The Orioles, Opossums, And Poetry

The Baltimores are in last place.

But, there’s a bright side too, today.

Last night it didn’t get far worse,

Because they didn’t play.

Despite my nagging and feeble poetry, the Orioles season has not turned around.

I wrote to them on Sunday which did no good, because they lost on Sunday, too.

Thank you Cincinnati Reds for losing last night — you have, at least for the moment, nudged just under the O’s to have the worst record in baseball.

Off days are becoming a solace. At least I won’t be disappointed.

You know that old saying, “You can’t lose if you don’t play.”

Well, it goes something like that.

One hundred years ago today, May 8, 1918, the Boston Braves were having a bad start, too. They began the season 5-13, a .278 win percentage.

Continue reading

The 1896 Orioles Opossum

 “The charm of the work of the Baltimores is that every man is alive and thoroughly in earnest, playing ball for all he is worth all the time. It is a very hard club to beat, and it is the verdict that there is little wonder this club won the pennant last season.” ~ The Boston Herald, Spring 1896

Dear Baltimore Orioles,

Me, again.

I guess I don’t have to tell you why I’m writing.

At 8-25, you’re tied with the Reds for the worst record in baseball.

Last night.

You’re worse than the terrible everyone predicted you’d be.

You’re 16 games back of the AL East leading Red Sox, which is pretty nuts, because you’ve only played 33 games.

Things are terrible bad in Birdland. Horriblaciously, rottenificously, awfulmoungously bad.

So bad I have to make up words to describe the badiciousness.

This is “unbelievably bad” territory.

You blow first innings, you blow ninth innings. Those innings in-between? You blow them, too.

And, extra innings too … because …

Continue reading

“Oh, This Is Not Good.”

First, some good news.

The Baltimore Orioles won last night, defeating the Cleveland Indians 3-1.

There you go.

I don’t have any more good news, so if you want to stop reading now, I totally understand.

O’s left-fielder Trey Mancini slid knee-first into a brick wall in the eighth. You don’t need to be a stat-wonky baseball fan to understand the bad-newsedness that comes when bone hits brick.

You can watch it – over and over, from multiple angles, and in slow motion – here.  As Jim Palmer says, “Oh, this is not good.”

That Orioles win last night, the first in more than a week, brings the O’s record to 6-14.

The Orioles are in last place in the AL East, 11-1/2 games back of another team whose name escapes me at the moment … um …

… I dunno.

Whatever. Another team. Good for them.

Continue reading

Thank You, Jackie Robinson

Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Reproduction number #LC-L9-54-3566-O

Each year, on April 15, major league baseball commemorates Jackie Robinson’s debut in the majors – the day that baseball was, finally, integrated.

Today, every major league player in every major league game will wear Jackie’s number, 42.

(This will make things confusing for your scorecard, I know, but remember, this is an important day, so just roll with it.)

Everyone knows that Jackie was a Brooklyn Dodger.

You might already know these 10 other things, too. But, just in case, here’s some Robinsonian facts from the nooks and crannies of trivia …

Continue reading

Caroline County, Virginia: Lew & Tony Beasley

Caroline County — A Baseball Story In 3 Acts

Act 3: The Beasleys

Just like Clarence “Soup” Campbell (from Act 2, remember?), Lewis “Lew” Beasley was born in tiny Sparta, Virginia – 33 years later, in 1948.

He attended Bowling Green’s Union High School in the 1960s – the county’s “colored” school. I couldn’t find him in any of their mid-1960s yearbooks so I can’t tell you when – or if – he graduated, but reports say he played on the school’s powerhouse baseball team.

Beasley, an outfielder, was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the second round of the January 1967 draft.

With the minor league Miami Marlins in 1969

Though short and stocky, he was known for his speed. They called him “Quick Lew” and his 41 stolen bases in 1969 was a then-team record for the minor league Miami Marlins.

Continue reading

Caroline County, Virginia: Clarence “Soup” Campbell

Caroline County, Virginia — A Baseball Story In 3 Acts

Act 2: “Soup”

Three ballplayers of note have called Caroline County, Virginia home. And, our story starts in Sparta.

Caroline County fills an area of 537 miles and there are only two towns of any size within those confines – Bowling Green, the county seat, population 1,111, and Port Royal, population 197.

About all there is to Sparta, Virginia today is a post office, a couple churches, and a volunteer fire department. It was once a little more than that, but really not so much.

Clarence “Soup” Campbell was born in Sparta in March 1915.

Does everyone with the last name Campbell end up with the nickname “Soup”?  (Yes.)

Continue reading

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