Saturday, June 30, 2007

Family Vacation

The last week of June, Nate and I drove down to Cape May Point, a charming whites-only resort town at the very Southern tip of the New Jersey shore, where my parents had rented a beach house. We saw hawks, dolphins, bunnies, crabs, a shark, and even a frog:

Nate and a Frog

And we ate a cubic assload of seafood and played tons of sports.

Sadly, there was no minor league ball nearby, but we were in Phillies territory, so we got to see a bit of baseball on the television. Philadelphia had a series against the Reds, and my dad told me all about Jamie Moyer, who I guess used to pitch for Seattle. Seeing Ken Griffey Jr. go up against him was extra cool. At the end of the week they started a series with my treasured New York Mets, and I saw the good guys roll right over them in both games of a double header.

After dropping my sister off at the airport in Philly, Nate and I drove back into the city, and I listened to essentially the entire game, first on a Philly station and then on WFAN as it came into range. It was a fun game to listen to, though there was one near catch that I really wished I could see video of. It was a good way to pass the time during the drive. I've always found sports radio broadcasts really hard to follow, but with a little effort it really wasn't much worse than watching TV...maybe a little harder to catch up after you zone out, but really not that bad.

Update: I found video of that near-catch. It was by Aaron Rowand on Beltran's second homer, and it's in the highlight reel under the "Top Play" video link on the wrapup.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

100 Bullets

A couple weeks ago, my friend Steve lent me his collection of 100 Bullets trade paperbacks, and I've been reading one every couple days. The third volume, Hang Up on the Hang Low, is based around the story of a Philadelphia thug first seeking to avenge himself on, and later forging a relationship with, his absentee father. It explores some pretty interesting themes about fatherhood, loyalty, responsibility, and what it means to be an adult.

In the story, the appreciation of baseball features pretty prominently as emblematic of the broader generation gap between the protagonist and his father. Meeting his son as an adult, the father very early invites him to a Phillies game, and then calls his son's lack of interest "un-American," an opinion later echoed by the father's employer. Race relations and class differences are recurring themes in these books, and the father and son's differing preferences in athletics are further used to show how they choose to identify themselves. The final baseball-related plot point has the protagonist completing his journey by literally following in his father's footsteps as a freshly minted baseball fan. Not incredibly deep, but hey, it's a comic book.

I don't really have much to say about it, but I thought it was neat. And I do recommend the series.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Cyclones Season Opener

During the week following our visit to the park, Peter and I decided we'd have to see some more real baseball. He's in the same boat I am, never really having been a serious fan but now getting into the game. We looked into it, and the season opener of the Brooklyn Cyclones against their rival Staten Island Yankees was only a week away. Andrew and Kate said they were in, so I grabbed some standing-room tickets online.

Both Kate and Andrew had to cancel on the day of the game. Peter and I biked down to KeySpan Park separately, because he was a little late leaving work. I arrived in time to grab a beer before the first pitch.


We posted up behind Section 14, and had a great view. There were plenty of empty seats, but we didn't even feel the need to move as the game went on. It was a total blast, and the Cyclones triumphed. It's a beautiful park, the weather was great, and you knew watching it that this was most of these kids' first pro game, ever. I'll definitely be back.

It did start to rain just before we got back to our neighborhood. No biggie.

Sunday, June 17, 2007


Our friend Max had a barbecue on his deck, as he is wont to do. It was really cool, and he a stellar view:

It's the bridge!

His girlfriend Emma and some of their friends are big Mets fans, so when the Yankees/Mets game came on, a bunch of people started watching. I was hanging out, but then caught I guess the second half. I didn't even know about interleague play, but everyone was glad to school me on the details, and explain the subtleties of the designated hitter rule in games across leagues. Sadly, my beloved New York Mets went down to defeat at the hands of the hated Yankees.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Little League in the Park

Our friend Dena was in town, and everyone had brunch in Prospect Heights and then went to the park. We lounged around in the shade eating ice cream, and happened to be right by all the baseball fields. After twenty minutes or so, I realized I was paying attention to the baseball game being played on the nearest field. I made a comment about it, and Peter was watching as well. I don't know if it's a known fact that kids' baseball is skewed more in favor of the offense than you see in the pro game, but there were definitely a lot of big hits and exciting steals. Also, the lack of composure on the part of the umpire was amusing (at one point he called out "double play!").

There were also some very little kids who were basically running around throwing gloves at one another. That was Gabe's favorite.