Dear Baltimore Orioles,

Dear Beloved Baltimore Orioles,

Hi! How are you? Have you had a nice relaxing, restful, lazy, nap-filled off-season?

Of course you have.

Yes, you certainly have done a lot of do-nothingness. In fact, I’m not sure there’s another team that has done less than you have these past few months.

(Correction: The Cleveland Spiders have done less. But, then the Spiders disappeared in 1888.)

Sure, we all need our rest.

But, enough napping. It’s time to wipe that sleepy drool off your chin. Enough lollygagging.

Pitchers and catchers report on February 13. That’s not a lot of time.

And, guess what?

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“Weather Has No Favorites; All Games Off”

Chicago Tribune, 4/15/1950

“Weather Has No Favorites; All Games Off”

It was 2-below this morning here in Virginia. Even colder in some parts of the state.

I know this because I, like many of my Virginia friends, took a photo of the thermometer. Evidence. It’s like a pseudo-selfie.

It was 117 degrees in Sydney, Australia yesterday. So, there are degrees of miserability. (Miserability. Not a word. Should be.)

It was a cold, snowy spring in 1950.

On April 13, a snowstorm blanketed much of the east coast from Virginia northward. On April 14, it was still cold … and still snowing. Baseball season hadn’t officially started – Opening Day was four days away – but the teams were just back from spring training and exhibition games were on their calendars.

It was so cold and so snowy, they cancelled all the games.

Every single one.

Lansing State Journal, 4/14/1950

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New Year’s Rulin’s

First of all, New Year’s Resolutions are stupid.

Because if you waited an entire year to decide you need to make some major life change, because, while unpleasant, you know it will be good for you, then why did you wait until today to start it?

I’ll tell you why. Because you don’t want to do it. That’s why. And, eventually, we don’t do the things we don’t want to do.

So, resolutions stink when you make them – because they are things you don’t want to do. And, they stink even more when you fail at them – because now you’re a failure.

Resolutions just stink.

But, there are always exceptions. Woody Guthrie wrote these – his “New Year’s Rulin’s” for 1942.

I can’t tell you if he kept them, but I’m hopeful he at least took the occasional bath and sent money to his kids.

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Waiting To Go Home

We were booted out of our house today.

Me, Editor/Husband, and all three cats.

Workmen are in there doing workingmen things. Things that must be done without the interference of humans or cats.

It has taken us the better part of a week to prepare the house for this upheaval.

And, today, I am tired, stressed, and, at least for now, homeless.

(I am promised that our home will be opened back up to us by dinnertime. Yes, dinnertime. So, sure, I’m being a little melodramatic here. But, I’m also so tired my eyes hurt. And, cranky. And, I’m sitting here in my studio with the volume on my phone turned all the way up so I don’t miss the text that says I can come home.)

As the workmen do their workingmen things, and the cats are boarding at the vets thinking cat thoughts about how much they hate us now for taking them away from home this morning, I am looking through the photos I’ve taken over the past year.

There’s a lot of waiting going on.

Charlottesville Tom Sox, June 2017 © The Baseball Bloggess

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Walter “Steve” Brodie: Warrenton’s “Duke of Roanoke”

Take one part Yasiel Puig crazy …

Stir in Adrian Beltre …

 

… and that thing about people touching his head.

Toss in last summer’s nacho incident with Addison Russell …

 

And, there. You’ve got Walter Scott “Steve” Brodie.

1894

No, wait. We need some angry David Ortiz, too.

There. Walter Scott “Steve” Brodie.

1894

Goofy. Quirky. A bit of a mean streak.

The starting centerfielder of the 1896 Baltimore Orioles, Brodie wasn’t the greatest player on that legendary team, but he wasn’t the worst either.

1896 Baltimore Orioles. Brodie, Middle Row, Far Left.

He was loved by fans nearly everywhere he played, including Boston, St. Louis, and Baltimore, but not Pittsburgh, because … well, they had their reasons.

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Macy’s New-Old Baseball Balloon: Harold In Black & White

Embed from Getty Images

 

There is a new balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade this morning and you must stop whatever you are doing this morning to watch.

It’s Harold, the baseball player balloon, from Miracle on 34th Street, recreated for 2017. In black and white.

Could there be anything more wonderful, more perfect, more … more … well, everything?

It’s a baseball player throwback balloon … in black and white!

Courtesy: Macy’s

Here he is in the 1946 Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.

On this Thanksgiving, I hope that you have much to be thankful for.

I do.

Including you. Those of you who stop by here … who comment … who agree that baseball isn’t too slow … who agree that box scores are best read in a newspaper spread out on a table, not on an iPhone (although in a pinch, that iPhone is going to have to do) …  who cheer me up when the Orioles lose … you guys are great.

I love that baseball has made us friends. I’m thankful for you!

My dad and I always watched the Macy’s Parade together on TV. It was one of those magical things that we always did together. My dad died 11 years ago – on Thanksgiving Day. But, he would never want me to lose my love of the Macy’s Parade.

So, I need you to do just one thing for me.

Watch for Harold the Baseball Player today with me, would you? He’s the one in black-and-white.

Here’s a little more about new-old Harold.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ben Huffman. Floyd Baker. Two Players & Luray.

They should have been best friends, Ben Huffman and Floyd Baker.

And, who knows? Maybe they were.

They were farm kids who went to the same high school, played together on the same semi-pro team, played for the same St. Louis Browns – although at different times – and each became a successful scout after his playing days ended.

Ben Huffman

Floyd Baker

One was a good infielder with a so-so bat. The other could hit, if only things had worked out. One played 13 seasons in the big leagues; the other, just one. But, on average, similar stats, if you put them side by side. You can look it up if you want.

Luray, Virginia – pronounced LOO-ray, please – is a tiny town just shy of a 100 miles SW of Washington, DC.

Here.

If you’ve heard of Luray, you are either from Luray, or from somewhere near Luray, or have at some point in your life been one of the 500,000 people who come to Luray each year to visit its famous caverns.

And, I promise, we’ll get to the caverns. In a sec. But, first, baseball.

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Dear Nationals Fan

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.” ~ Ernest Hemingway

Dear Nationals Fan,

I come to you today, not as a rival, but as a friend.

A friend who knows the insurmountable pain and suffering you have endured this week … this week when there has been no loss worse than the one you suffered at the hands of the Cubs, ending your season.

Ouch.

(Sorry, Team USA Soccer, any Nats fan will tell you that your humiliating loss to Trinidad and Tobago this week, eliminating you from next year’s World Cup, isn’t even close.)

I come to you today, dear sweet Nat-atoodies, not as a rival, but, as I think this through, maybe not as a very good friend, either.  Think of me instead as a companion, as you snuggle up with us in the off-season … Diamondbacks, Indians, Red Sox, Rockies, Twins fans … we’re all here.

Even we lowly Orioles fans who got the off-season tidied up for you by finishing last in our division.

Welcome aboard.

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Tom

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And I showed you stars you never could see

I remember where I was, exactly where I was, the moment I first heard Tom Petty.

There are reasons why a random memory like this decades-old one sticks and others do not and it has to do with axons and neurons and blood vessels and synapses in the brain all just popping open at the right moment, sweeping up the memory, and storing it.

Don’t you hear the rock ‘n’ roll playin’ on the radio?
It sounds so right

It was 1977. It was morning. I was on a school bus.

I can tell you where I was sitting … on the left side, probably over the wheel well, because that’s where I always sat.

The driver had rigged up a radio with a speaker, his primitive way of piping down the student savages that he carted back and forth everyday down miles of unkept gravel roads on the longest bus route in the county.

It was always tuned to KFYR.

The song was “Breakdown.”

And, my still half-asleep ears perked up in a “What’s this?” kind of way. It jangled. I liked any music that jangled. I still do. And, I really liked this.

Between classes that morning, I was walking down the hallway and my best friend Jana was walking the other way.  She handed me a note.

That’s what we did. We wrote notes on scraps of paper and passed them in the hallways. Like texting.

And, in this particular note she wrote … and I’m paraphrasing a bit, because my memory might be strong but it’s not all crazy-weird perfect. She wrote this: “Did you hear that song by Herbie and the Heartbeats????????????”  (There may have been more ????????? I’m not sure of that.) She had heard the song on the radio, too.

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“The Sandwiches Were Said To Be Delicious.”

The Baltimore Sun, 9/26/1954

“The ghosts of Wee Willie Keeler and all the other old-time Oriole greats, who love so much to win, will have to await some other year before they can frolic again in triumph.” ~ The Baltimore Sun, September 26, 1954

On September 25, 1954, on the last day of the regular season, the Baltimore Orioles lost their 100th game.

Losing 100 games is that limbo bar that separates the terrible teams that lose 99 from the truly awful ones who lose 100.

Like the 1954 Orioles.

1954 Orioles

It is possible that the Tigers, the Phillies, and the Giants could cross under that 100-loss bar this season. But, with just a week to play, it’s not likely.

The 2017 Orioles were eliminated from the post-season last night with their 9-6 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.

If the O’s lose their remaining six games – and I strongly urge them not to do this – they will have lost 88.

At least it’s not 100.

The 1954 Orioles, formerly the St. Louis Browns, were finishing up their first season in Baltimore on September 25. They were the first major league team in the city since 1901.

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