Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Mr. Happy Go Lucky

Free advertising for an album that's old enough to drink

As John Mellencamp sings on Track 5 of the 1996 album shown above, "This may not be the end of the world... but you can see it from here." Rolling Stone described Mr. Happy Go Lucky as "long on atmospherics, a dark-carnival collage of mad laughter and distant whispers." If that's not something for a blogger to aspire to, I don't know what is. They also called it "a little uneven but unrepentant," while No Depression called Mellencamp "wonderfully mixed up, unclear about who he is and why he does the things he does," all of which seems fitting, too. 

If everything goes more or less as planned, 2017 could well be the antepenultimate one of Baseball Byways. That is, by the end of the 2019 season, Rob and I might be able to say that we have been to all the active MLB and MILB stadiums. (Characterizing that moment in time as being "done" raises a slew of terminological questions that might get addressed at a later date.)

We start this year, fittingly, in Indiana, home state of this post's bard. Herewith the belated but ambitious season preview for 2017:

Midwest Cleanup

  • Chicago Cubs
  • South Bend Cubs
  • Fort Wayne Tincaps
  • Lexington Legends
  • Cincinnati Reds
  • Toledo Mud Hens
  • Lansing Lugnuts
  • Great Lakes Loons
  • West Michigan Whitecaps

We've seen the MLB Cubs before, and I've seen South Bend, Fort Wayne, and Cincinnati (where we got washed out in 2013). Rob has seen Lexington. We've both seen Toledo, but not together. The last four games here will be doubleheaders on consecutive days. After this we will have seen all teams west of Erie, PA, and east of Reno, NV.

Appalachia and More

  • Potomac Nationals
  • Delmarva Shorebirds
  • Down East Wood Ducks
  • Buies Creek Astros
  • Kannapolis Intimidators
  • Kingsport Mets
  • Tennessee Smokies
  • West Virginia Power
  • West Virginia Black Bears
  • State College Spikes
  • Williamsport Crosscutters
Rob has seen Potomac, Delmarva, State College, and Williamsport (to which we tried to go last year but were thwarted). This is the inaugural season of both the Wood Ducks and Buies Creek.

Goats Plus

  • Hartford Yard Goats
  • some combination of Trenton Thunder, Philadelphia Phillies, Aberdeen Iron Birds, Staten Island Yankees, and New York Mets
This is Hartford's second year in existence but only the first in their contentiously constructed stadium. Rob has seen all the other teams here. I have seen the Mets. We were washed out of Aberdeen, and our respect for the Orioles as an organization, already microscopic, has lain in tatters ever since. This schedule is obviously not quite settled.

Northwest Blackout Yo-Yo

  • Vancouver Canadians
  • Seattle Mariners
  • Everett AquaSox
  • Hillsboro Hops
  • Tacoma Rainiers
  • Eugene Emeralds
  • Salem-Keizer Volcanoes
Rob has seen all of these teams except Vancouver and Everett. The Salem-Keizer game, on Monday, August 21, will be the first professional baseball game interrupted by a total eclipse. It'll be a big event there. The Columbia Fireflies will get a piece of the action, too, less than an hour and half later. Sic transit, Gloria: Monday.

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