Archive for the ‘Baseball’ category

Battered Bastards of Baseball

July 2, 2020

Well enough dancing for a while. Now, it’s back to baseball. Last night we watched a documentary called “The Battered Bastards of Baseball“. This is the documentary about an independent minor league baseball franchise called the Portland (Oregon) Mavericks.

The team was independent in that it did not have any relationship a major league team. In fact at the time, it was the only team in Minor League Baseball that was independent. The team operated in Portland from 1973-1977. Most of the team consisted of misfits and outcasts. But the people of Portland came to love the team and set attendance records for a minor league team.

Usually minor league teams are told who is on their team by the parent major league team. In this case, the Maviricks held tryouts to see who could do the job,

The team was started by Hollywood actor Bing Russell. Bing Russell was best known for playing the deputy on the TV show Bonanza and Robert on “The Magnificent Seven”. Bing was also the father of Hollywood actor Kurt Russell. Click here for his bio on IMDB.

It was an interesting story, full of interviews with Bing and Kurt Russell. There was a lot footage of games and players. The documentary runs about 1 hour and 20 minutes. It is showing on Netflix.

In the end, MLB seeing that the team was doing so well tried to buy out Bing Russell with $25,000 and replace the team with a AAA Minor League franchise. Bing took MLB to arbitration and eventually win $206,000 for the rights to running a baseball team in Portland.

A League of Their Own

June 27, 2020

Okay, another baseball movie. Paula got her fix of dancing movies. So now we did another baseball movie. So last night we watched “A League of Their Own” starring Tom Hanks, Madonna, Geena Davis and Rosie O’Donnell

It is the story of the AAGPBL, ie the All American Girls Professional Baseball League. The league was created during WW2 to fill the need for people wanting to watch baseball games while male players were serving overseas in the armed forces. The league eventually grew to sixteen teams, The league mostly operated in the Midwest where people hungered to watch baseball games.

One of the things that caused girl’s baseball to end was the development of TV coverage of baseball games. Ie. People no longer had to go to a ball park to see a game.

Tom Hanks plays the manager Jimmy Dugan who was a former pro ball player. Slowly he manages to get his life under control and stops drinking. Indeed, many of the managers were ex-professional ball players.

So Jimmy was the manager of the Rockford Peaches. He has one of my all time favorite quotes. One of the players started crying when she was coming off the field. Jimmy says to her “There’s no crying in baseball”. This is rated #54 out of the top 100 movie quotes.

Here’s the link to the American Film Institute’s top 100 movie quote list. No. 1 on the list is “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn”.

Field of Dreams

June 25, 2020

So last night I was thinking about how I was missing baseball. So we figured that the next best thing would be a movie about baseball. There are plenty of “Baseball” movies. So we decided to start off with “Field of Dreams” starring Kevin Costner. The film was released in 1989.

We’ll probably watch a few more baseball movies during the next couple of weeks before the 2020 baseball season starts on July 24.

The 1919 Chicago White Sox were significant in that eight members of the team were accused of accepting bribes to throw the 1919 World Series to the Cincinnati Reds. The occasion has been known as the “Chicago Black Sox” scandal.

So here is the story line. An Iowa farmer (Ray Kinsella, played by Costner) has a dream that he interprets to mean that he should build a baseball park on his corn field. Then the 1919 Chicago White Sox show up to play in the newly built park.

The players wander in from the corn field beyond left field area in the ball park. Ray Kinsella is nagged by his brother-in-law (Mark) to stop the lunacy. Ray stubbornly refuses to give it up.

The movie received three Oscar nominations but no wins. Nominated for Best Picture, Best Writing (screenplay based on another medium (book) and Best Music.

We watched the film on Amazon Prime.

Yogi

May 30, 2020

Time for a book report. As many of you know, I’ve been reading a lot. The book that I just finished last night was “Yogi” by Jon Pessah.

Click here for the Wikipedia entry. And, click here for the Baseball Reference site.

This is one of the biographies of Yogi Berra, Hall of Fame catcher for the New York Yankees.

I am certainly not a Yankees fan but I thought it would be worth reading. It helped fill my baseball void during the pandemic. I even read it for free. I downloaded it from the Los Angeles Library’s ebook library.

Yogi’s life was certainly interesting. He played almost his entire career for the the NY Yankees (he actually played 4 games for the NT Mets in 1965). He managed both the NY Mets and Yankees. And, he coached for the Houston Astros.

Yogi was born in 1925 in St Louis MO and died in 2015. He broke into the bigs in 1946 for the NY Yankees. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972.

It seems that he is most famous for his “Yogi-isms” (quotes). Here are a few of his most popular quotes.

The most famous is his insight about discipline: It ain’t over ’til it’s over. Some are observant, if a bit fractured: If people don’t want to come out to the ballpark, nobody’s going to stop them. Or It’s déjà vu all over again. Others are goofy: Never answer an anonymous letter. And this one: You better cut the pizza in four pieces; I’m not hungry enough to eat six. One is simply spot-on: I really didn’t say everything I said. Few are as sweet as his tribute to his wife: We have a good time together, even when we’re not together. And none more apropos at this moment: You should always go to other people’s funerals. Otherwise, they won’t come to yours.

Bottom Line: I really enjoyed reading about Yogi.

Dodger Stadium Tour

April 13, 2019

I was  a part of a group that did a tour of Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. What great fun. We started at the top of the upper deck behind home plate. The tour was organized by our local OES and Lodge group. Cost was $15 per person ($12 for seniors.). Need less to say, I left my Red Sox at home.

2019-04-13 10.19.18

One thing you can see in this picture is that the dimensions of the stadium are symmetric (ie. the distances to right and left field are the same). Not true for many major league  parks. What a beautiful ball park. The stadium uses a cantilevered design. Which means there are no poles that could block someone’s view.

Then we took the elevator down to the 1st tier where we visited the press boxes and one of the luxury suites. Luxury boxes go for between $5000-$15000 depending on the team that is being played. Seats about 20 people in very comfortable seats.

Next, we went down to the ground level and headed over to the dugouts. We were told, “Don’t walk on the grass”. I learned something new. The home dugout is on the third base side. The primary reason is because during an afternoon game, the sun would be coming over the third base side, thus having the sun shining in the eyes of the visitors.

There are many awards and other memorabilia lining the walls of the corridors. Here are a few examples:

And finally, here’s a picture of our entire group. A fun time was had by all.

Dodger Tour Group

 

 

The Mighty Casey

October 10, 2018

The Mighty Casey by Ernest Thayer

[Click here for the Wiki entry.]

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville nine that day;
the score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play.
And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,
a sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
they thought, if only Casey could get but a whack at that –
they’d put up even money, now, with Casey at the bat.

But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake,
and the former was a lulu and the latter was a cake,
so upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
for there seemed but little chance of Casey’s getting to the bat.

But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
and Blake, the much despised, tore the cover off the ball;
and when the dust had lifted, and the men saw what had occurred,
there was Jimmy safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third.

Then from five thousand throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
it rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
it knocked upon the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
for Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.

There was ease in Casey’s manner as he stepped into his place;
there was pride in Casey’s bearing and a smile on Casey’s face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
no stranger in the crowd could doubt ’twas Casey at the bat.

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;
five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt.
Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
defiance gleamed in Casey’s eye, a sneer curled Casey’s lip.

And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
and Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped—
“That ain’t my style,” said Casey. “Strike one,” the umpire said.

From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore.
“Kill him! Kill the umpire!” shouted someone on the stand;
and it’s likely they’d have killed him had not Casey raised his hand.

With a smile of Christian charity great Casey’s visage shone;
he stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
he signaled to the pitcher, and once more the spheroid flew;
but Casey still ignored it, and the umpire said: “Strike two.”

“Fraud!” cried the maddened thousands, and Echo answered fraud;
but one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
and they knew that Casey wouldn’t let that ball go by again.

The sneer is gone from Casey’s lip, his teeth are clenched in hate;
he pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
and now the air is shattered by the force of Casey’s blow.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
the band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
and somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
but there is no joy in Mudville — mighty Casey has struck out.

Saturday

July 30, 2016

Here I sit at our dining room table writing a blog post. We have no appointments, no things that need to get done, no errands, no grocery shopping. Nothing.

Paula is working on cleaning up our bedroom. Organizing and dusting. Me, I’m just writing a post.

So I’m done reading the NY Times and Boston Globe. The conventions are done. I’ve done two crossword puzzles. Saturday puzzles are the hardest.

img_4456Mary finally got up at about 11:45. Fed her breakfast and made sure she took her meds. Now she’s back in bed. She probably won’t be up until 6 pm to watch the evening news.

It’s afternoon and that means time for iced coffee. We started getting a product from Starbuck’s that is cold brew unsweetened coffee. Sold in the supermarket dairy section. Good stuff.

Once again, the conventions are done. Can anyone explain to me why in this day and age that we have to wait until November to vote in the general election. If you haven’t figured out by now who you’re going to vote for you, you’re not paying attention or something. BTW, I’m voting for Hillary. If you follow me on FB, you probably know that already. Though I expect that 100 days will be enough time for Trump to shoot himself in the foot a few times.

So tomorrow is the Chili Cook-off at LA Harbor Lodge in San Pedro. So I will be getting out the crock pot this evening and getting my entry ready. I will be doing a pork tenderloin and black bean chili. Here’s the recipe.

Later this evening I will be watching my Boston Red Sox play the Angels. Since the Angels are a local team, that means that the game will be blacked out on MLBtv. I will have to find it on the feed from our cable provider (Time Warner).

Well the iced coffee is done, that means it must be time for my martini.

TTFN

Joe

 

Minor League Baseball

April 28, 2016

milbWell, as many of you know I am a huge (or as Donald Trump would say “Yuge”) baseball fan. So last week I learned that the son of one of our friends in OES is a pitcher in minor league baseball. More about this later on in my post.

Forgive me if you already know this. Minor league baseball is divided into classes with Single A at the bottom and triple AAA at the top. As players get better at the sport they move up from one class to the next with AAA players potentially moving to the Majors.

The various minor leagues tend to be somewhat regional in nature probably to keep travel costs and ticket price lower . There are three AAA leagues. The International League is mostly in the Northeast. The Pacific Coast League is mostly in the west. And the Mexican League is in (drum roll please) Mexico.

There is an excellent web site that covers all of the players and teams in Minor League Baseball. MiLB.com covers all you could ever want to know about players, teams, stats, scores and standings. The site is free unless you want to watch games on streaming video.

Going to a minor league baseball game is a lot more affordable than major league games. When I was living in Massachusetts, there were several teams that played close by. We would often go to see the Lowell Spinners (Single A) or the Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA) for a fraction of the cost it take to go to a Major League game. The ball parks tend to be a lot smaller. You are always close to the action. There are no “nose bleed” sections. Even the beer is cheaper.

Alas, here in LA there are no AAA teams within an hours driving time. eg. The LA Dodger’s AAA team is in Oklahoma City.  There are several Single A Advanced league teams in California. Closest is probably the Inland Empire 66ers. But still that’s 2-3 hours on the freeways. The closest AAA team would be either Las Vegas 51’s or Fresno Grizzlies.

Minor league team names always seem to be interesting. The names often have a local flavor to them. Here are the logos for the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (that’s one nasty looking pig) and the Albuquerque Isotopes:

 

6254_rochester_red_wings-primary-2014So back to my original subject. So our friend’s son is a pitcher in the Minnesota Twins organization. Jason Wheeler was called up to the Twins’ AAA team (Rochester Red Wings) this week. He pitched in his first AAA game yesterday. He pitched seven innings. He gave up a home run and got a “no decision”. You can follow Jason’s progress here.

 

 

 

 

This ‘n That

August 28, 2014

Here are a few random short thoughts:
 
 So Burger King is buying out Tim Horton’s in Canada and moving corporate to Canada. By the way, Tim Horton’s is a coffee and donut franchise that is all over Canada. Apparently to avoid taxes in the US. I’ve gotta think that taxes would be higher in Canada. I think I’ll boycott Burger King. Oh wait, I haven’t eaten at a BK in 20 years.
 
 For my money, the best fast food joint for burgers on the west coast is In ‘n Out. Double-double with fries please. If you don’t know what a double-double is you haven’t lived.
 
 Surfs up in Malibu. 15-20′ waves today. Remains of hurricane Marie off the coast of California. There never seems to be a shortage of crazy MF’s who will take a surf board out into that madness. One surfer drowned today.
 
 Looks like we’re getting to the end of the Demoulas grocery debacle. If you’re on the west coast, you probably haven’t been reading about this. Arthur T agrees to buyout Arthur S for $1.5B. Click here for the story.
 
 This is important. Here are the results for the best pizza in the USA. If we do pizza, it is usually the frozen variety. Besides, Mary doesn’t like pizza, so we have to get something else for her. Here’s the link to the report.
 
 One last thing. The Boston Red Sox still suck. Last I checked, they were 18 games out of first place in the AL East in last place. For now, I will start rooting for the Dodgers. They won a couple of games against Toronto, but then went back to their losing ways. Football season starts pretty soon. Go Patriots.
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 – Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

2013 Red Sox

July 26, 2014

Today was the day that I officially gave up on the 2014 Boston Red Sox. You see I get a monthly subscription to MLB.TV so that I can watch Red Sox games on my iPad or PC out here in Los Angeles. It costs me $25 a month. So I get the subscription through iTunes and it auto-renews every month on the 25th unless I decide to put the end to the pain.

I suppose I could start rooting for the LA Dodgers, but I can’t watch Dodger’s games on MLB.TV unless I am out of the area.

There was a little hope with a winning streak of several games. The Red Sox had clawed their way up to 7 games behind the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East. Then the Red Sox dropped three straight games to the Toronto Blue Jays putting them solidly in last place 9 1/2 games behind the O’s.

So the trading deadline is July 31 and I seriously doubt that the Red Sox will be buyers this time around, Luckily for Red Sox fans, that the Yankees suck too.