Friday, September 30, 2005

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Positive News, for a change...

Just a quick note. The Royals finally reached terms with their draft pick, Alex Gordon. Gordon is a complete player who played third base for Nebraska and has an impact bat. He will head to the Arizona Fall League and hopefully will be in Omaha next season and in Kansas City in 2007.

The Royals also secured the first pick in next year’s draft with their awful season this year. Next year’s draft looks to be heavy on pitching, so hopefully the Royals will be able to strengthen their pitching staff. GM Allard Baird said today that ownership is committed to drafting the best player available, regardless of “signability.”

All in all, a good day for the Royals.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

2006 Royals

I was looking through the Royals 2006 tentative schedule and I noticed couple of peculiar things.

First of all, the Royals will play in several 2 game series next year. They open at home with a 2 game series against Detroit. They start May with a 2 game series at Detroit, and then another 2 game series at Minnesota.

In September, they will play another 2 game series at Cleveland, and later that month, host the Angels for 2 games.

I also noticed that the Royals will be going to Yankee Stadium twice next year early in the season and the Yankees will come to KC for a three game series in September.

So, as is the tradition when football schedules are released, I’ve gone through the schedule and predicted either a win or loss for each game. With that, I’m predicting that the Royals’ record in 2006 will be 128 – 34. Go Royals!

I Hate To Do This!!!

Classic Mustang Convertible For Sale

I don’t want to do it, but I’ve decided to put my 1966 Ford Mustang Convertible up for sale. This is a beautiful, classic car!

I bought the car about 7 or 8 years ago. The previous owner had put a rebuilt 302 V8 in it and that engine is still running great. The car was equipped with a 289 V8 out of the factory.

When I bought it, the car had a pretty well worn black interior. I checked the codes and found that out of the factory it had an aqua interior. I completely restored the interior about 4 years ago, returning it to its original aqua. I had a radio patch professionally installed and I installed an original AM radio. The interior was also professionally painted using a beautiful aqua clearcoat. It looks fabulous! All seats were stripped down to the frames and the new foam and upholstery installed. It has a new dash pad, new carpet, new guage cluster, new rear view mirror, new sun visors, new hardware. It's gorgeous!

The car runs and drives great. It always gets compliments! There are some rust spots just forming on the rear quarters and the paint is in good condition. There are a few scratches, but it cleans up nice and shines like new.

Underneath is RUST FREE and very solid.

It is a mechanically sound car that has never failed Missouri’s safety inspection. I’ve always had it licensed and ready to drive.

The top is fairly new and is in great condition. The power top works great.

It’s equipped with power steering and power brakes and an automatic transmission.

I’ve kept it garaged and only drive it on nice, sunny days. It always starts right up and runs great.

You can see more information at I documented the interior restoration at that web page, and you can see the transformation from the worn out black interior to the beautiful, aqua interior.

I will be taking new pictures of the car and posting them here soon.

Asking $22,000.

Email me at with questions.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Akers Redux

Okay, so the Eagles got win Sunday against the Raiders. But the price for that win? It now looks like their kicker, David Akers, will be out for this week's game against the Chiefs and may miss up to six weeks.

Again, I ask... Why didn't they sign a kicker last week? And why did they continue to send him out there to make kicks further injuring his hamstring?

Drudge Bump

I’m at work listening to my Delphi MyFi. The great thing about this XM Satellite Radio receiver is that it can record content and listen to it later. I can’t get a satellite signal here at work, but I am listening to the Matt Drudge Show which I recorded Sunday night on XM 166 America Right.

I enjoy Drudge. He’s not really a very good radio personality, but he’s kinda fun to listen to. But he has the WORST bumper music ever in the history of radio.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

"704 and I Don't Care"

My friend Dan has written an excellent column about Barry Bonds and his pathetic rhetoric. I agree with Dan. I am sickened by Barry and the thought of his breaking the records of the great Babe Ruth and Henry Aaron. I appreciate greatness as much as anybody, but Bonds is simply a great ass.

Eagles win, screw their kicker

I watched today’s Eagles/Raiders game. As a Chiefs fan, I was rooting for an Eagles win, but things didn’t look good to start the game. Eagles kicker David Akers kicked off, and limped off the field with a bum hamstring. Unfortunately, the Eagles were off sides, so they had to rekick. Akers limped back on the field and tried to kick off again, and after kicking he fell to the ground in obviously a great deal of pain. But, the Eagles were off sides again! Off sides on a kickoff is the dumbest penalty in football, and the Eagles did it two times in a row, further injuring their kicker.

Akers couldn’t kick it a third time, so tight end Mike Bartrum had to kick off. Once the Eagles scored a touch down, linebacker Mark Simoneau tried the point after but kicked it off one of his lineman’s head.

So the Eagles knew they were playing without a kicker for the day. What I don’t understand is why, after their second touchdown, they didn’t go for two to try to make up the lost point from the earlier touchdown. Plus, Akers came back in to kick the extra point for that second touchdown. The guy could hardly walk, and they were making him kick these extra points, when they could get two points without risking further injury to their kicker.

Predictably, the game came was tied with time running out and the Eagles had the ball. Normally, you would play for a field goal to win, but the Eagles really needed to get in the end zone, knowing their kicker was hurt. The Eagles drove down to the six yard line with 9 seconds remaining. If I remember correctly, it was either second or third down. I believe there was enough time to take one shot at the end zone to end the game without using their kicker. Instead, Akers came onto the field to attempt a 23 yard field goal to win it. Give him credit: he sucked it up and made the kick and the Eagles sent the Raiders to an 0-3 start.

There’s one other thing that confuses me about the Eagles. Akers injured his hamstring last week, and Simoneau had to kick an extra point in last week’s game. That means that the Eagles knew their kicker was injured, and yet they didn’t attempt to sign another kicker for this week? I know there are plenty of kickers who are sitting out there and would be happy to play in the NFL for a week or two. The Chiefs have used temporary kickers several times over the last few years in situations just like this one. I admire Akers for playing through the pain, but at the same time he should be upset that his team did nothing to help his hamstring heal. I hope he hasn’t injured it for good, putting him out for several weeks.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Great Baseball

My son Joey is playing on an all star team of sorts this fall. My friend, Bill put together a 12U team to let the kids get some playing time at different positions as a practice season. The team is made up of 2 or 3 kids from several different teams including a few from Joey’s regular team, the Northland Storm.

This team, the Hawks, is playing in a fall league and they had a double header last night. In the second inning of the first game with one runner on, Joey stepped up to the plate. The team they were facing is a younger team who is playing this fall to get some experience playing in their new age level. The pitcher was throwing fairly slow compared to the pitching that our boys are used to seeing. He threw a good pitch right over the plate, and Joey knocked it over the left field fence for a 2-run home run.

It was his first “out of the park” home run. He was grinning from ear to ear, of course. One of the coaches retrieved the ball, and it will soon grace our mantle. The Hawks went on to win the first game 15-0.

In the second game, they faced a team that Joey’s other team, the Storm, had lost to in a tournament a few weeks ago. It was a good game, and the Hawks were able to pull out a 16-6 victory.

All in all, a great night of baseball.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

A Tragedy in the FoxPro World

I only spent a short time working at Visionpace and I never met Visionpace consultant Drew Speedie in person. But I quickly became aware of his talent as a FoxPro developer, author and speaker.

I just learned that Drew and his son Brent tragically died last Friday while on vacation at Yellowstone Park.

This is very sad news and I offer my sincerest condolences to Drew’s family and the entire Visionpace team.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

My Mid-Life Crisis

I fulfilled my mid life crisis today. I took delivery of a 2003 BMW 325i.

I had never driven a BMW before, and had only been in one once in my life.

My wife and I have been considering getting new vehicles, and I decided that I wanted some kind of small, sporty sedan. My only requirement was that it had a stick shift, was fun to drive, and would lower our existing monthly payments. My wife’s requirement is an SUV-type of vehicle, or a van that drives like a car. We have a Mercury Moutaineer which is very nice, but she feels like she’s driving a big truck in it.

So I was browsing the used car inventories of various dealerships around town when I happened upon this BMW 325i at the Volvo dealer. I stopped by and took it for a test drive, and I was hooked. The BMW is the most amazing car to drive. The acceleration is unbelievable, the cornering is incredible. It’s just a blast.

So, I bought it.

It’s totally impractical. Rear wheel drive with summer tires? Yeah, I’ll regret that come January (though I did work out a deal for new all-seasons with the dealership). A much smaller car than what we had before? But… fun as hell!

UPDATE: Just added pictures of the car here.

Friday, September 09, 2005

The Happy Heckler

In July 2003, my wife and I visited some friends in Tampa, Florida. I try to hit the ballpark whenever I visit a new city, so we hopped in the car one evening and drove to St. Petersburg to see the Tampa Bay Devil Rays take on the Texas Rangers.

It was interesting from a Royals fan’s perspective because the Royals were actually in the race at the time and were considering a trade for Juan Gonzalez. Gonzalez was having a decent season for Texas in 2003 (24 HR’s, .294 in 327 AB’s).

Since the Devil Rays don’t necessarily fill the house, we were able to walk up a half hour before game time and buy tickets right behind home plate, about 3 rows up. The first thing I noticed when the game started was the heckler. He sat near the third base dugout and constantly heckled the Rangers. And in Tropicana Field with only a few folks inside, everybody could hear him clearly. When Gonzalez was up to bat, he heckled him about his rumored trade to the Royals. I thought it was pretty funny.

Of course, it was during that game that Gonzalez came up lame while running the bases, and he didn’t play anymore in 2003. The Royals finally did sign him in the off season and in 2004, he played in 33 games for the Royals before injuries ended his season. I should also point out that Cleveland signed Gonzalez in 2005 and he had all of one at bat before his hamstring ended his season.

When I watch on TV or listen on the radio to Royals games when they are at the Trop, I can always hear the heckler in the background.

Now, the heckler, (his real name is Robert Szasz) has written a book. “The Happy Heckler” is now out in paper back. I’m not sure if the book will be any good, but I’m sure I’ll pick up a copy. Just for the “heck” of it.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Who's Responsible for this Mess?

Another dismal Royals season is grinding toward its end. Just like many years past, I’m finding it more and more difficult to care about the Royals. They currently stand at 44-93, 42.5 games behind the White Sox in the AL Central. With 25 games remaining, it’s a near certainty that the Royals will eclipse their worst ever record of 104 losses.

The Royals are finishing out the season as if it were an extended tryout. Several minor leaguers have been called up and manager Buddy Bell has mentioned several times that he would like to figure out which players have the “stuff” to eventually win.

Several moves will be made over the next few weeks and months in hopes of improving the club in 2006. However, some of those moves are questionable. The Royals have officially given up on Calvin Pickering, releasing him earlier this week. They also continue to insist that John Buck is the catcher of the future, even if he is the third worst offensive player in all of baseball. (It’s well documented that I’m no Paul Phillips fan, but in his limited playing time, he has shown much more promise than Buck).

On the positive side, I am encouraged by Buddy Bell. Unlike the previous manager, Bell is not afraid to speak his mind. I try to tune into the Royals broadcasts after each game to hear Bell’s comments. They are always straightforward and sometimes very entertaining. Here are some quotes I recall:

“It’s hard to watch”
“We need to find out who has the courage to play this game”
“Major league players should know those things, but we don’t”
“If this isn’t rock bottom, I hate to think what is”

Over the last few weeks, Bell has made it clear that he’s looking at not only playing ability but attitude and is ready to cut out those who he thinks are not ready to win.

After the last three “Camp Snoopy” training camps under Tony Pena, it will be interesting to see how Buddy Bell conducts spring training next February. Hopefully it will be more than a working vacation for these guys and they will have to work hard to prove they deserve to play Major League Baseball.

All of this brings me to my conclusion about the Royals organization. Sure they’ve been plagued by the lack of ownership, poor drafts, poor trades and bad luck. But the underlying issue here is the attitude of the club. For too long, the Royals have spouted the “small market” mantra. They’ve leaned on that crutch over the years as an excuse for their poor play. The players in turn have begun to take for granted their status as big leaguers. There has never been any real accountability for on-the-field success. No matter how poorly the team has played, no heads have ever rolled. Tony Muser was quite obviously a terrible manager, and yet GM Allard Baird retained him year after year, and finally fired him in May of 2002 when it was obvious to all that he should have been let go after the 2001 season to allow the new manager to start fresh.

The team stood by Tony Pena even when it became apparent that he had no business being a big league manager, and Allard Baird himself has never feared for his job in spite of his “Roscoe Crosby” drafts and “Neifi Perez” trades. The entire organization has become too comfortable with poor performances.

I’m hopeful that Buddy Bell will start to change that attitude next spring. I can only hope that his words ring true and players who are not willing to work hard to become winners will be let go or will be forced to squander in the minors until they are ready.

We can only hope…