Charlie Brown’s All Stars!

Charlie Brown's All Stars

In my usual library browsings, I came across the DVD for Charlie Brown’s All Stars!  Given the number of Peanuts strips that revolve around baseball, of course I had to give it a watch.

The episode, which first aired in 1966, features Charlie Brown himself and revolves around his struggle to hold together a team that has lost faith in him.  I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Charlie Brown, as his own team rails on him throughout the episode, calling him a blockhead and constantly blaming him for their string of losses (never mind that they all stand around and stare while Charlie Brown himself chases down every fly ball).

Things come to a head when everyone on the team quits, and Charlie Brown is left without baseball.  He desperately begs his teammates to reconsider, but they continually turn him down until Linus tells him that Mr. Hennessy, the owner of the hardware store, is interested in sponsoring Charlie Brown’s team.  The sponsorship would include uniforms and the team would become part of an actual league.  With the promise of real baseball uniforms, the team agrees to return to playing.

Later, however, Mr. Hennessy calls Charlie Brown and informs hims that while he will be able to provide uniforms for the boys on the team, the league does not allow girls or dogs.  Therefore, Charlie Brown would have to let go of the girls on the team (including Lucy, Violet, Patty, and Frieda) and his dog (Snoopy).

This, of course, is a major blow to Charlie Brown.  However, with a game coming up, he decides not to tell the team about the uniforms, hoping that the promise of them will encourage them to play a great game and maybe even win.  If they win, the team might be so happy about the victory that they would forget about the uniforms.

The team does put on a great show in the game, playing perhaps the best they’d ever played.  However, they lose in the end when Charlie Brown’s attempt to steal home and tie the game in the last inning fails.  With the sting of such a close loss, Lucy and others tell Charlie Brown that if it were not for the uniforms and the league, they would quit. Charlie Brown then tells the team that he told Mr. Hennessy that the deal was off, but does not go into the details of why.  This causes the team to grown angry and storm off.

Linus ends up being the one to reveal to the girls and to Snoopy why the deal had been called off.  He points out that Charlie Brown was not willing to sacrifice his friends just to get uniforms, causing the girls and Snoopy to feel bad for how they had treated him.  In order to make up for this, they decide to make Charlie Brown a special manager’s uniform, but they decide to use Linus’s security blanket to do so.

The girls and Snoopy present the newly-made uniform to Charlie Brown, who, of course, is pleased with it.  He is determined that his team will win the next day, but the next day, it rains, so nobody else shows up to play ball. Charlie Brown stands alone in the rain on the pitcher’s mound, where Linus finds him and tells him that nobody will come to the field.  He then tells Charlie Brown that his uniform was made from his blanket.  Charlie Brown lets Linus hold the shirt-tail against his cheek and suck his thumb.

I loved this episode because it was Charlie Brown and his crew, and of course because it revolved around baseball.  However, I hated how Charlie Brown got treated from start to finish of the whole episode.  Yes, this treatment does seem to be par for the course for Charlie Brown, but really, can’t the guy get a break?


Quote of the day

You know that in the playoffs, everyone starts from zero. No matter what team you have to face, if you want to make it to the World Series, you have to get through two rounds against very good teams that are going to be hot.

~Jose Altuve

Astros at Orioles 7/23/17

Wikipedia


This day in baseball: A Series of shutouts

The 1905 World Series was the only World Series in history in which every game ended as a shutout.  Game 5 of the Series, played on October 14th, featured Christy Mathewson of New York against Chief Bender of Philadelphia on the mound.  Mathewson defeated the A’s 2-0,  marking his third victory of the Series to secure the Giants’ World Series victory.

Christy_Mathewson_Baseball

Christy Mathewson (Chicago Historical Society)


“Baseball (day/night doubleheader),” by Bruce Harris

I enjoy the juxtaposition of old vs. new baseball in this piece.  I do think that baseball today has more redeeming qualities that it often gets credit for, but I can also understand the nostalgia for how things used to be.

*

first game

Complete games were routine for some,
watched by hats and ties through fragrant cigar smoke.
Great Scott – home run derby – M&Ms – Maypo (hold the juice).
Baseball is Topps and a nickel is king.
September’s done. Eight teams dream of afternoon October fun.

night cap

Save this. DH that. Pitch count. Everyone looks like a catcher now.
Corporate heads sit and talk while starting pitchers transact business with the bullpen.
Only birds get flipped.
Jokers and wild cards blow on hands. Stars under stars
while witches and ghosts and goblins play.


Quote of the day

The Yankees are only interested in one thing, and I have no idea what that is.

~Luis Polonia

luis polonia


This day in baseball: Dinneen’s complete season

On October 10, 1904, 41-game winner Jack Chesbro of the Highlanders let loose a wild pitch in the ninth inning of the final game of the season.  This snapped a 2-2 tie, allowing Pilgrims right-hander Bill Dinneen to claim victory as the Boston team claimed the AL pennant.  Dinneen finished the year having completed every game he started during the season, throwing 337.2 consecutive innings without relief during his streak of 37 consecutive complete games.

1900_Bill_Dinneen.jpeg

Bill Dinneen (The Sporting News)


“Hardball,” Lil Bow Wow/Lil’ Wayne/Lil’ Zane/Sammie

This is not my usual preferred genre when it comes to music, but I have to admit that this tune is pretty catchy.  Baseball is so versatile when it comes to pop culture.