Monday, May 30, 2011

Quaker State Double Double-Header

or, 36 Innings in 36 Hours

My buddy Kevin and I could have seen 51 innings of baseball last Tuesday and Wednesday.  However incredible that prospect, we stuck to the planned itinerary, which still included two games each day.  Taking advantage of early weekday game times marketed to school groups, we were able to take in the "double double-header" and still have some time to explore the byways of southeastern Pennsylvania and ... well, if it wasn't for the crazy "Twelve-Mile Circle," Wilmington would be part of the commonwealth too.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Monday, May 23, 2011

Take me out to the ballpark

Delta Airlines sponsored the second annual Delta Dugout this weekend in Madison Square Park, a six-acre park in Manhattan.  Delta is the "official airline" of both the Yankees and the Mets, who played the first of their two yearly inter-league series on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

I watched game two in the park, which was preceded by a concert featuring former Yankee center fielder Bernie Williams and other opportunities to enjoy the best weather in a wet week.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Once There Were Giants

...but not Friday afternoon at Wrigley, as Ryan Dempster fanned 11 and the top of the Cubs order combined to score 5 and drive in 5 of the 11 runs the team spanked off of Madison Bumgarner and a cast of ignominious thousands, including a possibly needle-free Guillermo Mota.

It was another freezing afternoon by the lake, and through the first few innings a fog rolled in from left field—above, you can see it obscuring all the apartment buildings usually visible to the east. I had expected to see more businessmen at a businessman's special, but between all the anoraks and the fact that no one dresses for the office anymore, I was sartorially disappointed. Was there something wrong with the era in which Frank Sinatra, Toots Shor, and J. Edgar Hoover may or may not have all gone to a day game in suits and hats? I tell you it must have beat the sight of today's bloated and gear-bedecked fans chawing through a helmet full of nacho cheese. Mustn't it?

Photograph by C. K. Thorncliff, via Wikimedia Commons
The game was fairly close—and mighty slow going—with the Cubs up just 3-2 after six and a half. After a lusty "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" from Mike Krukow, the Cubs erupted in the bottom of the seventh for five small-ball runs. The same group brought forth three more in the eighth, and so for the first time this year I (and Watson) got to see the Cubs win at home. At least, I think that's what happened—after a while I was mostly thinking about the toddy waiting to warm me up at home. Maybe by June it'll be decent baseball weather.

Box score

Friday, May 13, 2011

Struck by Lightning


Visiting The Lightning Field, an art installation in the New Mexico high desert, was the trip destination we most looked forward to.  Melvin and I of course mentioned our planned baseball road-trip to those who have expressed interest in the past, but it was The Lightning Field that the three of us spoke about most frequently and expectantly.  It was even more moving than I imagined, which is why I am adding my thoughts to Melvin's comments about visiting The Lightning Field and the following day.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Heading for Home

The last day of our trip was spent behind the wheel, driving from Albuquerque back to Las Vegas. (At one point, we passed a truck delivering what appeared to be car washing equipment, detail above.)  We began and ended the day at sites of interest and made a couple quick stops along the way, but mostly we drove hundreds of miles to avoid a financial penalty for returning the rental car someplace other than where we picked it up.

My Kind of Pie Town (In the Middle of Nowhere, Conclusion)

A fine slice of peach pie from the good folks at the Pie Town Cafe, Pie Town, N.M. Photographed with permission.
Regular readers of this blog may recall that we hold a grudge against the paranoid Pie Lady of Cheyenne, Wyoming, who thought that our enthusiasm for her pie and the pictures we were taking of it indicated that we were corporate spies, intent on ripping off her flavors, techniques, and unsightly decor. I'm hoping that a few more word strings like the one to follow will get us right to the top of the Google rankings whenever someone searches for the phrase "Pie Lady": Pie Lady Cheyenne Wyoming Pie Lady Cheyenne Wyoming Pie Lady Pie Lady Pie Lady paranoid Pie Lady ugly restaurant Pie Lady Pie Lady.

Well, that felt good. The sad thing is that the Pie Lady's pie is pretty good.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Outstanding in Our Field

Quemado, N.M.
If you read this blog for the baseball coverage, you can move right along (though there is a baseball analogy buried below). If you dig the forays into conceptual land art, however, this is for you.

Past trips have taken us to notable high-art installations like Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty, but I think this is the first time we've made it to two major land-art locations on a single trip: Michael Heizer's Double Negative and Walter De Maria's Lightning Field. Rob described the former a few days ago—here's an additional view.

As fantastic and unmatchable an experience as that was, however I think Lightning Field probably takes the cake.

Monday, May 2, 2011

In the Middle of Nowhere, Part Two

Rob will likely cover our day at Arcosanti, Taliesin West, and the Diamondbacks / Cubs game in a later post. [Posted May 5 but back-dated to appear in chronological order.]  In the meantime, we moved on from Phoenix for another day in the desert and some time in Tucson and at other points of interest.

We bombed out of Tempe and found ourselves having Mexican breakfast before too long at the delightful LB Inn in Florence—a town apparently best known for its prison. Not much later we made it to Biosphere 2, a site both opposed to and weirdly consonant with the ideals and practices of Arcosanti and (to a lesser extent, I think) Taliesin West.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Second Acts

On Saturday, Melvin, Norton and I saw the Chicago Cubs play the Arizona Diamondbacks.  Given the Cubs' long history of losing, perhaps they might want to consider the approach of Arcosanti and Taliesin West, which we toured earlier in the day.  Surely Wrigley Field has enough character and history to simply re-invent itself as a tourist destination without the endlessly futile playing of unnecessary baseball games.