The Game After The Storm

It was 10 years ago tonight—July 19, 2006—that I had the best seats I’ve ever had for a baseball game, and it was one of the wildest nights I’ve spent at the ballpark.

My brother, who at that time worked for Anheuser Busch, which at that time was one of the better employers in St. Louis, somehow secured the AB Diamond Box tickets for that night and he gave them to me. Right next to the Cardinals’ dugout, just behind the photographers’ well. Truly amazing seats.

IMG_3568IMG_3573Unfortunately, as the players were finishing their pre-game warmups, the skies darkened, and it was clear—from the gray clouds in the background and from the weather radar that was put up on the scoreboard—that it was going to be a while before any baseball was played. The players rushed off the field, and, as the rain started to fall, the fans left the stands for relative safety inside.

 

As you can see from this video, “relative” is the operative word. The wind was whipping at near-tornadic strength, it seemed, and somebody got clobbered by this trash can. I was somewhere in that crowd, safe from the winds and the flying dumpsters.

IMG_3581The storm finally ended, and it was time to assess the damage. Unfortunately, the tarp covering home plate had been ripped up by the winds, so a long time was spent making repairs to the batters’ boxes. Finally, things got under way. The Cardinals played well; “Jimmy Baseball” Edmonds hit a home run, and they ended up beating the Braves 8-3.

(The night didn’t end so well for us, however; we got home to find that our power had gone out in the storm, along with much of the surrounding area. Luckily for us, though, it came on again the next morning. We’ve definitely had worse outages.)

Reading List, July 2016: My Last (And Next) Five Books

What are you reading? It’s one of my favorite questions. Here’s a list of the books I’ve read recently, along with my best guess at the next few. I do this every once in a while on Shoulblog: previous posts are here and here and here and here and here and here.

This time, it’s a pretty good group of books. These are listed in reverse order: i.e., most recent first.

(And by the way, here’s another reminder: if you’d like, you can friend me up on Goodreads, and that way you can follow along in near-real time, and I can see what you’re reading too!)

51UbMPz9x5L._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_1) Let The Great World Spin, by Colum McCann. Several people have recommended this book to me over the last few years, and man, were they right. This novel revolves around a a real event: a tightrope walker who stretched a wire between the twin towers of the World Trade Center and walked across in 1974. The book follows several characters who were indirectly affected by that event. Just stellar writing and characterization throughout; definitely the best book I’ve read in a while.

61mTY9T9xBL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_2) It Happened In Wisconsin, by Ken Moraff. An allegory about a barnstorming, socialist, Depression-era baseball team that gets trapped in a Wisconsin hotel with a capitalist provocateur. A fun read.

I try to read at least one baseball book each summer, and I guess this one will fulfill that role, but I’m always open to reading more, if y’all have any suggestions.

51L5cGs+4jL._SX314_BO1,204,203,200_3) Long, Quiet Highway: Waking Up In America, by Natalie Goldberg. Goldberg is is the author of one of my favorite writing books, Writing Down The Bones: Freeing The Writer Within; I’ve read it a couple of times, and it definitely colors the way I feel about writing.

Long, Quiet Highway is an autobiographical story of her spiritual journey in Zen Buddhism, a journey that coincided with the development of Writing Down the Bones and other books of hers that I’ve read, so it was interesting to see how those stories came together.

41-ZKdTxiRL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_4) Wall Of Glass, by Walter Satterthwait. I don’t read a lot of mysteries, but this one popped up on one of my bargain Kindle-books sites, and since it was set in Santa Fe, N.M., I snapped it up. I’ve been to Santa Fe a couple of times and am planning to go back later this year, because I simply can’t get enough of New Mexico. This one definitely captured a lot of the northern New Mexico flavor that I’ve been craving.

I say I don’t read a lot of mysteries, but I think I’ll be reading more: when well done, they can be quick, fun reads, and I’m all about that.

41c6I2lIMDL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_5) Swimming Studies, by Leanne Shapton. A book of short essays about a life in swimming by a former competitive swimmer whose career reached the Canadian Olympic Trials. Funny, insightful and, to the limits of my own swimming experience, accurate.

By the way, Natalie Goldberg in No. 3 wrote about Zen and writing, but for me, I think swimming is more of a Zen experience. But then again, I’m pretty new to this Zen thing.

And now, here’s a guess, just a guess, at the next five books I’ll read

High Season, by Jon Loomis. Picked this up at a bargain-book sale somewhere. It’s another mystery, set in Provincetown, Mass. See, I pick my mysteries based on the setting. Since I’m currently on a beach vacation—but not in Provincetown, alas—I figured this would be a good one to read; I started it yesterday.

Saving Capitalism: For The Many, Not The Few, by Robert Reich. I recently received this as a gift, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the former Labor secretary has to say.

The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver. This one’s been on my to-read list for a while. At the beginning of this year, I moved it to my must-read-this-year list (along with Let The Great World Spin). I read Flight Behavior a couple of years ago, and always wanted to read this one.

Salvage The Bones, by Jesmyn Ward. Another well-reviewed book that has always piqued my interest.

Death Comes For The Archbishop, by Willa Cather. A New Mexico classic.

Thanks for playing along, and hey, maybe I’ll see you on Goodreads!