other season now

24 Jul

begin to dabble
in astrology of course
that hobo smell no longer missing.
sewer water runs free
so does wind through the trees
see the real face of cinderella spring.
the game outside the world now.
fans look up and out at the stars or roof.

The Brewer’s Mark Reynolds was tucked into a 3 for 38 slump. Musta felt like seat belts, locked doors, and closed garages. Nothing new for Reynolds. He hit .198 in 2010 with 32 home runs and 211 strikeouts, but this 3 for 38 was the longest dry spell of his career.

Seemed to reflect the Brewer’s gonna win every day feeling; that 19 games over .500 in June splat comes a 3-12 record in July.

Reynolds hit two home runs Wednesday afternoon to back Kyle Lohse and lead the Brewers to a sweep of the Reds at Miller Park in game 102 of the just now beginning to grey season. And just like that, back in the saddle or at least a transient feeling of being there anyway.

The non waiver trade deadline nears-July 31st and no triggers have been pulled; no one more starter, no bolster the bullpen, no power left-handed bat off the bench, no utility infielder/outfielder.

Only Jeremey Jeffress called up from AAA making his first appearance in a Brewers uniform in over four years. What a downward spiral and then back up journey for the Brewers former first round draft pick in 2006.

Jeffress pitched a scoreless ninth inning Wednesday; a 1-2-3 ninth inning, a no walks allowed ninth inning, a three lazy ground balls ninth inning. He didn’t factor in the decision, but maybe-probably-hopefully Jeffress earned some gold stars in Brewer management minds; to be trusted and called on in tighter situations going forward.

The bases are still 90 feet apart. There is still no air conditioning at Miller Park. Sun still sets in the west, but something feels different on this Brewer’s team; again. Finals score; Brewers 5, Reds 1.

The Brewers are 57-45

home run the cure

23 Jul

As easy as clap your hands 1 2 3 4 times just like the Chinese lady does every morning. I see her in route to work. I looked it up on google; some ancient practice I forget the name; to activate acupuncture points in the palms; lightning bolts through the body; energy flow; enhanced immune system.

A clap, a cheer, a little bit of fanaticism. She’s more than a painting in a dentist office waiting room. She hears trumpet blasts and joins in; her hands hitting the sweet spot of her palms just about every clap. The echo travels; beats the lazy excuse ridden part of my brain into oblivion.

The umpire becomes a scarecrow; so does the scoreboard; both beyond my control, but I can will a change anyway. Get champagne drunk from the paradox and swim in the sane river. 

As easy as clap your hands 1 2 3 4 times; Tuesday night anyway. The Brewers hit two home runs in the 1st inning. Jonathan Lucroy added another in the 6th inning and then another in the ninth inning; a  line drive down the left field line off Sam LeCure to end the game. All four Brewer home runs were solo blasts.

The Brewers win when they hit home runs. Final score; Brewer 4, Reds 3. 

The Brewers are 56-45.


maybe there is a chorus, but it sounds mauled

22 Jul

The clothes line resembles an abacus to a cat that just woke up from a 2,000 year nap or a colorful candy necklace stretched out of its circle to a kid with nothing to do but eat. Birds dart over or under the clothes line like private school kids shedding their blazers, ties and backpacks for the sake of the unknown i guess.

It’s a finish line, a choke hold, or a starting gun and a million and one other things a mind forces its way to think and pretend and pose long enough so the good feeling becomes real again. I flip the computer on for the first time in a few days to discover that Jeremy Jeffress has been called up by the Brewers. “You can only live by what you do in the future, what’s to come,” says Jeffress.

Milwaukee’s former first round pick in 2006 endured three suspensions for marijuana use, a trade to Kansas City, another to Toronto, a new medication to eliminate seizures, and six months ago the birth of his daughter.

The baseball world never apologized for the suspensions; but they did acknowledge Jeremy’s marijuana use was an attempt to control the seizures. It’s all backseat now with marijuana no longer demonized and in Colorado, as available as a stick of butter.

It’s still too early to call this a Jamaican fairy tale come true, but major league baseball does not test for marijuana with players on 40 man rosters and that seems to be a step in a parallel direction with american society; an organic step, a right step, a let people practice whatever religion they want step.

Rob Wooten gave up a game winning home run against the Nationals in the 10th inning Sunday afternoon and that marked the end of a chapter. He was demoted to AAA and so goes the taste in every Brewer mouth. No more squinting on every one of his pitches. No more 38 hits allowed in 33 innings and .295 batting average against him.

Is this the bolster the bullpen for the stretch run we’ve been hearing about? Sure beats trading four prospects for Huston Street. Rabbi Nachman encouraged anything to be happy. Dance, do silly things, sing. A good recipe when leaves don’t shimmer and dangle like fish lure earrings anymore. I feel like a ghost in my life.

Jeffress has yet to pitch, but maybe tonight. He still throws 100 mph and dominated for over a month at AAA Nashville; acquiring a control he has never enjoyed at the professional level; only 18 walks in 41.2 innings along with 45 strikeouts and a 1.51. ERA. He’s only 26 years young    

The almost empty carcass appears suddenly, but there musta been signs. Scavengers don’t just show up and chew the last of tendons loitering stubborn on bones. Patient bastards sit in the shadows of lush and trounce when meaning slips away like a child’s hand in a supermarket.

The Cardinals are only a half game out of first, but Jeffress sounds the gong; that mynah bird from the Huxley book Island; “here and now boys. here and now boys” is the future. Empty and uncertain, cloudy, but still something and maybe we’ll be there for the first time.

Ryan Braun has passed Jonathan Lucroy in batting average. Jean Segura is back from bereavement for his suddenly mortal 9 month old child. He hit a triple Monday night. The Brewers are running the base paths aggressive like Ron Roenicke wants them too; messing with predictable.

On Sunday, Braun scored from second base on a ground ball and last night, Segura legged out that triple and the throw from the outfielder hit his leg and went elsewhere. Segura scored. Final score; Brewer 5, Reds 2.

The Brewers are 55-45.

concrete picnic

20 Jul

Did someone sneak into my apartment and slip something into the tefillin prayer boxes I put on arm and head? Did someone replace the little prayers carefully written on parchment inside the boxes with who knows what? I know it’s not possible. I had the teffilin checked and all was ok.

This should feel like a dream come true. The shtetl life; that living in a Jewish ghetto with bread makers and water carriers is more than a memory trapped between the covers of a Yiddish fiction. It’s real.

The itinerant preacher greets me as I walk outside the hospital  for a 15 minute work break. I know he’s a Maagid. I think that’s what they were called in Chasidic legends; wandering from town to town talking Torah with everyone.  He asks me if I speak hebrew. I tell him in English, only read Hebrew.

He opens the chumash-torah-old testament he’s holding in his hand. We crouch down on a cement ledge under a tree. I know he’s an itinerant preacher because he talks of nothing but torah flipping to the portion about spies entering Israel to check out the agriculture and people; the general scene.. I read in slow Hebrew and he repeats certain words back to me; emphasizing what Rashi says in the comments section below the reading. Rashi is the preferred authority on Torah interpretation.

He sounds out the name Issachar slower than the other chieftain names; slower than the other 12 tribal chieftains sent to Israel. Only two returned with favorable reports; the others filled with doubt and lacking faith.

I don’t know what to make of it other than Ephraim; that was the name of this guy-this maagid-this itinerant preacher…appearing at a funny time because I was thinking about the spies earlier that same morning. Funny, but not a coincidence. Coincidence is the enemy; not the people who believe in coincidence, but the debate over the two is the enemy; useless, a complete waste of time.

You either believe in the miracle or you don’t. I was somewhere in New Jersey looking over the ledge of a bridge into a small pond with rocks and water trickling. I saw a rat and a dove side by side; dead as can be. I wasn’t sure what to make of it at the time and I’m still not sure; a symbol, nothing at all, both.

There was a rabbi in some Brooklyn synagogue. We were standing beside an elevator waiting.  He emphasized the up and down buttons without saying a word; as if that was all; that was everything.

This is the long summer now. Baseball begins to fade for me. I barely catch an inning of Brewer games. It’s the same pattern every year for as far back as I can remember. Makes the life of a baseball player and anyone involved with the game on a daily basis more amazing to me. They find a way to stay fresh. They return every day and find a way to see with new eyes.

Matt Garza gave up five runs in the first inning Saturday. The Nationals scored three more times…cruise control. Final score; Nationals 8, Brewers 3. There are many utility projects to be completed today; install oven filter, flourescent light bulb ballast, and bathroom sink. Rabbi Nachman said “When a person knows that everything that happens to him is for the best, this is a taste of the world to come. “

The Brewers are 54-44.

just a bunch of names

19 Jul

The mile markers on US highways are vertical metal strips if I remember right and designed in part to be a GPS for tanks after nuclear devastation or maybe not. Either way, an extra terrestrial landing would hopefully put an end to World Cup rah rah events playing their soft core ethnic wars.

Assuming this extra terrestrial gang was into languages, maybe like C3PO and all the tongues the gold droid could speak….there might be a few baseball cities and their names preserved.

People would hopefully be eliminated for the same reasons the World Cup is War. So New York, named after the Duke of York would have to go and so would Houston named after Sam Houston, Pittsburgh for William Pitt and so on.

Team names like Red Sox and White Sox? What if the ET’s don’t wear socks? There are Cubs and Tigers in more places than Chicago and Detroit. A Phillie is kind of redundant. City of Angels? Athletics are everywhere. Ditto for Cardinals, Orioles, and Blue Jays. Chief Seattle was a person. Giants is nice, but screwed by Saint Francis.

Texas ain’t bad; comes from Caddo word Tejas which means friends, but Rangers might freak em out. Miami is named after more than a person. The Mayaimi people and Marlins are a fish, but there are Marlins in more than Mayaimi.

Tampa is believed to be stick of fire in Calusa language, but same limitation with Rays. Kansas is Sioux word for south wind people. Throw in city, but that Royal might confuse the ET’s who hopefully would have no idea what that was.

I went through all the teams without a scrap of ET’s clothing stuffed in a desk drawer beside reading glasses, but felt empathy for the ET’s anyway. I came up with four team names that might provide some GPS to them.

Minnesota means clear water in Dakota language and Twins is well…twins. Colorado-red brown silt carried by the river and Rockies-Rocky Mountains. Arizona for arid zone and Diamondbacks-Snakes. And Milwaukee-Gathering place by the Rivers and Brewers as in brewery where beer is made.

But silt and beer and clear water and snakes are also everywhere. It’s probably easier to be critical.

Washington is the most World Cup patriotic gotta go name of all baseball teams or maybe not if you consider the hairdo of George Washington as being white dred locks, but Washington didn’t wear the fake hair lock amendments or at least nothing too obvious in any of the pictures I seen.

Either way, the name Nationals screws it up. Poor team had to deal with the Expos for a name and now the Nationals. They’ve never been in a World Series. That’s another name that might have to be changed; World Series to maybe Diamond Trophy, but the thing could be made from recycled beer cans or something.

wikipediaThe Nationals play at Nationals Park and like any other stadium, major league or minor, university and some high school and little league too there’s well manicured green grass, a big obnoxious scoreboard and probably an electric batting cage machine in the stadium’s belly.

People gorge themselves with food and teams take infield and batting practice with a real pitcher, fungo bats. They play simulation baseball and do all those practice things, but the ET’s would want to see the game or eat the game or something.

The Brewers played the Nationals Friday night to kick off what feels like opening day number 2 after the all star break, but then again, it doesn’t feel like opening day at all with crickets already doing mating fertility procreation ritual sounds, louder than the same question asked three times in the same question.

Kyle Lohse who was snubbed from the NL all Star team probably a good thing with rejection spurring him forward in a fantasy of his own achievements. Lohse pitched 7 innings and allowed 10 hits, but didn’t walk any one and escaped  Houdini style from one jam after another. The bullpen must have enjoyed the 5 day rest.

Rob Wooten and Zach Duke took care of the eighth inning; no hits. Frankie Rodriguez continued his slide; serving up a ninth inning home run to Bryce Harper, but struck out two of the last three batters to save the game.

A few weeks ago, Scooter Gennet hit a grand slam of National’s super hyped ace Steven Strasburg. He hit another home run off him last night. A few weeks ago Khris Davis also hit a homer off Strasburg and he did it again last night too. Final Score; Brewers 4, Nationals 2.

The Brewers are 54-43.

no pepper allowed

18 Jul

imagesThere are symbols the majority of people don’t see, hear or agree on, but if one person agrees with another person and another and then another, there’s no telling what can happen; no symbols at all or preferably more and more symbols.

A few years ago I saw a sign with a bird crossed out. There was a government number on the bottom. That same day I found a copy of Robert Whiting’s “You Gotta Have Wa” in a box of books being thrown out on a curb.

What a great honor to our fellow flying thingsI always suspected that birds and all animals were smarter than human beings. I’m glad the government believes in a bird’s power to read and decipher symbols.

The establishment of rules and regulations gives birds an incentive to break the law, but I’ve never seen a bird or any animal with anything to prove. Only a few dogs wear that sad look in their eyes, but that was probably caused by co-dependent owners passing their own misery through the leash.

There might be mandatory human curfews when the tide of animals return rolls into town at dusk or dawn and takes over a bit, but I think we’ll get along fine in the new totem pole arrangement.

Pepper is a great game. There’s one batter and a bunch of fielders standing approx 10-15 feet away. Each fielder takes turns pitching the ball to the batter who hits hard grounds balls at the fielders. If a line drive or pop up happens, the fielder who catches the ball becomes the batter. The game can go on forever.

Most stadiums banned pepper a few years ago. I don’t know if the concern was over fans getting hit by errant balls, the field getting roughed up or players in a pepper game getting hit by balls during batting practice.

The jury is still out, but we seem to be in the interim days of the pepper ban because there are no symbols on stadium walls or there are, but just letters that spell out “no pepper allowed.”

same fascination or something

17 Jul

It seems stupid now; to call a kid my best friend because he claimed to have a Ted Simmon’s fielder’s glove, but when he finally invited me over to play, I wasn’t disappointed. He did have a Ted Simmon’s fielder’s glove and I did have a new best friend.

His basement was a replica bar like many in Milwaukee; with a Pabst Blue Ribbon bar light, Milwaukee Brewer pennants and posters. But my new best friend also had a collection of Milwaukee Brewer media guides, yearbooks, and even a few bats used by Milwaukee Brewers.

I don’t remember exactly how I felt, but it was something close to a blanket and a crib and returning home after a long day crawling around floors in exile. I had no intention of reading the media guides or year books, but I wanted them in my bedroom like some sort of mobile above my head.

It was the same with baseball cards and the plastic sleeves and binders I slipped cards into, but why? The moldy plastic sheets stuck together and that disgusting sound as the plastic pages turned.

The Gorman Thomas bat I received for my birthday sat in a corner of my bedroom for years. Useless. The concession stands at County Stadium; all those colors and team names; uniforms and hats I drooled over in awe.

Even the condiment stations in the County Stadium concourse to dress up hot dogs; the ketchup and mustard buckets and tubs of sauerkraut looking like play-doh strands…all of it sacred like a fire to stare at but never get too close; a freaking aquarium. I was on the other side.

I don’t remember when the Santa Klaus in my head died, but it was an avalanche and I felt free real fast; free to go after some ousia feeling and I quickly realized how much hard work and discipline and concentration was required to remove those boulders one at a time.

I liberated those cards from those plastic sleeves and returned to the life of piles; to be sorted and unsorted and sorted again into stacks by numbers, last name, birth place, position, and whatever new category came to mind.

I took the Gorman Thomas bat to the closest field and used it during batting practice; let my friends use it and we cracked it during a base hit or a foul ball. It didn’t matter. I didn’t really care. It looked better cracked and felt right knowing we had cracked it.

I went to the ville de LaSalle last night; about 20 minutes from downtown Montreal; watched the Cardinals host Granby; game 38 of the LBEQ season-League Baseball Elite Quebec. Stade Éloi-Viau. There were about 50 people in the stands. I counted. Tickets are 5 bucks; pays the two umpires and chalk and what not I guess.

Frédérick Fauteux; LBEQ.com

Frédérick Fauteux; LBEQ.com

The hot dogs smelled good and the hats and uniforms were colorful, but only the game really mattered. Frédérick Fauteux pitched a 7 inning complete game for LaSalle. They only play 7 inning games. Fauteux is a southpaw and now 7-1 and looks like any left handed starter with  all that slow wind up and grace. He gave up three hits. Final score; LaSalle 8; Granby 0.

There were two homeruns and some great defense by LaSalle. The Granby shortstop had a rough night; three errors, but one spectacular play in the 6th inning, leaping to snare a line drive. I hope the last play stays with him so he slept last night.

The sky was there, air too and bugs, Montreal downtown in the distance. The lights started buzzing in the third inning and reached full blast a few minutes later; turned the field into a drunk haze. It was in that inning that LaSalle scored five runs, but really it wasn’t much better than watching a game on TV.

The only advantage was seeing the Granby centerfielder take that first step as bat hit ball and chase it down. Other than that, it was just another triumph in killing time.

LaSalle is 26-12 and in first place; Uniprix division. The All Star break is almost finished.


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