Friday, December 23, 2016


Pointing the way to Phoenix for some pilots is a doubly-literal landmark written in one-hundred-foot tall letters in the hills above the Rio Salado Sportsman's Club, about 20 miles east of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

Air photo courtesy of Google Earth

Pointing Melvin and me to Phoenix was the unrequited feeling that we hadn't seen enough baseball this year. (He probably also felt obligated to check on my mental health.) With the 2016 minor and major league seasons completed, we flew to the Valley of the Sun to see the Arizona Fall League.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

In Search of the Lost Pun

Yesterday, BUSH'S® Beans and Minor League Baseball® announced "a multi-year, strategic partnership, making [BUSH'S] the 'Official Beans of Minor League Baseball,' and a 'Preferred Partner' of a number of MiLB teams, beginning in 2017."

"The new partnership will activate across a range of touch-points, including in-ballpark celebrations such as during National Baked Bean Month in July and the integration of a variety of BUSH'S Beans products in teams' concessions," according to the press release.

I don't know what a touch-point is but that's nice. I tend to buy the BUSH'S brand myself, and not just in July. But didn't somebody miss an obvious pun?

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Election Notes from All Over

As the Associated Press began declaring which presidential candidate had won each state, as the wind began to shift and then blow harder, as I started worrying that Trump might actually win the election, my inbox began to blow up.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Where's Norton?

Melvin and I are mostly a pair but other folks tour with us from time to time. I welcome the company of any one of them again in the future. That said, not every itinerary suits every companion.

We arrived at a destination halfway through our abbreviated trip to Pennsylvania that made me think of a friend who has traveled with us twice. I turned to Melvin and asked, "Where's Norton?"

Where's Norton? At Exit 12, in ¾ of a mile.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

White Sands (italicized and not)

For our birthdays, Watson gave both Melvin and me copies of White Sands; Experiences from the Outside World, the most recent collection of essays by Geoff Dyer.

front jacket image
photograph by Theo Anderson

It was an informed choice (public thank you) since Melvin and I have both read a good deal of Dyer's writing and we have visited about half of the places featured in the nine essays in his new book.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Compare and Contrast

Suicide Girls and Atlas Obscura

Today marks the one-year anniversary of my post, "Suicide Girls Sept 22". Melvin and I also recently created a user profile on Atlas Obscura and with a bit of effort, elbowed our way to the top of the list of "Members who have marked Been Here the most in the past 30 days."

The traffic generated could not be more dissimilar.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

An Editorial Meeting in My Mind

As I considered various themes for a post on our Memorial Day weekend trip to the Gulf of Mexico—loosely speaking—it occurred to me that I was pitching story ideas to myself.

"5pm editorial meeting,"
from "How the Guardian is Made" (2 April 2014),
courtesy of Guardian News & Media Ltd. through Open Licence.

Eventually that became the theme; the Rickwood Classic special edition; three longer features and four shorter ones—at least conceptually!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

That's Mr. Terminal to You

A poorly kept secret, the Oakland A's ownership toured Howard Terminal on Thursday.

The 50 acre site southwest of downtown has been considered before as a future home for the franchise and reportedly Mayor Libby Schaarf is the principal advocate now. The A's are unlikely to commit to any site for a new stadium until the Oakland Raiders decide what their long-term plans are.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Something, Sometime

"Easter in October" is not a thing. (Well, maybe for some.) Likewise, "Christmas in August" is not anything either.

Image credit: The Colbert Report

"Christmas in July," however, dates back at least as far as 1933. And (the weather notwithstanding) Melvin and I delighted in our first Christmas in July ballpark promotion in 2010, at Progressive Field.

My niece, her boyfriend and I went to the Brooklyn Cyclones' "Christmas in August" promotion last night. The team's inability to stick to a meme was not its only failure.

Monday, August 1, 2016


The first of four games between the Mets and the Yankees will be played tonight, two in Flushing and Wednesday and Thursday in the Bronx. Today also marks this year's trade deadline, with the Yankees sellers for the first time since 1992 and the Mets bolstering its line-up. This adds an interesting twist to the annual crosstown interleague games.

In recognition of this week's home-and-home series, I offer this photograph taken by Kevin on the subway in May.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

7th Anniversary

Every July I think I should write an anniversary post, then assign myself the grandiose task of making a comprehensive statement, something I never have time for. I usually only get as far as identifying an image in the public domain that might anchor the never-to-be-written post.

On the seventh anniversary of Baseball Byways, I will simply make one observation from this experience. When I enter a phrase like "4th anniversary" in a search engine and then refine that to only return images that are "free to use and share," the net results are usually an odd mix, not even a particularly entertaining one.

"This stamp was issued by the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam (known in the West as the Viet Cong) in celebration of the 7th anniversary of the founding of that organization. Image and attribution courtesy of Joseph Morris.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Nineteen-Thousand Words

or, all of the images (at the standard rate of, "a picture is worth a thousand words") but none of the text from the unpublished post,

"South Atlantic Slutlife"

I recently found the pictures in an online directory but have no desire to rewrite the spontaneously deleted record of four days of a 2014 trip to Georgia, South Carolina and Florida.

A disparate collection, I wondered (and have now discovered) what the images would look like without any narrative. Ignore my self-indulgence.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

We Interrupt Our Radio Silence

I really thought that after a while this blog would write itself, and yet it just sits there, cursor blinking, acting like it's all "what?" and I'm all "you know what" and it's like "no I don't u r so wyrd"...

Anyway, we've been focused on scheduling issues lately, rather than coverage of our recent trips. For reasons largely beyond our control, we've decided to scale back the large trip we had slated for later this month.

  • Reading Fightin' Phils
  • Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs
  • Harrisburg Senators
  • Altoona Curve / Pittsburgh Pirates
  • Erie Sea Wolves
  • Toronto Blue Jays
  • Buffalo Bisons
  • Batavia Muckdogs
  • Rochester Red Wings
  • Auburn Doubledays
  • Binghamton Mets
As small consolation, we will make it to the Williamsport Crosscutters, though Rob has seen them already.

We now return to our irregularly programmed schedule.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Comparatively Speaking

Someone once said to me, "Everything isn't a competition," and I have adopted the saying as my own. It can be said in jest or as an admonishment or somewhere in-between.

On 4th Avenue South, between Al Lang Stadium and Tropicana Field.
Some phenomena are more quantifiable than others.

Everything isn't a competition but Melvin and I do make comparisons when we are on the road. Often the first conversation of day begins with the question, "How's the shower?" That was true of our May trip to Florida as well.

Friday, June 10, 2016

The Forecast Calls for Frustration

Our Florida road-trip was generally a success and a pleasure. The prominent exception was Wednesday, when thunderstorms soaked most of Southern Florida. A USGS rain gauge in Manatee County, south of Tampa-St. Pete, measured 7.52 inches of rain over a six-hour period. Wind gusts reached 45 mph.

Screen capture courtesy of the Palm Beach Post.

Unsurprisingly, both our 10:30 am and 6:35 pm games were rained out. Equally unsurprising was how the teams showed a lack of consideration for their fans—or indulged in absurd optimism, if you prefer—by waiting until the last possible moment to call the games. This is not the first time this has happened to Melvin or me but we still fell for the trick.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Modern World

In the modern world, All-Star Game balloting begins 18 games into the season and lasts for 68 days. Fans (or whomever) can vote up to five times in a 24-hour period, so a particularly obsessive and well-organized voter can cast 340 ballots. As if the whole production wasn't absurd enough already.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Editorial Statement

NEW YORK — Baseball Byways responded to an article that appeared today on the front page of the Business section of the New York Times. Reacting to "Media Websites Battle Faltering Ad Revenue and Traffic," Melvin admitted, "Baseball Byways has no revenue."

"No traffic either," added Rob, who noted a September post that made reference to Suicide Girls—"a website that features pin-up photography and profiles of alternative female models," according to Wikipedia—is averaging 100 page views per month. "We should include some soft porn in every post," he observed wryly.

Image, "Fisher Face Snow," by ForestWander used through Creative Commons license.

Melvin agreed. "The Suicide Girls are even more popular than fisher cats," he said, recalling an earlier generator of misdirected search engine traffic. "We just want to be loved for ourselves," Rob concluded wistfully.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Less Obscura by the Day

Today is Obscura Day 2016, a collection of tours and other events serving as "grassroots marketing" according to David Plotz, CEO of Atlas Obscura, an online atlas (duh!) that encourages people to discover "curious places—in your neighborhood and around the world."

In New York, there are 14 events planned, including a "Coney Island Creek Excursion" with Underwater New York. Melvin was intrigued by the tour of the FAST Corp Fabrication Facilities and Mold Field, but not enough to drive eight hours.

Image of "Burnt, sunken barges in Gravesend Bay mouth"
by Jim.henderson and used through Creative Commons license.

In recent years, Atlas Obscura has joined Roadside America and the Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI) Database as tools for our trip planning. On #ObscuraDay, I thought I would highlight three potential destinations on this year's Baseball Byways.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Million Dollar Questions

Today is Jackie Robinson Day, held annually on the anniversary of opening day of the 1947 baseball season, when Jack Roosevelt Robinson made his major league debut and became the first African American to play in Major League Baseball (MLB) since the 1880s. On this day, all players, coaches, managers and umpires wore or are wearing #42 on their jerseys, Robinson's otherwise universally retired uniform number.

Image by Keith Allison, of Orioles players observing Jackie Robinson Day
at home in 2015, used through Creative Commons licence.

This morning, I (and many other people) received an email from MLB Commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr., "Honoring Jackie Robinson, 'a true hero'." Manfred notes that he and his wife watched Ken Burns' new documentary on the ball player, which premiered on PBS on Monday and Tuesday.

Image courtesy Google Street View.

The commissioner's email reminded me of a blog post I started a couple years ago about a planned Jackie Robinson Museum, on Canal Street in Manhattan. I never finished the post for all the usual reasons plus one: a reporter I know, Kate Briquelet, had already written the story. It seems little has changed.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Vigil of Easter

vig-il, noun. /'vij-…ôl/

1. a period of keeping awake during the time usually spent asleep, especially to keep watch or pray.

2. (in the Christian Church) the eve of a festival or holy day as an occasion of religious observance.

Graphic by EugeneZ used through CC-BY-SA-3.0 license.

Easter is the holiest day of the Christian calendar, the day when Jesus Christ, the son of God according to that faith, was resurrected from the dead. The holiday is observed by Christians on the first Sunday after the full moon that occurs between March 22 and April 25, inclusive.

Blasphemously, Melvin and I profess to having seen him on the vigil of Easter—two years ago today—at a Daytona Cubs game.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Law & Order: PED

Update, July 6, 2018:

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred reinstated Jenrry Meija, making the pitcher's permanent ban from baseball somewhat less than permanent. Prior to his reinstatement, Meija retracted his assertion that Major League Baseball had conspired against him, calling his earlier statements "false accusations."

via twitter

According to the New York Times, "If he meets conditions set by M.L.B., including strict testing, Mejia will be eligible to resume all baseball activities when spring training starts in February, at the Mets’ discretion." That last bit translates as, the Mets can also choose to release him.

'I wuz framed,' says Jenrry Meija.


As a Mets fan, I should take little pleasure in Jenrry Mejia's permanent ban from baseball for failing a third test for performance-enhancing drugs (PED). He is the first player to earn the distinction since Major League Baseball (MLB) started getting serious about doping. In 2010, he was ranked the 56th highest prospect by Baseball America. The Mets and their fans had high hopes.

In an interview Thursday, Mejia said, “I felt there was a conspiracy against me. I feel that [MLB was] trying to find something to bring me down in my career.”

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Where Did You Come from, Where Did You Go?

Here we go, are you ready for another?
Yes, that's right, it's 1991 2016, and after a winter of overplanning and jumping the gun, Byways is locking down this year's itineraries. We'll see America's least-wanted geographical appendage! Make an unholy number of visits to George Bush Intercontinental! And explore the seams between Pennsyltucky and the Southern Tier. What could be better? And while I'm asking unanswerable questions, how did this anthem of the toothless become a regular baseball-stadium feature?

I'm not making you click on this. And if you want to see it rendered in Czechlish, I can't help you.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Next Generation

Does this mean that the most memorable part of the place was the bathrooms?
As I've mentioned, I have nephews, and said nephews are crazy for baseball. And now they're both at (or, indeed, well past) the age where I can take them on baseball trips. So last year, they each got a mini-Byways for their respective birthdays. We all live in the Midwest, so the younger one and I headed to Cleveland and Akron in May, while his older brother and I hit up Detroit and Fort Wayne on Labor Day weekend. Here's how they went.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Zen of the Non-Destination

Melvin's recent recaps of our travel though Colorado, Montana and Washington (part one and part two) mentioned that I proceeded on to visit family in Oregon. Looking through my photographs, it seems like my folks and I didn't do much of note, at least in comparison with the itineraries Melvin and I map out.

More pushpins than, say, Helena but I am making a point.

There were some feature destinations but upon reflection, I realized that the non-destinations were more satisfying personally.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Mermaid Strike

Of all sad words heard from some bum, the saddest are these, "What might have swum." Photo by Rob
After a day in Hanford and Spokane that was both eventful and fraught, Rob, Watson, and I followed up with what I think was a classic Byways day. First things first, off to Frank's Diner for ice grapefruit juice, then scrambled eggs and link sausage! Actually, I think there was more corned beef hash and pie than was good for any of us, but heavens it was all tasty. Frank's is an top-notch exemplar of the train-car-diner genre—right up there with the Silver Palm and quite possibly better than Mickey's. Yeah, I said it.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Burning Men

What Is It?
So, let's see, where were we? Oh yes, Helena! Lovely Helena, where Rob concluded the initial post on our epic Colorado-Montana-Idaho-Washington-and-back-into-Montana trip from last August. It's only taken us five months to get around to the rest of it. Onward! (This post, despite the byline, is written by Melvin. We'll see if we can get that repaired...)

Thursday, January 7, 2016

One of 427

Mike Piazza, a New York Met from May 1998 through the 2005 season, was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame yesterday. Piazza played behind the plate in 96 percent of his 1,700 major league games (85 percent as a starter) and was elected to the Hall as the finest offensive catcher of all time. (In contrast, he led the league 10 times for stolen bases allowed.)

The Mets sent a congratulatory email to fans. Piazza would like to be
inducted into the Hall of Fame as a Met but the choice is not the player's.

Piazza finished his career with a .308 batting average, .545 slugging percentage, 427 home runs and 1,335 RBIs. Piazza's 369 home runs and as a catcher is the record. He averaged a home run every 16.2 at bats, placing him 34th for all time, regardless of position. I saw many Piazza home runs at Shea Stadium but one is particularly memorable.