blueollie

Thank you Peoria Chiefs, for a great home season.

Well, we had Championship Series baseball over the past couple of days: the opponent was the Bowling Green Hot Rods, owner of the best record in the Midwest League. Both teams swept both of their previous playoff series so on Wednesday night, one team was destined to lose its first playoff game of 2018.

Game 1: though total hits were even at 5 apiece, Peoria stranded runners in a “bases loaded” situation in the 8’th inning and lost 4-0. In the second, BG got a double; runner advanced to 3’rd on a wild pitch and then scored on a sacrifice fly. In the 4’th, BG got a solo home run (huge shot to left field which cleared the extra fence) and a 2 run home run; that gave them a 4-0 lead which they kept the rest of the way.

Game 2: Here, the pitchers dominated though the Chiefs twice stranded 2 runners. But finally in the bottom of the 7’th, the Chiefs loaded the bases again (getting a lot of singles) and actually drove in some runs; one on a fly and another on a ground out.

But came the drama. In the top of the 8’th Bowling Green loaded the bases with 0 outs; two singles and the catcher slipping on a bunt. Then they scored on a sacrifice fly. A second fly was shallow but they still had runners of 2’nd and 3’rd. So an intentional walk loaded the bases, and a hard grounder to the 3’rd baseman lead to a force out (tag).

The top of the 9’th had more drama. The first two batters were put out (k and outfield fly). But then came a walk, a single, and the runner to second. But thankfully, a ground out ended the game.

That ends the home season; but the Chiefs can still win the championship by winning 2 of the remaining (possibly) 3 games.

Of course, I want the Chiefs to win it all, and they have a shot at it. But, regardless, it was a wonderful home season, we got 4 playoff games at home, with the Chiefs winning 3 of them.

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7th inning action. Beautiful night.

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It is ok now. Go Chiefs!

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September 14, 2018 Posted by | baseball | | Leave a comment

Post I: college football and Peoria Chiefs baseball

Spectator sports has been a nice release from dwelling on stuff that I don’t like but really can’t change (social media, politics). I will talk about it some in a subsequent post though.

Peoria Chiefs Are in the finals! Game 1 and 2 are tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. The way this works in the Midwest League (low A): on even numbered years, the western champion hosts the first 2 games of the “best of 5”; it is just the opposite in even numbered years. The opponent: the Bowling Green Hot Rods.

I fear attendance won’t be great due to the fact that championship series are hard for fans to plan in advance and much of the draw for A league games is “outing” rather than baseball. And in the minor leagues: your playoff team will often not be your initial team. In Peoria’s case: the new players did struggle a bit at first..but there was a ton of talent. And now that talent is jelling so I like Peoria’s chances. But Bowling Green might be in a similar position (they are a Rays affiliate; Chiefs are a Cardinals affiliate).

In any event, these will be the last two games of a very fun season for me.

College Football I had a bad week of predictions last week:

Here is what I said:

Western Illinois at Illinois (spread: Illini by 8, ESPN: 73.8 % prob. for Illini)

WIU isn’t what they were last year and they are just off of a tough road loss. Illinois stinks and just lost their back up QB and best WR. And it could be played in heavy rain.

Nothing between a 3 point WIU win and an 11 point Illini win would surprise me. I’d go with: “similar to last week”; 27-20 Illini.

ND favored by 34.5 over Ball State. 99.1 % ND by ESPN. Why? ND could win 35-3 and not cover. Hard to tell. I’d say
“take ND and give the points” but maybe BSU gets a garbage time TD to cut the spread?

Memphis favored by 6.5 at Navy; ESPN 85.1 % for Memphis. Pains me to say it, but Navy’s defense is suspect. Mids will have to control the ball to keep it close. I am afraid that the Mids lose a shoot out like last week.

Texas favored by 23 over Tulsa: Texas 92% on ESPN. Tulsa beat an FCS program (a good one) by 11 last week; UT lost to a Big Ten team. I think that UT wins..but by how much? TU is better than San Jose State last year (who UT blew out).

Win: Illini, ND, Memphis, UT
Cover: WIU, ND, Memphis, Tulsa.

Last week: 3-1 vs. the spread, 2-2 straight up.

Ironic: the most competitive game of the 4 is..the Illinois vs. Western Illinois. Kind of sad..really.

So, how did I do? Straight up, I got 3 of 4 (Illini, ND, Texas). Spread: 1-3 (only Tulsa was right), though I was DELIGHTED to get the Navy game wrong. The Mids really came through.

So for the season:
Straight up: 5-3 (missed the Navy game both times, once in each direction, and the UT vs. MD game). Spread: 4-4 (which is what one would expect) I missed Navy twice, Illinois once, ND once.

I am really no better than a coin toss. 🙂

So what about this week? Yes, I am going to the Illinois vs. South Florida game in Chicago.

South Florida – 10 at Illinois (Chicago). This is a mismatch from the ESPN power index which gives USF a 65.7 percent chance. Last year: USF was a 16.5 point favorite and won 47-23, covering easily.
Personally, I think that Illinois MIGHT be getting too much credit, being a Big Ten team and USF being an AAC team (non-power 5, technically).

BUT, in their first game, USF cruised 34-14 over Elon (no. 12 in the FCS); they lead 31-0 midway through the 3’rd. So while Illinois also beat an FCS team 34-14, it was 24-14 going into the 4’th with Western Illinois driving. Illini scored on a punt block, set up a TD on an “almost pick 6” (to the 3) and another field goal via a fumble. USF vs. Elon: total yards were 515-234. In the Illinois vs. Western, it was 376-361.

The other game: USF beat a tough Georgia Tech team 49-38 whereas Illinois escaped a terrible Kent State team 31-24, with total yards being 469-453.

Even more worrisome is that USF’s receiving corps is outstanding and the Illini secondary is suspect.

I am excited about the game, but, objectively, well, 41-20 USF looks about right to me, UNLESS they are overconfident. And yes, way back in 2013, Illinois demolished a decent Cincinnati team 45-17 on its way to a 4-8 record. But that team had more offensive punch than this one and a more established quarterback.

So, I have to pick USF to win and cover.

Vanderbilt + 14.5 at ND: ESPN gives ND an 88.8 percent chance of winning. Both teams are 2-0 with ND beating Michigan 24-17 and stopping Ball State 24-16. Vanderbilt rolled over Middle Tennessee 35-7 (MTSU was a bowl team last year..Sun Belt) and Nevada 41-10 (they were bad last year). This might be hard; ND is a step up in competition for Vanderbilt and so ND should win. But Vanderbilt is an SEC team that might well be bowl bound..this game might be competitive.

I pick ND to win but Vanderbilt to cover the wide spread. They are NOT that bad.

Lehigh at Navy: (no line; Navy 96.8 percent) Leigh is a so-so FCS team who had a narrow win over a 5-6 FCS team (St. Francis) in the opener and was dominated by Villanova in their second game. Navy is coming off of an emotional win over Memphis but has too much talent for Lehigh, I think. I see a comfortable Navy win.

USC + 3.5 at Texas (ESPN: 55.9 percent for Texas) Texas lost at Maryland and beat Tulsa, narrowly. USC was dominated by Stanford 17-3 but beat UNLV easily (43-21). This is a big game at Texas with tickets being priced at over 80 dollars (per Vivid Seats). But how will that work; Texas has been very average against bad to so-so teams and USC did get dominated..by a team that is much better than Texas.

Ugh.toss up. Will pressure to beat an average team with a big name get to UT? I am really unsure.

Let’s say Texas wins by 4? But I wouldn’t bet a penny on this game, either way.

Note: this is BRUTAL.

Yes, TCU is a 13 point underdog and ESPN gives OSU an 86.6 percent chance. BUT…who knows…TCU might pull off the upset. I still remember the Iowa game and TCU is a lot better than Iowa.

My picks: straight up: USF, ND, Navy, Texas (very reluctantly). Cover: USF, Vanderbilt, (no line for Navy), Texas

Workout notes: yesterday, weights and a 2 mile run in 19:38 (5.2 for 3 minutes, upped it then at 10 minutes, 6.7 up to 7.0) weights: different order: pull ups (15-15-10-10), military (10 x 50, 10 x 50, 10 x 45 standing), bench: 2 sets of 10 x 70 dumbbell, incline: 9 x 135 (ran out of gas), decline: 5 x 165 (fatigued), rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110, plank: 2:30 (easy), boat, side plank, twist

today: 3 mile walk in 38:30; 5K in 39:40 prior to fasting blood work.

September 12, 2018 Posted by | baseball, college football, running, walking, weight training | , | 1 Comment

Peoria Chiefs advance to the Midwest Championship series

The Chiefs were crisp on defense, got great pitching from their starter (8 innings of 4 hit, shutout ball with 9 k’s) and had a massive 5 run 3’rd inning to defeat the Cedar Rapids Kernels 5-0, giving them a sweep of the semifinal series. In fact, the Chiefs are 4-0 in playoff competition.

Just over 600 fans showed up…on a perfect day.

As I said previously, most who show up at any given Chiefs game are there for an outing; there really aren’t that many hard core baseball fans and my guess is that most of them were here today.

We have our Championship series tickets for what will be the final 2 games in Dozer this year, as the next 1 to 3 games will be at the Eastern Conference host. It is the best of 5.

Workout notes: easy 4 mile walk..to shake it out. I am sleepy.

September 10, 2018 Posted by | baseball, walking | | Leave a comment

Who are the minor league baseball fans anyway? It depends on how you measure…

I’ve discussed this principle before, albeit in a different context (welfare). But I am about to do so again.

I went to the last Peoria Chiefs regular season home game and a couple who has season tickets showed up (ironically: they rarely come). I asked if they were going to the playoff game and they said “no”; in particular they said that they don’t like crowds.

I remarked that Chiefs playoff games are rarely crowded and that surprised them.

This was after the game started but well before the rain delay:

Though the threat of thunderstorms retarded attendance this time around, attendance wasn’t stellar in previous years either.

Regular season games, especially Friday/weekend games are usually much better attended. So what is going on?

I think that it is this way: during a given regular season game, most of those you see there will NOT be a hard core baseball fan. You’ll have some casual fans (“oh, I feel like a game today”), families or groups of friends looking for an outing (“hey, pretty day..let’s go to the ball park!”) along with church groups and workplace groups, youth teams, youth groups, etc. They are there “for the outing” and many who show up care little about the actual game.

Most of these..the bulk of the fans at any given r game, will not show up to a playoff game.

This doesn’t mean that the Chiefs do not care about the baseball fan though. After all, if you count ALL of the tickets sold for ALL of the games put together, I’d venture that most of these tickets are purchased by the baseball fans; the “faithful 1000” that either have season tickets, flexible vouchers (like I do) or those who just go to a lot of games. That is, I’d guess that most of the tickets sold come from a relatively small number of fans that go to a lot of games.

And it is this group that will constitute most of the playoff game crowd, I think.

And a note: the Chiefs swept their first playoff series against the Quad Cities River Bandits! They now move on to the semi-finals and will host game 2 of the “best of 3” series this Sunday; IF neither team sweeps the best of 3, the Chiefs host game 3 on Monday at 6:30 pm. The opponent is yet to be determined (Beloit? Cedar Rapids?). I am looking forward to 1 or 2 more games…and maybe more than that? (finals are best of 5).

Workout notes: I am still coughing but am feeling much better. I sound worse…feel better.

The run: after weights: 3 miles in 31:50 (32:54 for 5k) 10:47, 8:43 (19:30 for 2 miles) then walk/jog/run the final mile to cool down. 2.05 for 20 minutes.

weights: rotator cuff, pull ups (15-15-10-10 felt good), bench: 10 x 70 dumbbells, incline: 6 x 150, decline: 7 x 170. military: 10 x 50, 10 x 45, 10 x 45 standing, 3 sets of 10 x 110 machine rows, plank, twist crunch, side plank, boat, headstand.

Tomorrow: long walk of some sort; marathon 2 weeks away. I have 20’s under my belt..several actually, but do I risk draining myself or do I go more moderately (say, 4 hours..that is it?)

September 7, 2018 Posted by | baseball, illness, running, social/political, statistics, weight training | | 1 Comment

Chiefs defeat Bandits 3-0 in soggy playoff game

The game had a 48 minute weather delay and it occurred in the top of the 8’th inning. But it was worth it..at least to me. The game itself: the burly first basemen hit a two run home run in the 4’th and then in the 5’th, drove in the 3’rd run with an outfield fly. Otherwise: good pitching on both sides kept the batters at bay.

By the way, the place was EMPTY after the rain delay; small crowd prior to it (about like a Bradley game). AT the end, I got shown in the “lonely cam”. It was hilarious. 🙂

Other thoughts: the Illinois vs. Western Illinois game might be played in heavy rain and perhaps, chilly temperatures? I’ve got my windpants ready to go.

College football week 2:

Western Illinois at Illinois (spread: Illini by 8, ESPN: 73.8 % prob. for Illini)

WIU isn’t what they were last year and they are just off of a tough road loss. Illinois stinks and just lost their back up QB and best WR. And it could be played in heavy rain.

Nothing between a 3 point WIU win and an 11 point Illini win would surprise me. I’d go with: “similar to last week”; 27-20 Illini.

ND favored by 34.5 over Ball State. 99.1 % ND by ESPN. Why? ND could win 35-3 and not cover. Hard to tell. I’d say
“take ND and give the points” but maybe BSU gets a garbage time TD to cut the spread?

Memphis favored by 6.5 at Navy; ESPN 85.1 % for Memphis. Pains me to say it, but Navy’s defense is suspect. Mids will have to control the ball to keep it close. I am afraid that the Mids lose a shoot out like last week.

Texas favored by 23 over Tulsa: Texas 92% on ESPN. Tulsa beat an FCS program (a good one) by 11 last week; UT lost to a Big Ten team. I think that UT wins..but by how much? TU is better than San Jose State last year (who UT blew out).

Win: Illini, ND, Memphis, UT
Cover: WIU, ND, Memphis, Tulsa.

Last week: 3-1 vs. the spread, 2-2 straight up.

Ironic: the most competitive game of the 4 is..the Illinois vs. Western Illinois. Kind of sad..really.

Workout notes:
5 mile walk on the treadmill in 1:04; very steady. Maybe a bit much; I kind of coughed in the afternoon. I do NOT need a relapse. Is “less is more” the deal with this weekend’s “long walk”?

Photos

Not promising:

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So, will we have playoff baseball tonight?

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Go away.

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Was it something I said?

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Sprinkles. Goat moves to the front row.

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Sprikles off and on…grounds crew is busy tonight.

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Aw. 7 completed.

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Yay!

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Few of us left after the weather delay. Yellow arrow: roughly where I was.

September 7, 2018 Posted by | baseball, college football, football, walking | | Leave a comment

Chiefs limp though final home series

3 games against Kane County: 6-0 (did not see that one), 3-1 (some not so great base running) and 10-3, in a game that Kane lead 10-0 (3 runs in 1’st, 2’nd and 4 in the 7’th) in the 7’th before letting the relief pitchers at it. Twice the Chiefs loaded the bases..got zero runs out of it in the 8’th and 3 in the 9’th. But too little, too late.

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Jacob Carraway and me. Barbara will be joining us.

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6-0 Kane County. 2nd inning.

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Workout notes: easy 2 mile run in the morning. Didn’t feel great but at the football game, I sweated it out, I think.

September 2, 2018 Posted by | baseball, illness, running | | Leave a comment

HOT! And oh so slow

The course: I did this one last year in 5:15 in much cooler weather. But it is still 20 miles and I didn’t die. Oh, the race the day before sure didn’t help; I knew that I was tired going out. I was 52 minutes at the portable potty instead of 49 and I was to slow down more than that.

Well, the marathon won’t be easy either. But today’s weather was even worse than at the Quad Cities last year. Yes, HOTTER than the Quad Cities disaster.

Baseball: last night, I went to a game with Barbara’s group. The Chiefs started off with a lead off home run (they’ve done that in an earlier game this year) but they went on to commit 7 errors (not a misprint, 7 ) and lose 5-3, walking in two runs in the process. But still in the bottom of the 8’th, the Chiefs were still down 5-3 and had the bases loaded with 2 outs…POW..hard line drive…right to the infielder. I was starting to celebrate a run or two scoring..

Then today, the Chiefs won 10-2, racking up 14 hits and only committing 1 error. They got excellent pitching. They did fall behind 2-0 in the 5’th only to rally for 4 runs in the bottom. Then they took a 6-2 lead into the bottom of the 8’th when they scored 4 more. The reliever (who is 5’9 but weighs 230 lbs.) threw very hard and was all but unhittable.

My analysis: the playoffs will probably be rough for the Chiefs; they are playing some very talented but raw rookies. The hitting is there, but the infield play isn’t up to playoff A caliber level; this IS a developmental league, after all. But my guess is that a few of these players will be playing for the Cardinals in a couple of seasons.

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Chiefs hosting the Snappers.

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4th inning dancing.

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Bright orange moon over Dozer.

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Sunny seats are not popular today.

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August 26, 2018 Posted by | baseball, walking | | Leave a comment

Is baseball helping my marathon walking?

Ok, last year I was up to 205 lb.; I weighed that at the beginning of the year. From February to now (August) I’ve cut down to 195. This is essential since I’ve entered a marathon on the 23’nd of September and pounds count. Hopefully, I can finish in under 6 hours BUT if the day comes up hot (but not scorching) I’ll be happy with sub 7 hours (the time limit). My hot weather 20 mile training walks have been right around 5 hours and so, with a taper, finishing the final 10K in under 2 hours shouldn’t be that hard. *Shouldn’t*.

It isn’t as I’ve been eating more than I have in the past. I haven’t; I’ve been eating less. But I am very close to being 59 years old (2 weeks) and the following has happened:

1. My base metabolism has slowed.
2. I can’t train as much; no swimming this summer and I probably won’t restart until after the marathon.
3. Intensity: well, when I ran 30-50 miles a week as a younger guy, the bulk of it was at 7:30-8:30 per mile. Now my “running” (if you can call it that) is mostly 11-12 mpm (a few faster miles) but MOST of my mileage is walking, mostly at 15-16 minutes per mile. The calorie burn is not there.
4. While I weighed 190-195 before (as a younger guy), those were harder, more muscular pounds. My current 195 is old man “flabby” pounds (by comparison)

So what does baseball have to do with this? I go to a fair number of games and often eat dinner in the park. Dozer has started posting calorie counts of the various items and THOSE NACHOS….OMG….I’d rather not think about the calories in those! So I made it a point to switch to lower calorie items at the park..and elsewhere and cut out some items that I used to routinely eat.

And THAT has made the difference, so far (about 1 pound per month)

Workout notes weights plus running/walking (I leave for Cleveland tomorrow so running will be light while on the road)

weights: PT, 5 sets of 10 pull ups, (easy), bench: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, 8 x 170, incline: 10 x 140, decline: 9 x 165, military (standing dumbbell) 10 x 50, 10 x 45, 10 x 45, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110.
2:30 plank (still sucks), twist crunch (slow), head stand, side plank, moving bridge.

Run: treadmill: 4 miles in 43:50 done this way: 10 minutes of 5.2-5.6, 10 minutes of 6.7, then 6.8-7.0 (up every .25 miles) 19:54 2 mile, 28:43 3 mile, 29:34 5K, then walk speeding it up at the end.

The run felt good; it is coming back a bit.

August 16, 2018 Posted by | running | , | 1 Comment

Back to School: a world I do not understand anymore (K-12)

Someone posted this video about a mom complaining about school drop offs.

I was like: “drop off”? Then I went back to my own school days. Yes, I went to my neighborhood school. So during most of my years, I walked. The exception was when I lived in Japan when I lived on one base and the school was on another base; then we (usually) took the bus…though on rare occasion, I walked (and sometimes attracted some buddies to walk with me..crazy)

BUT..I rarely lived more than a mile away from the school and it wasn’t as if I had dangerous roads to cross. And for the past 2 years of my high school, I had a nature preserve to walk through!

Here are other things that I do NOT remember:

1. Help with my homework. Or for that matter..much homework at all.

2. Being pressured into fundraiser sales for this or that (though we did sometimes have book sales and those dumb school photos)

3. My parents interacting with the teachers that much. Yes, they did attend PTA conferences and the like. Oh..and neither of these were true; when it came to grades, my parents left me alone.

And yes, my parents stayed out of class selections as well.

4. “Graduation”. Yes, we had high school graduation exercises, but that was IT. No junior high, elementary school or other such scams.

5. College applications: on my own..just me, the school counselor’s office and some catalogs, and that was it. Ok, between my junior and senior year I did do a couple of highly subsidized “week long” seminars…but then I either flew on my own or took a bus on my own (parents paid for the ticket).

My experience was just so much different than what you see now. I think that it worked out better for me, but who knows? My experience is an experiment where n = 1.

Workout notes 4 mile walk outside (Cornstalk classic) then 2 miles in lane 1 on the track: 1 on, 1 off for 14 laps and last 2 “fast” (less glacial?)

My first half mile was just under 6:30 then 12:40/12:12. I felt great. No weights; I’ll do that tomorrow and go a bit longer since I won’t be able to lift Friday-Monday.

Weight: 195.2 with shoes and shirt, AFTER the 4 miles outside (I didn’t get that sweaty). The trend is in the right direction. I’ll still be heavier than I like for my marathon though.

I did catch a ball game last night; Chiefs lost to the Lumberkings 5-3. Weird game: Chiefs got a home run on the first pitch! Then another in the second (big rookie from TCU went 3 for 4, and his home run cleared the white picket fence in the berm) and the Chiefs lead 3-0 after 2. But then things went south.

In the 3’rd, Clinton got a hit and the runner advanced on a fielder’s choice. Then a strike out so 2 outs, runner on second. No problem, right? Oops.
Then the pitcher walks two batters in a row…and on the third batter with the bases full, throws 3 consecutive balls (for 7 balls in a row!). Then he grooves the ball down the middle..POW, grand slam. The Lumberkings now have a 4-3 lead, off of exactly 2 hits.

The starting pitcher did ok the rest of the way, though the Lumberkings did catch a break in the 7’th: a bad throw to first rebounded into play and the runner was thrown out trying to advance to 2’nd. Should have been “out 3”. But the umpires ruled that the ball was out of play so the runner was awarded 2’nd. Then he scored on a subsequent hit to make it 5-3, which is how it ended.

That is one thing about the Cardinals (Chiefs are a Cardinals affiliate): they promote their players. Many of the players who started the season got well deserved promotions. Now there is quite a bit of young talent on this team, including one guy who was playing high school ball earlier this year and two who were playing college ball. But it is young talent and they haven’t played together that much yet. So we might see some losses.

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Not all are interested.

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There was a group of 4-5 drunken men behind me and they razzed the visitors a bit..and sometimes the Chiefs. That is different than what I’ve experienced recently..more more in line with what I grew up with (as a player and as a fan).

August 15, 2018 Posted by | baseball, education, social/political, walking | , | Leave a comment

Getting back on it..

Treadmill run: going well doing the old 5.1-5.8 (through 40 minutes) and kicked it to 6.1-6.3 just at 42:30 (4 miles) when my fist hit the “stop button”. That lead to cursing ..still jogged .12 to make SURE I was at 4 then I went straight to the track (very little rest; like at a street crossing) and did 1 mile (8 laps in the middle lane). 4:26/4:26 for 8:52. I wish I could say it was easy, but it was tough.

8:52.. then I remembered this: (Indianapolis Marathon, 2000)

102 18/61 Ollie Nanyes 41 M Peoria IL 3:38:12 8:20

Oh f**k me dead. I know…18 years ago.

Then I walked 2 more miles.

Last night, I caught a nice ball game; it ended 4-0 Chiefs. The pitchers controlled things for most of it and the first 6 innings took just over an hour. But in one case, a Chief batter saw 17 pitches before he drew a walk..2 strikes, 4 balls and 11 foul balls! It was hilarious. The starter threw a complete game, struck out 6, allowed 8 scattered hits and walked no one. The Lumberking closer threw well too; hitting 95 mph with some fast balls (former Illinois pitcher)

My “date” could not make it as she had a family emergency and had to drive to her home of origin).

ttps://www.instagram.com/p/BmcHrcJAJEz

August 14, 2018 Posted by | baseball, running, walking | | Leave a comment