Archive for August, 2017

Baseball games are too long.

August 17, 2017

I’ve been watching Yankee baseball during my vacation. Marianne likes it too until she gets sleepy and has to go to bed. Night games start at 7:10 p.m. The games aren’t over until after 10:00 p.m. This is crazy! If the pitcher had to get the ball back to the catcher in 12 seconds, the games would be over before 9:30 p.m. If the batters got 3 balls and 2 strikes, the pitchers arms wouldn’t wear out so fast and the games would be over by like 9:00 p.m.

Also, I wouldn’t have to watch Aaron Judge take the first pitch for a strike, miss the second pitch, and work his way to a 3 and 2 count on 7 pitches, only to strike out. OK, once in a while he hits a ball from Yankee Stadium almost to Boston, and I like that.

But not enough to stay up all night watching the pitcher shake off pitches until the catcher forgets the signs. And then the catcher has to go out to the mound, and they can talk about the signs while covering their mouths. Then, when everybody is back in position, the batter steps out of the box to adjust his ankle guard and other parts. By this time the catcher has forgotten the signs again.

If the batters only got 3 balls and 2 strikes, they wouldn’t foul the ball back into the catcher’s mask so much. And catchers would remember things better.

Sermon for Fr. Herbert Sanderson’s Funeral

August 11, 2017

HSandersonA great Christian has died and we gather together to thank God for Herbert and his Witness. When I say Witness I mean something that is hard for many people to understand today.

Everybody knows a witness is someone who has seen something important. Later on, a witness might be summoned to a court of law to give testimony.

Whatever Herbert was doing, he was always giving testimony. It was just the way he was. Herbert Sanderson was a fine musician, a PhD clinical psychologist, a priest, a father, and a husband. And whatever he was doing at any given time, he was testifying. (more…)

Chicago Sports, Peirce Playground, and Norman “Coach” Anderson.

August 7, 2017
Chicago Softball

A “Chicago” 16 inch softball next to a regular baseball

Even though I tell people I grew up in New York City, the facts are a bit more complicated. I lived in Manhattan in various apartments near the East River between 23rd and 97th streets until I was nine years old. Then I went to live on the North side of Chicago for about four years. Then we moved back to New York City in Prospect Park, Brooklyn.

I played a lot of sports when I was a kid. I played baseball, basketball, football, and hockey. But that was later. In Manhattan we improvised. In the streets of New York in the late 1950s we played stick-ball with a small red rubber ball (a Spaldeen) and a broom handle for a bat. Kids roller skated with clamp-on skates with metal wheels. Dads made scooters out of 2 by 4s and orange crates, with skates nailed to the bottom.

Chicago was another world. Whatever you want to say about climate change, the truth is it was cold and windy all winter long in Chicago in the early 1960s. I was very embarrassed that I didn’t know how to ice-skate. I found an indoor rink away from my neighborhood where I could rent skates and teach myself how to skate.

We lived in an apartment on North Clark Street in the Edgewater section of Chicago. My first year I went to Peirce Public School. The playground at Peirce School is famous in the history of Chicago, and in all of North American speed skating. Almost all the Olympic speed skaters in the U.S. came out of skating clubs that have their origins traced to the Peirce Playground Skating Club. Starting in the late 1930s with the backing of the mayor, and city recreation money, a field-house was built and dedicated to after-school recreation activities. (more…)