2015 MillersTime Baseball Contests

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Contest # 1: Pick your favorite MLB team and predict what their regular season record will be in 2015. Tie-Breaker: Will they make the playoffs, and how far will they go if they do?

Prize: Two great seats/tickets to a Nationals’ game in 2016.

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Contest # 2: Make a prediction about something that will happen during the 2015 MLB season.

(Your prediction could be about a team (e.g., Yankees again will miss the playoffs), about a player (e.g., A-Rod will have a rebound year and will (re)gain the support of Yankee fans and the continued hatred of everyone else), about a record (e.g., an extra inning game will go 27 innings), about an ‘event’ (Big Papi will hit five home runs in one game), or about whatever you think has a chance of happening in MLB in 2015. Lots of possibilities. One prediction only.

Of the predictions that come true, MillersTime readers will determine which one is the best prediction (and, therefore, who wins the prize). In the past, voters have selected the most specific predictions, ones that showed both baseball knowledge and a willingness to predict something a bit unusual.)

Prize: Your choice of One of These 20 Best Baseball Books Ever Written.

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Contest #3:

Part A. In 2014 in MLB (AL and NL), the combined batting averages of the three top hitters equaled 1.003. Will the combined batting averages of the three top hitters in 2015 be above or below 1.000? Name the three leading hitters in BA in 2015.

Part B. In 2014 in MLB (AL and NL), the combined pitching wins of the top three pitchers was 61. Will the combined wins be above or below 61 in 2015? Name the three leading pitchers in wins in 2015.

Prize:  One ticket to either one ALCS or one NLCS game in 2016

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Contest # 4: Choose two teams whose combined won/loss record will be closest to .500.

Prize: Your choice of one of these books on baseball statistics.

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Contest # 5:  Predict who will lead the AL and who will lead the NL in getting the most All Star votes in 2015? Tie-Breaker: Which of the two will receive more votes?

Prize: A T-Shirt that says, “MillersTime Baseball Contest Winner”

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Contest # 6:  Predict the ten (10) teams who will be in the 2015 playoffs. Tie-Breakers: A. Which two teams will make it to the WS? B. Which team will win it all?

Prize: One ticket to a World Series game in 2016.

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Additional Details:

1. Enter as many or as few of the contests as you want.

2. Be sure to answer all parts of each contest you do enter, including the Tie-Breakers as some of the contests winners will no doubt depend on Tie-Breakers.

3. If you get a friend (or foe) to participate in these contests, and if he/she wins and has mentioned your name in their submission, you will get a prize also.

4. Get your predictions in soon. In case of ties in any contest, the individual who submitted his/her prediction first will be the winner. (Each year it seems as if at least one contest is decided by which prediction was submitted first.)

5. Submission can be sent in an email to me:  Samesty84@gmail.com or can be left in the Comment section of this post.

Deadline for submissions: Sunday, April 5, 2015, 8:05 PM, EST

“He Wanted the Moon”

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He Wanted the Moon: The Madness and Medical Genius of Dr. Perry Baird, and His Daughter’s Quest to Know Him. By Mimi Baird, with Eve Claxton. Crown. 272 pages.

The book is autobiography, biography, science, history and literature all in one, as instructive as any textbook and utterly impossible to put down.

from NYTimes review by Abigail Zuger, M.D.

If you’ve read William Styron’s small masterpiece Darkness Visible, you’ve ‘heard’ from a wonderful writer what “madness” is and what it feels like.

If you’ve read Kay Redfield Jamison’s An Unquiet Mind, you know, from both a personal and a scientific perspective, what it is to experience bipolar disease today (manic depression).

Now comes a just released book, He Wanted the Moon, to add to those two wonderful insights into what it is like to experience mental illness. Or in the case of this book, what it was like to experience bipolar disease before we understood it or had any treatment for it.

This one has many of the strengths of the two previous books, and more. I indeed agree with the review quoted above that it is “autobiography, biography, science, history and literature all in one, as instructive as any textbook and utterly impossible to put down.” And, I would add, it is told in such a manner that you haven’t read anything quite like it before.

At least I haven’t.

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“Ghost Boy” and “Wonder”

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I’ve read two books recently that I think will have interest for some MillersTime readers, especially for those of you who have had some involvement with children, adolescents, and/or adults with some form of disability, either in your teaching or counseling, in your own family or with someone you know. Both books have been ‘out’ for a while but are new to me. Both books are quick reads. One is nonfiction; the other is fiction. They address somewhat similar issues, and both are positive books that have much to teach all of us.

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“Hip, Hip, Hooray” – Photos of the Third Grandchild

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Usually, by the time there’s a third grandchild, particularly if all three are siblings, there aren’t many pictures of the ‘last’ one.

So that’s our excuse for posting these of Ryan, age 20 months, as ‘captured’ at a recent play date at our house. Photos come courtesy of Ellen Miller, known as “Nonna” to the three grandkids.

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Chronicling “The Fallen Slugger’s Winding Road Back to Pinstripes”

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PEOPLE HATE HIM. Boy, wow, do they hate him. At first they loved him, and then they were confused by him, and then they were irritated by him, and now they straight-up loathe.

More often than not, the mention of Alex Rodriguez in polite company triggers one of a spectrum of deeply conditioned responses. Pained ugh. Guttural groan. Exaggerated eye roll. Hundreds of baseball players have been caught using steroids, including some of the game’s best-known and most beloved names, but somehow Alex Rodriguez has become the steroid era’s Lord Voldemort. Ryan Braun? Won an MVP, got busted for steroids, twice, called the tester an anti-Semite, lied his testes off, made chumps of his best friends, including Aaron Rodgers, and still doesn’t inspire a scintilla of the ill will that follows Rodriguez around like a nuclear cloud.

from The Education of Alex Rodriquez by J.R. Moehringer

If you don’t know the name or writing of J.R. Moehringer, you’re in for a treat. He won a Pulitzer Prize for feature newspaper writing in 2000 and at least two of his books over the past few years have been among my favorite reads of the year(s): The Tender Bar, a wonderful memoir of Moehringer’s own growing up and Open, the most honest and most informative sports memoir (about Andre Agassi) I’ve ever read. (Agassi’s name is on the cover of the book, but Moehringer wrote it). He also wrote what I think was the best tribute to Derek Jeter in his ESPN article The Final Walk Off.

If you do know of him, then know that he has once again produced an article that goes beyond what all other writers have produced about a current story in the news – A-Rod’s return to baseball after his 162 game suspension.

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Not True That the Rich Are Getting Richer While the Poor Are Getting Poorer

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I was quite surprised when I was led to a NY Times article yesterday by a particularly astute (and younger) former colleague of Ellen’s (thanx Matt Stoller) that basically said what most people think is the case about the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer is not the case.

At least not since 2007.

The article tells us that even though income inequality is high historically, “The income of the top 1 percent – both the level and the share of overall income – still hasn’t returned to its 2007 peak. Their average income is about 20 per cent below that peak.”

While this may be more of a statement about who lost more in the period between 2007 – 2010, there is much in this article that is worthy of consideration.

Take a look at the article for yourselves:

Inequality Has Actually Not Risen Since the Financial Crisis, by David Leonhardt, NY Times, Feb. 17, 2014, p.3.

Easter Island: Thru Ellen’s Lens

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As I wrote earlier (see The Trip: Easter Island & Antarctica), the time we spent on Easter Island was a revelation to us. Tho it was an ‘add on’ to our Antarctica trip, it turned out to be a fascinating few days.

I’m posting here a few of Ellen’s photos from that part of the trip and then linking below to her full slide show of Easter Island (Rapa Nui).

A bit of explanation might help as you look at the photos. The island is small and the moai (pronounced mo-eye – statues representing ancestors) and their ahu (platforms) are spread over the 64 square mile island. While there are remnants of as many as 887 statues spread throughout the island**, only about 100 are ‘standing’. There are only about 5 or 6 principle sites where they have been restored to their ‘original’ positions. There are also other historic sites on the island which relate to how the Rapa Nui people lived. The Explora Lodge, where we stayed, arranged guided hikes which often took in visits to several sites on the same day. (We couldn’t always arrange these at the optimal time from a photographic point of view, but Ellen has made the best of what she had to work with.)

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Antarctica: Thru Ellen’s Lens

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A dozen or so to start you off.

These, and those in Ellen Miller’s Antarctica slide show (see instructions below), come from Ushuaia & the Beagle Channel, the Drake Passage, the South Shetland Islands, the Lemaire Channel, Booth & Petermann Islands, the Antarctic Circle, Port Lockroy and Paradise Bay.

 

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The Trip: Easter Island & Antarctica

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Usually, I’m not at a loss for words.

But we have just returned from a three-week trip, first to one of the smallest, most isolated and most fascinating islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and then on to the most remote, virtually uninhabited and most picturesque continent on our planet, and I’m having trouble trying to capture what we experienced.

Nothing I can write will match the photos that my wife Ellen has taken and that I’ll post on this site when she has sorted through her 1600 saved pictures.

In the meantime, however, here are two iPhone photos I took and an attempt at relating some of the impact these two very different places had on me.

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“American Sniper” – Two Different Views

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A long time friend suggested we both see Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper and then get together to talk about the film.

We haven’t had that talk in person yet, but I suggested we could both write about the film, and I’d post what we both wrote (without having seen each other’s comments).

I’ve posted his first and mine afterwards.

Please feel free to add your thoughts, civilly of course, in the Comment section of this post.

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An Apology to Mr. Rizzo

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According to the Washington Post:

The Washington Nationals radically altered the baseball landscape Sunday night, ending a winter of relative inactivity by agreeing to a seven-year contract with free agent pitcher Max Scherzer, according to a person with direct knowledge of the talks.

I shoulda listened to my father, the chess player.

He tried to teach me to take my time when my opponent made a move that perhaps seemed weak, foolish, or one I didn’t understand.  He warned not to jump too quickly in my next move and to beware of what further moves my opponent might have in mind.

For the most part, I’ve followed that advice, at least with reference to MillersTime.

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Your Predictions: A One Question Contest

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Boston Red Sox v Toronto Blue Jays

 

 

 

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Thanks to the suggestion of a long time baseball fan and a MillersTime reader (and with some adjustments on my part), I’m creating a new Baseball Contest, this one limited to just one question.

Contest: List three impacts you predict the trade of Tyler Clippard for Yunel Escobar will have for the Nats and/or for the Athletics.

Prize: Two seats in Section 117, Row G or H (three or four rows behind the Visitors’ dugout and between home and third base) for a Nats’ game next year.

Details:

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Nats: Terrible, Terrible Decision

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“Tue ere maricon” – “You are a faggot” – Just a joke? Some of his best friends are gay!

I read last night as the story was developing about the Nats trading Tyler Clippard for Yunel Escobar.

I understand that baseball is a business.

I understand there are problems with the Nats at second base.

I understand that Ian Desmond has only one year left on his contract and could go elsewhere. I understand Escobar could play second base this year and move to shortstop next year if that’s necessary.

I understand Escobar’s hitting has averaged .276 over his career, (tho only .258 in 2014) and he has averaged 145 games a season over that career.

I understand Escobar “has a team-friendly contract that will pay him $5 million in 2015 and $7 million in 2016…(and) the Nationals hold a $7 million club option for 2017.”

I understand the trade “saves the Nationals somewhere between $3 million and $4 million, depending on Clippard’s arbitration process.

I understand that this is Tyler Clippard’s last year of arbitration before being eligible for free agency and that there are “”young arms behind him” in the Nats’ organization.

However,

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