The Crossroads of Legacy

I just started reading a book, "In Search of the Blues" by Marybeth Hamilton. From page one it promises to be a hatchet job about those individuals who preserved the Delta Blues. The first thing she writes about after unholstering the hatchet is to swoon at Greil Marcus' feet. This is odd as he traced these self same blues people as being the recent ancestors of rock and roll figures he elevates. Well, blimey (she is a limey), he wrote a book blurb for her. While my slide guitar gently screeches..

Who "created" the world of the Delta Blues is of no importance to me. Most academics, if not all, have ideas that lose significance when their words travel about two feet beyond the speaker. Hurricane Katrina? Lets have a seminar to discuss its horrors...What? No salmon and lox for breakfast break? and only one type of granola? Pity...Hmm....we discussed Dafur last month. The croissants weren't fresh.

The people pictured above are mostly former Negro League players. Their accomplishments are the stuff of similar legends. However, while some tales of their athletic prowess have been enhanced (by retelling, not by HGH) over the years, it is still possible to put together their athletic accomplishments. Although Ken Burns and his army of similar haircuts made these players seem warm and fuzzy and brought the NPR brigade down on thier heads, it was a good thing.


Home Sweet McCoy

Having come through on the Daylight Savings Time side of another New England winter, I survive to photograph again. Every summer since I began my journey has been splendid. Each has been different -- each has left behind a trail of photographs and new friends. If I can't get to a ballpark two hours before I game, I feel the day has been wasted. Sometimes I will get there three or four hours before the contest and observe, watching who comes in and learning why. As Yogi said, "You can observe a lot by watching." Baseball takes care of you. Last year saw the passing of a dear, dear friend. I flew to Memphis for his funeral and three days later, I was at the World Series in Boston. Taketh away and giveth.

DJ and Scans..

My pals, Daryl Jasper and Mike Scanduras. Mike is a beat reporter for Boston Baseball and as much a fixture at McCoy Stadium as the owner, Ben Mondor. Daryl started his career as an intern with the PawSox back in the 90's. Stand up guys, both. I got reunited with Daryl in the year he worked for the NH Fisher Cats and Mike popped up there to write a profile of a Mets player. I will forgive Mike his indiscretion.



There is a rumor that Kodak, the Great Yellow Father, will stop making color film in five years. This will not produce a Chicken Little effect in the photo world, at least not yet. By coinky-dink, I heard the Paul Simon song "Kodachrome" on the computer. I was going to say "radio" but that isn't right either. The first eventthat I ever photographed was a Simon and Garfunkel concert with my families Polaroid. My mom wanted a dishwasher, my dad bought her a Polaroid and it sat in a drawer until I snuck it out of the house. Polaroids, Instamatics, Brownies....all part of a fabric of my life in photography. Everything looks worse in black and white.


The Beat Goes On....

The internal debate about whether to bother looking for a place to watch today's Sox game in Japan had an easy resolution. Q'doba, that tepid burrito chain, was open in Harvard Square, so I did catch a couple of innings. A Yankees fan buddy said to me "Couldn't the Red Sox find any other patsies besides to play besides the A's? Were KC busy?" My answer was.."when you are World Champs, everyone else is a patsy..." Tomorrow I pick up the tickets to 16 Sox games (I might actually go to a couple.)....Next Wednesday, I go to Pawtucket to shoot..For the next four months, America becomes my playground. Song of the Day: Pennies From Heaven. Like Louis Prima put it, "Sunshine and Raviloi for you and me."


April Come She Will...

The weather for April baseball in Boston is always a gamble. I have been to Opening Days when it snowed and days so sunny you would think they came out of a John Fogerty baseball song. Having logged thirty consecutive Red Sox Opening Days beginning in 1976, I decided that watching the ring/flag/pink hat waving ceremony in 2005 would end "The Streak." It all starts up again for me next Wednesday with a media night at McCoy. Maybe Bartolo Colon, my doppelganger in appetite, will be there. Maybe Beckett will make a start or two there......or, more than likely, maybe it will be cold and drizzle.


Working on a Night Pool

The pool at the Days Inn across the street from Graceland. I had to make one of the saddest trips of my life to Memphis at the beginning of last summer. At the time that I booked it, I didn't realize that the world of kitsch at Graceland would be such a respite. Elvis music blaring all day and into the evening. Two 24 hour a day Elvis channels in HDTV. Middle aged women making eyes at me. An actress from an Elvis movie, "Paradise Rock-a-Hula Speedway Hawaiian Style" selling 8x10 glossies of herself and her book.

Play that funky music, dead white boy.


When you're smiling.....

Love, Peace and Chicken Grease on Beale St. Memphis, TN. Lordy.

A Goat for All Seasons...

I borrowed this from the Boston Dirt Dogs web page. Steve Silva and friends do a fabulous job keeping up with and slanting in a humorous way, Red Sox news.Disclaimer: I pop up there on occasion. (All the more reason to check it out...)

Of course, Nomah is injured again. I happened to be in the press box at Pawtucket when word came that he was traded. Voices from on high contacted the gift shop..."mark down everything Nomar..." "Jeters better................"


Righty-Lefties of Passage

A friend of mine remarked that working on a college campus makes growing old more difficult. The age of the student population stays the same every year. Fresh faced freshmen this year will be replaced by fresh faced freshmen next year. The graduates move on in a ceremony not unlike Logan's Run. They are handed pieces of sheepskin or some similar substance rather than have the jewel on their palms checked for blinking.

Baseball is different. On any team, there are a mix of old and new players. It eases the transition and makes for a smoother aging process for the fan. Nomar, Jeter and A-Rod have been in the bigs around thirteen years. All three were supposed to be the new faces of baseball. I remember Nomar as skinny AA player in 1995 and how nervous and tentative he was. He laughed at his own joke which is how I got the smile. I reminded him of the joke the next year when he made it to AAA Pawtucket. It worked and I got the same smile. By the time he hit the bigs, he lost that little boy charm.


Knowledgeable Fans

I am not sure what constitutes a knowlegeable fan. At a certain level, anyone who knows the score of a game is the knowlegeable fan because from sports, there is no greater piece of information needed than that simple fact. Baseball has the richest history of any sport and learning about that can, for some people, enhance the enjoyment of the game. Given the choice, I would much rather consider giving my ticket to a first time visitor to a ballpark than a tweedy self proclaimed loyal fan. A first time visitor would garner a wealth of visual and emotional riches. Mr. Tweedy could always catch up with what he missed on public radio.


Margaret Bourke-White

This is one of the photographs that made me think..I wanna be a photographer...it has really stuck with me over the years. Sadly,Bourke-White has never received the recognition that she deserves. Because she is a woman? Perhaps. Diane Arbus got more acclaim for photographing freaks...Ralph Eugene Meatyard. Now there was a photographer...


Dueling Technologies

No, I wasn't kidding about the Ostrich Guy throwing hot dogs..not to be outdone, The Montgomery Biscuits have a hot dog bazooka. To the best of my knowledge, neither has caused the death of a member of the Flanders family..


Sweet Relief

The season is just a couple of weeks away. Media night in Pawtucket is like Opening Night at the opera, a museum, a movie and the promise of a summer to come all rolled into one.. Without argument they are the finest organization in baseball, if not all of sports. At McCoy Stadium, the game is played without interruptions. No sumo men shooting hot dogs out of ostrich suits. No dizzy bat air guitar contests. Nine innings and sometimes more. Baseball.

I have been shooting there for 17 years and never tire of it. If I could pick a second family....it would be the great people down there. Since I don't have family, I guess Ben, Lou, Mike, Jeff O,Jeff B, Louriann, Bill W and so many others are my family.


Official Doughnuts

Wandering in to the local Dunkies today, I noticed that they had three spaces earmarked on their shelves for the Official Donuts of the Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics. Lets see, The Red Sox one probably needs a ticket for purchase, which are sold out but available at the Sox favorite scalpers....The Patriots videotape you when you buy one of theirs...and The Celtics doubles as a St. Patrick's Day treat as well. Not sure why the Bruins got left out. Make a Boston Cream Pie sinker with dark chocolate and have Cam Neely tap dance in your cholestoral count. Anyone remember Larry Bird for Seven-Up? Or Ted Williams for Nissen Bread? Anybody still trying to forget Curt Schilling for Dunkin' Donuts? The Schill has come out for McCain but it might have been the fries. The photo is from Donut King in Columbus, MS. It was a two story emporium but I resisted the allure.



This would go well in between two slices of Big Yaz bread......


Rickwood Classic

This years "Rickwood Classic" will be held on May 29th at Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Alabama. Every year, a team associated from The Birmingham Barons past is honored. This year, the Boston Red Sox, who utilized the Barons as a farm team from 1951-52 will be feted. Jimmy Piersall will be there, throwing out the first pitch and hopefully will refrain from climbing up the backstop or running the bases backwards. Too bad Karl Malden wasn't available. For me, it is the baseball event of the year and I look forward to it.


Zoe and Haley,true fans

Zoe and Haley Brown are what I consider true baseball fans. They beg to stay up at night to watch the end of those late Sox games and won't let anyone tell them the score of a game that their parents have taped! They are two of the most bright and polite (hey...that rhymes!) kids I have ever met and it is a delight to take them to baseball games. Here, Haley impresses the camera while Zoe looks on.


Mike Smith - He had what it takes

Why I latched on to the Dave Clark Five is something that I still don't fully understand. 1964 was a world of Beatles and seeking ways to escape from the realities of the Kennedy assasination. There could only be a couple of answers. Perhaps because the beat, the saxophone and the vocalist Mike Smith set them apart in a world of Hermits and Hollies. He could sing American soul music like none of his peers. Listen to their remake of "I Like It Like That." It is a perfect pop single from its hurdy gurdy organ beginning to the the plop of the sax at the end and it is only a minute and a half long! Mike had been paralyzed for several years and he went to that big Vox organ in the sky last week.

The sum total of the DC5's recorded output contains more schlock than any one elses catalogue that I can think of. If you take their best five or six songs, they stand up to the output of any pop group with the exception of the Fab Four. "Any Way You Want It" still goes through me like an electric shock. A lot of sillyness surrounds any writings or critiques of popular culture. "Bits and Pieces" has been called the first "punk" tune. "Any Way You Want It" is referred to as the first "heavy metal" tune. Dunno about that but I can tell you a geeky kid from Brookline, MA had a lot of joy listening to it.And that is the point of Rock and Roll.

Thanks, Mike. I'll catch you when I can....