Hello again and welcome back. Last time I checked in the all-star break was looming and I was eagerly awaiting a trip to Carlsbad Caverns National Park for some back country camping and cave tours with my fiancÚ. Well, the break has come and gone and so has my trip to Carlsbad. Unfortunately for my fiancÚ and me, American Airlines continues struggling with the mechanics of running an airline so instead of my fiancÚ getting into Midland at 1 pm, driving to Carlsbad and hiking out to a campsite in the park, my fiancÚ had her connecting flight cancelled, rode in with a couple strangers from Dallas, got in much later than scheduled and we ended up camping the night at some roadside RV park and campground. Not exactly what we’d hoped for, but at least we got there and the cave tours were well worth the hassle. For those of you who haven’t seen it, the natural entrance to Carlsbad Caverns is quite a sight to see in its own right, and the mile long hike down into the cave is well worth the hour or so it takes. Much better than the elevator ride down. Once below ground we took in the cave’s signature room, The Big Room, as well as guided tours of King’s Palace and, my personal favorite, the Lower Cave. Everything in the caves is interesting and very enjoyable, but the Lower Cave tour was a little bit more strenuous, starting in a “secret location,” descending through a crevice by ladder, no floodlights like most of the rest of the cave, and some actual crawling. Overall it was a great experience and depending on the status of my minor back injury and the weather I am strongly considering heading back to Carlsbad in August to tour Slaughter Canyon Cave, one of the many wild, backcountry caves in the park. Speaking of my back, it has been a bit sore for the past few days after my last appearance but should get a test off the mound today, be it in the game or the bullpen and I’m fairly optimistic that it will be a non-issue. Other than that I have just been enjoying the time with my fiancÚ and dodging raindrops at the field. On a final note, regarding the questions about the off-field situation that has been reported involving the Akron Aeros, I don’t know or haven’t heard anything that hasn’t been reported publicly. Given that and the nature of the situation, I feel it would be inappropriate for me to comment or speculate on it so this will be the last time I mention it. I hope everybody had a good 4th of July and as always I will leave you with a poem.
by Albert Goldbarth
These two asleep . . . so indrawn and compact,
like lavish origami animals returned
to slips of paper once again; and then
the paper once again become a string
of pith, a secret that the plant hums to itself . . . .
You see? — so often we envy the grandiose, the way
those small toy things of Leonardo’s want to be
the great, air-conquering and miles-eating
they’re modeled on. And the bird flight is
amazing: simultaneously strength,
escape, caprice: the Artic tern completes
its trip of nearly 27,000 miles every year;
a swan will frighten bears away
by angry aerial display of flapping wingspan.
But it isn’t all flight; they also
fold; and at night on the water or in the eaves
they package their bodies
into their bodies, smaller, and deeply
smaller yet: migrating a similar distance
in the opposite direction.
Hello again. I am enjoying my off day back home in Akron after a grueling ten day, eleven game road trip. While road trips like this one, which included a double-header, wildly variant game times, night games on our travel days, terrible clubhouses in Erie and Reading, a subpar clubbie in Altoona, and large amounts of other fun stuff, I generally prefer playing games on the road to playing games at home. The number one reason being significantly less time spent sitting around the clubhouse at the stadium with nothing to do. For example, for home games most guys usually end up showing up to the field and 1 or 1:30, which even if I lift weights and/or do some cardio leaves me an hour and a half to two hours to kill before stretch, not to mention approximately the same amount of time before the game after batting practice (which for a pitcher like myself, is basically just a mind numbing experience where I contemplate the relative merits of paper versus plastic). In contrast, by the time the second bus gets to the field there tends to be a half hour or so until stretch and batting practice, which tends to be the perfect amount of time to get myself ready to go. After batting practice there is about an hour, which is a nice amount of time for taking a shower, changing and getting focused in for the game. In addition to less down time at the field I also prefer the fan interactions on the road to the ones at home. I have no problem being accommodating for fans and enjoy interacting with them, but it is a lot more laid back and there are significantly lower expectations from the fans on the road than at home. Also, I enjoy being the object of a good heckling now and then which never happens at home games. Weird I know. So the bottom line I guess is that despite my usual affinity for the road, it is great to be back home for a bit and to have the day off to decompress. I’ll try to make a point of getting a couple more posts up while I’m home for the next week or so, but until then I’ll leave you with yet another poem.
How Simile Works
by Albert Goldbarth
The drizzle-slicked cobblestone alleys
of some city;
and the brickwork back
of the lumbering Galapagos tortoise
they’d set me astride, at the “petting zoo”….
The taste of our squabble still in my mouth
the next day;
and the brackish puddles sectioning
the street one morning after a storm….
So poetry configures its comparisons.
My wife and I have been arguing; now
I’m telling her a childhood reminiscence,
stroking her back, her naked back that was
the particles in the heart of a star and will be
again, and is hers, and is like nothing
else, and is like the components of everything.