Milacki, Flanagan, Williamson, Olson

“Finding good players is easy. Getting them to play as a team is another story.” ~ Casey Stengel

Milacki Flanagan Williamson Olson No Hitter 7 13 1991

On July 13, 1991, in a game in Oakland versus the A’s, Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Bob Milacki threw a no-hitter.

So did Orioles reliever Mike Flanagan.

And, so did Orioles relievers Mark Williamson and Gregg Olson.

It was a four-pitcher no-hitter.

Not unheard of, but kind of rare.

In a game that prides itself on the power of teamwork, there’s an awful lot of focus on individual performance in baseball.

So, you may sniff a bit and say, “Hmm, four pitchers to get through a game? That’s no big deal.”

But, you’re wrong.

No hit is no hit. And, the A’s, including Jose Canseco, Harold Baines, Mark McGwire, and a young Mike Bordick, no hit that day.

(Baines and Bordick went on to play for the Orioles, and Bordick is, today, a color guy for Orioles games on television.)

Sure, there are a few of you Giants and Dodgers fans who are so used to no-hitters that you’re a bit surprised to learn that one team has never even had one.

(Sorry, San Diego Padres … it’s still you.)

Seven pitchers had no-hitters last season – five came after the All-Star Break.

Just one this season so far. (Congratulations, former Oriole, reigning Cy Young, and current Cub Jake Arrieta!)

But, see! Even I have wandered off into the land of individual excellence and in less than 200 words, I’ve abandoned those four Orioles pitchers – including two (Milacki and Williamson) that even seasoned Orioles fans don’t really remember – and this is supposed to be about them.

Since becoming the Baltimore Orioles in 1954, there have been only five Orioles no-hitters.

Hoyt Wilhelm versus the Yankees in 1958.

Steve Barber and Stu Miller versus the Tigers in 1967.

Tom Phoebus versus the Red Sox in 1968.

Jim Palmer versus the A’s in 1969.

And, Milacki, Flanny, Williamson, and Olson 25 years ago this past week.

(For the cruel readers out there – and I know some of you by name – I know what you’re asking, so here … the Orioles have been on the receiving end of a no-hitter seven times, most recently last season.)

Embed from Getty Images

13 Jul 1991: Pitcher Greg Olson of the Baltimore Orioles prepares to throw the ball as the scoreboard behind him shows that he has pitched a no-hitter during a game against the Oakland Athletics. (Getty Images)

See, even Getty Images can’t get the game straight. Olson threw one no-hit inning. Milacki threw six. Flanny and Williamson, one each.

(Oh, and it’s Gregg Olson, not Greg Olson.)

Embed from Getty Images
BALTIMORE, MD – CIRCA 1991: (L-R) Paul Kilgus #17, Mike Flanagan #46, Mark Williamson #32 and Gregg Olson #30 of the Baltimore Orioles pose together for this portrait prior to the start of a Major League Baseball game circa 1991 at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland. (Getty Images)

Oh, for crying out loud. That’s Bob Milacki on the left, not Paul Kilgus.

Come on people, how hard can it be? These four pitchers threw a combined no-hitter!

(Kilgus did, indeed, pitch briefly for the Orioles in 1991, but I had to look that up to make sure. Fun Fact: he looks nothing like Bob Milacki.)

milacki kilgus

Milacki was cruising through six when he was hit on the hand by a comebacker.

That might have done in both Milacki and the no-hitter. But, the ball ricocheted off his hand and bounced right to first baseman Randy Milligan for the out.

Milacki’s day was done. Although bruised and swelling, his hand wasn’t badly injured, and he argued to stay in the game, to no avail.

“I thought I could still pitch with it,” he said afterwards. “They didn’t want me to risk it. I was very disappointed. You never want to come out of a game like that.”

The Orioles scored just two runs – catcher Chris Hoiles batted in beloved utility guy Chito Martinez in the fifth and outfielder Mike Devereaux homered in the sixth.

Flanagan, Williamson, and Olson each pitched one hitless inning. The game ended. The Orioles won.

Thanks to Orioles closer Gregg Olson, who shared this 30-second recap online. Otherwise I’d have no video to share.

(2017 Update: What the heck!? Gregg Olson’s video is gone.  I’m going to be pretty mad if Major League Baseball made Olson take down a video of his own no-hitter.)

(2017 Update2: I found another quick video recap, just in case you thought I was making this whole thing up.)


(You’re welcome.)

“There was no raucous celebration,” The Baltimore Sun reported the next day.  After striking out Harold Baines to end the game, “Olson walked off the mound the same way he did after each of his first 18 saves. The Orioles took the field slowly, as if they still were trying to digest what had happened.”

“It kind of seemed like nobody knew what was happening,” Olson told The Sun. “There weren’t really any diving plays or great plays to save it. Bob Milacki is the guy who deserves all the credit. If he had been out there [in the ninth], there would have been a dog pile on the mound.”

“Perhaps it was the [Oakland] crowd that set the tone,” The Sun continued. “Fans began leaving the stadium before the game was over, apparently unimpressed over only the second four-pitcher no-hitter in major-league history.”

(There have been other multi-pitcher no-hitters, including a couple six-pitcher affairs, since then.)

The Orioles are surrounded by former players today – like Jim Palmer, Boog Powell, Rick Dempsey, and Cal Ripken – who stay close to the team and remind fans of the O’s two World Series championships (in ‘66 and ‘83).

This season the O’s are celebrating the 50th anniversary of their 1966 trophy with special events and promotions.

50th Anniversary 1966 World Series Patch

So, maybe the 25th anniversary of that understated, but still wonderful, four-man no-hitter has gotten lost. And, that’s a shame.

Because nothing says teamwork like a no-hitter shared.

There have been 295 no-hitters in major league baseball. Babe Ruth threw one. And, yes, dear Orioles readers, Ubaldo Jimenez threw one for the Rockies in 2010.

And, on July 13, 1991, Bob Milacki, Mike Flanagan, Mark Williamson, and Gregg Olson threw one, too.

Orioles As No Hit Line July 13 1991

Box Score


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.


Salad Days

There are few things as wonderful as an egg salad sandwich on a summer Friday when you’re not working and everyone else is.

egg salad


Today is, I thought, one of those “salad days.”

Because, as with many turns of phrases, I am using “salad days” incorrectly.

(I will occasionally say someone is “over the moon” when they are very, very angry, and I once advised a new mother not to “throw the baby out with the bathwater” which I thought was darned good advice.)

And, so I thought “salad days” simply meant good days.

Like seeing an Orioles walk-off home run against the Oakland A’s last Saturday … or, that whole egg salad sandwich thing.


Chris Davis. Home Run Swing.

Turns out, these are not salad days after all.

“Salad days,” as Shakespeare meant it and as you probably already understand it, are the days of youthful naiveté when things were good and we were green – just fallen off the turnip truck.  (Fun Fact: “Just fell off the turnip truck”? Not Shakespearean, but popularized by Johnny Carson … so, Carsonian.)

Salad days are the frivolities of our youth.

So, today’s egg salad sandwich? Not a “salad day.”

But, maybe Baltimore’s four wins against the Oakland A’s last weekend – outscoring them 34-13 – were salad days after all.

Because, for a brief moment we O’s fans believed we had the post-season in the bag.



Playing a worked-over, tired-out, reeling team like this year’s A’s will do that to you. You forget the worked-over, tired-out, reeling part and you just jump up and down every time you win.

Such carefree, naïve fans were we.

(Although a little credit here. Our salad days did include a win over Sonny Gray.)

But, not all teams are reeling and you can’t play Oakland every day.

In fact, the O’s have pretty much seen the last of the reelers this season. And, today, they’re a half-game back for the second Wild Card.

Ahhh … the Salad Days of last Saturday.

Look how happy we were!

jonathan schoop

Jonathan Schoop. Second Base.

Miguel Gonzalez Pitching First Inning

Miguel Gonzalez. Starting Pitcher.

Steve Pigtown Clevenger

Raise Your Hand If You Want To Go To The World Series. Steve Clevenger. Catcher.

And, Gerardo Parra, too!

Parra Does The Wave 1

Parra, the new O’s outfielder, is doing the Wave with the fans!

I know. I didn’t believe it either. That’s why I watched him do it two more times when the Wave came through the outfield bleachers. And, he did it each time.

Parra Does The Wave2

I love Mr. Parra. Can we keep him?

Watch the walk-off home run here.

walk off home run

And, what are salad days without pie? Meaningless.


Watch here.

as os box score 8 15 15

You know that egg salad? It wasn’t so great. First, the bread was sliced top to bottom, not on a diagonal, as perfect sandwiches are. And, it’s kind of made my stomach funny. Also, no pickle. What’s up with that? Although it was wrapped in deli paper, which is always a nice touch.

And, the Orioles?

Sure, they’ve only won one game since Oakland left town. Sure, there are some awfully good, surging teams that they will need to elbow out of the way to get into the post-season.

But, you know what they say – it ain’t over ‘til the fat lady sings.

Not fat.   Not over.


Photos: Oakland A’s vs. Baltimore Orioles. Camden Yards. August 15, 2015. © The Baseball Bloggess

“It Didn’t Take A Feather Out Of Me.”

july 15 spokane press 1905

One of the greatest games in baseball history happened on the Fourth of July.

It really did.

On July 4, 1905, the Philadelphia Athletics and the Boston Americans played a doubleheader at Boston’s Huntington Avenue Grounds.

Doubleheaders, in those days before stadium lights, began bright and early in the morning.

huntington avenue grounds

(1910) Public Domain image.

Huntington Avenue Grounds

The A’s took the morning game 5-2. At some point late in the game, the A’s quirky lefty Rube Waddell came in, pitched in relief, and got a couple outs.

This would be of only passing note, except that Waddell then started the afternoon game. And, pitched a 20-inning complete game. And, won. Beating Cy Young (who also pitched all 20).

Every game your team wins is a great game. But, this really might have been the greatest.

box score

Twenty innings pitched by two of the greatest pitchers ever.

This conversation really happened:

The Baseball Bloggess: “How about that ‘the greatest baseball game on record’ happened on the Fourth of July?”

Editor/Husband: “How about that ‘the greatest baseball game on record’ was 20 innings and was over in three hours and 31 minutes?”

(The average nine-inning game these days – what with all the commercials and instant replay and batting gloves and infield shifting – hovers around the three-hour mark.)

Waddell later estimated that he threw 250 pitches in that single game. Cy Young thought he pitched slightly fewer.

(No one counted in those days.)

“That 20-inning game was the best game I ever pitched,” Waddell said. “But it didn’t take a feather out of me. I felt just as good after the game was over as I did during the contest.”


(1909) Permission: SDN-055366, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago History Museum.

Rube Waddell

“I can’t claim that I did better work than Young,” Waddell said. “I had the luck. … The fact that it was the Fourth of July kept me going, and I guess the shooting of revolvers and the fireworks and the yelling made me pitch better.”

Wait, what? Revolvers?

Fireworks, in the daytime?

Holy crap.

Our great-grandparents were crazy (and dangerous)!

Waddell was nicknamed “Rube” because he was thought to be a little slow, a goofy, country bumpkin. Young was nicknamed “Cy” – for Cyclone – because it was said he threw fastballs so hard they would destroy the wooden grandstand walls.

Waddell loved a good drink and would skip starts to go fishing or wrestle alligators or play street games with neighborhood kids. He could become so distracted on the mound that he would just up and leave. (Fans of other teams suggested that holding a puppy up at a game would distract Waddell from his work.)

But, his pitching itself, including a powerful fastball and deceptive curve, reflected a focus and control that he lacked in other aspects of his life. On at least one occasion, he was so “on” that he shooed his outfielders out of the game and proceeded to strike out the side.

cy young pub domain 1908

(1908) Permission: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division #LC-USZ62-77897 DLC

Cy Young

Cy Young was far less colorful, except when he pitched. He threw the first perfect game of the modern era (against, wouldn’t you know it, the A’s and Waddell in 1904) and won 511 career games, the most by any pitcher ever, which is why pitchers today vie for the Cy Young award and not the Rube Waddell award.

Here’s your 20-second 20-inning recap of that Fourth of July game.

The Americans went up 2-0 in the first. The A’s tied it up with a two-run home run in the sixth. Then, for the next 13 innings, nothing.

Finally, sometime before dark, in the 20th inning, Boston – and Young – faltered. A couple Boston errors, and a batter hit by pitch, allowed the A’s to cobble together two runs, and a victory.

Despite the loss, it was, Young said, “the greatest game of ball I ever took part in.”

waddells glove

The glove Waddell used that day is in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.


Both Waddell and Young are in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Their combined 20-inning complete game was a pitching record that stood – for one season. In 1906, the A’s and Americans met again at Huntington Grounds. This time the A’s Jack Coombs and the Americans’ Joe Harris combined for a 24-inning complete game. (The A’s won that one, too.)

The Philadelphia A’s moved to Kansas City in 1955 and Oakland in 1968. They are currently 52-33, the best record in baseball.

The Boston Americans are now called the Red Sox. They are currently 38-47. Their Fourth of July game today with the Baltimore Orioles has been rained out. Doubleheader tomorrow!

Oh, hey … one more thing!

Waddell went 0-for-8 at the plate in that 1905 game. Only one other player has gone 0-for-8 in a game AND gotten the win. And, it was against Boston, too.

The Orioles’ Chris Davis, the designated hitter, was moved to pitcher at the end of a 17-inning game against the Red Sox in May 2012 when the team ran out of available pitchers. He hadn’t ever pitched in the big leagues before. He pitched two scoreless innings. He got the win. He hasn’t pitched since.

(Editor/Husband would want me to tell you this: That 2012 O’s – Red Sox game? It took six hours.)

Watch the two-minute highlights here.


Happy Fourth of July!

It Rained Today

“The umpire-in-chief shall have sole authority to determine when a game shall be called, suspended, or resumed on account of weather or the condition of the playing field.” ~ The Official Rules of Major League Baseball

wet benches

It rained today.

I think it rained everywhere. Except where it snowed.

For those of you just tuning in, we had tickets to today’s Baltimore Orioles vs AAA Norfolk Tides game in Norfolk. The last game of spring training – the irregular season.

It’s a three-hour drive to Norfolk, but we have heated seats, Sirius radio, and cup holders in our car, so, really, no big thing.

But, it was raining. And, raining.

wet railing

And, the heated seats would not be able to warm my waterlogged heart if I got to the game and it wasn’t there.

Luckily, there was a game scheduled at the University of Virginia, too.

over the railing

It was also raining in Charlottesville. But, that rain was two-and-a-half hours closer than Norfolk’s rain.

snow and tarp

Yes, that’s snow in the corner.

UVa decided to start the game a half-hour early in order to the beat the rain that was already here. This is sort of the Bizzaro World version of a rain delay.

(College baseball is funny that way. They change the days and times of games willy-nilly, often with just a moment’s notice. Last week they cancelled a game with Rutgers due to weather on Tuesday and on Thursday Princeton’s team just showed up unannounced, so they played them instead.)

Today, UVa defeated Virginia Tech 9-2 in one of those wonderful state-school grudge match things.

cold and wet

They played through the rain. Nine innings.

We got wet. (I’m still damp.)

Meanwhile, back in Norfolk, they played a few rainy innings (including half-innings that were only two outs long … and one half-inning where no outs were recorded at all). They finally unrolled the tarp and called it a day for their “pretend” game and the Orioles flew off to Baltimore.

And, a quick West Coast Update – Last year, I urged the Oakland A’s to deal with their coliseum’s sewage problem.  Raw sewage had been coming up through the drains in the dugout and the clubhouse. Orioles’ closer Jim Johnson had just been traded to Oakland, and, I thought it would be nice if they cleaned up the place a bit for him.

Clearly, as in many things, no one listened to me.

This today, from equally rainy Oakland, California:

as sewage tweets

as sewage2

Here’s more on the ewwwww. The Oakland A’s vs San Francisco Giants game was cancelled due to rain.

Opening Day … Just one more day.

Don’t Skip The Commercials

“I used to play sports. Then I realized you can buy trophies. Now I’m good at everything.” ~ Demetri Martin

The Baltimore Orioles look like the guys who might deliver a truckload of mulch to your house.

(Did you know that people have truckloads of mulch delivered to their houses? Truckloads. I didn’t know someone would need that much mulch, but apparently there are mulch-mad people out there. I have no idea what you do with mulch. Seriously, I know nothing about mulch.)

The O’s look like the guys who will change the oil in your car, put the gravel on your driveway and push the snow off of it. Ordinary guys.

No crazy, mountain-man beards. (Not allowed.)

No dreadlocks. (Also, not allowed, which was, I’m sure, shear sadness for Jemile Weeks who joined the club fully dreaded in December, but is now the undread.)

No mustaches. (Unless they are “neat.” Yes, that’s the Orioles’ rule. Neatness counts, fellas.)

snidely whiplash

Neat? Not Neat? Close call.

So, no wacky allowed in Birdland. No wacky at all.

I like a little wacky and I know you do, too. (I’ve gotten to know my readers – both of you – and I’ve checked your Facebook pages. I know how you appreciate a healthy dose of irreverence, bad puns, and third-grade potty humor:  What’s the difference between mashed potatoes and pea soup? Anyone can mash potatoes. Really?  Really?)

But, back to the Orioles.

I appreciate Baltimore’s working guy thing. I like that the sports world gives the Orioles no chance … no chance … to do anything in the AL East this season.

As the Orioles will tell you (when they’re not tidying up their mustaches and memorizing the dress code), they like this fly-under-the-radar thing.

No expectations in April will, of course, make their almost-assured World Series championship in October that much sweeter.

Closer Grant Balfour was nearly-almost-thisridiculouslyclose to signing with the Orioles in December. Then, he failed his physical and the deal was off.  But really, I think the deal was off when the Orioles discovered he drove this …

balfour truck

That is not a workingman truck. (And, good luck parking that in Tampa.)

But, back to the Orioles.

They are allowed neatly groomed mustaches, they have a ping-pong table, and on super hot days they get to wear shorts for batting practice.

Other than that, they keep the crazy locked down tight in the clubhouse.

You won’t see any goofy television commercials from Birdland.

(Let’s not blame the team. Let’s blame the team’s PR firm.)

So, check out some new sweet, sassy ads from other teams.

Here’s Minnesota Twins’ legend Kent Hrbek giving playing tips to Joe Mauer.


This Twins’ commercial has a back story. Click here. (Gant was safe, by the way.)

Here are two from the Oakland A’s

The Home Run Tunnel

homerun tunnel

(That’s University of Virginia alum Sean Doolittle with the beard.)

Josh Donaldson’s “Tarp Therapy”

tarp therapy

From the Seattle Mariners

Kyle Seager is Old School

kyle seager

And, Felix Hernandez is King.

king felix

And, from the San Francisco Giants

Mi Amor from Sergio Romo and Buster Posey

buster sergio

The Two Brandons (Belt and Crawford)


“New Guy” Michael Morse

mike morse

The Giants, overachievers that they are, have a bunch more and you can see them all here.

But, back to the Orioles.

They picked up a lot of talent in the off-season. Acting chops, too. Who knew?

Here’s the Orioles’ newest starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez when he was with the Colorado Rockies in 2011.


And, here’s the Orioles’ newest home run smoosher Nelson Cruz when he was with the Texas Rangers in an ad for a video game in 2010.

nelson cruz

Just two days ’til Opening Day …


Free Baseball ~ i can haz baseball edition

Sixty-two percent of Americans today live with a pet – a cat or a dog or both or a bunch.

In short, most of us. (Goldfish and gerbils aren’t even included in this statistic … so that must account for the rest of you.)

I live with four cats (invited) and an increasing number of gangster attic mice (uninvited). (I’m hopeful the mousies haven’t brought plague into the house.)

(That old saying “quiet as a mouse”? A lie. That old saying, “When the cat’s away, the mice will play”? Also a lie. Cats today no longer care.)

Isn’t it odd that we spend so much time on the Internet looking at pictures of cats …

stevie is tired

Stevie is bored with this post already.

 … and dogs …

ruby in the snow

My friend Ginger’s new pup Ruby discovers snow!

… when we already have one or some or a bunch at home we could be looking at instead?

Here’s a video of a cat who has learned sign language for “feed me.”

My cats also know sign language for “feed me” (extend claws, swipe). While they couldn’t care less about chasing delicious mice, they will bray like billy goats when hungry. If that doesn’t work, they’ll smack you.

It snowed today.

Which means some time for me to post my first Free Baseball of 2014 … i can haz baseball edition …

(I had my first “Free Baseball” of the season when the University of Virginia went to extra innings against Boston College on Saturday afternoon. UVa won 3-2 in 12, after Nick Howard who started the game as Designated Hitter came in during the 10th and pitched 2.1 scoreless innings. He struck out the side in the top of the 12th and then singled home the winning run in the bottom of the 12th.)

Ok, back to the critters …

10th Inning ~ Rookie The Retriever

Last summer, I wrote about Chase, the golden retriever “bat dog” of the Trenton Thunder, a Yankees minor league team. Sadly, Chase, who was 13, died of cancer last year.

But, Chase was good with the lady dogs and left a number of puppies as his legacy.  A Chase grandpuppy, five-month-old “Rookie,” will take over his grandpa’s bat-retrieving work for the Thunder.


Apparently, there are trainers who will teach dogs to fetch bats. So, Rookie will get some schooling before he takes over the job full-time in 2015.

11th Inning ~ Hank the Brewer

While Rookie figures out the finer points of bat fetching, baseball has already begun for Hank, a stray pup who turned up last month in Phoenix, Arizona at the Milwaukee Brewers’ spring training camp.


They named him Hank in honor of Hank Aaron.

The  Brewers announced last week that Hank’s now officially part of the team and he has already arrived in Milwaukee where he’s been adopted by a local family.

Watch Hank run in the Brewers’ Sausage Race.


(I mean it. Watch this video.)

12th Inning ~ Big O

Big Orange the cat showed up one day at Phoenix Municipal (Muni) Stadium, spring home of the Oakland A’s, and never left.

big orange

Unlike Rookie and Hank the dogs, cats cannot be bothered with retrieving bats (stupid) or running with men dressed as bratwurst (demeaning).  (Cats are funny that way.)

One of the stadium employees takes care of “Big O.”

“The stadium manager kind of cut me some slack with running her off because she was kind of taking care of the rat population and the squirrels,” Jim Folk told Sports On Earth last spring.

“She’s definitely got a little attitude,” he said. “Like in the morning, when I quit petting her, she’ll swat me and then chase me down and grab onto my leg.”

The Oakland A’s are leaving the Muni for Hohokam Park next spring, and stadium employees are working to find a good new home for Big O.

*    *    *    *

smokey jo

This post is in memory of Smokey Jo (1998-2014).

A tough little missy who showed how diabetic cats can live long, normal, and happy lives with just a little bit of human help.

Baseball’s Beautiful. But, The Off-Season Stinks.

“I love baseball. You know, it doesn’t have to mean anything. It’s just very beautiful to watch.” ~ Leonard Zelig, from the movie Zelig *

When baseball is a game, it is good. It is beautiful.

The grass is green, the sun is warm. Just a game. A beautiful, simple, splendid game.

But, when it’s the off-season, baseball stinks. Players are tucked away and resting up (some are playing golf, some are signing multi-multi-multi-million-dollar deals).

They become a commodity. This one gets traded. This one gets bought. This one is left on the shelf like a sad, dusty bottle of Justin Beiber cologne just hoping someone needs a desperation gift on Christmas Eve.

It sort of makes me uncomfortable when humans are treated like products. (I know, that’s the point of business, right? I’m awful at business.)

The off-season is like a soggy wad of hairball trapped in my throat.  (Editor/Husband does not believe that I can know what a hairball feels like, but I’ve seen my cats get all buggy-eyed, rear back, and start to vomit. I’m pretty sure I feel the same way right now.)

I hate the off-season.

The Baltimore Orioles traded away Jim Johnson, their closer, to Oakland, even though I specifically asked them not to.


photo by me, 8/25/13

Bye, Jim.

I’m a big Jim Johnson fan. I’m a fan of bullpens and relievers in general. I’m still pretty steamed over this.

(And, yes, I’m looking forward to the “I told you so” blog post that I’ll write next season when Jim has a great year in Oakland. And, I hope Oakland will fix its sewage-in-the-dugout thing before Jim gets there. Dear Oakland, he’s used to nicer accommodations.)

The Orioles let their Left Fielder Nate McLouth go to the Washington Nationals.


photo by me, 8/25/13

Bye, Nate.

Yeh, I’m kinda sore about this, too.

But, they got a new left fielder guy. A guy from the Royals. So maybe I’ll write about him next season.

The Orioles then were about to sign a new guy to be their closer.

Yay, it’s Christmas! We have a new closer under our Christmas Tree!

Grant Balfour, oddly enough, was Oakland’s closer last season. We were ready to sign him last week. Then something went wonky during his physical (which often happens when you’re a I-can-see-the-hill-but-I’m-not-quite-over-it 36-year-old pitcher with a shoulder that’s been knitted back together with pins and needles) and the Orioles pulled the deal.

And, then began the kerfuffle.

Let me share the kerfuffle highlights:

Orioles: We are not happy with the results of the physical and we are looking elsewhere.

Balfour: I am healthy.

Orioles: You are not.

Balfour: I am too.

Orioles: Are not.

Balfour: Am too.

This has been going on since Thursday.

I don’t like all the off-season shuffling and wheeling and dealing and trading and moving things around.

When I fell in love with baseball, it was when Cal Ripken was the Orioles’ shortstop. And, every day and every game and every season – year in and year out – he was the Orioles’ shortstop. I like things “just so.” I like my Cal Ripkens to be back every spring.


Now, I have nothing under my baseball Christmas tree.

But, Manny Machado’s knee is healing up. So, that’s a good thing.


“Machado’s Road To Recovery” ESPN, 12/10/13 (click to watch)

Watch Manny’s knee and his rehab here.

And, that’s the news from baseball. I’ve been monitoring the baseball tweet-and-trade machine, so you don’t have to.

Just 53 days ‘til pitchers and catchers report.

* Zelig is a wonderful movie. Woody Allen. 1983. You should watch it. (It has nothing to do with baseball. Really.)


I Got Nowhere To Be …

I guess my beloved Manny Machado tee-shirt had a little mojo left in it afterall.


If your baseball season has to end before October – and for 19 teams the season ended Sunday – then the best you can do is hope to win your last game.

7-6 … Orioles over Red Sox.

It’s always nice to beat the Boston Red Sox on the last day of the season.

Sometimes that single win can change everything, like in 2011.  This year, it didn’t mean as much, except that the Good Guys won and Jim Johnson got the save and notched his second consecutive 50-save season.

(Not exactly pretty, but watch the recap as the O’s come from down 5-0 to win, here.)

Quick, flip the channel!

7-6 … Giants over Padres.

Another exciting comeback … a walk-off win! Apparently the Manny Machado tee-shirt is also soft on the Giants.

(Recap, here.)


But, now, I got nowhere to be until next season.

Have you ever been invited to a party that you didn’t want to go to? You don’t really know the people, they seem a little strange … you’re not going to know anyone there … they live in a weird part of town … they’re not as much fun as your friends … and all you really want to do is stay home and watch TV?

But, you go anyway, because … because …

Because oh, I don’t know, maybe there will be snacks?

Hello, post-season.

I’ve been looking for a post-season team to follow. Just a temporary, meaningless fling. Someone to pass the time with for the next few weeks. I asked for suggestions.

I have a lot of Red Sox friends. I thought they might put in a good word for their fuzzy-faced team. But, silence.

Over waffles Sunday morning, one baseball observer (who asked to remain anonymous because he has friends who love the Red Sox) said, “There’s no conceivable way I could root for the Red Sox in the post season, unless somehow North Korea managed to field a team. Actually, though, North Korea’s never really done anything to me, so I don’t know.”

(This riveting “Has North Korea really ever done anything to me?” conversation continued until it was interrupted when he went to chase the cow out of the yard.)

But, just when I thought no one wanted this lonely Oriole fan’s support, I got a couple posts from Oakland A’s fans.

OK, that’s possible. Just going from the O’s to the A’s is simple vowel-hopping.

I’ve actually been to Oakland Coliseum, though many years ago (pre-sewage).

In August, I took photos of A’s outfielder Coco Crisp before a game at Camden Yards.

A's Outfielder Coco Crisp.

A’s Outfielder Coco Crisp on the left.

(In my Yoga classes, we call this Giraffe Pose.)

I have this tee-shirt.


Alright, I’ll wear it. (But, I’m still gonna wear my Orioles cap.)

Let’s do this.

Go A’s.


(Dear Orioles, please rest up. Dear Chris Davis and Manny Machado, please rest your injured parts. We have a World Series to win next year. Thank you for a great season! Amen.)

Just 183 days until Opening Day.



Amazing Orioles’ Shortstop J.J. Hardy.

On Tuesday, the Baltimore Orioles lost and were eliminated from the playoffs. Their season ends Sunday. Time for huntin’, fishin’, or whatever it is that these fellas do when they’re not swinging at bad pitches. (See, Orioles’ Pitchers … it’s not always your fault.)

After last season, I discovered that baseball in October is more fun than I ever could have imagined.

october baseball

October in Baltimore (2012 edition).

It’s amazing.


But, instead, the Orioles are done. (Although Manny Machado is going to be ok. Hakuna Machado!)

So, here’s how I spent my first day out of the playoffs.

1) One of my cats pooped. On the kitchen counter. I came home and there it was. Poop. On the kitchen counter. I spent my first day of meaningless baseball super-bleach-sanitizing the kitchen. I may just have to burn it down. (I can forgive certain cat things. She’s old and sort of frail. But, the boxes were clean. This is a felony.)


Smokey Jo. Felon.

2) At my Yoga studio, I have beautiful windows overlooking a courtyard that is used by the nearby restaurant. It lets in lovely light. As I was teaching yesterday, my students were practicing and I look up to see a guy – all tattoos, beers, and facial hair – coming up to my window, making eye contact with me, and then vomiting. Profusely. All over. It seemed to last forever. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. I worried he might try to come into the class and vomit some more. He heaved up about a gallon of his insides, wiped his mouth on his sleeve, and staggered away. I’m still traumatized.

3) I broke the space bar on my laptop. Doyouknowhowimportantspacesbetweenwordsare? Veryveryimportant.

And, here’s what I learned.

1) Cats really don’t care about you.

2) You can become hypnotized watching someone vomit.

3) Ineedaspacebar!!!!!!

I love my Orioles. I’m proud of all they did this season. I’m proud of the homeruns. The amazing defense. The pitchers. I’m proud of each and every Oriole. (I may tease ’em, sure, but I love ’em.)

And, I’m soaking in these last few games. They may be playoff meaningless, but they’re never meaningless to me. They won last night! They had a winning season!

But, this October is going to be awful – just endless poop and vomit – if I don’t find a backup team soon.

So, there you go.

In a comment on one of my earlier posts, Don Of All Trades put in his pitch for me to root for the St. Louis Cardinals.


So, just by virtue of his promptness (and flattery), the Cardinals are off to a quick start.

The Oakland A’s could be ok … after all, to go from O’s to A’s is just gentle vowel shifting. It could be quite easy for me.

But, the door is wide open.

Is your team still in it? Add a comment. Give me your best pitch.

Since only you and three other people actually read this thing, chances are good I’ll go with your team if you take the time to ask me. Think of it as a baseball date. Sure, we’ll break up in November, but we could have some fun in October, right?