Results tagged ‘ Lowell ’

On Location In Lowell — the Sequel

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(Lowell’s motto is even embossed on its trash cans)

Earlier in the week, I crafted a post that detailed my time at LeLacheur Park — home of the New York-Penn League’s Lowell Spinners.

But my time at the ballpark represented just one aspect of my Lowell getaway, as I was also able to spend time in the city itself. This was easy enough to do, as my base of operations was the Brew’d Awakening coffee shop in the heart of downtown Lowell. I took advantage of that establishment’s strong coffee and even stronger internet connections, en route to cranking out articles and blog posts of unparalleled irrelevance excellence.

Fortunately, I was able to wrest myself away from the unforgiving monster that is my laptop long enough to go on some explorations. Most notably, on the afternoon of July 8 I received a one-on-one guided tour of the city courtesy of the Greater Merrimack Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau.

This tour gave me much-needed perspective regarding Lowell’s history, and how it came to be the city it is today. And, perhaps most importantly, it helped to contextualize the Spinners’ baseball experience.

Why the team is called the Spinners in the first place? And why their logo is a baseball bat wrapped with yarn?

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Lowell was founded in the 1820s, and played an important role in America’s Industrial Revolution. The city is named after Francis Cabot Lowell, an industrialist who spearheaded the campaign to turn the area into an all-in-one textile manufacturing center. Raw cotton shipped from the South was transformed into fine cloth through the processes of carding, spinning, and weaving.

Hence, the Spinners.

While Lowell is no longer a manufacturing epicenter, there are many purveyors of yarn and fine cloth in the downtown area. There is also a quilt museum, which, if I was my Mom, I most certainly would have visited.

The Spinners’ Mascot is Named “Canaligator”. Why?

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Visiting Lowell dashed my naive hope that the city would be full of alligators. As it turns out, alligators do not live in New England at all. Their personalities do not generally mesh well with the Puritanical stoicism that characterizes the region’s human population. “Canaligator” is instead a nod to the fact that Lowell boasts the largest system of canals in the United States. These canals were used as a direct source of power for the mills.The canals are well worth checking out, and guided tours are available. I took such a tour:

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Lowell has a lot of charm and personality due to the way that its industrial past meshes with the post-industrial present. Today, many of the mills have been converted into condos. Pretty cool place to live, right?

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This walkway leads straight to LeLacheur Park. Somehow, I was able to get lost on said walkway on my return home from the stadium that night.

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One of the boarding houses where New England farm girls were housed after re-locating to Lowell:

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A look at the mills on display at the American Textile History Museum:

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Statue of painter James Whistler, one of Lowell’s most famous natives (Jack Kerouac was born here as well):

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And, finally, one of the most charming gas station signs that I have seen in a while — Haffner’s in downtown Lowell. Their motto? is “It Kicks”:

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I’d like to thank Lowell Spinners GM Tim Bawmann for arranging the tour, and Kristen Deveau of the Greater Merrimack Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau for providing it.

It occurs to me that this is the sort of thing I should do more often. After all — the only way to truly understand a team is to b
e able to understand the community in which it plays.

Don’t worry, though. I’ll be back tomorrow with video of a flatulent mascot, or something along those lines. I’ve got a paycheck to earn and a reputation to uphold.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

Playing Catch-Up On The Road, Vol. 3

Hello from Brew’d Awakening coffee shop in Lowell, MA. My time in this
lovely city has been very enjoyable — Lowell has a very interesting
and deep-rooted history, and as a result has a ton of character.
There’s nothing cookie-cutter about this place.

I’ll be writing
much more about my time in Lowell upon my return to the comforting
embrace of New York City. For now, let me cherry-pick from my
list of “potential blog topics” in order to present you with a post of
unparalleled randomness.

I ran into Tri-City ValleyCats assistant
general manager Vic Christopher at yesterday’s Spinners game, which
reminds me that I’ve been meaning to give his blog a “shout-out”. So,
check it out HERE. I think this picture, lifted from the blog, says a
lot about the ValleyCats experience:

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Ridiculousness comes in all forms in the Minor Leagues, textually as well as visually. Here’s an excerpt from a press release that was sent out last week by the Akron Aeros:

[T]hree ticketing associates in their first
seasons of professional baseball have gained a new perspective on
Mother Nature. Scott Campbell, Cody Demster and John Golz were all
recently flooded out of their apartment complex and are now taking up
temporary shelter in the Chapel Hill Towers assisted living center.

One
day after work, the three close friends noticed some water seeping in
through the bathroom at their apartment in Cuyahoga Falls. Returning
home from work at Canal Park the next evening, they discovered more
than an inch of water soaking through the bathroom and entering the
bedrooms. Forced to evacuate immediately from their apartment, the trio
of co-workers collected what they could and piled the rest in their
living room, as they received a promised of a new place to live for the
next week.

They would soon learn that their new home was an
assisted living center just two miles down the road from their previous
quarters. While their previous abode had featured two bedrooms and two
bathrooms in a comfortable apartment for three grown men, their new
residence is a makeshift break room for the center’s employees. A
sign stating “STOP We Have Guests for Three Days” gives the
associates a modicum of privacy, although their new quarters have just
one bedroom and no carpeting. The three all agreed that their new
residence represents a relatively quaint living style, although there
is â??no shortage of new people to meet, said Cody with a smile
.

Yes, this was a PRESS RELEASE. Read the whole thing here. I love that this currently resides at the top of the team’s news page. 

Finally, anybody who knows me is aware that nothing is more near and dear to my heart than parody. Here’s an impressive one put together by the Greenville Drive, touting a superior gameday transportation option (thanks to Eric Long for the heads-up).
 

I’ll be back with more dispatches from the road in the near future. Until then I am benjamin.hill@mlb.com

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