Hello once again. I figured it was about time I pulled my nose out of a book and did something productive, so here I am. It has been a productive period of late for the Aeros. We won all but one game on our seven game road trip (arriving back from which my roommates and I discovered a pipe had blown out in our apartment, thankfully with negligible damage to our belongings) and we have split our first two games at home so far. I have had two outings over that stretch–one where I pitched poorly but didn’t give up an earned run despite picking up the loss and one outing where I threw the ball very well and was victimized by a few timely seeing eye hits. So it goes. While not playing baseball I have spent the better part of the time since I last checked in doing a whole lot of nothing other than trying to put a dent in the massive pile of unread books I have accumulated recently. Despite finishing off Jonathan Harr’s The Lost Painting, Albert Einstein’s Ideas and Opinions, We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land by Jimmy Carter, and most recently The Gardner Heist by Ulrich Boser during the past week or so I still have a seemingly ever growing stack of reading material to plow through. In all honesty there has not been a whole lot else worth reporting since the last time I checked in, but over the upcoming weekend I’m planning on taking in the Akron and/or Cleveland art museums and some other cultural points of interest so I’ll make sure to mention those the next time I log on. Until next time, I’ll leave you with the usual poem and ask that if you are an Ohio resident to take a couple minutes out of your day to email your state congressional representative and ask that they oppose the 50% cut in state library funding that has been proposed by the governor.
Stolen by John Updike
What is it like, to be a stolen painting–
to be Rembrandt’s “Storm on the Sea of Galilee”
or “The Concert,” by Vermeer, both burglarized,
along with “Chez Tortoni” by Manet,
and some Degases, from the Isabella Stewart
Gardner Museum, in Boston, twelve years ago?
Think of how bored they get, stacked
in the warehouse somewhere, say in Mattapan,
gazing at the back of the butcher paper
they are wrapped in, instead of at
the rapt glad faces of those who love art.
Only criminals know where they are.
The gloom of criminality enshrouds them.
Why have we been stolen? they ask themselves.
Who has benefitted? Or do they hang
admired in some sheikh’s sandy palace,
or the vault of a mad Manila tycoon?
In their captivity, they may dream of rescue
but cannot cry for help. Their paint
is inert and crackled, their linen friable.
They have one stratagem, the same old one:
to be themselves, on and on.
The boat tilts frozen on the storm’s wild wave.
The concert has halted between two notes.
An interregnum, sufficiently extended,
becomes an absence. When wise
and kindly men die, who will restore
disappeared excellence to its throne?
Hello again. I must apologize for not posting an entry or two during the previous home stand as promised. The best laid plans of mice and men… Anyhow, we had a productive home stand with four wins, a loss and a rain out. Not a lot of drama involved in the games and my own performance was somewhat up and down in my two appearances, but we are back out on the road playing the same two teams (New Hampshire and Portland) that we just played at home so I should have ample opportunity for improved performance on the second go-round. Most notably, however, this trip entailed a bus ride from hell stretching from Sunday night into Monday morning. I got on the bus at about 5:30pm on Sunday and by the time I exited on Monday morning it was just after 7am, I had exhausted the batteries on my computer, mp3 player, and cell phone, finished the book I had counted on to last most of the ride (Matt McCarthy’s Odd Man Out, which I would recommend to all fans who have an interest in minor league baseball) and quite probably developed scoliosis from trying to sleep on the bus.
While we were on the field playing and on the bus developing motion sickness, the eyes of many in the baseball community were turned to front offices around the league as Major League Baseball conducted its annual draft. While the focus of fans and media drifts to and lingers on the high-round, big money picks the draft experience tends to be vastly different for most young major league hopefuls. Most of us don’t have Scott “Terrible for Baseball” Boras as our agent, we don’t sign million dollar contracts and we tend not to get tagged with big league ETA’s. For example, among the four guys living in my apartment at the start of the year in Akron, three of us had made minor league all-star teams, three had been to the Arizona Fall League, two had spent time in AAA… and only one of us was even drafted. My own draft day experience actually spanned two days and was ultimately pretty disappointing. I had a great 2004 season at North Dakota State as part of a team that won our conference for the first time in a couple decades but a knee injury, turnover on the coaching staff, a transition to D-I and inconsistent performance on my part resulted in an ugly 8.07 ERA in the crucial 2005 season leading up to the draft. I had still occasionally flashed good velocity and had good showings at a few pre-draft workouts so I still had high hopes for draft day. I watched the first day’s picks happening live over the internet, but when the picks stopped after seventeen rounds I still hadn’t heard my name called. I finally got a call from Les Pajari, a scout for the Cleveland Indians, the next day on my way to play a game for the Mankato MoonDogs in a collegiate summer league. The Indians had selected me in the 21st round, 634th overall and they didn’t even want to sign me, at least not immediately. They felt they needed to see me play over the summer before they could decide if it was worth their time, effort and money to sign me. I did finally sign and the rest, as they say, is history but it was a definitively less glamorous process than I had originally envisioned for myself. Well, that is about all I have for now, so I hope you enjoyed it and as always the poem accompanying this entry.
A Map of the City
By Thom Gunn
I stand upon a hill and see
A luminous country under me,
Through which at two the drunk sailor must weave;
The transient’s pause, the sailor’s leave.
I notice, looking down the hill,
Arms braced upon a window sill;
And on the web of fire escapes
Move the potential, the grey shapes.
I hold the city here, complete;
And every shape defined by light
Is mine, or corresponds to mine,
Some flickering or some steady shine.
This map is ground of my delight.
Between the limits, night by night,
I watch a malady’s advance,
I recognize my love of chance.
By the recurrent lights I see
The crowded, broken, and unfinished!
I would not have the risk diminished.
Hello again. I am enjoying my off day back home in Akron after a grueling ten day, eleven game road trip. While road trips like this one, which included a double-header, wildly variant game times, night games on our travel days, terrible clubhouses in Erie and Reading, a subpar clubbie in Altoona, and large amounts of other fun stuff, I generally prefer playing games on the road to playing games at home. The number one reason being significantly less time spent sitting around the clubhouse at the stadium with nothing to do. For example, for home games most guys usually end up showing up to the field and 1 or 1:30, which even if I lift weights and/or do some cardio leaves me an hour and a half to two hours to kill before stretch, not to mention approximately the same amount of time before the game after batting practice (which for a pitcher like myself, is basically just a mind numbing experience where I contemplate the relative merits of paper versus plastic). In contrast, by the time the second bus gets to the field there tends to be a half hour or so until stretch and batting practice, which tends to be the perfect amount of time to get myself ready to go. After batting practice there is about an hour, which is a nice amount of time for taking a shower, changing and getting focused in for the game. In addition to less down time at the field I also prefer the fan interactions on the road to the ones at home. I have no problem being accommodating for fans and enjoy interacting with them, but it is a lot more laid back and there are significantly lower expectations from the fans on the road than at home. Also, I enjoy being the object of a good heckling now and then which never happens at home games. Weird I know. So the bottom line I guess is that despite my usual affinity for the road, it is great to be back home for a bit and to have the day off to decompress. I’ll try to make a point of getting a couple more posts up while I’m home for the next week or so, but until then I’ll leave you with yet another poem.
How Simile Works
by Albert Goldbarth
The drizzle-slicked cobblestone alleys
of some city;
and the brickwork back
of the lumbering Galapagos tortoise
they’d set me astride, at the “petting zoo”….
The taste of our squabble still in my mouth
the next day;
and the brackish puddles sectioning
the street one morning after a storm….
So poetry configures its comparisons.
My wife and I have been arguing; now
I’m telling her a childhood reminiscence,
stroking her back, her naked back that was
the particles in the heart of a star and will be
again, and is hers, and is like nothing
else, and is like the components of everything.
Hello again, sorry for the fairly sparing output lately but that’s how it goes sometimes I guess. Since the last time I logged on with a full report I have been throwing the ball very well. I have now strung together five good outings and have gotten on a bit of a role. I have finally established my fastball consistently for strikes with my slider and split-change complimenting it well of late, which has helped me cut down on the walks and increase the number of swings and misses I’m getting, which obviously has a fairly predictable affect on my overall results. Unfortunately our team results over the same period have been a bit more up and down as we have gone 3-7 in our last ten games. Earlier in the year we basically couldn’t lose, but of late we haven’t capitalized on opportunities as frequently as we had earlier in the season and have also run into some good opposing pitching. The good news is that despite our overall poor results of late everyone is still playing hard on a day to day basis, we still maintain our position atop the Eastern League’s Southern division and there is a lot of baseball yet to be played.
Off the field there has not been a whole lot to report. At the behest of my obsessed girlfriend I saw the new Star Trek movie about a week ago, and I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed it and it has launched me into some extended viewing of the original Star Trek television series. Admittedly I still find the idea of dressing up in pointy ears and attending conventions to be patently absurd, but the original show has an appeal quite unique from that of most other television shows. The superficially phony sets and special effects underlie a program that, in my opinion, is far more human and real than any “reality” program to be currently found on television. I must admit that despite never having previously paid much attention to Star Trek I have always thought Leonard Nimoy was one of the coolest guys out there. As a poet, author, photographer and just generally cool character I’ve always admired him so seeing him in the role that made him famous has been pretty cool. Aside from watching Star Trek I’ve been engrossed in my usual reading, working on a couple novels my Jack London, the very interesting The Art and Politics of Science by former Nobel laureate and director of the National Institutes of Health Harold Varmus, as well as a book particularly relevant to this blog. Against the Machine: Being Human in the Age of the Electronic Mob by Lee Siegel is a clear and forceful indictment of the blind faith placed in technology, with the internet and the blogosphere in particularly square in its sights. It is the best book on the internet I’ve read in years, if not ever, because it departs from the norm in attacking both the internet and the blogosphere head on without smacking of sour grapes. As a blog writer myself I found it to outstanding and I would highly recommend it. And now, as is my wont from time to time, I will end with a poem. Until next time.
That Everything’s Inevitable
by Katy Lederer
That everything’s inevitable.
That fate is whatever has already happened.
The brain, which is as elemental, as sane, as the rest of the processing universe is.
In this world, I am the surest thing.
Scrunched-up arms, folded legs, lovely destitute eyes.
Please insert your spare coins.
I am filling them up.
Please insert your spare vision, your vigor, your vim.
But yet, I am a vatic one.
As vatic as the Vatican.
In the temper and the tantrum, in the well-kept arboretum
I am waiting, like an animal,