Hello once more. I must start off by saying that I have been somewhat remiss in getting posts up of late, but I’ve alternately had my girlfriend and parents in town over recent home stands and my mind has been elsewhere by and large. That being said, given the way we have played over the last week maybe it is best that I not recall all the details. Our recent game action consists of losing three of four games to Erie, which actually improved our overall record at Erie’s Jerry Uht Park to 1-10 on the season. It is very frustrating to continue to lose game after game to a team like Erie, who while certainly a good team, is not a collection of surpassing talents that simple dwarfs us. They do continue to beat us over and over again though so there is nothing to be done but tip our caps… and then go out and play better tonight in the first game of a four game series against Erie. Hey, we’re 2-2 against them at home so that is something maybe. After our series with Erie we went out and lost two of three to Altoona, the team with the second worst record in the Eastern League. Enough said. My own performance over the last week has been good for the most part. I allowed a few un-earned inherited runners in one appearance and threw 2.2 scoreless innings in an extra-inning affair with Erie in my most recent appearance, so one can only hope it is the front end of a long hot streak.
Away from the field I have been doing a variety of things, namely taking seemingly forever to finish Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose. It generally takes me anywhere from a day or two to a week to burn my way through a standard 300-400 page book but for some reason this particular book really jammed me up. It is a great book and I recommend that anyone with an interest in American history (that would be all of you) pick it up, but for whatever reason I just struggled to finish it. Oh well, now I’m on to The Last Dickens by Matthew Pearl. Other than that I’ve just been hanging out in Erie (boo) and now hanging out with my parents and brother around Akron. We took in the Hower House a couple days ago which was okay. It is an old Victorian home built in 1871 by John Henry Hower and currently owned by the University of Akron, where the home resides. It is a cool old house and I am glad I saw it, but if I could only do one or the other I would not tour the Hower House at the expense of seeing Stan Hywet Hall. Well, I’m off to spend some more quality time with the family before I head off to the field so I’ll leave you with a poem by my favorite poet, Stephen Dunn, and sign off until next time.
What Goes On
by Stephen Dunn
After the affair and the moving out,
after the destructive revivifying passion,
we watched her life quiet
into a new one, her lover more and more
on its periphery. She spent many nights
alone, happy for the narcosis
of the television. When she got cancer
she kept it to herself until she couldn’t
keep it from anyone. The chemo debilitated
and saved her, and one day
her husband asked her to come back —
his wife, who after all had only fallen
in love as anyone might
who hadn’t been in love in a while —
and he held her, so different now,
so thin, her hair just partially
grown back. He held her like a new woman
and what she felt
felt almost as good as love had,
and each of them called it love
because precision didn’t matter anymore.
And we who’d been part of it,
often rejoicing with one
and consoling the other,
we who had seen her truly alive
and then merely alive,
what could we do but revise
our phone book, our hearts,
offer a little toast to what goes on.
Hello again out there in cyberspace. Sorry for the ten day or so intermission, but I’ve had my girlfriend in town for the past six days so my priorities were temporarily shifted to the real world. The last ten days have been a bit of a mixed bag on the field for us here in Akron. After capping off a losing series against Reading with a loss, we traveled to Erie and promptly lost all four games there to drop to 0-8 at Jerry Uht Field this year. I had an outing to forget in game two of the series, coming in with two men on base only to surrender two flare singles followed by a home run that provided the final margin. I bounced back with a good outing to end the series, however, throwing an efficient inning plus to get some momentum going for myself. After a much needed break we resumed against Bowie and after a series opening loss bounced back for three straight wins to give us a desperately needed victory in the series. I had two good outings, commanding my pitches and avoiding walks, which has been a bit of an Achilles heel for me throughout the season.
During our aforementioned all-star break, I finally got a chance to see a few of the sights around Akron and Cleveland that I’ve wanted to take in but hadn’t had an opportunity to until now. On Tuesday I took in Stan Hywet Hall, the manor home of Goodyear Tire and Rubber founder Franklin Seiberling. The grounds alone would have been worth the price of admission, but the house itself was pretty amazing. Ornate wood work, secret passage ways and fabulous architectural design (among other things) made for a thoroughly enjoyable experience and one I would recommend if you ever find yourself with time to kill in Akron. As much fun as Stan Hywet Hall was, the real excitement of the week was the Cleveland Museum of Art. Any disappointment in my experience at the Akron Art Museum was more than recompensed by my time spent wandering halls covered in Old Masters, iconic moderns and personal favorites. The opportunity to see one of Monet’s massive Water Lilies series, one of my favorite Picassos (Life, from his blue period), and numerous paintings from the Hudson Valley school (including one of my favorites, Albert Bierstadt’s Yosemite Valley) in person was a real treat. Throw in major works by Thomas Gainsborough, Paul Gaugin, Auguste Rodin and many others and it was more than I could realistically have hoped for. Even if you don’t share my zeal for art it really is a must see if you’re in the area and you are doing yourself a disservice not to take it in. Hopefully I’ll still have a good reason to be hanging around Cleveland long enough to see it once the current building project they have under way is completed, because it really looks like it is going to be something when it is finished. Anyway, I think I’m going to call that good for now so I can go pack for the upcoming road trip. Until next time.
Hello again and welcome back to another installment. It has been a fairly quiet week or thereabouts since I last checked in. We played an up and down series on the road in Bowie followed by another up and down series against Harrisburg, but managed a 5-4 record on a road trip featuring nine games in five days. Obviously we would prefer to have been a bit more consistent in our play and taken another game from Bowie, thus winning both series, but with a six game lead on second place and eight on a playoff spot a winning road trip in any fashion is at the least an acceptable outcome. What stings a little more was losing a three game series to second place Reading at home, but we’ll have an opportunity to pick up some quality wins on our upcoming three day road trip to Erie before getting a brief reprieve over the all-star break. My individual performance has, in a fashion representative of my overall performance this season, been a bit of a mixed bag. I threw 3.2 innings across three appearances and while I have finally begun producing strikeouts in a manner more consistent with my typical performance, I have still been too streaky throwing strikes and consequently I have not been overly efficient.
Off the field there hasn’t really been a lot to report. I’ve had a pretty quiet week with my most notable accomplishments of note being the finishing of a number of the books that have been queuing on my bookshelf during the season. Other than that I haven’t done much other than finally getting around to stretching a painting I bought earlier in the season and decided that (in a continuation of my previous art-related rant) I would try my hand at making some “art” of my own just to prove to myself how fairly ridiculous some of that stuff is. However, since I really have no desire to display said terrible “art” I am currently at a bit of a loss for what to do with it. eBay maybe? Anyway, I’ll check back in after the all-star break and let you know what sort of hijinks I get into on my off days. Until then, I will revive my habit of leaving you with a poem.
Another Time by W. H. Auden
For us like any other fugitive,
Like the numberless flowers that cannot number
And all the beasts that need not remember,
It is today in which we live.
So many try to say Not Now,
So many have forgotten how
To say I Am, and would be
Lost, if they could, in history.
Bowing, for instance, with such old-world grace
To a proper flag in a proper place,
Muttering like ancients as they stump upstairs
Of Mine and His or Ours and Theirs.
Just as if time were what they used to will
When it was gifted with possession still,
Just as if they were wrong
In no more wishing to belong.
No wonder then so many die of grief,
So many are so lonely as they die;
No one has yet believed or liked a lie,
Another time has other lives to live.
Hello again. It has been an interes ting week from a baseball perspective for me of late. I had back to back outings where I threw the ball very well, yet gave up a few runs. I followed it up with an outing where to my own estimation I threw terribly and had no feel for the strike zone, yet gave up no runs. This is one of the annoying and irritating aspects of baseball and sports in general: sometimes your performance doesn’t match the results that you get. However, that is the nature of things and there is no changing it so I’ll just be thankful for my last outing and keep plugging along. From a team perspective the home stand that we finished last night was a modest success, if somewhat d isappointing at the end. We won a three game series against Trenton to open up and split a four game series with Binghamton to finish it off. However, our two losses were the final two games and our overall play was somewhat inconsistent so it is hard to really call it a success. That being said, we’re still in first place and are nine games ahead of third-place Bowie in the race for the playoffs as we open a five game series with Bowie tonight.
As promised in my previous entry, I made the rounds at the Akron Art Museum over the weekend. I really like art and I would never want to discourage anyone from participating in the arts or visiting art museums, but I profess that I was very disappointed with my experience as at the Akron Art Museum. While there were a few pieces that really struck me, like Robert Arneson’s copper sculpture Nuke News, Linda by Chuck Close and Rene Magritte’s Les pas perdus (The Wasted Footsteps),
I was disappointed to find that the preponderance of the art was more along the lines of the nonsensical and (in my opinion) meaningless art of Helen Frankenthaler and Mark Rothko. Call me uncultured if you will, but to me things like Dan Flavin’s neon light tubes belong in a night club and not an art museum because they say nothing and represent nothing. Many of the movements throughout art history have been reactions to conditions in the art community and world at large and as such have had an impact that is meaningful in the context of its own time that can continue to be powerful long after its creation. I feel like works such as those shown below are less representative of this legacy than they are examples of how many in the art community have completely lost touch with reality as they have become more insulated from mainstream America and as price tags on works of art have spiraled upwards (for an awesome and hilarious parody of this fact, see the movie Art School Confidential). That isn’t to say that art has to be masterful or even technically proficient to be beautiful and meaningful (so what if it looks like something your kid painted in art class, unless your kid is Marla Olmstead they didn’t, so save it), just that there should be an actual attempt to demonstrably express something to the viewer and beyond a certain level of abstraction that ceases to be possible. Many of the works I saw over the weekend cross this line and then hide behind a pseudo-intellectual wall placard explaining them rather than creating something meaningful in its own right. All that being said, despite the small proportion of worthwhile pieces to be found, the excellent ones were definitively worth seeing so check the museum out if you’re ever in Akron (it’s right downtown near Canal Park–a great pre-game activity?) Well, that seems like a sufficiently long and rambling rant for today so I’ll leave you with some examples of the art of which I speak so you can judge for yourself and with that call it a day.
Image list: Above: Nuke News by Robert Arneson. Below, top to bottom. Les pas perdus (The Wasted Footsteps) by Rene Magritte, The Nominal Three by Dan Flavin, Untitled by Mark Rothko, Wisdom by Helen Frankenthaler.