I regret the death a few days ago of Hall of Fame baseball player Stan Musial at age 92.
Mr. Musial campaigned for John Kennedy in ’60, was appointed to LBJ’ s President’s Council on Physical Fitness and supported Barack Obama.
Mr. Musial was active in the Polish-American community.
Mr. Musial had a basic decent progressive conservatism that I have a lot of regard for as an outlook of life. Mr. Musial was not a radical in any sense, but if more folks had his day-to-day commitments and values this would be a better society.
PLEASE STOP INTERVIEWING TEAM MANAGERS IN THE DUGOUT DURING THE PLAYOFF GAMES—FIRST AND LAST BLOG POST IN ALL CAPS
ATTENTION TV NETWORKS—PLEASE STOP INTERVIEWING THE MANAGERS OF THE BASEBALL PLAYOFF TEAMS IN THE DUGOUT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PLAYOFF GAME.
PLEASE LEAVE THEM ALONE TO DO THEIR JOBS. THIS IS ALL ABOUT THE DEMANDS OF THE TV NETWORKS AND NOT ABOUT THE GAME.
THIS IS THE FIRST AND ONLY TIME I’VE EVER WRITTEN A BLOG POST IN ALL CAPS. IT’LL BE THE LAST TIME.
IT IS JUST THAT THIS PRACTICE OF INTERVIEWING AND INTERRUPTING THESE FOLKS IN THE MIDDLE OF WHAT THEY HAVE WORKED ALL YEAR TO ACHIEVE IS SO ANNOYING AND RUDE.
Cincinnati Reds star first baseman Joey Votto has returned to the lineup after an extended time on the disabled list.
Here is a picture Mr. Votto–in the red uniform–playing first base in his first game back. I am at this game as I write this post.
Next to Mr. Votto is Philadelphia slugger Ryan Howard.
Mr. Howard was able to join Mr. Votto at first base after hitting a second inning single.
Also in the picture is Cincinnati first base coach Billy Hatcher.
Cincinnati fans are glad that Mr. Votto has returned as the first place Reds move towards the playoffs.
I’m at the Houston Astros’ game right now.
As you see from the picture, it is raining outside.
Inside though, the game goes on.
I’m listening to the World Series right now on the Texas Rangers flagship station KESN.
I’m hearing this station on the Major League Baseball app on my iPhone.
This is just how people kept up with the games back in the old days.
One of the two starting pitchers in the first World Series game back in 1903 was none other than the great Cy Young.
I have followed the World Series for many years. Though not as far back as Cy Young days.
A few hours back I made a post about attending an Astros’ game this evening.
As it turned out, this was the 200,00th Major League Baseball game played since the founding of the National League in 1876.
Well….it seems these nice folks below knew.
Sometimes you just show up someplace and there is a blog post already waiting for you.
The 200,000th game involved the Colorado Rockies defeating the Houston Astros by a score of 4-2 in 13 innings.
Here is a list of the all the major leagues and a number of other historical statistics from Baseball-Reference.com. There have been 6 recognized major leagues in professional baseball history.
A great book to learn the history of Major League Baseball is Koppett’s History of Major League Baseball by Leonard Koppett.
A strong history of the Negro Leagues is Shades of Glory by Lawrence D. Hogan.
Everything is better when we know what came before. Context gives meaning to events.
Below is a picture from the 200,00th game. This picture features a beer vendor and an outfielder.
(Blogger’s Note 9/25/11—As it turned out, this game was the 200,00th game in Major League Baseball history.)
I’m attending what may be my final Houston Astros’ game of the season this evening. The regular baseball season ends next week.
I follow baseball but do not often write about in the blog. There is enough sports out there already .
The Astros’ are having the worst season they have ever had since beginning play in 1962.
That does not bother me very much as I simply like to attend the games and not worry about who wins or loses.
I’ve been fortunate to attend a number of baseball games over the years. In 1990, I was able to go to a World Series game in Cincinnati.
I go to between 15 and 20 games each season.
The picture above is of an Astros’ game earlier this season. I picked this picture because I like the patterns on the field made by shadows from the roof above at Minute Maid Park.
I would have voted against the public funds used for the construction of the stadium had I lived in Houston at the time. I did vote against public funds for construction of stadiums in Cincinnati
I voted against public funds to build the Houston Rockets basketball arena in Downtown Houston. The first public vote failed. Yet the issue was brought before the public a year or so later and it passed the second time.
We just had to have our basketball arena.
The best web site to follow baseball is Baseball-Reference.com. Baseball-Reference.com is in fact one of the best web sites that I have seen of any kind.
There is a lot going on in the world.
The Texas legislature is in session and is contemplating brutal cuts in already underfunded education and health programs. Folks are fighting for the rights of working people in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Indiana. Libya is in a civil war.
These things matter a great deal. However, I’m in Cincinnati dealing with a severe illness in the family. I can’t get to all the things I would like to blog about.
One thing I am able to get to is watching television in the nursing home room I’m spending a number of hours in each day.
This afternoon I watched a replay of game 7 of the 1979 World Series on ESPN Classic. In this World Series, the Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Baltimore Orioles.
Above is a picture I took off the TV. The Baltimore relief pitcher you see is Don Stanhouse.
Even in the shadow of death in the nursing home, I was amazed by all the hair Mr. Stanhouse had on his head and on his face.
Baseball fans may be aware of the saying “Spahn and Sain and pray for rain.”
(Above–Spahn on the left and Sain on the right.)
These words are about the 1948 Boston Braves. Warren Spahn and Johnny Sain were two starting pitchers on the ’48 Braves team that won the American League pennant and then lost the World Series to the Cleveland Indians.
The Boston Braves, after a stop in Milwaukee for a few years, are the current Atlanta Braves.
The words are, as I have learned in researching this post, from a poem written by a Boston sportswriter named Gerald Hern.
Here is the poem—
First we’ll use Spahn
then we’ll use Sain
Then an off day
followed by rain
Back will come Spahn
followed by Sain
by two days of rain
The poem conveys the idea that the only decent starting pitchers for the Braves where Spahn and Sain. It suggests the only way the Braves could win was to have Spahn pitch one day, Sain another day, and then hope for rainouts that would get Spahn and Sain back on the mound without having to use other pitchers.
I’ve been aware of this saying since I was a kid. I suppose I’ve long-believed it reflected the truth.
The thing is—It is not true. I was looking up some baseball facts the other day and I came across the 1948 Braves. I saw that the famous poem was not true.
This made me grumpy. Why do we often believe in things that are not true?
It is not true that Healthcare Reform comes with so-called Death Panels. (Read here about all the helpful aspects of Healthcare Reform)
And it is not true that the 1948 Boston Braves had only two decent starting pitchers.
Sain was a great pitcher in 1948. He pitched a number of innings, did not allow many runs to be scored, and won a bunch of games. Warren Spahn, however, did not in 1948 stand out from the other two pitchers in the Boston rotation.
Braves starting pitchers Bill Voiselle and Vern Bickford had solid seasons in 1948. Bickford was better than Spahn. Though Bickford’s superior performance was muted by the fact that Spahn helped his team by pitching over 100 more innings than did Bickford.
(Below–Vern Bickford baseball card. Bickford seems to have been a decent guy. He died of cancer at age 39. It is good we can recall him.)
Here are the pitching statistics for the 1948 Braves. Look it up for yourself.
Spahn had good years leading up to 1948 and he went on to a Hall of Fame career. However, in 1948, he was just one of three reasonably effective starting pitchers in the shadow of Sain.
People have been believing this story about Spahn and Sain for over 60 years.
I know this is a small matter given all the troubles we face in the world.
It is just that what we hold to be true is so often incorrect.
This is true in what we think about the world and it is true in what we think about the things in our personal lives.
Or, as the rap band Public Enemy once put it—Don’t Believe The Hype.
I wish the various television networks broadcasting the baseball playoff games would stop interviewing the managers in the dugout while the game is taking place.
Above you see Texas Ranger manager Ron Washington being interviewed recently while his team was playing in the postseason.
These people are working and these games are not exhibitions.
I think all interviews with managers and coaches while the game is taking place are a bad idea.
Let these people work and leave them alone to think stuff out.
Okay—I’ve covered this subject that has been annoying me for a long time.
That I can vent on these minor matters is a good thing about having a blog.
I seek to run a family friendly blog.
However, I do enjoy the picture you see above of Hall of Fame baseball pitcher Old Hoss Radbourn giving the camera—and all people— the middle finger back in the 1880′s.
I did not know that the middle finger was extended in the fashion to give offense as far back as the 1880′s.
Old Hoss Radbourn is known for winning 59 games a pitcher during the 1884 season while pitching for the now defunct Providence Grays of the National League.
As I’ve stated before, I carry a copy of our U.S. Constitution with me at all times.
This is in case I am randomly accosted by somebody asserting that Health Care Reform has no basis in the Constitution.
I’ll tell these crazies—”I got you commerce clause right here.“
Click this link to see all that Health Care Reform will do for you and the American people. Do you want to go back the days were you could be kicked off your insurance for getting sick and where there are lifetime caps on policies?
These reforms are just the start of Health Care Reform’s benefits for the American people.
Above you see the Constitution with a baseball I bought at the Houston Astros’ game a few days ago.
It seems that the Astros ripped off the Obama logo to design that ball.
I am all-American. I follow our laws and I follow baseball.
Don’t let right-wing extremists define our laws and our nation.
Fight back and take charge of our future.
Above is a picture I took of a man who run on the field at the Seattle Mariner baseball game of Tuesday, July 20.
The man was chased by a number of people, tackled, handcuffed and taken away.
A stadium usher said that the man was looking at a night in jail and a $ 6,000 fine.
I’m not certain that this person made the best decision by running onto the field.
How is it that I retain my faith in democracy despite the idiocy one observes each day in life?
It can be hard to keep trust in the judgements of the people. The people often conduct themselves in a misguided fashion.
One way that I retain my belief in democracy is by striking a balance in the extent to which I interact with people.
For example, while I enjoy going to the Houston Astros baseball game along with all the other baseball fans, I also enjoy sitting up in the top row far away from others.
In this way, I am both with the people and apart from the people.
You see an example of this in the picture above. You see that I am in the best seats in the house.
I can view the people in an abstract and philosophical manner from such a vantage point.
I have no desire to be removed from the masses. I’m happy to enter the stadium through the same gates as everybody else. I am fine with waiting in line to get my nachos.
Yet, of course, there is only so much one can take. That is why I take my nachos up to the cheap seats.
The guy in the yellow shirt— the black guy—is Jimmy Wynn. Mr. Wynn was a very good player in the 60′s and 70′s for the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
I don’t know who the white guy is.
I’m at the Astros game this evening. I’m blogging with my iPhone instead of watching the game.
Update—Back home now from the game. I did not know how lousy that picture would turn out.
Below is a 1973 baseball card of Jimmy Wynn. Here is a link to Mr. Wynn’s career statistics. Notice the high number of walks and the decent number of home runs in a time where home runs were often hard to come by.
Jimmy Wynn was a good player.