Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Getting Tired of Hearing Baseball Trade Rumors

I usually listen to sports radio stations WFAN and ESPN 98.7 for a half-hour or so every day to hear the opinions of the hosts and the callers.  The last time I called into a sports talk show was in the early 1980s when I spoke to Art Rust Jr. on WABC.  I just don't want to hold on for an hour to speak to the host for 30 seconds.  Anyway, listening has been very difficult over the last several days as callers have been dreaming up trades that will likely not happen.  Teams with losing records will trade players with expiring contracts to contending teams.

A team with a losing record should remain competitive the last third of the season and do their fans an injustice by trading good players for prospects who may not make the major leagues.  A contending team may succeed in strengthening themselves.

As of this writing, there are 32 hours to go until the trading deadline.  Will there be a flurry of activity or not?  To quote the late Bob Murphy, "Sometimes the best trades are the ones you don't make."  So far the Yankees have been quiet, but they are looking for another starting pitcher.  The Mets traded Jason Vargas to the Phillies who are a rival in the National League East but acquired Marcus Stroman who should help the team. 

I will not listen to sports talk radio stations until the deadline passes tomorrow at 4 PM.  After that point the callers will likely second guess the teams who made the trades.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

The Mets Beat Pirates 8 - 7 but Almost Blew It

I don't remember going to 3 games in less than a week, but this game was part of our package shortly after our return from Seattle.  I thought it might be a laugher after the Mets took a 6-0 lead in the first inning featured by a 2-run home run by Michael Conforto.  However, the Pirates chipped away at that lead by scoring runs in the third, fourth and fifth inning.  I thought the Mets put the game out of reach by scoring 2 runs in the 6th inning to take an 8-3 lead.  I thought it was safe since a team can not hit a 5 run homer.  In the top of the 9th Met reliever, Tyler Bashlor gave up a 2-run homer to Bryan Reynolds.  Callaway brought in closer Edwin Diaz who yielded another 2-run homer to Jose Osuna to make the score 8-7.  Thankfully, Diaz closed the door at that point to win the game for the Mets.  I thought it would be an oy vey moment for me if the Mets lost.

Game recap

Final Thoughts on the Vacation to Seattle

The weather was absolutely fantastic with not one drop of rain while we were there.  There is always some anxiety before and during a vacation.  We were able to get taxis easily to the airports and got to the planes in plenty of time.  One always feels disorientated when in a strange area, but things worked out well.  All of the attractions were within walking distance or a short bus ride.  There was a free shuttle bus from the Space Needle to the waterfront area that we used several times.

Seattle seems to be a growing city.  Numerous buildings near our hotel were under construction. Most of them were residential apartment buildings.  At least I don't have to return to work.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Two Seattle Mariners Games at T-Mobile Park

Every year we visit a city with a major league team.  It is obviously the highlight of every vacation.  For $30 we were able to get seats in the lower level behind home plate.  T-Mobil Park previously known as Safeco Field is an excellent place to see a game.  There was a Seattle Mariners Hall of Fame on the lower level that traced the team's history.  It even included a section on the Seattle Pilots. My AT&T cell phone even worked there.

In the Monday night game, the Mariners faced the Texas Rangers.  Since I am not writing up the game for the SABR Games Project, I will make a long story short.  The Mariners won 7-3.

Game Recap

We returned to T-Mobile Park on Thursday as the Mariners faced the Detroit Tigers.  The Mariners won 10-2 featuring a grand slam home run by Tim Beckham

Game Recap

Attractions in Seattle

I decided to write one journal entry on several attractions that we visited on our recent vacation.

The Pacific Science Center is similar to science museums such as the Hall of Science in Flushing and the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City.  It aims to teach children the basics of the physical and life sciences.  There was an interesting exhibit about butterflies where visitors can walk into a controlled environment and view them.  We attended a film about the Apollo 11 landing on the moon.

This 1-hour narrated tour offered panoramic and up-close views of Seattle, the shipping port and Puget Sound.

This is similar to aquariums that we have seen in Brooklyn, Miami, and Baltimore.  There were many day camp groups on the day we came.

This museum is unique as it describes through multimedia the history of Seattle from an age when Native American cultures first came into contact with Europeans to the region’s transformation into a major global hub.  There was a special exhibit titled Seattle Style: Fashion/Function which demonstrates the clothing worn in the Pacific Northwest over the years.

It offers exhibits of art from different eras and parts of the world.  I would compare it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.  There was a special exhibit called Victorian Radicals that featured artwork from British artists in the 19th century.

Museum of Popular Culture - Sunday July 21

"Guitar Tree" at the Museum of Pop Culture

We bought a CityPass that allows tourists to go to 5 attractions at a significant discount.  Our first stop was at the Museum of Pop Culture at the Seattle Center.  I would consider it a mini Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, but other genres of popular culture were considered.  It was founded in 2000 by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen as the Experience Music Project and is housed in a 140,000 square foot building designed by renown architect Frank Gehry.  Current exhibits include:
  • Pearl Jam Home and Away
  • Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses
  • Hendrix; Wild Blue Angel
  • Prince: From Minneapolis
  • Infinite Worlds of Science Fiction
  • Scared to Death: The Thrill of Horror Films
Roger McGuinn's Rickenbacher Guitar was featured

Arrived in Seattle Saturday July 20

Taken from the Bottom of the Space Needle

I decided not to take my laptop to Seattle as to not spend too much time on vacation on my computer.  I did take my Kindle Fire to be able to "keep in the loop", but I could not write long articles so since I got home, I will be catching up with Bruce's Journal.

The trip started perfectly as the cab to JFK airport arrived at 7 AM.  We took Alaska Airline flight 349 which arrived at 12:15 PM PDT.  When we arrived at our hotel we realized that the Space Needle and Seattle Center were within walking distance.  The Space Needle was constructed for the 1962 Worlds Fair and is now a big tourist attraction.  The Seattle Center is an active civic arts and family gathering place.  We heard a  Crosby Stills Nash and Young cover band.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Going on Vacation to Seattle This Year

Tomorrow we are leaving for a vacation to Seattle.  I think I will leave my laptop at home so I won't spend hours surfing the web in my hotel room.  I will bring my Kindle Fire and iPhone to "keep in the loop", but I will be limited as to white I can post.  Thus, there will be no posts in this journal until I return.  At that point, I will report on what we did on our trip.  We will be visiting the tourist attractions there but will be going to two Seattle Mariners games at T-Mobile Park (formerly known as Safeco Park).  For several years we have made similar trips to cities with major league teams:

·         Houston
·         Denver
·         Atlanta
·         Baltimore
·         San Francisco
·         Los Angeles

In all these cities the ballpark was either within walking distance or a short bus ride from our hotel.

Let's hope the vacation will go smoothly.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Where is Bob Dylan Going From Here?

I just checked the official Bob Dylan page and Bill Pagel's Tour Guide and noted that there are no concerts scheduled for the Never Ending Tour.  What could that mean?
  1. The Tour is finally over as Dylan is 78 years old and needs to retire.  Has the joy of touring ended after all these years and he is retiring from touring.  Other artists made announcements when their touring days are drawing to an end, but Dylan, of course, is very uncommunicative.
  2. He is going into the studio for a new album.  Tempest in 2012 was his last album with his original compositions.  He can be very unpredictable.  Since a Bootleg Series boxed set was just released, I doubt if another one is coming soon.
We shall see what we shall see.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Random Thoughts of the Day

I usually don't comment on politics, but I think Bill Di Blasio is doing the people of NYC a disservice by running for president.  The Mayor of NYC is a 24/7 job and I think he is shirking his responsibility by going to Iowa to campaign.  Why is the presidential election process so long?  Iowa caucuses are not until February which is 7 months away.  Will he drop out when he gets 3% of the vote.

Right now Melinda Katz is leading Tiffany Caban by 16 votes in the Democratic Primary for Queens District Attorney.  I think the best way to resolve this is to have a runoff election between those two.  There were several other candidates who were many votes behind.  I also suggest there be another registration period for this election with no affidavit ballots allowed.

New York Mets pitcher Zach Wheeler just went on the injury list as a precaution.  I hope he will not be traded since the Mets would likely get a few low-level minor leaguers in exchange for Wheeler for 2 months.  I think the Mets should try to sign him.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Day at Hudson Yards: The Vessel and The Shed

The Vessel from the inside

Hudson Yards is the section of Manhattan on the extreme west side south of the Javits Center.  In recent years it has been developed with shopping malls, tourist attractions, museums, residential and office buildings.  Since there is a new station on the #7 line right there, I thought we would take a ride over and see what is there.

We first saw the Vessel, a spiral staircase that allows people to enjoy new perspectives of the city from different heights, angles, and vantage points.  We found out that we had to get tickets with a smartphone for a few hours later.  We did walk the stairs to the very top.  Since I grew up in a walk-up apartment, this trip upstairs was a "piece of cake."
View from the Vessel

While we were waiting we stopped by The Shed, a new arts center.  We saw two exhibits:
  • Collision/Coalition - Three new commissions exploring social and cultural confrontations and alliances
  • Open Call - New work from 52 NYC-based emerging artists and collectives
The nice thing about The Shed is that it is free.

It's a good thing that we left when we did as a few hours later there was a power failure in parts of Manhattan,

Friday, July 12, 2019

Visit to MOMA at PS1 in Long Island City

French Fries and Ketchup
by Gina Beavers

Since the Museum of Modern Art on 53rd Street in Manhattan is closed until October, Karen and I visited their satellite location PS1 in Long Island City.  There were several exhibits there including:
  • Gina Beavers: The Life I Deserve
  • Hock E, Aye Vi Edgar Heap of Birds
  • Julie Becker: I Must Create a Master Piece to pay the Rent
  • Simone Fattal: Works and Days
  • Nancy Spero's Maypole
Nancy Spero's Maypole from the Top

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Response from NYPL

Sometimes the squeaky wheel gets oiled and I did get a response from NYPL on my complaint about poor service.


Dear Mr. Slutsky,

Thank you for taking the time to share your recent experience at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. As we always strive to provide the best possible service, your feedback is extremely important and appreciated.

While we do aim to deliver materials in 40 minutes, occasionally there are issues that need to be resolved by our librarians and staff members in real time; unfortunately, that was the case with your request. We have already taken steps to resolve the issue that caused the delay, and while our staff members did everything possible to rectify the situation quickly, we do apologize for the wait.

If you would like to discuss this situation in more detail (or share any further feedback) please feel free to contact me directly

Thank you again for sharing your experience


To use another cliche "A chain is as strong as its weakest link".  NYPL has a beautiful building and a very rich collection, but if patrons are frustrated by waiting for their materials, they will not return.  I am sure that numerous other patrons experienced long waits for materials but did not articulate a complaint.

I consulted the staff list of NYPL and feel that they are too "top heavy" with administrators.  If stack maintenance and delivery is their "weak link" I suggest they hire more staff in that area who work directly with patrons.  When I visited the Performing Arts Library of NYPL, I received my material much faster.

I observed that most people in the reading room were using laptops and tablets and did not appear to be using the resources of the library.  In my later years as a research librarian, I observed that students are reluctant to use print resources.  There were many visitors to the library who saw it as a tourist attraction.

Enough said.  I don't want to make a "federal case" about this and would like to bring it to closure.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Poor Service from NYPL (New York Public Library)

When an organization asks its patrons for money they should provide good service in return.  I went to the main NYPL at 42nd Street and 5th Avenue to do some baseball research, but my experience was dampened by poor service.  Below is a complaint that I have sent to some of their executives.

I regret to inform you of the very poor service that I received today (Monday, July 8) at the General Research Division.  At 11:15 AM I submitted call slips for 3 books and told it would take approximately 30 minutes. I did not receive them until 12:30 PM.  I properly filled out the slips with the call numbers, authors and titles.  This poor service is not acceptable.  I understand that there are miles of stacks at NYPL, but a 75-minute wait for monographs which should be easy to locate is unreasonable.  According to this article in the New York Times, the “retrieval system aims to get the materials from shelf to scholar in less than 40 minutes”. Do the library pages get proper training on how to locate materials?  I hope this situation can be rectified.  I would appreciate a response from someone in your organization.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Happy 79th Birthday to Ringo Starr

It's hard to believe that he is 79 years old already.  Nine years ago today we saw him at the Radio City Music Hall for his 70th.  Happy birthday and many many more.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Do-Over of my May 17 Trip to Staten Island

View of Lower Manhattan From Staten Island
It Was Somewhat Hazy Today

Regular readers of Bruce's Journal may remember that on May 17 my solo trip to Staten Island was cut short since there was an unexpected rain shower when I arrived.  Today I repeated this trip along with Karen and Lee since there was no chance of rain.  We walked to the stadium and continued to walk along the promenade as we viewed lower Manhattan.  The only interesting landmarks were:
  • The Memorial to Staten Island residents who perished on 9/11
  • The Memorial to first responders from Staten Island who subsequently passed away
We walked around the new shopping mall and then returned to the ferry terminal.

Mazel Tov to Justin and Rachel Shapiro

Karen and I have a new grand nephew as Justin and Rachel just announced the birth of their second son, Theodore Sawyer Shapiro who will be called Teddy.  A hearty mazel tov to the entire Shapiro family at this joyous time.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Random Thoughts - Woodstock, NJ Transit, Mets Roster Moves

This past week there has been much ado about the 50th anniversary of the World Champion 1969 Mets.  But August will mark the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock Music Festival.  I just bought a 10 CD boxed set featuring music played there.  There will be a 38 CD set out in August which will be more comprehensive.  I must assume that the film will be re-released this summer.  A milestone anniversary is an excuse to make more money.

I must gloat every time I hear about a major delay on NJ Transit.  Yesterday there were no trains on the  Northeast Corridor Line for a few hours since an Amtrak work train was on fire near Trenton.  I heard on the morning news that 9 trains were canceled since engineers did not show up.  The governor says he is committed to improving the service, but I still hear about major delays.  Thank goodness that is all behind me.

The Mets activated relievers Jeurys Familia, Justin Wilson and Luis Avilan from the injured list and recalled infielder Luis Guillorme from Triple-A Syracuse on Tuesday.  Relievers Brooks Pounders, Chris Flexen, Chris Mazza and Stephen Nogosek were optioned to Triple-A in corresponding moves.
The bullpen can only improve.  Familia has to be the biggest disappointment as he performed poorly after receiving $30 Million for 3 years.  I hope that Chris Mazza will return as he pitched well in his first major league appearance after a long minor league career.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Mets End 7-Game Losing Streak by Beating the Braves 8-5

Things have been going very poorly for the Mets as they lost 7 games in a row.  In many of those games, their bullpen was not able to hold leads.  In last night's game which was the final weekend game celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1969 World Series-winning team, the Amazins finally pulled through.

Noah Syndergaard started the game after returning from a short stay on the Injury List.  He was not as sharp as usual as he allowed 3 runs and 7 hits in 5 2/3 innings.  Reliever Chris Flexen was not effective as he allowed 2 runs giving the Braves a 5-3 lead.  The Mets rallied in th3 8th inning to score 5 runs to take an 8-5 lead.  Beleaguered reliever Edwin Diaz pitched a clean 9th inning to get the save. 

Now it is 2 games against the Yankees who killed the Red Sox in London.

Game recap
Personal-Journals blog