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Tuesday, July 14, 2009
I've mentioned before that I love organ music at the ballpark. It's one of the reasons why Dodger Stadium ranks so high for me, actually. Lots of organ + nice weather = awesome, and it's a sad thing for me when I walk into a ballpark and get assaulted with the rock and roll and whatnot. Pete Toms knows many of my weaknesses, so he kindly passed along this article about the keyboards in St. Louis:
More than half of the 30 Major League Baseball teams have some form of organ music during a game, but only a handful of teams, including the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers, actually feature the organ as the primary music throughout game festivities. Prepackaged rock jam compilations and interactive video scoreboards with digital characters and blooper reels are a few of the high-tech wonders that have slowly phased out the mighty Wurlitzers and classic organs that defined American baseball in the past.
And if you've never heard the organ music stories about Wilbur Snapp or Peggy Lee, you'll want to click through.
And with that, I'll ask the organist to play a little travelling music, as I am going home early today to spend the rest of my birthday with my kids and my wife and some steak and a bottle of barolo and, just maybe, the All-Star Game.
Ten says he shorts it.
(Thanks to Pete Toms for the link)
There was talk of this in the comments this morning, and it has been making the rounds via email today: THE CONFIRMATION HEARING OF SONIA SOTOMAYER, IF THE HEARING WERE HELD IN FRONT OF THE 1977 KANSAS CITY ROYALS INSTEAD OF THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE.
(Thanks to many for the link)
Folks may disagree, but I think this is the wiser move:
Baseball writers have turned down a proposal to form a committee for developing guidelines on evaluating players from the steroids era in Hall of Fame voting.
Any additional rule or committee or process on this subject is just going to muddle things further. If you affirmatively insert the issue of PEDs into the voting criteria like that, you risk turning the BBWAA into more of a steroids tribunal than it already is. Such a provision could imply a duty to investigate, which leaves the writers with the choice of doing something for which they are decidedly not equipped -- conducting a historical steroid probe -- or risk the appearance of abandoning the putative committee's mandate.
As it stands, the writers are to consider a player's "record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played." If you can't suss out the steroids business in all of that, it's probably not worth sussing out at all.
Bud Selig: "Very well, if that is the way the winds are blowing, let no one say I don't also blow!"
Baseball commissioner Bud Selig wants to keep players on drug suspensions from going to the minor leagues before they return.
Amazing that Bud didn't consider this a problem when the CBA was negotiated. Hey Bud: if you're going to let the Bill Plaschkes and Tracy Ringolsbys of the world dictate your opinions about such things, why don't you send them to the bargaining table next time? In other news:
Baseball commissioner Bud Selig denies that teams conspired against free agents after the 2008 season . . . “That’s fine. They’re entitled to their opinion,” Selig said Wednesday at a meeting of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. “This is one sport where I can’t even fathom that anybody could think that.”
Yeah, I have no idea in the world why anyone would possibly think that.
Tim Lincecum: more prepared this year than last:
With tonight's temperatures expected to reach a humid 86 degrees, Tim Lincecum knows from experience how to get ready for his first All-Star Game appearance — drink lots of liquids. The San Francisco Giants' ace, picked to start for the National League, missed last year's event in New York when he dehydrated, got sick and had to spend a night in a hospital . . . When staff-mate Matt Cain was originally selected, Lincecum had a simple piece of advice: "Don't miss the game." Alas, Cain was hit by a line drive in his pitching arm Saturday and was replaced on the roster by the Pittsburgh Pirates' Zach Duke. So Cain's main duty Tuesday will be to make sure Lincecum gets to Busch Stadium without an IV attached to his arm.
That's strange. How would putting a leash on Lincecum keep him from getting dehydrated? Dehydration, I am led to understand, comes from exertion in warm temperatures without sufficient intake of fluids, not from engaging in any sort of behavior which could theoretically be reigned-in via a leash.
Unless . . . you don't suppose . . . nah, I'm sure his problem last year was the climate.
Just as I'm sure all players with "flu-like symptoms" are suffering from influenza.
Somewhere along the line Heath Bell knew there'd be girls, visions, everything; somewhere along the line the pearl would be handed to him:
Bell was among the last All-Stars to arrive at their hotel, checking in at 10:17 a.m. Monday after he, Padres teammate Adrian Gonzalez, Gonzalez's wife, Betsy, and batting practice pitcher Ray Krohn drove the final three hours of an 18-hour trip. A mechanical delay following a three-hour layover in Las Vegas caused the San Diego traveling party to miss their connecting flight in Indianapolis.
When they got to St. Louis, they danced down the streets like dingledodies, and shambled after as they've been doing all their life after people who interest them, because the only people for them are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones that never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn . . .
I sat and read the USA Today while eating my turkey sandwich, so the next few items of the day all come from there. First up, Roy Halladay -- who is not going to be traded -- on where he'd like to go if he were traded:
Halladay, 33, who has a full no-trade clause, says he hasn't provided a list of teams he'd be willing to play for. Yet after going 10-3 with a 2.85 ERA in the powerful American League East this year, he'd certainly be willing to try life in the National League.
I shudder to think what that man would do in the N.L. West.
Things to read as you wonder whether heckling the kids trying to catch the fly balls during the Derby makes you a bad person . . .
I'm gettin' a sammich. Back shortly.
Note: due to the All-Star break, we now bring you a special "Classic" version of "And That Happened." The following originally ran on July 14, 1956.
Glad that All-Star break is over. Man, Griffith Stadium leaves a lot to be desired! Only 28,000 in attendance? Maybe they'd draw more people if they stretched the event out a bit and made a bigger to-do of it. For example, perhaps they could do some sort of radio-friendly skills competition the day before the game. Like a pepper contest or a bowling tournament. Whatever is decided, I'm about through with this All-Star business. Charlie Maxwell made the squad but didn't even get in the game! History will remember that slight. Anyway, on to the yesterday's scores:
Athletics 3, Orioles 2: A short day for Connie Johnson, as he only goes seven innings. Back when I was a kid, starters didn't beg out so early. They stayed in, threw their 175 pitches, and were ready to go the day after tomorrow. I tell ya, things aren't like they were back in the Golden Age. By the way, keep the name Lou Skizas (2-4, HR, 2 RBI) in mind, because that's a fellow who's really gonna set the world on fire one day. I can just feel it.
Yankees 10, Indians 0: Tom Sturdivant (CG SHO 2 H) dominates the Tribe. Lock him up to a long term contract now, Messers Topping and Webb, because the last thing you want is to see him wearing another uniform. From the game story: "Young Mickey Mantle declined this writer's offer of dinner after the game, stating that he was due to go on a 'beaver shoot.' While I find it strange -- there aren't any woods close to gotham -- it's good to know that the slugger is out getting some fresh air instead of staying cooped up in an apartment building. I asked him to get a pelt for me, as I would love a nice winter hat, but the Commerce Comet found my request humorous for some reason."
Cubs 7, Pirates 6: That Bob Clemente (3-4) and Erine Banks (2-4, 2 RBI) sure can rake. Quite the credits to their race, they are. And hey, here they are now! What say you, Bob and Ernie?
Ernie: Thank you, Mr. Shyster, sir! Bob and I are just here to thank you for all the hard work you do. And to tell you and your readers that lighting up a PALL MALL just naturally goes with that feeling of satisfaction you get from a job well done.
Bob: That's right, Ernie. For PALL MALL pays you a rich reward in smoking pleasure -- an extra measure of cigarette goodness.
Ernie: You said it, Bob. PALL MALLS are made longer - to travel the smoke further - to make it cooler and sweeter for you.
Bob: So let me get this straight, Ernie; if I smoke a pack of PALL MALLS, I won't have a scratchy throat or have to deal with an unpleasant after-taste?
Ernie: That's right, Bob. PALL MALLS have a such smooth, rich tobacco flavor, you'll want to smoke two!
Phillies 6, Redlegs 4: Insult to injury here, in that immediately after the loss, the Redlegs were the subject of a speech by the recently-disgraced Senator Joseph McCarthy who, in what appears to be a shot at redemption and renewed relevance, said "The Cincinnati clubhouse is infested with communists. I have here in my hand a list of names that were made known to the Commissioner of Baseball as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still playing baseball in Cincinnati." Redlegs manager Birdie Tebbetts in response: "We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men."
Braves 8, Dodgers 6: It's gotten to the point where I simply can't listen to Dodgers games anymore. Red Barber was, bar none, the best in the business, and his putative replacement -- this Vincent Scully character -- saps the broadcast of all of its fun and enjoyment. No one's tearing up the pea patch anymore. No more rhubarbs. No more catbird seat. Nothing but phony erudite professionalism from this new kid. Trust me: he won't be broadcasting in Brooklyn much longer.
Braves 6, Dodgers 5: And Milwaukee sweeps the doubleheader. The second half was delayed a bit, as the between-game entertainment ran long. Seems that some local hood was worried that he was "losing his cool" and thus attempted to break a world record and leap his motorcycle over 14 garbage cans. The whole thing was filmed by the "You Wanted to See It" show. The filming itself went fine. The delay came when some local high school kids with strangely long, and seemingly blow-dried hair, launched into an impromptu performance of "Blueberry Hill" while playing electric instruments that weren't plugged into anything.
Red Sox 5, White Sox 4: Sure, the BoSox take this one, but there's no reason to believe that they'll finish the year ahead of Chicago. If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: the Pale Hose play in a bigger city and have ownership that simply cares more about the team. For that reason, they will be a better team than Boston for decades. Boston lost one team a few years ago, and I won't be surprised if they lose the other sometime soon.
Senators 12, Tigers 11: No one represented themselves well in this one, but Steve Gromek and Duke Mass led the ignominious charge for the Tigers' bullpen. Say what you want about this Senators team -- and their record says plenty -- but baseball is only one half skill. The other half is something else. Something bigger! They've got hope! They don't sit around and mope. Probably because nuthin's half as bad as it may appear. They wait'll next year and hope. When their luck is battin' zero, they get their chin up off the floor. Mister, they can be heroes. They can open any door.
Cardinals 7, Giants 5: Musial's first game in 1941 featured him getting two hits. He had two hits again yesterday. Seems he hasn't improved at all.
PROGRAMMING NOTE: I will be taking the following ten days off from writing this feature, as I recently won a contest for an all-expenses-paid cruise on a swanky Italian ocean liner. The missus and I will be returning to New York on the 25th.