Friday, July 27, 2012

Preview Video

Our Preview Video is now up on our Youtube channel. A fun way to see the places we will go. It will also be on the sidebar of the blog here. Check it out:

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Ichiro Traded to the Yankees

 Monday afternoon, at around 5 PM, Ichiro Suzuki, the longest tenured Seattle star of my lifetime, was traded to the New York Yankees. Over the last week I have done my best to process the trade and comprehend what it means in a variety of mediums. First I talked. With my dad, with Owen and Craig, and then other friends who understand the significance of not just the post-Ichiro era in Seattle, but also the decision to trade him mid-season and to the Yankees, of all teams. Then I watched. Watched as Ichiro took his first plate appearance (hitting eighth, by the way, something he would have never done in a million years for the Seattle Mariners) and promptly lined the ball back through the batters box for his first hit in a Yankees uniform. And then I wrote. In over 2000 words (check it out here on the Fan Manifesto) I tried to capture Ichiro — both the unique player and the enigmatic person. It was therapeutic, really, to write about him in this way, noting the ties between his career as a Mariner and my life as a Seattle sports fan.

Of course I couldn't say everything  I wanted to. I wasn't able to talk about my frustration with the Mariners — how could a team sour the career of such an iconic player by surrounding him with such little talent? — or how once upon a time Ichiro played the game with true passion, sliding head first into first base to avoid a tag or barreling through a catcher at home plate and then roaring his approval and fist bumping his teammates. Maybe playing for the Yankees will bring back that side to him, maybe it won't. But as I have continued to think, talk and read about the trade and reminisce about Ichiro's career as a Mariner, I have started to come to a conclusion, perhaps even closure. The pervading sense I have had over the last couple of days is that I will miss Ichiro — of course I will — though not as much as I once would have thought. Because it feels, sadly, as though I have been missing Ichiro for quite some time now.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Pre-Trip Bets

As previously mentioned, one of the ideas we had to make this trip more fun was to make predictions about the games we would see--how many would the home team win, how many runs would be scored, etc. Well, now we have made our odds, set our lines, and we have each filled out our personal predictions, using some combination of advanced analytics and random choice. Now, you can make your predictions as well. Just click "Read More" below and you will open the form to make your picks. Picks accepted until 7:05 pm on August 3. Winner gets a tweet or blog post or something equally unexciting (success is an end in itself). Good luck!

A Day at Fenway

One of the goals of our trip is to explore American culture. Every ballpark experience is shaped by its fan-base, and every fan-base is a reflection of its region. One of the things we hope to discover is whether the popular regional cliches hold up, and to what degree. As we travel, we hope to share some insights and anecdotes about our brief immersions into these various pockets of American culture. Yesterday I went to Fenway Park to watch the Red Sox lose to the Blue Jays. Here is my anecdote:

When I was riding the T on my way to Fenway before the game, a hot topic of conversation had been the MBTA’s apparently new door policy: they had seemingly just decided that at stops, the driver would only open the front door, because if they were to open the side doors for people leaving, it would invite free-riders to sneak in. Passengers complained the whole way in to the game about the constant log-jam at the front of the train. 

The policy comes up again on my way home, five hours later, as a young couple with a stroller can not make it through the crowded aisle and down the stairs in the front:

(they yell to the front) 
Can you open the doors? 
We've got a carriage. We can't do the steps in the front. 
*doors open*

Ten minutes later, the train stops again. The same demand comes, this time from one door further away from the driver. The requester is a forty-ish year-old man, carrying a large suitcase, and a hiking backpack. He appears sweaty, frazzled, and slightly mad. There is just over one train car length between him and the driver.

*train stops, front door opens*
(he yells) Backdoor!
(the driver does not hear him)
Open the backdoor! 
(those around him look toward the front of the train) 
Backdooooor! I’ve got luggage!
*louder* Luggaaaaaaaaaage!
(still nothing)
Open the backdoor! 
*front door closes, train starts rolling* 
No! Open the backdoor! 
*train accelerates away * 
*loudest* You stupid FUCK!


Friday, July 13, 2012

Three Weeks to Go!

With only three weeks left until we embark on our journey, we are working on a few small website upgrades: check back soon for a revamped "About Us" section, in which we will each post a longer, more in-depth piece about our individual relationships with baseball and what this experience means to us.

To whet your appettite, I'm posting a picture I took from a local "pley" at which I volunteered as a pitching coach for four and a half months in the Dominican Republic in between high school and college. Keep an eye out for Miguel (in front wearing a blue hat and plain white tee) in 10-12 years. He has a absolute cannon.