Month: August 2016
“Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” performed by Julien Neel
This is pretty incredible. Julien Neel created essentially a one-man barbershop quartet, performing all four voices of the quartet with the help of some basic recording equipment. Here he performs an impressive rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
Jokes to kick off the week
Because Monday mornings are rough, and I’m due to post a few more of these. Enjoy!
Manager: Our new infielder cost $10 million. I call him our “Wonder Player.”
Fan: Why’s that?
Manager: Every time he plays, I wonder why I bothered to get him.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the following statistic was given in the press notes for the June 7 Chicago-Oakland game:
The Oakland Athletics are 32-0 in games in which they have scored more runs than their opponents.
Dentist: Would you help me out? I’d like you to give a few of your loudest screams.
Patient: Why, Doc? It isn’t all that bad this time.
Dentist: Well, there are about twenty people in the waiting room right now, and I don’t want to miss the five o’clock Braves game on Channel Four.
Quote of the day
Baseball is something more than a game to an American boy; it is his training field for life work. Destroy his faith in its squareness and honesty and you have destroyed something more; you have planted suspicion of all things in his heart.
~Kenesaw Mountain Landis
The Huffington Post published this interview with Tim Kurkjian a couple days ago, which I found an interesting read. The interview was initiated as a result of the publication of his latest book, I’m Fascinated By Sacrifice Flies – Inside The Game We All Love. I’ve not read the book, nor do I have cable television to watch ESPN, so I’m afraid I can’t speak to Kurkjian himself nor my impressions of him. But I did enjoy reading this interview.
He discusses the skill level involved in baseball as compared to other sports and the declining popularity of Major League Baseball as compared to the NFL or NASCAR. I particularly love how he advocates against parents and coaches pushing their kids to specialize in a single sport, bemoaning the decline of three-sport letter winners in high schools. He points out that “when we have 14 year old kids having Tommy John surgery, then something is really wrong with this picture.” I often think the same kind of thing when the Little League World Series comes on, wondering about the futures these kids have given the stress they put themselves through so young.
Most of all, I just love the fact that Kurkjian’s love for baseball shows through so clearly in this interview. People who have a passion for this game — as many of you reading this have — absolutely fascinate me. And I enjoy reading and hearing about the reasons people love it so much.
1930s baseball cartoon
This is fun: a baseball cartoon, presumably from the 1930s. I can’t speak to the validity of the posted time period, but it certainly looks like an old bit of animation, for sure.
This day in baseball: Bigbee’s at-bat record
Quote of the day
What we have are good gray ballplayers, playing a good gray game and reading the good gray Wall Street Journal. They have been brainwashed, dry-cleaned and dehydrated!… Wake up the echoes at the Hall of Fame and you will find that baseball’s immortals were a rowdy and raucous group of men who would climb down off their plaques and go rampaging through Cooperstown, taking spoils…. Deplore it if you will, but Grover Cleveland Alexander drunk was a better pitcher than Grover Cleveland Alexander sober.
“Playing Stickball With Robbie Shea,” by Mark Lukeman
This piece, published in 1988, reminds me of playing ball in the backyard with my brothers growing up. We didn’t have “real” baseball equipment for the longest time, so we improvised. A pitchfork handle would’ve been too big, but we broke the handle off a toy vacuum, and that worked well with a tennis ball.
At the wall
we play suburban stickball,
bat with a pitchfork handle
cut from his garden.
as crisp apples.
Strips of electrical
mark the strike zone
red school brick.
Rob throws strikes.
I swing hard
and miss. Robbie is so much better than me.
the sky is blue,
summer is in our bones,
and so many things don’t count yet.
This day in baseball: Rickwood Field
Rickwood Field opened on August 18, 1910 in Birmingham, Alabama. It was the first concrete-and-steel ballpark in the minor leagues and would go on to become the oldest surviving professional baseball park in the country.