It’s not baseball season yet, not even time for spring training, but on TV the other day they were interviewing a new Oakland A’s player, Hiroyuki Nakajima. He’s Japanese, and was speaking through an interpreter.
“How can he play in the majors and not speak English?” I asked Larry.
“Baseball is a game of signs, not words,” he replied, and proceeded to illustrate this with a story from his trip years ago to play baseball in Nicaragua with a group of volunteers called “Beisbol por la Paz.” Continue reading “No words needed”
Yesterday I went to watch Larry’s team (the Blue) play in the championship game for his over-65 league, the Creakers. They pulled it off in the bottom of the 9th, winning by one run. Because women were doing the photography, I got this shot of Larry making a key play at first base.
Women tend to keep pretty quiet about the pleasure of watching men’s butts in sports. But I remember being able to identify Gale Sayers about a decade after he quit pro football just seeing him bend over to hit a putt on TV. It was one of those TVs in a bar with the sound turned off, but it was unmistakably Gale. All the pictures I could find of him online were clearly taken by men. So I’m doubly grateful to the wives who took this shot of Larry.
It’s another monsoon-like early morning here in Berkeley and Larry and I went to our favorite local breakfast spot, Sunnyside Cafe (they’re an unpretentious place and don’t accent the “e”). Larry had the smoked salmon scramble. For toast, he asked if they had bagels. “No,” answered the waitress, “but we have English muffins. Same shape without the hole.” Pretty good for 8:30 on a Saturday morning.
While waiting for his English muffin, Larry asked me if I had ever heard the word bagel as baseball slang; I hadn’t. When a really good hitter has no hits against a pitcher, the pitcher has “dropped a bagel on him.” I thought of this visually, as in encircled the hitter’s arms so he couldn’t hit, but Larry says it’s just a big fat zero (and a donut is a round weight you put on your bat for practice swings.) I looked online for some bagel poems and found this. Which just goes to show…something, but I’m not sure what
Larry is reading a Baseball book by Jim Bouton called Ball Four. He paraphrased a story in it for me today. This is from the 70’s when the publicity department sent out a form with questions for the players. One was, “What is the most difficult thing about playing major-league baseball?” A player named Mike Hegan responded, “Explaining to your wife why she needs a penicillin shot for your kidney infection.”
That seems in a league with Bob Hass’ haiku-ish couplet:
Spit straight up
Yesterday was the DVD launch party for my son’s movie, Blank Slate, a truly independent feature. Now it’s headed for festival submission–hope you get a chance to see it. As there were several vegans in attendance I made the pea soup with the last of the peas from the garden and a dip recipe from a cookbook my daughter’s friend put together for a wedding present. The dip was a big hit with omnivores as well as vegans:
1 (15 0z) can Black-eyed peas, drained
1 (11 oz) can white Shoepeg corn, drained (I just used plain white corn)
2 avocados diced
2/3 C chopped tomato
2/3 C chopped cilantro
1/4 C good olive oil
1/4 C red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2-1 tsp cumin (I used 1 tsp freshly ground)
salt and peper to taste
Combine dressing and mix into other ingredients. Serve with scoop-style chips. Makes a good sized bowl full. Can double the recipe if desired.