As for me, I now happily return to being a St Louis Cardinals fan.
Photo: Ezra Shaw | Getty Images
I’ve been watching the Dodgers-Giants game on Comcast Sports Net Bay Area, live from AT&T Park.
I’ve been following the progress of the Pirates-Cardinals game on an iPad via the MLB app.
But mostly I’ve been listening to the Dodgers-Giants game on KLAC AM radio in Los Angeles, via the MLB app on an iPhone 7, with the iPhone more than adequately transubstantiating itself as a transistor radio so that I can wrap myself in the final broadcast of the legendary Vin Scully. At 88 years of age, his voice is still like a river of warm caramel winding through the last 67 years of American baseball history, and this afternoon I’ve been swimming in it.
It was 80 years ago today, to the day, that eight-year-old Vincent Edward Scully saw a box score posted in the window of a neighborhood store in the Bronx: the New York Yankees had beaten the New York Giants 18-4 in Game Two of the 1936 World Series. Scully recalled that moment during today’s broadcast, saying it was the day he fell in love with baseball. October 2 2016 is the day he chose to be the last of his career because of that anniversary.
My game summary for today:
The Giants win and earn themselves a wild card berth in Postseason 2016.
The Dodgers lose and go on to play the Washington Nationals in DC on Friday in the NL Playoffs.
Baseball moves on but its great gentleman and living treasure has called his last out and signed off for the last time.
Photograph: Dominic DiSaia
For those who didn't grow up along the Gulf of Mexico:
The name Snappers is derived from a local deep-water fish, the Red Snapper. (Great broiled with garlic and cilantro.)
The 1913 Snappers, whose home field was Palmetto Beach Park in Warrington, finished 67 and 29, 4 1/2 games behind the league leading Jacksonville Lawmakers.
1913 was the Snappers first and last season in the Cotton States League, as the CSL folded at the end of 1913.
Baseball's Opening Day used to be simple. It was always on a Monday, the first game played was always the Cincinnati Reds vs another National League team, the first game was always played in daylight, and it was always in North America. It all worked just fine. We liked it that way.
A few years ago, things started getting different. The first game of a given season would be anyone but the Cincinnati Reds, it might be played in Tokyo or London or Australia, it started being played on a Sunday (or even a Saturday, because of the International Time Zone) as a night game, and it might even be an interleague game (!). It was squirrelly.
Today is Opening Day 2016. A Sunday. With a fairly full slate of games (including interleague play!) instead of just a single night game on ESPN, which had sort of become the new tradition. Until it wasn't anymore. And tomorrow is being recognized as a sort of official MLB Opening Day, too, which is too much for me to even try to deal with right now.
So the season hasn't even started yet and my head is already spinning.
But it's all OK. Baseball is back. That's all that matters.
My allegiance to the St Louis Cardinals is going to be a little soft this year, shall we say, not to mention heretical: I'm pulling for the Cubs. Because of my appreciation of the Chicago Cubs team this year, my long-running appreciation of Joe Maddon's managing, my love of Wrigley Field and Chicago, and my fervent desire to see a FULL STOP put to the Cubs fans' 'lovable losers' nonsense, I will not be surprised or upset if they upend the Redbirds in the division and go on to win the World Series.
In the National League West I'll be rooting for our hometown nine, the San Francisco Giants. Great ballpark, probably the best radio/tv crews in the Bigs, a very competitive lineup (I especially like Pagan and Posey), and this season they'll be wearing matte finish batting helmets for the first time.
Elsewhere and otherwise (especially in the American League), I won't have any favorite teams and will simply allow the game and individual players to delight me.
I have paid zero attention to spring training, haven't watched a single inning. Can't wait for the season to start later today.
| St. Louis Post-Dispatch |
100 wins in the regular season. One win in the post-season. The St Louis Cardinals are knocked into post-season oblivion by the arch rival Chicago Cubs.
Right now Harry Caray is in heaven getting a blowjob in a hot tub filled with frothing Budweiser (Harry is full of Bud, too, of course). “Cubs win! Cubs win! Cubs win!”
I loved Ozzie Smith and Whiteyball back in the 80s but I didn’t become a real St Louis Cardinals fan until 1996 when Tony La Russa arrived (Will Clark being signed in 2000 was a HUGE bonus; Mark McGwire a decade later wasn’t). Classiest franchise in MLB. Great history, a great organization.
If I was a true dyed-in-the-wool Redbirds fan, though, if I had grown up in St Louis, I wouldn’t be OK with this. But I am. Partly because I’ve always liked Joe Maddon, partly because I love Wrigley and Wrigleyville and Chicago so much, and partly because the wildcard-infected post-season is pretty much a meaningless tournament now anyway, but mostly just so Cubs fans will FINALLY get over their infuriating, insufferable ‘lovable losers’ nonsense and stop whining (a la the Red Sox fans in 2004).
The 2015 Cubs also happen to be a damn good team.
The Cubs damn well better go on to win it all. Otherwise, this will have been for nothing and there will be at least another year of their fans whining.
By the way, I went to only a pitiful handful of games this season but, as it turned out, I saw every NL team that made it to the post-season. And I saw two of those teams in their home yards (Cubs and Dodgers). Not bad.
Let’s go Cubs.
| Chicago Sun-Times |
Ninety-seven wins in the regular season and it effectively took the Cubs nowhere. Because it don’t mean a thing if you don’t get that ring.
The regular season and the postseason are two different things. For me, the regular season is the real deal and the postseason sits below the regular season and somewhere above the All-Star Game. The World Series hasn’t been a true path to revealing the season’s best team since 1969 with the launch of division play (and even more so since 1994 with expanded division play).
So the postseason tournaments aren’t as meaningful or as important to me anymore.
My silver lining: none of the 2015 NL and AL wildcards made it to the World Series. Ooo-rah!
Let’s go Mets.
Photo: Brian Cassela | Chicago Tribune
| Kansas City Star |
The Mets were out-played, out-hustled, out-managed.
The 2015 Kansas City Royals will be forever defined by their play in the 2015 World Series, and that’s OK by me.
| New York Daily News |
One of the saddest sights I ever saw, I think, was a few years ago in Las Vegas: Pete Rose sitting alone at a little card table outside a sports memorabilia store in the Retail Promenade (read “mini mall”} of the Mirage Hotel, selling his autograph. It was the middle of the afternoon, a weekday, pretty much just us and Pete. I had no idea he would be there, we were just walking by on our way somewhere else and there he was. I spotted him, recognizing him instantly, but my brain couldn’t make it jibe fast enough. Pete Rose? Really?
He looked so small and so sad and so alone.
I couldn’t bring myself to walk over. And I couldn’t bring myself to pull out my phone and snap a picture. It would have been like taking a picture of a corpse alongside a dumpster, like a photo Weegee would have shot, but with the corpse still alive and watching you.
Today Pete Rose petitioned MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred to lift his lifetime ban from baseball.
Twenty-six years of exile is enough. Major League Baseball, and all of us who thought the ban was justified, have made our point. It’s time to move on. It is time to forgive Pete Rose and allow Charlie Hustle to come home.
| New York Times |
I’ve said it before and now I’m saying it again: Major League Baseball should make Pete Rose eligible for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Ban him from being a manager or a coach or an owner or a ballpark hot dog vendor, bar him from ballpark events and appearances, stop him from working on the MLB Network; do everything that properly and legitimately bans him from baseball for life—but give him a chance to have his plaque on the wall in Cooperstown.
The Hall of Fame is a sham as long as Pete Rose isn’t at least given the chance to be voted in.