Caroline County, Virginia — A Baseball Story In 3 Acts

Act 1 — The County

If you ever need to get from the bottom of the East Coast to the top – or top to bottom – you’ll probably end up on Interstate 95.

That 1,900-mile road – the most traveled in America (which surprises no one who has ever been on it) – can take you from Houlton, Maine to Miami, Florida and back again.

You’ve probably been on it. And, you’ve probably cursed at it, muttered at it, and yelled at its gridlock that stretched out in front of you. Everybody does that. That’s proper I-95 etiquette.

(Because The Baseball Bloggess does not wish to mislead you: A 12-mile gap around Trenton, New Jersey prevents I-95 from being a complete North-South highway. That gap should be fixed in 2018.)

In the middle-ish of I-95, you’ll pass through Caroline County, Virginia

If you need to stop, exits 104 at Bowling Green and 110 at Ladysmith will pop you out into the county.

(It’s pronounced Care-oh-Line and was named in 1728 in honor of Queen Caroline, wife of England’s King George II.)

I-95’s proximity is not the most interesting thing about Caroline County.

And, baseball is not the most interesting thing about it, either.

Continue reading

Little League’s Tubby Rule: “Girls Are Not Eligible …”

Back in May 2014, I talked to Kay “Tubby” Johnston, who became, in 1950, the first girl to play Little League baseball

“I simply wanted to play the game that I loved,” she told me. 

courtesy of “Tubby” Johnston

She played just that one summer. She was good, but when the season ended, she became the namesake of Little League’s national “Tubby Rule” which read in full:

“Girls Are Not Eligible Under Any Conditions.”

Continue reading

Free Baseball ~ Opening Day Edition

Sometimes I write for you. Sometimes I read and listen and watch stuff for you, so you don’t have to. (Isn’t that nice of me?)

Here are a few things I found. Think of them as Free Baseball* from The Baseball Bloggess – like the gift of extra innings that you didn’t expect when you came to the game.

After A Decade In Pro Ball, A Former Pitcher Goes Without Health Insurance

Public Radio International’s awesome Only A Game this week profiled Paul Wilmet, a pitcher who spent nearly a decade in pro ball, including playing three big league games for the Rangers in 1989. Today, he’s nearly blind but, with no pension, long-term health insurance, or benefits from his long baseball career, he’s been unable to get the surgery that could help him see again.

Continue reading

Baseball Is Real & We’re All Number One

If the last five months were the “Off Season” … is today the “On Season”?

It’s The On Season, Baseball Fans!

To be honest, I kinda like the off season. Everybody needs a reset and I like the anticipation of a brand new season … brand new possibilities.

I don’t mind waiting.

Orioles waiting for the game to resume, August 2017 © The Baseball Bloggess

But, I’m glad we don’t have to wait anymore.

(Dear Beloved Baltimore Orioles, My amazing baseball experts don’t think you’re good enough to win the World Series. Nobody thinks you’ll do much of anything this year. But, I do. I believe in you. Please, don’t let me down.)

Continue reading

My Experts Predict The 2018 World Series

“The Yankees will bash their way to the AL pennant. In the end, Washington will prevail, thanks to its stars – and, yes, a little luck.” – Sports Illustrated, 2018 MLB Preview

Sports Illustrated’s  pre-season World Series picks have been amazingly consistent:

2017 – Dodgers (wrong). 2016 – Astros (wrong). 2015 – Indians (wrong). 2014 – Nationals (wrong). 2013 – Nationals (still wrong). 2012 – Angels (wrong).  2011 – Red Sox (wrong). 2010 – (I’ve lost interest).

Sports Illustrated has never correctly predicted the World Series winner in its annual MLB Preview. Well, maybe they have. I don’t know. I got bored around 2010.

All I DO know is that my team of experts – first gathered in 2015 – has never been right and during that same period neither has Sports Illustrated.  To be fair, my panel has also included cats and, in 2016, a one-eyed possum and a crow.

(You gotta give SI credit … totally burned by the Nationals in 2013 and ’14, and they’re picking them again this year. Like Selena Gomez who can’t kick Justin Bieber to the curb, they’ve been screwed over – time and again – but SI just can’t quit the Nats. )

My experts can already tell you, SI will be wrong.

My crackerjack panel of experts – which includes people who don’t even like baseball – will probably be wrong, too.

But, my panel has another incentive: If their team actually wins their division – just their division, that’s all I ask – I will bake cookies for them.

It happened last season.

Here’s Victoria, now 4, enjoying her cookies. (She correctly picked the Indians to win the AL Central.) (Yes, I baked cookies and brownies. I’m swell.)

Opening Day is Thursday. The earliest Opening Day ever. Because baseball is more fun when it’s 30 degrees and there’s snow on the ground.

No time to waste. Let’s get this World Series over with.

Continue reading

Page 1,967

© The Baseball Bloggess

On Friday, while major league ballplayers in Florida and Arizona were squeezing baseball games in between their tee times, Congress and President Trump were changing the rules of the game for minor leaguers.

You thought starting extra innings with a player on second is ridiculous?

It is. We can talk about that later.

Today’s ridiculosity (not a word; should be a word) is a rule change hidden away on Page 1,967 of the $1.3-trillion omnibus spending bill, signed into law by President Trump on Friday, which dramatically changes fair labor laws as they apply to minor leaguers.

From here on out – thanks to President Trump, Congress, and the wealthy team owners who spent more than $1 million lobbying in Washington these past two years – minor leaguers will no longer be protected by minimum wage or overtime regulations.

Continue reading

I Was Hijacked By A Russian Bot On Instagram. Instagram Doesn’t Care.

It rained on Saturday.  I visited a friend. I ate a pizza.

A plain old Saturday kind of day. Except for this …

On Saturday my Instagram account was hijacked by a Russian bot and I can’t get it back.

Because angry people like me turn to the Internet to find support when Big Tech firms ignore them, I am writing this for those other victims.

That I was hijacked by a Russian bot is ironic, because when I’m not writing baseball, I can sometimes be found consulting for a good government organization in Washington that is fighting to get our government to pay attention to, and deal with, the army of Russian bots meddling in our elections and affairs.

That Instagram, owned by Facebook, provided me with no support or useful help, and put the burden on me to fix a problem that they created, makes me angrier at them than I am at the Russian bot.

Here’s how it happened.

Continue reading

Mark. My Words.

Dear Baltimore Orioles,

Me, again.

With just 11 days ’til baseball season starts — the earliest Opening Day ever — I thought I’d drop a note and say “hi.”

Hi.

I see that lots has been going on in Birdland.

You’ve set up a new program to let kids attend Orioles games for free through the 2018 season. You’re expanding play areas at the park and creating new menu options especially for kids. Awesome!

Since I last wrote, you’ve picked up a couple of starting pitchers.

Good for you.

Welcome back, Chris Tillman and your 7.34 ERA.

You were a broken Bird most of last season which, we’re assured, is the reason for the stinky ERA. I hope you’re feeling better because I hate when Editor/Husband yells when starters get shelled in the third inning. (Or, second. Or, first.)

Continue reading

Listen … It’s Babe Ruth!

via National Public Radio

That’s A Home Run Swing From Babe Ruth

Look, I’d love to sit down and write you a long blog post this morning. Really, I would. But, you wouldn’t read it anyway, because, as we learned in my last post, no one reads things anymore.

Babe Ruth, apparently, was on to this “I’m never reading words again” thing the internet has cooked up. So, perfectly timed to coincide with the death of the written word, a long-lost radio interview with Ruth has shown up.

No reading required. Just listening. To Babe Ruth.

The interview was part of an Armed Services Radio Network program recorded during World War II. It turned up recently in a school archive in Connecticut.

What did Ruth think of fastballs?

Continue reading

Stupid Word-Hating Internet

Oh for crap’s sake.

The New York Times just decided that reading words is passé. The future of the internet is audio and video. Even for a simple little blog like mine.

That means … well, that means, oh hell, you’re already gone, aren’t you?

I’m just sitting in this blog all by myself, tapping out worthless words on a worthless keyboard counting …

The days ’til pitchers and catchers report.  Three.

The number of starting pitchers that the Orioles have on their roster. Two.

And, the number of people reading these words. One.

Just you, I’m afraid.

Qwerty, not so purty. (Poetry – even bad poetry — is screwed now, too, I guess.)

Sure, it’s ironic that The New York Times had to inform me that reading is dead using … actual written words.

Oh, for crap’s sake.

Or, as you wordless people say …

What can I do to make you love reading again?

Or, just letters.

Like the letter K.

K is one of the alphabet’s resident hoodlums. Look at it slouched there lazy against its own wall – a street tough – sticking its leg out, just waiting to trip a non-suspecting sweet p, flipping it over into a d.

K is both letter, word, and complete sentence.

Continue reading