Friday, August 29, 2014

Eclipse 2017

Years ago I blogged about the next great solar eclipse in the United States.  It will happen on August 21st, 2017, just a couple of days before Relia turns ten.  I told her we would go to see it and I intend to keep that promise. 
Some enterprising folks have mapped out the path of the eclipse here.  The very best spot to see it will be somewhere near the border between Illinois and Kentucky but really, there are tons of good places, literally from coast to coast. 
Who's up for a little road trip?

Friday, August 22, 2014

Baseball Playoffs

(Note: I'm going to try and revive this blog again.  No promises.)

We've got a little more than a month to go in the baseball season and the playoff picture is starting to become clearer.  In some past years I've waited until it's all set and then ranked the teams in order of which ones I would cheer for.  Last year there were some fun teams in but they were all knocked out early and I found myself disappointed in my rooting options.  I thought it might be fun to look at the last part of this season and see who I'll cheer for to get in.  The more teams that I want to see win that make it into the playoffs, the greater the odds that I'll still be cheering the last couple weeks of October! 
Ground rules:
  • There will be ten teams that make it, five from each league.  That makes three division winners and two wildcard teams from the AL and the NL.  
  • I'm only going to list teams that have a realistic shot at making the postseason.  If the White Sox somehow win 25 of their next 30 games and get into the race, of course I'll go all in for them.  I don't expect this to happen (to put it mildly).  
  • There are a few teams that are so far ahead that they can just about start printing playoff tickets right now.  My rule of thumb is that a team that is five games up is in good enough shape that I'll simply expect them to be there.  
That last rule puts four teams in: Baltimore Orioles, Angels of (wherever), Oakland A's and Washington Nationals.  I'm fine with both the Orioles and the Nats.  Neither of them has been wildly successful and they would even make for a fun World Series against each other.  I'm not a big fan of the Angels or the Athletics but I don't have strong feelings about either one.  Unless the Angels bring back the Thunderstix, in which case they quickly become my least favorite.
The 'already-in' teams have taken three of the five spots in the AL, leaving only the AL Central winner and the last wildcard spot.  I'd like the Kansas City Royals to finally make the playoffs.  They haven't been there since Regan was president.  And man, am I tired of the Tigers! 
That last wild card spot is a little tricky.  I'm torn between the Seattle Mariners and the Toronto Bluejays.  If the two of them had to battle it out, I'd probably go with Toronto, just for the chance to see Mark Buehrle have some postseason opportunities.  But I'd be happy with either one.
The NL is more wide open.  The only spot that's taken so far is the NL East.  I don't have strong feelings towards many NL teams so this is harder.  I'd like both the San Francisco Giants and the Pittsburgh Pirates to make it.  The leaders in those divisions are the Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers, neither of which I have a problem with.  I guess those would be the five that I'd pick.  In fact, this part of the exercise is more about who I really, really don't want to see.  I'm somewhat tired of the Atlanta Braves but I'm down right exhausted with the St Louis Cardinals. 

If my preferred ten made it to the playoffs, my rooting interest would probably go something like this:
1. Pirates
2. Giants
3. Bluejays
4. Nationals
5. Orioles
6. Dodgers
7. Royals
8. Brewers
9. Athletics
10. Angels