Dre\’s Ramblings

Dre’s 101 in 1001: NYC – One more visit to the House that Ruth Built


People generally say that things happen for a reason. Getting to do things I don’t normally get to is a great reason to go on a trip, only that’s not normally the case. However opportunities kept presenting themselves throughout the weekend. One of them was the chance to venture into what some would call one of the great cathedrals of America’s pastime on more time before it is replaced. I called it my home away from home for most of my high school years on summer weekends.

I am one of the people that would tell you that growing up in the Bronx and not being a Yankees fan might be considered sacrilegious. I grew up as diehard a fan as you could get, watching the games on TV, mimicking Don Mattingly’s stance, enjoying getting the chance to hear the current voice of the New York Yankees, John Sterling, on AM radio.

The main reason for this trip was to visit my grandmother, whom I had not seen in more than two years. She was the one that had me watching baseball and who is responsible for me admitting that I’m a Bronx native with pride whenever I wear the blue NY anywhere in the world. It just made sense to do something I had not been able to do since going to college: watch the Yanks and the Red Sox duke it out on the Sunday night game of the week. The last time I’d gone to the stadium, I got to watch the second half of a day/night doubleheader when the Clemens/Piazza event occurred… six years ago… so I was due for a visit. Especially since I’m not sure when I’ll be up again during baseball season before my hometown heroes inhabit a new home, albeit just across the street from the old one (and a replica no less).

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The Friday Ramble: Barons, Fishes and dreams
June 23, 2006, 12:51 pm
Filed under: baseball, Birmingham, AL, Random shots, Rickwood Field, The Rambles, urban issues

Root for the home team


Thursday was a hot day, but still a great one if you were interested in being outdoors. Baseball’s oldest ballpark was on display during its annual visit from its former tenants, the Birmingham Barons. This year the White Sox Double-A farm team was able to send us home happy as they beat the Smokies 3-2 (and not without some drama in the ninth) before a crowd of more than 4,700. There are some images of the game and historic Rickwood Field in the Smugmug gallery.

Movies and money take center stage in downtown

It was an interesting view last night as I sat in Linn Park. Bets and I were there to watch Big Fish as part of the Movies by Moonlight series. The screen for the series is placed in front of City Hall, providing me a glimpse of a television set in council chambers, where the Mayor and Council were meeting to finalize the fiscal year budget. A compromise was reached sometime shortly before the end of the film, allowing for concerns about a lapse in insurance coverage for city employees to not become a reality. The budget also allowed for increased funding for several initiatives throughout the city, including an increase in Ruffner Mountain’s annual funding from $70,000 to $125,000. This morning’s Birmingham News reported on the compromise. (Kincaid’s modified budget approved, The Birmingham News, 6.23.2006).

The movie also brought out another great crowd, despite the threat of rain in the city center and rain falling around the city. There are great plans for the event in July, a great reason to check back tomorrow and find out more.

What is your vision for Birmingham?

Finally, vacation time is almost upon me, and I’ve decided to approach it a little differently than normal here. Months ago I wrote a post talking about my vision for Birmingham. Click here to read the post and the comments made in response. I’d promised to contact individuals and see if they’d offer their versions of “My Birmingham” for the blog. E-mails have been sent to some of those people, in hopes that their comments will grace the pages of this site while I’m off trying to relax. I’d love to get others to offer up their thoughts on the issue. Please e-mail me your comments along with a brief bio so people know who you are. We’ll make sure that if you have a blog or a website that we’ll link to it. I look forward to hearing from some of you.

You can always answer yesterday’s question too.

Enjoy the weekend.


The Friday Ramble: Sound check for the summer

Things come full circle

I was asked recently how I ended up here in Birmingham. I think I’ve tried to answer this question before, but not completely. If I have, we’ll just find the link to it later and post it here. It was shortly after a forced two-year break from college ended and a friend of mine convinced me to visit Birmingham for City Stages weekend. My first visit into town

In 2004 I decided (about this same time of year) that it was time to move from Savannah, GA and get on with a career. I also knew that I didn’t want to go back to the Northeast just yet. So I brought Betsy over to what was then my fifth trip to the festival (and umpteenth to the city) and decided that it was where we wanted to be next. I still consider finding the job extremely great timing. So it is always with enjoyment that I look to this weekend.

There are several problems currently facing the three-day music festival. However, it is still a draw and a deal, especially when you consider the comparisons made on this morning’s Birmingham News opinion page. (Get your hot doughnuts now, The Birmingham News 6.16.2006)

It was always an escape for me from my existence along the coast. Getting near the foothills of the Appalachian,, hearing the rain that would inevitably fall at least one night while I tried to fall asleep with a breeze going outside, still trying to figure out when Dippin Dots would really become the ice cream of the future (still funny) was a great relief. The festival always served as an excuse to come visit, wander through the neighborhoods and wonder what else could appear. Now, the same excitement begins to appear in my mind, despite now living in the city and being exposed to all of its issues and concerns. It serves as the unofficial start of my year, more because of its mental place as a jumping off point. It’s a way to get some friends to come by and visit, though I have learned of other year-round attractions that accomplish the same thing. It is still amazing to tell people about the festival and Birmingham. Perhaps in the coming years it will return to its former size. We’ll see if we can’t post some images over the weekend and plant the seed.

Massey’s heading to East Lake

Driving home from work yesterday, I noticed that Massey’s had a “we’re relocating” sign on their window. At first I was quite upset; then I realized the location of their new building was in one of my office’s target districts. While downtown residents will surely be upset by losing a local hardware store, residents in East Lake renovating homes and planting gardens will surely enjoy the close proximity to this long time business. Once I find out some more information, I’ll let you know. For now, read the Birmingham News article from Wednesday. (Massey Mercantile moving for another downtown loft, The Birmingham News, 6.14.2006)

Next week is crazy too

This is a busy time of year to live here. The Rickwood Classic takes place next week Thursday at America’s oldest ballpark. This will include an appearance by former Yankees pitcher Tommy John. Later that evening, you can always enjoy Big Fish, the second Movies by Moonlight film in Linn Park downtown. Click here to view the MySpace page. Friday night is the next installment of Art on the Rocks at the Birmingham Museum of Art. All in all, a pretty busy time in town (now if I could only lose this stupid crutch sooner).


I wrote a piece on the effects of Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast last September. Click here to view the post. I recently looked over the post after my trip to New Orleans. The one thing that disturbs me is that it appears that there are some long term issues that must be examined.

Enjoy the weekend.