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Real Life in the Moment

Sunday afternoon I was sitting in my office at home, at my computer, doing “a little work”. At the same time, I was watching the Baltimore Orioles play Tampa Bay. I find major league baseball relaxing… as long as the Orioles are winning. I admit that I was also periodically turning the channel to watch some golf. Maybe even a “periodic text”.

The Orioles are currently in first place in their division with the season a little over halfway over,.But on this day, they were struggling. They ultimately lost 5-2.

However, there was one encouraging moment in the game that became a human interest story. It made me stop and watch without distraction. It was the major league debut of Orioles lefty reliever Donnie Hart, who had just gotten called up after several years in the minor leagues .

Hart’s entire family was sitting together in the stands. The television cameras from the MASN network kept focusing on them. Hart’s sister was showing the excitement and stress of the moment. His parents were taking cell phone pictures and nervously rocking back and forth.

They saw the left-hander Hart retire two Tampa Bay hitters on six pitches, including a looking strikeout of the second batter. For them, in that moment, nothing else mattered!

I am often extremely irritated by insurance adjusters who belittle client claims. Many times, they merely view the case related to the medical bills. They forget that life revolves around the moments and cannot be measured by simply adding up medical bills with some pitiful multiplier!

And for pic o’ day, feeling positive:

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Brooks Robinson For 150 Please

Reporters wrote that Hall-of-Famer Brooks Robinson visited the Baltimore Oriole locker room on Saturday, with his son and grandson. Several players hugged him as he walked around the locker room. A life long iconic former Oriole player who still means a lot to the organization. He spent his entire 23-year baseball playing career with the Orioles.

During that period he won 16 yearly Gold Glove Awards as the best fielding American League third baseman. Oriole fans probably remember him most from his amazing play in the 1970 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds. He batted .429 in that series with 2 homerun.  But, he really remembered for his amazing defensive plays at third.

At the time, Reds manager Sparky Anderson could not get over the impact the Robinson’s defense had on the series. As he put it, “I’m beginning to see Brooks in my sleep. If I dropped this paper plate, he’d pick it up on one hop and throw me out at first”.

In 2011, he was honored for his great fielding by being voted as a member of the All-Time Rawlings Gold Glove Team. If you go to Camden Yards to see the Orioles play, you can find a statute of Brooks that depicts him throwing out a runner at first. When he was asked about being honored with a statue, he smiled and said that, “it gave him more hair than he deserved”.

I remember reading Brooks: Biography of Brooks Robinson, when I was a kid. It’s why I titled the blog like a category in Jeopardy.

In his biography, players reflected on how Brooks came to be so good at fielding. Multiple former players and teammates reflected on the fact that every day, he would field 150 ground balls. He’d work on short hops, back-hands, slow rollers and anything that he could imagine that might be hit to him during a game.

Former manager for the Orioles and the Nationals, Davey Johnson, also played with Brooks. He noticed that every day before the game, Brooks’ uniform would already get dirty before the game would even start; Just from practicing and diving for batted practice balls.  Johnson asked him, “Why do you take so many grounders when you already have all those Gold Gloves?”  Brooks replied, “Because I want to get another, and the only way to do it is work at it.”

That’s a good reminder for how to get better in whatever we do! In my law practice, trials can be long and demanding. However, the real work is in the months leading up to the trial. Fortunately, at least I get to wear a clean suit to the courtroom!!!

 

And for pic o’ day… all about looking good!

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Oh That Glove!

During game 1 of baseball’s 1996 American League Championship series between the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees, a fan impacted the result of the game.

The Yankees were trailing the Orioles 4-3, going into the bottom of the eighth inning. Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter hit a high fly ball to right field. Oriole right-fielder Tony Tarasco moved back toward the fence and waited to catch the towering ball.

Just as Tarasco was about to catch the ball, a glove from the stands appeared over the fence and snatched the ball, before it came down into Tarasco’s glove and the field of play.

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The play was ruled a home run instead of fan interference. OK… I can tell that you think that I am just a bitter Orioles’ fan. Here’s another angle.

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Now do you believe me? The baseball rule that applied states that if “a spectator reaches out of the stands, or goes on the playing field and touches a live ball” spectator interference is to be called.

Right field umpire Rich Garcia immediately ruled the play as a home run, which tied the score at 4-4. The Yankees ended up winning the game in the 11th inning,  showing the impact of that call. The 12-year-old Jeffrey Maier had changed the game and and the series.

The umpire later admitted that there was spectator interference, but he maintained that the ball was not catchable anyway. According to the rules, had the umpire determined at the time that there was fan interference, he would have then used his own judgment to determine the likely outcome of the way… whether it be an out or awarding Jeter a hit such as a double.

Here’s the transcript of the announcer for Orioles baseball as he called it in real time:

There’s a high fly ball to right, deep…Going back is Tarasco, to the warning track, to the wall, he’s under it now…AND IT’S TAKEN AWAY FROM HIM BY A FAN, AND THEY’RE GONNA CALL IT…A HOME RUN! I CAN’T BELIEVE IT! Richie Garcia is calling it a home run, and Tarasco is out to argue! A terrible call by Richie Garcia! IT’S ALL TIED UP! —Jon Miller Orioles radio.

     The next day, that umpire was shown along the Yankee sidelines as he signed autographs for the fans. That just added insult to injury for O’s fans. Umpire Garcia instantaneously became a New York celebrity. Meanwhile Jeffrey Maier also became a celebrity. A local newspaper gave him tickets behind the Yankee dugout for other playoff games and he appeared on national talk shows.
     In February of this year, the Maier glove was auctioned by Heritage Auctions. An anonymous buyer paid $22,705 for the cowhide glove that interfered.
     Going back to that 1996 game, at the time, Orioles manager Davey Johnson came racing out to argue the call. He was ultimately ejected for arguing. A Baltimore reporter for MASN recently asked him about that call and getting ejected in light of the glove’s reported sale.

     “You need breaks and that was a big one for the Yankees. And I don’t know how I could see it from about 300 feet and Richie was right next to it, looking up, and couldn’t see that. That got me thrown out,” Johnson said.

Did Johnson consider bidding on the glove?

No, I don’t want anything to do with that glove, before or now,” he said. “It cost me money, so why would I pay for it?”

     When I read about this, I was reminded of what usually transpires at the end of cases that I handle.  I will ask my client whether they want their file; or more specifically, do they want the photographs and various drawings that might have been part of the evidence. Almost always, clients will express similar sentiment as manager Davey Johnson was about that glove. They will tell me that they just want to put it behind them and want no reminders of their claim.
     Now… I just wish I could forget about that cowhide glove!

And for pic o’ day, a bit of toothbrush sampling!

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Earl Weaver on Life

 

 

This past week, former Baltimore Oriole manager, Earl Weaver, passed away at age 82. At the time, he was on a cruise ship that was headed back into the port of Ft. Lauderdale, after having spent a week with a bunch of Oriole fans and some former Orioles players,  on an Oriole theme cruise.

Normally, I wouldn’t write a blog to remember a former baseball manager. However, for any Oriole fan, he represents everything good about the Orioles. Plus, he was especially known for taking on umpires. If you type in any “Earl Weaver” search, it will bring up several videos that show him arguing with umpires.

He did not mind adversity. In fact, he believed that it was his job to argue. He always felt that he would argue for the players so that they didn’t get thrown out of the game. As he said, “I’m only the manager”. That kind of arguing and his lack of fear always made me think that he would have been a great lawyer.

I am not going to write about his hall of fame career as a manager. There are many stories on how he managed. I remember that pitcher Jim Palmer used to humorously say that, “the only thing that Earl knew about pitching, was that he couldn’t hit it”. I could be off a bit on the quote, but one reporter asked him about what part that intellect played in managing. He replied that he was “a whole lot smarter when his players hit a three-run homer”.

Instead of focusing on his humor or how he managed or his relationship with Jim Palmer or other players at the time, I thought that I would focus on his “life thoughts”. I found them in an article in the Washington Post , written by Thomas Boswell, who knew Earl well and still writes about baseball.

The first is about growing up and leadership:

Until you’re the person that other people fall back on, until you’re the one that’s leaned on, not the person doing the leaning, you’re not an adult. You reach an age when suddenly you realize you have to be that person. Divorce did it to me. It could be elderly parents, children … anything. But one day you realize, ‘It’s me. I’ve got to be the rock.'”

Another unusual choice that Earl made was to retire at age 52. Then, he was briefly talked into managing again but quickly retired after that, and was finished entirely. No one could believe that this “ball of fire” could just leave competition behind and never come back. He explained it this way on retirement and the simple things of life:

I know exactly what I need to live on, have since ’57. I’m always going to do the same things. I grow all my own vegetables. I stuff my own sausages. Pork shoulders will be coming on sale next month. I look for chuck roast on sale to use in stew or grind up for hamburgers,” Weaver said. “Doing that takes time and I enjoy it. I’ll have plenty [of money] to play golf every day, run out to Hialeah or the dogs, take [wife] Marianna out to dinner in Fort Lauderdale, and take a walk on the beach. ... don’t want to spend my whole life watching the sun go down behind the left field bleachers.”

Good thoughts on life! So long Earl… you gave this Oriole fan some great memories.

For pic o’ day, here is “Delivery Dog”. What he is delivering is probably a bunch of nonsense!!!! I think that the box would really come up a bit empty.

 

 

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