Today would have been a perfect day to see a baseball game in Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, spring home of the Toronto Blue Jays. The high winds would have made the sweatbox tolerable, but we’re heading over to Spectrum Field to watch the Phillies take on the Atlanta Braves.
A great article by Jennifer Wright, a columnist for the Tampa Bay Times who resides in Clearwater, summarizes the sacrifices we make for the love of baseball. For reference the scam of “good seats” in the stadium are the first two rows in Section 110 to the left of the Phillies (visitors) dugout. They are rows A & B (Row 1 is the third row) and one’s view of the field is totally obstructed by a thick blue padding on top of the fence. Caveat emptor …
No one really seems to care for Stella …
Nor is the Nor’Easter named for her earning Stella any brownie points. Here on Clearwater Beach we have Stella’s Southern Tail, with winds whipping up white caps on the Gulf as the rays fan out over Tampa Bay.
It was highly blustery this morning, with one of the flamethrowers at Beachcombers lying prone on the sidewalk and palm shreddings strewn along Manadalay Avenue. Not that we’re complaining about something as inconvenient has high winds, mind you.
From what I hear, the Jersey Shore has been spared the snow, but coastal flooding is a serious concern due to Stella’s whipping winds there. New York City is dodging the snow, but a just a bit northwest, in Bergen County, the crossover is dumping big flakes as forecast. Ridgewood has 8 inches already and it’s piling up rapidly. Ice laden power lines are starting to come down. Hope all my friends, family, colleagues, and staff weather the storm well!
Israel’s baseball team, alternately known as The Jew Crew, continued its Cinderella journey through the World Baseball Classic with a 4-1 win over Cuba yesterday to go 4-0 thanks in no small measure to Josh Zeid – former Phillies prospect who pitched his way out of a bases loaded jam in the 9th inning.
Not that anyone is diminishing the role of the team’s mascot, The Mensch on the Bench.
What is the Jewish holiday of Purim? You can read all about it here. Although not a headline holiday on the news, like Rosh Hashana or Yom Kippur (after all, public schools wouldn’t cut anyone slack for missing school if it fell on a weekday) it is considered a great holiday by, for, and to the Jews (“Chag gadol la-yihudim”). The celebration of Purim is a Jewish Mardi Gras, marking the subterfuge that allowed Esther and Mordechai to foil Haman’s plot to exterminate the Jews.
In a sense, unlike tightly ritualistic holidays throughout the Jewish calendar, Purim provides the latitude to celebrate with creativity. Hence the Purim shpiels and meals and Halloween-like costuming. (Admittedly biased, the annual prize for creativity in that regard goes to my niece Mira Wachstock and her family who adopt a theme that is always a word-play on the family name: The Wach-Stock-Brokers this year.)
Purim is a bit more somber this year because of upticks in the waves of anti-semitism across the world and in particular across the United States. Dave Simon, executive director of the JCC in Albuquerque which has received multiple bomb threats characterized the sentiment well. When asked if he was alarmed by the trend he replied: “Not at all. The cowards who phone in bomb threats don’t scare me … The people who want to do real harm don’t phone ahead.”
That perspective on anti-Semitism is part of the Genius of Judaism. I just finished a new book by that name, authored by Bernard-Henri Levy, an unabashed Francophile who is also a philosopher, journalist, activist, and filmmaker. You can listen to a podcast interview of Levy here.
Now age 68, Levy began answering to a higher authority nearly 40 years ago. The title of the book is borrowed from The Genius of Christianity (subtitled The Spirit and Beauty of the Christian Religion) by Chateuabriand, but Levy stakes his claim to perspectives on religious tolerance and intolerance based on his self-discovery as a Jew sojourning in the world. He is not a Judaic scholar, nor does he pretend to be, but manages to range comfortably from ancient French scholarly heroes typified by Rashi to modern [half-Jew on his mother’s side) literary giants such as Marcel Proust. After the alcohol wears off, give yourself a Purim present by sobering up with Levy’s Genius.
As it was on Sunday at the ballpark, the Phillies Annual Alumni Day in Spring Training, featuring Robert Person doing dueling banjos with the Phillie Phanatic on the dugout; Scott Eyre stumping the press box as Dan McDonough’s boy toy; and Jason Michaels assisting Phanatic with the Hot Dog launcher and gracing the Hooters Diamond Dugout.
A beautiful day for Fans of All Ages on the Berms …
But Old Guys Ruled in stylin’ with the Tigers of yesteryear – Sunday’s game in Clearwater, with the Phils traveling to Lakeland this morning for their game against the Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium.