Posts tagged: baseball
Here's why baseball fans of a certain age don't get too cocky when their team is in first place at this time of year.
The Home Run Derby at baseball's All-Star game is a ridiculous event.
Am I the only one who remembers the 1964 Phillies?
It seems like a statistical certainty, given the population of the Inland Northwest and American mobility, that someone in our midst was a fan of the Philadelphia Phillies during 1964.
Baseball fans of a certain age will remember that 1964 was the year of the Phils' epic collapse at the end of the season.
St. Louis ended up atop the National League, so the tickets below were never needed.
If the baseball team you follow is in a last-week-of-the-season pennant race with a team your boss roots for (and it is not looking good for his/her team), you had better hope your boss is a grownup.
I have a question for you.
But first, let me explain the situation.
For many post-childhood years, I paid virtually no attention to baseball. Then, when I noticed about 10 or 12 years ago that a team I had followed as a kid was threatening to finish with the worst record in modern baseball history, I started checking scores again.
Good grief, Tigers, I thought. How did it come to this?
But things got better.
Last year, the Tigers won their division by a wide margin. September was spent just waiting for the playoffs to begin.
This year, the second-place Tigers stand an excellent chance of not even making the playoffs.
But you know what? It's actually more fun being a fan this September than last. All of Detroit's games mean something. It's a real pennant race, like one or two that enthralled me as a boy.
Another thing that makes it fun to be a fan is the fact that, by some quirk. the SR newsroom is populated by at least one fan of virtually every team in the American League's Central Division. And each of these guys is a gentleman.
Anyway, here's my question.
Would you rather your team ran away from the field and clinched the pennant early or would you prefer to take your chances with a dramatic finish?
If you are a Mariners fan, go ahead and use your imagination.
The great thing about baseball's all-star game is that the competition resembles actual baseball. Unlike the farcical exhibitions in football, hockey and (to a slightly lesser degree) basketball, baseball's all-star game isn't some warped version of the sport.
One memorable moment from these annual National League vs. American League matchups took place during the television broadcast of the 1968 game at Houston's Astrodome.
Houston, as you might recall, was a leading center for innovative cardiac surgery at that time.
Anyway, American League first baseman Harmon Killebrew (born in Idaho) hurt himself while doing the splits to make a defensive play. He went down and stayed down.
The announcers referred to him probably having suffered a groin injury.
Now we all know that while it actually refers to the web of muscle and connective tissue where the legs join the torso, some people — sports announcers included — say “groin” and mean “genitals.”
So as trainers and medical staff attended to the injured Killebrew out on the field, a broadcast microphone picked up the sound of a fan shouting a suggestion.
“Give him a transplant!”
I thought my brother would never stop laughing.
My mother-in-law saw a few St. Louis Browns games.
I wonder how many people can say they saw teams that no longer exist (or moved to other cities and acquired new names).
Let's say your favorite team is not the Mariners. And let's say they are in a city far away and you don't get to see many televised games. But every once in a while your team will be on WGN (a longtime cable staple) because they are playing the White Sox. Are you able to watch or do you find the Sox broadcast team, the Hawk and Stone Pony, so hard to take that you can't?
I wonder how many Spokane area residents have a baseball used in a major league game.
Dozens? Hundreds? More?
Mine came from a game I saw as a young teen in the late '60s. It was caught by my late sister's staggeringly flawed first husband, Bill. It was a sharply hit foul ball that he reached up and barehanded from his box seat.
A pretty impressive grab, I must say.
I still remember that sound of meat being slapped when it zoomed into the fleshy part of his hand.
And sure, it was nice of him to give it to me. It had been just the two of us at the game.
Later, my late brother scoffed that Bill had ruined the ball by using a pen to write the date and circumstances on it: “Milt Pappas pitching” et cetera.
I don't know. I don't mind that those details are on there. Just wish I had better memories of Bill.
Anyway, I haven't seen that ball in years. But I'm sure I still have it. Somewhere.
That athletes thought about sex?
Those who watch baseball on TV only at this time of year typically have a few questions.
Some wonder why the commercials are so off-putting and why it's the same four over and over.
Others want to clarify the difference between a double and a double play.
But almost all eventually get around to the one time-honored head-scratcher.
“What's with all the spitting?”
Has anyone ever come up with a decent answer?
A small percentage of modern players chew tobacco, so that's not it. And the theory of spontaneous saliva overloads has been pretty well debunked.
So, really, what is it?
There are still a few issues to be sorted out before the end of baseball's regular season. But one thing is quite clear: The Mariners will not be in the playoffs.
So, assuming you don't hate baseball or regard sports as a time-wasting cultural hypnotism, you might want to think about selecting a team to root for. That could make the weeks to come a little more fun.
Certainly you are free to come up with your own choice. But instead of going with some utterly unimaginative pick (Yankees or Phillies), why not opt for a team from a hollowed out, zero-glamour city that helped make America great?
(I'm not thinking of building cars so much as the city creating a template for a blue-collar middle class. It was nice while it lasted. And let's not forget the 1940s and converting the auto plants to defense industry and helping to win Wolrd War II.)
Anyway, why not pick a team that hasn't won it all since 1984? You won't be alone.
Perhaps some of us romanticize listening to baseball on the radio because it's one way to avoid seeing the constant spitting.