Say It Ain’t So, Joe….

I want to make it abundantly clear that, while I have a fairly active imagination, I'm not one of those nutters given to conspiracy theories...I repeat, I'm not a conspiracy theory guy. But the baseball played by the Cardinals in the early innings of last night's World Series opener was so surpassingly strange, so surreal, that it brought eerie echoes to me of the curious doings in the 1919 Series. Yes, that one, the Black Sox one, the thrown one. I'm not actually suggesting the fix is in here of course, just that the self-destruction of the Cards was so utter and blatant that it almost resembled fixed baseball, they couldn't have played much worse the first couple of innings if they'd tried to. In the first inning of Game One in 1919, the Chicago conspirators (pitchers Cicotte and Williams, fielders Risberg, Gandil, Felsch, Weaver, Jackson and McMullin) were to give a sign to the gamblers that the fix was in. It could have been a fat, hanging pitch, a dropped flyball in the outfield, or a botched double-play, but those might have happened legitimately and naturally, Rothstein and his cabal of gamblers wanted something surer, more deliberate and discernible; the sign was to be Cicotte hitting Cincinnati's lead-off hitter with a pitch in the first inning. Cicotte dutifully plunked Morrie Roth, the high-rollers laid their money down and the rest is history; black, life-ruining, soul-destroying history. The Cardinal implosion was partly bad play, partly bad luck more [...]

Sarahndipity – I Feel Pretty…Good

They might be called jazz serendipity, those odd moments when out of the blue (and often out of context), you chance to hear a great jazz performance and it simply takes your head off, you're just gone, palpably reminded of how great and uplifting this music can be. I had the strangest one of these one summer night after a gig, quite a few years ago. I can almost pinpoint the time because I was working at The Senator and that club closed sometime in 2005, so it was likely the summer of 2004 or 2005. It was a Saturday in August and the city was emptier and quieter than usual, as it gets at that time of the year. I was playing at the club in a trio led by saxophonist Trevor Hogg, with David Braid playing piano. We were presenting the music of Lennie Tristano and his famous pupils Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh. The music was challenging but fun, though a bit lonely for me without drums; I think The Senator was cutting back to just trios that summer in an attempt to stay open. I left the club shortly after one in the morning. I'd had a few, wasn't exactly tipsy but I wasn't feeling any pain either. I crossed Victoria St. to cut across Dundas Square on my way to the subway. There had been the usual drecky live show there that night, but by then the crowd had dispersed and the square was fairly deserted, though there were still bright lights on and a crew was tearing down equipment on the stage. Some music was playing really loud over the P.A. system, but for once it wasn't more [...]