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

175 Miraloma Drive

Here I am, trapped in a house. You, too? My house is everything to me now – workplace, coffee shop, theater, restaurant, library, Yoga studio. Everything.

It’s not perfect. It needs a paint job. But, it’s doing its best to keep me and Editor/Husband in and coronavirus out.

I am grateful for this house. I love it. Really, I do. But, I can’t wait to get out of it.

Being in this house is the whole of my world right now.

So, maybe it’s not so odd to rediscover the story of another house and the effort to keep someone out of it.

It’s not an unknown story. You probably know it. But, this story of Willie Mays and his house is a reminder of how far we’ve come … and how not far we’ve come at all.

Toward the end of the 1957 season, the New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers formally announced that both teams would move to California in 1958.

 

The Giants last game at the Polo Grounds.

As soon as the season wrapped, Giants players began packing themselves up, looking for new homes in San Francisco.

Embed from Getty Images

 

Willie Mays – by 1957, one of baseball’s biggest superstars – was one of them. Continue reading

My Experts Predict The 2019 World Series

Before I unveil my fabulous 2019 panel of baseball experts and their equally fabulous post-season picks, I need to cover two important details.

First, the season has already started. The Seattle Mariners and Oakland A’s kicked it off last week with games in Tokyo, which counted for baseball, but do not count with me.

True Opening Day is Thursday, March 28. This is the earliest Opening Day ever and all 30 teams will play. This early start is to allow teams to scatter a few additional rest days into the season. (Need more rest days? Lose 100 games and you’ll get all of October off.)

The New York Sun, 4/23/1919

Opening Day in 1919?

April 23.

Second, Sports Illustrated.

Hi, SI guys. (And, by “guys” I mean, literally, guys, because girls are generally unwelcome at Sports Illustrated.)

Last year, my experts outsmarted the dude-fellas at SI who were sure the Nationals would win the World Series.

They didn’t.

Neither did the Colorado Rockies, which was the team my cat chose. My cat.

But, the Rockies did make the post-season. Do you know who didn’t make the post-season? The Nationals.

So, Mookie the Cat – 1, Sports Illustrated – 0.

Being outsmarted by my cat apparently did in SI, because there are a lot of words in their latest MLB preview issue (including calling the Baltimore Orioles “ugly” … twice), but no official World Series pick. Best I can tell, they will commit only to predicting the Dodgers will be the strongest team in the NL and the Astros, the strongest in the AL.

Where’s your Series pick, smart guys?

Are you SI, or are you SI’m Afraid To Be Wrong Again?

My 2019 panel of experts is clear that SI is wrong about the Dodgers and the Astros. And, as in previous years, my panel is awesome. Continue reading

The Only Broken Hip In Baseball

On August 11, 2013, Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Cody Ross fell while running to first. It was a routine ground out, but his spike caught in the dirt at a weird angle and he stumbled. Awkwardly. Then, he tumbled. He had dislocated and broken his hip.

It’s believed that Ross was the first – and only – major league player to ever break a hip while running the bases.

 

It was, they said, a freak injury.

Editor/Husband’s doctors and nurses assured him last week that he is the first – and only – person to ever break a hip while meditating. (They all got quite a chuckle out of that.)

It was, they said, a freak injury.

Continue reading

Two “Inglorious Defeats” & A Somber 4th of July

Twice Beaten Buffalo Morning Express July 5 1881

Buffalo Morning Express, July 5, 1881

There’s a lot of baseball on the 4th of July.  Playing baseball on Independence Day is a tradition that goes back more than a century – pretty much as long as baseball has been baseball.

All 30 big league teams will play today (weather permitting). There will be hundreds more playing in the minors, college summer leagues, kids’ leagues, and pick-up games. There will be a lot of baseball.

This is not about any of today’s games. (Except to say, “Good luck, Orioles. Don’t screw this road trip up any worse than you already have.”)

1881 was as good a 4th of July as any for baseball, I figured.

Because there were two games in Buffalo that day, along with two in Detroit, that marked the first-ever major league doubleheaders specifically created to take advantage of a holiday.

Mickey Welch

Public Domain

Troy Trojans Pitcher Mickey Welch

Because future Hall of Fame pitcher Mickey Welch of the Troy Trojans pitched both of those games against the Buffalo Bisons – complete games, winning both, including a three-hit shut-out in the afternoon.

Because, that 4th of July also was Welch’s 22nd birthday.

Game One: Troy Trojans – 8  Buffalo Bisons – 3

Game Two: Troy Trojans – 12 Buffalo Bisons – 0

There are no box scores from that game.

Well, that’s not exactly right. There are box scores. I just can’t read them …

Troy at Buffalo Game 1 July 4 1881

Game 1 Box Score. Buffalo Morning Express, July 5, 1881

Pitching was different in 1881. Complete games – and two-man pitching rotations – were as normal then as worn-out bullpens and six-inning “quality starts” from your ace are today.

Troy Trojans unknown date

Public Domain

Troy Trojans, early 1880s. Welch may be the player seated at the far left.

Troy was a pretty lousy team with few hometown fans. So, the owners agreed to move a July 5 home game to fill out the Buffalo doubleheader. The teams would make more at the gate in Buffalo on a holiday then they could ever make in Troy on a Tuesday.

The story should end there:

The 4th of July. A Monday, just like today’s.

Mickey Welch – “Smiling Mickey,” the future Hall of Famer with the friendly demeanor and an assortment of quirky underhand curves – pitches 18 innings and wins two complete games in baseball’s first holiday doubleheader.

On his birthday. On America’s birthday.

Smiling Mickey Welch Baseball Card

I love that story.

Except for this.

As in all things, baseball doesn’t exist in a vacuum.

NYTimes July 3 1881 Garfield Shot

New York Times, July 3 1881

Two days earlier, President James A. Garfield was shot at a train station in Washington, DC.

President James Garfield

Public Domain

President Garfield

If you know your high school history, this will all sound vaguely familiar. Just three months into his Administration, a deranged office-seeker shot Garfield twice – once in the arm and once in the belly. And, if you remember your medical science classes, you might recall that Garfield died two months later, not from the actual gunshot wounds, but from infection caused by the virtually nonexistent sanitation practices of the time and all the unwashed, dirty fingers that doctors used to probe the belly wound.

This lets a lot of the air out of an otherwise sweet 4th of July story.

The country was in shock. Citizens clogged city streets near newspaper and telegraph offices to get the latest news on the condition of the President.

His “condition” depended on the newspaper …

Washington Evening Critic July 4 1881 Garfield Critical But Not Hopeless

NY Times July 4 1881 Every Hope of Recovery Garfield Improving

Buffalo Evening News July 4 1881 Hope Is Dead

Washington Evening Critic, New York Times, and Buffalo Evening NewsJuly 4, 1881

Many cities cancelled their Independence Day fireworks and events out of respect.

Buffalo called off its military parade. The city’s annual boating regatta went on as planned because, organizers agreed, the President seemed to be doing better by Sunday, and the weather was supposed to be perfect.

BuffEveNews 7 5 1881 how Independence Day was Celebrated in Buffalo

Buffalo Evening News, July 5, 1881

The Regatta, a Pigeon Shoot, and the Independence Day revelry of people shooting at each other went on as scheduled in Buffalo.

Despite the somberness of the weekend, people tried to get back to normal.

Baseball went on as planned and more than 4,000 fans attended the games against the Trojans at Buffalo’s Riverside Park.

“In the afternoon the stands were filled to sardine compactness and the assemblage was very enthusiastic,” according to the next day’s Buffalo Morning Express.

Troy surprised the Bisons. “It does seem ridiculous that such a motley combination of base-ball talent should be able, when they play in this city, to do such good work as the Troys,” The Express reported.  “The [12-0 afternoon game] was a disgrace to the name of the Buffalos. … Welch was too much for the home club.”

The 4th of July wins were rare ones for the Troy Trojans. They finished the season in fifth place in the National League, with a 39-45 record. Twenty-one of those wins belonged to Welch.

President Garfield never recovered. He died on September 19.

The Troy Trojans folded the following season and Welch went on to become a star with the New York Gothams, whom you may know today by the nickname which ultimately stuck with them – the Giants.

Mickey Welch with NY Giants

Public Domain

After finishing his playing career – amassing 307 wins and a career 2.71 ERA — Welch went on to run a hotel and saloon and then a dairy business, before returning to baseball as a gatekeeper and attendant at both the Polo Grounds and Yankee Stadium.

Mickey Welch died of heart failure, at age 82, on July 30, 1941. On his death certificate his “Usual Occupation” was listed as this: “Baseball player.”

Death Certificate July 1941 Mickey Welch

ancestry.com, New Hampshire Death Records

Sitting Here Thinking About Willie Mays

Warning: Editor/Husband has been sick and in bed since Christmas Eve. This means that I am a) most likely highly contagious, and b) posting without an editor. If you cut out now, I’ll understand. (I’ll be deeply hurt, but I’ll understand.) (Sort of. I’ll sort of understand.)

Someone found this blog by searching for this:

shoeless drunk

Shoeless drunk?

First of all, I’m very disappointed in you, Internet. Second of all, I wonder what that person was looking for?

I searched for “shoeless drunk” on the Googler and I didn’t find me. (What I did find was disgusting, with the exception of a few movie stills from 1967’s “Barefoot in the Park,” starring Robert Redford and Jane Fonda.)

barefoot in the park

In writing about baseball, there is always Shoeless Joe Jackson and quite a number of drunks, so maybe it wasn’t such a stretch after all that someone landed here.

Embed from Getty Images

Shoeless Joe Jackson, 1919.

Shoeless Joe may have never really been shoeless, as he occasionally denied the story of ever playing in his stocking feet in the minor leagues.  But, he also occasionally said the story was true, so who’s to know?

Also, no distraught kid ever tugged his sleeve outside a Chicago courthouse and said, “Say it ain’t so,” when the White Sox were found to have tossed the 1919 World Series.

But, Damon Runyon did say this: “Even when he’s trying to throw a Series, Shoeless Joe Jackson can still hit .375.”

This led me to wonder when Joe Jackson died.

December 5, 1951. He was 64 and several hundred people attended his funeral in Greenville, South Carolina.

This led me to wonder, in a tangent I can’t explain, when Willie Mays hit his first home run.

And, it was 1951, too. May 28.

As most baseball fans know, Mays’ first home run was also his first hit as a big leaguer. He had gone 0-for-12 in his first three games. This was his first home at-bat at the New York Giant’s Polo Grounds.

The home run was, The New York Times said, “a towering poke that landed atop the left-field roof.”

The homer, off the Boston Braves’ Warren Spahn, wasn’t enough. The Braves defeated the Giants that night, 4-1.

Embed from Getty Images

Willie Mays.

Historian Charles Einstein shared these quotes from that game:

“You know, if that’s the only home run he ever hits, they’ll still talk about it.” ~ Russ Hodges, who called the game on radio that night. (And, look … he’s right!)

“For the first 60 feet it was a hell of a pitch.” ~ Spahn, who said he threw a fastball as his first pitch to Mays because he was sure Giants’ manager Leo Durocher had told Mays to lay off the first pitch. (Durocher hadn’t.) Or, maybe it was a curve ball, which scouts said Mays couldn’t hit, as Spahn remembered it in 1973.

“The ball came down in Utica. I know. I was managing there at the time.” ~ Lefty Gomez (This would be an even better quote if Gomez actually had been managing in Utica at the time. He hadn’t. But, it’s still pretty good.)

“I never saw a f*ing ball get out of a f*ing ball park so f*ing fast in my f*ing life.” ~ Leo Durocher

I can’t show you that home run, of course, because the Internet and MLB.TV hadn’t been invented yet.

Embed from Getty Images

Warren Spahn.

Mays would hit 17 more home runs off of Spahn including one in the 16th inning of a game on July 2, 1963.

By 1963, the Giants were in San Francisco and the Braves were in Milwaukee.

Mays’ walk-off home run off Spahn in the 16th ended one of baseball’s most awesome pitching performances: 42-year-old Spahn, for the Braves, and 25-year-old Juan Marichal, for the Giants, threw a combined 428 pitches through those 16 innings.

The Giants won 1-0. 

“It was a screwball,” Mays said following the game, “But I guess Warren was getting kind of tired.”

“Yes, I was tired,” Spahn said, “But, I wish Willie had been tired, too.”

I can’t show you that home run either. But, I can show you Marichal and Mays talking about it …

“Ok, let me see what I can do about it.”

(Giants fans of a certain age will insist that Willie McCovey’s foul ball in the bottom of the 9th was actually inside the foul pole and should have been the home run that ended the game. McCovey will tell you that, too. But, like the Internet, batting helmets, and wild card teams, instant replay hadn’t been invented yet.)

And, so here it is Boxing Day and Editor/Husband is still feeling crummy and is fast asleep in the room next door. He will dislike this post when he sees it, because it just wanders around pointless.

Just sitting here thinking about Willie Mays.

Waffles, Pete Rose, & Yard Goats

With no baseball, you’d think winter was simply a waste of four otherwise perfectly good months.

You could be right. But, I spent this past off-season productively – reading stuff and learning stuff.

Now, with just two weeks until Opening Day, it’s time to share some of my newfound expertise.

I’m here to answer questions with that declarative I-am-right-and-you-are-wrong decisiveness that comes when you’ve learned stuff (or think you know stuff, or can talk faster and louder than your friends at dinner).

Some of these questions came from real readers of this blog.

I made the rest up. Which is the prerogative of an expert.

Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?

No.

animal house

But, is Animal House still the greatest movie of all time? Sadly, probably not.

For years I’ve said that Animal House is the greatest movie ever made. And, I meant it. Trust me, I’ve watched it a lot.

That the San Francisco Giants remade its greatest scene in 2013 only made it greater.

Giants

(None of those Giants  – not even Hunter Pence – had ever seen Animal House. Sad, really.)

I watched Animal House again last week and, in light of the horrible fraternity news that’s been spewing out lately like vomit at a college kegger, it sort of ruined it for me.

(This? Still funny.)

But, drinking too much, degrading women, sadistic hazing, racism? Not funny.

Leave it to the frats to ruin this movie for me. Losers.

When are you going to finish War & Peace?

I started Tolstoy’s War & Peace as the off-season began.

war and peace

I read it because I wanted to know if it was really the greatest book ever written, as literary experts say … and if it’s so great, why haven’t any of my friends read it?

My goal? Finish the 1,200-page book by Opening Day.

I’m often a last-minute slacker … but, guess what?

I finished it last Tuesday.

the end

The whole thing.

The booky part.

War.

And, Peace.

Both Epilogues. The Appendix. And, all the footnotes. Hundreds of them, from two different translations.

I don’t think I can be much done-er than that.

And?

It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read.

You should read it. Then, whenever someone asks you a tough question – about anything – you can pause thoughtfully, then say, “Well, as Tolstoy reminds us in War & Peace …” and then just answer the question however the hell you want. Who’s going to know?

Let’s try it.

Is Animal House the greatest movie of all time?

“Well, as Tolstoy says in War & Peace’s second epilogue, the present can color our view of the past. So, despite all the dreadful recent news from fraternities, it should not color Animal House’s overall cinematic greatness. After all, 1978 was a very different time.”

See?

You can make up all the crap you want. Chances are the person you’re talking to hasn’t read War & Peace, so you’re in the clear. They’re going to think you’re really smart. (And, a little annoying. They’re probably right about that.)

(Tolstoy would agree with me about Animal House, by the way.)

Waffles or Pancakes?

Waffles. Those little squares are absolute perfection … each one waiting to be turned into a delicious little syrup pond.

waffle squares

By Dvortygirl, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Waffles perfected the one fatal pancake flaw … “syrup slide,” where your syrup slides off the pancake and onto the plate, making it useless.

When we start eating ice cream out of “pancake cones” you can argue with me.

waffle cone

By MarkBuckawicki, CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

Until then, waffles.

This next question comes from WebMD – the popular health website – which really sent me this question by email:

pee

No.

(See how easy this experting thing is?)

This post is just pretext to get us to ask about that tweet you sent last month, isn’t it?

I’m so glad you asked!

Here it is …

my tweet

Orioles All-Star outfielder, and crossword puzzle clue, Adam Jones saw my tweet, proclaimed my puzzle “coo” (baseball, hip, twitter-speak for “cool”) and retweeted it to his 168,000 followers.

aj retweet

I was viral in a very small, but satisfying, way, for nearly an hour.

Adam

© The Baseball Bloggess

When not tweeting, Adam Jones plays center field for the Baltimore Orioles.

Yes, I ultimately finished the puzzle, but I needed brainiac Editor/Husband’s help to do it …

crossword done

Finally, two baseball questions.

Should Pete Rose’s lifetime ban from baseball be lifted?

Of course not.

Rules are rules.

In 1989, Pete Rose accepted a lifetime ban from baseball because of his gambling.

In 2007, he admitted publicly that he bet on the Reds “every single night” when he was manager of the team.

Here’s baseball’s Rule 21(d) that is posted prominently in every major and minor league clubhouse:

“Any player, umpire, or club or league official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has a duty to perform shall be declared permanently ineligible.”

I think we’re done here.

Pete Rose Banned

What will Hartford’s Minor League team be called?

Earlier this month, we got to vote on a new name for the Rockies’ AA affiliate. I came around on Yard Goats, because it refers to the little engine that shuffles cars around in a rail yard.

Yard Goats won!

yard goat train

By Lexcie, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

 Just think, a steam whistle can blow for every Hartford home run!

Tolstoy coined the term “Yard Goat” in War & Peace, you know. Crazy isn’t it?

But, he did.

I mean, hey, prove me wrong.

 

 

Baseball Free!

One of my Yoga students came to class this week and asked, “What are you going to do now that there’s no baseball?”

Apparently, some people believe that I am small, uninspired, and one-dimensional in my interests.

There is plenty to do in the off season, I’m told, and I am ready to do all of it.

I won’t bore you with ALL the things I will be doing. But, I assure you there will be lots of them.

Here are just five.

1) Sort Photos. 

I took hundreds of photos at baseball games this season.  (Actually probably more like a thousand, but “thousand” makes me sound weirdo-y, so let’s say, hundreds and leave it at that.)

It’s time to paw through them and see who’s in there …

Like …

??????????

© The Baseball Bloggess

 San Francisco Giants reliever, and one-time University of Virginia pitcher, Javier Lopez who just won his 4th World Series ring on Wednesday night.

And …

??????????

© The Baseball Bloggess

Former Richmond Flying Squirrel and rookie Giant Joe Panik, who just won his first.

Congratulations, Giants!

This project trumps my other photo project – sorting through my grandfather’s slides from the 1950s and ‘60s of people and places I don’t know or can’t recognize. Boxes and boxes of slide carousels fill an entire closet in our guest room. I suppose I could go through them. Or, I could put it off another year and continue to pile all the things that should be stored in the closet on the floor in our bedroom.

2)  Bake.

It’s free-agent time in baseball, which means the Baltimore Orioles will cut loose many players who have multimillion-dollar paydays coming.

Yes, it’s the cruel financial reality of being a small-market team … we can no longer afford many of our best players.

Am I happy to say “goodbye” to Andrew Miller and his 94 mph fastball and spaghetti legs?  No. Do I understand why the Orioles probably won’t pay $10 million+ a year to resign a one-inning reliever? No.

I mean, yes.

But, really, no.

andrew miller

© The Baseball Bloggess

Andrew Miller & his spaghetti legs

Also in the free-agent pool is longtime Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis. The Orioles have declined his option for 2015, but still remain hopeful they can re-sign him.  Will they? Maybe. Will someone else swoop in with a better offer? Maybe.

But, not if I can help it.

I want to do my part to help collect the millions that the Orioles will need to keep Nick Markakis.

I’m thinking, bake sale.

I can’t bake enough to keep Andrew Miller, Nelson Cruz, and Nick.

I stick with Nick.

Anyway, cupcakes.

??????????

Thousand dollar cupcakes.

I encourage you to bake some cupcakes for Nick, too.

Just remember, take all the money you raise and send it to:

Baltimore Orioles

Let’s Pay Nick Fund

Camden Yards

Baltimore, Maryland

3) Care for Munchie.

Among the unusual birthday gifts Editor/Husband gave me this year was this …

??????????

Munchie.

Editor/Husband thought a venus flytrap would solve a long-standing  kitchen problem.

When the compost pail gets kinda full-ish, it attracts fruit flies. Now, sure, you might take a moment to comment below with your good ideas of how to stop attracting fruit flies in our kitchen.  “Take out the compost more regularly,” you might suggest, or “Get rid of the stupid compost pail.”

Your suggestions, while interesting, would be wrong.

The best and only way to deal with fruit flies is to get a venus flytrap and hope he has a taste for them.

We have had Munchie for a couple days now, I’m not sure he’s caught any flies yet.

harper

My first question to Editor/Husband after “You got me a venus flytrap? Really?” was “Do we have to find food for him? Do we feed him meat?”

Apparently, no.  You do not feed them meat.

??????????

Except all the “flytrappists” online insist you must. They say you have to buy flies and bloodworms and feed them to your plant. They do suggest you be careful, though, since many people are highly allergic to bloodworms and just touching one could kill you.

If the venus flytrap doesn’t get you first.

I’ll let you know if one of the cats goes missing.

Stevie

4) Read War & Peace.

I am not kidding.

Tolstoy’s War & Peace is almost always listed as one of the greatest novels ever written. Which is funny because I know only one person who has actually read it.

None of my friends – even the fussy ones – has read it.

So, I’m reading it. Because they won’t. And, you probably won’t either.

I’m doing it for you.

??????????

Look, I’m already a quarter of the way through!

It’s actually very good.

Although, you have to wade through an awful lot of war to get to the peace parts.

lajoie

Public Domain, 1903.

Napoleon Lajoie, the “Little Frenchman” and namesake of the Cleveland Naps (today, the Cleveland Indians), is not in War & Peace.

napoleon bonaparte

Public Domain

Napoleon Bonaparte, also a “Little Frenchman”, is.

Fun Fact: The original title for War and Peace was War – What Is It Good For?  Tolstoy’s mistress didn’t like the title and insisted that he change it to War and Peace.

See …

 

I think I will need to read 15 pages a day to be done by Spring Training.

5) I’ll keep you posted.

Just 111 110 days until pitchers and catchers report.

Photos: San Francisco Giants vs. Washington Nationals, Nationals Park. August 24, 2014

St. Louis Cardinals vs. Baltimore Orioles, Camden Yards, Baltimore. August 10, 2014

 

At least there was ice cream

It rained in Virginia this week. That kind of overflowing, cold, pouring rain that makes you stop saying, “Well, we need the rain,” because, not like this. And, now there’s mud on my pants and I have to change. That sort of rain.

So, when I grabbed the basket of massage linens and began to tote them into our basement early Wednesday morning, where the washer and dryer and friendly skinks, lizards, and wolf spiders live, I was especially careful.

Because our basement is a cellar that you enter from outside, pulling up wooden dormer doors, and going down cement steps.

basement

If it’s raining, the steps get wet.

Did I mention that I was very careful?

Sometimes you fall anyway.

Like this.

caleb5

Really, that’s exactly what I did.

(Except, I wasn’t wearing catcher’s gear and there was no foul ball. So not exactly “exactly”.)

I could still be lying there in a puddle of my own carefulness. Instead, I’m just banged up.

But, unbroken.

(Caleb was fine, too, by the way.)

When you fall, it plays out in slow motion. So, in those milliseconds of disaster I saw my career crumbling into a heap of broken bones.

Actually, this is what I saw when I fell.

i fell

Wait, no … THIS is what I saw when I fell.

I really fell

I’m told I could have killed myself, but really, I was just trying not to break my arm.

Once I landed on the cement – my left elbow and low back took the worst of it, for those of you who are injury-curious – and determined I was not dead, I wrote a poem.

You might remember this poem from earlier this season when the Orioles were having a bad spell.

Suckity-suck-suck-suck.

It’s a pretty good poem.

It’s also versatile. Just change the “s” to an “f” and you have a brand new poem which celebrates rain and cement steps and nearly, but not quite, killing oneself.

Please feel free to use it whenever you need it.

I took photos of my bruises for you. They are ugly, but not quite ugly enough. I’m looking for pity here, not another lecture about how one needs to be careful when cement steps are covered in rain. The photos are more like, “Really? I thought it would have been a lot worse than that.” You’d be disappointed. They don’t help my case at all. So, nevermind.

I’m lucky.

But, my very bad, but unbroken, morning, got very, very badder as the Baltimore Orioles were swept out of the playoffs that afternoon by the pesky Kansas City Royals.

The cement steps couldn’t break my bones.

But, baseball broke my heart.

(I’ve been waiting all week to write that for you.)

Let’s cover a few post-season and World Series topics …

#1) The Kansas City Royals won, fair and square. Congratulations! You swept two of the best teams in baseball to make your way to your first World Series since 1985. That’s pretty awesome.

Whining by Orioles fans who think it’s unfair that there’s a wild card team even in the mix, because wild cards often reflect currently “hot” teams, rather than “consistently consistent” teams, were unusually quiet when the Orioles were the wild card team in 2012.

The Royals will be tough to beat … but …

#2) Go Giants.

Because, they’re almost a home team for Virginia and Orioles fans.

Big Hero of Game 5 Michael Morse? Former Oriole (and former National).

morse3

Bigger Hero of Game 5, Travis Ishikawa? Former Oriole (by way of the AAA Norfolk, Virginia Tides).

ishikawa2

(That home run call? That’s Giants radio broadcaster, Jon Miller – beloved, former Orioles broadcaster.)

Giants reliable, reliever Javier Lopez? Grew up in Fairfax, Virginia; played for the University of Virginia.

The Richmond Flying Squirrels (Giants AA team), and just an hour down the road from here, has included Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Matt Duffy, Joe Panik, and Ryan Vogelsong (rehab, 2013).

And, Giants Manager Bruce Bochy? He played for the AAA Tides when they were in Tidewater, Virginia (and a Mets farm club) back in 1981-1982.

It’s not my preferred orange and black, but it will have to do.

#3) And, anyway, those ill-mannered Royals are dead to me.

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KC Pitcher (& former Oriole) Jeremy Guthrie & his stupid tee-shirt, following Game 3.

Oh, one last thing …

After the Orioles loss, Casey Karp – Mariners fan, cat person, and author of the especially fine Koi Scribblings blog (really, check it out) – arranged for me to drown my baseball sorrows in ice cream.

I had plenty to choose from.

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But, who can choose just one?

ice cream

When one deserves two?

I’m feeling better already.

Thank you, Casey.

The Orioles will win the World Series in 2015.

 

Cotton Candy & The Win Streak Ends

The Baltimore Orioles had a four-game win streak through Sunday.

They lost today, 6-4, to the Minnesota Twins.

A new win streak starts tomorrow.

In the meantime, here’s a kid eating cotton candy.

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Getting all sticky.

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Eating the entire thing.

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And, then looking both wistful and a tiny bit barfy at the end.

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(Hey, why does cotton candy only come in pink and blue?)

Also from our recent trip to a game at Nats Park in Washington, DC, here are the Racing Presidents.

racing presidents

(George always seems a little embarrassed about the whole running-around thing or maybe he just ate too much cotton candy and is feeling a tiny bit barfy himself.)

Photos: San Francisco Giants vs. Washington Nationals, Nationals Park, Washington, DC.  August 23 and August 24, 2014

(The Giants lost both games, including getting pounded by the Nats on Sunday, 14-6. This may help explain why I spent an entire inning watching a child cover himself in cotton candy. The Giants are currently on a seven-game win streak … and I hope this doesn’t jinx them.)