I stumbled upon this video this morning, and I found myself caught between laughing out loud and shaking my head in astonishment. This video from FivePoints Vids features Little League ball fields, high school fields, minor league fields, and even a rec center field and a couple of softball fields. As you’ll discover, these ballparks are truly atrocious. The multipurpose fields are, in my opinion, the worst of the worst, but even some of the baseball-only fields are pretty horrendous. The narrator of the video makes some pretty hysterical comparisons as he describes each failure of a ball field, so if you can spare a few minutes, it’s worth the watch.
William DeWolf Hopper was an American actor, singer, comedian, and theatrical producer during the late-19th and into the early-20th centuries. Born in New York Citty, DeWolf Hopper grew to become a star of vaudeville and musical theater, but he became best known for performing the popular baseball poem “Casey at the Bat.”
A lifelong baseball enthusiast and New York Giants fan, Hopper first performed Ernest Lawrence Thayer’s then-unknown poem “Casey at the Bat” to the Giants and Chicago Cubs on August 14, 1888. Co-performer Digby Bell called Hopper “the biggest baseball crank that ever lived. Physically, of course, he is a corker, but when I say big I mean big morally and intellectually. Why, he goes up to the baseball [Polo] grounds at One Hundred and Fifty-fifth street after the matinees on Saturday, and he travels this six miles simply to see, perhaps, the two final innings, and any one can imagine the rapidity with which he must scrape off the makeup and get into his street clothes in order to secure even this much. But he says the Garrison finishes are worth it, and he is perfectly right. Hopper always was a baseball crank, long before the public knew anything about it.”
Hopper helped make Thayer’s poem famous and was often called upon to give his colorful, melodramatic recitation, which he did about 10,000 times over the course of his career.
Today is my birthday: September 9th. 9/9. Oh, yeah — and I was born at 9:50 in the morning.
When an employee at the local running store measured my feet a couple years ago, he informed me that my left foot is size 9.5, and my right foot is size 9. (Don’t laugh, I’ve heard that having differently-sized feet is more common than you would think.)
It seems that the number nine is a big part of my life.
The number nine is a big part of baseball, too.
A team is made up of nine players — there are nine defensive positions and there are nine spots in a batting lineup. In fact, in the early days of the game, a team would often be referred to as a “baseball nine.”
A game consists of nine innings. An immaculate inning is comprised of nine thrown strikes. A baseball is nine inches in circumference.
Scott Flansburg, a.k.a. The Human Calculator, takes the exploration of the number nine in baseball, and in other parts of life, even further in this video:
A bit unrelated, this blog is currently over nine years strong. It’s been a fun run thus far, and I’m excited to continue it!
This song isn’t really about baseball, per se, but I think it’s a good example of how deeply the game is ingrained in the American psyche as the National Pastime. The idea that giving a young man a baseball would be considered by so many to be a fundamental building block in his development is a pretty profound statement.
Here’s an amusing Top 10 video posted by WatchMojo a few days ago. To be fair to the players featured, we all make stupid mistakes sometimes, and these individuals were just unfortunate enough to have them featured in front of a huge audience — and now replayed for anyone who missed them the first time around. Nevertheless, some (if not all) of the incidents highlighted here will leave with a nostalgic smile on your lips while you scratch your head.
Ironically, this video about mistakes also includes a mistake of its own. The 1998 ALCS was played between the Yankees and the Indians, not the Yankees and the Braves.
In 1946, Disney released an animated adaptation of Ernest Lawrence Thayer’s poem, “Casey At the Bat.” The short film proved so popular that in 1954, Disney made a sequel, Casey Bats Again, in which Casey’s nine daughters redeem his reputation.
I’m so glad we now live in a world where girls playing baseball is becoming more widely accepted and appreciated.