Posts Tagged ‘baseball’
There was this article in some news feed I was reading a while ago – oh, maybe this is it: 10 things from Grimms’ Fairy Tales you got wrong. I rather hate that title, and, if you’ve read Grimm, and I have, well, I didn’t get them wrong, Mister or Ms. Article Title Writer. A better one in this specific genre is 11 Fairytales You Loved As A Child That Are Actually Really Creepy, which does not assume how well the reader is informed on the topic.
It may be that people are not familiar with the late Tom Wilson (pictured), unless they are liner note readers, like I am, but The Greatest Music Producer You’ve Never Heard of Is… is annoying.
I rather like this article, BEATLE GEORGE HARRISON’S BRIEF JOURNEY INTO EXPERIMENTAL ELECTRONICS. It refers to the album Electronic Sounds and gives not only the information about it, but the actual album from Zapple Records. Yeah, I own it, but haven’t listened to it in a VERY long time. It IS obscure, but the title informs without gloating. BTW, either today (very late) or tomorrow would have been George’s 71st birthday.
I DO like articles that clear up common misconceptions. I suppose there are a lot of people who have misunderstood the context of the quote, “Nice guys finish last” from baseball manager Leo Durocher. Even the Baseball Almanac provides no insight.
Durocher, in this excerpt from his book Nice Guys Finish Last, explains:
The Nice Guys Finish Last line came about because of Eddie Stanky too. And wholly by accident. I’m not going to back away from it though. It has got me into Bartlett’s Quotations— page 1059, between John Betjeman and Wystan Hugh Auden—and will be remembered long after I have been forgotten.
This is the context:
It came about during batting practice at the Polo Grounds, while I was managing the Dodgers. I was sitting in the dugout with Frank Graham of the old Journal-American, and several other newspapermen, having one of those freewheeling bull sessions. Frankie pointed to Eddie Stanky in the batting cage and said, very quietly, “Leo, what makes you like this fellow so much? Why are you so crazy about this fellow?”
I started by quoting the famous Rickey statement: “He can’t hit, he can’t run, he can’t field, he can’t throw. He can’t do a …thing, Frank—but beat you.” He might not have as much ability as some of the other players, I said, but every day you got 100 percent from him and he was trying to give you 125 percent…. The Giants, led by Mel Ott, began to come out of their dugout to take their warm-up. Without missing a beat, I said, “Take a look at that Number Four there. A nicer guy never drew breath than that man there.” I called off his players’ names as they came marching up the steps behind him, “Walker Cooper, Mize, Marshall, Kerr, Gordon, Thomson. Take a look at them. All nice guys. They’ll finish last. Nice guys. Finish last.”
I appreciate when old information is clarified, but not in a way that I feel is condescending to the reader.
People I know personally, at least one an artist, seemed really irritated that a Norman Rockwell painting fetched a record price last month. This antipathy seemed to be tied to the notion of Rockwell as artistic pablum. Another view of the artist Read the rest of this entry »
Now that Tony La Russa, Bobby Cox and Joe Torre, who rank third, fourth and fifth, respectively, on the career list of managerial victories, have been “elected unanimously to the Hall of Fame [on December 9] by the expansion-era committee,” it’s time for me to think about the players, who will be voted on by the baseball writers, the results of which will be announced on January 8. “To be enshrined, players must be named on at least 75% of the Committee members’ ballots.”
Here are the players on the ballot. Last year, NO players were inducted – which was too bad – so now, with new players being retired for five years, there’s a real backlog. The sportswriters who vote can select up to 10 players, though most apparently do not.
These are my picks:
1. Jack Morris. It’s his 15th and final year on the ballot. He got 67.7% of the vote last year; put him in.
2. Lee Smith, who had more saves than anyone when he retired in an era when relievers often pitched more than one inning. 12th year on the ballot. He got 47.8% of the vote last year, but this year, I fear he’ll do worse. I’ve supported his selection for years.
3 and 4. Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine. Both pitchers are worthy, and Maddux should be a lock with over 350 wins; Glavine had 305, and 300 has been the threshold for years, probably too high in the five-man rotation. It would be nice if they could go in with their longtime Atlanta manager Cox. Both 1st year on the ballot.
5. Frank Thomas. They didn’t call him The Big Hurt for nothing. He hit 500 home runs, yet also batted over .300 for his career; power hitters often sacrifice average for power.
6 and 7. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. Now we come to the Steroid Era players. No one would argue that these aren’t the best position player and pitcher, respectively, on the ballot, and in fact two of the best players ever. The steroids weren’t specifically banned at the time they were allegedly taken them. Last year, I understood why Bonds only got 36.2% and Clemens, 37.6% of the votes; the writers didn’t want them to go into the hall on the first ballot. But they still belong, even cutting their numbers by 25%.
8. Mike Piazza. A good hitting catcher, who was never specifically accused of taking performance-enhancing drugs (PED), but everyone who bulked up in that period was suspected by some. There’s no reason to believe it so. Last year, in his first year of eligibility, he got 57.8% of the vote. Some writers who didn’t want him in in his first year might vote yes in his second.
9. Craig Biggio. Second basemen aren’t usually expected to be selected for power, but for defense. Yet thrice he won both the Gold Glove (for fielding) asnd the Silver Slugger (for hitting) in the same season.
10. Tim Raines. I’ve become convinced that being the second best leadoff hitter in his era, after Rickey Henderson, is worthy of the Hall. He had over 800 stolen bases in his career.
I had to leave off people I most definitely would have considered: Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, whose home run race in 1998 reengerized the baseball fan after the 1994 strike, both tainted by PED use; first baseman Jeff Bagwell, pitcher Mike Mussina, and pitcher Curt Schilling, who I dropped in favor of Raines. Probably three or four others I would have picked in another year.
Chuck Miller wrote a piece about collecting, which inspired this.
My actual stamp collecting was only for a year or two, when I was eight or nine, but I have my great aunt’s book of stamps from around the globe. It’s an fascinating tome, mostly unfilled, but it tells an interesting story of the world from the period before World War II.
There were times, particularly in the 1980s and I was doing mail order Read the rest of this entry »
Started musing – my, I muse a LOT – about how certain information is considered true, even though there is incontrovertible evidence to the contrary, such as Abner Doubleday inventing baseball, even though he clearly did not; yet, the ballpark in Cooperstown, home of the Baseball Hall of fame, remains as Doubleday Field.
I’m not sure there is a better example than that. There are quotes that are misstated. The one here I find most interesting is “Nice guys finish last” by US baseball manager Leo Durocher (1906–1991). His remark was actually Read the rest of this entry »
It suddenly occurred to me a while back that all these deals whereby you get something, and you are required to pay for it over and over (and over and over) again through mandated leases, such as Software as a Service (SaaS), are forms of corporate piracy. As my buddy Steve Bissette ranted – I think it was regarding a policy by Adobe or Microsoft: “We can afford them once and that’s what we can afford. We want to own almost all things we buy. With few exceptions, we don’t wish to buy or support those things which do not wish to be purchased outright. We do not need more monthly bills. We do not wish to interact with you regularly for permission to be permitted to use what we purchase to use.”
Did you know you can’t buy an electronic copy of the Oxford English Dictionary? It is “only available Read the rest of this entry »
It’s likely you’ll see a LOT of stories about the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. Every single one will marvel about how much progress has been made in America in the area of race, since 1963. Almost all will point to a black President, the current Attorney General, and two recent Secretaries of State as examples. The divergence in opinions come on this point: some will claim that we have “reached the promised land,” making sure to paraphrase Martin Luther King, Jr. from that day a half century ago – as though he were the only speaker there – while others will suggest that we haven’t quite gotten there yet.
When President Obama suggested that we look at race again in light of the Trayvon Martin case, that Obama could have been Trayvon 35 years ago, some, such as Touré at TIME, thought it was a brave personal observation. He wrote: “The assertion that blacks are hallucinating or excuse-making or lying when we talk about the many very real ways white privilege and racial bias and the lingering impact of history impact our lives is painful. It adds insult to injury to attack all assertions of racism and deny its continued impact or existence.”
Others labelled Obama “racist-in-chief”, playing the “race card” and worse. Read the rest of this entry »