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Please name the TV series in which, in a final season episode, a newspaper reporter writes a feature story on the Baltimore Orioles' opening day and his editor has doubts about certain details and hazy sourcing in the piece.
…if you greeted them with "So how's everything in Mudville this morning?"
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.
Went on our annual parish field trip to Safeco Field to watch the Mariners. Any parishioner who wants to go pays a modest fee for the bus ride and ticket. We leave from the church parking lot and make our way to the 300 level of the stadium. An eclectic group of "here comes everybody!"
With my husband on my left chatting to our son next to him, I turned to the man, David, on my right. He has a disability - a stroke perhaps, a head injury, maybe - leaving him struggling to talk. But he delights in these parish adventures. He always arrives alone and joins the group.
As the players threw the ball, swung their bats and trotted around the field, David and I chatted. I asked if his bag of peanuts was actually his dinner, “Yes, would you like some?” I declined. It took him the entire nine innings to crack open the peanuts and eat them all. Later I regretted not asking him if he wanted a beverage when my husband went for our food.
As we watched the game, David looked around our group of 45+ parishioners and said simply, “It’s good to be Catholic!” I gave him a quizzical look and he said again, “Look around! It is good to be Catholic!”
I doubt he was referring to any theological construct or doctrine of the trinity. He was glad to be at the game. He was glad to be part of a community that claims it loves one another as Jesus loved. I admit we don’t always get it right.
But when the church doors open wide enough for everyone to come in, when we welcome the stranger, the one who is different, we are getting closer to living the mandate we were given. And then, David is right: “It is good to be Catholic!” at a ball game, huddled together, sharing friendship.
(S-R archive photo: Safeco Field)
With all the Washington D.C. rhetoric making the news, it is difficult to focus on any other drama. Thank you, Boston. Game two of the American League Championship Series between Boston and Detroit offered baseball fans a wonderful diversion from politics.
The tension from Detroit’s perfect pitching and five runs was palpable from Boston’s Fenway Park to our family rooms. With Boston up, a home run put Boston on the score board; then a Boston fan’s fairy tale made real when Boston’s David Ortiz hit a grand slam to tie the game. In the ninth inning the Red Sox broke the tie and won the game.
An object lesson for sure in a city that deserves a victory: never, ever give up.
(S-R archives photo: Pedestrians walk past a statue of former Boston Red Sox player Ted Williams outside Fenway Park in Boston.)
While Washington prattles on and on about what they cannot do, some of us are taking comfort in the season: October baseball. Settling in to see who dodges the pitch at the plate offers more peace than watching who dodges responsibility in D.C.
And it is a time to remember one of baseball’s great players, Andy Pafko, who died this week. Pafko played with Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron; he played in an era without ridiculous salaries and sneaky steroids. May we remember him as we watch the showdown – the one around the diamond.
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.
Senior Jake Hochberg leads an experienced pitching staff at Central Valley. Hochberg has split a pair of decisions in CV’s first four games. SR photo/Jesse Tinsley
It's Monday and it's not raining. Everyone cross your fingers that this will last at least a little while. Meanwhile, it's time to take a look at Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a profile on Gene Sementi, who is stepping up to become West Valley's superintendent. He has worked with the district for many years as a teacher, coach, principal and assistant superintendent.
The Spokane Valley City Council discussed how much of the city's year-end balance to commit to street preservation on Tuesday. It was a split decision, with four of the seven council members favoring taking $2 million. That would leave $26 million, which the council has previously identified as the minimum amount it wants left over.
Correspondent Steve Christilaw spoke to the coach of the Central Valley High School baseball team, who is dealing with a soggy start to his season. The field is soaking wet and pitchers haven't been able to get much practice time on the mound.
That athletes thought about sex?
A decade has passed since North Idaho College swung the collegiate bats, but if baseball supporters can build a $3 million field of dreams, the Cardinals, too, could land a home. "We've always been in support of baseball in the community," said Al Williams, NIC athletic director. But "it's kind of a moot point to try and have a baseball program without a field." That could change if hardball advocates, backed by a professional fundraiser, can solicit enough support to construct a roughly 1,000-seat stadium near Cherry Hill Park for the American Legion baseball program. The field would also meet collegiate field requirements/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Jesse Tinsley SR file photo: North Idaho College second baseman Al Bevacqua takes out a College of Southern Idaho runner in this April 10, 1998, photo)
Question: Would you like to see a field-of-dreams baseball diamond built on Cherry Hill that would take care of American Legion Baseball — and possibly resurrect the North Idaho College baseball team?
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.
SPORTSMAN PERKS — It's Hunting and Fishing Day at the Spokane Indians Baseball game tonight at Avista Stadium in Spokane Valley. The tribe takes on the Tri-City Dust Devils at 6:30 p.m.
Sportmen with a hunting or fishing licenst pay $5 for a reserved bench seat. Normal price is $6.
More details? Visit the Spokane Indians website.
Perhaps some of us romanticize listening to baseball on the radio because it's one way to avoid seeing the constant spitting.