Category Archives: baseball

More Cost Cutting by the Reds

MASCOTS

Today, the Cincinnati Reds continued the all-out rebuilding of the team that started at last season’s trade deadline with deals of Mike Leake and Johnny Cueto and has continued during the off-season with the departures of Todd Frazier and Aroldis Chapman.  Today, Reds Executive Management announced a three team deal that will send Mr. Red, Mr. Redlegs and Rosie to the Milwaukee Brewers.  The Brewers in turn will send Bernie Brewer to the Philadelphia Phillies who, in turn will send the Phillie Phanatic to Cincinnati.

A Red’s spokesman stated that it was just no longer feasible for a small market team like the Reds to carry four mascots.  The Philadelphia Phillies, like the Reds, finished last in their division in 2015 and, also like the Reds are looking to rebuild.  The Reds are hoping to achieve a great deal of synergy by pairing the Phanatic with Gapper in an effort to both bolster the popularity of Gapper as well as revive the career of the Phanatic.  While the Phanatic has had an iconic and Mascot Hall of Fame Career, his popularity has waned in recent years as the Phillies have slipped in the standings.

Philllies Management stated that, while they appreciated the long and distinguished career that the Phanatic has had, they felt it was just time to change direction.  The new direction for the franchise is actually a retro approach with Bernie Brewer stepping into a role similar to the one played by Philadelphia Phil, the more traditional mascot of the team prior to the arrival of the Phanatic.

While the past few seasons have been disappointing for the Milwaukee club, they have high hopes for the upcoming season and due to some transactions made during 2015 have freed up enough salary room where they believe an expansion from one to three mascots will only add to the excitement of the game experience.  Brewer’s Management was not yet ready to commit on which one of the three new arrivals will be the one to take the post home run slide or if, perhaps, that duty will be shared in some fashion.

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Friday Funny October 16, 2015 Since the Last Time the Cubs Won the World Series…

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The baseball post-season is well under way and the Cubs are still alive.  So, in honor of those Cubbies, this week’s Friday Funny looks back at what has been going on since the last time the Cubs won the World Series.

Enjoy!

The last time the World Series was won by the Chicago Cubs was 1908.  At that time only 14 percent of the homes had a bathtub, only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.  In 1908 there were only 8,000 cars and only 144 miles of paved roads in the United States. The average worker in the US made between $200 and $400 per year.  The population of Las Vegas , Nevada, was 30.  The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower.  At the time the Cubs celebrated their victory Ty Cobb had 549 hits and it would be 33 years before Pete Rose would be born.

A lot has happened since that time:

Radio was invented; Cub fans got to listen to their team not play in the World Series.

TV was invented; Cub fans got to not watch their team play in the World Series.

Wrigley Field was built and becomes the oldest park in the National League.

Wrigley Field added lights.

Baseball added 14 teams; six of those have won the World Series.

The Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Florida Marlins have ALL won the World Series.

Eleven MLB Teams Moved To Different Cities

Fourteen baseball players have won the Triple Crown.

Nineteen perfect games have been pitched.

The Cubs Have Had 52 Managers.

The Chicago White Sox Have Won Two World Series.

The Home Run Record Has Been Broken, Twice.

Eight Players Have Entered The 600 Home Run Club.

The NBA, NHL and NFL were formed, and Chicago teams won championships in each league.

Man landed on the moon, no truth to the rumor that several home run balls thrown up by Cubs pitchers were found there.

The Titanic was built, set sail, sank, was discovered, and became the subject of major motion pictures.

Haley’s Comet passed Earth… twice.

Swing music, bell-bottoms, and disco came and went.

The US fought in World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War, Iraq War, Afghanistan War.

Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Oklahoma and New Mexico became states.

Don Kessinger, Glen Beckert, Andre Dawson, Ryne Sandberg, Mark Grace, Ron Santo, Billy Williams and Ernie Banks!

Bump Wills, Roy Smalley, Corey Patterson, Milton Bradley, Tuffy Rhodes….

Thought for the Week

“One thing you learn as a Cubs fan: When you bought your ticket, you could bank on seeing the bottom of the ninth.” –Joe Garagiola

Friday Funny September 25, 2015 As Yogi Said

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Happy Friday!  This week has brought an end to summer and the first days of fall.  This week also brought an end to the life of a unique legend, Yogi Berra.  Here are a few of my favorite yogi-isms.

Enjoy!

It ain’t over till it’s over.

Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours.

It’s like déjà vu all over again.

You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going, because you might not get there.

A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

You can observe a lot by just watching.

No one goes there nowadays, it’s too crowded.

The future ain’t what it used to be.

It gets late early out here.

If the people don’t want to come out to the ballpark, nobody’s going to stop them.

Why buy good luggage, you only use it when you travel.

He hits from both sides of the plate. He’s amphibious.

It was impossible to get a conversation going, everybody was talking too much.

I never said most of the things I said.

Thought for the Week

Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good, too. ~ Yogi Berra

http://www.brainyquote.com

Fits Like a Glove

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When something fits very well or snugly, we might say that it “fits like a glove.”  But does a glove always “fit like a glove”?  I have found myself pondering this very question from time to time when I am watching a baseball game.  I’ll notice a batters routine in-between pitches.  Many times, the batter will take a step out of the batter’s box to quickly collect his thoughts and determine his strategy for the next pitch.  Often, he will then take a practice swing or two.  Next, for a number of batters, he will first tighten one batting glove and then the other batting glove before settling back in for the next pitch.  I am a bit perplexed, especially by the last item and ask myself why does he need to tighten his batting gloves?

It has probably been less than a minute since he last stepped out of the batter’s box and adjusted his batting gloves.  The only thing that has happened in the interim is that he either a) watched one pitch go by, b) swung at the pitch and missed, or c) fouled the pitch off.  Not one of those three things would seem to make a batting glove loosen significantly.  So, what has happened that caused his gloves to get so loose?  Is it really that difficult to get a batting glove that does indeed fit like a glove and it is due to both gloves being ill-fitting that it requires the constant adjustment of both gloves.  Perhaps there is only one size of batting glove manufactured and the “one-size-that-fits-all” only fits a man with hands the size of Goliath?  Or is the Velcro defective thus causing the gloves to loosen with the slightest of movements (which includes eye movement of watching a pitch go into the catcher’s glove)?  It remains a mystery to me.

I can remember when baseball players did not wear batting gloves at all.  Then came the advent of wearing one glove and then two.  Now once they get on base, a runner will exchange his batting gloves for running gloves.  I will have to watch to see if the running gloves also require adjustment after every pitch.  I also remember a catcher/first baseman/designated hitter in the 1970’s and 1980’s by the name of Cliff Johnson.  If my memory serves me correctly Mr. Johnson, who may have hands larger than Goliath’s,  did not tighten his gloves after every pitch, in fact he never tightened his batting gloves at all.  You could see the Velcro strips flying in the wind as he would take one of his mighty swings.  I would also bet you that Mr. Johnson never owned a pair of running gloves.

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

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If you know me or if you have been reading this blog for any time, you have probably figured out that I have an affinity for baseball.  As a child I caught a bad case of baseball fever and it has never let go.

Every once in a great while I get to feed this fever in a special way by attending a major league baseball stadium at a venue that I have never been to.  Tonight was one of those nights as I made a pilgrimage to see the Chicago Cubs at venerable Wrigley Field,  “The Friendly Confines” has been the host to major league baseball for over 100 years now.  The place is just dripping with history.  Yes, there have been night games for many years now, yes there is now a state-of-the art giant scoreboard towering above left field.  But this is still the place where Billy Williams, Ron Santo, Don Kessinger, and Ernie Banks played.  This is the place that was the site of Babe Ruth’s “called shot” in the 1932 World Series.  This is where Pete Rose had hit 4,191 tying him with Ty Cobb.  This is where Gabby Hartnett, Greg Maddux, Fergie Jenkins, and Ryne Sandberg played their way into the hearts of the loyal fans.  My evening at Wrigley took me to the past as I watched the emerging Cubs stars of the future.  The names keep changing, but the game remains, essential the same:  three strikes are an out, four balls are a walk, the bases are ninety feet apart.

Yet the evening also made me feel a bit old.  It got me thinking about the other palaces of baseball that I have visited.  There is Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, The New Bush Stadium in St. Louis and Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.  These, in addition to Wrigley are the stadiums currently in use that I have been too.  What makes me feel old are the stadiums that I have seen major league baseball games in that are no longer in use.  This list is composed of Crosley Field AND Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, the old Busch Stadium in St. Louis, the old Comisky Park in Chicago, Exhibition Park in Toronto, Arlington Stadium in Texas and The Kingdome in Seattle.  If I have been to seven stadiums that have been replaced, I must be old.  If I have been to three different stadiums in Cincinnati to see the Reds, I must be getting really old!

But the game goes on and the fever remains no matter how old I get.

Boys of Summer 1975 Edition

ALL STARS 1975

We can now officially put a very long and very cold winter behind us because the baseball season is underway.  I have enjoyed baseball for as long as I can remember and I was fortunate to grow up in Southwestern Ohio during the days of the Big Red Machine.  So, of course, I dreamed of playing for the Reds.  Of course that never happened, I never even managed to make my high school team.  

But I did play Little League Baseball as many years as I could  – from age 8 through 15.  I was on some good teams and some really bad teams.  I think in 1971, the team I played on  was 2-14.  The next year, we doubled our wins to 4-12.  According to my records, in 1974 as a pitcher, I won 5 games and lost 4, posting an ERA of 1.14 and even managed to pitch a no-hitter and lose 1-0!  The last two years I played baseball I pitched 132 innings  walked 53 and struck out 202.

Probably the best baseball team I had a chance to play with was the 1975 Shiloh – Ft. McKinley Senior Division All-Star Team at the conclusion of what was my last year of Little League Baseball.  I pick this as the best team I ever played on because we actually managed to win our first game in the double elimination Little League tournament. (It was also one of those rare times when I was not the only “Leonard” on a team.)  I had made the “all star” team the previous four years but we had never won a game in the Major Division or the Senior Division tournament and were quickly dismissed.  

But 1975 was our year.  Tucked away in an old red notebook I came across a clipping from the Argus-Sentinel by Sports Editor Ken Palen that recaps the highlight game of my brief and not quite illustrious baseball career.    The headline, from the Englewood paper proclaimed “Englewood Seniors One-Hit in Opening Tourney Game.”  Mr. Palen mentions the old baseball adage that “good pitching stops good hitting.”  That was definitely the case this day as we scored 8 runs and our ace pitcher, Jeff Mitrisin, allowed only one-hit and that was with one out in the seventh and final inning.

We scored 5 runs in the second inning on our way to victory.  If I recall correctly, I led off that inning and drove the ball the tremendous distance of about twenty feet, the ball stayed fair and just died on the first base line, a classic swinging bunt for a single.  I scored the first run as we batted around that inning highlighted by doubles by Larry Olevitch and Chris Pulos.  Englewood changed pitchers for the third inning and I got to lead off again.  In what may have been the best sentence ever written in the history of amateur baseball, Mr. Palen noted that the next pitcher “was the victim of a third inning home run by Lenny Wagers that easily cleared the 307 ft. sign in center field.” 

Unfortunately we lost our next game 4-3 in 11 innings and followed that with another loss.  We were eliminated again and my baseball career was over.  I suppose it is a little sad that I peaked at 15 and was washed-up and out of organized baseball at 16, but 40 years later, I still have some great memories.

 

 

Friday Funny April 10, 2015 Get Ready to Heckle!

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Happy Friday!  Another baseball season is underway.  Few things are more enjoyable than a trip to the old ball yard to take in a game and to help get you in mid-season form for your next game, here are some lines that you can throw at the pitchers and hitters.

Enjoy!

FOR PITCHERS
 I’ve seen better arms on the Venus de Milo!                                                                                    I’ve seen better arms on a beanbag chair!                                                                                          I’ve seen better pitchers in Kool-Aid Commercials.                                                                        I’ve seen more heat in an EZ-bake oven!                                                                                          I’ve seen more heat in a toaster!                                                                                                      You couldn’t save a Word file!                                                                                                            You couldn’t save anything at Wal-Mart!                                                                                          You couldn’t hold your dogs lead!                                                                                                      I’ve seen better curves on a square!                                                                                                      I’ve seen better sliders at White Castle!                                                                                              I’ve seen better windups on a toy!                                                                                                  How about a donation for this walk-a-thon!                                                                                  You couldn’t find a plate in a kitchen!                                                                                                    Click your heels 3 times and repeat after me…..there’s no place like home, there’s no  place like home, there’s no place like home!

FOR HITTERS
 You’ve got fewer hits than an Amish website!
 You’ve had fewer hits than Vanilla Ice!
 You couldn’t drive home Miss Daisy!                                                                                                This guy hasn’t driven anybody home since the junior prom!                                                   You couldn’t hit water if you fell out of a boat!                                                                                   Hey, my cholesterol level is higher than your batting average!                                              Hey, Mendoza called. He wants his line back!                                                                             Your hostess will seat you! (following a strikeout)                                                                     I’ve seen better cuts at a deli!                                                                                                               I’ve seen better cuts on a BeeGees album!                                                                                            This guy couldn’t hit a shift key!                                                                                                          I’ve seen better swings in a park!                                                                                                      I’ve seen better swings on a porch!                                                                                                  You couldn’t hit the floor if you fell out of bed!                                                                              You couldn’t knock the skin off of rice pudding!

Thought for the Week

“Correct thinkers think that ‘baseball trivia’ is an oxymoron: nothing about baseball is trivial.” ~ George Will