Why I Like Baseball

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Archive for December, 2009

This Moment in (Blogging) History

December 29, 2009 By: Cecilia Tan Category: Baseball Musings

This has been an interesting decade to be a baseball writer.

Once upon a time, in a storied era of American history, sportswriters were the creme de la creme of all writers. New York City had dozens of newspapers and even smaller cities boasted multiple papers, often with multiple editions per day. Newspapers were the morning drive radio, and the evening TV news, and CNN and ESPN. Those now-iconic words, “Extra, extra, read all about it,” indicated some big news had happened that wasn’t in the previous edition of the paper you read already that day. Wire services carried the stories of the top writers to newspapers all over the country. Writing was the thing.

The biggest celebrities and and stories of the day were sports figures and the games they played. The Hollywood blockbuster film didn’t yet exist. The first commercial radio license in the USA was granted in 1920, and the first “gold record” for a music album wasn’t awarded until 1941. Think of Jim Thorpe in the 1912 Olympics. The Kentucky Derby has been run since 1875. Jack Dempsey won his first boxing heavyweight title in 1919. And there was baseball, baseball, baseball.

So the best-known writers were the sportswriters, in particular the baseball writers.

But time has marched forward (more…)

DVD Review: The 2009 World Series Film

December 28, 2009 By: Cecilia Tan Category: Baseball Fans and Fandom, Yankee Fan Memories

Title: 2009 New York Yankees: The Official World Series Film
Produced by: Major League Baseball

The first thing I noticed about this DVD is that it’s really good to be the winner. The clips you see that cycle through in the menu while you wait for your boyfriend to finish folding his laundry so you can watch the DVD together? They are all of the Yankees. The only Phillies player you see is the hapless schmuck chasing Damon from second to third. Even Damaso Marte gets a full slo-mo clip, which is better than you can say for Cliff Lee, Ryan Howard, or Chase Utley. This is probably a reflection of the fact that MLB Productions knows darn well that these DVDs are bought by the fans of the winners, and they cater to them. These are the fruits of victory, after all, and I plan to enjoy them all winter.

Yes, in many ways this is less a “World Series film” than it is a Yankees celebration, and given the title of the “film,” and watching the actual DVD, it’s no surprise that it’s very Yankee-heavy. Not only is there a much longer and more extensive recap of the Yankees’ regular season than the Phillies’, but the Yankees’ ALDS and ALCS exploits are sketched in somewhat more fully than the Phils’. In fact, the names of the Phillies’ opponents aren’t even given and the highlights shown from the NLDS and NLCS are more of a montage, not even giving the scores of the games.

I didn’t mind this as an entertainment experience, but part of me feels like if you gloss over too much, the DVDs really can’t serve as much of a historical record. (more…)

And now, Baseball Gift GETTING…

December 25, 2009 By: Cecilia Tan Category: Baseball Fans and Fandom

The group of folks I have Christmas Eve dinner with aren’t the types to say grace, so I said it to myself while I was filling wontons by hand. My personal “grace” went something like this:

Dear God, Creator, Universe, thank you for this winter holiday that brings all friends and family together every year to enjoy the bounty of each other’s company and good food and drink. Thank you for this season of celebration.

And thank you for bringing the World Championship to the New York Yankees, and for this winter season of celebration throughout which we can enjoy the reign of joy of our team. Thank you for the blessings of Hideki Matsui’s bat and for exorcising Alex Rodriguez’s demons and for making our new stadium into a home.

Amen.

So this year my friends pooled their money and got me the gigantic DVD collection of all 65 World Series films!

(I also got this year’s DVD of the 2009 championship, and the 8 DVD set of all the actual games, which will be a lot of fun to watch since I was present at most of the games but haven’t seen the broadcasts of them.)

But back to the complete collection of World Series films. I am thinking I’ll review each year separately, or at least the top 20? But rather than just working my way through chronologically, I thought it might be fun to look first at the years you all nominate as your favorites first.

So please reply to this post with what year(s) you think I should see first and why! (You don’t have to leave a real name and email address if you don’t want to, it just has to look plausible to the software.)

Reviews will come soon!

Baseball Gift Giving: Your Suggestions

December 03, 2009 By: Cecilia Tan Category: Baseball Fans and Fandom

So, I find myself with three baseball-loving people to buy gifts for in particular this year, my father, my brother, and my nephew (my brother’s 4-year-old son). Since the Yankees have just won the World Series, there’s NO END of World Series tchotchke I can buy them. Or at least, for my dad and brother, whereas my nephew declared this summer that he is a Red Sox fan. Yes, the young one has decided he must strike his own baseball-fan identity. My brother is a saint for treating his son with absolute tolerance and openness over this declaration, although that didn’t mean he didn’t lay on the pro-yankee stance pretty thick when we went to the Stadium in August. (Actually, it was my father who laid it on the thickest… and by the end of the day my nephew had actually decided to buy a yankees hat for himself, although that didn’t mean he gave up on the Red Sox either…)

Anyway, I know the likelihood of all members of the family giving each other the World Series DVD and such are high. I want to avoid duplicating.

So, what are your suggestions for gifts for each age group, dear readers? baseball-related, but not necessarily Yankees or World Series related. What are you getting for your loved ones? (Hoping of course that they don’t read this blog so they won’t see…)

Comment below please! (A name and email are required to comment, but they don’t have to be real.)

(P.S. There are also plenty of baseball-loving women in my family. But I tend to find other common enthusiasms with them to share, whereas baseball is the big one for the guys.)

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