American Pasttimes

Picking up where I left off, I had had a rather American experience in Oneida Castle.  There were gazebos and children and young couples.  No apple pie or hot dogs, but there was baseball.  I stopped in Oneida Castle around the 4th inning of the Phillies-White Sox game this afternoon.  So intrigued was I by the game that I kept my phone with me, broadcasting the game, as I set up camp at the picnic table and ate my lunch. Lunch was over, I went back to my car, and plugged the phone right back into the stereo for the conclusion of the game.

Cole Hamels turned in his third consecutive stellar start, and although Jonny Paps blew the save, the Phillies ended up winning the game in the 10th inning.  This 3 game set with the ChiSox featured 3 extra inning games, of which the Phillies took 2.  I am a dedicated fan of the game, and of the team.  I didn’t watch a single pitch.  Rather, I listened to the games, on the radio.  There is something romantic about baseball on the radio.  Much the same way your grandfather experienced the game, you can too.  It’s only an iPhone app away :/.  Seriously now, baseball is the only sport that really translates well to radio.  The pace of the game is perfect for radio; and you need not even pay the closest attention to still have a full and rewarding experience following a game.  The play by play man and color man, if they are good, will quickly become your friends as they describe what is happening on the field, what is happening in the booth, and what may have happened late the night before, or what may have happened during the late nights of yesteryear.  Listening to your friends talk about your team is comforting.  Really, most radio guys are just fans themselves.  They just have either been struck by a bolt of luck or have all the right connections.  In the end though, it’s a few dudes watching a ball game, and talking about it.  As a Phillies fan, I love Scott Franske, JJ, Sarge and LA, as I’m sure everyone else loves their hometown crew.

Baseball on the radio is also calming and therapeutic.  The sound of the crowd’s murmur interrupted by the loud crack of the bat and the rise in pitch of the play by play man’s voice as he describes the action: these are the sounds of summer.

I’m going to be listening to as many Phils games as I can during the trip, and eagerly await each chance I have to do so.  What is ultimately the most appealing about listening to a ballgame on the radio is that the satisfaction is delayed.  In the age of the smartphone, high speed internet and television, it is appallingly easy to be able to follow a team.  It’s far harder to follow a team via the radio, but it’s far more human too.  Hearing the play develop, and hearing the tone of the play by play man’s voice as it moves to describe the likelihood of a particular play being made, is what keeps baseball fresh.  The excitement of the game on the radio is that you don’t know what’s going to happen next, or even what is happening at the second.  You are at the whimsy of the announcers, and with them, not the team, you live or die.

Not only is baseball on the radio comforting by its mere nature, its comforting because it is always there.  162 days of each year, your club has a game.  A chance to win.  A chance to forget yesterday and focus on today’s game.  No matter what plagues you, you can always find the calming presence of a baseball game on the radio.  And yes, it has dawned on me that the availability of the game anywhere through the iPhone and other such devices sort of crushes the “delayed gratification” I was hinting at earlier.  Instead, I have preferred to simply chalk up the wide availability of radio broadcasts to the broader concern of just how easy travel has become, which is very easy.  More on this later.

With the game concluded and the series won, the Phillies had little to entertain me with after the 5 o’clock hour today.  Thankfully, I had to drive to Brattleboro, VT.  As I mentioned earlier, I was very much in anticipation of Vermont upon entering the state; I was hoping to find the Vermont of my assumptions, and I did just that.  For the drivers amongst you, consider making the trip from Bennington to Brattleboro sometime.  The drive is 40 miles of curves, hills, covered bridges, and dirt roads.  Simply spectacular.

After traversing the length of the state in a little over an hour, I had made it to Brattleboro.  Tom and Lynn Bedell graciously offered to let me stay the night in their guestroom; and it is from within this room that I’m now writing this entry.  Let me just briefly say now that Tom and Lynn have set an extraordinarily high bar for the trip.  Hospitable to the tee, they have provided me with everything I need and more for this evening.  Truly good people.

Kinda a disjointed and poorly written entry, but I suppose that’s what you get at 12:30 after a long, long day of golf and travel.  I’m kinda hoping that no further McDonald’s have faulty outlet wiring — for if the one on Rt 5 in Herkimer, NY didn’t, I would have taken care of all this baseball nonsense earlier in the day.

That I have sat here and written about baseball on the radio is kinda frightening to me.  It means I have no ability to just “let a topic go,” with regards to the blog.  I’m going to have to be more discriminating if I’m going to make it out alive.  As we sit, I would be in danger of not having the time to discuss everything I’d want to discuss while on the trip.  You can’t get to everything though, and I guess the challenge is in finding out what topics are most pertinent and going from there.  I have always just been more thorough than this, and it eats away at me when I leave a perfectly good topic untouched.

However, as you can tell from this entry, forcing something on me usually results in poorly written, poorly structured posts which are more mechanical than anything else.  I gotta avoid these entries; they are good for neither you nor me.

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1 Comment

Filed under Life, Travel

One response to “American Pasttimes

  1. Feeman, I totally understand listening to baseball on the radio. I had to get Pirates games through the airwaves as a kid, and when I became a Giants fan prior to the ’93 season, it became even more important to find ways to listen. With MLB TV and the At Bat app, I can watch or listen to my team every game, and I often do so in the car driving to nowhere here in PA.

    Best of luck on your trip and I look forward to following on your blog.

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