Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Passing Legends to the Next Generation

Yesterday the family and I returned to that hallowed hall, the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. The Momma and I hadn't been there in almost 7 years, and this was C's first time there. You can click the photo above to see more pictures from the trip.

Overall the trip was a nice break, although it was marred somewhat by illness. On Thursday & Friday of last week C had been hit hard by a nasty cold and fever, and The Momma had it Sunday and Monday while we were in NY. Still, they were troopers and we didn't cancel the trip, though it did limit our time in the Hall to under three hours. But it was enough to give C a good exposure to it before he pooped out, and he enjoyed it. The Momma also enjoyed it despite not feeling well, and found a new baseball hero herself in Ila Borders, a professional woman BASEBALL (not softball) player from the 1990's.

I also of course saw what I most wanted - needed! - to see, the display case from the 2004 World Series champion Boston Red Sox. Oh, in case I haven't mentioned it here before, the Red Sox won the World Series last year! It was a nice collection of memorabilia from the Series (though none from the ALCS), including bats from HR-hitting Johnny Damon and MVP Manny Ramirez, jerseys from David Ortiz and Derek Lowe, a cap from the now-departed Pedro Martinez, a glove from Orlando Cabrera, spikes from closer Keith Foulke, an admission ticket, program book and some lapel pins, and Curt Schilling's bloody sock.

Yup, perhaps the most disturbing and the coolest artifact I've ever seen at the Hall, Curt Schilling's sanitary sock made famous in any number of close-ups during World Series Game 2 as blood seeped through his stitched ankle and created the ultimate Boston Red Sock. Cool... but weird! There was also a jar of dirt taken from the pitcher's mound in St. Louis following the final Series game. I don't know why that seems important... but it does.

We also checked out the new kid's area at the Hall, the Sandlot Kids' Clubhouse, but we frankly found this pretty lame. It's a very small room with a few chairs and benches in it facing a video screen with some nice clips available to watch, like "Who's on First?" (one of C's all-time faves) and the Babe teaching kids to hit. There's a nice assortment of kids' baseball books, a few nice artifacts, and some very minor activities like measuring your kid on a height chart that also shows the heights of modern MLB players like Mark McGwire and Randy Johnson. (Hmmm, 7-year-old C still isn't as tall as the Big Unit... but what do we learn from this?) No place to run or climb or burn off the extra energy though, so we found it disappointing. It doesn't help that the Clubhouse is located in the library wing of the museum, and so is only accessible by passing through the Hall of Fame Gallery room itself.

Still, that's a minor quibble, we felt no need to spend time in the Clubhouse anyway. In the end this was a Rockwellian "father taking his son to the Hall of Fame for the first time" trip, and it was not disappointing from that angle. C had legitimate interest in many of the players and even records that I showed him, and listened to a lot of the stories I could tell - at least for the first hour or so! And he loved the interactive computer terminals where he could call up stats and especially video of any of the inducted players. He left with a true appreciation for the likes of Jackie Robinson, Cy Young, Hammerin' Hank and Yaz.

For souvenirs he picked a souvenir baseball bat featuring a likeness of Nomar Garciaparra (still in a Red Sox uniform), a blue Pyrex pint glass featuring a picture of Abbott & Costello in baseball garb and the entire text of "Who's on First?" printed on the back, and an Uno card game deck themed to the 2004 Sox. He also picked out 8 Hall of Fame player's plaque postcards. He was disappointed that they didn't have kid sizes of some very cool "Who's on First?" T-shirts, as he really wanted the one that had the name "IDONTGIVEADAMN" on the back over the number 4!

Ah, baseball... only two more weeks for the new season!

(You can also click here to see more photos.)

Thursday, March 17, 2005

A Monster Passes...

Dick "The Monster" Radatz died yesterday, and I found myself greatly upset by this. The Monster was a great Red Sox relief pitcher from the early to mid 1960's, and he retired from pitching in 1969. I never saw him pitch myself, but I knew him as a tremendously knowledgeable and fun baseball commentator on TV and radio for the past decade.

Still, in reading about him I realize that probably the main reason that I was so moved by this, a player I never saw pitch in his prime, was in reading about him and what a great story-teller and a funny guy he was.

A great story-teller. A funny guy. These seem to me to be attributes that one can be proud of. He not only lived, he knew how to help others enjoy their lives through his own wit and intelligence. This is certainly a great way to pass along your own life, your own legacy....

Dick Radatz will be missed by those of us who knew him only as a personality, just as he'll be missed so much more by those who knew and loved him personally. He was just a few weeks shy of his 68th birthday; he died unexpectedly when he fell down the stairs in his Massachusetts home. 68 doesn't seem as big a number to me as it once did, and reminds me again that what we always heard when we were younger becomes more and more true as we get older, every day is a day not to be taken for granted.

I heard today that a friend of mine got some unpleasant medical news himself this week. While not expected to be serious in the long run, my thoughts are very much with him... best wishes through the [hopefully brief] gauntlet ahead of you and speedy recovery on the other side!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005


The new "Battlestar Galactica" is certainly a great show to this point. The Momma and I both watch it regularly and it's been a while since we've found an SF show this engaging. (See the middle years of "Babylon 5" for the last that comes to mind.)

But one thing has bothered me from the beginning, and it annoys me further each episode... their use of the oh-so-cleverly disguised cuss word, "Frak".

In the original "Galactica" I thought it was great that they had their own swear words. "Frak", and my personal favorite, "felderkarb" (well, how the frak do you spell it then??) To this day I use both of these words commonly (although admittedly more often when I'm alone or muttering under my breath!). Both are strong words that feel like they get the job done when you just need to let out a little curse. (I've always equated "frak" with either f**k or sh** as the mood seemed to fit, "felderkarb" I've always loved for a situation where "You've gotta be kidding me!" would be more appropriate.) They stood alone and proud.

But the new series doesn't use the words this way; they use "frak" as an adjective, verb, or adverb in any given sentence so any thought of it meaning anything other than our own f**k is out the window. "Frak me". "No frakking way". This isn't clever, it's just a cheap way around the censors and makes it seem like they think they're just trying to get away with something. I find it neither clever nor amusing; and while I'm not one to at all mind harsh language, I would frankly (frakkly?) just as soon they say f**k than frak and be done with it!

Taken as a stand-alone epithet, "frak" is a great word. But used as a simple substitute for f**k? Ah, felderkarb....

Thursday, March 10, 2005


From SciFi Wire:

The Latino Review Web site reported that Superman Returns director Bryan Singer plans on using stock footage of Marlon Brando as Jor-El, which was originally shot by director Richard Donner for 1980's Superman II, but never used.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

23 Years.....

John Belushi, "Joliet" Jake Blues: January 24, 1949 - March 5, 1982. Keep the Faith....

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Naw, I Ain't Dead....

It's just been a very busy and hectic month! The short version is we're looking at home-schooling now, and have been spending a lot of time working through that. Also had a nice mini-vacation in Boston last week to check out the Museum of Science and the New England Aquarium (jellyfish is cool!) with C. A good month, but life's a bit overwhelming at the moment... more to come!