General Baseball

The Span of Ages

One of the things about being a fan of the New York Yankees is you get to be a Yankees fan even if you are not near them.

Which is I wanted to write about the Knothole Gang. For many years, a span that actually is quite enveloping to consider, the Rochester Red Wings were the AAA farm team for the Baltimore Orioles, the longest affilation in history to my best knowledge.

I am trying not to cheat on this, no background research, just going off my memories. I think that Rochester and Baltimore linked up in 1965. Silver Stadium held about 15k people and was a wreck when I got to hang out there because it was built somewhere around 1929 and Rochester wasn’t a place to write home about in the recession of the early 80’s. I know for certain that $10 got me a punch card where I could go to a game at Silver Stadium ten times, and see future major-leaguers stretch their legs.

I saw Cal Ripken Jr. debut there and play a few games before he went up. I saw another whipper-snapper, just called up from Single-A. Some kid named Derek Jeter who legged out a single in his first at bat, stole second, and then came home on a liner to the outfield, all within less than two minutes, but at that point I was paying full penny for the price, so I felt ripped off.

The point of this is that the place you watch baseball affects you, and not for the short term. If you care about it, the charisma and character enthrall you, and you are stuck with it for life.

General Baseball


I find so much art and inspiration in baseball. Not the rah-rah go *team* stuff, but when the play happens, from the release of the pitch to the reaction of the batter, maybe one out of six times, the ball and bat make contact and there is action, but for all the waiting, it is such rapid and vivid action that you do not see in any other sport.

Yes there is much more that happens when the situation is complicated, with base runners and pitchers and fielders adjusting to a batting talent, but baseball is the only sport where there is such enormous anticipation, and when that anticipation is met with action, it’s the greatest game ever invented.

General Baseball Yanks Gamers/Postmortems

Come Again

Some other day.

The senior circuit is already teeing off for their Championship Series, figuring out who is going to get really Serious.

Meanwhile, the “other” league needs more time, because raindrops keep falling on my head.

It will sort itself out today. Or tomorrow. Nestor Cortes will see to it.

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Nearly Immortal

Alex Belth writes about the significance of Aaron Judge and his achievement in Esquire.

General Baseball

Horsing Around

Why does the baseball trade deadline continue to have an urgency that makes one think that someone somewhere wants a thing to happen, because if it doesn’t well, that would be horrible! No one got traded! Why do I exist if I didn’t make a trade!

Maybe they should just go join Four-H.

General Baseball

End of July

A lot of people die every day. I didn’t know exactly what a lot was, so I looked it up and wasn’t satisfied. But if you trust the net, at least somewhere between 36,ooo and 37,000 people die every day.

So why do I write about the “End of July” as if it was more important than another day, if so many perish? Sometimes, there are people that transcend, even if for a moment, that can inspire as we make our way through this murky progression of trying to understand why we keep our heads on straight while spinning around a yellow sun that spins around a galaxy that the most enormous brain can only begin to comprehend.

The two people I want to write a requiem for each are far past needing introduction. However, they deserve recognition for making a place that didn’t exist prior to their effort.

Nichelle Nichols is a personal hero for so many people. She was Lieutenant Ohura on Star Trek, The Original series, and played a role with class and consideration that you could be smart, more qualified than any man, and a translator. The (in)famous kiss between her and Kirk was something that just could not have happened without the force of will that was Gene Roddenberry. Thank goodness that they broke down that door.

Let’s talk about Bill Russell. He was arguably the greatest player in the NBA. Don’t try to break it down more than the championships, because that is how we measure the reason why we have teams. I love Kareem, The Doctor, Wilt, and MJ, and Kobe, and Magic, and Lebron, and KD, and Dame, and Petro, and AI, and Worthy, Stockton, Malone, and Nash, and Pistol, and I can go on forever because I love basketball.

We lost a wonderful actress today, who made the world a much more inviting place because as a young person I saw a black woman in a position of authority. She taught me I could look to her as a source of truth, by the fact that she spoke languages and helped me understand them. I do not think that people really understand how profound that role, as a translator was, to young people.

We lost a tree. Russell was kind, and considerate, and was a philosopher. He evaluated his worth in how he elevated the people he played with. And all I can say to that is that whenever a Yankees fan says “count the ringz”, you better check yourself.

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What Happens Next

Aaron Judge is doing superlative things this year, as he usually does when he isn’t hurt. Such as launching the ball to places where “normal” hitters just can’t reach on a change-up. I’m not saying that Aaron Judge is abnormal. What I am saying is that he is made for his time.

When you think of someone who is 6’7″ and looks and plays like a linebacker, along with having excellent vision, he is something that will cause baseball to change the game in small pieces, as they did when Bob Gibson made fools of anyone who thought they could get a bat around on his fastball and decided to change the height of the pitching mound. Think about that for more than ten seconds.

Judge has traction that he is going to end up near Ruth and Williams in the pantheon of players that people love to hate, or hate to love, or just get scrutinized. If he can stay healthy.

The interesting thing to me is that if you read the box scores and stats of Ruth and Williams and Bonds, you see that they were players that played at an elevated level for decades. Because I bleed pinstripe blue, I want to feel exalted that when Aaron Judge is having a great season, but I know there is always going to be a stigma because doubt and denial of statistics seems to be the course of baseball analyses.

Put Barry in the hall, and Pete, and Roger, and Sammy, and just get over the incredibly horrible past that baseball wrote all on its own. Money grab with one eye closed to that present day mockery that people weren’t in on the gaming of the system, while comfortably forgetting that the same industry was denying the best players from making a living wage. Heck, even the Supreme Court of the United States got in on the act. AND, denying so many players from joining or staying in the game in the first place because of the color of their skin or the fact that players were legally chattel.

In the mean time, enjoy the Greatest Game Ever Invented.

General Baseball

Mattingly on Pitchers and Hitters

Donnie Baseball appearing on Dan Patrick. It’s from a little while ago, but it’s just great stuff.

General Baseball

Happy Birthday To Me

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.

General Baseball

How Can You Not Love Baseball?
General Baseball

The Strangest Season

Grapefruit Leauge. Yanks and Phillies, Sox and O’s. I wonder what happens next.

If there was ever a truer statement about baseball, I haven’t heard it.

General Baseball

Claudette Colvin

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. Chronologically, Rosa Park’s fame came later. 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, but like all statistics, pause and consider what it really means. 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.

General Baseball

Something Worth Watching

Horrible smoke, playing for what is going to be an asterisk in the history books, but still, what a great snag.

General Baseball

Like Earl Weaver said, “We do this every day.”

Except we don’t, well at least not always. Aaron Judge is on the rails, so that’s the last time I will ever write about him. I ain’t superstitious., but a black cat crossed my path.

For tonight, it’s the Red Sox facing the Yanks, in what may be an historic game, only in the sense we have never played a game like this before.

Verdugo, LF
Devers, 3B
Martinez, DH
Moreland, 1B
Vazquez, C
Pillar, RF
Bradley Jr., CF
Arauz, 2b

Brewer, P

LeMahieu, 2B
Voit, 1B
Hicks, CF
Urshela, 3B
Torres, SS
Tauchman, RF
Sanchez, C
Frazier, DH
Gardner, LF

Cole, P

General Baseball

How Long?

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.

General Baseball

War Stories

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.