Black is black

For those of those fortunate enough to see both blogs, this is the more cheering event, though its also the one, like so many LGBT related events that I wish we didnt have to celebrate. I know, things were very different in 1947 America, though in truth, it took decades after that before things really improved, and rather like LGBT issues, I’m not certain that its really been settled as yet, especially with the current political situation there. For more details of the events than I wish to just repeat, go see

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackie_Robinson

for all of the details. The only thing of which I can be really proud is that it was my beloved Dodgers (then in Brooklyn) who took the first move to right matters. His shirt number was 42, and this is why today, all players, on all teams, and tomorrow, for the teams not playing today, will be wearing that shirt number for 1 day. Yes, the first game played by Jackie Robinson, African American baseball player, in the Major League was on April 15th, 1947.

The funny thing is, as the article points out, he wasnt actually the first African American to play Major League Baseball, he was just the first to do so since 1884, and fine, media was pretty limited back then, and segregation was pretty awful back then, so they were conveniently swept over. In truth things werent great in 1947 for Robinson, as players, and teams refused to play with/against him back then, with little impunity. To be fair to the Dodgers, and the MLB they came down relatively firmly on these people, but only so much could be done at a time when racism was sadly rife. Funny thing is, he never played in Los Angeles. He retired in 1956, and it was 1958 before they moved across the country, to become Hollywood’s team.

Oh, and to say the Dodgers have always been forward on equality matters? First team to let a female journalist into the locker room (1974), the first team to have a female lead trainer (2012), and way back in 1941, the first team to get their players to wear helmets! Oh, and probably the only team that will ever have the same person commentate on the team for 67 years too. Yes, Vin Scully, of course.

No, the Dodgers play tonight in the middle of the night, my time (3.00 am start) so I wont see them play, but there is one extra thing for me tonight, a player of course for once, wearing 42, Clayton Kershaw. He makes his first start in the Major League tonight, after injury, having spent the last couple of weeks amusingly, in Oklahoma. I suspect he flew to Los Angeles, unlike Clara, who I assume arrived by train, though that was from Texas, according to her Census records. When she moved to Texas, I have yet to discover, all I know is she left for LA in 1925 at this point. That might need to be one of my challenges in life, discovering more about her, assuming my retirement is made official, after the neurologist has checked me over. So I might yet find her married name, and later life, lol!

Alright, the video is corny, though it might appeal to my male readers. And yes, I’d love a pair of those gold trousers, if anyone is offering…?

 

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In the park this week

Well,  as I type this, I’m watching my last pre season baseball, as today is the last of those, before the proper event gets under way on Thursday. Yes, as 2 of the ‘big US sports’ head down towards the playoffs, baseball is just about to get going again for real. Well, as real as it can get when you consider that at least 30% of the teams in the leagues wont be trying too hard to win this year. Even among them, some will still be trying less than others! Thankfully there are at least a few teams who will be trying to win a few games, and to make the play offs at least. The amusing thing is, that even if I wasnt on sickness absence at present, I would have been able to see some of opening night, as it will be on Thursday. So in truth, especially given I have to be up on Friday morning, for blood tests, to try and work out what is wrong is my mind, and body, I’ll probably only see as much as I would have done anyway.

Luckily for me, one of the teams I will get to see on Thursday, will be the Dodgers, though for the first time in forever, it wont be Clayton Kershaw pitching on opening day, first time since 2010. Yes, he’s injured, I know the feeling, lol!

Something unique is happening this year, not that I will be there, but there will be proper games in London, between Boston, and the New York Yankees during the season. In truth, because of course at present I have no idea if I will be allowed to fly the Atlantic this year, I dont know if I’m going to see a game, other than on TV. Hey, its possible I could get to the US, and still not see a live game in a stadium this year. Thankfully, ESPN UK, and some matinee games will head my way at least. And then of course, in November, just as basketball, and ice hockey are getting under way, we’ll find out who are world champions for 2019. Yes, world champions. Yes, only teams from 2 countries can win it, and the sole Canadian team are among those not trying ‘too hard’ this year! Ah well, god bless America, and all that.

One trend in baseball in recent times is less balls hit low, or on the ground, and far more hit high into the air. So, a Phil Collins song seems apt…

 

When I see my moped

Apologies for the corny title, but…

My first proper, close up sight of a baseball park was in 2003, in Seattle. I had strictly seen one nearly 20 years earlier, in Boston, but from considerable distance, and considerable height (viewing room of John Hancock Tower), and never got all that close.

2003, however, I arrived in Seattle, by bus (long before the Tram was even dreamed of), and one of the first sights I saw, were 2 sports stadiums. One was the NFL one, the other was the baseball one. Later on during that trip, I saw where the basketball team (now in Oklahoma City), and ice hockey team (now moved to Kent County, WHL team) played, but the other 2 had long caught my eye by then.

Its fair to say that at that time, the posters around the baseball stadium were dominated by the new star player from Japan. Well, he’d been there for a short while (this was between 2002, and 2003 seasons), but fairly new, and still the big star at the time. Yes, Ichiro Sukuzi was poster boy for the Mariners at the time. By the time I finally got to see the Mariners play live, it was 15 years later, and not surprisingly, his glory days were gone.

Today, I saw him play for the Mariners, one last time. Yes, I saw him yesterday too, and those 2 games, in Tokyo, were the last time, at the grand old age of 45 that he will play for the Mariners. Yes, he retired after today’s game.

The most amusing fact, his first game for them, back in 2001, was a 5-4 win over Oakland. Today, guess what? His final game for them was, would you believe, a 5-4 win over Oakland!

Technically, the Mariners are no more than my 3rd team that I follow. Dodgers are obviously number 1, and due to Miss Harlow, the Kansas City Royals will always have a soft place in my soul. And yes, Kate, Boston Red Sox will always be number 4, for more reasons than one. But yes, the team that truly got me hooked on baseball, the Seattle Mariners, and their poster boy of the time, Ichiro Suzuki. Given he played for 7 years in Japan, before coming to MLB, its possibly there are others that were playing then, playing now, but I suspect few, if any.

But yes, the man who helped to get me hooked on baseball, retired today, and I saw the end, albeit only on TV. So thanks for the memories, Mr Suzuki, and enjoy your retirement.

OK, video time. This song is 1 year younger than Ichiro, shows how old I am. Yes, the connection is corny, but better than using ‘Take Me Out To The Ballgame’ again

There are apparently 3 current players now remaining, post Suzuki, who were playing at that fateful date. Albert Pujols, and CC Sabathia (both 2001), and Fernando Rodney (2002). Bartolo Colon (1997) would add to this list if signed at any point this season

‘Hitting’ an all time low?

OK, we’ve had some weird stuff here of late, so lets do something different, a bit of sport. And what better night to do baseball, than in the last hour before the trade deadline closes? Not that it means there will be no more trades this year, it just makes the whole process a lot more complex, thats all.

Its hard to believe now, that just 3 years ago, I was celebrating my ‘American League’ team, the Kansas City Royals, winning the whole thing, the World Series. Last season, I almost saw my ‘National League’ team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, do the same. Still, it was second year lucky for the Royals (they lost WS the year before), so maybe the Dodgers can get there this year? Have to say that on what I’ve seen, I doubt it, but this isnt about them.

As I say, 3 years ago, the Royals were on an all time high, now this year, there is currently, only one team worse than them, and thats a pretty tight race! I know, it must be hard for a small market team to have continued success, but the collapse has been dramatic, all the same. Then, I’d look excitedly for their results, now I try to avoid them, of sorts.

Fine, it amuses me, that as someone who has always enjoyed rooting for the under dogs, that I support the Dodgers, who are one of the big market teams, but I guess its the Hollywood connection, and no more? Oh, and I might get to keep the streak up this year, on watching play off teams in a season, care of Seattle, though they do seem to be wobbling a bit, but fingers crossed!

But yes, thank goodness for Baltimore, or the Royals really would be hitting an all time low, just 3 seasons after the all time high. Funny how things change?

Fine, I might have given a few clues to the video tonight, but its not the famous one, its a live performance from 2000, as I have used the former before.

Taking a ride on a big wheel, and other things

Right, and so to complete the posting from Seattle scene…

Thursday, I decided that the little toe on my left foot wasnt going to stop being an issue anytime soon, so decided that was the day to ride the full length of the Seattle Light Rail, up the other extension since I was previously here, the one up to the University of Washington. I have to say that the extension at this end of the route (to Angle Lake) has been an absolute boon, as its nearer than the Airport station to here, and walk-able. Well, in perfect health, maybe, but I survived. There is one killer (but thankfully short) uphill stretch on the walk from here to that station, which I wont be missing now!

Coming out of the University station, I rather expected to be on the edge of the University grounds. Ah well…What I was very close to, was Husky Stadium, the home of the University football team. Well, seemingly in these days of glorious sponsorship, its now called Alaska Airlines Field, but will always be Husky Stadium to me! I hobbled a short distance further, didnt find anything more than sports facilities, so gave up on that idea. When I got back to the station, I did find a map, and the grounds were relatively nearby, but decided I wasnt going to push my foot by setting out again, in a totally different direction. So, defeated, back into town, earlier than planned. So I headed for a landmark with memories for me, that I knew hadnt moved, the rail station. Wrong time of day to see the Empire Builder train, though I did see a goods train trundling through the station, heading south. One of these days I will do another long distance train journey, though whether it will be the repeat Empire Builder again, or more likely, Los Angeles to Chicago (via Kansas City, please note), I have no idea. In theory, I could do a ‘Clara Johnson’ and travel by train from Oklahoma City, via Texas, to Los Angeles, if timed right, but I wouldnt put good money on that one. Requires a change in Texas, a slightly shorter one than I suspect Clara did!

After that, I headed down to the front again, and ended up seeing the city from on high again, this time from a giant wheel, hence the title of the blog! The last time I did one of those was the London Eye, with my mother, and that would be about 25 years ago! This time, it wasnt just one turn around the wheel, but 6, but then again it was a lesser radius, which probably explained why! Blonde moment, I realized eventually that I’d only looked in 1 direction for about 5 turns, so turned to take in the other side, and that was when the wheel stopped at the bottom lol! Ah well…

Yesterday, day time at least, was relatively quiet. Went and did the holiday shopping for others, and also found myself a new (much needed) handbag, that certainly looks vintage, even if it clearly isnt! I also found a gorgeous dress in another store, very 30’s, but a bit pricey for me (about $60, plus tax, however much that might have been), and was only a medium size, so I talked myself out of it. Hindsight to that, I discovered I wasnt quite as impoverished as I thought I was, so I decided to go back today, and see if it actually fitted, or not, and probably buy if it did. But no, someone had already beaten me to it, not surprised, it was gorgeous. Macy’s did also have some nice period dresses, but with them you’re talking over $200 each, plus tax, so didnt even consider it, way beyond my purse!

Yesterday evening saw the return to Safeco Field, and the Mariners, this time, all went far more smoothly. I also have to thank Melissa for the Goody Bag (not that she will see this) that was provided too. Must be a lucky mascot, mind, as I saw them win twice! Hobbled back to the Light Rail station just in time for a train to pull in empty, and run back from there, to Angle Lake. Still got my commuting skills, got a seat, no idea how!

Today, beyond the failed shopping trip, was the farewell tour. I didnt go right down to the water today, its a steep route down, and more critically, up, as I discovered on Thursday, so settled for a seat at the top of the steps, and looked out over the water from there for a while. Then back to the Light Rail, the ride out of town, and for now at least, the final farewell. In theory, if nothing changes in my life, I’ll be back in 6 years time (my post retirement trip), as this place will be my stop off point to Alaska. In reality, the way my body is currently falling apart, I wouldnt put good money on being in strong enough health for that, even with breaks en route, but we will see. Thats one thing I have realized, west coast trips really are going to be a no go, very soon, if not already! There will be 1 more, even if I have to drag my shattered body to LA, it will happen at some point! But Seattle…?

Tomorrow, I fly back home, back to work on Wednesday, blessed with a bank holiday this week, which enables me to do it this way. Covering as Team leader again for that week, should be interesting, once I’ve caught up on work emails at least! 2 weekends from now, is Blackpool! Then, as far as I know, thats it until a few days away in Scotland in September, couldnt afford more at present, anyway! Especially as, maybe in November…? You’ll have to wait on that!

Right, video time. Big clue in the blog title, absolutely! Live performance, nearly 50 years old, now I really feel old!

Disability training required!

Firstly, a quick reminder for the newer folk around here, and numbers do seem to have exploded viewing this, so…I’m on holiday now, in Seattle. What this means for those lucky people who know to read both blogs, there’s no point, they just get copy and paste treatment, as most would want to know the same things, and besides, I dont have the time to write 2! So… Yes, I know, its been a while, but more on that in a moment!

Strictly, the holiday made an early start on Thursday, as I went into Am Dram mode again in Cookridge, with a couple of work friends. I would spend time praising the performance to the hilt, and telling you to go see it, but there were only 3 shows, its finished by now, but…It was really good, I must say, as was the meal before that, both the food, and the company.

I was going to post something on Friday re the reduction of stakes on the ghastly machines in betting shops nowadays, from £100, to £2, but firstly I ran out of time, having my hair done (shock horror, I’m not a natural blonde!), and then packing to come here. So it never happened. Mind, as the reduction wont kick in until 2020, I shall probably be rude about the betting industry before then!

Yesterday was just a typical US Travel day in so many ways, that I’ll only pass on the interesting details. Yes, Manchester Airport redeemed themselves this time, though they get one more chance to mess up yet. As does Seattle, where a lovely young lady not only helped me through, and got my baggage for me, she actually ran me over to where the hotel courtesy shuttles pick up, and I’m sure thats not in their job description. But the middle one… No, it wasnt bad, just the opposite in fact, really good service, but…

Every other airport I’ve seen in the US (even before I needed this ‘old crock’ service) has either had a separate line for wheelchair passengers, or mingled them into the crew column, or a mix of both. Ah, but this is Vegas, so…Its not the biggest International sector, I suspect it doesnt need it. So there is a crew column, but access passengers…no! Seems we, regardless of nationality go into the US there, in the US citizen queue. So yes, lol, dont tell Trump, but I’m a US citizen, of sorts! Not really, but yes, it was amusing.

Today has been relatively quiet, as I gave the body chance to recover in advance with planning. In truth, with the warmth here, less needed, but anyway… Just to say, for those who care, I now have an active US cell phone again, until next Sunday, so if you wish to talk, for any reason, just ask for number. If I dont know you of sorts, tell me why you want to talk to me, OK? Not saying I wont give it, but just curious, thats all. Only works for 8 days anyway!

OK, there has to be a down point, doesnt there? Yes, there is one, though hopefully the Mariners will sort it out, they have been emailed already. The game was great, the only snag being that the seat was up more than a few stairs, which didnt help, but I got there eventually, with only minimal soreness. No reason they should have known, I’m not obviously disabled (brace is under top/skirt, and fact not mentioned), so how would the poor guy picking my seat know? I did come down after 7.5 innings, I needed to go ‘somewhere’, and never went back up. Actually found a more comfortable seat for the other 3.5 innings, as it went to overtime. Then, after Seattle had won…

Given I was sore, and given there was a sign for a disabled elevator nearby, I decided to use that to get downstairs, rather than struggling down a large number of stairs, in a large crowd of people. Unfortunately, the lady in the elevator had either failed her disability training, had never been given any, or just didnt think it applied to anyone in less than a wheelchair! So when I, and another lady who said she had walking difficulties got into the lift, she bluntly told us that the lift wasnt meant for ‘people like you’, and pointing at a couple of mothers, with buggies behind us, said, “Its meant for them!”. I have no objection to them using it, but it does say its a disability elevator, so… Complaint email has been sent to the Mariners accordingly! Do I expect anything more than platitudes from them? Probably not! But put it this way, not that they will care, but I had planned a second game at some point Friday, or Saturday, but certainly wont be bothering now! I know, whats 1 customer to them, but all the same…

Fine, video time. I couldnt think of a song that really fitted in with all this, so just made a random choice of an under rated Soft Cell song.

You know how to please me?

Let me say that I’m currently on a bit of a subject drought for these, now I’m doing 3 a week, instead of 2, so if anyone has any suitable ideas for subjects they’d like me to discuss (excluding anything UK politics related), feel free to either post in comments here, or send them to stephmajor8@hotmail.com , and if they appeal, I might just go with them!

This morning I got to see last nights baseball game between LA Angels, and Kansas City in the latter city. To say the weather was interesting for baseball would be putting it mildly. It would be fair to say that the second half of the game was played, quite literally in a snowstorm! Mind, its not exceptional, as apparently recently, a game there at the beginning of May had the same issue! They did get through, but you couldnt see a lot of anyone’s faces, shall we say? 😉

In truth, only a matter of just over a fortnight into the season, and lots of games have been postponed due to the weather. To say this hasnt been helped by the fact that the season started even earlier this year, to try and give more rest days for the players during the season, but in truth, a good number of these have come after the season would normally have started too. Snag is, now all these extra built in rest days for some teams arent going to happen, because of making up all their lost games in the future.

Of course, if sanity had prevailed, the MLB should have scheduled most of the games for the first couple of weeks away from the ‘frozen north’, though I guess that would have then caused issues late in the season for the warmer weather teams in having no home game revenues later in the season as they tried to compensate. But yes, seriously, games in Detroit, Minneapolis and Cleveland at the beginning of April, oops! You may have noticed Toronto missing from this list, which is even colder, but of course has a stadium that can shut a roof, and solve climate issues that way!

But yes, believe me, you wouldnt get me at a baseball game in a snow storm! Only once have I been to a game where the temperatures couldnt get out of the low 40’s, but that was minor league, in Rochester, in April! That was more than enough. Oh, 4 of their first 5 games, cancelled due to the weather!

Ah well, Seattle will hopefully be warmer, and besides, they have a retractable roof, so I should be fine this year. Famous last words!

Right, video time. Some live glam rock from the 70’s! Yes, its hard to find film from those days, has to be said. So who wants to Skweeze me, lol?