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This is Louisville radar. A severe warned storm is just southeast of Louisville. There was a downpour at the (Kentucky) Derby with an estimated wind gust of 45 mph. It’ll be dry now for the race, which is coming up in a matter of minutes on WOOD TV 8. Severe reports in the Louisville area: Wind damage at Saint Matthews KY, 3/4″ hail at Jeffersontown KY, 1/4″ hail at Lyndon KY. Over 100,000 people are in attendance at the Derby. At 6 pm, the official temp. in Louisville is 74 with a wind northeast at 7 mph. The Kentucky Derby set a record attendance with 170,513 last year (2015). You can see this would present a significant problem if there were a tornado event (a good portion of the stands has a roof overhead that would provide some protection in the event of rain or hail.
Nyquist wins! Exaggerator 2nd, Gun Runner 3rd. Official attendance 167,227.
They couldn’t have ordered a better day for the Super Bowl. It should be mostly sunny with temperatures around the low 70s at kickoff. They get days in June that aren’t this nice.
This is a picture of the upper level winds (500 mb – about 18,000 feet above the surface). This map is valid for 4 pm Sunday during the game. It shows a BIG ridge over the West Coast. Upper level ridges like this often bring warmer than average temperatures and fair weather. Troughs tend to be cool, cloudier with a better chance of precipitation. The trough is digging into the Great Lakes and that will usher in cooler air and precipitation, which will be snow after a mixed start Sunday PM.
The East Coast storm dropped 4.6″ of snow on New York City and Boston. Some heavier amounts: 13″ Woodbridge CT, 12.5″ Worchester MA, 12″ Terryville NY, 11.5″ Bar Harbor ME. At one point 85,000 customers in the NE were without power. The snow got into SE NH, disrupting some election campaigning. 10.5″ fell at Dover NH. 140 flights were cancelled. A couple of trees were downed and 140 flights were cancelled. The wind was only gusting to 20-25 mph at the surface when that crane toppled in NYC. Cranes certainly should be able to tolerate that. Strong winds hit the Pacific NW with gusts to 62 at Tillamook OR and 60 at Cape Disappointment WA. Forks WA received 1.58″ of rain and Paradise in Mt. Rainier Nat. Park picked up another 5″ of snow, bringing their snow depth to 141″ – that’s 3″ shy of 12 FEET!).
Overnight model data: High temps. for Sat./Sun./Mon off the NAM for G.R: 35, 41, 36 and from the GFS: 36, 42, 37. Beginning Weds. the GFS has highs for G.R. of 23, 23, 27, 22…so a pretty cool end of the week. With cold air coming across Lake Michigan, we’ll see persistent lake-effect snow showers with some decent (6-12″) accumulations possible in the heavier bands by the end of the week. Currently we have 1″ of snow on the ground in G.R., Lansing, Kalamazoo, Fremont, Saranac, Hastings and Grand Ledge, 2″ at Muskegon and Big Rapids, 3″ in Hart, 6″ in the woods at White Cloud, 7″ at Scottville, 11″ at Houghton Lake, Lake City, Traverse City and Cheboygan, 13″ at S. Ste. Marie, 14″ Harbor Springs and Benzonia, 17″ in the woods at Kalkaska, 18″ Gaylord, 19″ E. Jordan, 20″ Munishing, 22″ Marquette, 27″ Ironwood, 30″ SE of Houghton and 42″ on the ground at Painesdale.
We move to Daylight Saving Time on March 13. We’ve gained 53 minutes of daylight in the evening since Dec. 9 and 20 minutes in the AM since the first week of Jan.
Thanks to everyone who sent National Weatherperson’s Day greetings to us at Storm Team 8. Friday AM, I was the emcee of MathCounts at GVSU in downtown G.R. Wow! Are there a lot of smart kids in W. Michigan. The 3 top winning schools were Forest Hills Central, Forest Hills Northern and Forest Hills Eastern. It was a clean sweep! The top individual won a $1,000 scholarship from GVSU. I was told that this was the 28th consecutive year I’ve been the emcee of our local MathCounts competition.
5:30 pm Saturday: High temperatures today: 35 G.R. and Holland, 36 Muskegon and Battle Creek, 37 in Kalamazoo. The GFS has the temp. in G.R. basically in the teens from Weds. PM thru mid afternoon on the 14th. The lows get down around 5-10 and highs 15-20. The Euro. has temps. in the low 20s Weds. PM…then teens for highs beyond that thru the 14th…in fact, we’re only at about 10 above the afternoon of the 13th, next Sat. The models still forecast a general 3-5″ of snow for everyone with up to 12″ in the most favorable lake snowbands starting Monday thru the end of the week. The fluffy snow will drift some, so we’ll have to get used to some slick spots on areas roads this week.
It’s a long way off, so things could change, but the GFS model (see image above – overnight model run) prints out a nasty day weatherwise for the Chiefs/Patroits game Saturday (4:35 pm on CBS). The model has rain…temps. in the upper 30s to near 40 and a very strong north wind that peaks at 30 mph. A strong low with a tight pressure gradient (hence the strong wind) will be passing just offshore. If (and that’s a BIG “if”) this were to happen, you can guess how that would affect passing (how could you throw down the field?) and the kicking game. Here in Michigan, we’ve got a northwest wind…colder air settling in and temps. probably upper 20s with flurries. The other playoff games look OK weatherwise. Green Bay at Azizona should be partly cloudy with temps. in the 50s. That game is Saturday at 8:15 pm on NBC (WOOD TV8). On Sunday, the first game (1:05 pm on FOX) is Seattle at Carolina, where it should be partly sunny to mostly cloudy and low 40s. The second game (4:40 pm on CBS) is Pittsburgh at Denver. I think it’s dry in the city, though there will be snow not too far away in mountains and around 40 degrees. That’s five days out, so things could change, but I’m sure they’ll be watching that forecast for Foxborough.
My Wisconsin Badgers were 10-3 this past season – including a bowl win against USC. They lost by 2 touchdowns to Alabama and had very close games that they could have won against Iowa and Northwestern. Wisconsin managed to get into the top 25. It was a good year. Check out their schedule for next year. They start with LSU…a few weeks later they have Michigan St. on the road, then Michigan on the road, then Ohio State at home then Nebraska and then Iowa on the road, then Northwestern on the road. Looks like they’ll be lucky to go 6-6. From 1920-1979, Wisconsin won only 3 times in 42 games against Ohio State.
Lots of good weather info. in the thread below this one…read on if you have time…
Need help paying those Holiday bills? Bill says, let the Bills help with those bills. Up to 12″ of lake-effect snow has piled up in the Buffalo NY area (and it’s still snowing). The Bills need to shovel out the stands before the Bills/Jets game at 1 pm on Sunday. So, their offering $10 an hour to anyone who will show up tomorrow to help shovel out the stands. They’ll also provide lunch and dinner (they didn’t say anything about beer or wings). Bring your own shovel. (pic. from WIVB is from a similar event last year).
Also, the Detroit Lions end this disappointing season facing an equally disappointing Chicago Bear team at Soldier Field (at 1 pm on FOX).
The last Sunday night football game is at Green Bay (where they also paid people this week to shovel out the stands after nearly a foot of snow fell there on Tuesday). The Vikings take on the Packers and you can see that game on WOOD TV8 Sunday. The game starts around 8:30 pm EST, but the pre-game begins at 7 pm. (pic. of snow shovelers at Lambeau Field from WBAY). The NFL playoff games are Jan. 9-10, 16-17 and the 24th with the 50th Super Bowl on 2/7 at Santa Clara CA.
There are four more college bowl games tomorrow (Sat.). All four are on ESPN. Starting at noon, Penn St. takes on Georgia in the Taxslayer Bowl. That’s the last Big Ten team to play (the Big Ten (now 14 teams) had 10 teams on bowl games and is now 5-4 in those games. At 3:20 it’s Arkansas and Kansas St. in the Autozone Liberty Bowl. At 6:45, probably the best game of the day has Oregon (9-3) against TCU (10-2). And last and probably least..(drum roll)…the Motel 6 Cactus Bowl starts at 10:15 EST with West Virginia (7-5) against Arizona St. (6-6). The NCAAF championship – Alabama vs. Clemson is Monday Jan. 11 at 8:30 pm on ESPN.
What a week this has been for watching football…first check out the end of Monday Night Football, with Baltimore running back a blocked fielded-goal to end the game…then Aaron Rodgers throwing a 60+ yard Hail Mary pass with no time left to beat the Lions…now a last minute touchdown from Michigan State. The playoff games will be Thursday 12/31 – New Year’s Eve – at the Cotton Bowl in Arlington TX and at the Orange Bowl at Miami. One game will be at 4 pm and the other at 8 pm. A lot of people are off on New Year’s Eve and I bet others get out early. The Championship game is Monday 1/11 at Glendale AZ. It’s #1 vs #4 and #2 vs. #3…so it matters if Michigan St. comes into the playoffs at #3 or #4. So, they’ll play either Clemson or Alabama. All 3 playoff games are on ESPN. Here’s the Bowl Schedule. Western Michigan plays Middle Tennessee State in the Nassau Bowl in the Bahamas. There won’t be a big crowd – but the game will be national on ESPN. That game has a noon start. The Thomas Robinson Stadium in Nassau is mainly a soccer stadium and has an official capacity of 15,000. Iowa should wind up at the Rose Bowl on 1/1 – 5 pm in Pasadena. Most of the 41 bowl games are on ESPN. There are 3 bowl games on WOTV4 – that’s the Royal Purple Bowl on 12/19 – the Pinstripe Bowl on 12/26 and the Citrus Bowl on 1/1. The Pinstripe and Citrus Bowls will feature Big Ten teams. Here’s a game wrap-up of the Michigan St./Iowa game. Michigan’s last drive lasted over 9 minutes, with a season college record 22 plays, including 5 of 6 third down conversions and the one they didn’t get on 3rd down, they got on 4th down. Here’s the box score of the game and team stats.
Congratulations to GVSU on their convincing 31-7 win over Colorado St. at Pueblo. The Lakes will play Shepherd University (from Shepherdstown, West Virginia) next Saturday. That game is a noon start at Shepherdstown WV. If they win that game, they’re in the Championship Game on Dec. 19 at Sporting Park in Kansas City.
Also – there is one college football game next Saturday. That is the regular season-ending Army-Navy game at 3 pm. Bench-clearing brawl at the Texas/Baylor game on Saturday. Texas was ahead of #12 Baylor 17-0 at the time of the “brawl”. Texas went on to win the game 23-17.
Let’s highlight WMU this morning – they crushed Ball St. yesterday evening 54-7, rolling up 711 yards of offense and having possession for over 40 minutes of the game. Ball St. had only 7 first downs. WMU is now 6-3 on the season, with their 3 losses coming against Ohio St. (then #1 in the country), Michigan St. (they scored 24 points on the Spartans) and an away game with now 6-2 Georgia Southern. I applaud them for scheduling tough non-conference opponents. They’re a fun team to watch and P.J. Fleck is bound to move on higher up the food-chain of football coaches.
We have Football Frenzy Friday night – we’ll cover all the games featuring teams from our area. On TV #22 Temple is at SMU (daughter #3 went to law school there) on ESPN2. Saturday Penn St. is at Northwestern (I know where Jack Doles will be). Illinois (wife’s alma mater) is at Purdue. Both of those are noon games. #5 Notre Dame is at Pitt – that game is on WOTV4 at noon. Wisconsin (my alma mater) is at Maryland at 3:30 on BTN. I have a seminar at the NWS Saturday, then I work the evening shift…so I’ll have the Wisconsin game on in the Tracking Center, but probably with no sound, so I can work and just look up at the score. The second part of the triple-header on WOTV4 is #16 Florida St. at #1 Clemson. That game is also at 3:30 pm. Rutgers is at Michigan at 3:30 pm on BTN. It’ll be breezy, dry and cool in Ann Arbor with temps. around 50. MSU is at Nebraska at 7 pm. That game is on ESPN. The evening game on WOTV4 is Minnesota at Ohio State.
This is a bye week for the Detroit Lions (or should I say a “bye-bye” week with some top brass leaving). Green Bay is at Carolina and Kirk Cousins and Washington plays Brady and New England…both of those games are at 1 pm on FOX. Sunday Night Football is Philadelphia at Dallas on WOOD TV8 and Monday Night Football is Chicago at San Diego on ESPN.
NASCAR is on WOODTV Sunday PM from the Texas Motor Speedway. The Wings p;lay at Toronto tonight (Fri.) and then Sunday aftn. in Dallas. College b-ball has #13 MSU at Florida Atlantic Fri evening and St. Francis is at Notre Dame. Norhtner Michigan is at Michigan and Jacksonville St. at CMU.
We’ve love to see (and use on the air/online) your pics. of fall colors, weather or news – you can send us an email at email@example.com or thru ReportIt.
TV football kicks off at Noon on WOTV4 with #6 Clemson at Miami (FL). At 2 pm, the other Miami (OH) is in Kalamazoo to take on the Broncos. Other early PM game: CMU and Ball State (ESPN3). Indiana is at M.S.U. at 3:30 pm on WOTV4. Indiana started 4-0, but has a tough Big Ten schedule. They’ve lost 3 in a row and now they have MSU, Iowa and then Michigan. It’s the annual Steffen household matchup with Wisconsin (my alma mater) at Illinois (my wife’s alma mater) at 3:30 pm on the Big Ten Network. Wisconsin’s running attack has been surprisingly weak and Bill Cubit (formerly the coach at WMU) has Illinois at 4-2. Michigan has a bye week. Michigan Tech is at Ferris St. at 12:04 pm and Findlay takes on the GVSU Lakers at 7 pm in Allendale. The Lions host Minnesota at 1 pm on FOX…the Bears and Green Bay have bye weeks. The Sunday night game is Philadelphia at Carolina on WOOD/NBC. There is a 9:30 am game between Buffalo and Jacksonville at Wembley Field in London, England.
The Griffins are off to a slow start, 1-5 in their first six games. The Red Wings won 3, then lost 3. The Canadians are 8-0.
Holy Frijole! Did you see the end of the Michigan-Michigan State game?? Video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpGLrqXhOtQ It’ll be our lead story at 10 pm on WXSP and at 11 pm on WOOD! Reminds me of this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYuEqPd66Yg
Jalen Watts-Jackson scored the game-winning TD for the Spartans, but he also suffered a severe hip injury on the play. Michigan State coach Mike Dantonio said it was either a dislocated or broken hip. Did the injury occur after he had scored the touchdown?
Unbelieveable finish between Michigan and Michigan State…one of the most stunning last plays in college football history. Elsewhere…Iowa goes to 7-0. The rest of Iowa’s schedule is Maryland, Indiana, Minnesota, Purdue and Nebraska. We’ve got evening football for you on both WOOD (USC at Notre Dame at 7:30 pm) and on WOTV4 (Penn. St. at Ohio St.). In the GLIAC, Michigan Tech comes to Allendale to take on the Lakers at 7 pm and Ferris St. won their game with Jason Vander Laan setting a new NCAAF record! ALL-time NCAA rushing yards by a quarterback. CMU and WMU had lopsided wins today.
In the NFL – the Lions on paper should beat the Bears, who have a weak pass rush and only two interceptions this season. That game is at 1 pm on FOX. Green Bay plays at 4 pm. The evening game on NBC/WOOD is Tom Brady and New England at Indianapolis. I’m guessing the temperature will be the only thing that’s deflated at gametime (near 40 outside).
The Grand Rapids Griffins are looking for their first home win. They host San Antonio at 7 pm. The Red Wings have an evening home game against Montreal.
Sunday is the Grand Rapids Marathon. My daughter #3 will be running the half-marathon. My daughter #1 would love to be up here, but can’t this weekend. I’ve done a few 5Ks in my time and one 10K (I think I finished last). If I started the Marathon in G.R. I’d probably finish about Wednesday. Anyway, it’ll be a cool, but pleasant start with temps. likely in the 30s early – rising into the 40s by the end of the race. Long-distance runners seem to have an extra dose of awesomeness. I wish all the runners the best.
So far, the month of Oct. is +0.6 deg. warmer than avrerage (though today should bring us back to average) with only 0.64″ of rain (average to date for the month is 1.70″) and we’ve had 39% of possible sunshine.
We’ve had 10 named tropical storms in the Atlantic/Gulf of Mexico. Only Anna and Bill affected the U.S. and by tropical storm standards not much. The Euro. tries to dig up two tropical systems…one that develops and crawls toward LA as a tropical storm and another out in the Atlantic that I have my doubts will ever be, but in any case wouldn’t affect the U.S. Florida continues to own the hurricane repellent. Since 1851, 32 tropical systems have hit FL in Oct. and only 9 have hit LA. Rainfall: 2.58″ Kodiak AK, 2.35″ Hilo HI, 1.35″ Miami FL, 1.17″ Marco Is. FL. The warmest in the U.S. Friday was 97 at Phoenix AZ and the coolest in the lower 48 states was 15 at Hettinger ND. It reached zero at Anaktuvuk Pass and Arctic Village AK. Barrow had a high/low of 24/4.
Arctic Village...Anaktuvuk Pass
Arctic Village...Anaktuvuk Pass
Have something you’d like to share with Bill’s Blog? Send an email by clicking here. Check the threads below on the snow in MI.
It’s a big sports weekend. We’ve got football, hockey, baseball playoffs and more. Football starts at noon with CMU at WMU on ESPN3. My wife’s alma mater, Illinois heads to Iowa City to take on the undefeated Hawkeyes. That game is on ESPN2. Northwestern is in the Big House to take on Michigan at 3:30 pm. The Wildcats are 5-0 and Harbaugh has moved Michigan into the top 20. That game is on the Big Ten Network. My alma mater, Wisconsin heads to Nebraska. You can see that game on WOTV4 starting at 3:30 pm. Also at 3:30 pm, Navy is at Notre Dame – that’s on WOOD TV8. Michigan St. is at Rutgers for an evening game, 8 pm on the Big Ten Network. In the GLIAC, Ferris St. is undefeated and headed to Tiffin (OH) for a 1:30 pm match-up. GVSU is at Wayne St. at 6 pm.
The Detroit Lions are still looking for their first win and Arizona will be a challenge. That’s a 4:05 pm game on FOX. St. Louis at Green Bay might be the early game. Sunday Night Football on NBC/WOOD TV8 is San Francisco (QB?) at the New York Giants. The Cubs try and even the series with St. Louis on TBS at 5:37 pm – that series is in Chicago Monday night.
I am doing meet-and-greet in front of the Art Museum from 2 to 6 pm, then staying to do the news at 10 pm and 11 pm (there is no early local news because of football). Stop and say “hi” if you’re coming downtown. Happy Weekend!! Thanks for checking my blog!!
Wow! Talk about driving the pile forward! Michigan and MSU won (though MSU’s win wasn’t impressive). Central had a big win over N. Illinois, scoring 23 of their 29 points in the 3rd quarter. Ferris St. beat Findlay (Ohio) in a high-scoring thriller 42-39. GVSU charged through Hillsdale 46-14. Big win for 5-0 Northwestern and Tommy Doles…my Badgers lost 10-6 – four turnovers by the quarterback, including a fumble at Iowa’s one-yard line. Clemson beat Notre Dame in the rain. WMU is idle this week. The Tigers wrap up a disappointing season in Chicago (White Sox) with games Sat. and Sun. Sunday Night Football on WOOD TV8 is the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints. Finally, the Lions head to the unfriendly home of the Seattle Seahawks for the Monday night game at 8:30 pm on ESPN.
Wisconsin is 71-8 at home the last 10 years but 1-3 vs. Iowa.
We’ll be talking about rain/possible storms and weather to start the weekend, so let’s turn to sports for a minute. The Whitecaps have two “World Series” games at Fifth Third Park tonight and tomorrow night. The games start at 6:35 pm and should be done in time to get the kids ready for school and in bed. Tonight, they feature half-off box or reserved seat tickets for fans age 50 or better, $2 lawn seats for kids 12 and under and half off craft beer. In their playoff win over the Lugnuts Monday night, they scored 14 runs and knocked out 22 hits. It’s exciting baseball and the weather will be warm. Hope they get a big turnout and a couple of wins.
On the other side of the coin, the Tigers are in last place in their division. They host the Royals this weekend in what many thought would be a fantastic end of season showdown. The Royals are leading the division and headed to the playoffs. The Tigers will likely see a managerial change and hopefully a better season next year. On the other side of the coin, the Cubs are having a successful year. The 3 games with the Cardinals ought to be interesting.
While you’re depressed about the Tigers, I’ll just segue into the Lions. I was quite surprised to get back from my Sunday meeting and discover that the Lions had blown the rather sizable lead they had (21-3) in the 2nd quarter and lost the game. They have some all-star players and (at least on paper) they should make the playoffs. The Lions are at Minnesota Sunday (1 PM on Fox). The Sunday night game on WOOD-TV (NBC) is Seattle at Green Bay.
Michigan State takes on Air Force Sat. at Noon (WOTV4) in East Lansing. This is not a gimmee – Air Force won ten games last year, including a win against Boise St. Michigan hosts UNLV on the Big Ten Network. Both of these games could see showers and a wet field with a period of gusty north winds. CMU is at Syracuse (one of the ESPN3 games) and Murray St. comes to Waldo Stadium to take on the W. Michigan Broncos at 7 pm (also ESPN3). One of the biggest games of the day is #14 Georgia Tech at #8 Notre Dame. That game is on WOOD TV8 (NBC) at 3:30 pm. There’s still a chance of a lingering shower early in that game. Grand Valley hosts Ferris St. in a 7 pm game. The rain should be over by the time the GVSU and Western games start at 7 pm. We wish Tommy Doles the best as his Wildcat team travels to Duke on Saturday. My Badgers host Troy (should be an easy win for Bucky). My wife’s alma mater (Illinois) is at N. Carolina and daughter 3’s law school alma mater, SMU will probably get clobbered at #3 TCU (sorry Michelle).
Weatherwise, Sunday will be the better half of the weekend, cool in the AM, but mostly sunny and 65 to 70 in the PM. Saturday AM could be unpleasant with rain and a stiff north wind developing. The rain should end from west to east during the PM. Sunday thru Tuesday of next week looks mostly sunny and pleasant, with slowly moderating temperatures.
Football Frenzy – high school football kicks off tonight. It’s all cameras on deck for the Frenzy. We’re planning on covering 20 games this evening and 19 games tomorrow evening. Highlight games tonight: W. Ottawa/Mona Shores, Lowell/Walled Lake Western and Portage/Battle Creek Lakeview. Watch the highlights at 10 pm on WXSP and at 11 pm on WOOD TV8. We’ll also have cut-ins throughout the evening on WOOD. Pic. is what the moon looked like last night. We’ll have a nearly full moon the next couple nights. The full moon is technically Saturday at 2:35 pm and the full moon of August is most often called the Sturgeon Moon. Here’s the names and times of the full moons of 2015. Next month we have the Harvest Moon, plus a lunar eclipse! Here’s this week’s Sky at a Glance, where you can check the location of planets and other cool things to see in our nighttime sky. Here’s the list of Space Station Flyovers for West Michigan. You can also get the latest on West Michigan astronomical events from the Grand Rapids Amateur Astronomical Assn. Check out www.spaceweather.com for details on auroras, the number of sunspots, asteroid approaches and more. Here’s a link to a map that shows where the space station is right now (takes a little while to open the page). Here’s another tracking map with the position of the sun. Nearly full moon hangin’ over the Windy City. Grand Rapids is now 1 degree cooler than average for the month of August. Michigan was the coolest of the Lower 48 states on Weds. Last 4 days G.R. has had 19% of possible sunshine. Three of the last 7 days have had highs in the 60s. Last 7 days have been 5.4 deg. cooler than average.
The overnight models are more bullish on rain for Saturday. the NAM model gives G.R. a 27% chance of rain Fri. night and a 70% chance of rain on Sat. The GFS has a 29% chance of rain late Fri., a 59% chc. of rain Fri. night and an 80% chance of rain on Saturday.
It’s been a cool start to the day – here’s current Michigan temps, Michigan webcams and the latest Lake Michigan water temps. (Reeds Lake in East G.R. last check had a water temp. of 70). Here’s yesterday’s U.S. high temps. – including a hot 102 at Laredo TX, Chadron NE and Imperial NE. On the cool side – the high was only 62 in Cleveland, 68 in Columbus OH, Elkins WV and Pittsburgh PA. Buffalo managed only 69. The past two days, Grand Marais (beach) in the U.P. has had high temps. of 54 and 53. Once again the warmest temp. in the U.S. was at Death Valley CA (115), while Togo MN dipped to a frosty 32.
View of Tropical Storm Erika from the Hurricane Hunters Aircraft near sunset Weds. Here’s the latest projected path of Erika, which should come close to Florida. 4.76″ of rain near Homestead, Florida. Hurricane Ignacio heading toward Hawaii. Aurora last night in Wisconsin – nearly full moon makes it harder to see. the kp-index is at a 5 as I write this. 1.31″ of rain in 1 hr at Mount Rushmore, SD. Look at the cool, wet weather coming for Washington State – great news for fire fighters.
ON WISCONSIN!! music! Whew…started 14-6 MSU…ended with a 20-point loss…Badgers win! My alma mater…they are celebrating in Madtown tonight! Wisconsin lost to Duke by 10 during the regular season back on Dec. 3. It’s been 74 years since Wisconsin was in the final game. Happy Easter and Passover! Here’s more on the “blood moon tonight. This is the shortest total lunar eclipse of this century. Michigan will see a partial eclipse. This is the first full moon of Spring and the moon will be close to the bright star Spica.
Today (Sat.) skies will be partly to mostly sunny. Temperatures will reach the low 50s inland, but hold in the low 40s at the Lake Michigan shore. It’ll be windy today, esp. in the PM when we may see gusts to 30 mph. Sat. night there will likely be some light snow north of US 10. Sunday there could be a 20-degree temperature difference across the area, with low-mid 40s in Mt. Pleasant and low-mid 60s south of I-94. It looks breezy and cool with periods of rain from Mon. – Thurs.
Wow! Check out lightning hitting this tree. At least 42 water rescues in and near Louisville KY after 1.5″ in an hour on wet ground. Look what the rain did to Highway 22. Big t-storms hitting S. Korea. Frankfort, KY, broke its April 3 rain record with 5.26″. Dust devil Wanneroo, Australia. Investigation leaning toward lightning” as cause of the GE Appliance Park Plant Fire in Louisville.
Like Linus waiting for the Great Pumpkin, those of us who grew up on the north side of Chicago waited for the Chicago Cubs to win a World Series. The Cubs last won a World Series in 1908, four years before Arizona and New Mexico became states! Every summer we went to that pumpkin patch called the “Friendly Confines”. My father first took me there in the late 50s. I saw the ivy-covered outfield walls, the big scoreboard in center field and I saw the players I watched on TV. Back then we watched Jack (“Hey! Hey! Ernie!) Brickhouse (who lived about a mile and a half from me in Wilmette – I used to ride my bicycle out past his house hoping to see him) and Vince Lloyd on our black-and-white TVs (and raced to Walgreens to test the tubes in the TV when the TV stopped working) and we listened to Jack Quinlan and Lou Boudreau on our new transistor radios. Anyone remember this song?
Boys have heroes. My father was (and will always be) my first hero. Ernie Banks, Number 14, was number two. It wasn’t so much because of baseball, though I was fixed on the TV screen when Ernie came to bat, knowing that this was the best chance we had to see a long fly ball sail through the humid, summer air over the left field wall and out onto Waveland Avenue. It was because Ernie was (and will always be remembered as) “Mr. Sunshine”. Ernie loved his job…I mean LOVED his job. He loved baseball and he loved the Cubs.
Ernie was an amazing athlete. He earned high school letters in baseball, football and track and was also a good swimmer. He was one of twelve kids, growing up in Dallas, Texas. His father bribed him with nickels to play catch. He was signed by the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro League after high school, but was drafted during the Korean War and served in Germany. He also served at Fort Bliss and played some games with the Harlem Globetrotters. He came back and played for the Monarchs briefly, but they sold him to the Cubs (Banks was hitting .347 at the time). Ernie played his first game with the Cubs in Sept. 1953.
That was back in the days where you were likely to play for the same team during your entire career. Ernie played baseball with the Cubs for 19 seasons before moving to the front office. He played in 2,528 games, had 9,421 at bats and 1009 extra base hits, including 512 home runs (in the pre-steroid era). He played shortstop, then a brief stint in left field (committing only one error there) then first base. He was the N.L. most valuable player in 1958 and 1959 and played in 11 All-Star games. He learned early on a good sports physics lesson – not to swing a bat that is too heavy. He tried many different bats and decided he hit better with a lighter bat that he could swing faster (Force = mass x velocity squared).
Despite having one of the best players in baseball (and many other good players), the Cubs not only didn’t get to the World Series, they had quite a run of losing seasons. From 1947-1966 (20 seasons), the Cubs had only one winning season (and that was 82-80). In contrast to the higher ticket prices and filled stadiums today…back in 1966, the Cubs drew only 635,891 fans to the ballpark all season. Compare that to the West Michigan Whitecaps (who stop playing around Labor Day) that drew 391,653 last year. As late as 1981, the Cubs drew only 10,672 to their home opener. The Cubs lost money in many of those years. Ernie was paid $50,000 in 1959. However, Ernie saved his money and invested wisely and by the time he was 55, he was worth over 4 million dollars.
What drew me to Ernie was his relentless positive optimism. More than once when the TV announcers interviewed him he talked about the sunshine, the fresh air, his teammates and the signature “Let’s play two (games today)!” I remember as a kid thinking…when I grow up…I want to be as happy as Ernie Banks. I want to be that happy to get up in the morning…that happy to go to my job.
I occasionally drive past a baseball diamond in a park. There’s hardly ever anyone there playing baseball. Back when I was a kid, you had Little League and Boys Scouts and that was about it. Now we have computers, cell-phones and video games. When I was a kid and had a nickel, I’d head to the drug store to buy a pack of baseball cards – a nickel – and you got a piece of bubble gum, too! I remember I was so excited when I got one of the Cubs! When I started caddying (13 years old). I’d try and be the first one there at the caddyshack at 6 am – get the first “loop”, so I could leave by 11 am or noon. I’d get my pay (you were paid cash, that very day), bicycle 2 miles to the “L” stop in Wilmette and take the train to Addison St. I remember getting a bleacher seat for a buck – buying a frosty malt in the 7th inning from a guy with one tooth. We started throwing home runs from opposing teams back on the field (there were quite a few of those back in those days) and late in the game we spelled out players’ names in the fence behind the bleachers with empty beer cups.
Mr Cub passed away yesterday, a week shy of his 84th birthday. In the midst of this cloudy, dreary middle of winter, the world has lost a little bit of sunshine. Several years ago, my daughter got me a real autographed picture of Ernie Banks. A put it in the side crack of the mirror in my bedroom. It’s one of the first things I see when I wake up in the morning, a reminder to try to appreciate the wonderful life I have and to spread some sunshine in day that lies ahead. Ernie Banks, R.I.P.
Game Called. Across the field of play
the dusk has come, the hour is late.
The fight is done and lost or won,
the player files out through the gate.
The tumult dies, the cheer is hushed,
the stands are bare, the park is still.
But through the night there shines the light,
home beyond the silent hill.
Game Called. Where in the golden light
the bugle rolled the reveille.
The shadows creep where night falls deep,
and taps has called the end of play.
The game is done, the score is in,
the final cheer and jeer have passed.
But in the night, beyond the fight,
the player finds his rest at last.
Game Called. Upon the field of life
the darkness gathers far and wide,
the dream is done, the score is spun
that stands forever in the guide.
Nor victory, nor yet defeat
is chalked against the players name.
But down the roll, the final scroll,
shows only how he played the game.