Friday, October 30, 2020

Cassette Review //
Nandele Maguni "Plafonddeinst"
(Already Dead Tapes)

$7 //
Edition of 100 // //

We begin with quiet glitching beeps.   There is speaking now but this is so quiet that when you listen to it through speakers you'll have to turn it up but with earbuds it isn't too bad.   The beats kick in now and it gets louder.   I feel like we're in "The Matrix" but it could just as easily be "Resident Evil".   Tones come through now with beeps like Pong.   I really enjoy the electronic aspect of this, how it almost feels like a video game, but then it blends flawlessly with these beats to create a hip hop sound the likes of which I've not heard before.

Quieter again, I hear what sound like birds.   I hear the light rattling of glass now, like something moving around inside of a bottle.   Guitars come piercing through now like 90210.    Back to quiet I feel like there was a car door opening and now some ruckus in the halls.   Someone speaks, then someone sings.   Banging still in the distance.   Alien whirrs coming through loudly now.   Many sounds all in a row take us into a ball bouncing beat.   Singing in a glitch "da" way and we've hit a groove here as well.   We get into some serious Knight Rider synths in this song now as well. 

Words are speaking now and they told me to slow down and read these lyrics.  I particularly like the lines: "Rewrite your history because what you were taught was prescribed / Identity is to be redefined or else you're living a lie"    Beeps like a car horn now and that wind still swirls behind connecting the sounds.   Vocals come through chopped up now as the beat kicks in.  A singing loop now but without words.    We slow things down now with spaced out buzzes.   The beeps take us through an adventure here. 

The tones now feel like a ringtone or an alarm.  A different type of Doogie Howser beeps now.  Animal sounds come into this computer bliss.   Modems come through as it feels like we're dialing up on a carousel.   It feels like the pinball game is going off the rails as everything is clanking and coming together and that is how we reach the end of the first side. 

On the flip side we open with a ringing and then people are talking to each other like a field recording.   Through electronic bursts come some great beats and this song just makes me want to see how high I can jump.    As it drops off the frequencies whirr and it changes into the sound of electronic dripping.    The beats return and there is a calm about this, like a great warrior about to go into battle.   The guitar cuts through one more time.    Through more of those whirrs we end into birds chirping.

It feels like little electronic balls bouncing around inside of a tin can now as these space-like tones expand in the background.   Claps now take us into the deepest and darkest of beats.    This all culminates with a radio static- like an antenna- and then it just goes almost completely quiet.   It feels like we're quietly changing radio stations and then synth bass comes in first followed by full beats.   This is the song you're going to want to really get up and dance to.   This really takes on this vibe now where it's just growing and growing. 

We go into what sounds like an audio clip now because there is singing but you can also hear the sounds of cars passing by.   The synth comes back in now.   There is the ringing of a bell, singing and then the beat just drops.    This returns us to the sounds of singing, perhaps with percussion added in now, like how the street performers bang on buckets and such, only this time there aren't the sounds of traffic as the cassette reaches its end. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Baseball Review //
Silver City Banditos 1, Milford Monsters 2
[10/25/20 @ The Academy, Milford, CT]

Additional photos can be found here:

The Banditos and Monsters faced off in the semi-finals of the post season with the winner going on to face either the Bridgeport Marshals or the Bristol Greeners and the losers going home until next season.   Milford isn't that bad of a drive- it's about a half hour away- and The Academy is a field I had never been to before but for obvious reasons because of the name of where it is I also had to listen to The Academy Is... on my way to this game, specifically their album "Almost Here".  

Within the first two at bats I knew where I was sitting was no good.  There are bleachers next to the dugouts and I was on the first base side sort of behind home plate at first.  I couldn't get good photos during the game from there though.  I looked around and saw a high point near some steps which you use to get down to field level and so I set up shop up there all game so as to take photos from over the fence.   I didn't realize it at the time but this move would become quite vital during the final innings of this game.

This was a good old fashioned pitcher's duel with Dan Livingston on the mound for the Banditos and Tim Brown on the mound for the Monsters.  This was, in fact, the same match we saw when these two teams faced each other in the regular season at Ceppa Field.   But this Banditos team was also not the same as the one they saw back at Ceppa as there were in fact more players here for this game.

With bases loaded in the top of the first, the Banditos scored their first run on a sacrifice fly.   It would take the Monsters until the fourth inning to tie the game with a deep shot to left-center which ended up as a double and brought in that all important tying run.   In the bottom of the seventh inning, the Monsters players number 4 hits a deep shot to center with Willy Yahn on first base.   It looked like it would be caught but dropped, which brought Willy Yahn all the way home for the Monsters to go up 2-1.   The hitter, number 4, tried to also come home as the throw went passed home plate but he was called out.

Top of the 8th, Monsters up 2-1 and JD Tyler hits a shot that sends Cisco all the way home.   However, this would become the focal point of this game from that moment onward as the umpire made the call at homeplate an out.   The Banditos argued it.   The Monsters celebrated it.   But, really, no one was right.   Was it a bad call?  Absolutely.  Could anything be done about it?  Likely not.  

As someone who is objective, if that had been an out at homeplate I would be the first to admit it.   I'd say it was a good call and to jus accept it.   However, while running, Franciso Asencio extended his arm around the catcher and touched homeplate before the catcher could get a tag on him.  This was best in view from the first base side.  In fact, I think one of the only people who might have had a better view of this than me was Scott Iwaniec, who was right down there because he was on deck and came to the first base side to witness it all.

Now, you could argue that Scotty is biased because he plays for the Banditos so you assume he will side with them.   I love baseball.  That's it.  I side with what's fair and what's right.  From my vantage point, I believe I was the most qualified to make that call and also the most impartial as well and I am 100% certain that Franciso Asencio was safe at homeplate.   But, the question I then thought about as I drove home was what does that mean for the game?

You can easily state the Banditos were not at fault for this call but I don't really fault the Monsters for it either.   For one thing, I wouldn't expect any of the Monsters to step up and say "Hey, you know what ump, that was a bad call, can you overturn it?" because that just doesn't seem like something that anyone on any team would do.   Furthermore, I'm not even sure that had the Monsters decided to say something to that effect if the umpire would have even changed the call based on their pleading.

So then what do you do?  Do you blame the umpire?  He's just doing the best job that he can.  Now, granted, this was the situation: I watched the entire time with great detail as Franciso Asencio ran home.  I thought based on where he was and with the throw that the catcher would have tagged him before he ever made it to the plate.   That didn't happen.  I also noticed that the umpire stayed near the pitcher's mound and never once tried to move closer to homeplate to get a better view.  But do we fault the umpire for that?  Perhaps this is a call which could have been prevented had there been two umpires.   Still, I've seen plenty of terrible calls in games with two umpires.

The one thing I do know after watching this game is that Franciso Asencio was safe and the umpire made a bad call.   What no one knows is what would have happened had that call been reversed- if it even could have.  Would the Banditos have kept the momentum and gone up 3-2 to win it?  Would the Monsters walk it off 3-2?   You can't say either way but the game was so close in that respect that either team could have still won the game as that would have been the tying run.  And, I feel, yes, ultimately, Cisco was safe but once the umpire made that call I don't know what could have been done to change it.

To me, the Banditos played their best not just during this game but during this season.   As did the Monsters.   With only four teams left going into today you had to anticipate this sort of tension as these were the top teams playing to go to the finals.   It's high stakes and in the end someone has to lose.  Umpires have been making bad calls forever and there were several other bad calls during this game alone which affected both teams.  You just have to think that as much as it stings that call could have gone the other way and it could have been a crucial play that was called wrong and upset the Monsters.

I went into this game knowing I was going to see a hell of a game (which I did) and knowing that I was going to see two of the best, if not the two best, teams in the Nutmeg State Baseball League, which I also did.   This is type of performance you expect from both teams and the Monsters just happened to have things in their favor on this day.   It wasn't a 10-0 blowout and I don't think anyone expected that because the Banditos didn't get this far to lose that badly.   It was a tough loss but it was not a terrible loss.  That's the important thing to remember.  

Baseball Review //
River Valley Orioles 5, South Windsor Phillies 2
[10/24/20 @ Nevers Park, South Windsor, CT]

Additional photos can be found here:

This was the second game of the doubleheader on this day.  In between the two games my dad took Quentin over to get us lunch at Dairy Queen.  Also, during the first game (and most of the second game) Quentin had been chasing down the foul balls for the Phillies so their coach gave him five dollars for his efforts, which was really nice.   The Orioles and Phillies had never played each other before this though it does look like a GHTBL game (luckily this was not the Vernon Orioles)  It was also similar to the Phillies-Millers match up in the way that it was consisting of top teams and at the time they went into this game both teams only had one loss.

To the credit of the Phillies it is not easy to win a doubleheader especially if you're playing against different teams.  Most of the Phillies roster had already been through seven innings when the Orioles were coming in fresh.   The way I've always seen the Connecticut Fall League as well is that each team plays only once a week and in that sense you only need one strong pitcher.  So when you think about there being pitchers for the Phillies in this game who aren't that guy going up against a pitcher for the Orioles who is that guy (but isn't Mike Lord) then it also doesn't seem quite fair.

This game started off with two innings of scoreless ball which made you feel like it was going to be a low scoring game.  In the top of the third inning, a runner for the Orioles managed to go all the way from first base to third base when the Phillies were out of position and no one was there to guard the base.   On a passed ball that runner would score to put the Orioles up 1-0 after three innings.   The Orioles did that thing where they put together solid little hits to get another run in the top of the fifth inning to give them a 2-0 lead.   

The Phillies, however, saw this as an invitation to respond to being down 2-0 by Jake Petrozza hitting a deep shot to center field for a triple which scored two and made it a tie ball game.  This is the excitement- this is the suspense and drama that makes baseball so much fun to watch.  It felt like such a stalemate, then the Orioles went up a little bit at a time, only to have it all not matter just like that- just that quickly.   All that work they did in how much time all undone in an instant.

There was a great diving catch by the Orioles leftfielder to end the fifth inning and it just might have been the play of the game.   Travis Ferguson came in to pitch in the seventh inning and he loaded the bases on walks.   This would ultimately lead to the Orioles scoring the final three runs of the game and the Phillies just not being able to come back from it.  One thing which was kind of funny to me though was that the player # 1 from the Orioles got upset about a strike call while at bat and was arguing with the umpire a lot.  Then when he went to pitch he got called on a balk.  I'm not saying he only got called on the balk because he was yelling at the umpire but, you know, these things don't always help each other.

With this game, the Phillies move on to face the Canton Crushers in the first round of the playoffs.   The Phillies have been sitting atop the league for most of the time and the Crushers have- to put it bluntly- not won a single game.   There is still that idea of maybe the Crushers were figuring it out up until now and they're going to surprise everyone in the playoffs, but if I was a betting man I'd bet on the Phillies to defeat them.   Whoever wins between the Phillies and Crushers moves on to face the Gators and that's going to be quite the game as well.   I don't know how they've done it but the Connecticut Fall League has really managed to make the best possible matchups for the playoffs and if you're not watching them then you must not love baseball.

Baseball Review //
Great Barrington Millers 3, South Windsor Phillies 5
[10/24/20 @ Nevers Park, South Windsor, CT]

Additional photos can be found here:

This game was the first of a doubleheader for the South Windsor Phillies and I considered combining the two games into one review but I felt like both games were different enough that they needed their own reviews.   We had only been to Nevers Park once before but this time it somehow felt nicer.  When we got there- around 11:00 am, which was to be game time- the Millers weren't all there yet and most importantly there were no umpires.  So while we waited for the umpires to show up so the game could start we walked around checking into Pokestops and catching Pokemon I'd never seen before.

The last time we had seen the Phillies they lost to the Gators and oddly enough the last time we saw the Millers they also lost to the Gators so going into this game it felt like both of these teams had something to prove coming off of that loss.   The Phillies had Trevor Moulton on the mound while the Millers had Justin Morhardt and it felt like a GHTBL showdown in that way.   This felt like it was going to be a pitchers duel but the Phillies scored early on a HBP and BB which set the tone for the entire game.

There were strikeouts throughout this game but there were also runners in scoring position who never scored.   The first runs of this game came unearned but then more came in off of a huge homerun by Travis Ferguson.   Justin Morhardt would double off of the fence in right field (I thought the ball was out of here) to put up runs to try and bring the Millers back into it, but it just wasn't enough.   This really felt like a game where the Phillies started off scoring first and then they just kept going with the Millers trying to catch up but the Phillies were always just one step ahead of them.  

The Millers even tried to get a rally going to tie the game up in the seventh inning but it fell short.   It's easy enough to say that the Millers weren't on their best game this day and the Phillies were just the better team.    This was a first time match up between the two teams, who have been both been at the top of the league, and now it is interesting as the Millers dropped their game on Sunday against KHA and head into the playoffs against KHA.  If the Millers can get past KHA, they have the Orioles waiting for them- a match which hasn't happened yet- and that's going to be a game to see.  If KHA defeats the Millers though then we have a Connecticut Twilight League match up next.  

Either way, the playoffs are set and as of right now it looks like it's going to be challenging for the Millers, KHA and then the Orioles who are all on the same side of the brackets.  None of the three teams are really guarenteed to make it to the finals because KHA holds a recent victory over the Millers while the Millers no-hit them as well.   Whoever wins and advances is going to make for a can't miss game against the Orioles and I'm here for it all.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Music Review //
Babe, Terror

As I sit here typing this the world has barely began to get back to what it used to be since the coronavirus hit earlier this year.   There are two aspects which make "Horizogon" so important to me and why I am choosing to review it the way that I am.  The first reason is simply because there have been many pieces of music- from songs to albums- submitted to me during this time which were reflective of the state of the world.  I was expected to listen to pop songs about "falling in love during the time of corona" and I just couldn't do it.   This is one of the only pieces of music I've really felt touches upon what is happening in the world in such a way that I am willing to not only listen to it but write about it.

Secondly, I really enjoy the way in which this album was created.   There are six songs ranging from six to ten minutes in length so it is more of an LP than an EP.   Each song also has a music video for it which means there are a number of different ways which you experience listening to "Horizogon".   You can go the traditional route and listen to only the audio from start to finish.  You can watch each music video individually or you can watch all of the videos together as one which provides you with extra footage and creates a film.   I would actually love to see the full film as a VHS release one day but for now we can just enjoy the experience of each song taken as a video and given its own piece of this overall review.  

"Scala Velodromeda

There is an eerie feeling of electronics in this one.   Keyboards, but set up in a post apocalyptic way.   This becomes more apparent as these rusty guitar strings come in.   This video is also set within an airport and as the description states it is at the beginning of the coronavirus hitting the world.   It's odd because at first I thought it could be a shopping mall and I didn't feel like people had masks on- they were just going about their business as they normally would, some just standing around with their faces glued to their phones.   But as you keep watching you continue to see the people walking with luggage and masks on.   

As the guitar notes return we are seeing a scene which appears to be people dancing out in a desert somewhere.   It feels like a party of some sort, though the mood set by the music does not reflect that of joy.    Hearing these electronics and breaking down acoustic guitar strings, which are eventually even joined by a sax, don't really set the same tone as the visuals, but as they switch back to the airport it is a scene of almost panic.   This is fitting because what history may or may not reflect decades from now is that when the coronavirus first hit not everyone took it as seriously as perhaps they should have and so it wasn't simply everyone being in a panic-- some people did panic but others simply went about their day until they were forced to stay inside (and even then, not everyone did)


Haunted tones bring out the sounds of lost souls as we see images of buses from Brazil.  Tones come into the song now and as we look onto the city it is dark and gives me a feeling of people having to flee at night.   I am reminded of living in Houston after Hurricane Katrina, this other hurricane came through and everyone was scared by it so the city pretty much evacuated.  I was driving overnight, sleeping at a rest stop and it was just such a feeling like I've never had before and never had since.  The hurricane also turned out to not really be much of anything but it was a strange experience at least to have said I did that.  

The music feels ominous- not in the sense of panic but in the way that the panic is about to come.   Cars are driving now and I'm reminded how COVID 19 is not something we can escape in such a way.   Tones come through the haunted souls and it feels like a soudntrack to a John Carpenter film.   We see a helicopter.   This video doesn't just have a lot of transportation in it, it also has a lot of movement.   Pianos and hot air balloons now.   I wonder if you could live in a hot air balloon- high in the sky above the virus.   Footage of a parade is seen now with what sounds like a trumpet also accompanying it.   This is an image of the old life, pre-COVID 19.  

Going down a path through the woods now, we've combined the piano with the trumpet and electronic tones.   This feels less haunted and more like an old time jazz number, which is just such a great leap to make within the same song.   We see a few other people but not a lot now as the bass strings also become more apparent within the music.  I'm not sure where this is but it is nice to look at and seems like the type of place I'd go to if I was nearby.  I'm not sure why but the way this entire video looked- in the city- reminded me a lot of downtown New Haven and perhaps that's the point: there's a bit of everyone's city within it.  

"Horizogon Squadra"

We are back at the airport, much like in the first video, only now we have this choir of angelic singing leading the heavenly sounds.   I'm not sure how anyone else feels about flying but I do not enjoy doing it and have probably only been on a plane maybe four or five times in my lifetime (counting there and back)  The song grows somber, almost sad, as the singing fades out and what sounds like the trumpet comes in.  It's dark and there are lights as the voices come back deeper now, with more bass, and this just feels depressing which is not unexpected because of the state of the world which it is reflecting.

At times this music can feel like it is at peace.  I want to put it on and relax, take a bath perhaps.   At other times it feels like if I tried that once I was calm it would sort of wake me from that state as it can take on this more startling sort of tone.   The piano has returned now and I think of Charlie Brown for some reason.  Images of people dancing one again in this parade-like setting.   I hear a distinct beeping as well, as if it is coming from a watch.   Wow, who remembers how fancy watches got in the 1990's with all of their buttons and such.  I used to have a wristwatch with a built in timer- where you could time a race or something- and I thought that was so cool.  Now it's all in our phones.

The bass strings come back with the piano keys and it's glorious.  The image of a pyramid in Egypt now.  This is part of the parade still I think.  The contrast of music fits the contrast of people at ease and celebrating such as in the parade and then the people are also in a sort of panic at the airport- it's not rushing around and fleeing but more of the suspense.  Isn't that what this whole pandemic has really been though- the suspense of not knowing?   That has been the true fear.   I hear a sax now with the trumpet, things are falling apart, and it doesn't quite sound like jazz but I don't know how else to describe it.   Is there a genre for neo-jazz and if not could this be it?   Sounds like steps, like someone walking around a room and beautiful piano part.

This goes back and forth between dark and daytime a lot and I feel like it is done on purpose to further portray the two different sounds, the different moods of not only the different songs but within the same song as well.   The end of this video has moments of pitch black and it spends quite a bit of time in that almost pure darkness.  

"Estuário Transurânia"

This opens with a sound like a choir and it feels like the visual is of us flying over a city, such as by helicopter, and there is smoke coming from the city below.   Pianos come in as it starts to sound sad- the beeping from the previous track returns- and it is dark.  We then switch back to day time as it feels as if we are on a beach.   People are walking through the sand and water and the buildings just create such a beautiful atmosphere.   Electronics come in like a video game and I feel like we also hear a saxophone.   It's such a layering of sound unlike anything I've heard before and it just works so well together.   

Someone is now welding on a metal barricade on the road it looks like.   There are sad strings and then it becomes angelic.   Pianos return and there are a few different genres I've noticed throughout this album which feel just as at ease side by side as they do blending together.  We're driving now, under a bridge, which reminds me of NYC and it's rather bright.  We come back to the beach now and it looks somewhat overcast but is still a lovely view.  The bass plucks return now as the piano and sax have backed off.   Now the sax returns and the way this sand looks is just amazing.  There are these trenches forged through it and it's quite the visual.

If this is during the pandemic though the beach is empty compared with how Florida handled everything (which was not well)  We're back to what I feel is the parade now.  Many people are gathered together and there are costumed characters which look like cartoon birds but they're wearing shirts and hats.   They could be a mascot of some type.   Movement like dancing as the music takes a turn towards the beeping of morse code.   We're back in that tunnel.   The video game tones come through like Pong.   There is some construction and I just noticed the singing again.    Quietly now, it fades out.  

"Salina Lúmen"

We open on the city with cars driving.   Most of these songs have all started with these same sort of choir tones.    There are some horns and pianos coming in now, in a nice rhythm, and the cars seem to be stuck in traffic.   The sound feels relaxing and ambient which seems to go well with the cars not moving but I know when people get stuck in traffic they tend to rage.   The cars begin to drive and this most holy of sounds continues.   People are shown now in large gatherings again.  I've never really been a big fan of crowds, so I suppose one thing I'm not mad about when it comes to this pandemic-- having to be six feet apart from others.

That bass line is back and someone is shown singing now.   A voice accompanies the bass and echoes it.   Smoke fills the sky and I cannot tell if this is a party or a warzone but I prefer to choose party.   It seems like the parade we've been seeing this whole time is still going on and some smooth sax comes into the audio.  We're back indoors and I feel like we are at the airport again.  The way people are gathered but there isn't a lot of luggage so it might not be the airport.  It looks like some kind of indoor event though where people can shop.   

Tones come through like "Knight Rider" and it's somewhat squealing through as well.  I'm not quite sure what everyone is looking at in the center of this floor but it's pretty.   They have these markets everywhere I believe and I'm going to have to read about what's going on here.   Though I can state that this took place in Brazil this does remind me of going to some sort of similar feeling market in San Antonio, Texas which had a lot of Mexican items for sale and just in general being at gem and mineral shows here in Meriden, CT.   It's strange to think how these indoor events are the ones which we will miss the most during the pandemic.  

"Horizogon Catalase"

We open up with the sounds of sweet synth like something out of "Tron" and we see people doing construction work.   There are sad strings coming in now with laser blasts and this just has such the feel of a movie which is ending, which isn't just because I know this is the last in this series of videos.   Vocals come through now but they feel hollow.  People walk, a cat and dog play together around bicycles.   The strings make me feel like we are dancing a great waltz.   We're through the streets again and it sounds as if piano keys are trying to emerge.

I enjoy the contrast of streetlights with the dark sky.  We move closer to the light now and the piano keys get higher.   This city feels abandoned and the bass strings come back with horns.   It's odd to admit but at some point during the pandemic- maybe a month or so in- I wanted to get out so I just drove around and this video reminds me a lot of that.  For many, the pandemic started around March of 2020 and I was working up until April so I do remember just going to work in the morning and coming home at night without traffic, the whole city just feeling like a ghost town.  This video really resonates with me on that level.

Car lights are flashing and we go into almost darkness again as different colored lights take the form of a woman dancing.   The bass, horns and ahhhhh's make me think of some sort of futuristic jazz breaking down (as other tones come through as well) and it just feels like somewhere between that old black and white movie set in some bar where everyone is smoking and "Blade Runner".   The red and white lights of the woman dances over the street now like a hologram.    The way everything feels so empty when it was once full is such a powerful statement right now.  

Choosing to do this one video at a time might not have been the most practical way.  A different review could have been produced by only listening to the audio from start to finish or simply by reviewing the movie and having one constant train of thought from start to finish both in audio and visual aspects.   I do feel though like each song and just piece of this album deserves that individual attention and that's why I chose to do it this way.   Yes, if you watch or listen in a more complete sense (and not how I have chosen to break it up) there will be a different affect but overall this still remains one of my favorite pieces of music not just because of everything surrounding it but also simply because of how it sounds.

This is also one of the longest reviews I've ever written and not in the sense of word count but rather in the amount of time which it took me to sort of open up these songs and videos, dissect them and then put them back together.   Given the time and energy I've put into listening to this, I don't know how I would feel about someone else choosing to take this only as an audio experience or only choosing to watch the videos together as a film.  You need to really put the film onto your television via YouTube as much as you need to put the audio via Bandcamp through your stereo or even car speakers.    To me, that is just the completeness of the experience of this album.  

Full Movie here:

Full Album here:

Video Playlist here:

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Baseball Review //
Great Barrington Millers 1, Great Falls Gators 11
[10/21/20 @ Doc Bartlett Field, Amenia, NY]

Additional photos can be found here:

When the Connecticut Fall League announced a game in New York my second thought was about how few baseball games I've been to outside of Connecticut.   In fact, the only time I think I've ever been to a baseball game in New York was to see the Mets (both at Shea as a kid and last year at Citi Field)  So I don't know what type of person would drive an hour and a half to Amenia, New York to see a baseball game on a Tuesday night in late October but my dad, my son and I all must fit that bill since we made the trip.

Right away, I knew this game was going to be good.  What I didn't know was that it was also the final regular season game for the Great Falls Gators, who fittingly enough started their season against the Great Barrington Millers.   During that doubleheader the Millers won the first game while the Gators took the second and both have been key losses on each others records since.  The Gators only have one other loss (to the Orioles) while the Millers have no other losses.   This was, as they say, the rubber match.  

We got to Beekman Park a little bit after 5pm because being in the car for over an hour I wanted Quentin to get out and run around before the game started.   Plus it was the whole going somewhere we'd never been before and not knowing how traffic would be that made me want to leave early as well, but we made it to Amenia with little issue.  We saw a lot of trees, some cows and even some sheep on our drive there.   I was somewhat surprised to see most of the players already at the field an hour before the game but the umpires didn't show up until about 5:45 so that made me feel a little bit better.

I googled "Doc Bartlett Field Amenia NY" before making this trip and when I found this article come up I felt compelled to read it and I think if you have the time/interest you should as well.   I didn't realize that the Tri-State Baseball League played on this field but not only do the Amenia Monarchs call this home they also have Bobby Chatfield on their roster.   It's been fun this year seeing the Terryville Black Sox in the Connecticut Twilight League, the Bristol Greeners in the Nutmeg State Baseball League and the Canton Crushers here in the Connecticut Fall League so I might have to check out a Tri-State game or two next season.

This game started in a way which really seemed to set the tone for it overall.  I feel like there is this whole idea of pitchers having the first one or two innings be rough and then they settle in and likewise the offense could get used to the pitcher and really come alive more further on in the game, but the baseball games I've seen more recently always seem to set the tone right within the first inning.   Either you're scoring right out of the gate or it's going to be a low scoring game.   

The top of the first inning was all strikeouts for Bobby Chatfield and even though he had many fans in the stands cheering and chanting "Bob-by!" for him I still feel like maybe I should call him Bob. (But it's too late to go back now)  In the bottom of the first inning the leadoff hitter for the Gators got on.   Willy Yahn came up to bat and blasted a two run homerun to put the Gators up 2-0 right away.   You knew right then and there it was going to be this type of game.  In his next at bat, in the third inning, Willy Yahn would nail another homerun, solo this time.   You don't often see back to back homeruns like that but when was the last time you sat outside on an October night and didn't feel cold?  There was almost a warm breeze in the air.

There were two more strikeouts in the second inning and then another two in the third.  The third inning actually ended with a run down between second and third base in which the runner for the Millers got caught so he went out of the base path to avoid being tagged.   Along with that solo homerun in the third inning by Willy Yahn a run also scored on a passed ball.  In the top of the fourth there was a great play where a pitch went by the Gators catcher.   The Millers had a runner on third so he broke for home, which to be fair when you're down that much you have to take those chances.   Max Quinn threw the ball to Bobby Chatfield, who had just such a great presence of where to be, and that made that out.

My dad took Quentin for a walk during the bottom of the fourth inning and that was when the Gators offense really explored.  After a walk, there was a single to put runners on first and second.   Willy Yahn hit a ball to the Millers shortstop and at first it looked as if the shortstop caught it and then threw it to second base for a double play but apparently he didn't catch it and that became a fielder's choice.   This put runners on first and third and that enabled a run to score on a passed ball.   Then the Gators number 27 hit a double down the first base side to clear the bases.   

Max Quinn would also play a key role in this inning as he stole second and in the process a runner on third went home.    When you have runners on first and third, even if there are two outs, if the runner on first wants to steal second- let him have it.  I've seen this play enough times now to know that every time I see it the runner has been safe at second and also then, obviously, at home.    It is better to have runners on second and third than to have a runner on second and another run scored.   But it is a sort of switcheroo type of steal that I do enjoy seeing and I wish people tried more.   Worst case scenario you get a free second base.

The Gators were throwing strikeout after strikeout and in the fifth inning the Gators number 5, who Twitter tells me is Joe Rivera, blasted a solo homerun.   Now, this would be less impressive in a game which already had two homeruns had it not then gone to where in the top of the seventh inning Joe Rivera came in to pitch and finish the game on a strikeout.   So, you can debate which is a more difficult task to pull off- the back to back homeruns of Willy Yahn or the homerun followed by the closing of the game by Joe Rivera but both were just incredible to witness live during this game.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Music Review //
Kouns & Weaver
"The 1990 Cincinnati Reds" //

"The 1990 Cincinnati Reds" is the fifth release by Kouns & Weaver available on their Bandcamp.   At least three of those other releases are themed around the holidays, Christmas it would seem is a big hit with them.   Through a series of tweets (maybe retweets) I found out about this album and really Kouns & Weaver which immediately made me want to listen because who has ever created an entire album about baseball before.  If someone has done this, it has not been like this: based on a single season and team.   My all-time favorite team is of course the 1986 New York Mets and even though this is not them it's worth listening to because of the simple fact that it combines music with baseball: all of the cassettes I collected growing up finally merge with the baseball cards.

As someone who enjoys the physical aspects of music over the digital, it would be fun to see this release on cassette but it would also just be fun to have download codes attached to baseball cards.   This would work better if we were not all in shutdown mode still and there were actually live music events happening as there were last year, but having a baseball card that looks like the cover art of Kouns & Weaver or even just a download code pasted onto a 1990 Chris Sabo Topps card would be neat.   It makes sense to me why it wasn't done though because it's more of an in person thing to do than to have someone order a download code through Bandcamp to be mailed to them.   I would do it but I don't know if it would be worth it for how many others would as well.

Musically these songs have that feeling of keys with the drums and then the words are spoken.    It's not quite jazz and it's not quite The Beats and poetry but it feels like something new.   One song might sound like some other artist but overall each song seems to tell its own story and as a collection that is something which is without compare.    Haunted keys at the start of this album can easily turn into the sound of "Doogie Howser" by the end.   In many ways this also has that 1980's/1990's noir feel to it, the way you would wear some old detective tell his story like something out of an era when everything was black and white.   Mostly because of the spoken word but a little bit because of the music as well I can relate this with Steve Scott and sometimes one name is all you need.  

Each of these songs is titled after a character who played their role in the 1990 Cincinnati Reds winning the World Series- it's not just the players because Marge Schott and Mr. Red both have their own songs.   Some of these players are amongst my all-time favorites and that isn't to say other players don't make an appearance as Jose Canseco is name dropped at least twice (The Reds did defeat the A's in the WS)  "Chris Sabo" is really distorted and noisy while "Rob Dibble" is a jam, which are words I never thought I'd type.   "Barry Larkin" feels like a ballad and it can be less about baseball due to the lyrics, while a song like "Tom Browning" can seem to focus more on the music over the words.   "Norm Charlton" is quite the story and I really hope that "Marty Brennamen" is not based on a true story but I'm too scared to look it up.  

I love baseball and I love music.   They are two constants in my life since I was a kid.  I was buying cassettes and baseball cards in the 1980's and 1990's and I'm still doing it now-- still as excited about a Pete Alonso card now as I was about a Howard Johnson card back then (which is funny because they wear the same number)  Going back to 1990, this feels nostalgic but as this review will likely be posted after a review of a baseball game (and before the review of another baseball game) it also feels very much present.   It's not a given that if someone creates an album about baseball it will automatically be something I fall in love with but Kouns & Weaver have definitely done just that here.    Even if I didn't know the first thing about baseball, I would appreciate this album for its musical content and the stories which are told.   Being that I am a fan of baseball just makes this one that much more special to me.  

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Baseball Review //
Connecticut Express 3, Silver City Banditos 9
[10/18/20 @ Legion Field, Meriden, CT]

Additional photos can be found here :::

The weather for this game was neither too cold nor too hot, it seemed just right.   It's odd to be in the middle of October and still feel this sense of warmth in the sun but I'd rather have it than be in my winter coat right now.   This was a first round playoffs game, nine innings and if you lose you go home.   I think the fact that this was a nine inning game shouldn't be lost on anyone because when these two teams faced each other in the regular season their first game went eight innings because it was such a stalemate.   

That game gave the Banditos their first loss this season.   That's a fun piece of trivia you don't want to think about going into the game but you don't feel so badly about acknowledging it now.   The Banditos split their regular season games with the Express and what I perhaps remember most about those games is that the Express have a pitcher who is number 11 and I told my uncle he was a ringer from the Marlins.   There was some concern going into this game because if the Express did whatever they did in that 4-2 victory back in August then they would certainly win here.

But the Banditos aren't the same team they were back in August.   The Banditos are more focused on hitting now and it's strange to say because they were on a winning streak up until then.  Now they just seem to be getting the job done because they know it's time.   I didn't pay much attention to what happened with the Connecticut Express for the rest of the season but as it turns out they finished right behind the Banditos in fifth place and had a 13-9 record (compared to the Banditos 16-8, but still over .500, which was where they were at back in August)

This game started with Dan Livingston on the mound which was an interesting way to begin things as it seemed most likely we'd see JD Tyler starting.  I suppose the idea was to start Dan Livingston and see how he did and if he got into trouble then they could bring in JD Tyler, as opposed to trying to make either pitcher go all nine innings if it was a close game (or if the Banditos were down)  It makes sense and really just rests JD Tyler for a week, which can bring him back even stronger next week.

The first at bat for the Express was HBP and Dan Livingston would have three of those throughout the game.   After a strikeout though the Express hit into a double play and the first three outs were recorded with the Banditos off to a great start defensively.   When the Banditos took the bat, Jason Sullivan got on base right away and then was hit in by Will Kszywanos for a 1-0 early lead.   Ricky Marrero got a little hit in the infield which put him on base alongside Will Kszywanos and then Francisco Asencio hit a deep bomb to left field that went over the fence for a three run homerun.   At the end of the first inning it was Banditos on top 4-0.

The Express had their number 11 pitcher on the mound so I thought maybe he was just settling in.   The offense of the Express also seemed to be stifled by not only the pitching of Dan Livingston but the defense of the Banditos team.   In the top of the second inning there was a ball thrown to first to check the runner which got past the first baseman.   This got the Express runner all the way to third base but after a strikeout the inning was over so it didn't matter.  In similar fashion, the Express went into the fifth inning and got bases loaded for themselves with no outs.   The Banditos managed to get out of it though without giving up a single run.

It wasn't until the sixth inning when number 50 for the Express hit a shot to the gap and made it into a double.   Then the Express number 9 did something similar which scored the first run of the game.   The Express also put together a few little hits to score one run in the top of the eighth inning but it was too little too late.   If they had started doing this in the third or fourth inning it could have been a different game.  But these small bursts of offense in the sixth inning wasn't enough for the Express to take down the Banditos, who also continue to put up the runs.

In the third inning both Ricky Marrero and JD Tyler got RBIs.   The bottom of the eighth ended on a great diving catch by the Express left fielder, but the Banditos were up 9-2 at that point so it didn't feel like three outs were enough for a comeback.   There was also a quick top of the eighth inning I should mention because it was a pop up fly out and then two strikeouts, which my uncle missed when he went to the bathroom and, yes, it all happened so fast.

Willie Rios made a great jumping catch for the Banditos and this game was also highlighted in many ways by the pitching of Dan Livingston, who was striking them out right up until the end.   This was a fun game in ways because it was exciting and full of offense.   This game earned the Banditos a spot into the semi-finals and they have the uphill battle of facing the regular season champions Milford Monsters this coming Sunday.   The Monsters swept the Banditos during the regular season but the Banditos were a different team then.   This time, the Banditos might be going into this as the underdawgs but based on this game today they have all of the tools which they need to defeat the Monsters and win it all.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Baseball Review //
Great Barrington Millers 1, KHA Team 0
[10/11/20 @ Southington Rec, Plantsville, CT]

Additional photos can be found here :::

Sometimes, all it takes us one run.   You think about games that end with a final of 5-4 but you really don't think about them being 1-0.    Going into this game, the Great Barrington Millers had a record of 2-1, with their only loss being to the Gators on opening day, while the KHA team were 1-2.   This game took place in Southington, which is about twenty minutes from me, so after the Banditos-Owls double header in the morning I was around 2:30, which gave me a few hours to relax and eat before going back out.

This field reminded me a bit of McKenna Field and I was okay with that.   We sat in bleachers behind a net and the net was really tall so there were slim odds we'd get hit by a foul ball.  One of the things I also noticed right away was that the KHA team had players from the Knights, Aftershock and at least three players in a blue uniform but no one from the Hurricanes this time out.  I think that the blue team is the Thunder (?) so maybe soon they will go from KHA to KTA.  (Probably not.  There are only two weeks left in the season)

The fun fact for this game is that the KHA team had a pitcher start in the first inning, who gave up the only run of the game, and then they replaced him in the second inning.   For the rest of the game, Chris McGrath (of the Knights) was on the mound and he pitched a great game.  One only wonders what the result of this game might have been had Chris McGrath started and not allowed that run in the first inning (they might still be playing)

The pitching of Justin Morhardt was too much for the KHA team to overcome though.   After striking out two in the first inning, you knew it was going to be that type of game.    In the bottom of the fourth inning there was a great diving catch made by the Millers' center fielder and that was apparently when we learned that Justin Morhardt had a no-hitter going.   This was a seven inning game and Justin Morhardt came out after five, but the closing pitcher for the Millers got all six of the final outs as strikeouts and the Millers pitchers managed to do the combined no-hitter.   

I remember on Saturday I had something to my dad about going to this game and he knew that I would be at the Banditos double header before it so his thing was if for some reason I felt too tired or just decided after those two games I didn't want to do a third game then to let him know.    And I remember telling him something like "We're going to see the Millers.  Justin Morhardt will be pitching.  It'll be fun".    Never at that point did I think I'd see a no-hitter, but now I am definitely glad that I went to this game.

With this win for the Millers and the loss the day before for the Phillies they now have the same record of 3-1.    They also have yet to face each other so that's going to be a game you really want to see when it comes around.   (The Millers say they are off this weekend though the schedule has them playing the Phillies on Saturday)   The Gators and Orioles are right there as well, as the Gators have victories over the top two teams and the Orioles have a victory over the Gators.   So this may seem complex but it is all very competitive and I think if nothing else we've learned that on any day it can be anyone's game.  

Baseball Review //
Stratford Owls 1 / 0, Silver City Banditos 3 / 9
[10/11/20 @ Ceppa Field, Meriden, CT]

Additional photos can be found here :::

This was the final regular season Sunday for the Banditos and although they already clinched a playoff spot, these two games would still determine their place in the rankings and as such other teams places as well, which would ultimately go to decide who will versus who next week.   I remember last season going to only the last two games of the Banditos season- I believe- but I've been to so many more this season and it's just been so much fun.   I can't imagine what my Sundays are going to be like when I don't have baseball on them anymore. 

The first game of this doubleheader was very much what I would like to call the game of the week.   It was a strong pitching game from both sides but also the defense was on point.  In the first inning, JD Tyler hit a single and then was able to score on a double by the next batter, AJ Hendrickson.    A passed ball was difficult for the catcher to find and this helped AJ Hendrickson to go from second all the way to home.    This would really set the tone for the game as after this there wasn't a lot happening in terms of runs being scored.

In the top of the third inning the Owls put together some small hits to score one run, but it was the only run they would score.   Still, being up 2-1, this game felt rather tense as it could've broken open at any moment for either team.   That didn't happen though because the pitching was just too good.  JD Tyler ended the third inning with bases loaded on a strikeout.   The fifth inning also ended with a runner on third and a K by JD Tyler.   And if you were keeping track, the sixth inning also had bases loaded for the Owls and JD Tyler ended it with a strikeout.   

The pitching on both sides was really great to watch.  The Owls' pitcher put on a really good show and other than those two runs he gave up in the first inning, he didn't give up another run until the sixth inning.   My uncle and I were discussing how most major league pitchers have an ERA of at least 2.something, so you're bound to give up some runs as a pitcher.   If this game was against any other team perhaps the Owls would have won it.

Jason Sullivan also should get a nod as both defensive and offensive player of the game for the first one.   Not only did he pull off a beautiful double play in the second inning but he also did it again in the seventh to end the game.   At the bat, he hit a shot down first base side into that spot where it's not easy to retrieve the ball and that ended up as a triple for him, which also happened to score Ray Thayer in the sixth inning for the third and final Banditos run.

For everything that the Owls did in the first game for pitching it seemed to fall apart for them in the second game.  The Owls used several different pitchers and none of them ever seemed to find their groove.  In the first inning alone, the Banditos put up five runs which seemed like a difficult deficit for the Owls to come back from.   There were some walks but the Banditos were just hitting.   It felt good to see them swinging the bats again.  Sometimes the ball would fly out to left field, but it felt like (unless they were walking or HBP) every batter was making contact.  

By the sixth inning it felt like the Owls could stage their comeback with runners on first and third, but it never happened.  Dan Livingston pitched the complete game shut out and in quite glorious fashion it all ended on a strikeout as well.    These were two well earned victories for the Banditos and the Owls put up a fight so it wasn't just a crushing defeat where you felt bad watching the other team.

This shapes things up interestingly for the playoffs.  Someone said the playoffs would be a single elimination nine inning game.  My theory through a lot of this season was that many teams had one strong pitcher and another pitcher who was either not as good or they didn't have a second pitcher and so a lot of teams went .500~ish.   For the playoffs to be a single game though, a team like the Owls has a much better chance of winning if they just keep using the first pitcher they had today.   Then again, the game is also going to be nine innings and those two extra innings do make a difference.   

I'm not certain as I type this who the Banditos will face in the first round of the playoffs but they say they are hosting and that means it could be at Ceppa Field.   The way the bats came alive in the second game of this double header and with the pitching the Banditos have, I'm not sure anyone can stop them at this point.  

Baseball Review //
South Windsor Phillies 0, Great Falls Gators 10
[10/10/20 @ Litchfield Community Field, Litchfield, CT]

More photos can be found here :::

The first thing we learned going to this game is that downtown Litchfield is always busy on Saturday.   The Gators went into this game with a 3-2 record, having suffered losses to the Millers and Orioles, while the Phillies were coming in undefeated with a 3-0 record.   The Phillies are the only full team to come from the GHTBL, but rooting against the Gators is not something I want to do.   This game did have that mystery about it though because the Phillies were undefeated going into it.

In the top of the first inning with a runner on first base there was a fly ball out to right field which was caught for the second out.  Apparently though the Phillies baserunner did not know this as he ran to second, then third and then back to the dugout as the Gators got the ball to first to get him out.  He must have thought there were two outs, but this seemed to set the tone for the game for the Phillies.

The Phillies had Trevor Moulton on the mound and most of their roster from the previous GHTBL season seemed to be there.  But a lead off hit, a Willy Yahn double and then a passed ball put the first run on the board for the Gators.   In the second inning, Willy Yahn hit a deep shot to left that ended in him being thrown out at third base but really if there was a fence out there somewhere that could have been a homerun instead.   Hitting a car to get a homerun just seems so far and I have yet to see someone do it.

The Phillies were silenced in the top of the third, taking all strikeouts and in the bottom of the third they changed pitchers after their starter gave up five runs.  This was strange to see as we previously had seen Trevor Moulton go seven innings.   In the top of the fourth the Phillies managed to get runners on first and second but they just couldn't seem to do anything with it.  In the bottom of the sixth inning when the Gators reached ten runs the game ended.   The fifth inning was the only inning which the Gators did not score.

This was a fun game if only because Quentin got to do the Gator Chomp a lot.  The Gators have more wins now than anyone else in the league with 4 and since the Millers won their game on Sunday the Phillies and Millers are now tied for first place with 3-1 records.   The Phillies and Millers have yet to meet though, so that will be a great game, and you still have the Orioles (who the Phillies have also not faced yet) sneaking up behind the top three teams and posing a threat.   There are only two weeks left before the playoffs but there are still some matchups to be had.  

Monday, October 12, 2020

Music Review //
Saahil Bhargava
"Plug in Baby"

When you press play on this song the first thing you'll hear is the guitar come screeching through.   There is a certain level of distortion that makes me think of an artist such as Santana, but the way it builds just also gives me this bigger vibe like Trans Siberian Orchestra.   In some ways, hearing this music the way it is even makes me think we're going into an opus of a song, the likes of which we could hear from Coheed and Cambria.

As the vocals kick in, I'm not sure I've ever heard anything quite like this before.  The combination of music and voice is not far off from someone like The Rocket Summer or Ben Kweller, perhaps, but it has not been done quite like this before.   The music feels like a gritty rock n roll, distorted into the chorus like Weezer, but the vocals sing a different song- one which could be closer to a pop side of rock.

It is strange for me to think about how we can blend other genres with melody- such as hardcore and even metal- but the idea of taking this distorted rock n roll sound and putting these almost Coldplay-like vocals on top of it is something new.   If I had to choose one artist to compare Saahil Bhargava with it would have to be Weezer, but this somehow just seems so much more complex than that also.

While this is one song from Saahil Bhargava, I would definitely like to hear more.  I imagine an album coming somewhere with a sound between Ben Folds and Phantom Planet.  I think of how powerful a slower ballad could sound.   It's that distorted almost classic rock n roll sound but with a melody in the vocals unlike which I've ever heard before and when you tie it all together it really makes me want to hear more music which sounds like this and I think only Saahil Bhargava can deliver that.  

Thursday, October 8, 2020

CD Review //
"Pass Like Pollen"
(Anxiety Blanket)

"Pass Like Pollen" is available on record and digital here:

The music of Cartalk can be told in two stories.   On one side, you have these beautifully crafted songs filled with melodies and grace.   On the other side you have this distortion and what just feels like destruction.   While it could be thought of as two sounds which have been blended together before, they have never formed a sound such as this, that I have heard before anyway.   "Pass Like Pollen" takes you on an emotional journey both within the lyrics and the music of the album itself.

When I first press play on the song "Arroyo Tunnels" to start this album there is a sound like folk music.   It's dreamy, but there is also that underlying feel of this being kind of like a country album but not really a country album.   I'm thinking of artists like The Honorary Title and John Denver right away, which really says a lot not just because of the space between those sounds but also the timeframe when you can think of both of them as playing on stages as well.  

By the end of this first song though the music has grown into some kind of bliss.   It's a longer outro of sorts but it just works as it sets the tone for the rest of the songs.   "Noonday Devil" comes in more rocking like Tom Petty and makes you really want to pay attention to the lyrics.   "Las Manos" kicks into the chorus with much distortion and this is also where I begin to compare this in my mind with Weezer's blue album.   One of my favorite lines on this album also comes in this song and says: "Did my honesty scare you? Honestly I scare me too"

The fourth song is called "Wrestling" and I didn't know if it was going to be about wrestling with your thoughts or actually name drop Jake Roberts, but there is a line which says "No heel turn happening" and that makes me think this does have elements in it which relate to pro wrestling and whenever the art forms of music and pro wrestling can clash I am happy.   There are serious "Can't Hardly Wait" vibes on "Wrestling" while we then go on a nice drive with "Car Window".   It really is such a perfect balance between melody and destruction, falling apart made fun.

"A Lesson" slows things down, not just for the song itself but for the rest of the album.   While it is a ballad with the strings coming out and all, this is the first time I really think of Slothrust during this album as well (and I'm always thinking about Slothrust)   "Driveway", much like "Car Window", is a good example of the blending of styles on this album and then "Something or Nothing" takes us back into a somewhat ballad of a song.   By the end you'll hear lyrics about Springsteen as it goes out with a bang, as leaving them wanting more.

After listening to "Pass Like Pollen" I can say that I really enjoy it as I feel the album does what all great albums should do: embraces the past while paving way for the future.   I'm not sure what I would call this if you wanted to put it into a genre.   Obviously rock is at the top of the list, but then you get into some subgenre qualifiers and it gets tricky when you walk that line between Mazzy Star and L7.   I'm also not sure how well this would fit in during the 1990's when grunge was most popular, but I do know that it is a perfect sound for right now.  

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Baseball Review //
KHA 1, Great Falls Gators 5
[10/3/20 @ Litchfield Community Field, Litchfield, CT]

Additional photos can be found here :::

This was our second time going to the Litchfield Community Field and I must say that I enjoy it because not only do they have proper bathrooms but there is enough space around the field to sit without feeling as if you're too close to other people or in a bad spot.  We sit in the shade of trees but if it felt colder we could move down slightly and be in the sun.   There was, however, something going on in Litchfield on this day which caused a lot of traffic in their downtown.   When we arrived at the game it was maybe 2:05 (with a 2:00 start time) so with the Gators on the field I assumed it was the top of the first.

At the time we were getting out of the car as well, the Gators catcher was down and being looked at by the rest of the team.   I can only assume that he took a bat to some part of his body, maybe knocking the wind out of him.   Between trying to figure out what was going on at home plate and just trying to get my general sense of being set up and ready to go for the game, I did forget to take a picture when I first got there which typically goes not only on Instagram but also in the top of these reviews.

The "KHA" team is made up of primarily players from the Connecticut Twilight League who are on the Bristol Knights (they're the "K"), the New Britain Hurricanes (they're the "H") and the Southington Aftershock (they're the "A")   I know that the New Britain Hurricanes did pretty well this season in the CTL so the way this could be an assembly of all-stars made it quite interesting.   There were also more teams than just these three out there as everyone wore their respective uniforms and there were, in total, at least five different uniforms out there.   It's kind of fun to look at it as an all-star game type of way though and that made it seem more like a competition.

While the Gators used three pitchers throughout this game, it felt like they used them in a different way than the KHA team used their three pitchers.   It felt like Gators have a starter, reliever and closer, but the KHA team just felt like the pitchers were given closer to an equal amount of time to pitch.  It makes it feel like none of them really got the chance to settle in but it's also just nice to give them a chance to pitch if that's what they want to do.

After putting a run up in the bottom of the second inning, the Gators responded by adding two more in the bottom of the third.   Oddly enough, the runner in the first inning who scored was put on base by a walk and the two runs in the bottom of the third were a result of a walk and a HBP with bases loaded.   The Gators were hitting though- putting up a run in the sixth and eighth inning as well.   The KHA team managed to get just one run in the top of the eighth inning but there was never really any threat of the KHA team tying the game as the Gators pitching had it in control.

Following this win, the Gators improve to 3-2 on the season and are only behind the Great Barrington Millers (who have only one loss, which was to the Gators) and the undefeated South Windsor Phillies.  This makes this coming Saturday feel much more important now as the Gators take on the Phillies at noon at Litchfield Community Field.  After that, the KHA team takes on the Millers in what should be a good match up as well.  If you feel particularly lucky, you can even go to Newington High School at 9 am for the River Valley Orioles-Canton Crushers game, which could be over with enough time for you to make it to Litchfield for noon.

With only three weeks left (and make up games) the Phillies are the team to beat as they remain undefeated.   Every team is going to the playoffs but the Phillies and Millers are going with a bye, which makes it seem more like a feeling out process for the teams but you never know what will happen in the playoffs.   The Canton Crushers have yet to win a game in this regular season so maybe they'll go undefeated in the playoffs.   Either way, it's fun to be out in the kind of cold but not really weather this time of year.

Music Review //
Ryan Hamilton and the Harlequin Ghosts
"Nowhere To Go But Everywhere"
(Wicked Cool Records) //

When this album starts, the first song has this feeling of acoustic pop- like it's not quite The Get Up Kids and it's not quite Tom Petty but it's somewhere in between and I don't mean like when The Get Up Kids did "Walking On A Wire".    This does remind me a little bit of Nathan Leigh & The Crisis Actors except where I feel like they have this more raw grit to their punk sound, Ryan Hamilton and the Harlequin Ghosts feel more polished, thus closer to pop punk than punk.

The second song- "Oh No"- is a collection of album titles within the verses as the chorus sings about rock n roll.  It's funny that I can hear some Tom Petty in these songs because one of the albums name-dropped is "Wildflowers", which many think came after peak Tom Petty but I still feel is one of his best works.  I'm not going to lie and say I know all these album titles because it did take me a minute to think "What's 'Elephant'? Oh yeah, White Stripes!"  I really enjoy the shoutout to "Hard Candy", which makes me also think of that particular album as being a part of this sound.

To some extent, it is funny because when writing a review you could name off all of the artists, genres, albums and such which remind you of the album which you are reviewing and by creating the song "Oh No", Ryan Hamilton and the Harlequin Ghosts have done a lot of that for me.   Though I would like to mention Ben Kweller as it would have been fun to hear one of the album titles as "Sha Sha".

As the album continues with "Jesus & John Lennon" there are references to other rock n roll icons and just overall pop culture from the past, with a nod to "Marilyn and Joe" and I'm thinking of the Beach Boys now but also The Rad Trads as this organ comes through.   This continues into that spiritual/garage sound (like the one The Gadjits took on when they stopped being ska) and I really feel like "Out Of My League" could be on the soundtrack of a film, and yes, I'm aware that there is a movie called "She's Out Of My League" but this movie would be different.  Also, I do hear some Ben Folds in here.

"Let's Go Slow" starts with acoustics which make me feel like The White Stripes are going to sing about being friends and even "Can I Get an Amen" makes me feel like The White Stripes a little bit.    "Don't Fall Apart" is a dreamy ballad about not just mental health but keeping it together in general, which is something I feel we all need right now.   The way "Newcastle Charm" has these lyrics which go from one thing to the opposite thing makes me think of Soul Asylum but there is also a lot of fun synth in here which makes me think of The Rentals.    This is definitely a contagious sing along song.

"Southern Accents" is a slowed down song which reminds us that sometimes being born somewhere doesn't make you a certain way.    I'm actually really reminded of this episode of "Dexter's Laboratory", which seems a bit deep but it was just such a great cartoon, called "Accent You Hate".    This takes us into another slower song, which somehow reminds me of a stripped down All Get Out.     Though we get somewhat slower on the second half of this album, I do enjoy the positive message it leaves us on "Pick Yourself Up", with the idea of starting over again not only being a nod to this music (to listen to it again) but to also perhaps accomplish today what you couldn't yesterday.