Archive for April, 2008

That other baseball team in 1986

Saturday, April 19th, 2008

The NY Mets beat the Boston Red Sox back in ’86.  The “Amazin’ Mets” are firmly entrenched in baseball history.

But we were rooting for another team back then; a team that came within a few pitches of making it to the World Series and possibly winning the whole thing. The 1986 Houston Astros.

We loved that team.

Nolan Ryan is our favorite baseball player of all time, but the ’86 Astros were filled with players we loved to root for. Their pitching staff included suspected scuffer Mike Scott, Danny Darwin, Bob Knepper, and the sensational young pitcher Jim Deshaies.  Set up duties were shared by Charlie Kerfeld and Larry Andersen while Dave Smith racked up over 30 saves for the ‘stros.

At the plate, first baseman Glenn Davis was the team’s home run threat with Kevin Bass and Denny Walling setting the table. Bill Doran and Dickie Thon made up the middle infield for a team that won over 90 games and won the NL West.  (yes, that’s right, the NL West… this was pre-expansion and realignment.)

Living in the NY Metro area in 1986, it was hard for us to openly root for the Astros during the NLCS, but we wore our ugly jerseys with pride. And when the Mets and Astros did battle that September, we lived and died with every pitch.

The Metroplitans ultimately won that series. They became media darlings (for all their personal issues) and gave another 17 years of suffering to the Red Sox nation. The Astros did not stay at the top for long. Nolan Ryan went to Texas (and became part of our second favorite MLB team). Glenn Davis moved on to have a lackluster season in Baltimore, and Larry Anderson went to Boston to give them a good month or two of solid relief as they chased another pennant (in return the ‘stros got Jeff Bagwell…. hmmm, I wonder who won out on that deal). Bagwell and Biggio and others led the Astros through the turn of the century while Phil Garner moved into coaching and the rest of the ’86 Astros followed their own paths.

As we said before, Nolan Ryan is the greatest in our eyes. To see him come so close and not reach the big stage broke our hearts. But he went on to have many more great seasons for the Astros and Rangers, so we cannot be too upset. And he was part of a Mets World Series back in the day. Still, it hurts to see a team we love have come so close to making history and receive so little recognition for their accomplishments.

That other request for help in the fight against cancer

Sunday, April 13th, 2008

I’m pleased to write this post in support of two outstanding women: Amy Cook and Jess Allison. They are volunteers for the American Cancer Society and participants in the Relay for Life and George Washington Bridge Challenge. I hope those of you who read this post will be inspired to stand behind them and encourage their efforts in the fight against cancer.

Unfortunately, cancer is a disease which affects us all. Many of us have close friends and/or family who have been diagnosed with cancer; others still are fighting the disease themselves as we speak. Those lucky enough to have been a spared close encounter thus far know its only a matter of time before cancer touches their lives in some way.

Despite the widespread reach of this disease, a cure or vaccine for cancer remains elusive; however, scientists have made great strides with their research and each day they move closer to that ultimate goal. The American Cancer Society(ACS) is an organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem through research, education, advocacy, and service.(1) Their work has helped raise the overall survival rate to 66% for cancers diagnosed between 1996 and 2002 (2), and helped improve the quality of life for millions of cancer patients and their families.

Jess and Amy each approached me independently about their efforts in this fight. (In fact, now that I think about it, they probably do not even realize they are both taking on the same foe.) I have seen each of them demonstrate great character and commitment, and on multiple occasions, I have stood proud of their efforts and equally proud to be their friend. Today is no exception.

They have awakened me to a cause I should have long been advocating and inspired me to not only support them but also solicit the support of others. Which brings us to where we are now…

Please, standing with me behind Amy and Jess in their support of the American Cancer Society. I would be happy to forward an email of encouragement from you to one or both of the women, or you could visit their personal ACS pages to “join their teams” or make a donation. Amy’s Relay for Life page can be accessed through this link, and Jessica’s George Washington Bridge Challenge page can be accessed through this link. I’m sure they would appreciate any and all shows of support.

I know sometimes it seems the impact any of us can have individually is minimal. That may be true, but sometimes individual efforts snowball and when combined with the individual efforts of others they can result in great things being accomplished. Jess and Amy inspired me. My own donations at their sites were not the largest the ACS will ever see, but when combined with the other donations garnered by these women and the funds raised by other ACS volunteers, well… perhaps together our donations will result in something great being accomplished. Wouldn’t you like to be a part of something great?

One more time… Amy’s ACS fundraising page can be accessed through this link, and Jess’ ACS page can be accessed through this link.

Thank you for considering how you can show your support.

Contributed by: Scott Copperman (Guest Author)