Thursday, June 30, 2022

Baseball Review //
Rainbow Graphics, 6
Wallingford Cardinals, 7
June 29th, 2022
Pat Wall Field, Wallingford, CT
GHTBL


Official Box Score here :::

https://www.ghtbl.org/event/graphics-cardinals-2


Additional photos here :::

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.7725368497504657&type=3


Random note going into this game: My uncle asked me what "RG" stood for (it's on the Rainbow Graphics' hats) and I told him Ron Guidry.   This was funny, to me, but then he also went into a speech about how athletes back in the day didn't get paid enough money so if you would like to subscribe to his podcast let me know.  

This game was so close throughout it that being the second game in a doubleheader it made you feel like you didn't want to leave because you had to stay to see how it all played out.  Both of these teams are on that bottom half of the standings, so it isn't a given that either of them might win or lose, which meant this could either be a blowout by one team or it could be competitive and it ended up being competitive in the best way.

With runners on first and third, a throw went into center field to score the first run of the game as the Graphics went up 1-0 right away.   However, a missed throw to third would bring home a Cardinals runner, putting it at 1-1 after the first inning.   The second and third innings went somewhat smoothly and this felt like a stalemate, like we might be here at 1-1 all night.  In the bottom of the fourth inning a catch was dropped and the Cardinals had a double but it was overturned.   The pitching really played a big role in this game, as both of the starters seemed to keep things low.

A single, a walk and a passed pitched moved runners to second and third with one out, and then a sacrifice fly by Alex Koletar brought in the go ahead run, making it 2-1 Cardinals after four innings.   The fifth wouldn't see much action but as was the case with the previous game the umpires were getting quite annoyed by the players talking, warning both teams at different times.  These were also the same umps for both games.

In the top of the sixth a double tied the game for the Graphics and then a ball which was dropped by the Cardinals scored two more runs.   Up 4-2, it felt like the tide had shifted towards the Graphics now and with just two more innings to go, it felt like they would stay on top.   That, however, would not be the case.

After a passed pitch by the Graphics, a run would score for the Cardinals putting them back within reach.  A single by Alex Koletar would score another run and effectively tie the game.  The next batter would try for a double, but get thrown out at second though two runs would still score from it.   The Graphics ended their sixth up two runs (4-2) and the Cardinals ended their sixth up two runs as well, making it 6-4 with the Graphics coming up for their last chance.

Back to back doubles scored one run in the top of the seventh and then after a fly out another double scored the tying run for the Graphics.   A huge strikeout by Alex Koletar would get the Cardinals out of the inning and it would go into the bottom of the seventh all tied up at 6 with the chance for the Cardinals to walk it off.  

This game was tense and the way that Pat Wall Field is set up it just seems easier/designed to sit on the hill because there are benches over there.   This makes it look like you're sitting on the visiting team side and even though people around us were Rainbow Graphics fans we were just there to see a good baseball game so it was exciting because that idea of the Cardinals walking it off for their second win would be the note you want to go home on after a night out of baseball.

With runners on second and third, the Cardinals had all but sealed the fate of the Graphics and then the Graphics decided to intentionally load the bases to walk the next runner.  This strategy was debated, and as the pitch count started showing more balls than strikes I was beginning to think the Graphics might walk in the winning run.  But a base hit up the middle scored the runner from third and effectively walked off the game for the Cardinals.  

What really came down to being an old fashioned nail-biter this game is one of those things that makes baseball great because every play mattered right up until the end.  If something had been done different, one of the teams might have pulled further ahead earlier.  The Cardinals will also carry the momentum of their second win into a doubleheader tonight at Pat Wall Field against the Phillies, who sit right above them in the rankings.   


Baseball Review //
Record-Journal Expos, 8
Wallingford Cardinals, 3
June 29th, 2022
Pat Wall Field, Wallingford, CT
GHTBL


Official box score :::

https://www.ghtbl.org/event/expos-cardinals-2


Additional photos can be found here :::

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.7725368497504657&type=3


The Expos came into Pat Wall Field on Wednesday night looking for a win and they found just that.  Owen Pincince was the starting pitcher for this game for the Wallingford Cardinals and after issuing four consecutive walks- which plated the first run of the game- he was moved to left field.   The Expos would continue to score in the first inning, however, with two big runs coming from an RBI single by Will Kszywanos.  Another run was scored prior to this, putting the Expos up with an early 4-0 lead.

In the bottom of the second inning the Cardinals would hit back to back doubles, giving them their first run of the night.   The third inning would see Javon Malone bunt two runners over and then Sebby Grignano singles one of them in.   Kyle Hartenstein hit a double to bring in two more runs before Jason Sullivan singles in Kyle Hartenstein for the fourth and final run of the third inning.   The Expos would take these eight runs all the way till the end of the game and sometimes putting up that big offense early on pays off.

The Cardinals had bases loaded on walks in the bottom of the third inning.  A huge single by Brendan Clark would bring in two runs, putting the score at 8-3, which is where it would remain.  After the third inning, for the final four innings, no runs would score.   This was partly due to the pitching and partly due to the defense as both teams just seemed to shut each other down.  In the sixth inning the Expos were issued a warning by the umpires to be quiet but nothing else ever came of it.

This game was a good example of how the offense can have this big boom early on and then for the rest of the game it feels like nothing really happens.  But you can't just feel like nothing is happening after the first three innings because being up by five runs doesn't guarantee victory, so you still have to put in that work to make that happen and as a fan you have to watch to see them do just that.  

While the Expos do not play again until after the holiday, both the Jets and Orioles have the chance to improve their records tonight.   The Orioles welcome Peoples to Vernon while the Jets take on the Greeners at Muzzy Field.  As the Expos, Orioles and Jets battle it out for first place, on July 5th the Expos will have their next game in East Hartford against the first place team which should be quite the matchup.  

The bottom half of the standings also seems to be fighting it out for the middle of the rankings.   M&T People's started off slow but are kicking it up now (a threat to the Orioles no doubt) and so a team such as the Wallingford Cardinals could go on a win streak and do somewhat of the same.   Rainbow Graphics started out hot but seem to have cooled off, so it will also be interesting to see where they land at the end of the season.  

With the first half of the season coming to an end it is not only interesting to see where the teams are now but a winning or losing streak throughout July could see some of these teams change places.   It's all really going to set that tone soon and if you're not along for the ride yet it's not too late to be.


Music Review //
Francisco Martin
"hate you to love myself"


As the music of Francisco Martin on "hate you to love myself" begins with a fast paced tempo, it really kicks in much bigger and louder in the chorus.  On the surface, hearing this song on the radio, it might just be thought of alongside similar artists such as Fall Out Boy and Panic At The Disco, who can combine both rock and pop.

Lyrically this song is tough and I knew it would be going in just based on the title.  Sometimes we have people in our lives that we don't need because they are not good for us for whatever reason so it becomes this issue of seeing bad in them- even if they aren't bad- just so you can justify cutting them out to help save yourself.  It might seem complicated but it happens more often than you'd think and sometimes life is just complex.

This music video is just a visual of a person sitting and singing the words along with the song but I think it helps put that emphasis on that individual.   One thing about the people who negatively impact our lives is that they can often times feel like a positive influence because you enjoy being around them or talking with them, so it takes that self-reflection and isolation to really come to these conclusions and see them through.

On the surface, in the sense of a radio song, this can just be thought of as that idea of breaking up with someone because you're better off without them.   You can sing along with lines like: "I know I ruined what we started" without really thinking too much about them, but there just comes that time when we have to cut ourselves loose in some form or another and hopefully this song can help you through that.

Music Review //
Brynilde
"The Sound of the Winter Sun"


https://open.spotify.com/album/6iVGj2huh4inGc62VP0Pys?si=P9OS154JSBmMxmEXA7QhNA&nd=1


The music of Brynilde has a distinct sound which can put it into this genre of gothic folk rock, which not many other artists live in but there are certainly some crossovers to be aware of here.   With pianos and dramatic strings, this can come off sounding like Evanescence at first, but then it kicks in and as the album progresses I can also hear artists such as Fiona Apple coming through.  

With big builds on "Priestess or Shieldmaiden" there is an emphasis on the vocals which makes me think of Enya.  Acoustic guitar notes which are fast paced and percussion are also there.  "The Red Shoes" starts off reminding me of the Metallica song "Until It Sleeps" and while that theme remains there are also some piano keys and it just picks up the pace in a fun way which is unlike Metallica.   This, to a certain extent, can remind me of Jennifer Grassman.

"Ungracefully" starts with some big chords which feel like we're getting closer back to metal and that makes me think of One-Eyed Doll.   "Hecate" is a quieter piano number while "Thorns" has those waves crashing and sitar strings to start with humming vocal melodies.   It begins to feel a little bit like something out of Lord of the Rings and then the last song has this huge drumming sound and the percussion here overall is not to be overlooked.

What I like most about this album by Brynilde is that at times the songs can feel like these big stage productions- like the way a rock band would play with an orchestra.   And then at other times, it just feels like the most minimal of sounds as it reduced to perhaps the vocals or piano keys only.  But regardless of what level the song is on they always stay on the same path and deliver the same rocking results.  

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Baseball Review //
M&T People's, 7
Record-Journal Expos, 3
June 28th, 2022
Ceppa Field, Meriden, CT
GHTBL


Official box score here :::

https://www.ghtbl.org/event/peoples-expos-3


Additional photos can be found here :::

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?vanity=raisedbycassettes&set=a.7721391637902343


What made this game intriguing going into it is that M&T People's had a rough start to their season but have now improved to a 5-4 record.   They seem to be doing more winning than losing and when they're sitting in fourth place right behind the Orioles it makes for an interesting matchup against the second place Expos.  Granted, on any night the last place team could defeat the first place team, though while that is possible it does not seem as likely.  The Colrs have set the middle of the standings at 5-5, so those Top 4 teams, any combination of them playing against each other, just doesn't feel like certain victory.

The Expos had AJ Hendrickson on the mound and this slowly became anything but a normal game for both teams.  The Expos had bases loaded in the first inning and Sebby Grignano made it to third base in the third but no runs came of it.   For both teams, the first three innings really seemed to go by rather quickly with little offense.

In the top of the fourth inning, Jordan Jeroszko hit a huge double which bounced off the fence in center.   While attempting to steal third base, Expos catcher Francisco Asencio threw it into left field allowing the first run of the game to score.   But in the bottom of the fourth inning, with two outs, Javon Malone hit a double of his own to bring in Justin Marks to tie the game 1-1.

From this point on, Peoples started hitting and the home plate umpire started getting worse and worse with calling balls and strikes.   There have been some bad umpires over time, but this just had to be one of the worst.   Blatant balls being called as strikes and vice versa.  When a pitch is at the hitter's shoulders there is a good chance it is not a strike.  

And then, of course, the problem is when you get these types of pitches, what do you do?  You let it go by but it isn't called a ball so you strikeout or you swing and the hit pops up and you fly out.  It's a no win situation and as the game got closer to the end this umpire just got worse and by the last inning it felt like he began calling everything strikes just so he could go home.

People's would put up two runs in the fifth inning, going up 3-1, another run in the sixth and then the Expos fate seemed sealed in the seventh when Brendan Lynch hit a three run homerun to right field.   While the Expos might have not had a fair shot at hitting because of the umpire, there is a lot to be said for the explosion of offense by People's during this game.  This team definitely has some power now and isn't the same team I saw lose to the Cardinals almost a month ago.

M&T People's will continue to be tested as they take on the second place Orioles on Thursday.  The Expos will once again face the Wallingford Cardinals tonight, only this time at Pat Wall Field in Wallingford.   Should the Expos and People's both win tonight, the standings could once again switch as the Expos and Orioles would change spots again.   The Jets are playing the Colts tonight and the Greeners tomorrow so they may have some trouble hanging onto first place as well.

The way that People's have turned their season around just goes to show that no team is really out of it yet, but the standings going into this weekend is going to say a lot as the GHTBL takes a break from July 1st through the 4th.   A lot of the exciting action at the top is still to be had as the Colts and Expos haven't even met yet this season.   


Music Review //
Blunda
"Brighter Days"


https://blunda.bandcamp.com/album/brighter-days


The sound of Blunda can vary from song to song but "Brighter Days" just overall feels like a great piece of music to put on when you're going for a long drive.   These songs just have a way of moving which makes me feel like we're driving and staring out of the window as life passes us by.  This does open with an instrumental song, which sets the tone for the entire album, and it has the sound of synth drones and running water.  It makes me feel like if the classic video game "Pole Position" was being played with boats instead of cars.

Beats do kick into the first song, "Beginning", before the bass line really opens up.  This becomes dreamy yet somehow at the same time can feel like The Cure.   The second track, "Lost Without You", has vocals and as the songs which do have vocals tend to do this feels like something which you can eventually begin to sing along with.  Somewhere between The Weeknd and New Order, Blunda just takes on a Miami Vice type of driving synthwave sound that I really enjoy.   

Somehow the song "Belong to Me" has these fun electronics in it, which makes it feel upbeat on some level, yet at the same time it can be something in the genre of darkwave.   Many of these songs feel that way too where even within the song itself you can feel like parts are happier and other parts come out sadder.   It's an interesting contrast to have within a song, but Blunda finds a way to make it all work.   "Tape Pad" is instrumental, yet all heavily blissed out and dreamy.  "Open" reminds me of The Killers and that helps with the idea of being pop and dark at the same time.

With pianos and a haunting sound on "Bm", the final song- "Light On"- has a bit of an Elliott Smith feel to it.   This just makes me realize that whether the songs feel more upbeat like Capitol Cities where you can dance to them or darker like The Consolation Project, the one thing which all these songs has in common is the melodies.  There is always a melody and it's always going to put you into some mood and that's really how music should be.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Preview //
Pro Wrestling GRIND
"Doctor, Doctor!"
(7/1)


Pro Wrestling GRIND returns to the Pulaski Club in Easthampton, MA for their seventh event- "Doctor, Doctor!" and it's going to be a big one as we found out at "Come And Get It" that the title tournament would begin later this year.    While it feels like there are certain mainstays within GRIND who should be in a title tournament (The Top 8 in no particular order would be: Rip Byson, Travis Huckabee, Delmi Exo, Perry Von Vicious, Logan Black, Jay Freddie, Ryan Mooney and O'Shay Edwards) there are also those who have only made one appearance but still should get a shot.

Names like BEEF, Derek Neal, Jaden Newman, Cabana Man Dan and WARHORSE all feel like they could be in a potential tournament.   But then we also must not overlook the younger wrestlers coming up in GRIND such as Channing Thomas, Myung-Jae Lee, Mike Skyros and Joseph Alexander.   So the possibilities are certainly there for this tournament to be interesting and a lot of fun but most importantly whoever comes out of it as the first ever Champion will definitely deserve it because with all these names as possible entrants the tournament will certain be all killer and no filler.  

I'm also not opposed to the idea of placing competitors into the tournament based upon their rankings, so to take the Top 8 based on win-loss records and have 1 vs 8, 2 vs 7, 3 vs 6 and 4 vs 5 could also make for an overall great experience.  But that's why the wins and losses are also so important and could be emphasized more on this show than on any other show before it!


MSP (1-2) vs Brick City Boyz (NA)

While the Brick City Boyz are making their debuts in GRIND, MSP hasn't been seen for a while and they're returning with a 1-2 record, which means that they should really be hoping to win this one to stay on the positive side of 2-2 rather than sinking to 1-3.   The Brick City Boyz are big and tough though.  In many ways, hitting them can feel like hitting a brick wall.   BCB have proven this throughout New England lately.

The biggest difference, perhaps, between MSP and BCB are their attitudes.  Brick City tends to be a place of upsetting fans and using underhanded tactics to win.   MSP have the best of vibes with the crowd and win without cheating.   In GRIND, everyone is shown respect until they decide to have it taken away so whether or not the Brick City Boyz decide to come out and act as they have in other promotions might be a factor in this match as well.  With the crowd behind MSP though, it feels as if MSP can't lose.


Channing Thomas (0-2) vs Max ZERO (NA)

Channing Thomas has had a bit of a rough go thus far in GRIND.  After his initial loss to Jaden Newman it felt like he might be finding that mentality he needs to win inside the GRIND ring against Ryan Mooney.  But that's the thing about GRIND- no matter how many wins, how many championships, etc you might have in other promotions, GRIND isn't the same.  There is a certain toughness both physically and mentally which one must have to compete in GRIND.

While Channing Thomas is finding that out, Max ZERO will be making his debut for GRIND in this match.   Max ZERO is someone I've personally wanted to see fight in GRIND for some time now and as someone who has been in PPW under the UWFi rules, Max ZERO will certainly fit into this scene like a glove.    Most competitors seem to lose their debuts in GRIND because they're prepared but not quite fully.  Max ZERO seems to know what he's getting into here and yet Channing Thomas also might have cracked the code to victory.  These are two combustible elements ready to explode.


The Mane Event (3-0) vs Miracle Generation (NA)

While Jay Lyon and Midas Black have not been in GRIND since March, The Mane Event still remains the only undefeated tag team in GRIND with a 3-0 record.    Miracle Generation has been making more of a name for themselves this past year and all of those clich├ęs in wrestling about fast paced, high flying matches apply here.   This is going to be one of those blink and you might miss it type of matches as both of these teams are known not just for their speed but for their air time as well.

What also makes this match intriguing is that like all of the tag teams in GRIND, this isn't just two wrestlers thrown together to see if it works or not.   Dustin Waller and Kylon King know each other to the point where they can seemingly predict what the other is about to do and this just means that this match is also going to have a lot of moves hit in tandem.   This truly could be one of the best matches anyone sees this year and that's really saying a lot when you look at the ta team matches GRIND has been delivering.


Rip Byson (5-0-1) vs Perry Von Vicious (3-3)

So it has come to this.  Mutually Assured Destruction is imploding.   Now, here is a fun little fact about this match that may or may not mean something with how it plays out.    Perry Von Vicious has only two losses in GRIND and they were to Travis Huckabee and Jay Freddie.  If you look at the records of Huckabee and Freddie, you'll find that they each only have one loss and that loss is to the same person: PVV's opponent here, Rip Byson.  

[Note: CageMatch told me that PVV defeated O'Shay Edwards.   O'Shay Edwards in fact submitted PVV in their match.   Soo... O'Shay vs Ripper when?]

Whether or not this might favor Rip Byson remains to be seen because under normal circumstances you might say that it would be these are two wrestlers who know each other very well and that might be the difference between Perry Von Vicious and everyone else.  The ability of PVV to potentially know what move Ripper will hit before he even hits it could be the very thing to give him a win and we could see Byson's first loss in GRIND here.   


Mike Skyros (0-1) vs Joseph Alexander (0-1)

I've always felt like there was something primal about wrestling.  Maybe it goes back to how wrestling was around during the era of Rome when it was acceptable to fight to the death.  But there is this animalistic instinct within wrestlers, right?  Being that Mike Skyros and Joseph Alexander are both down 0-1 in GRIND, this feels like a match of survival.   This is when a mother wolf has a litter of pups and those pups that don't get to eat die (it's nature, look it up) so both of these wrestlers are looking to eat.

At "Antisocial" Joseph Alexander demonstrated a great technical game, throwing suplexes and reversals against his trainer Logan Black.   Mike Skyros has been known as a striker but he can throw a suplex just as well.  This match might just come down to the striking game of Joseph Alexander and whether or not he can stand toe-to-toe with Mike Skyros.  Alexander has likely been trained in striking but is anyone ever really ready for Skyros?  We're about to find out.


Jay Freddie (3-1) vs Gary Jay (0-1)

Growing up, I would use my VCR to record ECW's weekly television show because it was on at 2 am but ECW also had this great thing which doesn't exist as much anymore: VHS tapes full of their greatest matches.   It'd be like musical version of a greatest hits.   If you were going to create such a VHS to release for GRIND and fill it with their best matches from their first year, even though it's not even over yet I think everyone would whole heartedly agree that one match which should be on there without a doubt is Gary Jay vs Ryan Mooney from "Price Of A Mile".  

Gary Jay may have lost his GRIND debut but he did so in spectacular fashion.  That match was just such a war and it is so much unlike anything we may ever see again.  Years from now, people will write books about that match.   But Gary Jay must know that coming into this match he isn't only going to make a statement, but he is going to win.

Jay Freddie has faced some tough competitors in GRIND and yet his only loss is to Rip Byson.  Jay Freddie seems tailor-made for GRIND and so it was somewhat surprising when Gary Jay called him out.  But this will be that match of two wrestlers who have been doing this for a bit now but also have been quite overlooked because no matter how much they're talked about it still just doesn't feel like enough.


Travis Huckabee (4-1) vs Anthony Henry (NA)

Anthony Henry has only appeared in GRIND once and it was as part of a tag team match with JD Drake, so this is going to be his singles debut but not his GRIND debut.   Travis Huckabee has been on an absolute tear and though he has one loss, which is to Rip Byson, it is worth noting that was also on the GRIND debut show "Who Made Who".   So those four wins Travis Huckabee has are all in a row.   That just somehow makes it even more impressive.

When you talk about old fashioned wrestling, grappling and what really brought this all about in the United States with wrestlers like Lou Thesz, Bruno Sammartino, Dory Funk Jr and Verne Gagne, the truth is that this match has all of the makings to be that type of technical masterpiece.   However, at some point, I do expect someone to try something dirty (Looking at you, Huckabee) and that might turn this into a different kind of match and that will work too.

There are a lot of factors to take in when it comes to professional wrestling.  But when you take away the ability to cut a promo, the ring entrances and attire, and most importantly when you take away social media and how many "likes" you get, when you strip it all down to just what happens inside of that ring, this right here might be that showcase of pure athleticism because they are certainly two of the best in the world today.


"Doctor, Doctor!" takes place on Friday, July 1st, 2022 live from the Pulaski Club in Easthampton, MA.   For tickets and more info please visithttps://twitter.com/GRINDpuro

Music Review //
Wayne Merdinger
"Troubadour (EP)"


 

https://open.spotify.com/album/0OdTuoJKoHyME3mtubJJHg?si=9UciHIzyS8qTDYFGhStUYg&nd=1


Every so often an EP comes along like this one here by Wayne Merdinger and it just makes me love music all over again.   There is just something about hearing these sort of Americana/folk/country rock songs that reminds me of the first time I heard music and every bit of good music I've heard since then.   The sound on "Troubadour" just feels so familiar, it's almost as if it would be how you would describe music if someone asked you for an example.

With those slick guitar riffs, Wayne Merdinger can bring about thoughts of Fastball but the overall vibe of this EP is just that of a sound that isn't offensive and I think everyone can find something about it to enjoy.  "Nebraska Bay" starts off quieter, with darker acoustics and reminds me of a song such as "Simple Man".   This, on only the second song, sets the pace that this EP is just full of songs that could be those rock singles for years to come.

Lyrically, there are lines such as "We don't belong / But we're here anyway" on "Nebraska Bay", which can be related to upon various levels of meaning.   Just having that overall feeling of not belonging is something I think anyone can struggle with throughout their life.  The lyrics take an interesting turn on the titular track, which states "He was a poet / He was a clown" and it just feels like this contradiction of a person.

While listening to the titular track though, it gives me a sense of someone such as Robin Williams, though I feel like it might actually be about a musician.   The more I listen to it though, the more I think that maybe it isn't about any particular person and more the idea of what someone could be.   I think, especially as the titular track, that is a great way to sum up this EP because it isn't just about what's on the surface of rock music but also what it could mean to the listener.  


Saturday, June 25, 2022

Baseball Review //
Bristol Greeners, 1
Record-Journal Expos, 9
June 24th, 2022
Ceppa Field, Meriden, CT
GHTBL


Official box score here :::

https://www.ghtbl.org/event/greeners-expos-4


Additional photos :::

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.7701894903185350&type=3


Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later and for the first time this season I was to see the Bristol Greeners.   I wouldn't feel so bad about seeing the Bristol Greeners if they weren't 1-9, but they had last year to get it together (and they've been a team for longer than that) but maybe they're just not on the GHTBL level.  At least with the Wallingford Cardinals it's their first year so they're still working things out.  But the Greeners are back and right back to the bottom.  At what point do you say "I don't want to lose anymore?"

Jack Rich was on the mound for the Record-Journal Expos.   Jack Rich has pitched a few times before for the Expos, but not yet this season, and it makes me wonder when the last time he pitched was and how well this was going to go.   But the game opened up quickly with a strikeout and that set the tone for the rest of it.    Jack Rich was there not only to pitch but also to make a statement.

In the bottom of the second inning, Justin Marks hit a deep sac fly out to right field to bring in AJ Hendrickson as the first run of the game.   Being up 1-0, this game still felt close and I wasn't sure exactly what the Greeners were going to do to lose it.  There was a time (though not so much now) when the Rainbow Graphics were just known for making defensive errors and the Greeners seemed to have that together, mostly, so it was odd watching them play the way that a good team would and knowing that they had such a poor record.

The third inning is what we like to call foreshadowing.   AJ Hendrickson was HBP and that loaded the bases after the two previous batters were walked on.   Nothing came of this, but it showed that the Greeners' pitcher was starting to lose it and soon the runs would open up.  In the fourth inning for the Expos, they did exactly that.  Charlie Hesseltine, who was playing left field, hit a scorcher down the right side to bring in the first run of the inning.  Jeff Papciak hit a sac fly to bring in the second run of the inning but the Expos weren't done yet.

Javon Malone hit a triple to score two more runs and the Expos had four runs in the fourth.  Here are the little things in baseball which you have to watch but also sometimes don't matter.  When this triple was hit, the Greeners instinct was to throw to home for a potential play at the plate.   This play at the plate wasn't even close, but as Javon Malone was on second, he noticed that all of the focus was on home so he went to third.   Had the Greeners just thrown to second or third this might have only been a double.  

This is a moot point in this particular instance though because superstar pitcher and hitter AJ Hendrickson would absolutely crush a three run homerun to center to make it a seven run inning and show exactly how good the Expos are.   Sometimes you just need these innings that are bursts of offense and then make it so that the other team cannot score more runs than you have.   The Expos have been doing really well with this during the course of this season and it helps that they have pitchers who rake.

Not to be completely outdone, in the bottom of the fifth inning Justin Marks hit a solo homerun to the right side.   It's kind of scary (for other teams) when you think about how the best hitters on the Expos might be their pitchers, but at the same time, literally anyone on this team has that risk when they're at the plate of just hitting that shot which breaks the game wide open.  Teams might stop pitching to certain Expos (they walked Jack Rich tonight) but you can't walk everyone and that's what makes this Expos team so dangerous.

In the top of the sixth the Greeners managed to score a run after a double but bad baserunning causes the inning to end for them.   I'm not sure what they were thinking but it looked like a runner on first was trying to go to second but not very fast and while being greeted by a player with the ball for the obvious tag.   It was just one of those things where it felt like the Greeners were falling apart, down right runs and trying for a come back but just going in the other direction.

This win pushed the Expos closer in the battle for first place.   They are now 7-2, behind only the 8-2 Jets and 9-2 Orioles.   Some teams have played more games, but all three teams only have two losses.   Behind them are People's- who seem to have turned their season around- at 4-4 and the Colts who are 5-5.  

Sunday night the Expos travel to South Windsor to face the struggling Phillies (3-5).  The Expos also meet the Greeners once again on Monday at Muzzy Field.   M&T People's comes to Ceppa Field on Tuesday night to take on the Expos, while the Expos go across town on Wednesday night to Pat Wall Field to face the Cardinals once again.  The Phillies might be hungry for a win and People's might be a surprise, but if the Expos keep playing the way they have been this will certainly be a fun upcoming week of games for them.

Friday, June 24, 2022

Music Review //
Roses & Revolutions
"Something Real"

 


It feels like there was a time when artists would have these huge, building ballads on their albums and it just feels to me like they don't do that as much now.  From Boyz II Men doing "End of the Road" to Stone Temple Pilots doing "Creep", there was always that one song which just kind of calmed the whole tone of the album down but was still able to be on the radio without missing a beat.   Roses & Revolutions may have just perfected the art of that power ballad on "Something Real", which has become somewhat of a lost art.

While this song begins with only a piano and voice, you can feel it slowly build throughout.  Most songs have three pieces to them traditionally- verses, the chorus and a bridge- but the way that "Something Real" goes it just feels like we're starting at the bottom and going up.  Percussion can be heard by the end, but ever so slightly, as it just has this big finish.  In many ways, this song is musically the equivalent of running up a hill.  Pacing yourself, but feeling like you're also having to push harder with every step until you reach the top and it just feels like a gentle explosion.

Lyrically you will find a lot to think about within this song.  The music video revolves around driving on a road and it has lyrics on the screen.   The chorus of it is "All I know is that I feel / something beautiful / something real" and that really makes you think because you can, in this moment, feel something real and in that moment it might very well be.  But then later on, it might no longer be real.  It's how people can feel so magical on their wedding day and less so when getting divorced.  But I think it's a reminded to enjoy those moments while we have them because they might not last.

It would be easy to compare this song with someone such as Adele, someone who is known for just having that huge vocal sound with pianos.   But I also think of this song, in many ways, as being that ballad amongst an album of otherwise rocking songs.  Whether you think of Polly Scattergood or Metric or Slothrust (Depending upon your musical influence) is up to you, as it really will bring out what you hold dear as music.   But there is also this other quality to this song that makes me think of singers like Christina Aguilera and I just love that about it a little bit more. 


Music Review //
Tony Tyrrell
"Another Day"


Through soft tones and non-threatening rock, Tony Tyrrell tells a story through the song "Another Day", both lyrically and visually.   While there aren't too many artists to directly compare this with it just feels like what would happen if you took the rock music of someone such as The Lemonheads and turned it down a little bit, but at the same time you could also take someone such as Simon & Garfunkel and turn them up a little bit.  It has that balance between radio friendly rock and acoustic folk, somewhere perfectly in between.

During the music video, the song tells a story and it can feel like that story is being acted out on screen.  I enjoy this because it's not one of those videos with visuals which leave a lot to the imagination or are just people playing instruments, but rather it feels like an actual scene from a movie (or a mini film in itself) is happening as you watch the main character (who is not the singer) drive in a car away from suburbia and to the beach to make a phone call.   One thing that stands out for me in this video as well- which probably shouldn't- is the cracked phone screen, which just tells you that person has been through some things.

Lyrically, this song has three different layers to it.   The chorus has the line: "Gone / heading towards the sun" which seems to imply in some ways that someone has died.   In that respect, I think we need to all embrace life a little bit more and realize that even though someone else has reached their end of days we still have another day.  At the same time, it could also just be the person driving away from whatever trouble is at home and that is a good thing because it means you have another day to wake up and start things anew, without whatever is in your past that you're leaving behind.

Whether the death is literal or just a part of you that you no longer wish to have, the message remains the same.   Just as the sun sets, it once again rises every day and we should be thankful for the times we can still have going forward.   In many ways this song isn't just about cherishing what little time we have on this planet but also making sure that we live those days as best and as happy as we can.   Throwing caution to the wind and leaving what doesn't make us happy behind us, we will continue to push forward so long as there is another day.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Wrestling Review //
Tough and Talented Wrestling
June 18th, 2022
Columbia Club, Torrington, CT



Tough and Talented Wrestling on Facebook :::

https://www.facebook.com/ExtremelyTalentedWrestling



One of the first things which made me want to go to this show was the fact that "Dr Cool" Jay Klang was on it.  This was one of things which had me initially interested in this show, but also looking over the card I knew some of the names on it while some I didn't.  It certainly is nice to go to a wrestling show and know every wrestler on it, but when we go to wrestling shows with wrestlers we don't know we have a chance to get to meet new potential favorite wrestlers.   This main event also featured two big names in the Connecticut scene, so I also felt like I had to be there for that.

Prior to this show we, of course, headed over to Carvel for ice cream.  Nothing was really going on with the town green this time though except for someone playing a guitar and singing which may or may not have been sanctioned.  It looked like rain but wasn't raining yet, so being outside was okay.   It took a little bit, but eventually we made our way in.  I had reserved general admission seats in advance (front row had sold out) so we had our names on our chairs which was also a nice touch.

The first thing we noticed upon finding our seats and then heading to the merch table row was that none other than Kaide Lothbrok was there.   We hadn't seen him live in years but was really excited to know that he'd be there doing something.  Quentin bought a foam ax, which he then had throughout the night, and it was nice just seeing Kaide Lothbrok again.   We also headed over across the other way to the merch tables and I got a Clipper Jones shirt even though he wasn't out yet.   The future is nothing but bright for Clipper Jones.

I'd like to take a quick moment as well to address that this show was a benefit for the promoter's father who has some health issues.    In this way, it just feels like wrestling is a family- it gives you a real sense of community- which is not something covered by the dirtsheets or largely accepted in mainstream wrestling.   This is one of the things which I love about professional wrestling and sometimes you just have to go to a smaller show ("smaller" meaning not being on IWTV) to see that.



This show opened with a battle royal and whoa it felt like everyone in the tri state area was in this thing.  There were people set up behind us doing commentary so this will have some sort of official release somewhere and I'm interested to see just how many people were actually in this battle royal.   At the start of it all, it felt like people were being eliminated just because they were closest to the ropes and had nowhere else to go- though it did get confusing because people were also leaving under the ropes without being eliminated just to wait until the ring cleared. 




The funniest thing I can tell you about this battle royal is that Buff Inc was in it.  I've seen Buff Inc before, I saw them during intermission- they were in the battle royal.  That is a fact.  But I never actually *saw* them in the battle royal because of my vantage point.   But, you know, really the fact that this battle royal had so many other wrestlers in it just makes it that much more impressive that Clipper Jones won.   Not only can Clipper Jones say he won this battle royal, but he can say he did it against something like fifty other wrestlers (at least!)



The second match was for the vacant Women's Championship and in it Delilah Hayden defeated Skylar Grey.  I've always kind of been a stickler for title matches and those titles actually meaning something, so this match felt strange to me.  We've seen Delilah Hayden in NCW a number of times (and Quentin has a ton of her cats) but this was our first time seeing Skylar Grey and she just didn't look like she should be in there in a title match.  I'm all for giving ring time to students but thinking Skylar Grey could've been champion is quite scary.  I suppose she was just a last minute replacement for Alisinn Jade though.


In a grudge match, Stevie Legend took on Fly Ni Noreaga.   Stevie Legend is someone we've been following since we first saw him in BST and him having this match on this show was one of the reasons why we went as well.  Between seeing Stevie Legend wrestle locally, many of his matches also end up on YouTube if you have the time and feel so inclined.  This was my favorite Stevie Legend match so far and props to Fly Ni Noreaga for holding his own.  This match could have easily stolen the show.



Next up was a tag team match which had four teams in it and it was explained to us that it was Lucha Rules.   These four teams- according to the FB event page- were Evolutionary Scale, Battle Academy, Brothers of Redemption and Even Stevens.  Obviously, Even Stevens has been around and were the stars of this match.  I've seen Battle Academy on show flyers before for PAPW and the such.  But I really don't know about these other two teams and that wasn't the worst part of this match!

The entire entrance time when any team came out the music was either delayed or wrong.  The Even Stevens came out to... umm... not their song.  So it was weird for that reason to start, but I get it, we have technical difficulties sometimes.  Then, the match starts and the first wrestler goes outside of the ring.  I'm expecting someone else to come running in because LUCHA RULES! but, alas, they wait for that guy to come back in to continue fighting.    Eventually they did the lucha rules thing but it was funny at first it was like they weren't aware of it or forgot.




What promised to be the best match of the night saw Ichiban defend the K1 Classic Championship against both Dustin Waller and Kylon King.   All three of these wrestlers are friends and even more so than that they've all teamed together before.  This started off nice enough, like they were trying to maintain the friendship, but then Kylon King really started going after it, like he really wanted that title.  To the surprise of none, this was clearly the match of the night and when you have three athletes as talented as that inside of a ring together you can expect nothing less.

We took a brief intermission and then came back with Dan De Man and Patrick Saint telling us about the Book of Danos.  One of the things I thoroughly enjoyed about this show is that when you go to TOS it's typically a TOS crowd and so they know Dan De Man and they're familiar with what he does, but here we had this mix of fans and some of them had never seen Dan before apparently.   The fans behind me specifically were quite upset when Dan De Man went into his speech about women being inferior to men.   In fact, this played quite a big role in why character development is so important in wrestling now.



One of the fans behind me said "I don't care who he faces, I'm cheering for them because I'm booing Dan!"   This is exactly how it should be.   It doesn't have to be a clear heel vs face match every time, but when it is you better be bringing that heat as a heel.  Sometimes, it's tough to know whether or not you're supposed to cheer or boo a wrestler but Dan De Man and Patrick Saint leave nothing up for opinion.    I also miss Brother Greatness not being on this show, but I assume he's off spreading the good word elsewhere.


So Kaide Lothbrok (along with Foxxy) and Mark Alexander answered this challenge and a tag team match ensued.   The team of NOT-The Mission would pick up the win but then The Mission would try and get in cheap shots.  Kaide Lothbrok laid it out straight: He's been doing death matches while Dan was working shindies.   Kaide Lothbrok asked for not only a title shot but also for it to be No DQ.   This match alone will sell me on the 2TW show!





Next we went into somewhat of a big match as Ryan Fraust was set to take on The Mighty Bosch but somehow Dirtbag Dan got put into this match as well and if you've never seen Dirtbag Dan before just know that boy needs a shower (and then some).   This was still a fun match and at one point when Dirtbag Dan was outside of the ring he began to undo the shoe of a fan sitting in front of us.   Just those little weird things that make matches and wrestlers memorable.   You have to do the little things.

I was trying to count matches left and I knew there were at least three but the FB event page went off script as we were next treated to Red Sawyer vs Troy Stevens.   Troy Stevens is apparently in from Florida and he looks like he's on that Rock n Roll Express tour.   This was a fun match, if unexpected, and it actually ended up being on the show to replace the 2TW Title match which if was scratched for a reason I didn't hear it but still this card felt so full without yet another title match anyway.




Two matches to go and The Stepdads would successfully defend their 2TW Tag Team Championships against the Canadian Superstars, Dennis Morgan and Randy Shawn.  While The Stepdads are everywhere, the Canadian Superstars feel like they're mostly from NJ and so the way that this show brought in wrestlers from Connecticut, NY, NJ, MA and beyond just made it that much better.  And again, some fans seemed to be experiencing The Stepdads for the first time and they seemed to be enjoying it as well.


The main event saw Bull Dredd vs Slyck Wagner Brown and it was truly the battle of two wrestling legends- not just in Connecticut, but on the whole.   You can't talk about the history of wrestling in CT without mentioning either of these two and that really also helped shape the landscape of professional wrestling on the whole.   The fact that this felt like such a legendary match to experience live was another one of the reasons why we were at this show and it just feels so important for Connecticut.

If the matches which were set up on this show happen on the next show then we'll certainly be there.  Ryan Fraust vs Clipper Jones, Dan De Man vs Kaide Lothbrok (No DQ) and The Stepdads vs Even Stevens have all the makings of a show I simply cannot miss.  And who knows who else might show up!  Certainly Delilah Hayden should return as Women's Champion, but whom will she face?   We will all just have to wait and see, but I'm ready!

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Baseball Review //
Ocean State Waves, 1
Bristol Blues, 2
June 19th, 2022
Muzzy Field, Bristol, CT
NECBL


Official Box Score :::

http://necbl_bristolblues.wttbaseball.pointstreak.com/boxscore.html?gameid=572510


Additional photos can be found here :::

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?vanity=raisedbycassettes&set=a.7682696701771837


For Father's Day, we looked over the options for baseball games- from the New Britain Bees and Hartford Yard Goats- and decided that the Bristol Blues had the best deal because, if nothing else, they offered free tickets to fathers.   They also had a catch on the field before the game started where fathers and sons could go out there but Quentin had no interest in that.  It was still nice and felt like in terms of promotions the Blues had the best out of any other team within the Connecticut area.

This game itself was somewhat interesting because the Blues managed to score one run in the first inning and from there the game remained mostly scoreless.   The Blues put up another run in the eighth inning- which it would turn out they needed, as they gave up a run in the ninth.   Everything in between was just a pitching duel... of sorts.   On one hand, you had the pitching of Pete Ostensen who went six innings for the Blues, gave up only one hit, no runs and struck out four.   

At the same time, Nick Payero also pitched six innings for the Waves and only gave up two hits over eight strikeouts, two walks and one run.   It's weird how baseball is, as a game, right?  One pitcher can have double the strikeouts, less walks and only one more hit than the other pitcher, but they still give up one run and lose the game.   In any other game, Nick Payero has a most impressive line after this game. 

But both teams were really just shutting down the offense.   There was even one time when the Waves had someone on first who attempted to steal second and was thrown out.  It's kind of odd to go for second base when you have no outs and are trying to put together one run, because you lose your only baserunner there, and then you're trying to build back up.  But in some ways, I also admire the Waves for going for it- for taking chances.

At some point near the eighth inning the Blues did what was called a "stampede" where they let a whole mess of children (under the age of 12) out of the first base side and they all ran to the third base side.  Quentin did this and stayed near the base path while most of the other kids were on the grass.  By the end, at least one kid went down and took a bunch of other kids with them in comedic fashion.   

This, combined with the food selection, is why Quentin really enjoyed this game.   This game landed the Bristol Blues at a record of 10-2, which all things considered is quite impressive.  It's always a good time to go to the historic Muzzy Field, but to go see a winning team also seems to make it that much better.  While I wish that the Yale players would've been in the game, I'm also left wondering where is B.B.?  

If you have the chance, you should definitely check out a Blues game at Muzzy Field.  This was our first time there this season but I really hope we make it back before the season ends as well.  I'm also going to try and see them on the road since they play two other Connecticut teams.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Baseball Review //
Vernon Orioles, 2
Record-Journal Expos, 6
June 17th, 2022
Ceppa Field, Meriden, CT
GHTBL


Official box score here :::

https://www.ghtbl.org/event/orioles-expos-2/


Additional photos here ::: 

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?vanity=raisedbycassettes&set=a.7668167039891470


After meeting each other this past Sunday in Vernon, the Expos and Orioles were ready to do battle once again only this time on the Expos' home turf.    The Orioles won the game on Sunday but the Expos were coming off of a win over Rainbow Graphics, who are (were?) having a good season start.  The Expos went into this game with a 4-2 record while the Orioles were 6-1.  

This game had a lot of implications, such as if the Orioles lost they would have two losses- like the Expos- and the Jets would become the only team with only one loss.  As the Orioles did lose, this put them at 6-2 and the Expos at 5-2 which seems to put them closer together in the rankings.  Had this game gone differently the Expos would've seemed to dropped down.

This game started off with both teams getting runners on in scoring position but nothing coming of it.  The first two innings saw nothing happen on offense and only behind the pitching of Charlie Hesseltine did the Orioles seem to not be able to even get a hit off.   The first two innings alone saw four strikeouts for Hesseltine who was just on his game in the best possible way this evening.  

In the bottom of the third the Expos got the bases loaded and then on a wild pitch a run would score- the first run of the game.   It would take all the way until the top of the fifth inning for a single to score a run for the Orioles and it was all tied at 1-1.  This would not last very long as the Expos needed some insurance runs going into the last two innings for the Orioles and they were going to get them in grand fashion.

AJ Hendrickson brought in the go ahead run in the bottom of the fifth inning.  This would keep the bases loaded and another run would walk in.   Jonny Walter would hit a huge single to drive in two runs.  Justin Marks would also RBI in another run, the fifth and final run of the inning.  This would put the Expos up 6-1 and it felt like the Orioles were all but through.  This burst of offense really just broke the game wide open and it was so great to see.

This is the part of the game that I don't like but it feels like it's necessary to tell.  During the sixth inning, there was a checked swing call on the Expos and it was confirmed by both umpires that the swing was in fact checked.  This had the Orioles coach onto the field, yelling and swearing about how bad he thought that call was.   He got into the face of both umpires and when you're running out of chances, down five runs, I can understand being angry but he just takes this to a new level.

Being all too familiar with being thrown out of games himself, I found it somewhat odd that just this past Tuesday I saw a Cardinals player ejected from a game for swearing at an umpire- to which the umpire would later tell me "There are grandmas and kids here".  How is this any different?  I'm surprised the coach didn't get thrown out but I'm also more surprised how any player would play for his team or any fan would support them.   While the game should be taken seriously, there also is that certain level of fun it is supposed to be.

With this win, the Expos continue their battle for second place as they face the first place Jets on Monday in East Hartford.   The Orioles are off to face the Greeners in a doubleheader on Tuesday and even though the odds seem to be in favor of the Orioles, with doubleheaders you just never know who might win.  Next week definitely seems like it could reshape the standings depending upon who wins and who loses. 


Friday, June 17, 2022

Music Review //
Gavin Fox
"If I Could Survive This"


Gavin Fox brings forth an upbeat sound on "If I Could Survive This" which sets the tone for the lyrics to the song as well.   On some level, this song reminds me of "Roll to Me" by Del Amitri, which I believe to often be a forgotten one hit wonder.   But it's just that idea of being rock coming out of the grunge era with a little bit of pop added in because of the melody.

Artists like Matchbox Twenty and even the Gin Blossoms can come to mind here as this song can move fast when it wants to.  The lyrics focus on, as the song says, "Finding my way through the darkness" and as such I do feel like this song has that sense of positivity- to shine that light.  At the same time I feel like this song has those pop qualities because it wants the listener to be able to relate with it on all levels.

Throughout this song, Gavin Fox opens up about personal struggles but not only going through them but also coming out on the other side.   It's the idea behind the title that "If I Could Survive This" then "You could too".   This sends a good message out into the world because those who suffer from such mental illness as depression often times feel alone and this song can serve as a reminder that you are not alone.


Music Review //
Danceland
"Don't Act Surprised"


Through those folk guitar sounds and an overall feeling like you're about to hear a story, Danceland provides a sense of knowing where a relationship is going on their song "Don't Act Surprised".   Throughout life, we all go through breakups in one way or another and it's just easier to accept at some point that there are people who come into your life when you need them but that doesn't mean that they will be around forever.   These people who can help shape you and your views in your 20's might not also be there in your 30's and that's okay- life is like that.

Danceland covers all of the bases you would hope with this somewhat folk somewhat Americana chill rock song.   From artists such as The Wallflowers and Tom Petty to Neil Young and Soul Asylum, I especially hear that "Let Your Dim Light Shine" era of Soul Asylum coming out and that's my favorite time of theirs.   And much like that band with that album, this song by Danceland also tells a story.   I like when folk songs weave little tales because it gives you a distinct sense of accomplishment after listening to it.

The lyrics in this song are important- as the title itself serves as a warning- and so the music video does well by emphasizing that.   The chorus has the lines of: "Don't act surprised when I'm gone / don't be the bad guy in this song" and I really see that more as a "You know how this is ending so don't be upset when it does just that".  There are certainly people who you form relationships with that last a lifetime but I feel like this song is about those relationships you have that you know aren't going to last.

In some ways I think about what it's like to be in high school senior year and you know you're going off to college in a different state than your boyfriend.   Both of you have this unspoken sort of understanding that your lives are both about to go in different directions.  There isn't always an easy way- such as high school to college- to experience that when you're older, but that doesn't stop it from happening.  We should all consider ourselves lucky for Danceland putting a spotlight on this.  


Music Review //
Josh A
"SOBER" (ft. Neffex)


While I can't speak for other countries, we do have a problem in the United States with substance abuse and how people who suffer from it are treated.   In many ways, I feel like substance abuse and mental health go hand in hand in the sense that those who don't know about it can just say "Yeah, but why don't you just stop drinking?"  People who have never dealt with real substance abuse don't know what it's like until they have to and that's kind of sad.  It's not something you want to go through or want to see someone else go through, but at the same time that's one of the only ways for most people to feel any empathy.

"SOBER" is a song where both Josh A and Neffex rap during the verses and the chorus has more of a singing feel to it.   Parts rock, pop and hip hop this song crosses off the usual suspects you would find when trying to compare it with another artist: from Post Malone to Twenty One Pilots.  There is also this guitar riff which ends the song and it makes it feel somewhat dark, somewhat sad and though I do believe this song is ultimately one of hope I like the idea that this does cast a serious shadow over it all.

One of the most difficult things when dealing with addiction is admitting you have a problem.  People don't always see that and by the time that they do it can be too late.   With lines such as  "I let all my friends down" it gives hope that it isn't too late and that something can still be done before too many others are let down.   But ultimately, this song and idea behind it all is best summed up with: "I just want a way out of my darkest days".  I think we all feel that way sometimes, but sometimes those darkest days are because of substance abuse, our mental health, gambling-- whatever that vice is.

Helping people more and treating them better when it comes to substance abuse is such an important issue and I'm glad that Josh A is discussing it on "SOBER".   Substance abuse can lead to such larger issues in this country such as being homeless and even death, so it just feels like one of those things where people should be able to overcome it.  But more than that, there is a stigma in society about it.  People should no longer be looked down upon for having to get help, but rather they should be celebrated that they were able to not let it define them.  This song is the right step in seeing that through.


Music Review //
Love Crushed Velvet
"The Future"


http://lovecrushedvelvet.com/


As soon as this song comes on you can feel that rock n roll energy of Love Crushed Velvet and the music video just makes it feel even more like we are taking a trip into "The Future".  With starts and stops, this song has this grunge way about it but is also pop in an almost glam rock way.  I think of artists such as Flight of the Conchords, Black Crowes and David Bowie.   There are elements of bands from back in the 1980's and even 1990's, but then also somewhat as recent as The Killers perhaps.

Within this song is the lyrical content of wanting to be in the future.   Lines as simple as:  "Wish I could know / how to get there" show that the idea behind the whole song is to travel into the future.   But this is also to be done for our benefit because as the song also says: "We could be beautiful / could be magical".   I like that the idea of living in the future feels like an escape here, as it feels like how some people who live in one country might want to flee to another country (or how those of us who live on east coast USA want to move to west coast USA) but it isn't an actual destination you can physically plan.

This music video is visually stunning.  The way the CGI is crafted makes it look like something out of the future, whether running or showing mountains, and I think that goes along with the theme of the song rather well.  They say that anxiety is worrying about the future but I don't feel like this song is giving off those vibes.   In some ways, this song just feels like "Kokomo" (The Beach Boys) lyrically in that sense of having somewhere to go to get away from it all.  It could also be as bold as to believe that simply by being together tomorrow or an hour from now we are technically in the future.  

But aside from thinking of the future as being a cause for anxiety, a destination vacation or even something which will have happened from the time this review starts until the time this review ends, I can only really now think about this song in the same way that someone would say "I want to spend forever with you".   Inviting someone to live in the future with you just feels like that same idea of "Ten years from now, I still want to be with you" and I kind of think it's neat that I didn't pick up on that right away but eventually figured it out.   That really just makes "The Future" feel like a sneaky love song, which makes me like it even more.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Baseball Review //
Hartford Colts, 8
Wallingford Cardinals, 6
June 14th, 2022
Buzzy Levin Field, Middletown, CT
GHTBL


Official box score here :::

https://www.ghtbl.org/event/colts-cardinals-2/


Additional photos can be found on Facebook here :::

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?vanity=raisedbycassettes&set=a.7658378820870292


What I love about baseball is that sometimes you can see things in games that you've never seen before and sometimes you even see a lot of chaos that you didn't expect.   This game between the Colts and Cardinals was their second time meeting this season, with the Colts winning the first game in the rain, and this game just somehow managed to outdo their previous meeting in terms of "Did I just see that right?  I did" quality.   This game was wild from the start and it felt like a certainty that the Cardinals would win it right up until they didn't.

In the bottom of the first inning, the Cardinals got a runner on who managed to score on a sac fly and that was the first run.   In the bottom of the second inning the Cardinals would do their most damage as a run scored with bases loaded.  After a double, two more runs would score and finally a sac fly to deep center would score the fourth and final run of the inning for the Cardinals, putting them at a 5-0 lead which seemed like the Colts might not be able to come back from.  I've seen teams come back from being down ten runs and win the game in the last inning, but the pitching of Alex Koletar was on tonight.

The Colts would shift their fate as a bases loaded walk brought in their first run in the top of the third inning.  A single for the Colts scores two more runs and the Colts managed to plate three runs to cut the Cardinals lead to 5-3.  It slowly began to feel like victory was within reach for the Colts.  The Cardinals would score one more run on a wild pitch in the bottom of the third and now they were up 6-3, scoring twice as many runs as the Colts.

Top of the fourth inning and everything went wild.  Kyle Darby singles with bases loaded and a run scores.  Another run was walked in to make it 6-5.   With a huge double, two runs score but the umpire makes a late call and says that the second runner for the Colts was actually out at homeplate.  This was a chance where the game could've been 7-6 in favor of the Colts, but instead this inning ended tied at 6-6.  

The thing about the play at home was that I thought the throw would get relayed because it didn't seem as if the Cardinals even had a play to get him out at the plate.  This is why everyone was shocked and upset at the same time when the call was made on the field- late- that the runner was out and the go ahead run did not score.   It felt somewhat awkward to take away that lead from the Colts, but the team stayed in it and battled.

The bottom of the fourth is a whole other story.  When John Petonito of the Cardinals was running to first he was called out by the umpire.  This upset the majority of the Cardinals players, especially their coach and I didn't hear it but apparently John Petonito said some things that you just don't say in baseball and the umpires tossed him out.   This was when the game took its true decent into madness.   

Without this player, the Cardinals were seemingly down to only eight players and the umpires seemed to believe that meant they would forfeit and the Colts would win, even though the Cardinals had bases loaded and it was tied 6-6.   This was such a great game at this point, as the Colts slowly came back and managed to tie the game, it felt like we needed a resolution and having the game end because the Cardinals were short one player felt like a bad way for it to end.  The problem at this point though was that the Cardinals were still mad- and arguing- over John Petonito being thrown out.

Eventually, the Cardinals revealed they had a player there- someone on their roster- who was just there watching the game and so as the umpires left saying the game was over they were eventually talked into coming back and the game resumed.  This was such a nail-biting type of game when the Cardinals were up by three or more runs and the Colts were coming back, but then it just turned into something else completely with that blown call at home and then the Cardinals player being tossed.

Two strikeouts by Dan Livingston ended the fourth inning and the fifth and the sixth went by without much happening.   At this point, as we headed into the seventh, it felt as if the game could go another three hours because it was still tied.  The top of the seventh proved otherwise though as the Colts had an infield single and a wild pitch to score runs at two different times.   This put the Colts up 8-6 and that was where they would stay.  

Behind the pitching of Jonathan Martin, this game ended on a doubleplay and the Colts managed to come back from being down 5-0 to win the game by two runs.  Not only that, both teams went through two different umpire calls that just seemed to affect the game in some way.  When the umpires walked off the field it kind of threw off the rhythm of the game and it felt like it might change the game somehow but the game just went on as if it had never stopped.  Anyone who ever thinks that baseball is boring just isn't watching the right games.

On Friday night the yet-to-win-a-game Bristol Greeners come to Johnny Taylor Field to take on the Colts, while next Wednesday the Colts have their rematch with People's as well.  The Cardinals will have to wait until next week to play again when they will meet the Phillies on Tuesday and Expos on Wednesday at Pat Wall Field, both games which should be interesting tests for them.  


Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Baseball Review //
Westfield Wheelmen, 12
Bovinia Dairymen, 7
June 11th, 2022
Hilltop Farm, Suffield, CT
(Vintage Base Ball Association)



Additional photos can be found in an album on Facebook here :::

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.7650214995020008&type=3


Location, Teams and League links :::


https://www.hilltopfarmsuffield.org/

https://www.facebook.com/WestieldWheelmen

https://www.bovinadairymen.org/

https://www.vbba.org/


Through a series of clues it came to my attention that Saturday, June 11th, was going to be Connecticut Open House Day.   Back in 2019 we had an absolute blast on Connecticut Open House Day, touring through Bristol, so I went through the official website to see what the possibilities could be for this time around.   The thought of going back to Bristol crossed my mind, but when I saw what was described as "vintage baseball" as an option I knew that would likely be where we ended up, even if other options presented themselves beforehand.

The idea of going to a baseball game obviously appeals to me but the fact that this baseball game was set under the rules of the olden days just made it feel even more like something that I wanted to see.   Saturday was also a really nice day, so sitting outside in the sun watching some baseball is never really a bad time.  One rule you learn living in Connecticut is that it shouldn't take you more than an hour to get from any one place to another within the state, though lately with traffic and such it doesn't always feel like that but that is also something more common down near Bridgeport/Stamford/Greenwich- trying to get out of CT that way.

We headed upwards toward the MA border and I couldn't ever remember being in Suffield before for any reason.  Hilltop Farm is exactly what you would expect it to be from a farm.   There were a lot of farms on the road driving up to this as well.  After we parked on one field we made our way to another field where we would pay the $5 to then go sit and watch some vintage baseball.   Aside from the fact that this baseball was vintage, it also was just unique to see teams play where the backdrop was a barn.

There are various rules when it comes to vintage baseball that one should probably become familiar with before a game.   I only really read that they don't use gloves and the rest kind of presented itself as we watched the game.  There is a "high zone" and a "low zone" which you can call for strikes- and you don't have to call a zone, in which case the umpire says "no zone"- and that's just one of the ways this differs from the baseball we know now.  There are also different rules for pitching, for balls and strikes, so it made the game different in that way as well.

Aside from the rules though, which you can read about online, the fact that only the catcher had a small glove and most players wore gloves on their hands that looked like work gloves, this made the game fairly different from what we see on television now as the MLB.   You don't really realize how much the gloves help players in MLB until you see someone try to barehand a pop up or even just throwing from player to player.  It's easier to slip up and then an easy out at first becomes a double.  

There was only one umpire, who stood behind homeplate the entire game, and perhaps even more interestingly the players did not have numbers.   As someone who is not familiar with anyone in this league, this made it difficult to tell when there was a pitching change, for example.  So now I am curious if back in this timeframe teams would regularly swap out players and overall there was really no way to distinctly tell them apart, as we do now with the number system.  It's just one of those little things you might not always think about but this game will make you think about it.

We saw members of the Wheelmen hit a grandslam followed by a solo homerun and that was fun.  Really, overall, it was a hard fought back and forth game with the Dairymen leading for quite a while at first.   Everyone played really hard and it was just so much fun for a day out with baseball, but also with history.  I'm not really into history on a whole but if you want to take about baseball history that is something I've read books and taken courses about.  This really adds to that level of it and I wish it was something we could experience every weekend.

Though there is a vintage baseball league within CT, it doesn't seem to have any games scheduled going forward even though one of their teams played here just the week before.  The Bovinia Dairymen have a schedule which runs through October and has games in NY, Rhode Island and Gettysburg.  Bovinia itself is about three hours from here, but it'd be neat to go to Gettysburg for a weekend which is a "Vintage Base Ball Festival".    The Westfield Wheelmen have a Facebook page but no upcoming events listed.

This was definitely the type of event where if we could see this more often, within the state of Connecticut even, we would definitely be there.  It was a lot of fun, like the baseball we know and love only slightly different.   We got ice cream afterwards as well, which made Quentin quite happy.   I'm not sure how the teams decide when to play or if the season for the Connecticut league just hasn't started yet but I am keeping my eyes open for it all.