Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Cicadas and baseball

Our area is in the midst of the emergence of a huge swarm of 17-Year Cicadas. It's amazing how many of them there are and how noisy they can be. Here's an interesting article [updated to a better article]. One of the folks at work was out for a walk and saw the one pictured here - just emerging from its exoskeleton (there's a picture of that below). Just after I took these pictures and sent them around, another friend from our office stopped off at my desk with a gift of the fourth edition of the ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia (his wife had received it as a free gift and he knew how much I like baseball). I saw that the records in the book went back before 1900 and one of the guys in my office suggested looking up "Moonlight" Graham who was mentioned in the movie Field of Dreams. Sure enough, there was a Moonlight Graham who got into one game in the major leagues but never got an at-bat (it's explained in the movie). Archibald Wright Graham was born in Fayetteville, NC on Nov 12, 1877 and died in Chisholm, MN on Aug 25, 1965. He played his one game for the New York Giants in 1905.

That started a discussion about how frustrating it would be to work so hard toward the goal of getting to be a major league ballplayer and coming that close only to just miss the dream. "Moonlight" Graham never played in the majors after that. I said it would sort of be like living in the dirt sucking plant sap for 17 years only to emerge and not be able to find a girlfriend. Then we decided that would make a great Country and Western song. The other options were to have the cicada die on the windshield of a car rushing to this area to see the cicadas emerge.

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