The Book of Mike

"This is no junior college. This is the notorious University of Miami.” -- Marlins starter Dontrelle Willis, after getting knocked around for six runs in 2 1/3 innings by the Canes.

Monday, May 31, 2010

One Month Plus

It's been over a month since I last posted to the blog, but it's not that I've abandoned writing. Actually, I've been spending a lot of time at, where I've been writing on a daily basis. Truth be told, I've written over 50,000 words there in May alone.

There will be more to come on this site in the future, I promise. Yes, I know that at this point that's just a promise to myself. Whatever.

Check out 750Words. It's a cool site and it's free.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Old Seats

The other day I took my seats from Old Comiskey Park out of the house and onto the back porch. As part of their centennial celebration (which I alone am hosting), I thought it would be nice to sit in them under the bright blue sky like people used to do for decades when they were actually installed at Comiskey Park.

Now, I've sat in the seats plenty of times over the years. But in recent months, they've been fairly fixed in a particular location in our house. In moving them outside temporarily I noticed that the bases the seats are fixed to are in worse shape than the seats themselves. This struck me as odd -- or at least a little bit funny -- since the seats are affixed to bases that are less than 20 years old, while the seats themselves are at least a century old. Comiskey Park opened in April of 1910. And these seats may have been installed a few months before then.

(On the topic of "old" stadiums, can you guess which ballpark is the 3rd oldest in the big leagues? Most casual fans would quickly identify Fenway Park and the stadium on the North side of Chicago as the two oldest parks... but the third might not come to mind immediately. It's Dodger Stadium. Yes, the stadium that the Dodgers had to wait to see built post the move out West is currently the 3rd oldest park in the big leagues. My, how times have changed.)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Talking to Dogs

Whenever I make it to the after life (even if I don't make it to heaven), I hope that I get a chance to talk to the dogs I've known well in my life. In particular, I'd like to talk to Yogi, the deaf dog that we currently "own".

Now, I'm assuming that in heaven dogs are able to talk... or communicate directly with people somehow. That's what I'm hoping for at least. If that's possible, talking to all the dogs I've known well would be interesting. But talking to Yogi would be particularly so. I wonder if he knows he's deaf (I don't think he does - I don't think he feels that he's missing out on anything). And I'd like to talk to him about what he's thinking all through his current life.

One day, maybe.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Library

If you know me personally, you probably know that I'm "into" technology. And if you don't know me personally but are reading this blog, you'd probably guess the same -- if only because this blog has been in existence since 2003.

Due to my borderline obsession with technology and reading, I'm a proud owner of Amazon's Kindle. I haven't traded up yet to the Kindle 2 (but I am eagerly waiting for a 3rd version to be released). Since I first started using the Kindle, I've hardly read a "dead tree" book (which is, of course, how readers of e-books refer to traditional, printed books). In fact, I hardly even enter a bookstore anymore. I simply love the Kindle and the portability of my library.

What''s been even more rare than a visit to the bookstore is a trip to the library. This past weekend was probably my first trip to the library since I received my Kindle. And how much I missed the experience immediately struck me. Physically touching books and searching through racks containing books similar to what I was looking for was gratifying. While I've read a lot and enjoyed myself in my time with the Kindle, I had already started to forget how much I enjoy trips to the bookstore and the library.

I don't have any answers or deep thoughts about it (at least not yet). But it's an interesting place we find ourselves in. What will happen in the future? Will students be familiar with physical books or will they "read" everything on Kindle, iPad, and computer-like devices? Or will these e-readers and similar technologies simply augment our reading opportunities (similar to how radio, television, and the Internet have supplemented newspapers, magazines, and oral story telling)?

Time will tell.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Weekend Baseball

Despite taking a hearty break to watch the Miami - North Carolina college baseball game on Saturday night, I was able to watch a fair portion of Saturday afternoon, evening, and late night's game between the Cardinals and Mets. Fox probably didn't intend to sign up for a 20-inning marathon, but that's what they ended up with.

You could argue a lot about the game. Some called LaRussa's performance the "Mona Lisa" in his career of over managing. There were plenty of strategies to doubt and calls to dispute (like the should-have-been stolen base that wasn't, right before Albert Pujols' double off the wall in the 19th). Overall, it was a fun baseball game to watch.

As I watched it, I couldn't help but think of one of my all time favorite books, W.P. Kinsella's "The Iowa Baseball Confederacy". It's a book that I've read a handful of times over the years. If you like a good baseball story, you'll probably like it too. If you like a "real" life story, masquerading as a baseball story (a la "The Natural"), you'll almost certainly like "The Iowa Baseball Confederacy".

In "The Iowa Baseball Confederacy" there's a very long baseball game between a small town team and a big league club. The game goes on for day's and makes Saturday's Cardinals-Mets tilt look more like a sprint than a marathon. Plus the novel includes time travel and a love story. What could be better?

By the way, if the name W.P. Kinsella is familar to you in a baseball sense, it's probably because you're thinking of Ray Kinsella, the hero from "Field of Dreams". That movie was an adaptation of W.P. Kinsella's "Shoeless Joe".