Updates: The issues detailed in this story about the interactions with members of the Roosevelt Island community have been referenced in a number of local media sources from Roosevelt Island: NYC 10044, Roosevelt Islander, and Roosevelt Island 360. This update is from 5 June 2009.
(Please note...there are no photos from the game this week as David was off playing Jets and Sharks with a friend of ours...we are going to have a rumble after I post this blog.
The journey to and from Roosevelt Island was somewhat of an adventure yesterday. I arrived at the subway station at 57th and 6th street to find that the F train was running in only one direction. Of course, being new, I was convinced that the island was down by Brooklyn...and when I saw there were no downtown trains I became dismayed. I approached the glass box habitat of the MTA workers, and I laid my anxiety at their feet.
“Hey, since there are no downtown trains, how do I get to Roosevelt Island.”
“Roosevelt Island is uptown.”
“Oh I am so new.”
At this point the Blatino behind the glass started cracking up and said, “Can you say that again, please.”
“I am so new.”
At that point he fist bumped me...our fists separated by about an inch of Plexiglas.
“How do I get to the island then?”
“Just go down those stairs right there. And, you know, there is a mental hospital on the island...you may wanna check it out.”
I cracked up and went to find my train.
The station should have been a clue as to what I would find on the island. The stop was largely deserted. It was sort of like the opening salvos of a horror movie. The unwitting Manhattanites boarding the Hell Train populated by the souls of the damned.
I emerged onto Roosevelt Island to a magnificent view of the Manhattan East River skyline. The island itself was an idyllic massive public housing project. For an island that was first settled by Dutch settlers in 1659...the island had very little in the way of architecture that predated the 1960s. Notable exceptions were a couple of old disease sanitariums, a church, and a house from the 18th century.
The island was beautiful. It was a sunny day marred only by the intense number of amputees roaming the streets. For the first time I saw a wheelbed. Much like a wheel chair with two large wheels in front and two smaller wheels in the back, but it was wheeled by a gentleman that had nothing below his butt checks.
I surmised there must be a hospital that focused on amputees nearby. I later found out that I was indeed correct.
I arrived at the softball fields a good 15 minutes before any of my teammates. I spent my first ten minutes staring out at the East River, at an industrial site, chanting and sending good juju to the team.
Once some of the other boys arrived, we began chatting with some of the folks there from the other teams already on the field. Turns out Roosevelt Island is a little bit like the Village of the Damned.
The field on which we would be playing was beautiful. A stand of birch trees at one end. A natural outcropping of native rock to the side of the fields. And raging idiotic local residents screaming racial and homophobic epithets out of their apartment windows.
Turns out when the other teams first arrived the locals had decided that despite the fact that our league had purchased permits to play on the fields that we should bow to them and allow their little rug rats to play ball on the field. It got so rowdy that the police came and arrested one of the parents. The families scattered, but mid-way through the second game of the first set of teams playing, we were treated to a whole host of obscenities. The best part ever was that the man screaming these things was sitting in the window with his two little boys standing next to him. That's what I call good parenting.
I wanted to scale the building and bitch slap him.
It also didn't help that a guy from one of the other teams playing was a complete and total drama queen, and was advising us...in the middle of the day...surrounded by amputees and old ladies...to walk in groups and carry our bats in our hands. Responding to idiocy with barely veiled racism is not necessarily the way to go.
That was the bullshit of the day....
The good part of the day started when Clay showed up. He was wearing a few too many clothes for my taste. I would have preferred him to play the entire game in a pair of boxer briefs and a whistle. But, you know, that's just me. We were sitting and chatting and it came around to the...ummm....guess the ethnic mix game. Clay's guess was that I was a Hisblasian. After correcting him, telling him that I am actually a Blatinoindiwhite, he raised his hand in a very pontifical manner and declared “Hisblasian.”
It was great to see the ladies of the Rookies. Noah was crackin' the whip, including at one point when Bowman and I were having a nice chat in the outfield and the Dish had the nerve to smack a ball to Right Center. I mean. Really. Who does that.
My other gem play of the day was when I picked up the ball, the play was at second, and I threw the ball to first. I am so awesome.
We had a great game. I smacked the ball way oh way out to the edge of the field. Reggie, after threatening to pack us all up and ship us to work on a cotton field in Alabama if we didn't play aggressively, took the field to fill in for Jim who was off doing something or another. Bowman, Noah, Herrick, Scott, Clay, and everyone else treated that ball like it was the back of a Mormon missionary's head. Smack! Smack! Smack!
In the end we won 15-8.
I had to leave before the second game, so I am not sure how that one faired. If Clay did remove any more clothing, I am going to be deadly upset. But, the first game was a blast, even with the idiots in the windows and the unclean souls on the train ride over.
(Update...I found out that we lost the second game 12-4. Clay should definitely have taken his clothes off.)