Talking Baseball during the All-Star Game in San Diego!

One brief moment in a 63 second video that relives MLB All-Star Game history, seen in the San Diego library's auditorium during the Talking Baseball event!
One brief moment in a 63 second video that relives MLB All-Star Game history, seen in the San Diego library’s auditorium during today’s special “Talking Baseball” event!

A very cool event was held today, Saturday, at downtown San Diego’s beautiful Central Library! “Talking Baseball” was the title an all-day program held in the Neil Morgan Auditorium, and featured diverse speakers and entertainers celebrating baseball and its rich history. Speakers included Bob Kendrick, Negro League Baseball Museum president and Gene Locklear, former Padres outfielder, who talked about his life as a Native American professional baseball player.

Talking Baseball was organized by Andy Strasberg, who served for twenty years as the Padres baseball team’s Vice President of Marketing. This cool event was held in conjunction with Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game Week, which is taking place right here and now in San Diego!

I lingered and enjoyed the programming for about an hour and a half. I listened to the hilarious and heart-warming tunes of San Diego baseball singer/songwriter Joe Rathburn, then watched a rarely seen 63 second video that was shown on the scoreboard during the 1992 All-Star Game in San Diego. Every second represented one year of 63 All-Star Games. This was the first time the video has been seen in 26 years! Finally, I watched with amazement as former Yankees catcher Matt Nokes narrated a film that showed every pitch of Jim Abbott’s 1993 Yankees no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians. Now that was inspirational . . . and just plain exciting! That was easily the highlight of my day!

Here are a few captioned photographs that provide a taste of this very cool event. Some photos, taken in the dark auditorium, came out a bit blurry.

Talking Baseball was a special event programmed in conjunction with the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in San Diego this year. It was held in the downtown library.
Talking Baseball was a special event programmed to coincide with the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in San Diego this year. It was held in the downtown library.
Just before stepping into the Neil Morgan Auditorium visitors are greeted with lots of professional baseball memorabilia!
Just before stepping into the Neil Morgan Auditorium, visitors are greeted with lots of cool posters and professional baseball memorabilia!
A huge collection of baseball memorabilia on display was courtesy of Andy Strasberg, who was once Vice President of Marketing for the San Diego Padres.
A huge collection of baseball memorabilia on display was courtesy of Andy Strasberg, who was once Vice President of Marketing for the San Diego Padres.
There were so many cool baseball sights to absorb! Displayed were old magazines, autographed baseballs, pennants, souvenir bats--you name it.
There were so many cool baseball sights to absorb! Displayed were old magazines, programs, autographed baseballs, pennants, baseball cards, souvenir bats–you name it.
Collectibles remember New York Yankee Sparky Lyle and San Diego's own Wizard of Oz shortstop, Ozzie Smith!
Collectibles remember New York Yankee reliever Sparky Lyle and San Diego’s own superhuman Wizard of Oz shortstop, Ozzie Smith!
Cool old team photograph of the 1952 San Diego Padres, with the players' names and autographs!
Cool old team photograph of the 1952 San Diego Padres, with the players’ names and autographs!
San Diego's gifted baseball musician and songwriter Joe Rathburn. His lyrics are really good and touch a warm spot in the heart.
San Diego’s gifted baseball musician and songwriter Joe Rathburn performs. His lyrics are really good and touch a warm spot in the heart.
Next, a 63 second video that was last played at the 1992 All-Star Game shows the history of the Midsummer Classic. One second equals one year!
Next, a 63 second video that was last played at the 1992 All-Star Game shows the history of the Midsummer Classic. One second equals one year!
Matt Nokes, former catcher for the New York Yankees, narrates a special video which documents--pitch by pitch-- Jim Abbott's 1993 Yankees no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians.
Matt Nokes, former catcher for the New York Yankees, narrates a special video which documents–pitch by pitch– Jim Abbott’s 1993 Yankees no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians.
Jim Abbott was born in 1967 without a right hand. That didn't stop him from becoming an accomplished professional baseball pitcher. He spent 10 years in the major leagues.
Jim Abbott was born in 1967 without a right hand. That didn’t stop him from becoming an accomplished professional baseball pitcher. He spent 10 years in the major leagues.
Suspense builds as pitch by pitch, inning by inning, Jim Abbott works his way brilliantly (with some sparkling Yankees defense) toward a rare no-hitter.
Suspense builds as pitch by pitch, inning by inning, Jim Abbott works his way brilliantly (with some sparkling Yankees defense) toward a rare no-hitter.
The amazing no-hitter is achieved! Jim Abbott's teammates swarm around the triumphant pitcher with excitement. At the time, this was only the Yankees' 8th ever no-hitter.
The amazing no-hitter is achieved! Jim Abbott’s teammates swarm around the triumphant pitcher with excitement. At the time, this was only the Yankees’ 8th ever no-hitter.
Jim Abbott overcomes a difficult physical challenge and great odds, adding his name to a list of baseball's immortals. Today he is a motivational speaker.
Jim Abbott overcomes a difficult physical challenge and great odds, adding his name to a list of baseball’s immortals. Today he is a motivational speaker.

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San Diego gets ready for 2016 MLB All-Star Game!

A booth anticipating this year's 2016 MLB All-Star Game sells official merchandise at Padres FanFest, the weekend before Opening Day.
A booth anticipating this year’s 2016 MLB All-Star Game sells official merchandise at Padres FanFest, the weekend before Opening Day.

I’ve taken more photos anticipating baseball’s Midsummer Classic!

San Diego will host the 2016 Major League Baseball All-Star Game in July, just one week separated from the internationally famous and wildly popular San Diego Comic-Con. Things are going to get crazy!

I live downtown, and I’ll be taking most of those two weeks off from work, so I promise to walk around and take loads of fun photos! Even though both events are several months away, I’m already getting excited!

2016 All-Star Game merchandise includes clothing, keychains, pins, commemorative baseballs and other collectible items. Major League Baseball will put on a big show this summer in San Diego!
2016 All-Star Game merchandise includes clothing, keychains, pins, commemorative baseballs and other collectible items. Major League Baseball will put on a big show this summer in San Diego!
2016 San Diego All-Star Game logo at end of pedestrian ramp inside Petco Park, stadium home of the MLB Padres.
2016 San Diego All-Star Game logo at end of pedestrian ramp inside Petco Park, cool stadium home of the MLB Padres.
This large sign at the top of Petco Park announces that San Diego is home of the 2016 All-Star Game.
This large sign at the top of Petco Park announces that San Diego is home of the 2016 All-Star Game.
The upcoming All-Star Game appears on a street lamp near Petco Park. These banners can now be seen around East Village.
The upcoming All-Star Game appears on a street lamp near Petco Park. These banners can now be seen around East Village.
Cool vintage baseball photo at entrance to DiamondView Tower overlooking Petco Park. More history will be made in San Diego this year.
Vintage baseball photo at entrance to DiamondView Tower overlooking Petco Park. More history will be made in San Diego this year.
Guy attending 2016 Padres FanFest wears an old 1992 San Diego All-Star Game jacket, reminding everyone that the Midsummer Classic is returning this year!
Guy attending 2016 Padres FanFest wears an old 1992 San Diego All-Star Game jacket, reminding everyone that the Midsummer Classic is returning this year!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

This year I’ll be covering some huge events! Stand by for excitement!

Street art depicts history of baseball scandals.

Urban artwork depicts various professional baseball scandals over the years.
Urban artwork depicts professional baseball scandals.

Over the years, in San Diego’s bustling Gaslamp Quarter, countless businesses have come and gone. Restaurants, bars and nightclubs crowd the streets, so there always seems to be some construction or renovation taking place.

In professional baseball, over the decades, headlines have come and gone concerning a variety of scandals.

A temporary wall surrounds some current construction activity in the Gaslamp.  The wall features a collage of images depicting baseball’s history of scandals. The two themes that I noted are gambling and doping. There is particular emphasis on the Black Sox Scandal of 1919.

I took some photos a week or so ago…

Unusual street art at a construction site on Fifth Avenue in San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter.
Unusual street art at a construction site on Fifth Avenue in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter.
Images in the collage include Pete Rose and the 1919 World Series Black Sox Scandal.
Images in the collage include Pete Rose and the 1919 World Series Black Sox Scandal.
The MLB logo is transformed. A doping baseball player holds a syringe. Images also include Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Roger Clemens.
The MLB logo is transformed. A doping baseball player holds a syringe. Images also include Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Roger Clemens.
1919 is spray painted repeatedly on this bold street art in downtown San Diego.
1919 is spray painted repeatedly on this bold street art in downtown San Diego.
During the 1919 World Series, Chicago White Sox players were paid by gamblers to lose games.
During the 1919 World Series, Chicago White Sox players were paid by gamblers to lose games.
A collage of baseball scandals on a temporary construction wall in the Gaslamp Quarter.
A collage of baseball scandals on a temporary construction wall in the Gaslamp Quarter.

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Signs of 2016 All-Star Game appear in San Diego.

Sign in window of downtown's Omni Hotel, across Tony Gwynn Drive from Petco Park, proclaims San Diego is America's All-Star City.
Sign at downtown’s Omni Hotel, across Tony Gwynn Drive from Petco Park, proclaims San Diego is America’s All-Star City.

Winter is a week away. Time to start dreaming of next summer!

To help you dream, here are some photos I snapped in the past few months. During my walks around Petco Park, I’ve noticed a variety of signs which anticipate the 2016 Major League Baseball All-Star Game. It will be held right here in San Diego!

Digital display on Western Metal Supply Co. building at Petco Park, the downtown stadium of the San Diego Padres, counts down the days and hours until the 2016 Major League Baseball All-Star Game.
Digital display on Western Metal Supply Co. building at Petco Park, the downtown stadium of the San Diego Padres, counts down the days and hours until the 2016 Major League Baseball All-Star Game.
One cool window of the Omni Hotel seems to offer a view into the future, as the 2016 All-Star Game is being played in San Diego.
One cool “window” of the Omni Hotel seems to offer a view into the future, as the 2016 All-Star Game is being played in San Diego.
Baseball's All-Star Game is coming next summer! A few signs have popped up around Petco Park many months in advance. It's going to be fun!
Baseball’s All-Star Game is coming next summer! A few signs have popped up around Petco Park many months in advance. It’s going to be fun!

UPDATE!

Look what I saw in mid-December 2015…

Just before Christmas, All-Star Santa has been painted on the window of the San Diego Padres Store in the Western Metal Supply Co. Building!
Just before Christmas, All-Star Santa has been painted on the window of the San Diego Padres Store in the Western Metal Supply Co. Building!

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Bocce Ball Tournament at Little Italy’s Festa.

Participants in Little Italy's Festa Bocce Ball Tournament at practice.
Participants in Little Italy’s Festa Bocce Ball Tournament at practice.

During last Sunday’s Festa event in San Diego’s Little Italy, an exciting bocce tournament was held at Amici Park, right next to all the glorious Gesso Italiano chalk art.

Bocce is similar to lawn bowling and dates back to the ancient Roman Empire. According to a plaque set in the concrete near one of Amici Park’s bocce courts, it’s the world’s oldest sport!

I captured a few pics of the action!

Two bocce courts are open to the public in Amici Park near sculptures of Italian food!
Two bocce courts are open to the public in Amici Park near sculptures of Italian food!
Man prepares to strategically send bocce ball down the long court.
Man prepares to strategically send bocce ball down the long court.
Watching the action on a lazy, perfect San Diego weekend.
Watching the action on a lazy, perfect San Diego weekend.
I saw a lot of stylish hats and calculating, cunning players.
I saw a lot of stylish hats and calculating, cunning players.
Gentleman leans against checkered tablecloth set with a plate of metal artichokes.
Gentleman leans against checkered tablecloth set with a plate of metal artichokes.
Rules of bocce on a plaque. The right way to play bocce is the way your dad plays!
Rules of bocce on a plaque. The right way to play bocce is the way your dad plays!

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Balboa Park carousel provides fun nostalgia.

Lady twists balloon creations near the historic Balboa Park carousel.
Lady twists balloon creations near the historic Balboa Park carousel.

Whenever I walk through Balboa Park, I almost always point my feet in the direction of the carousel.

There’s something just so innocent and joyful about the old merry-go-round. For generations it has faithfully awaited children of all ages at the north end of the park, right next to the San Diego Zoo. The whirling playful animals and marching organ music put a smile on my face and a lift in my spirit.

While the 1910 Herschell-Spillman carousel has been moved a few times, for exactly one hundred years–since the Panama-California Exposition of 1915–it has stood in Balboa Park. Today it is only one of two carousels west of the Mississippi that feature the nostalgic brass ring game. Lucky riders who grab a brass ring win a free ride!

People gaze at the 1910 Herschell-Spillman carousel on a summer day.
People gaze at the 1910 Herschell-Spillman carousel on a summer day.
The merry-go-round features 27 horses and 25 menagerie animals.
The merry-go-round features 27 horses and 25 menagerie animals.
A brightly painted carved wooden horse awaits a passenger.
A brightly painted carved wooden horse awaits a passenger.
The carousel has stood in Balboa Park for exactly one hundred years!
The carousel has stood in Balboa Park for exactly one hundred years!
Old items in building include a rowboat.
Old items in building include a rowboat.
A brass ring game is still played today.
A fun brass ring game is still played today.
Many generations have enjoyed this cheerful San Diego attraction.
Many generations have enjoyed this cheerful San Diego attraction.
Another view past a ride for very young children.
Another view past a ride for very young children.

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Belmont Park’s fun Giant Dipper roller coaster!

Looking across Ventura Place at the Giant Dipper roller coaster.
Looking across Ventura Place at the Giant Dipper roller coaster.

Mission Beach is one of the most popular attractions in Southern California. One big reason: Belmont Park and the wonderful Giant Dipper roller coaster!

In my last blog post I walked south down the busy beach boardwalk to Hamel’s. Belmont Park stands just across the street. The historic amusement park was built in 1925 by wealthy sugar magnate John D. Spreckels, and was called the Mission Beach Amusement Center. The 2,600 foot Giant Dipper roller coaster, made entirely of wood, was built in less than two months. Over the ensuing years, the coaster fell into disrepair; it was then carefully restored in 1990 and became a huge success.

Entering Belmont Park beneath the wooden roller coaster.
Entering Belmont Park beneath the wooden roller coaster.
Looking up at tracks of the picturesque coaster.
Looking up at red tracks of the picturesque coaster.
Kid-friendly Belmont Park has thrilling rides and fun stuff.
Kid-friendly Belmont Park has thrilling rides and lots of fun stuff.
People wait to board the historic rollercoaster.
People wait to board the historic roller coaster.
The winding coaster tracks make for interesting photos.
The winding coaster tracks make for interesting photos.
Palm fronds, colorful track and clear blue sky.
Palm fronds, painted wood and clear blue sky.
A large indoor arcade features loads of classic games.
A large indoor arcade at Belmont Park features many classic games.
This small merry-go-round is a treat for kids of every age.
This small merry-go-round is a treat for kids of every age.
A carnival midway area has tests of skill and a food court.
A carnival midway area has tests of skill and a food court.
Riders whiz by as the cars rattle on wooden rails.
Riders whiz by as the cars rattle on wooden rails.
This yellow submarine requires no water!
This yellow submarine requires no water!
Wild and crazy Tilt-A-Whirl provides a big adrenaline rush.
Wild and crazy Tilt-A-Whirl provides a big adrenaline rush.
The Giant Dipper roller coaster swooshes by!
The Giant Dipper roller coaster swooshes by!
Peeking into the innards of a wooden roller coaster.
Peeking into the innards of a wooden roller coaster.

It’s interesting to walk around the perimeter of the Giant Dipper. You can peer beneath the rails and see the materials used to build and maintain the huge wooden construction.

The Plunge giant swimming pool is undergoing restoration.
The Plunge giant swimming pool is undergoing restoration.

Right next to Belmont Park’s amusement rides you’ll find The Plunge, originally called The Natatorium. The huge 12,000 square foot swimming pool originally contained salt water.  It was the largest such pool in the world with 400,000 gallons of water!

The Plunge has also become famous for its Orcas off Point Loma whaling wall, painted in 1989 by famous marine artist, Wyland.

Today the pool and surrounding structure are being repaired. It’s scheduled to reopen by the end of this summer.

I hoped to get pictures of Belmont Park’s relatively new FlowRider wave machine, which allows thrill-seekers continuous surfing without entering the ocean! Unfortunately, it was down for maintenance.

Photo mosaic on beach restroom shows bits of Belmont Park.
Photo mosaic on a nearby beach restroom shows bits of Belmont Park.
Playing football on the nearby sand at Mission Beach.
Playing football on the sand at Mission Beach.

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Lawn bowlers enjoy Sunday in Balboa Park.

san diego lawn bowling club in balboa park

Every weekend, folks dressed in white are out on the bowling green near the west end of Balboa Park. The San Diego Lawn Bowling Club must have a pretty good membership, because I’ve seen scores of players all out enjoying the sport at the same time.

I usually linger for a couple minutes to watch a game unfold. Excellent accuracy is required to win.

A game has ended and the scattered balls are collected.
A game has ended and the scattered balls are collected.
Keeping score on a lazy, sunny weekend day.
Keeping score on a lazy, sunny weekend day.
Sign provides info about free lawn bowl lessons.
Sign provides info about free lawn bowl lessons.

Stickball tournament players in Little Italy.

stickball player prepares while lineup is written

A stickball tournament was held Sunday in San Diego’s Little Italy, one block from the Festa event! The playing field was a city street in front of the Firehouse Museum. Lots of people watched from the sidewalk, sitting on lawn chairs and the curb.

Here’s a team wearing spiffy uniforms, getting ready to begin a game. A player practices his swing while the lineup is written with chalk on the street.

stickball batter swings away in little italy

Here’s a player from the opposing team swinging. If I recall correctly, he hit the rubber ball into a treetop, and it dropped for a single. Another player hit the ball onto the porch of a condo down the street. That guy was called out.

When I departed, the team in the spiffy uniforms was losing badly.

UPDATE!

Here are a couple more photos from a different Saturday morning in late summer…

A player misses and is called out to the dismay of his team.
A player misses and is called out to the dismay of his team.
Lady swings and crushes the ball a long distance down Columbia Street!
Lady swings and crushes the ball a long distance down Columbia Street!

Playing with giant chess pieces at Horton Plaza.

Chess and checkers games can include a small workout!
Chess and checkers games can include a small workout!

Here are three fun photos! I stood for a moment on an upper level at Horton Plaza, watching two guys play a game with giant chess pieces.

San Diego’s downtown Horton Plaza shopping mall is more than just typical retail stores and a food court. It’s a wonderland of colorful, whimsical, unexpected architecture, with cool discoveries around almost every corner, including this shady nook where you’ll find giant-sized chessboards and checker boards.

The Horton Plaza shopping mall contains fun surprises around almost every corner.
The Horton Plaza shopping mall contains fun surprises around almost every corner.
People enjoy a leisurely game of chess with gigantic chessboard and pieces at Horton Plaza.
People enjoy a leisurely game of chess with gigantic chessboard and pieces at Horton Plaza.

Here are a couple more photos I took during another visit…

Horton Plaza visitor watches two people playing chess on an ordinary-size chessboard.
Horton Plaza visitor watches two people playing chess on an ordinary-size chessboard.
People congregate in a Horton Plaza nook where giant chess pieces beckon.
People congregate in a Horton Plaza nook where giant chess pieces beckon.

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