Eye on Arizona

Here is an update on Phils’ prospects in the AFL.  They’re on the Scottsdale Scoprions, who started the season hot, but have now slipped to last place in the AFL East at 5-6.  But it’s early yet!

Scorpions Hat

One prospect we won’t be seeing, who I would have relished watching, is J. P. Crawford, who made the cover of Baseball America as one of the top prospects in all of baseball.  And Lord knows, with the dearth of talent in the Phils’ farm system, we need someone to look forward to seeing.  Perhaps we’ll get a glimpse of J.P. in spring training 2015.



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What is So Special About the Songs of Our Youth?

Simply put, it’s neural nostalgia.

Neural Nostalgia

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Ovadia Ben Zion

Bris JayBris 1Bris 2 Bris 4Bris 5Bris 6Bris 7Bris 8Bris 9Bris 10Bris 11Bris 12Bris 13Bris 14

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Opening Day

Opening Day for what, you ask?  Why the Arizona Fall League, of course!  Nice article today on MLB.COM.


Unfortunately Phils don’t have anyone in the MLB’s top 100 prospects going.  Might have been Aaron Nola, but he’s thrown too many pitches this year already.  But Cap’n Morgan will be there, needing more work after rehabbing.

The AFL is quickly developing a reputation for MLB trying out innovations to the game, like instant replay which debuted in the AFL last year.  So the AFL is now not only a lab for player development, but for rules development as well.  From the article above, looking forward to seeing how the following experiments pan out this fall regarding the pace of play:

• A hitter must keep one foot inside the batter’s box throughout his plate appearance, unless one of a few exceptions, such as a foul ball, occurs.
• Intentional walks will be called for by the manager and the batter will automatically take first base.
• There will be a maximum break of two minutes, five seconds between innings, with hitters required to be in the batter’s box by the one-minute, 45-second mark. If either team doesn’t comply, a ball or strike will be assessed accordingly.
• There will be a maximum of two minutes, 30 seconds allowed for pitching changes, including those that occur during an inning break. A ball will be called if a team takes too long.
• Each team will be permitted three “timeout” conferences covering any meeting involving pitchers and catchers, managers, coaches and batters. Timeouts during pitching changes and those that result from an injury or other emergency will not be counted toward the limit. Additionally, at Salt River home games, a 20-second pitch clock will be used. Those games will also include instant replay, as MLB continues to study potential modifications to the review system.

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Ringing a Bell with Gundersheimer



Sometimes you pick up a magazine to browse, and are rewarded with a story that propels you back in time and space, while at the same time lending perspective to the future.  The American Scholar is one of my favorite quarterlies, and this Autmun’s issue contains an article by Werner Gundersheimer about his parents, Hermann and Friedl.  The surname isn’t a common one, and I recalled how as a youth in Logan we had a Gundersheimer family that seemed nondescript at the time.  “Gundy”, as we affectionately called the father, was a teacher at Akiba Hebrew Academy, and neither I nor my sister – as we reminisced about this tonight – had any idea about the family’s genealogy.  It would be surprising if that family weren’t related to the principals of The American Scholar piece.

As German culture tightened its stranglehold on German Jewry on August 17, 1938, all men whose first names were not recognizably Jewish were required to take the middle name Israel, and the women Sara. Hermann Israel Gundersheimer was curator of the Museum of Jewish Antiquities in Frankfurt, which contained many valuable artifacts, when on the evening of November 9 the museum was ransacked during the rage of Kristallnacht.  The Gestapo realized that the art work strewn about might have significant value, so under armed guard Gunersheimer was ordered to go back to the museum each day for six months to document and reorganize the collection.  At that point the Reich released him, and the rest is history.

The history of art, that is, as Gundersheimer emigrated to the U.S. and wound up in Philadelphia in 1941, becoming Temple University’s first art historian and only the second Jew to join their faculty.  Though of the Big Five universities in Philly one doesn’t associate Temple with any religious leanings these days, it was founded as a Baptist college in the late 19th century.  The Gods were evidently smiling on Gundersheimer, despite the fact that he had to endure bigotry and hatred.

I applied to Temple University in 1969, but opted instead to attend Yeshiva University in Manhattan.  I developed a penchant for collegiate wrestling, and one summer when back in Philly I worked out with Tino Mantella, my weight class counterpart on the Temple U. wrestling team, in order to stay sharp for the upcoming academic year.  It was that summer, in 1971, when Hermann Gundersheimer retired from Temple, and needless to say we never crossed paths. After reading his son’s account of Hermann’s career, I’m thankful for the opportunity to have met this “Gundy” through the pages of The American Scholar.

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I Miss Summer Already!

PPB The GirlsPPB Girls FlippingPPB Lifeguards Going OutPPB Lifeguard PaddlingPPB Lifeguard in BoatPPB Lifeguard Walks BoatPPB Lifguard Drags BoatPPB Lifeguard Stands up BoatPPB Lifeguard Panorama PPB LIfeguard StandPPB Martells

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England Part 7 in Aerial Perspective

Two touristy things I’d recommend are The View from the Shard, and The Eye.  Tourist traps to be sure, but worthwhile nonetheless.

GB - Shard SunnyLondon - The ShardLondon - Shard UpLondon - Selfie from the ShardLondon - View from the Shard 2London - View from the Shard 3London - View from the Shard 1GB - Boarding the EyeGB - The Eye Car OpenGB - Ben at dusk from the eye carGB - Dusk from The EyeGB - pre-dusk EyeGB - Eye car in airGB - The Eye Inside CarGB - Eye's ViewGB - Moon from the EyeGB - The Eye IlluminatedGB - The Eye Overview

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