Archive for Baseball

Rakim, minus Eric B., of course, but not all by himself

Posted in Journalism, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2018 by macmystery

While procrastinating late Monday night, as I so often do when I have a viable writing topic, I found myself listening to music.

It’s not an uncommon activity in my life. A large percentage of my disposable income (and a lot that should have never been disposable) has been spent on music, not to mention my time, both disposable and indisposable, as well. Concerts, records, tapes, CDs, road trips.

But I’ll admit that over the last few years of my marriage, which LEGALLY ended in 2016, aside from time spent in the car, music had all but disappeared from my life. And maybe that should have been a sign. But that’s another story for another day.

Anyway, as I said, I was listening to music, something I do again, typically late at night. A strange mix … Dierks Bentley, the Cowboy Junkies, Henry Mancini, Metallica and Dave Brubeck. (I’ll admit, there was 10 minutes of George Carlin mixed in there, as well.)

I was listening to this strange mix as I put off writing something more substantial than my Facebook post from earlier Monday evening about former two-time National League Most Valuable Player and longtime Atlanta Braves standout Dale Murphy. Ironically, I’m still going to write that post, but it’ll be another day now, at least.

That’s because, while perusing Facebook, I came upon the New York Times story (How an Affair Between a Reporter and a Security Aide Has Rattled Washington Media) about the relationship between its reporter Ali Watkins and a man who handled security for many years for the Senate Intelligence Committee.

So, of course I was going to write about that. Being a former journalist — being a former journalist is like being a former Marine … there’s no such thing — the story presents some interesting and frustrating dilemmas during a time when the press is badly needed, as well as badly maligned.

And then Rakim happened.

Someone I know from high school, a lifetime ago, had shared the latest installment of National Public Radio’s Tiny Desk Concert. Featured for June 25, 2018 was Rakim, initially, at least, of Eric B. & Rakim fame.

I’ll admit it. Aside from straight up classical music, the least represented major genre in my music collection is rap. Or hip-hop, if you will. Old school Run D.M.C., some Sir Mix-A-Lot, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar … but not much else. A lot of it doesn’t interest me. A lot of it I respect but simply don’t enjoy.

I have read a lot about Rakim. But I haven’t listened a lot to Rakim.

But I did Monday night.

And I was treated to 9 minutes and 37 seconds of brilliance that maybe I wasn’t in the right frame of mind for 30 years ago, when Eric B. and Rakim were on top of their game. Kind of the same way I have a different appreciation for jazz now than I did as a young man.

And in a lot of ways, comparatively, Rakim’s style is jazz, at least vocally. His lyrics and voice are his instrument, and while aggressive, he is not necessarily loud and not in a hurry. Much as Willie Nelson brought jazz phrasing and guitar to his otherwise solid country gold lyrics, Rakim in some ways does the same thing.

It’s evident with the live band, rather than a DJ, backing him in the small NPR studio. The musicians are tight and work infectious grooves through three songs, allowing Rakim’s lyrics to shine as his instrument.

I was impressed. I had a moment, really. Usually, though, it’s when I hear something new that blows me away. I am admittedly not used to, at this point in my life, hearing songs more than two decades old, performed by the original artists, that pique my interest so completely.

My son, Dylan, possibly in the wrong place at the wrong time, can attest. He walked in the room in a moment of boredom after his computer crashed, expecting to wander in and wander out.

Instead he was detained by me and forced to surrender 9:37 of his evening, too, to sit and watch this Tiny Desk Concert. Not surprisingly, to me, he found himself, like I did, enjoying the video, foot tapping and hands popping.

The final two songs of Rakim’s three-song set, were “Paid In Full” and “Know The Ledge,” … classics and songs I will now seek out. But they followed “King’s Paradise,” a song released a few days ago and featured in Season 2 of Marvel’s Luke Cage on Netflix.

“King’s Paradise” is Rakim’s first new release in a decade. Suddenly, seemingly, I’m hoping it’s not his last.

List of the week: Doubling down

Posted in Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 3, 2010 by macmystery

San Francisco Giant Edgar Renteria, back, is congratulated by teammates after his three-run home run in Game 5 of the 2010 World Series.

Shortstop Edgar Renteria’s seventh-inning three-run home run in Game 5 of the 2010 World Series led the San Francisco Giants to a 3-1 win and a 4-1 Series victory against the Texas Rangers.

Renteria also had the Series-winning hit in the 1997 World Series for the Florida Marlins.

With the the homer, Renteria became just the fourth major league player to have the World Series-winning hit in more than one Fall Classic. And he joined quite an elite club.

Here are the major league baseball players who have had the Series-winning hit in more than one World Series:


Like it or not, I’m back

Posted in Family, Uncategorized with tags , , on July 2, 2010 by macmystery

After successfully failing to post for the entire months of May and June (Heck, I posted just one day in April), I have returned. See how I made that sound positive.

Some health issues (well, one actually), a lack of computer access and a heavy load at work have conspired to keep me down, but I have prevailed.

I’ve missed a lot the last three months … a lot I’d have liked to comment on.

I saw a Neil Young concert, my third, that was downright nasty it was so good.

I went to camp for three days with my son, Dylan, and thought I was going to die.

I had some sort of episode at work and thought I was going to die.

And among other things, I really would have liked to comment on some people I admired who did die.

Down the road, I may get to some of those things, albeit a little late. But for whatever small number of people who read this and myself, it’s simply progress that I’ve typed these words. Any catching up I do will be icing on the cake.

Later this morning I leave for Washington D.C. and then New York City for my annual baseball trip. Hopefully, I’ll have some things to comment on from there.

Bye, for now.

Daddy & Dylan Day, Part II

Posted in Family, Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2009 by macmystery
Dylan and Grandpa Bill at Atlanta's Turner Field on Monday night. It was Dylan's first major league baseball game with daddy, and the Braves won 4-0.

Dylan and Grandpa Bill at Atlanta's Turner Field on Monday night. It was Dylan's first major league baseball game with daddy, and the Braves won 4-0.

Monday night was Dave Ramsey Night at Turner Field. As a result, the seats in the sections at the end of the upper deck, in both right and left field, were all $1.

It seemed like the perfect night to take Dylan to his first Major League Baseball game. The Braves were winning and still in the wild-card hunt. The seats were cheap.

Brooke called my dad, and he said he was interested. So I picked Dylan up early from school on Monday and we drove down to Atlanta. Brooke and Ella stayed with my mom, and Grandpa Bill, Dylan and I headed downtown.

After a quick dinner at Arby’s, we caught the MARTA train at the East Lake station. Dylan had been looking forward to the train ride as much as the game. As it turns out, it was easily his favorite part of the evening.

Our seats were not bad, but that didn’t mean Dylan had any intention of staying in one. It was a two-plus-hour effort to get him to be still. He was in the aisle, on the steps behind us and three rows down at the railing.

At one point, he was leaning at the railing and yelling below, “Hey you, hammer head! Hey hammerhead, up here!” I thought, “Oh my God. He’s yelling at a person.”

Boy, did I feel stupid. When I reached the railing to admonish him, I realized he was yelling at an actual hammer head. Braves sponsor Home Depot holds a race similar to that of the sausages in Milwaukee, only it’s a hammer, a saw, a paint brush and a drill that race around the outfield wall.

Dylan and I missed a Chipper Jones home run while we were in the souvenir shop. That’s where I spent 20 minutes convincing Dylan that we didn’t need a red foam tomahawk for $5 (I must have 10 in a box at home) or an $8 red big foam finger.

(The souvenir shop is also where a I was approached by a hot latin chick about the 2009 Little League World Series T-shirt I was wearing.)

We bought two drinks for $9 and a bag of peanuts for $6.25. Ouch.

We stayed through the seventh inning, and then we left to let Dylan play in the big Cartoon Network playhouse and then take some pictures with some big statues. (The most disturbing of which shos Dylan sitting on Ty Cobb’s lap as he slides into a base.)

Dylan complained about the walk back to the MARTA station as much as he complained about the walk to the stadium. I guess it was to be expected. But for the most part, while a bit hyper, he was good.

Will he ever be a baseball fan? Enough to sit through a game? I don’t know. And that’s fine. If it’s not his cup of tea, I won’t push it on him. But I can hope.

Dylan and baseball

Posted in Family, Sports with tags , , on March 12, 2009 by macmystery

So after two seasons of soccer (last spring and fall), Brooke and I convinced Dylan he’d enjoy baseball if we signed him up this spring. After several conversations about it, he agreed.

Back in the beginning of February, we registered him. And two weeks ago his coach called and told us when the first practice was.

So far, we’ve done three practices.Yesterday he told us that, had he known there would be so much practice, he’d have never signed up.

I’m not coaching, which will be better for Dylan and me. But it’s also good for the team, Dylan doesn’t whine for anyone but Brooke or me, so this should cut down on that.

Apart from the uniform he’ll be issued, we bought some pants, a new bat, a helmet with a cage and a chin strap, a couple balls, a sweet pair of red Nike cleats — he’s a red Raider — and a couple of red and white shirts. It all cost a little more than I’d hoped, but I really wasn’t surprised.

Dylan (when he’s interested) is ahead of most of the kids on the coaches pitch team in hitting. But he’s got quite a ways to go on catching the ball, or fielding it.

But it’s gonna be a lot of fun to watch him learn.

Farewell, lady of the Bronx

Posted in History, Sports with tags , , , , , on September 22, 2008 by macmystery

Eighty-five years is a good life by almost any standard.

When you’ve seen the action Yankee Stadium has, it can’t be described as any thing but great.

The New York Yankees defeated the Baltimore Orioles 7-3 Sunday night, Sept. 21, 2008 in the final major league game in The House That Ruth Built. The Stadium, as New Yorkers (I’m not one) and the Yankees players refer to it, was opened nearly 85 years before – April 18, 1923. Babe Ruth homered that day and the Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox 4-1 to open their run for the first of their ridiculous 26 World Series crowns.

Julia Ruth Stevens, the 92-year-old daughter of the Babe was present Sunday. There was a 65-minute pregame ceremony. Virtually every great living Yankee, and many not living, was honored. Longtime public-address announcer Bob Sheppard, sometimes referred to as the voice of God, made a taped appearance. Derek Jeter was removed with two outs in the ninth, getting the ovation he deserved as the Stadium’s all-time hits leader, and Mariano Rivera was on the mound for the final out – the way it should be.

In 85 seasons, the Yankees went 4,135-2,430-17 at the Stadium. The Yankees took part in 37 World Series at the Stadium, winning 26.

The stadium got a facelift in the mid 1970s, and while it wasn’t nearly the same as the old Stadium, the new Yankee Stadium still had that “something.”

When the Yankees announced Sunday’s attendance, the number they gave was 151,959,005 – the total number of fans who passed through the turnstiles in the Stadium’s 85 seasons. I’m proud to say, though I’ve been to New York City but three times in my life, I accounted for two of those 151,959,005.

My first trip came in 1997. I’ll never forget it. My girlfriend at the time made sure I got to go, and I’m forever grateful.

I’ve heard my dad talk about my grandfather’s wish to see the Indianapolis 500 once in his lifetime. That was Yankee Stadium for me.

We sat near the back on the first base side, and the Yankees lost to the Blue Jays. I visited the monuments and took a ton of pictures (though, I’ve managed to post none here). Although I can’t recall if anyone noticed, I’m certain I cried.

The trip home after the game was as interesting as the game. We followed the subway directions my girlfriend’s sister had provided to get to the Stadium, and it all went smoothly. But she didn’t know that one of the trains we needed to take home, by her directions, didn’t run on the weekends. So as we sat in the station after a night game in the Bronx, waiting for a train that would never come, the crowds disappeared, and soon we were alone with a small crowd people that I’ll just call unruly. Eventually, someone gave us the correct directions, but for a few minutes, we were a little concerned.

I’ve since returned for another game, a couple of years ago on a baseball trip with three friends I love, yet see far too little. But the first time is the trip I remember best. And I can always say I was there.

I’m sure the new Stadium will be amazing. But it just won’t be the old Stadium, even the remodeled one.

I’ve been to a lot of major league baseball parks (27) and seen games in a lot better places to see a game, particularly Fenway Park in Boston. But even as great as it is, it won’t be as big a deal when it hosts its last game. The history just isn’t there.

Farewell, Yankee Stadium.

A little irony

The stadium opened in 1923 with a game against the Boston Red Sox. That was appropriate since it was the Red Sox that sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees and effectively allowed the two American League clubs to swap their fortunes.

But the Yankees have a history with Baltimore, whose Orioles were the final team to visit the Stadium on Sunday night. First, Babe Ruth, the star who got his stadium, was a Baltimore native. Secondly, the New York Highlanders, as the Yankees were known until 1913, were originally the Baltimore Orioles, before moving to New York in 1903. The Orioles’ name didn’t again surface until the St. Louis Browns moved to Baltimore in 1954.

Welcome to Hooters!

Posted in Odd, Sports with tags , on September 18, 2008 by macmystery
Can they take your order?

Can they take your order?

I really don’t know what the point of this is. But you just don’t find a photo like this everyday.

These are the rookies on the San Diego Padres undergoing a little bit of hazing from their veteran teammates.

Does it make you think twice about you’re next trip to Hooters? I don’t know.

But the next time you hear somebody say, “Just imagine if men were forced to parade around in outfits like that,” just say, “No thanks.”