The Pre-Game Show

I am about to embark on an historic journey….what am I thinking? I almost forgot to bring extra plutonium!

Actually, I won’t need plutonium where I am going, which isn’t Hill Valley, 1955, but rather Cleveland, Ohio. Earlier this year I applied on to receive an invitation to the Tribe Social Deck of Progressive Field, the home of the Cleveland Indians baseball team. I never figured that I would actually be the recipient of such an invitation, and had actually mostly forgotten about it when, a few weeks ago, I received an email asking if I would like to attend the August 31st game and watch the Indians host division rivals the Chicago White Sox. With no hesitation, after asking my wife’s permission, I said yes.

As anyone who knows me can tell you, I am a die- hard Indians fan and a life-long lover of baseball. I watch every game that I can, and shout at the TV when the Indians play like Little Leaguers, and leap for joy when they manage to do the impossible. I watched 13 years ago when they almost won the World Series against the Florida Marlins, and I watched 15 years ago when they lost the World Series to the Atlanta Braves. My heart has been broken many times, but I cannot help but cheer for them.

Despite my love of the game, and my passion to watch the Indians, I have only attended one game at their ballpark, at the time, Jacob’s Field. It was the inaugural season for the new stadium, the 1994 season which will always be remembered as the year there was no World Series because of a player’s strike. I don’t remember much about the experience: I was only 7 at the time, but I do remember going with my mother, my uncle (who lives near Cleveland and who we were visiting at the time) and a brother of mine (though I am unsure which). I remember drinking a Coke out of a large cup, and knowing that below me in right field was the legend Kirby Puckett. Because of that detail I know the Indians were hosting the Minnesota Twins. It must have been early July, and it was a day game. I think.

Now I am 23, and can’t wait to hit the road to once again see the Indians play in their coliseum. Two of the players that were on that field 16 years ago, somewhat amazingly, will be again. Sandy Alomar, Jr was the Indians catcher that day, and Omar Vizquel was their shortstop. On Tuesday, the day I will be in the park, Alomar will be standing behind first base, coaching for the Indians, and Vizquel might be at third base for the White Sox (he only plays occasionally). This time I will be in left field, and have a much better grasp on what is happening. There is an electric feeling in my heart, an excitement that builds.

I know that right now the Indians hold the dubious honor of being the 3rd worst team in the American League, and that they will likely to lose, if they don’t win. I know that the stands around me will probably be mostly empty in a city that is weary of losing seasons and injuries to star players, but for me, I will be channeling the spirit of Ray Kinsella, who built a left field in a corn field, and watched Shoeless Joe when no one else cared, or thought him a fool. The breath of the game will catch me up, and I will be lost in baseball reverie. (It seems like fate, too, that Shoeless played for both the Indians and the White Sox, and was the ghost in the cornfield and that the White Sox will be in town.)

Or, somewhat less melodramatically, I will enjoy a night out at the ole ballpark, watching a team and a game that I love.

reCharging the Batteries

I met the most conscientious UPS employee today. He tried to read my signature and couldn’t and asked me twice if I was, in fact, Philip Martin. I confirmed his suspicions on both occasions and felt a warm glow caress my heart. Seriously, I was pleased, because a few days ago I embarked on a trip to the post office to mail a picture to my Aunt, swiped my credit card to pay for the charges, and was told by the postal employee that because my total was under $25 I did not have to sign for the purchase. That made me go all cold inside, knowing that anybody could steal my card and pay for postage, or a soda, or a pack of bubblegum without signing. (I wonder why Wal·Mart makes me sign? Is the under-$25 a USPS only sort of thing?)

Anyway, I finally retrieved my small, brown box from the large, brown attired man and sat at my desk gleefully. Well, more pleased, I suppose. Slicing the packing tape carefully with my amber-studded Lithuanian bought switchblade pocket-knife I unpacked my brand new Apple manufactured rechargeable batteries and recharging module. This is a recent hardware release from the computer-phone-media-pureawesomeness company, designed specifically to power their line of bluetooth hardware: the Magic Mouse, the Magic Trackpad, and the keyboard (my dark brooding sense of brooding wonders why my keyboard is not magical…is it conspiracy? like the magical call-dropping iPhone 4? of course not. There is nothing magical about a device that has been around for over 30 years.)

I immediately admired the small, efficient size of the charger. It is barely bigger than (two of) the batteries themselves. The plug, like most of Apple’s wall plugs, is interchangeable, allowing for the easy adaptation to any power point size and configuration in the world (in conjunction with Apple’s World Travel Adaptor kit). This point particularly pleased me as I am a frequent world traveler, and like to keep all my lovely Apple gadgets powered on the go. At first glimpse, the batteries appear industrial. No copper-top, no lightning bolt; actually the battery is entirely silver, with only the word “rechargeable” clearly visible between a giant + and – sign at the appropriate terminals. A closer examination reveals that these are NiMH batteries, and were made in Japan (not China? that’s different). But I like that Apple chose not to waste any frivolities on the design of something you only only rarely see. The charger came with a total of six batteries, two for a mouse, two for a keyboard, and two always charged for quick swapping. (Here, Apple fails me, because I have an older bluetooth keyboard which takes three batteries, not two. I have yet to resolve this dilemma. I might sell my keyboard and buy a newer one, because one charged battery doesn’t do me a whole lot of good when I need two.)

Battery Troopers
Battery Troopers

Currently I have two batteries charging, and the other four wait impatiently for their alternating current feeding frenzy. Apple says that these batteries should knock all others out of the park, and I am genuinely curious to see how long they really last on a single charge. I sincerely hope it is longer than my old Energizer rechargeable batteries which died at the first sign of serious use. And by serious use, I mean turning on my camera. All in all, I hope to save money on battery buying and save energy with green batteries.

(They are actually silver, but you get my point.)