Friday, March 2, 2007

The Cat's 50... & some baseball chatter

Dr. Seuss's wonderful, horrible, subversive, playful, delightful "Cat in the Hat" is celebrating his 50th birthday today -- (not that there's anything especially meaningful or important about that particular number, from my perspective!) -- and that calls for a tip of the stripey hat to a character who taught more kids to love reading than anyone else I know. We read that and many other Seuss stories (my favorite was The Lorax: "I speak for the trees!) in our household just a few years back. I miss those years, and treasure them. I thank Mr. Geisel for helping to subvert my children, and teach them that it's ok to have fun on a rainy day even, or especially, if the adults don't get it.

In the Cat's honor I'm hittin' the road this afternoon, headed eventually to a philosophy gig in South Carolina... but it's Spring Break, so pleasure precedes business: I'm taking the long way, via St. Pete, Bradenton, Sarasota, Ft. Myers, Kissimmee...

It's been too long since last I heard the crack of the bat up close. My best Spring Training moment ever, by the way, is not the lone foul ball I ever caught in my bare hands while juggling dog & beer (in March '91 at St. Pete's Al Lang Field, when the Cards' still played there and not on Jupiter; it was shanked by Dale Sveum of the Philadelphia Phillies, and I plucked it in the right field grandstand where the Bay view is rivaled only by San Francisco's PacBell Park (or whatever their corporate masters are making them call it now).

Nope, the best moment was in March 2000, in Jupiter (got the preposition right that time): Ray Lankford made up for Mark McGwire's snub of my then-5 year old daughter's request for an autograph by walking behind the batting cage where he'd just cracked his Louisville Slugger... and handing it to her. Nice guy, Ray.

By the way, have you seen the doctored Derek Jeter baseball card? Someone digitally implanted the president and Mickey Mantle in the front row while Derek swings. Thanks to computers you just can't trust your own eyes anymore, can you?

Coming to this space soon, news from the Grapefruit league. (Still haven't ever done the Cactus, maybe next year.) The gravitational pull of the Volvo parked outside is palpable, with Jim Morrison ready to sing me out of town with "Roadhouse Blues" just as soon as I can finish inflicting two more midterm exams. Too bad everyone can't enjoy a Spring Break.

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