Baseball Suite in a Major Key

Carl with His Program Cover Quilts

A little late for Christmas, but worth the wait. Last night, Carl received his belated X-mas present. Anne has been working on this project pretty much since Dave and Maren’s wedding. She finished them this week and mailed them off before the storm hit town. The following is Carl’s lovely thank you:

At about 8:00 last night, one piece of mail fell through the slot. The postal service is hurting. I made sure there was nothing else and opened the door. Oh Boy, a package! And WHAT a package! These Cub Scorecard Quilted Blocks are FABULOUS. Thank you. With baseball in limbo right now, this really helped my feelings for the game. The artist is Otis Shepard. He and his wife, Dorothy, were accomplished graphic artists from the 1930’s through 1969 (when Otis died), in Billboards. I have a very interesting book about their lives, and it’s loaded with their work. I kind of fell back in love with Otis’ scorecards when I found a 1965 scorecard, scored by my dad, and it was a No-Hitter! I found it when they were moving from Illinois to Colorado. He had no memory of the game, being a Hard drinking Cubs fan, but it got me looking at the older Otis designed scorecards. From 1970 through the early 1980’s they did some knockoffs of his work. They were good, but as I found out, not nearly as good as Otis’. Then about 15 years ago I ran into a fellow baseball enthusiast at a Card shop. I told him about my love of the old Cubs and White Sox scorecards, and he said he had a bunch of both. I traded him some cards he needed, and I had all the Cub scorecards from 1954 through 1969, except 1955 and 1958, my birth year. Another X-mas a few years back you got me the 1958. But these quilted versions are priceless and with your choices of baseball quotes and phrasing on the backs, you’ve hit a GRAND SLAM Home Run. Doff your cap, Babe. (I’m not flirting; I’m using a phrase to conjure up Babe Ruth).

Below are the five quilt-lets side-by-side with the original Cubs program covers that inspired them. The captions below each pair appear on the back of each quilt. I think that Anne did a great job on this project and I’m glad that it was so well received. She is already hard at work on the first of three baby quilts.

Baseball Suite in a Major Key—For Carl, a Fantastic Fan!

It might be… it could be… IT IS! A Homerun! —Harry Carey

Chicago …Stormy, husky, brawling, City of Big Shoulders… —Carl Sandburg

He goes back, back to the wall. He jumps and… He makes the catch! He robs the homerun!

Son, what kind of pitch would you like to miss? —Dizzy Dean

Field Trip

Bosse Field

Finally, something to blog about. Our dull humdrum existence was interrupted by a field trip. Yesterday, we did an out-and-back to Evansville, IL. This town is roughly halfway between Saint Louis and Nashville. Rey drove north, while we drove east to meet him. Our mission was to deliver the yellow dresser destined for Corwin. We had picked up said dresser on our last visit to Ann Arbor, trundled it back to Saint Louis, where it sat in the way back of the RAV4 for the better part of a week. On Saturday, we made the handoff. We met Rey for lunch at Turonis Pizzery and Brewery. A haunt of some local fame and long standing. Its Saint Louis style pizza was so good that I burnt the roof of my mouth gobbling it down. I couldn’t wait for it to cool. We next adjourned to the ballgame. Venerable Bosse Field (built in 1915) and the hometown Evansville Otters hosted our home team the Gateway Grizzlies. They reside on the east side, in Illinois, but within our metro area. Rey instructed me that neither of these teams are technically minor league teams. They are unaffiliated with any major league team. Does that make them semi-pro? Anyway, the play was poor, but the tickets were cheap. I guess you get what you pay for. There were multiple errors in most innings. It seemed that Grizzlies commit the majority of them. We were sitting front row, directly behind the catcher. All of the seating was thankfully shaded (90 °F heat) and almost all of it was in foul territory. All except for the Corona patio and we were not willing to go there, what with the delta variant rampaging these days. The heat seemed to plague the Grizzlies more than the Otters. After they suffered a hit batsman that was not called, the Grizzlies manger got ejected, after an argument with the home plate umpire. This spawned a series of almost ejection arguments throughout the rest of the game. The home plate umpire made several more bad calls. We bailed at the top of the eighth, the heat, where the score was 6-1 Otters. The final score was 6-2.

The Cards won on Sunday!

PS – Hurricane update: Dave and Maren didn’t see any rain at all in Boston, while Dan and Britt survived Henri in NYC. More news on the hour…

America’s Pastime


Yesterday, in a surprising move, Major League Baseball announced that it would be relocating this year’s Allstar game. It had been scheduled to be played in Atlanta this summer, and would have afford an excellent occasion to memorialize the late great Hank Aaron, who passed away this year, but the Georgia Republicans had to go and screw that up. Reacting to the three stinging defeats handed to them, from the end of last year to the beginning of this one, the Georgia GOP enacted draconian voting restrictions designed to undermine and limit the black vote that had trice beaten them. This racist legislation is unconscionable and is reminiscent of Jim Crow practices of sixty years ago. MLB’s courageous stand should serve as a wakeup call to all Georgians and all Americans too. This is the 21st-century and no matter how much some people may want to, we are not going to return to those evil practices of the past.

The Hubris of Cardinal Nation

30′ Tall 2011 World Series Trophy Replica

Well, so much for hanging out close to home. We were only going to do our now regular Forest Park’s closed roads and golf course walk, when while dropping off a letter at the drive-by post office post box, we had an epiphany. Why not go downtown and checkout the new-old World Series trophy statue? So, this is what we did on Saturday. We haven’t driven the new RAV4 more than a mile or two from home for months now, so this eight mile jaunt to the river felt a bit like a road trip. Heading there, I figured that this novelty would be mobbed with so many other people that we had no hope of ever safely getting close to it. I was wrong, we had it all to ourselves. Oh by the way, the first two title years are around the corner of the building.

I had forgotten that on a weekend, excepting the occasional summer festival or a Cardinals game that the downtown is always pretty much a ghost town. There have been changes though. This trophy replica is sort of the crowning statement on a Cardinal’s long ago made promise. In order to secure government financing for the current Busch Stadium, they promised to transform the land where the old Busch Stadium stood into a multiuse venue dubbed Ballpark Village. It was supposed to encompass restaurants, shops, offices and apartments. The Cards got paid, they got their new stadium and then the Great Recession hit. For a long time Ballpark Village was just a fenced in grass field. It has been a long time coming, but the Cardinals have finally kept their promise and work on Ballpark Village is almost complete. Imagine owning a condo with a look-down view from straight away center, while sitting out on your balcony.

There has been some grumbling in town from sports purists at the hubris involve in erecting such a monument to past glories. Comparisons have been made to the hubris of the Cubs, when they installed a jewelry store near Wrigley Field, ready to dispense future World Series championship rings that never came. I say, this is a year to revel in past glories. The present has little to offer and the future is uncertain. For some reason they are replaying a football game on TV tonight. When has there been football in May? Keep your pearl clutching to yourselves. 

We decided to walk the grounds of the Arch. We repositioned the car closer and negotiated the parking meter app for the first time. Kiener Plaza had been done over, since we last visited it. The old courthouse was of course closed as were the Arch and its museum, but their grounds were open and we had not explored them since the Arch’s major renovation. We were both impressed. Today was an especially warm day, almost a record, so we didn’t last long down at the Arch.

Other sights that we saw downtown included a motorcycle club that had taken over a block of Broadway. No ten person max rule there. There was so little traffic downtown that I could pretty much cross any street at will. Pretty much. Another new sight downtown was not one, but two homeless tent encampments. They had been setup in the park around Soldier’s Memorial. One of them was across the street from City Hall. Finally, site prep for the new professional soccer stadium is well underway, to be located just west of Union Station.

Beauty of the Game

Beauty of the Game

Hey Big Boy, let me see you swing that bat… This pictured poster is from the Negro Baseball League Museum in KC. Speaking of baseball, we are now moving into late April and the Cardinals have yet to lose a game. Even better though, the Cubs have yet to win one. I’ve also noticed that my YouTube feed of recommended videos has classic ball games featured now. That’s new. I guess this year is the season of past glories. Speaking of past glories there is a new  gigantic replica of the 2011 Cardinals World Series trophy that I want to see.

It is downtown and I think we can safely do a drive by, to check it out. Thinking of baseball, I am of course reminded of our biggest baseball fan, Carl. On our daily walks there is a new yard sign that has garnered amazing currency and also reminds us of him. It reads, thanks to everyone who is working in harms way.

Moving on—It is not often that I get verklempt while reading the mail. At the risk of TMI, I routinely get the mail wearing only my boxers. I’ve read that in some communities, men fetching the mail, without wearing pants is a problem and that the police have been alerted to this issue. Rest assure dear people there is no public lewdness involved in our mail delivery. The mail person places the mail in the mail slot, in the front wall of the house and upon hearing this, after waiting a minute, I get up off of the couch and retrive the newly placed mail through our interior mail slot door. It is really all quite proper, so don’t worry.

Anyway, back to my verklempt moment with the mail. Bill, junk, bill, a letter to Anne from the county election commission. Oh, no. Previously, I had implored Anne not to work the polls. Our next election is scheduled for June. It was originally scheduled for this month, but well, you know. So, my heart sank, until I turned to the next piece of mail. It also was the election commission’s, but was addressed to me. Opening it, I found a letter and accompanying documents that explained that since I am over sixty, I was being sent applications for absentee voting. My heart soared like an eagle. Blue, pink and yellow forms were there to apply for mail-in absentee ballots for the June, August and November elections.

In Missouri, a voter needs a valid excuse to absentee vote. Anne usually uses the excuse that she is an election official and I have sometimes in the past used the excuse that I would be out-of-state, on business travel. But the golden ticket is the medical excuse that includes “confinement due to illness.” I think that that fits perfectly here and apparently so does the election commission. The beauty of this excuse is that it is the only excused absence that does not require a notary. One only needs to testify to it. In the letter is the statement, “Please feel free to copy these applications for any friends or family who qualify.” I am no longer verklempt, but rather giddy with the prospects of this opportunity. I can already hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth from out-state Republicans, as the full weight of the Saint Louis electorate comes to bear in November. Here, the political game has just got real and that is the beauty of this game.