Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Misadventures in Officiating...

Well, I just knew that the Phillies were going to prove me wrong, and win this year's Fall Classic. But the Tampa Bay Rays got a reprieve in the form of a timely RBI single, and an even more timely call to suspend Game 5. That's right, the series is on hold until better weather surfaces.

I don't disagree with Bud Selig's decision in this matter, probably because I am rooting for the Rays. But you have to admit that it hurts the Phillies because you know that Cole Hamels wasn't done when they called this thing. He was only at 75 pitches, going into the 7th inning (his spot is due up first in the bottom of the 6th). But with the delay, he will not be on the mound for the remainder of the game.

Then again, with the bullpen that the Phillies have, maybe this isn't such a bad thing after all. All I know is that if the Rays can get going, especially if Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria get hot like they showed last night, and get this thing back to Tampa, they have more than a legitimate shot at taking the whole shooting match.

Now, the umpires, on the other hand, need to figure out what is going on. The umpiring for the Series has been horrific, with numerous blown calls and inconsistent strike zones. This seems to be part of a bigger trend right now in sports. Off the top of my head I can think of several missed calls in the past weekend: the no-call of blatant holding on Michael Johnson in the Tech-UVA game that led to a Virginia TD; the missed call on the Eagles punt that claimed that the Falcons touched the ball (they didn't), giving the Eagles possesion leading to a score; the entire sequense of plays at the end zone in the NY Giants-Steelers game with the back-to-back challenges of touchdowns; the whole World Series. Coupled with numerous mistakes already made this year in officiating, it looks to be an atrocious year for the officials. Glad I'm not one of 'em.

Speaking of Tech, the Jackets looked horrible this weekend. Hopefully this isn't the start of the Wreck's annual fade, and more of a one-off bad game. We gotta play better next week against a decent FSU team that is trying to prove it is still the class of the ACC.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Papa's Little Man...

We went up to see Papa and Nana this past weekend. We had to get some pictures of Papa and his little man together in their overalls. They are like two peas in a pod.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

House Divided

Yeah, so, in my house, this is sort of par for the course. Jessica and her family are big UGA fans. Personally, I grew up loving Georgia Tech, and hating UGA. So, of course, it only makes sense that I would end up married to a Georgia fan. But, if that is the only blemish on her record, I think we'll be OK.

One compromise we have made is that we root for each other's teams when they are not playing one another. Works pretty well, but sometimes I have a relapse and find myself rooting for the Dawgs to loose. It is ingrained, and I can't help it.

But that last Saturday in November every year is really interesting, and has the potential to be brutal this year. Tech is ranked at #18 in the BCS standings, and #21 in the Coaches and AP polls. Georgia is at #7 in the BCS, and #9 in the other polls. If both teams continue their winning ways, that showdown could be huge for the BCS Bowl implications.

Of course both teams have a lot of games left before they get to that rivalry match-up. Tech has Virginia this week, and they have been improving. Tech will have a fight on their hands, and our offensive line has to play better than we have in the last few weeks. Meanwhile, Georgia has LSU, and the Bayou Bengals are not an easy foe. It will be interesting to see how that game turns out.

All I can say is Go Jackets! (And from Jessica and Zachary, "Go Dawgs!")


Thursday, October 16, 2008

About that Major League Dream....

OK, so while we were on vacation, we spent some time at Wonderworks. Wonderworks is an interactive experience that allows you to have fun and learn at the same time (perfect for a geek like me).

One of the activities at Wonderworks is “Power Pitcher.” This is a game, like those found at most Major League ballparks, that allows you to see how fast you can pitch. It also has a catch, in that you are pitching to a “real” batter. The screen at the back of the game shows footage of an actual Major League player (selectable when you start the game). The goal is to strike out the player.

It is a bit tricky, because throwing a strike is tough. I am not sure what the calibrated strike zone was, but it was like trying to fit a Cadillac into a shoebox. It doesn’t help that, because it displays your pitch speed, you are all geeked up to try and throw your 90 MPH heater on the inside corner.

I chose Chipper Jones, and I walked him on 4 straight pitches (Four-seamer, Four-seamer, two-seamer, changeup). My Four-seamer was clocked at the whopping speed of 48 MPH, and my changeup hit 38 MPH. So, yeah, anytime you stop and think to yourself, “You know, I throw about half as fast as Jaime Moyer,” you can pretty much give up on that hope of ever making the big leagues as a pitcher.

I figure if I actually did pitch to Chipper in real life, he probably would have done the same thing the video Chipper did – not swing at a single pitch. He wouldn’t want to mess up his timing, and I doubt I could hit the strike zone anyway. But it also got me thinking about how hard it is to be a Major League hitter. I did the math, folks: It is pretty darn hard. The chart below illustrates my point:

Typical Major League Pitcher (Fastball, Changeup)

Pitch Speed (MPH)

Pitch Velocity (FPS)

Time to Home Plate (S)

92 MPH

135 fps

0.45 s

87 MPH

128 fps

0.47 s

My Speeds (Fastball, Changeup)

Pitch Speed (MPH)

Pitch Velocity (FPS)

Time to Home Plate (S)

48 MPH

70 fps

0.86 s

38 MPH

56 fps

1.08 s

(Distance from pitching rubber to home plate calculated at 60’6”)

That is crazy. Even throwing as slow as I was, you have around one second to see the ball, recognize the pitch, decide to swing, and start moving the bat. That is crazy. A Major League player has less than half of a second to do this. That is insane. No wonder you are considered an elite hitter if you only succeed in one-third of your attempts!


Monday, October 13, 2008

Things that make you go hmmm....

Well, nothing real earth-shattering today. Just some musings on sports.

GT played an underwhelming game this weekend, and almost seized defeat from the jaws of victory, but somehow, we managed to pull out the win. I can't say that a 10-7 win against Gardner-Webb inspires confidence, but with all the injuries and personnel changes for the week, I am just happy we didn't loose the game.

Georgia played well and won, and that is good. I can say that because they were playing Tennessee. And I hate the Vols.

Yesterday made for an amazing day of sports. The Colts destroy the Ravens, the Falcons squeak one out against the Bears, and Arizona shocks Dallas. All good things. It was nice here, because we watched most of the Falcons game, which directly preceded the Arizona game, which was then immediately followed by Game 3 of the NLCS in LA, which the Dodgers took with ease.

Speaking of baseball, go Rays! I'd love to see Tampa Bay win it all this year. I think they will beay Boston in 6 games. I think that the Phillies win the NLCS in 6, as well. My World Series prediction: Rays in 6.


Saturday, October 4, 2008


Well, we're actually back from vacation, but here are a few pictures from our vacation in the Smokey Mountains.

Above is a view from the cabin we stayed in. The view was great, but the drive up was brutal. The driveway was about 35 degrees up. The (dirt) road leading up to it was also pretty steep and winding. But, it was worth it.

Here are some more pictures:
You can't really see how steep the driveway is from that picture, but it is crazy steep.

We went to Dollywood on the first day we were there.

We went to Wonderworks the second day, and went to NASCAR Speedpark the day after that.

The last day, we went to Gatlinburg.

Zachary really enjoyed himself during his vacation. So did the rest of the family!