Rainy Day Review: “The Iowa Baseball Confederacy”

“There is no urgency to the game. Even in the pouring rain, there is the same easy lethargy of a sunstruck afternoon where bodies are bathed in sweat rather than rainwater.” ~ W.P. Kinsella, The Iowa Baseball Confederacy

I wrote about rain delays a week ago. It has rained here in Virginia every day since.

It is raining now.

The grass has grown up over my ankles and gone to seed, but it’s too wet to mow. The garden is a square box of mud, but it’s too wet to sow.

wheres gnomie

© The Baseball Bloggess

The grass has even overgrown the garden gnomes.

Everything’s a little slimy. My hair is rain-flattened and the screen door at our house has swollen itself shut. There is, I am not kidding, a palm-sized frog now living in a mud puddle in the middle of our road.

The rain on the tin roof at my studio in town has gone from “I love the sound of rain on a tin roof” to incessant and aggravating.

Baseball goes on in most other places. But, nothing much is going on around here.

It’s cold and wet and dreary and a little sad outside. It’s a good day to curl up with a book.

Continue reading

Snow Day Checklist: Read. Vote.

There are all sorts of things to do on a Snow Day.

(Even a “Snow Day” that, so far, has no snow in it. Still, all my clients have cancelled, so, unlike postmen who are rarely slowed by sleet and snow — or the promise of sleet and snow — I’m not working.)

Do not suggest that I shovel snow on a Snow Day.

Shoveling is work. I am not working on my Snow Day.

The first acceptable thing one can do on a Snow Day is read.

Like what you’re doing right now.

Congratulations. You may check “Read” off of your Snow Day to-do list.

Today, March 5, happens to be World Book Day. (Happy World Book Day, Blog Reader!)

In 1803 (or so), John Moore wrote that reading is preferable to “horses, hounds, the theatres, cards, and the bottle.”

(Pity about the bottle thing, but, oh well.)

utility of books

Note that Moore specifically did not say that books are preferable to baseball. That baseball did not exist, under the name “baseball” anyway, in 1803 is a smug formality. And, I’m having none of your smugness on my Snow Day.

Reading, Moore tells us, “preserves us from bad company.” This is the polite way of saying that reading protects you from dolts.

Congratulations. We are not dolts.

When Billy [Martin] was a high school junior a teacher asked him to read a book for a report. He admitted that he had never read a book and suggested he never intended to change.

“What will you do with your life?” the teacher asked.

“I’m going to be a baseball player,” he said. “Baseball players don’t have to read books.”

The teacher reached into a shelf and pulled out a book. “Here,” she said, “Read this.”

The book was Lou Gehrig: Quiet Hero by Frank Graham.

“I read it from cover to cover in one sitting,” Martin said years later. “It had a strong influence on my life.”

~ All Roads Lead To October, by Maury Allen, 2010

Billy_Martin_1952_World_Series

Billy Martin, Yankee. 1952 World Series. Baseball Digest. Public Domain

See. Even Yankees know the value of reading.

Books, Moore writes, “can be enjoyed in the worst weather.”

So, should the snow actually arrive, I’m set.

read war and peace

Another thing one can do on a Snow Day …

Vote.

Once again, I trot out my rusty political science degree to promote our democracy’s voting tradition. A proud tradition that allows and encourages anyone to vote, except children, felons, and people who disagree with the party in power. Women and people of color will note that our voting tradition has not been a particularly long one.

Let’s vote!

Voting for Presidents and Members of Congress and marijuana and county bonds is fun, but voting for baseball team names is even funner. (“Funner” is not a word, no matter what an 8-year-old says, but it should be.)

Hartford, Connecticut is seeking a name for its Double A minor league team – a Colorado Rockies affiliate – which is moving from New Britain this season.

They need our help. They want us to vote.

top 10 team names

Sure the Hartford Praying Mantis is hipster-cute. But, what can you do with a name like that? The Praying Manti? Mantises? Mantes?

That’s a mess.

Honey Badger is stupid.

So are Whirlybirds (let’s go, Turbine Ventilators!), Choppers (popular with dentists), and River Hogs (which are native to Africa, not Hartford).

whirlybird turbine ventilator

 Helicopters are not as fun as turbine ventilators.

River_Hog

By Jason Pratt, permission: CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

 River hogs, no stick. (Might be ok fielding bunts.)

I like Screech Owls.

pignoliPignoli, Screech Owl at the Wildlife Center of Virginia 

They are adorable in a Pharrell-in-a-big-hat-singing-“Happy”-before-it-got-played-out-and-people-started-posting-annoying-singalongs-on-YouTube sort of way.

(The Milwaukee Brewers version will always be sweet because … Hank the Dog!)

Editor/Husband likes the Hartford Yard Goats.

Which I thought was stupid, because who knew that people in Hartford had goats in their yard and that it was a thing?

I clearly do not read enough, because had I read a book about trains I would know that a Yard Goat is a squat, little locomotive that lives in a rail yard and shuffles the cars around.

yard goat train

By Lexcie, permission: CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

 Yard Goat. Never runs out of the base paths.

Now that’s adorable.

Editor/Husband wins.

Vote Yard Goats. Vote here.

(Or Screech Owls.)

(Just not Honey Badgers. For the love of God, no.)

Postscript: This conversation just happened.

Baseball Bloggess: My headline is boring. Can you fix it?

Editor/Husband: Do you want to put a colon in?

BB: Yup. That sexy-ed it up.