In All These Little Towns by Jim Williams

It was a cold and snowy week for baseball in the north. Emphasis on the snowy part:

Snow wiped out an entire four game series between the Indians and Mariners including the opener which was just one strike away from being an official game. With more snow on the way, the-powers-that-be moved the following series to Milwaukee. No other team had played a home game at a neutral location since the Washington Nationals played their entire 2004 schedule in Montreal.

This past weekend, MLB celebrated the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's first game. Time hasn't been kind to the stadium that he once called home. Ebbets Field is gone and in its place, Ebbets Field Apartments; home to crime, poverty, and significance lost.

On opening day at Shea Stadium, a woman was crushed by a 300 pound man who fell during the seventh inning stretch. Surgery will be required to repair her vertebrae. Phone calls to Mo Vaughn's agent were not returned.

Did you know that the MLB logo features the silhouette of Jerry West?

Major League Baseball: The Business is still going strong and franchise price tags continue to climb. Experts believe that the Cubs sale could amount to more that $1 billion. Is that why Bud Selig is one of the highest paid players in baseball?

Jim's link of the week: What if the regular season was a horse race?
Top 5 races to watch:
1) 1995 American League Central
2) 1969 National League East
3) 1995 American League Central
4) 1951 National League
5) 1995 American League Central

Barry Bonds's home run count now stands at 737. #756 may be fast approaching but Mr. 755 himself, Hammerin' Hank Aaron, says that he won't be in attendance on that fateful night. "I'm 72 years old, and I'm not hopping on a plane and flying all the way to San Francisco for anybody," said Aaron. He also vowed not watch the season finale of America Idol if Sanjaya is still around.

Sammy Sosa's home run count now stands at 590.

Jim's video of the week: The Baseball Batting Robot

When the game time temperature exceeds 90F, who cares about the guys on the field. The real star of the game is the beer vendor and now he has his own baseball card. Two Wrigley Field vendors have created a web site that allows fans to get to know the people who keep them refreshed until Lou Piniella has thrown his final base of the night.

"Back then, Cleveland trained in Tucson, and the Giants trained in Phoenix. Then we'd break camp in early April, and we would get on a private train and travel back east with the Indians, barnstorming in all these little towns."

--Bobby Thomson

Comments

Swampudlian : April 17, 2007 08:11 AM

I was at Wrigley... Wow, one hell of a long time ago. Don't know why, but I recall that Len Matuszek (and I spelled that correctly off the top of my head) was in the game for the Dodgers, and that he was new to the team, and wasn't listed on my scorecard. That makes this story go back to 85, 86 or 87 (here I go with retrosheet again)... I'm 99% sure it was a Saturday... Lo and behold, Matuszek was traded from the Blue Jays to the Dodgers on July 9, and there he was in Chicago for a Thursday-through-Sunday weekend series on July 11-14. And I recall that he didn't start that day, and sure enough, the Saturday box score (http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/1985/B07130CHN1985.htm) indicates that he was a defensive replacement late in the game, so I now know the date with specificity... Wait, where was I?

Oh, yeah, Wrigley Field beer vendors. To be dead honest, I remember very little about this game (and why Len Matuszek would stick in my mind beyond the fact that he wasn't on my scorecard is beyond me), other than the beer vendor. I went with my dad, my sister, and my Godfather, a big baseball fan who grew up in the Detroit area but lived then (and still lives) in the greater Schenechtady, NY area. He had gotten some Wrigley Field tickets through some contacts he had at GE (he worked there basically his whole life after he finished his PhD in chemistry). Bad seats. On the first base side... In fact, directly over first base, but about a dozen rows from the tippy-top in the upper deck. And the worst part? The roving beer vendor, whose call was (I kid you not): "HEY! BEER!.... HEY! BEER!... HEY! BEER!" (And the "HEY!" was pronounced more sort of like you would say the letter "A" when you are in a spelling bee.) As if she was some sort of nagging wife who was... I dunno, reminding you to drink your beer or maybe reminding you to be sure to set it on the coaster rather than directly on the end table or something. Shouted this at the top of her lungs. For 2 hours. She would get 2 or 3 sections away, and you could still hear her, she was that loud. Until, mercifully, roving beer sales were cut off at the 7th inning stretch. I remember this like it was yesterday, yet I was surprised to find the retrosheet box revealed that I had seen a start by Fernando Valenzuela. "HEY! BEER!"

save me from the clowns : April 17, 2007 10:39 AM

Bloody good showing, my friend. Do you think I'll get in trouble if I print out the beer vendors cards and put em on ebay? Will Copy Shop give me a hard time?

That baseball race page is brilliant. I've been putzing around with it all morning.

smftc

upthesecularhumanists : April 17, 2007 01:30 PM

I can speak for all three Dodgers fans here when I say:

Fernandomania Rocked!

I saw him five times but since I was a kid, the memories of each run together.

Joel

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