Archive for the ‘Baseball’ category

AHHHHHH….Baseball!

June 17, 2009

Time for a diversion from the giant slide toward socialism…

Instead today I’d like to reflect on baseball for a moment.  First of all, let me be clear, I was not a good baseball player as a kid.  I love it now and love that my son enjoys it so much (he is 7) but I was, well…I stunk!

However, I think baseball is an amazing glue in our society.  It bonds so many people together, it creates bonds between parents and kids, and it is something that nearly everyone can understand.

So…hats off to the Texas Longhorns!

What a come from behind win against Arizona State.  Congrats boys!

I have to say that my love for baseball began really as a child–but not playing it.  I used to go to the Astrodome and watch the Houston Astros play and I can still remember that big board that lit up whenever (which was rare) they hit a homer in that airless dome.

Notice that it is the second inning and already the Astros have committed an error–you gotta love ’em.

Then in college I really became more and more of a sports enthusiast while living with a roommate who was and to some degree still is “all sports, all the time.”  But my real passion for the game came in 1990.  It was that year (my senior year at the University of Texas) that I assisted in coaching the Austin, Westlake Hills Little League Minor League Red Sox.

red Sox

I am top left next to Benjamin Schenkkan–you might know him as Ben McKenzie

benm

But I digress…

(seriously though–watch SouthLAnd–he is awesome)

That experience-coaching those 9-11 year olds was so rewarding.  I had the best time coaching those guys.  I learned what it meant to be a role model to young boys–it was obvious from the first practice that these guys looked up to us and were watching us and were soaking in what it was like to be a 21 year old.  It would not have been appropriate for these young boys to see us acting irresponsibly, immorally or in any way that would taint their view of the world.  It was an awesome responsibility.  And…they were fun to be around. 

Mason Ayer (2nd row-first kid on left) had never played baseball before–but you could tell with each practice that he was loving it.  He became one of our pitchers before mid-season and his father said he was really loving the sport.  These boys were learning their first lessons in teamwork, pulling together as a unit, supporting their friends and teammates, individual responsibility and effort.  What a great time.

I was touched recently when talking to one of the kids’ dads who told me that he remembers that team and recalls how cool it was when one of his sons was pitching and the other catching.  The pitching son got flustered and walked a couple of batters.  The dad recalled how his brother (the catcher) called time on his own, went out to the mound, put his arm around his brother and calmed him down.  What a great moment.

I got my first taste of fatherhood and understood what it really meant to care about other people.  If you need a lesson in caring for others, take care of some kids for a while by coaching, teaching, babysitting, whatever…and you realize how important it is that kids be exposed to positive role models who will not lead them astray.  What a great lesson.

So now, 19 years later, the Westlake Red Sox are lawyers, bankers, construction managers, teachers, broadway stars and tv stars and this year and last I had the opportunity to coach again.  This year, it was the Spring Branch Memorial Sports Association Junior Baseball Angels.

(no picture–they are still kids)

And I must say coaching my own son brings back all of those amazing moments and lessons I saw 19 years ago.  Baseball is an opportunity for men to show boys how to treat people, how to play hard and to give it your all.  It teaches living up to your commitments and understanding the importance of building a team.  It focuses on individual achievement but also shows these boys how one person can make a difference to a group–in either direction. 

At the end of my coaching year in 1990, the parents got together an bought the coaches a framed picture that said the following:

“Small boys learn to be large men in the presence of large men who care about small boys.”

So true that is.  I pray that the truth of that statement penetrates the minds of every man and woman who influences young children.   It is too important to take for granted.

-Murphy

My Most Treasured Baseball Memory

April 1, 2009

As baseball season approaches I thought I would share with you an incredible experience I had years ago.

When I was a kid, my favorite baseball player was George Brett.  I really loved watching him play–he was amazing.  From the near .400 season to the “Pine Tar Incident,” he was awesome. 

It was late one afternoon in April of 1976 when my father turned to me and said he had some exciting news. 

“I have a business trip tomorrow to Kansas City and I thought you could tag along and see a Royals game.”

I was so excited.  I was 8 years old and was going to get to see my baseball hero live and up close–a young boy’s dream was going to come true.  We left early that Friday morning, made the hour drive from El Campo, Texas to Houston, hopped on an Braniff flight to Kansas City and landed there shortly after lunch.  I went with my dad to a large office building and hung out in the lobby while he handled his meeting.  I was so excited I couldn’t stand it.

After about 30 minutes a large salt and pepper haired man approached me and asked who I was and said something like, “Are you being dad’s helper today?”  I immediately said, without any control, “I’m going to see George Brett today.”

“You are?” said the large man, “Are you going to meet him?”

“No, I’m just going to the game–but he is my favorite player and I’ve never been to his baseball field before.”

The large man paused for a few moments, smiled and bent his knees down so that his face was level to mine and after a second or so said, “How would you like to meet him and maybe even throw the ball around with him?”

I couldn’t believe it, I was standing there in disbelief at the mere thought of actually getting to toss the ball around with the great George Brett.  I began to shake from lifting my heels off the ground over and over like a sort-of half jump and said, “I would give anything.  Do you know him?”

“Turns out I do,” he said, “he is my nephew and I happen to have some dugout passes and I would love it if a young boy like yourself could get to meet his favorite player.”

He then slowly pulled out two large pieces of strong paper that said “dugout pass”

Not only was I going to get to go into the dugout, but I was also going to sit on the first row of seats right behind the dugout during the game!  I have never been so thrilled.

My dad’s meeting ended and I showed him my new prize–he had this stunned, what-kind-of-scam-have-you-pulled look on his face.  I explained what happened and he couldn’t believe it.

That evening we are headed to the stadium and I am just beaming.  We arrive inside an hour and a half early and show the passes to the attendant.  I was half certain that they were fake and we would get thrown out.  Instead they showed us down to the dugout and told us the team would be coming out in about 5 minutes. 

There I was in the KC dugout with my dad, my glove and no one else.  Suddenly the door opened and the Royals came trotting out onto the field.  Out came guys like Buck Martinez, John Mayberry, Frank White, Hal McRae, Amos Otis, Freddie Patek, Steve Busby, Andy Hassler and then George Brett.  He was like a diety walking out after a great 1975 season and primed and ready to lead the Royals to a 90 win season.  He walked over to me and said,

“My uncle says I have a visitor today–you must be the man.”  I smiled and said, “Great to meet you Mr. Brett.”  He said, “Call me George and what is your name?”  I said “Murphy Scott Klasing.”  as if I needed to tell him my entire name.

He said, “Well, Murphy Scott Klasing, I need to warm up so you want to throw me some balls?”  Did I ever, I could not believe I was getting this opportunity.  I couldn’t wait to get home and tell Tal and Michael and David and my other friends that I had played catch with George Brett.

We walked out to the field and I threw the ball and he graciously threw it softly back to me.  I was not exactly an athlete but I did love the game.  Stretching out next to where we were throwing was John Mayberry.  One one toss to George I threw so wildly that it went right by him and plunked Mr. Mayberry on the back of his neck.  He jumped up, spun around and said, “what the ___ was that?” 

Needless to say I was wide-eyed and freaked out.  When Mr. Mayberry saw that it was an 8 year old that had plunked him, he quickly apologized for the cursing and spoke to George for a quick second where I could not hear what he was saying. 

George walks over to me and says, “I think I’m pretty warmed up.  Me and John were talking and decided that you needed to be our batboy for the game–if you want to.”  I said, “Yes, yes, yes.”  I checked with my dad and was given the green light.

So there I was in the dugout getting bats for players and hangin’ with the Royals.  The game started.  It was against the Cleveland Indians.  Bird was pitching for the royals and through 7 innings had only given up 2 runs.  In the bottom of the 8th inning it was tied 2-2.  With men on 1st and 2nd and one out, George took the plate.  He hit a single loading the bases.  I was so excited.  Mayberry singles in 2 runs and leaves George at third.  Hal McRae steps up and hits a grounder for an out but George scores on the play.  I ran out of the dugout to meet him at the plate and he picked me up as he crossed home.

The game ended with the Royals winning 5-3 and I experienced the greatest baseball dream day of my life.  I got the autographs of all the players and to this day will never forget the experience.

 

The only thing that would have made this experience any better…

 

 

 

any better at all…

 

would be…

 

blank

 

if even one single word (other than the fact that George Brett is my favorite player and they did beat the Indians 5-3) was at all true.

 

Happy April Fools Day!

 

-Murphy

How About Social Security-Oh, We Have to Investigate Clemens

February 15, 2008

I listened with great anticipation as our esteemed congressmen questioned Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee about the use of Human Growth Hormones.  It was great theater as both men stuck to their previous stories with vigor and determination.  As I sat listening I thought about the role of Congress in the United States.

Here is a little quote from a document some may call “important”:

Section 8. The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes;

To establish a uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States;

To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures;

To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States;

To establish post offices and post roads;

To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;

To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court;

To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations;

To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;

To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;

To provide and maintain a navy;

To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;

To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings;–And

To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.

Now I’m no constitutional expert mind you–but I don’t see where Congress will regulate the use of human growth hormones in major league baseball.  Maybe it is contained within the clause “general welfare of the United States.”

I know, I know–there was some anti-trust ruling and the Government allowed baseball a monopoly and that is why they feel they have the right to regulate it–blah, blah, blah–but frankly, I did not elect politicians to conduct hearings to determine whether or not a career liar is telling the truth or whether a baseball player is telling the truth.  I have always liked Roger Clemens–he was a superstar at the University of Texas, I have a signed baseball card from his earlier days, I paid to see him play when he was with Houston–but whether he did drugs or not–I frankly don’t know and am trying hard not to care.  If he did, then he will go into the disgrace pile with the likes of Bonds, Canseco, McGwire (you know he did) and others–and that will be sad for him, sad for his kids and sad for the game–but the effect it will have on the continuation of the administration of our Government—well—I just don’t see it.

For example, while money is being spent for Waxman and others to prove what great lawyers they are and grandstand for the American public, what is going on with our surveillance legislation?  What is going on with Social Security?  What are we doing to stem the tide of illegal immigrants coming across Texas, California, Washington, Minnesota, Maine, etc…?  What are we doing to bring about an end to the war in Iraq?  Not enough if we are spending one dime on this garbage.

But—trying to see everything half full—there is a bright side.  After all-as long as Congress is occupied with scandals that are irrelevant to the general public–they can’t be passing legislation to further tax our gas, our alcohol, our fatty foods and our income.  So for that Waxman, I am grateful.

While you are at it–I would like to call hearings to investigate the following other pressing and very important issues of our time.

1.  Is the “Mickey” kid from Life Cereal Commercials actually dead?

For years I’ve heard mixed reports that he committed suicide, that he is running a casino, that he is living in a commune in northern California.  The best is that he ate poprocks, drank a coke and died.  I think we need to get to the bottom of this immediately.  Congress–step it up!

2.  Why do some people have a rubber suit fetish?

I know I’m an intollerant bigot–at least that is what one commentator said about my transgender post.  But putting that aside–I really don’t get this one–I want to understand, actually I don’t–this is weird–it needs to be investigated.  I would start with witnesses like Barney Frank, Michael Jackson and that weird guy in Pulp Fiction.

3.  Why Did NBC Cancel Journeyman and Studio 60?

Both of these shows rocked.  Both had awesome storylines, great writing, creative acting.  Both were cancelled in the first season.  And yet, in the 1980’s this idiotic show made it for 5 YEARS!!! 

Seriously!!!  I think there is a conspiracy to keep good television off the air.  Congress–you know what to do.

4.  Why did the Giants win the SuperBowl?

Poor Tom–he was supposed to win again.  He was supposed to have a 19-0 season.  But you know Don Shula is still alive and I think there is something amiss here.  Something that should be investigated.  After all, Eli is good, but he is no Tom Brady.  So Congress, I would bring back the entire undefeated Miami Dolphin team in for questioning about their activities and whereabouts the week leading up to the big game and during the game itself.  This hearing could take weeks and would likely end in a 890 page report that says absolutely nothing.  The bigger problem though is that when you search “superbowl” in Goggle Images–the first image is Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake taken right when the wardrobe malfunction occurred.  Yech!

Well, I think that ought to keep our boys and girl in Washington busy for a while–by the time they are done, we will have some new terrorist attacks to grieve over, no more social security, a bankrupt budget but at least the beekeepers will get ther subsidy.  And that will at least make Jerry Seinfeld happy.

-Murphy