Archive | September 2015

David Ortiz, Loveable and Annoying

David Ortiz, I love watching you play baseball. You’re the best hitter in this age of Red Sox history, you deserve to have your number retired, and should be enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Without you, the Red Sox would still be a cursed team and have no championships since 1918. You’ve brought smiles to the faces of Red Sox fans ever since your arrival in 2003, and put happiness into our hearts with your heroics in 2004 to topple the Yankees. We will love you forever on Yawkey Way. Well except for your seemingly endless complaints and your work to turn into the “Old man who yells at clouds”. And while it can be entertaining to watch a curmudgeon, it gets grating and old. Plus there are over the top moments like this one where you wrecked a phone and could have wrecked Dustin Pedroia!  

 So you go over the top… But I still appreciate the good stuff from your time here! Like the 500th career homer you hit vs Tampa, the playoff performances I’ve seen you put on, the way you swagger around and dress, and the winning attitude you have instilled in Red Sox fans(though it has been missing this season). It’s quite enjoyable watching your impact on the team. You were one of the first athletes I followed. You’ve bounced around on my list of favorite athletes, at times topping even Paul Pierce and Pedro Martinez. My room has one wall painted Red Sox red and bearing your image in the form of a Fathead. You’re one of the seminal athletes in Boston and were crucial in my early development as a fan. 

I’ve just been conflicted after reading the Players Tribune pieces on and by him. The pieces about his appreciation for Pedro Martinez(which far exceeds my own), the toughest pitchers he’s faced, and the best play he’s made are all excellent pieces and all fantastic reads for anyone even marginally interested in baseball or the Red Sox. I’d recommend all of them to you to read. The one piece that got me to raise an eyebrow was in the “What the blank” section, a piece where the player being featured is asked a series of question and has to write his answer in the blank space beneath the question. These are insightful and entertaining, mostly. The one that’s insightful and very problematic for me is this one. When asked what his dream job would be if he weren’t an athlete, he responded by writing “pornstar”. Uh……… Ok? I guess I can’t really fault him for honesty but why?…. Having heard this guy thank God in victory speeches many times over, shouldn’t he know that there is a problem with his non athletic dream job and the Christian Faith in general? And in general, I lose a bit of respect for people who have that as a dream job. Knowing how ugly it is and how much I like David, I read that and though “Why?” 

I’m still a fan of his for what he’s doing on the field and how he carries himself off the field, I just lost a bit of respect for him off it is all. Come on David, aren’t there better things to aspire to? Oh wait, you’re doing one of those now, baseball. I’ll just enjoy and appreciate that while you’re still hitting well with us. Well that and then these cute moments of you holding a baby. These help you a bit.  

 

Yogi Berra: A Yankee We All Can Love

As much as I detest the New York Yankees, no one can hate Yogi Berra. I am convinced that there is no way a person with a soul could legitimately hate Yogi. The man was too funny, too witty, too  entertaining for anyone to carry any disdain for him. Remember, this is coming from a lifelong Red Sox fan who grew up in a war zone known as Connecticut. I cannot bring myself to hate Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra. He’s too excellent a baseball player and man for even the most provincial New Englander to detest. 

Yogi born on The Hill in St. Louis to Italian immigrants in the same neighborhood that produced famous broadcasters Jack Buck and Joe Garagiola. He grew up playing baseball whenever he could, and dreamed of playing for his hometown St. Louis Cardinals. Team president Branch Rickey also loved Yogi and wanted to play for him, just not in St. Louis. Rickey was planning on leaving the Cardinals to take a job in the front office of the Brooklyn Dodgers. That’s why as one of the last moves he made in Sr. Louis, Rickey decided to sign Berra’s childhood friend Joe Garagiola to the Cardinals. It looked as though St. Louis had outright spurned Berra, but it was actually a gamble by Rickey to get him in Brooklyn. Unfortunately it didn’t work. The New York Yankees offered Berra a contract with a $500 signing bonus, a good bonus at that time. He began his minor league career in 1942 before it was interrupted by World War II. He was one of the many baseball players who served in the war. The Navy assigned Berra to be a gunner’s mate on the USS Bayfield in the DDay invasion. 

After the war, he resumed his baseball career, eventually getting the call to join the Yankees in September 1946. The next season, he had advanced enough to be a regular in the 1947 World Champion Yankees lineup, hitting the first ever World Series pinch hit homer against Branch Rickey’s Brooklyn Dodgers. He continued playing well, and earned a position as the starting catcher in the historically great New York Yankees of the 50’s and 60’s. He went to 18 MLB All Star games, won 3 AL MVP awards, and was the backstop for 10 World Series winning teams, the most for any player in the history of the sport. He ended his career with a .285 average, 358 career homers, and caught the only perfect game in World Series history.  

 He was a coach with the Amazing Mets of 1969 who won the World Series, and won 2 more championships as a coach with the 1977 and 1978 Yankees, running his championship total to 13. 

His list of baseball accomplishments is incredibly long and puts him in the category of baseball legend, and yet this isn’t first in most discussions about Yogi. What is? His wit. People originally called him Yogi because he looked like a Hindu Yogi when he sat with crossed arms and sad eyes after a loss in American Legion baseball. That nickname eventually came to define his habit of producing many wonderful quotes and phrases that make people laugh and wonder “what was that dude saying?” He always had a point to make and spoke with wisdom, but the wording got people to raise their eyebrows and wonder how Yogi’s mind actually worked. I loved mentioning to people some of the things he said, and just watching the reaction. 

Just read some of these! 

“If you don’t know where you are going, you might end up someplace different.”

“In theory, there is no difference between practice and theory. In practice, there is.” 

“You wouldn’t have won if we’d have beaten you!”

“Baseball is 90 percent mental and the other half is physical.”

“You can observe a lot just by watching.” 

“We made too many wrong mistakes.”

“It ain’t over till it’s over.” 

“It’s like dejavu all over again.” 

“Always go to other people’s funerals or else they won’t go to yours.” 

Well Yogi, I know that many will attend your funeral and you deserve it. 90 years is a long time to live and you accomplished a tremendous amount in that time. From a passionate Red Sox fan, may God welcome you in to His arms for eternal joy. We’ll remember how tremendous a ballplayer you were and how extraordinary your life really was.  

 

MIT: Sports Home?

So I’ve written about my escapades calling games for BU many times. I’ve called swim meets, track meets, basketball games, hockey games, hosted radio shows, gone to playoff games with friends, lost bets on those games, and had many more adventures not recorded here. Today I expanded my horizons and worked Water Polo games at MIT. Yes you read that correctly, I called multiple competitions in a fringe sport at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a school known for 2 things: Brilliant academics and legendary drinking. Not really for their athletic prowess or school spirit. After today, I have a very different perspective on their athletic program. It’s quite fun! It’s a division 3 athletic school with competitive teams and good facilities. 

I also learned that I enjoy the sport of Water Polo! Think of it as a combination between the scoring strategies of basketball and soccer, the defensive strategies of the Detroit Pistons of the late 80’s and early 90’s, and some of the terminology of volleyball in a pool. It’s quite a tiring sport for the players and a remarkably fun sport to watch. It’s a pretty short game, only four 8 minute periods with temporary time stoppages after penalties, goals, timeouts, and after each period. Total game time tends to last for only about an hour to an hour 20 minutes. It’s over fairly quickly, but it’s still quite exciting and so much fun to call. Matter of fact, you can watch a replay of my broadcast via on demand videos on the MIT athletics website. Here’s the link to the first game, vs Connecticut College. http://portal.stretchinternet.com/mit/full.htm?eventId=236337&streamType=video

The on demand for the second game vs Brown will be posted when I have access to it. 

Thanks for a fun day MIT! You people know your sports!  

 

Academic Basketball

So, how did I spend my Labor Day? Well, I got some sleep, I did some work, I hung out with some good friends, and played a mindful and rather academic game of basketball. So a pretty good way of spending a day, I’d say. 

Wait, academic? seems like kind of an unusual term to describe a pick up, one on one game of basketball, doesn’t it? Usually when I think of hoops, I picture two guys who are friends jawing with each other, not really thinking of what they’re doing, shooting and dribbling all over the court trying tou outshine the other with their skills. Well, when playing with my friend Tomas yesterday, we definitely jawed with each other. There was plenty of trash talking between the two of us. There were plenty of shots, rebounds and enough dribbles to give us a good workout. There was also something I find absent from many times I’ve stepped out on the court in recent trips: thought. Part of this was that Tomas and I are on an intramural team in the winter here at BU, and we used the game to scout the other to see how we could play together. (By the way, anyone who wants to play on my team, just come practice and play with me so I can see what you can do.) But Tomas and I are also very thoughtful and smart players. We both know our strengths and weaknesses. We also are pretty good at getting to our spots and getting the other into a place they don’t want to be. That combination of thinking the game through and competitive fire is something I’ve not experienced that often and something I love when I get to taste it. It’s a reminder that basketball isn’t as mindless as many make it out to be. 

I think there’s also a wonderful metaphor in there somewhere about how life can often seem mindless and repetitive; as though we are only going through the motions and not really living even though there is plenty of real substance there. I’m sure that’s in there somewhere, but I’m going to let you determine that for yourself. I’m still just happy that I got to think about what I was doing while on the basketball court. Now that classes have gotten started, its time to actually put in the effort to think about those and not just kinda show up and play along with the professor! 

The Afterglow

I attended Cape Cod Sea Camps for 5 summers. I experienced camp joys, trials, fun, and the best it has to offer every single summer. I went back and worked at the camp in the kitchen this summer. It was a quite a fun job, and I liked being a part of camp the way I was; but it was not quite the same. If I could have been a counselor this year, I would have absolutely done it. Why? Read the words of Jordann and see what’s so great about camp.

SheDidWhatSheWanted

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By Jordann Marinelli 

There’s a time of night right after the sun has set, where the sky is not yet darkened but the sun has passed on the horizon. The sky is alit in warm pinks, reds, and oranges and in my opinion- it’s one of the most beautiful times of day. This is called the afterglow. Before this summer, I had never even heard this word. I didn’t know its literal definition and I couldn’t begin to describe it’s metaphorical one. The afterglow is happiness; the afterglow is a feeling of contentment. This summer was a long and beautiful day that ended in an amazing sunset and now, as the summer is over and I’m back at school, I’m living in the afterglow.

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As a kid, I begged my parents to let me go to sleep away camp, but for a multitude of reasons I was never able to…

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One Last Time: Back to Boston U!

Well, it has begun. I’m 21 years old, the summer has wrapped up nicely, the Red Sox are still in last place, Tom Brady is no longer suspended, and I am back where I feel at home: Boston. I’ve written several times now about how much this here, but this time is a bit different in both good and very interesting ways. 

First for the good. I’m now a senior at BU and I’ve only got one more year of college left! I’m back with my friends, doing things like going to Fenway (again),

  
bumming around the North End and Quincy Market,

   
   
and playing frisbee.

  
All of this while getting back into the radio studio and getting back to class work. The positives I can take from all of these are almost endless, but a quick summary is as follows. I’m back to my favorite city, am seeing some awesome friends, having many fun adventures and games, and learning a great amount in challenging classes. Complaints? None of those to be seen here. Only a fun year to be had. 

But wait, what did I mean at the start of the post when I said “interesting” ways? Well to keep it fairly simple, with the end of college starting to creep up on me, I have to start thinking about more long term career and Vocation paths. I mentioned before that I feel especially called to the sort of work I did over the summer, which you can read about here. That’s still my direction at this point. What’s also not changed is the slight problem that I’m not sure how to get there. When you lack an exact direction to the end goal you have, the process for reaching the final destination is always an interesting proposition. Throw in some hard work in classes, fixing up some friendships and relationships that need and deserve it, and top it off with the promise of more adventures from people I’ve not even met yet, and it’s certain that I’d be in for an interesting adventure. I don’t know what the end result or process would be for all this, but it will at least be an interesting ride. I’ll be sure to write about it on here and see where I end up at the culmination of it all.