My birthday almost always falls on July 13th, despite my best efforts. Okay, that sounds stupid. But it’s true. My favorite sport is baseball, and though it’s closely chased by the NBA which is a very tight battle in my mind, I love the game of baseball the most. I also love to ski, but that’s not really a sport, it’s more of an activity.
The point is that this year I’ll be enjoying the MLB All-Star Game, because it almost always happens on or near July 13th as usual. And I may watch the home-run derby the night before, but that seems like a bad omen because it always seems to wreck a year or two of a player’s production.
The best part is Shohei Ohtani is a once-in-a-lifetime player. And because he plays for the Angels, I don’t get to see him very often (even though I live on the left coast.. WTF?). But on my birthday, I will.
People know the name of Rosa Parks. But what is less celebrated is a 15 year old woman, eventually a nurse, who refused to give her seat to a white woman and was dragged off the bus where Claudette had paid her fare.
The year was 1955. That’s the year that Claudette Colvin was abused by people in Montgomery, Alabama. It’s also the same year that Henry Aaron, born in Mobile, started playing baseball for the Braves at the pro level. I realize that it’s not necessarily a good segue and makes no sense, at all, how hard it was for people who weren’t white to just get a fair chance, and how many years have we been set back because bigots continue to be angry about the yellows, the browns, the blacks, and how people might actually be good at what they do.
Henry Aaron played about 23 years in the major leagues, and hit a shit ton. True iron, in a pitcher’s league, home runs, averaging about 24 each year, but his big numbers: all time leader in total bases, and RBIs, (I know people don’t like that stat as much as they used to. Think about this, he started in 1951 in the minors, and 1955 in the majors, and a lot of white people hated him. Truly hated him, casting aspersions on him, especially when he started to eclipse Ruth. For decades, he couldn’t stay in the same hotels as his team mates. He couldn’t eat in the same restaurants.
White people, we were a pathetic species. I hope we can be better. Or at least not suck as much. I know some of you are going to think I’m an apologist. I can’t wait for the day that I can see people play on a level field, especially the thought of Curt Flood not losing his career to a brigand of evil men and see him grab a ball when it’s running away from him, and Josh Gibson trying to turn a fastball from Big Train, and Satchel Paige bringing it high and tight to the Babe.
Henry Aaron had the best swing I’ve ever seen. I liked Don Mattingly’s way with the bat as well. Along came Ken Griffey Junior, who was just as good, if not better, than all that came before. The Hammer passed away, and it’s hard to explain to anyone who isn’t a baseball fan why he’s so important. He was kind, considerate, and for a 5’10” 180lb guy, probably the best all-around ball player you will ever meet.
How long will he get away with this. Aaron Judge is slashing .290/.343/.758 but that’s not the story.
This season: 62 ABs, 9 HR. I doubt this rate will increase because you don’t pitch to a guy who hits it out of the park one-in-seven at bats.
He has a massive letters-to-knees stance, being 6’7″, but anything that is remotely near belt level is going to travel at least 330′, so why risk it. It helps he is a nice guy, but I can not imagine that any pitcher looks forward to the challenge of trying to paint corners with Aaron Judge.
I was thinking about ways to kick off a dialogue between anyone who may happen to see this article on this semi-defunct web site. I thought about telling “get off my lawn” tales of how defensive people would be about their home turf, when it was a Yankees game thread or a Sox game thread back in the day, and then how it would become a place where we realized we were all baseball fans, regardless of how much we thought the $team sucked. I thought about when we would have Haiku battles. I thought about how incredibly intense it was in 2001, where I saw the greatest and most triumphant/tragic moments in baseball in my lifetime, or maybe it was 2004.
Cubbies, you had over 100 years to get it right, you are late to the party. I called Houston out as cheaters, but it wasn’t headline news. It’s another great baseball story, and since I have a vintage Astros jersey, I can change colors like a squid. Cheaters. Everybody gets a trophy.
I invite you to visit the archives at YFSF, and I strongly recommend that you start by visiting the Top 50 Sox Seasons. After that, let’s wait until we get to hear the thump of the glove and the crack of the bat. This pause won’t last forever.
We adapt. The fundamental thing people love about baseball is its tradition, while being constantly in flux. The framework for the game gives a sense of stability, but can you imagine your 1950’s fan of Ted Williams and The Mick looking at today’s game? The game evolves.
Who knows when the season will start, and does that matter? As we consider our responsibilities to each other, baseball is trivial. And essential.
The wordplay in the title is a cue that though I’m going to be home for the next few weeks, it’s really a shout out to the writers I know. It seems I have time to write.
What a great game by Boston, and it was a good series, with one game I can’t comprehend, going 18 innings.
The Red Sox and the Dodgers, those Brooklyn Trolley Dodgers, played a baseball series that tugs at your heart, and makes you hate everything you like about baseball, because it’s going to kill baseball if it’s just video games.
I tried to play close attention to the series, and watched two games in full between teams that I really don’t like, especially to the last three innings in the last game, when I ducked out to a local place because I didn’t pay to watch it live. What I heard was the late Sunday NFL game.
Holy crap. I made a post for the first time in forever, the Yankees lost. I don’t make a post after making the last one, and the Yankees win. So, I don’t make another post, thinking I’m on to something about me not posting, and Boston scores a fajillion runs, as if they were playing a little league team. Elimination time for the Yankees, with Carston Charles Sabathia looking to hold the Red Sox to what, less than double digits? I ain’t superstitious, but Porcello is gonna cross that path.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora and Yankees manager Aaron Boone faced each other on the field for the first time May 1st 2001 (I may be wrong.. I had to dig for a while to find it..), when the Dodgers lost to the Reds 7-6, on a three for four performance by Boone including a home run off Eric Gagne, the beginning of history between them as they face off for the first time as managers in the post season. Cora was with the Dodgers in ’04 and Boone sat that season out, injured, so neither figured in the last post-season meeting between the Sox and Yanks. But they will figure tonight, along with the brilliant and impossibly thin figure of Chris Sale on the bump for the home team Boston Red Sox, and J.A. Happ getting the start for the visiting New York Yankees.
This year’s story was the Sox outscoring the Bombers 116 to 102 heads-up, and Boston winning 10 to the Yankees 9. Perhaps most important is that in the height of the race in August, the Sox swept the Yanks four games at Fenway 28-13 including winning the last game in extras, where after putting their proverbial foot down, and won 108 games, never having to look back. The Yankees knocked off the A’s in their play-in game, and managed to win 100 games in the reggalar, third place behind Boston and defending World Champion Houston’s 103 win tally. The Yanks also slugged the most home runs ever in a season (267), while Boston ran away with runs (876) (yanks were 2nd at 851) hits (1509) and doubles (355): +56 for hits on the Cubbies.. Talk about two awesome offenses.
Houston posted a major’s-best 3.3 RA/G, and it’s not even close. What is most remarkable, and you really should go look this up, is that they did it with only 22 pitchers for the season. The Sox and Yanks were both above league average, but think about that Houston rotation and pen. Twenty two pitchers for a whole season? With a staff ERA of 3.11?
Anyway, now it is on to the two best teams in the Beast with a combined 208 regular season wins facing off for the short race to three wins. Line-ups when I have them. It’s important enough to say it again: this the first post-season meeting between these two arch rivals since the epic series of 2004. Wasn’t that something to behold? Comment away.
Nothing like the long ball to get you back into a game. I have not watched much baseball the last two years because I’ve been busy coaching baseball for my son and daughter. My son is getting old enough now to appreciate watching the game at a different level. I’m not saying I’m going to blog as prolifically as I did back in the heyday of this site, but it may be time to start spreading some thought across the page again.