At least that’s how it felt to me yesterday. It was a great day to be a baseball fan! Two wildcard races down to the last day, 4 teams within both leagues involved, home-field advantage & a batting title up for grabs. Everyone was saying it was the most exciting day of regular season baseball and I have to admit I agree – with late-game comebacks, extra innings, plays at the plate and walk-off homers/hits included. Here’s a little timeline that MLB put together: click here.
It was made even better that we are all at the ballpark working, because we were able to watch MLB.TV and see the wild finishes to both the Red Sox, Rays and Braves games. St. Louis was the only team that made it boring by blowing out the Astros (the only team with 100+ losses this season). Really some unbelievable stuff and hopefully showed some people, that baseball is a great and entertaining game!
One of the only blemishes of the day came at CitiField (no wonder i know!). While Jose Reyes won the batting title over Ryan Braun with his .337 average he lost a lot of the Mets faithful respect. 60 years ago to the day Ted Williams finished the season with a .406 BA after going 6 for 8 in a Double Header on the last day of the season. Jose Reyes bowed out in the bottom of the first inning after “lacing” a bunt single up the third base line. Poor Justin Turner heard the boos when he was put in as a pinch-runner and Reyes still had a chance to lose the batting title to Braun if Ryan went 3-4 in his own game.
To me this was just an act of selfishness in most likely his last day in a Mets uniform. People pay money to come see, in my opinion, the most dynamic guy in baseball and the crowd of just over 26,000 surely got jipped. He said he did it for the DR…how about the fans that have stuck with you over 8 years and your endless amounts of injuries?
Now while the playoffs begin this weekend it is also the Grand Finals of the AFL and NRL (for those of you keeping score that is footy and rugby) on Sunday. Let’s see if they can beat the excitement level of yesterday…
So Daylights Savings Times is almost upon us down here in New South Wales, Australia. This weekend we will be “Springing Ahead” early Sunday morning. So for all of those keeping track starting Saturday October 1st at noon stateside I will be 15 hours ahead of you, so 3am on Sunday morning in Sydney.
Then…to be even more confusing when the U.S. has Daylights Savings Time in early November you will “fall back” and then I will be 16 hours ahead, so yes just like that I go from only 14 hours ahead to 15, to 16 all within 4 weeks. Just when you were getting use to the math, BAM they go and change it on you.
Another little tidbit…Adelaide, which is located in Southern Australia:
is just 30 minutes (aka half an hour) behind Sydney! ….whoever came up with this whole time system must have been having some grog while they planned it.
Today was full of trying to find new business contacts, meeting with the Chamber of Business, putting together corporate hospitality packets and researching security and ticket booth rentals, amongst other various projects. By the end of the day the GM was about to build the booth himself, which was a pretty entertaining conversation.
However my favorite part of the day was my ride home where I spoke with my Aussie colleague who has been in the states for the past 6 months working in Myrtle Beach for the Texas Rangers A affiliate. We spoke about driving on the different side of the road (when he told me that he still had to get used to the left side, =/), about the different way to market to a tourist location and how he probably wants to go back and venture to the Northeast. I will have him sold on New York by the end of the season!
He also taught me a new word: Bogan – which means redneck or townie. The ballpark is located in Western Sydney and about 45 minutes outside of the CBD, so there are a lot of bogans or westies.
Also a tidbit from the weekend that trickled in to the work week. We were wrapping up baked potatoes this weekend to heat up for dinner in:
I was asked how i said this and said A-loom-i-num, correct right? Well apparently no…the Aussies say A-loom-i-knee-um. If I hadn’t had this discussion I would have been lost in a 5 minutes conversation at work today about A-LOOM-I-KNEE-UM security booths.
This is the ultimate Caramel/Carmel conundrum in Australia.
Saturday has turned in to my sightseeing day. After a busy busy week of work it was nice to turn off for a few hours and head in to the city to meet up with a friend. While I have yet to get back in to my running ways during the week I believe I have made up for it while exploring on the two Saturdays.
The train station is about 2.5km away (1.5miles for those of you not on the metric system), and there are 3 rather large hills along the way. St. Ives (the neighborhood in which i live) reminds me of San Francisco in the rainforest. It is on the outskirts of “the bush” and full of ups and downs.
So I walked to the train station and I headed in to the city to meet my friend in Paddington to go through some markets and get some lunch. The train doesn’t go directly to Paddington so I had to walk to and from Kings Cross (i was told i was not allowed to go there back in 2006 as only trouble happens there at night – a la PB in San Diego). Afterwards I did some food shopping at Coles (much more expensive than Kohl’s!) then hopped back on the train and walked home from there in the mist.
Although it was a rather overcast day it was pretty good. Got to hang out with another American my age who lives in Bondi! Can’t wait for the summer to get here so I can take advantage of that. Paddington is a rather “posh” shopping district with pretty high-class stores surrounded by some pubs. So we caught an AFL/”footy” game while we had some lunch and ran in to a “stag” (bachelor) party as well. Or at least we thought it was a stag party as one of the guys was wearing a tiara & fairy wings (Halloween costume idea guys?)
Also ran across this as I walked back to the train:
BTW the American B team lost to the Aussies yesterday in the World Cup, we face Italy on Tuesday, so get your tv’s set, it should be a good game!
Over the past week and a half I have come across some interesting terms and new phrases and I believe I came across my favorite today while reading through a vendor agreement. I was making an excel spreadsheet to breakdown our Sponsorship responsibilities for the season and after an hour or reading through legalese I came across the term “Fairy Floss.” Now I read the context clues and knew it was some kind of food as the vendor is required to sell popcorn and Fairy Floss. However I kind of wish the context clues weren’t there, who knows where my mind would have wandered….
For those of you who weren’t at the World’s Fair in 1904 , you can read about the History of Fairy Floss.
I have also been asked to come back with a combo accent, but I think instead I will just come back with my New York accent and use all Australian terms. Such as cuddle (aka hug), mobile (aka cell), and Arvo (aka afternoon). Perhaps I should go to law school so I can use these terms in future contracts?
P.S. – Another one of my new favorites is “No Dramas” (the more informal take on “No Worries”).
So I lasted a full 7 days without having to type the word “metres.” Now English was not my favorite subject and they are forcing me to misspell words, this might get scary.
Extra Extra: New favorite word of the day- Grog….without googling, any ideas on what it means?
Now I know I have already discussed some of the issues I have come across over the past week since arriving in Sydney, but most of these have nothing to do with Baseball. Since my blog is titled baseballdownunder i reckon I should share a bit about that.
Well one of the biggest differences I find is that there are a whole lot of levels of amateur baseball here in Australia as compared to the U.S. For the most part in the U.S. baseball is a participatory sport through High School (and that is if you are good enough to play at the high school level). But then a small percentage of guys play baseball and an even smaller percentage of girls play softball at a college level. If you don’t play baseball in college you are pretty much done with your baseball playing days and some people will turn to Softball as it is “slower-paced” (yes i take offense to this altho arc pitch is), then baseball. And even after college only the lucky/talented ones get signed to a contract for a major league club, some go to play independent leagues but even those guys need to give it up after a couple of years.
However here in Australia a lot of adults play recreation Baseball every weekend for a club that also has 12 and unders, 14U’s, 16U’s and 18U’s. There are 3 “grades” of adult league baseball, First Grade being the best with some professional baseball guys coming to play on the weekends if they come back home in the offseason from the minors. Third Grade is for all those over 18 who still want to swing a bat but even those games are competitive. There are also state teams and then national teams at these levels as well. The Australians will travel everywhere to play too, they call the tournaments “overseas tours.”
There are even some “sporting” high schools here where kids can go if they know they want to focus on a sport and breeze by in academics. I have been asked why the U.S. doesn’t have the same system and I say it’s because academics is stressed in the U.S. which is very true. There are 4,352 colleges, universities, and junior colleges in the U.S. of A – population 307 million, but only 42 in Australia- population 21 million (according to the trusty wikipedia) . Therefore the U.S. has over 103x as many colleges as Australia with just 14x as many people. The Americans see a graduate degree as their chance to move up in the world while the Aussies see sport as there.
Australia has had over 330 guys signed to a major league contract, more than any other foreign nation. But does this stat really help the 27-year old guy playing ‘3rd grade’ on Sunday at Manly beach?