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Monthly Archives: December 2008

The Strawberry Rocker Soap Opera

(Originally posted on February 25, 2000 and a fascinating look at the news of the day… Reposted on new URL on December 21, 2008.)

The news is fairly well-plastered these days with two types of negative articles about baseball. Those about Darryl Strawberry’s relapse into cocaine use, and those on John Rocker’s December Sports Illustrated interview, where he offended just about everyone with his racist, homophobic, and generally ass-headed comments.

It has been interesting to see how few people have come out in support of Rocker, at least in the mainstream press (I don’t read the KKK’s newspaper so I wouldn’t know…) — Ted Turner, media giant and owner of the Braves, who has been in controversies over his own foot-in-mouth statements, basically said, well you have to give the guy another chance. Several ballplayers have also come out saying that we can give Rocker at least a little benefit of the doubt for being dumb enough to act like a tough guy the only way he knew how, even if he doesn’t really feel that way “in his heart”–as Rocker said in his statement of apology. Hank Aaron didn’t exactly embrace Rocker, but cited his youth and inexperience with the spotlight of fame. So, if you want to give the guy the widest possible leeway, he appears redeemable. If you want to take his comments at face value, though, you have to pretty much believe that white militias everywhere will soon be carrying flags with his face on them. Where will John Rocker be in ten years, mentally, and ethically? Will anything change?

I’m asking myself those same questions about Strawberry…

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Waiting For Spring Training…

(Originally posted on February 20, 2000. Reposted to new site on December 19, 2008.)

I’ve said before how I “can’t wait” for the season to start. (Or even for Spring training to start!)

Going to see games at Spring Training is something that, when I was a kid, I never thought I would get to do. We would see little news bits about it on tv, and for some reason I had it in my head that only a few really special people ever went to Spring Training. Now I realize it’s the special few who either live in Florida, or who can surf the Internet for tickets months in advance, take time off to fly down there, and, as the Nike commercial says, “Just Do It.” There are serious advantages to being an adult and not a kid anymore…

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I Need A Scorecard

(Originally published on February 19, 2000. Reposted to new site on December 18, 2008.)

I always liked going to Yankee games as a kid, even if I didn’t really understand what was going on all the time. Being with my Dad, the excitement of the crowd, having a picnic lunch in the stands or getting to stay out late, those were plenty of reasons to like going to the game without anything to do with baseball itself.

But when I really started to enjoy watching the game, was when Dad and I started keeping a scorecard. He’d score one inning, and then I’d score one inning, and we’d go like that for the whole game.

I think I must have been about ten years old when we started. We were at Yankee Stadium early–we often arrived early enough to see batting practice beforehand–and we had bought that day’s program and scorecard book…

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Baseball Book Recommendations

Today I’ll be reviewing four books out of the many I’ve received this year. Three I’d say would make good holiday gifts, while the last one is more of a book one should read for yourself.

  • The Greatest Game, by Richard Bradley
  • It Takes More Than Balls, by Deidre Silva and Jackie Koney
  • The Spitball Knuckleball Book, by Tom Mahl
  • Bash Brothers, by Dale Tafoya

The Greatest Game: The Yankees, the Red Sox, and the Playoff of ’78
by Richard Bradley

There are some classic legends and tales that can be told over and over again in many different ways, and even though we know how they end, each telling is just as captivating. The Christmas story, the sinking of the Titanic, the Odyssey… and the story of how the Yankees and Red Sox did battle on that fateful October day in 1978.

Bradley is a fluid and captivating writer who has researched all the interesting backstories and the intriguing characters (like managers Don Zimmer and Billy Martin), and retells not only the events of the game, but also how the significance of the game fit in a highly turbulent era for baseball and the country… (click title above to read all reviews)

Books & More Books

So, I was floating through the blogosphere and came across this list of “Top Ten Greatest Yankee Fan Books” on the Yankzology blog. And my book is, amazingly, at number one. Of course, the book is called “The 50 Greatest Yankee Games,” so maybe having “greatest” in the title skewed the results? I’m still amazed. The other 9 books on the list are pretty much ALL in the bibliography of my book, and on my shelf. (Well, OK, 7 out of the 9.)

I’ve got a stack of books I’ve been working my way through which I’ll be reviewing here ASAP, partly in case anyone wants gift-giving advice for Yankee-loving family members this Xmas.

THE GREATEST GAME: The Yankees, the Red Sox, and the Playoff of ’78, by Richard Bradley
BASH BROTHERS by Dale Tafoya
a retrospective on Yankee Stadium
and a few others will all be reviewed soon!

On Rehab, Injury, and Work

(Originally appeared on February 18, 2000. Reposted at new URL on December 10, 2008.)

So, today spring training gets underway in earnest. So many of the articles I’ve been reading have been about the players who have rehabbed from injury or surgery during the winter. Even Cal Ripken! Pitchers galore. And more.

I’ve been “recovering” from a back injury since 1996, so I can say something about strength, or lack thereof, and about how it takes a kind of focused mindfulness to come back from injury.

I’ve been practicing tae kwon do for over a decade now. And I’ve had my set-backs because of injuries. Doing something physical at a very high skill level, I’ve come to appreciate just how hard it must be for some of these players. (Click post title above to read entire article.)

On Stadiums

(Originally posted on February 17, 2000 and re-posted to the new URL on December 10, 2008)

I’ve waxed poetic before about Yankee Stadium, and well, I’m about to do it again. Yankee Stadium embodies, for me, the Platonic Ideal stadium. If my baseball history is right, it was the first three tier stadium, as well. Add to that the fact that it is The House That Ruth Built, and the tremendous amount of baseball history that has been made in that park, and, well… I could go on and on. (But won’t.)

It does occur to me, though, that my views on Yankee Stadium are a bit skewed by the fact that, well, I’ve never really been anywhere else. There was one year when the stadium was being refurbished in the seventies. I remember going to Shea for a Yankee game that time–but most of what I remember about it was that it poured rain. And I do mean poured; Niagara-like spouts of water were shooting from the upper decks. We arrived home sopping wet and wringing out our clothes. I was probably about seven years old at the time… (click post title above to read entire post)

On “Diamond Girls:” Female Baseball Fandom

(Originally posted February 16, 2000, reposted to new blog on December 9, 2008)

So, I never really thought about the difference between female baseball fans and male baseball fans, until the whole Derek Jeter thing.

Let me explain. Growing up as a kid, I was a tomboy, and was always doing this that the “guys” did: I ran cross country track, and played the sousaphone (tuba), and I was the one girl in my fifth grade class who traded baseball cards. (Because I only cared about the Yankees, I didn’t mind letting the guys bid on my other hot players who were non-Yankees… the going rate for a “trade” back then was a penny a card, or a card of equal “value” for a card… which meant someone like Reggie Jackson wouldn’t go for less than 75 cents, and could get bid up to about $3. In milk money, that was a significant amount! I was also my class’ treasurer… and I made a killing shedding the Dodgers, Reds, and Mets I didn’t want…)

Anyway, the thing is, I didn’t really think of baseball fandom as a masculine thing, particularly. And I still don’t, especially not with all the women I always see when I go to games. And they’re not there as tag alongs to their boyfriends or husbands.

Then again, in New York, maybe they are just there to see Derek Jeter… (click post title above to read entire essay)

Why I Like The Red Sox (no really!)

(Originally published on February 15, 2000, and reposted to the new blog on December 7, 2008)

OK, OK, I’ve talked before about being a Yankee fan in Red Sox Land. It’s tough, let me tell you. I go into the copy shop where I do thousands of dollars in business a year wearing my Yankees cap, and they give me s**t about it. The give me the evil eye in the post office, too. And yet, I see more people wearing Yankee caps both here in Boston and in my travels around the country, than I see of any other hat.

But really, although I was ecstatic, of course, that the Yanks went all the way and won it in ’99… wouldn’t a Red Sox/Mets series have been an incredible sight to behold?

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Why Baseball is Better than the Movies

(Originally posted on February 14, 2000, reposted to at new site on December 6, 2008)

There are a lot of reasons why I like baseball. I’ve already talked about formative experiences of youth, bonding with my father, and so on.

But I think there’s more to it than that, and this has to do with sports in general. Because in recent years I’ve found my interest in all sports becoming more intense.

It began with Olympic coverage in 1996–frankly, I was disgusted with it. Every bar or restaurant we went into (we had no tv then and we still have no cable or regular reception), we were glued to it. But the network had tried so hard to create a “story” around each American athlete, that it actually worked counter to the drama of the games themselves. The drama and suspense was ruined because you knew that the three people they would show you profiles of would be the three medalists, and they didn’t show you enough of the actual competition and games, since they were spending so much time on the interviews and background features. I was, to say the least, annoyed. And I realized that a lot of the drama in sports is on the playing field itself…

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