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Thankfully, the Phillies made the World Series at least somewhat interesting.

Just so you know, I am a pretty big fan of baseball. I love all things Americana and Baseball parallels and in some ways epitomizes our history. I love the leisurely pace, I love the push and pull drama of pitcher versus batter, I love the idiosyncrasies of the different parks. It is, in fact, one of the few things I love about summer. But I especially love baseball in the fall.

The World Series is one of my year’s highlights. The weather is turning cooler and you can feel the excitement of the playoff atmosphere radiate from every corner of the parks. Even better, this year’s match up features two teams that I like.

I realize it is more fashionable to hate the Yankees. I am fully aware of the way they have exploited baseball’s financial inequities to their advantage. I empathize completely with teams like the Royals or the Pirates that are forced to compete in what is essentially an unfair playing field. However, all this being said, I still think the Yankees, with their rich history, are still good for the sport. You need the powerhouse teams to love and you need them to hate.

I haven’t actually liked the Yankees these past few years, though. I loved the Paul O’Neill/Tino Martinez/Bernie Williams era and lost a lot of interest when they were replaced by players such as Gary Sheffield and Randy Johnson. That’s another story, however. Suffice to say that the current version of the Yankees, although still nowhere near my favorites, is still a decent lineup that actually resembles a team rather than just a collection of high priced stars. I take a lot of ridiculing from my friends for being a fan of Derek Jeter, but I think he plays the game with a great deal of class – something that is very important to me.

I like the Phillies too. This is mostly because most of them were on my fantasy baseball team for the last few years and they helped me win take first place in four of the last five. Plus, I tend to like the older, storied franchises and the Phillies certainly fit that bill.

So with the Phillies facing the new/old look Yankees, this should be the greatest World Series in a long time, right? Well, oddly enough, I haven’t enjoyed this one as much as the other series. Mostly this is because I’m not really rooting for either of these teams. I’m okay with either one winning. This takes a lot of the passion out of watching for me. Instead of being involved and biting my nails when my team is behind, or cheering when they score, I’m sitting back, somewhat detached and simply hoping it will be a good all around series. After the Yankees went up three games to one, it looked like it wasn’t even going to be that.

But the Phillies won last night, which salvaged the series and gave baseball fans hope that there might be some drama left in it after all. I finally have a team to root for, at least for game six. I want the Phillies to win and push this to a seventh game. If that turns out to be the case, I may go back to my uninvolved bystander status. but at least for the next game, I have a vested interest.

Go Phillies!


Austin Record Show

I spent this past weekend at the Austin Record Show. It’s held twice a year and is reportedly the largest show of recorded music in the world. While that statement might very likely be true, it could give you the impression that the show is larger than it is. In reality, it is feels much like a flea market, albeit one that has tons of vinyl albums, CDs and other music related ephemera.

It is also one of the highlights of my year.

Some people go fishing. Some go camping or skiing. Hell, some people even go on vacations. My family, however, goes “Nerd Shopping.” This most often involves spending the day at a comic book convention or perhaps trudging through countless Half Price Books, looking for items that no one else seems to want, but we view as treasures.

I’ve blogged before about the appeal of vinyl. Nearly three decades ago I discovered CDs and couldn’t wait to get rid of all my vinyl. But as time passed, I began to miss the larger album covers and all the processes that went with playing a vinyl album. Plus, there were all sorts of great albums that I loved that had not made the conversion to the digital age. So a number of years ago, I purchased a turntable and started haunting places where discarded albums generally turned up.

Then, much to my disappointment, vinyl became hip. Suddenly there were people much trendier than I scouring through those same bargain bins. Record labels started releasing some new albums in vinyl editions.  I find all of this a bit ironic, as downloading and digital storage of music is doing its best to make physical media a thing of the past, and yet many fans are returning to a format that was declared dead before most of them were born.

There’s no denying the convenience of the internet and fast availability of music downloads. No that genie is out of the bottle, it’s never going away. But there are also peripheral pleasures associated with our passions; things like ripping open a pack of baseball cards and finding that elusive favorite player.

Finally locating the clear vinyl first British pressing of Force Majure is one of those. Time too mark another goal off of my list.