Bob Schwartz

Tag: spring

The baseball magazines of winter

Baseball has changed. Baseball never changes.

Baseball media have changed (a lot). Baseball media never change.

Pre-digital, sometime after the New Year, baseball publications began appearing on magazine racks. These review the past season and forecast the season to come.

For baseball fans, this is an oasis in the desert between last fall and next spring. Would your favorite team or players do better or worse? As the saying goes at the end of the long season: there’s always next year. Next year is here.

In these digital times, paper baseball magazines are still here too. Up to a few years ago, even though I was reading them in digital form, I still followed my tradition of buying two or three just to have them around.

The baseball magazines have changed a bit. The combination of fantasy baseball and baseball metrics has these now entitled “fantasy baseball” guides. Even with the addition of vicarious competition and super-sophisticated statistics, they are still what they were: previews and prophecies about things to come.

More than before, the magazines wait to publish as long as possible, since there is much more active and late movement of players from team to team. So a magazine published in January is likely to miss the signing of a significant free agent by another team.

I saw my first baseball magazine of 2020 last week; the rest of them will be on the shelves by mid-February. As Pavlovian as it is, my heart fluttered. On the cover it called itself a fantasy baseball guide, something I don’t participate in, but the deeper meaning resonated.

It is January, followed by February, followed by spring training, followed by the new baseball season.

I may get old, but the baseball magazines of winter never will.

Spring: Max Richter Recomposes Vivaldi

Recomposed by Max Richter – Vivaldi – The Four Seasons, Spring

“British composer Max Richter takes Antonio Vivaldi’s masterpiece “The Four Seasons” for Recomposed into the present and makes it accessible in new ways to a new audience. At the same time, he treats the original version and its history with respect, which means that also experienced listeners of classical music can enjoy “Vivaldi Recomposed”.”

Listen. (Listen also Summer and the other Four Seasons.)

May Day, Mayday!

May Day

May 1 is a very busy day.

It has been for ages a celebration of spring, with traditions including dancing around the Maypole.

It is International Workers’ Day, a labor holiday around the world. The date was set to commemorate the tragic Haymarket Riot in Chicago in 1886.

In 1921, to neutralize the socialist/communist aspects, in America it became known as Loyalty Day (originally Americanization Day). Congress and President Eisenhower officially affirmed this in 1959 at the height of the Cold War.

In 1958 President Eisenhower declared May 1 to also be Law Day.

What’s sometimes overlooked is the coincidental similarity to the international radio distress call: Mayday! Mayday! This was reportedly first used in the 1920s by pilots in France. One story has it that it comes from the French “venez m’aidez” (come help me).

Is it just a coincidence? If you are a worker, or a lawyer, or someone who feels put upon by law or lawyers, or just about anybody feeling distressed on May 1, 2014, please feel free to say it loud. Though dancing helps too.

It’s Spring. It’s Snowing.

Spring Snow
It’s spring. It’s snowing.

It is the most beautiful snow of the year. No wind, big flakes dropping so slowly that it seems like suspended animation. Like being in a snow globe.

But it is spring. Maybe this is saving the last for best.

Spring: Flowers in the Sky

The Plum Blossoms - Henri Matisse
This message for the start of spring comes from the masterpiece Treasury of the True Dharma Eye (Shobo Genzo) by Dogen, the founder of Soto Zen.

The passage is taken from Fascicle 44, Flowers in the Sky, written in 1243:

Thus, when the time comes, flowers open. This is the moment of flowers, the arrival of flowers. At this very moment of flowers arriving, there is no other way. Plum and willow flowers unfailingly bloom on plum and willow trees. You see the flowers and know plum and willow trees. You understand flowers by looking at plum and willow trees. Peach and apricot flowers have never bloomed on plum and willow trees. Plum and willow flowers bloom on plum and willow trees. Peach and apricot flowers bloom on peach and apricot trees. Flowers in the sky bloom in the sky in just this way. They do not bloom on other grasses or trees.

Seeing the colors of flowers in the sky, you fathom the limitlessness of fruit in the sky. Seeing the opening and falling of flowers in the sky, study the spring and autumn of flowers in the sky. The spring of flowers in the sky and the spring of other flowers should be the same. Just as there are a variety of flowers in the sky, there should be a variety of springtimes. This being so, there are springs and autumns in the past and present.

Those who assume that flowers in the sky are not real and other flowers are real have not seen or heard the Buddha’s teaching. To hear the words that the sky originally had no flowers and assume that the flowers in the sky that did not exist do exist now is a lesser view based on shallow thinking. Step forward and think deeply.