Quote of the day

Baseball isn’t just the stats. As much as anything else, baseball is the style of Willie Mays, or the determination of Hank Aaron, or the endurance of a Mickey Mantle, the discipline of Carl Yastrzemski, the drive of Eddie Mathews, the reliability of a (Al) Kaline or a (Joe) Morgan, the grace of a (Joe) DiMaggio, the kindness of a Harmon Killebrew, and the class of Stan Musial, the courage of a Jackie Robinson, or the heroism of Lou Gehrig. My hope for the game is that these qualities will never be lost.

~George W. Bush

George W Bush - Forbes - Getty Images

Forbes/Getty Images


“Bleacher Rat,” by Joyce Kessel

This piece by Joyce Kessel was published in 2011 in Spitball Magazine. There’s a strong sense of nostalgia, especially in the language about attending minor league games.

*

I grew up a National League fan
of the Pirates, Cards, Reds & Giants,
not even knowing many decades before
my Buffalo Bisons played in the Senior League
well before becoming a minor league stalwart.
So I’d pray for sunny skies over Forbes Field
rather than Cleveland’s “Mistake by the Lake.”
My rare defection to the American League
came when the Orioles gained Frank Robinson
in that lopsided trade and after,
who couldn’t have appreciated Cal Ripken?

My dad & I would troll the minor leagues
where for some reason affiliations
didn’t seem to matter as much,
at least not to me,
who took in the green expanses
beyond dirt as the glowing diamonds
they were meant to be,
even in parks that were bare shadows
to Little League fields today.

In bandbox fields
and open air bleachers
we’d watch players with numbers,
but no names on their uniforms,
trading cards in their future or past
or not at all, their talents raw and wild.

I learned a geography of Rustbelt cities:
Toledo Mudhens, Columbus Clippers,
Rochester Redwings, Syracuse Chiefs,
Geneva Cubs, Oneonta Yankees,
Niagara Falls Rainbows,
a day’s ride away,
hoping they’d play two,
and mastering the geometry
& hieroglyphs of scorecards.


This day in baseball: Philadelphia A’s debut in the AL

On April 26, 1901 at Philadelphia’s Columbia Park, 10,547 fans witnessed Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics making their American League debut, losing to the Senators, 5-1. The Western League had been renamed the American League in 1900 by league president Ban Johnson and declared itself the second major league in 1901. Philadelphia’s new franchise, led by Mack, had been created to compete with the National League’s Philadelphia Phillies.

connie mack

National Baseball Hall of Fame Library/Major League Baseball/Getty Images


Lunchtime in the dugout

All these items are great for the occasional trip to the ballpark, but day after day? I’d get a little salty about having to eat so much salty.

In the Bleachers comic

Quote of the day

In baseball you hit your home run over the right-field fence, the left-field fence, the center-field fence. Nobody cares. In golf everything has got to be right over second base.

~Ken Harrelson


This day in baseball: First White Sox game

At Schorling’s Park on Chicago’s south side, the minor league White Sox played their first game in franchise history on April 21, 1900. The Sox ended up losing the contest to Milwaukee, 5-4. The small wooden ballpark, located at 39th and Princeton, was also known as South Side Park, and would continue to be the home stadium for the team when they joined the American League the following season.

South_Side_Park_1907 - Wikipedia

South Side Park, 1907 (Chicago Daily News)


Marijuana in MLB

In honor of 4/20, here’s a brief overview on Major League Baseball’s policy regarding use of marijuana. In December 2019, MLB announced that it would be dropping marijuana from the list of drugs it would be testing for (while, at the same time, adding opioids and cocaine to that list).

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A few weeks prior to the originally scheduled start of the 2020 season (which ended up not happening… thanks, COVID!), Dave Samson delved into the policy in a little more detail, and also overviewed the policies regarding the drug in other professional sports:


“The Great Mississippi,” by Jordan A. Deutsch

This poem by Jordan Deutsch was published in 1932, and you can see the history all over this piece. I really love the imagery of the sunrise, and the phonetic spelling out of the conductor’s pronunciations (“… Shecargo and Saint Louieeeeee”) just put a voice in my head yelling these cities out.

*

Up from the grasslands,
The plains, the cities,
Up from the vastness of the land itself:
Up Up Up
To the Great Mississippi.

Up to that First Field bathed in the sun,
Basking in the glory of its birth
Immersed in future time.

Further up slides the sun.

Up
To the Red Stockings from Cincinnati,
The original Magnificent Machine,
The dynasty without a future.
Up
To the National Association,
Swaying in its greatness.

Further up slides the sun.

Through the mouth of history slide provocative names
Once breathed on the lips of dreamers.

In what fine grave do the Elizabeth Resolutes
Troy Haymakers,
And Lord Baltimores now rest?

Up moving up
To expanding cities pocketed
In gray concrete.

(Can you hear the shrill and melodic chant of the
Train Conductor calling out his roll?)
:NewYawkHartfordBosstonPhilaDELphia
LouievilleCINCINnatiShecargo and Saint Louieeeeee.

Up up up
Up
To the Great Mississippi.


Quote of the day

Okay you guys, pair up in threes!

~Yogi Berra

yogi

Independent Sentinel


Jackie Robinson biography

Happy Jackie Robinson Day! In celebration, here is a video biography of Robinson, posted by Biography this past January.