Can’t We All Just Get Along?


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More and more, buzz words like net neutrality, muni-wireless, convergence, are coming up. Why? Because of the need for convergence. We are at the tipping point of various technologies hitting their development phase of implementation to the end-user. All back-boned by wireless technology, we have now scene WWAN (satellite internet cards), muni-wireless (municipal wireless services), hybrid service phones (the ability of a cell phone to switch between a wireless internet signal and its primary phone signal), and VOIP (internet telephone). So how do these all come together and why is it important?

Think about it. In a perfect world there would be a wide area wireless coverage from a mutual system of WWAN, muni-wireless, and private wireless systems. Provided, all these systems provide neutrality (do not control the internet, allow for open access, as most people get the internet now), we will be on the right path. Then imagine that the cell phone carriers allow for your phones to use hybrid technology so that they will switch between the carrier signal and the internet based on a traffic demand? Then take that a step further, you have only one phone number. Based on a tree hierarchy, the call can be sent via VOIP to any device that you choose so that you can receive the call at multiple locations. Based on location of the device, you will receive the call from a multitude of signals. Pretty crazy stuff…

However I do not see this happening anytime soon. Although we see these technologies individually, we will never have convergence because everyone wants there own land with a castle they can be king in. Although a backbone of a free-market economy, I think everyone can still have a castle and work together. Just someone has to set up the meeting….

Never Trust a Truss


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Bad Week For Our Safety Stand Down

Unfortunately my first firefighting related post has to be about tragedy, however the dangers of our job are there everyday. As the nation mourns the death of 10 firefighters in one week, the fire industry can only look at it in shock. Continue reading

We Are Famous! Our area host the “Akon Kid Toss” concert


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I know I am pretty late on this one, but I have been pretty busy latley, what else is new. In any case as I am sure you have probably heard, since it has become national news, just down the street was the infamous concert with the “Akon Kid Toss” incident. The Dutchess Stadium (Home of the Hudson Valley Renegades, Class A minor leage team of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays) hosted the annual K104 Radio Station concert on June 2nd. The concert has been running for about 10 years now and features the top of the “Top 40″ artist in music. This year one of the 7,000 kids who usually attend got the bright idea of throwing a bottle cap at famous Rapper/ R&B artist Akon. The only thing is that he got a little more than he predicted in return, lol. Here is a couple of clips of the incident and some news clips of it:

Crowd View of the Incident

NYC News On the Scene

A Great Way To Get Your RSS Feed On Your Static Website


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I know it has been a while and this blog is suppose to be mainly about web design, however as titled it is really about my life experiences as well as experiences with web design. So with that said, here is a web design topic that is pretty hot. RSS, Really Simple Syndication, is one of those buzz Web 2.0 items that has even worked its way into the new windows (Vista). RSS is more or less a coding language that codes news stories in XML, eXtensible Markup Language, so they can be dynamically implemented into web and now desktop applications. In this technology error, it is critical to get the latest news at a moments notice. Now with RSS, people can encode a news feed for their business or organization and persons interested in that news can subscribe to the feed and get the news dynamically on there desktop with Vista or on their home page on Google.

This technology integrates perfectly with a dynamic website CMS, content management system, such as a blog. As you write a news story or blog post as I am at the moment and then publish it, most CMS systems such as Drupal or Word Press will use a plug-in, widget, to encode that post or entry in the sites RSS. Now instantly people can read the latest news and posts! The problem becomes with static websites that still are authored to this day, how can they play with this new hot dynamic technology. I ran into that very issue recently with one of my clients static website and found the answer with one of the best web resources there is: Dynamic Drive DHTML. There RSS Display Box is by far one of the best solutions I found to solve the problem.

The issue was how can I make a dynamic element with a static website? So I figured the easiest way to solve the problem was to have the dynamic element tell the static website what to do. By doing so I could have the news stories expressed dynamically through RSS and then use the Dynamic Drive Java-script to display that dynamic data solving the issue entirely. This new method of web design is known as AJAX or Asynchronous JavaScript and XML. More or less it integrates all of the popular web languages (Java-Script, XML, and XHTML (HTML) as well as CSS) to accomplish interactive and dynamic web 2.0 technologies in a usable and fast manor. With that said Dynamic Drive once again pulled through for me with this great code.

Of course I had to add in a couple of edits to cater to my needs. I am a web standards buff and in order to allow the news stories to display in a list, I would have to add in the UL or OL tags inside the Java Script it self. So if you too want a valid list heres how. First open up (outputbody.php). This is located in the rssbox folder and manages the templates that will display your feeds on your page. In this file you will have to add LI tags enclosing the template so that it generates the list :

function outputbody($item, $template=""){
if ($template=="" || $template=="default"){ //DEFAULT TEMPLATE ?>
<li> // Insert the list item to add each item as a list item
<DIV class="rsscontainer">
<div class="rsstitle"><a href="<?php echo $item->get_permalink(); ?>" class="extlink"><?php echo $item->get_title(); ?></a></div>
<div class="rssdescription"><?php echo $item->get_description(); ?></div>
<div class="rssdate"><?php echo $item->get_date('d M Y g:i a'); ?></div>
</DIV>
</li> // Insert the close tag for the list item after the RSS item template layout
<?
} //end default template

The the last thing you have to do is define either a UL or a OL for your list type in the page that controls the entire feed and template integration in the file called (main.php) also located in the rssbox folder. Here I created a small IF statement to trigger an echo command to insert the UL or OL tags depending which template is used in the outputitems function:


function outputitems(){
if ($template=="" || $template=="default") echo '<ul>'; // Added in an IF statement to trigger an insert of a UL if the default template is used
global $feed, $feednumber, $templatename;
$max = $feed->get_item_quantity($feednumber);
for ($x = 0; $x < $max; $x++){
$item = $feed->get_item($x);
outputbody($item, $templatename); //call custom outputbody() function
}
if ($template=="" || $template=="default") echo '</ul>'; // Added in another IF statement to trigger an insert of the close tag for the UL
}

There you go, simple as pie. A great way to get your dynamic RSS feed on your static web page with a little tweak. ENJOY….

Mt Beacon, Fishkill Ridge/ Hudson Highlands Hiking Trail


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I would not call myself an environmentalist by any stretch of the imagination, however I think that everyone enjoys the adventure of hiking and the outdoors. Enjoying the Mt Beacon HikeFrom growing up in the Hudson Valley as a Boy Scout to hiking with my family I was exposed to one of the number one things this region is known for, the outdoors. I love the city I live in because the area is a densely packed area that is growing faster and faster every day. With three cities within 15 minutes of each other and being just over an hour north of NYC, the area of about 100,000 people has all kinds of things to do. Sounds like a lot of metropolitan areas, however this area has some of our nation’s most renown hiking and outdoor activities. In specific is the backdrop of my city, the Hudson Highlands/ Fishkill Ridge Mountains and Parks. An area so majestic and with such breathtaking views that it was included on the New York State Seal. Something I always thought was funny that the mountains behind my city was on the state seal, however NYC was no where to be found on it and is probably the number one thing that the state is known for, lol…

The Hudson Highlands and Fishkill Ridge parks have over 2,000 – acres with numerous hiking trails that are featured in a lot of the popular hiking adventure books. Just about every trail has incredible views of the valley and are always a fun time. The Fishkill Ridge Park is owned by Scenic Hudson, the most powerful environmental group in the valley and one of the most in the nation. The park serves as the northern entrance to the Hudson Highlands State Park. The Hudson Highlands is most notably known for the Breakneck Ridge hike, one of the most step hikes and one that has one of the best views.

My favorite hike, and the one I do the most is pretty much one that most Beaconites have done for years. I just did it again the other day with the wifey since it was our first date and is always a great time. Trail Map of the Mt Beacon AreaThe hike is lined out in red on my Hudson Highlands/ Fishkill Ridge Hiking Trail Map and starts at #1 on the map in the City of Beacon at the dead-end of Pocket Road. There are 5 or 6 areas off the side of the road were you can park. The dead-end has a gate to keep motorized vehicles off the motorized trail utilized by the city’s water department to access its water works and reservoir as well as heavy equipment to access the towers on top of the mountain. The trail starts off to the right of the green water tank aka “The Dome” as Scenic Hudson’s “White Trail”. This area is known locally as “The Dome” and is a popular high school partying spot for the kids too lazy or too scared to make the trek to “Pines” (More about that later). The trail is named the Fishkill Ridge Trail and runs parallel to dry brook which carries the city’s water supply from the reservoir on top of the mountain to the water tank. It is a great hike that is not too step and features a lot of foliage. It continues up with a lot of small water falls until you get to point number 2 on the map.

At number 2 you are almost at the merge with the motorized trail and are at the base of the largest waterfall. At this point you cross over the stream and get a great view of the falls which are about 75 feet tail (pictured above to the right), a great picture point. After this landmark you travel up a steeper incline to where the trail crosses the motorized trail in an area that is densely populated with Pine Trees (known locally as “Pines” and is the premiere party spot for the high schoolers). At this point the “White Trail” continue towards Route 9, however I make a right on the motorized trail and take it further up the mountain which eventually leads you to point #3.

Point #3 is at the city’s primary reservoir and features a damed lake with 250 million gallons of water. The large lake is a great place to take a break and enjoy the view of the rest of the way up. You can also see the Mt Beacon Fire Tower in the distance which there is a movement to preserve it. After you have rested at the reservoir it is time for the final stretch of the hike to get one of the best views of Beacon at point #4. It is a short distance until you get to a fenced off area around one of the tower farms. After walking by the fence and getting your 10 years worth of radiation you reach a small field. In that field you will see a large monument known as the Daughters of the American Revolution – Melzingah Chapter Signal Beacon Fire Monument. This monument commemorates the signal fire that once burned at that location during the revolutionary war to signal the people of the Hudson Valley that “the British where Coming.” Something so important to the area that the city even named it’s self after it. From that point you get an incredible view of the cities of Beacon and Newburgh as well as the bridge between them (pictured in my Mt Beacon Hikes Photo Gallery). At nearly 1,500-feet high, you can see way up and down the Hudson River and is a great time for a picnic. All and all the hike takes about 4 hours to take your time going up and down as well as getting some lunch.

Let’s Go Mets. Why they are the Amazins’


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If you are a real sports fan check out our article on baseballat Sports-Media.org.( Ad Disclaimer/ Info )

This spring the love of my life bought me 5 tickets to see my favorite sports team at Shea (The Mets for the uneducated, lol). Although the Yankees are the greatest sports team in the world, with more wins and records than god himself, I still love the Mets. The one thing the Mets have over the Yanks is that they are the Amazins’. I can not even think of one team who has as many amazing wins as the Mets have had in any sport. From the infamous 1986 game when Bill Buckner missed a routine grounder to loss the World Series to any of the other amazin’ games such as the two I am about to describe, the Mets never stop amazin’.

So with that said, the first game was number 11 at home vs the Colorado Rockies. What should have been a fairly easy win turned out to be an edge of your seat pitchers duel. Both teams allowed only a combined 14 base runners and no runs until the tenth inning. My heart dropped when Troy Tulowitzki hit a triple to send Yorvit Torrealba home to boost the score to a 1-0 in the tenth. However I knew these were the miracle Mets and they would figure out how to win somehow. They were up and In the Uppers at Shea with the "Real Fans" as soon as I knew it, two were out. Then Damion Easley came cold off the bench and I thought, great the game is over. In fact most of the crowd started to make their way out. Sure enough in no time Damion was at two strikes and literally everyone in the stadium started to leave, however these fans did not have the faith in the amazins’. Sure enough the next pitch was a home run and the game was tied! The game then went on to the 11th when the Mets had men on 2nd and 3rd and Endy Chavez was up at bat. A great hitter, the defense did not play for a bunt and as sure as dandy, Endy bunted. With his speed he made it to first and the bewildered defense could only watch as Shawn Green ran in to score the winning run. Once again showing the fans and baseball why they are the Amazins’.

Now after seeing the previous game, one to remember and probably be one of the best games of the season, I thought how can they top it. This time I went with the wifey herself instead of the step-dad. Also we were a little late and caught the worst ever traffic on the Hutch, but thats the city for you. To no surprise, Game 19 vs the Cubs was an amazing game from the time we walked into the stadium to see the Mets loosing 1-0 in the second to the once again edge of your set ending. Before we knew it, the score was 4-0 with the Cubs dominating and the wifey said the infamous words of “Great we are going to see them loss.” To which I responded, these are the come back kids they will come back, watch how they are the Amazins’. Sure enough the boys held their ground and battled back to get the 4 runs to tie it up. Then in the bottom of the 9th they struck again and loaded up the bases with their three top hitters. The Cubs pitcher, Wuertz, had two outs on his side and the Mets clean-up hitter, Delgado, who was ice cold. However Wuertz broke from all the pressure and ended up walking Delgado and the winning run. Once again, METS WIN!!

So now everyone knows why I have been a die-hard fan since day one of the Mets and why I am proud to have NY Mets Plates on my car. All I can say is “LET’S GO METS!”

It’s the new SE-R


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Well I have finally made the decision on what my first brand new car is to be, the new SE-R. Although it tied up with the Lexus, I decided to make this one my first new car. Boy am I happy that I choose this car, it is really everything I wanted in one.The new 2007 Nissan Sentra SE-R at City Harbor in Beacon, NY I am proud to be one of the first owners of the model line, I grabbed the honor of having the first one in the Hudson Valley and one of the first ones in general in the US. Just released a month ago, I picked mine up a few days ago and I have just broke the 100 mile barrier, finding nothing really not to like about this ride. The sharp edge exterior design, with really hot rims and body kit all standard on the ride make it a looker. The inside is great with racing seats and gauges as well as a sunroof that is real nice on the highway. The premium sound system defiantly pumps with 8 speakers (2 subs), the Rockford Fosgate system really handles base well keeping the sound crisp and if you do not feel like listening to the radio just plug in the iPod and be your own DJ (great added feature!). Although the sound system kicks, one of the best features on this ride is the intelligent key system. By having the Key Fob in your pocket you can unlock and lock any door by touching it and start your car by sitting in it. As for the performance, Nissan really hit the nail on the head. The steering is very tight, ride is also very tight with the racing suspension add-ons. The acceleration is real quick with the 4 banger pumping out nearly 180HP.

Something that really takes getting use to is the CVT transmission. Known as the “shift-less tranny”, it really seems to just go and no shifting. It is great on fuel economy and defiantly helps the performance end. The added option of switching to “semi-manual” with race inspired shift paddles is a nice added treat for those days you feel like pushing it. This is a great ride and I hope it lives up to it’s Nissan name of dependability for the next 100,000 miles!

PROS

  • Fast, Nice Sounding Performance
  • Great Looking Car
  • Tons of Toys to Play With
  • What’s Not to Like???

CONS

  • This Car is Fully Loaded and No Bluetooth?
  • Back Seats Do Not Fold Down

3D Printing, The Future???


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As I spend as much time as possible researching the up and coming technologies in the world, I from time to time run into some pretty interesting things. One of those things would have to be 3D printing. A concept that comes from industries that program a 3D rendering (CAD Drawing) into a computer for parts and have a laser or high-powered water jet cut them out of a piece of metal or other item. Recently a few companies have released devices that uses a inkjet type of technology that prints on layers of a powder type material. As the layers are built excess powder is removed and color is added rendering a 3D object.

One of these companies, Z Corp ( Z Corp ), claims to be the number one player in this small industry and offers it’s 3D printers with the price tag of $20,000 – $50,000! However this is well worth the investment for car companies, architects, or even pipe appliance companies who can use the machine to produce a 3D prototypes that in the past took much longer, were less detailed, and over a period of time much more expensive. Just take a look at some of the amazing prototypes this thing has designed so far Z Corp ZPrinter 450.

The future for these machines is endless also. Companies are working on machines that will not only prototype, but create real 3D objects such as the laser and water drills. A major push in the industry is also bio-printing or using similar devices to create artificial human organs or other tissues instead of using donated organs. It will be nice in the future to be able to create replacement parts or say a heart just from a printer!

I know you would love to have one in your basement to make all kinds of cool things, but seriously think of the possibilities. In the future, as the price comes down for these devices, the potential use is there. Think of all those sci-fi shows that a device tele-ported items from one location to another. Now I know we won’t be tele-porting anything with the machines, but say for instances you need a leg for a chair that just broke. Just go to that chair’s website, download the 3D instruction file, load in some wood to the printer, and send the job to the printer. NO TRIP TO THE STORE!!! Believe it or not we are closer than you think for the public getting their hands on a 3D printer. Today you can purchase a similar device know as a laser engraver, that can produce 2D objects such as wooden design plaques, engraved picture, ect. and if you really want a 3D object, there are some commercial services that will let you design a 3D object on a Z Corp printer for around $100.

Video

  1. ZPrinter 450 Demo Video

Biggest Evolutions in Computers in YEARS!!!


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Wired, Wireless, Flash, Multi-Core

We are in the era of the biggest evolution in computers since the PC was introduced in the early 80s. However this time it is not one object that is making it so revolutionary, it is multiple that have allowed us to finally reach the potential of computing and the Internet. Continue reading

It’s That Time Again! Fantasy Baseball Season and the Beacon Mets are Back


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I have been playing fantasy baseball since 2000 with my fantasy team, the Beacon Mets. I have had some good seasons and some bad seasons, but it is always a fun time. Now in our 8th season we hope to have a repeat of last years season being the World Series Champs of our league. One thing we also hope to hold on to is that every time we make the playoffs, we win the World Series. A big bragging and intimidation record we hold. One other interesting fact also is every time Lance Berkman is our MVP, we also win the World Series. So we have Lance again this year and are ready for 07 and our third World Series Title.

This years draft turned out pretty good. Although we are a better offensive team than pitching; we are happy to take the best catcher, Joe Mauer, and closer, Francisco Rodríguez, in baseball as well as this years number one prospect, Delmon Young. If anything holds us back though it would have to be our starting rotation that has three injury prone starters that pose a great risk. Thankfully we have the best closer and relief staff in baseball to back them up. So if anyone cares or is into fantasy baseball, here is a breakdown of this years team and our previous years records:

The 2007 Beacon Mets

STARTING LINE-UP

1. Felipe Lopez (SS) – Ranked around 10th for Shortstops, Felipe boast average skills however what puts him at the lead off this year is his speed and last years 44 steals, ranking 9th in baseball in base steals. Hopefully his .274 hitting average will increase this year for an even better pickup for this 7 year veteran. (2006: .274 AVG, 98 RUNS, 11 HR, 52 RBI, 44 SB).
2. Vladimir Guerrero (RF) – Our number one draft pick for many reasons. This 11th year veteran ranked 5th for outfielders with his 8th in baseball average of .329 and 13th in baseball 116 RBIs. As long as he stays healthy Vlad will be a big value pushing Felipe to third base. (2006: .329 AVG, 92 RUNS, 33 HR, 116 RBI, 15 SB).
3. Joe Mauer (C) – The number one ranked catcher in baseball, Mauer provides us with his number one in baseball average of .347. Joe is in his prime and enters his 4th season to hopefully earn us another pennant this year. (2006: .347AVG, 86 RUNS, 13 HR, 84 RBI, 8 SB).
4. Lance Berkman (1B) – Evey year Lance is our MVP, we win the World Series. The number four first basemen in baseball ranked 5th in baseball for home runs with 45 and bats clean up to hopefully give us another Word Series in his 9th career season. He also ranked 18th in baseball with his .315 average and number four in baseball with his 136 RBIs. (2006: .315 AVG, 95 RUNS, 45 HR, 136 RBI, 3 SB).
5. Delmon Young (LF) – The number one prospect in baseball starts his rookie year with us. He played in 30 games last year and boasted incredible stats with a .317 avg. Just as a rookie, he is already fielding around the number 20 spot in baseball for outfielders. (2006 (30 Games): .317 AVG, 16 RUNS, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 2 SB).
6. Ryan Zimmerman (3B) – In his third year of his career, notorious as a baseball players best, Zimmerman ranks 6th in baseball for third basemen. He provides us with some solid stats for the middle of the line-up and in his prime may only improve this year. (2006: .287 AVG, 84 RUNS, 20 HR, 110 RBI, 11 SB).
7. Julio Lugo (2B) – The 7th ranked in baseball second baseman will start his 8th season leading off the bottom of the order. His flexibility to play SS and 3B also gives the infield more flexibility if their are any injuries (2006: .278 AVG, 69 RUNS, 12 HR, 37 RBI, 24 SB).
8. Ryan Freel (CF) – Ranked around number 40 in baseball for outfielders, the one thing Freel provides is speed in his 6th season. The number two base stealer on the team ranked 12th in baseball with base steals at 37. Hopefully the combination of Lugo’s and Freel’s speed will help the bottom of the order. (2006: .271 AVG, 67 RUNS, 8 HR, 27 RBI, 37 SB).
9. Eric Chávez (DH) – Now in his 10th season Eric will have to battle with Brian Giles for the DH spot. With numerous injuries last season, Giles may take over the DH while Chávez goes through rehab. (2006: .241 AVG, 74 RUNS, 22 HR, 72 RBI, 3 SB).

STARTING ROTATION

1. Ben Sheets – Our Ace this year starts his 7th season ranked 9th in baseball for starting pitchers. We have taken a big risk with Sheets after being injured for two straight seasons, we hope he will revert back to the 2004 season were he pitched 12-14 with a 2.70 ERA. (2006: 6 Wins – 7 Losses, 116 K, 3.82 ERA, 1.89 WHIP).
2. C.C. Sabathia – Our number two man may earn the aces slot depending on Sheets health. Sabathia follows Sheets ranked as the number 10 starting pitcher in baseball also is starting his 7th season. He posted an impressive 3.22 ERA ranked number 6 in baseball in 2006 with 172 Ks which ranked him 20th in baseball. (2006: 12 Wins – 11 Losses, 172 K, 3.22 ERA, 1.77 WHIP).
3. Chris Capuano – Chris starts his 5th season leading the team in Ks with 174, 19th in baseball. He ranks in the lower 40s for starting pitchers and offers the team a healthy solid pitcher. (2006: 11 Wins – 12 Losses, 174 K, 4.03 ERA, 1.25 WHIP).
4. Brad Penny – The 8 year veteran gets the number 4 slot ranked in the upper 30s with 16 wins last year, 8th in the Majors. Although he boast a great amount of wins, he lacks with his ERA. (2006: 16 wins – 9 Losses, 148 K, 4.33 ERA, 1.38 WHIP).
5. Kerry Wood – Starting his 9th season after being injured for two years, Wood adds to the teams weak rotation that is injury prone. As with Sheets, we hope that Wood will not fall to injury (2006: 1 Win – 2 Losses, 13 K, 4.12 ERA, 1.37 WHIP).

THE CLOSERS
1. Francisco Rodríguez – Baseball’s best closer will defiantly be getting a lot of work in his 6th season with the weight of a weak starting rotation on his shoulders. With 47 saves, the best in baseball and a ERA of 1.73, among the best of the relievers. (2006: 47 SAVES, 2 Wins – 3 Losses, 98 K, 1.73 ERA, 1.10 WHIP).
2. Brian Fuentes – In his 7th year of baseball, the upper teens ranked closer will be very busy. His 30 saves, 19th in baseball will help the weak starters with a weak rotation. (2006: 30 SAVES, 3 Wins – 4 Losses, 73K, 3.44 ERA, 1.16 WHIP).

Beacon Mets through the Years

Year Record Win % GB League Place Playoffs MVP
2000 83-152 .352 16 10 out of 10 N/A Nomar Garciaparra
2001 136-99 .580 11 7 out of 12 N/A Mike Piazza
2002 127-108 .539 30 3 out of 8 World Series Champions
League Champions
Division Champions
Lance Berkman
2003 122-113 .518 38 6 out of 10 N/A Gary Sheffield
2004 104-131 .443 40 9 out of 12 N/A J.D. Drew
2005 103-132 .439 38.5 11 out of 12 N/A Randy Johnson
2006 128-107 .545 27 4 out of 12 World Series Champions
League Champions
Division Champions
Lance Berkman