Stars of Tribeca Pt. 2

Capsule reviews and ratings of the films of the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival

Land of Gold ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A second generation Sikh-American truck driver sets out on one last long haul trip before his wife is due to give birth. As he does he discovers an unexpected addition to his cargo, an undocumented Mexican-American girl of maybe 10 who also is headed to Boston.

This is a movie about immigrants, told from their perspective by a director, Nardeep Khurmi, who is an immigrant himself. He also plays the role of Kiran, the trucker.

Elena turns out to not be the shy, scared little girl you’d expect. Instead Kiran ends up sharing his cab with a saucy, articulate, opinionated young lady. A pretty good companion for long days on the road. He introduces her to Indian food, she talks him into a burger run. She takes him to church, he brings her to a Sikh temple.

Eventually she tells her story. She ran away as the rest of her family was taken away in a raid by immigration police. He flashes back to his own family’s experiences. Along the way they encounter the occasional scowl which immigrants in America must be all too familiar with. More consequential are the encounters with immigration police.

This is a touching, emotional movie that rings true at every turn. I hated to see it end.

Land of Dreams ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Haunting and mysterious. A young Iranian-American woman is a census worker, knocking on doors and not just getting demographic data but asking people to recall their most recent dreams. She records this, brings it back to the office, and plugs it into some high tech apparatus through which, amidst a flurry of blue lights and bar graphs, it is processed.

Why? “For your security” says Simin the census taker, but she knows nothing further. And the stone faced census execs at headquarters aren’t letting on. It’s a little like a next-century 1984. Some unseen technology enables ank enhanced level of surveillance.

The movie is structured as a series of vignettes as Simin goes on her different appointments. The setting is New Mexico, beautifully filmed in all its starkness.

The festival blurb suggests it’s political satire mixed with science fiction. Maybe. There’s a scene where she visits a “colony” where Iranian revolutionaries who fought the Islamic state are holed up. There’s another where she encounters an evangelical cult. How it all fits together I’m not sure but the movie is as much about how immigrants are perceived in America as anything else. As with Land of Gold, the Iranian-American directors are both immigrants. Sheila Vand, who plays Simin, is a second generation Iranian-American.

If you’re the kind of person who likes their movies to tie up all the loose ends and spell things out, this may not be for you. This one’s vague. But I found the movie captivating, and Vand’s performance mesmerizing.

Jerry and Marge Go Large ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

It’s an overused expression but this is truly a feel-good comedy. Gerry is involuntarily retired from a corn flakes plant in Michigan. He mopes around a bit not knowing what to do with himself. Then he comes up with the key to his so-called Golden years. He discovers a flaw in a state lottery game which he exploits in a big way.

There are morals to the story. One is about how a guy who could do this had been stifled for decades working as a line manager. Another is about the wise-ass Harvard kid who turns out to not be quite as smart as he thinks he is. And another is the neighbor helping neighbor theme. Indeed, Jerry and Marge’s small town Michigan is like a new age Mayberry.

This is now the third movie I’ve seen at the festival from three different countries about a long-time married couples overcoming their boredom. As if there weren’t more serious societal problems. This one is the funniest. And the fact that it is supposedly based on a true story makes the feel-good part even better.

Katrina Babies ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

You don’t need millions of dollars, a fancy set and state of the art equipment to make a good movie. Katrina Babies has some interviews, a bit of animation and some archival footage. And it couldn’t be more interesting.

It’s 2005 in an underwater New Orleans when this documentary begins. Small children are being rescued from rooftops in a basket hanging from a helicopter. One of the children who evacuated, although he was fortunate enough to do it in the family car, was Edward Buckles Jr. Since then, Buckles has used his camera to record friends, family and neighbors, children at the time but adults now, as they talk about the hurricane, the evacuation and eventually coming back to the city. The result is this movie.

Above all else Buckles message is that the story is ongoing. There is a scene of tourists eating beignets at Cafe du Monde. All seems as it was. That’s not the case for the people Buckles introduces us to. One young woman tells how her family was put up in FEMA trailers that were full of formaldehyde. Not long after she developed a cancerous tumor on her stomach.

While Buckles doesn’t emphasize this point, it’s clear that the losses of family, of homes, of neighborhoods would have played out a lot differently if those neighborhoods weren’t predominantly black. “What we lost we’ll never get back,” Buckles last word.

January ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A somber movie about a depressed film school student in Riga, Latvia, in 1991, as that country was fighting for its independence from the USSR.

Jazis, the student, approaches most of life with seeming indifference. That includes the girlfriend he should have cared about losing and his position of being subject to conscription into the Russian army. It also includes his parents: a father who is still a member of the Communist Party and a mother who is out on the streets demonstrationing for independence.

Jazis views it all through the lens of his father’s old camera. He films his girlfriend Anna, some drunken teen romps, the quiet sea, and gets knocked around filming the police. One wonders how this collection of random scenes would fit together as the movie he aspires to make. In January, these pieces of this and that somehow do fit together.

This is an artistic but darkly filmed movie. More than once I found myself wondering if it was in color, because there is little. It is slow and pensive and brings us no conclusion, but is eminently watchable.m

Roving Woman ⭐️⭐️⭐️

The roving woman is Sara. We are introduced to her wearing a sleek dress standing in her driveway banging on the door of a house. Inside, a boyfriend/fiancé who is apparently through with her.

With no money, clothes or pretty much anything else, Sara hits the road. Eventually she finds her way to a gas station where she steals a car and heads out on the road to some pretty desolate place. She meets a number of people along the way: a mystical dude with a face mask, a couple honeymooning in a trailer, a guitar-playing recluse. Mostly these encounters are just odd.

This is the moodiest of movies. The scenery is stark. The music is dirge-like. None of the things you might fear would happen to a half-dressed woman sleeping alone in a stolen car actually happen. Nor does much else happen.

My interest in this one didn’t last as long as the movie did.

Good Girl Jane ⭐️⭐️

This movie won the jury award for best U.S. narrative feature. Beats me why.

Jane is a high school girl trying to adjust to a new school. Her parents are divorced. Her mother turns every conversation into complaining about her father and her father is MIA. Jane connects with the wrong crowd and you can pretty much guess what happens from there.

A good part of the movie becomes a whirlwind drug fueled maze of partying and car seat sex. Making matters even worse is a toxic 21-year-old boyfriend and con artist who ups the ante on the drugs.

Rain Spencer won the jury prize for best performance in a U.S. narrative feature for her portrayal of Jane. I’m okay with that but as for the film, we’ve all seen this story before and it’s pretty predictable.

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Stars of Tribeca Pt. 1

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Stars of Tribeca Pt. 1

Capsule reviews and ratings of the films of the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival

Employee of the Month ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

My experience suggests that anything about “employee of the month” programs would be an invitation to ridicule and cynicism. This unique, smart Belgian movie could well be titled “The Revenge of the Employee of the Month.”

Billed as a dark comedy, there are a series of underlying issues about equal pay, workplace harassment and sexual assault. Ines is an underpaid, overworked and sexually harassed secretary. Melody has joined her as an intern and is greeted to a two-foot mound of paper to be fed one sheet at a time through a desktop shredder. Together they come up with the final solution for the misogynists they work with.

Leaving aside the equality issues and the bloodshed, this is a movie that’s full of laughs. The stereotypical portrayal of the good-old-boy office is hilarious as is the bullshitting boss, the narcissistic sales guy and the management bureaucrats.

Tiu ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Not much chance of my being able to provide an objective review of this short documentary because I’m a big fan of the Icelandic band Of Monsters and Men which the movie is about. It celebrates both the tenth anniversary of their first album and the release of their most recent one, also named Tiu.

The band takes us on a tour of places in Iceland that were of significance to them and plays songs that relate to their experience. For example, the camera visits Nanna’s great grandmother’s house and they do a song there about a bowl of sugar on the table, something her great grandmother always set out for her.

What we don’t see in this documentary is the rock band. Instead we see a soft, harmonious, gentle band playing thoughtful, introspective songs. What we also see is some beautiful cinematography capturing the landscape of Iceland.

The name Tui is ten in Icelandic. There are ten songs on the album. They are songs that were written over a period of ten years that didn’t make it onto other records. Doesn’t matter, they’re good.

Cha Cha Real Smooth ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Andrew is 22 years old. He just graduated from Tulane. He’s back home crashing in his little brother’s room. He got a gig behind the counter at “Meat Sticks.” He scores a second gig as a party starter for a string of Bar Mitzvahs in Livingston, N.J. Then he gets a third gig as a babysitter for the autistic girl who sits in the back corner at those Bar Mitzvahs.

It is the Bar Mitzvah gig that gives the movie its name. As someone who lives in New Jersey and who married into a Jewish family from Livingston, I was ready to start laughing before they even rolled the opening titles.The Bar Mitzvah part doesn’t disappoint, even though some of these gatherings result in a stream of profanity, bouts of drunkenness and even fisticuffs.

The other central theme to this movie is the hot and cold relationship between Andrew and the autistic girl’s mother Diamond. Diamond is played by Dakota Johnson who seems grossly out of place at a Bar Mitzvah.

If you can call this a RomCom, I’d say the com is a lot better than the rom. Ultimately it’s about discovering something that many of us realized later in life: that we didn’t know what the hell we were doing when we were 22.

Carol & Johnny ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A documentary about a couple in their 70’s, facing the camera, talking about their lives and wondering where they’ll go next. He’s is Seattle. She’s in Texas.

They are still married but have no idea if they’ll see each other again.

The lives that they reminisce about include 56 bank robberies and two decades in prison.

It’s hard to find much good in Johnny Madison Williams. He stole things when he was a kid. Took a pounding from the adults who raised him. Went to jail for robbing a convenience store then got out, married Carol, and coerced her into being the driver of the getaway car on his heists. Somehow he got 19 years behind bars and she got 20.

This is not Bonnie and Clyde. You can’t romanticize these two. What’s fascinating is how ordinary they seem and how matter-of-factly they tell their story. Johnny doesn’t make excuses for himself and doesn’t show much remorse. Carol says she became a criminal so her husband would love her. Folks like this don’t often get to tell their long form story and it’s pretty interesting to watch.

Karaoke ⭐️⭐️⭐️

A visit to the penthouse changes the lives of a 60ish couple in an Israeli apartment building. It all starts when Itzak, the guy upstairs blocks Meir’s car in the parking garage with his Maserati. That results in an apologetic invite to the top floor where Meir and Tova clearly are fish out of water.

Meir, a quiet, unassuming regular guy sort ends up singing karaoke (quite well), hopping on the back of Itzak’s motorcycle and doing a line of coke. Tova goes from calling the police because of the noise to doing Spanish dances for Itzak in the penthouse.

Does it produce self-realization? Or just middle age folly? Beats me.

The premise promises more fun than the movie provides. There’s a few laughs and lots of awkwardness. Trying to stir the pot for middle-aged married couples seems to be  a theme this year. As in:

Nude Tuesday ⭐️⭐️

Bruno and Laura are an unhappy, harried and seemingly unloving married couple. For their anniversary, Bruno’s mother gives them a gift certificate to a retreat that promises to revive your sex life.

Once there, they stay in yurt-like cabins, listen to the suspicious head guru and do exercises like sitting in a circle touching the genitals of the person on their right.  Nothing here is either titillating or especially funny. That goes for the film as well. The suspense is in wondering whether Bruno and Laura completely lose their minds. The most touching part of the movie is Laura’s relationship with the on-premises goat. Sadly Fritz the goat does not make it to Nude Tuesday, the climax of the program.

You may wonder why this New Zealand movie has subtitles and is in an indistinguishable language. It’s because they aren’t speaking a language, they’re talking gibberish. It’s clever, quirky, but not necessarily engaging.

The Lost Weekend: A Love Story ⭐️

This is a documentary about a young Chinese American woman from New York who becomes John Lennon’s girlfriend? lover? roommate? for 18 months while he and his wife Yoho Ono take something of a break. May Pang got a job with Apple Records, then becomes John and Yoko’s personal assistant, then focuses her “assisting” totally on John.

Pang seems to claim that the whole affair was Yoko’s idea. At least that’s how she tells the story. She is not one to underestimate her influence and importance in John’s life and in his relationship with the other Beatles, his son and his ex-wife. The time frame is 1973-75 and May is 23. 

If you are, like me, not a fan of name dropping, so much the worse because it comes hot and heavy. Watching this movie doesn’t make me like any of these folks any better. There are those who can’t get enough Beatles and with all the footage and interviews contained herein, they will find this doc interesting. For me, watching the home streaming version, I felt no need to press the pause button when stepped out of the room.

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In Full Bloom

N.J. Botanical Garden

Ringwood State Park

The N.J. Botanical Garden consists of 96 acres within Ringwood State Park in the Ramapo Mountains. It was originally the estate of New York stockbroker Clarence Lewis who built the manor house (Skylands Manor) and grounds in the 1920’s. It was purchased by the state in 1966.

The gardens are open year round and are free of charge. They are maintained by volunteers.

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A hiking trail through one of America’s most densely populated counties.

Lenape Trail, Essex County, N.J.

The Lenape were the original inhabitants of the northern New Jersey area where I live. They were the original inhabitants of all of New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, New York City and parts of Long Island and the Hudson Valley. You’ve heard the story of Manhattan Island being bought from its native inhabitants for trinkets. It’s deals like that, along with fraudulent promises of hunting and use rights that forced the Lenape off their land. Wars, including inter-tribal warfare, and smallpox further decimated the tribes. Most of the survivors ended up in Oklahoma, Canada, Ohio and Wisconsin.

The Lenape would hardly recognize what has become Essex County, N.J. It is the second most densely populated county in the most densely populated state in the country. Overall it is the 15th most densely populated county in the U.S. Yet it also was the first county in the country to create a county park system. The Essex County Park Commission was created in 1895 and its first task was creating the nation’s first county park, Branch Brook Park in Newark. As would be the case with several future Essex County Parks, Branch Brook was designed by the Olmstead Organization.

Considering the profile of this county, you might be surprised to learn that it’s the home of a 36-mile hiking trail that looks like an upside down “U” across the county map. Its name is the Lenape Trail. While that is a tribute to the Lenape, the pathways have nothing to do with anything the original inhabitants did. However, it has everything to do with the Essex County Park system. It connects 18 parks in 11 different towns, starting in Newark and ending in Millburn. Seventy percent of the trail goes through woodlands or parks while the other 30% runs along roadways. To do it start to finish would take almost six hours.

Al Kent, a former park commissioner in neighboring Morris County, began the blazing of the trail (always in yellow blazes) in 1976. He was affiliated with the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, the Sierra Club and the New Jersey Environmental Lobby. He finished up the original iteration of the trail in 1979.

My dog and I did not do it start to finish. These photos are from several trips to different parts of the trail and are from winter and spring.

From Here to Here

Branch Brook Park (Newark)

Brookdale Park (Bloomfield and Montclair)

While most of the trail goes through preserved woodlands or well-manicured parks, it also goes through busy intersections like this one in Bloomfield:

Or along quiet residential streets like this one:

Presby Memorial Iris Gardens, Mountainside Park (Montclair)

Mills Reservation (Montclair and Cedar Grove)

Hilltop Reservation (Cedar Grove, North Caldwell, Verona)

Verona Park (Verona)

Eagle Rock Reservation (West Orange, Montclair and Verona)

South Mountain Reservation (Maplewood, Millburn and West Orange)

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The Biennial is Back!

Quiet as It’s Kept, Whitney Museum of American Art

“We organized this Biennial to reflect these precarious and improvised times,” say the curators of the current exhibit at the Whitney Museum of American Art. The Biennial has been a regular feature at the Whitney since 1932. Exhibiting works that have been completed in the previous two years, the Biennial is considered a snapshot of the state of art in America.

This year’s exhibit is delayed one year due to COVID. The theme “Quiet as It’s Kept” is, according to the curators, a “phrase typically said prior to something–often obvious–that should be kept secret.” How that relates to the works that I saw on display escapes me.

Nonetheless, the Biennial is always an innovative and dynamic exhibition and this year’s event is no exception. I thought the wide diversity of mediums on display was particularly noteworthy. Here’s a few of what for me were the highlights.

Video

Night Vision (Red as never been), Na Mira. This is 30 seconds of a 25 minute video.
I’m lying on my back looking up at this one displayed on the ceiling.

Sculpture

North American Buff Tit, Eric Wesley
North American Buff Tit, Eric Wesley
ishkode, Rebecca Belmore
ishkode, Rebecca Belmore. On the floor are bullet casings.

Painting

Sixth Street #2, Guadalupe Rosales
Sixth Street #2, Guadalupe Rosales
Occult Glossary, Matt Connors
Occult Glossary, Matt Connors

The Guiding Light, Harold Ancart
The Guiding Light, Harold Ancart
Untitled (Snag), Cy Gavin
Untitled (Snag), Cy Gavin

Photography

Rain in Rifle Season, Buck Ellison
Rain in Rifle Season, Buck Ellison. Part of series of photos imagining Erik Prince of private security firm Blackwater which was responsible for the massacre of 17 Iraqi civilians in 2007.
Untitled, Monica Arreola
Untitled, Monica Arreola

Three Critiques, Daniel Joseph Martinez
Three Critiques. or The Post-Human Manifesto for the Future; On the Origin of the Species, Daniel Joseph Martinez

Installations (works I didn’t know how to categorize)

A Clockwork, Sable Elyse Smith
A Clockwork, Sable Elyse Smith

wintercount, Duane Linklater
wintercount, Duane Linklater
Sutter's Mill, Jason Rhoades
Sutter’s Mill, Jason Rhoades

Palm Orchard, Alia Farid
Palm Orchard, Alia Farid

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2019 Biennial

2017 Biennial

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Hour Zero: Time Starts Here

Royal Observatory
Royal Observatory at Greenwich
Shepard 24-Hour Gate Clock
The Shepard 24-Hour Gate Clock was installed at the Greenwich Observatory entrance gate in 1852. It is one of the first electric public clocks.
Meridian Line
Casting a long shadow on the Meridian Line, the north-south line that is the basis for longitudinal measurements.
The Time Ball was originally established in 1833 for the benefit of navigators of ships in the Thames. The ball “drops” once a day at 13:00 GMT. It was one of the world’s first public time signals.
Turret clock
The turret clock sits behind wooden doors.
The Quadrant
The Quadrant, which dates back to 1750, was used to tell time by measuring the height of the sun and stars above the horizon.
18th Century telescope
This is a replica of a telescope that was built in 1750.
Great Equatorial Telescope
The Great Equatorial Telescope was built in 1893.
The Queen's House
The Queen’s House as viewed from the Greenwich Observatory.
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How Surreal!

Lobster Phone, Salvador Dali
Dali’s Lobster Phone

Surrealism Beyond Borders, Tate Modern, London

France

Japan

Mexico

Exquisite Corpse (Frida and Diego). drawing by Frida Kahlo and Lucienne Bloch
Exquisite Corpse (Frida and Diego). drawing by Frida Kahlo and Lucienne Bloch
The Ballad for Frida Kahlo, Alice Rahon
The Ballad for Frida Kahlo, Alice Rahon

UK

The Last Voyage of Captain Cook, Roland Penrose
The Last Voyage of Captain Cook, Roland Penrose

US

A Little Night Music, Dorothea Tanning

Germany

Two Children Are Threatened by a Nightingale, Max Ernst
Two Children Are Threatened by a Nightingale, Max Ernst

Argentina

Denmark

Phantoms, Rita Kernn-Larsen
Phantoms, Rita Kernn-Larsen

Africa

Spain

The Three Dancers, Pablo Picasso
The Three Dancers, Pablo Picasso

Caribbean

Greece

The Dream of Tobias, Giorgio de Chirico

Belgium

Guatemala

The Magical Blazons of Tropical Flight, Eugenio Granell

Romania

We Are Betrayed, Victor Brauner

Czech Republic

The One in the Other, Toyen
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What Were You Thinking? Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates, May 27, 2021

As this series of blog posts about baseball’s dumbest plays shows, it is not just about dusting off the archives of baseball’s long history. If you watch enough games it is only a matter of time before you encounter a head-scratchingly dumb bit of baserunning or an inexplicable bit of misjudgement in the field.

In fact, it was only last year that we witnessed what some observers have called the dumbest play in major league history. This video speaks for itself. Stay tuned for the reaction of the Cubs bench after the play.

It was the top of the third inning. The visiting Cubs had a 1-0 lead with a runner on second with two outs when Javy Baez hit the fateful ground ball to third. The Cubs would go on to win the game 5-3. One could make the case that this was a harbinger of what was to come for the Pittsburghers who would end up being one of only two National League teams to lose 100 games and finished dead last in the National League Central Division.

Writing in Golf Digest (off all places), Alex Myers offered this assessment: “Will (Craig) was responsible for the dumbest play in Major League Baseball history. This is not an exaggeration. You’d have to go to a tee ball game to find something dumber. And even then, this might still be the dumbest play you’d see.”

Interviewed by AP baseball writer Will Graves, Pirates manager Derek Shelton tried to break down what he saw: “We have to make sure we get the force. That’s just where it’s at. I mean if Baez runs all the way back home or runs into their dugout or runs down to the Strip District we can walk down and touch first.”

Graves called it “40 seconds of madness that will likely follow Baez and Craig no matter where their careers take them.”

Craig agreed: “”I guess I’m going to be on the blooper reels for the rest of my life.” His analysis: “It all boils down to me losing my brain for a second.”

Shelton assured reporters that you don’t cut a player just because he makes a mistake. But a week later, that’s exactly what they did, in baseball parlance, designating Craig for assignment. He ended up on the Pirates Indianapolis minor league team.

Will Craig had been an All-American third baseman at Wake Forest. That led to him being drafted in the first round in 2016 by the Pirates. He made his major league debut in August of 2020, playing one game and going 0-4.

In 2021 he got into 18 games, batting .217 in 60 at bats. Shortly after he was relegated to Indianapolis, he headed to Korea looking for a reset on his career. He signed with the Kiwoom Heroes of the KBO. He hit .248 in Korea, with 6 home runs. They chose not to resign him.

At the time of writing, Craig is a free agent.

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Baseball’s dumbest plays:

Chicago Cubs vs. New York Giants, Sept. 23, 1908

New York Giants vs. Washington Senators, Oct. 10, 1924

St. Louis Cardinals vs. New York Yankees, Oct. 10, 1926

Philadelphia Phillies vs. Pittsburgh Pirates, July 4, 1976

Arizona Diamondbacks vs. San Francisco Giants, May 27, 2003

Minnesota Twins vs. Chicago Cubs, June 12, 2009

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If I knew what these flowers were, I’d tell you about them.

Kew Gardens, London

The Hive

Created by Wolfgang Buttress, the Hive attempts to recreate the world of bees at a human-sized level. If you block out the sound of the human visitors, the sound you hear in the background is the sound of bees communicating.
The Hive
Temperate House
Temperate House originally opened in 1863
King William's Temple
King William’s Temple dates back to 1837.
Princess of Wales Conservatory
sarracenia leucophylla
Stand back! The sarracenia leucophylla, which is listed as a vulnerable species, is carnivorous. It traps, kills and devours insects.
Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens
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What Were You Thinking? Minnesota Twins vs. Chicago Cubs, June 12, 2009

I have been a lifelong baseball fan, but I admit there are times the game can be a bit slow. From my schoolboy days as a player I can remember how long the innings seemed when you are out in the field and no balls ever come your way. So it is not surprising to find that sometimes a ballplayer’s mind wanders a bit while he standing out in the sunshine doing…nothing.

Do you think that happens to major leaguers? Do they start thinking about where they’re going after the game or what they’re going to do at the end of a long road trip? Surely we expect them to at least keep track of how many outs there are, and e en if they do temporarily lose the plot there’s always the teammates holding up one or two fingers. And that’s not to mention the modern baseball stadiums’ 360 degree signage that makes the number of outs in an inning clearly visible even if you’re buried in a long line at a hot dog stand.

Milton Bradley

We don’t know what Chicago Cubs outfielder Milton Bradley was thinking on the night of June 12, 2009, that caused him to lose track of how many outs there were with the MInnesota Twins batting in the top of the 8th inning. But knowing what would transpire later in life it’s not likely that he was distracted by warm thoughts about his wife.

What transpired that night was what Bleacher Report writer Doug Mead would call one of The 15 Stupidest Defensive Plays in MLB History

Here’s his description:

“In an inter-league game against the visiting Minnesota Twins, Bradley had already had a bad day by the seventh inning, losing a fly ball in the sun that led to a run for the Twins.

“In the eighth inning, with two men on base, Bradley camped himself under a routine fly ball and caught it, flipping the ball into the bleachers and posing for a picture.

“However, there was only one problem. There was only one out at the time. The lead runner was sent home on the stupid mental mistake.”

Bradley was always something of a loose cannon. During the 2004 season, he sauntered up to the plate, started arguing with the home plate umpire and got himself ejected. At first he walked calmly back to his dugout, but then threw a bag of several dozen baseballs out onto the field and followed that up by throwing some of them into the stands. Later that season, a Dodgers fan threw a water bottle at him after he had lost a fly ball in the lights. Bradley picked up the bottle and headed to the stands, throwing it right back. He was restrained by one of the umpires who then ejected him. He was suspended for the rest of the season (it was September) and ordered to go to anger management counseling.

Milton Bradley
Milton Bradley

Despite incidents like this Bradley fashioned an 11 year MLB career. He played for eight different teams. He was a guy prone to wearing out his welcome. But he was a .271 lifetime hitter and was talented enough that there always was another team willing to give him a go.

After that game against Minnesota, the next day AP story had this to say:

“The Cubs’ Milton Bradley wasn’t so beloved by the home fans even though his two-run double in the sixth off Slowey halved what had been a 4-0 deficit. 

“In the seventh, he lost Jason Kubel’s pop-up in the sun for a single and got a late jump while failing to catch Michael Cuddyer’s RBI bloop double for a 5-3 Twins lead and then it got worse. 

“With Nick Punto on third, Harris on first and one out in the eighth inning, Bradley caught Mauer’s flyball and, thinking the inning was over, posed for several seconds before throwing the baseball into the seats. As Punto scored easily on the sacrifice fly to make it 6-3, Harris was awarded third base on Bradley’s error as boos cascaded down from every section of the ballpark.”

And what did Bradley have to say for himself:  “That’s life. These people have high expectations. I have high expectations for myself. I never made a mistake like that (losing track of the outs) in my life. Sue me.”

The Twins won that game 7-4. Bradley was nearing the end of his career. The Cubs traded him to Seattle at the end of 2009 season. He lasted until early in the 2011 season when the Mariners cut him loose.

Things didn’t go substantially better for Bradley after his playing days. In 2013, he was convicted of nine counts of physically attacking and threatening his wife as well as several other charges and was sentenced to 32 months in prison. He got out, remarried and in 2018 he pleaded no contest to charges of spousal battery. This time he was sentenced to 36 months of probation and 52 weeks of domestic violence counseling. No word on how that worked out.

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Baseball’s dumbest plays:

Chicago Cubs vs. New York Giants, Sept. 23, 1908

New York Giants vs. Washington Senators, Oct. 10, 1924

St. Louis Cardinals vs. New York Yankees, Oct. 10, 1926

Philadelphia Phillies vs. Pittsburgh Pirates, July 4, 1976

Arizona Diamondbacks vs. San Francisco Giants, May 27, 2003

Minnesota Twins vs. Chicago Cubs, June 12, 2009

Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates, May 27, 2021

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