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Tag: todd drew

Brotherly Love

We’re proud to present this musical tribute to our brother Todd who passed away in December of 2009.  “Shadow Games” is percussion piece by Eric Sanders (better known around these parts as thelarmis). Here’s Eric:

The title of this piece, is by Bronx based baseball and human interest writer Todd Drew and was the name a column he wrote. Todd was a gem of a person and was taken from us far too early. This is my tribute to him and it begins with a big hands/feet fill I call “The Stampede”, to show my anger for his life being way too short. Todd appreciated “heady” music and loved jazz, latin & funk. I did my best to combine a lot of this in his honor.

The A section is an advanced linear version of the “Purdie Shuffle” and each phrase ends in a drum fill. The first half of the melody reminds me of Eric Dolphy (another one taken too early), while the second half strangely reminds me of Fleetwood Mac. Todd would love the dichotomy!
The B section is a latin-jazz groove in the Elvin Jones vein, circa his 1960’s work with the brilliant Wayne Shorter. This leads into a straight latin section, based around an Afro-Cuban 6/8.

I’m proud of the big solo section, which begins with a Tony Williams (who also died too soon…) influenced swing and leads into a long marimba solo, enhanced by vibraphone and supported wholly by the drums.

Dig it:

Shadow Games

All music composed and performed by Eric Sanders
© 2012 Published by Thelarmis Music (ASCAP)

SHADOW GAMES: Baseball and Me

I went to a baseball game after my father’s funeral. I also went to one after finding out about my mother’s brain cancer.

It was selfish and heartless. I felt guilty before and embarrassed after, but for nine innings I felt only the game. That’s the way it’s always been between baseball and me.

It was my friend when I didn’t have any others. And it has always been there to talk or listen or simply to watch.

Baseball helps me forget and it makes me remember. That’s why it was exactly what I needed on the worst days of my life.

But there were no games when a doctor told me that I had cancer. The neighborhood was out of baseball on that cold November day. No one was playing at Franz Sigel Park or John Mullaly Park. And there wasn’t even a game of catch in Joyce Kilmer Park. The last game at the old Yankee Stadium was long gone and Opening Day at the new Yankee Stadium was long off.

So I went home and wished for one of those summer days when I was a kid and my mother would send me to the ballpark with a paper sack stuffed with her famous tuna-fish sandwiches. That was back when you could slip through a delivery gate with the beer kegs and watch batting practice. And it was always okay to come home late with a beat-up scorecard and popcorn stuck between your teeth.

The doctor told me that tomorrow’s surgery and chemotherapy treatment might keep me in the hospital for 10 days.

“At least it’s December,” I said. “There aren’t any ballgames to miss.”

And I will be ready to slip through a delivery gate with the beer kegs when the new Yankee Stadium opens. I’ll watch batting practice with one of my mother’s famous tuna-fish sandwiches and come home late with a beat-up scorecard and popcorn stuck between my teeth.

Cancer can’t change the way it will always be between baseball and me.

SHADOW GAMES: The Visitors

Everyone pegged them for visitors when they piled on the 2 train at 72nd Street. There was a mother and a father and a son and a daughter. They seemed excited and were talking while everyone else stared blankly at a Sunday morning.

They might have been ignored if they hadn’t been wearing local colors. The father and son had Yankees hats, the mother had a Yankees scarf and the daughter was carrying a pink Yankees backpack.

“Where are you from?” someone asked.

“Michigan,” the father said. “We live in Ypsilanti. It’s near Ann Arbor and not too far from Detroit.”

“And you’re Yankees fans?” someone else asked.

“Yeah,” the father said. “I guess you can call it the Derek Jeter effect. We started following him because he grew up in Kalamazoo and now we watch every game.

“We always go when the Yankees are in Detroit,” he continued, “but we haven’t seen them in the Bronx, yet. This is our first time in New York City and yesterday we went and looked around the old Stadium and the new Stadium. We’re going to try and see a game next year.”

“So where are you headed today?” someone asked.

“To the Stature of Liberty,” the mother said. “And we also want the kids to see Ellis Island.”

The visitors wanted to switch to the 1 train at Chambers Street because that’s what their guide book said to do. But weekend service changes aren’t covered in books and everyone on the 2 train was looking out for them now.

“There are no trains going to South Ferry,” someone said. “And don’t bother with the shuttle bus because that’s usually like trying to get on the last helicopter out of Saigon in ‘75.

“Stay on this train to Wall Street,” they continued. “Then you’ll have a short walk to Battery Park and the ferry to Liberty and Ellis Islands.”

“I’ve got a friend named Freddy who sells Yankees hats and T-shirts in the park,” someone else said. “Tell him that Clarence from Mott Haven sent you and he’ll give you a good deal.”

“Thanks,” the father said. “If you’re ever in our neighborhood we’ll return the favor.”

“Just make some noise in Detroit next year,” someone said. “And help the Yankees get some wins.”

“Will do.”

Lasting Yankee Stadium Memory #53

By Todd Drew

Memories Are Forever

The memories will not stop. Sometimes they come in the middle of the night and you have to walk. So you head down five flights to Walton Avenue. You pass the spot on East 157th Street where a bat boy once found Satchel Paige asleep in his car after driving all night from Pittsburgh.

Memories say it was 15 minutes before the first pitch when the boy shook him awake. It also says that Satchel asked for five more minutes and then threw a two-hit shutout.

Memories say things like that.

You cut over to Gerard Avenue where a Mickey Mantle home run would have landed if the Stadium’s roof hadn’t gotten in the way. That’s how the memories tell it anyway.

You walk up River Avenue behind the bleachers of the old Yankee Stadium. There will be no more games here, but you keep coming back because this is where your memories are.

You move past the millions that have huddled in the cold and the heat and the rain and sometimes the snow for tickets. The line wraps around the block and down East 161st Street near where a Josh Gibson home run once landed.


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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver