Back in the lineup

Following a mostly baseball-free trip to Lake Tahoe, I’m back in the world of the Internet (and, that means, the office). But because I have a fair amount of work to do this morning, I’ve got just some disjointed thoughts to offer.

1) Here are some things that people I overheard on the trip (at restaurants, airports, in the gondola at Squaw Valley) are more concerned about than I tend to be: Property values, cars, gas prices, commercials, and traffic. Oh, and there was the woman at the airport who was detailing to everyone in earshot the degree to which she always gets sick on airplanes. The short version: not quite sick enough to barf, but very close.

Things they are less concerned about than me: public transportation, bicycles, and baseball.

I’ll take my set any day.

2) We did get to see one game while we were on vacation. The last night of our trip we spent at Stacey’s aunt’s house in Sacramento, where I got to watch the Cardinals beat the Athletics on the Bay Area Fox Sports Network. And I got to feed Aunt Sherry’s pair of pet bunnies. It was a great day.

3) The flag at Wrigley Field at Saturday’s very chilly game was still at half staff. The Most-Loved Terrible President Ever has been dead more than three weeks! Isn’t it time to reflect his American optimism and pull that flag back up?

4) Speaking of honoring the dead, if I had been Commissioner of Baseball, “The Star-Spangled Banner” on the day Ray Charles died would have been played by solo organ or trumpet in every ballpark. It’s not like anyone is ever going to sing it better than he did at Game 2 of the 2001 World Series. Watching that performance, I was astonished that any such carefully staged moment as the pre-game National Anthem at the World Series could be so moving. On a song and in a situation where most renditions don’t even reach the level of craft, Ray Charles on that night produced art.

5) Jim’s posts recently have now doubled the amount of non-Maura-created Devil Rays content on the Internet. The infinity symbol no longer quite expresses the porn/Devil Rays ratio on the Web. Congratulations, Jim. The D-Rays will have your season tickets in the mail this week. Hope there’s room on that fast-rolling bandwagon.

6) Ron Santo and Pat Hughes on Friday had this exchange:
Ron: “Patrick, have you ever thought of writing poetry?”
Pat: “No, not really, Ron.”
Ron: “I think you should.”
Pat: “Well, I think I might just stick to broadcasting.”
Ron: “I really think you should write poetry.”
Pat: “Thanks for the vote of confidence.”

It’s good to be back.

Original comments…

sandor: Re: #3. I (regrettably) didn’t take any pictures, but in our short jaunt through southern Wisconsin this weekend, we saw an inordinate number of flags at half-mast. Probably more at half- than at full-. In fact, the larger the flag was, the greater chance it was halfway down the pole. It was astonishing.

Jim: They’re supposed to be at half-mast (or half-staff) for 30 days after a President dies. I seem to recall that 10 years ago, flag proprietors were pretty good about keeping them halfway down (or up) for a month after Nixon died, so if he can get that kind of flag cooperation, it’s no wonder Reagan is doing even better.

Levi: Wow. 30 days?

Stand me corrected!

But it still seems like an odd relic of, say, Victorian-style mourning, when you went through several specific stages of mourning with their accompanying public displays.

Toby: Levi, At Sunday’s Cardinals vs. Reds game (in which Junior hit his 500th homer), a kid from your hometown named Landon Bayley threw out the first pitch. Just an FYI.

Levi: How’d he manage to get to do that? And was it faster than Matt Morris’s fastball these days?

Toby: His grandfather is the Bayley in Martin & Bayley – the small Carmi company that built Huck’s into a major chain in the Midwest. It was Huck’s day at the ballpark. He got to meet Lou Brock, who, I believe, also threw out a ceremonial first pitch.

I’ve never clocked Landon so I don’t know if he’s faster than Morris, but I know he’s a good kid.

Actual trip-related content

The Devil Rays have an off day, and since I’ve got the AAA Tourbooks piled up around me, here are some questions for Levi et al. to ponder…

1. After the game in Davenport, when there are going to be four of us, do we want one hotel room or two? One room would be somewhat cheaper and would be a fun slumber party, but two rooms would mean two bathrooms.

2. How is Stacey getting from Detroit to Chicago — Amtrak? Greyhound? Teleportation device of some sort? The answer to this question may determine where we stay in Detroit, or perhaps I should say the greater Detroit area. (The one hotel that’s definitely within walking distance of Comerica Park is quoting what seems like a ridiculously high rate, so I’m looking elsewhere.)

3. Does either potential laptop have an Airport card (or other wireless card)? At least one potential place of lodging I’m looking at advertises free wireless Internet access.

Original comments…

sandor: 3. My available laptop does not, but perhaps you could borrow a card from someone else. Or buy one and return it a week and half later.

Levi: Ours has wireless Internet capability, if I understand such things properly.

thatbob: No, I don’t think you understand correctly. You’ll still need an Airport card. Which you might have, you should just ask Tony. But “wireless Internet capability” is a little like saying that my computer is “printer ready,” I would still need a printer.

Luke: One hotel room would be fine for this frugal hanger-on. More money for bowling.

Levi: Like, I mean that I’ve used it with the wireless internet here at work.

Does that mean I have an airport card?

sandor: Yeah, that means it’s wireless ready. It means it’ll pick up any wi-fi network it finds and allow you online, assuming it’s a free network.

stacey: monroe (our computer) will pick up any available network. also, i’m not sure if i’m going to go all the way to detroit yet . . . i was thinking maybe of just heading back from carmi. luke, want to travel together? which do you prefer?

Jim: Heading back to Chicago from Carmi with Luke will involve getting shoved out of the car at the University Park Metra station, so be aware of that. Unless you’re trying to keep your teleportation device secret from the government, wink wink.