Sunday, July 14, 2019

Wild West Virginia

Who—or what—exactly is buried here? (Wytheville, Va.)
Happy belated birthday, Murica! Rob and I celebrated the occasion by observing the many contradictory qualities of this alternately great and appalling nation, at least to the extent they were evident in Virginia, North Carolina, and West Virginia. On our earlier trip to Florida, Rob had posited that it isn't possible today for someone to say "Murica" without some kind of ironic self-consciousness. I disagreed, saying that lack of ironic self-consciousness is precisely what's being revealed. Did our trip to Greater Appalachia resolve or illuminate this question in any way? Greater minds than ours—i.e., yours—will have to decide.

Now, come on in and let's have some real fun again!

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Frog Stomp

"What the hell is that? Burn it with fire!" said Watson, when she saw this picture. Nothing against Roberto Clemente, but the hybrid-lizard look is inherently unflattering.
So we headed to Florida to nominally wrap up the Florida State League—at least for the moment. Since neither of us cares much for the state in general, our plan was to see six games in an efficient four days. The last time we were there, we faced rainout after rainout; this time it was the opposite: rainouts before we got there manifested in doubleheaders while we were. In the event, we wound up seeing a perhaps record EIGHT games in four days. Let's run it down:

Sunday, May 12, 2019

As North and as West as It's Going to Get

It's a rhetorical question, I think. Daniel Klennert can probably tell you more.
With this year's first trip looming rather alarmingly—in two days we'll be back in Port Charlotte, hoping to actually see a game this time—it's time for a photo essay on the rest of Northwest adventures. If this is insufficient, well....

Top-notch customer service at Safeco Field

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Counting Down (2019 edition)

Burn, baseball, burn!
(Not an Alan Smithee film)

I interrupt the already extremely belated coverage of the August 2018 Northwest trip to answer the timeless question, "Hey, where are you guys going this year?" I'm so glad you asked. 

Odd Is My Copilot

Foliage at twelve o'clock
It is a truth universally acknowledged that if a stranger tells you that you "might" encounter "incidental nudity" at his house, you will, in fact, see him naked from the very first moment you meet. This holds true even if—perhaps especially if—the house in question is a decommissioned 727 in the Oregon woods. We went to such a house en route to a Hillsboro Hoops Hops game last August. It's taken me a while to write this, because, as we well know, it is possible to overthink a thing. To be fair, though, it is also possible to badly, badly underthink a situation and find yourself constantly risking powerful electric shocks or engulfment by bees, when all you wanted was to live a quiet life in a stratofortress.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Third Triennial Jackie Robinson Museum Report

In 2013, my friend Kate Briquelet wrote a story for the New York Post that didn't bury the lede.
"A TriBeCa museum dedicated to Jackie Robinson is three years overdue — and may never open despite spending a fortune on rent. The Jackie Robinson Foundation has raised only a fraction of the $42 million it says is needed to honor the Brooklyn Dodger who shattered Major League Baseball’s color barrier."
Three years later, I posted Million Dollar Questions, in which I concluded, "It seems little has changed."

Another three years have passed and as the Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF) kicks off its year-long centennial celebration of its namesake, there appears to be good news.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Consolation Pie

Sometimes, you gotta kiss a lot of frogs.
Today wasn't a letdown per se, but it was slower than normal. We began with some tolerable doughnuts at Voodoo Doughnuts in Eugene. Apparently this regional chain is semi-legendary; I suspect people who think Captain Crunch actually belongs on doughnuts will like it better than I did. Rob's apple fritter did look nice, though.

We spent some time with Rob's father and stepmother, lunching at a Hungarian restaurant and then riding a carousel—something I think I may have last done... uh, sometime in my life. It was kind of fun.

So far, so good, but after that it was a string of failures and semi-failures. Note to Roadside America: Tim Tharp's Yard Art is (a) not really that visible from the highway; and (b) not at all accessible, what with the cattle guard blocking the road. We drove a few dozen miles out of our way to see not much of anything, so thanks for that. Then, in downtown Salem, we had but a few minutes to seek out the Eco Earth Globe, but due to unusual crowds—possibly for a country-music concert?—we never even got out of the car. And then we made to the Enchanted Forest—and we do love an Enchanted Forest, though preferably when it's at least half defunct—in time to realize that we didn't have enough time to justify the entrance charge. You lose some, you lose some, sometimes.

One of the few pitches that was not hit out onto I-5.
We did, however, get to see a slugfest at the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes game against the Hillsboro Hops: eight home runs in all. The stadium is bare bones; the tickets were grossly overpriced (hey, MILB teams, if you're going to charge prices like that, the least you can do is pay the players minimum wage); and the kielbasa was ill-advised. It made me not at all sorry, which I already wasn't, that we opted to skip last year's Eclipse Game. And anyway, we'll have another chance in 2169.

Turn around, bright eyes.
We wrapped up the night with some tolerable beer and pretty good late-night pie at Bannings Pie House. Was the pie a consolation? Only if you think that pie isn't a joy unto itself. In which case, what is wrong with you?

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Cabinet of Curiosities

I would never endorse casino gambling. But the back of my ticket was all I had for Emma Charlesworth-Seiler to autograph. Apart from, you know, a body part or something. But that would have been weird.
Another op'nin', another show! Not Philly, Boston, or Baltimo'! A chance for Byways to say hello! Another op'nin' of another show!

Wot larks! Rob and I each landed this ayem at PDX, the airport that no longer has iconic carpeting, and before the day was through we'd seen a so-called vertical street, taxidermied buffalo, and one of only two lady umpires in all of affiliated baseball. A little of this, a little of that, some baseball, some buildings, some beer. It was an archetypal day on this blog.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Byways and No Baseball at All

Four years ago, I wrote Byways, but Little Baseball about an extremely enjoyable trip to North Adams that included a meager three innings of baseball. I recently reprised the itinerary and although I was traveling this time with someone who was enthusiastic about watching a collegiate summer league game, there was none to be had.

That's the thing about weather, it just keeps continuing.
Poor Westerners, round-trip on the bus from Danbury for nothing.

What follows is little more than a set list.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Empire's End

I ain't never seen a (cloud) mass like that.
Time was, we couldn't believe our good fortune in never being rained out. Those days are long gone. Our visit to Auburn was not, in fact, a rainout—though the game was cut short by some memorable weather. Rain threatened throughout the game, and the colorful blobs on the little map pictures on our phones were bobbing and weaving all night. And yet, inning after inning, no rain. "I think we're going to avoid it," I said, like an idiot.