Monday, July 31, 2023

Yankees Stifled By Tampa Bay On Eve Of Trade Deadline


Jhony Brito pitching to Luke Raley in the first inning. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Tampa Bay Rays, backed by seven strong innings from Tyler Glasnow, rolled to a 5-1 win over the Yankees on Monday night at Yankee Stadium to open their pivotal three-game series on the eve of the trading deadline.

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Mets GM Eppler On Scherzer Trade & How “It’s not a fire sale"

Mets General Manager Billy Eppler with the media on Sunday afternoon. Photo by Jason Schott.


On Sunday afternoon, the Mets' trade with the Texas Rangers, in which they sent one of their ace pitchers, Max Scherzer to Texas for top prospect Luisangel Acuna, became official.

Verlander Continues Dominance As Mets Take 3 of 4 From Nats

Justin Verlander firing one in to Ildemaro Vargas in the second inning. Photo by Jason Schott.

Justin Verlander delivered another superb performance, as the Mets beat the Washington Nationals, 5-2, on Sunday afternoon at Citi Field, and take three out of four in their weekend series.

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Mets Can't Overcome Tough Carrasco Outing As Loss To Nats Concludes Long Night


Washington's Dominic Smith connecting on his two-run single in the first inning off Carlos Carrasco. Photo by Jason Schott.

Mets starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco had his third tough outing out of the All-Star break, as the Washington Nationals tagged him for eight runs on their way to an 11-6 win on Saturday night at Citi Field.

Mets Send Scherzer To Texas, Ending A Brief Hopeful Era

Max Scherzer firing one in to Isiah Kiner-Falefa of the Yankees on June 13. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Mets continued their fire sale on Saturday night, as they traded one of their aces, Max Scherzer, to the Texas Rangers for top shortstop prospect, Luisangel Acuna.

Friday, July 28, 2023

Pete 5, Nats 1


Pete Alonso celebrating one of his home runs on Friday night. @Mets.

The Mets got a pair of home runs from Pete Alonso, and a superb start from Max Scherzer, as they rolled to a 5-1 win over the Washington Nationals on Friday night at Citi Field.

Alonso's first blast came in the fifth, and he launched it into the second deck, nearly to where they installed the Porch, for a three-run shot that made it 3-0 Mets.

Then, after Luis Garcia got an solo shot in the top of the seventh, Alonso responded in the bottom half of the inning with a two-run shot the other way to left center field to open up a 5-1 lead.

Alonso now has 30 home runs on the season, which ranks third in Major League Baseball, behind the Angels' Shohei Ohtani, who has 39, and fellow first baseman, Matt Olson of the Atlanta Braves, who has 32. 

This is the fourth time in his five-season career that Alonso has reached the 30-home run plateau, with the lone exception the 16 HR he hit in 57 games in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.

That also gave him 70 RBI on the season, so he has a real shot to crack the 100 RBI mark for the third time in his career. He had 120 RBI in his first season, and a career-high 121 last season.

The one down mark for Alonso this season, likely due to injuries he has had along the way, is he is hitting just .220, down from .271 last season.

Max Scherzer, in what could be his last start as a Met, threw seven innings, in which he allowed just one run (earned) on six hits and two walks, with seven strikeouts. He is now 9-4 on the season, with a 4.01 ERA (earned run average).

The Mets, who traded their closer David Robertson last night in a sign they will be "sellers" at the deadline (click here for our report), improved to 49-54 on the season, and they have taken the first two of this four-game set with Washington.

Photo by Jason Schott.

Mets Trade Robertson To Marlins To Commence Fire Sale


David Robertson pitching to Wilmer Flores of San Francisco on July 1. Photo by Jason Schott.

"Obviously, we came in with higher hopes than making the last Wild Card, or whatever, but that's where we are, so the season's not over. I'm preparing my management team for all possibilities. You know, if we don't get better, we have decisions to make at the trade deadline, and that's not my preferred end result, but I'm preparing all contingencies."

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Senga Sensational To Start, & Mets Finish Off Nats Late

Kodai Senga firing one past Joey Meneses in the second inning. Photo by Jason Schott.


Kodai Senga had another sensational outing, and the Mets put up a pair of runs in the eighth inning to pull out a 2-1 win over the Washington Nationals on Thursday night at Citi Field to open their four-game weekend series.

Books: "The Beast You Are: Stories" By Paul Tremblay


The Beast You Are: Stories

By Paul Tremblay

William Morrow; hardcover, 368 pages; $30.00

Paul Tremblay has won the Bram Stoker, British Fantasy, and Massachusetts Book Awards and is the author of Growing Things and Other Stories, The Cabin at the End of the World, The Pallbearers Club, Survivor Song Disappearance at Devil's Rock, A Head Full of Ghosts, and the crime novels The Little Sleep and No Sleep Till Wonderland. Brooklyn Digest reviewed Growing Things and The Cabin at the End of the World in 2019, and please click here to check it out. The latter was adapted into the recent motion picture, "Knock at the Cabin," from M. Night Shyamalan, and it starred Jonathan Groff, Dave Bautista, and Rupert Grint.

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Yankees Split With Mets As Rodon Earns First Win In Pinstripes


Carlos Rodon after he notched a big out. @Yankees.

The Mets took the opener of the two-game Subway Series at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night, 9-3, backed by a superb outing by Justin Verlander and two home runs from Pete Alonso.

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Books: "Chameleon: A Black Box Thriller" By Remi Adeleke


Chameleon: A Black Box Thriller

By Remi Adeleke

William Morrow; hardcover, 368 pages; $30.00; available today, Tuesday, July 25th

Remi Adeleke, the author of acclaimed memoir Transformed, was born in western Africa and, after his father passed away, he moved to The Bronx permanently with his mother and brother. He turned his life around, after many regrettable decisions, when he joined the Navy in 2002 and rose up to be a Navy SEAL.

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Books: "The Biden Malaise" By Kimberley Strassel


The Biden Malaise: How America Bounces Back from Joe Biden's Dismal Repeat of the Jimmy Carter Years 

By Kimberley Strassel

Twelve; hardcover, 288 pages; $30.00

Kimberley Strassel is a member of the Wall Street Journal editorial board, and she writes a weekly column, "Potomac Watch," that appears on Fridays. She is the bestselling author of Resistance (At All Costs) and The Intimidation Game.

Books: "Returning Light" By Robert L. Harris, On A Remote Island In Ireland


Returning Light: Thirty Years on the Island of Skellig Michael

By Robert L. Harris

Mariner Books; hardcover, 272 pages; $29.99

Returning Light is the first book by Robert Harris, and it is a Top 10 Irish Times bestseller. It is a meditative nature memoir from the lighthouse keeper of Skellig Michael, one of Ireland's most remote locations. He spends May to October there when it's accessible, and in winter months, he lives at home in County Leitrim with his wife, Maigread.

Books: "Burn It Down" By Maureen Ryan, On Fighting For Change In Hollywood

Burn It Down: Power, Complicity, and a Call for Change in Hollywood

By Maureen Ryan

Mariner Books; hardcover, 384 pages; $29.99

Maureen Ryan is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and has covered the entertainment industry as a critic and reporter for three decades. Previously, she served as the chief television critic for Variety and the Huffington Post, and her work has appeared in Entertainment Weekly, the New York Times, Salon, GQ Vulture, the Chicago Tribune, and more. She has served on the jury of the Peabody Awards and has won three Los Angeles Press Club Awards.

Books: "The Second Chance Store" By Lauren Bravo


The Second Chance Store

By Lauren Bravo

Avon; paperback, 448 pages; $19.99

Lauren Bravo is an author and award-winning freelance journalist who writes about fashion, popular culture, food, travel, and feminism for publications including The Telegraph, The Guardian, and Refinery29. She has authored two nonfiction books, What Would the Spice Girls Do?, and How to Break Up with Fast Fashion, which was inspired by her year-long fast-fashion ban.

The Second Chance Store is Bravo's first novel, and she received inspiration for it from her volunteer work once a week at her local Crisis UK charity shop.

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Cole The Constant In Topsy Turvy Yankees Season

Gerrit Cole striking out Maikel Garcia looking to end the third inning. Photo by Jason Schott. 

The Yankees have had an up-and-down season to this point, but the one thing they can count on is their ace, Gerrit Cole, to take the mound every fifth day and deliver a solid performance.

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Quintana Debuts, But Mets' Bats Cool Off As They Can't Get Anything Off Kopech


Jose Quintana pitching to Eloy Jimenez in the first inning. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Mets failed to complete the sweep of the Chicago White Sox, as they dropped the finale of the three-game set, 6-2, on Thursday afternoon at Citi Field. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Vintage Verlander Leads Mets To Cruise Past ChiSox

Justin Verlander firing one in to Jake Burger in the fourth inning. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Mets got another vintage performance from Justin Verlander,as they cruised to a 5-1 win over the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday night at Citi Field. 

Books: "American Whitelash" By Wesley Lowery


American Whitelash: A Changing Nation and the Cost of Progress

By Wesley Lowery

Mariner Books; hardcover, 272 pages; $29.99

Wesley Lowery is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who is a national correspondent for CBS News and the program 60 Minutes. He previously was a national correspondent and the head reporter on racial justice for the Washington Post.

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Mets Offense Unleashed, Led By Pair Of Alvarez Homers, To Outlast ChiSox

Francisco Alvarez leaps to celebrate with Mark Canha (right) as he approaches the Mets dugout after his first-inning home run. Photo by Jason Schott.


The Mets scored early and often, and would need every single run they put up, as they beat the Chicago White Sox, 11-10, on Tuesday night at Citi Field.

Monday, July 17, 2023

Books: "Baseball at the Abyss" By Dan Taylor


Baseball at the Abyss: The Scandals of 1926, Babe Ruth, and the Unlikely Savior Who Rescued a Tarnished Game

By Dan Taylor

Rowman & Littlefield; 220 pages; hardcover, $36.00; eBook, $34.00

Dan Taylor is a sports historian, author, and a former award-winning television sportscaster who is currently the television broadcaster for the Fresno Grizzlies. Taylor has written five books, most recently Lights, Camera, Fastball: How the Hollywood Stars Changed Baseball (click here for our review from April 2021), and he is a memeber of the Society for American Baseball Research and contributes to their biography project.

Sunday, July 16, 2023

Well Worth The Wait: Scherzer Superb, Mets Win It In Extras

Pete Alonso at bat in the fourth inning under clearing skies. Photo by Jason Schott.


The Mets salvaged the final game of their weekend series with the Los Angeles Dodgers, 2-1, in ten innings, on Sunday evening at Citi Field.

Saturday, July 15, 2023

Mets Miss Opportunity For Defining Win Over Dodgers

Will Smith (center) being greeted by David Peralta after he scored in the ninth inning, as Mets pitcher Grant Hartwig (93) walks back to the mound. Photo by Jason Schott. 


Some losses hit differently, even in the long slog of a 162-game baseball season, and that was the case for the Mets with their 5-1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday night at Citi Field.

Friday, July 14, 2023

Mets Downed By Dodgers Despite Valiant Verlander Effort


Freddie Freeman lining one over a leaping Pete Alonso for a two-run double in the fifth inning. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Mets were shutout by the Los Angeles Dodgers, 6-0, on Friday night at Citi Field, in the first game of the second half of the season.

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Yankees Uniforms Will Have A New Feature



When the Yankees return home on Friday, July 21, when they open a three-game series with the Kansas City Royals, their pinstriped uniforms will have a different look.

The Yankees announced on Wednesday morning that Starr Insurance has become the Signature Partner of the team, and will be the team's first jersey patch partner. This builds on the partnership that the two organizations have had since 2018, and this exclusive agreement runs through the 2031 season.

There will be a Starr Insurance patch on one of the sleeves, which depends on whether the player is a right-handed or left-handed hitter.

Aaron Judge in the new-look Yankees home uniform. @Yankees.

Starr signage will also be placed on the Yankee Stadium outfield wall in front of the Yankees and visiting bullpens, which complements Starr's billboard above the right-field bleachers.

In addition, Starr will be the Official Presenting Sponsor of the Yankees' game-day lineup post on social media and will work closely with the New York Yankees Foundation on upcoming community initiatives in the New York metropolitan area.

Gerrit Cole in the road gray uniform with the Starr patch. @Yankees.

New York Yankees Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner said in the press release, "We are extremely proud to welcome Starr Insurance as the Yankees' first-ever Signature Partner. Having had Starr as an insurance carrier of ours for the last decade and having worked closely with their leadership team as part of our preestablished partnership, it is clear that Starr is the right company to embark with on this landmark relationship. There were many aspects of Starr that aligned with our organization, including their century-plus history, significant New York presence, worldwide reach and unparalleled commitment to the community. My father was also well-acquainted with Mr. Greenberg, whose devotion to philanthropy I deeply respect."

Starr is led by Chairman and CEO Maurice R. Greenberg, who also serves as Chairman of the Starr Foundation, one of the largest philanthropic organizations in the United States. Starr is a preeminent global insurance and investment organization that has a presence on six continents and maintains its largest office in New York City. Through its operating insurance companies, Starr provides commercial property, casualty, and accident & health insurance products, plus a range of specialty coverages including aviation, marine, energy and excess casualty insurance.

Greenberg said in a statement, "Starr and the Yankees, one of the world's most widely recognized professional sports teams, share important values - including a commitment not just to teamwork and winning, but to a excellence in how we do business and serve a broad range of constituencies. We're proud of the unique partnership we have forged over the past five years and have now deepened for many years to come."


PARTING SCHOTT: The Yankees tipped this off earlier in the season that they would decide by the middle of the season that they would decide which company would win the bidding for this jersey patch, as this is the first year that Major League Baseball allowed teams to do this.

Teams like the Mets the Boston Red Sox, and the Miami Marlins have had ads on their jersey sleeve since Opening Day, but this hits different.

The Yankees jersey was always clean, to the point it didn't even have the jersey maker until the Nike swish appeared in 2020 when they became the official outfitter of Major League Baseball.

That change to the Yankees jersey and the addition of the New Era logo on the perfect navy blue cap with the white interlocking "NY" in 2017 were enough to get used to, now this jersey sponsorship is really a break from tradition. 

The one thing the Yankees did achieve is that it is color-coordinated, unlike the Mets, who had a brouhaha that the New York-Presbyterian logo was originally red and white and took up practically the whole sleeve. They then unveiled one in blue and orange that was more like a rectangle, which mirrors this Starr patch on the Yankees jersey and the Mass Mutual patch on Boston's, so the hope is that Major League Baseball will make them more uniform across the sport.

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Books: "Bogie & Bacall" By William J. Mann

Bogie & Bacall: The Surprising True Story of Hollywood's Greatest Love Affair

By William J. Mann

Harper; hardcover, 656 pages; $40; available today, Tuesday, July 11th 

William J. Mann is a celebrated Hollywood biographer, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Contender: The Story of Marlon Brando; Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn; and Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood, which was awarded the 2014 Edgar Allen Poe Award.

Book Chat: With Tim Brown, Author Of "The Tao of the Backup Catcher"


The Tao of the Backup Catcher: Playing Baseball for the Love of the Game

By Tim Brown, with Erik Kratz

Twelve; hardcover, 304 pages; $30.00; available today, Tuesday, July 11th

Tim Brown has covered baseball for more than thirty years, including when he covered the Yankees in the 1990s for the Newark Star-Ledger. He has written two New York Times bestsellers, The Phenomenon, with Rick Ankiel and Imperfect, with Jim Abbott.

Books: New Novels From Kat Devereaux, Rachel Eliza Griffiths, & Beatriz Williams

The Morgan Library in New York City. Photo by Jason Schott.


With summer upon us, this is a wonderful time to spend a lazy afternoon on the beach or in the park, and these three new novels will inspire and enlighten you: Escape to Florence, by Kat Devereaux; Promise, by Rachel Eliza Griffiths; and The Beach at Summerly, by Beatriz Williams.

Books: "First to the Front" By Lorissa Rinehart


First to the Front: The Untold Story of Dickey Chapelle, Trailblazing Female War Correspondent

By Lorissa Rinehart

St. Martin's Press; hardcover, 400 pages; $32.00; available today, Tuesday, July 11th

Lorissa Rinehart is a cultural critic and historian who writes about art, war, politics, and the places where they intersect. Her writing has recently appeared in Hyperallergic, Perfect Strangers, and Narratively, among other publications, and she holds an MA from NYU.

Books: "The Ocean Above Me" By Kevin Sites

The Ocean Above Me

By Kevin Sites

Harper; hardcover, 272 pages; $30.00; available today, Tuesday, July 11th

Kevin Sites is an award-winning journalist and author, who worked as a reporter for over thirty years, half of that covering war and disaster for ABC, NBC, CNN, Yahoo News, and Vice News. He was a 2010 Nieman Journalism Fellow at Harvard University and a 2012 Dart Fellow in Journalism and Trauma at Columbia University. For a decade, he lived and taught in Hong Kong as an associate professor of practice in journalism at the University of Hong Kong. He has written three books on war, In the Hot Zone,The Things They Cannot Say, and Swimming with Warlords.

Monday, July 10, 2023

Casey At The Bat: Yankees Have Their New Hitting Coach

Yankee Stadium's facade. Photo by Jason Schott.


It didn't take the Yankees long to find their new hitting coach, as they named former All-Star Sean Casey to the role less than a day after dismissing Dillon Lawson.

Sunday, July 9, 2023

Yankees Fire Hitting Coach After First Half Ends On Down Note

Christopher Morel and Clay Bellinger (bottom left) after they scored to tie the game for Chicago,  as Tommy Kahnle (41) reacts. Photo by Jason Schott.


The Yankees coughed up a three-run lead as they lost a heartbreaker to the Chicago Cubs, 7-4, on Sunday afternoon at Yankee Stadium to finish up the first half of the regular season on a down note.

Friday, July 7, 2023

Yankees HOPE Week Day 5: Street Lab

Giancarlo Stanton (right) and Clarke Schmidt play cornhole with children at the Street Lab. Provided by New York Yankees.

On Friday, the fifth and final day of HOPE Week, the Yankees honored Street Lab, and its co-founders Leslie and Sam Doval. It is a non-profit that creates temporary "pop-up" programs for city streets and public places in New York City, including parks, plazas, and parking lots.

Thursday, July 6, 2023

Yankees HOPE Week Day 4: Dancing Dreams

Harrison Bader dances with children in the Dancing Dreams program. Provided by New York Yankees.

On Thursday, the fourth day of the Yankees' HOPE Week, the honoree was Dancing Dreams, a nonprofit started by pediatric physical therapist Joann Ferrara that provides dance classes and performance opportunities for boys and girls ages 3 to 21 with medical or physical challenges.

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Yankees HOPE Week Day 3: Hinchliffe Stadium

Gleyber Torres giving hitting instructions during the baseball clinic. Provided by New York Yankees.

On Wednesday, the third day of the Yankees' HOPE Week, the honoree was the reborn Hinchliffe Stadium in Paterson, New Jersey, on the 76th anniversary of Paterson native Larry Doby breaking the American League color barrier.

Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Yankees HOPE Week Day 2: Sarah Langs


Sarah Langs chats with Yankees Manager Aaron Boone in Monument Park. Provided by New York Yankees.

On the second day of the Yankees HOPE Week, on Tuesday, Sarah Langs was the honoree on the 84th anniversary of Lou Gehrig's famous "Luckiest Man" speech on July 4, 1939.

Monday, July 3, 2023

Bader Blast Caps Off Yankees Comeback Against Baltimore

Harrison Bader celebrating his game-winning home run with his arms raised after he crossed the plate. Photo by Jason Schott. 

On the first-ever fireworks night at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees stormed back to beat the Baltimore Orioles, 6-3, on Monday night, with Harrison Bader blasting the game-winning three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Yankees HOPE Week Day 1: Damar Hamlin

Damar Hamlin, flashing his singaure "3," with Fordham softball player Sarah Taffet and Yankees players, including Gerrit Cole (far left), Anthony Volpe (third from left), Anthony Rizzo and Michael King (next to Hamlin), and Luis Severino (far right). Photo by Jason Schott.

The Yankees began the 14th edition of HOPE Week with honoree Damar Hamlin of the Buffalo Bills.

Sunday, July 2, 2023

Books: New Novels From Bonnie Kistler & Patrick deWitt


Her, Too

By Bonnie Kistler

Harper Paperbacks; paperback, 320 pages; $18.99; available Tuesday, July 4th

Bonnie Kistler is a former Philadelphia trial lawyer, whose first novel, The Cage, was published in 2022. She was born and raised in the horse country of Pennsylvania and attended Bryn Mawr College, where she graduated magna cum laude with Honors in English literature. She then received her law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she was a moot court champion and legal writing instructor.

Kistler's new book is a thriller, Her, Too, and it is about a group of women who take back their power with one question at the center of the story, Why would a woman lawyer defend an accused serial rapist?

Criminal attorney Kelly McCann is a fighter, as she fought to build a successful legal career, fought for the special needs of her family, and tirelessly fought for her clients. She specializes defending men accused of sex crimes, and she maintains they're falsely accused.

Kelly's detractors call her a traitor to her gender, but she doesn't care. Simply put, she loves to win, and as the story unfolds, she has done it again as she secured an acquittal for a renowned scientist accused of sexually assaulting his female employees.

The thrill of that victory is short-lives, as that very night, she herself is the victim of a brutal sexual assault. Almost as horrific as the attack is that she can't tell anyone it happened, at least not without destroying her career in the process.

However, Kelly has never backed down from a fifth and she isn't about to start pulling her punches now. She joins forces with her rapist's other victims as apart of the shrewd lawyer's plans to turn the tables on him.

This is not just about justice; these wronged women are in search of revenge. With that, someone is out for them, and one by one, they find themselves facing even greater danger.


Wednesday, July 12th at 7:00 p.m.: Mystery Lovers Bookshop in Oakmont, Pennsylvania - Bonnie Kistler will be in conversation with Wendy Walker, author of What Remains. Click here to find out how to participate.

Wednesday, August 9th at 7:00 p.m.: Cuyahoga Public Library - a conversation with Bonnie Kistler. Click here for all you need to know.

The Librarianist

By Patrick deWitt

Ecco; hardcover, 336 pages; $30.00; available Tuesday, July 4th

Patrick deWitt is a the author of the novels French Exit, which was a national bestseller; The Sisters Brothers, which was short-listed for the Booker Prize and a New York Times bsestseller; and the critically acclaimed Undermajordomo Minor and Ablutions.

The Librarianist is deWitt's new novel, and it centers on Bob Comet, a retired librarian who passes his solitary days surrounded by books and small comforts in a mint-colored home in Portland, Oregon. 

One morning, while on his daily walk, Bob encounters a confused elderly woman lost in a market and returns her to where she lives, the Gambell-Reed Senior Center. That gives him hope of filling the void he's had since retiring, and he begins volunteering at the center. 

A community of strange peers gathers around Bob, and following a happenstance brush with a painful complication from his past, the events of his life and the details of his character are revealed. 

Bob has a straight-man facade, but what lurks behind that is the story of an unhappy child's runaway adventure during the last days of the Second World War, of true love won and stolen away, of the purpose and pride found in the librarian's vocation, and of the pleasures of a life lived to the side of the masses.

The experiences Bob has are imbued with melancholy, but there is also a bright, sustained comedy, as he has a talent for locating bizarre and outsize players to welcome onto the stage of his life.

One thing that rings true while reading this wide-ranging and ambitious document of the introvert's condition is that The Librarianist celebrates the extraordinary in the so-called ordinary life, and depicts beautifully the turbulence that sometimes exists beneath a surface of serenity.

In this excerpt, deWitt writes of Bob making the decision to get involved: "Bob telephoned the American Volunteer Association the next morning and later in the week received a packet in the mail, color brochures featuring pictures of glad seniors, glad people in wheelchairs. The text was highly praiseful and petting of Bob's decision to lend a hand, but there was hitch, which was that he had to be vetted before the AVA welcomed him officially into the fold. Saturday morning and he drove to a storefront on Broadway that specialized in such things as passport photos and notarizations and fingerprints, the last being what he was after. His prints were sent off to what he imagined was a subterranean robot cityscape, a bunker database where they kept the shit list under dense glass, to check his history for uncommon cruelties, irregular moralities. He didn't expect there to be an issue and there wasn't, but he did feel a doubt reminiscent of his experience of passing through the exit barriers at the pharmacy and wondering if the security alarm would sound even he'd not stolen anything. 

Bob had not been particularly good or bad in his life. Like many, like most, he rode the center line, not going out of his way to perform damage against the undeserving but never arcing toward helping the deserving, either. Why now, then? He himself didn't know for certain. The night before his official visit to the center he dreamed he arrived and was greeted in the same garrulous, teasing manner as the man with the big beret had been. The scene of group acceptance was heady, but when Bob stepped into the center the next morning no one acknowledged his presence. 'Hello,' he said, but nobody so much as glanced at him, and he understood he was going to have to work his way toward visibility, to earn the right to be seen by these people, which he believed was fair, and correct.

Bob sought out Maria, who sat talking on the phone in her small, untidy office. She pointed Bob toward the rear of the Great Room and gave him a goodwill thumbs-up; soon he was standing at a podium before an audience of twenty souls. He briefly introduced himself and the chosen text; since this first appearance took place some days before Halloween, he'd decided to begin with a short story by Edgar Allan Poe, 'The Black Cat.' The reading was going well enough when on page three the cat had its eye cut out with a penknife by its owner, and third of Bob's small audience left the room. On page four, the same unlucky cat was strung up by its neck and hung from the branch of a tree, and now the rest of the crowd stood to go. After the room emptied out a muttering janitor came in with a hand truck and began folding and stacking the chairs. Maria approached Bob with an I-told-you-so expression on her face. 'I told you so,' she said.

Bob walked home through the October weather. A stream of leaves funneled down the road and pulled him toward his mint-colored house, the location of his life, the place where he passed through time, passed through rooms. The house rested in the bend of a quiet cul-de-sac, and it was a comfort for him whenever he came upon it. It didn't reflect worldly success, but it was well made and comfortably furnished and well taken care of. It was a hundred-off years old, and his mother had purchased it from the man who'd built it. The man had gone blind in his later years and affixed every interior wall with a length of thick and bristly nautical rope run through heavy bras eyelets positioned at waist level to guide him to the kitchen, to the bathroom, the bedroom, up the stairs and down, all the way to the workshop in the basement. After this person died and the property changed hands, Bob's mother did not remove the rope, less an aesthetic choice than obliviousness; and when she died and Bob inherited the house, he too left the rope in place. It was frayed here and there, and he sometimes banged his hip on the eyelets, but he enjoyed the detail for its history, enjoyed the sight of it, enjoyed the rope's prickliness as it ran through his hand.

He returned the Poe paperback to its place on the paperback shelf. He had been amassing books since preadolescence and there were filled shelves in half the rooms in the house, tidy towers of books in the halls. Connie, who had been Bob's wife, had sometimes asked him why he read quite so much as he did. She believed Bob was reading beyond the accepted level of personal pleasure and wondered if it wasn't symptomatic of a spiritual or emotional deformity. Bob thought her true question was, Why do you read rather than live?"

Saturday, July 1, 2023

Vintage Verlander Gives Mets Big Start To July

Justin Verlander throws a strike to Joc Pederson in the sixth inning. Photo by Jason Schott.

“I hope so, I mean, people say, ‘oh, it’s just another day, just another month,’ but I don’t look at it that way,” Mets Manager Buck Showalter said in his pregame press conference on Saturday, July 1, and the chance for the Mets to turn the page on the month of June, in which they went 7-19 and left them with a record of 36-46.