“Tiant’s Apprentice,” by Denise Newbolt

I enjoy the imagery presented in this piece. The metaphor comparing a pitcher to a dancer can be a good one, especially with some pitchers, like Luis Tiant, who have some rather elaborate windups.

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Clear August sunlight spotlighted the dancer
he twirled in the style of Tiant           
technical in spin, placed practiced choreography. 

A white ball, laced red with a season’s skill and hope,
hurled to the stanched batter,
who would nick it to the dirt

In his 7th inning finale
a foul, a strike released in a summer’s era,
the spiraling pitcher spun to a season’s final ovation,
in late afternoon shadows.


The 1976 White Sox wore shorts

In August 1976, the Chicago White Sox wore shorts for three games. A friend shared this video with me, wondering if I had known this little tidbit, which I did not (learn something new every day!).

1976 marked the return of owner Bill Veeck, who had previously served as Sox owner from 1959-61. Keeping in line with his reputation as a promoter with wild ideas, on March 9, 1976, Veeck unveiled the new White Sox uniforms. They featured a long pullover top with a garish faux collar. But what really got people’s attentions were the shorts.

About the shorts, Veeck insisted, “They are not garish. Like my wife Mary Frances said, they have understated elegance. … Players should not worry about their vanity, but their comfort. If it’s 95 degrees out, an athlete should be glad to put on short pants and forget his bony knees. Hell, I’ve got a worse looking knee than any of my players. It’s solid wood.”

The shorts debuted on August 8th, in Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Royals at Comiskey Park.  The White Sox collected seven hits — all singles — and won the game 5-2. They switched back to regular pants for Game 2 of the doubleheader and lost 7-1. The shorts would not appear again until later that month, on August 21-22 against the Orioles. In total, the White Sox won 2 out of 3 games played in the shorts.

The video below shows footage from the game against the Royals, in which the shorts made their infamous debut.


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:


Major League

Major League movie

Here’s a movie I watched as a kid, but not since then — until last night. I finally had the opportunity to sit down and enjoy the 1989 comedy classic, Major League, this time as an adult. I was young enough the first time I watched this movie that I couldn’t really remember the core plot line. Perhaps the thing I remembered most from that first viewing was singing along to “Wild Thing” when Ricky Vaughn took the mound in the division championship game.

My memory did get jogged with regards to some other details. Pedro Cerrano shaving his own head with a massive knife (or a small sword?) had me nodding in recognition. Not to mention the snakes and the almost-chicken-sacrifice. And Willie Mays Hayes dropping to do pushups at the plate during spring training also brought a reminiscent chuckle to my lips.

One thing I did not recall, likely because I was too young to understand it the first time around, was how the new team owner deliberately sought to screw the team over. But, as with any great sports movie, how could I ever forget the Indians’ miraculous winning performance as the season progressed? I definitely appreciated this movie so much more this time. Understanding what is going on can make such an impact.

As for final thoughts, I certainly would not mind enjoying this clip during the seventh inning stretch of the next ballgame I attend, whenever that might be:


NLBM: Celebrating Buck O’Neil

In case you missed the original livestream, the recording of the Negro Leagues Museum’s conversation about Buck O’Neil can still be watched on YouTube. The stories these gentlemen told about Buck were a joy to listen to, and they also had a great conversation about race and baseball in general. If you get the opportunity, it’s definitely worth your time.


Rap battle: Babe Ruth vs. Lance Armstrong

Here’s a weird little video whose existence I find rather mind-boggling. This is from a series called Epic Rap Battles of History, created by a couple guys who call themselves Nice Peter and EpicLLOYD. In this particular video, the creators dress up as Lance Armstrong and Babe Ruth. Armstrong comes under fire for the doping scandal, and Babe Ruth for his lifestyle in general. Pitting an endurance cyclist against a baseball slugger seems a lot to me like comparing apples to oranges, but it makes for an interesting, even entertaining, video all the same.


“The Kid” baseball cartoon

I’m having a difficult time finding additional information about this short video, so if anyone happens to know anything about it, let me know!  I stumbled across this clip this morning, but the poster of the video didn’t include any information about it.  I’m not sure who created the cartoon, nor if the creator had a particular player in mind (“The Kid” seems like a fairly popular nickname in baseball).  I’m also curious about the song.  Listening to it, it sounds vaguely familiar for some reason, but I can’t put my finger on why that is.

In any case, even if you don’t know anything about the origins of this video, it’s a fun little short to watch, and I imagine the song will be stuck in my head the rest of the morning.


Curious George plays baseball

Watching a Curious George clip takes me waaaay back into my childhood.  Watching this as an adult viewer, I can’t help but notice that George is a bit of a ball hog and they certainly took some liberties with the rules about pinch running.  But I would not have noticed these types of things as an eager six-year-old.  And the Cubby Bears vs. the Tiger Babies make for some awfully cute team names.


Mickey Mantle: The Definitive Story

I can’t help but chuckle inwardly a little bit whenever a documentary or book declares itself “definitive” or something similar (really, can any biographical account ever truly be  definitive?).  Nevertheless, this documentary on Mickey Mantle is a good one, and a person can get a good solid overview of his life and career from it.

Even better, if you find yourself unable to get your hands on a copy, you can watch the film through YouTube.


2013 Boston Red Sox poem

After the Boston Red Sox won the 2013 World Series, Dick Flavin, known as the poet laureate for the Red Sox, released this poem written in their honor.  I love this guy’s energy and sense of humor.  It’s a lot of fun to listen to him read it.