Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween From Our House

Check out my Pist-o-lantern! (was going for the logo below--didn't even think to check which eye's covered! Crap!)

Sick Of That Old Title: League Park, Cleveland

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Before I get to the Providence parks, which will take more research, I'll do an easy one. League Park in Cleveland. As you can see, the field is still a big green lawn. Here's the street view from out by the ticket office. The street views are newer than the aerials, because if you look at those houses right past left field, one is a pile of rubble on the aerial, and it's cleared on the street view. The two houses next to the crumbled one are boarded up, and on the boards it says "5 VICE." It's also pretty sad how you can see on the overhead remnants of two softball infields on the lawn, and from other photos, you can tell there had been a basketball court in that rectangle by the ticket office. All gone.

Here's a good little page showing pics of the place from last summer.

The ticket office and part of a wall remain--but efforts are being made to build the place all over again.

(Clem's site has been very helpful doing all these parks. I also use aerial photos to help place the footprint.)


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Over Throne

It's so funny when you find something written about yourself that you didn't know was there. This dude did a blog with three entries--one was a "where are they now" piece on me, Brian, and Pat, as we used to be in a band called The Pac-Men. I quickly figured out who wrote it, it's the dude who still does the punk show on WXCI, the college radio station in Danbury, CT. Remember when I went through the wall? It was his basement.

(I won't get into all the details of how I came across that post, but it started with looking at the blog One Base on an Overthrow, which talks a lot about old and new CT punk records.)

"The Call"

You've heard the Joe Buck call. You've heard the Harry Kalas call. But have you heard the Jere Smith call? It's so funny how just before the clinch, I talk about how the color man often talks over the final call of the play-by-play man, and then, of course, my color woman Kim does exactly that. But I didn't want her to have to be quiet while her "NL team" wins it all.

Anyway, here's the call. You can jump ahead to around the 8:30 mark to hear the final out. (There seems to be a problem with the clock, as the minutes go 4,4,4,4,8,8,8,8,12,12,12,12, instead of 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12. So you have to find the correct 8-minute mark. But if you get the wrong one, just keep listening, and you'll hear the final few outs.

For The City, A Drought Ends

But not for the team! The Phillies won two championships in 29 seasons, in a league with 30 teams. Granted, "all things" are not equal in baseball, but technically, a team should win approximately once every 30 years. When you factor in the fact that four teams entered the league in the last 30, and one year there was no champion, winning 28 years apart is right about average. (You could also say it's even less of a drought because the higher payroll teams are gonna win multiple titles over the average 30-year stretch, so if your team can pull one off every 30 years, you're actually ahead of the game.)

If you listened to my "podcast" tonight you know I'm not trying to take anything away from the Phillies, I'm just saying, is 28 years in a 30-team league really a "drought"? Because that's what the newspapers/TV/internet are calling it. Since the city has four teams, and they didn't have any titles in 25 years, that can be called a drought. I should go over all the World Series winners and do the math and see what the average baseball "drought" is. (You know I will.) [Update: From 1903-1960, there were 16 teams in the league--the average "drought" over that period was about 9 years--the crazy number of Yankee titles brought the average way down from what should've been 16. So I calculated the stretch from 1926-1960, threw out the Yanks, and over that time, the average was right around 16 years. The Yanks have now won exactly 1/4 of all World Series--26/104--so they really skew it, but my point is, you don't need math to know that the average drought is the number of years equal to the number of teams in the league.]

Anyway, nice job, Phils. 1980 is alive. Or something.

If you missed it, scroll down--Kwiz season has begun!

'08-'09 Kwiz Season Begins: Kwiz One

You can check out the past four Kwiz season wrap-ups on the Kwiz page, which you can always go to by clicking the link at right. Ryan looks to repeat this season, while AJM tries to regain the throne. Nick Smith looks to get a single point. Good luck to everyone.

The basic rules: All Kwizzes will be here on this blog (the Kwiz blog will just show the standings and link to each past kwiz question.) Anyone is free to take a guess at the answer in the comments section. Just don't ever guess twice in row. Once someone else guesses, you can guess again. Sometimes I give clues--if I do, and you just guessed, you can guess again even if no one else has guessed. 6 points per kwiz. I will divide the points up however I choose. (Since comment moderation is on, the points also depend on when I check in on the blog. If te people get the right answer while I'm asleep, I wake up, check, and divide the points accordingly. But if I post a kwiz and immediately someone gets the right answer while I'm still online, they get all 6 points. Get it?) I also will never tell you when a kwiz question is coming up. I post them when I feel like it. This year we'll have....say...21 kwizzes, and (supposedly) the season wraps up by Opening Day next April. The prizes will be announced on the Kwiz page at some point. But it will involve books, soap, baseball cards, "art"work, and/or hopefully some new stuff. Oh, and here's the big thing: You can use whatever you want to find the answers. I don't say "no Googling" because I have no way of enforcing it. Knowing that, I try to come up with questions that are either un-Google-able, or take a LOT of research. In other words, you either have to earn it, or have the same random years-old info in your memory that I do.

But I will start you out with an easy one:

What man has done each of the following at least once? Been part of an NCAA baseball championship team; been part of a minor league baseball league championship team; been part of a Red Sox World Series championship team; been part of a Yankees World Series championship team.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Me Announcing Tonight

Update: Final product here.

Update: Looks like the 9th will be starting sooner than I thought. As soon as bottom 8 ends, tune in! Direct link HERE.

Okay, I think I'm gonna get one last bit of baseball announcing in for '08. I think it would be really cool to announce the final out of a World Series, so I'm gonna go on the air tonight when the ninth inning starts. If course, if the Phils aren't winning, I may just say screw it. I've scheduled the broadcast for 10:00 PM, so I'll go on then or when the 9th inning starts, whichever comes first.

Click here and click on the event name at 10.

And this is a direct link (I think.) If all else fails, it's, and my name there is GedMan.

And you can call be to be on the air on Skype (Gedman10) or AIM audio (Two2067). If anyone calls, maybe we could make it a talk show....

And I was just about to add, "I've probably jinxed the Phillies," Baldelli hits a game-tying dong. 3-3 in the 7th.

World Series Talked About By Me

While talking to my Philly friend (Orioles fan) about how I'd love to drive down to Philly and see if I can grab a (relatively) cheap ticket for tonight's game, he pointed out that I'm on record as saying I don't care about the series. He's right, but I will explain further what I meant:

I really want the Devil Rays (when a team takes away the coolest part of their name, and then is pompous enough to fine people who say it the old way, I in turn eternally refer to said team as their old name) to lose. Yes, they have a few guys I like, but overall, come on. Screw those guys. I'm an underdog fan, but I don't do it on a blind basis. If an underdog is digging holes in my underyard, it becomes my underenemy.

So. I clearly care about the outcome of the series. But it doesn't mean I have any interest in spending any time watching it. The Yanks are out--we've all won already. If the team I'm rooting against happens to win, I'm not gonna lose any sleep. That's where the non-caring comes in.

And like past similar World Series', I'll happily tune in at the point where the team I'm rooting against is about to lose. Like how in 2003 I kept my eyes shut tight until the Yanks were on the brink. (Of course, unlike this year, if the team I was rooting against had won, I would have lost sleep, and lots of it.)

So we go to Game 5, part 2, tonight. Alas, I have not driven down to Philly. But if I lived down there, I sure would have given it a shot. Two days gone by--there have to be people who have left town and need to give up their tickets. I have heard that season ticket holders can get reprint tickets through the team. So if they sold theirs, but are available to go the game tonight, they can ask for a reprint, saying they lost their stub. And then sell THAT ticket, or go themselves. And then it's a race to the gate--if the season ticket holder gets there first, the person who bought their original ticket who's trying to go tonight with that stub is screwed. (Or maybe they have a way to avoid this, I don't know, but it makes it that much more of a risk if you're buying a ticket for tonight on craigslist or wherever.)

And that game the other night--AJM said in comments he agrees with Selig that it wouldn't have been right to have the series won on a rain-shortened game. I say, dem's da rulez. I can't believe he went and changed them by himself behind the scenes. As soon as I turned on the game in the fourth, I started talking about how the Phils should try to hold the lead until the fifth, and then get the win should the rain not stop. I talked about how crazy it would be at the moment they call it off after a delay--the Phils would all come back to the field and celebrate, winning the World Series having not played any ball for hours. And of course Kim brought up how I'd think it was unfair if the Sox were in Tampa's position. But Joe Buck even said it shortly after I did--there's no special rule for the World Series. (Or so we thought!) A game is official after 5. So you better be winning after 5! Seriously, what if it had been 8-1 instead of 2-1. The Phillies then should have gotten credit for the win, as stated clearly in the baseball rules, with everyone in the stands and across the world watching on TV believing those rules would be held up. But Selig changed it, and supposedly told the teams beforehand--which Maddon used to his advantage by not telling his players. I just think the whole thing is ridiculous and would have been completely unfair to the Phillies had they been way up.


Can't wait till the election with the stolen votes and hanging chads? Go vote for our pal Cyn in this contest.

Superstar commenter Ryan has suggested I look into old Providence ballparks next. Good idea! Especially since I live here. So I can actually go to the site. I have read of plaques on houses. Stay tuned.

Kwiz Season starts....tomorrow!

Capital Reward

The Dirty Water event at the West Hartford Public Library went great. I was very impressed with the crowd--over 100 people. Standing room only for our talk/reading/Q&A. And it seems every single one bought a book or two. We met lots of really nice people. Thanks for coming out, everybody.

Beforehand, I went to the sites of two old Hartford baseball stadiums. Above is the plaque at the site of Bulkeley Stadium, a minor league park.

Here's a close-up. The site is now a private nursing home/housing community. There's really not much to see other than this plaque.

But now for the main attraction:

That's the Church of the Good Shepard. In front of it is a big grass field--site of the old Hartford Ball Club Grounds, home of the Dark Blues, a National League team back in 1876.

I was surprised to see a plaque there--turns out it was placed only three months ago by "Baseball History Alive." In fact, their site has a much better photo gallery than this one. (They did have better weather, though.) (And their site, as well as the plaque, calls it the "Hartford Base Ball Grounds," as opposed to "Ball Club Grounds.")

The church is along the third base side, and this building is out beyond left field, and actually wasn't built yet when the park was standing. The church was built by Sam Colt's wife, and later she added the above building as a memorial to one of their sons.

My car at the "old" corner of Wyllys and Hendricxsen. (Behind home plate.)

Here's a great article about the old Hartford franchise.

And here's more on Elizabeth Hart Colt.

I'm not a big fan of guns or religion, but that doesn't mean their histories don't intrigue me (especially when it involves baseball fields).

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

In Hartford? Want A Wet Book?

Some of the worst possible weather will be hitting the Hartford area today. Rain, cold, winds up to 50 MPH. So we will appreciate it even more if you head over to the West Hartford Library to see my mom and I. We'll be speaking/reading/signing copies of Dirty Water at 7 PM Tuesday. More details here.

Of course, I will have to stop at the site of the Hartford Ball Club Grounds, which I mentioned recently. But there was also a minor league park in Hartford, Bulkeley Stadium, which was around from '21 to '52. After a long search, I found a site that told me it was on Hanmer Street. From a picture of the plaque marking the park's location, I surmised the building in the background was the one you see below: (zoom in to the A, and look just to the left, at the giant, white, Greatest American Hero logo-looking structure.)

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You can tell by those pointy roofs. I even figured out where the plaque was. Go to the far left of the building, and keep going left--right on the corner, before you reach the street. That's the spot. Tomorrow I'll draw a footprint, but it'll be a guess--though I figure the plaque is near where home plate was.

As for this World Series--Jee-zus. We flipped it on, saw all the rain, and I'm telling Kim, "the Phillies need to get out of this. The game's official. Keep the lead and you win the World Series. God, I was rooting for it to end that way, after we had to watch the Rays not move out of the way of our pitches, and benefit from every lousy call in the ALCS. Shortly after McCarver and Buck talked about how the Rays were being "robbed of their game" (by Mother Nature! She's a burglar now!), the stupid Phils let Upton steal second with two outs, and then gave up a hit. Game tied. And MLB, looking to get the series back to Tampa, brings out the tarp. So shady. Then they call it. Game to resume at some point. Doesn't look good for tomorrow, and I've heard from a completely unreliable source it will resume Wednesday at 1:45. Whenever it is, wrap it up, Phillies!

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Magic Freakin' Spoon Trick

Okay, I didn't think it worked, but the first time I show it, you actually can see the spoon tapping against the bottom of the pan repeatedly. That's the trick. I guess it kinda worked.

Also, sorry about the cat butt!

Check Off

Interesting article about the long winter at Fenway. It's funny, they talk about how you can do similar things to your yard to what they do with the Fenway field. And had it been any other year, I wouldn't have cared. But we just became "homeowners" and I now do things like "lawn care." So weird. But fun. The last people left us with a great house but a weedy lawn, whose life I'm trying to save.

Also, when I went to Ground Zero back in '06, I showed you this video still, calling it a "huge drain":

It wasn't a drain. It was an old railroad tunnel. See this NYT article and slideshow about how it's finally been removed.

Hartford-Related Stuff

My mom and I will be at the library in West Hartford tomorrow night, Tuesday, Oct. 28th, at 7 PM, for a reading/signing. More info at the Dirty Water blog.

That brings me to the latest old ballpark. Hartford had a National League team in the league's first season, 1876. The Dark Blues moved the Brooklyn the following year before disbanding. Their park was the Hartford Ball Club Grounds, and it lived

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This was another tough one to get the exact footprint of. The page I linked above mentions the church built by Samuel Colt's wife, which is still there. And it says how Hendricxsen Ave used to run right past there, and that the corner of it and Wyllys Ave was where the park was. It also mentioned a bird's eye view drawing which showed in-play trees. I had almost given up looking for an 1876-ish Hartford map, and then I found the exact one they were talking about. I see the trees, and the little diamond, right out in front of the church, with the old Hendricxsen Ave running along the third base line. Click the link, then click once on it to enlarge. Then go to the H in Hartford at the bottom. Go straight up to the twin sailboats, then go from there toward 11:00 for about two inches. There's the chucrh, and a field facing south (left is south on this map) with players on it.

So I put a "field" in there--I don't know what the distances to the fences were, or precisely where home was, so I just kind of made something up.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Cleaning Canada One Province At A Time

My girlfriend Kim makes soap and sells it under the name Stella Marie Soap Company. Laura (partner of Allan, aka Joy of Sox) interviewed her and reviewed the products on her blog, We Move to Canada. Check it out. And if you need soap that rules, you know where to go.

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