I can’t seem to trace the origins of this infographic, but I found it an interesting one. For true baseball fans not all of these items are unknowns, and the graphic was obviously created prior to the 2016 season, given the bit of trivia about the Cubs. The detail about Don Larsen smoking in the dugout during his World Series perfect game was new to me, however, and it appears this tidbit is pretty accurate.
Here’s a good Baseball Project tune to start your Tuesday. This song is all about the rise and fall of Lenny Dykstra, who was considered to be one of the heroes of the 1986 World Series, but has since fallen into so much legal and financial trouble that earlier this year, a court in New York ruled that he is “libel-proof,” meaning his behavior and character are so awful even false statements cannot harm his reputation.
Players, owners, teams, the league… all the moving parts of the MLB universe have finally come together, and we are, at last, going to see some baseball for the 2020 season!
Major League Baseball is having a second Spring Training (or should we call it “Summer Training” at this point?) to begin in about a week’s time, on July 1st. Then, we will be looking at a 60-game regular season, to be played over the course of about 66 days, from about July 23rd or 24th until September 27th. The postseason will begin on September 29th, with the World Series to begin on October 20th, and a potential Game 7 to be played on October 28th.
With the COVID-19 pandemic still in full swing, access to games is going to be limited, of course. No fans in the stands is going to seem a bit weird, but so long as we can watch games from the comfort of our living rooms, that seems like a minor concession at this point. There will be a regimen of temperature checks and symptom checks, as well routine tests for the virus, not just among players, but also coaches, trainers, staff, etc. Players who are high-risk or who have family members at high risk have the option to opt out for the season and still get paid. Media interactions with the teams, meanwhile, will all take place through Zoom, in order to adhere to social distancing recommendations.
On the field, spitting will be banned, which makes perfect sense given the nature of how the virus spreads. Non-playing players in the dugout will be required to wear masks. Pitchers will bring their own rosin bags and will even be permitted to carry a wet rag in their back pocket so they won’t need to lick their fingers (does anyone else sniff a potential for some doctoring on this one?). Social distancing, in general, remains strongly encouraged.
How well will this all work? Obviously, it’s difficult to tell until things really get underway. The potential for a widespread outbreak remains very real — just look at what happened among the Phillies last week — and for all we know, the season might end abruptly after the first thirty days.
Information about this new development is still coming, even as I write this. This strange, strange season just keeps getting stranger, and while I’m happy that we’re going to see some ballgames, half of me is intensely curious about how long it’s really going to last.
I was a big fan of The Strokes through my time in college and grad school, but I haven’t paid much attention to them in recent years. So my thanks goes out to Jackie, a.k.a. The Baseball Bloggess, for sharing this gem with me!
The lyrics of this song look back at the band’s career and their history in New York City, where they grew up together. The title of the song, of course, references the New York Mets, whom lead singer Julian Casablancas calls the team of his youth. Casablancas wrote the song after the Mets lost Game 7 of the 2016 NL Wild Card to the San Francisco Giants — a loss that exacerbated the frustrations of fans of a team that has not won a World Series since 1986. The band views the name as symbolic, with the Mets representing something that you set your heart on, but that continues to disappoint.
The legendary Connie Mack died on February 8, 1956 at the age of 93. Mack had fallen and suffered a hip fracture a few months previously in October 1955, undergoing surgery on October 5 and missing the World Series that week for the first time ever. He remained wheelchair-bound from that point on. Officially, it was announced that Connie Mack died of “old age and complications from his hip surgery.”
On January 12, 1988, Pirates slugger Willie Stargell was the only player elected to the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA. Stargell helped bring two world championships to Pittsburgh and was the National League’s co-MVP in 1979, as well as the World Series MVP that same year. Stargell was the 17th player to be elected to the Hall in his first year of eligibility.
Charles Stoneham, the owner of the New York Giants baseball team, passed away on January 6, 1936. Stoneham was the last remaining owner of the trio (along with John McGraw and Frank McQuade) that purchased the team in 1919. He passed the team on to his son, Horace Stoneham, upon his death. During his time as owner, Stoneham saw the Giants win the World Series in 1921, 1922 and 1933.
Don Larsen is perhaps best known for pitching the only post-season perfect game in Major League Baseball history, accomplishing the feat in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series. He won the World Series MVP Award and Babe Ruth Award in recognition of his pitching during that postseason.
Larsen was born on August 7, 1929 in Michigan City, Indiana. He passed away in Hayden, Idaho yesterday, January 1, 2020 from of esophageal cancer.
Rest in peace.
We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Don Larsen, who remained a welcome & familiar face at our annual Old-Timers’ Day celebrations. The Yankees organization extends its deepest condolences to Don’s family and friends during this difficult time. He will be missed. pic.twitter.com/OgOdofzSTS
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) January 2, 2020
The Chicago Cubs went so long between World Series championships that, even after finally winning one, the pop culture references to their dry spell continue to haunt. This song is an example of just that. You know you’ve had a rough time of things when the likelihood of your winning again gets compared to the likelihood of the Canterbury Tales becoming a bestseller.
U.S. District Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis accepted the offer to become baseball’s first commissioner on November 12, 1920. The decision to hire a commissioner came in the wake of the 1919 World Series scandal, which involved eight White Sox players who were paid off by gamblers to throw the Series against Cincinnati. Landis would officially begin his new role in January 1921.