At the end of last week, the author introduced not merely to the readers of this site, but also to citizens of the entire world, a new genre of artistic expression — namely, terrible photos of ballparks from the interstate.
To say that enthusiasm has abounded with regard to these poorly conceived images would be to repeat a lie that I told my parents just a few hours ago in response to their suggestion that my life is little more than a collection of poor decisions, one after the other, not unlike soldiers on the front lines marching to their certain, respective deaths.
Whatever the case, it does appear as though more than zero other people had already been participating in this practice of hastily photographing ballparks while in transit — even without recognizing the possible implications of that practice to art history. What follows is the work of one such reader, Ms. Rachel Monroe.
O.co Coliseum is located in Oakland, California, and serves as home to the Oakland Athletics. Here’s a terrible photo of it from
(what is presumably) the interstate the nearby BART station, BART itself often being referred to as “an interstate on rails”:
Today, the author and his wife completed the first leg of a two-day journey in a U-Haul truck from the north of Michigan to an undisclosed location in New Hampshire that will serve as our new home.
Generating weblog content whilst driving a 17-foot truck presents some challenges. For all their virtues, wives are decidedly intolerant of husbands who attempt to perform internet work from within the confines of a driver’s seat. Fortunately, certain ballclubs have done everyone the total solid of constructing ballparks close enough to Interstate 90 so that absurd men with limited ambitions — like the present author, for example — can parlay that into writing of no consequence.
With that in mind, I present the following — which is to say, probably all the ballparks you can see from the stretch of I-90 between Toledo and Buffalo.
All Pro Freight Stadium
All Pro Freight Stadium is located in Avon, Ohio, and serves as home to the Lake Erie Crushers of the independent Frontier League. Here’s a terrible photo of it from the interstate:
I took images from a selection of spam emails and made baseball cards for them:
“Yes, sweetheart,” you answer, glancing up from FanGraphs.
“Daddy, what was 1990 like?”
You study her for a bit, searching her eyes for sarcasm. Is she old enough to have developed sarcasm by now? You’ve forgotten your Piaget, or at least the first chapter of Piaget your father-in-law gave you during your wife’s pregnancy. There was a timeline in there, a schedule for everything: vomiting, crawling, speaking, tying shoes, sarcasm, refusing to sit next to you in movie theaters. She seems sincere, looking up at you with those big brown eyes and that milk mustache. But she’s gotten good at being sincere, at looking earnest when she has to. You wish you knew how she did it, not because you want her to stop, but because you wish you could learn. You’ve raised her too well, and someday she’ll see what a fraud you are.
You sip your coffee, cold, and fold down the cover of your laptop. How could you explain? 1990 was Saturday morning soccer games on cold fall days, orange wedges and shin guards and swollen knees. It was walking home from the bus unsupervised, tiptoeing on curbs and avoiding cracks in the pavement. It was summer afternoons watching television shows you didn’t like because there were only ten channels, Dialing for Dollars, a nation’s temporary obsession with non-alcoholic beer, of Hypercolor shirts and Wayne’s World and Vanilla Ice, and unilateral American world power. It was the inability to look up answers to questions on the Internet, and a time when a list of pop culture references wasn’t a substitute for humor.
The authors of the little-known pamphlet Freakonomics noted that a person’s name can have a momentous effect on their socioeconomic and personal well being. As someone whose last name has often been rhymed with the act of regurgitation, I can attest to this unfortunate reality. Though perhaps both the psychological trauma and hilarity of the ritualistic substitute teacher roll call is overrated, the sins of the parent can certainly be borne by the child, at least in terms of getting beat up in middle school.
One’s moniker can also bestow counter-intuitive outcomes. A well-known example of this is the brothers, Winner and Loser Lane, who grew up to become a repeat convict and a detective, respectively. Though we are dabbling in the softest, coziest of sciences, the conjecture is that both Lanes were treated, and therefore shaped, differently by their environment. Baseball, for its part, reinforces this lazy postulation: Win Remmerswaal fulfilled his destiny a mere three times, Bob Walk relinquished an uninteresting 3.27 per nine, and figures like Prince Fielder, Homer Bush and Josh Outman have provided equally false advertising.
So, too, seems to be the case for John Smiley, who in his tender youth, and at the height of his powers and optimism, appears already bracing for the approaching jest.
This isn’t unique to baseball, but the structure of the game, the design of the field, and the player positions, lends itself to a little fantasizing. Also, Dodger Stadium is way more fun to draw than any other park. Click: big, obvs.
Very talented modern fictionist George Saunders says in an interview I’m unable to locate for a publication I can’t recall — he says that he didn’t begin to write proficiently until he returned to a voice that most resembled the sort utilized by people in Chicago, his hometown.
For me, I’ve always been skeptical of that tired directive, recited often in creative-writing workshops, that one should “write what [he or she] knows.” I prefer, both as a reader and writer, to be caught up in an experience that is expressly not available to me in my actual, real life. Still, there’s probably some merit to revealing certain elements of one’s own life to the reader.
Pursuant to that point, I present the above image — of my actual birth mother’s actual arm — which arm bears a tattoo of the Boston Red Sox’ cap insignia and which tattoo I know for a true fact she received whilst visiting me in 2007 or -08 (one of those) in Portland, Oregon. As regards the state of her sobriety at the time, I’m unable to comment. That this is a photo of her arm from tonight, however, is a point beyond contention.
There are a few things you can do in the shower — wash, sing, fondle, etc. Sometimes, showering helps me come up with ideas for this very blog site. My shower session this morning produced the following results.
From now on, I will stick to fondling.
Hey there, citizens of those Majestic Gleaming States of Hot Sexy America, you must be sick to death of the World Cup by now, right? All that socialist teamwork and not using your hands to move the ball into the thing at the end.
Why do all the games end 0-0, right? Have you ever noticed that the score 0-0 looks like John Lennon’s glasses? Bloody peaceniks.
I, your English correspondent, am here to baseballize things for you. So here’s some World Cup photographs from Mexican newspapers that I’ve made Coulter-and-Shaughnessy-friendly.