Archive for August, 2015
So, there was a game seven. Diablos lost.
At the end of game six, the stadium announcer told us that tickets for the seventh and deciding game in the series would go on sale at 11am the following day (Wednesday). One of the benefits of being freelance is being able to massage your work day a little and nip out to buy tickets for baseball games. I arrived at the stadium at 9.30am. There was already well over 200 people in the queue. I was very thankful I had a backlog of Radiolabs and This American Lifes on my iPod.
It was a boring time. Achey feet. Four-and-a-half hours in line in total. People would have a wander around and come back with different reports of what was going on. That they’d sold out of all the seats in the infield. Or that they only had solo seats left (ie people not being able to sit together). And once I got to the ticket window, at just gone 2pm, there weren’t many seats left, but still enough to have families of four sitting together.
Back home, I looked in the mirror and saw I had a bit of sunburn on my left arm and neck. It was weirdly exhausting standing in a line for a long time. I took my shoes off, got into bed and relaxed for a couple of hours. At that point, I was very comfortable with the idea of the Diablos losing the game. The thought of any more games, any more queuing for tickets, had drained a lot of the joy of baseball from me.
And when I did get back to the ballpark, an hour before the start of the game, it was pretty subdued. It stayed that way for two or three innings. The crowd, it seemed, all felt the same as me. Then, after taking a 2-1 lead in the first inning, the Toros de Tijuana got five more runs in the top of the third. Diablos 7-1 down. When the first batter came out for the bottom of the third, the atmosphere perked up. It was like we all individually and simultaneously realised: we have to get into this now!
A run in the bottom of the third. 7-2.
A run in the bottom of the fifth. 7-3.
Two runs in the bottom of the sixth. 7-5.
A run in the bottom of the eighth. 7-6.
Close, but not enough.
I’m not a good loser. I hate seeing the other team celebrate. When the last ball flew into the glove of the Tijuana centre fielder, I turned my head and looked away and then at the floor.
The season was over. It began with Tijuana beating the Diablos on opening day. It ended with Tijuana beating the Diablos in game seven of the quarter-finals. In between those two games, the Diablos were by far the best team in the league. That’s what I want to remember from this season.
Diablos Rojos del México, Best Team in the Mexican League, 2015.
I dreamt that Liverpool FC manager Brendan Rodgers had an exhibition of his sculpture, which he called Dub Art. This is a drawing of one of the sculptures that I can remember. It was about shoulder high.
More finger painting here.
Somewhere along the way, my site lost its links page. It seems to me (based on nothing but a hunch and a minor amount of clicking) that the Internet changed when we stopped adding links to our Web sites. Sure, the whole Web 2.0 thing was massive, but in my corner of the Internet, that is the corner where people do their own little projects without overly trying to monetise things too much, and where having your own Web site is a cooler thing than just having a Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, etc., in that corner, having a links page was a great thing. We linked to things we liked, sometimes those sites linked back, and all those sites linking to each other benefited in a little way.
But, somewhere along the way, my site lost its links page. I vaguely remember deciding to not have it as a separate page and just have a bunch of links at the bottom of the menu on the homepage. (Aside: you don’t hear people say “homepage” much anymore, do you? This is how slow and gradual being old takes hold.) And then there must’ve been a bit of a re-jig of the home page and now there are no links on that page. It was never intentional to remove them, not that I remember, anyway. It’s possible I cut and forgot to paste them whilst redesigning. Why I would’ve needed to do that, though, I have no idea.
When I noticed this last week, I made a decision. I could just go and find the old HTML pages that I try to keep semi-organised on my hard drive and recopy and paste those links back in, but it also felt like an opportunity to do a blog post, too. So below are sites (that still exists) I have ever linked to on a Flip Flop Flyin’ links page. If nothing else, this post is worth bookmarking for a bored afternoon when your Feedly is light on new things to click on. They are in alphabetical order. Should you be a stalker and have archived copies of my site, you may well notice that there are some new links in there, too. So 100% of you won’t actually notice that.
From a purely rooting point of view, I want the Diablos Rojos to win tonight. It’s game six in the first round of the playoffs (that is to say, the quarter-finals). The Diablos won the first two games at home last Tuesday and Wednesday, and the Toros de Tijuana won their three home games over the weekend. It’s a best-of-seven series. The Diablos absolutely need to win tonight. And if they do that, game seven will be tomorrow night.
This season, the Diablos’ stadium is a lot smaller (less than 5,000 capacity), and getting tickets is a pain in the arse. They have an online ticket sales but my non-Mexican credit card doesn’t work on their site, so when I want tickets for playoff games, I have to go to queue up when the tickets go on sale. For the first two games of the playoffs, my pal Samuel and I arrived 75 minutes before the advertised start time for ticket sales, and we were about 130th in the line.
Once the Toros won game four and assured us of a game six, they announced the sale of tickets on the next day. I was there about an hour and a half early, and the line was a whole lot shorter, but crucially, when I was choosing which section and row to sit in, I could see on the screen that way more people had used the online booking. Not so many tickets still available in my preferred section.
Which brings us to tonight’s game. There’s a part of me that kinda wouldn’t mind if the Diablos lost. When I am there in a couple of hours, I will of course want them to win, but right now, the thought of the Diablos winning, and not knowing what kind of time suck and ballache will occur tomorrow when I want to get a ticket for game seven… well, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if they lost. The thought of getting tickets for game seven, and if they win that, the next two home games in the semi-finals, stresses me out, too much. (I’ve typed about ticket stress before here.) Plus, it’s my girlfriend’s birthday on the same day as a possible game one of the semi-finals, and her birthday party on Saturday, the same day as game two. And if the Diablos were to get to the Serie del Rey (that is, the final) then, gosh knows how tough it’s gonna be to get non-online tickets from the ticket booth.
All of this comes down to my semi-ambivalence to the idea of playoffs. The Diablos were by far the best team in the Mexican League. So there we go. End of story. Diablos were the best team. But no, we have to endure the idiocy of playoffs where an eighth best team in the league could still conceivable be “champions.” In my head, I know that my team were the best team this year, yet we still have to go through this charade. Last season, the Diablos were the best team in the regular season, and won the championship in the playoffs, too. My joy – and it was proper joy – was partly because the coin toss-iness of the playoffs had not got in the way of proving what I already knew. And it’ll be the same tonight. I just want them to win so that what I already know will be confirmed by the record books. And if they don’t, well, the record books in my head will keep a note, and I won’t have to stress about tickets anymore.
Update, 26 August: Diablos won 14-1. There will be a seventh game tonight. Tickets go on sale at 11am. I will, of course, traipse over to the stadium to buy a ticket, return home, then go back to the stadium for the game. I’m not gonna say it’s a hard life, just, y’know, it’s essentially 2-3 hours wasted in the middle of the day.
I was moderately ambivalent to New Order’s music until seeing them live at the Reading Festival on 25 August, 1989. I didn’t dislike them, just not really a massive fan. Until this show.
This was the setlist:
Round & Round
All the Way
Every Little Counts
Your Silent Face
Bizarre Love Triangle
The Perfect Kiss
Aside from New Order, it was a pretty good line up that day. I saw everything on the main stage: Gaye Bykers on Acid, Spacemen 3, My Bloody Valentine, That Petrol Emotion, Tackhead, Swans, House of Love, and the Sugarcubes.
Back when I was a youngster in the United Kingdom, football kits were, by today’s standards, pretty simple. I grew up at a time that saw the last of the kits without company names across the front. And I grew up at a time when the goalkeeper wore the same shorts and socks as his teammates, he just had a green jersey to identify him. You’d occasionally see Dino Zoff in goal for Italy wearing a grey jersey, which was a revelation for my brain. Another, bigger, revelation was seeing Mexico wearing a green jersey at the 1978 World Cup. A whole team of goalkeepers!
During the entirely legitimate and in-no-way corrupt Concacaf Gold Cup a month or so ago, Mexico had no green jersey. They had a black jersey and a white jersey but no green jersey. Sad face. There was a point during the semi final against Panama, when I tweeted this:
Countries should redesign their flags every season like football teams.
— Craig Robinson (@flipflopflying) July 23, 2015
I soon designed a Danish flag that had elements of the 1986 World Cup jersey. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed like a good idea to do more.
While this idea works best with international flags and jerseys, it’s kinda more pertinent, in my head, to club jerseys. We have to put up with Adidas or Nike or whoever choosing how something we care about looks. This is not a new issue, of course, and this is not a grumpy old man complaining that things were better when he was younger. Indeed, teams changed their kits pretty often in the olden days, I guess it just feels more corporate a thing now that we can actually buy them in shops, something our grandparents couldn’t do.
(That thing of things being better when you were young, though, is a moderately interesting topic, insomuch as it seems obvious that we all have a fondness for the kits in our early years of fandom. My favourite Liverpool kits? Late 70s, early 80s. What colour should Liverpool’s away kit be? Yellow, just like the early 80s one, the first LFC jersey I ever owned. My favourite England kit? The one they wore in the 1980 European Championships and the 1982 World Cup.)
If you look at the excellent Historical Football Kits, you will see team have been changing kits every few seasons for pretty much all time. It has, of course, ramped up in recent years, with most top teams having three new kits (home, away, and third) every damn season. The Seinfeld quote that everyone rolls out when talking about rooting for a team, that you are just rooting for laundry, well, the laundry in football now changes nearly as much as Top Shop’s inventory.
We football fans seem to care a lot about our chosen teams. People are, for better or worse, quite patriotic on the whole. Not sure that I particularly understand that way of looking at the world, but it is the case. So this wee project is just a way of kinda combining the two things to try and make it a bit clearer how the changing of kit designs is important to fans.
It should be noted that some countries can’t really be addressed because of their kit colours never being the same as their flag colours (Australia, Netherlands, or Italy, for example), and Brazil has never really messed about too much with the general concept that could be applied in an non-clunky way to their flags. On the other hand, this project could’ve easily been done solely looking at the (West) German kits over the years.
So, here’s fifteen of ’em: This Season’s Flags.
England, 1980 European Championships and 1982 World Cup
Denmark, 1986 World Cup
USSR, 1988 European Championships
West Germany, 1988 European Championships and 1990 World Cup
Ireland, 1990 World Cup
Sweden, 1992 European Championships
USA, 1994 World Cup
Switzerland, 1996 European Championships
France, 1998 World Cup
Scotland, 1998 World Cup
Nigeria, 2002 World Cup
Spain, 2006 World Cup
Argentina, 2014 World Cup
Portugal, 2014 World Cup
Mexico, 2014 World Cup
More finger painting here.
More finger painting here.
16 days without cigarettes.
A couple of weeks back, a friend and I went to the Cruz Azul vs. Venados game. Cheap tickets because it was a Copa MX game. The Mexican cup is very much a second tier competition here. After the game, I was in a local bar with a pal. We finished chatting, got the bill, paid, got the change, left a tip, and stood up to leave. Very literally less than 10 seconds after doing so, the flat screen telly mounted on the wall above our table fell off its bracket thingy, onto the seat that was still warm from my delightful bum cheeks. Therefore, I have found Jesus*. Vote Ted Cruz**.
* Not really.
** Please don’t.
Full-size here: http://flipflopflyin.com/opticaldisillusions/index.html
I was in the park, the Columbus Circle edge of the park. I had a long walk through the park, ended up in a part of the city that I didn’t recognise. It had that 70s cop movie feel, this part of the city. I took a photo of a tall building with my phone and put it on Twitter. While I was tweeting, a kid told me he liked my baseball cap. I was happy. Maybe I could finally meet some of the people I’ve had contact with since I started the baseball site. I took a short cut down a few steps into an alley. The alley was full of tiny tiny cafes, each with one or two tables at most, all decorated like old fairground rides. Nice colours and lettering on the signs. A waiter told me there was no exit at the end of the alley, but I could get to the other end through his cafe. I climbed up the stairs, and there were lots of low low tables and cushions and people drinking tea. I stumbled as I went out of the door. Stumbled kinda into a table. Two women and a man, all way cooler than me, were sat at the table smoking. I apologised. They asked me “what’s your life?” I told them, “I live in Germany, well, not Germany anymore, I used to, I, I live in Mexico City now.” The woman with short hair told me I was living the dream, and they all got up and jumped onto the bus that was passing. And I was lying in bed, thinking, don’t wake up. You’re in New York, you’ve gotta meet those people. Don’t wake up. And I slowly realised — slowly, like you swim back to the surface after diving into water — that I was awake. And, goddamn it, I wasn’t in New York. Fuck.
Full size here: http://flipflopflyin.com/bittersweetsymphony/index.html
On the Wikipedia page for How Soon Is Now?, there’s a fact taken from Simon Goddard’s 2004 book “The Smiths – Songs That Saved Your Life.”
Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr wrote “How Soon Is Now?” along with “William, It Was Really Nothing” and “Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want” during a four-day period at Earls Court in London in June 1984.
Four days to write this
That’s a ridiculously creative four days.
Fun thing I learned about Welwyn Garden City last week from Wikipedia: it’s both a garden city (like, duh) and a new city. Thus, Venn:
Here’s a bunch of thumbnail doodles in my notebook made into an animated GIF.