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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Softball in GTNP

Signal Mountain Lodge is pleased to once again crown itself Park Champion of this years GTNP softball season. The SML "Whistle Pigs" are tickled to maintain our smack talking priveleges.

The Signal Mountain Lodge "Whistle Pigs" looking good, as always.

Joking aside, we've had an incredibly fun few months of friendly competition with our neighboring concessionaires' and National Park Service's employees. A big thank you to all of the teams who came out and played this season and added yet another item to the long list of reasons why working and living in GTNP is so much fun.

Softball has a long history in Grand Teton National Park. There is strong evidence that it was played as far back as 1983, and no evidence but quite a bit of speculation that it was played during the Hayden expedition and preceeding fur trapping era. Signal Mountain Lodge maintains a portion of a wall in our Employee Dining Room that is dedicated to softball seasons past. Along with photos of our now 4 years running Park Champion team is a framed article from a Jackson Hole News issue dated Wednesday, August 3, 1983. The hysterical article is titled "The hot team in Moran whips some local boys" and is simply about Billy's Angels (the name of the NPS team in 1983) beating up on Bill's Standard/Teton Towing team at what was then called Fromm Memorial Stadium, the ball field in Moran, WY we now creatively refer to as Moran Field. The field is notoriously primitive and the article gives a colorful description that holds true to this day:

"Assuming Mother Nature is a baseball fan, it's safe to say she never would have let this chunk of land come out from under the water if she knew it would become Fromm Memorial Stadium. The infield is loaded with sedimentary rock. Every hop of the ball is a bad hop, even if it happens to go straight. The outfield sinks lower than the infield, and it appeared that balls rolling into left field actually pick up speed. Sagebrush, gopher holes, camouflaged boulders, and whatnot make the outfield an adventuresome place. An outfielder sprinting for a line drive is not risking a sprained ankle. He is risking a broken arm and two crushed ribs."

The historic article displayed in SML's Employee Dining Room.

Although the story behind the title of Fromm Memorial Stadium is not entirely clear a picture in the article shows a sign hanging on the backstop that offers a little insight, it reads: "On the tragic night of Aug 12, 1982 through a hail of screaming baseballs, exploding bats & flying cleats. Pete Fromm almost made it to first base. This is the stuff that heroes are made of."

The field may no longer bear this heroes name but his legacy is carried on a few times a week all summer long on it.

A bench-full of heroes.

Thanks again to all who played!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Fall is Beautiful in GTNP

Fall is still a few weeks away, but we're starting to see the very first signs. We've had a few dustings of snow over the last month in the upper upper parts of the mountains that white wash the glaciers and snow fields back to their brilliance and make the mountains shine. The wildlife are looking their most impressive in their healthy coats and massive antlers. The bull elk are beginning to bugle challenges to one another and spar for the interest and attention of the cow elk. A bull elk bugle is one of the wildest sounds one may hear, and is not soon forgotten. The aspen and cottonwood leaves are just starting to turn color, hinting at the fiery yellows, oranges, and reds they will soon be. All of these changes add to what is arguably the best time of year for photography in the area. This is also a perfect time for hiking due to the cool mornings and evenings. Don't miss Grand Teton National Park in the fall!