“The Spirit of Opening Day,” by Greg Shea

Technically a couple days late, but I would argue it’s still early enough for this to count.  I stumbled across this piece last night.  It’s full of baseball metaphors being applied to business.  Apparently in 2014, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle shared this poem with Pirates staff on Opening Day that year.  That day, the Pirates won 1-0 in ten innings over the Cubs.

*

Today you’ll dig in the closet for your glove and snap a ball into it while sipping your morning coffee.

Today you’ll drive to work and admonish yourself to “keep your head down” and your eye on the road.

Today your team will be in first and planning to stay there. Today you’ll wonder about developing and selling tobacco-flavored toothpaste, as you spit into the sink.

Today you’ll still be able to turn the double play.

Today you’ll end your contract holdout.

Today you won’t lose a business deal in the sun. Today you’ll find yourself rotating your arm around your head to stretch the shoulder and keep it loose.

Today sunflower seeds strangely find their way into your back pocket.

Today you’ll think of wearing a black suit to match the eye black.

Today you’ll have the steal sign.

Today you slip up in a meeting and mention “our sales team vs. lefties.”

Today as the toast comes out of the toaster, you’ll still remember how to execute a perfect “pop-up” slide.

Today a hot dog and peanuts for lunch will sound about right.

Today you tell a co-worker to “get loose.”

Today the only strike you’ll know about is above the knees and below the armpits.

Today you’ll wear your jacket only on your pitching arm.

Today you’ll buy two packs of gum and stuff them in the side of your mouth to look like a player.

Today, during lunch, you’ll wonder why Coke doesn’t come in a wood can.

Today you’ll scratch yourself and spit for no apparent reason.

Today you’ll wonder why stirrup socks never caught on as a fashion rage.

Today you’ll be the rookie looking to make it big.

Today you’ll be the wily vet with just a little something left.

Today you’ll look for the AM dial on your radio.

Today mom’s watching.

Today dad’s in the backyard with his glove.

Today will be hopeful.

Today it’ll still be a kids’ game.

Today you’ll be a kid.

Today is Opening Day!


This day in baseball: Koufax and Drysdale sign

Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale signed for $130,000 and $105,000, respectively, on March 30, 1966 with the Los Angeles Dodgers.  The agreements ended a 32-day holdout in which the two pitchers had refused to report for Spring Training.  Their actions would pave the way for other players to be more aggressive when negotiating with team owners.

sandy-koufax-don-drysdale

Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale (LA Times)


Quote of the day

There’s nothing like Opening Day. There’s nothing like the start of a new season. I started playing baseball when I was seven years old and quit playing when I was 40, so it’s kind of in my blood.

~George Brett

george-brett

SI.com


Tomorrow is Opening Day!

We made it!

i-cant-keep-calm-tomorrow-s-opening-day-1


Bad News Bears

bad news bears

The other baseball-related activity from my New York trip was a viewing of the movie The Bad News Bears (1976 version), which, believe it or not, I had never seen before.  I had heard of it, of course, though I really only had a vague notion of what the movie was about.

Walter Matthau (“Hey, Mr. Wilson!”) plays Morris Buttermaker, a former minor league ballplayer turned alcoholic who has been drafted to coach a team of misfit little leaguers.  The season does not start out well for the Bears.  In their first game against the appropriately-named Yankees, the Bears do not even record an out, and Buttermaker finally opts to forfeit on the team’s behalf.

Buttermaker eventually comes around and realizes he needs to do something more than just drink beer in order to help the team, and so he recruits 11-year-old girl pitcher Amanda as well as town bad boy Kelly Leak to play outfield.  As is the case in any kids sports movie like this, the addition of these two players is exactly the boost the Bears need to start winning.  Next thing we know, they are playing in the championship game.

Naturally, there are other hiccups along the way.  Being the daughter of Buttermaker’s ex-girlfriend, Amanda drops hints continuously that she would like to see her mother and her coach get back together.  Kelly’s reputation does little to earn him any friends, especially not when Buttermaker encourages him to become a ball hog to try to ensure the Bears make it to the championship.  We even see some conflict on the opposing team’s side of the ball, as the Yankees pitcher finally decides he’s had enough of the pressure his coach and father has been putting on him.

The Bad News Bears is definitely a comedy, though not quite your typical kids movie comedy.  It’s got an additional edge of profanity and crudeness to it that would make hardcore Disney parents freak out.  I’m sure there are plenty of folks out there who wouldn’t be quite so appreciative of this aspect of it, and understandably so, if you’ve got small children.  As an adult with a slightly twisted sense of humor and an appreciation for realism, however, I certainly enjoyed it.

 


This day in baseball

During an exhibition game against the University of Southern California on March 25, 1951, rookie Mickey Mantle hit a home run that traveled an estimated 650 feet. In addition to the monstrous homer, Mantle also collected a single, triple, and another homer.

mickey-mantle

likesuccess


Visiting Cooperstown

I spent much of the last week visiting an old friend who now lives in New York state.  Though I was only there for a few days, we managed to cram a lot into our limited time together.  We spent a full day in Manhattan — my first time ever in New York City.  Another day, we went on a five-mile hike up a mountain in the Hudson River Valley.  I also insisted, so long as I was making the trip halfway across the country, that we had to visit the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

The day we reserved for visiting the Hall of Fame came the day after our NYC day, and we didn’t get to bed until about 2:00 a.m. that night before.  Cooperstown is about a three-hour drive from my friend’s home, and as late as we were out the previous night, there was no way we were going to be on the road by 6:00 am to be there in time for the 9:00 open time.  Instead we pulled into town a bit after noon, and we stopped for sandwiches and coffee at a nice little café called Stagecoach Coffee (which I highly recommend, by the way, if you’re ever in Cooperstown).

We finished our lunch and arrived at the Hall of Fame around 1:00, leaving us about four hours to explore before closing time.  There ended up being a couple of exhibits we didn’t get to see (pro tip: don’t go out the night before so you can get there earlier than we did), but we did see most of it, and I took an insane number of pictures in the process.  For sanity’s sake, I’ll just post a few of the highlights here, but if you are somehow just morbidly curious, I’ve created a public album including all my photos here.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.