This day in baseball: The flooding of Crosley Field

In January 1937, the wettest month in Ohio history caused Cincinnati to experience the worst flood in its history. The Ohio River overflowed, and approximately one million people were left homeless, with $500 million in damages occurring. The flood also impacted Crosley Field, where the lower grandstand was submerged under 21 feet of water. As a publicity stunt, on January 27th, Reds pitcher Lee Grissom and Gene Schott were photographed as they entered the ballpark over the left-field fence and rowed to the area of the pitcher’s mound.

Crosley Field flood, 1937 -

How far can we throw a ball on other worlds?

Continuing with the theme of interplanetary baseball, yesterday, the World and Science Twitter account shared this captivating video graphic, originally created by Dr. James O’Donoghue. The graphic shows how far a ball would travel on the surface of other celestial bodies in our solar system, assuming said ball is thrown at a speed of 45 mph and at a 45-degree angle. A ball thrown on Mars, it seems, would travel more than twice as far as a ball thrown on Earth. A particularly interesting data point is for Pluto, where the same thrown ball would travel a whopping 667 meters!

Neil deGrasse Tyson discusses baseball on Mars

The concept of interplanetary baseball is a totally fascinating one. In this clip, Neil deGrasse Tyson fields a question about the physics of baseball if it were to be played on Mars. Not only does Tyson answer the question, he demonstrates his own knowledge about the game — I particularly like the idea about allowing a batter to go to second base if hit by a pitch that would have been ball four.

Will we ever see baseball played on Mars? Perhaps not in my lifetime, but the idea is not entirely outside the realm of possibility.

This day in baseball: Giants and Highlanders to share the Polo Grounds

On January 22, 1913, the New York Giants agreed to share the Polo Grounds with the New York Highlanders, who would later become known as the Yankees. Since 1903, the Highlanders had played their home games at Hilltop Park, located at 168th Street and Broadway. The last big league game played at Hilltop Park was on October 5, 1912, and the venue would be demolished in 1914.

Hilltop park 1903
Hilltop Park, 1903 (Wikipedia)

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Take Me Out to the Ball Game movie

Take Me Out to the Ball Game is a movie musical released in 1949, starring Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly. Sinatra plays Dennis “Denny” Ryan, while Kelly plays Eddie O’Brien, and the two play second base and shortstop respectively for the Chicago Wolves. Denny and Eddie are also vaudevillians, performing on stage during the off season and breaking out into song at intervals throughout the film.

The movie opens with Denny and Eddie performing Jack Norworth’s “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” on stage, and immediately upon the end of the performance, they have to quickly hop a train to head to spring training. Upon their arrival, they learn that the team has a new owner: K.C. Higgins. The Wolves are stunned to discover that “K.C.” stands for Katherine Catherine, and their new owner is a woman.

Katherine, it turns out, knows her baseball, and it doesn’t take long for Denny and Eddie to both fall in love with her. Meanwhile, Wolves fan Shirley Delwyn develops a crush on Denny, and she is relentless in her pursuit of his affections. Shirley invites the entire Wolves team to a clambake, and at the party, Eddie’s dancing and singing draws the attention of Joe Lorgan, a gambler.

Lorgan offers Eddie a job performing nights at a new café he is opening up, which Eddie accepts against his better judgment. Due to the lack of sleep from sneaking out nights, Eddie’s performance on the diamond suffers, and the Wolves’ chances at winning the pennant start looking bleak. Realizing he’s affecting the team as a whole, Eddie tells Lorgan that he’s quitting the nighttime gig.

Meanwhile, having no knowledge of Eddie’s late-night activities, Katherine believes his issues on the field stem from a lack of fun. In an effort to get the team back on track, Katherine offers to date Eddie. When Lorgan shows up to confront Eddie and finds him with Katherine, he reveals to her that Eddie had been singing and dancing nights with a team of girls. Katherine benches Eddie, and Eddie realizes that Lorgan was deliberately trying to make the Wolves lose so that he could win a bet he had placed against the team.

While I don’t want to give away the ending to any future viewers, after a series of events involving a bean ball and a couple of fake doctors, things work out in the end for the Wolves and for our two heroes.

As for me, I found this movie highly entertaining. Comedy and energy permeate the plot, and the tunes have a way of sticking with you even after the movie is over. It’s lighthearted and fun and a worthwhile way to spend 90 minutes of your day.