Is a lady fan with a fan a fan-fan lady? I don't know about talking a blue streak but when I asked this woman in Greensboro, NC if I could take her portrait, she started laughing and couldn't stop. I wanted to ask her a bit about herself but it was not possible. it was ninety-six degrees at game time. This is, of course, quite normal for the South but game time was seven at night! The hot weather energises me and I couldn't be happier than on a scorcher in Dixie.
The five millionth visitor to Winston Salem's Ernie Shore Field will receive this kitchen of the future. I assume this sensational item has been doled out because the season is almost over. I haven't seen anything like this since the last time I watched The Jetsons. Now, if they threw in the toy machine next to it, I might have kept coming back myself.
Labor Day Weekend. A last hurrah for many, many things. The minors end their season and all of those boys looking for the cliched cup of coffee get the milk and honey of a return next year or the hearing of their cleats clatter on cement one last time before they empty out their locker. Don't cry for me, Matt Stairs.
Dave Roberts and his son during the 2004 season. It was magic that I have only had an official press pass to Fenway for one year and that the year was 2004. When my book contract disappeared, so did the pass for 2005. I was handed mumbo jumbo about having to pay to use the Sox logo in any pictures I published. Solution? Not use any of them.....
At the Android's Dungeon, Milhouse wants to spend $30 on a Carl Yastrzemski baseball card from 1973 "when he had big sideburns," but Bart and Martin convince him to go in with them on a $100 copy of "Radioactive Man No. 1. If "Big Yaz Bread" didn't make Yaz immortal, a mention on "The Simpsons" did. Bill Lee said that a loaf of Yaz Bread had the same equivalent nutritional value as a golf ball.
While hardly on a scale with the discovery that there were no WMD in Iraq, I was mildly amused to find that the same basic dough is suitable to create many of your ballpark faves. In Asheville, I had a hand made funnel cake and it ROCKED! At midnight it didn't turn into Indian Fry Bread in my stomach, either...
I took a course in color photography at New England School of Photography in 1978. Printing color back then was very primitive and resulted in very delicate prints. Before that, I only shot in black and white. It was hip at the time -- the b&w street photographer thing. I have come to realize over the years that people that shoot in black and white are screaming...look - it is in black and white - it is important. Once I started shooting color, it was like having my hand in a jar of multi colored jelly beans. I wanted all of them and wouldn't let any go so that I could get my hand back out. Ernest Withers called me "Colored Boy" because I shot so much color. This would make a great title for a show of my work, PC be damned. Tom Petit, my color instructor from 30 years ago passed away last week. I had recently met him again and always enjoyed his advice and criticism. I think he would have liked this shot of a woman in Ashville at the ballpark. I see in color, I think in color. Colored Boy I am....
Last summer, I met Yu-Heng in Greenville, SC. She was learning to shoot at baseball games and I was glad to give her some advice. It is a hobby of hers to travel around to see the players from Taiwan and chat with them. On her way to Virginia, she and her pal, David, stopped into Asheville to visit with me and have lunch. As much as I enjoy the solitude of my travels, it is nice to have some one to gab to. The Sox have a couple of Taiwanese prospects in their system, so maybe she will have a reason to venture up here some day.
I met Coach Pepper on my first trip to Rickwood Field in Birmingham, AL. It was 2002, I think. There is no time limit in baseball, so specific dates kind of drift by me. This has as much to do with my accelerating decrepitude as anything else. The Coach came to the field to sun himself every day. We had a great chat about his memories of the big leaguers from Boston that had passed through Rickwood, Ted Williams included. I wanted to capture an image of him but he was suffering from shingles and I didn't want to embarrass him. When he drifted down the right field line, I seized the shot. The next year, I met him there again and he remembered every detail of our conversation. He just passed away leaving quite an impact on Alabama sports. Modest and very unassuming,a true Southern gentleman, I always looked forward to our yearly chats. I posted the You Tube link here a great film bio of/with him.
And it's Mr. Mac. Rhymes with smack, as in upside your head.
There was a quality to Bernie Mac that I related to completely. Yes, we only saw him "acting" but it didn't seem like he was...he came from an impoverished background and while it didn't drive him with anger as it has so many...he never forgot it and rose beyond it. He ran a gentle con on life and made me laugh like a fool....I don't even watch TV but came home Friday nights to watch The Mac Man...In one of most sad journeys of my life, I had flown to Memphis to attend the wake and funeral of my pal, Ernest Withers. I was in a hotel room, yanking on my suit, flicked on the tube and there was the Mac Man....I sat there in a dress shirt and underwear laughing at Uncle Bernie. I always thought that Bernie could have played Ernest in a movie...just the right amount of twinkle and stiff upper lip.
"When I can make people smile when there ain't no reason to smile, when they got test results they scared of, when they ain't got no control over their kids, when the husband and wife sleeping in separate rooms and I can get everybody together and make them laugh for an hour and a half, half an hour, whatever, that's my job."
Winston Salem and I find the gauntlet changing hands! The young woman on the left, seated with her mom, is the official photographer for the Winston Salem Warthogs. Armed with braids and a digital Nikon, she shoots their baseball cards and other things as asked. I would love to have seen her pics but I didn't get the chance. Pops had to be back on Greyhound and off to another city. Didn't want to miss my grits and bananas at the retirement home.
Ernest Withers would have been 86 on August 7th. I spent much time with him and learned and saw many things. He was a stern taskmaster with a twinkle in his eye. A friend called us a couple of rascals and I guess that was apt. Before he passed last fall, he had asked me to speak at his funeral. He said, "I want people to say, 'who is that big devil up there.'" I responded, "That big white devil." To which he responded, "Devil ain't got no color." Right you were, Ernest. One of his many signature phrases was, "Be what you is and not what you ain't, cuz if you ain't what you is, you is what you ain't." Sometimes, he would slap me on the hand and say, "Boy, you paying attention to me?" Yes, Ernest, I was...and still do...I miss him so much I can't think straight sometimes.
than to be at McCormick Field in Asheville, NC for a ball game. W.P. Kinsella wrote that he no longer can be surprised but he can be amazed. I thought I couldn't fall in love with baseball parks anymore but I could be smitten. Wrong again, Greybeard....