Baseball season starts… today?

In South Korea

By Philkon Phil Konstantin – Own work, Public Domain, OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Baseball season starts when? “The 2024 MLB (Major League Baseball) season will begin in Korea when the Dodgers and Padres face off in the Seoul Series from March 20-21.” What? I missed this because I don’t pay that much attention to baseball until the last week in March.

“A week later, all 30 clubs are slated to play on Opening Day (Thursday, March 28), and the regular season will wrap up on Sunday, Sept. 29, with the 94th All-Star Game presented by Mastercard set for July 16 at Globe Life Field in Arlington.” I hate sponsored plugs, but what can you do?

“The Seoul Series is just one of a number of exciting international contests slated for this year… The Mexico City Series (Astros vs. Rockies, April 27-28) and the London Series (Mets vs. Phillies, June 8-9) also will return from 2023.” The NFL has also been playing games internationally.

So, I decided to do something silly that I saw on Facebook. One is supposed to pick the best MLB player with their initials. This is tricky for me because the player I’d pick would be Robert Gibson. Unfortunately, he played as Bob Gibson (1959-1975), a fiery Hall of Famer pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals I remember quite well. He had a WAR of 89.1.

What’s THAT? WAR Wins Above Replacement “measures a player’s value in all facets of the game by deciphering how many more wins he’s worth than a replacement-level player at his same position (e.g., a Minor League replacement or a readily available fill-in free agent).

Bobby, not Robert

There are about 30 players named Bob or Bobby. The next best player on that list is Bobby Grich (1970-1986, 71.1), also a Robert. The first year he was eligible, he got 2.6% of the Hall of Votes, below the 5% minimum to remain on the ballot.

An interesting name I found was Leslie Green (1939-1946, 2.2). That is the name of my father and one of my sisters.

Here are the RG folks who made it to MLB. If there is no WAR, it’s because it wasn’t calculated.

Ralph Gagliano (1965-1965)

Rich Gale (1978-1984, 1.7) – I vaguely remember

Rocky Gale (2015-2019)

Ron Gant (1987-2003, 34.1)—I remember him. Early in his career, he played for the Atlanta Braves, but he was injured so badly that he missed the entire 1994 season. Then he bounced around. He got zero votes when he was eligible for the Hall of Fame.

Rich Garcés (1990-2002)

Ralph Garcia (1972-1974)

Ramon Garcia (1948-1948)

Ramón García (1991-1997)

Reynaldo Garcia (2002-2003)

Rico Garcia (2019-2023)

Robel García (2019-2021)

Robert Garcia (2023-2023, 0.4)

Rony García (2020-2022)

Rosman García (2003-2004)

Ron Gardenhire (1981-1985). He played for the Mets, so I recall him.

Nick Gardewine (2017-2018)

Ray Gardner (1929-1930)

Rob Gardner (1965-1973)

Ryan Garko (2005-2010)

Ralph Garr (1968-1980)

Ralph Garza (2021-2022)

Robert Gaston (1932-1948) Negro Leagues player


Rich Gedman (1980-1992). A Red Sox catcher in the 1980s, so I recall him.

Rich Gee (1923-1929)

Rube Geyer (1910-1913)

Ray Giannelli (1991-1995)

Russ Gibson (1967-1972)

Rod Gilbreath (1972-1978)

Roland Gladu (1944-1944)

Ralph Glaze (1906-1908)

Roy Gleason (1963-1963)

Ross Gload (2000-2011)

Ryan Goins (2013-2020)

Roy Golden (1910-1911)

Randy Gomez (1984-1984)

Roberto Gómez (2017-2018)

Rubén Gómez (1953-1967)

Rene Gonzales (1984-1997)

Raúl González (2000-2004)

Romy Gonzalez (2021-2023, -0.8)

Ralph Good (1910-1910)

Ray Goolsby (1946-1946)

Ray Gordinier (1921-1922)

Reid Gorecki (2009-2009)

Rick Gorecki (1997-1998)

Rich Gossage+ (1972-1994, pictured) – Though he played for nine teams, I remember Goose Gossage as a Yankee from 1978 to 1983.

Rúben Gotay (2004-2008)


Reggie Grabowski (1932-1934)

Roy Graham (1922-1923)

Rick Grapenthin (1983-1985)

Rick Greene (1999-1999)

Riley Greene (2022-2023, 3.3)

Rusty Greer (1994-2002)

Reddy Grey (1903-1903)

Randal Grichuk (2014-2023) – one of four players, along with Gant,  Gossage, and Guidry, listed as “best known.” 

Robert Griffin (1931-1931)

Ray Grimes (1920-1926)

Roy Grimes (1920-1920)

Ross Grimsley (1951-1951)

Ross Grimsley (1971-1982)

Robert Gsellman (2016-2022, -0.3). A former Met.

Ron Guidry (1975-1988). Louisiana Lightning was a Yankee for his whole MLB career. I liked him a lot. He never received more than 7.9% of the Hall of Fame balloting votes.

Ricky Gutiérrez (1993-2004)

José Guzmán (1985-1994)

The best MLB dude with my initials played for the New York Yankees. That would be Rich “Goose” Gossage with Ron Guidry next in line.

Academy Awards nominations et al.

baseball, The Daily Show, JEOPARDY!

As I’m sure I mentioned once upon a time, I pay attention to the Academy Awards nominations. In the early 1990s, I’d listen to the radio at work and jot down the major selections. Now I can wait ten minutes and find it online.

The issue of an awards snub currently seems particularly energized. Academy Award winner Whoopi Goldberg denies it happened this year but one of her The View costars says otherwise. A guy on my Facebook feed says no, and is accused of mansplaining.

THR writes:  “One irony of the backlash to the Barbie snubs is that it has attempted to pit women against women. (Barbie Land would never!) One column has been excoriated for appearing to diminish the performances of the nominated actresses in defense of [Margot] Robbie.”

For me, it’s clear I need to see more performances. There are five women Best Actress in a Leading Role:

Annette Bening (Nyad)
Lily Gladstone (Killers of the Flower Moon)
Sandra Hüller (Anatomy of a Fall)
Carey Mulligan (Maestro)
Emma Stone (Poor Things)

I’ve seen only Mulligan.

Likewise, these folks were nominated for Best Directing:

Justine Triet (Anatomy of a Fall)
Martin Scorsese (Killers of the Flower Moon)
Christopher Nolan (Oppenheimer)
Yorgos Lanthimos (Poor Things)
Jonathan Glazer (The Zone of Interest)

I’ve seen only Oppy, so I can’t say of Greta Gerwig was snubbed or not.

Best pics

Ten films were selected as Best Picture nominees. The ones I’ve seen I’ve starred:

*American Fiction (Ben LeClair, Nikos Karamigios, Cord Jefferson and Jermaine Johnson, Producers)
Anatomy of a Fall (Marie-Ange Luciani and David Thion, Producers)
*Barbie (David Heyman, Margot Robbie, Tom Ackerley and Robbie Brenner, Producers)
*The Holdovers (Mark Johnson, Producer)
Killers of the Flower Moon (Dan Friedkin, Bradley Thomas, Martin Scorsese and Daniel Lupi, Producers)
*Maestro (Bradley Cooper, Steven Spielberg, Fred Berner, Amy Durning and Kristie Macosko Krieger, Producers)
*Oppenheimer (Emma Thomas, Charles Roven and Christopher Nolan, Producers)
*Past Lives (David Hinojosa, Christine Vachon and Pamela Koffler, Producers)
Poor Things (Ed Guiney, Andrew Lowe, Yorgos Lanthimos and Emma Stone, Producers)
The Zone of Interest (James Wilson, Producer)

Time to get to the theater, where these films have either shown up for the first time or have made an Oscar nom return.

I won’t be seeing these films, though. Razzie Awards: ‘Expend4bles’ Leads Nominations. ‘Exorcist: Believer’ and ‘Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey’ also nabbed multiple mentions.


I’m happy Adrián Beltré, Todd Helton, and Joe Mauer were selected for the Baseball Hall of Fame. But I’m sad that, in his 9th try out of ten chances, reliever Billy Wagner came up five votes short.

Gary Sheffield: HE was snubbed, falling off the ballot after receiving 63.9% of the vote, with 75% needed.

Next year’s ballot will include Ichiro Suzuki and CC Sabathia. Both should get in on the first ballot, with Ichiro, the only MLB player I know to have his first name on the back of his jersey, a mortal lock.

I’m sad to read that  Chicago Cubs Hall of Fame infielder Ryne Sandberg has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and has begun treatment. Part of it is that my father died of the disease. 

NFL playoffs

Go, Detroit Lions! General Motors is delaying a shift on Sunday so that their workers can see the Lions’ NFC title game completion against the San Francisco 49ers. 

Like the return of Michael Jordan to the Bulls

I’m glad Jon Stewart is back on The Daily Show, even if it’s once a week on air, plus serving as executive producer, at least through the election.  TDS veterans are thrilled. I liked the top-secret intrigue in luring him back.


To my surprise, I found this season’s Celebrity JEOPARDY more interesting than the previous iteration. It’s also a lot more fun than the regular game’s interminable Champions Wildcard, where they bring back players from the past three seasons. That said, I’m rooting for Martha Bath, who won back in 1972 when Art Fleming was the host and then won again a couple of years ago.

Celebrity J! fans criticized ABC for revealing the winner ahead of the final tournament: ‘Thanks for the spoiler.’ An ad for Jimmy Kimmel’s late-night program featured the winner. (If you’ve recorded it without watching it, I’M not going to provide a spoiler.) Luckily for me, I watched it fast-forwarding through the commercials.

2024 Hall of Fame (baseball)

Jim Leyland

Adrian Beltre, Rangers at Orioles 7/19/2017

On January 23, 2024, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America will announce the results of its Hall of Fame vote. Any electees will be inducted into the 2024 Hall of Fame during the HoF Weekend on Sunday, July 21. They’ll be joined by previously announced legend, manager Jim Leyland, selected by the committee deciding on Contemporary Baseball Era Non-Players

Of the 26 people on the ballot, 14 were on for the first time. Here are the possible picks. 

If I could actually vote, the first one I’d pick would be Gary Sheffield (10th and final year, 55%). But I expect he’ll come up short because of both the steroid allegations, his mouth, and his mediocre defense.

The next three have also been on the ballot for a while
2. Todd Helton (6th year, 72.2%) – definite HoF numbers diminished in  writers’ minds because his home games were in a mile-high stadium, but he’s on the cusp of 75%, and I expect he’ll make it
3. Billy Wagner (9th, 68.1%) – a solid reliever for many years

4. Andruw Jones (7th year, 58.1%) – great defensive outfielder. He provided great offense, too, until his numbers took a precipitous drop.

I suspect Helton and Wagner will make it to the HoF.


5. Adrián Beltré (1st year) – with over 3,000 hits, decent power and batting average, plus a great glove, he’s the only newbie who is close to a lock to get into the Hall 

6. Matt Holliday (1st year). A solid performer for a lot of years.

7. Jimmy Rollins (3rd year, 12.9%) – I’m hoping his numbers would go up in a less crowded ballot, but it hasn’t been the case

8. The problem with  Carlos Beltrán (2nd year, 46.5%) is the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal. Many voters don’t see his guilt to be significant enough to keep him out of the Hall, if not this year then down the road.

9. Francisco Rodriguez (2nd time, 10.8%), a solid reliever, not getting much love

10. Andy Petitte (6th year, 17.0%). He came clean about his using PEDs early, and MLB did not ban it at the time. But I doubt he will ever make the Hall.

Not voting for 

Alex Rodriguez (3nd year, 35.7%). A great offensive and defensive infielder, one of the greats in baseball history. As Wikipedia noted, “Rodriguez amassed a .295 batting average, over 600 home runs (696), over 2,000 runs batted in (RBI), over 2,000 runs scored, over 3,000 hits, and over 300 stolen bases, the only player in MLB history to achieve all of those feats.” Yet, he was using PEDs after they were banned and lied about it. He was ultimately suspended for the 2014 season. His vote increase from the previous year was negligible.

Manny Ramirez (8th year, 33.2%), a quality player, served a 50-game suspension in 2012 for the second drug policy violation.

Omar Vizquel (7th season, 19.5%), a great defensive shortstop, “is seeing his chances at the Hall of Fame disappear because of two scandals involving domestic violence and sexual harassment.” The latter is particularly lurid. His vote count went DOWN by over four percentage points.

Several others I would consider include first-timers Chase Utley, Joe Mauer, and  Bartolo Colon

Movie review: It Ain’t Over

New York Yankees

I am recommending to you the documentary movie It Ain’t Over. It’s about the baseball catcher Lawrence Peter Berra, commonly known as Yogi Berra (May 12, 1925 – September 22, 2015). Interesting, it was my wife, not really a baseball fan who recommended us seeing it after viewing the trailer.

Early in the film, we see the announcement at the 2015 All-Star Game of the four “greatest living ballplayers”: Hank Aaron, Johnny Bench, Sandy Koufax, and Willie Mays. Watching it, Yogi’s granddaughter Lindsay asked Yogi if he were still alive. Yogi affirmed that he was.

The narrative was about a player who didn’t really “look” like a model athlete. He was short (5’7″) and stocky (185 lbs) and not at all conventionally good-looking. Some said, after he reached the majors, that he didn’t “look like a Yankee,” whatever that meant.

But he could hit. And after some intense tutoring, he became a good catcher. Most of all, he could win, ten World Series rings, more than Aaron, Bench, Koufax, and Mays combined.

As he was treated as a bit of the buffoon, he leaned into the image. It helped that he had those Yogisms. “If you don’t know where you’re going, you might end up some place else.” It was only upon reflection that his sayings contained real truth. Also, he became an endearing pitchman for a variety of products.


Still, he took baseball seriously. I remember well that after he managed the Yankees to the 1964 American League pennant before losing to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games, he was fired, and replaced by the Cards manager, Johnny Keane. I was 11, but I was outraged by this ill treatment. So I was happy when he won the National League pennant as manager of the crosstown Mets in 1973.

His firing by George Steinbrenner, only 16 games into his second of a two-year contract with the Yankees in 1985, and the fact that George sent an underling to do it kept Yogi out of his beloved Yankee Stadium for 14 years. When he came back, even though I KNEW what happened, it left tears in my eyes and my wife’s as well.

There were many great quotes by Yankee players from Al Downing to Mariano Rivera, big Yankee fan and friend Billy Crystal, sportswriter Roger Angell, broadcaster Bob Costas, the late baseball announcer Vin Scully, and Yogi’s neighbor growing up in the Italian section of St. Louis, the late Joe Garagiola.

But Yogi was much more than a beloved ballplayer. He was an unrecognized war hero. His loving marriage to Carmen Short lasted from 1949 until her death in 2014. They had three sons, including Dale, a Major Leaguer himself, and 11 grandchildren.

He became the inspiration for the Hanna-Barbera cartoon Yogi Bear. Indeed, when Berra died, the AP accidentally reported the death of the animated ursine.

We saw the very positively reviewed It Ain’t Over at the Spectrum Theatre, on a Wednesday night in mid-June.

Folks turning 70 in May 2023

Oingo Boingo

Here’s a list of notable people turning 70 in May 2023. I’m SO much older than they are.

Tony Blair (6th). I had hope for him when he became the youngest Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in 1997. He worked for a minimum wage, and he supported LGBTQ rights. But in his second term, he supported W’s foolhardy invasion of Iraq.

Alex Van Halen (8th) – the only time I mentioned the drummer of Van Halen in this blog was as Eddie’s brother.

I  have one CD by Mike Oldfield (15th), which has nothing to do with Tubular Bells; I have it on vinyl, considered a precursor to new-age music.

George Brett (15th) was a Hall of Fame third baseman, playing over 20 years for the Kansas City Royals. Yet, I still think of him regarding the pine tar incident on July 24, 1983.

Pierce Brosnan (16th) played in a detective series Remington Steele, which I viewed. Other folks watching thought he should play James Bond, and he did in five films, though I saw none of them.  I did see him in Mrs. Doubtfire and Mamma Mia!

Oddly, I most remember him by how much he loved his first wife, Cassandra Harris, and her children. Cassie died in 1991, and her daughter Charlotte died in 2013, both of ovarian cancer.

“When your partner gets cancer, then life changes. Your timetable and reference for your normal routines and the way you view life, all this change. Because you’re dealing with death. You’re dealing with the possibility of death and dying…  Cassie was very positive about life. I mean, she had the most amazing energy and outlook on life. It was and is a terrible loss, and I see it reflected, from time to time, in my children.”

Doc Ock

Before I knew who he was, Alfred Molina (24th) was in many movies, including Raiders of the Lost Ark. I saw him in Chocolat, Frida, An Education, and primarily as Doctor Octopus in Spider-Man movies. I didn’t know he was born in London.

Danny Elfman (29th) is such a prolific composer of film scores that I don’t know where to start. From the Wikipedia page: “Elfman has frequently worked with directors Tim Burton, Sam Raimi, and Gus Van Sant, contributing music to nearly 20 Burton projects, including Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, BatmanEdward Scissorhands,… as well as scoring Raimi’s A Simple PlanSpider-Man and Spider-Man 2, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and Van Sant’s Academy Award–winning films Good Will Hunting and Milk. He wrote music for the Men in Black franchise films, the songs and score for Henry Selick’s animated musical The Nightmare Before Christmas, and the themes for the popular television series Desperate Housewives and The Simpsons.” I’ve seen every single film mentioned above.

“Among his honors are four Oscar nominations, two Emmy Awards, a Grammy,… the 2015 Disney Legend Award  and the Society of Composers & Lyricists Lifetime Achievement Award in 2022.

Yet I will link to the video for Weird Science by his band Oingo Boingo, which he is now mortified by.

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