Consistency

I haven’t been around a lot on here lately.

I’ve been busy.

Stuff going on.

You know.

You didn’t notice? Hey, don’t feel bad. The cats are generally the only ones who notice my absence … and only when it impacts mealtime. Once they find me, they just sit and stare at me until I feed them.

It’s nice. Makes me feel needed.

The Baltimore Orioles lost 110 games this season. As you can imagine, watching all that losing takes time.

Fun Fact: Do you know how long it takes to become numb to losing? 99 games.

After the 99th loss, you just want to see how many more games they can lose before Major League Baseball steps in and says, “Hey, we love your enthusiasm and all, but maybe Triple A is a better place for you.”

Being the worst isn’t easy. Some seasons you have competition. The Arizona Diamondbacks lost 110 games this season, too.

So, with identical records, who was worse? The Orioles. And, I’ll tell you why. Continue reading

12 Things You Should Know About Fred “Crazy” Schmit

The Buffalo Enquirer, 8/28/1899

Fred “Crazy” Schmit wasn’t crazy.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s get on with more important things.

I didn’t just stumble upon Schmit, the long-ago pitcher. I went looking for him. I wanted to find the first pitcher to carry a “cheat sheet” on the mound – someone to show that today’s trend of pitchers tucking info cards into their caps is really nothing new.

Dear readers, meet Crazy Schmit.

Schmit has just a few major league seasons to his name, but there is much to unpack — from his pitcher’s notebook that would make Earl Weaver proud, to his eerily prescient take on baseball matters that remain controversial today to, well, okay, there’s some crazy, too.

I swear, sometimes I think I don’t go looking for these players as much as they come looking for me.

Here are 12 things you should know about Fred “Crazy” Schmit.

1. Frederick Schmit was born in Chicago in 1866.

His parents were immigrants – both arrived in America in 1857. If you dig around in Schmit’s past you’ll quickly discover that newspapers routinely spelled his name Schmidt. Census takers often screwed it up, too. Schmit himself seemed content to spell it whichever way – including misspelling his own name in a self-published book. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Continue reading

9 Years … 9 Things.

It was two weeks ago that WordPress reminded me that The Baseball Bloggess is 9 years old. Happy belated birth’a’versary, me!

I would have written about this two weeks ago, but I was busy watching the Baltimore Orioles sweep the Washington Nationals that weekend. That sweeping by the lowly – but occasionally feisty – Orioles was the tipping point that led the Nationals to, quite literally, trade away 30 percent of their lineup, including sending two beloved players, Max Scherzer and Trea Turner, to the Dodgers.

Dear Washington Nationals Fans,

Sorry about that.

Your Friend, The Baseball Bloggess

Sure, I’m a little late, but I’m ready to celebrate 9 years of honing the qwerty skills I learned in Mr. Brown’s high school typing class. Whether you’ve been reading from the beginning (that’s just you, Editor/Husband) or happened upon this for the first time today, The Baseball Bloggess is glad you’re here and considers you a close personal friend.

From 9 innings to 9 players on a lineup card, baseball is a 9’centric game.

So, here are 9, 9’ish things as I belatedly celebrate the 9-year birth’a’versary of The Baseball Bloggess.

1) The 9th Most Popular Post On This Website: Edd Roush Takes A Nap In The Outfield

I gotta hand it to Cincinnati Reds fans – they love baseball history.

Well, they love this story anyway, of how, in 1920, future Hall of Fame outfielder Edd Roush found a way to take a nap … in center field … during a game. But then, who doesn’t love a good napping story?

Public Domain, via The Library of Congress

Does he look tired to you? Continue reading

Relationship Status: It’s Complicated

Dear Baltimore Orioles,

Hi.

It’s been a while since we talked and I didn’t want it to come to this. Really, I didn’t.

But, you leave me no choice.

You see, I’ve put up with a lot from you lately. And, by lately, I mean over the past 1,183 days.

That starting point is not arbitrary. It was March 29, 2018 – Opening Day. You won that game. Good for you.

Sure, it took 11 innings. But, you won.

In the past 1,183 days since Opening Day 2018 you have played 458 games. You’ve lost 67 percent of them – 309 games.

You’ve lost games by a run, two runs, 13 runs. Like Baskin-Robbins ice cream, you offer a lot of variety in your losses.

Baseball Nut? Yes. Pink Bubblegum? Entirely unnecessary.

While I hate math, even I can see that you have lost nearly all of the games you have played since 2018.

Nearly all of them.  

I have kept my mouth shut long enough. Continue reading

12 Things You Should Know About Matt Kilroy, The “Little Whirlwind”

On May 5, 2021, Baltimore Orioles twirler John Means tossed the first Orioles one-pitcher, no-hitter since Jim Palmer in 1969.

Embed from Getty Images

But, you have to go all the way back to 1886 to get to the very first Baltimore Orioles no-hitter.

Matt Kilroy

Before I tell you 12 things you should know about Matt Kilroy, the 1886 pitcher who did that, let’s get any dreamy-eyed 1886 nonsense out of the way.

Forever ago.

There are no “good old days.” You might think you missed out on something special, but you didn’t.

1886 was lousy. It was unsafe. It was unsanitary. And, the average lifespan in the United States was 39.

Albert Pujols, 41. Nelson Cruz, 40. Yadier Molina, 38. You get my point.

It was tuberculosis that probably got you. Or, rabid mad dogs in New York City. Or, a horse fell on you or a carriage ran over you. Or a bridge or building collapsed on you. Or your entire town burned down with you in it.

Or, you were a child, which was extremely dangerous. As John Graunt, the 17th-century founder of demography sweetly put it: “Being a child was to forever be on the brink of death.”

You think wearing a mask for a year was a bother?

Stop your whimpering.

Try living through the recurring epidemics of cholera, typhoid, typhus, scarlet fever, smallpox, and yellow fever that mowed down Baltimore, Boston, Memphis, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC, over and over and over between 1865 and 1873.

And, if you did live through the latest epidemic – and you probably didn’t, but if you did –  chances are, unless you were awfully rich, you lived in a house with no hot water, no shower, and – this is important – no toilet.

If you think the most important room in your house is your man cave, you are wrong. It is your bathroom. And, you should go in there right now, get down on your knees, and thank the modern gods for installing one in your house.

Good Things That Happened in 1886 Continue reading

Patience, Time (… And Baseball)

“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” ~ Leo Tolstoy, War And Peace

It’s game day. Today, at 3 p.m., Virginia plays George Washington at nearby Disharoon Park in Charlottesville.

The Cavaliers are off to a wobbly 4-3 start. But, I’m not worried. They are a stacked team. They will be fine.

Today, at 7 a.m., I am having my coffee. I should be scouring the weather report, calculating temperature and wind speed to determine how many layers I will need to sit through an early March baseball game.

I should be scanning the rosters, recharging my camera, making sure the scorecard is ready to go.

These are little nothing chores. Things I rarely think about as I’m doing them. The routine of a baseball fan.

I should be doing all these things.

I am not.

Only a few fans can attend and they must be spread widely through the park.

Where I Am Not.

Instead, I’m sitting here wondering where the past year went.

One year. March to March. One big blurry uncomfortable inconsiderate wasted lost year. Continue reading

The Kinda-Sorta-Almost Midway Point

I suppose 2020 is not the first time someone chose to watch, or not watch, baseball based on principles.

Baseball is a reflection of who we are at this moment in history. Who we were yesterday is reflected in an aging box score and who we become tomorrow will come into focus sometime during tomorrow’s games.

So, who are we?

Are you watching baseball in 2020 or are you sitting it out – sitting it out because you’re concerned that players are risking their health by playing … sitting it out because they are wearing “Black Lives Matter” patches on their sleeves … sitting it out because it’s a shortened season that might become meaningless … sitting it out because of new rules like that man-on-second-to-start-extra-innings thing?

Everybody’s got their reasons.

But, hey, about that new rule.

I thought it was stupid. Not just stupid, but crazy-stupid.

Come to find out, it’s not so bad. When the game you’re watching slogs into hour four and your team can’t seem to push one more lousy run across, that one lousy run being all your team needs to win … and all you can think is that this game is going to go on for another four freaking hours and it’s nearly midnight …

Yeh, all of a sudden, you’ve got a man on second and no outs. That perks me right up.

So, let me just say this about that – I was wrong. That stupid new rule about starting a man on second in extra innings wasn’t so stupid after all.

This is how the new rule works.

And, seven-inning games for double headers?

Hallelujah!

So who are we then, baseball fans?

Conflicted. Continue reading

The #8. The Cal Ripken, Jr. Anniversary Of Blogging.

Eight years ago today, the Orioles lost.

And, I started this blog.

Eight is not a particularly momentous, landmark’ish anniversary. But, should you insist, gifts of pottery are appropriate.

In the baseball world, eight would be the “centerfielder anniversary” … so I give you this Orioles’ish clip: Adam Jones, playing centerfield for Team USA, robbing Manny Machado, playing for the Dominican Republic, in the World Baseball Classic in 2017:

In the baseball world, this would also be the #8 Cal Ripken, Jr. anniversary … so I give you this from 1996:

“… a career high eight runs, matching his uniform number.”

Continue reading

I Will Make The Most Of It.

© The Baseball Bloggess

“Is it as good as you remembered?”

You know what I mean.

You go back to your old stomping grounds – your childhood home, your college campus, or that place where you did that thing that you did for the very first time – and you are sure you will conjure up the very same feelings, the very same wonder, the very same joy that whatever it was once brought you.

It never does, does it?

So when I write “Happy Opening Day” … as I write every year … I know there’s no going back to baseball’s old stomping grounds this year.

Opening Day has always been – should always be – a time of hope, a time of joy. Even when your team is crummy, there’s still hope, right? Maybe not as crummy? Not as crummy as last year.

I don’t feel hopeful today.

I feel foreboding.

You’ve got one team that doesn’t have a home to play in. Players opting out for their own safety. Empty stadiums filled with weird artificial noise.

Artificial joy.

But, as long as they insist on playing, I will make the most of it.

Happy Opening Day.

Go O’s!

 

June 17, 1889. George Goetz, The “Fallen Phenom”

I can’t tell you much about Philip Goetz, but I can tell you this.

He was born in Pennsylvania around 1836. He was a shoemaker who married a girl named Ann. They lived in Greencastle, had some children – Clara, Alice, Grace, George, Rose, Frank, Ruth, Mollie, and Ross. Maybe more. I can’t be sure.

Philip Goetz died, age 77, in 1913.

This isn’t about Philip, anyway. And, it’s not about Greencastle, Pennsylvania, although the Goetz family was growing and thriving there in the 1860s when the Civil War was raging and Greencastle was the site of skirmishes, battles, and Confederate encampments, and is just 10 miles from Chambersburg, 30 miles from Antietam, and 35 miles from Gettysburg.

Greencastle, Pennsylvania

It’s not about any of that. It’s about Philip Goetz’s eldest son George, who was born in 1865, after all of that, and there is precious little known of him, either.

Except for this.

In a baseball game on June 17, 1889, George B. Goetz, son of Philip and Ann, was the Baltimore Orioles’ starting pitcher.

It was his first major league appearance. His last one, too.

George is a bit hard to find, not least because he is known as George only on the 1870 census, when he is five, and in his one game for the Orioles.

Everyone else, it seems, called him Bert.

Why? Here’s my guess. Our George B. Goetz, the son of Philip, “a shoemaker,” was born in tiny Greencastle in 1865.

George H. Goetz, the son of John, a “dealer in shoes,” was also born in tiny Greencastle … in 1864.

George H., the elder of the Georges, perhaps got dibs on the name.

This is only a guess. It will not be my only guess about George B. Goetz.

But, I don’t need to guess about the game on June 17, 1889. Continue reading