American Ruins

Well it has been about a week since I last checked in, but there is strangely little to report.  After winning the last two games of our home stand to finish off a sweep of Harrisburg we went on the road and won the first two games of our road trip on Friday and Saturday, and that is all that has happened.  We got rained out of our last at Bowie, rained out of our series opener against Altoona, and were again rained out of our Cinco de Mayo themed 5:55 start time yesterday.  While a rainout is occasionally a much welcomed break in what can be an arduous season, our present situation isn’t what anybody wants.  It puts us in a situation where for the next turn through the rotation all of our starters have had seven days off (instead of the usual four) and as a result will probably not be feeling as sharp as they would prefer.  Bullpen pitchers even more so than starters tend to have some rust to knock off after a few days without game action, and having a full game for the bullpen to cover in our double header tonight will in large part negate the rest that we have gotten over the last three days.  Needless to say the return to action will be very welcome to everyone involved (although we’re currently in a rain delay and there is a 90% chance of rain tomorrow so it could get pretty ugly).


On an unrelated note, I have decided that despite National Poetry Month having come to an end along with the month of April I will continue to tack a poem onto my postings from time to time as I decide they are relevant.  I like doing it and I feel like most people aren’t exactly overexposed to poetry on a daily basis so I guess you’ll all just have to humor me on this point.  With that in mind, the “poem” I present you with today is only a poem in the loosest sense of the term, as I tend to strongly resist the notion of song lyrics (the overwhelming majority anyhow) being  poetry even if it is art.  Anyway, this particular song–“Furry Sings the Blues” by Joni Mitchell–is one that I find myself thinking of fairly frequently while on the road.  Many of the cities we stay in and pass through on our bus trips criss-crossing the eastern U.S. are older cities that had their heyday decades ago when banks (like Akron’s Savings and Loan building, built in 1888), bridges and public buildings were built to stand the test of time, of stone and concrete instead of glass and steel.  In addition to being beautiful architecture in their own right, these buildings evoke visions of the past and the course of history through our country and is one of the things I tend to take some small enjoyment in on our long bus trips.  So, on our recent bus trip from Bowie, MD to Altoona, PA I happened to be listening to this particular song when we were passing the ruined piers of an old, long disused bridge of cut stone and it occurred to me that it might make for an interesting opportunity to share a bit of my road trip experience.  So until next time, enjoy.


Furry Sings the Blues by Joni Mitchell


Old Beale Street is coming down

Sweeties’ Snack Bar, boarded up now

And Egles The Tailor and the Shine Boy’s gone

Faded out with ragtime blues Handy’s cast in bronze

And he’s standing in a little park

With his trumpet in his hand

Like he’s listening back to the good old bands

And the click of high heeled shoes

Old Furry sings the blues

Propped up in his bed

With his dentures and his leg removed

And Ginny’s there

For her kindness and Furry’s beer

She’s the old man’s angel overseer


Pawn shops glitter like gold tooth caps

In the grey decay

They chew the last few dollars off

Old Beale Street’s carcass

Carrion and mercy

Blue and silver sparkling drums

Cheap guitars, eye shades and guns

Aimed at the hot blood of being no one

Down and out in Memphis, Tennessee

Old Furry sings the blues

You bring him smoke and drink and he’ll play for you

lt’s mostly muttering now and sideshow spiel

But there was one song he played

I could really feel


There’s a double bill murder at the New Daisy

The old girl’s silent across the street

She’s silent – waiting for the wrecker’s beat

Silent – staring at her stolen name

Diamond boys and satin dolls

Bourbon laughter- ghosts – history falls

To parking lots and shopping malls

As they tear down old Beale Street

Old Furry sings the blues

He points a bony finger at you and

“I don’t like you”

Everybody laughs as if it’s the old man’s standard joke

But it’s true

We’re only welcome for our drink and smoke


W.C. Handy I’m rich and I’m fay

And I’m not familiar with what you played

But I get such strong impressions of your hey day

Looking up and down old Beale Street

Ghosts of the darktown society

Come right out of the bricks at me

Like it’s a Saturday night

They’re in their finery

Dancing it up and making deals

Furry sings the blues

Why should I expect that old guy to give it to me true

Fallen to hard luck

And time and other thieves

While our limo is shining on his shanty street

Old Furry sings the blues.

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