all-stars on the fourth of july

2013 little league t-ball all-star game

I just got back from my son’s little league t-ball All-Star Game. It’s the second time he has taken part, and it was a very hot July 4th Independence Day morning. Very humid too, unusual for Davis. We are in the middle of a really strong heatwave out here in the Western US, and we’ve had temperatures of between 100-111 (or more, some reported) for the past week. That scuppered some of the afternoon practice sessions, but the all-star game itself, made up of kids from various different teams, was early enough not to be in the scorching heat. I felt sorry for some of the older kids. Afterwards we went over for the pancake breakfast.

Happy 4th of July!

sketching at the little league

end of the season

my son's last t-ball game of the season
Last week my son had his final t-ball game of the season. T-ball for those who don’t know (and I didn’t, until I was in this world) is baseball for four-five year olds, the lowest level of the Davis Little League system. Little League is played by just about all of the six hundred million kids in Davis, and the games of t-ball  (so called because for the first few weeks they use a tee to hit the ball from, until they are used to live pitching) are played on the fields at Community Park. The bigger kids play at the Little League field across the street. Parents have to volunteer for a bunch of stuff, and I did a morning shift recently working at the Snack Shack, which was fun. Anyway, my son’s last game for the Diamondbacks was against the Reds, which means you might not be able to tell the teams apart in the sketch above (in the watercolour Moleskine), which doesn’t matter much since I sketched pretty randomly. Also, there is no scoring in t-ball – all the kids get to hit, and run, and field. Playing first base is the best thing because the kids always have something to do. See when a kid hits, it just gets thrown to first base, and then back to the pitcher. After the game, we had a pizza party for the kids, and they all got little trophies (there it si below sketched in the Stillman & Birn Alpha book). Next year he’ll move up to the next level (‘farm’) where they use a pitching machine. But first, the All-Star Game…
t-ball trophy

littlest league

t-ball at the park
My son is playing t-ball again this year, for the second time. T-ball is little league baseball for the very young. They don’t keep score, play two or three innings, everyone gets a chance to learn. I sketched a little at his second game of the season – he plays for the Diamondbacks. He’s an old hand now of course! Sketched on a sunny early evening at Community Park, Davis, in my Moleskine diary. Not easy to sketch these types of things, especially the bit where he was about to bat, but fun trying to capture it quickly. Fun memories!

little and large

little prague, davis
On Saturday night after the Pence Auction, I popped by Little Prague for a couple of beers and the essential detailed bar sketch. Little Prague is probably my favourite Davis pub. It’s the one I’ve known the longest, and they do nice beer (though the Krusovice I used to enjoy is now no longer available). It’s also the pub I have sketched the most. I don’t go very often, and when I do it’s usually on one of those nights where the music is quite dancey and loud. There is however a lot to draw, especially behind the bar, and the lighting is good bar-light. On this night not only did I sell two pieces at the Pence (hooray!) but the San Francisco Giants won the NL West (as mentioned on the TV screen; the Giants tend to be on the TV in my bar sketches). This is great news in our house. This means the Giants will be in the post-season play-offs. Who knows, maybe even with a shot at the World Series? Baseball is a long season with about seventeen thousand million games, so it surprised me that the NL West division only has six teams in it. Even the Scottish Premier League has more teams than that (well, two really, Celtic and Rang- ah, er…). It doesn’t make it any easier though. They play every single day for hours on end, against teams from all over the country and just have to finish with more wins than their divisional rivals (imagine Celtic and Ra-, er, Aberdeen playing against, say, Ajax, in order to get points to win the Scottish title). You see, it all makes sense, especially after a Czech beer.

Hey if you’re interested in seeing some of my previous Little Prague sketches here are a few… spot the difference!

little prague againlittle prague
little prague, october 2010lil' prague
little prague tonightlittle prague lampslittle prague beer-pumplosing my superpowers


at the old ball game

AT&T Park, San Francisco CA
We went to see the San Francisco Giants play again yesterday, second time in a fortnight, and my third time ever. And this time they won! With bases loaded in the 8th inning and the Giants two runs down to the Colorado Rockies, new boy Hunter Pence hit a home run right into that crowd there in the middle of the drawing. The place went wild. Look at me, understanding what is going on, sort of. I am still learning. I am learning that garlic fries might be a good idea but they stick with you a bit. I am learning that when the pitcher is on deck to bat next and there are two outs already, the opposing team walks the current batter because the batting pitcher is less likely to make a hit, and so you have to boo them. Wow, I feel like the scarecrow at the end of Wizard of Oz. I also figured out, all on my own with no help or looking at the answers, that those big yellow poles, which I thought were cellphone towers or something (this is AT&T Park), are the boundaries within which a ball is ‘in’ or ‘out’. It makes sense. This was a good game, the Giants won, we were happy, a nice family day out. My young son got to hit the ball in the mini-version of AT-&T Park they have in the fun area (up near where the big Coke bottle is; that is actually a series of tunnel slides). He got a home run and was well pleased. After the game, all the kids under 14 got to run the bases on the real field. After hundreds of degrees in Davis, it was upper 60s – low 70s in the city, and I was actually freezing cold in the shade. This is a spectacular ballpark though, one of the great stadia in one of the great locations, and it’s just so much fun. Especially when the Giants win.

little giants

SF Giants Bobbleheads
My wife and I went on a date night to see the San Francisco Giants last week, playing against the New York Mets. It was a long and interesting game, going into extra innings (unfortunately! We had a long drive back to Davis but stayed until the end, unlike many others). The Giants ended up losing 8-7, which was a disappointment, but it was a back-and-forth game. I quite like the Mets; they’re that New York team that isn’t the Yankees, and I always think of them fondly, as a bit like Manchester City (before they got all that money and won the league). I did try to chant “You’re just a small town in France!” but nobody seemed to get that one. We were sat in club level, and enjoyed garlic fries and beer and ice cream, and a great view. In club level they have an amazing display of Giants memorabilia, including the 2010 World Series trophy, along with historic bats and baseballs (I sketched one of the game balls from Matt Cain’s perfect game), and an intriguing series of ‘bobbleheads’, those odd reproductions of famous players which often get given away on special game days. I sketched a few from the World series year of some of the well-known players from then (all still prominent Giants). Those bobbleheads never really resemble the players they’re supposed to be – that one of Buster Posey is just well off-base, for one. It was a lot of fun looking at all that stuff, and I could have sketched all night, but there was a game to watch, and garlic fries to eat.
AT&T Park


all-star t-ball hat
My young son recently finished playing his first t-ball season, closing off by being picked on the all-star team to play on the proper little league field on July 4th. Proud parents ahoy! I quickly sketched the field during the game, in my Miquelrius notebook below, and also drew his red all-star game baseball cap, above, in the Stillman and Birn alpha book. That is a good drawing book. After the game, when my son had finally stopped running the bases, we went to the little league pancake breakfast with all the other little leaguers, before going to the movies to see Brave. Well done little dude!
davis t-ball all-star game