Explaining The Blue Jay Fan Presence in Seattle.

Photo from Seattle Times.

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In September 2016, a frustrated Felix Hernandez shouted this refrain to booing Blue Jays fans at Safeco Field while pointing downward at the field: “THIS IS MY HOUSE”!!

1977. The Seattle Mariners and the Toronto Blue Jays begin play. Whenever the Toronto Blue Jays come to town, so do Blue Jays fans. In some cases, the Blue Jays’ fans outnumber the Mariners’ fans.

How? Toronto doesn’t even play in the same division as Seattle. Toronto is close to Detroit and Cleveland than it is to Seattle.

Well, the answer is alot closer than you think. Seattle is much closer to Canada than many people realize. Seattle is 142.6 miles from Vancouver,BC,Canada. This is basically a 2 1/2 hour drive. One might think that because Vancouver is so close to Seattle, people in that city would root for the Seattle Mariners. Well……..

Some of this could be blamed on the subpar playing of the Mariners between 2004 and now(out of those years, only 4 seasons above the .500 mark). However, there is a cultural geography component here. Vancouver is in Canada. The Toronto Blue Jays have traditionally represented English-speaking Canada. The Montreal Expos, baseball’s representatives in the Francophone province of Quebec, play in Washington,DC as of 2005. This leaves the Blue Jays as Canada’s sole team. Not that this would matter. Vancouver is an Anglophone city, and it’s closer to Toronto than Montreal. Even if Seattle is the closest city to Vancouver, Vancouver is in the long-reaching sphere of the Blue Jays. The Blue Jays being a Canadian team, people in Vancouver would be more likely to root for the Blue Jays.

In short, Blue Jays fans in Vancouver have an easy drive to Seattle. Could the Mariners and Blue Jays become a big rivalry? Geography is strangely on its side. The Mariners have never really had geographic rivalries. At least not in the traditional sense. However, the geography is in the details. With Vancouver 2.5 hours away, this could really make things interesting.

Paris Agreement, Geographic Perspective

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After U.S. President Donald Trump pulled the USA out of the Paris Agreement, an immense amount of controversy has taken place. For a long time, issues such as climate change and global warming have proven to be polarizing subjects, at least when put into the political arena. First, the Paris Climate Agreement needs to be defined.

The Paris Climate Agreement is an agreement within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The goal is to decide how to mitigate climate change and how to adapt to climate change. The Paris Agreement was drafted in November-December 2015, and signed in April 2016. It became effective on 4 November 2016. 195 members of the UNFCCC have signed it, and 148 members have ratified it.

The goals involved according to the agreement.

“(a) Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change;(b) Increasing the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development, in a manner that does not threaten food production;(c) Making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development.”

In short, minimize the rise of the average global temperature above pre-industrial level, adapt to changes in the world caused by climate change, and invest more money into technology that would produce less emissions.

Sounds like a noble goal. However, not all nations that signed would stay. When this agreement was signed by the USA, Barack Obama was President of the USA. Today, it is Donald Trump. And President Trump has announced, as of 1 June 2017 that the USA would withdraw from the agreement.

Now, this is to be considered. Every nation within the agreement can determine its own goals in terms of mitigating climate change. There is no force involved and there is no set dates involved. However, the idea is that once a goal is set, said nation should reach or go beyond said goals.

In short, the USA isn’t under the utmost force. According to Trump, it is a solemn duty to the USA to pull out of the agreement. Here is an important question. How is the Paris Agreement harmful to the USA? How do Americans feel about it?

There have been several polls with contrasting results. One poll could show the majority of Americans being for the Paris Agreement. Another poll could show the majority of Americans being against the Paris Agreement. President Trump mentioned that leaving the agreement would boost the coal industry. He mentioned that it would hurt the U.S. economy.

According to the Paris Agreement, the USA can set its own goals and determine the path it wants to go to. And if the USA wants to leave, no one can stop the USA from doing so.

However, it still leaves this question. Would the Paris Agreement hurt the economy? Considering that Trump’s focus on a better economy is manufacturing, there are still many things that need to be considered. Because the USA can determine its own goals in mitigating climate change, there are some things that need to be considered.

  1. The coal industry. This industry has been on the decline for decades, specifically in Central Appalachia. It is flourishing in the Powder River region in Montana/Wyoming. Geographically, it is easier to transport coal from the Powder River region than Central Appalachia, given its more abundant railroad infrastructure, better roads, and less rugged terrain. The coal in this region has a lower amount of sulfur compared to Appalachian coal.
  2. Steel. While the steel industry depends on coal, the dependence on it is dropping. More steel plants are seeking out natural gas as a cleaner fuel source.
  3. Natural gas. Natural gas emits far less CO2, a greenhouse gas, than coal does. As this power source is sought after, the economy could grow because of this resource.

These 3 considerations are just the tip of the iceberg.

And then there is this to consider. There are other forms of energy that can be harnessed, such as water, the sun, wind, geothermal power. Geography, however, will play a role. Places with high average wind speeds will benefit from wind power. Areas near strong watercourses and large tides will benefit from hydroelectric and tidal power. Sunny regions in the USA can harness solar power. Areas near high geothermal activity can use geothermal power. There are a myriad of resources. And the USA can set its own goals if it remains with the Paris Agreement. It will not mean the exclusion of a certain energy source. Energy diversification can be a factor in the USA

If one is to build on ALL of these energy resources, this will require the manufacturing of solar panels, wind turbines, equipment for geothermal power, the building of dams, and this could also spur more innovation. A new economic boom similar to Silicon Valley could begin, depending on the geography of an area.

If one learns more about geography, and how geography can effect energy resources and transportation. A more educated decision on whether or not the Paris Agreement would hurt the USA’s economy.

Peachless in Georgia

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If you go to Georgia, one thing you will quickly figure out is that it’s called “The Peach State”. It isn’t just a nickname. It is a big part of the state.  Georgia isn’t the biggest producer of peaches, but it’s among the top 4 states.

California – 620,000 tons

South Carolina – 60,800 tons

Georgia – 33,000 tons

New Jersey – 21,050

Source: http://www.agmrc.org/commodities-products/fruits/peaches/

California produces 49 percent of the USA’s peaches. However, it’s the 3rd largest state in the USA. Georgia is a leading grower of peaches. And it has the climate for it. A state with a humid, subtropical climate with cool to mild winters and hot summers is climate that peaches can grow in. Peach crops are tolerant to frost. However, Georgia gets lesser amounts of cold weather compared to other regions in the USA, considering that it’s in the Southeastern USA.

This year, however, Georgia may not be a big leader in peach production. Why? WEATHER. For those who do not get the difference between weather and climate, a simple explanation. Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get. Watch the video below to get a better idea.

This is what happened. Georgia had one of its warmest winters ever. Apart from the ice storm that hit the Atlanta area on 6-7 January 2017, there are many days when high temperatures reached the upper 60s/low 70s. Temperatures dropping below freezing serves to prevent blooming from taking place. Unless there is a guarantee that no killing frost will take place, it is best not to have prolonged periods of warm weather in the winter. Georgia had these prolonged periods of warm weather, and then in early March, a freeze took place. This killed half of the state’s peach crops. The plants likely bloomed too early and were not given a chance to become full-grown peaches thanks to an early March freeze.

What impact will this have? Let us start with the price of peaches. Supply and demand applies to economics, and this can be affected by things such as geography and weather. Fewer peaches, but the demand remains the same, the prices goes up. Farmers will also be at a loss. Money will be lost because of the loss of product.

Weather is different from climate. What can be grown in a geographic area is often determined by climate. Weather, on the other hand, isn’t as certain.

Photo by WABE 90.1

Buffalo Could Have Gotten Major League Baseball

Buffalo_Skyline_Viewed_From_Coca-Cola_FieldThe city of Buffalo stands as the 2nd largest city in New York state. A very distant second when it’s considered that New York City and Buffalo are in the same state. A city of over 8 million people vs a a city of 258,703 people according to 2014 estimates. And that figure could be lower considering the drop in population every decade since 1960.

Buffalo metropolitan area is home to an NFL and NHL teams, the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres specifically. Major league sports has a presence in upstate New York. However, in terms of baseball, there are minor league baseball teams. There is no Major League Baseball in Buffalo. Could there have been Major League Baseball in Buffalo? Does is still have a chance?

Before those questions can be asked, lets take a look at baseball in Buffalo and Buffalo itself. And at Major League Baseball.

Major League Baseball in Buffalo was given 3 attempts. The Buffalo Bisons were in the National League starting in 1879. The team was disbanded in 1885. In 1890, the Players League formed and Buffalo had another team called the Bisons. The league folded at the end of the 1890 season. Between 1914-1915, the Buffalo Blues played in Federal League. It is important to note that Major League Baseball banned its players from playing in the Federal League. After 1915, the Federal League disbanded.

The National League was formed in 1878. The American League was formed in 1901. Both would merge into Major League Baseball in 1903, while still operating as separate entities.

Between 1903-1952, Major League Baseball’s reach included these cities: Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Washington(DC), Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, and St. Louis.

The 20 largest cities in the USA(1900)

  • New York City
  • Chicago
  • Philadelphia
  • St. Louis
  • Boston
  • Baltimore
  • Cleveland
  • Buffalo
  • San Francisco
  • Cincinnati
  • Pittsburgh
  • New Orleans
  • Detroit
  • Milwaukee
  • Washington,DC

Of the cities with teams, the 5 largest cities had at least 2 teams. One of those cities, New York City, had 3 teams. 5 of the nations cities were home to 11 of the leagues teams. Of the 15 largest cities mentioned, 5 did not have MLB teams: Baltimore, Buffalo, San Francisco, New Orleans, and Milwaukee. In 1900, Buffalo had 352,387. Considering that Buffalo had a population larger than Pittsbucgh, Detroit, Cincinnati, or Washington,DC, the city of Buffalo could have had MLB in 1903.

In 1913, the Federal League formed. Buffalo would get a team in that league. The Federal League was short lived.

Fast forward to 1953. The Boston Braves move to Milwaukee and become the Milwaukee Braves. By then, these were the 20 largest cities in the USA in 1950, 1960, and 1970.

1950                                               1960                                                   1970

  • New York City                     New York City                                      New York City
  • Chicago                                 Chicago                                                 Chicago
  • Philadelphia                        Los Angeles                                          Los Angeles
  • Los Angeles                         Philadelphia                                         Philadelphia
  • Detroit                                  Detroit                                                   Detroit
  • Baltimore                             Baltimore                                              Houston
  • Cleveland                             Houston                                                 Baltimore
  • St. Louis                                Cleveland                                              Dallas
  • Washington,DC                   Washington,DC                                    Washington,DC
  • Boston                                   St. Louis                                                 Cleveland
  • San Francisco                      Milwaukee                                            Indianapolis
  • Pittsburgh                            San Francisco                                       Milwaukee
  • Milwaukee                           Boston                                                    San Francisco
  • Houston                                Dallas                                                     San Diego
  • Buffalo                                  New Orleans                                         San Antonio
  • New Orleans                        Pittsburgh                                             Boston
  • Minneapolis                         San Antonio                                          Memphis
  • Cincinnati                             San Diego                                              St. Louis
  • Seattle                                    Seattle                                                   New Orleans
  • Kansas City,MO                    Buffalo                                                  Phoenix

Buffalo’s population peaked in 1950, at 580,132 people. Large enough to field a Major League Baseball team. Buffalo’s population would drop to 328,123 by 1990. Why? A shift in the economy. Buffalo’s geography lent itself to trade thanks to the Erie Canal, railroads, and Lake Erie. The Niagara River generated hydroelectric power for the local mills. By the 1940s and 50s, Buffalo was a major producer of steel and automobiles. Geography has also hurt Buffalo. After the Welland Canal was built, ships could bypass Buffalo while traversing the St. Lawrence Seaway. In combination with the decline of the American steel industry, this meant massive job losses. Many people left the great Buffalo area as well as other cities in what is known as the Rust Belt. Changes in technology also meant less people were needed to produce more steel.

However, let’s look to 1969. Buffalo’s population was around 462,000 in 1970. Buffalo lost a bid for a Major League Baseball team. That bid would go to the cities of Seattle, Kansas City, Montreal, and San Diego. Buffalo would lose another bid in 1991. Denver and Miami were awarded MLB franchises.

This post will not attempt to go into the details of team ownership entry fees (it did play a big role). There is another factor to consider. Buffalo’s population will be the big factor. Currently, Milwaukee metropolitan area is the only MLB market with a population under 2 million. Milwaukee metro has 1.57 million people. Buffalo metropolitan area has 1.13 million, and dropping. The Cleveland Indians are struggling with attendance considering it has a larger(albeit declining) population and a decent team. Could Buffalo, in a climate where money is everything, and things such as luxury press boxes and television deals, sustain an MLB team, considering the population dropping?

 

Tourism Boom In Cuba Coming?

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Travel restrictions to Cuba have been loosening up over the last year for American travels. There are less restrictions in traveling to Cuba. Americans can technically travel to Cuba. However, tourism cannot be listed as the reason for going. It would have to go under

family visits; official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations; journalistic activity; professional research and professional meetings; educational activities; religious activities; public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions; support for the Cuban people; humanitarian projects; activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes; exportation, importation, or transmission of information or information materials; and certain authorized export transactions.

So technically, an American can’t go to Cuba for touristic reasons. However, there are other reasons an American can go to Cuba.

However, booking a flight to Cuba is not hard. If tourism is ever listed as a legitimate reason for Americans to travel to Cuba, this is the scenario that COULD take place. Air travel and cruise ship travel will take off. In particular, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta,USA will become even busier than it is now, and it’s the world’s busiest airport. Atlanta is two hours flight from 80% of the U.S. population. It takes about two hours to fly from Atlanta to Havana. Geography is on Atlanta’s side, as having a large airport will facilitate more flights to Cuba. More people out of the Atlanta area, with its, population of 5.5 million people, is just one factor to consider. People flying from locales such as Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Seattle, will want to fly to Cuba. Changing flights in Atlanta can be considered a factor because Atlanta is a major established air travel hub.

If Cuba becomes a major tourist destination for Americans again, there would likely become a major boom in tourism for Cuba. Cuba’s geography is to its advantage. 90 miles from Miami, Florida,USA, Cuba is close by. There is the possibility for ferry travel from Miami to Havana. There are nearby places that attract visitors with its cruise ships. Bahamas, Jamaica, Mexico, are among them. Cuba has coast line on the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Something to consider. Cuba can be served by cruise ships on both sides. And then Cuba’s own physical geography has much to consider. Cuba is more than just coastline. Cuba is a mountainous island, so this is good opportunity for hikers and adventure types. Pinar del Rio province is home to the mogotes of Vinales Valley. Mogotes are limestone hills.

Cuba has alot to discover. It leaves even more to imagine if it becomes a major tourist destination for Americans.

Red Cedars: A Biogeography Lesson

Those long evergreen trees standing out from the green and tawny grass in fields. They aren’t as tall as pine trees. However, they have their significance.

Juniperus virginiana, the eastern red cedar. True to its scientific name, the red cedar(also known as the eastern red cedar) is actually a type of juniper. This tree has been used for making pencils because its wood is soft, but strong a durable. However, so many trees were cut down that other species of trees were used.

The eastern red cedars can still be found in the USA today. It is exclusive to the eastern USA and grows in a variety of soils. They are typical found in fields, abandoned land, or limestone hills. When land has been damaged, this is among the first trees to repopulate an area. Pioneer species it is called.

Outcrops. What Are They?

Those rocks that you can see sticking out of the dirt. Those rocky places along river banks. Go to parts of the Atlanta area around the Chattahoochee River, to the Silesian Stones of Poland/Czech Republic, to the Vazquez Rocks near Los Angeles, you can find rock outcrops. And they can be made from different kinds of rocks. Granite, breccia, quartz,etc.

What is an outcrop? In a nutshell, it is exposed bedrock. It can be formed from tectonic processes or erosion processes.

Bedrock is normally below the soil. It normally is not exposed in most scenarios. However, in the case that rapid erosion occurs, rock is exposed. Bedrock can also be thrusted up to the surface of the earth. Tectonic processes. One reason geology rocks.