Sunday, March 25, 2018

A Different World

I saw the above picture show up in my Timehop this morning.

Timehop -- if you don't know -- is one of those services that presents social media memories from past posts.

I took that picture, pre-camera phone, with my digital camera. It's a -- GASP! -- selfie, before we knew what the hell a selfie was (and before they became known as being so narcissistic, but that's for another time).

It was taken on a chilly day in a park in Pennsylvania. We had gone to the park near my niece's apartment to let Sean and his cousin Kendall run around for an hour or so.

To be honest, I remember it was really cold, and it might have even been Easter Sunday. I think we went to the park to let the Easter Bunny visit. I took the picture to occupy myself, and I suppose to keep my sense of humor.

That weekend in PA still resonates for me. It was the first time I had ventured off with Sean as a (not quite) single father. There were still formalities to deal with, but the die had been cast.

I was trying to figure it all out. I remember that distinctly. I wasn't nervous about taking care of Sean. I just felt -- I can't quite explain it. I felt...different?

I also remember that, barely an hour into the trip, Sean got sick. Nothing major, but it seemed to embody how we were both going into new territory. He wasn't nervous. He was excited, and he was fine after that.

In fact, I took this not long after, but in the days where I would turn the camera on him and yell "RANDOM SEAN SHOT!"

Interestingly, I wrote about the trip before I left:

I'm off to Pennsylvania for the weekend with Sean and Stephanie and Laura and Steve's. Sean will have a blast with Kendall and Emma. If you don't know who these people are, then buy a scorecard! I'm conflicted about going, but I'll go, and we'll have fun. I doubt I'll be able to check in, so be safe and well, and if Easter is your thing, then enjoy.

Anyway, pictures say a lot. They bring up memories. I don't have too much more to add than that.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Career Choices

I was talking with a friend of my father not long after he died in 1989. I had made my way into the world of broadcasting, and he told me he talked with my dad about my vocation.

"He was nervous about it," he told me.

I remember, years earlier, telling Dad that I wanted to be a broadcaster. He told me it's a tough career, and of course, he was right.

I still went through it, and after over 27 years, I'm still here.

My dad never heard me on the air. That will always be a regret, but that's how it goes.

He's been gone 29 years. I don't have the eloquence to explain the passage of time, but it's safe to say he's missed and always in our thoughts.

He never wanted me to drive a truck, like him. He wanted an office life for me (and I spent plenty of time there).

Twenty-nine years. Today.

You might think about beer and Irish music. Maybe corned beef.

St. Patrick's Day will always have a different feeling for me.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a game to call.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

To Walkout Or Not To Walkout

You probably know that today is the National School Walkout, a hotly-debated topic, as students across the country step out of class for 17 minutes to honor those who were lost in Parkland, FL, while also standing up for their own safety and well-being.

In some school districts, it is only a high school event. Other districts have extended it through middle school and even elementary school.

That's the case in the Wappingers Central School District in New York. That's where our intrepid cub reporter, Sean Adams, attends school.

I texted Sean on Monday to see if he would be walking out of class. His answer was short and to the point.

However, I'm not going to tell you what he said, for I want Sean to do whatever he chooses. He had his say, and I'm proud of him.

I hope that we never have to have this conversation again.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Dear Jerry Blevins

Dear Jerry,

Hi, it's Rob here. You know, the lousy hack play-by-play announcer, who isn't worthy of broadcasting your little ol' baseball team in Queens.

So it seems you decided to take on ranking the best baseball movies "ever," and you sort of crapped on a film called Field of Dreams.

Funny thing, sports movies are. Some would consider Field of Dreams to not even be a baseball movie. For my money, baseball plays a big role, so yes it is indeed a baseball movie.

Then, resident CBS Sports troll Dayn Perry decided to back you up. Wow. All of the geniuses are out tonight. Just waiting for Ryan Ruocco to chime in (you know, since he's Vin reinvented and all).

I'm not here to advocate for Field of Dreams to be the best ever.

But you decided to say in your oh-so-brilliant way (do they have a class for this in Queens?) that the father/son element...

Well, I don’t think the movie does a good enough job to call it a father/son movie. I never really care all that much about their relationship.

Let me use a Facebook response from tonight to get my $.02 in:

Here's what I'll say in regards to the father/son angle. It's mentioned on the ride back from Minnesota. How Ray walks out and says, to paraphrase, "I can never support someone whose hero is a criminal." 
I saw the movie, I think, in May, 1989. This would be roughly 10 weeks after my own father passed away (on March 17, 1989). Consider the buildup. Consider the father in the Yankees (Highlanders) uniform. Consider the "Dad, do you want to have a catch" (my own father and I, due to his severe arthritis, basically didn't have a catch of any way, shape, or form after 1973) and you can understand why I was the last one to leave the damn theater. Most dads get that. THAT'S why it matters. At least to me.

Look, Jer. Field of Dreams is mega-flawed. It's sappy, and Ray Liotta hits right-handed as Joe Jackson and so on. But it works. I can watch literally every minute of it until Dwyer-freaking-Brown shows up. I COULD NOT have a catch with my old man. I'd kill for him to appear in some corn field to ask me to do so. I've cried for nearly 29 years over this stuff. While you're a big, tough baseball player, I'm a soft-hearted dude who misses his dad.

Sorry. Guess that makes me a failure.

For the record, there are myriad terrific movies that feature baseball, and you barely hit the surface. Sure, The Natural is fine, but it's an embarrassment in comparison to the book, which is beautifully dark and stark. Ever seen Bang the Drum Slowly? Do so. How about The Stratton Story?

Jimmy Stewart. Say no more.

And do. Not. Mess. With. Bull. Durham. Just don't. I'm warning you.

It's not secret Uncle Robbie doesn't dig religion (don't get me going). I like certain people of faith and all, but...well...let me stop before I get in more trouble. Anywho, Bull Durham gets it. It's dated, but it works.

Pride of the Yankees? OK, I get it. They have yet to get either Babe Ruth or Lou Gehrig right on film. How about *61? I know there are historical inaccuracies (Maris didn't sign his "X" for a kid in '61. It was 1962.) but damn I tear up when Roger hits number 61.

Then again, *61 is the story of a team with a hero who breaks an important record, en route to winning a World Series. Oh, wait. You play for the Mets. Never mind.

For the record, Jerry, your list is crap. For what it's worth, not a single one of your movies came out before 1988, with Bull Durham being the oldest. See, I know I'm an old guy and all, but I don't do the simple "millennium" crap (and I'm sure you prefer the Billy Bob Thornton version of Bad News Bears).

I saw the Walter Matthau version of Bad News Bears in the theater in 1976...then promptly went home and recited the speech about where the Yankees could shove their trophy to my parents (my older siblings took me to see it). I was seven. Suffice to say, my dad wasn't entirely amused, but still, my education in baseball cinema deepened.

I saw Alibi Ike (1935). It Happens Every Spring (1949). Damn Yankees (1958).  Elmer, The Great (1933).

I've seen them. All of them. Some are absolutely putrid.

But I've seen them. Have you?

You actually list For Love of the Game as being better than Field of Dreams. Not for nothing, but do you know WHY it's better?

One guess. Come on.

You all know it! (Otherwise, it's not that good of a movie)

For the love of god (and the game) it isn't THAT HARD!

DUH. It's Vin-freaking-Scully. That's why.

I'm not going to give you a top five or 10. I love Bull Durham. I love Eight Men Out. I love *61 and Major League. But I also love The Stratton Story and sort of tolerate A League of Their Own (I love Tom Hanks, and I stood where they filmed those scenes in Cooperstown). I like The Sandlot. but I also love Bang the Drum Slowly and the ORIGINAL Bad News Bears.

And I detest The Babe. One of the most disappointing films I've ever seen. I walked out of the movie theater in a deep depression.

The points is: I know baseball movies. Field of Dreams is what it is. But try to understand it.

Maybe start by reading the book. Because I have.

Anyway, I'd love to chat about it. It's clear you don't really get it.

Good luck in that National League East.

Oh, and you're probably best off never playing for the Yankees.