It’s been a while. There have been papers to grade and real life to live, but the semester break is here so it’s time to catch up just a bit.
I have been up to a little writing lately. Here’s a link to a review I wrote for the Sport Literature Association’s website of a biography of turn-of-the-century slugger Frank “Home Run” Baker.
I’ve always been interested from the standpoint of a fan, a journalist and a scholar (sounds way too pretentious but don’t know how else to put it) in baseball of the late 19th Century and the so-called “dead ball era,” and this book draws heavily from newspapers and magazines of that time for its source material.
I’d also recommend G.H. Fleming’s “The Unforgettable Season,” an account of the 1906 National League pennant race drawn entirely from contemporary newspaper accounts.
I’m on a brief break from my Union Neighbors sports column. The most recent effort was this one on Wingate University’s men’s basketball team:
I’ll be attending the Carolina Panthers-Pittsburgh Steelers game on Sunday to get material for my last column of the year — hopefully a piece on Panthers cornerback Dion Byrum, who played high school football in Monroe.
Other observations from the past month:
l Don’t like the 12th game that the NCAA has given Division I college football teams.
It should be a good opportunity for teams to play traditional games that they’ve had to abandon because of conference expansion and realignment, and schedule limitations. For just the schools I attended, Clemson-Georgia, Florida-Miami and Texas A&M-TCU or Houston come to mind. These non-conference games get scheduled a decade in advance, I know. But somehow I think ADs will continue to opt for the Florida-Western Carolina type games that tended to fill up that extra slot. They still get the extra revenue from a big gate and don’t risk much damage to the record. But the fan, especially the season-ticket holder who’s stuck with these mismatches, loses.
l Do love Myrtle Beach in the off-season.
Jayne and I went down there a couple of weeks ago on the sad occasion of a death in the family. But it was a good time to do what families often do in these times, just get together and catch up a little. Enjoyed a nice dinner at Chestnut Hill Restaurant, one of the original places on “Restaurant Row,” with some of Jayne’s aunts, uncles and cousins.
A relative of Jayne’s Myrtle Beach cousins provided rooms for us at an oceanfront motel which, like many other parts of “old” Myrtle Beach, is about to disappear to make way for something new, in this case a high-rise condo complex. It was odd to drive past where Myrtle Square Mall used to be and see only a parking lot (the Grand Strand’s first mall was razed early this year). And this week the Pavilion building came down.
But it was neat to go to bed with the balcony doors open and get rocked to sleep by the sounds of the pounding surf. There are at least some things at the beach that won’t ever change.