09 August 2011

Pictures from Paradise


The above was captured while watching some baseball during the past long weekend. It appears to be that of a Grandfather doing video-photography of his grandchild at Billings' Dehler Park, where the Northwest Regional Legion Baseball Tournament was on-going this past weekend.

There were a number of strong teams in the tournament as you might expect from having eight state champions from as far away as Alaska and Hawaii, as well as the closer and usually fairly strong teams from Washington and Oregon, together with Idaho, Wyoming, and two teams from Billings, Montana.The reason we have two teams from Billings was because they traditionally have a host team from the same state that is hosting the Regional tournament in addition to the state champion. This year that happened to be the two teams from Billings as they finished 1-2 at their state tournament in Butte.





That is the state flag of Wyoming above with the outline of a buffalo, atop the dugout the team used for this game, a nice touch along with US flags scattered around and the singing of God Bless America and the national anthem. And that is the state flag of Hawaii with the Union jack in the upper left corner, a remnant to remind the rest of us of their history before they became a state.

The Wyoming state Legion baseball champion came from Cheyenne Post #6 to take part in the Regional competition. Unfortunately, the way the tournament is set up some teams have to lose twice in a row; this year both Wyoming and Alaska went home after two losses, which is why it is called a double-elimination tournament, probably a partial recognition that baseball is a different than all other forms of sport, perhaps with the exception of cricket, with different patterns and rhythms and even different satisfactions for both players and those who watch them.

If you are curious about the philosophy behind this game you might be interested in reading the collected baseball works of A. Bartlett Giamatti, the late professor of Renaissance English Literature and then the President of Yale University followed by a three year tour as President of the National League, and then a way too short tenure as Major League Baseball Commisioner. The titles are Take Time for Paradise and A Great and Glorious Game. Books like these are not written about football or basketball or, Thank Heavens, volleyball. Check him out, his resume alone is worth reading.

To the right and slightly up is a shot of the beer tent at Dehler for the Legion tournament, far out along the left field line, where they were stationed owing to orders from on high. Apparently, selling beer and hard lemonade at places other than Montana has had some problems.


Above is a picture of part of the celebrations after Hawaii won the Northwest Regional championship, remaining undefeated after 5 games. That is Sumi Pruett, second from the right, pitcher and first baseman for the Waipahu Marauders, holding his award for being the Most Valuable Player of the tournament. He threw a shutout against the Scarlets for the championship and hit a grand-slam home run as well as pitching some very good innings against one of the lower-ranked teams.

Below is a part of paradise after the games are over. The Mustangs will be back soon. And the boys of spring will return next year. And the Regional Tournament will be back at this same location next August.


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