Brains, Bowling, Biz Blogs, Battlestar Galactica

Right off the top, I hope I didn’t get anybody’s hopes up (or down) with the title of this entry. Battlestar Galactica will not be discussed here. I was merely on an alliteration streak with the letter B, which reminded me of this.

Official pitchers and catchers’ camp opened today at several Spring Training facilities. Thank goodness. The Padres officially start Thursday.

Also today, Ben Hill gave a big attaboy in his wildly popular Ben’s Biz Blog. I consider Ben’s blog to be the Ed Sullivan Show / Soul Train of Minor League Baseball… If you haven’t been on there, you haven’t really made it big. So mark today on the calendar as the arrival of the TinCaps on the national scene.

Before getting to the heart of today’s entry, I have to tell you a story about bowling. Last week, about 20 of our staff members went to the bowling alley to get our bowling fix. We have a moderately to not-at-all competitive league going, depending on who you ask. We were almost finished with our third and final game. Justin Shurley, who easily has the best blazing fastball in our league, left two pins standing after his first ball. So he grabbed the ball from the ball return and got ready to pick up the spare. The bar came down over the alley (as usual) and was starting to go up when Justin, anticipating the bar going all the way up like normal, walked up and unleashed the most hellacious (for him, normal) bowling fastball ever seen by humans. A split-second after he released the ball, the alleys turned off, the bar stopped about a foot off the alley and everything seemed to go in slow motion (as slow as a 98-mph bowling ball can seem). The top half of the ball hit the bottom part of the bar, sending the bar swinging straight up into a black light. The black light shattered all over the place. It was as if Roy Hobbs had just launched his famous home run for the New York Knights. I’ve never seen anything like it in a bowling alley. As you can imagine, even though he didn’t mean to obliterate an unsuspecting light, that was the end of Justin’s bowling night. A night that will live in infamy in the TinCaps Bowling League.

Now to the real thing I want to talk about… The Brain Game. About a month ago, an invitation floated around the office that we were forming a trivia team for something called the Brain Game, which is a fund-raiser for the Fort Wayne Center for Learning. As someone who knows way too much about unimportant things and someone who cares about learning, I thought I would be a pretty good addition to the team. So I signed up along with Jared Parcell, Tony DesPlaines and Abby Naas, who you may remember as the victim of Operation Phil Collins (if you can really consider anyone a “victim” of good music).

Today was the “Brain Game for Dummies” session where we heard about the format of the game, the potential categories, etc. So the four of us walked around the concourse toward the North Gate of Parkview Field, which is the side closest to the outfield. When we got out there, I swear we found the snowiest place in the Northern Hemisphere. There was a solid 18 inches of snow out there while the rest of Allen County has about a foot at most. It was incredible. It was so snowy, I couldn’t even see the steps leading down to Jefferson Boulevard. So after the most awkward step descent of all-time in front of downtown lunchtime traffic, we crossed the street and went into the Grand Wayne Center for Brain Game for Dummies. I’m still disappointed that I didn’t pull my Buddy the Elf impression on the escalator (yes, I’m 9 years old), but I’m not disappointed in Jared Parcell’s performance at the meeting.

After we found out who we’ll be competing against in the first round (it’s two banks and a group of teachers… if we win, it’ll be a miracle), the meeting started. The guy in charge asked for a few volunteers to practice with the controllers which we’ll use to key in our answers. Of course, Jared volunteered so vivaciously that he almost flew to the front of the room. There were ten questions. Every time Jared got one right, he fist-pumped as if he were on some flash-in-the-pan MTV reality show. If you’re dying to know, Jared finished third of the four people who volunteered. The guy who won was on the team that won last year. He must be the Ken Jennings of the Brain Game.

Now comes the reader participation portion of this entry… The whole team is supposed to wear costumes to the actual Brain Game competition, which is on February 27th. We have no idea what to wear other than baseball uniforms. I suggested we dress up as Krang from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles since he was actually a brain inside a robotic human, which should mean we automatically win. Somehow that idea didn’t catch on. So if you have any good ideas, e-mail them to me or leave them in the comments.

Also, since this is a fund-raiser and not just a trivia contest for me to make wisecracks about, we need to raise some money. You can read about the Fort Wayne Center for Learning here. If we raise the most money of all the teams, we get an automatic spot in the final round. Which, if I had to guess, is probably our only shot to get there. If you feel compelled to chip in a few bucks, drop me an e-mail and we can figure things out.

Sorry to be so wordy today, but a lot of things were going on. And Monday was a short entry, so I’m making up for it.

Take care!


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