Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Happy 6th Birthday

The Moose turned six over the weekend, so I thought I would write a "letter" to him in case he wants to read this later in life. (Let's just hope he doesn't read most of my other blog posts.)

Happy 6th Birthday! You have been counting down to this day for weeks and are truly excited to celebrate. When we took you to your first day of kindergarten last September, I remember being worried about how you would adjust to a new and bigger school without knowing anyone. Looking back now, I have no idea why I was worried. You made friends with your classmates so quickly and everyone, including the older kids in the after-school program, seem to like you. We picked up dinner recently and you saw one of your classmates at the restaurant. You went right up to him, played a few games or rock-paper-scissors, both of you laughed, and you came back smiling.

This brings me something else. You are really, really competitive. While this is a generally a positive asset while playing soccer and often motivates you at school, not everything needs to be a competition and you can be a sore loser. You're not going to win every game of UNO (and there are definitely no ties in UNO though not according to you).


You also love watching sports. Any sports. Naturally, your team always wins. For example, when we attended the URI-George Mason basketball last month, you cheered for URI as they led throughout. Late in the game, when George Mason took the lead, you started supporting the Patriots. URI prevailed at the end, and you were happy that your team won. Please just pick a team and stick with them. Maybe this is the Pittsburgh Pirates fan in me supporting the team over so many years of failure.

Overall, you're a sweet boy. Sure, I would prefer that you listen more often than you do and it would be outstanding if you moved faster, particularly in the morning. Apparently, you take after me regarding moving slowly, though I move much faster than you. Hey, I can be competitive here too! You love your brother (unless he's playing with your stuff), and the two of you are going to create so much mischief together...in a good way, I hope. You can definitely be shy too, and that's just part of your personality.

There are times when I'm excited that you're growing up and others where I want you to stay this exact age. Just know that you are loved so, so much. Happy Birthday!


(This is the closest to me sharing a complete picture of The Moose on my blog. He "borrowed" the hat I received from attending a Nashville Predators game, and he thinks it's his hat now.)

Friday, March 24, 2017

Pirates Should Sign Doug Fister

The start of the 2017 baseball season is only approximately a week away. As of now, it appears that the Pittsburgh Pirates, coming off of a 78-83 (and 1 tie that no one seems to recognize) season, are going to have the following starting pitching staff:

Gerrit Cole
Ivan Nova
Jameson Taillon
Chad Kuhl
Tyler Glasnow or Drew Hutchison

Taillon, Kuhl, and Glasnow all made their major league debuts in 2016 with varying degrees of success. Glasnow, in particular, struggled though he's pitched better recently in spring training. While Hutchison has slightly more professional experience, he has had a poor spring training thus far. With apologies to unproven Steven Brault and Trevor Williams, who both seemed destined to start the season in AAA, if any of the starting pitchers get injured or struggle, there appears to be no reliable depth. Enter Doug Fister.


The 33 year-old pitcher is currently a free agent. I'm not really good at presenting baseball stats, but Fister has a career 3.60 ERA. That is better than every Pirate that started a game in 2016 with the exception of Nova and Taillon.


(Thanks to Matt Gajka of DK Pittsburgh Sports for this graph from Baseball Reference.)

Fister was a league average pitcher with a 0.0 WAR in Houston last season (not exactly a pitcher's park), yet, he pitched 180 innings, more than any other Pirate in 2016. He also had a fantastic 2014 season in Washington when he went 16-6 with a 2.41 ERA. From following the Nationals, I can understand his disappointing 2015 season as the team inexplicably bounced Fister back and forth from being a starter to the bullpen. So after a combined 8.6 WAR in in 2013-2014, he only had a 0.2 WAR in 2015-2016. I also remember him being a ground-ball pitcher (though I don't have stats to support this) which works well at PNC Park. I think coming back to the National League and working with Pirates' pitching coach Ray Searage will help Fister be closer to the pitcher he was in 2013-2014.

Since Fister hasn't pitched yet this spring, the Pirates can easily let him get stretched out in AAA or extended spring training, particularly since the team won't need a 5th starter very often in April.

I'm completely on the Pirates should sign Fister bandwagon. I may even need to start a petition. In the meantime, I'll just use the hashtag #PiratesSignFister.

Get it done, Pirates!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Fatherhood Stories & The Missing Hat (Random Ramblings)

We are in full potty training mode for Pedro Tulo who will turn 3 next month. This means regular trips to the bathroom every 30 minutes or so. Pedro Tulo enjoys flushing the toilet and will do this multiple times per restroom trip even if the toilet hasn't completely filled up with water after the original flush. He's actually doing pretty well though he still doesn't tell us when he needs to go. Anyway, we recently received our quarterly water bill, and I was pleasantly surprised that it was less than $7,000.

On December 15, 2006, my friend and I attended a Pittsburgh Penguins-New York Islanders game at the Civic Arena in what has turned out to be stop #1 in our now 10-year hockey road trip. Ryan Malone scored a hat trick in this game, and all fans received a Penguins ski/winter hat courtesy of Seven Springs. (Yes, I believe that many hats were thrown on the ice.) I am saddened to report that I lost the hat somewhere yesterday morning. It must have fallen out of my jacket pocket at my son's school or somewhere near the Metro station. I won't call this devastating, but it is definitely a loss.

Our ear, nose, and throat doctor and entire office are still in business because of us. Actually, maybe they all got significant holiday bonuses because of us between getting tubes in and tonsils out and all of the follow up appointments. I think they should send us a gift basket or something. Maybe winter hats!

There is music-based competition television show hosted by Jamie Foxx called Beat Shazam that is currently looking for contestants. This is right up my alley, and I may apply when I get an extra few hours to craft the perfect application and video (meaning that I probably won't apply). Here's information about the show.


One trivia question for the day: Grand Island, Fremont, Hastings, Papillion, and Bellevue are among the ten most populous cities in which U.S. state?

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

NCAA Tournament Challenge

Everyone creates his or her NCAA Tournament Challenge, but I want to do something different. I'm teaming up with (insert the name of anyone who wants to be a sponsor here) to have the Sean's Ramblings NCAA Women's Tournament Challenge.


Are you concerned that you know nothing about women's college basketball? No problem! Here's what I can tell you about women's college basketball this year:

1. UConn hasn't lost a game since the Carter Administration.
2. Baylor's basketball coach wants to fight people who don't like Baylor.
3. The Maryland Terps went 30-2 this season, but only got a #3 seed...in the region with UConn.

If you know more than this, you have a good chance to win. If you know less than this, you have a good chance to win.

Simply go to the ESPN website to join the "Sean's Ramblings" group. Submit your picks before the games begin on Friday, March 17th. Good luck!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Friday Video: Green Light

You remember Lorde, right? She's from New Zealand and had a monster hit, Royals, a few years ago that was created after she saw a picture of baseball Hall of Famer, George Brett. Anyway, she's back (in pog form).* Her latest song is Green Light and seems way more upbeat (at least starting around the 35 second mark) than her previous work. I really like the piano in this song. Enjoy.



* Is anyone going to get this 20 year-old reference?

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

How Many States Have You Visited? (Trivia Tuesday)

The Washington Post recently published a story in its Travel section by an author who traveled to all 50 US states. She also mentioned that there is an All Fifty States Club. I really want to join this club. Since the map below counts Washington DC as a state, I have been to 42 states.


I was able to visit many of these states in 1997, when my brother and I went on a road trip, and then I drove from Pittsburgh to San Diego to start a new job (and back to Pittsburgh from San Diego in 1999). I've also been fortunate to visit several states I wouldn't normally go to for work. My honeymoon was in Alaska. I have no idea when I'll be able to visit Hawaii, Montana, Idaho, Kansas, and Arkansas. A trip to North Dakota is possible when my friend and I take our hockey road trip to Winnipeg sometime in the next few years. A summer trip to Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont is also a goal for the not-so-distant future.

So how many states have you visited? Please share your answer and any other stories in the comments section below.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Obama's Long Game

Over the weekend, President Trump sent out the following tweet:


Naturally, people went crazy. Trump's supporters called this the biggest overreach in Presidential history. Trump's critics replied that he provided no evidence of this, and said that even if this was true, this would be a Department of Justice investigation, not issued by the Obama administration.

Jon Favreau, President Obama's former speechwriter, replied with this tweet:


Personally, I think Trump has a case here. Obama is well aware of the 22nd Amendment which states that "No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once."

Obama ordered the wiretapping knowing that the Justice Department would find something that would lead to Trump's impeachment and subsequent removal. With the executive branch in chaos, somehow the presidential line of succession would disappear. Despite both the House and Senate being under Republican control, Obama knew that this was a way to get around the 22nd Amendment and plans to become President again instead of Mike Pence, Paul Ryan, Orrin Hatch (yes, he's third in line to be President), every Cabinet Secretary, and Designated Survivor, Kiefer Sutherland.

You heard it here first.