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July 2017

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Jan. 1st, 2017

Happy New Year, [ profile] bunny_hugger. With you, it can be.

Let's see. Where was life, back before the world ended?

Ah, right. The Lansing Lugnuts are getting a new outfield over the winter. Apparently the grass just wears out in time and they're replacing the whole thing. Also apparently they didn't replace the whole thing last year when the stadium underwent a major renovation including building apartments along the outfield. And they did something novel but apparently increasingly common among minor-league ballparks replacing their outfields in the off-season: they made a miniature golf course out of it. We got there its last day.

The course was shaved into the lawn starting from a little past the first base. And it was packed. We'd gone the last day because everything else conflicted with something or other, but had expected the thing would be a little interesting but hardly a rush. Apparently everyone figured hey, who wants to wait a decade until the next time they're replacing the outfield? So we had a healthy wait before the first hole.

Not so much the others, though. There were one or two other holes we had waits for, and those were long waits, but past that the course went along about the way any miniature golf game might. We felt a little hurried by the fact we could see so many people behind us, and we're lingerers. Also because we knew we were coming up on the closing hour and didn't know if they'd let people finish their games or just start shooing people out of the ballpark. Finishing the game seemed more likely but you never really know beforehand.

The holes were made by mowing down parts of the outfield for the paths, and they set up obstacles using baseball gear. Bats laid down as barriers, for example, or that thing they put in a batting cage to serve as the catcher to serve the role a windmill might. Piles of baseballs glued together as a bridge to get over, or a base set up to rebound and change a ball's direction. One really delightful hole was itself a miniature infield, the tee at second base and the hole at home. A hose curled up into a twisty path and set on the hard dirt of the infield for one of the last holes. We kept being delighted by the craftiness and imagination of the props.

The thing we kept discovering over and over, though: real grass is surprisingly slow to putt on! We're used to those artificial surfaces. A tap that would've been good for, say, six feet on a real miniature golf course here sent the ball rolling just enough to mock our intentions. Slowly we'd come to compensate, more or less. We always did play for control. But we never got good putting on grass. And one of the last holes was on infield dirt, which might as well be ice. My attempt to tap a ball so it would roll along the curved hose of the hole's borders sent it instead flying up, way past the hose, and off towards parts unknown, possibly in the upper peninsula.

There was something faintly illicit in getting onto the baseball field. Not truly, of course, but to wander around as one liked, poke around the infield, stand on the pitcher's mound (the last hole) and look around the whole stadium --- there's something wonderful to it.

We weren't alone; I think everyone who came to the stadium was happy with it. The woman taking our clubs back mentioned that the event was so successful they were trying to think of ways to do this in a future off-season. Could be fun.

Trivia: The Latin zodiac sign Aries, The Ram, was in Sanskrit `Mesha', and in the Babylonian scheme the `Hired Hand'. Source: Mapping Time: The Calendar and its History, EG Richards.

Currently Reading: Devil On My Back, Monica Hughes.

PS: The End 2016 Mathematics A To Z: Zermelo-Fraenkel Axioms which remarkably closes off this sequence. Who saw that coming?

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