Mr. Abe....

Abe Alvarez has been floating around the Sox system for a few years now. For each of the years 2004-2006, he started a game for the parent "trap" club and has spent the rest of his time in the little cup of coffee. Legally blind in one eye, he wears his cap tilted to the side, not in homage to Coco Crisp, but to shield his bad eye from the sun. Nice guy, I hope he makes it but kinda doubtful at this point. I have always loved the term "meatball artist" and that is where he would be placed.


"Arf" went Spot

A heartfelt award for the best use of hand puppets while on the Green Monstah at Fenway Park. Hands and thumbs up to Amy Porter. She had several in her repertoire but I felt that this represented the pinnacle of her artistic endeavors at least at that particular juncture of her storied career.


More Songs About Buildings and Food

Apologies to the T. Heads....Didn't get my Monster pics back today as planned. A Greenville Drive photo will hold the place until I get them. What happens to poor Greenville if the Sox drop them as a host for their Single A team?


There's a monster in my pants...

Apologies to the B-52s....BBB (Baseball Bill or Birmingham Black Barons) has monster tickets tonight. By the way, I am not a "tix" person any more than I am an "Xmas" one. Great night, great company and a great indentation in my wallet, I am sure.....Stay tuned....


A Little Rod Will Do Ya....

Oh, that magic feeling...you never know when baseball is going to pop up in front of your nose. It could be a conversation with somebody at a bus stop. Halberstam said that all Americans could talk about two things....sports and the weather. How true....especially when a denizen will pronounce Bruins with that classic sports fan overbite..."Brunes." Meandering down Fifth Avenue in NYC, I drifted by the official Yankees store. Everything from money clips to autographed Gary Sheffield shirts. And a statue of A-Rod in the window...


Bill being Bill

One of the few guys I would actually pay to see. There is a "buzz" around him that is exciting. Making it look easy is a trick of a lot of trades. It could be taking a photograph, writing just about anything (see: Hamill, Pete) or hitting a baseball. I keep a baseball bat behind the door of my living room. It was placed there during a bad experience with a souse of a roommate just in case I needed it. Now, every once in awhile I pick it up to remind myself how difficult it is to hit a ball with a stick.


Not Alice's Restaurant...but...

You can get everything you want at ATT Park in Chattanooga, TN. The park has a barber shop that faces the field so at the park you can get liquored up and then lathered up. Although the buzz cut for $7 looked tempting, I digressed and settled for a photo. Shave and a haircut, two bits, who's going to pinch hit for Tom Fitz....


And in the end....

By 2002, I thought I had hit the end of my baseball road. Always wanting to visit Birmingham, a jaunt brought me to Hoover Stadium, home of the Birmingham Barons, AA southern League. It was a very unremarkable team and stadium. Evidently, everyone else down there thought the same thing as the team drew less than 1200 people, even on Willie Mays bobblehead night. My research had informed me of a park in Birmingham no longer used for pro ball but maintained as a historical site, Rickwood Field. I had spoken to the affable director, David Brewer, on the phone and not knowing how a visit was going to change my life, I headed to the oldest park in the country. To say that I was smitten was an understatement of the nth degree (with the park, not David....) As history would have it, the late Ernest Withers, my mentor and pal, had photographed the Birmingham Black Barons with a young outfielder name of Willie Mays in the later 40's.


The Buzz of Brandon

Brandon Moss under seige. At the recent PawSox media day, Brandon had a swarm of media types around him. A Trans-Atlantic dinger will do that for you. His major league team of choice emblazoned on his sweatshirt, his current employer's logo festooning his cap, this boy is going to be hard to keep down on the farm, now that he has seen the big, big city.


Phil Harris Was Right....

"Won't you come with me to Alabamy
Let's go see my dear old Mammy
She's fryin' eggs and boiling hammy
That's what I like about the South"

A friend asked me recently if I could vote down South yet....


"Why Time Begins on Opening Day"

That is a title of a Tom Boswell book. From 1976 until 2005, I trod to every single Red Sox opening day. Thirty in all. From a pot smoking college student to a full blown alcoholic to a bemused observer of it all, I went until the charm wore off. After all of that time, the Carmine Hose had given me all I had asked for. A symmetry to my life that revolved around baseball with a World Series trophy as an exclamation point. Al Stewart, "The Year of the Cat." all the way to Chasbie Steinburg, "The Year of the Pink Hat." Six two and even. From a gawky kid seeing Pumpsie Green and Minnie Minoso chatting before a game to someone who is called "The Official Photographer of Rickwood Field," (I couldn't be more overjoyed about that honor.) From the kid in a purloined box seat to the man-boy in rhubarbs in the bleachers to the wide eyed man in a catbird seat at the oldest park in the country, thanks Baseball.


Old Friend

There is that Paul Simon thing again. I have been at this thing for 17 years now. Long time for having no book published but the satisfaction I get out of doing it outweighs the torment of a lot of things that I could be doing with it. (Sure, sure.) Last night, Matt Stairs hit a dinger against them. Matt was the first player to ever speak to me. In Pawtucket in 1994, or thereabouts, he said..."Hi Buddy." That was it. I was made. I no longer needed approval on a ball field because I had just earned it or recognition anyways. Not too long after that, Steve Rodriguez,who I had seen a lot in Pawtucket, got a shot with the big club. At Fenway, he said to me, "Nice to see you here." Naw, it was nice to see him THERE.

Last summer, I was in Greenville, SC to shoot the Drive (and, as always, the breeze) and chatted a bit with Gabe Kapler. Nice man. He is back in the biggies and will be here with Milwaukee this summer. Looking forward to his return as well.

Sad day....

Ernest Withers knew Dr. Martin Luthor King. He photographed him on several occasions including the Garbage Workers Strike and the subsequent "I Have a Dream Speech." The day I met Dr. Withers, he took me on a whirlwind tour of Memphis which resulted in this and many other pictures. He catapulted me into the funeral home where many years before Dr. King laid in state. Ernest marched me up front put his hands on my shoulders and said, "This is where I stood when I took that picture." At one point, he took me into a pizza parlor to show me where he was when he heard the news about JFK.