My friend Jim Bouton is cool because he a) pitched for the Yankees (and my next coolest baseball-related friends Dave Bell and Jack Lauer only played for Madison High School varsity, although come to think of it they both played against Willie Wilson for two seasons when Willie played for Summit High School) b) he wrote two famous books about pro baseball--Ball Four and Foul Ball--and c) because he put my name in the second book, and there is nothing cooler than when someone puts your name in their second book...
The proposed future promenade of the renovated stadium. Come on, how cool would that have been?
(except for the obvious) and your parents see it, and then your parents think you are cool.
There's a lot more that's cool about Jim--like he didn't just pitch for the Yankees but he won two games in the 1964 (?) World Series for them; and he did a public reading of his second book at the Ramsdale Library in Housatonic, MA even though many of us can barely find the Ramsdale Public Library--or Housatonic for that matter, and we live here! And Jim and his cool wife Paula also came over and visited with us when our son died because...well, his daughter died when she was in her mid-twenties, and I was always amazed by people who's children died and they still survived, until I became one of those people and I realized that's just what you do, but that's a whole other story.
But one of the main reasons Jim is cool--and Chip Elitzer, too--is because they actually tried to launch a new minor league team in Pittsfield, and renovate the existing stadium to do it in, and, well, you guessed it, they hired me (for one beer and a California roll at an awesome restaurant that used to actually be in our local movie theater--yeh, actually in it. Oh, and yeh, that's why Jim put my name in his book) to make drawings of what the stadium would look like.
Proposed view from inside the stadium.
Wait, I forgot another awesome thing Jim did. He invented Big League bubble gum, which is bubble gum that's made to look like chewing tobacco, except its still pink. And then I just thought of another thing: I once was talking to Jim on the phone and I said something like "So how're you doin'?" and he said something back like "Oh, you know, just sitting around trying to figure out how to spin straw into gold." Man, that stuck with me. That's pretty much the definition of living in the Berkshires: trying to spin straw into gold.
So that's my friend Jim. Hope this doesn't embarrass him, but when you're really cool, you know when to be embarrassed and when to not be.
And if you ever need some architectural illustrations like the sketches above, please call me at 413-250-8800.
(Author James Akers is a registered architect and illustrator with over 25 years experience. He provides both in-house and studio-based sketching, rendering, and what one might call "design stenography" services to many of NYC's and Boston’s leading architects.)