Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Rain, rain, rain

The NY Times reminds us of this fine piece of wet baseball history:
...another of baseball’s greatest games had soggy roots in the rain: Game 6 of the 1975 World Series, won by the Boston Red Sox in the bottom of the 12th on Carlton Fisk’s home run.

The Red Sox and Cincinnati Reds arrived in Boston to a nor’easter and waited as Friday’s scheduled Game 6 was postponed two days in a row. On Sunday, when clearing seemed imminent but Fenway Park remained drenched, Commissioner Bowie Kuhn had to decide whether to try playing the next night — squarely against “All in the Family” on CBS and a new sensation called “Monday Night Football” on ABC — or postpone Game 6 all the way to Tuesday.

When Kuhn told the Times columnist Red Smith that he preferred night games “to better accommodate the fans,” Smith accused M.L.B. of kowtowing to the networks.

“Exposing cash customers to raw night cold is a novel way of accommodating them,” Smith said. “Accommodating TV sponsors at prime time is something else again.”

Meanwhile, with Fisk still just a good catcher and not yet a New England icon, the Reds decided to try to stay sharp by working out inside Dussault Cage at Cousens Gymnasium on the campus of Tufts University. While pitchers worked off a portable mound plopped down on the running track, Pete Rose and Joe Morgan bashed line drives into fishnets hung from the ceiling.

Why Tufts? Reds Manager Sparky Anderson was asked.

“I think Harvard would be a little over my head,” he replied.

The sky over everyone’s heads soon cleared, and the Series played on.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

World Series on Ice

Bizarre World Series we're having, eh? I can't believe the umpires let them play in a lake yesterday, but it's a good thing, because the Rays were able to tie it and send it into this weird cycle of crazy we're seeing. I mean, tomorrow night, we're going to be tuning in to a three inning baseball game, unless, of course, no one can score and we go into extra innings, which could end up being another whole ballgame. Fine with me. Extend the baseball season for as long as possible, because I am not ready to go into hibernation mode for five months or so.

The only positive thing I can see about the end of the World Series is the beginning of the off-season when we get to see what Jocketty will and will not do. Holliday? Saltamacchia? We shall see.

I'm rooting for a Game 7. The outcome of that game is not so important to me.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Holy moly, was that a good game!

Game 7 - it has such a ring to it to those of us who practice the religion of baseball. They are always exciting, these things called Game 7s, deity-like beings in and of themselves. There is certainly an element of divine euphoria at just the thought of Game 7.

My heart raced and I felt those twinges of excitement in my gut, a feeling I haven't experienced in quite some time given the wretched state of the Cincinnati soul when it comes to its baseball team. The feeling certainly wasn't present at any time in the NLCS or the ALCS, though I did watch those with interest. Game 7 was something more - it had that magic of the game, that undefinable spiritual sort of thing that runs to the bottom of your soul and reminds you why you call yourself fan.

Who to root for in the World Series? I was leaning towards the Phillies, one of my "surrogate teams" I root for when they're not playing the Reds. (I tend to root for the National League teams unless they are the Deadbirds, Asstros, Dodgers, or Chub$.) Yet this young Rays team is so exciting to watch. Their enthusiasm reflects the innocence of the game, a sort of Eden-like diamond unspoiled by the rotten fruits of ego and age.

Gotta say I'm jealous of those Rays fans.

I'd love to see the faces of those post-2003 Red Sox "fans" whom I find so annoying.

Looking forward to the World Series.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Come on, people

My greatest pet peeve is the use of apostrophe S where no apostrophe goes. We learned in what - kindergarten? - that to make a word plural in the English language, you add an -s to the word (or -es when the word ends with s.)

There I was, surfing through the Reds products on in search of Christmas presents, when bam! There it was. On a commercial website. A big, fat apostrophe on a welcome mat.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Is it really October?

Is it true that the older you get, the faster time goes by? Why do I feel like it was just last week I was down in Sarasota avoiding the white freeze that robbed Ohio of its comfort and bearability? Was the season so bad that I just blocked it out of my mind? Was Corey Patterson really our centerfielder for much of the year?

Are the hated Dodgers really in the playoffs? Are the Exorcised Rays? And the freaking Red Sox again? Did the Mets really collapse for the second season in a row?

Did the Reds really have another losing season?

If I root for a Phillies-Rays Series, does that mean we're going to get a Dodgers-Red Sox? Would I even watch it if it were a Dodgers-Red Sox Series? Is anyone even paying attention? Does anyone else feel like the country is paying attention to the LCS in the same way they pay attention to the Stanley Cup? Is it because there are much more important things to think about right now?

Have you voted yet?

Doesn't David Ross look like he's having the time of his life in the Red Sox dugout? Do we really not have a catcher other than Ryan Hannigan? Can we trade Homer for Jared Saltamacchia? Did I spell Saltamacchia correctly? Would it be a mistake to trade Homer for Saltamacchia?

Are the rumors about Harang possibly being traded true? Shouldn't we not trade Harang, Arroyo, Volquez, and Cueto? Isn't that going to be one of the best rotations in baseball? Who will be the fifth guy? Aren't there a lot of options?

When will I get around to changing my banner?

In this time of uncertainty, isn't it right to ask a lot of questions?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Day at the Ballpark

I am a baseball fan, a diehard Cincinnati Reds fan, and a trip to the ballpark is just about my favorite thing to do. The Dayton Dragons are the Reds' low A minor league affiliate, and though the Dragons' season ended more than a month ago, I happily hopped into my car and drove to the ballpark on Thursday. This time, though, there'd be no men in shiny white and green uniforms taking the field. No, this time, something far more important than the trivial matter of baseball would take place on the diamond. The leading candidate for the next President of the United States would speak from the same mound where Luis Montano took a no hitter into the seventh inning earlier this year, the same mound from which upcoming Reds stars Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey once threw, the mound in the middle of Fifth Third Field in Dayton, Ohio, a city in a state that could win the presidency for Senator Barack Obama.

I've been feeling pretty disheartened about the pervasive hatred that has surrounded the McPalin rallies of late, but a kos diary I just read has left me inspired and reminded me of what we set out to do. This election isn't just about the economy. No, the sorry state of the economy is what will give us victory, but that's not why Barack Obama is running for President of the United States, leader of the free world. Change is not an empty slogan in the Obama camp. Change is the goal, it is real, it is within our grasp.

What is this change?

Change is white people going into black neighborhoods and being welcomed because there is a sense of solidarity, that yes, we are all Americans. Change is eliminating suspicions, overcoming prejudices, being bold in the face of something unknown. Change is not living in fear of difference, not holing yourself up behind the walls of your house, worried that people will take what's yours. Change is transforming perceptions that a black community is the "bad part of town."

But it's much more than black and white. Change is also moving people to serve their country, not only through military service, but through volunteer service, whether it be the Peace Corps, a soup kitchen, or a community organization. It's getting up off your couches, out from behind the video games, and taking part in America again. This country wasn't built by people who sat back and let others do all the work.

Change is also ending the anti-intellectualism that has put this country in a hole, has seen our educational system fall to the bottom of the industrialized nations, and has whipped up a frenzied hatred that we haven't seen since the turmoil of the sixties. This is all a result of the divisive tactics of Republican politics started by Nixon and continued by every Republican presidential campaign since. Change is unity. Change is learning to respect the wisdom of the educated instead of dismissing their advice as "elitism." Change is learning to respect each other despite differences in opinion.

As Obama yard signs get stolen or vandalized, as people's houses are spraypainted, as cars are vandalized and Obama supporters are shot with BB guns, it has never been more evident that change is not only necessary, but critical. We can't move this nation forward if we have to constantly watch our backs.

The major difference between Obama rallies and McPalin rallies at this point is that we hold onto hope, while they hold onto hate, a hate built by ignorance, lies, and rightwing talk radio that spreads conspiracy theories like a Tom Clancy novel. Senator McCain - the real Senator McCain - showed up for a minute at one of his rallies yesterday and tried to appeal to the rational side of his followers. They booed him.

Palin ended yesterday's speech with a culture of fear:
"So you know, Ohio, from now until Election Day, you're gonna hear our
opponents go on and on about how they'll, quote, fight for you. But
since my running mate won't say this on his own behalf I will say it
for him. And that is, in this campaign there is only one man who has
every really fought for you. The only man who has ever really fought
for you and the only man with courage."

Senator Obama concluded with a statement of hope:
"Together, we cannot fail. Not now. Not when we have a crisis to solve
and an economy to save. Not when there are so many Americans without
jobs and without homes. Not when there are families who can't afford
to see a doctor, or send their child to college, or pay their bills at
the end of the month. Not when there is a generation that is counting
on us to give them the same opportunities and the same chances that we
had for ourselves.

We can do this. Americans have done this before. Some of us had
grandparents or parents who said maybe I can't go to college but my
child can; maybe I can't have my own business but my child can. I may
have to rent, but maybe my children will have a home they can call
their own. I may not have a lot of money but maybe my child will run
for Senate. I might live in a small village but maybe someday my son
can be president of the United States of America.

Now it falls to us. Together, we cannot fail."

I left the ballpark with a feeling not unlike that after a victory of my favorite baseball team. We in the progressive movement seek to renew the American promise and to give hope to those who have lost it in the era of greed and corruption our nation has undergone. As a great man once said, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself."

cross posted at washingtonrox

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

No more Corey!

Too little, too late. But hey, Jocketty seems to be moving in the right direction so far getting rid of Patterson and Bako.

Can we win in 2009?

Yes we can!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Golden Week

Please don't go away - it's just that it's presidential campaign time, and I don't have a lot of free time to maintain this blog. If you want to vote for the good guys, contact me to see how you can help. Isn't it time to ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country?

I'm rooting for the Brewers and the White Sox. That was some throw Junior made to help the White Sox get into the playoffs, wasn't it?

I'll be back next week with a Reds season review.