The first Thursday of March was another freezing night during New York City’s winter from hell. Yet as always, just being in Jay Goldberg’s cozy Bergino Baseball Clubhouse made one forget the frigid conditions.
When you enter Bergino at 67 East 11 Street (in the northeastern corner of Greenwich Village), turn to the wall on your left and you note a colorful canvas. It says:
LOVE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE WORLD. BUT BASEBALL IS PRETTY GOOD TOO. Signed “Gregg, 8 years old.”
Immediately you know you’ve arrived in a magical space.
The program on Thursday March 6, “Baseball as Good Medicine,” certainly delivered on its promise. Six speakers gave five-minute talks on memorable incidents from their baseball-loving lives. After each presentation, two judges, cartoonist Mort Gerberg and actress/writer Kathryn Markey (co-founder of the comedy troupe, The Chalks) offered trenchant, mirthful comments.
Benjamin Hill, a writer for the minor league baseball website milb.com, got the evening off to a rousing start with stories about his food-eating experiences on the bush league ballpark trail. The turducken hot dog certainly caught my attention. (After the show, Hill assured me that the spam carving contest continues in Reading, Penna.)
Unfortunately before last season, Hill learned he had issues with gluten. Undeterred, the resourceful writer enlisted “designated eaters” to consume the foods he now can only write about. He’s looking for more “de’s” in 2014 and several in the audience volunteered.
Among the other highlights:
**Paul Lukas, who writes informative columns about baseball uniforms for espn.com, shared a touching story about how his much-older brother took him to his first Mets game even though the forecast called for rain.
**Greg Prince, co-founder of the blog faithandfearinflushing, delivered an appreciation for Closing Day not Opening Day in his life as a Mets fan. (As you probably know, the Mets have enjoyed great success over the years winning their home opener but the rest of their seasons have usually brought grief more than triumph.)
**Wearing a yarmulke with a Red Sox logo, Rabbi Jeffrey Sinkler ended the wonderful presentations with a story of his earnest if unsuccessful search for a “Boston Strong” T-shirt on his visit to Fenway Park last summer.
Kudos to New York-based photographer Annie Levy who hosted the evening as part of a benefit for her Photo ID Foundation. This worthy project has grown out of her work since 2010 with seriously ill young patients at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx.
She was moved when the youngsters defiantly declared that we are “NOT DEFINED BY DIAGNOSIS.” The Photo ID Foundation was created to allow patients to express themselves in creative and innovative ways.
For more information on PhotoID check out photoidfoundation.org and firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse, check out www.bergino.com and/or contact Jay Goldberg at email@example.com
That’s all for now. I’m off early Tuesday the 11th to the 21st annual Nine Baseball Magazine conference in Phoenix. Will be introducing our opening night speaker Janet Marie Smith, the architect/urban planner who was in at the creation of Camden Yards, Atlanta’s Turner Field, the renovation of Fenway, and now the renovation of Dodger Stadium at Chavez Ravine.
Until the next time we meet:
Remember always: Take it easy but take it!