Monday, June 30, 2008

(Flickr Post): Stormy Weather At The Prog

Storm clouds gather overhead. This photo is emblematic of so many aspects of the 2008 season, it's sickening.
With the 2008 Cleveland Indians continuing to morph into a sick and twisted parody of our fondest hopes and dreams, my reasons for attending baseball games at The Prog instead of doing something a tad less depressing/futile with my free time have less to do with Major League Baseball than simply enjoying a nice summer afternoon in downtown Cleveland with my brother.

Of course, it doesn't help matters if that "nice summer afternoon" turns windswept, gray and rainy while your beloved ball club is being throttled by a pitcher who just threw one of the worst starting pitching performances in the history of major league baseball just 1 week before. Typical.

The season from Hell continues ...

Monday, June 16, 2008

(Flickr Post): Cleveland Indians Win!

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At last! We attend a Sunday game that results in a win for the Indians!

At last! I get close-up pix of one of the all-time pitching greats warming up in the visitors bullpen before the game!

At last! Mustard wins the Hot Dog Derby ... while I am waiting in line at one of the concession stands, which means I have no photographic record of my hero's greatest achievement. Gaaahh.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I, Shutterbug

A love of photography seems to run straight down my dad's side of the family. When I was a toddler, my dad was always taking home movies of drag racing, or family gatherings, or just pudgy little me ambling about the apartment on Super-8. When he was off on business trips, he often covered his international travels with his trusty stereo camera, which produced overlapping shots that had to be framed on white cardboard and then viewed through a kind of battery-powered binocular View Master device to achieve the desired 3-D effect (using that thing was kind of like taking the visual test when you renew your driver's license).

Over the last few years, Dad has been out and about with his new super-modded digital camera (with rocking lens attachments), taking increasingly sophisticated pictures to the extent that for a while you were likely get more hits off of his archived amateur photography than my archived professional writing if you ran a Google search on our common name.

Meanwhile, for as long as I've known him, my uncle Kevin has made his living doing personal or corporate photo shoots, either freelancing back when I was a kid or from his own studio which he's worked out of for the last twenty-five years. In 1985, I spent a summer working alongside him, both at his professional studio and in the cramped, dank darkroom he created in my grandmother's basement. At the time, I found some aspects of photography of interest, but overall I never caught the bug. One reason is I hadn't taken into account the sheer amount of grunt work that went into setting up a professional shoot, which seemed to leech a lot of the glamour out of the job. The technology of the era probably didn't endear me to the job, either: working with darkroom chemicals is stinky and time-consuming and easy for someone as graceless as me to completely screw up. There was also my near-crippling obessesion with music that was a constant distraction for me: I spent far more time diving into the mystique of New Order than, say, studying for school or daydreaming of a career behind the lens. Put it this way: the high points of my brief apprenticeship with my uncle was a trip to a local radio station and the acquisition of my own Sony Walkman with the earnings I had accrued. I think you can see where my priorities were.

I'd messed around off and on with Sarah's old digital camera when she owned one, but it was the acquisition of a far more advanced model of my own back in March that has awakened the genetic-level shutterbug that must have been dormant in me since birth. I've been constantly reaching for the camera (or wishing I had it handy) over the last couple of months, and the volume of images on my hard drive has reached the point where I recently opened a Flickr account to host some of the better shots I've been getting since starting up my new hobby. In the future, I'll be linking from this blog to new photography sets of days out and about, baseball games, local scenery, or even subject themes as they are assembled. Hope you like 'em.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

The First Day Of Summer

While it may not not officially have arrived yet going by the calendar, evenings like this one (79 degrees at 11:15 PM) are unmistakably summer nights in the classic sense: the muggy, warm evenings when you can sit out on the front porch in shorts and a t-shirt with a cold drink handy and a ball game on the radio.

Mmmm, I've been waiting for one of these since the end of October.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Ten Cent Beer Night

With this year's baseball season refusing to head outright into the tank (instead, it feels like the next 100 games will be a death march of mediocrity cruelly punctuated with maddening flashes of hope and inspiration), let's take a break from the current malaise and look back at a time when the Cleveland Indians were expected to suck, and ownership was frantically trying to keep people coming to the park anyway.

A friend pointed me at this article that ran on ESPN to mark the 34th anniversary of one of the more notorious moments in Cleveland's history: Ten Cent Beer Night.

Definitely a recommended read for baseball fans and native Clevelanders (though not necessarily in that order).