Here’s a poem from the book Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend. I love the description of the ball as a star or a moon, and while I don’t recall having read much Gertrude Stein, from what I understand of her work, this piece would have suited her.
If Gertrude Stein had played second base
she would have said “there’s only there there”
and putting thoughts in order.
The outfield is the place to dream,
where slow moons fall out of the sky
and rise clean over a green horizon.
The infield is tense as blank paper
and changeable as the cuneiform
of cleats along the path.
Stein would have loved the arc of arm
from short to second
and the spill of one white star
out of a hand.
The first ever American League game was played on April 24, 1901 at the Chicago Cricket Club in front of a crowd of 14,000. The game, which only lasted ninety minutes, featured Roy Patterson of the White Sox, as they defeated the Cleveland Blues (now the Indians), 8-2.
If you know how to cheat, start now.
~Baltimore manager Earl Weaver, to pitcher Ross Grimsley
When I first saw the title to this song, I immediately thought of Crash Davis in Bull Durham. The melody and the lyrics are all pretty depressing, but I suppose Crash’s situation as a whole is pretty depressing too. Had this song existed twenty years earlier, I have no doubt it would have been included in the Bull Durham soundtrack.
In his first Major League at-bat on April 21, 1898, Bill Duggleby of the Philadelphia Nationals hit a grand slam against the Giants. Nicknamed “Frosty Bill,” Duggleby was the first of only four players in Major League history to accomplish this astonishing feat. The second occurrence would not take place until August 31, 2005, when Jeremy Hermida of the Florida Marlins hit a grand slam in his first Major League plate appearance. The other two players to perform the deed are Kevin Kouzmanoff and Daniel Nava.
In case you missed it, things certainly got interesting between the Royals and the Athletics over the weekend. It all started with a high slide into second base by A’s third baseman Brett Lawrie, which sprained the knee of Alcides Escobar. There has been much speculation as to whether or not Lawrie was deliberately trying to take out Escobar. Watching Sunday afternoon’s game on television, the consensus by Royals broadcasters seems to be that a slide like that can only be intentional. Lawrie, of course, insists that he was just playing the game:
We may never know the true story behind the incident, but whatever his intentions were, Lawrie’s slide sparked a firestorm of animosity between the two teams. I had the pleasure of attending Saturday night’s game and experiencing first-hand the overwhelming disdain of the crowd for Lawrie. Any time his name was mentioned, every trip to the plate, every defensive play that he made received a booing that makes Kim Jong Un look popular. Then, in the midst of a disastrous top of the fourth, Yordano Ventura beaned Lawrie, and the benches cleared as the crowd roared its approval:
No punches were thrown, but being in the crowd as this all transpired proved to be an eye-opening experience. I’ve experienced the vindictiveness of Kansas City fans at Chiefs games, but when it comes to Royals games, I had never seen the crowd act so maliciously. Then again, up until last year, every Royals game I had ever attended featured a sparse crowd, and certainly not this level of drama. Even after he was plunked once, the folks around me were screaming for another beaning in Lawrie’s next plate appearance. As harsh as it seems, it’s not hard to understand the feelings of the fans or the Royals. Escobar is a fan favorite in Kansas City, and nobody wants to see a beloved player removed from the lineup under such suspicious circumstances.
Unfortunately, the Royals never recovered from that disastrous inning and lost Saturday’s game in an embarrassingly uninteresting fashion. It was the drama and receipt of the replica AL Champions trophy that kept the trip from being a bust:
Sunday afternoon’s game proved no less interesting where the drama was concerned. Lorenzo Cain was hit by a pitch in the bottom of the first, and Kelvin Herrera threw a pitch behind Lawrie in retaliation during the eighth inning. By the time the game was through, Royals manager Ned Yost, pitching coach Dave Eiland, bench coach Don Wakamatsu, Alcides Escobar, and Kelvin Herrera had all been ejected from the game. On the plus side, the Royals rallied in the bottom of the eighth inning to break a 2-2 tie and win the game and, thus, the series.
The Royals and the A’s next play each other on June 26th in Oakland. It will be interesting to see whether this all carries over.
It ain’t nothin’ till I call it.
~Bill Klem, umpire