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From the mouths of babes: My daddy is going to be an Inidan

From the mouths of babes: My daddy is going to be an Inidan

There’s a delightful story this morning off the AP wire about how the 5-year-old daughter of David Murphy spilled the beans on her father signing with the Cleveland Indians. According to the story, Indians General Manager Chris Antonelli relates how little Faith Murphy was at day care in Texas learning about Thanksgiving. The talk turned to pilgrims and Indians, and that’s when the girl informed people, “My daddy is going to be an Indian.”

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Reblog: On Baseball Gloves, and Girls

Reblog: On Baseball Gloves, and Girls

This morning I am compelled to share from The On Deck Circle this post, which is required reading for any American male who loves baseball and whose attention was diverted during his teenage years by girls.

Cardinals and Red Sox in a World Series rematch

Ever since the Indians got knocked out (not to mention the Giants failing to make the playoffs altogether), I have sulked and turned my back on the baseball postseason. Oh, I caught a half inning here of the NLDS, a few outs there of the ALCS. Most mornings I woke up to check for the score of whatever game stretched well past bedtime with incessant late-inning pitching changes.

I tuned out nearly completely.

But the imminent arrival of the Red Sox and Cardinals facing off in the World Series will bring me back, not only to see two fine teams compete but also because of the memories this matchup will stir.

For this 50-something baseball fan, the 1967 series between Boston and St. Louis is usually what comes to mind when I think “World Series.”  (Yes, even ahead of the Amazin’ Mets in 1969 and the Giants finally prevailing in 2010.) I was 11 years old back then, in sixth grade and at the height of my boyhood baseball card collecting.

And, with apologies to the good sisters who taught me at St. Margaret Mary elementary school, Bob Gibson was God. Gibby was seemingly invincible on the mound, and I hung on every pitch appearing in grainy black and white on the Zenith TV in our dining room for whatever innings I could catch after dashing home from school.

A decade later as a college student, I’d visit the home of my roommate in Lowell, Mass., where we’d often find his father in the basement, playing a Red Sox ’67 highlights record album over and over. Even though Boston lost in seven games, for him it was worth reliving that season if only to know how close the Sox had come to ending the Curse of the Bambino.

A World Series is no longer a novelty for modern-day Red Sox fans, nor for a long time has it been for Cardinals fans. I will be tuning in, waiting for Gibson and Yaz and Jim Longborg and Curt Flood and all the others to come walking out of the long shadows.

I’m hoping for a classic.

 

 

 

Indians fans: It is our lot in life to suffer

This blog has been silent through the September wild card chases, and it took the Indians’ disheartening performance last night to stir me to write again.

Although their pitching ranged from acceptable to excellent, the Indians failed utterly at the plate. I credit a gutty performance by the Rays’ starter for much of that, but the Tribe’s inability to drive in runs was largely their own doing.

The worst was Nick Swisher striking out late in the game with two men on and a great chance to score. Swisher took three vicious, aim-for-Lake-Erie cuts. The first? OK. Why not take a chance. But the second and third roundhouse swings were inexcusable when solid contact putting the ball in play would have brought something good. Every kid in Cleveland who ever played sandlot ball knows that. But Buckeye native Swisher evidently forgot. The Indians’ hopes for a comeback evaporated as he headed back to the bench.

The one-game wild card playoff is just another tease to lure Indians’ fans into another round of false hope. I imagine in a year or two, Major League Baseball will, in an effort to squeeze out even more TV revenue, propose another pre-qualifying round of playoffs, maybe with five-inning games, all to tantalize and taunt Cleveland fans (increasingly few who remain alive or in memory of the last champions from 1948). For 2013, we’re stuck with the memory of watching the Rays — an expansion team that plays in a dome — celebrate at Jacobs Field while our guys sat glumly in the dugout.

Realistically, the Indians were lucky even to get a shot in the post-season, which lasted a measly three-plus hours. During the season, they beat up on the weaklings (many in their own hapless AL Central Division) and struggled against the elite teams, most shamefully against Detroit.

No, this was not a championship-caliber team, and we Tribe fans will endure another gray winter needled by a bitter wind off Lake Erie, waiting for a new season to begin. On this sad, predictable morning, it’s tough to find hope amid the pain.

Top National League rookies, relief pitchers of 2012

Here’s are my picks for the top rookies and relief pitchers of the National League for 2012. This post serves as a ballot for my votes in the Baseball Bloggers Alliance annual Willie Mays and Goose Gossage awards, respectively.

Note that I am posting a National League ballot only, as that is the league which I follow more closely.

Willie Mays Award

1. Bryce Harper

2. Wilin Rosario

3. Todd Frazier

Goose Gossage Award

1. Craig Kimbrel

2. Jason Motte

3. Aroldis Chapman

A tip of the cap to the inventor of the electric football game

Sad news today from The New York Times for those of us sports fans of a certain generation: Norman Sas, inventor of the electric tabletop football game, has died at age 87.

To my computer-gaming kids, the old Tudor electric football game must seem hilariously primitive. I only wish I still had my father’s mid-50s vintage version of the game to show them.

Dad’s version had simple, identical player forms affixed to aluminum platform with a metal sheet underneath that could be bent to give each figure a vague sense of direction when the field vibrated. The figures of each of the two teams were identical except for their colors (either blue and silver, or gray and silver; I can’t quite recall). There was a separate kicker with a spring-loaded launcher.

The football was a fuzzy white thing that looked suspiciously like the cotton end of a Q-Tip. The more I think of it, it probably was a snipped off Q-Tip end that we used, likely because the original ball was lost.

In later years, the Tudor games were gussied up and figures had poses appropriate for their positions: lineman were shaped to block, running backs looked like they were carrying the ball, and so forth. Eventually the figures were painted in team colors.

In the mid- to late 60s, I had a Tudor baseball game, and somewhere in a box I still have the figures that slid into slots at positions around the field.

The Tudor games were the height of realism in childhood game play half a century ago, and how we kids wished games could be developed that would simulate the real actions of players the way video games do today.

I’m astonished by the realism of sports video games, but curiously I have not gotten hooked (a year or two of EA Sports’ NHL Hockey notwithstanding).

Thank you, Norman Sas, for all the fun.

Justing Verlander comes oh-so-close to a no-hitter

The Pittsburgh Pirates have just broken up a no-hitter bid by Justin Verlander, who held the Buccos hitless for 8 and 1/3 innings tonight. A solid hit up the middle by Josh Harrison broke the spell. Verlander was able to wrap up the game and finish a one-hitter as the Detroit Tigers won easily, 6-0.

I’m sure Verlander is disappointed, but a one-hitter is still a great accomplishment.

 

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My friend Bill over at the On Deck Circle has a fine post comparing baseball and football. One guess as to which sport he prefers.

Originally posted on The On Deck Circle:

I have to face the fact that football seems to have brazenly overtaken baseball as the de facto national pastime.  Even in its off-season, football news and gossip (usually the same thing), often intrudes itself into our lives with depressing regularity.  The bi-weekly drug arrests, revolving quarterback soap operas, and mind-numbing stories about which draft picks will break camp hold about as much interest for me as my aunt’s wilted cole slaw on Easter Sunday.

Still, I won’t go down without a fight.

So, for the record, here are ten reasons why baseball is better than football.

1)  Baseball is not constantly interrupted by little men throwing their dainty little yellow flags all over the field every time they have a conniption fit because they saw something that offended their hair-trigger sensibilities.

2)  Baseball players do not wear helmets that make them look like anonymous Terminators bent on the destruction…

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Here’s a fine proposal from the Grubby Glove blog to help a San Francisco Giants fan was severely beaten outside Dodger Stadium last year.

Originally posted on Grubby Glove:

A Heartbreaking Anniversary Is Approaching. On Thursday, March 31, 2011, after the season-opening game in which the Dodgers defeated the San Francisco Giants 2 to 1 in Los Angeles, Bryan Stow, a father, husband, paramedic and Giants fan wearing his orange and black colors, was viciously beaten by two men in a parking lot outside Dodger stadium. A reaction of universal condemnation was immediate. People everywhere showed their support. Many fans attending the next game at Dodger Stadium wore the colors of both teams.

Tragic Consequences. The fact that this occurred to Bryan Stow is a tragedy, but it didn’t happen to just him. It happened to his wife, children, mother, and friends, young EMT’s he would have mentored, his ambulance partner, the patients who would have benefitted from his skill and countless others. A man who had dedicated himself to responding to and assisting others in moments…

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Baseball Cards – 1972 Topps

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I’ve been waiting for a baseball post worthy of my first reblogging. This is it!

Originally posted on Grubby Glove:

Every year Topps Baseball Cards changes their design. My baseball card collection covers ninety-five years, so each time I review my cards it’s like flipping through a massive Rolodex of colors, graphics, designs, paper stocks and styles. With this post I’m introducing a new category: Baseball Card Sets. I’m going to start with the 1972 Topps set, getting the negatives out-of-the-way and finishing on an uptempo note.

I suppose the lesson of the 1972 Topps set is that every company is good for a clunker from time to time. Here’s Hank Aaron’s card. Note the Hall of Fame player on a Sally League (extinct minor league whose players lacked significant talent) format. It’s a nice photo. The rest of the card is a disaster. The way the team name bursts forth from the top of the card draws this viewer’s attention away from the player. The whole purpose of a…

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