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I finally made it back down to Wrigley Field with a friend of mine and we watched as the Cubs demolished the Mets. Seeing the Mets get demolished is generally a good thing, even in their current piteous state...
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I had made plans to go to tonight's Cubs/Brewers game -- a first-time regular season Friday night game by special dispensation from the City Council -- and then I came down with a nasty head cold last night. I kept trying to convince myself that I would make it to the game with a friend of mine, at least until about 2 PM when I gave it up. It turns out that my friend was coming down with something to, so I suppose it was all for the best.

Especially because Katie has softball on both Saturday and Sunday this weekend. I am feeling enough better, having taken it easy today, that I expect that I will be able to make it to both games.

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So Katie headed out on her Girl Scout camping trip late this afternoon. After we dropped her off, the rest of the family headed out to Schaumburg where we visited Play It Again Sports and acquired a softball catcher's mitt. Katie can use this when she is catching this fall. (We measured it against Gretchen's hand, which is approximately the same size.) The rest of the team is welcome to use it when they are catching. We'll see how this goes tomorrow during practice.

This was followed by dinner at Olive Garden, which was quite good, although Julie ate very little of her kids' meal, but substantially more of breadsticks and chocolate milk. Nothing goes together quite as well as a garlic breadstick and chocolate milk, I guess.

I went back to work to try to hunt down a bug that has -- in the absence of the person who has complained about it -- completely vanished. *sigh*

And I followed the end of the Cardinals game on the ESPN website. The Cards were leading 11-3 going to the bottom of the eighth. They were leading 11-8 going to the bottom of the ninth. Then they gave up two runs to the Pirates without the Pirates actually having to get a hit. Happily, the Pirates did not get a hit before the inning ended, and the Cards ended up winning 11-10.

I understand that there will be a new pitcher in the bullpen tomorrow, yesterday's call up (who was largely responsible for the five runs in the eighth) having been sent back to Memphis tonight. I feel rather sorry for him.
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I finally made it back to Wrigley Field for another game. It was running long and late, so I ducked out after the seventh inning stretch and ended up missing a lot of excitement, as the Cubs ended up blowing the lead and then winning on a wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth.

But there's something to be said for being home in time to read to Katie. :)
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In the top of the news, the Cardinals have won eight games in a row and find themselves in a virtual tie for first place in the NL Central with the Cubs.

In other news, no one on the North Side of Chicagoland is speaking to me. :)

I have backed up the critical files on the studio computer preparatory to reloading the OS. After doing that, I discovered that the Windows 10 Creators Update has a new feature that will reload the entire OS, boot out all of the installed non-Windows applications, and leave your files intact.

I am, nevertheless, happy to have spent the time backing up the files.

But think about it! An OS that is so wonderfully stable that it now comes with its own built-in option to reload itself to clean up the trash that it's left lying around while leaving your files intact.

It's sort of the neutron bomb of operating system functions.

Windows 10 -- what an OS!

Ah, and we had the first serious softball practice for fall ball today. It went very well. Yay!

And Katie got her hair cut much shorter today.

That's the news. Time for bed!
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Looking at the baseball standings for the NL Central, I am rather surprised to find that the Cardinals are in second place, only a game behind the Cubs -- two in the loss column. In fact, the Cubs, Cards, and the Brewers (who are in third, two games back) all have the same number of wins. This is to the Cubs advantage, since they could win the games that they have in hand, but the Cardinals are still much more in the race than I thought they would be at this point.

I guess we'll see what happens.
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Softball being over for a while, I ventured down to Wrigley Field to see today's Cubs / Cardinals game. Normally, I would go to the Sunday night game instead, but the softball league's family swim party is tomorrow night. (Hmm. Ok, softball not quite over yet. :) ) It was a good game, but sadly, the Cardinals lost as the manager left Wainwright in just a little too long, followed by yet another bullpen meltdown.

Ah, well. It's not like I have very high hopes for the Cards at this point, but you never know what will happen.
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Tonight, I headed down to Wrigley Field and watched the Cubs beat the Padres.

Tuesday night, there is a Windycon meeting.

Wednesday night, Katie has softball practice.

Thursday night, Katie's team has the first game of their playoffs.

Friday night, if Katie's team wins on Thursday, they will play again.

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Katie scored tonight, although not in the way you might expect.

I took her to tonight's Cubs/Rockies game down at Wrigley Field. Having seen me running the scorebook at her softball games from time to time (which I would refuse to give her :) ), she asked if she could help me score tonight's game. And on the way down to the ballpark, I explained how the fielders are numbered from one to nine, and what a "K" meant, and other bits of scoring esoterica.

And then I gave her the scorebook at the game.

She scored about a third of the game with my help, which was pretty good.

Maybe we can keep scoring from becoming a lost art after all! :)


Jun. 7th, 2017 08:51 pm
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The Cardinals bullpen has cacked up another lead in the late innings.

I'm thinking this is not their year...
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Time is once again failing at its basic mission, because everything is happening at once.

I have at least one critical bug that I need to fix for work. This means that my vacation plans for the week (which were without form and void) are completely up in the air until that's done.

However, my old work VM goes away very early on Wednesday morning due to a hardware upgrade at work, so I have to get the new VM up and running with everything I need transferred before then.

And Katie has a softball game tomorrow afternoon if it doesn't rain (which it may).

And, despite the fact that I seem to be coming down with Katie's cold, I went to the Cubs game tonight.

And tomorrow is my birthday. :)

Oh, and they may or may not be back to continue working on the roof tomorrow, depending on the state of the rain.

Chaos! It's not just for breakfast any more!
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Gary Ehrlich was in town for a meeting and the Cubs were in town, so I picked him up and we headed off to Wrigley Field to watch the Cubs beat the Phillies. It was cold, but not awful, especially since the wind was from behind us instead of off the lake. :)

And a good time was had by all.
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It was Opening Day today at Wrigley Field, so it was time to raise the NL Pennant and the World Championship Banner. And unexpectedly for Opening Day, the weather was warm, in the upper 60s, although there was rain earlier in the afternoon. It was a beautiful day for a ballgame.

My buddy and I got down to Wrigley where it was beautiful outside the park. And then we went inside to our seats.

And froze solid.

No, seriously. The wind was blowing straight in off the lake and it was cold. Cold, cold, cold.

And then the banner raising festivities were postponed from their scheduled 6:15 start because of the threat of bad weather. About 7:15 or so, the bad weather finally showed up and rain poured from the sky in torrents. Happily, we were dry beneath the upper deck.

But it was cold.

A little before 8 PM, they put David Ross' performance from tonight's Dancing With the Stars live on the Jumbotron. That was amusing.

And then came the banner raising, starting at 8:10. Which was fun. And came with fireworks, which I'm assuming that Alderman Tunney approved at some point, somehow.

Did I mention that I wore my light jacket because it was warm outside?

Then there was messing around. I'm not sure why there was messing around until 9 PM, but there was no actual baseball being played.

After an inning, my buddy went downstairs to use the men's room. About 60 seconds later, I followed, because I desperately needed to get warm. We ran into each other on the way through and I told him, as I decamped under a monitor in the concourse, that I would be back up in a bit.

About an out later, I realized that he was still there. We compared notes and concluded that being warm in his car on the way home was better than trying to watch more of this particular baseball game at this hour of the night.


But I made it to Opening Day!
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Today was the day of our annual fantasy baseball draft. We play APBA baseball in an eight team superstar league, half of the season with all teams playing on the computer; the other half of the season with half of the league playing face-to-face, while the other half of the league finishes up on the computer. I've been all-computer for some time now. I was drafting last, having finished second in the first half and first in the second half which gave me the lowest aggregate point total. (And which means that I did quite well last year. :) )

The problem this year was that both my starting and relief pitching had gone down the tubes. I had one quality reliever returning and only two quality starters. Now one of those starters was Clayton Kershaw, but he is heavily limited on starts this year due to his injury in 2016. The other is Carlos Martinez, who is a fine thing, but still developing. And after that, it's the cast of thousands of mediocre starting pitchers with good names attached. So my prospects are pretty good, but the current season could be brutal. And since I was drafting eighth and there were only three quality pitchers available under the pitching cap -- who went one, two, three with Porcello, Syndergaard, and deGrom -- I would not be making any major improvements to the starting pitching.

I also had a lot of mediocre (for this year) outfielders in a year that was loaded with mediocre outfielders in the draft. I expect Bryce Harper to have a better season this year than last and he's playable this year, but...

But with a starting infield of Freeman, Zobrist, Machado, Bogaerts, and Molina behind the plate, not all was lost. Still, the team is likely to finish in the middle of the pack this year.

So we came down to the end of round one and Jonathan Lucroy was staring me in the face. That was a lot of catcher at bats that were likely to be better than Molina's by some margin. And Lucroy is several years younger. So I picked him (Gary Sanchez had gone fourth in the draft, just for reference) and kicked off a run on catchers. :)

As I mentioned, the relief corps had been thinned out (I had Will Harris as a top quality reliever and Tony Watson as a second-tier lefty reliever), so I grabbed the best available reliever, Daniel Otero, at the end of round two and kicked off a brief run on relief. There were more relievers available than catchers though, so there was a bit less of a panic.

In round three, I took the best available young non-quality starting pitcher (IMO) with Jameson Taillon.

In round four, it was back to the bullpen for another quality reliever with Tony Barnette.

In round five, I did some maneuvering. Carlos Correa is my backup shortstop this year, but there is talk that the Astros might move him to third base, swapping positions with Alex Bregman. Well, I needed a backup third baseman, so I drafted Bregman and am now covered either way.

Round six was back to the bullpen, adding Nationals closer Blake Treinen. He'd actually end up completing the bullpen, as I never found anyone I considered an improvement over Tony Watson.

At this point, my draft moved into the "just messing around" stage. As I said, I had a lot of mediocre outfield and started trading some of it in on outfield with a different flavor. In round seven, I picked up Cubs near-rookie centerfielder Albert Almora Jr.

Round eight added Byron Buxton, who can field the position and may or may not someday figure out how to hit in the major leagues.

Round nine brought Cameron Maybin aboard. He lacks power, but has speed and can get on base, which was being a problem with the previous version of the outfield.

And I closed out my draft in round ten by picking Brandon Drury, a utility player for the Diamondbacks who is currently playing second base. This, of course, is subject to change. :)

Holdovers included (some players already mentioned): Yadier Molina, Freddie Freeman, Ben Zobrist, Jonathan Schoop, Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Correa, Manny Machado, Bryce Harper, Gregory Polanco, Kole Calhoun, Stephen Piscotty, and Randal Grichuk.

And pitchers: Clayton Kershaw, Carlos Martinez, Kevin Gausman, Jeff Samardzija, Adam Wainwright, Will Harris, Tony Watson, Zack Greinke, Taijuan Walker, and Michael Wacha.

We'll see how it goes.
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Tomorrow is our annual fantasy baseball draft. In deference to my kidney stones (which are better, but not yet 100%), I've asked one of my fellow managers for a lift, which he has agreed to do.

We'll see how the day goes...
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Look at that! While I have been running around trying to get things accomplished, the baseball season seems to have started this afternoon.

The girls are now in bed, so it is time to go see the end of the Cubs/Cardinals game. :)


Dec. 18th, 2016 10:09 pm
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It would be ever so helpful if the Cubs could fix their website so that it will accept my credit card. Instead, it says that the card already exists. You can't select the card that I want to use, but it does indeed exist, because I'm holding it in my hand.
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My current NAS box has reached the point of being choked full of backup data and it cannot hold any more or be expanded. This has caused me to spend some substantial time researching new NAS boxes.

Today, Amazon offered a special price on Enterprise NAS hard drives. The prospect of saving some money and having an initial 5 TB of mirrored storage has caused me to take the plunge, so I bought a pair of drives and a new Synology NAS. This will use up a chunk of the profits from selling Cubs playoff tickets, but it is in a good cause. :)


Game Seven

Nov. 3rd, 2016 10:00 pm
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Things were going well for the Cubs. Too well, as it turned out for a bit. Around the eighth inning, I started having flashbacks to 2003 when the Cubs failed to reach the World Series largely because Dusty Baker only had two relievers on his team that he was actually willing to use.

Joe Maddon was trying to go Dusty one better by getting down to a single trustworthy reliever, Aroldis Chapman. And if he hadn't brought Chapman into game six with a big lead, Chapman might actually have been effective in the eighth inning of game seven.

Chapman was notably ineffective, giving up the last of the Cubs' lead.

But the Cubs managed to survive into extra innings and -- after a short rain delay -- the offense bailed Maddon out.

And the Cubs are World Champions.

So all will be forgiven. :)

Game Six

Nov. 1st, 2016 11:16 pm
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The Cubs having won tonight by a score of 9-3 over the Indians, there will be a game seven tomorrow in the World Series.



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