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

Manny Got A Job.

I’m not sure why I care so much about Manny Machado.

Manny Machado, you may have heard, is expected to sign a $300-million, 10-year contract with the San Diego Padres.

(The San Diego Padres – the team you always forget when you’re trying to name all 30.)

Not Manny.

This is the biggest free agent contract in sports history.

Until, I guess, Bryce Harper signs – with, maybe, the Phillies – later this week.

Not Bryce.

(The Philadelphia Phillies – the team with the name that’s not even trying. All teams should do that. The Washington Washies. The New York Yorkies – woof! The San Diego Sandies. The Baltimore Balties. Whatever.)

Having boatloads of quality free agents still unsigned when spring training is well underway is both weird and disconcerting. Continue reading

Turn It Off.

“More than 100 million people will watch this year’s Super Bowl. If you’re going to be one of them, and you care about the players on the team you’re rooting for, then don’t fall for the fantasy notion that fancy new helmets are going to protect their brains. Instead, support changes to the game that will truly protect players.” ~ Usha Lee McFarling

You knew I wouldn’t let Super Bowl Sunday pass by without my annual reminder that football is a vile, brutal, and unacceptably dangerous game. Also, stupid.

High-Tech Helmets Won’t Solve The NFL’s Concussion Problem

After the number of concussions in the NFL spiked dramatically in 2017, the number during this past season dropped by nearly one-quarter.

My favorite part of this story, written on NFL.com, is that the NFL was “startled” by the spike in concussions in 2017.

Really? That startled you? Because it didn’t surprise any of us regular people who have even the slightest understanding of what happens when your head is slammed into, say, the ground, with the weight of 300-pound lineman on top of you.

The NFL attributes some of the drop in 2018 to “advanced helmets.” And, they may be right, but when your game is still suffering hundreds of concussions each season, I’m pretty sure your “advanced helmets” aren’t advanced enough.

Or, as Pulitzer Pulitizer Prize-winning science writer Usha Lee McFarling wrote in the Los Angeles Times on Friday:

“No helmet, unless one is invented that can be inserted directly into the skull, can prevent concussions.” Continue reading

“Baltimore Base-Ball Club’s Suits Have A Washday”

There was a time – long before our time – when a housewife would set aside her entire Monday for doing the laundry.

I do a lot of laundry.

I have a washing machine that will agitate itself into a frenzy. I have eco-friendly laundry detergent and a dryer that runs extremely hot. With the exception of folding, I do very little.

It takes awhile, but it doesn’t take all day.

I still hate it.

But, I really would have hated it in 1895 when hours upon hours were spent boiling water over a fire and then scrubbing and rubbing and twisting out stains with caustic soaps and lye and turpentine until your hands turned red and peeled and bled.

Sure, the clothes wringer made washing day a little less back-breaking, but, as you can see, its biggest benefit was giving the wife time to get dinner on the table in time.

Doing the laundry in 1895 has nothing to do with baseball.

Until I found this …

The Baltimore Sun, 2/7/1895

“This wash-day scene is a sign of spring.” ~ The Baltimore Sun

Fourteen black Orioles uniforms were hanging to dry at the von der Horsts’ on a February day in 1895. Continue reading

In Praise Of “Peculiarly Hypnotic Tedium”

Good news, baseball fans!

All your griping about long and slow baseball games has paid off.

Games are shorter!

Last year the length of the average baseball game dropped – dropped! – to 3 hours and 4 minutes. That’s a savings of 4 minutes per game over 2017.

I hate math, but check out this wizardry …

With a 162-game season, there were 2,430 regular season games scheduled in 2018. At 4 minutes saved per game, that comes out to 9,720 free minutes or – and this is going to blow your mind – 162 hours saved!

Pulitizer-winning novelist Philip Roth once called baseball’s pace “peculiarly hypnotic tedium” and, just to be clear, he meant that in a good way.

I’m sure you put your 4-minute-per-game savings to good use last season.

Maybe you used your free minutes to watch Bongo Cat play Africa

 

The average American shower takes 8 minutes – so you could have had half a shower, which is time enough to soap, but maybe not enough to rinse.

Fun Fact: The 3 hour, 4 minute average baseball game is almost identical to the length of an average NFL football game, but without all the brain-damaging concussions.

(It’s odd that some people who complain about baseball games being too long and slow are the same ones who complain that the off-season – without baseball – is also too long and slow. I watched the Orioles lose 115 games last season. What’s your hurry?) Continue reading

Babe Ruth Gave Up Reading, But I Didn’t

“[R]eading isn’t good for a ball player’s eyes and if my eyes went bad, even a little bit, I couldn’t hit home runs. So I gave up reading.” – Babe Ruth in the St. Louis Star

I never really trusted this old quote of Babe Ruth’s that floats around the internet. But, I snooped around and found it there in an old St. Louis Star.

“Bad Boy No Longer”

In a wide-ranging interview, given during a Yankees batting practice in the spring of 1929, Ruth also clears up the then-and-still prevalent myth that he was an orphan, promises that he no longer “plays the ponies,” notes that the President he admires most is Harding (along with Wilson), but, adds, “Al Smith is my favorite,” and tells his manager Miller Huggins to “go to hell.”

(Harding?)

It’s an interesting interview, but it requires reading, something Ruth was not fond of, but I think that, since you’re here and all, you might be.

I love reading. Continue reading

Season’s Greetings, Nationals Fans! (Finally.)

Dear Washington Nationals Fans,

So, look, I know you may have given up on your Nationals wishing you a Happy Holidays this year, what with their website linking – still … three days after Christmas – to the New York Mets holiday greeting.

oops.

Maybe I was a bit harsh when I kinda-sorta suggested in a recent post that a screw-up like that seemed like a perfect wrap-up of the 2018 Nationals … and so very, very Washington, DC.

But, that was uncalled for. And, I’m sorry if I made you sad.

I’m sure it was just a simple mistake. Let’s blame the interns.

But, I couldn’t stop thinking about you on the holidays – the only fans in baseball that weren’t greeted and thanked for being fans. Even the 115-loss Baltimore Orioles came through to wish me a happy holidays.

(Happy Holidays, Orioles fans. At least we didn’t lose 116!)

Surely, the Nationals couldn’t be that cold. Surely, they didn’t forget you.

They didn’t! Continue reading

Season’s Greetings From [Insert Team Name Here]: 2018 Edition

Many of you will be surrounded this week by family and friends, celebrating the holidays.

I’ve got Editor/Husband here and three cats. The sun is out. It’s pretty low key with the Baseball Bloggess.

I’ve got time on my hands. (And, I haven’t had my breakfast.)

So, as my gift to you, I have binge-watched all 30 Season’s Greeting videos from all 30 major league baseball teams.

I watched them all.  For you.  So you don’t have to.

(And, I’ve got links to every single one.)

Enjoy!

Spoiler Alert: The Dodgers may have lost the World Series, but they definitely won the Holidays. Continue reading

My Favorite Sports-Writing Words Of 2018

The world is on fire.

I mean that figuratively, of course. Or, maybe I don’t. I’m not even sure any more.

I’m just saying there’s just a lot of suck out there.

If only the Baltimore Orioles’ 115-loss season was the worst thing that happened this year. If only.

Can you find the worst team in baseball?

Maybe that’s why sports – and excellent sports writing – is such a joy and refuge when times are tough and the world seems unbearably ugly and mean, because it actually is unbearably ugly and mean.

Sure, you could just binge on cooking shows until spring training. That’s not a bad plan.

But, sometimes it feels good to read something sporty. A little balm for the soul. A little de-suck-ification of life.

When your favorite team wins just a lousy 47 games, poring over box scores doesn’t take much time.

So, here are some of my favorite sports-writing words of 2018. Continue reading

(You know who you are.)

A couple weeks ago, I reached out to let you know about last Saturday’s Open House at my Yoga Studio benefiting the Wildlife Center of Virginia.

I told you about the more than 3,000 animals they cared for this year. Including Cardinals. Blue Jays. Orioles. Cubs. (No Rays. Sorry, Tampa.)

I told you about last month’s destructive ice storm that did massive damage to the animal habitats, pens, and homes at the Center.

Alex the Screech Owl and the Center’s Outreach Director Amanda Nicholson came to the Open House. But, I knew that, because of place and distance, many of you couldn’t.

But, I asked you to donate to help this good cause anyway.

And, you did!

You really did!  My heart nearly burst with happiness when I learned of your generous and wonderful gifts.

Thank you.

But, for those who couldn’t attend, I promised more than just a thank you.

And, I’m keeping my promise. Continue reading

Open House To Benefit The Wildlife Center of Virginia Is Saturday, Dec. 1 In Orange

I’m taking off my Baseball Bloggess cap today to let you know about the damage that the recent ice storm did to the Wildlife Center of Virginia … and how we can help! I’m also delighted to invite you to my annual Wildlife Center Open House which will be at my Yoga Studio in Orange, Virginia next Saturday, December 1. Some of you are nearby enough to swing by — please do! And, for those folks who are a bit too far afield … but would still like to help … keep reading!  Thank you!

On November 15, a destructive ice storm hit Virginia. It did an enormous amount of damage at the Wildlife Center of Virginia.

Just one of the many damaged animal enclosures.

Thanks to the quick and selfless actions of the Center staff in the midst of the storm, no animals were injured or escaped … although several had their habitats and homes severely damaged or destroyed. There’s quite a rebuild ahead for the Center, and so our annual Open House & Yoga Class to support the Center couldn’t come at a better time.

The Wildlife Center of Virginia depends on the generosity of individuals like us to support their life-saving work. They have cared for more than 3,000 wild animals this year … and new patients come in every single day. They need our help more than ever today.

Athena the barred owl at last year’s Open House Continue reading