Tagged: Jesusita Fire

Who ARE These People Anyway?


The Yankees looked so robust, so enthusiastic, so good in spring training. They even looked good as recently as yesterday. And yet, after tonight’s 12-5 loss to the Orioles at Camden Yards, they reminded me of them.
For those too young to remember, there was a 1963 sci-fi movie called “Children of the Damned” about a group of highly talented youngsters who had no ability to control their destiny.
Seriously. Am I supposed to believe that Phil Hughes has any idea how to pitch at the major league level? Was his outing in Detroit a fluke? Is he hurt again? What. Is. Wrong.
I know. The Daily News didn’t capture Phil in a very flattering pose. But he gave up eight runs in less than two innings!
Not that he had much help. Swisher’s throw to the backstop was amusing, but I wasn’t interested in watching a comedy show. Tex couldn’t stab Markakis’ line drive. And Cano didn’t even bend over on Scott’s “single.”
Then came Edwar Ramirez, who gave up homers to Markakis and Montanez. When did he become the change-up-throwing version of this guy?
Whatever. The Yankees might very well have chipped away against Eaton, who was staked to a 9-0 lead and nevertheless walked the first three batters in the fourth and served up back-to-back homers to Damon and Tex in the fifth.
As an aside, doesn’t Dave Trembly…
…have a slight resemblance to him?
Back to the game. For some reason, Girardi waited until the eighth inning to use the Yankees’ new “long man.”
Bombko had a great spring and an equally great stint in Scranton. But he lived up to his nickname when he threw one right down the middle to Jones. I nearly lost it when Jim Palmer (I was forced to listen to MASN, the Orioles’ feed) suggested that Brett might be groomed as our eighth-inning setup man. Over my this.
Oh, well. Tomorrow’s another day, and this one worked out much better than I thought. I woke up to fog and humidity and light winds – perfect conditions for getting the wildfires under control. Even though 8,700 acres have burned since Tuesday and there’s only 30% containment, I didn’t have to evacuate. The warning for my area is still in effect as a precaution and I’m not unpacking just yet, but things are definitely looking up.
I went for a beach walk this afternoon and it felt so good to resume normal activities. There were fire trucks everywhere, which was a little disconcerting, but I waved at each one and gave the guys the thumbs-up and said thanks. God, they’ve worked hard. Here’s a photo from the Santa Barbara News-Press showing them catching a much-deserved nap.
Surveying the damage (80+ residences were destroyed) has to be extremely tough for them.
I can’t imagine what it must be like to evacuate and then come home to this.
For now I don’t have to. To say I feel fortunate is an understatement.

The Fire, The Yankees And A New Magic Pen

Friday started off on a terrifying note. At the 8 a.m. news conference, local officials warned that the wildfire had spread on the “eastern flank” into Montecito, the community where I live, and that my house was now in a borderline evacuation area. They also announced that the situation had worsened overnight, due to the gale force winds.

I went online and looked at photos from the Santa Barbara Independent and News Press, and had to remind myself that this was real life, not a disaster movie.

I mean, seriously. How about this ash storm?


And these structures burning?
And these incredible firefighters who kept working in spite of the heat, the danger and the exhaustion?
“What should we do?” I asked my neighbor after hearing the fire chief make dire predictions for later in the day.
“Start packing,” she said.
I couldn’t. Not right away. Instead, I remained in denial and blogged. And read other blogs. And did my weekly phone-in segment on “The Natural,” Greg Marotta’s radio show on WVNJ in New Jersey. Before I knew it, it was 4 o’clock and time for Yankees-Orioles.
“I can’t pack yet,” I told my husband Michael. “This is A-Rod’s first game. I’m not missing any of it.”
It’s a good thing I didn’t miss the beginning or I would have missed this.

First pitch from Guthrie. Three-run dinger. Welcome back, Al. 
Were things looking up for the Yankees? Or would CC pitch a gem, only to have the bullpen blow it?
He pitched a gem all right – a complete game 4-0 domination of the Orioles. He had everything working, including his new catcher. Who knew Cervelli could call a game, block pitches and get a hit?
Credit goes to CC and A-Rod for their performances tonight. But there was another huge factor that should be acknowledged: my new Magic Pen. Actually, it’s Michael’s pen.
new magic pen.JPG
While I was running around throwing stuff into suitcases and shopping bags, he was keeping score with a black Bic – and the Yankees won. So now the Bic must keep the streak alive. Long live the Bic!
After the game, we watched the evening press conference with fire officials, who reiterated how serious the situation in Montecito would be if the winds kicked up again.
“Be prepared to get in your car and leave,” said the Chief.
Michael and I finished packing, putting our important documents and other essentials (my signed Mickey Mantle baseball, for example) into our Ready Freddies, the knapsacks we bought when we moved to California. Everyone said we needed them in case of earthquakes. Nobody ever mentioned wildfires.
With our preparations in place, all we could do was wait. And wait.
But there was no wind. None at all. No banging. No trees falling. No power outage.
I went outside to look.
It was scary but sort of beautiful too.
As of now, we’re still here. And while we’re not totally out of the woods, I feel hopeful for the first time in days.

State Of Emergency

No, I’m not talking about the Yankees, although tonight’s 4-3 extra-innings loss to the Rays was a bitter one to swallow.

With the wildfire raging (more on that in a sec), my electricity was out this afternoon but came back on just in time for the first pitch.
AJ looked sharp, striking out eight and keeping the Rays’ hitters off balance. Yes, he gave up three runs over six innings, but he more than allowed the Yankees to stay in it and I really enjoyed watching him work. He’s got that great snarl, not to mention filthy stuff, and I wouldn’t mind if he went out there every night. (I know. His arm would fall off. I’m just saying.)
The Yankees’ offense? It was practically non-existent yet again. Swisher didn’t help, getting himself tossed in the seventh with the Yanks down 3-0. David Cone repeatedly said the umpire had a “quick hook,” but Swisher’s job was to stay in the game, not go off by himself to sulk.
The bats finally came alive in the eighth against a tiring Sonnanstine and a shaky Howell. When Tex stepped in with bases loaded, I did my yelling-at-the-TV thing: “THIS IS YOUR BIG CHANCE! BE A HERO!” And suddenly he was the hero, tying the score with a double to left. I went completely nuts and started dancing around the house and talking to myself.
Then the rain. I sure wish New York would send some of it to California.
When Mo struck out Upton, Crawford and Longoria in the ninth, I danced around again. He hadn’t been on the mound in nearly a week and yet he was brilliant.
I was sure the Yanks would win it in the bottom of the inning (Ramiro Pena was safe at first – such a bad call), but nothing.
Onto the tenth. Why didn’t Joe bring Mo back out? It wasn’t as if he’d been taxed. It wasn’t as if he’d labored. It wasn’t as if there was ANY reason to call on ANYONE ELSE, and yet there was Coke pitching to Carlos Pena and serving up a fat one. Granted, Coke has been effective lately, but still. Mo is Mo. Why would you ever use another reliever when he’s available?
So much for the lame bottom of the tenth after Damon doubled. What a waste.
After the game, it was reality time. I switched to our local TV news and watched coverage of the fire, which had roared out of control and forced the Governator to declare a state of emergency. Businesses were closed. Over 8,000 people have been evacuated. And homes are going down. Santa Barbara is in bad shape.
Planes have been dumping water and fire retardant on the affected areas all day, but the winds aren’t cooperating.
My house isn’t directly affected right now, as I live a few canyons away from the one above. But I took the following photos this afternoon from my backyard deck, before the game. As you can see, the fire was definitely looming.
It’s supposed to be hot again tomorrow (in the mid-90s/low 100s – bizarre for the season) and windy, so who knows what’s next. They predict the fire will head closer to me, toward the area that burned in November, which is actually good news; there’s nothing left to burn there. Another possibility is that it will turn toward the city of Santa Barbara itself. I don’t even want to contemplate that.
Having baseball to look forward to again tomorrow night, win or lose, is so small thing.

Short And Not-So-Sweet

As those who’ve been reading this blog for awhile may remember, Santa Barbara was hit by a major wildfire in November and friends of mine lost their homes. Today, at about 2 p.m., another fire flared up. By the time the Yankees-Sox game started at 4, Pacific Time, it had burned 160 acres and planes were battling the flames and high winds.

No structures were in harm’s way at that point, but the smell of smoke and ash was awful and it was hard to breathe. I turned on the game, figuring I’d forget about what was going on outside my window. I saw Joba’s early ineptitude, followed by a few innings of his remarkable turnaround.
And then the power went out.
It stayed out for awhile – long enough for me to miss the Yankees’ own power outage. When it came back on, I had many, many questions about the 7-3 loss.
* Could the Yanks not figure out a way to score a few more runs against a less-than-stellar Beckett?
* Did Melky have to go for that triple instead of being satisfied with a double?
* Was Pena’s error the latest evidence that the Yankees can’t win a game in which they don’t field the ball cleanly?
* Did Melancon forget where home plate is?
* Shouldn’t 12 strikeouts from a starter be enough to get a “W?”
Way to rally, boys.
Speaking of rallying, the firefighters are amazing here; they don’t have an easy task, given that the fire season doesn’t usually start this early and there have been so many fires in Santa Barbara County over the past couple of years. But the conditions are incredibly dry and the winds are howling. As of 9 p.m., the fire had burned 420 acres, and 1200 homes were evacuated.
Do I wish the Yankees had won? Obviously. But right now I’m more concerned with how this night will go. Paradise can be a scary place.
(Fire Photos: Santa Barbara Independent)