Even though the Internet has up to the nano-second news, it is still a quiet time in the world of baseball. I only posted a couple of times in November because, well, Lord have mercy, I didn't have a lot to say. A stint on the DL for me pulled me away from my usual stream of nonsense. As publishing houses are starting to feel the pressure of a country not buying books (Houghton-Miflin is not accepting new titles) I am naturally trying to finish my long theatened book. It has been 18 years and lots of film and lots of story telling and gathering. I sit at Fenway sometimes and wonder if I did publish a book, who in the crowd would buy it. My answer is five people and I would know four of them. On a blustery day, the photo of Ernest and Tony warms me up.
I am reading "Branch Rickey, Baseball's Ferocious Gentleman" by Lee Lowenfish. Mr. Rickey,of course, is the man responsible for establishing the minor league system but most importantly, signing Jackie Robinson to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Perhaps, just perhaps, Robinson began the process of integration which led to our electing a black president 61 years later. Rickey has been called a humanitarian for his efforts to integrate baseball but by others, a hustling greedy sort who did it to sell tickets. To me, if he did both, doesn't that make him an American? I met his grandson, Branch, couple of times. The likeness is uncanny. Mr. Rickey told me his grandpa would have loved my pictures. I usually don't get stopped in my tracks by any sort of compliment but that was one of them. Maybe "The Mahatma of Baseball Photographers" would suit me.....I pontificate, am large, wear glasses....now smoking the stogie part....
I actually liked the guy....and before Ellsbury's bat sputtered and his trade value dropped like a prom dress, I would have traded him and kept The Coke. Coco seemed to make so many "spectacular" catches, you wonder if he wasn't a step or two behind to begin with. Well, one thing for certain..he will enjoy better barbecue than we do.
The stove of hot is everywhere. D-Lowe wants to come back here. The Yankees are going to make a pitch...Don't let anyone tell you different, his off field behavior got him a one way ticket out of here the first time. Maybe age has matured him? Maybe his diminishing talent has????? Bludgeoning your way to the playoffs is something I lament but it is like being upset about no real prizes in crackerjacks any more. There was the thought that the Sox only feel the need to compete every few years, the pink hats with debit cards don't know the difference.....if they stand pat, this is correct.
I have not been to Memphis since my pal, Ernest Withers, passed in October of last year. The pull of the King and his many courts is too strong and I am off the week before Christmas. Christmas shopping at Graceland. Place your orders early....This is the sign-in desk at the Days Inn across the street from Graceland. Each room has a KING size bed (natch!) and a large screen TV playing, among other things, 2 24 hour a day channels of Elvis movies. This takes up time when I am not out by the guitar shaped pool, listening to Elvis music over the PA.
Well, the dude did provide some stellar guidance for Sox pitchers over the years but the decline (see:Gedman, Rich) is happening so quickly that a four year contract would be preposterous. Even carrying a .220 average for another two years seems not right. He has done a lot for challenged kids and for that I admire him the most.
Ernie Shore Field, Winston-Salem, NC. The home of the beloved Wart Hogs. To be more precise, it is the former home of the now defunct Wart Hogs. Next year, Winston Salem will open a new park, a new team (yet to be named) in a different location. Another older minor league parks rides the train to oblivion. I attended a noon time game there and being generous, there were 400 people there and most of them were from local schools. To me, a park like this is a place of joy. Kids whooping it up. Everybody there for the game and oblivious to the wrecking ball, hanging over the place like a fat curveball. Places like this are disappearing faster than I can get to them. I feel like I am on the edge of an ice floe, crumbling under my feet.