Mis pantalones son café: Mets Player & Pitcher of the Month for April

And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for, the Mets Player and Pitcher of the Month for April! Based on player of the game points I awarded Mets players throughout the month of April, the winner by a wide margin should be no surprise to anyone (at least Susan).

Congratulations to Jose Reyes, Mets Player of the Month for April 2007!

The Mets Pitcher of the Month for April, and fifth overall PotG point-receiver, is Cuba’s own Orlando Hernandez.

Congratulations El Duque, here’s hoping you return swiftly from the Disabled List!

Here are the complete Player of the Game point totals through April 30:

Reyes 31.5
Beltran 22
Green 21.5
Alou 18
Hernandez 13
Wright 13
Delgado 12
Maine 12
Valentin 12
Glavine 9.5
Perez 9.5
Smith 7.75
Castro 6.5
LoDuca 6.5
Schoeneweis 6
Sele 5.5
Chavez 5
Easley 4
Franco 4
Heilman 3.5
Feliciano 2.75
Wagner 2.5
Burgos 2
Newhan 1
Pelfrey 0.5

Playground Game Revival

Today’s Boston Globe talks about the revival of two children’s playground games now played recreationally by adults: dodgeball and kickball. Without getting snarky about the Globe being behind the times in tracking trends, I’d like to say that I’m totally behind this movement. Susan & I had a lot of fun playing on a Boston Ski & Sports Club kickball team a while back at some point I’d like to find the time to get involved with WAKA (we own a WAKA-approved kickball after all). I’d also like to note that kickball is a wonderful game to play at a wedding reception.

As for dodgeball, I have a question for my readership. The game commonly known as dodgeball, as described in this article, was known as Bombardment when we played it at my schools as a child growing up in Stamford, CT. Now I will not deny that Fairfield County Nutmeggers can come up with unusual alternate terminology. For example, the sandwich often referred to as a sub or a hero is known exclusively as a “wedge” in this part of Connecticut.

We had a game called dodgeball as well. Our PE teacher would make all the kids stand in the circle, and one kid would go to the center of the circle while all the other kids tried to bean him/her with a playground ball. My guess is that the PE teacher would say this version of dodgeball improved childrens’ agility as s/he tried to avoid being hit by ball. In practice it was just another way for children to be cruel to the slow, fat kids. I hated dodgeball.

When I tell people of this game, they say they’ve never heard of it. Furthermore, many people think I’m making it up. So tell me readers from around the world, have you ever been forced to participate in this rather sadistic version of dodgeball or at least heard of it being played?

Links to organizations mentioned in the articles:Big Kids Dodgeball

World Adult Kickball Association

Movie Review: March of the Penguins

The other day while recovering from dental surgery I watched March of the Penguins (2005) the third in a string of recent big screen documentaries about birds along with Winged Migration (2001) and The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill (2005). The movie tells the story of the love life of the Emperor Penguin. These flightless birds who are designed best for swimming must walk (or push themselves on their bellys) 70 miles inland to their breeding grounds. This begins a remarkable 9 months of mating, nesting, and raising chicks in the harshest environment imaginable.

I found myself at times thinking that there must be some easier way while at the same time amazed by the adaptations that have evolved in these penguins that allow them to continue to survive and reproduce. The location of the breeding grounds is selected because it is away from predators, it is on stable ice that won’t break under the eggs or young chicks, and is in a valley which provides some shelter from the harsh winter winds.

The eggs must be given particular care for if they spend more than a few moments on the ice the chick inside will die. So the penguins balance the eggs on their feet, keeping them warm under a fold of skin on the abdomen. Having not eaten for some time the mothers transfer the eggs on to the feet of the fathers and make the 70 mile (or longer) walk back to the sea. By the time they return, the chick are born and are ready for their first meal from their mothers’ mouths. At this time the males return to the sea, and the females care for the chicks. Back and forth the penguins march in the effort to get food and care for their young. By the time the chicks are old enough to live on their own, the ice pack has receded and there’s a much shorter walk for their first trip to the sea.

At first I was confused by the nine-month process which would mean that the majority of a penguin’s life would be involved in this complicated breeding process. Near the end of the film narrator Morgan Freeman mentions that penguins don’t start to make the march until they are five years old. So the young penguins and older penguins who could not mate or who lost their chick probably make up a pretty sizable population of penguins who remain by the sea all year long.

This movie does have some flaws. Freeman is forced to use his wonderful voice to read some pretty awful cliches from the script. There’s a lot of anthropomorphism going around too. Finally the soundtrack can be bombastic at times. Overall though this is a beautiful and educational documentary that captures a natural drama. The DVD includes a behind-the-scenes documentary narrated by one of the French filmmakers and a classic Bugs Bunny short.