Hello again. Sorry for the long interval since I last posted, but with the end of the season looming and the playoffs to follow shortly after that there should be no lack for blog fodder in the immediate future. Since I last checked in things have been rather annoyingly consistent. We won two games against Bowie (the third being postponed) and then began the many varieties of the same thing. A four game split against Erie, a four game split with Bowie and losing two of three games to Binghamton with one game left to keep up our roll of splits. Over the last month we have split all of our four game series and alternated 2-1 series wins and losses the rest of the time. Like I said: annoyingly consistent. Having said all that, however, our series at Bowie ended in our clinching a playoff spot and the ensuing celebration is the type of thing that every professional athlete should get to experience at least once. I also have continued to throw the ball well and have picked up a couple saves and haven’t given up any runs since my last post over five or so appearances, which is an encouraging sign.
Off the field I haven’t had a whole lot to report. As usual I have been doing a lot of reading. I recently finished off a few books of poetry, Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Falcones, Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick and I am almost through Hot, Flat and Crowded by (Minnesota native) Thomas L. Friedman. Probably the most interesting of my recent experiences came after a day game when I decided to take a walk down by the Cuyahoga River. Being around sunset there were the usual deer, raccoons and other various small mammals running around, but what was somewhat surprising to me was seeing a couple of river otters romping around and having a gay old time. I had been under the impression that river otters were extinct in this area of the country but turns out they were reintroduced at different points over the last twenty-five or so years and now they live on many Ohio rivers. I just thought it was cool because I’d never seen them outside of a zoo. Much less exciting was walking between two trees and getting a sizable spider web to the face about twenty minutes later. No worries about the spider though, as it apparently managed to bite me on the calf before I shooed it away. Can’t really blame it I guess. Anyhow, I’ll make sure to check back in again sometime in the near future and keep you updated on the playoffs, but until then I leave you with a Czeslaw Milosz poem (by request, even though I find a lot of his stuff overrated I do like some of his more recent work). Until next time.
by Czeslaw Milosz
When the sun rises
it illuminates stupidity and guilt
which are hidden in the nooks of memory
and invisible at noon.
Here walks a many-tiered man.
On his upper floors a morning crispness
and underneath, dark chambers
which are frightening to enter.
He asks forgiveness
from the spirits of the absent ones
who twitter far below
at the tables of buried cafes.
What does that man do?
He is frightened of a verdict,
now, for instance,
or after his death.
Hello again out there in cyberspace. It has been another fairly uneventful week, but not necessarily a bad or non-productive one. Our week on the road was much the same as our previous week at home, again taking two of three games from the Connecticut Defenders and again losing two of three games to the New Britain Rock Cats to again end the week at 3-3 overall. As I said previously, I’m not sure that any of us are happy with losing a series, especially after we started the road trip on such a positive note, but having a .500 week is a luxury that we have earned by being 8.5 games up on second place and 10 on third place and a playoff spot at this point of the season. I also had a similarly disappointing performance, frustratingly appearing in only one game during the trip. In the first inning of my appearance I struck out two guys with a runner in scoring position t keep the game tied in the ninth but then gave up a run to lose the game in the tenth. Again, I came out of the gates with a good performance but ended on a disappointing note in giving up the run and then having to sit on it for the duration of the trip. So from both a personal and team perspective we will strive for better performance moving forward as we continue to chip away at our magic number (13 for the playoffs, 14 for first place), while realizing that a .500 couple of weeks is no cause for worries at this point of the season.
Off the field there hasn’t been a whole lot to report. As the season gets to this point every year and the body starts to get a bit tired I tend to cut back on the extra curriculars and take it pretty easy away from baseball. Probably the most notable thing that has happened over the last week is that I finally sold my first painting. It was one of those things that I decided to do based on my trip to the Akron Art Museum and seeing all the terrible pieces that passed for art hanging there. I figured I could make something as good as most of the things there and rather than just sit around saying it I decided to put my money where my mouth is, go forward with an attempt to start putting color to canvas, and paint something. I won’t say that the result was a modern masterpiece or anything, but I think the results were pretty good (as good as most similar stuff anyhow). Anyway, based on this initial success I am planning on doing a few more paintings (probably with an eye towards subsidizing my book collecting habits) and hopefully I’ll have another painting done in the next few weeks. Other than selling the painting, the main excitement of the week was finishing a few books on the road trip. I finished off R.A. Scotti’s Vanished Smile about the theft of the Mona Lisa, Fury the first of what will probably be the first of many novels I read by Salman Rushdie, and possibly the best book I’ve read this year: Loot by Sharon Waxman. I’ll be sure to update you again sometime during the upcoming days during our series with playoff hopefuls Bowie and Erie and until then I leave you with a poem.
by Jeffrey Yang
How easy it is to lose oneself
in a kelp forest. Between
canopy leaves, sunlight filters thru
the water surface; nutrients
bring life where there’d other-
wise be barren sea; a vast eco-
system breathes. Each
Hello once more. This installment follows and unspectacular week of baseball that saw a flurry of inter-divisional play in the Eastern League that squared us off against Connecticut and New Britain. We won the series against the Defenders 2-1 and lost the series against the Rock Cats by the same count, resulting in an overall 3-3 record over our six game home stand. It wasn’t anything flashy or inspiring but at this point in the season and with a reasonable lead in our division we can get away with playing .500 for a week now and then even if we should aspire to more. We have an opportunity to try it all over again starting tomorrow when we square off against Connecticut and then New Britain following a day off and a hellishly long road trip made worse by a road construction induced delay. Personally I threw once in each series and managed not to surrender a run so I guess that’s good and hopefully I can replicate those performances in my upcoming outings.
Hello again out there in cyberspace. I am happy to report that things are looking up since I last checked in. The Erie team that seemed invincible in their own park was noticeably more so back home in Akron. We swept all four games from Erie and didn’t leave any of the outcomes in doubt, outscoring the SeaWolves 34-9 overall in the series. After the Erie series we went on the road to Binghamton and rolled through the series. The final game was a tight affair from start to finish resulting in a 3-2 victory, but the first two games were fairly lopsided with our offense propelling us out to early leads and the pitching holding on from there. The wins were badly needed for morale after our string of prior losses and they also pushed our “magic number” to clinch a playoff berth into the range where it becomes worth keeping track of at 26. As long as we keep our heads down and keep chugging along we’ll be through that in no time (hopefully). The week was also a good one for me as I had three appearances and didn’t allow a run, but more importantly I stranded all five runners I inherited. Overall, it was a good week for both myself and the team to build upon for the last month of the season and into the playoffs.
My non-baseball activities over the last week have not been overly exciting. I finished a few more books from the huge unread pile I have that I can’t stop myself from adding to. The Last Dickens by Matthew Pearl was an interesting and engaging historical novel about the circumstances surrounding Charles Dickens’ last novel that I had been meaning to read for a while, and I also started and finished two Pulitzer Prize winning poetic works: Native Guard by Natasha Tretheway and Practical Gods by Carl Dennis. Also, on the day off yesterday I watched the movie Waltz with Bashir while I was laying out a painting. The movie was excellent, probably the best movie I’ve seen from last year. The painting…didn’t turn out exactly as I had hoped it would. A couple of the colors didn’t work out as I would have liked, but since I’m basically doing it as a joke anyway I’m not sure it really matters. Well, I think I’m going to call that good for now so I can go start in on a new book (Loot by Sharon Waxman), do some of the cleaning up I intended to do yesterday and then head to the field. Until next time, I leave you with a poem by the great Langston Hughes and encourage you to visit this website to hear Hughes explain his inspiration for the poem and also give a reading of it.
The Negro Speaks of Rivers
by Langston Hughes
I’ve known rivers:
I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the
flow of human blood in human veins.
My soul has grown deep like the rivers.
I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.
I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.
I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln
went down to New Orleans, and I’ve seen its muddy
bosom turn all golden in the sunset.
I’ve known rivers:
Ancient, dusky rivers.
My soul has grown deep like the rivers.