23 March 2017

Just a Little Bit of Baseball

My eldest son just started in Cub Scouts this year, and one of the big annual events is the Pinewood Derby, where dads compete to build the best race car out of a block of wood and then all pretend like the Cub Scouts did most of the work. I thought that our Derby was next month, but last night I learned that it was today. So I had my son pick a pattern and draw the outline on the side of the wood block. I then cut out a rough approximation of that shape and did some sanding and reading, and at about midnight I spray painted a base coat on the car. He had a dentist appointment today, and after that he finished up the painting. After I got home from work, I had about an hour to get the weight up to the maximum (5 oz.) and put the wheels on. I drilled holes in the front of the car, then realized that I was drilling the wrong side. I determined that those holes were for weight reduction, as a successful car is usually heavier in the back. Then I drilled more holes in the back, and stacked pennies in them until the car weighed enough. I barely had enough time to pound the axles into the car body before it was time to leave. I just hoped that the car would be able to make all of the runs down the track with all of the parts intact.

There were about a dozen cars in the competition, with a four-lane track. The boys all rotated through a few times, with each kid participating in 12 races (I think, it could have been 10). My son's car never placed first in a race, but he got a lot of 2nd-place finishes, along with a few 3rd-place runs. When they announced the Top 4 cars that would compete in the finals, I was surprised to hear his name called. After each boy in the Top 4 raced once in each lane, he came in 4th overall. I thought it was a pretty good finish for a car that was built in less than 24 hours. I didn't have time to sand and polish the axles, align the wheels, balance the weights, or otherwise optimize the car. He also had a good time and expressed a lot of excitement about being a Scout, which is pretty good.

This Jon Singleton card is an Orange Refractor from 2014 Bowman Chrome Mini. This product was released as a factory set, with a certain number of randomly-inserted Refractors in each box. The Orange Refractors are pretty limited, with this being # 09 / 10 in the print run.

Singleton was sent down from Spring Training to minor league camp a couple of days ago. I doubt he'll be called back up during the year, barring some kind of catastrophe or him going on an epic tear at AAA. I think the Astros' plan at 1B is to have Yulieski Gurriel learn the position. I guess we'll see how it goes.


  1. Congrats on the 4th place finish! Hopefully your son really takes to scouts. As a high school teacher I can usually pick out the boys who were involved with Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, or are in pursuit of being an Eagle Scout. I find them to be better than average problem solvers and their social skills with adults are second to none... two very important qualities in today's world.

    1. I barely finished the work for my Eagle Scout award before my deadline. I don't think the policy is in effect any more, but when I enlisted in the military my Eagle Scout rank was good for an immediate promotion from E1 to E2. I hope my boys will stick in the program and stay with it, as earning your Eagle is an achievement that stays with you for life. I was a pretty reluctant Scout, but in retrospect I am glad that my parents pushed me to get it done.