I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable Halloween. If you happen to have plans for trick-or-treating, please remember to wear a mask, use hand sanitizer, and just be smart about it in general. The way 2020 has been going so far, this is a good night to be especially vigilant.
This piece is very nostalgic and a bit on the sad side. Judy Katz-Levine published this poem in 1990 as part of a collection entitled When the Arms of Our Dreams Embrace.
Falling asleep in the afternoon,
I forget that my father has died.
I anticipate him calling me up,
asking me how my writing is going,
and am I thinking about having children.
Making a joke or two. “Don’t worry,
Mom and I will never be lonely.”
Then I fall into deeper sleep, he
loses me, traveling in his car, the green
Chevrolet, to old baseball fields,
which are sweet with rye grass
and lush stadiums, his pals throwing
him the ball – “Give me some pepper, Al.”
On October 27, 1986, the New York Mets became World Series champions for the second time in team history as they defeated the Red Sox, 8-5, to win Game 7 of the Fall Classic. Third baseman Ray Knight, who is named the Fall Classic’s MVP, hit a home run in the seventh inning, which put the Mets ahead for good.
Swing hard in case you hit it.
~Woodson George “Woodie” Held
In 2009, NPR’s Morning Edition did this short report on Henry Chadwick and the creation of what many consider to be the first box score:
The box score, as well as the various statistics that exist in the game, have evolved tremendously over the years. But it’s pretty commonly accepted that Chadwick is the man we have to thank for getting the ball rolling on the mathematical record-keeping side of the game.
You can find the full NPR story, including the text portion, here.
The theme of this tune’s lyrics is really more of a bar fight song than it is a baseball song, but one individual in the comments of the video mentioned they used to blare this during baseball practice. I can certainly see how this would get a team pumped up, and I’m sure many teams have listened to this during their pre-game warmups as well.
Welp, the 2020 World Series matchup is set: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Tampa Bay Rays. I honestly don’t have a dog in this fight, but the way the ALCS and the NLCS both played out, this should be a very entertaining World Series. Here is the tentative schedule for this year’s matchup:
Tuesday, Oct. 20
• World Series Game 1, TB vs. LAD, 8 p.m., FOX
Wednesday, Oct. 21
• World Series Game 2, TB vs. LAD, 8 p.m., FOX
Thursday, Oct. 22
Friday, Oct. 23
• World Series Game 3, LAD vs. TB, 8 p.m., FOX
Saturday, Oct. 24
• World Series Game 4, LAD vs. TB, 8 p.m., FOX
Sunday, Oct. 25
• World Series Game 5, LAD vs. TB, 8 p.m., FOX
Monday, Oct. 26
Tuesday, Oct. 27
• World Series Game 6, TB vs. LAD, 8 p.m., FOX
Wednesday, Oct. 28
• World Series, Game 7, TB vs. LAD, 8 p.m., FOX
I knew if I walked him and he felt good, he’d steal second. And if he felt really good, he’d steal third. That would be like throwing a triple. So I gave him a low fastball, and he hit a home run.
~Jim Palmer on Joe Morgan
This poem by Elinor Nauen is a bit longer, but well worth the read. It demonstrates how closely baseball gets associated with Americanism, even to those outside the nation’s borders. I especially love the line, “He goes home because he has nowhere else to go.”
I’ve been sitting at my desk a lot
staring at my father.
It’s a picture taken in summer
a few months before he died.
He’s looking at me
with a wry and knowing
–did he know?–
expression. He looks like a man
who needs a private joke
to get a proper snapshot.
He’s looking straight at me, even as I sit
in a cold May, a little too tired,
the Yanks getting beat 4-1 in the 5th
by Oakland out on the coast,
a lackluster they’ll-never-catch-up game
Rasmussen not getting shellacked
just doesn’t have anything
and neither do the hitters.
Gone native in his Arizona retirement
Dad is wearing a bolo tie and looks shrunken, frail.
I liked to kiss him on the top of his bony head
in the desert mornings.
He took all of us to a game only once, my first, I was ten,
Charlie was eight, Lindsay was twelve
and the baby was left home.
We drove all the way from South Dakota
up to Minneapolis
to see the Twins play the Yankees
Daddy was a refugee from Nazi Germany
and Mom was English.
They were grownups
who’d never seen a game either. They went
because he was the father of Americans
and I was a little baseball fanatic.
Mom sat quietly for about twenty minutes
fanning herself with a straw sunhat and beaming
then asked, when does the game begin?
Look down there, we said.
It was already the second inning
but I still don’t think she spotted it.
I think she was waiting for the play by play.
The familiar radio sounds
so different in the ballpark.
Daddy wore plaid shorts over his white skinny legs
and puffed a cigar.
He began to like baseball
when he found someone
who knew less about it than he did.
He explained it all to Mom
mostly according to his own logic–
He had an accountant’s sense of symmetry
and the diamond pleased him–
the implication of infinity.
The profusion of numbers and their richness
and it was a damn nice summer day.
I think now of those bleachers
old Metropolitan stadium full of stolid Scandinavians
who never corrected him–
that would have spoiled their fun.
Mom would ask: Where’s that chap running off to now?
And Dad would explain:
He goes home because he has nowhere else to go…
My brother and I spent most of the time under the stands
scrapping with baby Twinkies–
Twins fans who didn’t take to our rooting for the enemy.
Charlie thinks he remembers a game-winning
Bobby Richardson grand slam.
I only recall the Yanks winning in the 10th
and the incredibly intense luxury of that lagniappe inning.
Daddy stuck with baseball too.
Like the voting
that made him proudest as a naturalized citizen
he quietly exulted
at being able to talk to his kids
about what they liked to talk about
which was sports. What pleasure
it gave him
to be able to call
(those Sunday calls!–this later
after we’d all left home)
and say, “So, Mattingly’s still leading the league”
or “I see where the Yankees aren’t doing to well.” …
But tonight there’s an amazing comeback
another 10th-inning heroic to call home about
(“I see where the Yankees are going great guns”)
thought it’s a few second basemen later
and the serene and splendid Willie Randolph
who pulls it out for the team.