Do you want tea with your baseball?

Major League Baseball has happened in more than a few countries beyond the obvious pair, of USA and Canada. Mexico, Puerto Rico, Japan, and Australia to name just a few. But tonight (I’m actually watching it as I talk), we can add a new one to that list, the United Kingdom, in London to be exact. No, I’m not there, even if I had a body, and brain that worked (and currently I don’t), its the opposite end of the country to me, its a sell out, and ticket prices were crazy. I did try entering a contest for seats tonight, but no shock, I didnt win! It included a hotel stay, so could have been done.

I have actually seen baseball live in 2 countries (Yes, Toronto is on my ‘done’ list), and have been to games at 10 of the 30 teams, though 1 stadium I went to (Minneapolis) has been replaced since then. When I get to add to that list, who knows? I have done the 3 senior stadiums (Boston, Chicago Cubs, LA Dodgers) which is something at least, and indeed 6 of the 7 oldest (LA Angels missing, its Anaheim, so hard to get to for a non driver, even when in LA) ones.

But did I ever imagine seeing baseball in the UK, and 2 sell outs at that, not in my dreams. But yes, its happening tonight, and again tomorrow. The fact that its those bitter rivals, the New York Yankees, and the Boston Red Sox amuses me more, especially the latter, given its Kate’s team! I dont know if its the shape of the stadium or something, but we’re only in the top of the 3rd innings (after nearly 90 minutes), and the score is currently 8-6!

OK, the video. I saw this live during the week, that crazy moment when Sesame Street hit Wrigley Field (home of Cubs, 105 years old, 2nd oldest stadium),and Cookie Monster sang ‘Take Me Out To The Ballgame’, seriously.

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…?

 

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…

 

‘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.

The morning sun is shining?

Like a baseball, probably not? But fine, I’ve killed the most famous baseball song to death over the years, so lets try something a bit different for the song. Interestingly enough, I found a ‘live’ version of this, but not from either of the writer’s groups! So yes, a group out of left field for you tonight.

The season actually started yesterday, as many wise people might have noted, and yes, I managed to see a couple of games over here on TV yesterday morning before bedtime. Unfortunately, the Dodgers game was after midnight over here, even if it was a late afternoon game in California, so missed that one. Unlike many from last year, a real pitchers game, which unfortunately the Dodgers lost 1-0. Yeah, one of the games was 14-7, seriously!

This year, my plan, given I’m only going to make 1 trip to the US (unless someone else pays for my stay, or I win a contest or something, neither of which is ever likely to happen), and things work out that way, I’m planning to sneak in 2 games during my stay in Seattle in May. I’m pretty sure that given my health, sitting in a baseball stadium during the afternoon after arrival might be about all my back is good for! After that, Mariners are away for a few days, but then come back for the following weekend, so I’ll plan to go on either the Friday, or Saturday evening. Probably the Saturday, as the recovery time I’ll need will ensure I have no crazy ideas of trying to go very far from the hotel on the Sunday, after packing to go home, as I dont fly back until the afternoon. But at the same time, Friday might work better, as at least it would then allow me on the Saturday to look back one last time at Seattle before leaving, whereas late at night, I wouldnt see much?

Will that be it for a city I love? Not sure? If my back is up to my post retirement plan to visit Alaska, then I will probably be back in 2024, as its an ideal place to split the journey for me. But in truth, given the state of my back, I’m less sure I’ll be up to that trip by the month, but we will see. But yes, I’ll probably look back as if it is, just in case.

It will be a nice way to round the circle at least, as the first baseball park I saw on a solo trip to the US was Seattle. Strictly, back in 1987, I saw Fenway Park from a considerable distance, but that was it. Funny thing is, I’ve been to Seattle a couple more times since, but once was out of season (I did a stadium tour instead), and the second time, the only day they were at home on the stay was the Sunday. The plan was to go, but then my flight was delayed by 9 hours to Chicago, so spent Saturday night there, only arrived in Seattle at lunchtime on Sunday, and yes, it was an afternoon game! So, I plan to get it done this time, twice over, lol!

I will see more from here during the summer, for sure, mainly matinee games due to the time difference, but there will be a few of them, for sure. And of course, there may be some live games on ESPN (assuming the hotel has it?) while in the US too.

And yes, fine, I’m sure that in about 7 months time, I’ll be looking at the climax of the season, and hopefully Dodgers will go one better this time around!

Video time. Paul Simon (Simon & Garfunkel), and Bruce Woodley (Seekers) wrote this song, but as I say, I cant find a live performance by either on You Tube. But seemingly, the group that first brought it to fame were a 2 hit wonder called the Cyrkle. However, dont feel sorry for the guys, apparently they went on to write numerous famous ad jingles from the 60’s and 70’s!

Whats in a name?

One of my pet hates with modern stadiums is that they dont have what I would call, a proper name, especially in the US, where seemingly nearly every team now plays in a stadium with no local name, just the name of whoever may be sponsoring it at the time. Thankfully, Dodgers Stadium, Wrigley Field, and Fenway Park (to name a few) survive at present by their original name, but for how long?

Thankfully, there are some places that regardless of how many times the name changes, most people still know them by their old name. In truth, I suspect the tale of tonight’s rant will be one of those, despite the ghastly name change.

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum started to be built in 1921, opening in 1923. In its time, as well as hosting numerous teams from the Los Angeles area (including for a few years, the Dodgers, more on that later), but also hosted 2 Olympics, and may well play a part in hosting another in 2028, when the event returns to town. I wont be there to see it, even if I’m still alive by then!

But now, or more strictly correctly, in August 2019, the name will change, it will be ‘The United Airlines Memorial Coliseum’. Yes, I know, money talks, and all that! In truth, beyond the whole matter of the name change, its who the sponsors are! Yes, United Airlines.

Thats right, the company who in the last few years have had a total customer services meltdown are putting $69 million towards repairs to the stadium, presumably in a desperate attempt to improve their standing in the community? And yes, they are still as bad as ever, only last week throwing a woman off a plane, due to a ticketing error, on the way to see her dying mother for the last time. No, thanks to their incompetence, she never made it! Of course, it wasnt their fault according to them, but seriously, given those circumstances, and the fact the ticket had been paid for, what a shambles!

The amusing thing of course, is the LA reaction to this. Most of that has involved comments about buying tickets for the stadium, then having someone coming up, throwing you out of your seat, and beating you up for good measure! That attitude might improve towards them over the next 18 months, but I wouldnt put good money on it! That is of course, given the amount of bad publicity they’ve had of late, that United Airlines are still around by then! Wouldnt that be ironic?

With luck, everyone will continue to call it The Coliseum, and nothing more for the rest of time!

What I didnt know, until I did a search, was that the Dodgers actually played 1 game there after their move to Dodgers Stadium. To celebrate 50 years in town, in 2008, they played a pre season game at their old home, against Boston Red Sox. No, the stadium was no longer designed for that, but anyway…

I found this. Yes, the Boston Red Sox song, sung in Coliseum. Official attendance was over 115,000, but certainly not that many there in this shot!

Review Of The Year, Part one

Now, normally when you do a review of the year, and you’re splitting it in two, you’d do two spells of 6 months, right? But when I looked back on my year, it took me about 30 seconds (if that long) to work out that apart from one event in May, not much happened for the first 8 months, then a hell of a lot happened in the last 4! So to avoid a 500 word blog tonight, and a 3000 word one tomorrow, I’m doing this on an 8/4 basis this year.

In truth, the highlights of the first 2 months were getting the news I’d passed probation period at work, and getting a passport in my new name. Oh, and around the same time, my first moments of DWP fame, in an LGBT sense, with an interview from work, about life as a LGBT woman in the Department. Which of course led to something that will be mentioned in Part 2, but for now…

No, diplomacy means I’m not mentioning a certain event that happened in the US, in January, but you all know what I think of him, and his actions, so lets leave it there.

Of course, my first flight as Harlean Carpenter, was in May, going back to Hollywood, or more strictly, Los Angeles. Lets just say the whole apartment thing this time around wasnt the success of the previous trip, both in the sense of initially booking an apartment, and then the landlord deciding he wanted to decline the booking, because he hadnt put in his price rise for the New Year. Fine, I thought, until he told me it was done, and suddenly the price had risen by over 20%, nearly 25% in fact! So I started again, thought I’d found somewhere decent as a replacement, but it didnt live up to all its claims. Dont get me wrong, it was nice enough, just didnt have all the facilities it claimed it had.

The funniest moment was a delightful Thai takeaway I had found 18 months earlier, and the lady still remembered me the moment I walked in, despite that. Its sad to think that by the next time I visit, she will almost certainly be gone, as it will be a few years before I get there again (unless I get a role offer), and I doubt she was that young this year, so…but she was amazing!

The other big highlights that will stick with me, would be 2 Louise Brooks silent films, viewed at the historic Egyptian Theater, a guided Hollywood walk given by a wonderful lady that I like to see as a friend, a ‘better than I would buy’ seat at a Dodgers game, thanks to another friend, with the added bonus of it being a game that Kershaw pitched at! Lastly, there was a wonderful Harlow display at the Hollywood Museum, which was a delight to see. Oh, and thanks to the Metro, getting to Santa Monica far easier than ever before!

In truth, I have no idea when I’ll be back, unless I get an offer, which I would have to say is pretty unlikely. But never say never… Certainly, due to something that will be mentioned shortly, walking up the hill to where Harlow rests at Forest Lawn would probably be beyond me now, but anyway…

In July, 2 things happened, one good, one bad. The good one was, that knowing that Clara Johnson’s middle initial was E, and finding a few images of a chorus line dancer/Goldwyn Girl, and putting two and two together, when you find a dancing match, named Elaine Johnson, who has a career that seems to tie in to Clara’s, well I jumped on the issue, and joy, actually found 3 pictures of her from a credited movie promotion shoot. Of course I cant be 100% sure its one and the same, but enough coincidences for me to say it is. In fact, as you’ll find out tomorrow, this isnt the end of that story! Yes, a few new pictures, wow! I’d still love to find her married name, so I’d have a chance of paying my respects if, and when I get back to LA.

The bad thing, my back, after giving me support for about 59 years, decided it had had enough, and snapped. Quite literally, though not in too severe a way, fingers crossed. Yes, osteoporosis had taken its toll on me! Painkillers, and other meds (been tweaked a couple of times) keep it bearable, but yes, its fair to say old age is beginning to catch up with me. It eventually led to me cutting back to 4 days a week at work, with which I can just about get by financially, but holidays will need to be cut back on now, for sure.

August marked 1 year in the new job, and in truth, apart from a dream acting offer, I cant see me leaving before I get to retire in just over 6 years time. Yes, I really am that old lol! The rest of the year, and a few landmarks, tomorrow!

Right, the video. One of the few modern groups I have much time for, are The Killers. I now love them even more now I know that each Christmas, they record a song, and give all royalties to charity! This is the 2013 song, which is apt given where I was in May, and even more so when you see something I post tomorrow!