Wednesday, July 31, 2013

On the Coffee Table: V for Vendetta

Title: V for Vendetta
Writer: Alan Moore
Artist: David Lloyd
Image via Wikipedia

I was first introduced to the extraordinary work of Alan Moore through the film version of V for Vendetta.  For me, the movie was a wonderfully pleasant surprise - can't say I was expecting much, then was completely blown away.  Since getting into the comics hobby a few years back, I have found Alan Moore to be just about the most dependable name in the medium.  The Watchmen, Top 10 and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen have all ranked among my favorites.

Given all that, I really should have been better prepared for the original comic book version of V for Vendetta.  Mind you, I expected it to be good.  I did not expect what I would call the most satisfying graphic narrative work I have encountered thus far.  I've been on the lookout for a benchmark against which I could measure all others.  I believe I have found it.

First published in the early 1980s, V for Vendetta is set in a near-future England.  Nuclear holocaust has destroyed much of the world and Britain is a fascist police state.  V is a masked, anarchist terrorist staging his own private revolution.  While he is certainly the central character and driving force of the narrative, most of the story is told from the perspective of others: Evey, the girl V rescued from the streets, as well as those within the establishment who are baffled in their efforts to stop V's attacks.

So, what is Alan Moore's genius?  I am far from the only one who considers him the best comic book writer ever.  What is his certain something?  Attention to detail is a very big part of it, I think.  Moore's approach seems that of a great screenwriter.  The big story is built upon the strength of individual scenes.   Words matter - all of them.  Characters matter - all of them.  Taking the broader scope, Moore is able to apply a human face to meaty political considerations.  Moore wrote V for V as a response to Thatcherism but rather than simply ranting as most of us would, he created a metaphorical reality with breath, blood and flesh.  He's far from the first to do so but few have managed it so effectively.

Moore's understandable objection to the film adaptation was the fact that his political message was twisted to suit a 21st century American audience.  The book pits anarchy against fascism.  In the movie, it's liberalism vs. neo-conservatism.  The impact on the audience is comparable but the creator's intent is irrevocably altered.  I still love the movie and am eager now to watch it again, but I must concede it's not quite the same story.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Baseball Tunes: Cleveland Rocks

Ian Hunter rose to fame as lead singer of the glam rock band Mott the Hoople.  The band split in 1974 but Hunter kept writing songs.  He wrote "Cleveland Rocks" in tribute to a city he felt was undeservedly the butt of jokes.  An earlier version was called "England Rocks" in order to get the song released as a single but Hunter claims it was always Cleveland's song.  "Cleveland Rocks" is best known to those outside of Ohio as the theme song for The Drew Carey Show (covered in this case by The Presidents of the United States of America).

Almost immediately upon its release in 1979, "Cleveland Rocks" became the city's unofficial anthem.  All of Cleveland's professional teams, including baseball's Indians, use the tune as a victory song.  Then-mayor Dennis Kucinich gave Hunter a key to the city in 1979. 

Full disclosure: my mother is from Cleveland so while I've never lived there myself, I do have some affection for the old rust belt town.  I haven't been back since my grandmother died in '97 and have never visited either the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame or Jacobs Field, the two crown jewels of the city's modern renaissance.  There are quite a lot of other places I'd like to visit first but a pilgrimage might be in order someday.

My Baseball Fantasy

Vermont League: won, 7-3 (89-60-11 overall, 1st place out of 12 teams)
Maryland League: tied, 5-5 (86-65-9, 4th of 10)
Public League: 83 Rotisserie points (3rd of 12)
My Player of the Week: Jon Lester (Starting Pitcher and Cancer Survivor, Red Sox) with 2 wins, 16 strikeouts, a 1.35 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP
Photo via

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Family Movie Night: The Secret Garden

Title: The Secret Garden
Director: Agnieszka Holland
Original Release: 1993
Choice: Our Girl's
My Overall Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Image via Wikipedia

Our Girl is currently reading The Secret Garden, a 1911 novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett so this choice for Family Movie Night was not much of a surprise.  Holland's 1993 movie is the third and most recent film version.  Mary is an English girl born into privilege in colonial India.  When her neglectful parents are killed in an earthquake, she's sent to live with an aunt and uncle in Yorkshire.  Upon arrival, she finds that her aunt (mom's sister) had actually died many years before.  The ten-year-old Mary is, for all intents, left alone with the servants on the estate as her uncle is never home.

All told, it's a miserable set up for Mary.  She doesn't help matters by being a rotten child in the beginning - spoiled, entitled, anti-social.  Yet, despite her best efforts to alienate herself further, Mary makes friends who ultimately save her - first Martha, a servant girl.  Next, Martha's brother Dickon becomes her guide/companion in exploring the gardens.  The real surprise, however, is a cousin she didn't even know she had: the bed-ridden Colin.

The Secret Garden is a tale of yearning and redemption.  The book is often categorized as fantasy, but I don't see it that way - at least, not if the movie is anything to go by.  There are fantastical allusions but the magical elements aren't exactly the hocus-pocus variety. 

The movie is beautifully filmed on location at Allerton Castle and Fountains Hall, both in North Yorkshire.  Casting is excellent.  The children are all strong and the ever-dependable Maggie Smith plays the horrible (but of course, redeemed) Mrs. Medlock.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Cephalopod Coffeehouse: August Blog List

Greetings to all!  I hope you'll join us for the next installment of the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, an online gathering of bloggers who love books.  The next meeting is set for Friday, August 30th.  If you're interested, please sign on to the link list at the end of this post.

The idea is simple: on the last Friday of each month, post about the best book you've finished over the past month while visiting other bloggers doing the same.  In this way, we'll all have the opportunity to share our thoughts with other enthusiastic readers.  Please join us:

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Cephalopod Coffeehouse: July 2013

Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the tomes they enjoyed most over the previous month.  Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun.  If you wish to add your own review to the conversation, please sign on to the link list at the end of my post.

Title: Howl's Moving Castle
Author: Diana Wynne Jones
Image via Amazon

Frequent visitors to The Squid already know of my family's tremendous affection for the films of Hayao Miyazaki.  One of my favorites among them is Howl's Moving Castle (my review here).  As such, I didn't need much convincing when fellow blogger Charles the Reader recommended that I try the original novel.  Our Girl read it first, using it for a book project during the past school year and enjoying it very much.

There are perils in watching a film before reading the source material, just as there are in the opposite direction.  In either case, one comes to the second medium with strong preconceptions, sure to be challenged.  I tend to favor the book as I believe strongly in following the intent of the original author.  So, reading the story second often undermines things I thought I liked about the movie.  There are many differences between novel and movie in the case of Howl's Moving Castle, some inevitable in light of the works' relative scale but some of Miyazaki's choices sent the story on entirely different vectors.  Both stories work, though, and to the credit of both creators, Jones gave Miyazaki her blessing.

Sophie is the oldest of three sisters working in the family hat shop.  When their father dies, the two sisters are sent off for apprenticeships elsewhere but Sophie stays.  One day, the Wicked Witch of the Waste comes in and turns Sophie into an elderly woman, for reasons our heroine does not understand.  She leaves home to wander the world and find her new place in it.  She encounters, as the title suggests, a moving castle and manages to get inside.  There she befriends Calcifer, the fire demon who steers the ship, as it were; Michael, a teenage boy who serves as a wizard's assistant and, eventually, Howl the wizard who owns the castle.  With a few changes in details, the basic set up of the movie is the same.

In the book, the area Howl and his castle roam is significantly broadened, including trips to modern Wales - a story element abandoned for the film.  In the novel, Howl engages in direct battle with the Witch whereas he avoids all conflict in Miyazaki's interpretation.  The end result is essentially the same for Sophie but the adventures that bring her there are quite different between the two media.  I'll be curious to watch the movie again sometime to know how my exposure to the original impacts my perception.

I'm also interested in further Sophie and Howl adventures.  Moving Castle was the first of a three-part series.  Castle in the Air was published in 1990, House of Many Ways in 2008.  Diana Wynne Jones passed away in 2011 at the age of 76.

Please join us and share your own review of your best read from the past month.  This month's link list is below.  I'll keep it open until the end of the day.  I'll post August's tomorrow.  Meetings are the last Friday of each month.  Next gathering is August 30th.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Double Barrel #11

Title: Double Barrel
Issue: #11
Release: July 2013
Writers: Kevin and Zander Cannon
Artists: Kevin and Zander Cannon

Image via Top Shelf Productions

The Cannons have been quite busy over the past few months with the release of the trade publications of their Double Barrel serials.  Zander's Heck and Kevin's Crater XV are both available wherever books are sold.  Due to the hectic schedule, it's been a couple of months since web issues were posted but #11 is now on sale.  I got my copy at comiXology.

In this, the penultimate installment, both stories race to the finish line.  Heck strives to rescue his sidekick Elliott while the stage is set for revelations about the key players in Crater XV.   Also included are The Clandestinauts by Tim Sievert, True Tales of Jin by Zander and How to Make Distinctive Looking Characters, also by Zander.  Frequent visitors already know that the How to: section is usually my favorite.  Zander opens his treatise with the assertion that Bruce Wayne is the most famous cartoon character in the world without a distinctive look.  I'd never thought of that before.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Baseball Tunes: Detroit Rock City

"Detroit Rock City" was the third single released from Kiss's 1976 album Destroyer. While the single did not sell well initially, the long-term legacy is a strong one.  VH1 featured it at #6 on their Greatest Metal Songs countdown.  Baseball's Detroit Tigers often uses the song at the beginning of games as the team takes the field.  Hockey's Red Wings also make frequent use of the tune.

My Baseball Fantasy

Vermont League: lost, 4-6 (82-57-11 overall, 1st place out of 12 teams)
Maryland League: won, 7-3 (81-60-9, 4th of 10)
Public League: 78 Rotisserie points (4th of 12)
My Player of the Week: Kenley Jansen (Relief Pitcher, Dodgers) with 4 strikeouts, a 0.00 ERA, a 0.00 WHIP and 2 net saves plus holds
Photo via Wikipedia

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Family Movie Night: The Trouble with Harry

Title: The Trouble with Harry
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Original Release: 1955
Choice: My Wife's
My Overall Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Image via Amazon

Alfred Hitchcock did not direct a lot of comedies.  I suppose it shouldn't be a surprise that one of the few he did make tended towards darkness.  The Trouble with Harry is based on the novel of the same name by Jack Trevor Story.  Harry is a corpse in the woods.  Three different characters, at one point or another, claim accidental responsibility for Harry's death.  The body is buried and dug up again repeatedly throughout the story as the principals wrestle with the best way to address the situation.

The movie, a commercial flop for Hitch, was notable as the film debut of Shirley MacLaine in the role of Jennifer Rogers.  Jerry Mathers (better known as the title character in Leave It to Beaver) plays Jennifer's son Arnie.  Harry was filmed primarily in Craftsbury, Vermont, an hour or so east of us.  Apparently, natural forces were not especially cooperative.  Poor weather and an early foliage season were highly disruptive to the filming schedule.  Some of the external shots are actually California trees with Vermont leaves pinned to the branches.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

On the Coffee Table: Roger Kahn

Title: The Boys of Summer
Author: Roger Kahn
Image via By the Book Reviews

I sought out The Boys of Summer after it was recommended by a commenter on one of my blog posts - a Paul S? anyone?  His profile is no longer active.  Kahn's book consists of two distinct parts, essentially two books in one.  The first chronicles the author's childhood in Brooklyn and his early career in  journalism.  The second part of the book recounts Kahn's later efforts to track down all of the key members of the Brooklyn Dodgers from the era he covered the baseball team in the early '50s, including Hall of Famers Roy Campanella, Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snider and Jackie Robinson.

The newspaper world of the 1940s and '50s was quite different from what it is now, in as much as it survives at all.  Kahn's paper, the New York Herald Tribune, went out of business in 1966.  He climbed the rungs from copy boy to baseball beat writer on the brink of the team's glory years.

Kahn was a boyhood fan of the team, though I have discovered quite a lot of writers who have been drawn to the bittersweet tale of the Brooklyn Dodgers - seemingly ready-made for literature.  The team was awful for years, living in the oppressive shadows of both the Yankees and the hated rival Giants.  The Dodgers finally came into their own in the 1940s, but still didn't manage to win the World Series until 1955 after several close-shave heartaches.  In 1958, the team was gone - off to California. What's not for a sentimental writer to love?

Inextricably intertwined with the tale of those Dodgers is that of Jackie Robinson, probably the single greatest story in all of American sports.  Robinson started at first base for Brooklyn on April 15, 1947, effectively integrating baseball for the first time in 60 years.  Kahn knew Robinson personally (as he did all of the players featured in the book) and as such, his presentation of the story is more textured than most.  Hero?  Of course.  Transcendent figure in American society?  Most definitely.  But he was also a human being and Kahn writes eloquently of his multiple dimensions.

While the first part of the book is interesting, the real fun is in the second.  Over the course of three years, 1968-71, Kahn traveled the country to interview 13 members of the team he'd covered in the early '50s.  He asked them all how they first came to the game - delightful tales of being discovered in schoolyards and such, marvelously quaint in today's world of independent scouting agencies and consultant coaches.  The economics of player contracts have changed exponentially since the book was published so most of the retired players still had to work for a living.  Kahn also asked all of them about playing with Jackie Robinson - marvelous perspective from the people in best position to comment.

Social politics have come a long way since the early '70s.  Most noticeable is the discussion of Clem Erskine's son who has Down syndrome.  Kahn uses terminology which was normal for the time but wouldn't come anywhere close to acceptable 40 years later.  Comments on race and gender also frequently fall short of 21st century sensibilities.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

On the Coffee Table: Yoshihiro Tatsumi

Title: Fallen Words
Writer and Artist: Yoshihiro Tatsumi
Image via Drawn & Quarterly

Fallen Words is an ambitious project: an adaptation of eight rakugo to graphic novel form by Tatsumi, an accomplished Japanese manga artist.  Rakugo is a traditional form of storytelling.  Tatsumi writes of the challenges in converting an oral tradition to comic book in the book's afterword.  Whereas a storyteller can alter the tale with each rendering, the same flexibility is not possible in print.  He also writes of the challenge of conveying humor in this medium.

Drawn & Quarterly published the English translation in 2012.  The material ranges from parenting struggles to misadventures in geisha houses.  Humor is usually the first casualty of translation and some of the stories fell flat for me.  However, they get better as you go.  Tatsumi saved the most famous story, "Shibahama," for last.  While I'd say I enjoyed the idea of the book more than the execution, it's worth a read for those interested in Japanese folklore.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Baseball Tunes: Let's Go, Go-Go White Sox


The cumbersomely titled "Let's Go, Go-Go White Sox" was written in 1959 by Al Trace and Walter "Li'l Wally" Jagiello.   The emergence of the college-fight-song style tune coincided with Chicago's American League pennant that same year, the team's first since the scandal-ridden squad of 1919.  The song essentially disappeared until an unearthing on the JumboTron in 2005, the next year the team won its league and, in fact, went on to win the World Series.  It is now used quite often when the team is rallying.

My Baseball Fantasy

Vermont League: currently leading, 5-4-1 (2-week matchup) (78-51-11 overall, 1st place out of 12 teams)
Maryland League: currently leading, 7-3 (74-57-9, 4th of 10)
Public League: 81 Rotisserie points (3rd of 12)
My Player of the Week: Adrian Beltre (Third Baseman, Rangers) with 3 home runs, 8 RBI, 4 runs and a 1.245 OPS

Photo via Saber Analysis

On the Road: Great Lakes Swing

We just got back from an 11-day tour, a vacation in three acts.  Two stops were family visits, the third an intentionally restful holiday.  As we settle back into daily summer routine and await the cats' forgiveness, I'll offer some reflections.


The Tree Farm has been an important part of my life since I was seven years old.  I first posted about the place three years ago - our last visit, somewhat surprisingly.  The highlight of this year's trip was getting reacquainted with an old friend and his young family.  I've known him since my family's first visit 33 years ago.  At the time, he was a teenager.  My parents remember him and his older brother as being unusually kind to the new kid on the hill.  The eight-year age difference was a big deal then but of course, isn't at all now.  He has children just a little bit younger than Our Girl and they all had a marvelous time together.


Our next stop was northwest Indiana, My Wife's home turf.  It had been four years since my last trip to Indiana and the first since my grandmother-in-law's passing.  She was a very dear lady to all of us and the town just isn't the same without her.  Indiana was where we enjoyed the best meal of our journey: Stop 50 Wood Fired Pizzeria in Michiana Shores.  I highly recommend the margherita pizza and the raspberry gelato.  The service was friendly and the beer list excellent.


The relaxing getaway portion of our tour was set in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, new territory for all of us.  We rented a little cabin in Manistique right on Indian Lake - beautiful and reasonably comfortable arrangements once we acquired towels.  (Douglas Adams was right - no surprise.)  On Day 2 of our UP adventure, we drove north to Lake Superior.  Want to feel as if you've reached the edge of the world?  Nothing quite compares with staring out across 150 miles of earth's largest freshwater lake.

Figuring this was a once in a lifetime visit, we forked over the dough for a boat tour of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.  We have now visited all five Great Lakes - check one off the life list.

Unfortunately, our Michigan highlight resulted from car trouble.  The drive back from Superior revealed a rattle in the right-rear wheel area - not good.  A quick look by the local mechanic (Bill of Bill's Automotive: an honorable man if you should visit the area) revealed brake problems.  Naturally, he didn't have the parts.  Ugh!  After much consternation, we decided to get up at the crack of dawn next day and throw ourselves upon the mercy of the dealership in Marquette (Riverside Honda).  Laying off the brakes as much as humanly possible, we and the car survived the drive.  Michelle, the wonderful lady who checked us in, didn't offer us too much hope but said she'd do what she could.  We got a ride to the local Perkins for breakfast and settled in for a long wait.

About a half-hour later, Michelle called.  They found the parts and would have us back on the road in an hour-and-a-half at a fraction of the gouging we'd expected.  As I passed word on to My Wife, we were both on the verge of tears.  Vacation had been rescued.  Faith in humanity had been restored.

I can't say enough about the customer service at the dealership.  Apart from the positive outcome, we were very well attended.  If not for our newly imposed frugality, we might have brought Michelle flowers or chocolates.  She deserved both!  The staff at Perkins were also very understanding of our situation and didn't give us any grief over our extended stay.

Epilogue: Ontario and Home

The quickest route home from northern Michigan goes through Ontario via highway 17.  Our previous experience driving through the mammoth province was on the Lake Ontario stretch through Toronto - a seemingly endless void.  As such, we were pleasantly surprised by the stunning scenery - easily our most spectacular drive of the trip.  The trek did include one very humbling moment for me, also involving the car.  Let's just say I now know that our car will still go an extra four miles once the gas tank reads empty.  We did make it to the gas station in time, delaying for now my death at My Wife's hands.  Next time she tells me it's time to get gas because it's pretty far to the next town, I'll do it.  She need only remind me of Ontario.

Now we are home.  Returning to beautiful Vermont, especially in summertime, makes me wonder why we ever left.  It's always good to see family and it's always fun to explore new places.  Still, nothing compares with home.

Appendix: Audiobooks

I actually enjoy long drives and Our Girl has always handled them well. However, they are certainly better endured by all if we can listen to good stories.  Our literary companions on the Great Lakes Swing:

The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman - Both books, volumes 2 and 3 of His Dark Materials, are narrated by the author with a full voice cast.  My Wife and I first listened to the series as books on tape - remember those? - during our pre-parenthood life.  My Wife had been reading the books to Our Girl so the timing was good.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, narrated by Pat Bottino - This was Our Girl's introduction to Twain and also, evidently, My Wife's first go 'round with Tom.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

On the Coffee Table: Mr. Punch

Title: The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch
Writer: Neil Gaiman
Artist: Dave McKean
Image via Amazon

Mr. Punch is a graphic novel by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean, the duo who also created the film MirrorMask (review here).  The narrator recalls memories from his childhood, particularly those involving his grandfather who runs a failing seaside arcade.  Mysterious characters inhabit his grandfather's world: a woman who performs as a mermaid, a hunchback uncle and, most important to the theme of the tale, the Punch and Judy man.

Gaiman's story is interwoven with the truly disturbing puppet show, Punch and Judy.  Mr. Punch, essentially a serial killer, manages to evade death and punishment for his sins.  He is a right-hand puppet - never comes off during the performance.  The narrator's grandfather is not so lucky.

As I have written before (in my reviews for both MirrorMask and Coraline), I have mixed feelings about Neil Gaiman's work.  On one end is "The Doctor's Wife," the first of two episodes he has written for Doctor Who and also one of my very favorites.  The following exchange is one of the best in the entire run of the show, downright swoon-worthy:

Doctor (exasperated): You didn't always take me where I wanted to go.
Idris/TARDIS: No, but I always took you where you needed to go.

On the other end is Marvel 1602, a comic book series I didn't even blog about I was so disappointed.  The story started out quite promising: all the stars of the Marvel Universe turn up in Europe 1602.  If Gaiman had stuck with that concept through to the end, I probably would have enjoyed it just fine.  But, no!  There had to be a time travel/alternate universe storyline explaining how they got there and how they might get back to their proper temporal home.  To me, it was an all-just-a-dream cop-out - not good enough.

Mr. Punch falls somewhere in between.  The story has magical moments.  The narrator's description of how the crocodile puppet comes alive in his hand when he puts it on is wonderful.  The tale is more realistic than Gaiman's fantasy work, though McKean's art provides a dreamworld atmosphere.  The incorporation of the Punch and Judy is both clever and appropriately creepy. Mr. Punch is not, however, the sort of book that would lead me to seek out others by the same author. Take away the P&J references and it's just another story of a protagonist trying to make sense of his family's sinister past.

Dave McKean's artistic style is perhaps best described as collage, often incorporating drawn, painted and photographed elements in the same panel.  In Mr. Punch, the human characters are usually cartoons whereas the P&J puppets are photos.  The humans are, in fact, drawn to look like puppets which is savvy.  While McKean's style is certainly engaging, I think his art works better in film than it does in comics.  He's the real star of the show in MirrorMask.  While the art is critical to the tone of Mr. Punch, the images are frequently too busy for my tastes.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Star Trek: The Man Trap

Episode: "The Man Trap"
Series: Star Trek: The Original Series
Season 1, Episode 1
Original Air Date: September 8, 1966
Photo via Wikipedia

Star Trek first aired on a Thursday night.   While not the first to be filmed, "The Man Trap" was the episode chosen to introduce the Enterprise and her crew to the NBC television audience.  On board that first night were a few of what would become very familiar faces: Captain Kirk (William Shatner), Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy), Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley), Lt. Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) and Lt. Sulu (George Takei).

For its first televised adventure, the crew visits the planet M-113 for routine medical exams of an archaeologist and his wife.  Not all is as it seems, however, as the wife is actually a shapeshifting monster who craves salt and is willing to kill to get it, sucking it out of her victims through her fingers - a sort of extra-terrestrial vampire.  For me, the episode's most amusing moment is when Kirk says he doesn't like mysteries.  Little did he know then, probably a majority of Trek episodes over the years to follow would essentially be mystery stories!
Photo via christinamorgancree

William Shatner was born to a Jewish family in Montreal in 1931.  He, not Patrick Stewart, was the first Shakespearean-trained actor to play captain of the Enterprise, performing with the Stratford Festival of Canada beginning in 1954.  He had his first big feature film role in 1958's The Brothers Karamozov, playing the part of Alexei.  He gained a reputation for dependability and a willingness to take pretty much any part offered to him.  He drew steady, though mostly low-profile work in both film and television before the role of James T. Kirk came to him in 1966.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Baseball Tunes: Meet the Mets

The New York Mets had a song before they even had a baseball team.  "Meet the Mets" was written by Ruth Roberts and Bill Katz in 1961.  The ball club did not officially take the field until 1962.  The song has made at least two appearances in television sit-coms - Seinfeld and Everybody Loves Raymond - and still serves as theme music for game broadcasts.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Baseball Tunes: High Hopes

"High Hopes", written by Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn, was an Oscar-winning song in 1959, featured in the movie A Hole in the Head.  The most popular version was sung by Frank Sinatra.

Harry Kalas, the longtime play-by-play announcer for the Philadelphia Phillies, sang the song after the team won the National League Championship in 1993 and again when they won the World Series in 2008.

Since Kalas's passing in 2009, fans at Citizens Bank Park sing the song after every Phillies home run while a video of Kalas plays on the scoreboard.

My Baseball Fantasy

Vermont League: lost, 4-5-1 (70-49-11 overall, 1st place out of 12 teams)
Maryland League: won, 8-2 (67-56-7, 4th of 10)
Public League: 90 Rotisserie points (2nd of 10)
My Player of the Week: Buster Posey (Catcher, Giants) with 4 home runs, 6 RBI, 4 runs and a 1.742 OPS
Photo via Celebrity Net Worth