Monthly Archives: August 2014

Royal spotlight

The Royals are taking on the Indians in the final game of the weekend series at Kauffman Stadium. Cleveland won the first two games of the series, 6-1 Friday and 3-2 in 11 innings last night.

Why is this significant? It’s not because the Royals are playing the Indians, it’s WHEN the Royals are playing the Indians.

Sunday night.

For the first time that I can remember, the Kansas City Royals are featured on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball, meaning people from San Diego to Bangor and Seattle to Key West can flip their televisions to ESPN and watch Major League Baseball live from the City of Fountains and its beautiful ballpark, which looks a heck of a lot different than the last time ESPN broadcast a Sunday night game from Kansas City.

The Sunday Night game invariably is skewed to feature the popular teams of Major League Baseball. The Yankees, Red Sox, Cardinals, Cubs, Braves and Mets all make multiple appearances per season. In fact, if the Yankees and Red Sox play a weekend series, you can almost be certain the Sunday game will air on ESPN.

The Royals have been so bad for so long ESPN has had no compelling reason to put them in the Sunday night slot. Since ESPN began televising Major League Baseball in 1990, the Royals have had only FOUR winning seasons out of 24, and one of those was the strike-shortened year of 1994, when the final 47 games and the playoffs were wiped out. The four winning seasons matches the number of 100-loss seasons the Royals have suffered through in that period; those occurred within five years (2002, 2004, 2005, 2006).

Tonight, the Royals get to strut their stuff for the sporting public. And tonight is a good night to do it, since starting next week, most sports fans will tune to NBC for Sunday Night Football, and baseball will be on the back burner, except for St. Louis and a couple of other places.

The Royals lead 1-0 n the top of the third. They’d better get this game in, because there is a line of very heavy rain marching east. The leading edge is at Manhattan right now, meaning it should arrive in Kansas City between 9:30 and 10. Yikes.

All for naught

While most in St. Bernard Parish vividly remember Hurricane Katrina, and older generations remember Hurricane Betsy, there was another storm which caused a lot of consternation, but in the end, only headaches.

Hurricane Elena formed n the Carribbean Sea the Wednesday before Labor Day, and the next day, it appeared on a due northerly coast toward the Louisiana coast, specifically Grand Isle and New Orleans.

I wasn’t quite nine years old, and I was panicked. I had heard all the horror stories about hurricanes and read about the anatomy of a hurricane enough in the World Book encylopedia to know it would be holy terror if Elena came our way.

I was in fourth grade at St. Robert Bellarmine, and school was called off Friday, August 30. Most kids were looking forward to an unplanned four-day weekend. i was more concerned with saving my life.

My parents didn’t believe the hype, and although I pleaded with them to evacuate, they wouldn’t.

The next afternoon, it turned out I was the panciky one. The storm was starting to turn to the northeast, away from Louisiana and towards Florida. We proceeded as normal the rest of Friday and Saturday as normal, and then that Sunday, went to a gathering of my mother’s family at her brother’s house in Harvey, across the Mississippi River from downtown New Orleans.

Meanwhile, Elena began to veer so far east it looked like it would miss the Florida panhandle and instead make landfall at Cedar Key, 45 miles west of Gainesville, the home to the University of Florida.

While we were at my uncle’s house, I saw a bulletin from WVUE, which was then the ABC affiliate in New Orleans. The Louisiana coast was placed under a hurricane warning because the storm was now making a sharp turn back towards the west.

My parents and brother didn’t worry, but I began to. We went back to Arabi and went to bed like it was any old night.

At 1:30 a.m., any old night disintegrated. Deputies from the St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office began announcing the parish was under a mandatory evacuation order issued by Sheriff Jack Stephens. Even though western St. Bernard Parish was protected by floodwalls (levees in the New Orleans vernacular) which had been erected following Betsy, they weren’t taking any chances.

We hurriedly packed a few things and drove to the Ramada hi-rise hotel at the corner of Claiborne Avenue and Canal Street. My parents figured it would be safe to evacuate vertically, but they did not realize going up would only intensify the effects of the wind, which is why New Orleans stopped vertical evacuation following Hurricane Georges in 1998.

It turned out to be another close call. The storm turned north at the Mississippi coast and made landfall in Jackson County near Pascagoula, closer to Alabama than Louisiana. There was some rain, but nothing to scare the locals, who were used to heavier downpours in summer thunderstorms.

We wouldn’t have to evacuate for another storm until Andrew in 1992, and in that one, my dad foolishly suggested we stay in a three-story office building in New Orleans East where Air Products and Chemicals had corporate offices. Great idea. Thank God Andrew turned west towards Morgan City, or I guarantee I would not have lived to see Georges, Ivan, Dennis or Katrina, or the ones which made landfall after I moved to Kansas.

Hurricanes may require mass evacuation, but at least there is a lot of lead time. Greensburg had only 10 minutes to get to their storm shelters before the EF-5 tornado wiped out most of the Kiowa County town on May 4, 2007.

Mother Nature was, is and always will be undefeated. We can only learn to live with her frivolities.

Labor Day in front of the tube

The proliferation of football on television has made Labor Day weekend viewing very palatable.

This was not always the case.

On the Labor Day weekends when the NFL season opened, at least there were three games on Sunday, except if the Saints played at home, which limited New Orleans to two, since no game can go up head-to-head against the local team in that team’s market. Kansas City is under the same limitations when the Chiefs are at home.

However, if the NFL did not start its season until after Labor Day, it meant there was hardly anything on television worth a darn, and it was made worse by two things I had, or still have, no earthly interest in viewing.

One is the U.S. Open tennis tournament. CBS devoted nearly all of Saturday and Monday to coverage of the event through the 1980s and 1990s, and would have a full day on Sunday as well if there were no NFL games on Labor Day weekend. If there were NFL games that Sunday, CBS would televise all of them at noon Central and then switch to tennis at 3:30.

CBS now only televises the singles championship matches on the Saturday and Sunday after Labor Day, and that ends this year. Starting next year, the entire tournament will air on ESPN, meaning tennis’ four Grand Slam tournaments–Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open–will now air exclusively on the cable sports giant in the United States.

The other event which used to be a staple of Labor Day weekend was the Jerry Lewis telethon for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. I wholeheartedly support the efforts of Lews and the thousands of celebrities who appeared on the telethon through the decades, but i didn’t think it needed to be televised to the point where it would wipe out 24 hours of regularly scheduled programming.

At least New Orleans, the telethon aired on independent station WGNO through 1995, which meant no network programming was preempted. However, on January 1, 1996, WGNO became an ABC affiliate, and that meant a lot of soap opera fans were angry on Labor Day when All My Children, One Life to Live and General Hospital were knocked off the air. The telethon usually ran from 8;30 p.m. to 6 p.m., which meant it was off the air in time for Monday Night Football if there was a game that night at 8 p.m. Labor Day night.

The long telethon ran through 2010, the last year Jerry Lewis hosted it.  In 2011, with Lewis’ health failing, Nancy O’Dell assumed hosting duties, and the telethon was shortened considerably to six hours. In 2012, the telethon ended, and it became a two-hour telecast on Sunday night. With online donating, there’s no need for a telethon today.

With the NFL waiting to start its season, there are now college football games for five straight days, Thursday through Monday. Not always the best games, but it beats the alternatives.

Countdown to September

I didn’t quite keep my promise to LIsa in the early hours of this morning, but she understood, since she told me she was going to have to probably stick around until 2:30. I got back to the Courtyard Briarcliff at 1:25 and went right to bed. I set the computer up to have it ready this morning, but didn’t fool around.

I felt a little bit isolated at times last night at Buffalo Wild Wings, but I shouldn’t have. The bar area was swamped, and the management made the foolish decision to only staff it with three people. Lisa and Rio were both working doubles, and Liz hadn’t worked since Sunday because she was hurting with her back and dealing with the passing of Trey Cummings’ mother. Not a good situation. Morgan Gilliland, who switched off with Brittany Davidson, should have been in the bar too. I was too hard on Lisa, and I felt terrible about it. I tried to make it up to her by giving her a big tip and another six-pack of Abita beer. That put a smile on her face.

Speaking of smiling, Lisa is now trying the Sydnie Adler formula, and that’s trying to get me to smile whenever I look at her. I have to laugh at that. It’s probably best for me. I can’t go through life with a perpetual scowl on my face.

LSU ended up stopping Wisconsin’s final two drives and held on to win 28-24.  A lot of people were hard on the Bayoun Bengals, but come on, Wisconsin is not chopped liver. The Badgers are probably going to win the Big Ten West, and I would not be surprised if they run the table from here. They don’t play Michigan State or Ohio State, they play Nebraska at home, and their only really challenging road game is at Iowa in November. I predicted Wisconsin and Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game. If Wisconsin goes 11-2, that gets them an access bowl berth.

With Texas A&M dominating South Carolina behind Kenny Hill, that season ending game will be very difficult. LSU is going to have to navigate the brutal SEC West plus a trip to Florida, and the Bayou Bengals could finish anywhere from 11-1 to 7-5. I picked 10-2, but maybe that was a little optimistic.

No. 1 Florida State and No. 2 Alabama both won neutral site games, but both had tougher than expected times against Big 12 Conference foes. The Seminoles tussled with Oklahoma State and got out of Arlington a 37-31 victor, and the Crimson Tide could not put away West Virginia until late and prevailed 33-23. Georgia was most impressive, crushing Clemson 45-21 in Athens.


My latest reconnection with Arabi Park Middle was with Kimberly Carmouche (Lee) last night. She was very happy to hear from me, and like Toni LaRocca, she didn’t know I had moved to Kansas following Katrina. I think Stacie was the only one who knew about my move since we were e-mailing each other just before Katrina. It feels good to know you aren’t forgotten after more than 25 years. Kim is now a successful realtor in Covington, the parish seat of St. Tammany Parish on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain. Covington High is noted for its traditonally strong football program, which was led for 30 years by the legendary Jack Salter, one of the nicest men I have met. Covington and Brother Martin used to scrimmage each other every August before the season started, and Salter and Brother Martin coach Bobby Conlin were very good friends.

It used to be the NFL started its season before Labor Day in order to get the season done before February 1. In 2001, the NFL permanently decided to move the season’s kickoff weekend until after Labor Day, ceding the Labor Day weekend spotlight to college. I remember only one season, 1997, starting on August 31.

Time to get ready to go. I need to see Liz.

Late Saturday night live

There are still too many people at Buffalo Wild Wings for 11:30 p.m., even on a Saturday night, but this UFC main event will not end, and the Wisconsin-LSU game is still up for grabs, so there is sill some entertainment to be had.

LSU fell behind 24-7 in the third quarter, and I’m sure the Louisiana media were preparing their epitaphs for the Bayou Bengals’ College Football Playoff hopes. LSU has not lost a season opener since falling to Virginia Tech in Blacksburg in 2002, Nick Saban’s third year in Baton Rouge, but that’s not to say it hasn’t almost happened since:

  • Oregon State should have won in Death Valley in 2004, but Beaver kicker Alexis Serna missed three extra points. He would redeem himself, however, by winning the Lou Groza Award as the nation’s best kicker in 2006.
  • LSU needed a frantic comeback against Arizona State to pull out an emotional 35-31 victory in the Bayou Bengals’ first game following the death and devastation of Hurricane Katrina. The game was originally schedueld to be LSU’s second game, but the opener against North Texas was pushed back until the end of October. The game was also supposed to be in Baton Rouge, but due to LSU’s campus being used as a medical triage center, the game had to be moved to Tempe and Sun Devil Stadium, which at the time not only hosted Arizona State, but the Cardinals as well.
  • LSU nearly blew a neutral site game at Atlanta in 2010 vs. North Carolina before holding on to win.

I’m here for at least another hour and a half since Lisa is closing. I’m waiting on a brat and the exciting finish of the LSU-Wisconsin game.

Not my favorite

it is getting loud and crowded at Buffalo Wild Wings, but i’m doing my best to try to remain in my own little world, concentrating on my computer and trivia, while sneaking looks at the LSU-Wisconsin game, which the Badgers lead 10-7 late in the first quarter.

There is a Ultimate Fighting Competition (UFC) card on Fox Sports 1 and pay-per-view tonight, and a lot of people are here to watch it. Ugh. There are a lot of sports I will watch at least once, but i cannot stand UFC. Right now, it’s a close race between UFC, tennis and swimming to see which one i like the least. i would only watch UFC for Ronda Rousey, the drop-dead gorgeous bantamweight champion. i can’t say there’s anyone who makes me want to watch swimming or tennis. in fact, i’m so sick and tired of Serena Williams and Michael Phelps you could not pay me to watch either tennis or swimming. i also vehemently resent the media trying to make out anyone who doesn’t like Serena or Phelps as anti-American.

it’s been a rough night for Lisa and LIz. They don’t have much help in the bar area, and all of the tables are full. Lisa hasn’t had much chance to visit my table. Fortunately, I haven’t been hungry and I have my big drink mug from 7-Eleven which doesn’t need to be filled as much.

I would sneak out of here for a run to QuikTrip and some pretzels, but it’s too crowded and I would probably have to give up my table if I did since it is so busy. On a lot of nights when I leave and come back, there’s hardly any traffic, so my table is safe.

I promised Lisa i would stay with her until closing. I’m a man of my word, especially for my closest friends.

From Russell to the rescue

Friendship is a two-way street. You lean on your friends in your time of need, and they should be able to lean on you when they need someone to lean on.

I found that out today when I got to Buffalo Wild Wings in Kansas City.

It hasn’t been a good day for one of my dearest friends, Lisa Toebben. She had a couple of dust-ups with co-workers after they took away tables from her, and thus shorted her tips,, and also had to deal with a large group who did not tip her very well, leaving her only $15 on a $300 bill. Five percent? Give me a break. There was no reason on earth that tip should not have been less than $50. it should have been $60 if 20 percent is the benchmark, but i probably would have been over $80. She had to work very hard to take care of a lot of people and that’s the way they treated her. Pathetic.

I thought about not going to Buffalo Wild Wings today. i could have easily slept in, but i packed the car, and just before 11, I was on my way following a short stop at the office to download pictures Frank Mercer took last night at Russell High School sports scrimmages.

i could have easily gone straight to the Courtyard Briarcliff and crashed, because Lisa warned me there was a UFC event on tonight. in fact, I posted on Facebook asking if anyone had “Foots fatigue”. if someone would have said yes, i would have stayed away.

Nobody answered my query, so after checking in and bringing by bags to my room, i hopped in the car and drove onto US 169 and then I-29. i first stopped at the Hy-Vee on Northwest 64th Street to buy some more Abita beer. I bought Lisa a six-pack of Amber, and I got Amber and Turbodog for Brittany Mathenia-Tucker. Brittany isn’t working tonight, but hopefully she’ll be on duty Sunday or Monday.

I changed into one of the Hawaiian shirts I ordered from Dillard’s when I pulled into the Buffalo Wild Wings parking lot. The shirts normally retail for $89.50, but i got them on clearance for $26.95. Not bad.

Lisa’s eyes lit up when she saw me. She loved the shirt, told me she and her boyfriend jeff really loved the beer, and she was so happy to see me. She told me about her bad day and i really felt for her. i promised her I would stay until she got off the clock, which means I’ll be here until 1 a.m., since she has to close tonight.

Liz is back today. She loves the shirt. She wanted me to get one in the first place.

I can’t believe I actually considered not coming today. i’m glad i did, because Lisa would have had a long, long day without me.

College football full tilt

Today is the first full day of the 2014 college football season. There will be games morning, noon and night–literally today, since Penn State and Central Florida kick off at 7:30 a.m. Central in Dublin.

LSU plays tonight at 8 p.m. against Wisconsin in Houston’s NRG Stadium, the retractable roof facility which is also home to the NFL’s Houston Texans. LSU has played several neutral site games in recent years, including games at the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium in Arlington vs. TCU last year and Oregon in 2011. The Bayou Bengals also played North Carolina in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome in 2010.

LSU and Wisconsin have not played since a home-and-home in 1971 and 1972. The first of those games featured an all-white LSU team going into Madison, which was a hotbed of student activism during the Vietnam War, which was winding down in 1971 but still ongoing. Wisconsin schools had never been segregated, and to have an all-white team from the Deep South come into Madison and play at Camp Randall Stadium was disconcerting to many. The Bayou Bengals were greeted quite rudely upon their arrival in Madison and then taunted and insulted throughout the game. LSU shut up the hippies by winning 38-28.

The next year when the Badgers came to Baton Rouge, LSU had its first black varsity player, Carl Otis Trimble. Wisconsin was swallowed whole in the cauldron that is night football in Death Valley, losing 35-7.

LSU was also treated rudely, although nowhere near as bad, when it played at Notre Dame in 1970. The next year when the Irish came to Baton Rouge, some of Notre Dame’s black players claimed LSU fans and players kept using the N-word. A couple of Irish players also said Mike the Tiger’s handlers used a cattle prod to elicit roars. The second part is definitely false, because there’s no way the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine would abuse Mike.

Games between the Southeastern Conference and Big Ten in the early 1970s were nearly unheard of. Until 1975, it was the Rose Bowl or nothing at all for Big Ten schools and bowls. And SEC schools were loath to take all-white teams into hostile territory. LSU showed it wasn’t afraid with the trips to Madison and South Bend.

Alabama also played a huge two-year non-conference series in that era, facing Southern California of what was then the Pacific-8 in 1970 and 1971. The 1970 game in Birmingham, won by USC 42-21, marked the first time the Crimson Tide hosted a team with black players. It has been said to be the catalyst

The other big matchup involving ranked teams kicks at 4:30 when Clemson visits Georgia. The Tigers and Bulldogs used to play every year, but conference expansion in both the ACC and SEC made that series impossible. Clemson and Georgia still have yearly rivalries with non-conference foes South Carolina and Georgia Tech.

Top-ranked and defending national champion Florida State plays Oklahoma State in Arlington. In most years, this is a great game, but the Cowboys are too young and don’t have the speed to match Jameis Winston and the Seminoles.

As for schools in the area, MIssouri hosts South Dakota State, Jack Krier’s alma mater, at 2:30, and Kansas State hosts cupcake Stephen F. Austin at 6.

I am trying to get out of here and get back to Buffalo Wild Wings. The fantasy draft is Monday.

Nine years and one day ago

I had not forgotten yesterday was the ninth anniversary of when Katrina slammed into Louisiana and Mississippi. It’s just I have not been able to sit down long enough and blog about it.

I was hoping to save most of the details of my experience with Katrina for 2015, the 10th anniversary of the storm. However, one year is too long to go, so I’ll go into the story now, since the blog only started in June.

I learned about Katrina when it formed off the coast of Africa Tuesday, August 23. That day, I opted to make a reservation at the Residence Inn near the Shreveport airport. Shreveport is the third largest city in Louisiana, in the northwest corner of the state at the junction of Interstates 20 and 49. I-49 is the major north-south evacuation route in Louisiana, running from I-10 in Lafayette through Alexandria to I-20 in Shreveport. I-10 is the east-west interstate in south Louisiana, and I-20 is the east-west interstate in north Louisiana.

I figured if Katrina did not threaten New Orleans, I could cancel the reservation, since i had until 6 p.m. that Saturday. By then, it would be clear where Katrina would head. I reserved the largest room offered at Residence Inn, a two-bedroom suite with a sleeper sofa, which would give myself and my parents each a place to sleep. It also had two bathrooms and a full kitchen, plus three televisions.

That Wednesday was normal for me. I drove from my home in Arabi to Baton Rouge to cover a volleyball jamboree, picked up dinner at Outback Steakhouse, and drove back to New Orleans. Thursday was also normal, as I covered a football jamboree at Destrehan High School in St. Charles Parish.

The critical day was Friday, August 26.

I went to lunch at a fine restaurant located in the Renaissance Arts hotel on Tchoupitoulas Street. I had a date. A date. Laugh if you must. It was arranged through It’s Just Lunch, a matchmaking service.

After the lunch date, I drove across the Mississippi River to Boutte in St. Charles Parish for another high school football jamboree.

When I checked the latest information on Katrina, my life was altered forever.

The new track, issued at 4 p.m. Central by the Natonal Hurricane Center, had the storm heading straight for New Orleans. I would need my hotel reservation after all. I knew this might very well be the last event I covered in Louisiana.

When the games ended, I drove hurriedly on the Hale Boggs Bridge to cross the Mississippi River, and once I got back to Arabi, I began to pack frantically. I slept a couple of hours, then got up to keep loading and keep loading my Oldsmobile. By time I was done, I could not look out the rear window.

At 7 a.m. the morning of Saturday, August 27, I pulled away from 224 Jaguar Drive for the last time. I didn’t know for sure it would be the last time, but I had the feeling it very well could be. I arrived in Shreveport at noon and went to a Barnes and Noble on Louisiana Highway 1 to access the Internet, since I would not be able to check into the hotel until 3 p.m. After checking in and unloading a few things, I went to Outback for dinner.

The “could be” changed to “would be” by late that afternoon. The storm continued to intensify, and the forecast models moved into agreement that the storm would make landfall near New Orleans.

My parents were holding out hope the storm would not come towards southeastern Louisiana, but they faced reality that afternoon. They took a circuitous route to Shreveport, taking I-10 across Lake Pontchartrain to I-59, which took them northeast to Meridian, Miss. At Meridian, they turned west on I-20, passing through Jackson, crossing the Mississippi River into Louisiana, and going through Monroe before reaching Shreveport just before 7 p.m.

That Sunday, my dad was on the phone with Air Products and Chemicals. My mom was calling her friends and family. I was on the Internet and watching TV. My dad and I went out just before 1 to eat lunch at Whataburger, and we talked like it was going to end the next day. My mother joined us for to dinner at Chili’s. Just after 3, I took a little drive across the state line into Texas just to kill some time.

The next morning, Katrina was battering Louisiana and Mississippi. Just after 8 a.m., I caught wind of a levee breach which was sending water rushing into the Lower Ninth Ward and St. Bernard Parish. Arabi was the first community in St. Bernard when driving from the city along Judge Perez Drive or St. Claude Avenue, so it wasn’t hard to put two and two together.

Game over. Life as I knew was about to change forever.

Shortly after finding out, I called Brenda LeBlanc, the volleyball coach at St. Joseph’s Academy in Baton Rouge, and Joe Scheuermann, the baseball coach at Delgado Community College, which at the time was my employer. I told them the Steinle homestead was completely flooded. Then began the e-mails.

The home at 224 Jaguar Drive flooded and was blown down by Hurricane Betsy in 1965. The house was rebuilt and completed in 1966, and my parents bought it for $23,000 in August 1971. Sadly, my parents had just replaced the flooring in the house not one month before Katrina hit. It was sorely needed. My dad also lost his Ford pickup truck to the flood. I stressed to them to drive both cars and follow one another, but they believed naively Katrina would miss New Orleans and we’d go back to life as normal later that week.

We spent Tuesday in Shreveport, watching the horror unfold. The next morning, I left the hotel at 6 a.m. while my parents handled the checkout. I was in Texas before 7 a.m., and by 2 p.m., I was on Interstate 35 north, crossing from Oklahoma into Kansas.

Hello, new life.

Remembering Rebecca

Thursday was mostly a very bad day, especially the shouting match between myself and Jack Krier.

It wasn’t all bad. I had the wonderful conversation on Facebook messenger with Andree Dauterive Addison, one which jogged my memory and led to that post late last night. There also was another Facebook reconnection, one with a lady who was very special to me during my college days and shortly thereafter.

I first met Rebecca McCann during the 1999 LSU baseball season. She was selected as one of the Batgirls, the organization which not only retrieves bats and delivers balls to umpires during LSU baseball home games, but they also sell programs at the stadium and help out the program in many other ways behind the scenes, especially helping out around the office during the week. I knew a few of the Batgirls casually, but Becky was the first I really got to know well.

Becky was Baton Rouge born and bred. She grew up in the southeastern portion of East Baton Rouge Parish outside the Baton Rouge city limits, not too far where I lived following my graduation from LSU. She attended Bishop Sullivan, a Catholic co-educational high school in that part of EBR Parish. Sullivan opened in 1983 to serve the fast-growing population of that part of EBR and nearby Livingston Parish, as well as give students a co-educational alternative to Catholic High (boys) and St. Joseph’s Academy (girls), both of which were in Mid-City, not too far from LSU.

It was later discovered Bishop Joseph Sullivan, the school’s namesake, was part of a large sexual molestation scandal during his tenure as the Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri, and in 2005, Baton Rouge Bishop Robert Muench ordered Sullivan’s name off the school. The school was renamed St. Michael the Archangel.

If you’re wondering, no Catholic diocese or archdiocese can cross state lines, so the Kansas Cities are under separate leadership. The Kansas portion of the Kansas City metro is anchor for the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas,, which includes Topeka and the rest of northeast Kansas, stopping just before Manhattan.

Becky and I became good friends throughout the 1999 baseball season. She even teased me about an argument between myself and her best friend in an LSU political science class. It got so heated the distinguished professor of the class, Dr. James Bolner, had to stop it and move us to neutral corners so to speak.

Once I graduated from LSU in July 1999, Becky and I still kept in touch. I stayed in Baton Rouge and took a job with an dot-com company. Becky and I exchanged e-mails and communicated via AOL Instant Messenger, the first person I had serious chats with.

It got really serious the night of November 22, 1999.

I had a terrible day at work. After that it was just as bad, as I went to see Jimmy Ott doing his show at Pocorello’s, which was not too far from my workplace and apartment, but Jimmy was not very friendly that day. Little would I know Jimmy and I would be doing Monday shows together from Pocorello’s for three years in the not too distant future.

When I got home, I e-mailed Becky. I was desperate. I told her I wanted to end my life. She got back to me and told me she was extremely worried. She told me she called a hotline on my behalf.

Later that evening, two deputies from the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office showed up on my doorstep. They said they had a call that I was gong to take my life. I tried to tell them I wasn’t truly suicidal, but they took me in a squad car to Earl K. Long hospital clear across Baton Rouge on the wrong side of town–at least for a scared white man like myself.

As luck would have it, my dad was on working on a project for Air Products and Chemicals in Geismar, about 25 miles southeast of Baton Rouge, and he was able to drive to the hospital and pick me up. Had he not been there, I don’t know who the heck would have come to get me. Bill Franques would have been the first choice, but he was away that week on his honeymoon in San Francisco. I’m guessing the call might have gone to either Jim Schwanke or Dan Borne.

I told Becky what happened. I did not hold it against her. I’ll never forget we had a nice chat one morning at 1 a.m. after I spent a very late night at a Geismar gentleman’s club where Jimmy and I did a radio show that afternoon.

In late 2000, Becky told me she was engaged to her longtime boyfriend, Matthew Campbell. I was stunned. Looking back on it, I’m glad she found true love. She’s a very special lady.

She and Matt were married at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Baton Rouge on April 19, 2002. Meanwhile,, I was in Columbia with the LSU baseball team as they opened a series at South Carolina.

I thought about Becky more than a few times through the years, but never dreamed we would reconnect, especially after I moved to Kansas. I am overjoyed we have.

Becky, thank you for coming back into my life. You were special to me then and are just as special now. I am elated you have enjoyed the success at Microsoft you have earned. I’m so glad you’re still married, because you deserve nothing but total bliss in your life. I will always hold you near and dear to my heart.