Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Monday, December 10, 2012

Mid-flight from KC to PDX, just finished watching a good movie, The Hunting Party.  Also finished a good book, Blood On The Moon, by James Ellroy.  The flight is direct.  Southwest has actual snacks, not just tiny bags of pretzels.  I'd like to fly Southwest more often.  On the way out, I got a free beer, maybe because I was wearing a nice shirt, I'm not sure.  On all three flights I have enjoyed boarding last and enjoyed an empty row of seats near the back of the plane.  In Myers-Briggs personality profile terms, I don't know what this would say.  Today it means I want to read a book, watch a movie, and write on my laptop with plenty of elbow room.

 I spent the weekend in  Jefferson City helping my brother Neal work on an 1890-era log cabin that is on his land.  I am now a licensed Log Jam chinking technician, and have listened to an entire Chiefs game on the radio, the sports equivalent of contracting a dose of malaria to see what it's like.  I used to have a Chiefs coat with yellow vinyl sleeves and a patch on the chest.  I am still a fan but need to keep those childhood memories close.  Me and Davis playing one on one in the slush of the front yard, with the driveway as an end zone, and a length of gutter between one window and the next window as our crossbar for extra points.  We'd never heard of murder-suicide, or of crowds cheering when a reviled home team QB gets a concussion.  We pretended we were Ted McKnight, even though he wasn't OJ Simpson. 

I took a short walk this morning with Nell, the black lab, and enjoyed the wind chill and dry cold.  Other highlights of the trip include getting up early yesterday to set up in a turkey blind with my nephew Alex, awaiting the daily crossing of a flock over the Osage.  They made some noise, but didn't make the crossing.  Turkey chatter is weird, like drops of water ploinking into a well,  intermixed with high-pitched keening.  Hearing that was fine. In the dark at 6:15 we also saw an owl.  I stood in a field in the river bottoms while Alex ran back to retrieve something he'd forgotten.  It was as quiet a place as I have been in a long time.  I took a picture for fun and tried to edit it in I-Photo but all I could get was the ghostly image of the top of a tree.

I also saw tree stumps left behind by beaver--10 or 12 trees that Neal had planted as part of a riparian buffer in a planting of a few thousand oak, sycamore, walnut, and pecan.  Also saw bald eagles, redbirds, heron.  And a deer's leg, in Nell's mouth.  The new puppy KC, an English Cream Golden Retriever, wanted some of that action, but Nell was not having any of it.  I may be puppy crazy but I think Dozer has been reincarnated in KC.  360 degree, high energy ADD comedy is typical puppy stuff,  but laying down and pretending to be bored when asked to go outside is a straight shot of the Doze. 

Late last night I got a text from Alex' brother Graham that Kansas City has traded three major minor league prospects for a solid starting pitcher: James Shields. All hell broke loose in my psyche and in the blogosphere, and by mid-morning today it had been decried as the worst trade in Royals history, the end of Dayton Moore's attempt to rebuild the franchise, and so on.  Giving up minor league player of the year Will Myers hurts bad, but it's also hard to follow a franchise whose PR emphasizes minor league success and big league potential year after year.  I think for this club to do well, more Will Myers's will be traded.  People had better get used to abundant talent, staged in waves, some realized, and some given a shot elsewhere.  Kila Ka'aihue got a good solid shot.  Will Myers did not.  He could be the next Dale Murphy.  It's a huge risk.

To be an outstanding franchise again, KC will have to have the best minor league system in the majors, which they seem to, at the moment.  Their player development system will be Harvard, to Minnesota's Creighton.  Or, better yet, they will maintain CIA-level involvement in player development and in communities, while other clubs have old-fashioned scouts who smoke cigars and watch film on their laptops.  Something in the culture of the club, and in the culture of the city, will make it a gateway for the entire league, a gateway from which the club itself must benefit judiciously while being willing to let good guys go on a regular basis.  It seems the most graceful way to be, as an individual, and as an organization, from a kind of spiritual point of view.  Don't clutch, don't hold tight, let things go and have faith in abundance.  This kind of attempt at enlightened thinking is crazy,  and will not get me a seat on any ESPN call-in shows, when Zack Greinke just got a contract for 27M a year.  Crazy is also trading Will Myers.  If Dayton Moore didn't call his pastor in the middle of the night this week, I'd be surprised.  I like it.  Crazy.  Looking forward to 2013 at The K. 

Well, I am thinking fancy thoughts about a small market baseball team with a long run of bum luck and bum trades.  I am imaging my favorite team with an organization like something out of a John LeCarre novel, and a global spirit overseen from on-high by Buck O'Neill, Cervantes, and Mongo Santamaria.  Running on BBQ power and faith.

Beginning our decent into Portland.  I've only seen one twenty-something with a Tom Selleck mustache, Tom Waits hat, and pegged jeans (no banjo).  Costumes are so complicated.  It makes me think about mine.


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