A Night at the Yards

SoxO's

I’ve been so involved in “launching” November Third that I’ve neglected to mention that I went to Camden Yards last night. Orioles against Red Sox.  Four and a half hours of baseball. And it was great.

Don’t get me wrong. Baseball games are too long. We all say that. And it’s true. Except when it’s not.

Anyway the basic facts are the O’s quickly got a five run lead. Then the Sox came back and got the lead. Then the O’s took back the lead. Then the Sox tied it. Lots of relief pitchers. Sox used ten pitchers all together; Birds used nine. Into extra innings. Sox win 10-8 in eleven innings. Park is practically empty (it wasn’t that full to begin with).

OK, here’s the major points from the Red Sox perspective.

  1. Starter was ex-Nats Doug Fister. O’s hitters smacked him around for three innings. Then came the parade of Sox relief pitchers and they all did well. Solid bullpen.
  2. Poor Dustan Pedroia. He is always getting banged up. Last night he hit a foul ball off his face and had to come out.
  3. Sox used four second basemen in the game last night. September callups are great. So much roster flexibility. Boston used 26 players in the game.
  4. The new Red Sox hot prospect is Rafael Devers. He can hit. He can also bunt – perfect bunt for a hit the first time up. Not sure about his defense though. Doesn’t seem to handle the hard stuff all that well.
  5. The Sox hitters are underperforming. As they came to the plate they all seem to have batting averages significantly lower than they have had in other years. And these are mostly young guys: Bogaerts, Betts, Benintendi, Moreland, Holt.

From the O’s perspective:

  1. It’s over. They are just going through the motions.
  2. Austin Hays, a September call up was in right field. Very fast. Hits the ball hard. Keep an eye on him.
  3. Craig Gentry has a broken hand but they used him to pinch run. He has this weird black elongated tube covering his hand. He tried to steal and was thrown out. Just call it a season Craig. Otherwise you might get hurt.

Well that’s it. Just one more game for me with the O’s (Thursday against Tampa). Maybe I’ll try to squeeze in one of the Nats-Pittsburgh games the last weekend.  And the 2017 baseball season will be over. For those of us who are not blessed with Nats playoff tickets, that is.

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November Third

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Writing a sequel is a somewhat different experience from writing a stand-alone novel. Your universe has already been created. Your characters have established themselves. They have personalities. They have a history and that needs to be respected.

But you also need to move the ball forward. You just can’t tell the same story all over again. You need to take your characters to places they have not yet been. Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say, you need to let them take you to places you have not yet been.

At any rate, this part of the journey is over. As Kathryn Johnson says in her book, The Extreme Novelist,

“A novel is finished when the author has worked to the very best of his ability at this particular moment in his writing career.”

After ten months of writing and revising; expanding and pruning and (always) correcting, I finally have pressed the ‘publish’ button. November Third has now been officially released and is out on Amazon.

November Third is a more complex story than its prequel, The Gatekeepers of Democracy. It’s also a longer story by about 50%. Whereas most of Gatekeepers occurs in a single day, the events in November Third take place over a five month period. It was a joy to write (well, mostly anyway) and it continues my effort to celebrate the women and men who strive to make democracy work on Election Day.

https://www.amazon.com/November-Third-Gatekeepers-Democracy-2/dp/197443009X/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

 

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The Endgame

warehouse

An election is not over when WTOP declares the winner. Nor is it over when the post-election canvass is done and the Electoral Board confirms the results. The true end of an election in Fairfax County occurs in a dingy, dirty warehouse in Springfield.

It usually occurs a few weeks after an election. This time it was called for the week directly following the August 29 Special school board election. Why the haste? Because we need to turn this thing around and starting preparing for the November election (in Virginia, the election fun never stops).

For the last two days our team of rovers has been inspecting each of the 243 precinct “carts” (crates on wheels)  that are stored in the county warehouse. These are the carts that are dispatched to each of the 243 precincts which contain most of the supplies that are required for the election. Each cart has its well defined place in the warehouse.

The first challenge is figuring out where all these carts are. After the election the delivery men pick up the carts from the precincts and return them to the warehouse, but they don’t knew where each cart belongs. The result that a massive tangle of carts, placed every which way. Once the carts are untangled an assembly line is formed. Each cart is inspected by a team. Missing items need to be replaced. All sorts of shrapnel from the election that should have been returned to the Government Center on election night are identified and sorted. Many of the signs were still wet (it rained all day last Tuesday) and need to be dried. Flash drives need to be removed from the voting machines. It’s not stressful work (After all, we all know who won) but it is physical, dirty, and tedious.

…and it’s done! We finished the cleanup at 3:00 this afternoon. Now on to November!

 

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Author’s Photo (November Third)

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A few weeks ago, Mary took a series of photos with the idea of one of them being the “author’s photo” which will appear on the back cover of my soon-to-be-published “November Third.” This is the one that seems to have won out. The sign is a product of Patriot Signage, Inc. which graciously gave me permission to use it.

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Report from Camden Yards

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As game go, it wasn’t especially pretty but the Orioles did manage a 5-4 victory over Toronto in 12 innings.

The Bad:

  1. Chris Tillman continues to struggle as a starting pitcher. Buck did not stick too long with him this time.
  2. A couple of notable defensive lapses. One by third baseman Machado and shortstop Beckham who both ‘sort of’ tried for the ground ball that eventually resulted in a base runner who scored a go-ahead run for the Jays.
  3. O’s squandered a number of scoring opportunities. Men would get in scoring position with less than two out but they couldn’t get them across.

The Good:

  1. The bullpen was solid.
  2. Two homeruns by Wellington Castillo at key moments of the game.
  3. Every Oriole had at least one hit.
  4. The Birds won.
  5. Mary was with me (and I believe that is my first ever selfie).IMG_1332

 

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National Book Festival

NationalBookFest

My first visit. It’s quite a production. Continual presentations in about ten different genres.

 

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August 29 Election Roundup

IVotes

  1. I had six first-time chiefs on my fourteen precinct route. They all did great. It really isn’t that hard if you just follow the manual.
  2. Lines at the precincts were virtually non-existent.
  3. This was the second day that school was in session and I’m sure the last thing the school wanted was an election on their premises. That said, the teachers/custodians/administrators couldn’t have been nicer to us.
  4. Voting percentages: County wide turnout was 10%. My precincts ranged from 9.3% to 19.1%. Most were in the 14-16% range.
  5. It rained all day. But no complaints with what all those poor souls in Houston are enduring.
  6. Next week we clean up the precinct carts so we can turn it all around for November’s election. This one is for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and House of Delegates.
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