I like to have fun with my birthdays. I turn 79 on June 27 so I've called my residence this year 79 Wistful Vista in memory of Fibber McGee and Molly (Jordan)'s radio residence.
The year before I was spinning through the year at 78 rpm and prior to that I was riding on 77 Sunset Strip.
The wonderful jazz bassist Ray Drummond once told me that when you are 59, you are In The Park, Central Park.
That means, starting June 27, I will be at the center of the Museum of National History on Central Park West, where Teddy Roosevelt's statue with his Indian guide is shortly being removed.
(I think it is a wise choice as long as the statue is not destroyed or vandalized. We can't ignore dark sides of our history by simply deploring them and removing them from sight.)
I've spent many of my signature birthdays watching the Orioles.
At 40 I saw Jim Palmer pitch seven strong innings in a rout of the Tigers. Storm Davis, hailed as a successor to Palmer, mopped up the last two innings. He never panned out as a solid starter.
At 50 I saw the KC Royals Kevin Appier beat Mike Mussina in a pitcher's battle. At 60 Jason Giambi, now with Yankees, unloaded two homers on Scott Erickson in another losing game.
At least, these games were competitive.There is nothing except expletives to say about the 2021 Orioles and the so-called "rebuild" of the current regime. I knew this team would be bad but didn't think they'd be so unwatchable.
So I share the solace of watching former Oriole Manny Machado lead the Padres to a sweep over the Dodgers. It was worth staying up to the wee hours of the East Coast on June 24.
Manny hit an early homer, hustled out an infield single to set up the winning run in the bottom of the eighth, and made three outstanding plays at third in the late innings to save the win.
The play he didn't quite pull off was the best one. Playing short right field in the shift, he almost made a sensational running catch near the foul pole. A full-extension dive on the warning track came up just short.
At times Machado's behavior is concerning, almost punk-like. But he is a great talent along with the young Fernando Tatis Jr. and the onetime Michigan Wolverine Jake Cronenworth who make a great double-play combo (when the shift allows for a double play).
One cautionary note about the Padres. Closer Mark Melancon, leading MLB with 23 saves, is on the edge of being overworked. They better not burn him out too early.
As summer begins, there are some great races in MLB which is good news. Giants-Padres-Dodgers in NL West, no one except Miami out of the NL East race and ditto the NL Central except for the Pirates.
In the AL East, the Yankees and perhaps Blue Jays might yet challenge Red Sox and Rays. The Houston-Oakland race in AL West should remain a good one with Seattle possibly hanging around.
Only the White Sox seem in firm control of AL Central, especially now that most of Cleveland's pitching staff is injured. But never count out manager Terry Francona's teams and their good player development staff.
In one of the interesting stories so far in 2021, Amed Rosario, almost a throw-in the Francisco Lindor trade, is actually hitting better than Lindor and flashing the form that never developed when he was a Met.
That's all for now. Always remember - take it easy but take it.