Thursday, October 10, 2013

You can't go home again if they changed the roads...

Recently, I saw a link about the movie, Lilith. It's a 1964 movie starring Warren Beatty that was partly filmed in the town of Rockville, MD which was where I lived for the greatest portion of my life.  Right away I was struck about how much at changed in 50 years  since the movie, and all at various times. To start with the mental hospital (Chestnut Lodge) , that was  depicted (but not shown) in the movie, has been closed (apparently the main lodge burned down) and the land  turned into a housing development/ Of course, much of the old Rockville town center depicted in the movie was demolished in the late 1960's. And going from that beginning, I discovered that the Giant  grocery store next to my house, that was once busy, has now been closed. (I haven't been there in few years).

The infamous Rockville Mall in the distance under construction with the old Rockville library  on the immediate left.

Rockville, MD. is in Montgomery County, a  prosperous suburb of Washington, D.C.  Rockville is far enough away from downtown D.C (15 miles) that till recently, farmland still existed in it's environs.  Since WWII , Montgomery County has been quite a rich county, largely recession proof due to it's proximity to the federal government and it's well educated workforce that comes from all over the country and the world.  Partly due to the availability of  sections   of  undeveloped or partly undeveloped land in most  of the county, there has been a constant flow of development and redevelopment  all through out  the post war period.  Thus, many of the streets, plots, buildings, highways, in Rockville have all been redeveloped since I first moved there in 1972. I moved there from a residential district in Northwest Washington D.C.called Chevy Chase. I lived in Chevy Chase in the 1960's.

Back where I used to live in Chevy Chase D.C.things haven't really changed that much, I can still visit the neighborhood I first lived in the 1960's and find many places haven't changed,my old house and  street are  the same, my church, is mostly the same , the old red brick elementary school that I attended was renovated and added too but still similar on the outside, the last time I looked the library was the same, the local grocery stores slightly renovated but similar, and  the road patterns are the same.

But ,The Rockville of 1960's is nearly almost un-findable today,  They blew up the downtown to build the Rockville Mall in the early 1970's and the renovated the mall a couple times before demolishing it. In recent years they restored some of the streets that were taken away to build the mall.

The main library was rebuilt, my elementary school built in the 1960's entirely rebuilt, the main shopping strip on Rockville Pike has been  redeveloped constantly. The main highway through Rockville, was widened to become a 12 lane parking lot.  One of the  main roads into town, Montrose Road was redirected in the 1990's. Another road,  the Wootton Parkway was slowly built as sort of a town beltway. Over time all the little bits of open land around  where I lived became developed.

Granted the area still looks nice because there is considerable parkland, and green space, but it has changed. One of the changes for the better in my immediate neighborhood, is that the trees are all mature, when I moved most of the trees were new.

Every time I go back to Rockville , I feel more and more like Thomas Hardy, or R.E.M or Bon Jovi or somebody....

Rockshire Development 1970, right before my house was built.

A closeup on the same spot after development
Related Posts at Felpin's Pond  : What happened to Roy Rogers Restaurants. What happened to Roy Rogers restaurants?

A history of Rockshire A history of Rockshire

I remember Chevy Chase

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The 2013 Red Sox had the best record in baseball.

 The 2013 Red Sox had the best record in baseball.

Boston Strong is the motto of the 2013 Boston Red Sox
I was surprised to see that this year’s edition of the Red Sox tied for the best record in baseball with a won-loss record of 97-65. The Red Sox have had the best record in baseball in only one other year (2007) since 1946.  So that is something to be celebrated. 

 Yet, I must admit I am bored by the Red Sox, I used to be big fan, but over the past few years I would just say I am fan.  The team just doesn’t hold my interest.  I became a Red Sox fan during the 1970's  when the Red Sox had great teams and a lot of bad luck.  Prior to 2004, the Red Sox had a number of legendary teams that found a way  to lose big at the last minute (1946, 1948, 1972, 1974, 1978, 1986, and 2003 just  to name a few). The Red Sox broke the string of  bad luck  in a spectacular fashion in 2004 by coming back from a three games to none deficit in a league championship series against the Yankees, and then went on to win the World Series for the first time since 1918.They won the world series again in 2007.

Luck is no longer a factor, now that the curse is over, but that makes the team less interesting.  The team doesn't have really have too many stars with personality-though admittedly baseball stars in general  have less personality then they did in 1970's.  It is considerably more expensive  to see a baseball game .Baseball players make such huge salaries that  it costs a lot more to see a game than it did in the 1970’s and as a result I have been to only one Red Sox game since I moved to New England. I saw the team a lot more when I lived in Maryland.

 Over the past three seasons, The Red Sox have been a Jekyll and Hyde team.  In 2011 they had the 2nd best record in baseball up till a late season collapse, the worst ever in baseball history. They lost 18 of their last 24 games, and fell out of playoff contention on the last day of the season. That  season  was hardly the Greek tragedy of previous Red Sox collapses, because by the end of the season people  were glad that the 2011 Red Sox  were not  playing in the post-season since they had become that embarrassingly bad and unlikable.
The team continued their late seasons woes of 2011, throughout the entire 2012 season, and they ended up in last place in their division with a 69-93 record.  It was their worst season in 46 years.
Surprisingly, the top notch early 2011 team returned to the  playing field  in 2013, and thus they had 28 more wins in 2013 than in 2012. This actually was more of a turnaround than the 20 game win increase  of from 1966 to 1967 when people were amazed by the1967  Impossible Dream team.

I think this Red Sox team lacks the pizzaz of the great Red Sox teams of the past.  They have no pitcher with more than 15 wins, their best pitcher, Clay Buckholz  had only 12 wins.  Clay’s career year was marred by a injury in the middle of the season, but the rest of year he won 12 out of 16 starts (with only one loss) and had an amazing 1.74 Earned Run Average.
Only one of the team's  batters  had good slugger numbers-that was David Ortiz with his 30 home runs and 102 RBI's.  Indeed, other than David Ortiz and Clay Buchholz, none of their regulars  had outstanding years. The Red Sox succeeded this year  because they have a well coached deep team with a lot of talent, solidarity,  and experience.    The post season will tell us whether or not this is a great Red Sox team or simply an overachieving one.

UPDATE:October 30, 2013 The Red Sox defeated the St.Louis Cardinals  in six games to win the 2013 world championship.

2nd UPDATE:October 5, 2014 The Red Sox went back to their losing ways and were last in their division with a 71-91 record in 2014. They became the first team to go from worst to first to worst. 

Also in Felpin's Pond-  A tribute to Nomar Garciaperra