“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

Baseball’s Perfect Imperfection

I’m embarrassingly non-controversial.

Well, when it comes to baseball anyway. There are no dust-ups here, my opinions are welcoming of all other baseball opinions. I don’t like to argue.

Sure, I have controversial opinions about other stuff.  And, I’m sure you’ll agree I’m right about all of them.

Hash Browns vs. Home Fries.

By Marshall Astor, via Creative Commons 2.0

Home Fries.

Sylvester vs. Tweety.

Sylvester. Please, Tweety sucks.

Serial Comma vs. the Dangerous Anarchy of Punctuation Without The Sanity of the Serial Comma.

Serial Comma, Serial Comma, and Serial Comma.

Continue reading

New Year’s Rulin’s

First of all, New Year’s Resolutions are stupid.

Because if you waited an entire year to decide you need to make some major life change, because, while unpleasant, you know it will be good for you, then why did you wait until today to start it?

I’ll tell you why. Because you don’t want to do it. That’s why. And, eventually, we don’t do the things we don’t want to do.

So, resolutions stink when you make them – because they are things you don’t want to do. And, they stink even more when you fail at them – because now you’re a failure.

Resolutions just stink.

But, there are always exceptions. Woody Guthrie wrote these – his “New Year’s Rulin’s” for 1942.

I can’t tell you if he kept them, but I’m hopeful he at least took the occasional bath and sent money to his kids.

Continue reading

Waiting To Go Home

We were booted out of our house today.

Me, Editor/Husband, and all three cats.

Workmen are in there doing workingmen things. Things that must be done without the interference of humans or cats.

It has taken us the better part of a week to prepare the house for this upheaval.

And, today, I am tired, stressed, and, at least for now, homeless.

(I am promised that our home will be opened back up to us by dinnertime. Yes, dinnertime. So, sure, I’m being a little melodramatic here. But, I’m also so tired my eyes hurt. And, cranky. And, I’m sitting here in my studio with the volume on my phone turned all the way up so I don’t miss the text that says I can come home.)

As the workmen do their workingmen things, and the cats are boarding at the vets thinking cat thoughts about how much they hate us now for taking them away from home this morning, I am looking through the photos I’ve taken over the past year.

There’s a lot of waiting going on.

Charlottesville Tom Sox, June 2017 © The Baseball Bloggess

Continue reading

Artie!

Look, I’m not one to tell you what to do with your Labor Day Monday. You worked hard for this day off. You should enjoy every single minute of it.

If you think napping in a hammock is the best way to celebrate, then, hey, I’m not going to tell you to do anything different.

Really? Hammock napping? That’s the best you can do?

What if it rains?

Here.

Here’s what you should do with your Labor Day Monday.

Watch Artie Lewicki make his big league debut with the Detroit Tigers.

Embed from Getty Images

Artie Lewicki pitching for Virginia in 2014

Last week, the Tigers traded Cy-Young-pitcher-with-the-hot-model-girlfriend Justin Verlander and a boatload of cash to the Houston Astros for a handful of prospects (none of whom was rookie outfielder Derek Fisher, so I immediately lost interest in whatever prospects the Astros gave up).

Into Verlander’s spot in the Tiger’s rotation? University of Virginia alum Artie Lewicki, who will make his big league debut, getting his call up from the AAA Toledo Mud Hens.

Continue reading

“Welcome Fans!”

“Virginia is a team that more than deserved to be a very high seed and host a regional. Why that didn’t happen, I don’t know.” ~ Jim Schlossnagle, Coach, Texas Christian University Horned Frogs

Last Sunday, the NCAA named its 16 host teams for their post-season Regional Tournaments which began yesterday.

The University of Virginia — ranked #13 in the country by D1 Baseball, #11 in USA Today‘s Coaches Poll, and #10 in the Baseball Writers Poll — was not among them.

In the scope of injustices in this world, the NCAA’s slight is plenty misguided, sure, but still pretty teeny-tiny.

And, sure you can argue that Virginia is still one of the 64 teams competing in the post-season this weekend. Look at poor Miami, left out for the first time in 44 years.

Yes, you can argue that at least Virginia gets to play today.

(Don’t try to make me feel better. I’m steamed about this.)

Continue reading

Our Season In The Blue Seats (part 3)

Sure, I know I’m wearing out my welcome, but here’s one last look from our season in Virginia baseball’s blue seats.

Last post on this. Promise.

If you’re playing catch-up … here’s “Our Season In The Blue Seats” (part 1) and (part 2).

I have a college chum who is an accomplished photographer. He tried to help me understand how carefully manipulating the wheels and buttons and levers on my camera can create a beautiful photo. But, I just can’t seem to ever get it right, especially when I’m trying to shoot through — and wash out — the protective netting at a game while actually also watching the game.

So, my pictures are frustratingly not right most of the time. Which is ok, because if people like me could take a great photo with ease, all the good photographers in the world would be out of work. Which is to say, I’m keeping all the professional sports photographers in business, which makes me a job creator. You’re welcome.

I took a lot of pictures while we watched Virginia baseball from the coveted blue seats this season. A lot.

These were all shot through the protective netting. They are my favorites.

Virginia Pitcher Teddy Paisley.

I’ve been waiting all season to tell you about Teddy Paisley.

Continue reading

Our Season In The Blue Seats (part 2)

I’m the person you meet at a party who wants to show you a picture on her phone and then as she’s sweeping through hundreds of them she stops to show you a bunch of unrelated ones that have made her nostalgic (well, as nostalgic as a picture from 2013 can make one). She ultimately forgets the one she was looking for in the first place, which is ok, because one more tiny picture from last summer’s family reunion filled with people you don’t know is going to end the friendship.

Just a few more pics from our season in baseball’s blue seats at the University of Virginia. I promise it won’t take long.

(What? You missed ‘Part One’? Poor dear. Start here.)

Today’s theme – ACTION!

My camera doesn’t catch much action at the game. Blame the camera. (All of these photos were shot through the protective netting.)

Sure, I missed catcher Caleb Knight’s homerun swing, but I did get Virginia’s celebration in a game versus Pittsburgh.

Continue reading

Our Season In The Blue Seats (part 1)

Editor/Husband broke his leg on New Year’s Day.

You might think that this was a terrible thing and it was. Not for me, of course, but for him. It was a lousy thing to happen.

But, look at the bright side.

His bum leg wasn’t ready for steep steps. And, our season tickets for University of Virginia baseball are out in the bleachers and up some very steep steps. We had to figure this out. Because I don’t care whose leg is broken, we’re not missing baseball.

So before nearly every home game this season I stood in line at the ticket window – sometimes for nearly an hour – in the hopes of upgrading that day’s tickets to closer-in seats that would be an easier commute for Limpy.

Those close-in seats are the ones that fans like us, with our bleacher tickets, dream about.

The blue seats.

Real seats with sturdy backs, not the long backless benches that line the rest of the park. When you’re in the blue seats you can put your bottle of water beside your feet and not worry that someone will accidentally kick it into the opening in the bleacher floor where it will disappear into the abyss.

Continue reading

The Week In Review … (kinda, sorta)

This week has not been the best for The Baseball Bloggess.

A flat tire on Tuesday resulted in four new tires on Wednesday. (Followed by a brand new flat in one of the brand new tires just a few hours ago. That’s not the way these things are supposed to work, you know.)

Tuesday morning.

Sunday morning.

Continue reading