Sunday, April 15, 2007

Happy Jackie Robinson Day!

60 years ago today, Jackie Robinson took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers for opening day, marking the first time an African-American played in the modern era of Major League Baseball. I really don't know why he and Buck O'Neil have had such a huge influence on my life; it's not like I can really relate to them that well, being some white boy from Iowa, but they're still heroes to me. Maybe it's just because they're were such big figures in the history of baseball, and therefore are big figures to me. Robinson's former team, the Dodgers, are playing in the Sunday Night game on ESPN, so I've been watching that, listening to Jackie's beautiful wife Rachel tell stories and cheer for the Dodgers in the booth. For some reason, baseball stuff can make me tear up, and tonight was no exception. It's been just a great ceremony and game.

This weekend was fun, my visitors Bill and Haley made it safely and in time for the Hawkeye's spring practice. The weather was almost perfect, only a light sweatshirt was needed when the sun was out and wind died down. The practice went about how I expected, a tense moment occurred when Dominique Douglas (Doug E Fresh or DD from now on in this blog) started limping around, but he came back a little later and made a few outstanding catches. I liked watching Arvell Nelson, as he has become my favorite quarterback, but I doubt he'll get a whole lot of playing time right away, behind Jake Christensen. We shall see what happens, though. Doug E is still my favorite Hawkeye. Todd Lickliter made an appearance and received a very nice standing ovation from the 20,000 fans that showed up to watch a practice.

After the game I introduced my guests to falafel, which was a great success. I was slightly nervous about this, since I had been building it up to them so much, but I don't think they were let down. It was a good time. Thanks Oasis! We then went to a local used bookstore, where I picked up a couple more books that I probably shouldn't have. I got Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, Timequake by Kurt Vonnegut, The Metamorphosis (and Other Stories) by Franz Kafka, and An Evening of Long Goodbyes by Paul Murray. I got that last one because the blurbs on the cover compared Murray to Nick Hornby, one of my favorite writers, and because the cover reminded me of those "Old Spice" commercials with Bruce Campbell. It seems to have been well-liked by critics, so hopefully it'll be a good find. If not, I only paid half-price for it at a used place, so no big loss.

After the book store, we headed down to the Riverside Casino, because Haley really wanted to see it. And who am I to keep someone from new experiences? It turns out I should've kept her from this one, as I got my ass handed to me by a Walt Disney lookalike at the Blackjack table. With spirits and funds low, we decided to head to Buffalo Wild Wings for some food. I was tempted to try for the "Wall of Flame" by eating 18 of the Blazin' Hot wings in 5 minutes, but didn't really feel like spending that much money on the wings. I did sample the sauce, though, and am confident that I can do this. So sometime in the near future, a Polaroid of The Flenker will be on display. (The sauce is hot, I'll give them that. But not debilitating-ly so. And if my little brother can do it twice, that means it's not going to be a problem for me. The only problems I would have [and did last night] is going to the bathroom with the burning sauce on my hands. Not good times.)

We ended the night at BoJames, had a few drinks and a rather enjoyable time, stumbling (literally for H) home and getting to sleep. The morning brought us breakfast at the Hamburg Inn, and then a rushed goodbye as I was heading for work. More time would've been nice, but a great weekend either way.

Well, I'd love to stay and write more, but I'm dog/house sitting for some friends, and I don't want to leave Tucker by himself for too much longer. He's a sweet dog, a miniature dachshund, we've been hanging out most of the night, just laying around and watching baseball. But there's no internet there, and I needed to grab some things from home anyways, so I figured I'd drop a quick note on this here blog of mine. And I would like to welcome Haley's Dad to the scene, I hope he enjoys everything around. Anyone who is a Hawkeye fan is a friend of mine!


Haley's Dad said...

Baseball, THE Hawkeyes, and Haley!

You have excellent taste!

We'll discuss hot wings later.

Krazee Eyez Killa said...

Jackie R is/was da shiznit. No doubt about it.


Krazee Eyez Killa

a said...

They had something on ESPN last night about Jackie Robinson and then also made the comment that they wish Buck O'Neil was still around b/c he is the only one who would know what it felt like on that day. I thought of you!

Oh and they had Buck's picture up to with the commentary. . . now come to think about it. . . I'm wondering if it was on ESPN. . . hmmmm