Wednesday, May 5, 2010

365 Photo Project - Day 124

Taken: May 4, 2010,  7:30 p.m.
Location: Healdsburg, Ca

I'm behind a day again and still haven't decided on today's (tomorrow's) image so I'm going to keep this short. I took a drive out Alexander Valley road around sunset looking I admit for something interesting to shoot. The light was so pretty on this hazy spring day and you could see forever over the tops of the freshly blooming vines, to the mountains on the far horizon.

I actually stopped to take photos of something else along this road but when I uploaded the images, this was the only one that caught my eye. I did a bit of editing in Photoshop to bring out the road more and added some color saturation trying to get close to the way it looked and felt when I stood by the side of the road. It was a perfect evening -- the air was sweet and cool and when I pulled over, I was listening to the radio through my iPhone.

I'm an iPhone addict as readers to this blog know -- (and yes, I've more or less kept up the ban on night-time iPhone use). One of my favorite apps is the one that Major League Baseball sells where you can follow games on video and radio during the season. For less than $20 you can have access to every radio broadcast of every game (a good deal more can get you video for all but blacked out games. Pardon me while I rant for a minute but I hate the MLB black-out restrictions and think it's total bullshit that you have to buy a subscription to MLB's At Bat video feeds even if you already get the DirecTV MLB sports package. Without boring you with the details, it's just another in a long list of things Major League Baseball does that is totally fan unfriendly and in my humble opinion, do great harm to baseball especially in comparison to the more fan-friendly NFL. Baseball ought to get its act together and make it easier for fans to follow their teams from other markets. Okay, end of rant.)

Having access to games of my hometown Mets is what makes new technology such a wonderful thing. It's like a trip back into my childhood. When I can't (or don't have time to watch) games on TV, I'll play the radio as background in my office while I'm writing. There's nothing quite like listening to a baseball game on the radio -- or timeless. With few exceptions, it's gotta be the one constant in the lives of every baseball fan no matter your generation. I just can't think of a sport translates so well through words without pictures.

I know the old timers love their voices and it's true that the art of broadcasting is all but lost in some places. The great Ernie Harwell died this week represents all but the end of an era. Every baseball fan of a certain age well remembers that Southern drawl as a big part of their summer soundtrack. His death leaves us with precious few of the very great legends. Vin Scully still works all the Dodgers home games and Ralph Kiner makes an occasional visit to the booth for the Mets. But they're both grandfathers by now and we're lucky to still be able to hear them.

I like some of the "new" guard too (been a big fan of Jon Miller's since I first heard him doing Orioles games back in the 80's and Mets broadcaster Howie Rose has some nice chops too) but even the so-so guys will make a mark in the lives of young fans everywhere who secretly listen at night after lights out. I had a transistor radio under my pillow and one of those one-ear do-dads that only worked well if I covered the other ear with my hand (or my pillow). Kids today can listen through their iPhones, but close your eyes (and turn off the lights) and the experience is exactly the same. Every time I tune into WFAN, I am once again transported back to the summer evenings of my youth listening to the voices through the static and seeing it all unfold in the baseball field of my imagination.

Doesn't get any better than that.

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