Baseball Dreams, A Forgotten Hoops Star, & Sen. McCain’s Best Baseball Moment

Let me save you some time.

Here are three sports’y things you should make time for. And, one thing you shouldn’t.

First, shouldn’t.

When Sports Illustrated includes a recipe – and, I assure you, they do slip recipes into their magazine from time to time – don’t think, “Oh, look, Sports Illustrated has a recipe. How quirky! Maybe I should try it!” No. No, you shouldn’t.

What idiot would actually make a BBQ sauce with two kinds of mustard, some bourbon, and an awful lot of vinegar simply because Sports Illustrated published it?

Sports Illustrated has its place … in the kitchen is not one of them.

(Editor/Husband dunked a cracker in it and thinks it has potential. He is wrong. It is awful.)

So, before you go rushing off to buy bourbon (it’s not like you have any just lying around, right?) or to watch college football (which, I’m told, is a thing) … here are three things you should make time for.

A Lifelong Dream Washed Away

The Washington Post’s Dave Sheinin shares the story of pitcher Brian Mazone, who at age 30, after eight years in the minors, got his call up to the big leagues in 2006. And, then it rained and his big league career that was just starting, just stopped. Forever. Because it rained. These are the kinds of stories that leave you conflicted – feeling sorry for the guy who came this-close to having his shot in the big leagues, but not sorry for the same guy who got to make a living for awhile playing baseball, even if he never played a day in the majors.

The Nearly Forgotten History Of Basketball HOF Inductee Ora Washington

Remember Caroline County, Virginia? Earlier this year, I shared the stories of two major league players and one current MLB coach who all hailed from this small-ish county in the middle of the state. Ring a bell? It was rare, I said, for three great athletes to come from such a sparsely populated place. Add in Secretariat, who was born there, too. I was sure I had covered every sports star that Caroline County ever produced.

I was wrong. (You really shouldn’t trust me.)

Please read (or give a listen) to Only A Game’s Karen Given’s piece this week on Ora Washington. 

Washington dominated black women’s tennis in the 1920s and ’30s, winning 12-straight national women’s doubles titles, eight singles titles, and three mixed doubles titles. She played basketball, too, winning 12 national championships in her career.

Next week she will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

She was born in Caroline County. But, she was an extraordinary athlete, no matter where she was from.

And, Finally, Senator John McCain’s Baseball Moment …

I think I watched it all these past few days, as the nation has mourned the passing of Senator John McCain (R-AZ). And, maybe you have, too.

Full disclosure, I have a warm spot in my heart for Senator McCain – I worked at Common Cause during the days when he and Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) championed campaign finance reform, which led to the passage of the McCain-Feingold soft money ban in 2002. It was historic.

The inspiring words of his daughter, his Senate colleagues, and former Presidents this weekend so richly reflected McCain’s passion, tenacity, and devotion to this nation.

I cried.

But, this little tidbit made me smile.

At his service in Phoenix, former Arizona Diamondback outfielder Luis Gonzalez served as one of McCain’s pallbearers. They were friends and Senator McCain had asked Gonzalez to do this.

McCain was a sports fan.

And, he often said that his favorite Arizona sports moment ever was Gonzalez’ walk-off hit off of the Yankees Mariano Rivera in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series.

Senator McCain, this is for you:


4 thoughts on “Baseball Dreams, A Forgotten Hoops Star, & Sen. McCain’s Best Baseball Moment

  1. Thank you for the Gonzalez video. It was good to have a smile after the Mazone story and thoughts of McCain’s funeral. And there must be something in the water in Caroline County to produce those sports wonders.

  2. Note taken to avoid SI recipes! Way overboard on the vinegar!
    So true on the almost made it to the MLB field. I am not sure if other teams do this, the Rockies make sure his family and others are at their first game…no matter where it is. They interview and get inside info. Makes for teary moments as you learn the struggles it takes.
    Caroline county…great stories.
    I have also watched the McCain services. He is a big Diamondback fan!

    • I think all MLB teams make an effort to include family members … although there are times when timing and distance make it impossible for everyone to be at the first game. But, I think most family members are used to the quirky timing of professional baseball … so they know all about catching a morning flight with 20 minutes notice! :)

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