Posts Tagged ‘opening day’

Opening Day, 2016

April 4, 2016
"Bad Bill" himself

“Bad Bill” himself

“Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this sun of” opening day.–William Shakespeare, Richard III, Act One, Scene 1 (give or take a few words).

“play”–William Shakespeare, Henry V, prologue.

“ball”–William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Act I, Scene 4.

Didn’t know Bad Bill was a baseball fan did you?

Opening Day’s Best Performance

April 5, 2012

Bob Feller

Great bit of baseball trivia for you. In 1940 the Chicago White Sox played a game and lost. At the end of the game every White Sox player had exactly the same batting average as he had when the game started. How’s this possible? OK, take a second and figure it out. Now, the answer. On Opening Day 16 April 1940, Bob Feller of the Cleveland Indians threw a no-hitter against Chicago. When the game began every White Sox player had a batting average of .000. At the end of the game every White Sox player still had a batting average of .000. Feller’s 1940 Opening Day gets my vote as the finest Opening Day performance ever.

By 1940, Feller was no longer the fresh-faced kid from Iowa. He’d played for four years, had won two strikeout (and two walk) titles, finished as high as third in the MVP voting, and led the American League with 24 wins in 1939. The White Sox were, however, in the midst of a long slide, but by 1940 were beginning to show improvement. In 1939 they’d finished in the first division (4th), so Opening Day at home in 1940 held the promise of continued improvement.

Facing Feller was left-hander Eddie Smith. Smith had come to Chicago from the A’s in 1939 and gone 9-11 with an ERA in the mid-threes, had given up more walks than strikeouts, but had more innings pitched than hits allowed. I have no idea why he started game one over Ted Lyons or Johnny Rigney (1939’s aces).

Smith gave up one run in the fourth inning when Cleveland strung together singles to score left fielder Jeff Heath for the sole run of the game. In eight innings he gave up six hits, walked two, and struck out five. Reliever Clint Brown pitched a perfect ninth. Feller, of course, was even better. He pitched a fairly typical Feller game (except for not giving up a hit). He struck out eight and walked five (one man reached on an error for six total baserunners).

Smith went on to a 14-9 season and the ChiSox finished fourth again. Feller led the AL in wins with 27. He also led the league in shutouts (4), strikeouts (261), ERA (2.61), and innings pitched. His WHIP was 1.133 and 1940 became his only pitching triple crown (it was his only ERA title). He went on to 266 wins and the Hall of Fame. Smith finished his career 73-113.

There have been a lot of great Opening Day performances. A lot of guys have hit big home runs, or pitched shutouts. For my money, Feller tops them all.

The Internationale

April 2, 2012

Was this man a baseball fan?

Baseball fans of the world unite (“Arise you workers from your slumbers”) it’s time to stand up for something we desire (“Arise you prisoners of want”). And if this simple plea is ignored (“For reason in revolt now slumbers”) then fandom is going to have to take action (“And at last ends the age of cant”). It’s time to quit allowing the Super Bowl to be a defacto national holiday (“Away with all your superstitions”), stand up for baseball (“Servile masses arise, arise”), and demand Opening Day be made a national holiday (“We’ll change henceforth the old traditions”). We need to do this now (“And spurn the dust to win the prize”).

So let us write our congressmen (“So, comrades, come rally”), write the commissioner (“And the last fight let us face.”). No more Opening Day in Japan, but Opening Day for all fans (“The Internationale unites the human race”). Appeal to the President (“So, comrades, come rally”), don’t be discouraged if he’s off at a basketball game (“And the last fight let us face”). Baseball fans of the world, we can do this (“The Internationale unites the human race”).

Translation of “The Internationale” from www.uv.es/~pla/red.net/intaoter.html There are a dozen or so versions at You Tube if you want to hear it played and sung. Have a happy Opening Day, comrades.

A Magical Day

March 28, 2012

So today is actually Opening Day. Who knew? This begs two questions. One, if Opening Day occurs in Japan at three in the morning is it really Opening Day? And second, if Seattle plays Oakland on Opening Day are Major League teams actually involved in Opening Day? To me Opening Day should always occur at 1 pm in Cincinnati. Anything else is a false beginning. OK, I’m dating myself with that idea, but it was such a good idea that I’m sorry they’ve abandoned it. BTW in case you don’t know, Seattle won 3-1 in extra innings.

But it can’t be all bad, this Opening Day. Frank McCourt and his ditzy wife are finally giving up my Dodgers. They’ve sold the team, pending MLB and bankruptcy court approval, to a group that has Magic Johnson as its front man. That’s probably a good idea. Johnson is, in many ways, “Mr. LA” and having a share of Los Angeles’ first Major League team is appropriate. It seems he’s not going to really run the team, and that’s an even better idea. As far as I know, he has no knowledge how to run a baseball franchise or evaluate talent. Hopefully the new ownership will leave the running of the team to the baseball people and not demand the team pay for haircuts (Hello, Frank McCourt) or have more diversity in the front office (Hello, Mrs. M). The Dodgers have been through a rough patch under a variety of owners and I’ll be pleased (and a bit amazed) if this group gets them back to a premier spot in the National League. The last time they won was 1988 (25 years next season) and as a bit of trivia, the Dodgers have never won a World Series when owned by anyone other than the O’Malley family (1955, 59, 63, 65, 81, 88). Let’s see if Johnson can add some “magic” to the brew and finally have some other owner claim a title.

Opening Day/Night

April 4, 2010

“For now the winter is past, the rains are over and gone. The blossoms have appeared in the land, the time of pruning is come; the song of the turtledove is heard in our land.” (Song of Songs 2:11-12–JPSV)

PLAY BALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!