This piece seems quite appropriate early in the season. I love the metaphor of the dugout as an igloo. This poem was published in 2006 in Radio Crackling, Radio Gone.
At first he seemed a child,
dirt on his lip and the sun
lighting up his hair behind him.
All around us, the hesitation
of year-rounders who know
the warmer air will bring crowds.
No one goes to their therapist
to talk about how happy they are,
but soon I’d be back in the dugout
telling my batting coach how
the view outside my igloo seemed
to be changing, as if the night
sky were all the light there is.
Now, like two babies reaching
through the watery air to touch soft
fingers to soft forehead, like blind fish
sensing a familiar fluttering in the waves,
slowly, by instinct, we became aware.
Off-field, outside the park, beyond
the gates, something was burning.
The smell was everywhere.
John McGraw made his debut as a major league manager on April 18, 1899 at the age of twenty-six. His Baltimore Orioles defeated the New York Giants (McGraw’s future team) 5-3 that day. McGraw’s managerial career would span 33 years, during which time he won ten pennants and three World Championships. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1937.
I think I was the best baseball player I ever saw.
Seventy years ago today, Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers made his debut at Ebbets Field. This historic moment marked the first time in the twentieth century that an African-American played major league baseball.
Fifty years later, on April 15, 1997, President Bill Clinton paid tribute to Jackie Robinson in Shea Stadium, and Major League Baseball retired his number 42 throughout the league. “No man is bigger than baseball,” commissioner Bud Selig said, “except Jackie Robinson. Jackie Robinson is bigger than baseball.”
By signing Jackie Robinson, the Dodgers had ended the institutionalized racial segregation in baseball that had existed since the 1880s. Robinson endured the slings and arrows of racial slurs bravely and stoically, proving through his play on the field that blacks were just as capable as whites of playing outstanding baseball. Whether you are a baseball fan or not, there is little doubt that Robinson’s breaking of the color barrier impacted the history of America. As the world continues to face issues of hatred and discrimination today, perhaps Robinson’s example is one we should all keep in mind as we continue to strive forward.
The lyrics of this song are amusing, to say the least. I especially chuckled at the bit about Grandma jerking the beard off Grandpa’s chin. The moral of the story is: don’t ever underestimate Joe DiMaggio.
I’m sure we’ve all seen that one fan at the game and wondered if this is what was going on.
On April 11th of the 1907 season, the Giants had their home opener against the Phillies. The game took place following a major snowstorm, and the New York grounds crew had been forced to shovel large amounts of snow to the outer edges of the field. When the Giants fell behind in the game, restless fans started hurling snowballs at one another. In spite of numerous warnings from Bill Klem, the home plate umpire, the snowball fights continued. A frustrated Klem finally called the game in the top of the ninth, and the Giants were forced to forfeit the game to the Phillies.
Don’t tell me about the world. Not today. It’s springtime and they’re knocking baseball around fields where the grass is damp and green in the morning and the kids are trying to hit the curve ball.
Because it has been a particularly trying week, and I’m sure we could all use the entertainment break.
The Most Valuable Player award was introduced April 4, 1911, sponsored by automobile manufacturer Hugh Chalmers. The first winners of the MVP award would be Ty Cobb of the Tigers and Frank “Wildfire” Schulte of the Cubs.