Thursday, June 21, 2018

Throwback Thursday - Baseball Under the Midnight Sun

In 2009, my first year of blogging, I blogged about my fascination with sunsets and the midnight sun.  I am repeating the post today, with some updates and edits, to celebrate the first day of summer.
Tennessee Sunset from my Guest Photographer's Sister
When I was growing up in the Bronx, a borough of New York City, I used to have dreams about living in a place where the sun never set. In these dreams, sometimes the sun would set, but it would be very late at night. I would gaze out my window at 11pm (in my dream) and it would still be light. Sometimes, though, it was dark all the time. I would look at the stars, and they were different. This would, for some reason, frighten me.

When I found out that there were, indeed places which had 24 hours of light in the summer and 24 hours of dark in the winter, I began to wonder about what it would truly be like to see the sun at midnight, or experience total darkness.

As an adult, I haven't had that opportunity (either way) except through the Internet.

In 2008, through a website called Eternal Sunset (which appears no longer to exist), I tracked a location in Antarctica and a location in Fairbanks, Alaska for an entire year. However, neither location has the true 24 hour swing - Fairbanks, for example, has a maximum daylight time of 21 hrs and 45 minutes (approximately.) They do have 24 hour "light"on the day of the summer solstice but the sun does set.

For a while, I would visit an actual 24 hour web cam location - in Norway. Svalbard Longyearbyen, to be exact.  In June of 2009, as I wrote this post, it was almost midnight. The sun was right on the horizon. The web cam was pointed at it. It was 28 degrees above zero F, with snow on the ground, and several people on snowmobiles were clearly visible.

What is it like to live there?  It made me wonder.

There are photos of this area, and stunning would not begin to describe it. What does the person who runs this website do for a living? Does he sleep at all during the arctic day? Has he ever been to more temperate climes? If so do our days and nights seem weird to him?

Meanwhile, in Fairbanks, they will hold their 113th Midnight baseball game tonight. According to the Alaska Goldpanners (Fairbanks) website, the first game was held in 1906, but several times there was more than one game in a year.

This is a video of the 2016 game, which ended at 12:18 am.  If you forward to 3:58 in the video (as the game ends), you will see the setting sun. 

What a thrill.

If you are a true baseball fan, you can  watch several minutes of a young Tom Seaver (Hall of Fame pitcher) pitching the 1965 Midnight Sun game. 

This annual late night game is played in its entirety without artificial lighting and there is a special Midnight pitch.  Tom Seaver is wearing a red uniform in this footage - the quality, by the way, is terrible.

One day, I may  make a dream come true, and go to that game.  But until then, I will continue to watch sunsets in my native New York State.  Today, the sun will set for us at 8:43 pm.

Have you ever seen the Midnight Sun?

Time to greet summer - and, perhaps, Play Ball!

6 comments:

  1. I share your fascination with the midnight sun.

    That baseball game is wild. And this loyal Mets fan is loving the footage of Seaver

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  2. This post brought back wonderful memories of growing up in Alaska. I remember gardening all night long (I was much younger then.) For years after moving to Washington State, the relative shortness of summer days seemed strange to me. In winter, leaving for work and coming home in the dark is the same here as it was there, although there the number of days doing this was greater. Happy solstice. I hope you do get to attend the game in Fairbanks one day! Who knows, you might fall in love with Alaska and decide to stay. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/46643/the-spell-of-the-yukon

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  3. Baseball and sunsets! My two favourite things. (As long as one is not trying to see INTO the sunset while playing!) :)

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  4. I have never seen a midnight sun. I, too, would like to.

    Tonight our sun sets at 8:08 PM.

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  5. I grew up in the north but it was the southern edge of location for northern lights. We didn't have coloured northern lights like you get in some places but spectacular nonetheless. Also it was quite far from the arctic where you get daylight around the clock but we kids would be playing outside in summer at 11 p.m and midnight and outside would be like the light at dusk. I miss the long summer days.

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  6. BTW, Happy Summer! I hope one day you could take a trip to the far north of Canada or Sweden to see the northern lights.

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