Friday, July 27, 2012

The Yachats Gazette, July 27 2012, Issue 12

Happy anniversary to The Yachats Gazette!!

An Interview with dave baldwin

The Yachats Gazette spoke with Dave Baldwin, organizer of the Triple Play event in Yachats on Saturday July 28. Dave will be also be presenting a talk on the weird science of baseball that evening. Dave is a fascinating man: pro baseball player, Ph.D. in Genetics, and an accomplished painter. We had so much to talk about that we are having to separate our interview into two parts, the second of which will appear in the next issue.

TYG: I’m going to be participating in the Triple Play event on the 28th of July, but I don’t know very much about it. Can you tell me what’s going on?
Dave: Yes I can. We have [baseball] games scheduled for the afternoon of the 28th. […] We’re going to have a concession stand with baseball kinds of food like Cracker Jacks and peanuts and hot dogs and that sort of thing. Then in the evening at 7 o’clock I’m going to talk about the weird science of baseball: paradoxes and counter-intuitive things that go on in baseball.

TYG: So I guess I could participate in three things: the lecture, the first game, and the last game.
Dave: And also participate in eating the food!  If you like hot dogs…

TYG: I don’t like hot dogs. Can you give a sneak preview of one paradox?
Dave: Of one paradox... Yes, I can, actually. One of the paradoxes I describe is called the Simpson paradox. I was a biologist, and young biologists run into this all the time—it baffles them. In baseball, for example, you can have two batters that—let’s say—have the same length of career. Let’s say they play 10 years each, and Batter A has a higher batting average for every one of those years. And then when you sum up all the at-bats and hits at the end of their careers, and you compare their career batting averages, Batter B could have a higher batting average, even though season-wise, he always had a lower batting average. It has to do with your sample sizes. If your sample sizes are different, over the different years, you can run into that problem. So young biologists learn early on that if you’re going to sample over, say, different seasons or something like that, you really need to have the same sample size all the way through in order to make comparisons of two different populations.

TYG: I see! How many age groups are participating?
Dave: At 12 o’clock we’re going to have games for kids about 7 to 9 years old, and then about 1 o’clock we’re going to start a game for kids of 10 through 12. Then at 2:30 we’re going to have a game where everybody can play, whatever their age.  […] At the 12 o’clock time, we may also set up a batting key for really really small kids, 5 and 6 years old, so they can also have their game at the same time.

TYG: Yeah. And that would be a much smaller field, like a hundred yards each way instead of many hundred yards.
Dave: No, we’re talking about feet here. [laughter] We’re going to be using soft baseballs so they don’t travel very far. […] We have wetlands out in the outfield, so we don’t want to lose any balls into the wetlands. […] We’ll probably have some wooden bats, and also plenty of gloves—YYFAP [Yachats Youth and Family Activities Program] is helping us with this. […]

TYG: I know that you played baseball professionally for the Washington Senators and the Milwaukee Brewers, to name a few. How did you get started with your baseball career?
Dave: I started when my family moved from California to Arizona. I was, I think, 8 years old. I had never even played softball in California—never learned how to play baseball or softball. And I went to school, and all the kids knew how to play softball; they’d all been playing since they were really really small. And I was left out. I couldn’t catch the ball, I couldn’t throw the ball, let alone try to hit the ball.  And so I went home and told my parents. My aunt and uncle were living nearby, and my uncle said “Ok, I’ll tell you what, we’ll go out, after you get home from school each evening, and we’ll play catch; I’ll teach you how to throw and how to catch. And so that’s how I got started.

TYG: I see! An interesting start. I read about a weird Japanese pitch called the gyro ball. Can you give me an explanation about what that is?
Dave: A gyro ball has a different spin on it from a fast ball or a curve ball. A fast ball or a curve ball has a spin that will be […] parallel to the trajectory of the ball. It’s on the same plane as the trajectory of the ball. But the gyro ball is perpendicular. […] It’s tricky, because first of all, it looks weird to the batter, coming up there, because you’re seeing this spin like that. It also goes slower than a fast ball. So it’s deceptive, because it looks like it’s throwing a fast ball but instead of zipping in there it just kind of plods along.

TYG: And it’s easy to make the batter hit early.
Exactly. The batter is fooled completely by that speed: yes, you’re right.

TYG: What were you best at in baseball?
What was I best at… well, it wasn’t hitting. [laughter] In the major leagues I got ONE hit, and that was because I beat out a bunt. [laughter] I didn’t bat very often; I was a relief pitcher, and so I tried to do everything else right. I was a good fielder, though. I was a sidearm relief pitcher, so I had a different kind of delivery from other pitchers that I was relieving for. There are two tricks of pitching: first of all, throw the ball where you want the ball to go; and the other trick is to keep changing the speeds and the spin angle of the ball. The spin angle of the ball determines the direction of the deflection of the ball. So I would throw some pitches almost underhand, and other pitches sidearm, and keep varying that spin angle, so that the batter never saw two pitches that were exactly the same. I kept ‘em guessing.

Please read the rest of Dave Baldwin’s fascinating interview in our next issue!

interview with albert bray of the yachats lighthouse gift shop

The Yachats Gazette spoke with Albert Bray of the new Yachats Lighthouse Gift Shop, which is located at 430 N. Highway 101.

TYG: So when did you open?
I opened about the last two weekends in June, and wasn’t quite open, and finished getting things in here and got some other stuff, and then we were really set to go in July, but we’re still bringing stuff in and we have more coming.

TYG: I see. How is business going?
Business is lousy! [laughter] Business is really lousy. Since ‘06 when I opened a store in Waldport, it’s been going downhill every year about 20%, and I thought it would pick up here in Yachats, but we haven’t even had a lot of walk-ins. We’ve had about as much walk-in traffic here so far as I did last year in Waldport. People aren’t stopping, and it’s kind of hard.

TYG: What store do you have in Waldport?
Well, it’s closed now, but it was called Alsea Bay Trading Company.
TYG: I’ve heard of that!
Yeah. That’s where we had the Indian. If you go ‘round back you’ll see the Indian maidens there, and the medicine man is still in the store, and the other big tobacco Indian that we had in the back of the store up there is in my house now. These two pirates I had them in the store next to the Alsea Bay Trading Company that I called Nautical Gifts—I had it open 2 years and closed it because the economy was so bad. The people who were in there borrowed my pirates and stuff for the last three years, and now I got them back—got my pirates back! […] Takes a little bit to hang that one—he’s supposed to hang outside but I can’t do it by myself.

TYG: I see.
But we sell some of the same wraps and clothing and stuff like the lady before us had, and she did real well, so we have 5 or 6 of her best movers.

TYG: Well that’s the thing, we didn’t even know you sold clothing, because all we could see was the Antiques sign, so we were confused!
Albert: Don’t let it confuse you, just come on in and look around! […]

TYG: So, are you a resident of Yachats?
Waldport, now. I’m up river now, 3 miles up river.

TYG: How long have you been in the area?
Been in the area since ‘01.

TYG: What brought you up here?
What brought me up here? The good life! [laughter] We have a daughter over in Sweet Home, and we thought if we bought a beach house on the coast, that they would come and see us. But no. They come over once a year. The kids were about that age [points to the Publisher, who is nine], and they got involved in too many school activities: piano lessons, and 4-H, and everything. They didn’t come over much, and then my wife got sick. She passed away 2 years ago.

TYG: I’m sorry to hear that.
Anyway, I have the beach house as a vacation rental.

TYG: So, are you planning on expanding in any specific direction?
No, I’m just trying to get rid of a lot of stuff that I had up in Waldport, and I have a few things that Paddy Kait [the former business at the site] had here.

TYG: Well I came here all the time to shop at Paddy Kait, so I’m delighted you have some of her stuff here!
We just have the basics right now, but we’ll be getting in some Cactus Bay—sequined shirts—and then we’re also getting some tie-dyed sweatshirts.

TYG: Cool! I’ve never seen a sweatshirt tie-dye. […] It’s just that you normally see tie-dye as t-shirts.
And we’re getting some real good zip-up hoodies.

TYG: I need a new one of those!
Well you’re going to have to grow a little bit, because we don’t have too many kid sizes. We carry mainly small, medium, large, and extra large. […] So we have rocks, and a little bit of jewelry, and wind socks and kites. We have a few things for the hippie…

TYG: Hippie? What do you mean by that?
 Albert: [laughter]
You don’t know what a hippie is, eh? Well, you’ll learn… Anyway, we have a few nautical gifts, and a lot of Native [goods]. Back in the back we have cowboy stuff too.

TYG: So lots of fun goodies to explore! Thanks so much for your time.


The Yachats Gazette enjoyed a conversation over dinner at Ona Restaurant and Lounge with Anthony Turner, featured baritone at the Yachats Music Festival. Excerpts follow. 

TYG: When did you start your career in music?
Some people say that [your career] starts when you start getting paid. So if that’s the case, then it would have been when I was a junior in high school…. 

TYG: Wow!
… Because that’s when I realized that you could sing at church and get paid. See, where I grew up in church, we just sang because we had talent, and we sang for God, for spirit, or however you want to believe, but the thought of getting paid for it wasn’t a part of my thinking, because although I knew people did get paid—I saw people on TV who were stars—but then it hit me that, “Really? I can get paid for this?” So I sang at an early service at a church in Des Moines, and then I went to my own church and sang, where I didn’t get paid. But I started working when I was 14, as well. I worked in a savings and loan bank. Because that’s just what we do at home, you work. I worked in the mail room… and then by 16 they gave me a company car and I drove around the state cataloguing the artwork and the furniture for the savings and loan….

TYG: But you started performing when you were four?
Mm-hm. [nodding, enjoying a bite of crab cake] Singing in church…. My mother never got in the way of me pursuing my dream. I don’t even know if it was a dream at all—I came out just being music. So I never had to search for what I wanted to do….  Yup, started when I was four on this journey. I played the violin early on, and then switched to piano, which I only play minimally now, because I just don’t practice any more.

 TYG: [Editorial Assistant]: You’ve been coming here [for the Yachats Music Festival] for eleven years. I wonder: what are some of the memories that stand out?
The people. That’s the only memory that really matters to me, the people. And of course, walking along the coastline, which I did a little of this year. The first few years, I walked up and down a lot. After that I stopped, because I didn’t need to do that any more. I’ve seen it, and I need to be here to sing, and to meet with the people. What I do, and especially, Allen, knowing you, YOU’RE what makes my music important to me. You help me sing better, just by—by knowing you. Can you understand that a little bit, what I’m saying?

TYG: No, not really…
Well, it means that I don’t sing alone. If you’re not interviewing me, or having dinner with me, or in the audience when I’m singing, then what good is my singing? I mean, I could sing to myself, and enjoy it, but it’s really a lot of pleasure when someone else is out there. And the fact is, I have to give, I have to want to give… It’s just like your dad is of service to humanity in his practice as [a physician assistant], I’m of service to humanity with my music. So you’re very important to me.

TYG: How did you come to the festival the first time?
The first time, my voice teacher recommended me to the promoters of [the Yachats Music Festival]. They were looking for somebody new [a baritone], and he gave them my name, and they said sure, come on, and that was it. That was the summer of 2001. And since then I’ve been in the Bay Area several times to do performances for them, and you get paid for those performances. When we come here we don’t get paid, but they pay for everything—the flights, the buses, the meals….

TYG [Editorial Assistant]: There are so many [professional musicians] who come year after year—what keeps them coming back?
Because it’s like a family. And there are such great talents up on that stage…. The spirit is right. And we’re here to promote the uplift of humanity, through our music. So that’s why I always want to keep coming back. […] You see the changes in performers—either because of age, or because those who used to come all the time, for one reason or another they don’t come any more… but as life moves on, that change happens.

TYG [Editorial Assistant]: I’ve never fully understood how our tiny little town, in the middle of nowhere, has ended up with this amazing group of musicians visiting. I haven’t really heard that story.
[One of the people involved with Four Seasons Arts], her father owned land in this area. Then Dr. [W. Hazaiah] Williams, who was the founder of Four Seasons Arts in California, was on a boating trip somewhere up here, and he saw this place, and said he wanted to start a music festival here. And that’s how it started. It’s that simple. And they had connections with the Presbyterian Church, and that’s where it’s been for the last 32 years.

TYG: So you don’t have kids?
No. Thought about it—I think it would be great.  [My partner and I] have talked about it, but also… I had to make a choice about how my lifestyle would change….

TYG: Your work is probably in the evenings a lot.
Well, a lot. I was my mother’s priority—she was a single parent. If the child is here, then you have to be there. I’m of the idea that we do have to sit and have meals together. And we have to talk about our day. […] But now I’m at a point where I don’t know if I’d be willing to do that or not. I’ve thought about what it would be like to adopt—but I’d want to adopt a teenager, actually... that could be manageable.

TYG: You would be a great dad.
Thank you for saying so. I think so. I had the BEST childhood. I had several pets. I raised a duck and a goose out of the egg, I remember Charlie and Florabell. I had my rabbit, cats, and I had my one dog for 15 years.
TYG: Long life.
Mm-hm. [nods] But you know, Allen, I try to remember, when I’m singing, that to be childlike—to see the world new—always to see the beauty, and the goodness, and the newness. I’ve been coming to Yachats for 11 years, and it’s still like I’m seeing it for the first time. Life is good, my young friend.

Mr. Turner lives in Staten Island, New York. 

 For more biographical info on Mr. Turner, please visit: