Walk Off Homerun! The A’S WIN!

Walk Off Homerun. The A’S WIN!

I’ve been attending A’s games since I was a little kid.

A's game...
4 time champs…

Every time I go to the A’s game, I think of the fact the movie “Angel’s In The Outfield” was partially filmed there. 1 of my many childhood memories at the park…

I recently went to my 1st A’s game by myself. Ever.  It was a “winsday”. The $2 tickets were sold out- I got duped into paying $14… It would prove to be worth every cent.

The Oakland A’s epitomize the moniker of “blue collar baseball”, year in and year out. A bunch of scrappy ballplayers with funny names and serious game; yeah, there’s always a lot of heart behind the patches on those green and gold uniforms. And this year is no different.

I’ve been a fan since the days of ICE BOX, an overweight security guard who (graciously) did the Macarena in between innings, the drummers in the bleachers who would (violently) scream “Tejada”, and although a youngster- I was even there for the bash brothers (Canseco & McGuire).

I came up after the “glory years”, if you let some of the OG’s around the Town tell it. The A’s were a powerhouse in the early to mid 70’s, as they won three world series titles. 1989 was their last title year- two years after I was born, and one year prior to my family moving from Ohio to Oakland.

They’ve had some good runs since then. The glory years of Rickey Henderson and Dennis Eckersley. The treacherous trio of Mark Mulder, Tim Hudson, and a young Barry Zito- who’s curveball had a hook only to comparable to Gonzo’s nose. And the remarkable 20 game win streak of 2002.

I’ve also been there for the not so glorious days…

When Jeremy Giambi was thrown out by Derek Jeter in the playoffs, it was the direct equivalent to the Raider’s “tuck rule” game vs. the Patriots. Equally heartbreaking.

Stomper & fam.
Stomper & fam.

The story of the A’s parallels many people’s stories in this town. This city is full of families who have migrated twice over, including my own. The A’s started in Philadelphia as the “Athletic club”, then to Kansas City, and finally to Oakland. The way the team got traded around like a “white elephant”, combined with a diss from one time Giants owner (in which he called the A’s a ‘white elephant’)- lead to the A’s adopting the symbolic image of their current mascot, stomper the elephant.

The A’s moved to the city by the bay in 1968, and ever since, the connection between this city and the team has fit like a glove. (History of the A’s timeline). Currently, at the Oakland museum there is an exhibition called 1968. The exhibit highlights the Vietnam war, the Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, and how the Bay was at the forefront of a number of the social and political movements of the time. Perfect time for the boys of summer to come to the Bay.

One of my best friends once spent a summer as the mascot for the Oakland A’s. I’ll never forget the day he went to volunteer at Children’s Hospital, and locked his mascot gloves in the car, along with his keys. (I have it in the personal video archive- just in case I forget).

To even out the tales of my costumed friend’s list of shinning moments- his performance in the Stomper suit at the 2008 All-Star game in New York is a video I can watch time and time again…Classic.

And of course- my 1st youtube viral video came when Stomper made an appearance at E-40’s record release party… This video was one giant step for the Hyphy movement.

The personal highlight reel continued this year when I was able to play audience to Oakland’s native son, and childhood friend,  Tyson Ross pitch in the big leagues for the home team. I was able to bring some of my students for a day out at the park, for the second year in a row.

I’ve been to three games this year:

  1. VS. the Boston Red Sox on the July 4th   fireworks game (on the night of July 3rd):  A’s win and a tremendous fireworks display.

    Fireworks!
    Fireworks!
  2. VS. the Detroit Tigers, on Mother’s Day: A’s lose. (I brought students to the park- some of them brought their mothers. Tickets complimentary of Tyson Ross, it was a win nonetheless.)

    Tyson and myself trading a educational t-shirt for an athletic one.
    Tyson and myself trading a educational t-shirt for an athletic one.
  3. VS. the Texas Rangers on July 18th: A walk off homerun certifies the A’s as the hottest team in the league in July.
Walk. Off. Home. Run! A's Win!
Walk. Off. Home. Run! A’s Win!

The July 18th game proved to be a gem. A pitcher’s duel through the 6th inning- a number of questionable calls, and close plays were all overshadowed by a bottom of the 9th walk off homerun.

At the end of the game, I shook the hand of the gentleman two rows over from me- I thanked him for the running commentary from the peanut gallery- his clever vulgarity was comedy throughout the entirety of the game. Baseball games bring people together- I probably would have had no other reason to speak to the shirtless white man who’s chest flesh went from Salmon to burgundy as the game progressed.  Attending the baseball game is definitely more fun now that I’m legal drinking age, and obviously my new friend/ color (colored) commentator felt the same.

As the game ended, he felt the need to express himself by giving the Texas outfields the “suck it” gesture popularized by WWF wrestler from my childhood known as X-Pac.

Suck it, Texas.
Suck it, Texas.

Not exactly “Angels in the Outfield”, but a memory from my younger days- so I’ll take it with a grain of salt and count it as life coming full circle.

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Change the Game

Game Changers Project.

gamechanger
game changer

Have you heard about the 2025 campaign for Black men and Boys ?

The Grio. com ran a big story on the site at the start of this year, check it out: http://www.thegrio.com/specials/game-changers/about-game-changers.php

The game changer’s project is a media inititative to change the image of young Black men and Boys in the media by simply uploading the untold; by taking stories of men and young men alike doing uplifting things in their communities, and giving them proper acknowledgment.  The theory is simple: become the change you want to see in the world… or in the media.

For more information about the initiative, check the website:

http://www.forwardevermedia.com/gcp.html

A key part aspect to being able to tell the stories of Black men and boys in the urban underbelly of America is having storytellers on site, and the Gamechangers project specializes in that. With representatives in New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Oakland.

… I’m the Oakland rep…. Here is my bio, along with the rest of the game changers: http://www.2025bmb.org/thegame/

Here are a couple of stories that I’ve published thus far in efforts to change the game:

Oscar Grant’s Uncle, and the Oscar Grant Foundation: http://www.thegrio.com/specials/game-changers/in-oakland-oscar-grants-uncle-continues-the-fight.php

An article on an education program in Oakland, The Nation’s First African Male Achievement Initiative:

http://www.thegrio.com/specials/game-changers/nations-only-school-district-to-take-on-educating-black-males.php

And soon to come…

http://www.gamechangersproject.org/

Stay updated on how the game is changing via twitter: @Gamechangers007

peace.

Pen Point: All Over The Map. ( P. 2)

There is no place like Home.

It’s Monday April 25th, 2011… And I’m suffering from a cold case of jet lag.

Last Monday, I wrote a blog about my adventures on the East Coast- and then I didn’t touch another computer for a week straight.

….now it’s Monday, again… last week was a blur- thank goodness for twitter and camera phones…

Monday night as I rode into Washington:

tweets:

“That DC skyline is awesome”.

… I spent Tuesday running around Washington DC…

tweets:

“Electrical house fire on 6th and H in NE DC. All residents were safely evacuated.”

“… Say a prayer for the elder lady and her grandson …”

“Real men don’t cry … They get chocked up.”

6th & Hst in North East Washington DC. House on fire, all occupants were safe.

(… And then I searched for my long lost notebooks…)

“From the time I was 12-22 I filled 31 journals w/ words, they’re all in Geoffery’s room in Drew Hall … I’m on a mission to get my shit.”

“My notebooks have been signed, sealed, and are now being delivered back to Oakland.”

“…Sitting in Drew Hall … Reminiscing.”

“Over the weekend, I bumped n2 a young homie who told me, “thank you for seeing the big picture.” (in reference 2my approach to being a RA)”

“… I learned more from the younger homies, than they learned from me …”

“Weed smokers are late for everything … except for 4-20 .”

“Seek knowledge. Crack jokes. Eat pizza. #college.”

…Washington DC Wednesday, April 20th….

capoeira on Howard's campus
J. Cox. in the Dojo.

tweets:

“Do yall remember what happened last 4-20? … I do. Four words: Gulf coast oil spill.”

“Modulating”

“Spread love.”

“having fun”

…New York for the weekend…

Pics

Uncle Smokey and his newest grand baby
Central Park
Harlem, USA.
I spy: "Get God"

Tweets:

“New Jersey turnpike… Word to Assata Shakur.”

” *Kicks in the door, waives the 4-4*.”

“….sitting in a park in midtown Manhattan …. Feeding the birds. Word to the spooky lady on Home Alone 2.”

“At a park in Bed-Stuy, chopping game about life with my bru Justin… I’ve known bru since I was 5…life is good.”

“Lost in new york… Again.”

“…At a diner somewhere on the lower east side…dolo. Drinking coffee.”

“Being in love with one person > being loved by a lot of people.”

” This is the time of day that you’re supposed to be thinking about life…”

“As I stare into my swirling 3rd round of coffee, my critical thoughts about life are interrupted by a certain Rihanna song stuck in my head.”

 “Every time I come to NY, I get lost… Yet somehow, I never lose.”

… One last night in Washington DC…

tweets ( only 1): “I just saw a real streaker. #6wordstory .”

Washington, DC. U st. CVS Parking Lot. Late night... backdrops are provided for those who want flick it up with the posse... ( I took this pic over the shoulder)

…As I made my way to the airport on Sunday afternoon I fired off a number of tweets, but these two stuck with me…

tweets: “… The greatest stories are “love” stories…hands down. But without the “coming of age” story, you can’t have the love story.”

“( I reference “Love and Basketball” and ” The Lion King” as examples of that last tweet.)”

… In Conclusion …

about friends: They say, don’t burn bridges… I say: don’t even let them grow cobwebs…

about love: Seek knowledge, love will eventually come.

about life: leave me alone to my vices and my crafts, and I can never be mad.

Ashley Christina Reid. RIP.

Peace.

The Summer Pool…NBA Free-Agent Pool.

At this point, just the thought of this upcoming NBA free-agent season is more entertaining than the 2010 NBA Playoffs.

It’s the week of Memorial Day Weekend, and I’m dreaming of that summer pool… that free-agent pool. The Playoffs are played out: the Lakers are poised to take the West and the Celtics/ Magic battle in the East is good competition at the least.Yawn.… I want to know where Lebron is going!?!?
Is he going to New York? Is he taking the show to Manhattan so he can ball in The Garden- with the Knicks? Or is he rolling with Hov to Brooklyn with the Nets? Chicago with Rose? Miami with Wade- Wade’s a free agent, will he be there?…or wait! Maybe Lebron is staying in Cleveland! Maybe they’ll bring in a big man to ball with him! Like Amare Stoudemire! That way Amare and the big Shaq-tus (cactus + Shaquille O’neal…long story) can be united again. Pause. ….or may be even Chris Bosh- yeah! C. B! He’ll be the 3rd biggest thing to come out of Canada in recent memory (only trumped by pop rapper sensation Drake and pop singer sensation Justin Bieber). Oh yeah, shout out to the Bieber kid on the whole BET Award thing!

I might as well shout him out, I was already on a roll cracking jokes about this entertainment industry. That’s all this association is: pure entertainment. Big names in big markets, revenue driven, high priced athleticism. And I’m engulfed in it. So many new jerseys will be flying off the rack next year, I’m just glad its not fashionable to wear them to the club anymore. Actually, If my selected wagers on the placement of this summer’s free-agents pays off, I’ll buy one of those new Golden State Warrior jersey’s (when they hit stores- this summer). I won’t wear it to the club. But I’ll wear it to the beach…or the pool. No joke.

To get a better picture of the free-agent pool of the summer of 2010, click this link right HERE.

Alright, now that we got all of the jokes out the way, its time for the real question, who will retire? We’ve got Allen Iverson, Shaquille O’neal, Juwan Howard, Jerry Stackhouse (who was balling this year, to his credit) and I’m still pushing for the Magic to resign Adonal Foyle!

From One Drum.

“How many different drum patterns do you think there are?”,  A talented producer and good friend, Jamon Dru of “The Whole Shabang” production team once asked me; I still don’t have an answer…

Jamon Dru isn’t the person you’d find burning incense, studying books on Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association, and playing a Congo while ironing his Kente cloth. Actually, your more likely to catch him producing tracks for the Bay Area’s top artist. He has produced tracks for D. Lo, Beeda Weeda, and many others; recently he composed the beat for the Messy Marv track “7 seconds flat“. And even though Jamon Dru makes beats for West Coast gangsta rap, I’d bet my favorite dashiki, that even he would agree: no matter how many different drum patterns there are, they all tell a story- a story of the African Diaspora.

On the other side of the African Diaspora is talented artist and good friend, Messiah Ramkissoon of “Royal Alliance Music Group”.  The Trinidadian artist, with the Brooklyn background and Howard University education, is a true word smith. And it shows in his craft. The highlight of his resume: 3-time Apollo winner. But this isn’t about the accolades, this is about the African Diaspora connecting through one drum. Messiah recently did a song which was crowned the winner of the Sudanese’s government’s political action competition in effort to get citizens to participate in voting in the first Democratic election in 24 years.

Messiah worked with Cheb YaCine , Al-SadProxy, Langa and video producer Nas Jota, as emcees from the states to Sudan came together for this political track titled B Sotoka (With Your Vote).

The intercontinental connection between artist within the African Diaspora is nothing new. The collaborative efforts between the Washingtonian emcee with Nigerian lineage we know as Wale, and the Somalian spitter they call K’naan has been a breath of fresh air. Wale and K’naan have done shows together, and the duo also have two collaborative songs, ” TV on The Radio” and “Um Ricka“, both songs are more than worth the listen.

Speaking of “worth the listen”, a small portion of the world is awaiting the May 18th release of the “Distant Relatives” project by Queens, NY artist Nasir “Nas” Jones, and one of the heirs to the Marley throne out of Trenchtown, Damian Marley. The highly anticipated Nas and Damien Marley album are both examples of the musical connection taking place in the African Diaspora in current popular music. Here is a dope interview by Hard Knock TV on the “Distant Relatives” project.

I listened to the tracks by Messiah, K’Naan, J-Stalin, and Damian Marley over and over, trying to answer the initial question posed to me Jamon Dru. I figured four different artists from different parts of the world would have different sounding drums. That thought didn’t last too long… not only do the drums sound alike, but the subject matter is identical : guns, drugs, jail, war, capitalism, AIDS, and the concept of “race” are just a few things that are ever-present in the African Diaspora.

In the end, Jamon Dru’s question was probably a joke or a riddle… there is infinite number of possible drum patterns… but there is no doubt that they all tell 1 story: the story of the African diaspora.