About Jackie, The Baseball Bloggess

Loves the 4-6-3 and the serial comma. All baseball is good baseball, but when the Orioles or UVa 'Hoo's take the field, it's great baseball. Baseball historian ... because baseball touches everything. www.thebaseballbloggess.com And, for the Yoga ... www.peacefulhands.com

“All Up For The Lucky Seventh”

There are three lessons I hope you will learn from The Baseball Bloggess today:

1) The Seventh Inning Stretch has a special place in baseball history. It’s been around longer than you have. It’s what sets baseball apart from sports that make no demands of its fans.

2) The Seventh Inning Stretch is not a suggestion. It is not an invitation. It is a requirement. It is a job. Your job. All the instruction that you need can be found in its title. During the seventh inning, you stretch. It’s not hard to figure out. It’s not the balk rule, people. It’s simple.

Who – You.

What – Stretch.

Where – Are you here? Then, here.

When – The Seventh Inning.

Even a cat could figure it out.

3) Sitting can kill. If you don’t stand for the Seventh Inning Stretch you are damaging your own heart and breaking mine.

We were at Game Three of the University of Virginia’s Blue vs. Orange Fall Ball series on Thursday. Although the afternoon was beautiful and the game was free, the place was not packed, but there were people there. More than just Editor/Husband and me. Let’s say 100 … 100 people.

This is true. 100 percent true. In the middle of the seventh the PA announcer said what he always says in the middle of the seventh, “Let’s all get up and stretch.”  And, we did, Editor/Husband and me.

We did. And, no one else. No one.

I looked around and felt a little stupid … people were staring at us. They were looking at us in a, “Oh, bless their hearts” sort of way and not in a, “Look! It’s The Baseball Bloggess and Editor/Husband! We are among greatness today” sort of way. I felt a little uncomfortable standing up. I’m pretty sure people were laughing at us.

Seriously? As Aretha would say, all I’m asking is for a little respect for the game.

First, history.

Let’s get the #FakeNews out of the way. President Taft, indeed, was a baseball fan.

Library of Congress

In 1910, he became the first President to throw out a first pitch to begin the season.

But, he did not invent the Seventh Inning Stretch in 1910 no matter what the internet tries to tell you.

It was around long before he was.

Here’s Harry Wright, center fielder for the Cincinnati Red Stockings, in 1869.

Public Domain

Wright is the one in the center. Standing. (Standing.)

That year, Wright wrote this in a letter to a friend:

“The spectators all arise between halves of the seventh, extend their legs and arms, and sometimes walk about. In so doing they enjoy the relief afforded by relaxation from a long posture on the hard benches.”

“… extend their legs and arms, and sometimes walk about. …”

While plenty of stuff has changed since 1869, the basic rules of human ambulation have not. Extend legs and arms. Walk about. A little old fashioned, sure, but still the way we do things.

The Philadelphia Times, 6/2/1898

Before it was called the Seventh Inning Stretch, the inning was often known as the “Lucky Seventh” … the inning when a home team would, with a little luck, rally from a deficit, score needed “insurance runs,” or put the game away for good.

The Boston Globe, 7/1/1896

In 1896, The Boston Globe, reporting on a game between Boston and Washington, explained: “At the beginning of the seventh, even the women in the grand stand cheerfully responded to the call, ‘All up, for the Lucky Seventh.’”

All up.

Even the women.

All. Up.

All means you. If you can. I fully appreciate that some people cannot stand for the Seventh Inning Stretch. But, if you can, you do.

All. Up.

Tradition not good enough for you? Well, listen to John McGraw, one of baseball’s toughest, smartest, greatest.

Public Domain

McGraw was a member of the legendary Baltimore Orioles of the 1890’s. He later became player/manager of the New York Giants. Between 1902 and 1932 his Giants won 2,583 games, 10 pennants, and three World Series.

Minneapolis Star Tribune, 8/13/1922

That Seventh Inning Stretch Is Great Stuff.

In 1922, McGraw explained the value of the Seventh Inning Stretch:

“Keeps you out in the open air. Doctors recommend it for heart trouble. Stretching in the seventh gives you a good chance to exercise flabby muscles. Puts pep into you. Stirs you up. Plenty of sunshine and green grass and thrills. It’s the best tonic in the world.”

A hundred years ago, McGraw knew what medical researchers have only just discovered.

Sitting can kill you.

Wait. What?!

If you live a sedentary lifestyle – if you sit around too much – you have a higher chance of being overweight, developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, or cancer, and experiencing depression and anxiety.

Who needs any of that?

“Metabolism slows down 90 percent after 30 minutes of sitting,” warns Gavin Bradley, director of Active Working. “The muscles in your lower body are turned off. And after two hours, good cholesterol drops 20 percent. Just getting up for five minutes is going to get things going again. These things are so simple they’re almost stupid.

Look, I need all the readers I can get. I can’t afford to lose you.

So, let’s practice.

Let’s pretend it’s the middle of the seventh. Your home team is down one run. (If your home team happens to be the Baltimore Orioles, let’s say, 10 runs. Your Orioles are down by 10 runs. That sounds about right.)

Stand up.

Stretch.

Sing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame.” (I know, I know. Why are you singing about being taken there since you’re already there? Tradition … that’s why.)  If you don’t know the words and are too lazy to Google them on the phone you’re still holding onto as you stand up, just hum.

(If you do sing it, please do it properly, “Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack.” It’s Jack. No “s”. Not Cracker Jacks. Cracker Jacks doesn’t make sense. Cracker Jack makes all the sense in the world.)

See?

Now, root-root-root for your home team. Because, if they don’t win it’s both a shame and your fault because you didn’t stand up.

You may sit down now.

There. That wasn’t hard.

P.S. Virginia’s Team Blue tacked on two insurance runs in the seventh, defeating Team Orange on Thursday 3-1. 

That was thanks in part to excellent cheer leading from the dugout …

Rally caps …

And, Editor/Husband and me. Because, we stood. And, stretched.

Photos: University of Virginia, Blue vs. Orange Fall Series. Charlottesville, Virginia. October 18, 2018. © The Baseball Bloggess

A Two-Headed Copperhead & A Weird Postseason

This was the summer of snakes.

And, not just the long black ones that prowl one’s property looking for mice. The harmless ones.  Well, harmless to people anyway. Mice, not so much.

Not them.

This was the summer of copperheads.

courtesy of Clinton & Charles Robertson, via CC2.0

Like this.

There was a point this summer that my Facebook page should have been brimming with pictures of homegrown red tomatoes and zucchinis as big as a strongman’s arm posted by Virginia friends with far more gardening skills than me.

But, it was a too-wet summer. And, a snaky one, too. There were copperheads hiding in gardens, amongst the tomatoes and the zucchini vines. (And, coiled up in flower beds, on front porches, and, for one of my friends, in her garage.)

It was unusually snaky. Continue reading

Goodbye Summer. Goodbye Adam. (I Think I’m Going To Cry.)

It was bittersweet, that last day of baseball.

If your team is still playing … and eight teams still are … well, good for you.  Your summer goes on, at least for now. At least for a few more days.

This note is not for you. (Come back later, ok?)

This is for the rest of us. Whether your team was good, but not quite good enough. Or, your team was meh.

Or, whether your team lost 115 games which put it so far below meh, that a meh season seems like something one should aspire to.

The Oriole Bird has smiled through all 115 losses. Stupid bird.

No matter what your team did last Sunday, if your team was one of the 20 that weren’t quite good enough to play this week, that Sunday was the end of summer.

The Orioles won that day. Continue reading

The Trouble With The Nationals


Dear Nationals Fan,

Well, hello.

Would you look at us … me, the eternal optimist Orioles fan, holding the door open for you (again) as you step into the train of Off-Season Losers.

Embed from Getty Images

Welcome aboard. We’ve been expecting you.

But, look at the bright side. Twenty-seven other teams will be bunking here with us this winter. (There’s only one team that won’t get on the Loser Train. And, I hope it’s the Braves … they’re jam-packed with former Orioles, you know.)

Continue reading

1910: The Battle For The “Buzz Wagon”

When your team goes bad … and not run-of-the-mill bad, but wholesale “we are the worst of the worst, nearly the worst that ever was, and there is no clear indication that we will ever not be the worst” bad … you start digging around to assure yourself that someone out there, long ago, was worse than you.

Bad news, Orioles fans.

The 2018 Baltimore Orioles are among baseball’s stinkiest ever. And, there’s still a week to go.

While the 1910 baseball season won’t change that, it might help assure you that your grandfather or great-grandmother or great-great-someone also once felt the sting of horrible, horrible failure.

Well, if they lived in St. Louis, anyway.

1910 St. Louis Browns

In 1910, the St. Louis Browns (who would, in 1954, become the Baltimore Orioles) won 47 games and lost 107.

No need to rehash the Browns’ rotten year. Let’s just talk about the double-header on October 9, 1910, the last day of the season.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 10/9/1910

Continue reading

My Day In “The Sun”

Pop Quiz, Baseball Fans!

Which is more unbelievable …

a) The Orioles won last night!

It’s a win!

b) I found these snow booties in my size. On sale!

Adorable and On Sale!

c) I’m on the front page of today’s Baltimore Sun sports page.

Trick Question … Continue reading

“I Know How Bad It Is.”

“I know how bad it is.” ~ Baltimore Orioles Manager Buck Showalter, via The New York Daily News

In case you don’t know how bad it is, the Baltimore Orioles are 42-106 and 59.5 games back in the AL East.

Bad.

Primordially bad. (Maybe I’m not using that term correctly? Who cares?)

Suckity, suck, suck bad.

(I’m definitely using those terms correctly.)

Stop Smiling.

“A week ago, Buck Showalter was sitting at his desk in the visiting team manager’s office at Tropicana Field when his bench coach, John Russell, dropped the lineup card in front of him for the day’s game between the Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays. As he picked up the card, Showalter winced, then placed it on the desk face down.” ~ The New York Daily News, Sept 15, 2018 Continue reading

The Lodestar of Losers

“Hey, I know the rules. Someone has to have the worst record in baseball. I just wish it wasn’t the O’s.” ~ A thoughtful Orioles fan in this morning’s Baltimore Sun. (Oh wait … hey, it’s me!)

I am in a bad mood this morning.

Fun Fact 1: The Baltimore Orioles lost their 100th game last night and the Kansas City Royals will likely lose 100 before the season is through. The Boston Red Sox would have to stink mightily to not win 100+.

Fun Fact 2: In 2017, three teams – the Dodgers, Indians, and Astros – each won more than 100 games. No one lost 100.

Fun Fact 3: In 2016, one team – the Cubs – won 100+. And, one – the Twins – lost 100+.

Fun Fact 4: In 2015, one team – the Cardinals – won 100. No one lost 100.

Fun Fact 5: In 2014, the Orioles, with 96 wins, won the AL East. No team won or lost 100 games.

Fun Fact Analysis 1: Losing 100 is rarer – and, ergo, much more interesting – than winning 100.

Fun Fact Analysis 2: The Baltimore Orioles winning the AL East in 2014 is the best part of this analysis.

(Am I helping?)

There are other teams that have had worse seasons than the 2018 Orioles. I don’t care. The Orioles are the worst of now.

When you go from trying to win games, to trying to win “to salvage the season,” to “we’re rebuilding, so we’re not really trying to win at all,” it requires a new mindset.

I still don’t know what that mindset should be.

Why are you still smiling?

Continue reading

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. Continue reading