Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Three Beautiful Things 11-10-20: (Update) Baseball Names, Pasta, Tree House Concert BONUS A Limerick by Stu

Note: Everett is no longer in the COVID unit at Kootenai Health. Now Christy can visit him and plans a long visit with him on Wednesday, November 11. I'm going to hold off on a longer update until Christy lets Everett's family and Carol, Debbie, and me know what she learns when on site.  

1.  I love watching baseball and golf, but I might enjoy reading about these sports even more. 

I'll set golf aside for now. 

Today the focus is baseball. 

Over the years, the books I've read by Roger Kahn, Jane Leavy, Roger Angell, Thomas Bosworth, David Halberstam, Lawrence S. Ritter, Daniel Okrent, and others have brought players and great moments alive for me vividly, transported me to key times in my non-baseball life, and given me insight into baseball as if I were reading about Shakespeare's plays or George Eliot novels. 

Today, I continued listening to the audible recording of Tyler Kepner reading his book from 2019, K: A History of Baseball in 10 Pitches. So far, I've experienced the history of baseball through his detailed examination of the slider, fastball, curve, knuckleball, splitter, screwball, sinker, and changeup. Only the chapters on the spitter and cutter remain.

As I've mentioned before, Kepner draws upon interviews he's conducted with players, past and present, and published interviews others have conducted for much of his material.

Many of the pitchers and batters and coaches he gives voice to or tells stories about had faded from my baseball memory. I have loved having these players and coaches, their feats, and their theories about pitching back in the front of my mind again: Steve Rogers, Johnny Podres, Roger Craig, Ramon Martinez (and little brother Pedro!), Dan Quisenberry, Tom Candiotti, J. R. Richard, Frank Viola, Ted Abernathy, Jim Bouton, Kent Tekulve, Mike Marshall, Donnie Moore, Jeff Nelson, Hoyt Wilhelm,  and many, many more. 

I've never thought about so many pitchers, so many approaches to pitching, or thought about so many famous situations in baseball history from the perspective of types of pitches before. I've also enjoyed reading about players from the early days of baseball like Carl Hubbell, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson, and other older players whose names are familiar to me, and about others like Hall of Famer, Candy Cummings, the supposed inventor of the curve ball, whom I'd never bothered to pay attention to. 

2. I opened a can of fire roasted diced tomatoes. I cut an onion in half. I sliced a chunk of butter off the cube I had out. I cut the half onion into two pieces. I combined these ingredients in a saucepan and added oregano, basil, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and fennel seeds. I cooked it all for about 45 minutes. I tossed the onion pieces. The result was a batch of my version of Marcella Hagan's tomato sauce. 

I then made a small batch of rotini, one of my favorite pastas. I combined the pasta and sauce in a bowl, added parmesan cheese, and enjoyed a simple, flavorful dinner. Earlier, I'd eaten a small bowl of a green salad augmented with tuna fish I'd made a day or so ago, leaving enough so I'll have more of this salad on Wednesday.

3. I tried something a little different so I could enjoy a warming drink while I tuned in to tonight's Tree House Concert, performed by Bill Davie.

I wondered how a hot drink would work using the ingredients of a Brandy Alexander -- brandy, creme de cacao, and whole milk (no cream on hand, or half and half) mixed with hot water and enhanced by cinnamon and nutmeg. All in all, it was a satisfying drink, but, a little sweet for my taste. If I try this again, I'll pour less creme de cacao into the mix.

Bill's concert was really good. He felt like he was a little off, but we listeners, judging from the stream of gratitude and positive comments people posted during the show, loved his work and loved his selection of songs. For about thirty years, I've thought "Learning to Say Goodbye" is an insightful piece of writing that falls somewhere between absurdism and surrealism and, since we live in an absurd, surreal world, this song has a clear ring of truth. Bill read a few of his own poems, written in a time of tumult in his life, and then turned to Billy Collins and Ted Koosner. Koosner's poems, especially, brought a sense of calm to the proceedings. 

Bill is taking next Tuesday off, but will return on November 24th for a powerhouse evening as he and Jim Page will perform together. 

Before the pandemic, before Bill started performing live on Facebook, since he can't perform in live brick and mortar venues until the pandemic (it is to be hoped) calms down, I never dreamed, unless I made a trip to Seattle, that I'd ever hear Bill and Jim perform together again. 

I'm stoked. 

Here's a limerick by Stu: 

Your belly's tied up in a knot.
There's more places designated as "Hot"!
Was there ever a day,
When you thought you would say?
I look forward to getting a "shot"?

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