Posted in Travel and Diversions

Take Me Out To The Ball Game

Recently went to a Pittsburgh Pirates game, well that is not entirely true, I went to the 1st Inning of a Pittsburgh Pirates game, then it poured for the next four hours until they called the game off.  I had a great time anyways.  My family was covered by an overhang and we watched everyone else scatter to get under cover, we just pulled out our ponchos and raincoats and sat and talked.  My sister in law Vickie  and I discussed how long we would be in jail if we ran dpiratesown to the field and slid across the tarp covering the infield.  We debated if it would make the Pittsburgh cop’s day better or worse as he just  standing in his rain gear looking very bored.  I talked about if a person should disrobe before the slip and slide across the tarp so that a person who did it would have dry clothes to wear while sitting in jail.  Then we decided the game of baseball would be more interesting if in addition to the Seventh Inning Stretch you started “Nudity in the Ninth.”  Nudity in the Ninth would entail everyone in the stadium getting naked during the ninth inning, the players of course could continue to wear any protective gear, safety first.

Most people go to the stadiums for the sport, but some like me just go for the spectacle.    I hear a ball game being called on the radio and I just want to find a hammock and take a nap.  If I have to watch a ball game on TV all I want to do is get on my phone and start looking for videos of paint drying to keep me awake.  But let me walk into a stadium, either big league or even the minors and I am energized and I am taking in everything and trying to remember everything.  I note the  brilliant green of the field and the color of the sky.  I spot the family who has managed to get to the game all dressed in the same jersey except the littlest one who is wearing a generic baseball t-shirt. I smile observing the two teenage girls who are giggling and talking while balancing hot dogs, pretzels and five sodas. I watch the the elderly father and grown son who are enjoying a day together and looking for their seats and talking to the usher.

I love going to ball games, there is always something to see, some little memory that you can take with you, whether it be a double play, line drives catches, or the anticipation of a long hit and whether it will clear the wall or be caught on the warning track. One of the best screw ups I ever saw was with my friend Ken at a Phillies game in the summer of 2014.  Sitting along the third base line we watch a Mets player attempt to steal second base, he slides trying to get underneath the throw and tag, he slides well but misjudges his speed and distance .  He goes right over second base and ends up a little ways into center field.  So not only is he tagged out which ends the inning but now he is covered from neck to belly the rest of the game with the dirt of shame.

Some of the my favorite memories are not even what takes place on the field, Phillies stadium again, summer of 2014, Ken and I are sitting along the first base line, and the Phillies organization has these interactive graphics which show fans doing goofy thing on the jumbotron, like the dance camera, the kiss camera, and my personal favorite, the Bongo Cam.  Bongos are superimposed on the image and your move your hands like you are playing the bongos.  Good fun, but that game they found the best people for the bongo camera, Catholic Nuns in full black and white classic habits.  The crowd went wild.  Nuns playing the bongos, if that does not make you smile a little bit you are one cold fish.

Summer of 2014 with Ken, and in the row with us are a bunch of young drunk guys.  They were nice enough, not annoying but somewhere around the fifth inning they depart for more beer and most of them come back in a little bit, two fisted drinking going on but one of their buddies is missing.  I just happen to notice him a few minutes later a couple of sections over; young and drunk is looking for his friends but he is pretty lost and disoriented.  I bring it to the attention of the guys that their buddy is lost and point him out.  They yell and get his attention, and from that point on Ken and I were these guys best new friends for ‘saving’ their friend from being lost forever during a Phillies game.  I love drunk logic, particularity when I am sober.

Things can even get a little surreal at baseball games.  Cleveland Indians game, Jacobs Field summer of 2000, its late in the game, probably tjacobs fieldhe sixth or seventh, my buddies and me are sitting in the bleacher seats above right field. I get up to go get a coke or something because the Indians are behind and the Rockies are up and there is no shade in the cheap seats.   I walk down the tunnel to the concession area and while standing in line I look up at the monitors and watch a powerful hit by a Rockies outfielder, the ball is a high screamer launching way over the wall and into the cheap seats and right into a tunnel.  Some movement caught my eye and the ball I had just been watching on the monitor rolls down the floor past me.  A couple of guys scramble on the floor for the homerun ball and I get my Diet Coke and nachos.

There have been volumes written about how American baseball is a metaphor for Life, the best players typically only hit one third of their times at bat but they still get up their and swing again and again.  Movies such as Field of Dreams, The Natural and Bull Durham have tried to merge the words with the pictures and convey how important baseball is to the American psyche.  Maybe baseball is a metaphor for Life, but for me the metaphor is the difference between hearing about something, or watching it from the couch or truly immersing yourself and experiencing Life.

Life is about who you go thru it with, like when I went to a Phillies game with Steven and Anjali and they announced their engagement in the parking lot before the game over beer and cannoli’s.  Life is seeking out the best view, like at a different game when Steve and I wandered a poorly attended Phillies game debating the pros and cons of seats and trying out all kinds of views and ending up high above but behind home plate.  Sure Life can be monotonous and boring, but if you are paying attention and willing to risk sunburn or beer being spilled on you can sometimes see Nuns playing virtual bongos.  nuns at ballgame

Posted in Quotes

Vacation

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My best vacation is somewhere I could hide, somewhere warm and not a lot of people around.  Derek Jeter

Derek Sanderson Jeter  (born June 26, 1974) is an American former professional baseball shortstop who played 20 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the New York Yankees. A five-timeWorld Series champion, Jeter is regarded as a central figure of the Yankees’ success of the late 1990s and early 2000s for his hitting, baserunning, fielding, and leadership. He is the Yankees’ all-time career leader in hits(3,465), doubles (544), games played (2,747), stolen bases (358), times on base (4,716), plate appearances (12,602) and at bats (11,195).[1] His accolades include 14 All-Star selections, five Gold Glove Awards, fiveSilver Slugger Awards, two Hank Aaron Awards, and a Roberto Clemente Award. Jeter became the 28th player to reach 3,000 hits and finished his career sixth all-time in career hits and the all-time MLB leader in hits by a shortstop.

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Posted in Movie Speeches

Baseball – Speech

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A great speech from James Earl Jones in the movie Field of Dreams.

Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella hears a voice in his corn field tell him, “If you build it, he will come.” He interprets this message as an instruction to build a baseball field on his farm, upon which appear the ghosts of Shoeless Joe Jackson and the other seven Chicago White Sox players banned from the game for throwing the 1919 World Series. When the voices continue, Ray seeks out a reclusive author to help him understand the meaning of the messages and the purpose for his field.

Terence Mann: Ray, people will come Ray. They’ll come to Iowa for reasons they can’t even fathom. They’ll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they’re doing it. They’ll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. Of course, we won’t mind if you look around, you’ll say. It’s only $20 per person. They’ll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack. And they’ll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They’ll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they’ll watch the game and it’ll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they’ll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh… people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.

 

Trivia from IMDB:  Thousands of pallets of green grass were brought in to make the baseball field, but due to the haste in planting because of the shooting schedule, the grass was not able to grow appropriately and died. In order to keep the grass green, the production crew painted the grass.

James Earl Jones with Statuette

Posted in Movie Speeches

Crying – Speech

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Not necessarily a whole speech but an often quoted line, by the constantly remarkable Tom Hanks in the movie, A League of Their Own.

Jimmy Dugan: Evelyn, could you come here, you got a second? Which team do you play for?
Evelyn Gardner: Well, I’m a Peach.
Jimmy Dugan: Well I was just wonderin’ why you would throw home when we got a two-run lead. You let the tying run get on second base and we lost the lead because of you. Start using your head. That’s the lump that’s three feet above your ass.
[Evelyn starts to cry]
Jimmy Dugan: Are you crying? Are you crying? ARE YOU CRYING? There’s no crying! THERE’S NO CRYING IN BASEBALL!
Doris Murphy: Why don’t you give her a break, Jimmy…
Jimmy Dugan: Oh, you zip it, Doris! Rogers Hornsby was my manager, and he called me a talking pile of pigshit. And that was when my parents drove all the way down from Michigan to see me play the game. And did I cry?
Evelyn Gardner: No, no, no.
Jimmy Dugan: Yeah! NO. And do you know why?
Evelyn Gardner: No…
Jimmy Dugan: Because there’s no crying in baseball. THERE’S NO CRYING IN BASEBALL! No crying!

During World War II when all the men are fighting the war, most of the jobs that were left vacant because of their absence were filled in by women. The owners of the baseball teams, not wanting baseball to be dormant indefinitely, decide to form teams with women. So scouts are sent all over the country to find women players. One of the scouts, passes through Oregon and finds a woman named Dottie Hinson, who is incredible. He approaches her and asks her to try out but she’s not interested. However, her sister, Kit who wants to get out of Oregon, offers to go. But he agrees only if she can get her sister to go. When they try out, they’re chosen and are on the same team. Jimmy Dugan (played by Tom Hanks), a former player, who’s now a drunk, is the team manager. But he doesn’t feel as if it’s a real job so he drinks and is not exactly doing his job.

 

 

The character Jimmy Dugan was based on real life baseball player/manager Jimmie Foxx.

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