Everybody's Got One
A blog. An opinion. An elimination orifice. A dream. An agenda. A past. A hidden talent. A conceptual filter. A cross. A charism (often the same). A task. A wound. A destiny. A lost love. A blind spot. A bad habit. A secret. A passion. A soul ... okay, maybe not everybody ...
Sunday, May 12, 2002


Back from Greenville into expected but still unwelcome busyness - and so late to post. Weekday morning mass there was at Prince of Peace, a suburban place of glass and stained wood and obtuse angles. (The only right angles I saw in the sanctuary were in the doorways and between the arms of the cross – there's probably a low-hanging analogy there for the easy picking.) No pews, no kneelers, stations of the cross in needlepoint (?). But – and this is the remarkable thing – there is what looks like a traditional, vertical, high-ceilinged church under construction next door. I have never known a parish with a Vatican II horizontal building that has changed back to something old-style. (The other direction, yes.) I'm going to have to make a point to stop by in a year or two to see what has happened.

I'll also want to stop by and see St Mary's downtown, in the process of being gutted for complete renovation. Greenville's an interesting place. Much construction and refurbishing, but I can't tell if it's for show or for substance. Maybe they don't know yet themselves. They have a wonderful 'revitalized' downtown with storefront attorneys – apparently, a new urban requirement – and art galleries – ditto – amid restaurants, financial services, brick sidewalks, historical markers ... but it's only a block wide. Hard to know if it will catch and spread. I also like the way they did their relationship to the Interstate: the highway runs south of town rather than through it or through former neighborhoods, and there's a spur that changes from limited access to surface streets at the city center. Clever.

The baseball stadium didn't impress me. Municipal Stadium is a class A facility for a AA farm team – with AA prices. (Yeah, I admit, I would have liked it better had tickets and parking been a couple bucks cheaper – each.) The baseball was passable – but raises a thought:

The Braves farm teams I've seen play over the years – mostly A in Macon – are pretty bad. Some star players here and there, but lousy teams. And that's okay – they're supposed to be. The role of the farm system is to groom the guys who'll be moving up the ladder, promoting them as soon as they're comfortable where they are (or an opening appears one level up). Fine. But in the process, guys don't seem to learn incremental A-B-C little-ball - or to play well with others. What I see happening in the Atlanta team this year is that coming home to roost: no manufactured runs, shaky fourth and fifth starters and middle relief, nobody willing to be a role player. In the past, maybe, the A-Braves could just reload by bringing up another phenom, but the cupboard's getting bare and the cracks are showing.
I'm sure this is a common problem, but something strikes me about the Braves organization: all their minor league teams are called the Braves, from AAA down to A. Most organizations name their rookie league team after the parent – gotta let the newbies know what their ultimate goal is – but allow the others some local identity. Not the Braves. From top to bottom, the message is, you're nothing but a feeder system. No lower-level self-image. No Warthogs, no Bats, no Lookouts, no Smokies, no Crawdads or RedStixx or RiverDogs or Knights or Stars or Avalanche or Hillcats. Does that make a difference? Yeah, it probably does - to the players, and to the towns they (hope to only) pass through.

I need to research some past seasons – are the minor league Braves really as bad as I think they are? What's their typical place in the standings over, say, the last decade? How does that compare to the Yankee system, or the White Sox, or Cardinals? Fortunately – maybe – baseball has records out the wazoo ...

posted by Kelly | 6:06 PM link