Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Catching Up

Pondering the menu at Strasburg Rail Road
Time, as usual, doesn't allow for lots of stuff. As a result, Exit 55 has suffered. Let's see if I can do some quick hits here (a la Off the Bench).

*****
Sean and I went to Pennsylvania for a weekend again. This time, we visited the Amish Country of Lancaster and the surrounding area. We hopped a first class train on Strasburg Rail Road, which made him feel like a big shot. We had waitress service, rotating cushioned chairs, and plush surroundings being pulled be an engine made in 1906.

We ate the usual stuff that we like: Waffle House. Krispy Kreme. Sandwiches and snacks from Wawa. We dealt with traffic, especially driving to Pennsylvania. We rented a car (a Hyundai Elantra...not bad).

We crashed in a Holiday Inn in Morgantown that was, initially, unacceptable. Our first room smelled so bad that I wondered if we had made an awful mistake. Turns out it was a smoking room (which is mind-boggling to me in this era) but the front office quickly us a different room.

It wasn't the Ritz. It wasn't Spring Hill Suites in Scranton, where we stayed in 2013. It wasn't supposed to be. In the end, it was fine.

We'll always have our Philadelphia story to tell, where Sean discovered that, after a fun time in the Franklin Institute, our car was being towed away. Thanks to the help of the Philadelphia police department, a cab ride, and roughly $275, we got the car back unscathed. I worried on several levels: I could tell Sean was afraid that stuff had been stolen (it hadn't). I worried that the rental car was damaged (nope). I worried about the obscene amount of money that Philly jacked me for (legitimate).

At the end of the day, it's a story to tell. I still don't completely believe that we were parked in a two-away zone, but I wasn't going to be able to convince the cop. So it goes.

Thankfully Sean saw the car being towed. Otherwise I would have thought it had been stolen.

So now Sean hates Philly (congrats, City of not-so-Brotherly Love). And the Eagles, Sixers, Flyers, and Phillies can lose everything from now on. Never was a big fan of that city.

But again, so it goes.

*****

HAN Radio is steaming along just fine, thanks a bunch. On Saturday, John Kovach, Josh Fisher, and I got to call a high school game at Dodd Stadium in Norwich, Conn. As usual, anytime I'm in a minor league facility I'm happy. So broadcasting Darien's 7-1 victory over Norwich Free Academy was a highlight.

The two teams couldn't have been more accommodating. Beyond that, the Connecticut Tigers - who play their games in Dodd Stadium, were equally accommodating. Plus everyone was happy to see us. It made for a great day.

It also reminded me how much I'd like to do a lot more that. I miss calling minor league ball.

*****
I should care about Albert Pujols reaching the 500 home run club. I should be thrilled that there was major league baseball history last night. Yet, for some reason, I'm just not.

I know it's the steroids thing. Of course it is. The 500 home run club, a thing that I could name all of the members of at one time, has become watered down. Even 600 - a club that had just THREE members forever (Aaron, Ruth, and Mays) now has right. Those five new members each joined the 600 club since 2001...and you know what era that is.

I wish I felt more excited about it. I just don't.

*****
I've stayed away from the Mahopac race incident that came out of a basketball game earlier this year. I haven't avoided it, but also didn't feel that I had the time to invest in it to discuss it properly.

I still don't really, but I don't want to ignore it.

I struggle with the notion that Mahopac is being branded as some sort of racist haven, for lack of a better phrase. I grew up there. I live there. My family is still around there. All of that being said, I'm really not involved there. I work in Connecticut. My girlfriend lives far north of there. I wish I could call games at my old high school, or be a little more involved, but the bottom line is that I sleep there.

Yet Mahopac is still home, and a place that I dearly love. It troubles me deeply that these things were said, and those tweets were published. Whether the behavior is racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, or anything else, it is unacceptable and shouldn't be tolerated.

I'm disappointed that members of the town I live in - from the high school I attended - allowed this black eye to happen.

But don't paint the entire town that way. I found the Journal News editorial especially galling, since I'm not sure they even know Mahopac exists for news until something like this happens. If it didn't occur in White Plains or Yonkers, they don't care about it, until it's sensational. Yet here they were, throwing their two cents in. Brett Freeman, the publisher of Mahopac News, wrote a very pointed response.

It was unacceptable, to be sure, and I wonder if all of the facts are truly known. Regardless, my town got a black eye, and I didn't like it.

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