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Here is my Put-in-Bay gazette column from August. We have a winery on the island and a restaurant that specializes in Lobster Bisque. They both have softball teams in our local summer league. I just couldn’t help but think that wine and lobster go together pretty nicely!

Humankind- No “wine”ing

It was our own version of the softball championship of the world. The Olympics would just have to wait. The game started promptly at 7pm Monday night (August 10th) at the revitalized Mother of Sorrows Field. This final game was the culmination of a great inaugural season of the wonderful new Boss Bill Market baseball complex, Certainly one that would have made Bill smile. The season had started with a rain delay and it ended with a near drought (runs scored that is for the losers).

It was lobster verses wine. The fans packed the bleachers; the fire department did their best to feed the excited crowd. The head lobster paid off the grill guys to give away the hot dogs, hoping that we would not start chanting “lobsta”, “Lobsta” in case the Boardwalk crew pulled off the win.

It was a best two out of three format and the entire town had turned out to see who would be victorious. The fans had chosen sides rooting for their favorite teams though, fans were seen switching sides from time to time. Dipping butter or wine sauce, hmmm. Perhaps team allegiance may have depended on where the next beverage could be found. And who could blame them. In the middle of the summer season we were being asked to pick between lobster and wine.

Of course all our culinary skills would lead us to suggest that wine basted Lobster tail would have been the prize of the day and everybody would have been a winner. But this was a sports event and unlike cooking, one team, not just the head chef, would emerge victorious.

I was amazed that unlike major league baseball, pitchers in this contest were both well-aged finely tuned pitching machines. One was a grand parent bringing his extended family to distract the crowd and woe undecided fans. It turns out that pitching in this years’ championship was all about getting the ball to drop over the plate.

For me a random moment struck me late in the fifth inning, and proved once again that on any given day you can get in the way of a softball without even trying. There I was sitting, paying attention to the action on the field, really I swear it, when from out of a tree came a softball at full velocity. I momentarily counted 18 players on the field and garnered some sympathy from other fans, but the game went on.

Now it occurs to me that this event is really about how two very important businesses and a heck of a lot of hard working islanders and their friends and employees are getting the opportunity to enjoy a few free moments of summer in the midst of the busiest part of the season. We need to keep all the teams on the field both literally and symbolically. In a summer of high gas prices, an uncertain economy and wobbly politics making wine or feeding hungry tourists is not just a pleasure it is a privilege.

Be sure to tell your state representatives we need to protect our heritage save the vineyards and keep our businesses growing. All the teams in this league are winners and they really represent our bigger opportunity to provide visitors with a taste of our island culture, which on any given night might be wine basted lobster or a perch sandwich.

Peter Huston

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