"Mercy,mercy me. Things ain't what they used to be." Marvin Gaye. The bandwagon of folks complaining about the food court formerly known as Fenway is starting to pick up a bit of steam. Eric Wilbur of the Globe just took some pokies at the introduction of a NASCAR vehicle on the field the other night. Trouble is, there is no going back. Profits from Fenway are filling up the cargo holds of B-57s on a regular basis. It is a business after all and not a nonprofit. Maybe a new Fenway motto could be, "Last to integrate, first in tacky entertainment value." I don't go again until the 11th..and will be once again on the Monster. If it makes my friend happy, it is fine with me. The Friday after that, I will be at "Mayberry Night" at the Asheville Tourists park in North Carolina....I have to make myself happy once in awhile, too.
“Pick a theme and work it to exhaustion... the subject must be something you truly love or truly hate.” Dorothea Lange
My pal Ken Babbit, a great sports action photographer and I were talking about how photography had changed. Market and value have changed dramatically over years. Today, anyone one with a cell phone is a photographer and has little interest in anyone but themselves and their own photos. Most people alive today have little interest in anything but themselves, so this isn't surprising.Craft and precision have gone away. Give someone a mid range digital camera with a small telephoto that has an image stabilizing device and presto change-o! A new action photographer is born. Throw enough s**t at a wall and some of it is bound to stick. I have always concerned myself with portraiture more than action shooting but it is always fun to air out the motor and hunch over to wait for the DP.. Now, the donkey in Shreck with no expertise can compete with the likes of Ken. Does anybody care? Not like they used to. I mentioned to Ken, "I sometimes ask myself why I bother," and he reminded me. "It's for the love of the game.." That sounds like a Kevin Costner movie quote but it really is the truth.
New Orleans, where anything can happen if it already hasn't, home of the Billy Chapman of the alternate universe. I should have gone to see the boy but I am sure something else distracted me. Going to Nawlins to shoot a Triple A all-star game in 1999, it became my first trip that I actually did something beside shoot games. A revelation that, hey, Brainiac, this is fun brought me back there several more times, usually at Christmas.
One day, I will be back. I hear the Lucky Dogs calling....
One day, I will be back. I hear the Lucky Dogs calling....
Eliot Asinof, the author of "Eight Men Out" passed away recently. At 88, I am sure this surprised no one but gave me a chance to reflect on a great book. The story of the fixing of the 1919 World Series, it is a book that made the connection between baseball and its place in the world apparent to me. We may think that we are going to the park and then leaving there but the machinations of what makes want to be there are controlled, rigged, if you will by real world devices. Going to the game can just be a desire to belong, my early motivations. It can be a place to see an athletic contest, a heathen concept in this age or in the years leading to the Roaring Twenties, a desire to gamble. Asinof's book showed how the wheels of baseball and organized gambling meshed to create an undesirable world from an innocent game. Nothing was the same in baseball ever again after these events and for the first time, the events of a game in a park had repercussions that spilled out across the fruited plains. This book enriched my understanding of America and I think I will read it again soon....
You know, I am almost starting to feel bad for the guy. Almost. I view Elvis' death at age 42 a tragedy. Not because he was Elvis...but because no one tried to help him. Roger won't die from this (unless B-12 in the kiester has some lingering effect.) He has managed to fill the large cranium vacated by Barry Bonds. For the 6 people that saw Bernie Mac in Mr. 3000, you might remember the Viagra ad at the end....maybe it wasn't roid rage that made Roger fling that bat at Piazza..it might have been another type of painful woody...
My friend, Sashka, had quite the week. Her mother came to town from Bulgaria - her first visit to the land of the brave and home of the free. On Thursday, Sashka graduated Cum Laude from Harvard. We have known each other for 4 years, as she has worked for my department at The Big Crimson. As a going away gift, I took her to a Sox game on Saturday. A math major, she quickly figured out how the game works and only relied on me to explain the nuances. Naturally, I pontificated about the history, but she had put up with 4 years of that anyway. The Sox clobbered the Mariners, 11-3, so that her math skills were put to good use. Although it was a sweltering almost ninety degree day, she eschewed iced fruit cocktail (at Fenway??? Good Grief) for "ball park food." A foot long dog was the choice, smothered in mustard. Her comment on the whole experience? "It is the most American thing I have ever done.." It made a guy who bleeds red, white and blue very happy.
Somehow, I can not see a multi-millionaire setting out to do much bodily harm to another multi-millionaire. Baseball fights, while fun to watch, especially the bullpen crew ambling in like the Last Charge of Custer, don't amount to much except a lot of ink, pixels, real or imagined reasons for vengeance and multiple day suspensions. No different last night at Fenway. Coco got his dreadlocks pulled and somebody scratched him. They call me assasin?
Even a loopy but dedicated baseball photographer needs sustenance. The mighty Rib It Up has become an annual "pit stop" (oops, this ain't NASCAR) on the road to Rickwood Field. Nothing fancy (what great bar-b-que joint is) but a more than decent rib dinner and two sides. Hog Heaven....