19 April 2007

Spring has Sprung... In Georgia, at Least

You know, after those 70-degree days back in January, I thought maybe we'd somehow dodged winter here in New York this year. Alas, winter wasn't so much avoided as delayed, and so we find ourselves in the middle of April with weather more typical of February. Looking out the window this morning, the overcast skies and still mostly-bare trees are a depressing sight, and I find myself wondering if spring might ever arrive. (Of course, in six or eight weeks, when it's in the 80s and muggy, I'll no doubt find myself wishing it was still winter.) So while the main purpose of my brief trip to Georgia this past week was to visit family, the bright sunshine, warm temperatures, and general verdancy didn't hurt, either. I stayed with my folks in Augusta, but I also got to spend a little time with my brother Tim, my sister-in-law Rebecca, and my little nephew Christian, who live nearby. There's not a whole lot to do in Augusta, but it was nice seeing everyone, and I was able to take advantage of the terrific weather to run, walk, and simply sit outside reading.

I also got to see some more baseball, when my father and I went to see the local minor league team, the Green Jackets, host the Charleston (SC) Riverdogs. As if cheering against the visitors due to their major-league ties wasn't enough (they're the low-A, South Atlantic League affiliate of the Yankees), Augusta had won their first eleven games of the season heading into Monday's contest. The game was something of a slugfest -- the two teams combined for a total of 20 runs and 33 hits -- but Augusta emerged with their 12th consecutive win on a beautiful, cool, breezy evening. (The streak was snapped the next night, however, with a road loss in Columbus.)

And oh yeah, the running stuff. On Monday morning I gave my balky legs a second test-drive, heading out for a half-hour run around my parents' neighborhood. Apparently, the default setting for my running pace is right around 8:30, since I covered almost exactly the same amount of ground as I did on my tentative run in Iowa City almost two weeks earlier. Anyway, while I finished without being too winded, my legs hurt a bit more this time than they did after the Iowa run. I'll chalk it up (for now, at least) to the muscular atrophy one might expect in an (almost) 41-year-old body after ten or eleven weeks of inactivity, though I did experience some residual numbness in my left shin and the top of my left foot (neither of which I'd experienced before). Not that anyone's interested, but here are the details:

Monday, April 16: Augusta, GA

Distance: 3.52 miles
Time: 0:30
Pace: 8:31
Temp: 58
Dewpoint: 38
Weather: sunny & breezy

click on image, etc.

In any event, now that I'm back in Brooklyn I'll probably try to do a few more short runs over the next couple of weeks, sticking close to home and trying to (gradually) whip myself back into shape. If all goes well (and my legs haven't fallen off or anything), I might try a short run around some as-of-yet unexplored streets nearby (Greenpoint, Williamsburg, or Bushwick) sometime next month. Maybe it'll actually be springtime by then, too.

Blah blah blah. On Tuesday my dad and I walked for a few miles along the old towpath between the Augusta Canal and the Savannah River. Here are a few photos from that excursion:

green anole (augusta, georgia)
A green anole. We saw quite a few of these.

light (augusta, georgia)
A light on the side of a building. Obviously.

self-portrait, augusta canal
My shadow in the Augusta Canal. The camera's in my right hand.

Finally, congratulations to my friend Linda, who completed the Brooklyn Half-Marathon last Saturday with a very respectable time, despite some race-time health-related issues. Nice job!


At 11:18 PM, Blogger Claude Scales said...

I love minor league baseball. Small stadia where you're always close to the action; the chance someday to say of someone, "I saw him when, ..."; the oppotunity to walk by the bullpen and see yesterday's hero of your favorite major league team, now a pitching coach in the farm system, call his name and give him a wave (as I did for Rick Aguilera at a Cyclones game a few years ago).

Then there are the wonderful team names. The New York-Penn League, in which the Cyclones and the Staten Island Yanks play, has the Batavia Muckdogs, the Williamsport Crosscutters, the Lowell Spinners and the Aberdeen Iron Birds (whose "mascot" is a jet fighter). I followed your link to the Green Jackets' website and found two teams in their division of the South Atlantic League whose contests must seem to imitate a larger reality: Tourists vs. Sand Gnats.

At 10:33 AM, Blogger Gary said...


I'm in complete agreement regarding minor league ball. In fact, I can speak from a bit of experience, since from 1997-2002 I was a season-ticket holder for the Midwest League (single-A) team in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I probably attended 300 games during that time, and maybe more. The franchise there also serves as a fine illustration of your observation about team names, too -- the team's called the Kernels, and the mascot (Mr. Shucks) is an ear of corn with a baseball for a head. Over the last 15 years, I've probably seen another 300 games in other cities, too.

You mention the former stars now coaching (in the aforementioned Midwest League, for instance, Ryne Sandberg is the manager of the Peoria Chiefs, a Cubs affiliate). Of course, the converse is true, as well -- I can't even begin to count how many current major leaguers I've seen in the minors, as they were working their way up through the ranks. Off the top of my head, though, the list would include Miguel Cabrera, Manny Ramirez, Albert Pujols, Joe Mauer, Grady Sizemore, Adam Dunn, Jermaine Dye, Dmitri Young, Julio Lugo, Johnn Lackey, Mark Prior, Todd Helton, Nomar Garciaparra, Dontrelle Willis... okay, I'll stop here.

But I am indeed very glad that spring has finally arrived -- and that baseball season is upon us.


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