Thursday, June 07, 2018

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

The Poppy Memorial

This past Memorial Day weekend the The Poppy Memorial appeared on the National Mall:
Visitors to the National Mall on Memorial Day weekend will encounter a wall of bright red poppies, installed to commemorate the men and women who have died in uniform in the century since World War I.

Retired Navy Vice Adm. John Bird tells NPR the project uses 645,000 synthetic flowers — one for each American killed in an international conflict since the start of World War I — pressed against acrylic panels, which are backlit for dramatic effect.

"The Poppy Memorial visualizes the magnitude of that sacrifice and reminds us all of the price that was paid," said Retired Vice Admiral John Bird, the automobile association's senior vice president of military affairs. "We are grateful to the National Park Service for allowing us to display this inspiring and educational exhibit among the permanent monuments, as a testament to the enduring bravery of our men and women in uniform."

It was a very moving tribute and brought home how many people we're lost.

Birthday Baseball Returns

It was a tradition for many years that there would be a baseball game on my birthday.

One of my favorites was in 2012.

But last night's was pretty special too. In part because it was the first time in three years that I'd been to a game on my birthday. Mostly it was because of the performance of Max Scherzer. He is always amazing to watch. But tonight was something special. He had what is called an immaculate inning.

Here's how it unfolded:
The perfection began with a slider for a called strike against Johnny Field, who had doubled for the Rays’ first hit in his previous at-bat. Scherzer, taking no chances, finished him off with whiffs on a slider and a change-up. Next up was poor Christian Arroyo, tasked to pinch-hit against a revved-up hacksaw. Fastball looking, fastball swinging, change-up swinging. Strikeout. Two outs.

That brought up Daniel Robertson, Tampa Bay’s leadoff hitter and on-base-percentage leader. Robertson put up a valiant fight, fouling back a fastball, but that made it 0-2 and Scherzer wasn’t about to let him escape. He challenged Robertson with a 96-mph fastball. Robertson swung through it for strike three, giving Scherzer his second career nine-pitch, three-strikeout inning. The only other pitchers in baseball history known to have completed two such innings are Lefty Grove, Sandy Koufax, Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson. All are in the Hall of Fame. Scherzer continues building his case to join them.

“I honestly didn’t know it happened,” Scherzer said. “Then I walked off the field and I was like, ‘Wait a second, I think that was it.’ So, yeah, that’s cool.”

We had two sets of sets too. A friend was going to go to the game. Her husband gets tickets from his office. She said she was busy every night this week and so wanted one day off. So she offered me the tickets. We sat in the seats through the 6th inning. Then we went for ice cream. After ice cream we sat in our regular seats. It was a really good night.