The Annual Posting on MLBlogs, or “Bitter, Party of One (Again)”

It’s 2014…and I still have this space to say something about the state of sports.

Sure, I have been enjoying a fantastic run as an automotive writer. The vehicles I have been reviewing range from “oh, not again” to “OMG, this is a dream come true!” But, I’m bragging…no, it’s all work. I have been asked to do more – explore car maintenance issues, look at traveling with pets in a car and doing consumer-guided material for a larger site: CarSoup.com.

Auto folks are sports fans, too! My Twitterverse is full of Tigers fans, Blue Jays fans, Reds fans – all colleagues and contacts in this business. I’ve seen my share of Twins clothing and caps on some of the local events I cover. MLB still reigns as the game to watch – along with the St. Paul Saints.

BTW, The Saints are moving to Lowertown St. Paul next season. Long Live Midway! Catch the Final Train, when you can!

Though as deep I have gone in the business, there is one thing I cannot ignore: My sexual orientation.

Y’all know I’m gay, right? It is part of why I stopped doing The Heirloom, as the conditions of MLB were somewhere between questioning motivations to patronizing to lingering conditions that continue to be unwelcoming to gay athletes in baseball. While Michael Sam heads to the NFL Draft, Derrick Gordon will continue to pound out a collegiate basketball career at UMass. After waiting several months to get back in the game after coming out, Jason Collins helped to send the Brooklyn Nets into the NBA Playoffs.

These out gay/bisexual male athletes helped to further the conversation about LGBT citizenship in America. They added context to the advance of marriage equality – now a fact of law in my native state and the state I call home. Minnesota now has a law protecting students from harassment for being LGBT on every educational level.

I live in good times. I should be able to trust the MLBlogosphere with my thoughts about the game in context of my life. My decision was to not go forward because I felt that trust was not widely existent beyond a few friends and allies on- and off-line that still love the game and support their local teams.

In a time when we continue to recall Jackie Robinson for what he did to integrate the game, MLB has simply not advanced the conditions for a gay or bisexual ballplayer to come out and play alongside a 25-man roster. Nor has the conditions improved in the minors. If they have – and I am not aware of this – show me. Just bloody show me!

A couple of seasons ago, the “It Gets Better” videos showed a glimmer of hope. Supposedly, the message stopped in MLB, while other sports entities adopted broader approaches to welcoming and celebrating LGBT fans and possible out athletes. The old school hierarchy still pervades in the clubhouse and at the Commissioner’s Office. I doubt if we will see any progress as long as Bud Selig is Commissioner or with other key people are in power at the club level.

So, what if someone comes out? How will you respond? We are not talking front office people or retired ballplayers. We are talking members of the 25-man roster, perhaps a minor leaguer. Someone who had struggled so much to sacrifice an open life to dedicate most of the year from Spring Training to the World Series.

How will you embrace an openly gay/bisexual ballplayer?

LGBT fans would be highly appreciative if someone in MLB comes out. We would wear their jersey, t-shirt or cap. A few of us have Jason Collins t-shirts, jerseys and sport Nets caps – and they have a positive affect on his presence in the NBA. What if Michael Sam gets drafted or goes through free agency onto a NFL franchise? We’ll do the same, as long as the situation is right for him to play and go forward onto the 52-man roster.

If you want me back at a MLB ballpark – and to re-engage with this game I used to love so much – please let this happen.

The Curse of Joey Zasa

Game On!
The last time I was at a game…September 30, 2012 – Twins-v-Detroit at Target Field. Photo by Randy Stern

“Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in.”

This line by Al Pacino’s older version of Michael Corleone in “The Godfather, Part III” has been a standard in cases such as this. His reaction to Joe Mantegna’s Joey Zasa wanting to break the peace of the “Commission” has been universal when it comes to the point of stepping away and allowing temptation to get the best of me.

I took a year off from writing on this blog. It did a world of good on building a new commercial front in writing – the automotive work. The things I have accomplished in that arena was staggering. It is where I was – deep in the bowels of the industry that has given me opportunities I only dreamed about in years prior.

The first quarter of 2013 was off the charts, as it began on a Delta Air Lines non-stop from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport into Detroit. I was invited by a major manufacturer to participate in a guided program at the North American International Auto Show. This would be my first time at this most important event on the automotive calendar. For that time, I was entertained by exclusive experiences ranging from the world debut of the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray to meetings with executives, interview opportunities and other amazing moments on the floor of Cobo Center and beyond.

This was followed by a heavy schedule at the Chicago Auto Show and the Twin Cities Auto Show. In all, I felt a balance between “making inroads” in my work and art and some localized disappointments I would rather not get into at this point.

The last time I wrote on here was in September. I was reflective of where I have been and my context with baseball. Since that last post, I ended up at the Twins’ final home game of 2012 – a hot mess for the home team against the eventual American League Champion Detroit Tigers. Target Field looked less crowded – a disappointment after its incredible first year run.

Perhaps it was something to fulfill the conversations I had with Miguel Ramos, Director of Emerging Markets for the Minnesota Twins and his assistant Alejandra at Twin Cities Pride last year. Sadly, I gave scant attention to the postseason and the off-season deals. It was recently that I began to twitch about the game again.

It was not about Justin Verlander’s incredible contract extension that sparked the twitch. Maybe it was waking up and finding Josh Beckett pitching for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Then again, watching the Guggenheim Partners and Earvin “Magic” Johnson take the storied franchise onto the next level is something worth noting for an old ex-Losangelino to covet and celebrate.

Yet, there were things I continue to object to. For example, the story circulating that Alex Rodriguez makes money than the entire Houston Astros’ player payroll. That is not only appalling, but, rather, it was unnecessary journalism. Just as unnecessary as the local Twin Cities-based weekly alternative rag, the City Pages, and their headline pondering baseball’s “fiscal cliff.”

The sad part about all of this is seeing my heroes go down into the twilight with a chance for one final glory in the sun. The New York Mets’ Johan Santana appears to be done with his game. He was one of the awesome players that helped in transitioning my time in the Twin Cities some eight-plus years ago. I certainly am a bit disappointed that the roster has not held up for all of the teams concerned. Where’s Michael Cuddyer? Oh, he’s in Denver. And how many ex-Twins from the late Metrodome/first year at Target Field are on the Tigers’ roster?

Despite the frustration and concern, I concluded that I cannot separate myself from this game. I may not be as present as I was in 2010, but I can allow myself to at least follow the game via my mobile device or catch up on news via Twitter and Facebook.

This quasi-return to the game was from inspiration, of course. I have to credit Emma Amaya – the Dodger lovin’ blogger who is involved with SABR and living many of our dreams out in Los Angeles. I also credit my brother Matthew – he cannot live the game our mother handed down to us. The Dodgers and the Angels are in my brother’s blood and continue with his family’s annual outing to both ballparks – if not the closest one in Anaheim.

Why should I care about the game still? Because, it is still here. The division format may have changed. The postseason may have been altered. The teams may have been reshuffled roster-wise. FOX is still the major broadcaster for the league. Meh…

I think I would never get away from baseball. Though things have shifted towards automotive writing and the occasional “other duties as assigned” by my other outlet(s), the game still exists. I still have a Twins’ hoodie, t-shirt and cap in my closet. Perhaps that is enough for now.

But, what else is there? A regular slate of games at Target Field or Midway Stadium? Maybe just one, if I am inclined to do so. I will admit that I have been dabbling with the atBat iPhone app and its push notifications feature. That damn app should be blamed for Yu Darvish’s blown perfect game.

The season already began. A Dodger win offset the Twins loss on Monday. My test vehicle this week had the voices of John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman filtering through its Bose Centerpoint speakers – just enough to check into the game and switch to another SiriusXM channel. The year’s still young, folks…

Baseball or Cars & Coffee? The latter has been my life of late. But, damn you, Joey Zasa…

I Ain’t Dead Yet…

Two Bears 1

It’s been a year, hasn’t it?

A year away from this thing called MLBlogs. Many reasons I could parse out, but I just to kiss the ring of MLB Advanced Media LLC before I get back to discussing how NASCAR’s First Family wants to merge with the competition and kick the French out for good measure.

It is not that I’ve been away from baseball. It keeps on creeping up on me. Every time I walk through downtown Minneapolis, there was a Twins game happening. I did make it to one St. Paul Saints game – a July 4th “doubleheader” with the Minnesota Stars FC soccer team (defending NASL champions), where you start in St. Paul and end in Blaine. The only problem was the 100+ degree heat with a lack of real cooling and plenty of humidity. Besides, the Lincoln Saltdogs weren’t making things easier on the home Saints.

I did reconnect with the MLB. I heard that the Minnesota Twins Diversity team would participate in this year’s Twin Cities Pride parade. It stunned me. Yes, they allowed one of the magazines I write for, Lavender, to sponsor the “Out in the Stands” the last few years. Yes, they let LGBT fans inside Target Field (and the Metrodome) without any homophobic backlash. But, to have them match down Hennepin Avenue with T.C. on a bike – my mind exploded.

The Minnesota Twins at TC Pride

But, they did. This photo I took for Lavender appeared in the Pride photo issue of the magazine. It brought everything full circle. With that, I thank Miguel Ramos, Director of Emerging Markets, Alejandra Cabrera and their staff at the Minnesota Twins for being there at Pride.

My truth is this: I have not been to a Twins game this year. I have no desire. I’ve been deep in my automotive work to chase after informal car meets, car clubs, larger shows, media association events and driving the latest and greatest from around the Twin Cities down to Austin, Texas.

Yet, I’m not happy with the Commissioner’s Office. The Astros moving to the American league is ridiculous. And, wow, did the Collective Bargaining Agreement got fast tracked like it was nothing. Luckily, no one else has done “It Gets Better” PSAs since earlier this season. I guess we no longer care about bullied kids in school. Or, has Dan Savage wrapped his 15 minutes of high level celebrity?

This season looked compelling from a distance. The Washington Nationals are leading the NL East. The Cincinnati Reds are close to clinching the NL Central. And, Buck Showalter is getting his revenge on George Steinbrenner’s grave with the Orioles in in the midst of a good race in the AL East.

You want to talk about pennant races? You missed the finale of the IZOD IndyCar series. If Will Power did not go back behind the wall with Penske’s crew trying to fix the same problem again, Ryan Hunter-Reay may not have kissed the championship trophy.

You may argue for the Detroit Tigers-Chicago White Sox battle in the AL Central, but you could not make up a finale like the one that transpired in IndyCar last night. Not since the stunning death of Dan Wheldon a year ago in Las Vegas.

Randy Stern AKA Victory & Reseda 1

I will admit to one thing: I miss this. Not the game, mind you. Nor do I miss the state of things in the MLB. I miss my friends who write on this platform. I miss Jeff (Red State Blue State). Emma (Crzblue’s Dodge Blue World) was in town for SABR, but we missed each other. Mike (Brooklyn Trolley Blogger) is still doing his thing. We’re still connected on Twitter, but we rarely converse. I still miss them…as I miss you.

And, I thank you for your patience for a year off form this to say what I have to say.

The End…Yet Again

The World Series is over. The St. Louis Cardinals won in seven games. The Heirloom shut down too soon…but, this Series drew me back in.

It was a good series. Claws, antlers and squirrels…that’s all you need, really. Beards that make Brian Wilson and anyone in a Stanley Cup final blush. Heroes that rose to the occasion – David Freese and Mike Napoli – that made this Series engaging and worth watching.

This was the Series we’ve been waiting for. The Cards were written off in August, citing the pre-season drama with Albert Pujols. The Rangers weren’t even given a chance especially with an 800-pound gorilla named the New York Yankees. Then, what…the postseason yielded some surprises as welcomed as the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Sadly, there were letdowns. These are the same letdowns that caused me to no longer write on this subject, such as enduring Joe Buck and Tim McCarver for yet another FOX broadcast. Perhaps that’s the biggest thing about this Series.

Now what? On Halloween, Tony LaRussa retired as the Cards’ manager. Then, Theo Epstein canned Mike Quade as the Chicago Cubs’ manager. All of the sudden, we have a few managerial vacancies to fill. Names such as Ryne Sandberg and Terry Franconia have popped up in places we never thought possible.

Then, there are the awards. I’m half-heartedly following them – with hopes of a Matt Kemp NL MVP and a Clayton Kershaw of the NL’s Cy Young Award winner. In all, my time with baseball is pretty much complete. The Free Agency market may look lucrative with some big names coming through for the taking. Who really has the money to pay these guys? Not Frank McCourt. Oh, and let’s not forget the upcoming Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations and the insipid proposals over realignment and postseason formatting.

Meanwhile, in the wake of a disappointing Minnesota Twins season, two champions emerge from this region: The Minnesota Lynx (WNBA Champions) and the NSC Minnesota Stars (NASL Soccer Cup Champions). Oddly enough, the Twins bought 500 tickets to the home opener of the NASL Championship Series at the National Sports Center in Blaine – the home pitch of the Stars. Odd, indeed…

As the certainty in my life changes yet again, I can only hope that 2012 yields some clarity in the game. This game – at least Major League Baseball – has challenged my patience multifold. Maybe someday I will embrace this with open arms. But, I’m OK now.

Stay in touch, dear MLBlog friends. I’m not far away from the action…

World Series 2011: All Eyez On Dis


The final season of The Heirloom could not be complete without a look into the Fall Classic…

I hate obligation.

Jeff from Red State Blue State got his wish, however. His St. Louis Cardinals shocked a lot of people by removing the Milwaukee Brewers out of the postseason equation on enemy ground. The acrimony was running high dating back to the Tweet-off between Albert (As God-like, without the help of Bishop T.D. Jakes) Pujols and Nyjer (Tony Bitch-ass Plushie Kevin Hart wannabe Mark) Morgan. To take the advantage at Busch Stadium into Miller Park, the Cards had to play defense on the Brewers bats.

Success? Absolutely! Now what?

The Texas Rangers return to the Fall Classic for the second year in a row. The Metroplex is a bit more prepared for their second Series, as was the first go-round. They did so by stepping up at the right moments. Dispatching the Detroit Tigers was not as monumental a task as everyone thought, however. Though, I heard it from my colleagues in the automotive industry how disappointed they were that their team simply faltered in the face of the experienced Rangers. There is confidence in the air just south of DFW Airport, except they had not designed a starter for Game 1 in St. Louis.

Is that what you call “prepared?”

Who to pick here…this is a problem. I should care, but I don’t have a horse in the race.

In fact, all of my horses had been slaughtered, ground up and sent to packinghouses for burgers and franks.

The experience of The Heirloom‘s end sent me elsewhere. After the disappointment of the St. Paul Saints losing to the Grand Prairie Air Hogs in the American Association Championship Series, a glimmer of hope arrived in the least likely place in the Twin Cities – Target Center. The Twins and Vikings were worthless pieces of dung in the eyes of the press and disappointed fans. Yet, nine women made us shine – the Lynx.

Lynx 2011 WNBA Championship Parade 21

Incidentally, the Lynx won the WNBA Championship. Women had to do the job of men. Lesbian season ticket holders (and Lavender magazine) took the place of purple-painted faux norsemen or young, drunk and stupid Target Field douchebags in leading the charge towards providing pride in this town.

Yet, another glimmer of hope occurred this weekend. The NSC Minnesota Stars shocked the Carolina RailHawks to advance to the NASL Finals.

A side note: The Twins purchased 500 General Admission tickets to this Saturday’s NASL Finals game at the National Sports Center in Blaine, MN between the Stars and the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers. What are they doing with these tickets is beyond my comprehension. I hope Dave St. Peter have 500 friends to party with along with the Dark Clouds…do y’all have enough free beer for the Twins?

The World Series? Good luck to the Cards and the Rangers in the Fall Classic. Then, give the NL MVP to Matt Kemp…consider Clayton Kershaw for the NL Cy Young…get the new Collective Bargaining Agreement done…screw the plan to fuck with the league and postseason structure…give us a replacement for Bud Selig that will bring baseball into the 21st Century…and end the agony of watching FOX as the primary baseball broadcast network!

If not, we’re gonna #OccupyTheCommissionersOffice!

That’s all I have to say…

Postlude


Video courtesy of Major League Baseball via YouTube

If last night proved one thing about this game: When it gets this great, it can be never disappoint you.

All of the things I’ve said about Commissioner Bed Selig, umpires such as Joe West, personalities such as Ozzie Guillen can be set aside for a few hours of real drama. To me, those gentlemen have the same amount of bullshit space as the cast of “Jersey Shore.”

There were six games of interest last night that made the entire season worth even given a 15-minute overview.

NEW YORK (AL) at TAMPA BAY: Have we not learned from 2008? Of course not! You throw the Rays against the wall, they’ll scratch back. They might even shock the hell out of you. The Yanks leaped into a 7-0 lead until the Rays crawled back into life. They tied it in the ninth on Dan Johnson’s homer.

Who in the hell is Dan Johnson? Where’s Carlos Pena? Oh, he’s on the Cubs…nevermind…

In the 12th, Evan Longoria retained his matinee hero status by his walk-off. That may be more icing than cake. If you were inside the Trop, you had every reason to celebrate by pissing off every Yankee and Red Sox fan for another year in a row.

The Rays won’t go away. They’re dangerous. They bite. But, what would be different this time now that they drew the Texas Rangers again in the ALDS? Remember last year’s choke that opened the door for a maiden Series for the Claw-and-Antler gang? If you’re a Rays’ fan – pray hard. Very hard!

ST. LOUIS at HOUSTON: If you were like me, you left the Cards for dead. The melodrama with Albert Pujols and other summary opera scenes in The Lou had to be put to the side for a shot at redemption.

The Redbirds did not disappoint. They relied on the dominant paradigm of the Phils to take care of half the job. The Cards had to take care of their side of the bargain. They did so by making mincemeat of the Astros.

Resounding victories never resolve lingering issues. It is just therapy – a way to get it all out in the open. Considering the entire season at Busch Stadium, this was exactly their primal scream. They let it all out – on display for the Houston crowd to witness. Did they feel any better? Ask them after the NLDS against the Phillies…

BOSTON at BALTIMORE: My biggest disappointment of the night. As a Red Sox fan, you hated to see these pesky Orioles pull the rug under the feet of a team that was picked to win the AL. But, they did. A rain delay didn’t help matters. Nor did the fielding of Adam Jones, J.J. Hardy and Matt Wieters. The bat of Carl Crawford could have sent the Sox back into the Postseason against the Rangers. Marco Scutaro was in the way of the pesky Orioles. The Sox were done at that point.

The O’s took advantage of the relay by taking a 3-2 deficit before the rain stopped play into a 4-3 shocker. The Sox’s door was slammed shut even as cowbells were ringing for hope in St. Petersburg.

No one should fault the Red Sox for choking at the end. Why? The Minnesota Vikings have Donovan McNabb now. I should be used to disappointment. In fact, I’m immune from feeling that way. Whether they’re wearing a big B on the cap or in purple under a new Teflon roof, they drink the same bitter soda.

PHILADELPHIA at ATLANTA: Once was a time when the Bravos were invincible. As much as they tried, it was for naught. If you want the biggest chokers of the evening – try the Braves.

In thirteen innings, the Braves waited for their chance at the postseason. Instead, they were on fumes. The Phils ended the Bravos’ 11-20 slide with Hunter Pence’s RBI hit.

The pain is over, Atlanta. Besides, there’s no more hockey for you. You pissed away the Thrashers to Winnipeg – just like the Braves pissed away their 2011 campaign. Feel any better now?

KANSAS CITY at MINNESOTA: Why should we be happy that the Twins avoided losing their 100th game of the season?

LOS ANGELES (NL) at ARIZONA: Want to spoil a party? Want to put sugar in the D-back’s tank en route to their meeting with the Milwaukee Brewers in the NLDS? Want to campaign for Matt Kemp as the NL’s MVP? The Dodgers ended their 2011 season by doing all of the above.

The Dodgers had a 5-0 run going into until the D-Backs started catching up. In the end, the Dodgers took care of business. They sent the D-Back onward to Milwaukee wondering how they could match up with Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun in their NLDS match-up.

For the Dodgers, the season may be over, but mid-November await for Kemp and Clayton Kershaw. But, hey, they did make a darn good “It Gets Better” video…

THE LAST SHOUT: This is it: The honest-to-God final post.

On Monday, I thought I was done. But, the regular season got more intriguing. It ended as I went to sleep. There I was – chatting about on road racing and Buick’s triumph in the Silver State Classic road race, along with how to save Lincoln (or, per my suggestion, dropping the brand altogether), but my Facebook and Twitter wouldn’t shut up. It was as I was telling the Braves to die already…or screaming at the Red Sox to pull this one out.

The game has a way to still grab your attention.

It’s been a pleasure, folks! I will now sign off for good. There’s more I can say – but I need to keep it under my hat for a bit more time.

For now…THE END.

Coda

There were some readers that wondered why I decided to concentrate on the automobile writing than The Heirloom. Well…let me explain a bit more.

There is a feeling is adrenalin that you sometimes get in baseball. It’s a tight game, your team is behind by a few runs and your best batter is yet to come up. You’re on your feet with every pitch, as are 15,000…20,000…30,000…or more of us. Then, the bases are loaded…

Now, let’s switch to a Chevrolet Camaro SS convertible. Want to talk adrenalin? Try this. Drive a bit on a street with a 30MPH speed limit until you get to an entrance to a freeway. Then, you press the throttle down with your right foot. All of the sudden, there’s 420 pound-feet of torque from 6.2litres of V8 power at your disposal. As soon as you launch this beast up the ramp, your heart stops. It’s a millisecond long, but you feel it. You’re still breathing. You’re still in the car. You’re still driving. You reached freeways speed at a time so quick you hadn’t thought about the game tickets inside the center binnacle.

And, no one crapped in their pants.

With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, the first pitch from one of the toughest relievers in the game was a strike. It was a pretty good call by the Home Plate ump. Then again, he wasn’t Angel Hernandez, Joe West or Hunter Wendlestedt. This came from one of the better umps in the bigs.

We’re still standing. We do not want to be disappointed because we know he’s a clutch batter. He’s been the walk-off guy for us all season long. What could possibly go wrong?

“Thunk.”

That was the sound of a Bridgestone Potenza tire that lost to a huge pothole in South Minneapolis. It was also the sound of a front driver’s side rim meeting the crappy tarmac on the same street. One thought…maybe it’s a run flat? Further inspection of the trunk of a Lexus IS250 C shows otherwise. A donut. An annoying Tire Pressure System light remains for several miles after a phone call with the press fleet manager to get that lovely coupe-convertible to the nearest Lexus dealer for a tire swap.

The news is that the rim’s fine. It returned back to Chicago the next morning. Thankfully, I’m glad we replaced the tire now than prior to setting off on a seven-hour run with a donut.

Could be worse. I could be the other local journalist who met the same fate with a run-flat tire on a Cadillac CTS-V coupe on a freeway near Plymouth. He had to wait a day for a new tire…

Ah, the life of an automotive journalist is never boring…

After recovering from a brush-back, Mr. Clutch is back in the box. The star reliever sets, winds-up…and the pitch. There is contact with the bat. There is trajectory of the ball. It looks good from where I sit. Everyone’s breath is collectively on hold. The ball just keeps on going…and going…

Do you know what heaven is like?

Until recently, I never felt the power of anything above 300 horsepower. If this were 15 years ago, then I would be a stud. Nowadays, you can’t simply have 300 horses at the top of the rev band.

The special thing about the Cadillac CTS-V sedan that I drove recently: It’s not the fact it has 556 supercharged V8 horses under the hood. It’s about how it is delivered. You’re riding along at 30MPH…so smooth and lithe. Then, you put the foot down. It was easy. It was quick. You did not feel a thing. You went from a calm, serene world to the realm of the Gods. You have enough power to race a Ferrari 458 Italia, Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG or a new BMW M5 on any given piece of tarmac.

It is like a walk-off home run. There is no sense of time continuum. The lift off was not even felt. As you round the bases, you feel nothing. Then, you round third, headed to home. You see the multitude of players around the plate. The fans…regardless of the paid attendance…are on their feet cheering. No one’s left the ballpark.

Then, some idiot commentator goes ahead and makes a dumb quip on air. I won’t say if its Hawk Harrelson, Ed Farmer, Darrin Jackson, Mike Shannon, Tom Gordon, John Sterling or Mark Grace who said it. It’s just plain infuriating. Perhaps said comment would be left to another MLBlogger, journalist or a caller into a postgame show to chew on and spit onward.

Luckily, the Cadillac has a multitude of preset buttons loaded with XM Radio channels at my fingertips. I can easily change the channel. Maybe I’ll switch to BPM…

Adrenalin. Euphoria. Passion. Words that I hoped I conveyed in some of my work in The Heirloom. Adding emotion to a piece, whether it is about this game or any other subject matter, makes for good story telling.

I always strive to try my best to tell a good story. I’m glad you enjoyed that aspect of this work. Now, I encourage you all to elevate your stories to the next level. That way, the void I leave here will be filled by your chosen words. Your way to express your feelings about the game of baseball.

I enjoyed reading your work as much as you enjoyed reading mine. We convey the same passion for the game, but expressed in many different ways. Go forth and accomplish a higher plane of blogging. Make a new connection with an established MLBlogger – Pro, Beat Writer or another Fan. Take this to the next level.

How does it feel to elevate your game? It is hitting that curve’s apex perfectly. No yaw, no lack of grip and no chassis flex…just the right moves and sounds. And, there’s no resistance from man or machine.

My friend, Fred from Wisconsin, tweeted me on Sunday to “keep baseball alive on the current blog, if you can.” I will try. Besides, a lot of us automotive folks are sports folks, too!

With this, is my coda…my last walk down the concourse out into the exits. I hope to see you outside of this forum. Whether it is the SABR convention next year in Minneapolis, the Twins-Cubs series, working media at the Chicago Auto Show or somewhere else down the line, I hope we can reconnect.

My love for baseball is not dead. It will be there. It will continue to live on.

The Heirloom is Dead. Long Live The Heirloom!

-30-

Thank You!

I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for your support. The list of names could prompt an orchestra to start playing the music. Let me try this…

TO THE GAME ITSELF:
Mark Newman (MLB Advanced Media/MLBlogopshere)
Sean Aronson, Adam Lowler, Annie Huidekoper, George Tsamis and the rest of the St. Paul Saints organization
Jesse Leeds-Grant of the Goldklang Group
Jerry Remy (NESN/Boston Red Sox)
The Eau Claire Express organization
The St. Cloud RiverBats organization
The Minnesota Twins organization
The New York Yankees organization
The Chicago White Sox organization
The Chicago Cubs organization
The Iowa Cubs organization
The Los Angeles Dodgers organization.

TO MY FELLOW MLBLOGGERS:
Emma Amaya and Lorena (CrzBlue’s Dodger Blue World)
Michael Lecolant (Brooklyn Trolley Blogger)
Jeffrey Lung, Allen Krause, Johanna Mahmoud, Pie, et al (Red State Blue State)
Steve Helsing (World Series 41, Rangers Fan 1)
Jane Heller, (Confessions of a She-Fan)
Catherine (The Wizard of Ozzie)
Amy (Jobu’s Tepee)
Ron (Strictly Cubs baseball)
Mike B (Minoring in Baseball)
Peter (Phillies Outside)
Matt (Pittsburgh Peas)
Kristen (This is a Very Simple Game)
Russel (Wrigley Regular)
Keleigh
Aaron (Wahoo Baseball)
Jon (Invariably Baseball)
Jenn (Phillies Phollowers)
Michael (ThomasSox)
RaysFanBoy
MacBurns1
Zach (zkonedog)
WestCoastGirl
Stephen M (Three Hands Down)
Behind Blue Eyes
Kristy R (Kristy Loves Her Buccos)
Mimi
Fenway Bleacher Creature
Matt (South Side Story)
Sue (Rants Raves and Random Thoughts)
Greg (Baseball Fix)
Ez-Mac71
Cat Loves The Dodgers
DTiggers
Bronx Awesome
Ted (Tribe With Ted)
Erin (Plunking Gomez)
Holly (Irish Sox Kid)
BuzBlog
Julie (Julie’s Rants)
Matt Tang
Tribe Chick
OrangeBirds
Eat Sleep MLB
Twins Review
Ashley Marshall
The Baseball Collector
Jeremy (Homer, Food and History)

TO MY COMMUNITY:
Barry Leavitt (Lavender Magazine)
Rick P, Eric B (Minneapolis Movie Bears)
Kevin B, Chris G, Bryan V (North Country Bears)
The Twin Cities Goodtime Softball League
Pete Olsen (Wide Rights)
Dave Pallone

TO MY FRIENDS:
Twin Cities: Scott Schumacher and Michael Larson, KJ, Deano and Logan, Chris C, Scott Salmins, Todd Anderson, Bill Weihrauch and Greg Freeman, Kevin Vales, Jake Carson, Steve Pilz
Chicago: Chris Leon, Carlos De Leon
Sconnie: Jason Palmer, Fred Vaughn
DC: Erich Yahner
Los Angeles: Eric Montgomery, The Lapiner family, Gary Carter
Grand Forks: Chester B
Monterey: Sue Taylor
Portland OR: Lisa Orcutt-Kane
Las Vegas: Arte H
San Francisco: Bill Duncan
Seattle-Tacoma: Gary James

To my brother, Matthew Stern, and his family.

Lastly, to the memory of my mother…thank you!

It’s been real. If you’re interested in what I have to say, you can follow me on Twitter @VictoryReseda. There may be a compilation of this stuff forthcoming. I’ll post that somewhere in the social media universe.

Heirloom Memories: Rainbows, Glitter and Baseball

Out in the Stands in the Metrodome 12
Me, with friends Bryan and Chris of the North Country Bears at Out in the Stands, 2009. All photos by and courtesy of Randy Stern

This year, homosexuality was tossed around in the media, the political arena and in the sports field like a hot potato smothered spiked with E. coli. From ESPN staffers to small-time bloggers sports bloggers were in the middle of another culture war between the so-called Tea Party and some of the rest of us.

We brave souls – ranging from Queers4Gears’ Michael Myers to LZ Granderson over at ESPN – have stretched the rainbow boundary into the realm of masculinity while holding our own on our own front. Even Wide Rights’ Pete Olson and former umpire Dave Pallone were in the midst of the firefight for culture, community and our love of sports.

Then, there was me: A baseball blogger, who refuses to be fabulous, cannot stand Glee and Lady Gaga…and has emerged unscathed from any hatred by anyone.

(For the record, I love Absolutely Fabulous! Ehem…anyway…)

The only hate I got was from fans of certain teams whom are rivals. Thankfully, no expletives were used in the throes of these feeble diatribes from the haters.

The journey of The Heirloom was fabulous in its own way. No glitter – just honest baseball. No A-List New York or Muscle Bear attitude. I kept that crap clear from the eyes of many who read this – um, you!

Then again, I don’t subscribe to that bullshit!

During these four seasons, I was glad to experience the bridging of these two worlds together – of sports and homosexuality. It turned out just fine. To my surprise, I found acceptance from you as an equal. That eased a lot of tension I had in doing this work. It also inspired me to do a few things with it.

Out in The Stands 2010 2

Two of them came in an annual event put on by Lavender Magazine, Out in The Stands. I attended the ones in 2009 (in the Metrodome) and 2010 (at Target Field). It was great to be a part of a “gay day at the ballpark” event and reinforced my kinship with friends who shared the experience along with me.

I never mentioned the event specifically in the the first one. I will admit that I enjoyed that one more than the other. The reason was the number of friends from the Bear groups that were in that section we were sitting and the mellowness of the group from the pre-game “tailgate” at the Aloft hotel near the ballpark through the end of the game.

The year after was marked by a growing increase in ticket demand. Understand that the first year at Target Field was impacted by high capacity games, getting about 400-500 people together was a challenge that was met. Being outside was fine, but – boy, was it hot! Some of us hung out in the concourses to see the game away from our seats. There wasn’t the vibe that was there the year before.

As for this year – a scheduling conflict prevented me from attending. I never heard anything about it, except for the photos in Lavender.

Perhaps the one thing that kept The Heirloom going were my friends – both gay and straight. I am fortunate to have a group of friends who are into most of the things I am – baseball, included. A few of them were willing participants in various games at Target Field, the Metrodome, Midway Stadium (St. Paul Saints) and Miller Park (Milwaukee Brewers). During the time of The Heirloom, my friends saw the passion I had for the game – the same one my mother passed onto her sons. I was glad they did. They inspired me to reach for another level with this blog.

My regret? There shouldn’t be one. So what if The Advocate didn’t pick up on this blog? So what if the Star Tribune or Pioneer Press…and so forth! This blog was not a competition on which homosexual would be the pink beacon for the game of baseball. This was not a beauty contest on which gay man would be the diva of the game.

No, The Heirloom was done without flying the rainbow flag and marching in front of some bloody parade in June. Nor did it raise the ire of Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum and their ilk.

That is a hell of an accomplishment to be proud of.

“Moneyball” – The Reviews are Coming In…


Movie Trailer courtesy of Columbia Pictures via YouTube

I’m not a movie person. Nor do I like attending the big screen to watch them. I leave that for everyone else to do.

I do know movie critics. My friends Alonso Duralde (The Wrap), Dave White (Movies.com) and Chris Hewitt (St. Paul Pioneer Press) are the ones I go to, if on the oft chance of wanting to watch a film. Their opinions, sometimes divergent amongst the three, are taken under strong consideration.

Now that the story of how Billy Beane made a mockery of the scouting and player selection process – in turn giving the Oakland A’s a fighting chance a few years ago – has been made into a movie (based on the book of the same title), it is our chance to view whether Brad Pitt can play one of the most controversial general managers of our game.

If you’re curious how the film press views “Moneyball,” check these reviews out…
Alonso Duralde – The Wrap
Dave White – Movies.com
Chris Hewitt – St. Paul Pioneer Press

From what I read so far, it’s probably worth watching…

…and, speaking of Alonso and Dave, they do a podcast called “Linoleum Knife” where they share their reviews with you from their home in Los Angeles (somewhere). Go to iTunes and find them…

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