Archive for the ‘baseball history’ Category
I had a fantastic 30th birthday. Aside from having a great time with better friends than I deserve, I got the best present I’ve ever gotten. This:
I mentioned to my friend that I’ve been looking for a print of that picture for a long, long time. It’s the famous, “Rick Monday Saves the Flag” picture. The story is told well at the wikipedia page. Rick Monday is a Marine who had a 19 year Major League career as an outfielder. On April 25, 1976 while he was playing for the Cubs, visiting the Dodgers, a coupla hippies went onto the field to burn an American flag. Just before they put match to lighter fluid sogged flag, he snatched it up and a cameraman caught the moment.
There’s nowhere I know of to get a print of that picture and I’ve looked for a while. My good friend heard of my search and tracked down the photographer (Dead End: He’s dead), the newspaper that printed the picture (Dead End: Bankruptcy), and searched and searched until she found the negative of the picture in the Los Angeles County archives. They blew it up and mailed it to her. She framed it for me and gave me the most thoughtful present I’ve ever gotten. She had to sign releases that it wouldn’t be publicly displayed—if not, I’d include in this post a picture of where it’s hanging in my living room, right below the 2006 Cardinals WS picture.
It’s a treasured thing for me now. It’s funny… My dad, who volunteered for service in the Army during the Vietnam conflict has no problem with people burning flags. I’ve never served anyone but myself but it pisses me off when I see people protesting in that way. Hell, I get pissed off when I see people flying the flag the wrong way. Monday says: “If you’re going to burn the flag, don’t do it around me. I’ve been to too many veterans’ hospitals and seen too many broken bodies of guys who tried to protect it.”
In any case, I had a great birthday and had a blast hanging out with good friends. And tonight, I sang some hilarious songs at karaoke. While on the way to get a new driver’s license, I heard a terrible song that I needed to sing tonight, Last Christmas, by Wham!. Also brought back a classic from the Cutting Crew.
You’ll agree after reading the first four words of this column.
That is all.
Adam Wainwright’s a complete pitcher. He’s got a deep repertoire, he fields his position well, and he hits. Great game last night.
In this article about Chris Carpenter’s recovery from elbow inflammation (we’ll get important news tomorrow about whether the swelling returns after his bullpen session today), Matthew Leach passes on a bit of historical information:
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Cardinals are the first defending World Series winners since the 1914 Philadelphia Athletics to start a season by losing the first three games and score a total of two or fewer runs in those games.
If you’re keeping score at home, the 1914 A’s finished 99-53 and won the American League pennant. Alas, they made a poor showing in the 1914 World Series, in which they were the first team to suffer a four-game sweep at the hands of Boston’s “Miracle” Braves.
In the biggest news to come out of the Golden Baseball League since Jose Canseco signed last season with the San Diego Surf Dawgs or perhaps even since Nigel Thatch (A.K.A. Leon from the Budweiser Commercials) was traded for a pallet of Budweiser beer, our ill-fated young star rookie from the past,
Bud Smith, has been sold to the Diamondbacks by the Long Beach Armada.
Bud Smith, you should remember, threw a no-hitter as a 21-year-old rookie on September 3rd, 2001 against the Padres. Rickey Henderson was the leadoff hitter for the Friars, Ray Lankford roamed centerfield, and Tony Gwynn grounded out 6-3 in a pinch-hit appearance. The next season, he was traded to the Phillies along with Placido Polanco for Scott Rolen, the best 3rd baseman in the game and the player that I’d point to when explaining to a kid how baseball ought to be played. Shoulder trouble sprang up for Smith almost immediately after the trade and he has pitched only 8 2/3 innings above A ball since (3 IP at AAA in 2004, 5 2/3 at AAA in 2005 with the Twins’ organization).
Bud’s 27 for this season, and his peripherals with Long Beach last season were nearly identical to the numbers he put up at AAA before his callup in 2001. The Golden State League is a far cry from AAA, but he’s still young and had a strong, healthy season last year that it’s likely he’ll be able to put his considerable talent to use in the major leagues this year. Especially when the Snakes’ beat writer includes in his articles silly pictures of his team’s presumed 5th starter—nice of him to give poor Enrique Gonzalez a little something extra to make him uncomfortable on the mound.
I’ll be pulling for Bud to make his long-awaited comeback this year—just not during the first week of July or September 7th-9th.
(You don’t think Bud or Jose took part in this program while with Long Beach, do ya?)
The Gameday link for today will be here, the starting pitcher matchup is Looper vs. Penny. Intriguing, given the Dodgers’ dangling of Brad Penny. There won’t be any gameday audio—a shame, since I would have liked to listen to Vin Scully call the game while working on today’s talk. Who knew that Fernando Valenzuela is the color commentator for the Dodgers’ spanish language broadcast? [Update: I stand corrected—there is Gameday audio out of LA.]
Other news of the morning:
It looks like Jamey Wright has a good chance of making the Rangers starting five.
A pretty touching story at the Phillies page about Lou Brock. He’s writing a book, The Pitch, about Johnny Sain pitching to Jackie Robinson in the first ever MLB at-bat by an African-American, April 15th, 1947. He was at the Phillies camp to interview Ryan Howard for the book. The article talks about Brock’s non-verbal interview with Sain at a nursing home a few months before he passed away. I highly recommend you read the article and also click through the “Johnny Sain” link above that goes to a tribute to Sain from many of his colleagues. He was a truly great man, and I’m looking forward to reading Brock’s book. Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey get a lot of credit for integrating baseball—rightfully so, of course—but players like Pee Wee Reese and Johnny Sain made important contributions as ballplayers and men of decency that have gone largely unnoted.
Other games of note today:
‘Stros at Gnats: Roy Oswalt vs. Shawn Hill
Braves @ Tigers: Smoltz vs. Bonderman
Giants @ Seattle: Matty Mo vs. Felix Hernandez
Pirates @ Twins: Tony Armas Jr. vs. Boofsnicker Bonser
Speaking of Penny, this sounds more like a clever joke about how much he enjoyed Europe than an example of dumb-jockery.