“Where I’m From,” by Michael Kumar

Here’s a piece written by a high school ballplayer, Michael Kumar.  I can’t help but love this piece, if only because I played center field for my high school softball team.  It’s a fun position — you’ve gotta have speed, a strong, accurate throwing arm, and the ability to lead.

~*~

I am from center field,
From where the rich green grass and the warm brown dirt meet.
I am from the place where champions are made, and
legends are born.
I am from the drive to succeed and the fear of failure.

I am from where players made footsteps too deep to fill,
From the same turf legends and DiMaggio and Mantle, and where The Say Hey Kid
made his famous catch.
I am from the roar of the fans and the chatter of my teammates.

I’m from the place where I feel comfortable, and I am determined to stay here.
I’m from the place where left meets right and I am ready.
I am home.


This day in baseball: King Karl

On July 17, 1936, Giants pitcher Carl Hubbell achieved a 6-0 victory over the Pirates.  This became the first of a 24-game winning streak for Hubbell, who would not lose a game until Memorial Day of 1937.  Hubbell’s consecutive game winning streak record continues to stand today.

Wikimedia Commons


Quote of the day

Baseball is a team game but, at the same time, it’s a very lonely game: unlike in soccer or basketball, where players roam around, in baseball everyone has their little plot of the field to tend. When the action comes to you, the spotlight is on you but no one can help you.

~Chad Harbach

Wikimedia Commons


“Take Me Out to the Ballgame” (1908 version), by Jack Norworth

First published in 1908, vaudeville entertainer/songwriter Jack Norworth’s “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” has become well-known as the game’s anthem.  Many people do not realize, however, that the full song actually describes a young lady who, crazy about baseball, insists to her guy that if he wants to take her out, it had better be to a ballgame.  Now that’s my kind of gal!

*

Katie Casey was base ball mad.
Had the fever and had it bad;
Just to root for the home town crew,
Ev’ry sou Katie blew.
On a Saturday, her young beau
Called to see if she’d like to go,
To see a show but Miss Kate said,
“No, I’ll tell you what you can do.”

“Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack,
I don’t care if I never get back,
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don’t win it’s a shame.
For it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out,
At the old ball game.”

Katie Casey saw all the games,
Knew the players by their first names;
Told the umpire he was wrong,
All along good and strong.
When the score was just two to two,
Katie Casey knew what to do,
Just to cheer up the boys she knew,
She made the gang sing this song:

“Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack,
I don’t care if I never get back,
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don’t win it’s a shame.
For it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out,
At the old ball game.”


Infographic: MLB Offensive Performance by Position, 1992-2011

Here’s a comparative look at the offensive performance of Major League ballplayers, divided by position.  Created a few years ago by Craig Robinson, I think this infographic is fascinating in that it serves to prove that a lot of our stereotypes about how well certain position players hit seem to be true.  Or, perhaps, these are merely self-fulfilling prophecies — i.e. if you can’t hit, you might as well give up your dreams of becoming a first baseman.


This day in baseball: Cy Young wins 300

On July 12, 1901, Cy Young collected his 300th win as he leads the Boston Americans in a 5-3 victory over the A’s.  In the game at Huntington Grounds in Boston, Young gave up only seven hits.  He would ultimately collect 511 victories by the end of his career.

Library of Congress


Quote of the day

Statistics are like bikinis. They show a lot, but never everything.

~Lou Piniella

NBC Sports


This day in baseball: First round KO

After he is ejected from the game for disputing a called third strike on July 10, 1911, the Phillies’ Sherry Magee knocks out home plate umpire Bill Finneran with just one punch.  Although he is suspended from baseball for the rest of the season, Magee manages to appeal successfully and gain reinstatement after 36 games.

Sherry Magee (Phillies Nation)


“Talkin’ Baseball” (Boston Red Sox version), by Terry Cashman

The combination of babies and baseball is a curious one, but this was the best I could find for the BoSox version of “Talkin’ Baseball.”  For the first minute, the song competes with the sounds of life with babies, but then the volume goes up and it’s all music from there.  Enjoy the song, and if you like babies, enjoy the images too…

Click here for the “Talkin’ Baseball” collection.


This day in baseball: All-Star walk-off

On July 8, 1941, the American League All-Stars defeated the National League All-Stars 7-5 when Boston’s Ted Williams launched a three-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.  The walk-off blast, hit off Claude Passeau, made this the first All-Star Game to be decided in the final inning.

Ted Williams greeted at home plate by teammate Joe DiMaggio and coach Marv Shea (AP)