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

It Was Just A Distraction

© The Baseball Bloggess

The Dodgers won the 2020 World Series last night. The World Series that, back in July, I was pretty sure we would never get to.

And, now we have. And, now it’s over. And, now we rest.

I didn’t believe Major League Baseball could pull it off.

As with many things, I was wrong.

(Or, maybe I was right … since Justin Turner of the Dodgers was pulled in the 8th inning last night after testing positive for covid … and then returned to the field for the celebration. What kind of quarantine is that, MLB?)

I haven’t written much on here … this pandemic has squeezed the words right out of me. But, I refuse to let October close without saying something.

Baseball was a sorely needed distraction this season. Maybe not for you. But, it was for me.

It never rose above that, though. It was always just a distraction.

It was like watching a small-town parade … it passed by and it was nice, sure … each game was the high school marching band or the float pulled on a flat-bed trailer by the local bank or the team of 10-year-olds twirling batons and marching down Main Street.

That’s all it was … each game a tissue-paper float in a small-town parade.

But, baseball has always been more than that for me.

More than just a parade.

A parade disappears. No one remembers a parade after the last town car, carrying the Parade Princess and her Court, turns the corner and slips out of sight.

This season baseball was just a forgettable distraction. Nice, sure. To be able to turn away for just a few minutes from the news, the covid, the politics, the protests, was a relief. Not to ignore the bad things, but simply to take a breath and think of something else – anything else – for a couple of minutes.

Maybe the beloved movie Animal House can explain this better than me.

I am Flounder. John Belushi’s Bluto is baseball.


“My advice to you is to start drinking heavily.”

(I could continue the Animal House analogy – the state of the world today is Flounder’s brother’s car. And, we shouldn’t have trusted our car with … well, anyway … back to distractions.) Continue reading

Any Ol’ Game: May 22, 1972, SF Giants at LA Dodgers

It has been brought to my attention that my “Any Ol’ Game” pandemic series has been biased by only covering American League games. In my defense, I haven’t even gotten to an Orioles game yet. But, yes, dear reader, you are correct. Let’s fix that.

What better teams to represent the National League than these two …

The San Bernadino County Sun, 5/23/1972

May 22, 1972

It was the first meeting of these legendary rivals since a benches-clearing brawl in September 1971, triggered when Giants pitcher Juan Marichal plunked Dodger Bill Buckner.

Sports Illustrated, 9/27/1971

Giants manager Charlie Fox called the May 22 rematch a “typical donnybrook.”

A Donnybrook, Live and In Color!

But, to be honest, this game doesn’t seem all that donnybrookish to me. No brouhahas, ballyhoos, williwaws, or kerfuffles on this pleasant Monday evening at Dodger Stadium.

But it was still one of baseball’s greatest, orneriest rivalries.

Need a ticket to the game? EBay has this one … just $10.

The Giants would defeat the Dodgers 9-8, thanks in no small part to 5 RBI from the Giants young slugger Dave Kingman.

Kingman proclaimed: “Beating the Dodgers is the biggest thrill in baseball to me. If I could put all my hits together I would hope they were against the Dodgers.”

This is, I’m sure you’ll agree, one of the greatest sports quotes ever. Continue reading

How To Talk To Your Cat About The Mookie Betts Trade

As I was writing this post … and by “writing” I really mean, “thinking about writing” … a stinkbug climbed onto the rim of my coffee cup and fell (or jumped, it’s hard to tell) into my morning coffee. I was able to fish him out – saving his life, but not my coffee. This has nothing to do with anything, except that drowning in a good cup of morning coffee is probably not the worst way to go.

And, now to our top story …

Last week, the Boston Red Sox traded their superstar outfielder Mookie Betts in a three-way deal sending Mookie to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Then the deal fell apart. Then it fell back together.

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Now, a week later … the Boston Red Sox have finally traded Mookie Betts (along with pitcher David Price) to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Let’s say you, like me, have a cat named Mookie.

I’m sure that your Mookie Cat, like mine, has a lot of questions about this trade of Mookie Betts from the Red Sox to the Dodgers, specifically related to how it might affect them directly, especially when it comes to mealtime. Maybe you have a dog named Mookie. And, maybe your dog Mookie also has questions.

Sorry. This is just for cats. Continue reading

Season’s Greetings From [Insert Team Name Here]: 2018 Edition

[2019 UPDATE: Teams should be updating these holiday cards soon. Soon-ish. Maybe your team is busy signing free agents and doing big trades. These things take time … and maybe they haven’t gotten around to updating their holiday card yet. Which is to say … my 2019 update will be up sometime around Christmas … and in the meantime, the 2018 links below probably work … they might even be updated already!

Many of you will be surrounded this week by family and friends, celebrating the holidays.

I’ve got Editor/Husband here and three cats. The sun is out. It’s pretty low key with the Baseball Bloggess.

I’ve got time on my hands. (And, I haven’t had my breakfast.)

So, as my gift to you, I have binge-watched all 30 Season’s Greeting videos from all 30 major league baseball teams.

I watched them all.  For you.  So you don’t have to.

(And, I’ve got links to every single one.)


Spoiler Alert: The Dodgers may have lost the World Series, but they definitely won the Holidays. Continue reading

We Broke The All-Star Break

The Baltimore Orioles entered the All-Star break — baseball’s halfway point — on Sunday with two things:

1) A 28-69 record which is almost, but not quite, the worst record in baseball. (Ummm, thanks, 27-68 Royals?), and

2) Shortstop Manny Machado, a starting All-Star and one of the best players in the game.

The Orioles leave the All-Star break with just one thing. Almost, but not quite, the worst record in baseball.

Some things that might be helpful for you to know, should your team ever end up being as awfuliciously bad as the Orioles are this season.

Continue reading

Free Baseball: 1-2-3 Edition

One A’s pitcher – and former UVa Hoo — tells us about life on the DL.

Two Dodger’s pitchers you may have heard of.

And, three home runs – a dinger, a moon shot, and a slam – from a Met.

Here’s your Free Baseball* 1-2-3 Edition.

1. Doolittle on Doolittle

Sean Doolittle, Oakland A’s reliever, former University of Virginia Hoo, and native South Dakotan (that’s the fancy-pants Dakota), has spent much of this season on the disabled list.

But, he’s been checking in on Twitter …

And, his heartfelt piece on this week about life on the DL is a must-read – for baseball fans, of course, but also for anyone who has had to heal from a serious injury and has had to battle to get back the life their injury took away.

doolittle column

“I’ve found that in this game, all you can ask for is a chance,” he writes. Read here.

2. McCarthy on Greinke & Kershaw

Technically that’s three Dodger’s pitchers, but Brandon McCarthy is writing specifically about Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw, and his piece this week on helps explain why they are two of the best pitchers in the world and we are not.

mccarthy guest columnist

Read here.

McCarthy, another pitcher who has spent much of this season on the DL, is a pretty sassy tweeter, too …

3. Yoenis Cespedes

I just wanted to see if I could spell Yoenis Cespedes without checking my work.  (Answer: Yes, I can. But, thank you, spell check for helpfully suggesting “Yemenis Cesspits,” anyway.)

Last night, the brand new New York Met, traded from the Tigers just a couple weeks ago, came through with three home runs against Colorado – a solo homer, a two-run homer, and a grand slam. If he could have mustered up a three-run shot, he would have hit for the Home Run Cycle. I’m not even sure that’s a thing.

That added up to seven RBI … and I believe he snuck a stolen base in there, too.

yoenis homers video

It was, he said, “the best night I have ever had.”

Watch here.

There you go … 1-2-3.


* Free Baseball refers to extra innings that come after a nine-inning game ends in a tie. Here it’s the extra things that don’t quite fit into my regular-sized posts.



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“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” ~ Jackie Robinson

On Tuesday, April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson played in a game with the Brooklyn Dodgers. In that moment, he integrated major league ball. Baseball changed. America changed. And, the civil rights movement was moved profoundly forward.

Today, major league baseball celebrates Jackie Robinson – and the impact he had on the game of baseball and on the battle for civil rights. Major league baseball has retired Jackie’s number 42, but, in tonight’s games*, in honor of Jackie, every major league player will wear #42.

Robinson was clear in his autobiography I Never Had It Made that civil rights meant far more than just allowing a black man to play in what was until then a white man’s game. Civil rights in America, he explained, is not won until every person – black or white, male or female, rich or poor – is afforded the same rights and the same fair shake in our society. We’re not there yet.

There’s a “superstar” ballplayer (who goes nameless here) who likes to Tweet a lot and tell reporters that we fans have no idea – no idea – how hard a ballplayer’s job is … how hard it is to live his life and do what he does. I agree. I have no idea how he does what he does out on the field. I know it takes enormous work and dedication to make it to the highest level of sport; to make it look so easy when I know it is not.

But, he has no idea – no idea – what Jackie Robinson endured on the field and off. It was not an easy life for Robinson and he could have walked away. He did not. And, for that, ballplayers and fans alike – all Americans – owe him an enormous debt.

Robinson started and played first base that night. That game, he later said, was a “miserable” one for him. He went 0-for-3, reached base on an error, and scored a run. But, the Dodgers won, defeating the Boston Braves 5-3.

And, America changed forever.

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Thank you, Jackie.

* Tonight’s Baltimore Orioles – Tampa Bay Rays game has been postponed due to rain. They’ll wear their #42 jerseys tomorrow.



Where In The World … ?

In 1903, the Boston Americans won baseball’s very first World Series.

I know, I know – the “Americans” won America’s “World” Series. How not-very-worldly of us.

(The Boston Americans, by the way, included Cy Young, the winningest pitcher in the history of baseball. They would occasionally take spring training in Charlottesville, Virginia – just down the road from me. In 1908, they started calling themselves the Red Sox and are known today for their generous facial hair.)


The Boston Americans (front row) defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates (back row) in the nine-game 1903 World Series. ~ public domain image

My Canadian friend Susie (hi Susie!) always reminds me that Canada “invented” baseball. And, while that’s not exactly true, it is not exactly untrue either, and it’s quite a bit truer than Abner Doubleday’s claim, which isn’t true at all.

But, what is true is that Jackie Robinson’s first professional integrated regular season games were played with the Montreal Royals, the Brooklyn Dodgers’ farm club. And, what is also true is that Robinson called Montreal one of his favorite places because the people there were “warm and wonderful” and treated the Robinson family with respect.

So maybe “World” Series is a bit of a stretch. But, at least the world plays baseball.

You want to talk about a stretch, how about calling the Winter Olympics the world’s games, when nearly half of the world’s population lives in countries that are snow free?

Baseball is nearly everywhere today.

And, while there is no baseball in Antarctica, there are penguins and you can click here to play baseball with them.

Every other continent, not covered by an ice sheet, will have a baseball game going on in some field, or village, or town, or city, somewhere. And, the best of those players might get a chance in the big leagues.

Just look at the free-agent multi-multi-million-dollar signings in recent months – Robinson Cano (Dominican Republic), Masahiro Tanaka (Japan), Shin-Soo Choo (South Korea).

Spoiler Alert: The Baltimore Orioles will win the World Series this season thanks to their off-season pick ups of pitchers Ubaldo Jimenez (Dominican Republic) and Suk-min Yoon (South Korea), and veteran power hitter Nelson Cruz (Dominican Republic, again). They will win despite the fact that they nearly signed, and then quickly unsigned, Grant Balfour, a seasoned, but moody, reliever from Australia.

The 2014 baseball season began this weekend in Australia when the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks kicked off their first game at 4 a.m. EDT on Saturday.

I am an insanely passionate baseball fan. But, I did not get up to watch. The Orioles will play 162 regular season games in 2014, and I will try to watch them all (except when they’re on the West Coast playing and I’m on the East Coast sleeping).

There will be plenty of baseball that doesn’t require a 4 a.m. pot of coffee.

That said, boy oh boy, the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw looked sharp.

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Clayton Kershaw, sometime around 4 a.m. EDT on Saturday.

Here’s legendary Dodgers’ broadcaster Vin Scully with a koala bear.

vin koala

The two games this weekend were held at the Sydney Cricket Ground that was reconfigured for baseball. The New York Giants and Chicago White Sox played an exhibition game there way back in 1914.

The Giants won that game.

The Dodgers swept the Diamondbacks this weekend.

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One of the fellas at the MLB channel called the Cricket Ground a mix of World Cup and Wimbledon.

I love baseball’s international spirit.  I love that players come from all over, and a team may have two or three translators hanging around the dugout to help everyone communicate.

Players from Japan and the Dominican Republic and Cuba are some of the best players in major league ball today.

But, baseball also thrives closer to home in Indian Nation.

I just discovered that Jacoby Ellsbury and Joba Chamberlain are Native American.

National Public Radio’s Only A Game had a wonderful story this weekend about baseball and Navajo Nation.  Click here.

This season, the Class A Spokane Indians will honor the tribes of the Pacific Northwest by wearing the Native American Salish language on their jerseys.

Spokane, in Salish, looks a bit like a cat just ran over the keyboard, or something like this:


spokane jersey

(I must have one!)

(I think Sp’q’n’i is about to make my spell-checker explode.)

Baseball season is finally here. You know what to do.

Root for your “home” team … whether it’s the Baltimore Orioles (whoo!) or the Toronto Blue Jays (hi again Susie!), or an outfielder from Cienfuegos, Cuba or an infielder from Puerto Cabello, Venezuela, or  a pitcher from Habikino, Osaka, Japan.

Or, the Sp’q’n’i … yeh, especially Sp’q’n’i.

(Road trip, anyone?)

“Oh, to be 22 …”

“Oh, to be 22 and a Dodger.” ~ Vin Scully

(Describing Dodger Rookie Yasiel Puig after a magnificent throw from right to get the runner at home and end the inning. August 31, 2013. You can see it all here.)

Oh, to be 85 and to see baseball as Vin Scully does.

I’m not a Los Angeles Dodgers fan (though my dad was, in a “I don’t like baseball, but I do like the Dodgers” sort of way).

But, I always like to listen to Vin, the voice of the Dodgers for the past 64 years. (And, soon to be 65 years, as he’s just signed on for 2014.)

He is, quite simply, the voice of baseball. Scully is in the Baseball Hall of Fame, is regularly chosen as the best broadcaster in baseball, and has been calling Dodgers games – on radio and, today, on television — since 1950. Since they were the Brooklyn Dodgers.

When I listen to Vin Scully doing a game today I imagine my dad, out in the backyard in California on a long-ago Saturday, beer in hand in his beloved green hammock, listening to a game on the radio. Vin Scully calling a Dodgers game, same as today. Only the names have changed.

And, long ago doesn’t seem all that long ago.

Whether describing a baby wearing a hat, marveling over a cloud formation, or his regular nightly depictions of the sun setting over Dodger Stadium, baseball becomes richer when Vin Scully is sharing it with you.

The world becomes sweet and timeless and precious.

So, I went to a game on Sunday. And, I took my camera (which is new and foreign and intimidating). I tried to see the things that Vin Scully would see, if he were at the park with me.

Harrisburg Senators (AA Washington Nationals team) vs. Richmond Flying Squirrels (AA San Francisco Giants team). September 1, 2013

(Second to the last game of the AA season. Harrisburg will go to the playoffs. The Squirrels’ season will end on Labor Day.)

Squirrel Autograph Day

It was Flying Squirrels autograph day at the park. Oh, to be 22 …

more autographs

Jarrett Parker

The Squirrels’ Jarrett Parker (UVA alum) … dreaming of the AAA Fresno Grizzlies?

Having A Catch

Having a catch before the game.

upper deck


Every team deserves a mascot (hear that Chicago Cubs?). The Flying Squirrels have two. This is Zinger. He is a giant acorn.



This is not a homerun swing.

Lollis homerun

This is. (The Squirrels’ Ryan Lollis, leading off the first inning.)

cotton candy

Hey, snacks!

pitchers mound

Not a good day to be a Harrisburg pitcher.

man on first

right field

Right field can seem awfully far away sometimes.


The relievers in their bullpen. (Even minor league teams have their candy backpack … it’s over there on the ground on the left.)

old stadium

All you have to do is turn a camera button and your 21st-century game looks like 1964.

older stadium

Or, 1934. (That’s Editor/Husband on the left keeping track of the pitching changes in his program.)


When you get cocky, your camera will change all your settings.


Some clouds for Vin.


And, just as quickly as it started, the minor league season is over. Wasn’t it just Opening Day? Where did the summer go? And, how many days until spring?

(And, Vin Scully would be disappointed if I neglected to give you the final score.  Richmond Flying Squirrels 7. Harrisburg Senators 3.)