Saturday, May 31, 2008

Remembrance of things past...

In homage to Proust, let me quote from a January 4 blog post:
O me of little faith; I never imagined that we would see an Obama/McCain general election. Now, the respective candidacies of America's two best men for the job is not only possible, but probable.

At last, my hopes are being vindicated.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Eclipse game post (2)

Venue: Home game
Opponent: Royal Oak Wahoos
Score: W (24-1)
Batting: 3 for 6, 1 tally, 2 runs batted in

Vintage base ball is all about fielding, particularly in the infield. If you can't record outs on batted balls topped at home plate, or hit directly towards a fielder, then the opposing team will tally a lot of runs. This is what happened in Saturday's game. We scored four runs in the first, and seven more in the second, with relatively few hard line drives for such a prodigious total.

Both of my first two times at bat were with the bases loaded. The first time, I hacked the ball straight down between home and the pitcher's plate. Both the pitcher and catcher chased the ball, and no one covered home; everyone was safe. The second time, I grounded into a short-to-second force play, easily beating the throw to first and scoring the man from third.

On my fifth try at the plate, I borrowed Barrister's maple bat, the shortest (almost comically so) and lightest of all the team's bats. It helped a lot: I lined a single over the shortstop's head into left-center, eventually tallying a run, and hit a hard but high drive to center field that was well-caught on the fly.

Our next game is Sunday, June 1st, at 1:00. Please come!

May 20: Kentucky and Oregon (Democratic)

Clinton 65
Obama 30

Obama 59
Clinton 41

This was an almost exact redux of the Indiana-North Carolina outcome from two weeks ago. Senator Obama won the more populous state, and Senator Clinton took the less populous state. Obama's delegate lead remains comfortable. In Kentucky, a state with only Louisville as a major urban area, rural white voters broke for Clinton, as they did in West Virginia. Oregon, a dynamic state with plenty of young people and high technology, broke for Obama.

Obama's cachet is still there: he drew a crowd of 70,000 to the banks of the Willamette River to hear him speak, to which Jay Leno quipped, "And then he fed all of them with five loaves of bread and two fish."

Eclipse game post (1)

Venue: Sylvania, Ohio
Opponent: Great Black Swamp Frogs
Score: L (1-5)
Batting: 1 for 3

Many of you know that I play vintage base ball (yes, two words) for the Northville Eclipse. We strive to make an accurate representation of base ball as it was played in the 1860's. The most obvious sign is the semi-formal dress in which we play. Some of the rules are different, too. The pitching delivery must be underhand, gloves are not worn (they were considered dandified and effeminate, though a few players experimented with flesh-colored gloves not unlike a modern golf glove), and a batted ball caught on one bounce is an out for the striker.

The team's first game, on Saturday in Romeo, was an embarrassing 16-2 defeat. Today, we were far better in the field, allowing three runs in the first inning and only two thereafter. The bats, though, were silent. I hit two ground balls to second base, beating one out for an infield hit, and popped up to the pitcher. Better luck next time, I suppose.

Note: In the picture, I am in the back row, third from left.

May 13: West Virginia (Democratic)

Clinton 67
Obama 26

It's easy to dismiss the West Virginia result as being due to racism alone, and it is astounding that a full 20% of West Virginia voters, in exit polling, publicly identified themselves as racial bigots. Forty years after Spencer Tracy's last film, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, it's sad that his memorable line, "How long will it take? Fifty, a hundred years?" (before Americans would freely accept Dr. Prentiss's and Joey's mixed-race children) has not yet been fulfilled across the whole country.

West Virginians didn't just vote for Mrs. Clinton on race alone; the wide spread indicates how issues of race, class, and urban culture work together to artificially divide Americans. One West Virginian left a comment that is flat wrong in its implications: "West Virginians are disinclined to vote for a liberal politician from Chicago, especially one who disrespects the culture of small-town America."

Is there nothing that Senator Obama can teach West Virginians? Is small-town culture so sacrosanct, so inherently optimal and ideal, that Chicagoans have to bend over backwards to accomodate themselves to the culture? Small-town culture, as a whole, in the United States is characterized by poverty, low educational attainment, high rates of drug use, and widespread belief in Biblical literalism. Doesn't this sound like the neighborhoods where the young Barack Obama was a community organizer on the South Side? Doesn't every small town have its own Jeremiah Wright, a minister who blames everybody else and refuses to look to their church's own shortcomings?

The two-thirds of West Virginians who voted for Senator Clinton are perpetuating a myth at the expense of their own lives and their children's. Kudos to Senator Obama for refusing to take the bait and for wanting what is authentically good for West Virginia, unlike his opponent.

May 6: Indiana and North Carolina (Democratic)

Clinton 51
Obama 49

North Carolina:
Obama 56
Clinton 42

Obama exceeded expectations and ended his damaging streak of lost primaries. He came within 14,000 votes of Mrs. Clinton in Indiana, much closer than most polls and pundits had expected, and he won North Carolina by a decisive margin. Senator Clinton is not quite knocked out - after all, she did win Indiana - but she is running short of delegates. I don't blame her for refusing to withdraw or concede, but she is highly unlikely to be nominated after these results.

John McCain won 77% in Indiana and 74% in North Carolina, with the balance going to protest votes for Huckabee and Paul.

Pardon me...

Dear regular readers, please excuse the lack of recent posts. I have been preoccupied with final exams and seminar papers in Milwaukee, plus the logistics of moving back to Livonia for the summer.

This summer, expect changes to this blog, including a hit counter, pictures, and links to other sites of interest. If you have any comments, suggestions, or input, leave a comment!