curb by Cleveland, Colt found another job and quietly went to work. History is full of successful people that have persevered and I am hopeful that the future holds a similar fate for McCoy. What I know about Colt McCoy is that he is smart and he is a competitor...and he does not quit. It was no surprise to me that Colt was able to play well enough for the Redskins to win. Of course, RGIII will soon take back the starting job in Washington, but I have a hunch that several teams saw enough Monday night to be intrigued by the abilities of one Colt McCoy. Make no mistake, I was rooting for a Cowboy win, but the sting of the loss certainly was lessened because it was Colt at the helm. 25 completions in 30 attempts for 299 yards…not a bad night for a “3rd” string QB. By the way, I am not sure what John Gruden has against McCoy, but it sure seemed to me that he was looking for any reason to rag on Colt. He even blamed McCoy for the penalty when the wrong player came into the huddle. In the end, even Gruden had to admit that Colt had played pretty well. I can only say to Gruden. C'mon man...
I made a comment earlier this week that I would put big money on KC winning Tuesday night. I had no idea that the Royals would go off like they did, but so it has been in this series. Most of us assumed that each game would be a one point game, but instead the Giants and Royals have taken turns blowing each other out. I don’t know about you, but I have had a great time watching this series and find it totally appropriate that this series should end with game 7. Did you think that Bruce Bochy was a bit quick with his removal of Peavey? I really thought that Peavey was more of a victim of bad luck than anything else. That play at 1B when Belt looked the runner back then did not have time to make the play at 1B was a huge play. In the pivotal 2nd inning, Peavey broke three bats and got exactly zero outs. It was a strange inning and one that seems to support the thought that the Royals are possibly a team of destiny. That may well be true, but I believe that the Giants will be ready to throw the kitchen sink on Wednesday to bring another championship to the city by the bay. I figured this series would go to 7 games, but damned if I can figure on who the winner will be. As this is a wild card series, would it surprise anyone if we see an extra inning game? Or…perhaps it will be another blow out. Either way, I know I will be watching.
Did you happen to see this sign during the World Series: "Hunter Pence prefers RBIs to Ribs." Now that is funny…
I read that the Boston Red Sox coaches “hate” Yoenis Cespedes. Apparently, Cespedes refuses to acknowledge the Red Sox coaches or their input. What seemed like a perfect match for the Sox apparently is not a lasting match. It would be interesting to see if Cespedes winds up back in Oakland and Lester back in Boston. It just goes to show you that talent does not always mesh in another dugout.
Yep, that is the finger...
It is being reported that Jose Canseco shot himself while cleaning his gun. Reports indicate that Canseco blew off the middle finger on his left hand. Doctors are not sure if they will be able to save the finger or not. I know that this is not funny, but for the life of me…I can’t keep a smile off my face. Seriously though…best of luck keeping your finger Jose.
Monday night we learned that St. Louis Cardinal uber prospect Oscar Taveras was killed in an auto accident in the Dominican Republic. It was sad news for a very promising talent. It is difficult to realize that such a young player is no longer with us. I offer my condolences to the family of Oscar Taveras and the St. Louis Cardinal family. While words don’t mean much when death robs us of a young player like Taveras, I was proud to hear Mike Matheny offer his words about love. In the world of sports, we often forget that teammates and coaches do become a family in every sense of the word.
By the way, we have new member at the Gab. A good friend of mine has joined, so please give him a welcome if you see him around...look for RagZ. He is a great guy with a wealth of sports knowledge. He has done a tremendous amount for youth sports in the Austin area and has a mighty fine youngster playing high school football and baseball in a local Austin school.
That’s all I have for today, but I will leave you with a bit of Jack Handey…
"I think my new thing will be to try to be a real happy guy. I'll just walk around being real happy until some jerk says something stupid to me."
"If you lived in the Dark Ages and you were a catapult operator, I bet the most common question people would ask is, 'Can't you make it shoot farther?' 'No, I'm sorry. That's as far as it shoots.' "
Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a few deep thoughts of your own…