Even high jumpers get the yips

The yips plague athletes in many sports, and even musicians. Hopefully sports psychologists can find a cure.

Golfers know all about “the yips.” If they’ve never experienced it themselves, they’ve probably played with someone who has. And they certainly know the stories of famous golfers whose careers were challenged, if not devastated by the phenomenon. This list includes Tommy Armour, who coined the term to describe the condition that forced him to abandon tournament play. He was hardly the only one.

Golfers seriously afflicted by the yips include Bernhard Langer, Ben Hogan, Harry Vardon, Sam Snead, and Keegan Bradley, who missed a simple 6 inch putt in the final round of the 2013 HP Byron Nelson Championship due to the condition (although he may also have been suffering from Strabismus).

Continue reading

Jackie Mitchell: the legend of the woman who struck out Ruth and Gehrig

Did a woman really whiff two of the greatest sluggers of all time … back to back? We’ll never know, but it’s plausible.

My buddy Guy Saperstein sent this around last night.

The Woman Who (Maybe) Struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig

One spring day my son came home from school and asked, “Do you know about the girl who struck out Babe Ruth?” Continue reading

Should Major League Baseball allow steroid users into the Hall of Fame? No, Says Sam Smith.

Part 2 of a series.

How can we honor athletes for cheating and then talk to our children about honesty and integrity with a straight face?

Matt Record’s post yesterday arguing that Major League Baseball should admit steroid users to the Hall of Fame gets a lot of things right. For instance: Ty Cobb? Sub-human PoS, no doubt about it. And Matt could have devoted volumes to the abject malpractice of the sports “journalism” industry during Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa’s pursuit of Roger Maris’s single season homerun record; they chose to ignore what was obviously happening under their noses because the steroid era was good for business, and the less pontificating we hear from them now the better.

And what about the ways in which MLB’s apartheid system kept some of the greatest stars of their time out of the league for decades? If anything, Matt doesn’t stomp hard enough here. Babe Ruth was a legendary hitter, but he never had to stand in against Satchel Paige, whom DiMaggio called the best pitcher he ever faced after playing against him in a 1936 exhibition.

Lefty Grove and Dizzy Dean were two of the premier pitchers of the 1930s, but neither had to deal with Josh Gibson.

The Baseball Hall of Fame maintains he hit “almost 800” homers in his 17-year career against Negro league and independent baseball opposition. His lifetime batting average, according to the Hall’s official data, was .359. It was reported that he won nine home run titles and four batting championships playing for the Crawfords and the Grays. It is also believed that Gibson hit a home run in a Negro league game at Yankee Stadium that struck two feet from the top of the wall circling the center field bleachers, about 580 feet (180 m) from home plate. Although it has never been conclusively proven, Chicago American Giants infielder Jack Marshall said Gibson slugged one over the third deck next to the left field bullpen in 1934 for the only fair ball hit out of Yankee Stadium. Washington Senators owner Clark Griffith once said that Gibson hit more home runs into Griffith Stadium’s distant left field bleachers than the entire American League.

What would these men, and so many others, have accomplished had they had the sense to be born white? We’ll never know, of course, but it’s safe to say that The Bambino stroked a few taters off pitchers who, if not for the color barrier, would have been in the minor leagues. The same goes for MLB pitching icons, who certainly benefited from hundreds, if not thousands, of at-bats against minor league hitters instead of the likes of Gibson.

Matt gets these things right. So right, in fact, that it’s tempting to swallow his whole argument. That, however, would be a mistake.

The problem is that his case for throwing open the doors of Cooperstown to cheaters is a misdirection that asks us to look away from the real issue. In short, we are being asked to accept that since a group of people perhaps doesn’t belong in the Hall, that we should simply abandon our standards.

First off, all those white players who never faced a black or Latino weren’t cheating. As bad as the system was, DiMaggio and Ruth and Gehrig and Shoeless Joe didn’t break any rules that others were adhering to. The fault was on the owners, not the players.

Matt’s point is a valid one in another argument, but it’s irrelevant and misleading in this one.

Second, even if we accepted his reasoning, there’s still something profoundly disturbing with the idea that since one group of people got away with something, everyone should. If we wanted to push this principle to its logical extreme, we might find ourselves concluding that we should legalize murder because people have gotten away with it in the past.

I’d argue the precise opposite. Instead of using historical crimes to justify present crimes, I’d be more comfortable using what we know now to go back and purge past miscreants. Of all the major sports halls in the US, baseball is the only one that has an integrity component. If you want to launch a move to kick Ty Cobb out of the place, call me.

The Steroid Generation was a special case, wasn’t it? Each day, every day, a generation of cynical athletes woke up every morning, wiped the sleep from their eyes, and pondered, with deliberation and malice aforethought, how they were going to break the rules that day. It was premeditated, it was first degree, and it was arguably as bad for the game as gambling. When you roid up, you are attempting to alter the outcome of a contest. You are actively intending to fix the game.

I’m not going to go into a rant about the virtues of team sports and how they can mold character. But I am going to assert that character matters. Honesty matters. The integrity of the result of a sporting contest matters.

And at the risk of marking myself as some kind of archaic geezer yelling at the kids to get off my damned lawn, I’m going to say this: sportsmanship matters. It is important that we as individuals and as a society have values, and if you don’t believe that our sporting culture is an integral component of our society – as both cause and effect – you’re not paying attention.

Matt is a smart, thoughtful guy, and I wouldn’t attribute to him for even a second anything but the most honorable intentions. Truth is, there are a lot of people whom I admire that agree with him on this.

That’s great. But I want to be there someday when they have to explain to their children that it’s okay to cheat if others do it. It’s okay to break the rules if there’s money involved.

I understand how good people can be driven to such a position in a society as corrupt as ours, where the dirtier you are the better you do and where moral and ethical fiber is for punks. Trust me, I get that. I work in goddamn marketing, okay? I’ve had talks with myself where I confronted the ways in which my integrity was putting me at a competitive disadvantage. If I were willing to play the corporate game the way Barry Bonds played baseball odds are my life would be very different.

There are days where I want to cheat so badly I can barely stand it. But when all is said and done, I have to hold myself accountable to the values I think matter in life.

I can’t divorce athletics from society in general. And as such, I can’t accept that its okay to accept, let alone honor, our sporting heroes when they do things we’d punish our children for doing.

Should Major League Baseball allow steroid users into the Hall of Fame? Yes, says Matt Record.

Part 1 of a series.

by Matt Record

Baseball has been marked by cheating forever. It’s hypocritical to draw a line now.

These are – in my opinion – the top 15 best position players in the history of baseball:

  • Babe Ruth
  • Barry Bonds
  • Willie Mays
  • Ted Williams
  • Ty Cobb
  • Hank Aaron
  • Tris Speaker
  • Lou Gehrig
  • Honus Wagner
  • Stan Musial
  • Alex Rodriguez
  • Rogers Hornsby
  • Lou Gehrig
  • Eddie Collins
  • Mickey Mantle

The fact that two of the top 15 best hitters may never make the hall of fame is a  shame and a frustratingly meaningless shame at that. Continue reading

Should Yasiel Puig be in the All-Star Game?: here’s the definitive answer

Let’s play trivia.

Q: Who are George Scott, Mitchell Page, Van Kelly, Rocco Baldelli, Mike White, Hector Rodriguez, Warren Newson, Ron Jones, Ken Harvey, Gail Harris, Yasmani Grandal, Brian Giles, Bobby Darwin, Joe Cunningham, Thad Bosley, Oscar Azocar, Gus Zernial, Dan Walters, Taylor Teagarden, Dick Stuart, Shane Spencer, Dwight Smith, Bob Smith, Ryan Shealy, Kevin Roberson, Will Rhymes, Irv Noren, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Kevin Mench, Martin Maldonado, Al Luplow, Joe Keough, Ricky Jordan, Tracy Jones, Dalton Jones, Sam Jethroe, Akinori Iwamura, Jim Hickman, Elian Herrera, Fran Healy, Paul Goldschmidt, Brent Gates, Joe Foy, Tom Donohue, Terry Crowley, Jose Constanza, Doug Camilli, Larry Burright, Barry Bonnell, Kevin Barker, Gabe Alvarez and Glenn Adams?

Answer in a minute.

In the coming days it seems almost certain that Major League Baseball fans will vote Dodgers rookie sensation Yasiel Puig into the All-Star Game. The whole idea is rather controversial since Puig has been in the show for barely a month. Some pundits love the idea, saying that the game is for the fans and they should get to choose. Others, expressing a position more sensitive to the game’s history and tradition, are vehemently opposed to a player with so little track record being admitted into the greatest all-star competition in US club sports. Some insider estimates say that 80% of current MLB players are against his inclusion.

There’s no question that Puig has been from hell since he was called up from Chattanooga on June 2. As of this writing, his line looks like this:

 

GP

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

SB

CS

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

2013 Regular Season

32

127

25

52

8

1

8

19

5

31

5

3

.409

.437

.677

1.114

That’s incredible, especially the average, on-base percentage and OPS, which are just ridiculous. There is absolutely nothing bad you can say about Puig to this point in his career.

But back to that opening question: who are those other guys?

The answer is that they’re all current and former Major League Baseball players who, according to the Win Probability Added (WPA) Sabermetrics stat, were as good as or better than Yasiel Puig over the first month of their careers.

Most sabermetric statistics are context neutral — they do not consider the situation of a particular event or how some plays are more crucial to a win than others. While wOBA rates all home runs as equal, we know intuitively that a home run in the third inning of a blowout is less important to that win than a home run in the bottom of the ninth inning of a close game. Win Probability Added (WPA) captures this difference by measuring how individual players affect their team’s win expectancy on a per-play basis.

For example, say the Rays have a 45% chance of winning before Ben Zobrist comes to the plate. During his at-bat, Zobrist hits a home run, pushing the Rays’ win expectancy jumps to 75%. That difference in win expectancy (in decimal form, +.30) from the beginning of the play to the end is Ben Zobrist’s WPA for that play. If Zobrist strikes out during his next at bat and lowers his team’s win expectancy by 5%, his overall WPA for the game so far would be +.30 – .05 = +.25, as WPA is a counting statistic and is additive.

Arjun Jaikumar, another of my data-savvy friends, also points this out:

I’ll say this, though; *this* season, in the AL, there is another player who has virtually the same WAR as Puig in more or less the same playing time. He is hitting .403/.455/.517 at the moment, and is a marvelous defender – one of the best at his position even though he’s playing out of position.

Yet no one is promoting Jose Iglesias for the All-Star game (with good reason; I wouldn’t either).

In a perfect world I’d be able to extract from the sport’s massive historical database the WAR (Wins Above Replacement) scores for the first month of the career of everyone that ever played the game, but my data savant guy, Adam Bonin (major props, by the way – this analysis wouldn’t have been possible without him), hasn’t figured out how to do that yet. Still, WPA is a pretty useful stat in that it evaluates how important a player is to his team’s chances of winning.

If you’re looking at that list of names at the top and thinking you never heard of any of them, don’t feel bad. Very few of the fans casting their ballots for Puig this week have, either.

If you’re thinking instead that, hey, it’s unfair to compare an obvious future Hall of Famer like Puig to that pack of pikers because you don’t have enough of a sample size yet, congratulations. That’s. The. Point. A great month doesn’t make you an All-Star.

I admit that Puig looks like the real deal. And he may be a future HoFer. Seems like a great kid and here’s hoping he turns out to be everything his overenthusiastic fans think he is and more.

But we have this tendency in the US, fueled by a barking gongbat 24/7 sports punditry cycle, to begin cranking out the hyperbole as soon as we hear a guy’s name. If Stephen A Smith says something stupid – and he will if there’s a microphone in the room – the only thing you can know for sure is that Skip Bayless is a’fixin’ to say something even stupiderer.

You know what? It’s okay to wait and see. Getting it right is better than getting it first. You’re not cheating anyone if you wait a year to see if it’s sustainable or if it’s just a hot streak. It’s okay to make a guy work his way around the league a second and third time to see if opposing pitchers figure him out. It’s not an insult to say damn, kid, you’re on fire. Keep it up and you’ll be an All-Star next year.

But hey, this is America, and we have to let the fans vote on everything, no matter how dumb they are.

Is it too late to get Tim Tebow on the ballot?

It’s time baseball players were allowed to carry guns on the field

CATEGORY: SportsYesterday, the second best pitcher on the LA Dodgers, Zack Greinke, had his collarbone broken by an out-of-control Carlos Quentin.

If Greinke had only had a right to carry a gun in the workplace, this all could have been avoided. He was denied that right because of an aggressive anti-Second Amendment stance by Major League Baseball.

Zack Greinke, who is white, is an outstanding pitcher and former all-star, having won the Cy Young in 2009 and this year having signed a six year contract worth $147 million with the Dodgers. (That’s about $5,000 per pitch.) Mr. Quentin, who makes roughly 1/3 of what Mr. Greinke makes and is of Hispanic descent, has a habit of stepping in front of pitches. In this case, after being hit he charged the mound and viciously slammed into Greinke, breaking his non-throwing shoulder. Both dugouts immediately emptied. Greinke is out for at least eight weeks, although there is no timetable on how long it will take him to fully recover, if ever. This represents a loss of roughly $5 million dollars for the Dodgers and two to three wins.

If Greinke had been armed with a handgun, even a small one, this likely would not have happened. He was not, even though everyone else in Dodger Stadium probably was, because of an antiquated and unreasonable ban on such weapons by MLB.

Guns have proven to be a useful deterrent to violence in other sports. In the NBA, when Gilbert Arenas of the Washington Wizards (formerly the Bullets) refused to pay a gambling debt and pulled four guns on fellow player Javaris Crittenton, Crittenton was able to defuse the situation by pulling a gun of his own from his locker. However, the NBA, like MLB, has an aggressive anti-gun stance and suspended Crittenton, later releasing him. He continues to be hounded even today, as he was arrested last week by the FBI and charged with 12 counts, including murder, stemming from a pre-emptive self-defense situation in Atlanta. Mr. Crittenton attended Georgia Tech and is a member of numerous charitable and social organizations, including the Crips.

It’s time for professional sports to join the 21st century. There’s ample proof that guns prevent crime and guns in the workplace save lives. It’s time to give professional baseball players the same rights as policemen, airline pilots and kindergarten teachers.

A league of their own: S&R honors Lavonne “Pepper” Paire-Davis (and baseball-playing women everywhere)

Walt Whitman once said, “I see great things in baseball. It’s our game, the American game. It will repair our losses and be a blessing to us.” You could look it up. – Annie Savoy

My grandfather used to tell stories about his sister, my aunt Janie. She played baseball. Not softball, but baseball. And was better than most of the boys. Her girls team even beat the boys a time or two (I’m guessing that boys in the 1930s were enough like the boys of today that they didn’t want to lose to the girls, so there might have been fewer opportunities for inter-gender matchups after that first win). Then there was Gertrude Hines, and older girl in his neighborhood when he was growing up. Nobody wanted little Sammy Linville on their team because he was too young and small, but Gertrude, who was always one of the captains, would say “I’ll take him if I can have his third strike.”

In my neighborhood, Debbie Altman was maybe the best baseball player. A leftie, she was a great pitcher and could hit the hell out of the ball. (She was also really, really pretty, and the combination of athletic ability and long blonde hotness was responsible for my first major boyhood crush.)

Later, when I managed the Colorado Sun Kings in the Denver NABA 30+ league, we had a woman on the team. Teresa, who played second and short, was set for a tryout with the Coors Silver Bullets, but injured her hand just before camp. I saw the Bullets play, and Teresa would have made that team.

This past week, Lavonne “Pepper” Paire-Davis died at the age of 88. Paire-Davis was our most visible link to a past when girls were allowed to play hardball, owing to the fact that she was the inspiration for Geena Davis’s character in A League of Their Own, the 1992 movie about the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. If you don’t know the story, the AAGPBL was started as an alternative to the Major League, which was hard hit by World War II. It was originally feared the league might fold for the duration of the war; it didn’t, but the quality of play obviously suffered as all the young stars, men in the prime of their lives and careers, marched off to the European and Pacific theaters.

It wasn’t enough for AAGPBL players to be athletes, of course. The original rules (which evolved into something like pure baseball over time) looked more like softball, and the players were required to wear skirts and behave like proper ladies at all times.

During spring training the girls were required to attend Helena Rubinstein’s evening charm school classes. The proper etiquette for every situation was taught, and every aspect of personal hygiene, mannerisms and dress code was presented to all the players. In an effort to make each player as physically attractive as possible, each player received a beauty kit and instructions on how to use it. As a part of the leagues ‘Rules of Conduct’, the girls were not permitted to have short hair, smoke or drink in public places, and they were required to wear lipstick at all times. Fines for not following the leagues rules of conduct were five dollars for the first offense, ten for the second, and suspension for the third.

Paire-Davis was, to all accounts, a very good player.

An All-Star catcher, Paire was a fine defensive player with good range on the field and a strong throwing arm. She exhibited an aggressive catching style, leading to a broken collarbone in her rookie season. She suffered numerous injuries thereafter, but kept on playing. Basically a line-drive hitter, she had a compact swing and tremendous plate discipline, collecting a significant 2.63 walk-to-strikeout ratio (308-to-117). A lifetime .225 hitter she made good contact, hitting safely more frequently with runners on base or when the team was behind in the score, as her 400 runs batted in ties her in fourth place with Elizabeth Mahon on the all-time list, behind Dorothy Schroeder (431), Inez Voyce (422) and Eleanor Callow (407). In addition, the versatile Paire played shortstop and third base, and even pitched. She also was a member of a championship team and made the playoffs in nine of her ten seasons.

In 60 playoff games, she hit .211 with one home run and 16 RBI, including one triple and seven stolen bases.

In fact, a lot of women were good players. And would be today if they were allowed to play the game. But instead they’re stuck playing softball, and I can only assume this is because it’s presumed to be safer. (This isn’t a logical conclusion that takes into account the speed with which some women pitch or the fact that the ball is plenty hard, but the fact is that little girls don’t have the option of playing the American pastime once they get past coed tee-ball age.) This system has always felt a little like the old six-on-six basketball rules, which were finally eradicated for good in the ’90s (Iowa and Oklahoma were the last two holdouts).

Is softball a remnant of a paternalistic culture that feels girls and women have to be protected? Probably. But I’ve played a number of sports with women – basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball, soccer, tennis, you name it. The idea that these are delicate flowers who can’t handle the full measure of the game is ludicrous, and we have all the examples you’d ever need in pretty much every game except baseball and American football (which frankly, I’m not sure anyone ought to play, male or female). Do Mia Hamm and Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach look fragile to you? Maya Moore and Candace Parker?

A League of Their Own sparked a brief revival in women’s baseball. The Silver Bullets were founded shortly after the movie popularized the idea of women with fastballs. Here in Denver, the NABA launched a women’s league. The whole fad fizzled, though, and with our last links to that legacy of women’s baseball dying out, it’s hard to see how the vaguely sexist softball culture might ever be replaced with a baseball option.

It’s a shame to think that there will be no more Pepper Paires. There will certainly be plenty of Debbie Altmans ripping doubles into the gap on the playground and Gertrude Hineses taking little Sammy LInville’s third strike and Aunt Janies who show up the boys every time they step on the field. The occasional Teresa will love the game so much that she’s willing to deal with being stared at and whispered about when she steps into the box as the only woman in a man’s league, and her teammates will scream their fool heads off when she smacks an RBI single up the middle off a pitcher who now has to go back to the dugout and endure the humiliation of having given up a hit to a girl.

Perhaps no character in the canon of American culture has ever loved baseball so completely as Bull Durham‘s Annie Savoy. Few have known more about the game or more fully inhabited its spiritual essence. I have always called Bull Durham the greatest sports movie ever made, and in part this is because not of what happens on the field, but because of the negative space in the social fabric: Annie, the soul of the narrative, is only allowed to play the game in her back yard. She has no league of her own.

For a few years, Lavonne Paire-Davis and the rest of the women in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League did. S&R honors them and the grace with which they crashed the gender barrier, if only for a while. We hope that the US, as it evolves on questions of fairness and equity, finally creates a place where little girls and young women can fully share in what the Boston Globe‘s James Carroll once called the “baseball communion.”

If we do, it will repair our losses and be a blessing to us.

Image Credits: NBC Sports, Feminist Guide to Hollywood

Castro and Miami's Cuban community and what the hell was Ozzie Guillen thinking?

Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen recently lost his freakin’ mind. He told Time that

I love Fidel Castro…I respect Fidel Castro. You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that [SOB] is still there.

Predictably, the world then stopped spinning on its axis.

High prices, meditation in Grapefruit League baseball (how to see a Spring Training game for $15)

by Chip Ainsworth

My first memory of watching a Grapefruit League game is when I was 10 years old in Pompano Beach with my father. The Washington Senators were playing a team at a ballpark so nondescript it was the home of the local high school team. We sat on metal benches next to a pitcher named Jim Duckworth and the game was tied after nine frames. “No charge for extra innings,” said the PA announcer.

Today spring training is big business. At Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, fans pay the same prices for hot dogs and beer they do at big league parks. A lower box seat for a premium game against the Red Sox cost $36. Throw in all the other costs — food, beverages, parking and a program — and the price tag tops out at about $100.

Travel writer John Gunther once wrote how to see Europe on five dollars a day; here’s how to see baseball in Jupiter for fifteen dollars a game. Continue reading

Nota Bene #122: OWStanding

“When I lie on the beach there naked, which I do sometimes, and I feel the wind coming over me and I see the stars up above and I am looking into this very deep, indescribable night, it is something that escapes my vocabulary to describe. Then I think: ‘God, I have no importance. Whatever I do or don’t do, or what anybody does, is not more important than the grains of sand that I am lying on, or the coconut that I am using for my pillow.'” Who said it? Continue reading

Dysfunction, thy name is Red Sox

by Chip Ainsworth

When things go bad, people will use the word dysfunction without knowing its meaning. They know it’s not good and that’s about it. Dysfunctional is something that functions, but functions in pain.

This year’s Red Sox team is a good example of dysfunction. So was the year after the Red Sox won the World Series in 2005. That’s when the Red Sox had become, in the words of a Red Sox executive quoted by author Seth Mnookin, “The biggest bunch of prima donnas ever assembled.”

It was the season that Curt Schilling had nine saves and a 5.69 ERA as the team’s closer, pitcher Matt Clement was hit in the head by a line drive, and pictures of pretty coeds sitting in the laps of Derek Lowe and Bronson Arroyo were making the rounds on the Internet.

Continue reading

Nota Bene #121: Birds of an Ancient Feather

“Television is an invention whereby you can be entertained in your living room by people you wouldn’t have in your house.” Who said it? The answer is at the end of this post. Now on to the links! Continue reading

Out at home!

by Chip Ainsworth

Good morning! Or should it be good mourning?

To the fans still hung over from Boston’s sudden demise at the witching hour on Wednesday, get over it. The Red Sox stopped being a Cinderella team a long time ago. They have the third-highest payroll in baseball and were beaten for the final wild card spot by a Tampa team with the second lowest payroll. Admit it, Evan Longoria ($2.5 million), James Shields ($4.25 million) and Jeremy Hellickson ($418,000) would look better in a Red Sox uniform than their former teammate Carl Crawford ($14.8 million). The team that rebounds from trailing 7-0 to win in extra innings is more fun to root for than the team that blows a nine-game lead in September. Continue reading

#EPICFAIL: the return of the 86ers

For 86 years the Boston sports fan’s image was defined by the Curse of the Bambino and its periodic avatars, like Bucky Fucking Dent. And Aaron Fucking Boone. And Bill Buckner, who later tried to commit suicide by throwing himself in front of a bus, only to have the bus go between his legs (rim shot). The Boston brand was futility, the yearly ritual of hope and its eventual collapse into despair. Continue reading

Nota Bene #120: Crazy Ivan

“If you can make a woman laugh, you’re seeing the most beautiful thing on God’s earth.” Who said it? Continue reading

That '70s Series

by Chip Ainsworth

The first game of the 1975 World Series was an afternoon tilt, played on Saturday, October 11. I didn’t have a ticket, so I watched from inside a watering hole around the corner from Fenway Park called Copperfield’s. There were no sports bars in those days, no Sam Adams beer, big screen TVs, cell phones, twitter, Wally the Green Monster, pink hats, Monster Seats or anything else that revolves around the highly effective but somewhat repulsive marketing tool called Red Sox Nation, which didn’t exist back then either.

ESPN was still four years away, and the only sports talk shows in town were Guy Mainella’s “Calling All Sports” and Eddie Andelman’s “Sports Huddle,” both on WBZ-AM. We read the Globe and the Herald and rooted for guys named Pudge, Yaz and Dewey against a team of future Hall-of-Famers named Bench, Morgan and Rose (who’s still waiting). Continue reading

Watson's Walk

by Timothy Gross

In a series of clicks, darkness shrouded the playing field at Clipper Magazine Stadium in Lancaster, Pa., Saturday. The ballpark’s denizens settled back into their seats, basking in the glow of a few illuminated scoreboards, the concourse’s light and the thrill of another victory for their hometown Barnstormers, a satisfying 9-0 decision punctuated with a rocket sliding up the early-September sky.

As the post-game fireworks commenced, a figure emerged from the home dugout and drifted along the first-base line toward right field. His teammates sauntered to the locker room, laughing and cheering and congratulating each other on the franchise’s first one-hit shutout, a gem tossed by starter Matt Wright. His manager met with a newspaper reporter to discuss the two-hour, 15-minute contest well before first deadline. His fans, entertained by the post-game fireworks, sat and peered out toward the night sky beyond right center field.

All of them, that is, except one. Continue reading

Nota Bene #118: VOTE!

“I am not fit for this office and should never have been here.” Who said it? Continue reading