Steve Garvey

I always like to see the Dodger’a AAA team when they come to Salt Lake. Last year, that team, moved from Albuquerque to Las Vegas and became the Las Vegas 51’s (51 being a reference to Area 51). After my trip I checked the Salt Lake Stingers’ schedule and saw that the 51’s were in town. I further noticed that Thursday night was Steve Garvey night!

Steve Garvey was my favorite player when I was a kid. At first it didn’t seem like much of a big deal. I thought I go down and get his autograph and it would be no big thing. But, as the game got closer I got a little more excited. I went to Gart’s Sporting Goods and bought an official major league baseball in a little display case.

Once at the game, I had to wait in line with everybody else wanting Garvey’s autograph. I brought my digital camera and the guy behind me wanted me to take a picture of him. I said yes, just as long as he would take mine. His wife ended up taking all the pictures.

Sneaking Up

Sneaking Up

As I near the front of the line, I got behind Garvey to get my picture taken. Just watching him sign autographs brought a big smile to my face. The Dodgers of Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, Bill Russel, Ron Cey, and Steve Yeager are my all-time favorite sports team. The infield was together longer than any other. 8 years. Now days you’re lucky if a team is together for 2. The experience brought out the kid in me and I didn’t even have to leave my own town.

Shaking Hands

Shaking Hands

Rod

West Coast Tour – Home

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

The trip home was uneventful. Got back about 2 pm. Once back, I felt strangely alone and isolated. On the road, I hadn’t felt like this at all, despite the fact that I had been alone most of the time.

But, it also nice to be back in my nice house, with my own bed. Later that night I played softball on DSW’s team. DSW (Dahlin, Smith, and White), was the company I worked before I took my sabbatical.

Rod

West Coast Tour – Mission Viejo

Monday, June 17th, 2002

I left early, about 8am. I wanted to get an early start so I could check out Mission Viejo and then make a good start on my way home. I lived in Mission Viejo for about 10 years. I went to grade school and junior high school there. I really loved the California life style there. The athletic programs were excellent and I was a well known baseball and soccer player in the community. Made the all-star little league team and was drafted early into the senior major league, skipping the senior minors. When we left I was about to enter high school and had just made a travelling soccer club.

I drove around the town and found my old grade school (Cordillera elementary) and junior high (La Paz). I also checked out the high school and the baseball complex I used to play baseball at. It really brought back the memories. It hasn’t changed much, but I was blown away at how nice a facility it was. Brick dugouts, snack bars, announcer booths, electronic scoreboards, and fences in the outfield. The athletic programs in Utah are pathetic in comparison. Even back 20 years ago. Maybe even more so today.

Little League Field

I also found two of our old houses. It was fun to have your memory come back so that you recognize where you going. Even though I couldn’t drive then, I did right my bike a lot. So I was able to remember the local streets.

23772 Coronel

I had lunch at California Pizza Kitchen (that wasn’t there 20 years ago) at about 1pm. Then I got back on the freeway and started home. Unfortunately, there was a major fire blocking I-15, so I had to go around it and go into Arizona and then up to Vegas. I found a hotel outside of Vegas about 10pm and spent the night.

Rod

West Coast Tour – San Diego

Sunday, June 16th, 2002

In the morning, Ron and Roe took me out to breakfast in downtown LA at a cozy little old restaurant surrounded by skyscrapers. It was good standard fare. After we got back I packed up and headed south to San Diego.

About halfway between LA and San Diego is a town called Mission Viejo. I had lived there for 10 years before I moved to Utah. My plan was to stop there and revisit my childhood. I did exit off the freeway, but I couldn’t find anything and I didn’t really have the time. The Padres game started at 2pm. So I got back on the freeway. I would come back to Mission Viejo later.

I arrived at the ballpark at about 1:30 pm. Qualcomm Park is a pretty generic park and doesn’t really have any charm at all. Not much variety in food either. The Padres were playing the Mariners. They had followed me to San Diego!

Qualcomm Park

Qualcomm Park

Again the home team took an early lead and the Mariners could never quite catch them. In the last inning the Padres brought in their star relief pitcher. It reminded me of a scene out of the movie, Major League. As the pitcher walked out to the mound a rock song was playing and the scoreboard was announcing it was “Trever Time”. When there was two strikes everybody in the stands would standup and cheer for a strikeout. They weren’t disappointed. He ended up striking out the side to end the game.

Trevor Time

Trevor Time

My friend from tennis, Art, has a place in San Diego, more specifically on the island of Coranado. He always goes there for the summer. We had talked before I left on my trip and the plan was for me to give him a call. So I gave him a call and he told me where to meet them. I was to meet him in a park in Coranado where Art and his family were awaiting a community concert. I went to the park and sat with Art and his family enjoying the concert. Art and I also talked about tennis. Art’s son, Arthur, earlier that day, had won his first tennis tournament. Arthur is a rising freshman high school tennis player.

Art's Boat

Art’s Boat

After the concert we went to Little Italy in San Diego and had dinner. Art didn’t have any room at his place for me to stay, but Art offered to let me spend the night on his boat, which was anchored right outside his house. I agreed and off we went.

Rod

West Coast Tour – Los Angeles

Saturday, June 15th, 2002

After spending the night in Palo Alto, I started down the freeway to LA the next morning. Nothing really to write about here. Just your standard freeway drive. However, the traffic was horrible. Seemed like every half-hour or so you ran into stop and go traffic. Not fun. Just this alone made me think I didn’t want to live here.

My friend, Laury’s sister and brother-in-law live in LA. Laury let them know I was coming so I called them and got directions to their place. Arrived about 5pm. Ron and Roe were very nice and gracious to let me stay in their place. I convinced Ron to come to game with me (Yea, I didn’t have to drive) and we headed off to the Dodger game.

Dodger Stadium was the first stadium and baseball game I ever went to. I was about 7 years old. I hadn’t been there since despite the fact that the Dodgers were and are my favorite team. It was great the see the beautiful stadium overlooking the palm trees.

The game was fun too. The Dodgers played the Anaheim Angels. My first freeway series! The Dodgers jumped to an early lead with back-to-back home runs. A couple of innings later, Shawn Green hit his second homer of the night. A week earlier he had hit 4 home runs in one game. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen again. He was intentionally walked and flied out his other times at bat. In the end it was the Dodgers 10-5.

Rod

P.S. Stay tuned for pictures. I had to get them developed because I forgot my camera at the game.

Zen and the Art of Nothing

I’ve tried everything when it comes to trying to meet women. I’ve tried dating services, personal ads, phone ads, internet dating, blind dates, being set up by friends, going to bars, and even asking out complete strangers. The most I’ve ended up with is a relationship that lasts for 6 months, but feels more like 2. I’ve told myself that I’ve tried everything.

I was thinking about this today when suddenly I had a Zen moment. I’ve been getting a lot of these ever since I really started thinking about my sabbatical and what I want to do. I find these paradoxical and oxymoronic thoughts absolutely delightful. On the surface they seem absurd, but then a light bulb goes off and you somehow understand. But if you try to analyze why its true then your mind gets lost running in circles.

I’ve tried everything except one thing. Doing nothing.

Like everything in Zen, going from the simple elegant thought to practicality is not easy. Have you actually tried to do nothing? You can’t. It’s not until you completely forget about whatever it is that concerns you that you actually do nothing about it. Then all of a sudden some solution appears and you’ve solved your problem by doing nothing. Call it God, fate, destiny, the power of the subconcious, or whatever, but there is something to doing nothing.

However when it comes to finding someone, doing nothing is very difficult. As above, the trick is to forget about it. But when everyday you come home to an empty house, that isn’t easy. About the only way to do that is to give up. Give up your search. Coming to that point where you give up on that search is not a fun place to be. It is a very sobbering thought that you might grow old alone. Giving up is not what you want to do, but to do nothing, that is exactly what you have to do. And you have to completely let go. You can tell yourself you’re giving up so that some person can walk into your life. It just doesn’t work. You haven’t really given up.

There’s another way to forget though. Just be yourself. Get rid of all your self consciousness and don’t give a damn about what other people might think about what you say or what you do or how you dress or whatever. If you be yourself and don’t self censor, your true and best self will shine through and someone is going to be attracted to it. And to do that you have to shed your ego. Focus on others and not on yourself. As my self taught, self learned, amateur Zen goes, you have to be in the here and now.

Still the mind, the home of the ego, and Nothing will follow.

West Coast Tour – Oregon Coast

Thursday, June 13th, 2002

OregonCoast2Today started off well. Found my way to the PCH, flipped the top down, and right away I was on a single lane road with no one in front of or behind me. That didn’t last long however. Kept going through towns where you have to slow down for the traffic. But every so often you hit a stretch of road and its just you and the road. You, and the road, surrounded by a bunch of tall evergreen trees providing shade. Perfect.

At one point, on such a road, I turned on my iPod to Diana Krall and the first song that started playing was Jingle Bells. The lyrics struck me as strangely apropos. One horse open sleigh. I was in an open sleigh alright. Except I had quite a few more horses.

OregonCoast1By 2pm, I was still skirting the Oregon coast. It was beautiful, but I needed to find a place to stay and I wanted to be in California tomorrow, So I skipped over to I-5 and stopped for the night around 8pm.

Rod

West Coast Tour – Seattle

Wednesday, June 12th, 2002

Took my time getting started and probably left Portland around 10am. Dez lent me some audio books (Thanks Dez) and I leisurely drove to Seattle arriving at about 3pm. Had the top down most of the way, but had to put it up about an hour outside of Seattle because I was starting to get sunburned. Its 90 degrees in Seattle today!

Safeco Field

Safeco Field

Caught a shuttle from the hotel to the ballpark and arrived about 5:30 pm. Took a tour of the park and then got close to home to watch batting practice. Look who’s standing behind home plate shooting the breeze. It’s Lou Pinella and Tony LaRussa.

Pinella & La Russa

Pinella & La Russa

Two great managers and players from when I was a kid. I especially remember Pinella from the World Series between the Yankees and the Dodgers. He was a good hitter. Unfortunately.

Next, I sample the local cuisine of Ivars fish and chips. Not much drama in this game. The M’s took an early lead over the Cardinals with a 3 run homer early in the game. Eventually the score ended 5-0 Mariners. One of the Mariner’s players is the fan favorite Ichiro Suzuki. He’s exciting to watch because you know he can make something happen.

Ichiro at Bat

Ichiro at Bat

Now the trip gets a little more interesting. Its time for the PCH leg of the trip. I have no idea what I’ll find or how long it’ll take.

Rod

West Coast Tour – Portland

Tuesday, June 11th, 2002

The way to Portland

On the way to Portland

The whole purpose of the west coast tour is too see the west coast baseball teams I haven’t seen yet (Seattle and San Diego) and to drive my Miata down the coast. So to that end I got up early and left at 5am and drove 12 hours with a few stops for lunch and rest.

bug plastered Miata

bug plastered Miata

Arrived at my friend Dez’s place at about 4pm PST. Dez and I then walked down to the local Starbucks and had a nice chat, catching up on things. Later we had dinner at a local pub where I had an excellent grilled Salmon in a honey lime glaze. Dez’s wife, Julie, was going to join us, but unfortunately she came down with a sudden headache. (She later recovered that night). It was nice to see both of them.

Next stop, Seattle.

Rod