Saturday, June 23, 2018

Final Day of SABR 48

The final day of the meeting started with a panel discussion among Pirate broadcaster Joe Block and former players John Candelaria and Grant Jackson.  They discussed their experiences playing the Bucs many years ago and fielded questions from the audience.  I then attended a meeting the the BioProject chaired by Gregory Wolf.  I have exchanged many emails with Gregory over the years, but I met him for the first time at this meeting.

One major league baseball issue recently has been the length of games.  David W. Smith of Retrosheet.org discussed many factors which result in longer games today.  Changes such as limiting the number of visits by the catcher to the pitcher have not alleviated this situation.  Whether I am at the game or watching on TV slow games can be a drag.

Mark Armour, an active SABR member chaired a session on season-long platoons.  He discussed numerous sets of platoon partners.

The highlight of the day was a discussion of the Pittsburgh Pirate years of Branch Rickey.  My favorite panelist was Frank Thomas who played for the 1962 Mets and set a record for home runs by an expansion team players.  Most of the time he talked about his time with the Pirates.  Another panelist was Jeffrey Flannery of the Manuscripts Division of the Library of Congress.  He described a forthcoming exhibition called Baseball Americana.  There is much information in his library on Branch Rickey.

My last three talks of the day were:

  • Negro Leagues=Major Leagues
  • 1961 Perspective of Fricks 61* Ruling
  • Research Committee Meeting on Baseball Records
Back home tomorrow.

Busy Day 2 at SABR 48

The first meeting was a media panel where three Pittsburgh Pirate broadcasters discussed their experiences in covering a team from the broadcast booth.  The speakers were:

  • Curt Smith - Moderator
  • Greg Brown - long time Pirate play-by-play announcer
  • Steve Blass - color commentator and former player
  • Lanny Frattare - retired Pirate broadcaster
  • Joe Block - Pirate play-by-play announcer
From there I attended a talk titled; The Warhol Triple Play Maris Seaver and Rose

The speakers showed drawings that Warhol did of those three baseball stars.  One of them worked at the nearby Andy Warhol Museum.  I wish I had the time to visit, but I'll have to make another trip to  Pittsburgh to see it.

Th next talk was:  In Harmony the National Anthem for the National Pastime

Joseph Price described a cross-country trip where he sang the Star Spangled Banner at 104 minor league ballparks.  He even wrote a book about this trip.

At 12 noon I attended the SABR Awards luncheon.  From there we walked from the hotel across the Roberto Clemente Bridge tp PNC Park.  The SABR group was greeted by Pirate manager Clint Hurdle.  Three Pirate employees spoke to the group about analytics that is used by teams to evaluate players and make decisions during the game.

This session ended at 4 PM so we had to wait 3 hours for the game between the Diamondbacks and the Pirates to begin.  It was a long evening as in 13 innings the Pirates lost 2-1.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Busy First Day at #SABR48

My meeting with the Games Committee started at 7:30 AM.  Chairman Mike Huber gave some statistics:

  • 2240 games were assigned.
  • 941 articles were completed.
  • 353 articles for books were completed.
  • 950 games are awaiting publication for a book project.
Len Levin, one of the editors for this project, gave some hint for those writing articles.  I think if Len edited Bruce's Journal he would find many errors.  :)

The next two events were:
  • The SABR business meeting
  • Opening remarks by Pittsburgh Pirate President Frank Coonelly
There was a one-hour session on the life and legacy of Roberto Clemente who is revered by baseball fans and Puerto Ricans.  There is sentiment for retiring uniform #21 throughout major league baseball.

In the afternoon I attended a talk about the relationship between Branch Rickey and Ralph Kiner when he played for the Pirates.  Of course, Kiner is best known in NYC for his broadcasting years for the Mets.

The next talk considered Hank Greenberg's time with the Pirates in 1947.

I went to a meeting of the Baseball Index Project Committee.  I am interested in indexing SABR documents for inclusion in baseballindex.org.

The last three talks that attended were:

  • Wendell Smith of the Pittsburgh Courier: His Life and Legacy
  • The Humidor and the predictive powers of physics
  • Injuries in the Stands: MLB responds with extended netting
I went out to dinner with some of the guys from the Games Project.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Arrived Safely in Pittsburgh


I called a local cab company at about 11 AM and arrived at LaGuardia in a few minutes.  It didn't take too long to go through security and I arrived at the gate in plenty of time.  Terminal C which serves Delta Airlines was renovated and looked much better than it did in the past.  The flight to Pittsburgh was less than half full which was only a problem for the airline who likely lost money.  I arrived at about 3 PM and took a van to the hotel.  It rained very hard at the time the van left the airport.  By the time I got to the hotel the rain had stopped.

After I unpacked I checked out the wifi and started to listen to Cousin Brucie on SiriusXM.  The welcoming reception starts at 6 PM.

Starting tomorrow, I'll give reports on the SABR meeting.

Leaving for Pittsburgh Later Today for the SABR Annual Meeting

I have been a member of SABR (Society for American Baseball Research) for about 4 years.  Recently, I have been involved in the Games Project.  I went to the national meeting in NYC last year and really enjoyed attending the sessions.  I really need to get away from home for a few days and decided to attend this year's meeting in Pittsburgh.  I have been in touch with many people in the organization through email since I have been a member.  I will have an opportunity to speak to them face to face while I am in Pittsburgh.  My flight leaves from Laguardia at 1:40 PM.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Visited the American Folk Art Museum and Lincoln Center


Today we visited the American Folk Art Museum on Columbus Avenue between 65th and 66th Street.  It was a small museum that did not have an admission charge, but we gave them a small donation.  This museum is devoted to the creative expressions of self-taught artists of diverse backgrounds.

The current exhibition was titled Charting the Divine Plan: The Art of Orra White Hitchcock (1796–1863).  She was an illustrator was western Massachusetts whose husband was a biologist at Amherst College.

From there we walked around the Lincoln Center area and stopped by the Metropolitan Opera shop and the Performing Arts Library of NYPL.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

This Woman Inspired of 3 Hit Songs by 2 Rock Icons


I just completed this autobiography of Pattie Boyd published in 2007.  I actually saw her at the Beatles Fest in 2014.  She candidly detailed her relationships with two rock icon whom she married.  She first met George Harrison on the set of A Hard Days Night and married him a few years later.  Pattie divorced George since he was a womanizer and eventually married Eric Clapton.  She inspired these 3 hits.






Tuesday, June 12, 2018

James Brown Covers George Harrison's Something


I very rarely read about singer-songwriters commenting about other artists covering their songs.  Right now I am reading:  Boyd, Pattie, and Penny Junor. 2008. Wonderful tonight: George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and me. New York: Three Rivers Press.  Pattie commented that there are over 150 covers of Something, but George thought that the James Brown version was the best.

Monday, June 11, 2018

The Mets Salvage One Game of the Subway Series by Beating the Yankees 2-0

I attended game 1 in person but watched games 2 and 3 on TV.  Todd Frazier's 2-run homer coupled with excellent pitching was able to beat the Yankees 2-0 last night.  It was the only time this season that the Bronx Bombers were shut out.  This victory gives the Mets a small psychological boost, but what will happen during the rest of the season?  Can they return to respectability after playing so poorly so far?  They have been affected by several injuries and the hitting has just been poor.

There are some suggestions that the Mets should trade deGrom and/or Syndergaard for some hitting prospects.  I wouldn't do that since minor league players often don't work out once they are promoted to the major leagues.  They just made some roster moves by releasing Adrian Gonzalez and Jose Lobaton and promoting Dominc Smith and Ty Kelly.  I really think that Jose Reyes should be let go as he has performed very poorly this season.  Last night he made 2 errors on one play.

Time will tell.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Yankees 4 Mets 1 in Game 1 of the Subway Series

The Yankees are moving up while the Mets are going down.  This was obviously played out in last night's Subway Series game. Jacob deGrom started for the Mets and pitched very well until Brett Gardner hit a two-run homer in the 8th inning.  Since the Mets are just not hitting that was enough.  The only highlight for the "Amazins" was a home run hit by Brandon Nimmo in the first inning.  If they can't win with their top pitcher, when will they win again as they have now lost 7 in a row?  Yoenes Cespedes is not the answer.

Game Recap

Friday, June 8, 2018

Ben's Best Deli in Rego Park Will Close on June 30 After 73 Years


Regular readers of Bruce's Journal know that once a year or so I walk around Rego Park and observe what has changed over the years.  Ben's Best Deli is one of the few businesses that has remained at its original location since I grew up there in the 1960s.  I found out yesterday that it will be closing on June 30 after being in business since 1945.  I remember my mother sent me there on Sunday afternoons to pick up delicatessen for dinner.  My dad always liked to eat specials (knockwurst) while I ate either salami or pastrami.  I remember Ben Parker who at times was a braggart about the quality of his food.  After he passed away his son Jay took over the business.  He was interviewed for the documentary Deli Man a few years ago.

I reported here in 2008   about the demise of several kosher delis in Queens over the years.  Likely, those delis lost their customer base since the Jewish population in the area has declined.  I understand that there are many Bukharin Jews living in Rego Park, but have their own kosher restaurants and may not patronize Bens.  Very often businesses close since their landlords raise their rents dramatically making it financially impossible to keep going.

It certainly will be the end of an era in Rego Park,

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Orioles 1 Mets 0

Since I am retired I am able to go to the weekday afternoon games for the Mets and Yankees.  So far I have been to 1 Yankee and 2 Met games during the week.  Bad weather prevented me from going to a few more.  This morning I was able to buy a ticket in section 516 behind home plate for $11.23.  By chance, I encountered fellow 1967 Forest Hills HS grade Phil Belkin in the same section.

The Met hitting woes continued as they were only able to get 5 hits off Oriole pitchers.  They loaded the bases in the 7th inning, but Amed Rosario struck out with the bases loaded.  In the 8th inning, the Orioles scored the lone run on a sacrifice fly by Manny Machado.  The only positive was an excellent 7 inning performance by Zach Wheeler.

The Mets have now lost 6 games in a row and drop to a 27-32 record just before the Yankees and their fans invade Citi Field on Friday.    When will they begin to hit again?

Game Recap

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Visit to the Frick Collection and its Art Reference Library


I continued my "tour" of  New York City museums today by visiting the Frick Collection at 5th Avenue and 70th Street. Henry Clay Frick (1849-1919) was an industrialist from Pittsburgh who moved to NYC late in life and bequeathed his residence and works of art to a board of trustees permitting additions to the collection.  The building was open to the public in 1935 as an art museum.  I am not an expert in art or art history, but most of the paintings were from western European artists from the late 19th or early 20th century. Works from other eras were also represented.  Mr. Frick liked portraits of women in beautiful dresses.

I also visited the Frick Art Reference Library described as one of the foremost resources in the world of European and American Art.  I spoke to a reference librarian who did not know how its collection differed from that of the Art Division of NYPL.  Since I would only seek popular works about art, I would not have to use a research level collection.

Monday, June 4, 2018

There are Just Too Many Trailers Preceding Movies


Today, I went to the AMC Bay Terrace Complex to see the film Adrift scheduled to begin at 12:15 PM.  After several trailers (previews) the movie didn't begin until 12:40.  I didn't count the number of previews this time, but often there up to 7 before the actual start.  I don't mind sitting through a few, but 7 taking up to 25 minutes is just excessive.  This is especially annoying when the film is long.  We pay enough to see movies in a theater, but these trailers are essentially commercials which we can see at home any time.

Very often a trailer is shown and then that movie is never shown at that theater.  For example, I saw trailers for Book Club and Adrift at the College Point Multiplex, but those films were never shown there.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Cubs 2 Mets 0

What happened to that team that started the season 11-1?  There was so much optimism at that point that with a new manager and coaching staff the Mets could make a significant improvement over the 70-92 record of 2017.  Jon Lester dominated the Mets who could only muster 3 hits today.  The Cubs scored on a steal of home by Javier Baez and a sacrifice fly by Ben Zobrist.   The Cubs swept the series as the Mets could only score 6 runs in the 4-game series.  The Amazins lost 9 out of the last 11 as their record dropped to 27-30.  Since their outstanding start, they are 16-29.

The Mets should be encouraged by Steve Matz's performance who allowed 2 runs and 5 hits, but a team can't win without hitting.

Game Recap

Friday, June 1, 2018

I Lost Interest in Basketball and Hockey Playoffs


Today is June 1 and basketball and hockey playoffs are still in progress.  Before you know it the training camps for next season will open.  I am primarily a baseball fan and following the Mets and Yankees.  Of the 5 winter sports teams in NYC, only the NJ Devils made the playoffs and they were eliminated in the first round.  For that reason, I have lost interest in the basketball and hockey playoffs.  I have other interests besides sports.  In both the NBA and NHL 16 teams make the playoffs creating an extended season that lasts until June.  The more games that are played, the more money is earned for the owners.  Of course, money is the name of the game.
 
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