Back at the Stadium for a six-game homestand tomorrow. Can’t wait. There’s only so many times you can wander into the Ring Room at your apartment, make sure all five are still there, then brush them off with a tiny feather duster. It gets boring and repetitive, and then suddenly you’re thinking about Pedroia’s beard again. It’s good to stay busy with games that count.
So many quotable quotes.
You kind of miss the days when Mr. Steinbrenner would blast a guy in the paper after a game like this. But he’s probably up there in the sky calling whatever the Heaven version of the New York Post is and just like shouting crazy expletives at the beat angel, getting all red in the face, saying rude things about Freddy’s mother right now. That’s how he’d want to spend eternity, you know … maybe also firing Billy Martin every afternoon. It’s just a nice thing to think about. It takes the mind off a tough game like this one.
It’s a long season but what Mark Lisanti has here could be the 2012 triple crown winner.
“The House That Ruth Built” — Yankee Stadium. A fitting nickname, the location of all those magical Babe Ruth seasons. But wait. When Yankee Stadium opened its doors in 1923 it was already known as “The House That Ruth Built”, talk about clout. The very first Opening Day at the new stadium, Babe Ruth christened the park with a three-run homer off Howard Ehmke to the rightfield bleachers. New York beat the Red Sox, 4-1. The same Red Sox club who traded Ruth to New York three years earlier. That’s one hell of an Opening Day.
Forget the singular non-series game that opened Miami’s new ballpark. Forget the crazy regular season games played over a week ago in Tokyo. Today is Opening Day in the MLB or at least it should be. Spare me the Opening Week stuff. I’m sure it has something to do with tv deals but if C&H were in charge we’d do everything in our power to have as many teams play on that first Thursday as possible. From 1:00 EST until as late as it takes in the West. The MLB should own this day, like the first day of the NCAA tournament. Game after game and it should start with the Reds playing at home.
“I get the ball, I throw the ball, and then I take a shower.”
— Mariano Rivera
Mariano Rivera is a strike throwing, shower taking machine. Last year, his 17th year in the majors, Mariano struck out 60, had a .9 WHIP and minuscule 1.91 ERA. Much to the chagrin of the rest of the AL East, Rivera is ready to have another classic Mo type of year at the ripe old age of 92. He cannot be stopped.
Reggie Jackson lived for backing his mouth up with his bat. Look no further than his famous 1977 World Series performance, one of the most dominating in history. Mr. October hit three home runs in three pitches in consecutive at bats. It’s the stuff legends are made of. Here’s Reg talking about the third home run.
“The next guy came in, Charlie Hough. And I had a tremendous record against Wilbur Wood and other knuckleball pitchers. And I looked around and said, ‘Nobody must know in the dugout that I kill knuckleballers.’ I couldn’t wait for him to be announced because once you’re announced, you gotta pitch. When he got announced I had a big smile on my face and I said, ‘I gotta chance to pop another one.’ And the first pitch he threw was boom.”
(Source: Sports Illustrated)
On Monday afternoon Mariano Rivera passed Trevor Hoffman with career save number 602. As one would expect, Mo is now the major league career leader in saves. Not bad for a guy who throws only one pitch. In true Mariano fashion he struck out the side to record the save. Unfortunately, this was a makeup game against the Minnesota Twins so he achieved this feat in front of a modest crowd. As mild mannered as Rivera is, I doubt he minded in the least. It does seem fitting that Joe Girardi, the current New York Yankees manager, was the catcher the night Rivera recorded his first career save back in May of 1996.
The Mick’s injury-riddled baseball career is well-chronicled—he suffered from osteomyelitis, a painful bone disease that would later exempt him from military service during the Korean War—but Jane Leavy claims in her Mantle biography, The Last Boy, to have found what really happened to his knee in ‘51.
From a NY Times article by Richard Sandomir:
Her research into Mantle’s injury history rejects his claim that his right knee was operated on after he fell over a drain cover at Yankee Stadium while stopping to let Joe DiMaggio catch a fly ball in the 1951 World Series. When Mantle had surgery two years later, there was no established procedure to fix a torn anterior cruciate ligament, which she believes Mantle played on for the rest of his career.
The orthopedic surgeon who analyzed the case history that Leavy compiled said it was likely that Mantle compensated for the torn A.C.L. with what the orthopedist called “neuromuscular genius.”
Mantle went on to play 17 more seasons, won three MVPs, hit 523 homers, stole 145 bases, played 12,000 innings in center field, and was widely regarded as the “fastest man to first base”. The very notion he did this in spite of a torn A.C.L. is nothing short of mind-boggling.
July 5th, 1924. In a game against the Washington Senators, Babe Ruth was knocked unconscious when he collided with a concrete wall while chasing down a fly ball. Out cold for five minutes, Ruth was awakened by the Yankees trainer and insisted on staying in the game. Despite a bruised pelvic bone and most certainly battling post-concussion syndrome, Ruth hit a double in his next at-bat and went 3-for-4 the next day with two doubles and a home run. (Damn.)
In the 1920s, you couldn’t keep a grown man from ballin’.
The Captain gets his 3,000th.
The year of 1969 will always be remembered for Woodstock, the first trip to the Moon, Charles Manson and Ted Williams’ return to baseball. Tedd took the no good Washington Senators and turned them into a winning team. One of the team’s biggest supporters was also new in town, Richard Nixon. Here he is throwing out the first pitch at the Senators’ opening day game against the New York Yankees.
I convinced myself this is pertinent since Chitwood & Hobbs is spending the day in Washington D.C.
The Subway Series starts back up in a little under four hours from now. Unfortunately the series hasn’t been the same since the Roger Clemens vs. Mike Piazza feud stopped being the main event.
I saw him catch the bat head and you know he was just so geeked up that I just think that he was kind of like catch it and get this crap outta here, so that’s what I feel like.
— Mike Piazza
Eloquent as always, Mr. Piazza. My assumption is that “geeked up” must be baseball code for roid rage.
Before Eli Manning there was another quarterback who refused to play for the team that wanted to draft them. In 1983 top prospect John Elway was selected number one overall by the Baltimore Colts. But John Elway didn’t want to play for the Colts.
The Colts, like all teams that have the first pick in the draft, were among the worst teams in the league. They also had a head coach with a tough guy reputation. The thing that made this a story was the fact that John Elway had leverage. Two years earlier Elway had been drafted by the New York Yankees. He had spent the last two summers playing baseball in the Yankees minor league team.
I don’t want to be a jerk or anything, but we [meaning Elway, his agent Marvin Demoff and his father Jack, the head football coach at San Jose State] have been telling you for three months I’m not going to play in Baltimore. Right now, it looks like I’ll be playing baseball with the Yankees. [The Colts] knew I held a straight flush and still they called me on it.
— John Elway
It would be interesting to see how the media would treat Elway if this happened today. Eli Manning got plenty of heat for his draft day stunts so I assume the same would be true for Elway. Maybe even more so. With Elway coming out of Stanford and only wanting to play for a contender he would probably be labeled as entitled. Or maybe even labeled as soft for not wanting to play for a tough coach, which in hindsight couldn’t be further from the truth.
Rivera has said that the cutter simply appeared one day in 1997, like a divine visitation. He threw the fastball, and it cut.
— James Traub
I really think the MLB has done a huge disservice this year. They opened up season on Thursday with only six games on the schedule. Dan Patrick said it on his radio show - the MLB needs to own the day. Stack as many games into one day as you can and make that warrant our full attention. Why didn’t the season begin on a Monday this year or even that odd Sunday night game?
Furthermore I’d like to see the season pushed up by a week or two. Let’s make sure the snow has stopped falling in the northern cities. And let’s make it end before November 1. I know the MLB needs to keep the same number of games because of ticket sales, contracts, and other financial reasons. Even if we stick to 162 games I have a plan. Let’s start the season after the Masters Gold Tournament and schedule each team to play about 12 double headers a season. Yes, double headers. The only time you see double headers anymore is if games are postponed or reschedule. I’d love to see this brought back to relevance. Never underestimate the fun of a Businessman’s Special.
A Chitwood & Hobbs Field Report