Dear Bob, here are some photos of my life here on the campus of Concordia Seminary. I love kids, working with the grounds crew, swimming, playing with my dog friends, and especially my own family people.
This is an interesting graph which shows the increase/decrease in government employees from 1960 to the present. Surprisingly, the number of federal employees has stayed pretty much the same over the years while the number of local government employees has gone up considerably. State worker numbers have risen over the years but nothing to compare with local.
There are, however, many more local government agencies throughout the country when you consider cities, towns, townships, counties. Then add in governments which have been added over the years in various places, like park districts, library districts etc. All of whom add paid workers.
MoDOT officials will be having a news conference on the deck of the westbound lanes of I-64 through downtown at 2 this afternoon to announce that the work they're doing which shut down those lanes all weekend will not reopen in time for the morning rush hour.
Too bad tomorrow isn't a holiday Monday for Illinois drivers.
This weekend Concordia Seminary is the site of a unique baseball tournament, one which pitts the St Louis Firing Squad, the Chicago Comets and the Indy Thunder against each other in Beep Ball. There will be 4 games today and tomorrow games will be for the championship. What is Beep Ball you might ask?
Beep Ball is a modified version of baseball for the blind and visually impaired. The ball is slightly larger than a 12 inch softball and cushier. There is a beeper inside the ball which sounds rather like a soft smoke alarm and makes it possible for the batter to know where the ball is. The beeper is activated when the pitcher pulls out the pin before throwing to the batter.
Here's a look at how the game looks from this morning. I'll explain the rules as we go along. Sometimes clicking photos has them show up better.
First the official T shirt every player will receive.
Actually I probably could have, should have bought one.
There was a guy with his smoker cranked up, he was fun to talk to.
Part of what he was cooking was...
All I can say is, Right On! I'll be there for lunch.
Here's a look at all three teams gathered under the tournament banner
The Chicago Comets
The Indy Thunder
The St Louis Firing Squad never did have a singular team photo taken for some reason.
Let's Play Ball. The teams are made up of 10 players. 6 who are blind or visually impaired, one pitcher, one catcher and two spotters who are not visually impaired. The 6 blind players must wear masks in order to make it fair as the impaired players have varying degrees of eyesight.
There are only two bases-first and third. A right handed batter will run to first base if the ball is hit and a left handed batter will run to third after making contact.
The pitcher, who is on the same team as those up to bat, must call out, "Ready Set Pitch" so that the batter knows the ball is coming. The ball beeps its way to home plate where the batter attempts to make contact.
Sometimes they make contact sometimes they swing and miss. The batter gets 4 strikes before they are called out.
The bases are actually padded towers which the runner must touch or crash into before a fielder gets hold of the ball, holds it up and yells, "got it".
Here's a look at exactly how this works. The batter has run to the tower and is about to make contact with it but the player on the ground has the ball and is calling out, "got it." This looks very close. If the runner beats the fielder, it is considered a homerun. There is not baserunning as in a typical game. If the fielder has the ball first it is an out.
Here's a closer look at the tower during warm-ups. The tower also has sound activated by contact.
The tower bounces down when a runner runs into it.
Each team had a tent, but I have to say, the sun was really bright today and not much shade.
When the blind players had to move from one place to another they held on to sighted people.
This was true when heading up to bat as well.
There were also some beautiful seeing-eye/service dogs.
These two Shepherds were always alert.
The Lab kept his eye on his owner.
But when the owner was on the field he became sort of despondent.
Finally he got a break in some shade with his water bowl.
But the Golden Retriever was full of energy, bobbing here and there, watching everything.
This is Rex.
He had to get into the Indy Thunder photo and he was in one darn hurry.
Not quite the spot you want, Rex, if you want to be in the photo.
This has been an amazing experience, watching the games today. In the end, the rules may be different, but the enthusiasm for baseball is exactly the same as any played the traditional way. There will be championship games played tomorrow beginning at 8:30 with awards following.
It was warm on Saturday and much warmer this morning as games resumed. These were really handy even blowing hot air around.
And the First Annual St. Louis Firing Squad Beep Ball tournament winner is...
The Chicago Comets who beat out second place finishers the Indy Comets 14-12. The scores are total runs over the course of two days, whichever team gets the highest number wins the tournament.
We're in the process of emptying and cleaning the small pond in the seminary academic quad. It was made summer ready earlier in the spring, but the pollen and leaves and other natural things dropped in the water in larger numbers than expected recently and it really needs cleaning.
Yesterday I dropped in a pump hooked to a hose and started the draining process. It's pretty cool actually. I put a small spray sprinkler on the end and the grass gets watered while the pond drains. But. We discovered someone dropped 3 goldfish into the pond at some point and the issue now is what to do about them. What to do about them will come when we figure out how to catch them and get them into some small container.
Those guys can jump! I tried several methods of capturing them yesterday afternoon to no avail. I guess this morning means a trip to a store to buy a fish net. This fish thing is really slowing down the whole process.
And, I don't even like fish all that much either to eat or look at. But everyone wants to save those fish.