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

“To Be Played In All Cities On The Glorious Fourth”

Dear Baltimore Orioles,

I did not post here on the Fourth of July.

I took the day off. Just like you.

No need to apologize if you didn’t notice my absence. I know you were busy. Not playing, of course. But, busy. Eating. Napping. Whatever it is you do when you’re not playing baseball on the Fourth of July.

Not playing yesterday, on the Fourth of July, was a quirk in the Orioles schedule.

It was also cruel return to that empty first half of the 20th century when Baltimore had no major league team. Those were the years – decades – of emptiness, after New York stole those early Baltimore Orioles for themselves. There were no Fourth of July Orioles games … or third of July … or fifth of July … or sixth … hey, you get the picture.

So, while you Orioles were idle for 51 seasons, Babe Ruth … and Joe DiMaggio … and a rookie Mickey Mantle … got to play on Independence Day, but not you, dear Orioles.  Not you.

Babe Ruth. He got to play. Continue reading

Whatever.

My dad never said “I love you.”

Not to me, anyway.

There was a time when dads, as a rule, didn’t say “I love you” to their children. That was just the way things were done.

It’s not like I didn’t know he loved me.

Us.

My dad taught me to love reading and basketball. He taught me that the best beer must be properly chilled and the best practical jokes must be properly executed. (My practical jokes would make my dad proud.)

My dad taught me to parallel park by handing me the driver’s handbook with written instructions, setting up two sawhorses in the yard, and pulling the massive old grain truck up beside them. “There. Park it between those saw horses. You won’t hurt anything and once you can parallel park the grain truck, you’ll be able to parallel park anything.” Then he left. (I think he just got into his tractor and drove back out into the field.)

He left me alone to figure it out.

Continue reading

A Number Of Things …

They say that people get crankier as they get older.

Surely, they don’t mean me.

To be cranky is to be ill-tempered about everything. I’m not ill-tempered about everything.

I mean, look ….

Sure, the Baltimore Orioles are in last place in the AL East. But, it’s not like they’re 0-and-26. (Hi World Champion Boston Red Sox, I see you’ve won 10 games, too. Good for you!)

Last season, it took the O’s until May 10 to get to 10 wins. This is progress, people.

I love the rebuilding Orioles. I really do. Sure, I still don’t know all their names, but I love each and every one of them. Except for one. I don’t know his name but, yeh, I don’t love him.

So, I’m not cranky. Not me. But, I do need to talk to someone about a couple situations regarding baseball jerseys. You seem nice. I’m sure you’ll see my side of things.

Baseball Numbers

I appreciate that baseball jerseys have numbers on them. It wasn’t until 1937 that all the major league teams adopted numbers. Before that, I bet teams would just swap players in and out indiscriminately. Who would know? They were all men, they were all the same color, they all wore caps.

Public Domain

Like these 1903 NY Highlanders. Don’t they all look alike to you? Continue reading

Chris Davis Gets A Hit …

When I was young, but not so young that I didn’t know better, but, still, decades ago, I backed my mom’s beloved Chevy Suburban through the garage door.

It may not be the most embarrassing thing I’ve done in my life, but it is the one that I can think of right now.

It was not a good day. The electric garage door was mid-open when, in a hurry, I backed through it, wedging the door against the top of the car and the garage ceiling, mangling the door opener gears that were still grinding away, and bending the track. I had crushed things so tightly together that I could not back out or in without destroying the frame of the garage or taking the top of the Suburban clean off.

It took the better part of an afternoon to peel everything apart.

It was not inexpensive.

Amazingly … amazingly, then and amazingly, today … my parents didn’t get mad.  Well, not mad on the outside anyway. Accidents happen, they figured, and no one got hurt.

(If you knew my parents, you would know that this was not their usual reaction to such things.)

Embed from Getty Images

 

This brings me to the Baltimore Orioles Chris Davis who has spent many embarrassing moments lately not hitting a baseball in front of thousands of fans who expect more from a highly paid professional athlete. Continue reading

Major A.K. Fulton. The Good Luck Baseball Fan.

I suppose I should tell you that the Baltimore Orioles won two of their first three games this season, defeating the Yankees … in New York.

“At the corner of Unacceptable and Intolerable, the Yankees lost a season-opening series to the Orioles.”The New York Post

Even the Cleveland Spiders, the worst team ever, won 20 games in 1899 (they lost 134), so don’t get too giddy about two wins — no matter how unexpected. (Still … yay.)

That’s not why I’m here, anyway. I’m here to tell you about Major Albert Kimberly (A.K.) Fulton of Baltimore and his strange connection to the Baltimore Orioles of the 1890s.

And, I’m starting at the end …

The Baltimore Sun, 2/1/1900

Major Fulton was 63 when he died in January 1900, living a generous 16 additional years beyond the frighteningly short life expectancy of the time. Continue reading

Dear Baltimore Orioles, I Believe In You.

“Baltimore was bad last year, but this year it will be much worse. Its starting lineup is made up entirely of bums, retreads, and no-hopers. This team is more Major League than the movie.” ~ The Toronto Globe & Mail, April 27, 2019

Dear Baltimore Orioles,

It’s Opening Day and I believe in you.

Sure, I also believe in climate change, e.coli in my romaine, and menopause. These things do me no good, but I must believe in them because they are real.

But, I believe there’s more to you than just bad things.

I don’t believe you are made up entirely of “bums, retreads, and no-hopers.”

Sure, nearly half of your roster — 11 of the 25 players — are enjoying their very first Opening Day in the majors. I’m looking forward to learning all their names.

“It’s a dream come true,” infielder Drew Jackson told The Baltimore Sun. Last year he was playing AA ball in the Dodgers system.

Drew Jackson. I’ve learned one new name already!

I believe that you all have worked up some crazy, ingenious, secret plan that will make you better … better than last year’s historic 115 losses. Better than what everyone else believes is possible.

I believe you’re going to try your best not to suck.

(I can’t believe I had to write that.)

I’m not sure why I believe in you, because it seems pretty hopeless, doesn’t it?

But, it’s baseball season and it’s nice to feel hopeful on Opening Day.

No matter what anyone else says.

I believe in you.

(Please don’t lose 100 games.)

Your Pollyanna Friend, The Baseball Bloggess

P.S. Toronto Globe & Mail Sourpusses: You do know that the bums, retreads, and no-hopers of “Major League” won the AL East in that movie, right? On a bunt … a freaking beautiful bunt.

Go O’s.

 

“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

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