2013: My Year In Review


Since this is a personal blog, I figured that instead of writing a year-end review about other things, it would be better suited for me to give a year-end review of things that actually happened in my life. It’s much easier to do something like this now since chances are I captured those moments with my phone, giving me photographic proof of the events.

With all of that out of the way, here’s a month-by-month photo essay of how things went with me and the family in 2013, some of which was never mentioned here on the blog. Take a virtual trip of the things we did, places we saw, events that brought us happiness, triumph, and even sadness.

Got your scrollin’ finger ready? Good! Here we go!

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The End of An Era


Gee, it seems like it was just 2008 when I wrote about one of my childhood haunts being shut down for good.

And just today I found out that the second portion of that childhood, Lakewood Batting Cages, was closing their doors forever – today. Like almost everything noteworthy, I saw the news on their Facebook page and that they would be open until 9pm today, allowing customers to use their facility free of charge.

Of course I had to be there for the last night.

As I wrote in the aforementioned post, the guys at the batting cages were always so good to me and everyone else who wandered in there. About the only thing that has changed from the last time I saw them was that one of the sons, Roy, had passed away. But like his dad and brother, he was super nice, always had a smile on his face, and always made time for everyone. He’ll be missed.

What apparently happened was that the owners of the property, Local Laborer’s Union 507, would not let them renew the lease (details here). But as I was there, negotiations were in progress with an interested party in China. And if a deal is struck the place could be saved, but it just won’t be the same without the Tyler family running it. They are what made the iconic place special, a place where players like Chase Utley used to hone their skills before making it to The Bigs.

Then there’s me, a 44-yard-old dufus who never remotely had the chance or skills to become a big leaguer – but who always found great enjoyment taking some hacks in the 80 MPH cage over the years. Here’s one of my last sessions (direct link since embedding was being funky).

Before I left for the last time, I had to get my picture with Kevin (middle) and his dad, Daryl. (They still own and operate another location.) I love these guys for being who they were and giving back to the community through sponsorship of local teams, donations, and for simply operating a place where kids of all ages could come and learn how to hit a round ball squarely, one of the most difficult feats in all of sports.

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The sun has set on Lakewood Batting Cages, and the local baseball community is eternally grateful for having them be a part of their lives for the last 27 years.

Thanks for the memories and best of luck to The Tylers.

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There Used to Be a Batting Cage Here…


It looks like another part of my childhood is being ripped away from me.

The Carson Batting Cages, a longtime staple within Alpine Village in Torrance, CA, will cease to operate in a matter of days from what I understand. In fact, it could be gone by the time this post goes live.

No, they definitely have not fallen victim to the economy as they are nearly the only batting cage in the area. Rather, they’ve met their untimely demise in the same way most other small businesses do: progress.

According to my brother who speaks with the owner Daryl quite frequently, they are pretty much being forced out of their location despite having a 30-year lease. I also hear that the folks who run Alpine Village are intermittently turning off the power to the batting cages in an effort to make things worse for them.

Way to be professional about things, mein heirs.

Either way there probably is nothing anybody can do about it now, but it’s still sad to see it go. My brother and I went there religiously back in the day and Daryl, Kevin and Roy (Daryl’s sons) practically watched me go from an early teen to adult. Hell, they’ve known us so long they never bothered to make us wear helmets when hitting. While the family still owns a location in Lakewood, I have so many fond memories of Carson Batting Cages.

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