Fun and Games: The Literary Hill

Pasqual “Pat” Carlucci shares stories about the role that baseball has played in his life in “A Baseball Birthright.”

Connecting with Baseball

When it comes to the national pastime, Pasquale A. “Pat” Carlucci has led a charmed life. He was born in Queens on the day when the New York Giants squared off against the Brooklyn Dodgers for the 1951 National League championship. That game was one of the most famous in the sport’s history, concluding with the home run that became known as “The Shot Heard ‘Round the World.” While he missed that one, he grew up loving baseball and went on to attend some of the greatest games ever played.

In “A Baseball Birthright: Chronicles and Connections,” Carlucci reflects on his good fortune, the games he’s witnessed, and, especially, the connections he’s made. For, as he writes, baseball is all about connections—“maybe for a minute, for an out, for an inning, for a doubleheader, or forever. This is not because of the game, but because of being at the game, and with whom and why. If the game turned out to be special, all the better. Either way, baseball kindles great memories.”

His memories extend from the “golden age” when players were part of the communities where they played, all the way up through the steroid era, the first game played after 9/11, and the requisite pause in play during the pandemic, which provided the stimulus for him to start his book. He revels not only in the details of the significant games he’s attended, but also in his companions, which have included friends, clients, grandchildren, and his elderly father, a WWII veteran.

Thanks to his business career, Carlucci has moved often and traveled extensively—and he has taken advantage of every opportunity to get tickets to a game. He was at the final All-Star game of the 20th century in Fenway Park in 1999, which honored the greatest 100 players of the century, many of whom were in attendance. Hooked from his first visit to Yankee Stadium as a boy, he has witnessed some amazing rallies, seen numerous records broken, and logged countless game-winning homers. And, as a die-hard Mets fan, he was at the only two World Series games that his team has won in the 21st century (“so far,” he adds).

Written in an easy, conversational style, “A Baseball Birthright” will engage even casual sports buffs, but contains enough baseball lore to satisfy the most rabid fan—if they’re not too green with envy to pay attention. As Carlucci writes, “I consider myself to be the luckiest man on the face of the earth” And, as he notes, if that line doesn’t ring a bell, you’re either not a baseball fan or you’re far too young.

Pat Carlucci is an executive search consultant in the food and beverage industry, which he has been a part of for 50 years. He and his family live on Capitol Hill.

Local travel writer JoAnn Hill sends readers on a scavenger hunt for public artwork and other hidden treasures in “DC Scavenger.”

Scavenger Hunt

Get ready… set… scavenge! But first pick up a copy of JoAnn Hill’s new book, “DC Scavenger: The Ultimate Search for Washington, DC’s Hidden Treasures.” This spiral-bound guide will be your ticket to a unique and adventurous treasure hunt in the nation’s capital.

To prepare you for your search, Hill has all but worn out her walking shoes, “obsessively scouring as many nooks as possible in search of obscure relics, awe-inspiring works of art, and off-the-beaten path locales.” And she has succeeded admirably.

On your treasure hunt, you’ll be searching for pubs and clubs, bookstores and libraries, shops, museums, historical sites, markets, and churches. Public art such as sculptures, murals, and fountains are also on the list, and all of these “hidden gems” are located outdoors and are accessible by foot and convenient to public transportation.

In “DC Scavenger,” Hill divides the city into 17 neighborhoods, from Adams Morgan to the West End/Foggy Bottom, and provides pointers to some 350 sites for you to locate. Each clue is presented in verse and accompanied by a teasingly small portion of a photograph and an illustration to give you an additional hint.

To lead searchers to a familiar spot on Capitol Hill, for example, Hill’s entry includes a close-up shot of a storefront logo, a drawing of chef’s hat and utensils, and this poetic clue: “Sugar and spice and everything nice, / Julia Child fans, these wares will entice. / Crack, sizzle, bubble, stir, and pop, / Find the flame at this Nats-loving shop.” Did you get it?

Hill’s “hidden gems” range from the obvious—Anacostia’s Big Chair, the Kennedy Center, and the Chinatown arch—to others that might present more of a challenge. Whatever the level of difficulty, though, the fun is in the search and, as she writes, in the “unique opportunity to explore [DC] through a refreshing lens.” But if you really get stuck, she invites you to visit for tips and help.

JoAnn Hill writes extensively about DC life, food, and her world travels on her blog Her previous book was “Secret Washington, DC: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure.”