Choosing The Right 2019 World Series Team For You

Back in April my cat, Mookie Wilson-Betts, chose the San Francisco Giants to win the World Series.

Hey! You there in the back chortling. He is a … CAT. Beyond turning his nose up this morning at the expensive food that he thought was so delicious last week that I went ahead and bought him a case … beyond that … what does he know?

I am painfully aware that if you’ve read this far you could very well have no idea who is playing in the World Series, which kicks off on Tuesday.

Pay attention … this will be on the test:

American League Champions

Houston Astros

versus

National League Champions

Washington Nationals

I hate to be a bandwagoneer, but I think we ought to find a team for you cheer for. I’m going to do my best to make this as painless, and as baseball-free, as possible.

Let’s get the easy stuff out of the way.

Are You From Virginia?

You probably should root for the Nats … they’re close by, sorta neighborish … and they include …

Lynchburg, Virginia-born Daniel Hudson

And, from the University of Virginia …

Ryan Zimmerman

And, Sean Doolittle.

UNLESS … and this is important, people … you’re from the Richmond area, home of …

Three-time Cy Young Winner and Houston Astro, Justin Verlander.

Please consult a map for further direction.

Are You Warm And Fuzzy?

Which fits you better … Continue reading

Paul Hines:  A Little More To Unspool

I warned you about this yesterday when I wrote:

“his story rolls out … like a 4 a.m. dream that unspools out of sequence.”

So, may I trouble you with just one more story about Paul Hines, the Virginia-born ballplayer who, in 1878, made baseball’s first unassisted triple play?

Providence Grays, 1882

Paul Hines

The story goes that President William McKinley became friends with Hines in the 1870s and later gave Hines his post-baseball job as the Department of Agriculture postmaster.

President William McKinley

But, aside from one mention in Hines’ 1935 obituary, I couldn’t confirm a connection between McKinley and Hines. That Associated Press obituary said they became pals when Hines first played for the Washington Nationals and McKinley was in Congress. But, Hines was long gone from DC and playing in Chicago when McKinley first came to Congress in 1877, so those years don’t jibe. Continue reading

Paul Hines, Baseball Player: The Unblurrification

It’s the first thing I do every morning. I feed the three cats. They are my top priority and the cats expect no less. I could do it in my sleep and I think, in a way, that’s sort of what I do.

“Feed us.”

Memories get old and, eventually, blurry. Like the minutes when you first wake up, there’s still some nighttime left in your head. Those weird 4 a.m. dreams haven’t quite disappeared. You’re not asleep, but you’re not quite awake. It’s still a little blurry.

Paul Hines, baseball player, is like that. Blurry.

1890

It was a long time ago. There’s no video, no newsreels, no oral histories hidden away in boxes, no people left who saw him play.

And, that makes me wonder about the things that Paul Hines did. Did he really do them? And, if he did, why are people so focused on proving he didn’t?

I make my coffee only after the cats are fed. Often, coffee must wait so I can move the cat plates around so that Zuzu doesn’t push into Mookie’s plate before Mookie is through. I’m the cafeteria monitor. The cat-feteria monitor. Once the plates are reordered, then I make my coffee. That, too, I think I could do in my sleep.

The Unblurrification

Paul Hines was born in Virginia in 1855. Of the nearly 300 big leaguers born in Virginia, he was the first. Continue reading

100

Dear Baltimore Orioles,

Sure, we knew it was going to happen. You lost your 100th game last night, to the Detroit Tigers, the team with the worst record in baseball … even worse than yours.

But, look! You can lose a game (a game you coulda, shoulda won) by giving up a grand slam in the 12th and you’re still not the worst team in baseball.

So, there is that.

You were going to lose 100 games this season, we knew that all along. But, you stretched it out a bit this year. With two weeks left, you’ve already won more games then you did last season. Yay.

I guess.

Someone on Twitter noticed that today’s game – Baltimore Orioles at the Detroit Tigers – will mark the first time in American League history that two teams with 100 or more losses each will play each other.

So, see. You’re making history, too! Continue reading

“The Lost Ballplayers of Orange”: Sept. 30 at the Orange County Historical Society

This happened:

Not long ago, I was seated at dinner across from a college-aged pitcher. Making small talk’s not my thing, but I gave it a go. I asked him what he was studying. “History,” he said, between bites of food. “Interesting! What era of history is your specialty?” Maybe I was the first to ever ask him that. When you’re a pitcher, people are probably more interested in your fastball than in your class schedule. He thought for a moment and finally he said, “I like studying war.”

Welp.

I told him that I liked history, too, and that I often wrote about baseball history.

His eyes briefly grew big. And then he said, “Wow. I didn’t know you could do that.”

Then he went back to his dinner and that was the end of that.

I’m pretty sure he didn’t realize baseball even had a history worth knowing.

But it is worth knowing. Baseball’s long history provides a unique reflection of who we are as a nation, as a culture, as a society.

And, there’s plenty of baseball history right here in Virginia.

Join me, The Baseball Bloggess, on Monday, September 30 at the Orange County Historical Society in downtown Orange, Virginia. I’ll be talking about – what else? – baseball history …

160 Games: The Lost Ballplayers of Orange Continue reading

Would It Make You Feel Any Better …

On August 14, 2019, after their 82nd loss of the season, the Baltimore Orioles were officially eliminated from the postseason.

On the plus side, with the World Series now off my “to-do” list, I’m available throughout October for lunch at the restaurant of your choice. (Your treat, right?)

Dear Baltimore Orioles,

Nothing. I got nothing.

Your Weary Friend, The Baseball Bloggess

Bitmoji Image

Wait. Let me try again.

Dear Baltimore Orioles,

Me again.

Would it make you feel any better if I told you I was sorry? Continue reading

Buster Keaton. Playing Baseball.

Silent movies are, well, silent … so you don’t need much from me this morning.

Buster Keaton. 1928. Playing baseball. Yankee Stadium.

(From the movie The Cameraman.)

Look …

 

Hat-tip to @SABRPictorial for finding this gem.

P.S. The Baltimore Orioles have won their last three games. Their last 10 games? They are 7-3. Hoorah. Oh and speaking of Baltimore, don’t believe any of the cruel, hateful, and racist talk you may have heard about Baltimore in the past 24 hours. The Baltimore Sun replied …

Seven Years And A Birth’a’Versary

On July 24, 1919, the Chicago White – not yet “Black” – Sox led the American League. Their 54-29 record put them a full six games up on Cleveland. The New York – not yet San Francisco – Giants led the National League. Their 50-23 record would soon be overtaken by the still-in-Cincinnati Reds.

July 24, 1919 wasn’t particularly special. The Red Sox beat the Yankees that day, 4-3, thanks to a home run from still-Red Sox Babe Ruth. The New York – not yet San Francisco – Giants beat the Boston – not yet Milwaukee, not yet Atlanta – Braves, 7-6. Walter Johnson and the Washington – not yet Minnesota Twins – Senators beat the Philadelphia – not yet Kansas City, not yet Oakland – A’s 1-0.

Rock Island (IL) Argus 7/25/1919

And, the Chicago White Sox beat the St. Louis Browns 1-0 in 10 innings. The White Sox, in cahoots with some gamblers, would throw the World Series in October. The Browns would become the Baltimore Orioles in 1954.

Some things change. But, really, when you think about it. Not so much.

On July 24, 1919, Washington, DC was reeling from a violent four-day race riot. The rioting, fanned by the media, killed some 40 people. Congress was squabbling over the League of Nations. Henry Ford was taking heat for revealing that he intentionally sought to keep his son Edsel out of World War I, and that then-President Wilson may have been involved in approving Edsel’s deferment, thereby protecting the son of one of the nation’s most powerful businessmen. A fire in a poor Polish neighborhood in South Chicago, started by some kids who had built a bonfire, destroyed 16 homes, displaced 40 families, injured several, and led to the death of the city’s fire chief.

See? We haven’t cornered the market on bad news.

There’s always been bad news.

So, why waste time with baseball? Continue reading

Nothin’ But Net

“But Howell, the Orioles fan, said: ‘This is not an issue of fans not paying attention to the game. To be able to react in an instant to a broken bat or a line-drive foul coming at you at 100 miles per hour? That’s why major leaguers get paid millions of dollars. They can do that. Most fans can’t.’” ~ The Baltimore Sun, 7/13/2019

This weekend, the Baltimore Orioles announced they would extend the protective netting at Camden Yards from the dugouts to the foul poles. They are one of just a few teams who are proactively addressing fan safety with this decision.

(The Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Texas Rangers, and Washington Nationals have also announced they will extend netting to the foul poles.)

The Baltimore Sun, 7/13/2019

I was included in The Baltimore Sun’s story on this decision and I appreciated having a chance to add my “two cents.”

You can read it here.

Since then, I’ve seen the blowback the team has received from some fans.

Well.

The Baseball Bloggess has a few more cents to add. Continue reading

What A Difference A Day Makes

Nashville Tennessean, 12/13/1933

“It was almost definite that the all-star baseball game, inaugurated last July, would not be repeated in 1934 as considerable opposition had sprung up.” ~ Associated Press, December 13, 1933.

Cedar Rapids Gazette, 12/14/1933

“It was also agreed by the magnates today to make the all-star major league game, inaugurated in Chicago last July, a permanent event.” ~ Associated Press, December 14, 1933.

What a difference a day makes. The 1933 All-Star game was this-close to being a one-and-done.

The opposition to the game appeared to dove-tail with a general fear about interleague play by team owners.

Clearly, a lot of owners wanted no part in a game that would affect their schedule — and profits — and interleague play, which might also affect their own team’s bottom line.

(Keeping the leagues segregated, of course, wasn’t the worst segregation going on in baseball back then … ) Continue reading