Jose Altuve, Dallas Keuchel and Astros Photography

We went to Oakland and had some rare field-level seats to see the Astros face the A’s. Here are four pictures, slightly edited for effect. Altuve’s first three at-bats: single, double, triple. And he went first to third on Correa’s infield single. Will Jose Altuve become the shortest MVP in baseball history this year?

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“Altuve at the Bat” (Jonah Hall)

 

 

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“Middle Infield.” (Jonah Hall)

 

 

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“Warming Up” (Jonah Hall)

 

 

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“Keuchel Delivers” (Jonah Hall)

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Michael Kiwanuka “Love and Hate”

Listen.

New Musical Express (NME) review:

In 2012, Michael Kiwanuka left Frank Ocean and Skrillex in his wake to win the BBC’s ‘Sound Of’ poll. But since then, the north Londoner has been somewhat less prominent than some of the poll’s other champs. While Adele, Ellie Goulding and Sam Smith have gone on to be bigger than the Brexit backlash, Kiwanuka has avoided becoming a household name. ‘Love & Hate’ could change all that. Four years since the pleasant Bill Withers-balladeering of his debut ‘Home Again’, Kiwanuka has brought in the production heft of Danger Mouse, as well as up-and-comer Inflo, to seriously up the ante. This is an album that’s not d**king around.

Opener ‘Cold Little Heart’ is a stonking 10 minutes long – a good five minutes of heroic ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ soloing, the angelic trilling of a butter-soft choir and a sweeping string section before Kiwanuka’s astonishingly self-possessed vocal strides into the mix. “Bleeding, I’m bleeding… I can’t stand myself,” he croons, as he picks through the tatters of a relationship.

It’s not just the soppy stuff that Kiwanuka confronts head on. On ‘Black Man In A White World’ he brings up questions surrounding racial identity – Kiwanuka is of Ugandan descent – over a funk-inflected Marvin Gaye throwdown. Spirituality is on the table too, with the dreamy ‘Father’s Child’ opening up about his relationship with religion over violins that bring to mind Minnie Riperton’s soul classic ‘Les Fleurs’. The iconic 1970 track is a cornerstone of the album, gracefully grounding a number of songs here, the warm shuffle of ‘Place I Belong’ included.

“The confessional aspect is cathartic for me,” explains Kiwanuka about his need to splurge his feelings in the studio. “A lot of this album was grappling with the insecurities that I’d learned. The first album was grappling with faith. Here, I’m not so worried about that – I’ve accepted that it comes and goes, and now I’m left with myself.” We’ll take it.
Read more at http://www.nme.com/reviews/michael-kiwanuka/16521#1lYT5TgxY0WHAhqq.99

http://www.nme.com/reviews/michael-kiwanuka/16521

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Al Horford’s Family History: The Strange, Tangled Journey of Tito Horford, Basketball Star (via Washington Post, 1986)

I’ve always enjoyed Al Horford’s game. I’m thrilled that the Celtics signed him to a four-year deal. Boston fans are going to love watching Horford. The team has officially landed in the top tier of the East. I wanted to learn a little more about how Al Horford came to be one of the biggest Latino basketball stars in NBA history. Al’s dad, Tito, was the first Dominican-born player in the NBA. The NCAA recruitment of Tito was a tangled concoction of NCAA lawsuits, false promises, mid-1980’s naivete, with a host of manipulations and bribes. Tito’s journey to play college basketball, and eventually make his way to the NBA was a mess.

Tito’s father (Al’s grandfather) was born in the Bahamas and then moved to a sugar mill town on the coast of the Dominican Republic, where Tito and his six siblings were born. Al’s dad was 6’10” as a 15 year-old. San Pedro do Macoris, a town of about 80,000 in the early 1980’s became known as a hub for young Dominican baseball players headed on a path to the Major Leagues. Tito realized he was too tall to become a pitcher and was introduced to basketball. Various schools, from the University of Houston, to LSU, and eventually University of Miami were involved in recruiting him.

Cultural Context

It’s always interesting to consider the paths that take a family from Point A to Point B to Point C. The Dominican Republic brought the Red Sox franchise back from the depths in Pedro, Manny, and David Ortiz. Twenty years ago, many New Englanders didn’t know the difference between Dominicans and African-Americans. Today, the Dominican flags are everywhere. Pedro changed everything, in that respect. Pedro’s starts brought an unbelievably electric atmosphere to Fenway in 1999, as this Peter Abraham story documents.

Xander Bogaerts, a native of Aruba, and Hanley Ramirez, who is also Dominican, continue that legacy of Caribbean influence. The success of those players in Boston was not coincidental in Horford’s free-agency choice.

Welcome, Al. We can’t wait to see you in green and to create a new chapter in Celtics history.

Here’s the full story of Tito’s NCAA journey to Miami, from the Washington Post, written in 1986. (Collected in the LA Times online archive):

http://articles.latimes.com/1986-10-12/sports/sp-3119_1_tito-horford

 

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