Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Wednesday, March 6, 2019 7:48 pm

The rock-and-roll bone connects to the baseball bone, and they both connect to the physics bone …

What united them was physics.

Sara Romweber, formerly the drummer for Let’s Active, Snatches of Pink and the Dex Romweber Duo, who died Monday of brain cancer, was renowned for being able to draw big, loud sounds from her drum kit despite being pretty unimposing physically.

The reason, according to Snatches bassist Andy McMillan in an appreciation by longtime N&O music critic David Menconi, was wrist speed: “Sara had amazing quickness in her wrists.” Why does that matter? Because wrist speed, more than overall size or arm musculature, is what determines the velocity of the tip of the drumstick and therefore the energy that drumstick imparts. And THAT was where her wall of sound came from.

That tidbit resonated with me because I’d once heard something similar about another person whose performance I had admired: baseball home-run king Henry Aaron. Aaron wasn’t a small man by baseball standards, but nothing in his physical appearance gave any clue as to why he should be so much better at hitting long balls than many other men his size.

What was the difference? His wrist speed, which Ted Williams, inarguably the greatest overall hitter in baseball history, said he admired. (But don’t take my word for it. See for yourself). Aaron’s wrists, at the extreme pivot point in his swing, generated enormous speed at the head of the bat, and that speed imparted the energy needed to hit a baseball over the fence.

That both Aaron, who’s still with us, and Romweber were humble, self-effacing artists who wore their fame lightly is probably coincidental. And I suspect that there are a lot of other areas in which wrist speed contributes to excellent performance, from cooking to, oh, I don’t know, Formula 1 racing. But having a liberal-arts education, I’m just tickled at this wonderful connection between two otherwise deeply disconnected parts of my life, a connection illuminated by a third, also disconnected interest, physics, that dates back to my grade-school infatuation with astronomy.

And while I am sorry that Sara Romweber is gone, I have a ton of good memories of her music, both recorded and live. I am happy that I got to meet her and talk to her and find that she was almost oblivious to her own celebrity, just the kid down the street who plays drums. And I’m glad that we still have Henry Aaron with us — you should read his autobiography, “I Had a Hammer” — for whatever time God allows.

Monday, April 6, 2015 7:39 pm

Odds and ends for April 6

Apparently Jeb Bush listed himself as Hispanic when he most recently registered to vote in Florida, which would be hilarious and all except that putting false info on a Florida voter-registration form is a third-degree felony.

Now that Columbia University’s report on the now-retracted Rolling Stone article about rape at the University of Virginia has been made public, how successful is the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity likely to be in its planned lawsuit against the magazine? Eugene Volokh at the Washington Post discusses it.

The Supreme Court is letting a lawsuit against the state of North Carolina over its new voting restrictions move ahead to trial. Good.

Today’s Braves-Marlins game in Miami was delayed by rain in the second inning. Despite the stadium’s having a retractable roof.

Now he’s just showing off: Long Island high-school senior Harold Ekeh got accepted at all eight Ivy League colleges.


Sunday, January 25, 2015 11:03 am

Odds and ends for Jan. 25

I’ve had trouble finding time to blog at length about anything lately. (Working two jobs will do that to you.) So instead I’m going to return to the birdshot approach I’ve used under similar circumstances in the past. Blogging experts will tell you this is not how to maximize your audience, but blogging experts usually have only one job.

The News & Record’s Janice Carmac, a part-time employee to whom the paper wisely grants column space to from time to time, has a well-grounded, understated column today on the literally life-and-death importance of health insurance in general and the Affordable Care Act in particular, based on her family’s experience. Naturally, the paper didn’t put it online. UPDATE: It’s now online here.

Also in the N&R and of particular interest to Greensboro folks, columnist Susan Ladd righteously dopeslaps both Earl Jones and Mike Barber for their egregiously ill-intentioned dialogue over the International Civil Rights Museum and the larger issue of race in Greensboro. This is one of the few times where “both sides do it” really is accurate and contextual criticism.

My Davidson Wildcats beat George Mason on the road in OT last night to go 5-2 in the Atlantic 10 and win their second straight game (the first was against No. 22 Dayton) without their starting point guard. Someone remind me again how the ‘Cats were supposed to finish in the conference cellar this year.

If I were in charge of the Republican Party’s presidential-election efforts, I think I’d be doing everything short of human sacrifice to make sure that the first good look the nation got at my candidate pool wasn’t watching the richest of them suck up to two sociopathic billionaires right out of a James Bond film followed by watching the lot of them pile out of a clown car to genuflect in front of Iowa’s batshit insane religious-right GOP base.

Even as a final Supreme Court decision likely affirming the constitutionality of same-sex marriage approaches, some politicians — primarily Southern Republicans — continue to fight, pardon the expression, rear-guard actions against fairness and equality, as by threatening the state salaries of public officials who facilitate such marriages. The heathen rage for they know the end is near. And although I know that anecdotes are not equal to data, I must say that my own, different-sex marriage appears to have been remarkably unaffected by the advent of same-sex marriage here in North Carolina.

My Braves appears to have written off 2016, perhaps in hopes of fielding a strong team in 2017 when they move to a suburban stadium. No link; this is  just my (very disappointed) impression.

Politics 1, science and the future of humanity, 0: The U.S. Senate pretended not to be insane by voting 98-1 for a resolution stating the climate changes is real, then spoiled the effect by failing to approve (60 votes were necessary) a resolution saying that it is largely driven by human activity.

“Why do people in positions of power ask so many stupid questions?”

We’ve finally got teleporters. But still no jet packs. Grrr.

That’s all I’ve got. Time to work. A good week to all.

Thursday, July 26, 2012 8:20 pm

Twenty years ago last night …

Filed under: Braves,Fun — Lex @ 8:20 pm
Tags: ,

… when it was far from clear that the Braves would repeat as NL champs, let alone go on to their amazing record of success during the ’90s, Otis Nixon made what might have been the greatest catch in the long history of one of baseball’s oldest franchises.

(h/t: @tommytomlinson)

Monday, March 8, 2010 9:21 pm

And here’s the scary part …

Filed under: Braves — Lex @ 9:21 pm

… if, by “scary,” you mean, “good news for Braves fans”: After phenom Jason Heyward hit a 450-foot home run, batting coach Terry Pendleton, who has hit a few himself, observed, “He didn’t get all of it.”

Friday, October 1, 2004 6:02 am

What Braves fans talk about when they talk about the Braves

Filed under: Braves — Lex @ 6:02 am

Co-worker 1: What are we gonna do about Raffy?

Co-worker 2: I don’t know.

CW1: Think we could send ‘Roche to, like, be a pinch defendant in the case?

CW2: That’s a good idea.

CW1: Let’s go work on that, then.

Tuesday, April 6, 2004 6:54 pm

Battle cry

Filed under: Braves — Lex @ 6:54 pm

What is my battle cry? Funny you should ask:

Prowling on the desert, carrying a bladed baseball bat, cometh Lex! And he gives a gutteral cry:”For the love of beatings, I shall avenge my ancestors!!”

Well, the truth is, I’m not aware of any ancestors who need avenging. My ancestors tended to be the kind who came home safely from the wars, sired a bunch of children and didn’t talk much about their experiences.

Still, the whole idea of a bladed baseball bat is just cool.

Here’s what else is cool:

Mets. Braves. Glavine. Ortiz. The Braves’ 2004 season starts in less than an hour. And the Braves’ 2003 season? Now that needs avenging, and the Mets are as good a place to start as any.

Saturday, March 29, 2003 7:37 am

Take me BACK to the ball game …

Filed under: Braves — Lex @ 7:37 am

My post on the Atlanta Braves’ demotion of Skip Caray and Pete Van Wieren brought this response from my neighbor Fred. It’s not directly related, but because the past is ever with us in baseball, I enjoyed it and thought you might, too:

Georgia’s team is long gone, but it lives on in the minds of some who were just young men and in love with baseball many decades ago.I was there in the stands or with an eye pushed up against the knot hole at Ponce de Leon Park in the late 1940s and early ’50s. It was the best of times. I met Ty Cobb and he signed my autograph book. Same for Duke Snider, Gil Hodges, Roy Campenella, Don Sutton and Jackie Robinson when the Brooklyn Dodgers played an exhibition series against my Atlanta Crackers . I was 13 or 14 and walked right up outside their locker room and held out the book. They gladly obliged, to my great delight. I remember a young third baseman who would go on to the “Bigs” (and the Hall of Fame ), Eddie Matthews, also signing my book when he was a Cracker.

I used to listen to their road games, my bedroom radio close to my ear (so Mom & Dad wouldn’t know I was up past bedtime), with the hokey sound effects as the pitch-by-pitch results were relayed by the announcer from Western Union wire reports. The days and nights at PdLP were wonderful and mystical. Ed Danforth and Furman Bisher (of the Atlanta Journal and Constitution [this was when they were still separate papers — Lex]) wrote about the exploits of the old Southern Association in legendary places like Nashville’s Sulphur Dell. Augie Donatelli was behind the plate calling balls and strikes; “Country” Brown was stretching a single into a double with daring base running. Chuck Tanner, Ky Ky Cuyler and Dixie Walker were managing. “Swish” Sawatski or “Babe” Barna would break our hearts with one of their prodigious home runs. I would take the bus downtown to pick up the latest copy of Sporting News.

Those were the good old days, and even if the Braves win another World series it will never surpass the fond memories of spring, summer and fall in Atlanta when my passion for the game, our national pastime, was all-consuming. Although the souvenirs and mementos have since been misplaced, I am still able to cherish those happy outings in the grandstand or the bleachers, always hoping for a foul ball to come my way. For some reason today the magic is now lost, although I would like very much to recapture it.

Thursday, March 27, 2003 6:25 pm

Reason No. 5,684 why media consolidation is a bad idea

Filed under: Braves — Lex @ 6:25 pm

The Atlanta Braves, owned by Turner Broadcasting, owned by Turner Inc., owned by AOL/Time-Warner (I think I’ve got that hierarchy right), have informed announcers Skip Caray and Pete Van Wieren, who have announced Braves games on TBS for 28 years, that they won’t be doing that job this year.

The reason is that TBS is trying to make its major-league baseball broadcasts more “national” — i.e., it wants to be thought of as a “major-league baseball” channel rather than simply “the Braves channel,” although it nonetheless will carry 90 of the team’s 162 games this year.

Tim Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution mentions some reasons why this is, if not a horrible idea (which is what I think it is), both odd and a betrayal of TBS’ roots. For one thing, TBS became a national network in the early days of cable in large part by convincing much of America that the Braves were America’s team. (Ted Turner originally bought the Braves to provide a source of programming for TBS.)

TBS owes its success to its identity as an outlet for the Braves, pure and simple. TBS and the Braves, combined, are a brand. And if a brand is successful, which this one has been, you don’t mess with it.

What has this to do with Caray and Van Wieren? Apparently company officials consider the two “too closely identified” with the Braves to be likely to succeed on a cable network focusing on “major-league baseball.” Skip, bless him, said: “I was told I am too closely identified with the Braves — which, if true, is a nice compliment.”

Skip and Pete aren’t being fired; they’ll just be relegated to radio, while Don Sutton and Joe Simpson, who have been used to splitting TV and radio duties with Pete and Skip, will do TBS broadcasts full-time.

But something tells me longtime Braves fans aren’t gonna care for this at all. I know I don’t.

Tuesday, October 8, 2002 10:21 am


Filed under: Braves — Lex @ 10:21 am

Freakin’ Braves.

Friday, September 20, 2002 2:44 pm

Filed under: Braves — Lex @ 2:44 pm

As a long-time, which also means long-suffering, Atlanta Braves fan, I’ve been tickled beyond words over this year’s version of the New York Mets, a high-priced assemblage purchased for the specific purpose of knocking my beloved Braves off their National League East perch. Tickled, of course, because the Mets currently reside a bare half-game out of the division cellar, six games under .500 and 23 1/2 games behind the Braves. In other words, they were mathematically eliminated weeks ago.

Up to now, I’d just sort of assumed that the Mets’ performance this year was merely another example of how money might buy talent but can’t buy hustle and desire. But now, Newsday suggests that there might be more to it: namely, that a good third or so of the squad has been smokin’ dope.

I could get all hacked off about this. But you know what? After a year of debate on the war, intelligence failures, thievin’ corporate executives and other truly serious problems, it feels better just to snicker at the thought of a $5-million-a-year Met sitting on second base as a teammate lofts a lazy fly to deep right, thinking, “Yeah, I could tag up and take third, but I’d rather just sit here and think about chocolate-chip cookies.” Also, it’s good to have a legitimate reason to laugh at New Yorkers again.

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