When Can We Yell: “Play Ball”?!?!

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There was one particular thought that surfaced when almost 3 feet of snow was accumulating outside my window a couple of weeks ago: How many days until pitchers and catchers have to report? I found out the answer earlier today…

The Yanks’ Opening Day can’t be far behind! If you want to know exactly — and I mean exactly — click the image below. You can see how much time is left until the first pitch against the Tigers.

You can make a nifty Countdown Calendar for your own teams’ Opening Day at the wonderful Time & Date.

It’s almost Spring!

Berra on Steinbrenner

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This is a very sad day for me and Carmen and all of baseball. My sympathies go out to the Steinbrenner family.

George was The Boss, make no mistake. He built the Yankees into champions and that’s something nobody can ever deny. He was a very generous, caring, passionate man. George and I had our differences, but who didn’t? We became great friends over the last decade and I will miss him very much.

Always a class act.

Of course I mean Berra…

Baseball Analysis

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Via Shots, NPR’s Health Blog:

You haven’t really seen baseball analysts until you’ve sat in on a panel of shrinks dissecting America’s pastime.

Trust us. We saw it happen at a meeting of the American Psychoanalytic Association just a few blocks from NPR HQ on Thursday. Washington Nationals President Stan Kasten even joined the keepers of Freud’s flame to discuss the mental challenges posed by the game and why it has such a strong grip on so many minds.

First, we can now report that our favorite spectator sport’s unique national status is official. “Baseball is part of the American psyche,” declared Dr. Bruce Levin, a psychoanalyst from outside Philadelphia who organized the panel. Baseball, he said, isn’t just a game. Watching and playing are also about connecting with our “inner baseball heroes” and also help “children practice growing up.”

There’s more…

Finding a Character

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(Also posted at Kickstarter as a project update)

Most of the people I write about in ESPERANZA FARM are composites of people I’ve met at some point in my life. A few are completely made up to fit a particular story-telling need while others are closer to their real life persona.

Reinaldo, a next door neighbor and confidant of the young protagonist, fits the latter group:

Reinaldo Garsa, who had lived in the United States for many years, was saying that an attack by the United States on Cuba could come any minute. People believed him when he said that the plane that flew low above the fields earlier that afternoon was an American spy plane. Reinaldo should have known, they said, because he had fought as a Sergeant in the American Army during the Korean War.

“Reinaldo” was my real-life neighbor. I remember the content of our frequent conversations, his very strong opinions about the Cuban government and other matters. I could also recall his descriptions of New York from the time in the forties and fifties when he made the city his home. His love of baseball is still fresh in my memory. But because I had not seen him in approximately forty years, his physical features were lost to me. It’s odd how one can remember almost all about a person from one’s past, except their face. That was until very recently, when I discovered the photo that accompanies this update.

Suddenly, “Reinaldo” came back to life and I realized, at the same time, where his love of baseball probably came from: he managed one of the baseball teams that traveled my province, Pinar del Rio, delighting Sunday fans. This was a detail I did not know about the character or about the person.

I’m considering slipping that detail — about him being a manager — into the final revision of the manuscript. It would add depth and context to the character. I also know it would please the person I knew.

“Reinaldo” is the man on the far right. Looking at the photograph, I concluded that he came to the ballpark straight from work. He was in such a hurry to get to the game that he didn’t have time to change. “Let’s get this damn ceremonial first pitch over,” I can imagine him thinking, “let’s play ball.”

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Reading My Work: A Gift for a Friend

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For my good friend Andy Marino’s 60th birthday, his wife Dianne asked that his friends bring artistic presents to the celebration. There were gifts of songs, heart-felt testimonials, music, love and friendship. I read from a work in progress, FROM MOUNTAIN ROAD TO EASY STREET, a fictionalized memoir I hope to complete this year.

Part 2 of Reading My Work: A Gift for a Friend is HERE.

Thanks for watching!

—A h/t to Deb Brozina for the great camera work on a non-existing budget : )