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Soup of This Day #166: Say So Much Without Words

April 16, 2012

Liechtenstein cornfield
A cornfield. If you build here he will come. Although since this cornfield is in Liechtenstein it’s unlikely to be Shoeless Joe Jackson that rocks up. Maybe it will be Liechtenstein’s women’s downhill skiing legend Hannelore Wenzel instead – This will be easier than rounding up Shoeless Joe as Hanni is still very much alive – Photo: Paranoid, 2004. Paranoid is not affiliated with Longworth72. Or is he? Image cropped by Longworth72

Over the weekend I got caught reading a news item about Titanic. I should be clear and specify that it was about the boat that sank just over 100 years ago and not the James Cameron film – You’ll understand the need for that clarification shortly.

Anyway, the article had a story in it about a woman who had been impacted by the sinking. In particular she had been inspired by Titanic to reconnect with her college sweetheart. See, back in those hazy student days he’d had a strong resemblance to Leonardo DiCaprio and so having seen Leo sink with the Titanic she vowed to get back in contact with the Leo-like Jerry.

Yep, that’s right. We’re talking about the film now. Wendy wasn’t so much as inspired by the actual sinking as she was by the 1997 James Cameron epic. It doesn’t even seem like she was so much as inspired by the film – It was more about the fact that Leonardo DiCaprio was in it, Leo having looked like Jerry used to.

What a shame she didn’t see Leo in Romeo + Juliet – She could have hooked up with Jerry a whole year sooner.

In entirely unrelated news I have decided to cut down the patch of corn in my wife’s vege garden and build a baseball park so that Shoeless Joe plus assorted mates have somewhere to play baseball. This has been inspired by my dog looking like Kevin Costner. His photo is my Gravatar, set on the side of this site, so ahead and take a look – Tell me I’m off base. The photo is of the dog by the way – Not Kevin.

Of course there might be problems. For 1 the corn died over a record hot Perth summer so it’s not so much a cornfield as a mixture of compost and a rampant sweet potato plant. For 2 it’s kind of a small patch of ground – There will be room for me plus 1 other and the extra better not try swinging a bat in there or I’ll clear the benches we don’t have.

On the flipside as long as 1 person turns up I’ll have a sell-out. 715 more of those and I might be able to rival centenarian Fenway’s current streak. The Bostonian ballpark has sold out every game since May 15, 2003. In 2008 they broke the MLB record with 456 consecutive sell-outs. Granted, Fenway is 1 of the smallest ballparks in the Majors, with capacity set at just shy of 37,500 for night games (It’s a a little over 400 less for day games to allow for a center-field bleachers section to be closed off for increased visibility for batters). Even with the relatively small crowd size it’s still an impressive run, although Fenway can lay claim to a much longer record:

Fenway Park is the oldest active MLB park – It hosted it’s 1st game in the big leagues on April 20, 1912 when the Red Sox beat the New York Highlanders (Yankees) 7 runs to 6 across 11 innings in a game that was played in the shadow of the sinking of the Titanic, being just 5 days past the tragedy. This Friday, 20th April, 2012 will therefore mark 100 years since that game and in celebration will see the Yankees in town once more – The Red Sox would most certainly settle for another 7-6 win in extra innings.

A Sox win is not out of the question – After what is becoming a trademark poor start to the season Boston has bounced back, winning their 1st 3 home games in some style. The 1st of those was this Friday past and saw a AL East-leading Rays outfit in town, with David Price on the mound for Tampa Bay and Josh Beckett for the Sox. Both were making their 2nd rotation slots for the season. Price went in with a 1-0 record and a 2.84 ERA via his 1 start as his Rays edged the Yankees 8-6. By contrast Beckett went in with a 0-1 record and a 13.5 ERA as the Red Sox got a 10-0 pasting by the Tiges in his 1st start.

As befitting such a small sample size both players turned their numbers around with Price being yanked after he gave up 3 runs in 3 innings while Beckett threw for 8 innings and gave up just 1 run. The Boston bats added another 9 runs without Price to contend with and finished up 12-2 winners. Kelly Shoppach, former Rays catcher, had a day out with the bat, notching 3 hits for 2 RBIs.

For Game 2 on Saturday the Sox again turned to a starter who had been patchy in his 1st outing – Clay Buchholz had given up 7 runs in 4 innings as Boston went down 13-12 to Detroit in a body blow of a game. Like Beckett he too was seeking redemption (and a chance to lower his 15.75 ERA). You wouldn’t have thought so early on as Buchholz gave up 4 in the 1st. Thereafter though he was steady, allowing just 1 more run across the next 6. The bullpen helped out as well while the Sox bats exploded for 8 runs across the 7th and 8th, with David Ortiz (4 hits for 5 RBIs) and Cody Ross (2 hits for 4 RBIs) standing out. It finished 13-5 to the home side and a 2nd consecutive win over the Rays.

Game 3 wasn’t so much about redemption as it featured Feliz Doubront, Boston’s only winning starter in the 1st 5 games. Actually that should read ‘Boston’s only starter not to feature in a loss in their 1st 5 games’ since technically Scott Atchison was tagged with the win that time out. Nonetheless Doubront was ok through 4. He then got pulled after giving up 3 in the 5th. Fortunately the bats had him covered as Ross’ 3 run blast to the carpark led the way to a 6-4 win. The ‘W’ was allocated to Vicente Padilla who earned the honourable mention of the day for this tweet from the Globe’s Pete Abraham:

@PeteAbe: Vicente Padilla just got hit with a ball. The ball’s family has gone into protective custody.

Padilla is a scary looking dude. If you had to pick his profession you’d probably have him down as a henchman. The part where he occasionally throws an Eephus pitch, a bastard of a slooooow curve, just makes him scarier.

Across the Atlantic, past the resting place of the RMS Titanic and Liverpool striker Andy Carroll looks like a decent thug too. Fortunately the lad can occasionally play football, if not half as well as his 35 million pound price tag would suggest. On Saturday in an FA Cup semi against Merseyside rivals Everton, Carroll stuffed up a couple of decent chances at goal, at 1 point missing the ball with his kick completely and at another, somehow misdirecting a header with an open goal gaping from all of 3 metres. Still, he kept at it in a game that was defined by errors – 1st Jamie Carragher’s in defence for Liverpool gifting Everton the opener and then Sylvan Distin’s horrible misjudged backpass allowing Liverpool the equaliser. At the end of all of this mayhem it was Carroll that proved the difference as with just 4 minutes of regular time he rose up to head Liverpool into an FA Cup final.

Liverpool can point to a ground with even more history than Fenway. Anfield 1st saw action in 1884, albeit as the home ground of Liverpool’s Saturday opponent Everton. In 1992 Everton FC had a falling out with a member, John Houlding, who also happened to own Anfield and so they promptly moved across Stanley Park to Goodison Park. Faced with an empty stadium Houlding formed his own club and Liverpool FC was born.

Anfield has been their home ever since. It has, like Fenway, undergone some modifications over time. 1 of those was the addition of a flagpole alongside the iconic Kop stand. It wasn’t originally a flagpole – Instead it’s 1st purpose was as the top mast of the SS Great Eastern, 1 of the 1st iron ships built. Designed by the great Isambard Kingdom Brunel, she was the largest ship ever built at the time of launch in 1858. Her length of 211 metres (692 feet) was only surpassed in 1899 by the RMS Oceanic, the White Star liner that was a forefather of the RMS Titanic. In fact the Oceanic was involved in a near collision with Titanic as it sailed from Southampton.

Would that they had collided.

It would have made little difference to Wendy. She did have another connection to Titanic and this time it’s the ship and not the movie. Her Great Grandparents, along with her Grandmother and Great Aunt, were booked to sail on the RMS Titanic on the way to a new life in North America.

Fortunately though they had a family stoush to rival that which saw Everton FC leave Anfield and decided to wait until Autumn to sail. Which is lucky on 2 counts – They didn’t get caught in the sinking and her Grandmother didn’t nick Leo off of her.

Say So Much Without Words

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