Saturday, August 25, 2012

An Even Less Ambitious Day

(unless you are Lynn and Dave)

It's about as far from Pawtucket to Lowell as it was from New London to Pawtucket, but I planned (and accomplished!) even less.  Detouring from I-95 to Brookline, I took short tours of the Museum of Bad Art and the Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site.

Later I caught a delightful nap and a game between the Lowell Spinners and the Aberdeen Ironbirds, where an on-field wedding was the most memorable part of the evening.

Rhode Trip

On Thursday morning, I put my mother on the train in New London and headed to Rhode Island.  I had planned a more leisurely day than Melvin and I typically do; the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Museum of Art—above, Gilded Frost and Jet Chandelier, 2008 by Dale Chihuly (pdf)—and a game between the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees, the Triple-A affiliates of the American League East rivals.

Friday, August 17, 2012


Updated: August 25, 2012

Most simply, cousins are people who share an ancestor.  The word "cousins" generally refers to first cousins, the children of your parents siblings.  However, the relationship can get considerably more complicated than that.

My mother had two cousins who were related to each other only by marriage.  When I asked her how she was related to Dolores ("Val") Seitz née Storck, she just sighed in resignation.  However, Charles J. Seitz is mom's first cousin, the only son of her Uncle Midge and Aunt Lizzie.  That is the four of them in the picture above.

When we were all younger, my family often celebrated holidays and other events with Charles and Val and their kids.  Then we all left for college, moved around the country and the world ... you know how it goes.  We saw each other when "C.J." died but lacking another foreseeable opportunity to get together, I invited two of my cousins and their families to see Wednesday's Connecticut Tigers game with my mother and me.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

How Low Can You Go?

Varying degrees of effort in the Frontier League
We've often tried to make it plain that as far as our neverending quest goes, there are baseball teams and then there are baseball teams. The latter are those that are affiliated with MLB teams, from the short-season single-A Casper Ghosts (RIP) up to the Triple-A Toledo Mudhens. The former are everyone else, from your local high school team on up to and including the teams in Japan and Korea and throughout Latin America. We just have to draw the line somewhere.

Really the only confusion comes up with nearly professional leagues like the North American League and the Frontier League. These are teams that occasionally feature once and future major leaguers, but the odds are deeply, deeply against these players, some of whom are already washouts from affiliated minor leagues. The Frontier League keeps a list of "alumni" who have made it to the majors. In had taken 18 years for the list to become 23 guys long, and the most well known of the bunch is, um, Brendan Donnelly maybe? Jason Simontacchi? Dylan Axelrod? You see the problem.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Hänsel und Vanderheiden

Cyclones starter Hansel Robles, caged in the garden (the dugout),
watches reliever Tyler Vanderheiden (in the guise of Gretel) shove
the wicked witch (aka the Vermont Lake Monsters) into the oven.
Folklore is all about archetypes.

My short trip to Connecticut and Massachusetts next week starts with a game I will see with my mother, two of her cousins (once removed) and their spouses.  As a sort of a dress rehearsal, I took mom to last night's Brooklyn Cyclones game, her first.  It was a classic visit to MCU Park.

Migrating North with the Cardinals

The last two days of the July trip were high mileage, driving first from Fayetteville, Arkansas, to Memphis, and then on to St. Louis and Chicago—a third or more of the total distance traveled.  Melvin and I saw in their native habitats the Memphis Redbirds, the Triple-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals, as well as the parent club.

We also squeezed in a tour of the National Civil Rights Museum and a couple stops at neighborhoods that have disappeared; a subdivision known as Carrollton, in Bridgeton, Missouri, and the site of the former Pruitt-Igoe public housing development in St. Louis.

We returned to the Cotham's Mercantile, which was closed on the drive west, had a lackluster supper at Neely's Bar-B-Que and were flummoxed again by the menu at Culver's, the Midwest burger and custard chain.

But that was all five weeks ago; I don't know that I have anything to say any more.