My Annual Tip Of The Cap / Baseball Is… How I Spent My Youth

Why do I post my Baseball Is… verse each Opening Day? Because of letters like the one below.

Mr. Hall,

I know that your poem “Baseball Is…” is over 20 years old now. But I just read it for the first time when I was researching the Cincinnati Reds’ opening day (which is tomorrow 4/06/2015). Of which I’m taking my son to his very first opening day. I’ll admit, your poem brought a tear to my eye thinking about my dad.

I remember him very vividly taking me out of my elementary school class “kidnapping me” as he called it, to my first opening day when I was my own son’s age. Him playing catch with me in the backyard and coming to all of my games. HE NEVER MISSED ONE GAME all the way from little league through college when I played for Hanover College.

My dad has been gone for several years now. But before he passed away from colon cancer, I am so thankful that he had the opportunity to hold my son and love on my boy for the last bit of time we had left with him.

I won’t write you a book any more than I already have, but thank you so much for bringing those great memories back through your writing and the reassurance that I will have many great memories to be made still with my son. It really made my day. God bless you. Sincerely, David


I wrote Baseball Is… in 1994 just as the MLB Players union went out on strike. Our first son was just a few months old at the time and I asked myself how I would describe to him this game I so loved if the MLB players never returned. How would you explain baseball to a ten-year-old who had never experienced the game? That son is now 21 years old, as is this poem. These are the words I chose.

Baseball Is…

Baseball is grass, chalk and dirt
Displayed the same yet differently
In every park that has ever heard the words, “Play ball!”

Baseball is a passion that that bonds and divides all those who know it.

Baseball is a pair of hands stained with newsprint,
A set of eyes squinting to read a box score,
And a brow creased in an attempt to recreate a three-hour game from an inch-square block of type.

Baseball is the hat I wear to mow the lawn. Continue reading

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Boston Bound KC Dinner Set For April 12th At Fox & Hound In OP

Boston MarathonIt has become a tradition for the Kansas City area runners who are registered to run the venerable Boston Marathon to meet in Kansas City the weekend before they travel to Beantown and the Back Bay. This gathering has become known as Boston Bound KC. Both first-time Boston runners as well as those who have run Boston more than a dozen times come together to share stories, make new friends and reacquaint with old pals. Some of my favorite running relationships were born here in 2013. Hard to believe there was a time when so many of us were strangers. Now – I run into BBKC runners at every race (and on the street) no matter the place.  Continue reading

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OTC: That Dent In My Couch Is About To Get Some Time To Heal Itself

My Off The Couch column and the comments section that follows each column has always been a source of pride. I enjoyed the chance to share my thoughts with those who bothered to read my work. I write with a pointed opinion and I expected nothing less from those readers who agreed or disagreed with my stance on a subject.

The comments from readers – both pro and con – were just as entertaining for me and many of my readers.

Somewhere along the way that changed.

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OTC: Chiefs Refuse To Allow Their Fans To Feel Good About Life By Losing To The Winless & Clueless Raiders

Headline, following Oakland’s 24-20 upset of the Chiefs, in the Kansas City Star’s Sports Daily
GH: I am proud of the Kansas City Star for running this banner headline in the Friday newspaper. The local newspaper should report the news, offer opinions on the news and entertain its readers. This headline went three-for-three.

“It reminded me of Missouri’s loss to Indiana.”
Steven St. John, comparing Mizzou’s loss to the worst team in the Big Ten (0-6 in the B1G) to the Chiefs loss to the previously winless Raiders, 810 AM

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OTC: Has Mizzou Hoops Become Irrelevant? / KSU At WVU Is A Season Changer / Chiefs At Raiders Not Prime Time

B22iQipCAAAl663“Student Section at Mizzou Arena”
Mike Kelly, @mikekelly1120, play-by-play voice of Mizzou basketball, as he tweeted out this photo of the Missouri student section Wednesday evening from Mizzou Arena, Twitter
GH: I do not know what the problem is with Mizzou basketball fans. The attendance at Mizzou arena last night was 5,563. Yes, it was Oral Roberts…but 5,563? Is it the fans or the team? It seems to me that Norm Stewart’s teams never had this problem – definitely not to this extent.

“Guys, I don’t know how else to say this: Students don’t care about this Mizzou basketball team. It’s become an irrelevant program. Put a good product on the field and the students will come. For better or worse, it’s always been that way with Mizzou basketball.” Brandon Kiley, @BKSportsTalk, Twitter
GH: An irrelevant program? Is the attendance drop off really success related? That seems so, well…not college. But Kiley isn’t the only Tiger to think the hoops program needs to win to expect fans to show up. Read on.

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OTC: Kentucky Embarrasses Kansas By 32 / Oakland Signs Billy Butler For $30 Million

“We didn’t make any shots and we took some very ill-advised shots. … We didn’t play well and we didn’t play as well as we’re capable of. Give them a lot of credit too.”
Norm Roberts, KU assistant basketball coach after the fifth-ranked Jayhawks were dumped 72-40 by top-ranked Kentucky,, 810 AM
GH: Give Kentucky most of the credit. Maybe Kansas is as awful as they looked Tuesday night but I do not believe that to be true. I also do not believe there was much KU could have done to reverse what happened to them in Indianapolis. Kentucky appears to be that much better than the ten-time-consecutive Big 12 champs. And very possibly every other team not in the NBA.

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OTC: KU & UK Match Blueblood Types Tonight / Tennessee Feels Sorry For Mizzou? / UMKC Hoops Be Hopping!

“If you take (Kentucky’s) first and second teams and split them up, they’d probably have the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the nation. John (Calipari) should go 45-0 with that talent.”
Larry Brown, SMU head basketball coach, USA Today
GH: Brown was probably kidding his former Kansas assistant coach (at least somewhat) but his point is solid. Kentucky once again has more young talent this season than most coaches are able to recruit in a career. How Calipari is trying to keep all that basketball talent happy is an interesting story. Read on.

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