Hello again. Since my last post I and my teammates with the Akron Aeros have continued rolling along, sweeping three games from the Reading Phillies on our way to a spot against either the Connecticut Defenders or New Britain Rock Cats in the Eastern League championship series. I threw twice in the series, registering a scoreless inning to finish game two and allowing a meaningless run in the eighth inning of last night’s series finale. As I mentioned last time, it was refreshing to give up a lead-off triple in the eighth inning and be able to look up at the scoreboard and think to myself that as long as I didn’t give up five more of those and turned the ball over to the next guy with the lead in tact I had done my job. In the playoffs the only thing that matters is the final score and it is nice to view the game in that light for once, rather than being primarily concerned with my individual numbers and knowing that if they are good it will probably help the team win games. We are now in Connecticut awaiting the outcome of the first round series on the other half of the draw, in the northern division.
In the interim between my last post and now, there has been precious little to report in off-field news. I have mostly finished packing up the apartment in Akron and tied up many of the loose ends there so all there is left to do is push off once the season comes to a conclusion. I started and finished John W. Dean’s interesting and educating (if somewhat predictably toned) book Broken Government in the last couple days in addition to what is certainly one of the best books I have read in recent memory, Richard Wright’s Native Son. It is an extremely compelling novel and if you haven’t read it I command you to go pick it up immediately. Well, I guess you don’t have to, but it really is a must read. Beyond that, there really is nothing new to report. I had hoped to check out a Chuck Close exhibition at the Akron Art Museum, but I’m not sure at this point if the scheduling is going to work out to allow me to go. If I make it though, you’ll be sure to hear about it. Look for updates on the playoffs soon and until next time I’ll leave you with a poem by Mark Strand from his award-winning collection Blizzard of One.
A Piece of the Storm
By Mark Strand
From the shadow of domes in the city of domes,
A snowflake, a blizzard of one, weightless, entered your room
And made its way to the arm of the chair where you, looking up
From your book, saw it the moment it landed. That’s all
There was to it. No more than a solemn waking
To brevity, to the lifting and falling away of attention, swiftly,
A time between times, a flowerless funeral. No more than that
Except for the feeling that this piece of the storm,
Which turned into nothing before your eyes, would come back,
That someone years hence, sitting as you are now, might say:
“It’s time. The air is ready. The sky has an opening.”
Hello again. It has been an interes ting week from a baseball perspective for me of late. I had back to back outings where I threw the ball very well, yet gave up a few runs. I followed it up with an outing where to my own estimation I threw terribly and had no feel for the strike zone, yet gave up no runs. This is one of the annoying and irritating aspects of baseball and sports in general: sometimes your performance doesn’t match the results that you get. However, that is the nature of things and there is no changing it so I’ll just be thankful for my last outing and keep plugging along. From a team perspective the home stand that we finished last night was a modest success, if somewhat d isappointing at the end. We won a three game series against Trenton to open up and split a four game series with Binghamton to finish it off. However, our two losses were the final two games and our overall play was somewhat inconsistent so it is hard to really call it a success. That being said, we’re still in first place and are nine games ahead of third-place Bowie in the race for the playoffs as we open a five game series with Bowie tonight.
As promised in my previous entry, I made the rounds at the Akron Art Museum over the weekend. I really like art and I would never want to discourage anyone from participating in the arts or visiting art museums, but I profess that I was very disappointed with my experience as at the Akron Art Museum. While there were a few pieces that really struck me, like Robert Arneson’s copper sculpture Nuke News, Linda by Chuck Close and Rene Magritte’s Les pas perdus (The Wasted Footsteps),
I was disappointed to find that the preponderance of the art was more along the lines of the nonsensical and (in my opinion) meaningless art of Helen Frankenthaler and Mark Rothko. Call me uncultured if you will, but to me things like Dan Flavin’s neon light tubes belong in a night club and not an art museum because they say nothing and represent nothing. Many of the movements throughout art history have been reactions to conditions in the art community and world at large and as such have had an impact that is meaningful in the context of its own time that can continue to be powerful long after its creation. I feel like works such as those shown below are less representative of this legacy than they are examples of how many in the art community have completely lost touch with reality as they have become more insulated from mainstream America and as price tags on works of art have spiraled upwards (for an awesome and hilarious parody of this fact, see the movie Art School Confidential). That isn’t to say that art has to be masterful or even technically proficient to be beautiful and meaningful (so what if it looks like something your kid painted in art class, unless your kid is Marla Olmstead they didn’t, so save it), just that there should be an actual attempt to demonstrably express something to the viewer and beyond a certain level of abstraction that ceases to be possible. Many of the works I saw over the weekend cross this line and then hide behind a pseudo-intellectual wall placard explaining them rather than creating something meaningful in its own right. All that being said, despite the small proportion of worthwhile pieces to be found, the excellent ones were definitively worth seeing so check the museum out if you’re ever in Akron (it’s right downtown near Canal Park–a great pre-game activity?) Well, that seems like a sufficiently long and rambling rant for today so I’ll leave you with some examples of the art of which I speak so you can judge for yourself and with that call it a day.
Image list: Above: Nuke News by Robert Arneson. Below, top to bottom. Les pas perdus (The Wasted Footsteps) by Rene Magritte, The Nominal Three by Dan Flavin, Untitled by Mark Rothko, Wisdom by Helen Frankenthaler.