Thursday, March 26, 2009
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
The Ryan Express
I keep thinking that Jesus is gonna be like Nolan Ryan. Here is what I mean:
I followed Nolan Ryan, my whole life. The first baseball card I owned was a Nolan Ryan card and to this day, I still browse eBay looking for a deal on his rookie card. I knew stats (5,714 strike outs, 7 no-hitters, 12 1-hitters) , I knew dates (May 1, 1991 - 7th no hitter I was there!) I knew his opponents (struck out Rickey Henderson for 5,000 strikeout, Roberto Alomar for 7th no-hitter, and who can forget Robin Ventura). I knew so much about Nolan Ryan's career that I just assumed he knew me! And when I finally met him, in my hyper-nervous state, we shooked hands, looked each other in the eye, exchanged pleasantries, and he didn't recognize me.
That may not sound like such a big deal, but I think there is something about the eyes. Dwight K. Shrute calls the eyes the "groin of the head" but I think there is more to it than even that. I can see it it my son's eyes, when he recognizes me.
I tell my story about meeting Nolan Ryan and the common responses are "I'd love to meet him!", "He was one of my heroes growing up.", "I followed him my whole life." And now I can't help but relate to the misconception of who that rehearsed and fantasized introduction to my childhood hero would go. In my head, it went something like this:
"Hello Mr. Ryan, my name is Matt McBryde and this is my son Mark."
"Hello, Matt. It is nice to finally meet you. I have really enjoyed your support over the years. I thought that was you sitting in the left-field bleachers on my 7th no-hitter. Did I also happen to see you at the game where they retired my jersey? That's funny how you kept a folded up copy of my baseball card in your pocket!"
Needless to say, it didn't got like that. Mr. Ryan was incredibly nice and easy to talk to and was eager to meet us. Which brings me to another question: How do you talk to someone you have followed or cheered for your whole life without sounding like a stalker?! I was knee-deep in that fight...
I can't yet wrap my mind around the notion that Jesus will recognize me.
"Hi, Matt. I have really been looking forward to this! I have really enjoyed your support over the years. I was glad to see you at Fortress and in the Dominican Republic and Honduras, thanks for working with those teens and their parents. Thanks for loving your wife and your son and that's funny how Skeet helps himself to a bone when you aren't looking! I've been waiting my whole life to hang out with you.
Friday, January 04, 2008
Saturday, October 13, 2007
"Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."
I hope that people look at you and they see Jesus. And I hope it makes them smile!
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
I have it back. My day. My birthday. Today is my day, today is my birthday. Today is the day that people go out of their way to make me feel special by acknowledging my day rather than to lament upon remembering what else happened on 9/11. Do I feel terrible about about what happened 6 years ago today, yes I do. But today, September 11, 2007, is my day. Today is my birthday. And for the first time is 6 years, today was my day.
Today was one of those days that I will never forget. The bar has been raised and may never be surpassed in one area, I will explain shortly. Kyla and I spent a considerable amount of time with a family that we have come to know better at church, and one that we have always wanted to spend time with. I am a bit of a car fan and tonight, Kyla and the Moss family treated me by setting up an opportunity to view and interact with a car collection to rival Jay Leno. Today was one of those landmark days, not only because today I celebrate 27 years of life, but also because today I raised the bar for cars. Billy Moss took me for a ride in his black Lamborghini Murcielago Roadster. The neatest, classiest, fastest, most beautiful and profound cars ever created. Until today, I had always fancied myself a Ferrari guy. Some of my life goals had been to some day own a Corvette and drive a Ferrari!
At first, I thought it was fun to watch people turn their heads to witness every second of the car that I was in. I enjoyed the part of "playing it cool" as we sat at a stop light, knowing that people were making note of their historical viewing. "Dude, I saw a Lamborghini tonight!" Then as a camera flashed and I felt like something of a celebrity, I realized the risk that was being taking by Billy, all to make me feel special on my birthday. I asked him where he liked to take the car and he mentioned that our outing was only the third time he had taken it out since he has owned it! I was immediately humbled and intensely honored.
What a great encouragement to know that people are willing to share with others and to what extent people are capable of going to make someone feel special. I realized this about half way through our tour of North Richland Hills and suddenly I understood the risk he took in taking me out for a "spin". You see, Billy loves cars. He always has and from a little kid, he stocked his walls with hundreds of models cars on display for others to enjoy. But his deeper sense of blessing others out-weighed his love for cars. What I mean is that rather than preserve a work of art - that is the Murcielago - Billy wanted to take a chance to bless me and make my day special. He could just as well leave it in the garage so that he could admire it, or only take it out for himself and his family, but that was not the case tonight. I don't have to tell you that a Lamborghini is expensive, but if the Mona Lisa were lost, we would be more concerned with the loss of art rather than the loss of capital value.
What I mean by all of this is to say that I want you all to take a chance and bless somebody today. It maybe taking a fellow "apprecianado" for an experience in a shared interest, or just simply taking a risk by starting a conversation with a life friend or even a total stranger. Regardless, the risk is worth it. As I mentioned earlier, the bar has been raised and I believe that I will never ride in a car that will surpass my experience in a Lamborghini Murcielago. For the rest of my life, tonight may very well be the greatest car experience I will ever have, but more-so than the car, was that I spent time with 5 very special people that made my birthday very special. I got my birthday back! What if someone said that about an experience they had with you? What if someone said that a conversation they had with you changed the way the viewed life/interacted with others/blessed their marriage/changed their view of Christians and church/even lead them to God? Take a risk, go out and bless somebody. You may never know the impact you have on their life, but God will. And if your heart is right, He will bless it. Just like He blessed mine by allowing me to spend today with my wife and the Moss family. Because today is my day. Today is my birthday. Murcie me that Murcielago was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Much thanks to Kyla and the Moss family. Lots of love, Guitar Hero, Webkinz, Nerf guns and lemonade ice cream cake. Thank you once again.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
I apologize for the lapse in blogging, however I wanted the next one to be sure to brighten your day as it did mine. So I am posting verbatim an article that was sent to me written by Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports. Click here to read the article or just keep on reading.
"On Aug. 31, 1987, Dave Bresnahan was the Michelangelo of potato sculpting. He sacrificed five fine tubers to the spud gods – death via peel – before settling on the correct shape. He drew red lines on the winner to simulate seams, only to see them erased by the potato's weeping. He wielded that peeler like a true artiste.
Because in order to pull off the greatest prank in baseball history, Bresnahan needed to shape a potato like a baseball.
"I went to Williamsport (Pa.) this past weekend to celebrate the anniversary," Bresnahan says today from his Arizona home, 20 years after he ended his career as a catcher for the Double-A Williamsport Bills by feigning to pick off an opponent at third base by chucking a potato into left field, then using the real baseball to tag the runner when he scurried home – a hidden-ball trick to end all hidden-ball tricks.
"They gave away bobbleheads. I'm holding a potato. There's one on eBay right now. A couple sold for over a hundred bucks this week. For kicks and giggles, I looked up what Barry Bonds' was selling for, and I'm crushing him.
"I really don't understand."
There really isn't much to understand. Baseball is a stately game, sometimes too serious for its own good. There are no end-zone dances, no tongue-wagging after dunks, no cha-cha lines following goals. Should Tommy Lasorda falling on his ample keister really constitute the apotheosis of baseball humor?
No, sir. To allow an idea so unique, so brilliant and so hilarious to fade into history's annals, then, would be disrespectful not only to the game but to the man who hatched the plan and executed it to perfection.
The tater plot started in the bullpen, sanctuary for baseball's bored. Relief pitchers pass the time by scoping out women or making up silly games involving sunflower seeds. As the .149-hitting backup, Bresnahan spent plenty of time in the 'pen, and he broached the idea that had cooked in his mind for years. John Stuart Mill would have been proud of the marketplace of ideas that commenced. A roll of tape would be too light, a rosin bag too fluffy.
"And then it came to me: a potato," Bresnahan says. "Mainly because it sounds funny."
Word filtered around the Bills' clubhouse about Bresnahan's plan, and with the team more than 20 games out of first place, it gave players something to anticipate. The schedule gave Bresnahan a perfect chance. He knew he would play at least one game against the Reading Phillies in an Aug. 31 doubleheader, and the Phillie Phanatic was showing up that day too, ensuring a big crowd.
A few games before potato day, Bresnahan caught a game against the Phillies. He tried to pick a runner off third base, the first piece of bait in his elaborate hornswoggle.
"There was a lot of premeditation in this," Bresnahan says. "I'm kind of anal that way. When I plan something out, I want to make sure the details are covered. In order for this to really work, I needed a guy on third with two outs. When I did it, all the guys on the field would hustle back into the dugout. That way if the umpire ruled against us, we'd have to run back out on the field. And then it's more dramatic."
Earlier that week, Bresnahan called major-league umpire Tim Tschida, a friend of a teammate, and asked how he would rule the potato play. Tschida said he would return the runner to third base, end of story. If it was good enough for Tschida, Bresnahan figured, it worked for him.
In the fifth inning, the time came. Two outs. Runner Rick Lundblade on third. Bresnahan told home-plate umpire Scott Potter the webbing of his glove had broken. Potter allowed him into the dugout, where a glove with the peeled potato waited. Teammates giggled. Bresnahan told them to shut up.
The potato remained in Bresnahan's glove until he called the pitch, an outside slider that had little chance of being put into play. During the windup, Bresnahan transferred the potato to his bare hand.
"It wasn't that bad a throw," Bresnahan says. "It was supposed to be bad. But it was smaller. It was moist. I was nervous. I came up firing. As I threw it, I said, 'Oh, no.' It was headed right toward his helmet. It just missed."
Third baseman Rob Swain, flummoxed by the good throw, tried to sell it by doing his best olé. The potato hit the ground and exploded into three pieces. Lundblade never saw it. He had started running home.
"I tagged him and showed him the ball, then rolled it to the mound and ran toward the dugout," Bresnahan says. "All my teammates buried their faces in their gloves and were laughing. They couldn't move. I told them to get off the field."
Behind the plate, Potter was confused. The third-base umpire ran into the outfield and retrieved the biggest chunk. "It's a (expletive) potato," he yelled to Potter.
"What are you doing?" Potter asked Bresnahan.
"It's just a joke," he replied.
Potter awarded Lundblade home and the scorekeeper charged Bresnahan with an error. Bresnahan wasn't ejected, but
When Bresnahan showed up at the stadium the following day, Gomez called him in his office. Jeff Scott, farm director of
And thus ended Dave Bresnahan's baseball career. Though he did make one more trip that season to the ballpark. Later that day, Bresnahan returned from the grocery store with huge sacks of potatoes. He placed 50 of them on Gomez's desk.
"I'm always fearful that people think I'm a goofball," Bresnahan says. "I am a prankster. I've got a good sense of humor. But I love baseball.
"I'm a historian. I'm an old-fashioned guy. I've been a season-ticket holder for the Diamondbacks. I coach my kids. Everything I do counters what I'm known for, which is the [darn] potato."
Paul Harvey called because of the [darn] potato. So did Harry Caray and countless other baseball emissaries. Bresnahan remains revered in
Every day someone reminds Bresnahan of the potato, whether at his job as a project manager for a company refurbishing an old
In January, Bresnahan spent a week at the Diamondbacks' fantasy camp. His fellow campers weren't interested in the vagaries of minor-league life or what it was like to play for Mike Hargrove in A ball. They wanted to know about the potato.
And when he told them about it, they laughed like [crazy]."
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Rain, rain, go away!!
Monday morning around 1:30am, I am lying on the living room floor with my dog, Skeet, watching a tivo-ed episode of my favorite TV show, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. It has been raining uncharacteristically hard for the last 30 minutes.
About 15 minutes later, there is a lot bang outside and the power goes off. I hear a siren (not police or fire truck) blaring in the background. So, I did what any intelligent human would do in that situation, I put on pants, strapped on my headlamp and my 9mm and went outside to face whatever it was that could cause such a huge explosion.
In the background, I hear the faint scream of the severe weather siren warning us to take shelter immediately.
I also hear the sound of a rushing river. We don't live near any rivers, so I assume that nearby Highway 114 is just unusually busy; at two in the morning.
I look to the west of our house and what I see can only be explained by these pictures.
We are okay, our house didn't take any water damage. We were without power for a whole 12 hours (!) but our outlook has been drastically changed. I have never personally seen anything like what happened in our quiet little town. The Katrina disaster stings a little bit more to me. I found it awfully hard to fall asleep that night.
Here are some pictures of a local baseball field and what we saw when we woke up.