First, some good news.
The Baltimore Orioles won last night, defeating the Cleveland Indians 3-1.
There you go.
I don’t have any more good news, so if you want to stop reading now, I totally understand.
O’s left-fielder Trey Mancini slid knee-first into a brick wall in the eighth. You don’t need to be a stat-wonky baseball fan to understand the bad-newsedness that comes when bone hits brick.
You can watch it – over and over, from multiple angles, and in slow motion – here. As Jim Palmer says, “Oh, this is not good.”
That Orioles win last night, the first in more than a week, brings the O’s record to 6-14.
The Orioles are in last place in the AL East, 11-1/2 games back of another team whose name escapes me at the moment … um …
… I dunno.
Whatever. Another team. Good for them.
Thirty years ago, at this point in the season, the Orioles hadn’t won a game. They were 0-21 to start 1988. They went on to lose 107 games, finishing 34-1/2 games back of another team … um … what was that team …
… I dunno.
Whatever. Another team. Good for them.
This is not to say that this 2018 season is as dire as 1988. Or, maybe it is. I’ve been thinking about it a lot.
Thinking about a terrible, horrible, heartbreaking season from 30 years ago is not helping.
(I became a baseball fan – an Orioles fan – in 1988 as I followed their historic losing skid. “This team needs me,” I told my friend Colleen. They won their next game. You’re welcome.)
Thinking too much about losing baseball is no fun. And, while I’m assured that the written word is dead, here are some well-placed nouns and verbs that have helped take my mind off of it.
(Ice that knee, Trey!)
KareemEmbed from Getty Images
Kareem Abdul Jabbar, one of the greatest basketball players of all time, is also an incredibly talented writer.
One should only get to have one great talent in life. To have more than one borders on greedy.
Kareem’s latest article for The Guardian discusses the discriminatory, misogynistic, and absurd regulations the NFL has created for its cheerleaders.
(If you want to protect women from sexual predators as you say, NFL, why not put some regulations on the predators?)
I boycott football. But, I don’t boycott words, and Kareem’s are some of the best.
“Other restrictions about weight, makeup, body hair, tampon use and forbidding sweatpants in public make it seem as if the [New Orleans] Saints watched The Handmaid’s Tale and thought, ‘They just don’t go far enough.’”
Read it here.
(Kareem, who turned 71 earlier this month, will be on Dancing With The Stars beginning April 30.)
Bill Nack & SecretariatEmbed from Getty Images
Legendary sportswriter Bill Nack passed away last week.
He was known for his horseracing coverage – especially of Secretariat – but, he wrote of other sports, too, and spent 23 years at Sports Illustrated.
His 1990 profile of Secretariat, from his Triple Crown run to his death in 1989, is one of Nack’s most personal and beautiful works.
“Horses have a way of getting inside you, and so it was that Secretariat became like a fifth child in our house, the older boy who was off at school and never around but who was as loved and true a part of the family as Muffin, our shaggy, epileptic dog.”
Read it here.
When Winter Never Ends: Ichiro Suzuki
And, finally, baseball.
ESPN writer Wright Thompson gives us Ichiro Suzuki, at 44, certainly in his last season of baseball. Or, maybe, not just yet.Embed from Getty Images
Thompson follows Suzuki for five days in February as Suzuki, still without a team, waits but never strays from his routine, from his life, that is baseball.
When you read this maybe you learn two things about yourself. One, that you have no idea what it’s like to be Ichiro Suzuki, a future Hall of Famer. But, two, you do know what it’s like to grow old.
So, you don’t know Suzuki at all. And, yet, yes you do.
“Deviations [from his routine] can untether him. Retirement remains the biggest deviation of all. Last year, a Miami newspaperman asked what he planned on doing after baseball. ‘I think I’ll just die,’ Ichiro said.”
(On March 7, the Seattle Mariners, the team that first brought him to the United States in 2001, signed Suzuki to a one-year deal.)
Read it here.
Wait. One more thing.
Yesterday, Avicii, the superstar DJ, died. He was 28.
His big hit of 2013, Wake Me Up, is one of those spirited between-innings sort of songs. So much so, that every time I hear it, no matter where I am, I think of baseball, even though it has nothing to do with baseball. And, despite its poppy tempo, it’s a sad, empty sort of song.
Last night, at Dodgers Stadium, organist Dieter Ruehle played this tribute.
I have a question concerning the injury to Mancini. Why the heck doesn’t the pad go all the way to the bottom of the wall?
Exactly! The angry O’s fan inside me says, “Because they got a crazy-better deal on the shorter length.” The thoughtful O’s fan inside me says, “Well, I bet Buck has new, proper-length padding installed within the week.”
Sad start but lively finish. Thanks.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s referencing The Handmaid’s Tale is pure genius. So insightful, and yeah—sometimes those guys with next-level talent in so many areas are soooooo annoying. Kidding. It’s impressive, what he wrote, and his talent on the court provided him the larger audience for the rest. I can’t watch the video—in a contest of bone v. brick, it’s look away, look away, look away. Good luck, Orioles!
Kareem’s entire article is a wonderful and biting jab at the NFL. It’s made so much better that it was him writing it and not a sportswriter or, heaven forbid!, a woman.
Hope the snow is melting for you …
Hey Jackie! Melted enough for a 2:00 start. Boys took the tournament opener 14-0. Game was called in the bottom of the third by run rule. Lining up for game 2 in a few minutes here. 😊
Holy cow, Blogess! I feel like I just read an entire newspaper, front to back- and I mean that in a good way.
This Giants fan is feeling pretty good this morning, after the team’s dismantling of The Angels Angels last night. Of course, it’s early yet (Thank God, we’re going to be able to stop saying that, soon), so anything can happen- including the Orioles catching fire and laying waste to the entire Division. I mean, really. I can’t remember a team that looked more hapless than the 2010 Giants, a bunch of mismatched puzzle pieces, suddenly bereft of the Slugger that had been allowed to become the team. It can happen to anybody, and that’s why I love baseball.
Oh, and I don’t think I’m “boycotting” football. It just makes me sad- both for the players and the fans. I don’t know how it can go on much longer, in it’s current form, and I kinda hope it doesn’t.
But, that’s another post, I know.
As always, thanks.
Thank you, John! Good luck to your Giants. I don’t think the Orioles have a magical season turnaround in them, but I’ll never give up hope. Never. (Well, maybe when they’re 34-1/2 games back … and it’s the end of September. Then I’ll throw in the towel.) :)
My Tigers swept your Orioles. I was happy. However, i have a friend who likes the O’s, an acquaintance (you) who likes them, and Joan Jett also likes them, so I did feel bad for the birdmen. Here in Motown, our group of young players +Miggy are actually turning out to be more fun to watch than the complacent beer trucks of old. I hope that things look up for the Orioles. As someone who suffered through Detroit’s 119 loss season in 2003, I know how crappy it feels.
Yup … your Tigers rolled over the O’s. They did good.
I’m used to crappy. Ahh, well … but I’m the ever-optimist. So, today will be better. I just know it.
Oh, and I have a secret to tell you (don’t tell a soul). I have a Detroit Tigers jersey on my wall. It was Artie Lewicki’s … from his short pitching stint w/the Tigers last season. I hope you get to seem him up in Detroit again. He was one of my favorites when he was at Virginia …
And at this time in 88, Cal Sr. was already gone as manager. :-(
He was on a short leash from Opening Day that year … people just didn’t expect it to be a 6-game short leash.
I’ve been lurking and never got around to posting, but just want to say I enjoy your blog. I’m a fellow female baseball fan and have been since birth! The Mets are my team and I know how it is to suffer for years with mediocrity (or even less than!), but we’re having a surprising season so far. Let’s see how long it lasts…
JJ … Thank you so much for lurking and, even better, un-lurking! While I’ll always be a little sore about 1969, Mets fans are always welcome here. :)