Pinstripe Pride

When your team goes to London and utterly crushes the Red Sox. 🎉 😂

London Stadium is clearly intended for soccer, but it’s a hitter’s park for baseball. 😃 If you’re not from North America, feel free to Google the reference. 

I’m proud to see MLB represented in the United Kingdom. Two amazing games. Plus, each team presented Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex with adorable jerseys for their son. 😊 

Sometimes It’s The Retelling That Sucks

Saturday afternoon someone asked me what I was doing for Father’s Day. I had actually forgotten that Father’s Day was coming up, so this conversation was yet another reminder for me regarding the fact that my father has been gone for ten and a half years. Somehow, my brain just wasn’t absorbing this holiday. Even today, I probably wouldn’t have even thought about it if someone in the grocery store hadn’t been discussing lobsters for her husband’s “Father’s Day cookout”. It legitimately went in one ear and out the other. I didn’t fully grasp it until late in the day.

Having to reply to the question, “What are you doing tomorrow for Father’s Day?” meant rehashing a wound. I blinked and said “Nothing. My father’s been dead ten and a half years.” The person automatically apologized, but the question didn’t bother me. It was the thoughts the question conjured up; those bothered me.

My father was not good at accepting gifts. One year we gave him a watch. He desperately needed a new one and it was given with a full heart, but he tried it on and flat-out told us to return it. I remember thinking “Wow. He can’t appreciate anything we do for him.” Because for years, my father would reject whatever we did for him. One year I got him a movie he asked for. I had actually pre-ordered it so he’d be able to enjoy it immediately on release day. About a week or so later I asked “Did you like it? Was it good?” A few days later, it arrived in the mail. I was not pleased. When I questioned him about this he said “I’ve seen it once. I won’t watch it again. Enjoy.” I was utterly dumbfounded. It didn’t matter what the gift was; there was always some sort of rejection attached to it. For me, someone who LOVES to give gifts, it was a slap in the face. I reached a point where I would only agree to cook a nice meal for him if he was choosing to visit.

A few years before he passed away, I got him tickets to a New York Yankees game in Philly as a Father’s Day gift, even though the game would be roughly two months later, if memory serves me correctly (I still have the ticket stubs somewhere.). I scored excellent seats, mainly because no one was attending Phillies games at the time, but being in close proximity to New York, there was a lovely mixed crowd of sports fans. Surprisingly enough, my Dad made the trip out to spend the weekend and we went to the game together. I had additional tickets, but my brother didn’t want to go.

When we got there, batting practice was still going on, so we got to enjoy it. Jimmy Rollins, I want you to know that my father’s first comment during that game was “The shortstop for the Phillies is an absolute STAR. He’s an incredible infielder.” He was so impressed. It was the truth. My father called it; Jimmy would go on to win a World Series with the Phillies in 2008 and was traded in 2014. You could have knocked me down with a feather when I saw that Gabe Kapler is the Phillies current manager, but I digress…

It was a blisteringly hot day, and my “perfect” seats were in direct sun the entire afternoon. Halfway through the game my father said “Now I know why I like my baseball at home.”, which I understood. He had gone to games as a kid, but he wasn’t well, and he thought he was masking this from everyone, but he was the worst liar.

We left the game early, worn out and badly sunburned. For me to get burned is a testament to how intense the sun was that day. I was completely covered in sunscreen and had a hat on. My father, in the midst of battling cancer, only wore sunscreen to pacify me and purchased a Phillies hat once he saw how necessary it was. My father, who never donned a single article of non-New York sports attire. It’s pretty funny when I think about it now. It was even funnier because he brought a hat back for my brother from the game. He threw it back at him and declared “I can’t be SEEN IN THAT!” My brother now works in and around Philly and cheers for Philly teams. I pretend not to know him when he does this. I currently live in Massachusetts, but you won’t ever catch me cheering for the Red Sox. Some things are sacrilegious.

A few years later, my father would be gone, less than two years after his brother passed away, also due to cancer. That day at the ballpark is one of the most prominent memories I carry because it wasn’t a negative experience. For maybe the second time in my entire life, that day, he was just a father with his daughter. I’m sorry my brother chose to pass on the experience, but maybe there was some cosmic reasoning involved.

Father’s Day opens up wounds for me. This year, I choose to put what I can behind me and move forward. Believe me, the last thing I need is another reminder.    

copyright © 2018 Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

God Bless America

If you’re not American, in the sense that you live overseas and know nothing about our traditions, this song is typically sung during the seventh inning stretch at baseball games. Usually it’s panned in through the sound system and isn’t done in person, but this game was televised between the New York Yankees (my home team) and the Boston Red Sex at Fenway Park. That’s often when teams have their singers brought out. Ronan Tynan used to sing at Yankee Stadium. He was fired after making an anti-Semitic remark about someone potentially moving into the same building where he lives in New York. I did not know the Red Sox had hired him until I found this.

All offenses aside, he has an amazing voice and no one else sings this song quite like he does. It’s been on my playlist for years, despite his stupid comments.

Aches, Pain, and Shooting Stars

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It is unbearably difficult to move today. Everything hurts ten times worse than it did yesterday. 😦 The only non-painful part of my body are my toenails. That is sad, at least from where I’m sitting. Pain like this is torture and no decent human-being should be forced to live like this. I’m not stating that others should live like this, I’m just making a distinction. Unfortunately, some people bring a different set of horrors into their lives through their actions and behavior, but I digress.

I should physically shutdown for the day. I’ve already taken some pain relievers and I am trying to stay out of all rooms that whisper my name and give me packing ideas, or tell me how I’ve failed at completing every single task. I’ve intentionally left the boxes downstairs and the packing tape upstairs, because if they’re not in the same room as one another, it means trekking downstairs to get the boxes and quite frankly, my knee is in deep protest. All I can emotionally and physically manage today is giving myself a break. Maybe I’ll pack a few boxes tonight during the baseball game, but in the meantime, I need to stop.

The back and forth craziness that is the current weather is making my allergies insane. It’s so warm out today, you’d never know it was nearly the end of October. The leaves are changing color at a rapid pace. A few days ago one of my favorite trees was green and lush, but now the leaves are a deep shade of eggplant. That’s the color they’ll remain until becoming a vibrant crimson. I will miss that tree.

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Tonight is the Orionid Meteor Shower. Don’t forget to make a wish if you happen to see a shooting star. I still remember the first time I saw one. Growing up in New York City, seeing a sky full of stars was rare, but the first shooting star was an amazing sight. I’ve seen other amazing things since leaving, but I still have a deeply profound respect for shooting stars, and rainbows. They will always be treasured things of beauty.

My birthday is next week, just in time for the Full Moon. I hope I’m able to enjoy one day to myself during all this madness because I guarantee that crunch time will be extra-crunchy. Thankfully, it is boosting my creativity and giving me a multitude of new ideas that I had been waiting to suddenly smack me upside the head. Soon, I’ll be back to filling pages, notebooks, and drying out all the “good pens” as I make huge pots of soup to fuel me through the cold.

Getting there is a battle. I just want to be in one piece when all is said and done.

copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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100% Sore

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Hello everyone! I hope you’ve all had a marvelous few days. Me? Not so much. I’m doing my best, but I’m covered in bruises and there are many more that have yet to surface. I can feel them. Not fun. 😦

While trying to pack and get my shit together (Waste Management must hate me when they pick up the trash. I am breaking records with how much I am getting rid of. I have a twisted sense of humor, so this brings me great pleasure for some reason.), I badly injured my left knee. It’s swollen and difficult to walk, so I’m hobbling. There’s not much I can do about it until after the move. My right hip and lower back have also taken the time to act up and scream at me in daily agony. To add insult to injury, it was 28 degrees the other night. Every part of my body is in full-blown Fibro flare. Getting out of bed this morning was four hours of me saying “No.” to Cat and Kitten. Insomnia has taken over, so I’m not sleep-sleeping, which is making me unpleasant and grouchy.

I’ve virtually had no time to work as I sort through things and box up bits and pieces of my life. Thankfully, most of what I have is not moving with me, which leaves room in the truck for boxes, but I’ve decided that I want my life to be as minimalist as possible. I don’t want the next generation to be going through my stuff in 40-50 years saying “Wow, Mom had a lot of crap.” I am trying to reduce, purge, recycle, and donate. In fact, I am going through my things now, trying to put another box together for donation. As soon as I know how many there will be, I can schedule a pick-up. I’d like to aim for eight. So far, I’ve got three.

I did make a lot of progress throwing things out today, which makes me happy. I am certain that aside from photos and things that were handmade, I do not need to keep anything from before I was born. Sorry Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, and all the Greats, but one person does not need roughly eight different sets of dishes, a multitude of wine glasses, and things she will absolutely never use. I don’t plan on having a dinner party any time soon for eighty people, but I’m almost certain I’ve got roughly eighty wine glasses that have never been used. I need to nip this in the bud NOW. On top of not being my taste, it’s too much and I’m worried about things of this nature breaking during the move. No matter how well packed things are, there’s always something that happens and I have to take that into consideration.

I am still adjusting to the new mattress. I’ve had maybe two good nights of sleep on it, if that. The replacement box spring was supposed to come out last week, but at the last-minute the store called (three times, no one can say they’re not trying to be helpful.) and said they only had one in the warehouse and had tried removing a stain from it. I called and said they could keep the stained one since that was only going to be temporary and to simply let me know when the new one was ready for delivery. I followed up this afternoon and the new one that I’d been told was “on order” has since been discontinued, so they’re now sweeping the store for a similar item to deliver to me. I don’t know if it will make an immense difference or not, but I credit them for doing their best to help. I was told by other customers how awful their customer service is, but I’ll be able to write a review stating otherwise. They even found instructions for me to take my bedroom furniture apart. The dresser has a mirror that screws into the back and the bed is four different pieces, but they got me a PDF file so that it can be detached and put back together as safely as possible. That’s major effort considering they no longer sell this furniture and I do love it or I wouldn’t have bought it. It’s no longer pristine from the store, it no longer has the “just delivered” newness to it, but it’s all mine and that’s what matters to me. Everything I am getting rid or and/or leaving behind can be replaced at an IKEA or a slightly more upscale store and quite frankly, IKEA has some really nice stuff. Again, this falls in line with my minimalist approach. My poor books are going into storage, but eventually they will be in a new place on new book shelves and I look forward to that. Books, DVD’s, music, and art are timeless items that I simply cannot live without for any real length of time.

My migraines have remained the same, they exist and they’re not going away anytime soon. 😦 The sudden shift in temperature hasn’t helped much and today is probably the warmest it will be for a while. Unlike most people, I don’t mind the change of seasons, but I DO mind it shifting so quickly from warm to “Holy crap!” My poor body doesn’t know what to do with that, so my pain levels go from manageable to sky-high. In times like these, all I can do is focus on what needs to be done and rest when I need to. No matter what I am putting my body through, I still need to rest and slow down. The last few nights that has meant watching baseball, and last night I sat through one of the worst football games I’ve been tortured with in a long time. If a team has no intention of showing up <cough, GIANTS> they should forfeit before embarrassing themselves. I’m happy for the Blue Jays though, and I promise I will try not to refer to them as the Maple Leafs any more. Or perhaps I’ll try not to do that next year. LOL. I clearly have hockey on the brain. It happens.

For those of you that submitted questions for the AMA, it will begin after my move, so I welcome people to continue to submit their questions.

I’ll be back soon. Have a wonderful evening everyone! 🙂

copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Why I’m Sick Of Hearing About “The A-Rod Scandal”: The Playing Field Is A Witch Hunt

Why I’m Sick Of Hearing About “The A-Rod Scandal”: The Playing Field Is A Witch Hunt

alex-rodriguez-picture (1)As a native New Yorker who is also a die-hard Yankees fan, many people have been asking me about Major League Baseball’s decision to suspend Alex Rodriquez for 211 games due to the information provided to them by the former owner(s) of Biogenesis. Initially I wasn’t going to write about this, but as things have progressively gotten nastier in the media, I have decided to do so.

When the subject initially came up, I vaguely considered writing about it. My brother & I were discussing it on an almost daily basis and since he & I were completely in sync with our feelings on the subject, I felt like it was one I could handle with relative ease.

A slightly unknown fact about me is that, in the past, I’ve worked for a baseball player, so I feel like I can speak on this subject without it being an immense issue. Please be advised that I am writing MY views and opinions and while you may share in them, you may also firmly disagree. You’re entitled to your feelings and opinions, and if you want/need to express your views, please do so on your own blog(s). Don’t bombard me with hate filled rants simply because our opinions do not mesh. If you want to debate with me like a rational human-being, by all means, there is a comment button. I’m very cool when it comes to discussing a veritable motley’s crew of things, but I will not tolerate rudeness. Disagree, for it is your right to do so, but be respectful.

Moving on…

Obviously people are full of their own opinions in regard to this subject, most especially people that aren’t Yankees fans, or even baseball fans for that matter, which is more than a little disturbing, and is often one of those moments when “freedom of speech” starts to get on my nerves. It is in times of this nature where I often want to start suturing people’s mouths shut and taking away their smartphones and laptops. This is when the assholes all come out from their caves. I have little tolerance for it.

I’ve always been supremely fair whenever I write about things like this and this time will be no different.

Up until a few months ago, I knew very little about this in its entirety. I knew only that Alex was being accused of something serious, but I did not know if he’d truly done anything warranting more than a mere investigation, or what the true nature of it entailed. I figured the worst they’d do was hand down a suspension of 50-75 games and fine him. I was okay with that because, based on the accusations, that’s really all that was warranted. Fine him, suspend him, but for God’s sake, he is NOT an animal to be slaughtered or a person to be stoned. It’s baseball, it’s not the end of the world.

I’m still not 100% sure he did anything because the facts are not sitting in front of me to be analyzed. There are no documents here, no physical proof of a damn thing, no medical reports, no financial documents, just the things Major League Baseball is spewing and spreading to the press like a disease. The more they talk to the media and spread various things to news outlets, the more I feel like it’s a smear campaign. I’ve seen this done to another athlete before when he questioned a team doctors’ misdiagnosis of something very serious, something that nearly got him killed. Incidentally, Alex told a doctor he did not trust him because he never informed him of damage to his hip during the 2012 playoffs, an injury that was severe enough to require offseason surgery. Can you blame him? I’d have been all over that doctor like white on rice. The treatment the previously aforementioned athlete received by “daring” to question a team’s medical staff enraged me, so maybe some of that anger will creep into this piece and if it does, so be it.

For anyone to ask him to turn over all of his medical records, a request that was supposed to go to his lawyers and was “accidentally” released to the media is a load of shit. It is utterly disrespectful and if I am not mistaken, it is also a complete and utter HIPAA violation to make such a request. He doesn’t have to give up his rights, tell you his life story, or have any more of his life dragged through the mud to appease anyone.

Despite all kinds of drugs that are widespread across every professional sport, and anyone scoffing at that statement is either lying to themselves or has been lied to, I see no visible evidence that he has been on performance enhancers during his tenure as a Yankee. He’d be playing a better game all around if he were, and that’s a simple fact. If you’re taking drugs that are meant to enhance your natural athletic ability, then you’re not constantly missing fielding opportunities or constantly striking out. In my family, a missed fielding opportunity is called “an Alex Rodriquez”. I kid you not. There were kids in the Little League World Series playing better third base than I’ve seen from him in years. Should we drug test them too?

The suspension itself is grossly excessive. As a first time offender who openly admitted to taking performance enhancing drugs while he played for the Texas Rangers (nearly a decade ago!), I feel like this whole thing is coming ten years too late. You didn’t have a league drug policy back then, but is that seriously your big excuse and defense in this matter?! If you were going to suspend him, shouldn’t you have done it when he was testing positive repeatedly for PED’s in 2003, policy or no policy? Because at least that makes sense. This, however, seems like a witch hunt, and that’s exactly what it is.

Alex is the biggest name in baseball on the list of players linked to Biogenesis and performance enhancing drugs. Trying to make a public example out of him, and accusing him of naming all the other players currently on suspension, is a load of shit. How is he personally responsible for all of their poor decision-making along with, maybe, his own?

He has openly stated that he has not used anything since 2003, and that when he did, it was based on pressure to perform due to the $250 million dollar contract the Rangers bestowed upon him, along with all their hopes and dreams of winning a ring. If Alex was batting above his shoe size at the moment, or above average for him, I’d say they need to be testing him every day and twice on Sunday, but he’s not. If anything, his performance over the past seven years has done nothing but rapidly decline. I think that has more to do with age and the burning out of the body than anything else. Compare him to other players of his caliber that are in the same age bracket, and there are very few of them that have not taken PED’s at one time or another (whether they will admit to it or not, and the temptation to do so is always there. I’m not saying every single great player in any sport is on such drugs.), and fewer that are playing like they’re 25 when they’re pushing 40.

I both understand and find myself lacking respect for the Yankees organization for the way they have handled the situation publicly. You’re paying this man an outrageous sum of money to play for you, yet the second a hint of a scandal comes out, you’re jumping ship, openly discussing trading him, there’s media speculation (clearly SOMEONE is talking to these people) that they will try terminating his contract so they can save money on the luxury tax fine the league places on them for being over the salary cap each year (which I am sure is more than made up for in ticket sales and merchandising), and just plain being snide and disrespectful in the handling of all of this.

Playing Devil’s Advocate for a second; if the roles were reversed and it was Derek Jeter being accused of this, the entire organization would be up in arms. They’d defend him to the death, or they’d cut him and let him bleed on the field. That’s how it works. You may be a part of a team, but at the end of each day, you are still expendable. It’s a business. Even if it means they have to find five people to “replace” you, they will all sleep like babies regardless because everyone is expendable. They don’t care how it looks, sounds, or how it affects your reputation. They will send you out like a lamb to slaughter. I’ve always found it incredibly disgusting.

Playing in New York is very different from playing in Tampa, St. Louis, Seattle, or Kansas City. While most major cities are behind their sports clubs with a ferocious passion, New York fans are supportive, passionate, and, at times, slightly rabid. I can’t tell you how many times I have personally threatened to rip a pitcher’s arm off and beat him with it for screwing up a game. In the same vein, if the team had been hitting, maybe it wouldn’t have looked like such a major fuck-up on his part, whoever “he” may have been at the time. I love David Cone, but when it was time for him to retire, I was sad to see such a brilliant pitcher lose his arm to the extent that he did. However, I didn’t want him out there risking further injury either. I respected his decision. If ever he was on a performance enhancing substance, you would not have been able to tell because he was both consistent and inconsistent in his outings. The same can be said for so many players in so many sports. No one is perfect every single time and no one wins every single game either.

On a whole, I think baseball players are placed under incredibly heavy microscopes that athletes in other sports aren’t placed under. I’m not saying that is always the case, but in many respects, it absolutely is. There is always going to be some younger ace that they can sign for less money until they have to really start paying up. Considering that the average MLB salary was $480,000 just last year, compared to what Alex makes, it’s an immense payroll savings for the Yankees to have five players making half a million dollars, as opposed to what Alex makes on a seasonal basis. Do the math. To the Yankees it’s “more money, more problems”. Until there’s solid proof in front of all of us, not just media bullshit, judge not lest ye be judged.

For the record, I am not saying it is right to take drugs of any kind. I’ve never taken drugs in my life. I am a former athlete, I have worked for more than one professional athlete, and I’m 100% against them in all forms. When you’re in the public eye especially, you have to be careful in this day and age of cell phone cameras and people recording conversations and video that they have no business recording. You end up being treated as public property, which is unacceptable, but apparently this country doesn’t have a lot of laws to protect you, which I find disgusting.

If you’re in the public eye, have the common sense to keep your nose clean. No drugs, no drunken bar fights, no sex tapes, don’t fucking cheat on your husband/wife/partner, no beating your husband/wife/partner/children, no nude photos “accidentally” leaking onto the Internet, and for God’s sake, do NOT be a douchebag when you’re being interviewed. Be direct, be terse if you must, but don’t be a blatant asshole because it makes you look like someone people want to steer clear of, not support and cheer for. No one wants to pay hard-earned money for their children to cheer on a complete and utter jackass.

I’ve seen how some baseball players act when they think no one is paying attention. Some of the batting practice and warm-up behavior is disgusting beyond words. I will never forget my personal reaction to a former player’s behavior towards his own hometown fans in Philly. I wanted to throw a bat at him. I won’t name name’s, even though I really want to, but I can say that I lost every ounce of respect I had for him in how he was treating kids that merely wanted a wave or a ball thrown their way. The look on my face said it all, and after that incident, I just couldn’t look at him as a decent person any longer. You’re standing around doing nothing, the least you can do is brighten a child’s day with a wave in their direction or by signing a few autographs. It’s what you’re supposed to be doing as a person placed in the position of role model, be an adult about it.

If you’re an athlete, know that PED’s break your body down so badly that it is almost guaranteed that you will die young. It will destroy your bones, enlarge your heart, and cause other problems as you get older. You may feel like a god in the moment, but you will live with severe regrets the second you are no longer in your sport of choice. If and when you ever test positive for said substance, or you’re considering “trying something out to help give you an edge”, just think of Lance Armstrong. People adored, respected, and revered this man until the blood doping scandal was a fact he admitted to. He was then stripped of all the accomplishments he’d achieved, and publicly humiliated his sport, family, friends, and fans. That is not something anyone should aspire to.

I know this might come off sounding like I’m the biggest Alex Rodriquez fan (I refuse to call a grown man A-Rod) and/or supporter, but the truth is, it’s been years since I’ve truly liked him. However, I noticed a shift during Sunday Night Baseball a few weeks ago when the Boston Red Sox pitcher for that evening’s game (whose name escapes me, because he was completely unmemorable, but clearly a dick. I refuse to look it up and mention him by name because he’s an undeserving dirt-bag. I am glad to hear he was suspended for what he did.) had the sheer gall to hit Alex during the 4th pitch of the 2nd inning. Throwing the ball behind his leg was enough with the first pitch, backing him off the plate was fine, but hitting him in the ribs? Not fucking cool! Alex was so calm, collected, and reserved, which made me proud of him, but I just about lunged off my couch, hostility raging, as if he’d just personally harmed my brother. I said some pretty vile things that night, all of which I own (and won’t repeat here). When Alex hit that home run in the 6th inning, it was basically him pissing on the pitcher’s mound at Fenway Park, and I was proud & thrilled. That’s when I realized that I do indeed support him.

All this crap is going down and it continues to spread daily like wildfire, but I’m going to choose to remember Alex when he started playing, because he was a sweet kid then and even though he’s clearly got some questionable morals and ethics, that’s really none of my business. I am not married to him, I do not share children with him, and I don’t have to live with him. How he plays the game, represents his team, and treats his fans? That matters. If he’s guilty, he’s going to have to suck it up and serve his time, though I hope for a reduced suspension. If he’s found not guilty of all these accusations, I don’t ever want to hear anyone utter a bad thing about him unless he goes out and shoots animals and small children, okay?

For those of you that want to see the man hung out to dry, ask yourself if you’d want your child treated that way before you start throwing stones.

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I’m going to support Alex, whether he is guilty or not. If he is guilty, the only person he harmed is himself. He hasn’t harmed baseball or affected the future of the game, and for anyone to say that is just plain ridiculous. There will always be drugs in professional sports. Anyone who denies that is in for a seriously rude awakening. No sport is 100% drug free. If he’s not guilty, I want every player that’s been tweeting in judgment of him, and a long line of comedians who have been using him as their public punching bag, to be lined up to kiss his ass.

If this had never been made public, no one would be psycho-analyzing his every move, every word, his on-field performance, his injuries, his off-field behavior, or anything else. He would simply be the third baseman of the New York Yankees, one of the most hated and beloved franchises in all of sports. Criticize him all you want, he’s made his money, he has a World Series ring, and he earned every single Gold Glove at shortstop. He’s always been a talented player. If ever that was enhanced by PED’s, so be it. Because if ever it was, he won’t be the first and he certainly won’t be the last.

copyright © 2013 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.