Dallas Green, R.I.P.

dallas-green

It was six years ago that I blogged about a touching moment that we shared with Dallas Green.  I was touched again this afternoon when I read of Green’s passing in a beautiful tribute penned by Jim Salisbury.

Mouth That Roared

Dallas was proud in some respects of his gruff exterior.  It was his niche and his calling card.  As Salisbury noted, he burned bridges which is why he left Philly for the Cubs and then the Yankees and then the Mets, but he was always a Phillie at heart.  That’s why the club brought him back as a senior advisor, and I used to love seeing him in his second row perch just to the left of home plate in Dunedin when the Phils played the Jays. Here he is standing between the seated Dave Montgomery to his left, and Ruben Amaro, Jr. to his right, in his signature straw hat and PFG (Performance Fishing Gear) long sleeve shirt.

Dallas Green Dunedin

Another Phillies baseball legend is gone, and the tributes are appropriately pouring in from The New York Daily News, CBS New York, Philly.com, and the Chicago Sun Times.

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Is Texting a Scourge to Communication?

Linguist John McWhorter doesn’t think so.  He considers it the closest thing to speaking in written form – or basically fingered speech.  McWhorter actually states the case for texting as a parallel language, LOL, where it’s truncations and slashes rendering its users as bilingual in a sense.

So “lol” has evolved into a “pragmatic particle”, ay?  (And perhaps “haha” too.)  And “slash” is a graceful way of changing the topic.  Yeh, that’s the ticket.  The slash as a new information marker.

I’m not so convinced about the virtues of slanguage, but at some point most “kids” make the transition toward more fluidity.  My impression is that this seriously occurs either during college, particularly if one has to take a public speaking course, or in the workplace if the culture of communication isn’t laden with the likes of like.

Psycholinguists assert that filler words like “uh,” “um,” “you know,” “I mean,” and “like” aren’t always just dimwitted lapses.  But listen to running conversations about like you know what I’m sayin’, and it’s like hard to imagine like a point where you know like it really does start to sound like dimwitted.  So while not all oral like-aholics are dull, I suspect you’ll admit that very few well-spoken individuals pepper their conversations with “like” fillers.  You know what I’m sayin’?

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The Meter Metaphor

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The hungry meter

doesn’t really care how you feed her

only that she still has time left on her clock.

The maid that checks her time has no interest in who’s fed her in the past,

whether it’s a total stranger

or you replenishing her coin stock.

The meter is insatiable and the maid has only one metric,

the minutes remaining

though you’d think after draining you of your currency

she’d show a little forgiveness

like an overdrawn bank account.

But there is no compensating for the digits as they rush to zero

and the urgency of putting time back in its place.

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Richie Ashburn in the Cloud

Phillies Hat Logo

I grew up in Philadelphia in an era where rooting for the Phillies was painful.  That cherry red hat with the white frilly italicized “P” on the front symbolized a team that was almost guaranteed to lose more games than they won each year.  And their red pinstripe uniforms looked more like pajamas, befitting a team that played like it had just rolled out of bed.  There were only two star caliber players on the team of my early youth, the fleet-footed center fielder Richie Ashburn and the bionic armed starting pitcher Robin Roberts.  Perhaps more on Roberts another day, but the player I idolized was the one I was guaranteed to see any time my father took me to Connie Mack Stadium, and that was Ashburn.  I put a bid on an Ashburn collage at the auction at the ballpark last week, but I didn’t pursue it aggressively because the Rite Aid logo cheapened it a bit for me.  I noticed the same print available online through eBay at a more reasonable cost, and I still fancy it because it has the reproduction of all of his cards rimming the exterior a fine watercolor rendering of the most effective  leadoff hitter in the Phillies 134 year history.

Ashburn Print

The collage begins on the upper left with Ashburn’s card from 1948.  I couldn’t find it online, other than as part of this commemorative set – it’s the card on your far right.

Richie Asburn Baseball Cards

Here is a Mitchell & Ness reproduction of the 1948 uniform that Ashburn wore, breaking in that year with his signature #1 that he wore his entire career.

Ness Ashburn

Interestingly the first time the Phillies brought back those vintage 1948 uniforms was as an alternate jersey for daytime home games in 2008, and it clearly brought them luck in winning only their second World Series in franchise history.  Here is a shot of Jimmy Rollins and Cole Hamels modeling those spiffy red, white and blue uniforms.

Rollins & Hamels

Richie’s 1950 Bowman card is pictured here, with a graphic design look and a plain appearance that they would wear to a four games to one World Series sweep at the hands of the New York Yankees that year.

Ashburn 1950 card

Ashburn’s 1951 card shows the transition to the red pinstripe look that he would wear until   through the 1959 season.

Ashburn 1951 Card

And here are the rest of Richie’s playing years in chronological cards, beginning with a 1951 Topps through the early ’60s when he was jettisoned (in 1960) to the Chicago Cubs in return for John Buzhardt, Alvin Dark, Jim Woods – about as productive a package as a box of Wrigley’s gum.  (Richie had a great year in 1960, tailed off in 1961, and then bounced back with a nice year in 1962 when the Mets bought him to spearhead their new team.  He retired after that year.)

1951-Topps-Blue-Backs-Baseball-Ashburn

1952 Bowman Ashburn

1952 Ashburn

1953 Ashburn

Bowman 1952

1953 Ashburn

Ashburn 1955

Ashburn 1955-2

Ashburn 1956

Ashburn 1957

Ashburn 1958

 

hitting kings

Ashburn alternate

Ashburn 1959

Ashburn 1960 cubs

Ashburn 1961

Ashburn 1962 Mets

When Richie retired in 1962 as a Met, at age 35, he posted a .306 batting average with a phenomenal .424 on base percentage, numbers that most current leadoff hitters can only dream of.  The Mets expected him back in 1963, and his card was printed for that year, but he had the courage to exit the game when he was still on top.

Ashburn 1963

It’s safe to say that Richie will be remembered as one of the ultimate Phillies, unique in entering the broadcasting booth after retiring and ultimately pairing with the incomparable incomparable Harry Kalas.  Ashburn Alley bears his name in center field in Citizens Bank Park, in honor of the fluidity with which he patrolled the position in Connie Mack Stadium.

Ultimate Phillie

Each spring on Clearwater Beach I’m reminded of how Richie held court in and around Heilman’s Beachcomber and Jack Russell Stadium.  But mostly I’m reminded of how he motored around the bases as an idol of my youth.

Ashburn Richie 4839.69_ACT_NBL

 

 

 

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Pier 60

Route 60 West winds its way from Tampa airport to Clearwater Beach, depositing cars at the base of Pier 60, its entryway to the Gulf of Mexico.

Rt 60 W

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Pier-60-Street-Performance

The Pier provides a wonderful environment for the young kids to play, for mid-range kids to soar, vendors to sell, fisherman to cast their rods, and for kids of all ages to be entertained by the talented, participatory street performers including an Houdini-like escape artist while the sun hovers and then descends into the Gulf.FullSizeRender-529

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Featuring … Carson!

Our eldest grandson, Carson – having a blast while visiting with us in Clearwater Beach.

Not Low Rider, Silly Opa — FLOW RIDER!  Lets’s take a little trip to see ..

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Visitors from the East

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