My 2018 in Review

Photos only; I’ve done this in 2015, 2016 and 2017. I’ve arranged these in approximate chronological order.

Note: I’ll mention today’s mundane 5 mile walk. It was done in drizzly, chilly (40’s) conditions. I would have been worse. I could have been better. but it was ok. Miles: 1803. 4.94 miles per day. Yes, I had a minor annoyance. That was typical of the year; just enough to complain about, but nothing major..good enough. 2018 was “good enough.” Not outstanding, not terrible, but good enough.













December 31, 2018 Posted by | family, Friends, running, walking | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ouch: Bradley Baseball has a rough series with Dallas Baptist

I honestly thought that Bradley would win at least one game of this series. But Dallas Baptist was too strong at the plate.

Yesterday’s game ended 7-3; Bradley threw its best starter and best relief pitcher.. and still DBU had an early 3-0 lead, mostly off of 2 solo home runs in the first two innings. Then came the fateful 6’th inning after Bradley had cut the lead to 3-2. The starter gave up a hit and a walk so the ace reliever came in with 2 on and no out. DBU executed a perfect bunt to load the bases, and with the infield in close, DBU hit a ground ball down the right field line past the “up close” infield..that was a double. A fly out scored another run and it was 6-2.

Though BU cut it to 6-3, in the top of the 9’th, there were two outs when BU made an error on a ground ball. A steal and then a wild pitch moved the runner to 3’rd, where he scored on a single.

Still, down 7-3 in the 9’th, BU loaded the bases but failed to score. Overall, BU stranded 10 runners. Highlight: BU got out of a “bases loaded, no outs” jam by a pretty unassisted double play by the short stop off of a line drive.

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Reliever in action.

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Today: again, DBU’s bats came out blazing; it was 7-0 after 3 innings (3 runs in the first, 4 in the 3’rd). Eventually it went to 9-0 before BU rallied in the bottom of the 8’th, scoring 4, including a 3 run home run. But DBU added 2 insurance runs in the top of the 9’th. I did see one spectacular catch off of the wall by the BU left fielder though.

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11 to 4 Dallas Baptist. Still a good home season.

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So, this isn’t the way Bradley wanted to end their home season, but there is one conference series left and the MVC tournament. DBU plays Missouri State in a series in a battle of the top 2 MVC teams. BU’s conference record is 10-8, with 5 of the losses coming from Missouri State and Dallas Baptist.

Still, it was fun home season and I enjoyed the games.

May 13, 2018 Posted by | baseball | | Leave a comment

What sports can teach college students (and their parents)


Well, I’ve run the Race for the Cure several times. It isn’t what it once was (5500 signed up, as opposed to the 20K plus of yesteryear) and I wasn’t what I once was: 29:00.04 (I am hoping my chip says 28:59.xx); 9:20 pace. Yeah, that stinks but at least I didn’t have to walk, AND this course is one of the more challenging ones. I’ve posted my history with this race below. Here: I did my best though by no means, was I ready to race. I didn’t restart running until early March and I wasn’t confident enough to get off of the treadmill until a couple of weeks ago or so. The foot was fine during the race but ached slightly afterward. Temperatures were in the 50’s.

It had stormed before the race and cleared up..hoping the same happens for tonight’s baseball game.

Yes, Bradley opened its series with Dallas Baptist and frankly, DBU just tore the cover off of the ball. It was 6-0 after 2 innings and in the second inning, every out was a fly ball caught on the warning track. It ended 13-2 after 7 innings; they had 15 hits.

BU tried to fight back; the Braves got a solo home run in the 3’rd and then, while it was 7-1, twice loaded the bases to end up stranding 3 runners in both innings and deriving exactly one run. In this game, BU had no margin of error. The Patriots were simply a lot better last night. Maybe the Braves can right that today.

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Rough start: Dallas Baptist up 3-0 early. Go Braves!

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These two unrelated things I think provide a nice life lesson. Yes, practice and training makes you better. But when it comes time for the competition, only your performance matters. Yes, you need to prepare and prepare hard..that is what will help you with your performance. But in the end, there is no box score for your practice time, no place on the finish results to record your workout. Your time and place is what gets recorded.

When you watch a game and your team lines up for a field goal: you don’t think about the kicker’s practice sessions. You expect them to make the kick. You expect the pitcher to throw strikes and to befuddle the batters. You expect the batter to hit the ball well and for the fielders to make plays.

In more serious situations: the engineer’s design has to hold up..the doctor has to operate properly and the pilot has to fly the plane correctly. There is no “oh I tried so hard” box to check.

In short, in the eyes of others, you are your results. Now yes, you might have more self peace and serenity if you can become indifferent to outcomes (“let go and let god”) and that is a wonderful thing…just don’t expect that to “count” in the eyes of anyone else. And yes, the vast majority of us (myself included) will never be more than mediocre, though we can possibly improve our degree of mediocrity. But it is the results that count…

And how I wish students understood that their grade on an exam or in a course is a measure of their performance. Performance can suffer for reasons within their control (not enough study) or outside of their control (talent, life circumstances). But the grade is a measure of their performance on the subject material, period. It is possible that a lazier but more talented person will do better than they do.

And again, effort matters to the degree that it enhances performance. But it is the performance that is measured.

Past Race for the cures:

Split 2009 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2018
Mile One 8:15 8:25 8:18 8:18 8:39 8:46 9:20
Mile Two 7:11 7:34 7:56 7:25 8:02 8:28 8:52
Final 1.1 9:03 9:12 9:34 9:43 9:32 10:17 10:48
Time 24:29 25:13 25:48 25:27 26:14 27:32 29:00

Note: in 2010, I power walked it in 32:55. In 2011, I signed up but skipped to rest an injury.


Graduation duties prevented me from doing the 2017 race.

May 12, 2018 Posted by | baseball, education, running | , , , , , | Leave a comment

A safe lead is a win ..

I enjoyed some Bradley Baseball last night. It started off strong (3-0) after 2 innings…and was pushed to 6-2, with the relief pitcher (a math honor student) striking out the side in the 7’th. Then the next relief pitcher came in..there was an out missed on a bad throw to first based (it was 6-3) then..ooops. Bases were loaded and SIUE tied it at 6 after 8. BU got 2 runs after an intentional walk (with a runner on 2’nd)..evidently they wanted 1’st and second covered..but why pitch to 3’rd in order?

So it was 8-6 and that is how it ended though SIUE made it interesting getting the tying runners on base. The game lasted over 3 hours but had so much action, it went quickly.

May 11, 2018 Posted by | baseball | | Leave a comment

Two games, two teams, very different results.

First, I did walk 8 miles today (slowly; 16-17 mpm or thereabouts). It was in the high 30’s F when I started (perhaps 1-2 C). Like yesterday: no stop watch. I didn’t want to know. Saw a massive groundhog and this sign:

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Seen on my walk. 😆

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I never knew that dogs being on marijuana was such a huge problem. 🙂

This was the course; it was a nice mix of hills and flat ground; adding another loop should make it a decent Steamboat simulation.

Now the games.

Yesterday: dominant pitching, plus a home run robbing catch in the outfield gave Bradley a hard earned 2-0 win over a strong Missouri State team. It got tense in the 8’th when Missouri state loaded the bases. But BU came up with some plays and a strikeout to end the threat. The starting pitcher went 6 2/3 innings, struck out 11 and allowed 2 hits; he faced 18 batters in the first 6 innings (one hit, but that batter was caught while trying to steal second).

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8th inning action. Go Braves!

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You can watch me getting excited (behind the plate..but in two different locations) here:

The spectacular catch here:

Then came today’s game:

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Go Braves! I found a buddy for this one.

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Nice day for a double play. Still 2 to 0 Mo. State.

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And it was competitive, for the first 4 innings. It was 2-0 and the Missouri State pitcher was pitching very well; he was to face 25 batters in 7 innings, allow 1 hit and strike out 6.

But then came the nightmare 5’th and 6’th inning which saw Missouri State blow it open; 4 Bradley errors didn’t help (though 1..I thought was a hit..a hard line drive to the shortstop that left him shaking his glove hand out.) It ended 13-2 after 7, when it was called after the “mercy rule”.

But Missouri State is a strong team and Bradley got 1 of the 3. And two of the 3 games were thrillers.

April 29, 2018 Posted by | baseball, walking | | Leave a comment

BU comes up short in series opener vs. Mo. State..5-4

Well, Bradley outscored Missouri State 4-1 in the part of the game that I got to watch. But due to a commitment, I showed up after the second inning and BU was down 4-0. The Braves fought back gamely but stranded too many runners (including 3 in one inning) though, to be fair, the Bears also stranded a few.

This game featured a towering home run, bunts, key strikeouts, double plays and some thrilling catches; I wish BU would have won but it was a very entertaining game to watch.

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Bradley down 4-1 early..playing Missouri State.

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It is tough to come back from 4-0 down..and doubly tough against a strong team like Missouri State.

There are two more games left in this series.

April 28, 2018 Posted by | baseball | | Leave a comment

Up..then down…

Weight: 198.5 before swimming, 196.9 after. The swim: slow; 500 free, 250 of drill/swim, 250 of 25 fist, 25 free (with breaks), 250 of 25 fly drill, 25 fly (fins), 250 of 25 breast, 25 free, 250 of 25 free, 25 back, 250 pull, 4 x 50 free (tried to stay with was useless)

The run: 56:40 for 5 (34:17); did 5.1-5.5 every 5 minutes, then back down to 5.1-5.4, etc. I wanted to quit after 2 miles; not out of breath but bored and uninterested and unwilling to hurt. changing the pace kept me interested. Foot: some ache at 3.5, off and on the rest of the way. It is not 100 percent but still much better.

Touching: I got this from the Bradley Baseball team:

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Thanks Bradley Baseball!

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So, I’ll just say it: if you like sports, look beyond the mega crowd things. No, the baseball is NOT professional level, but it still very good and entertaining.
BTW, here is an excellent article about the various levels of minor league ball..and this clears up some questions I had. It also explains why I’ve seen some guys just crush the radar gun at the A level (90-100 mph at times) and yet not be quite ready for major league ball. At the pro level, the guys can hit the blistering fast balls if they know they are coming; the polished pitchers have to keep the batters off guard with a plan, change ups, moving pitches, etc.

BTW, I played at pony level, and I could hit bad high school level pitching. I couldn’t touch the better high school pitchers though.

April 24, 2018 Posted by | baseball, running, swimming | , , | Leave a comment

Baseball Sunday!

Ok, I did workout (part of it with a friend) and I did some grading (yuck) but I also caught a couple of ball games:

Noon: Bradley won 10-0 over Robert Morris-Springfield. RMU did play a bit better this time; it was 5-0 after 3 and then it settled some; BU needed the bottom of the 7’th to get to 10-0, at which point the game was called by the “mercy” rule.

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Robert Morris Springfield at Bradley. Play ball!

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I am saving you a seat!

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The 5 pm game saw the Chiefs finish their second series sweep of Wisconsin 6-3. Initially, the pitchers dominated and the Timberrattlers actually lead 2-1 after the top of the 7’th. But the Chiefs exploded on a relief pitcher in the bottom of the 7’th, going up to 10 hits and getting 5 runs in the inning.

This game also saw a crazy play where, with runners on 2’nd and 3’rd, a ground ball was fielded by the shortstop who threw to second, who threw to first in time for the out..but there was no forceout available at second. One run scored and one runner moved to 3’rd, though this cost the Chiefs only 1 run..and made it 2 outs (and put the lead at 6-3).

As far as Wisconsin: they had a rough 9 days, getting swept by the Chiefs on two weekend series and getting swept by Kane County in the 3 game set they played in Peoria due to their being snowed out at home, but still being in Peoria. They are now 3-13, but only 3-4 away from Peoria.

Oh yes, my wife gets home tomorrow. I had 5 baseball games this week, and 7 over the past 8 days. (3 Bradley, 3 Chiefs, 1 Timberrattler “home” game. )

April 23, 2018 Posted by | baseball | , | Leave a comment

Bradley Baseball game cancelled because of dry, non-frigid conditions.

Ok, that is fake news; they played and, well, played very well, winning 17-0 (after 7 innings). Ok, Robert Morris Springfield is a USCAA team (association for small college sports) and has struggled a bit this season. But it was nice to see a game in non-frigid, dry conditions. I look forward to games against stronger opposition (yes, their home games against Illinois and Iowa were cancelled due to weather). But I’ll watch tomorrow’s game as well, and perhaps catch the Chiefs later in the evening too.

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More people this time. Better weather.

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Workout notes: lazy. Slept in. Ran 5 miles on the treadmill in 56:30 going up 5.1-5.5 and though I had a lot more “in the tank”, the foot started to ache just a bit at mile 4.5 so I figured a change of motion would help. So I walked 2 more miles outside (pain free). I’ll do some running tomorrow morning prior to a workout date with Ms. Vickie.

Weight: 199…the 5 pounds over the summer is finally off, but now I need to burst past this plateau as well.

April 21, 2018 Posted by | baseball, running, walking | , , | Leave a comment

Brrrbaseball and other trivial topics

The unusually wet, cold and snowy spring has played havoc with baseball schedules and kept fans away in droves.

But ironically, I got one free game out of all that: Wisconsin played the Chiefs this past weekend, but faced heavy snow at home.

So, some calls were made, and Wisconsin stayed in Peoria and “played host” to the Kane County Cougars. I couldn’t make today’s noon game but I did make yesterdays “clear but chilly” game.

It was a wonderful game; the Timberrattlers started strong and took a 4-1 lead; they hit a couple of home runs. But the Cougar relief pitching was strong and their bats woke up; Wisconsin also made some fielding errors. Kane County took the lead in the 8’th and held on. Still, the game was fun to watch.

It was even colder for tonight’s Western Illinois at Bradley game and there was some snow showers in the last hour. Western started quickly and scored 2 runs in the first inning; BU helped their cause with a walk and an error. But with bases loaded and 1 out, BU got a double play. Then BU promptly got 3 runs (first two batters got hits) and lead 3-2 after one inning; that inning took about 38 minutes to play.
From then on Bradley’s defense dominated and though the Braves came up empty when they had the bases loaded with no outs, they scored enough in the rest of the innings to win 9-2. BU had a bit of everything: bunts, a home run, extra base hits, etc.

I was impressed that Western had some fans; many (most?) of the BU fans took advantage of the “suite” seats that had an indoor section.

And yes, at the start, the snowflakes were very well defined.

Workout notes
The shoulder continues to improve.

Usual PT, pull ups: 2 sets of (5-5-5-5), 1 set of 10. Note: the 5-5-5-5 were a bit higher quality and burned in a good way.
bench: 10 x 135, 8 x 165, not much pain at all…very slow reps. 10 x 135 for the incline.
military: 10 x 50 standing, 15 x 45 standing, 10 x 90 (each arm) machine. Rows: 3 sets of 10 x 200 Hammer. Usual abs; did the plank at first; everything else burned.

I didn’t want to run so I walked 5K outside, briskly.

April 19, 2018 Posted by | baseball, Peoria, Peoria/local, walking, weight training | , , , , | Leave a comment