Sigh. No sadder day in the year than this one, when baseball in Cotuit comes to a bittersweet end with the last swing of the bat.
The Kettleers, despite the best record in the Cape Cod Baseball League, the best hitter (Patrick Biondi) and the best closer (Dan Slania), lost a heartbreaker to the Bourne Braves this evening at Cotuit’s Lowell Park.
Some questionable calls by the ump in the eighth let Bourne send in an insurance run and from there, well, that’s the way the cookie crumbles. Anyway, now I have to find a way to fill my evenings, and know, come some bleak day in late February when the slush is thick and the landscape looks like a black and white Bergman film, I’ll pull into the ballpark parking lot and sit there, windshield wipers slapping, and look out at the pitcher’s mound and pine for that day in early June when the next batch of college ball players take to the field and play ball.
The Kettleers finished the regular season last night at home against Falmouth, coming from behind to win 8-7. This has been a remarkable team this summer — they have the best record in the league, clinched first place in the West — and look very strong going into the playoffs which start tomorrow Thursday (I am looking high and low for a schedule).
After the usual shaky start in June, the team won something like 20 out of its last 24 games, clicking together in an amazing way with five players hitting over .300 and one, Patrick Biondi the center fielder maintaining a .400+ batting average going into this week.
The Perfect Game has named the Kettleers the best college league team in the country:
“As teams from some 30-plus summer college leagues around the country continue to navigate through the most critical stages of the 2012 schedule, the Cape Cod League’s Cotuit Kettleers remain the No. 1 team in Perfect Game’s weekly ranking of the nation’s Top 30 summer clubs.
“Cotuit continues to play at a fast pace with 20 wins in its last 24 games, and has both clinched the Western Division regular-season title in the Cape, along with the league’s best record overall. The Kettleers have just two regular-season games remaining before the first round of the Cape’s eight-team playoff kicks off Thursday.
“If the Kettleers continue their hot pace in post-season play and win their second Cape League title in three years, it may be difficult for any other summer club to overtake them in the chase for No. 1. But it has been four years since the last Cape team with the best regular-season record went on and won the league playoffs.”
I’ll predict Cotuit vs. Harwich in the finals. Harwich, the winner of the Eastern division will be tough, very tough they looked very strong last Thursday when they beat Cotuit 11 to 5 at home.
PS: lest I forget, Lowell Park has some seriously good mojo working this summer, as the local Barnstable American Legion Team, Post 206, won the state championship this summer and is going to fight for a place in the American Legion World Series against Old Orchard Beach in Maine. I caught one of their games at Lowell Park when the Kettleers were on the road and I needed a baseball fix. Says the Boston Herald: “They seek become the 20th team from the Bay State to reach the American League World Series since the inception in 1925.”
…. It’s like hearing the sound of your recorded voice. No one likes it. Some self-critique thing switches on and you start thinking: “I sound like that? What a dork.”
Same with music. You plug the iPod into the stereo, find that playlist you think will match the occasion, and half-way through you find yourself sprinting to hit the skip button because you were too lazy to delete that terrible track that somehow found its way …..
So get someone else’s music and learn something.
Shuffle never improves things. The reality is no one likes their own music. We want a DJ to surprise us. To reach deep into their collection and pull something out that is new and familiar, appropriate and jarring.
In High Fidelity, the hero-protagonist record store owner, Rob, who is played by John Cusack, muses on the philosophy of the perfect mix tape:
“The making of a great compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do and takes ages longer than it might seem. You gotta kick off with a killer, to grab attention. Then you got to take it up a notch, but you don’t wanna blow your wad, so then you got to cool it off a notch. There are a lot of rules.”
Indeed, one of the better soundtracks of all time has to be the one from High Fidelity, but that’s cheating a little. Where do you go when you need an injection of some new randomness on your playlist?
I once read that former Wall Street Journal editor and current head of editorial at Time-Life, Norman Pearlstine, used to be obsessed with the existential question: if you had a single 90 minute cassette (Maxell most likely, this question was posed in the 80s before MP3s, and people gave each other little plastic rectangles with wheels and spools of magnetic tape that jammed in the car stereo and led to the phenomenon known as “eating”) and you were going to fill it with the best rock and roll of all time, what would be on there? What would come first? Bill Haley and His Comets and Rock Around the Clock? Or some killer top-song-of-all-time like the Stones’ Satisfaction? How many songs would the Beatles get? One and only one? I’ve killed many a dinner conversation by throwing Norman’s question onto the table. People get very passionate about their song choices, especially when restricted to 20 of them.
Anyway, I am ruminating on playlists because of two things, the first is my growing love for Amazon’s Cloud Player and the great ability it affords me to access my music library on any device with a browser. My ‘Droid, my ThinkPad, my desktop, your desktop …. just log in and there it is. No Apple iTunes befuckticated DRM sync crap. Just me and my music.
The second is a full page of playlists published in this month’s Meditterraneo edition of Monocle, the oh-so-Euro rag that is so aggressively hip that it makes my teeth ache. The playlists are amazing, and as I recreate them in Amazon I am one, grateful and two, amazed at how far the music world has gone from the days of limited channels and Top 40s and everyone was listening to the same thing at the same time. Now it’s all about the niches, the alleys, the esoteric and the unknown. Unfortunately I can link to the issue — it isn’t online. But if you see one, grab it, turn to page 35 and have fun. I especially recommend the list by Peanut Butter Wolf.
I woke up this morning, and before climbing out of bed, turned on my phone’s Olympics app and tuned into the finals of the Women’s eights just in time to see the US win its second gold medal in two games. My daughter’s classmate, Ellie Logan, is a member of the team, so it was very cool to see her on the medal stand a second time.
The highlight of Beijing was watching her crew win their first gold at Shunyi, and to stand in the grandstands as the Star Spangled Banner was played, bellowing the words with my friend Mike Mann while the Chinese fans all around us took our picture.