|Edition No. 23||
July 8, 2010
Let me begin this issue by thanking Tricko for his splendid Special Edition of The Curbside Chronicles, which, as always, was great reading. I think that adding the Guest Edition feature to our website as a complement to the league organ From the Bullpen was one of the best things that ever happened in this league, because we get the chance to see in print the thoughts and musings of some very intelligent and funny people, but who don’t always reveal this side of themselves in “public” because they are not limelight hoggers like Bender and others who shall remain nameless. It also gives us all a chance to learn more about each other. For example, until I saw Magpie’s picture with Misty, I had no idea that he was actually a pretty good-looking dude in his youth. I did a double-take when I first saw that picture, thinking it was a young Kevin Costner or possibly a Gibb (Bee Gees) brother of whom I was heretofore unaware, before realizing that it is actually a youthful Tricko. I also didn’t know that Curby was involved in the theatre during his high school years, although that revelation answers a lot of questions that I have had about him over the years.
Anyhow, great piece of work on The Chronicles, Mitch, and thanks for taking the time to make us laugh and think. Thanks also to the rest of you for doing likewise when your turn for writing the guest article comes around.
Now on to other matters. The league standings through games of Sunday, July 4, are as follows:
The best news, of course, is that the Senators found a way out of the basement for the first time in about the last month. The Lincoln Bears have been just bad enough to allow my pathetic Senators to pass them for a brief few days out of the sewer. However, while the whining SloPay blames all of his bad fortune on the injury bugaboo, I have to confess that many of my wounds are self-inflicted. It is possible that I have left more pitching points in my minor leagues this season than I actually have achieved from my pitchers while in the starting lineup. Between my home internet woes and my busier-than-a-one-armed-paper-hanger personal life, I have blown umpteen quality starts by failing to timely promote my players into my starting lineup. I’m thinking about asking Joe or Will to take over the day-to-day management of my team, because not a day goes by when those boys are not on the internet. If I end up in dead last this season, I truly will only have myself to blame.
(Or That’s a fact, Jack)
A new feature of From the Bullpen will be the inclusion here of periodic little-known facts relating to baseball, its glorious history and perhaps any and all other subjects. For this week, did you know that the 1968 Chicago White Sox played nine of their “home” games at County Stadium in Milwaukee? I had never before known of this until reading it in a baseball book that I am in the middle of right now, and I was surprised both that this happened and that I had never before heard anything about this. Apparently the ChiSox were drawing so poorly at the time and Milwaukee was trying to woo a team to replace their departed Braves, so that the powers that be at each organization (Selig in Milwaukee, Arthur Allyn in the Second City) collaborated to put this deal together. The experiment was enormously successful, as the team drew 264,297 fans for nine games in the Cream City, compared against a total of 539,478 fans for the 72 games at Old Comiskey. The following year, they expanded the agreement to eleven home games, but the arrangement was scotched after the AL kyboshed Selig’s attempted purchase of the White Sox because of the league’s refusal to abandon the country’s second largest city. As the story goes, Selig went on to buy the ill-fated Seattle Pilots, and moved them to Milwaukee to become the Brewers after the franchise failed miserably in the Emerald City.
One other interesting fact about the White Sox is that this team’s heritage dates all the way back to the 1890s, when the club was known as the Sioux City Cornhuskers and played in the old Western League. After the 1894 season, Ban Johnson bought the Sioux City team and transferred it to St. Paul, Minnesota, where it remained for the next five seasons. In 1900, the Western League changed its name to the American League, and Comiskey moved his St. Paul squad to the near South Side and renamed it the White Stockings, stealing a nickname that had once been used by the Chicago Cubs. After the 1900 season, during which the White Stockings won the American League pennant, the AL decided not to renew its membership in the prevailing National Agreement as an underling to the National League, declaring itself a major league.
While in the D.C. area on business week before last, I had a chance to take in a baseball game at the G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, Virginia, between the Class A Potomac Nationals and the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, an affiliate of the Atlanta Braves organization. All I can say is: What a great night at the ballpark.
When I arrived at Pfitzner Stadium, there was a small jazz band playing in the entry plaza of the ballpark, consisting of three men who appeared to be in their 50s or early 60s and a delightful young woman, perhaps a daughter of one of the trio, who appeared to be perhaps 20 to 25 years of age, named Emma Bailey (no relation to Homer, I am sure).
Dame Fortune smiled on me that night as it happened to be Dollar Beer Night at Good Old Pfitz Stadium, and after investing my first Washington on the Longhammer IPA beer stock, I sat down at a table to listen to the intoxicating (in tandem with the Longhammer) voice of young Ms. Bailey as she belted out the most hauntingly beautiful rendition of “Moondance” (Van Morrison) that I have ever heard. It was love at first sound. As I continued to fish crumpled Washingtons out of my pocket to take advantage of the bargain beers, Ms. Bailey continued to wow our small crowd with one beautiful song after another, including “Proud Mary,” “Kansas City,” “Mustang Sally,” and “Alley Cat.” On a humid, 95-degree-plus tidal basin night, I had goose bumps on almost every part of my body.
After the pregame festivities concluded, I headed inside the ballpark for my seat in the fourth row, a Longhammer IPA in each fist and a sack of salted peanuts in my shorts pocket. To my great good fortune, the National Anthem that evening was sung by none other than our beautiful young Ms. Bailey, and a more beautiful version of the song I have never before heard –– at a ballpark or elsewhere –– including prior exposures to the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, the great saxophonist Branford Marsalis, and, egad, even Van Cliburn. If only my Hot Stove brethren could have been with me to thrill to the phenomenal music that blessed all of us at the Pfitz that evening.
Although the Pfitz is not one of the most handsome ball yards that I have been to, there was much about it and the game to commend it to others. A few of the highlights from the evening:
I don’t know the “when” or “where,” but I can’t wait to attend the next Carolina League baseball game. This is truly baseball as it is meant to be played and seen.
During our recent trip to the amusement park/water park in Allentown, I had the time and interest in observing a whole host of East Coast tattoos on many scantily-clad bodies. I have nothing against the concept of people decorating themselves with tattoos –– it is a free country, after all –– but I am often surprised by the choices of artwork. There is a heavy preponderance of frightening skulls, snakes, skulls with snakes coming out of the eyeholes, barbed wire, demons, devils, and many other seemingly ugly or unpleasant aspects or reminders of society. I just wonder why people want to be constantly reminded about these scary, ugly, unpleasant things. Instead, why don’t people adorn themselves with tattoos of cute little baby deers, puppies, kittens, cans of their favorite beer, baseball box scores, spouses, children, and the like? Of course I realize that some do, but these seem to be the minority.
Just a little bit of food for thought. Does anyone think I’m wrong here?
What do the following current and former Major Leaguers have in common? If you know, or have a guess, please put it on the Message Board. I will provide the answer either on the Message Board or in the next issue of From the Bullpen.
NEXT ISSUE: PLAYERS WHO BELONG IN THE HALL OF FAME
We are a “go” for our trip to the Twin Cities August 20-22. All thirteen league members have committed. The league elitists, Possum, Magpie, Mouse and Screech, and possibly Tirebiter, will travel through the friendly skies because, frankly, they are simply too busy and important to take the time to drive up with the rest of us in the Mobile Sewage Treatment vehicle. The other 8 or 9 of us will load up, starting in Lincoln, continuing on to Omaha, then to Des Moines, with plans to arrive in the Twin Cities well oiled and in time for that evening’s Twins game at Target Field. Mouse has secured commodious accommodations for us at the Marriott City Center located just two blocks away from Target Field.
We are still working on game tickets. If anyone who is not currently working on this has any leads, please let us know.
That will do it for this issue. See you soon!