Wednesday, July 31, 2019
According to this box score, Jeff Massicotte threw a no-hitter :::
More photos can be found in a Facebook album here :::
This game was originally supposed to be last Tuesday at Legion Field but then it got moved to Maloney HS and then it got rained out. It just somehow makes it so the last two games I see the Expos in for the season are against the Ulbrich Streel. Tonight's game missed Hector Gonzalez from the lineup as well as Jonathan Walter from the Expos side of things. Apparently, Jonathan Walter showed up late because he had to shave.
With the absences, Jason Sullivan got shifted to shortstop, Kyle Hartenstein was at 2nd, A.J. Hendrickson played third and in the outfield we had Matt Fusco (right), Joe Gulino (center) and Jack Rich (left). Jeff Massicotte was on the mound, my first time seeing him pitch for the Expos, and Sebby Grignano was catcher, my first time seeing him catch for the Expos. Will Kszywanos was on 1st. I really enjoyed this game because it reminded me a lot of what kind of team the Expos have been this season while also not being a complete blowout.
The Expos started off down, 2-0, going into the third inning. This would bring up Joe Gulino who would hit a double to bring Jeff Massicotte home and make the score 2-1. In the 4th, the Expos put up another run to tie the game 2-2, but the Steel would battle back and in the bottom of the 4th take a 4-2 lead after a wild pitch scored one run and after another scored on a good hit, an Ulbrich runner slipped going from third to home and was tagged out to get the Expos out of the inning.
In the fifth inning, the Steel tried to bring in a relief pitcher- Brendan O'Connell- who threw one pitch and then appeared to have something wrong with his back as he was taken out of the game. This took some time, and as the Steel brought in Will Musson next (who was on third), Joe Gulino hit a solo homerun off of him. After that, Jeff Massicotte hit a three run homerun. The Expos had six runs in the top of the 5th and it was just too much for the Steel to come back from, even though for a little while there it was a close game (and the Steel was up 4-2 going into the fifth)
Jeff Massicotte pitched a heck of a game, as he stayed in all seven innings, and even managed to get a lot of offense. The Expos had at least two double plays in this game but it's also worth noting that they had something like 4 HBPs. One of these was to Peter Barrows by Jeff Massicotte and it created quite the scuttle, as Jason Sullivan particularly seemed to think that Barrows leaned into it. With their pitcher supply running low, Peter Barrows took the mound to close out the seventh and intentionally hit Jeff Massicotte, which is the first time I've seen someone intentionally hit someone else in the GHTBL (Editor's Note: Allegedly intentionally hit)
In the bottom of the 7th, Peter Barrows returned to the batters box and hit a huge bomb to left that I swore was gone over the fence but it dropped in and he got a double out of it. I don't know how that ball stayed in- it was a shot I was sure would never come down. The Steel couldn't fight their way back though, and as the light was going away they seemed to somehow plan the ending at just the right time.
At one of these Expos games, I heard two people talking about the team and how dangerous they were because there wasn't one or two hitters who were good- they're all good, and as a pitcher you wouldn't want to face any of them. This rang particularly true tonight. Joe Gulino had a night. Jeff Massicotte had a night. But even Will Kszywanos, A.J. Hendrickson and Sebby Grignano had crucial hits during this game. It's something that you don't see enough of in baseball these days, but they all just work so well together as a team and each of them bring their own skills to the game.
Monday, July 29, 2019
Additional Photos can be found in a Facebook album here :::
The Banditos started the first game off with only allowing a run in the first inning and then the Hackers wouldn't score again until the seventh. In the bottom of the second, with runners on first and second the Hackers got out of the inning with a strikeout, which was something the Banditos would do in the top of the 4th as well, only with runners on second and third. This game was quite the contest for the pitchers but I tend to find that the pitching in baseball can be one of the key components, especially when the score doesn't seem so high.
While the Banditos put up two runs in the bottom of the third, making the score 2-1, they also put up four runs in the bottom of the sixth, making it 6-1 going into the Hackers final three outs. Now, last Wednesday in Middletown I witnessed this GHTBL game between the Expos and Jewelers in which it felt like it all came down to the final two innings (and it was quite possibly my favorite game this season) This felt a little bit like that in the sense that the sixth and seventh innings really made the first game.
The bottom of the sixth was wild for the Banditos, as J.D. Tyler had an at bat which felt like fifty pitches before he finally ended up getting walked. The Hackers responded with a wild top of the seventh of their own, putting up five huge runs to tie the game 6-6. At this point I was wondering whether or not this game would go into a tie or extra innings, but I also thought that the Banditos could walk it off and I'd never find out.
With runners in scoring position, I want to say that there were two outs because I'm just used to these types of situations coming down to the final out but I think there was only one out and J.D. Tyler was back at the plate. Tyler had pitched all seven innings of this game and looked quite impressive. At bat, this became his game to win or lose. As a Mets fan, I wish all pitchers had that control. J.D. Tyler hit a long ball that dropped deep in right center and the Banditos walked off the first game, 7-6.
Call me old fashion, but I don't like the DH rule. Someone out there thought that pitchers were an easy out and they should be the players who focused on pitching and not hitting, but if you are a pitcher and don't want to be an easy out then consider taking some swings. I'm not entirely sure how this works, but I feel like if you step in as a batter as well, to see things from that perspective, it would improve your pitching. J.D. Tyler is a pitcher who can hit and both teams have these utility players who can do it all. I so much more like seeing teams built like this than teams full of players in the same spots every game.
I brought this cheese danish with me and in between games I ate it, which with the heat it felt like I had put it in the microwave and kind of warmed it up a little bit, so there's a neat little life hack for you. There was about a twenty minute intermission between games and so the second game started around 1 pm. My camera battery was about to die when the second game started, which was good because I have a backup, so I basically used one battery per game.
In the second game, the Hackers were at home. I'm not sure how the heat factors into any of this, but from watching Ivy League baseball (They also love the doubleheaders) it's not always easy to sweep both games. It happens, but sometimes it feels like you use up all your hits in the first game, or if you're in a slump the first game you get out of it by the second game. During this second game, J.D. Tyler moved to right field after pitching the first and Banditos left fielder Willie Rios took the mound. Both Hector Gonzalez and Jason Sullivan of the RJ Expos returned for Game 2 while they were joined by Will Kszywanos.
The Hackers started Game 2 with pitcher Mike Doran, and at the start it looked as if the Hackers would win because they put up a run on the board first in the bottom of the second. The Banditos would fire back though with bases loaded when Hector Gonzalez hit a bomb to left to clear the bases in the top of the third. This felt like an Expos play. The Hackers came back with another run in the bottom of the third to make it 3-2, but it wasn't until the bottom of the fifth when the Hackers had a huge four run inning to put them up 6-3. It was an inning that the Banditos would not be able to overcome.
While the Banditos were able to put up two runs in the top of the sixth, they also gave up a run in the bottom of the sixth. The final score was a Hackers win, 7-5, and it wasn't that far off from the score of the first game only this time the runs felt a little bit more paced out rather than all happening at the end of the game. If you aren't on a team or don't really know anyone playing for either of them, it doesn't really matter because this is just good baseball and it's what real baseball fans should want to watch.
The Naugatuck Hackers have two young women playing for their team and when I tell people that they tend to say "Oh, it's a softball league?" like the idea of women playing baseball is absurd, but no, they were both playing baseball. Beth Greenwood was catcher during the second game and she did an excellent job back there while Jacqui Reynolds played second for both games and in the first game made two amazing plays on ground balls. One time, she was at her knees for the throw while the second time she made the throw to first from her back. I've seen lazier second basemen in MLB.
Also, the shortstop for the Hackers- number 4- he had a game and I'm not sure what his background is (he looks young) but he's going to be something special. He had the offense and defense down. At one point, there was a ball hit near him and he snagged it to which someone in the Banditos dugout said "It's not my fault they got Derek Jeter at shortstop". But this is a league full of players of all ages and experience levels and I enjoy that about it as well. I think that makes for the best baseball. And even if you go to church on Sunday morning, you can always stop by for the second game.
Official Box Score here :::
Photos can be found in a Facebook album here :::
The last time I saw the Expos they lost to the Phillies and the last time I saw the East Hartford Jets they were sitting behind me at Dunkin Donuts Park. I didn't see the Jets get the win at Dunkin Donuts Park last week, but at Palmer Field they almost beat the Vernon Orioles and that's not easy to do. I have seen the Expos vs. Jets before this season and the Expos won and as this was supposed to be a game played in Jets turf (like West Side Story) they were the home team even though we were in Meriden. So, sometimes rain can be good if it brings a game closer to me.
Right when I got to Legion Field I saw a lot of cars in the parking lot and they appeared to be having some sort of party. It was what they called "Big Daddy's Bash" and so parking was terrible but the game was still on. Before the game started, Quentin took the orange bat to get signed by the Expos and then took some BP with Joey Gulino. Ultimately, we ended up having to go to the bathroom before the game started as well, which put us inside the Legion building which was full of bikers and... Well, have you ever seen "Pee Wee's Big Adventure"? It was like a scene out of that film.
James Kukucka is that one pitcher everyone knows from the Jets but he did not start this game. He started the game I saw at Ceppa Field earlier this season as well as the game at Palmer Field (Hardball For Heroes) but this game had Taylor Kosakowski on the mound for the Jets. For the Expos? Charlie Hesseltine. I'm not sure how he does it, but I felt like he was striking out two batters every inning. The Jets probably felt that way too because they weren't getting a lot of hits throughout the game.
One of the things that I like about all of the baseball that I follow, and especially with the Expos, is that it seems like there are always these stories that you just can't make up. Sometimes you see a baseball game and it's about the baseball and sometimes there are other things in play. Even the game on Wednesday had that suspense not every game has. This game though had the party next door.
I was rather worried about someone hitting a foul ball over there because their music was loud and so a "Head's up!" might not have been heard and the last thing we need is a bunch of bikers fighting a bunch of baseball players. Somehow, no one hit a foul ball over there on Saturday afternoon, though they did Friday night. The music was mostly classic rock like the types of things you'd hear on a classic rock station, so I knew all of the songs and then they'd throw in that song that was country but also felt like classic rock and one time I even heard Johnny Cash.
Even though I thought the music might distract the players, it somehow seemed to motivate the Expos. When you're at Dunkin Donuts Park and the music is blasted right into the field, yeah, it's loud and makes it hard to focus, but with this as a background more than in your face I think it somehow worked. At one point, the party next door announced a raffle and one of the prizes was a gun.
They also announced it was Wizzer's birthday (They might have said "Wizard", but a) what are the odds of a biker being a wizard ((Side Note: Someone make that a comic book)) and b) "Wizzer" is just funnier) and so everyone kind of sang Happy Birthday to him and someone had a mic and put out a few lines of it but didn't quite lead the whole song. Sometimes I feel like these games are wild hallucinations but if I was on drugs like Hunter S. Thompson I don't know if that would make the experience better or worse (At this game I probably would've been really paranoid)
Another thing I forgot to mention about Legion Field is that airplanes constantly fly over it and that's kind of neat. The Expos went on the board early in the second inning and then had a big third inning. Kyle Hartenstein hit a solo homerun to start things off, while Will Kszywanos cleared the bases with a double for a four run inning. This forced a pitching change for the Jets. The Expos would continue to score but it wouldn't be until the bottom of the 6th when the Jets finally put up three runs, two of them on a double by Jeff Criscuolo.
Though the Jets went through several pitching changes (I believe they used three pitchers) Charlie Hesseltine pitched a complete game and was still striking out the Jets right up until the last batter. Somehow, the biker bash ended at the same time as the baseball game- not sure how they planned that one- and I'm not sure if I'll ever see another baseball game that has a similar party going on in the background but at least now if I do I can say "This is my second time..."
Saturday, July 27, 2019
Official Box Score here :::
More Photos can be found in a Facebook album here :::
I've never been to Legion FIeld in Meriden before so not only was this my first time seeing baseball here, it was my first time seeing the South Windsor Phillies because for some reason they played in the final games at both Hardball For Heroes and the MS4MS events. From what I understood, a few weeks back, the Phillies were a good team. I even feel like at one point they were in top three or four teams in the GHTBL. I'm not sure what happened to them though, as they now have a losing record. Perhaps it is because players like Brody Labbe (who leads the league with a .556 batting average) was not at this game, so maybe he hasn't been playing, but then there is also Shane Bogli who leads the league in innings (49) and I believe pitched on Sunday at the MS4MS game but yet isn't a part of the Phillies roster anymore.
You can never underestimate any team on any given day though and a lot of the Phillies players were quite tall. This was a pitcher's duel for a while, as Jack Rich struck out two in a row to get out of the 2nd with runners on first and second. The Phillies would score in the third inning though as a throw to third on an attempted steal went over the head of Jason Sullivan. Somehow, the Expos also got out of the 3rd inning with two strikeouts and runners on 2nd and 3rd. It seemed like whenever runners were in scoring position or Jack RIch got into a bit of trouble, he'd strike out the next batter (or two) to get out of the inning.
With a 1-0 game anything felt possible but when the Expos made contact with the bat they'd often hit these long shots (usually near center field) which would be caught. There were only a few of those hits which dropped down and could get a single or double, which it feels like the Expos are best at putting together to form runs. In the fifth, the Phillies managed to put together three runs and that would be something which the Expos just couldn't come back from (again)
Yes, going into the fifth inning down 4-0 brought up flashbacks of Tuesday's game. The Expos wouldn't score until the bottom of the seventh when they managed to get three runs and everyone began thinking walkoff, like Wednesday night, but it was not to be. The Expos took their second loss of the season and I thought going into this game that the Phillies would be a tough team- because as I said, a month or so ago I thought that they were a solid team- but then when I saw their record and how they seemingly switched places with the Jets I thought "Their good players are gone, this won't be a tough one"
The Expos did have Tanner Raymond for this game, as he came in to strike out the side in the 7th, which is definitely something that any team can benefit from having. The Phillies kept Jack Moileur in for the complete game (I question whether they had anyone else there who could pitch though, outside of moving someone already in the game because their dugout was pretty empty) and he did a great job as well. On a field full of random piles of wood behind home plate and giant buildings and such in the outfield, this was a nice night for baseball even though the Expos lost.
Friday, July 26, 2019
"New Angels" is a song about witnessing a murder in broad daylight and is based on a true story. It's not funny in a haha way, but it's funny in the way that you don't think things should be this way but they are. It truly is a sign of the times. People should have been getting better in time but it just somehow feels like, as a society, we're getting worse.
Big singing with beats brings out the souls. It has this 1980's / early 1990's vibe like something along the lines of Tiffany or Debbie Gibson, but also something modern comes through like P!nk or Demi Lovato. It's got soul and is very powerful, not just in the words but in the music which supports them as well.
When listening to these lyrics, there is a line about trying to hold on and it feels like this could be about death in a broader sense (I always tend to overanalyze things about death) but then you hit these lines it all makes sense:
"Driving on third avenue / wild willing bullets flew / saw a life stolen but whose / never even made the news"
Isn't it sad how this has become so common that it doesn't even make the news anymore? The ideas of "Hold on / There's another way" and "Hearts are bound in barbed wire" can both be thought of in other ways but when paired specifically with further details of the story they become easily related and this song just hits too close to home as a plea for the senseless violence to stop.
Thursday, July 25, 2019
The official box score for this game can be found here :::
More photos can be found in a Facebook album here :::
When you Google "Buzzy Levin Field" and "Pat Kidney FIeld" the same directions are given. This was my first time at this sports complex in Middletown and I must say that it was very nice. Next to the baseball field was another field where they were constantly playing softball- which got loud- there was basketball near by and up in the distance behind right field at one point I could see this group of youths dancing in unison. It was quite the scene. The only thing I didn't like about this field is that no matter where you were, you were outside of a fence that made it feel like a cage.
Look, I understand that the fence was there to keep the baseballs inside so the players didn't have to run as far to get them and also so that they didn't go into cars or people (The fence saved me more than once, though a fly ball did bounce off the roof of a car in the parking lot during the game) but something about watching through the fence made this feel like an MMA fight. Two teams enter- only one team exits. Who will survive and what will be left of them?
I made it to this game right around 7 pm and it had just started when I sat down in these metal bleachers. I decided this was not ideal for taking pictures so I got up to stand by the fence. For a while, I was holding my camera over the fence to take photos until I realized I could also take photos by angling the camera through the holes in the fence. There was a scoreboard, but I still kept score on my phone as well.
The Jewelers put up one run in the first inning and it was the only run they'd put up until the final inning. It was weird how well balanced this game was with the pitching and offense, both teams putting up hits here and there, sometimes getting into scoring position but just not being able to score. We went into the sixth inning around 8 pm and I when I say that the first five innings of this game felt as long as the final two I am not trying to be funny- it really did feel and appear that way in real time.
Nick Foell pitched a great game for the Expos. He only gave up one run but got out of a lot of tough spots and it's just this reminder of how good the pitching is for the Expos. Likewise, Christian Budzik pitched quite the game for the Jewelers, up until the end there. Sean Rivera pitched for a little bit and then Tanner Raymond (who is a new addition to the team) closed it out and managed to get the win after pitching only 2/3 of an inning.
What happened next... What unfolded in these final two innings is to be a story for the ages. The Legend of the GHTBL, if you will. In the sixth inning, Jack Rich made it to second base. A huge double by A.J. Hendrickson (who was catching tonight) brought Jason Sullivan home, making the game tied 1-1. When the sixth inning ended, I thought maybe the Expos would get out of the top of the 7th unharmed and then walk it off. No one could have predicted what would have happened next. No one.
In the top of the 7th, pitcher Christian Budzik came home and was called safe when the umpire said he moved to avoid the tag but from where I was the pitcher (at that time it was Tanner Raymond) was clearly in front of the plate so I'm not sure how that was possible. This put the Jewelers up 2-1. Then this huge shot by Mike Motyka went to left field. It dropped- from what I saw- foul and everyone else thought it was foul because all of the Jewelers players acted how you would on a foul ball not a fair ball. The umpires called it fair, everyone started running and the Jewelers were up 4-1. I was coming up with ideas in my mind of how to say the Expos could never be counted out, like "The Expos always find a way" but those were quickly turned to ideas of the Expos breaking their winning streak and taking their second loss of the season.
While we were in the bottom of the second with two outs (two outs no less!) Jack Rich comes up as the Expos put together a string of runners on base (some of them were walked there) and hits a huge double that drops deep into center and clears the bases. Just like that, it was a tie ballgame. This didn't feel like real life. It felt like someone writing a movie about the Expos where they comeback and win it in the end.
Now, when Jack Rich hit that ball I was watching it to see if it was going over the fence. A grandslam would've been the walkoff right there. When I looked back towards the pitching mound, the Jewelers pitcher Christian Budzik was spewing obscenities, looking like he was ready to fight the entire Expos team for some reason. I don't know what happened exactly or why, but I do know this: When the Jewelers scored (on plays which were questionable to me) the Jewelers celebrated and the Expos didn't try to fight them.
Yes, the umpires were making poor calls all night in terms of balls and strikes but that worked both ways. Also, the way that Jack RIch hit that ball... what are you going to blame that on? Poor umpires? There's no excuses for that. It was a great hit, a clutch hit and that's part of baseball. I just wish the Jewelers were as gracious in their losing (Though at this point they were just tied) as they were expressive in their winning (or at least getting runs on the board)
Needless to say, Christian Budzik was taken off the field by the much larger umpire who was holding him back. I'm not sure if it was one of those things where he got so worked up he had to leave the game or if he simply got ejected, but either way he pitched a heck of a game and you want to leave on your own terms, being applauded and not dragged out kicking and screaming.
There was a bit of a delay with everything going on and we all had to kind of take a moment to catch our collective breath. Mike Motyka came in to pitch for the Jewelers. He just happened to be facing A.J. Hendrickson. One pitch later, A.J. Hendrickson walked off the game with a deep shot to center field. As an Expos' fan, as a player, you couldn't ask to write a better comeback story. A.J. Hendrickson truly had a game tonight and since I don't know if anyone else will do it, he gets my MVP of the Game award. And, of course, after the game you know I walked out to center field and got that homerun ball.
|View from where game winning homerun landed|
|Game Winning Ball|
|GHTBL after dark|
Wednesday, July 24, 2019
Baseball Review //
Cape Cod Baseball League presents
YD Red Sox vs. Wareham Gatemen
7/23/19 @ Dunkin Donuts Park
More information on the Cape Cod Baseball League :::
Official Box Score here :::
More Photos can be found in a Facebook Album here :::
This was the second time that the Cape Cod Baseball League made the trip to Hartford, CT and Dunkin Donuts Park. Fun Fact: This was my fifth time overall at Dunkin Donuts Park and of those five times I have only seen the Yard Goats twice. So I have, with this game, officially been to Dunkin Donuts Park to see the Yard Goats less than other baseball. That's a pretty fun stat for me. I thought this game was going to start at noon and then the gates would open at 11 am, so we planned on leaving too early so once we got to the parking lot we wandered around Hartford a bit, eventually going to a Dunkin Donuts.
I had the option to either print the tickets myself when I bought them or pick them up at will call, so I did the will call thing so I could get cool ticket stubs-- which I totally did. Once we got inside Dunkin Donuts Park, I noticed a table set up for CCBL merchandise but I had to use the bathroom. At this point, my dad got lost somewhere so Quentin and I went down near the Gatemen dugout to get a ball autographed. There were quite a few other fans down there waiting as well, though it looked like less fans were on the Red Sox side.
Fun Story: I was interested in obtaining an official CCBL baseball, like they use in the games, in brand new condition and so I emailed some email address through the website which got a reply from someone I won't name personally but needless to say I sent him a check and he sent me a baseball along with a lot of programs and media guides to read about the CCBL. I literally began reading through them and saw the name "Aaron Nola" on the same weekend we saw him pitch for the Phillies against the Mets. So we took that ball to get signed, so thank you again for that ball.
After we felt like we had all the autographs we could get, we still couldn't find my dad so we went to that merchandise table. The thing about getting autographs from the Gatemen is that some of them were very happy to sign and seemed almost like "What? You want my autograph??" but there were a few different players (and I can't name them because I didn't see their numbers) who just walked by and ignored us like we weren't even there. I feel like no matter how good you are, if fans don't like you then you won't make it that far.
In any event, we bought a hat from the CCBL mainly because the man who sold it to me understood the math on my shirt and I wanted something to rep the CCBL but I feel like I own too many t-shirts. My go to hat (usually) for when I'm seeing teams I don't have hats for is a Mystic Schooners hat because the "M" feels like "Meriden" but now I have another hat I can wear when I don't have a hat to wear. But, yeah, I do wear my Blues hat, for example, to non-Blues games. Hats are something that I feel like you can have too many of- because I did at one point in time- but right now I feel like I don't have enough. At least not for the amount of baseball I see.
As an aside from the CCBL merchandise table, Quentin and I went into the Yard Goats team store and they FINALLY had the plush Chompers in stock. This was our third time at Dunkin Donuts Park this season and they finally had him. (For the record, when I was there on Sunday the team store was closed) Needless to say, we purchased the plush Chompers and Chew Chew toys then on our way out someone asked us if Quentin wanted to do an on the field thing- a goat rodeo- and we said yes so we had a date set for that after the sixth inning as well.
The background of this game is that the YD Red Sox had the best overall record in the CCBL last season while the Wareham Gatemen won the championship last season. So on one hand, you could say that these are two of the best teams in the CCBL. They both still have pretty close records to stick with that fact this season as well. But the other part of this is that the CCBL is considered by many to be the best baseball league in the United States outside of the majors. If you're really curious about such things (AND I AM) there is actually a book about it.
This was an evenly matched game. It felt like watching the World Series. Both teams were tied 1-1 for a bit and then the Gatemen pulled ahead with the Red Sox trying to come back but not quite getting there. This game had great plays (a diving catch in right field by the Gatemen), great pitching and even great hitting. It was everything baseball should be and I would go to every game that I possibly could if I lived in Cape Cod. I think the real moral of this story though is that you should find the CCBL that is local to you. It's easy to think "I'd go to these games if they were closer to me", but there are games closer to you! The GHTBL is my CCBL, for example.
Here's a fun story: After the sixth inning we went to meet up for the on the field challenge. We found Fancypants so at least it wasn't a complete waste of a trip. We were taken down to the on the field level, which basically put us right into the Red Sox dugout. Quentin was to do a "goat rodeo" which meant he'd spin around on a bat then try and ride a horse, but when we got there we only saw three bats, three giant cowboy hats, three inflatable horses... So, basically, they overbooked the kids and didn't want to send Quentin home empty handed.
This is where things get funny. They offered Quentin an official minor league baseball, which had been used and that's kind of cool but if we didn't get that it wouldn't have been the end of the world as it's no baseball we have an actual attachment with. So Quentin got to hold the checkered flag for the race but my favorite part of the experience was that the guy doing it asked me if I'd ever been to Dunkin Donuts Park before. I said "Yeah, I was here on Sunday" and he said "Oh cool", while looking at me as if he was thinking "What was going on here Sunday? Is he mistaken? Is he lying? Did the Yard Goats have a game without me?" Hashtag why can't all baseball just get along no spaces.
Perhaps the worst part of the "on the field challenge" thing though was that they had us down there after the sixth and it didn't happen until after the seventh so we spent an entire inning watching the game from such a strange viewpoint and the other kids kept pushing into me like I wasn't there. It was just... not my preferred way to watch a baseball game and shout out to the Bristol Blues, who might sometimes have to delay an on the field challenge for some reason but still let me watch the game from third base.
The weather in Connecticut is such a crapshoot. They had been predicting rain for quite some time before this game, rain which did come on Monday but only barely during the day- it seemed delayed- and then when I woke up it was raining but the weather forecast said that it would end by 10 am, which it did. We got a few drops and some people opened up their umbrellas, but overall it was a good day for baseball. It was neither really hot nor cold, though my dad (who eventually texted me so he could find us) had pants and a light jacket on the whole time. Quentin and I were in shorts and t-shirts being cool.
I wouldn't mind going to Cape Cod one day for a game or two of CCBL baseball, but as of right now, having the teams come to Hartford makes it a bit easier for me. They bussed in several groups of children who all left after five or six innings, but still, it was nice to see a crowd- like when you'd go to a day game that had those school field trips to fill them out because most everyone else is working. I didn't do this last year for whatever reason but if the CCBL comes back to DDP next year I'll definitely be there.
With an electro vibe somwhere between Oingo Boingo and Interpol, Mat Creedon has created a song which reminds me of something from the past, present and future. It is somewhat odd that I think of this song as spanning all aspects of time though, as it reminds me a bit of something out of "Doctor Who" as well, and not just because of that one synth line in it either.
Sure, there are musical elements in here like Muse that you could point out, but this song is so much bigger than just the way that it sounds. This song is an anthem, not just because of the title but because of what it represents. This is a call to action, a war cry, a way to say "Hey, wake up! There is work to be done!" and it just so happens that the pace of it falls along with that so as to pump you up and get you going.
Somewhere out there I imagine a movie where this song is played in that critical moment where the good guys are about to stand up to the bad guys. It could easily fit into something from the realm of Buckaroo Banzai, but when I'm listening to it the movie I most think about in images is "Mars Attacks!" and I think that works on so many different levels (The Tim Burton-Danny Elfman connection being one of them)
It's like a sci-fi film, not old enough to be in black and white but not as new as something like "Independence Day". It's just that perfect spot of in between where it could be from the 1980's but doesn't really feel like it either. More so than words can explain, it's a feeling that you will likely have projected into your own mind upon hearing this. If nothing else, if you don't have these grand cinema experiences such as I do, this is at least a great song to set as your alarm to wake you from sleep and get you going in the morning.
Monday, July 22, 2019
More Photos can be found in a Facebook Album here :::
The Uber man dropped me off around 9:30 am and there was no one to be found. Some yellow-shirted employees opened the doors eventually, but when players from the Rainbow Graphics showed up they were told that even they couldn't get in until 10. So, for twenty minutes or so I sat outside the stadium, hanging out with Rainbow Graphics. I should've brought my recorder and did some group interview to kill time, but yeah, hindsight and all that.
Once I got into Dunkin Donuts Park I paid the $10- because I don't like MS- and I picked up an orange bat I had ordered prior to this game. Long story short: Ever since I found out about this game, and that the players would have orange bats I kept saying (on social media) "I want an orange bat" I figured that since MS4MS is a charity, money talks and eventually the MS4MS people responded to me on Facebook, I made a charitable donation and then carried around the orange bat for a while, like a child I felt weird about taking to the bathroom with me.
The first game of the day saw People's United Bank taking on Rainbow Graphics. Now, if you don't follow the GHTBL, you might not know that these are two rather different teams. The first time I saw Rainbow Graphics they were 0-8 and even though they have since gained some wins they still don't boast the best record. People's, however, was in second place above the Vernon Orioles at one point and came close to defeating the Expos last Sunday at Hardball For Heroes. This felt like an unfair match up because PUB is so very good and Rainbow Graphics are just... not as good.
At the end of the game, the scoreboard said it was 17-0 and I didn't know if it was stopped in the sixth due to time, the mercy rule or a little bit of both. PUB player Anthony Redamonti was really having a game and though the players probably felt this much more closely than I did, there were just innings when you wondered if the Graphics could ever get out of it. This is why I was thinking maybe mercy rule, but yeah, there were some deep shot homeruns here and when that GHTBL All-Star team is assembled... I think they could defeat the Yard Goats.
Official Box Score here :::
In between games I had to eat and they took maybe twenty minutes. I spent the first ten or fifteen minutes of the first game behind home plate in the direct sun and then moved to shade. I actually moved around from side to side during this game to take pictures- and throughout the day- which was fun, but I also spent some time up at this table on the third base side. Nearing the end of the first game, none other than Peter Barrows himself came over and sat not too far from me. That wasone of those "I should talk to him, but I don't want to bother him" moments.
Ulbrich Steel took on Mallove's Jewelers in the second game, which was a much more equal match up as both teams had their own strong qualities. It's funny because much like PUB, I actually like Ulbrich Steel so long as they're not playing against the Expos (Meriden represent) and since Will Musson was their starting pitcher I had to hope for them to win.
I moved at one point to the first base side, which was the Jeweler's dugout side, and there was this group of three or four guys behind me who kept yelling at the umpires and were upset about calls. You could see someone was clearly tagged out and they'd be crying and saying "He was obviously safe" No. He was obviously out. So, since I didn't want people to think I was with them or making that ruckus I had to move to the third base side. But it's all part of the game, right-- the crowds?
Ulbrich Steel put runs up early as Wes Ulbrich hit a two run homerun with an orange bat. Yes, I have a photo of Wes Ulbrich with said bat and then him coming home right as that homerun happened, so that's kind of cool. I must say it was the luck of the orange bat. Wes Ulbrich also had this great leaping catch at third base. The Jewelers would battle back but once Ulbrich put up two runs in the third it was game over. This game also ended after six innings, which I think was due to time more than anything else. I don't think anyone ever expected that first game to last so long, but in some other alternate universe it's still being played.
Official Box Score here :::
The third game (and my final game of the day) was the one which I came to see. First place Record-Journal Expos took on second place Vernon Orioles. This was such a key game because both teams are the best in the league. Almost two weeks before this game, I saw the Expos defeat then second place PUB (and then once the Orioles took over second place I'd see the Expos play PUB again last Sunday at Hardball For Heroes) but this game just felt bigger. Also, the anxiety/fear that comes with baseball is such a good feeling. I don't miss it when I saw the previous games and was hoping for teams to win but wouldn't be upset if they didn't. But yes, those emotions have you invested and they make the game that much more serious-- that much more edge of your seat.
Back when I wanted an orange bat, I had emailed Sam Greenberg of MS4MS and asked if the bat would be game used. I like the bat in itself, sure, but if it's not used in the game which it was made for is it really a bat at all? I was told the bat would not be game used and that the players all had their own bats they would keep, so I discussed it with coach / pitcher / sometimes right fielder Charlie Hesseltine to ask him if all his players had bats and they'd want to use mine. It's a complicated tale of raising money to obtain the bats (or just putting down the donation yourself, if as a player you wanted one) so the Expos used my orange bat in this game and I must say it got some good hits.
If you've ever wanted to see Charlie Hesseltine pitch (which you should) what better place to see him pitch than at Dunkin Donuts Park? This was such a game. Jason Sullivan and Jack Rich hit back to back triples. In the fifth with runners on first and third, no outs, Charlie Hesseltine struck out the next three batters to get out of the inning. It was just something of magic. It was a chess game the entire time and as my camera battery faded it didn't matter because I was on the edge of my seat. This is what baseball should be.
I'm still not sure how to feel about this game. It was called for time after six innings or so and the score was tied 4-4. It could still be going on somewhere else I'm sure, but this was just one of those games where the teams were so evenly matched you could watch them play all day. There is no official box score on the GHTBL site as I type this- the date has been erased from the schedule (?)- but I know what I saw.
My uncle told me that the Record Journal (the newspaper) said that this broke the winning streak for the Expos. Sure, it might not have been a win, but it wasn't a loss either. And the fact that it ended in a tie was based more on time than anything else. Had it been anywhere else at any other time (Except maybe Hardball For Heroes) it wouldn't have ended in a tie. There would have been a winner. So, I prefer not to think of it as a win or a loss or a tie but rather as a pause, a to be continued.
During the Expos-Orioles game the East Hartford Jets began sitting around me, which was strange. I wanted to stay to see them play the Phillies but it was already 6 pm, I wouldn't be home until 6:30 and I have such a week ahead of me. The Phillies are the only GHTBL team I haven't seen this season, but they are still going to play the Expos this week before the season ends, so I used that and my no longer wanting to be in the heat as reason to leave. Oh, and my camera. I have two batteries and they both died. If I had some battery life left, I might have stayed to take pictures for a couple innings.
All in all, this was a great day for baseball (if you weren't the Rainbow Graphics) and there was a lot of money raised for a great cause. My dad (who only this year retired) spent most of his time working to cure MS, so it kind of hits home to me as a charity and even though I know I'm on the homestretch of my baseball viewing season, I'm going to take the time to stop and enjoy every moment of it. The GHTBL has really helped me to do that.
"Head to Heart" begins with an intro type of song which has trippy vibes like Pink Floyd and then simply says "Let's go". Between names like Tom Petty and Neil Young, Rusty Reid also puts his own take on this sound. There is a driving to it, like those highwayman songs, but at the same time it feels like that Get Up Kids album "Walking On A Wire". While it might seem easy enough to paint this one as Americana, there is also this dreamy quality to it, like "That Thing You Do!"
The guitar work here is first class and when you listen to the lyrics you'll find that the theme of this album seems to be about happiness, specifically the pursuit of it. "The universe does not give guarantees / Just a shot at finding happiness" is an example of this, and a more true and bold statement has perhaps never been made before. "The Meaning Of Life" gets really dreamy, like Buddy Holly floating on clouds, and then the titular track reminds me of Duncan Sheik with the acoustics.
On that title track you'll also hear the line which makes the album title: "The longest journey is from head to heart" This seems kind of simple in its delivery. The head is the brain, the thinking part of things, and the heart is your emotions and as such would be happiness. But it can be much more complex than that, as many great minds have written about how sometimes rather than trying to find something to make you happy you should find a way to be happy with what you have.
Along with these deep lyrics that will keep you pondering happiness, "Ancient Stones" takes on more those rock n roll vibes while "To Find Me" has this great guitar part which sounds almost like a lullaby. "I Went Searching" has these funky beats and reminds me of something more from the late 1980's/early 1990's like Depeche Mode or just something from the radio and MTV around that same era.
"Eldorado" can feel like the soundtrack to a movie with hints of Urge Overkill and it just goes to show how diverse this album can be while also sticking to that pure form of rock music. Spanning all of time and yet settling on none all the same, Rusty Reid creates music that won't be thought of in the future as being from the year 2019 or the "2010's" but rather, these songs are simply timeless.
Edition of 22 //
Loud, droning tones start this off and then laser shots are fired behind them. It creates this almost techno beat, which is something to be heard. It feels as if a car engine is revving now, back and forth, as those cosmic laserbeams drop like shooting stars. While it feels a little bit trippy, it is also whirring and glitching at the same time here. Those frequencies continue to drop down behind this shaking whirr.
And now it's that feeling of a car stalling before the intergalactic space wars are being fought. Static waves crash in and out and slowly drift to seemingly send us out to sea. Lasers are kind of chirping like birds somehow and there is this windy whirr behind it which just seems to be taking us on a journey to something great. It feels like we just kind of float off into space until we can no longer be seen and that's how it ends.
What I particularly enjoy about this piece is that sometimes you'll have artists create one of these sounds, stretch it out and then switch to another of the sounds, thus creating a longer song, perhaps even an album full of songs when Furchick has one compressed sound. In most types of music, attempting to do this would be a bad idea, but Furchick makes it work here. I thought that perhaps this was all of these sounds as individual parts layered on top of one another to create this unified sound, but it is from a live performance and so I suppose it is safe to say that Furchick is bring out ten sounds for every one of yours.
"In the darkest hour of my soul / Will you be there for me?" is the question this song first poses. I really feel like when it comes to relationships, too many people find one flaw or fight and say "That's it, I'm out" And I've always kind of had this idea- since I was a youth- of "Well, it's better to break up with someone now then wait six months and really hate them and wish I had done it back then" Then again, I was also married for way too long and should have left that relationship any number of times, so there's that. I'm a complex individual and I believe most people are complex, but siding with the idea of sticking with people you really love through the bad times is kind of my jam these days.
Alaina has this voice that should be filling stadiums and arenas across the world. It's soulful and she just belts it out in a way that few can sing and sometimes, yeah, I wish I could sing like that. Imagine me, someone who rarely sings in public (the special drunk karaoke night only) and then I just come out sounding like this... It'd blow people's minds and I'd like that, but alas, this is a gift not everyone has but it's something that when listening to it you have to hear and just feel the pure beauty within it. Like Mariah Carey.
"You are cruel to me / And you are using me / For your own selfish game" I think this represents a lot of people in their 20's and maybe even early 30's. I don't know. I had this conversation the other weekend with someone older and wiser than me and he said something to the effect of "We all grow up at different times" and I really felt that. I think before people really grow up they spend more time in relationships like "What's in it for me?" when they should be telling the other people "This is what I bring to the table. This is why you should let me into your life"
Dating apps are the worst. I wish someone would pay me to write stories about them so I could at least feel like they're not completely wasting my time. As Alaina sings about being numb to the pain, I just think that's something that comes with getting older. You don't let people get too close so when you let them down and they leave you it doesn't hurt too badly. But in this song, Alaina is the one who was wronged by someone and she has that wrath like P!nk, which I really enjoy.
No matter your age, you should have at least one horror story about a relationship. I have what some might say are far too many. I could write a book about it. But at least listening to this song makes me feel less alone. I also really like singing along with this in my shower, which my neighbors do not like as much because of my voice. We've all been here and you don't have to be sad to revisit it. You should use those mistakes and that pain as a lesson. Learn and grow. This song will help you to learn and grow.
Official Box Score here :::
Additional Photos can be found in a Facebook Album here :::
It's a scorcher out. We're at the start of a heatwave and going to baseball seems like a good idea. I can't stop sweating and I feel worse for the players because they're in uniforms, on the field in the direct sunlight (I am at least in some sort of shade) This was our third Bristol Blues game overall and our second time seeing the Blues take on the Worcester Bravehearts. In the future, we do plan on going to Worcester to see the Blues play on the road.
I don't remember the Bravehearts scoring in the top of the first, but the Blues had a game. Brandon Miller hit a homerun- the first time we saw a Blues player hit a homerun at Muzzy Field I believe. But the big story is that the seven innings pitched by Mark Faello just made him feel untouchable. This felt like a pitcher's game because the Blues offense relied on a HBP, walks and a ball which went past the catcher (wild pitch) had a run score as well. It was one of those key games where things were tight and these slight errors made all the difference.
Here are a few things about the game that didn't have to do with baseball, but rather the experience:
When we got to Muzzy Field, we had to buy our tickets at the box office. A group showed up right in front of us and were there for a birthday party, apparently. There were two employees inside the box, two windows, and yet they couldn't open up another window and sell us tickets but rather made us stand there- in the sun- for twenty minutes which felt like hours. Ok. No problem. Waiting in line is part of life and it's not like we missed part of the game or anything. One of the employees handed the party in front of us a stack of tickets, saying that there were twenty there in total, but when we got up there all we got were hand stamps and told "We're not doing printed tickets tonight" Please, do not insult my intelligence.
We had been sitting in our seats for nearly twenty-five minutes when this couple showed up and decided to sit right in front of us when there were plenty of empty seats around. They eventually moved over (I think because Quentin kicked them) but people- why do you do this? Another family sat directly behind us and the kids were kicking me all game. If you have the space, move over. Are we not civilized?
Also, a small child a few rows behind us threw up at one point during the game and that will always stay with me now for some reason. Like, "We saw the Blues play the Bravehearts twice. Once they lost and the other time that kid threw up".
After the game they did fireworks and as such they turned off all of the lights except the for the ones directly over the stands. This created mass swarms of bugs going to those few specific lights and, yeah, the fireworks were a good show so long as you didn't mind feeling like you were in some kind of damn plague to see them.
Overall this was a good game. We got these Icee Pops to stay cool and eventually it wasn't quite as hot, especially once the sun went down. The baseball was what mattered most and it was a competitive game. At any point, you felt like the Bravehearts could have come back and won it- because they weren't ever really that far out of it- but they just couldn't seem to do it on this night. Perhaps they miss their two players from Dartmouth.
Now we are 1-2 seeing the Blues and hopefully next season when we return to see them at historic Muzzy Field they will win more times than lose. Yes, this is our last Blues game at Muzzy Field for the season, but we broke the losing streak of seeing them so this is hopefully some sort of momentum they can ride into next summer.
Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Box Score here :::
More Photos in a Facebook Album here :::
I know what you're thinking. How do the Record Journal Expos- who play at Ceppa FIeld- become the away team? Where are the Rainbow Graphics from? I don't know, but I certainly did not go there for a game. Back at the beginning of the season, I wrote down every home game for the Expos (at Ceppa Field and later Legion Field in Meriden) and this one wasn't on the schedule then. This is a makeup game and I suppose the fact that it is and isn't home for the Expos at the same time works in my favor.
Upon arriving at Ceppa Field I saw Jack RIch and Evan Harasta going out to warm up to pitch. Evan Harasta said something to Jack Rich to the effect of whether or not he would pitch for as long as he could or until Sean (I assume Rivera) showed up. I didn't hear the answer for that, but I got my first scoop for the night in that Jack Rich was taking the mound to replace an absent Sean Rivera. I assume. Jack Rich is a good hitter, but I've never seen him pitch before so I knew I was in for a game.
At one point, loud enough for everyone to hear, Jack Rich said he hadn't pitched in two years. Watching this game, you wouldn't know it. In the bottom of the second the Expos got into some trouble but were able to get out of it with a strikeout by Jack Rich. Throughout the game, he just kept his cool, did what needed to be done and pitched a game more people should be talking about after the fact.
There were some good offensive moves by the Expos and it's not to say that the Graphics starting pitcher was bad-- the team was just no match for the Expos. But that seems to be the way these things have been going this season. Players from games a few weeks back seem to disappear from the lineup, and yet, the Expos still somehow manage to adjust, adapt and overcome.
Something that I've come to enjoy not just about the Expos but the GHTBL in general is how versatile the players in this league are. You don't really have a lot of "I'm a pitcher" type of players. You need to bring more to the table. Case in point, A.J. Hendrickson has been seen this season at catcher, pitcher and shortstop and that was just last week! During this game, he started out as catcher and at some point, perhaps during the 4th inning, he and Evan Harasta switched positions and A.J. Hendrickson moved to right field.
And so I come to this conclusion. I think of this baseball team as I would think of a band, as I would think of making music. Imagine a band with four members- two who play guitar, one on bass and the drummer. Now, you could have the best drummer in the world, but if all that drummer knows how to do is drum are they really more valuable than a drummer who can also play guitar or bass if needed?
Throughout my decades of writing about music, I feel like the multi-instrumentalists are the ones who create the best music when they come together and play with one another because even though the drummer might be playing bass, he still has a better understanding of what the drummer is doing because he knows how to drum as well. It works the same way with baseball. It's easier to say as a right fielder "That's a ball for center field to catch" if you've also played center.
The GHTBL is really doing something special with this here, but so are the Expos specifically. I'm not sure if it's always been like this or if things just kind of happen to be turning around during the time that I decide to go to all these games and write about them, but it's just this experience that you should really feel like you want to be a part of. It's baseball.
Big distorted chords tinged with melody ripple through the air. All too often I forget about artists who sound like this, that old idea of “This reminds me of someone but I can’t quite put my finger on who”. I’m reminded of going to a college to see Discount, someone shoving a ‘zine in my face because they felt like I had to read it. I’m reminded of bands like the Rocking Horse Winner, who I really wish made more music.
“The whole country’s on fire / throw all my records in the trash” is the first line you’ll hear with killer guitar riffs. The second song has this almost surf fuzzy way about it— it’s melodies but there is this distorted static behind it as well. I’m reminded of something from the “10 Things I Hate About You” soundtrack. It’s from that era of the 1990’s but with a modern touch.
“Mishka” has a ballad feel to it, like dreamy pop or some kind of wave, and then it just kicks in. Artists from Letters to Cleo to Tape Waves come to mind, which is important to note not just for their sound but also their era.
4 opens up with nice percussion and then that SP guitar riff, which the “SP” can stand for Smashing Pumpkins or Silversun Pickups. It’s trippy but also sounds somewhat familiar. Definitively dreamy now and then this one part in 5 just soars. “Mania Beam” just really rocks and then we hit the interlude.
On “Shadow Beach” there is this big feel, as it’s almost gothic with the drum machines but still dreamy. Is gothdream a genre? It feels trippy at times too, like at the beginning of 9. Those vocals just hit me so hard, but you should never underestimate the guitar or drumming. There is also this driving feel, but like space, on 9, and then it breaks down between “Dazed and Confused” and “Guardians of the Galaxy”, somewhere like Metric and Slothrust— which I feel like I’ve heard in a lot of other artists before and now will start saying it about Megafauna as well.
Holy Me Sky is slow, prodding and brings up more of the classic rock vibes. “I feel your love it’s everywhere” is a great quote from the last song and while you could skate to it as well, I really enjoy the idea behind “Make this a matriarchy”. I feel like the men have been given long enough of a chance and it’s time to let the women take over things.
Event Review // Art Exhibit ::: More Is More - George Corsillo at Kehler Liddell Gallery (New Haven, CT)
Friday while at work I was reading the Daily Nutmeg email I get (shout out to them) and this was the featured story. I was impressed that someone- George Corsillo- had created artwork for album covers, spanning back decades, as well as book covers and even Doonesbury. I looked into the event and decided some time on Friday afternoon that we should go.
Of course going to New Haven is a trip within itself with all that there is to do. I've been looking for what feels like way too long for a stadium seat cushion so that when I go to baseball games with metal bleachers and football at the Yale Bowl I can sit more comfortably. Sometimes, after a few hours, my butt hurts. I'd been looking on the internet, at Dick's and even at Citi Field and couldn't find one that was the quality and price I liked. A few months back at Campus Customs I seemed to recall seeing one that was the quality I wanted and I thought it was only $15 - $20 so I figured we could go pick that up as well.
At our first stop- Campus Customs- I found the stadium seat cushions and they were actually only $9.99! For the quality this is such a great deal. I got a larger one for me and a smaller one for Quentin. We then went to the Barnes and Noble on Broadway because it's one of my favorite Barnes and Noble stores. I found this cool off white snapback Yale hat with a wooden brown colored brim on clearance so I had to buy it for the upcoming football season.
Quentin also got a book at Barnes and Noble- Spider-Man Swings Through Europe!- which I might have bought even if he didn't want it. After lunch at Yorkside Pizza (which is great food and right near the once great Toad's Place, but the question of "What happened to Toad's Place" is another story I suppose) we drove over to Kehler Liddell, which is in Westville, a part of New Haven we typically pass through after Yale games. From what I read/thought the opening was at 3 pm and as such that was when the talk would be, but once we got there we found out there wouldn't be a talk until 5 pm and that was too late for us to stay for unfortunately.
Going through and seeing the various works of George Corsillo, and just knowing that it was all created by one person is truly amazing. I picked up an Exhibition Guide and there are a total of 81 pieces on display. From The Velvet Underground to Andy Warhol to Carrie Fisher to Dolly Parton it just spans so many different genres, so many different artists and so much time in the culture of this country.
My favorite piece is perhaps the cover of Less Than Zero, a book which I own and didn't even realize he had done the artwork for, the same person who did the artwork for the cover to the "Grease" soundtrack LP! I tried to prompt Quentin into asking the artist some questions but he wasn't into it. I had pointed George Corsillo out to my dad, so he went over and started talking to him instead. Sitting there on a bench with Quentin, listening to my dad talk with George Corsillo, almost interviewing him to some extent, as they discussed topics such as Johnny Cash, I just realized how wonderful life can be sometimes and these are the moments to live for.