Lassen Volcanic National Park, Mountains and Mud Pots In My Back Yard, by Chuck Strom

Lassen Peak

Not having planned an extended vacation this year, I’ve taken a few day trips to assuage the restlessness that hits me around July. Fortunately, I have a national park an hour’s drive from my house: Lassen Volcanic. The park consists of the usual wooded trails and streams, but also a 10,463 foot . . . → Read More: Lassen Volcanic National Park, Mountains and Mud Pots In My Back Yard, by Chuck Strom

The Sacramento River Cats: 85 Miles From the Major Leagues, by Chuck Strom

Game Action

At the end of last season, the baseball Triple-A Sacramento River Cats changed their major league affiliate from the Oakland A’s to the San Francisco Giants. Naturally, this enhanced their appeal greatly for me, so I paid them a visit. Raley Field, a 10,000-seat ballpark, gets good online reviews, and I rated . . . → Read More: The Sacramento River Cats: 85 Miles From the Major Leagues, by Chuck Strom

Throw Day for Madison Bumgarner, by Chuck Strom

Madison Bumgarner

One of the benefits of arriving early at the ballpark is that sometimes you get treated to a little extra entertainment for the price of your ticket. Yesterday was Madison Bumgarner’s between-starts throwing day. There weren’t many fans in the park yet, but most of those who were crowded near the Giants . . . → Read More: Throw Day for Madison Bumgarner, by Chuck Strom

An Uncharacteristic Day at AT&T Park, by Chuck Strom

James Shields

Lately, the San Francisco Giants have followed their usual script of good pitching and weak hitting, as illustrated by the last three starts by Madison Bumgarner, losses by scores of 2-0, 1-0, and 3-2. They are doing much better in the standings than they should, mostly because they have owned the NL . . . → Read More: An Uncharacteristic Day at AT&T Park, by Chuck Strom

Your 2015 NBA Champions: The Golden State Warriors, by Chuck Strom

On first glance, the above title requires a suspension of disbelief. Though the San Francisco Giants endured a longer journey in the wilderness than the Golden State Warriors, the Warriors were an even less likely prospect to arrive in the promised land. The Giants at least teased their fans occasionally with the possibility of . . . → Read More: Your 2015 NBA Champions: The Golden State Warriors, by Chuck Strom

Charles Pierce – FIFA and the Sports Crime of the Century, by Chuck Strom

I’ve referenced articles from Charles Pierce before. This one, with the quote below, is another reason to admire him as perhaps the most insightful and entertaining writer on sports today:

And what we also have learned is that FIFA’s corruption wasn’t in the least covert. It was lying out there, like a mackerel in . . . → Read More: Charles Pierce – FIFA and the Sports Crime of the Century, by Chuck Strom

It’s Finally Happened: The Golden State Warriors Are In the NBA Finals, by Chuck Strom

For those who do not follow basketball, the Golden State Warriors have made the NBA Finals for the first time in 40 years. On this, I have two observations:

1. The members of the last Warriors team in the Finals are old enough to collect Social Security, if not Medicare.

2. If this were . . . → Read More: It’s Finally Happened: The Golden State Warriors Are In the NBA Finals, by Chuck Strom

62 Feet Later, Golden State Warriors Reach Conference Finals, By Chuck Strom

The Memphis Grizzlies made the series far too interesting, but last night the Golden State Warriors closed it out and reached the NBA Western Conference Finals for the first time since Rick Barry shot granny-style at the foul line. As to how the Warriors managed it, this video of Stephen Curry’s 62-ft basket last . . . → Read More: 62 Feet Later, Golden State Warriors Reach Conference Finals, By Chuck Strom

Stephen Curry – Your 2015 NBA Most Valuable Player, by Chuck Strom

After the Blazer-Warrior game I attended back in March, I spent some time in the hallway outside the Warrior locker room with Steph Curry and some of his friends, just being a fly on the wall and listening to their conversation. One of the comments I remember was one of Curry’s friends telling him, . . . → Read More: Stephen Curry – Your 2015 NBA Most Valuable Player, by Chuck Strom

Grantland Article – The Odd Year Hangover‏, by Chuck Strom

Here’s a pretty good Grantland piece on the Giants’ recent fall from grace. Jonah Keri zeroes in pretty accurately on their problems. He is , if anything, too optimistic on their season prospects. They play like a banged-up collection of spare parts, which in fact they were in 2014, and their championship seems all . . . → Read More: Grantland Article – The Odd Year Hangover‏, by Chuck Strom

A New Master’s Champion, by Chuck Strom

I’m one of the few who actually likes watching golf on television, at least when it’s a major. It offers a lot of interesting psychology and body language, especially when the ball misses a cup or finds its way into a hazard. I happened to see some of yesterday’s Master’s Tournament when the leaders . . . → Read More: A New Master’s Champion, by Chuck Strom

Things to See in Rip City Other Than Basketball, by Chuck Strom

Portland has many attractions to offer visitors who don’t happen to have Blazers tickets. I had parts of two days on my recent trip to take a small sample:

Ramona Statue

Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden

Anyone who has had kids in the last half century, or maybe is still just a big kid, might . . . → Read More: Things to See in Rip City Other Than Basketball, by Chuck Strom

The Golden State Warriors Bring Their “A” Game To Rip City, by Chuck Strom

Steph Curry at pregame warmup

Recently, the Portland Trail Blazers graciously issued me a media pass for their game against the Golden State Warriors. It is the greatest benefit I have received for what is essentially a writing hobby, and if I never receive any other compensation, it will all have been worth it . . . → Read More: The Golden State Warriors Bring Their “A” Game To Rip City, by Chuck Strom

Bill Simmons Post – SNL at 40‏, by Chuck Strom

Here’s a good Bill Simmons piece on the SNL 40 special:

http://grantland.com/hollywood-prospectus/ready-for-prime-time-the-giddy-brilliant-and-ok-somewhat-bloated-snl-40/

I actually managed to catch most of it last night, though I wasn’t even aware it was on until partway through. The one comment I would add is that Paul Simon’s appearance at the end was a little dispiriting. His voice sounded . . . → Read More: Bill Simmons Post – SNL at 40‏, by Chuck Strom

Prelude to A New Season: the SF Giants 2015 Fan Fest, by Chuck Strom

With the glow still fresh from the San Francisco Giants’ recent championship, there was no question that I would attend their Fan Fest last weekend. I took both of my daughters with me, and I looked forward to seeing its attractions and avoiding the autograph lines, having spent the previous two Fan Fests standing . . . → Read More: Prelude to A New Season: the SF Giants 2015 Fan Fest, by Chuck Strom

An Established Routine: The 2014 Giants World Series Trophy Tour, by Chuck Strom

2014 World Series Trophy

The triumphs of ancient Rome were something of a victory parade on steroids. Usually celebrated after a major conquest, they were long processions that included captives on display and soldiers of the victorious army marching and singing salacious songs at their leader’s expense. In the midst of the procession, the . . . → Read More: An Established Routine: The 2014 Giants World Series Trophy Tour, by Chuck Strom

Monticello: Thomas Jefferson’s Mountaintop, by Chuck Strom

If I could choose any stone to have over my grave, my pick would be Thomas Jefferson’s. His is an obelisk, and his epitaph reads as follows:

HERE WAS BURIEDTHOMAS JEFFERSONAUTHOR OF THEDECLARATIONOFAMERICAN INDEPENDENCEOF THESTATUTE OF VIRGINIAFORRELIGIOUS FREEDOMAND FATHER OF THEUNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA

This is as noteworthy for what it leaves out as . . . → Read More: Monticello: Thomas Jefferson’s Mountaintop, by Chuck Strom

A Free Man In An Unfree Society, by Chuck Strom

Church of The Holy Cross, Stateburg

The town of Stateburg, South Carolina, looks ordinary at first glance. It is just north of Highway 76 about halfway between Interstate 95 and the state capital, Columbia, and most travelers would not think to stop there without prior knowledge of the place. Like many small towns on . . . → Read More: A Free Man In An Unfree Society, by Chuck Strom

The Imitation Game: It’s Not Always Good to Be Ahead of Your Time, by Chuck Strom

Last Friday I saw The Imitation Game, the recent movie about British mathematician Alan Turing and the breaking of the German Enigma codes during World War II. It has been out for a while, but it was released only recently in my part of the world. It was panned a bit in The New . . . → Read More: The Imitation Game: It’s Not Always Good to Be Ahead of Your Time, by Chuck Strom

Had Them All The Way – Giants Win Game 7, By Chuck Strom

Concrete Baseballs

Middle relief pitching is perhaps the least glamorous position in all of sports. Those who make a career of it rarely win lucrative contracts, at least by major league standards, but they can be as crucial to success as anyone else on a baseball team, particularly in October. No one has demonstrated . . . → Read More: Had Them All The Way – Giants Win Game 7, By Chuck Strom