Friday, June 23, 2006

Welcome Return

Finally! Back at the ballpark, and it was a GREAT weekend.

They were promoting this as the "Subway Series North", the B-Mets and the Trenton Thunder playing in their parent teams' uni's. Given the numbers on the Thunders' jerseys, they must have been wearing Yankees spring training jerseys. It was cool to see those classy road grays (even if they are Yankees) and the gorgeous electric blue of the NY Mets'.

Saturday, it was 91 degrees at game time, and it dropped all the way down to 83 by the ninth inning. It was a good game, a welcome change from how they've been playing. P told me they haven't seen a home run in weeks, probably since I was last there, and Jay Caligiuri and Michel Abreu each sent one out. Tim McNab, denizen of the bullpen, made a very respectable spot start, giving up only one run on five hits over five innings. There was some good defense as well, even a nifty 1-5-3 doubleplay (for my non-baseball literate reader, that's pitcher to third baseman to first baseman, not a common combination). I've been in the habit of skipping out as soon as they turn off the lights on fireworks nights, jaded and wanting to beat the traffic, but I stayed for the show Saturday and was rewarded with a great show including new displays.

Sunday was hot, hot, hot, not too humid, with just the right amount of breeze. I downed three beers and a Mike's hard lemonade for hydration and never felt the slightest effect of alcohol; it was sweated out as fast as I took it in. The game was expected to be a pitcher's duel, Philip Hughes and Willie Collazo both high-ranking prospects for their respective franchises; neither starter got a decision. Hughes, 19 years old, gave up only two runs on six hits over seven innings. Collazo gave up two as well over seven innings on one fewer hits. Hughes struck out 11, Collazo 6.

The crowds for the three days of the weekend ranked as third highest in the team's 15 year history. Saturday was sold out, standing room only available, Sunday was nearly sold out as well.

It would have been a perfect return to the ballpark, but from one thing. The spiedie stand was out of Nine Man Ale. Saturday I had to settle for a draft Yuengling, Sunday was better, Anchor porter.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Symposium Time

The 18th annual Cooperstown Symposium, my seventh, was jam packed with great topics. Usually there's at least one concurrent session in which none of the three offerings are of interest and that's when I make my cruise up and down Main Street to check out the stores, but this year not a one. Every concurrent session had at least one presentation I really wanted to hear, usually two so I had to make a decision one which to attend. Felt like a coin toss was gonna be necessary some times.

The focus was on race, with the keynote being offered by a Negro Leagues scholar and two former Negro Leagues players, both charming older gentlemen, and a special exhibit in the Barry Halper Gallery at the Hall of art commissioned by the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum to celebrate and interpret the sport. Powerful works included in that show, which has been touring the country. (If you know of a venue that might be well served by the exhibit, have them contact the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City .

The Town Ball game was called on account of rain and the picnic was held under a tent in the middle of a muddy pasture. Casey, of course, was there to recite his tale of woe and we all sang "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." I was delighted that this year the alternate version of Casey was Garrison Keillor's version, as seen by Mudville's opponents.

There were a lot of new faces at the Symposium this year, record registrations were received. It's always a pleasure to see people from past gatherings, but it's great to get new blood and new enthusiasm into the mix.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Rain, rain

Every other weekend here has been warm and sunny, just beautiful. The alternate weekends are cold and wet and windy. So which weekends do the Mets play at home? The wet ones, of course.

Let's see, I went to opening day in Binghamton, not the best weather but it's a not-to-be-missed game. Two games that weekend. One mid-week day game in Syracuse. Another mid-week game, night game, with Liviana and the girls at Binghamton. That's five in April. One weekend day game in early May. Six.

Here it is, June already a weekend gone, and I've been to a grand total of 6 games this season. I usually go to 6 games in April alone.

Today, naturally, it's sunny, warm, and just plain beautiful out.