March 2007 Archives for Agony & Ivy

Signs of Arrival

By JCB on Saturday, March 31, 2007

The New Yorker’s annual baseball cover edition arrives in my mail (picture from their site) -- this year the art is entitled “Double Take” by Bruce McCall -- and it signals opening weekend. Hey hey! Meanwhile, Cub fan and host of NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday Scott Simon this morning introduces his brief interview with Howard Bryant, author of Juicing the Game, by announcing its arrival: “The promise and heartbreak – or if you’re a Cub fan, the promised heartbreak – of yet another major league baseball season.”

Probably so. There will probably be heartbreak. But maybe not, right?

They chat about a few things. The DirecTV exclusivity deal. Barry Bonds approaching the record, and the sadness surrounding the event. Tom Glavine (and maybe Randy Johnson) reaching 300. Lou Piniella. Bryant says for the Cubs it’s been “A hundred years without winning,” at which point Simon interjects, “Ninety-nine! Let’s not exaggerate.” And then he says the Cubs two best pitchers, Prior and Wood, are again not starting the season with the club, “And so, once again, it’s the Curse of the Cubs.”

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One More Weekend

By JCB on Thursday, March 29, 2007

There are very few times when it’s socially acceptable for a 26 year old guy to watch the We network, and quite frankly with the way they butchered Fast Times at Ridgemont High by taking out all the good parts I’m biased against them and I had vowed never to watch them again, but right now they’re running The Natural and well, I can’t help myself. Bump Bailey just crashed through the fence and died so now Roy Hobbs is going to get his chance to play every day. I’m already getting goosebumps.

Meanwhile, it’s getting to be that time where spring training ends and opening day arrives. It’s not quite goosebumps, but let’s just say I’m getting excited.

Full disclosure: a guy from the Tribune e-mailed me about their upcoming Sunday and Monday editions. That said, the 3-foot schedule poster they’re including in Sunday’s edition looks pretty sweet.

2007 schedules

I’m glad he’s mailing me one since I won’t be able to pick up a copy of the Trib here in Austin. And Monday’s edition is going to be their preview edition, in the words of their press release “complete with team rosters, season schedules, predictions, “9 Things To Know” features and loads of photos of your favorite Chicago players.” I’ll probably spend some time Monday after the game going through it, and picking out a few things upon which to comment, as well as a few other items from the baseball reporters.

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By JCB on Friday, March 23, 2007

South by Southwest ended early Sunday morning. The skinny jeans and ironic mullet jokes had all been made, although at some point we – the rest of us – all started to wonder if the mullets were still ironic or if the hipsters started to think to themselves, “Hey, this doesn’t look half bad.” Ironic or not, they’re quite mistaken. And as for the skinny jeans, quite frankly, on a lot of people – guys and girls – this is a trend that is simply uncalled for. Plus, I heard one girl talking about how the next trend in women’s fashion is going to be high-waisted pants, and I can’t help but wonder if the designers have overlooked an important consideration: Wouldn’t this seriously impact the Return On Investment on a lot of young women’s tattoos?

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Baseball Pace

By JCB on Sunday, March 4, 2007

One of my favorite baseball writers, Roger Angell, captured Spring Training as well, I’d argue, as anyone can in a passage of his book Five Seasons:

Baseball-watchers need spring training, too. During an insignificant game between the have-not Cubs and Padres at Scottsdale, I sat in the sun-drenched open grandstand behind first base and allowed my interior clock to begin slowing itself to the pace of summer, to baseball time. As I watched the movements and patterns on the field, my interest in the game merged imperceptibly with my pleasure in the place and the weather. The sunlight was dazing, almost a weight on my head and arms, and my shadow, thrown on the empty bench to my right, had edge and substance. After an infield play, I wrote “4-3” with my pencil in a box on the scorecard on my lap, and a drop of sweat fell from my wrist and made its own blurry entry on the same page. The Cub coaches sat together on a row of folding chairs outside the home-plate end of their dugout, leaning back against the foul screen with their arms folded and their caps tipped low over their foreheads, and the Padre brain trust, over on the first-base side, made an identical frieze. We were a scattered, inattentive crowd, at times nearly silent, and between pitches we stared off at the jagged, blue-tan silhouettes of low desert peaks set about the distant rim of our gaze.

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Sincerely, JCB

I founded Agony & Ivy about five years ago for two reasons. First...


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