all things baseball. if you swing that way (2 Viewers)


Art should be its own hammer.
Reaper Crew
Founding member
here's where we get all manly and poetic and all that. and discuss all things baseball.

I'll start.

I'm an Expos fan since the mid 70s.

when they left Montreal, I followed them to Washington. where they continue to disappoint. I predict a 72-90 season for them this year.
Lifelong St. Louis Cardinals fan here. Over my lifetime, they have averaged a pennant about every 7 years and an actual championship every once in a while, so I'm luckier than other fans in this city with their teams. Love catching games at both parks because they balance each other out in pluses and minuses. Basically, Wrigley Field is beautiful to look at, with tons of history and tradition behind it, with very few bad viewing angles. It is also cramped, dingy, with bad plumbing, ridiculous bathroom accommodations and scary chunks of concrete falling everywhere just to keep you on your toes. Sox Park is sterile and functional, with little aesthetic appeal, but plenty of parking/public train access and great food and beer choices. You can also take a piss in a toilet that was designed post-WWII, which is nice. Both parks are very bicycle-friendly, which I appreciate.

So there's my chamber-of-commerce pitch (low and inside!).

More baseball chatter from me later. Great thread idea...
I'm a Mets fan these days.
Baseball is in my blood. I was raised in minor league parks all over the country (dad played int the Pittsburgh system). My uncle played for many years in the big leagues in the 70's, I hung with him there during some homestands. Me, I played division one college, University of Houston. Many of my teammates, roomies and opponents played in the bigs.
But alas, Art was my calling; and despite my ability to hit a high fastball 500 feet, I had to follow the calling of my soul (and I could not hit the curveball nor left-handed pitching in general...oh, and I was slow, had no arm and didnt know the rules of the game all that well).
Anyhow...I LOVE baseball and cant wait for life to begin again in April. The evening news will have purpose and the wonder of events will tease me all day long.
Uh-oh, here comes the girl... I don't claim to be an expert to any degree, but 2 things I know: I really like going to baseball games, and the PGH Pirates SUCK! But to sit at the park on a warm summers day with an over-priced beer in hand...ahhh...there is no other fun quite like it!:)
scribbler, who was your uncle? any music loving, Harley riding big leaguer is ok in my books.
I don't know if they made cards back in 1917. But we have tons of newspaper clippings, etc. Especially from his minor league days. And photos all over my boy's bedroom. And, contracts signed by Connie Mack, etc. Baseballs; and even the Louisville Slugger Bat with his name on it from back then. All private family collectible nostalgia. He wasn't a star, but played. What I find most interesting are the photos with grass up to his ankles. Field of dreams, for real, if you know what I mean. It was his second job, which was common back then...
I have cards going back to 1910 (tobacco cards).
I used to have my uncles bats but of course I played with them and broke them, same with much the gear he gave me. Used it it should be.
Tim Johnson spent some time in the Expos organization as a coach in the mid '90s. I remember him.

he must've hated seeing Robin Yount.
Yep, after an all-rookie season in 73, Yount made sure Uncle Tim stayed on the bench thereafter. So it goes. He did have one of the best arms from short of his day and was know to to take gruesome hit for the sake of the double-play.
So, my fellow baseball fans, who do you consider to be the all-time Home Runs leader and the single-season Home Run king ?
Yeah, I wish the stats didnt get all messed up by the roid era. I have a feeling Bonds and A-Rod could have broken the record without the enhancers; but we'll never know.

My favorite home run hitter of all time is Dave Kingman (who I unfortunateled modeled my approach to the sport after). I still dream about driving a fastball excessively out of the park. Theres no feeling like it.
Yeah, I wish the stats didnt get all messed up by the roid era. I have a feeling Bonds and A-Rod could have broken the record without the enhancers; but we'll never know.
We do know. They did not break the records.

Until they show that they can do it without pharmaceutical enhancement, those are different records and stats, and should be treated as such.

And those primadonna fuckers should also have to play in wool uniforms and $15 shoes after traveling all night on a bus, and hit those dead old handmade balls. Then you can compare. Otherwise, the giants of the past will always be superior. To my mind, at least.

Like Wilt Chamberlain averaging 50 points a game in 61-62, while wearing a pair of fucking canvas Converse All Stars, and all worn out from banging three women the night before (and he didn't have to rape any of them - <cough>Kobe</cough>).
So, my fellow baseball fans, who do you consider to be the all-time Home Runs leader and the single-season Home Run king ?

Purest stroke ever: Mickey Mantle. If he didn't get hurt, Roger Maris wouldn't be alone at 61. And if cows had wings... But for raw power and grace of swing, the Mick. The only one ever to hit the lights (and almost knock it out) of now dead The House That Ruth Built.
Sound like anyone we know?

Like Wilt Chamberlain averaging 50 points a game in 61-62, while wearing a pair of fucking canvas Converse All Stars, and all worn out from banging three women the night before (and he didn't have to rape any of them - <cough>Kobe</cough>).
Don't get me started. My Pistol Pete Maravich thread, the greatest hoops player ever to wear canvas sneaks, will be born...with much admiration to the most creative player to have ever passed and shot an orange ball.
Yep, Maravich was my favorite player growing up too...of course, Wilt was a giant amongst children. The game was small and low to the ground. Few could even dunk. But its funny how whenever the chips were down Bill Russel (the only other 7 footer) stopped him cold.
It could be that Lebron will turn out to be the greatest of all time...even better than Jordan.

It doesnt seem productive to compare eras in sports because the level of athletics has gotten so increasingly better. But some superstars are simply superhuman and would have excelled no matter what (Mantle, Mays, Clemente, Ruth, Gherig etc,).

Its a damn shame that the roid things has cast a shadow over most of the great careers of late. I'm not sure the game can recover - anyone who has an amazing year will be suspected from now on.
My two HR champs are Aaron and Maris also. This steroids era has disgusted me but so has the insane salary explosion that helped fuel it. (They actually fed each other.) 1998 was something I got caught up in, I admit, and I suspended my disbelief like a fool. But Mark McGwire's ridiculous "testimony" before Congress changed everything. I hope he never makes the Hall of Fame. Tony LaRussa is a jackass who defends McGwire to this day ! Ha !

I had the pleasure of seeing Aaron play with Atlanta vs. the Cards at the old Busch Stadium circa '70 or '71. Too young to remember much about Maris, but I know he wrapped up his career with the Redbirds with two trips to the post-season in '67 and '68.

When Bonds broke the record I was glad to see that Aaron refused to appear in person and instead taped a very bland and robotic-sounding "congratulatory" speech. That worked just fine for me.
Looking forward to tonight's Cubs vs. White Sox exhibition game (WGN-TV 9 for those with certain cable/satellite systems). Watch for the Sox's Alexei Ramirez (SS/2B). He is the antithesis of today's muscle-bound steroid freak. Speedy infielder with respectable power (21 HR last year) and smart base-running skills. I doubt he's ever seen an illegal syringe or a weight room, for that matter. And if he weighs more than 155 lbs., I'll eat my baseball cap.
In the eighties weight training became a normal thing for a baseball player to do. the desire to get results from lifting weights causes an individual to think about diet and lifestyle. Players began to consider their drinking (and smoking) habits and sought out the usual suppliments (protien powders and amino acids etc). Unfortunately the shady characters eventually followed the smell of money offering up the fast track to maximizing physical potential. So down the tubes went the credibility and integrity.
Amazing gains can be made by a dedicated lifting regimen, the roids buy you far less than you would think. No enhancer can make chicken salad outta chicken shit, the ability was already there in all of the offenders. Its a damn shame (again) that these individuals sacrificed so much for so little.

Kingman hit balls farther than anyone...quite unmeasurable blasts. 6'6 200 lbs (a beanpole). Pure unsupplimented power at its best.
I'm not very familiar with baseball. Is it true it is the most popular sport in the US? more so than football or basketball? I'm sure I have heard that somewhere, but it could have just come from that part of my brain the congures up vague/false facts!

I used to enjoy rounders (laugh it up) at school. I used to be pretty good actually at batting, sadly the last time I played I seemed to have lost all my timing and co-ordination. ah well. I was gonna try and get into to baseball when I was younger. I went as far as buying a glove and a ball but I think that was mainly cos' I liked the look of the equipment since I never furthered the interest.

I know John Fante writes about baseball in a few of his books. Apparantly he was a pretty fine player in his youth. I think before his death he was planning to write a novel about a female baseball player trying to make the big time. This surprised me since his books are so male orientated but it would have been interesting to read if it had ever materialized.
Baseball features heavily in 'Wait Until the Spring Bandini'. '1933 was a Bad Year' is about a baseball player too iirc. Didn't know about that other book he'd planned though. I love John Fante, I must say.
Yeah, along with catholicism, gambling, bricklaying, family ties etc. it's one of those re-occuring themes in his books. I think it was 'Wine of Youth' had a a whole short story about a baseball player who leaves home with a friend to become a big time baseball player. The naivety and enthuthiasm of the two children as they travel the box cars to fulfill this dream made me reminded me of my un-realistic chidhood dreams to become a pro-football player. At that age you think anything is possible, you really think you can make it but then the pessimism of teenagehood creeps in and destroys everything.

I love 'Wine of Youth', I could relate to so many of the stories. Man I wish there was a Fante forum like this one, but there's nothing!
There's just such a purity and truth to his work, isn't there? He really wrote from the heart. Another reason to love Bukowski is that he introduced me to this other great writer in John Fante.
Yeah it's like he doesn't mull over thoughts or feelings, they just go straight to paper from his heart regardless of how absurd or irrational they might appear at first, but it's the honesty is something that strikes me, more so than in Bukowski's novels.

I actually did it all the other way round. I came across 'Ask The Dust', got into Fante then after reading Buk's intro to 'Ask The Dust' gave him a shot. I love them both for the similar reasons, yet they are quite different. I couldn't name my fave Fante book as I love them all, but there's something about 'Dreams from Bunker Hill' that stays on my mind, maybe it was the circumstances it was written under but it got me that book.

Ooops, sorry for polluting the baseball thread everyone!:o my bad.
'Dreams from Bunker Hill' is fantastic I must say, probably my favourite, although like you, I don't really have one. Apologies too for hijacking the thread.
For that photo, alone ! A very crafty and gutsy pitcher he was. That weird delivery he had - turning his back to the plate and pausing before spinning and throwing - was developed in response to an arm injury he hid for as long as possible. He knew he was losing velocity, but figured he could fuck with the batter's timing with an unorthodox wind-up. It worked. Just read some background on him and his MLB debut was spectacular. He shutout the Yankees in 1964 on 4 hits and 11 strikeouts in Yankee Stadium. His debut. 23 years old. Sheee-i-i-i-t.....
Let me just re-cap the Cardinals 9th inning today against the Pirates. Score was 4-2, Cards on top, and out comes rookie closer Jason Motte.

Lead-off double...blah blah....RBI single...blah....another double.... a hit batsman...blah, blah, blah....and then a bases-clearing double....

Cards lose 6-4 and the future of baseball in St. Louis, the career of Jason Motte, and democracy itself is now in question.

How was your Opening Day ?

12-6 loss to the Marlins. the start of another dreadful year.

starting pitching was shaky, bullpen was worse. ugh.

the only upside was listening to the Nationals announcers riff on the new IHOP (sponsor) loaded hash browns.
Let's go Red Sox.

I became a hardened townie after living in Brooklyn for ten years. Shame about the Expo's, I remember well the excitement of '67 and the advent of Canadian baseball. How fascinating it all Bill Lee ended his day's there.
Bill "Spaceman" Lee - one of the game's most colorful characters. Yeah, it sucks that Montreal could never quite get over the hump as far as playoff baseball is concerned. In the late 80's/ early 90's they drafted a lot of great young talent including Larry Walker, Moises Alou, and Randy Johnson, as I recall. I know there were others....

Lee made me think of Dock Ellis, pitcher for the early 70's Pittsburgh Pirates, who threw a no-hitter on LSD. Just did a little googling on his life and background, and it turns out he asked a poet to collaborate on his auto-biography Dock Ellis In The Country Of Baseball. Don't know if it's any good. The poet was Donald Hall, and I found one of his poems that looked pretty good (to me anyway).


In October of the year,
he counts potatoes dug from the brown field,
counting the seed, counting
the cellar's portion out,
and bags the rest on the cart's floor.

He packs wool sheared in April, honey
in combs, linen, leather
tanned from deerhide,
and vinegar in a barrel
hoped by hand at the forge's fire.

He walks by his ox's head, ten days
to Portsmouth Market, and sells potatoes,
and the bag that carried potatoes,
flaxseed, birch brooms, maple sugar, goose
feathers, yarn.

When the cart is empty he sells the cart.
When the cart is sold he sells the ox,
harness and yoke, and walks
home, his pockets heavy
with the year's coin for salt and taxes,

and at home by fire's light in November cold
stitches new harness
for next year's ox in the barn,
and carves the yoke, and saws planks
building the cart again.

Anybody ever tried the Internet deal ? I decided to use some of my tax refund to treat myself to it this year and I regret it already. Well, I should say that I regret treating myself to the Premium Package, which doesn't make a damn bit of difference most of the time. I'm supposed to have DVR functionality and fancy/schmancy screen resolution, but I'm usually watching the basic broadcast because the fancy shit doesn't work.

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