Hello once again and thanks for stopping by. I am pleased to report that this entry finds me in much better spirits than some of my postings of the recent past. As a team, my teammates with the RockHounds and I have been on a bit of a roll and, as of yesterday, found ourselves in first place in the Texas League’s Southern Division. Although we lost a close one yesterday to Corpus Christi, we battled back from a slow start and had a chance to win it in the ninth inning so it was another fairly well played game. I’m not sure what effect that has on our place in the standings either, but obviously we are well positioned going forward. I have personally been performing much better of late, mostly due to adjustments made to my delivery allowing me to throw strikes more consistently. I have also been catching some of the breaks required to put up a sustained stretch of good performance, which has been a welcome change and sort of plays into the “make your own luck” mentality. Hopefully it will be more of the same for the next five weeks as the regular season winds down and the playoffs potentially begin.
Away from the field, I spent the past week with my parents and my brother, who drove down to Midland from Minnesota for the most recent string of home games. I hadn’t seen my mom or my brother since January or my dad since March, highlighting one of the major drawbacks to the minor league lifestyle: the immense amount of time spent away from family and friends. We managed to take in the Odessa Art Museum, which I was mildly impressed with, but other than that there wasn’t really much time for extracurricular activities unfortunately. It did prompt me to plan a future visit to the Museum of the Southwest, which I ran into accidentally when I made a few wrong turns on the way to the library the other day. Other than that I have just been chipping away here and there at the Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry and redirecting my reading time into MCAT study time on the off-chance I decide to take it this offseason to have in my back pocket for the future. With that, I will leave you with the customary poetry, three short poems in lieu of the standard one, and bid you enjoy.
Because You Asked about the Line Between Prose and Poetry
by Howard Nemerov
Sparrows were feeding in a freezing drizzle
That while you watched turned to pieces of snow
Riding a gradient invisible
From silver aslant to random, white, and slow.
There came a moment that you couldn’t tell.
And then they clearly flew instead of fell.
by Carl Sandburg
The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
by Lord Alfred Tennyson
He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ringed with the azure world, he stands.
The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.
Hello out there in cyberspace. In what is beginning to be my habitual manner I will begin by apologizing for the interval between my previous post and this current one. The ephemeral nature of my relationship with this blog this year has been both a direct consequence and perfect example of the up and down, the push and pull, that constitutes not only a minor league season, but a career and in fact the entire minor league experience. This season has been, for both better and worse, an adventure and at some of the more trying moments I have wandered off of some of my oft-tread paths to seek solace in other areas. One of the casualties of my sometimes absolute frustrations with baseball or its affect on my other pursuits has been the consistent authoring of blog entries, but I will rely on your understanding and consideration in this regard. The state of frustration I devolved into had a lot to do with bad luck, but also aggravation at my own marginal effectiveness. I had a string of appearances in which I allowed a lot of both earned and unearned runs, which was a bit of a mixed blessing. It was frustrating from the perspective of giving up runs when I feel I pitched well enough to not allow runs to score, but at the same time it made me come to grips with the fact that the real issue was me not performing up to my own standards and not anything else. Since having buckled down and made a few adjustments with my pitching coach, I have gotten back some confidence, had a few good outings, and feel much better about things on the field in general. More of the same to come hopefully.
Away from the field of play, I have been devoting my time to a number of pursuits. Foremost among these has been attempting to breathe life into the two year old giant sequoia that I have been growing, but it would appear my efforts are for naught and I may be forced to start over on that front. I am fairing only slightly better with my other plants, a venus flytrap and a sundew, so it looks like I’ll have to pin my botanical hopes for the season on the monkey puzzle seeds whose germination I am eagerly awaiting. Also, for the first time in a while I pulled the ol’ brushes out of the boxes I packed in Akron two months back and spent some serious time working on a new canvas, which I must say I am delighted with given my meager allotment of talent. The planning of a trip to Carlsbad Caverns National Park to hike Slaughter Canyon and tour the wilderness cave of the same name before continuing on to Guadalupe Mountains National Park to hike either the Devil’s Hall or El Capitan/Salt Basin trail has also been far more involved than I had initially planned on. The headline for the pas week, however, has to be arriving in Corpus Christi on the previous road trip just in time for myself and Ryan Edell to see our good friend and fellow ex-resident of apartment #123 Erik Stiller off after his recent release by the Houston Astros. The situation is obviously a difficult one to see a friend go through, especially twice, and especially when his only backup options are a Princeton degree and an acceptance letter from Columbia Law School. Anyway, I’ll call that good for now and leave you with the customary poem.
A Quick One Before I Go
by David Lehman
There comes a time in every man’s life
when he thinks: I have never had a single
original thought in my life
including this one & therefore I shall
eliminate all ideas from my poems
which shall consist of cats, rice, rain
baseball cards, fire escapes, hanging plants
red brick houses where I shall give up booze
and organized religion even if it means
despair is a logical possibility that can’t
be disproved I shall concentrate on the five
senses and what they half perceive and half
create, the green street signs with white
letters on them the body next to mine
asleep while I think these thoughts
that I want to eliminate like nostalgia
0 was there ever a man who felt as I do
like a pronoun out of step with all the other
floating signifiers no things but in words
an orange T-shirt a lime green awning
Hello again and welcome back. Last time I checked in the all-star break was looming and I was eagerly awaiting a trip to Carlsbad Caverns National Park for some back country camping and cave tours with my fiancé. Well, the break has come and gone and so has my trip to Carlsbad. Unfortunately for my fiancé and me, American Airlines continues struggling with the mechanics of running an airline so instead of my fiancé getting into Midland at 1 pm, driving to Carlsbad and hiking out to a campsite in the park, my fiancé had her connecting flight cancelled, rode in with a couple strangers from Dallas, got in much later than scheduled and we ended up camping the night at some roadside RV park and campground. Not exactly what we’d hoped for, but at least we got there and the cave tours were well worth the hassle. For those of you who haven’t seen it, the natural entrance to Carlsbad Caverns is quite a sight to see in its own right, and the mile long hike down into the cave is well worth the hour or so it takes. Much better than the elevator ride down. Once below ground we took in the cave’s signature room, The Big Room, as well as guided tours of King’s Palace and, my personal favorite, the Lower Cave. Everything in the caves is interesting and very enjoyable, but the Lower Cave tour was a little bit more strenuous, starting in a “secret location,” descending through a crevice by ladder, no floodlights like most of the rest of the cave, and some actual crawling. Overall it was a great experience and depending on the status of my minor back injury and the weather I am strongly considering heading back to Carlsbad in August to tour Slaughter Canyon Cave, one of the many wild, backcountry caves in the park. Speaking of my back, it has been a bit sore for the past few days after my last appearance but should get a test off the mound today, be it in the game or the bullpen and I’m fairly optimistic that it will be a non-issue. Other than that I have just been enjoying the time with my fiancé and dodging raindrops at the field. On a final note, regarding the questions about the off-field situation that has been reported involving the Akron Aeros, I don’t know or haven’t heard anything that hasn’t been reported publicly. Given that and the nature of the situation, I feel it would be inappropriate for me to comment or speculate on it so this will be the last time I mention it. I hope everybody had a good 4th of July and as always I will leave you with a poem.
by Albert Goldbarth
These two asleep . . . so indrawn and compact,
like lavish origami animals returned
to slips of paper once again; and then
the paper once again become a string
of pith, a secret that the plant hums to itself . . . .
You see? — so often we envy the grandiose, the way
those small toy things of Leonardo’s want to be
the great, air-conquering and miles-eating
they’re modeled on. And the bird flight is
amazing: simultaneously strength,
escape, caprice: the Artic tern completes
its trip of nearly 27,000 miles every year;
a swan will frighten bears away
by angry aerial display of flapping wingspan.
But it isn’t all flight; they also
fold; and at night on the water or in the eaves
they package their bodies
into their bodies, smaller, and deeply
smaller yet: migrating a similar distance
in the opposite direction.