Opiate For The Masses: Not Religion, Sports

And thank the Gawds for that.

The World Series starts tonight. The New York Yankees, the most famous sports franchise in the United States, returns to the Fall Classic for the first time since losing to the Florida Marlins in 2003.

The Yankees' history in the World Series is long and unprecedented. Since the original AL franchise Baltimore Orioles moved to New York to become the Highlanders (at the urging of then AL President Ban Johnson) in 1903 (the "Highlanders" became the "Yankees" in 1913, the same year the famous interlocking NY became the team logo), the Yankees have participated in 40 World Series and won 26 of them, both records that are unparallelled. More . . .

If you love baseball, you will know about what is known as the Black Sox Scandal. It broke at the end of 1920 and (for the benefit of non-baseball fans) involved a plot to fix the 1919 World Series (the Chicago White Sox were the favorite to win the 1919 Series and a number of White Sox players, including Shoeless Joe Jackson, were implicated.)

The National Pastime (as embodied by Major League Baseball) was in serious jeopardy. But, in New York, a new figure was rising that would save baseball - his name was Babe Ruth. Born in Baltimore, a man of legendary appetites for many things, Ruth was the greatest baseball player of all time. And he not only saved baseball, he reinvented it. In 1921, Ruth hit 59 homeruns. Just 2 years earlier, the home run record was 29, also set by Ruth (for the Red Sox, but that is another story - "No, No Nanette" is involved.)

In 1921, the Yankees won the pennant for the first time, but lost their first trip to the World Series to the New York Giants of John McGraw.

In 1923, Yankee Stadium opened at River Avenue in The Bronx. The House That Ruth Built. The Yankees won their 3rd consecutive pennant and for the first time, the World Series, beating the Giants 4-2.

Over the years, after that it seemed the Yankees won the World Series every year. And for one amazing 5 year stretch - 1949-1953, the Yankees did (the A's won 3 straight in the early 70s, the closest modern day achievement to compare to the 5 straight the Yankeees won.)

Still, the career of Yogi Berra is emblematic of thw Yankees' dominance. Berra of course is known for his Yogisms ("Nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded"), but he was one of the 2 or 3 best catchers in the history of baseball. And his Yankee playing career was one of the most remarkable in terms of winning. In a 17 year career, Berra appeared in 14 World Series, winning 10 of them. the greatest winning player in the history of baseball (Ruth for example, won "only" 5 World Championships.)

But there was a significant drought period for the Yankees after winning the 1962 World Series. Though the Yankees played and lost in the World Series in 1963, 1964 and 1976, they did not win the World Series again until 1977. They repeated in 1978 but then went 18 years before winning again - defeating the Braves in the 1996 World Series.

4 players playing tonight for the Yankees were on that 1996 World Series team - Andy Pettite, (who won Game 5 of the 1996 World Series over John Smoltz 1-0), Derek Jeter (then a fresh faced 20 year old rookie from Michigan), Jorge Posada and of course, Mo, the greatest reliever in history - Mariano Rivera. Interestingly, in 1996, Mo was the set up man for John Wetteland (even though, even then, Mo was the better pitcher.)

It is a pastime for some to decry the Yankees' success - to claim it is "bad for baseball." Of course the facts tell another story. The success of the Yankees not only saved baseball in the 1920s, it has driven baseball to its highest popularity. For better or worse, what's good for the Yankees is good for basebabll.

A TRUE fan of a team does not give a fig about "what's good for baseball." They care about their team. But if we want to go all factual and all, then it cannot be denied that the Yankees are not only good for basbeball, they are essential for baseball.

Root for your team. Hate the Yankees too. This is all optiate for us anyway. But let's stop providing our emotional impulses with some patina of rationality. We're fans. We root emotionally. Cuz that's what fans do.

Speaking for me only

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    Why is it almost all (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 12:14:51 PM EST
    Yankees, Patriots and Cowboys fans are insufferable?

    One person's (none / 0) (#89)
    by CST on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 02:54:12 PM EST
    "insufferable" is another person's "passionate".

    Not that I will defend assault.

    However, what's worse, fans that are too over-the-top (minus the assault here), or fans that just don't care?

    I'll never forget the Boston vs. LA finals series 2 years ago how the crowd in LA could seem to care less about the game they were watching despite the fact that it was the NBA finals.

    You'll never see bored fans in Boston during the playoffs, I guarantee that.

    English soccer hooligans are underrated :)


    Fans that don't care... (none / 0) (#106)
    by kdog on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 04:41:38 PM EST
    are much worse...LA Lakers, excellent example.  I think more go to the games to be seen themselves than to see the game...at least in the front rows.

    And its spreading beyond La-La Land due to the high cost of the good seats, like at the new Yankee Stadium and Sh&tti Field...the diehards can't afford to go. It's killing the homefield advantage...eventually every game will feel like a nuetral site with the stands littered with people entertaining their clients trying to close deals, instead of willing their team to close the deal.


    Pretty much dead-on on all points. (none / 0) (#113)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Oct 29, 2009 at 12:09:01 AM EST
    The line betwixt Bruins and Trojans fans runs deep, and honestly I'm not sure there's much room in fan's hearts for another football team in LA, pro or not.

    That said, it's not like the Tuscaloosa or some other college town where there really is nothing of interest except the local team.

    There's a lot of competition in LA for any form of entertainment.

    Go Giants!


    Fair enough, Boston fans too. (none / 0) (#101)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 03:31:35 PM EST
    I have a Boston-ite in my immediate family. Insufferable.

    When my brother gets going, and he often does, I tell him the Paul "Bar" Bryant quote: "Act like you've been there before, kid."

    You ever make business calls to Boston? Rudest receptionists I've ever talked to.

    CST not withstanding of course. :-)


    Came out wrong, CST's not a receptionist, (none / 0) (#102)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 03:33:17 PM EST
    she's an engineer. I meant to say she's not the typical rude Bostonian type...

    That's very sweet (none / 0) (#105)
    by CST on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 03:56:28 PM EST
    And I try not to be rude to people or on the phone.  I know we have a bit of a reputation, not wholly undeserved.  But I have spent too much time outside my hometown to be 100% "Boston".

    Don't get me wrong though, I can be a pretty "insufferable" sports fan.


    I've been saying for a week (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by andgarden on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 12:15:01 PM EST
    that my sole interest in this is hometeamism. So, GO PHILLIES!!!

    Normally I'd be with you (none / 0) (#59)
    by brodie on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 12:25:40 PM EST
    on this one, primarily since they're playing Steinbrenner and Guiliani's Yanquis.  And Philly is one quirky, colorful city that I tend to consider from afar with some amusement -- booing Santy Claus ferchrissakes.

    But then I remember that the insufferable duo of Chris Matthews and Michael "Smerk" Smerconish are both hardcore and obnoxious Philly fans.

    Tough call for me this year.

    I'll take Ed Rendell over Rudy in that sideline matchup of course.

    But does Philly have anyone to match the Bronxers' rather charming and lovely Kate Hudson?


    heh, would you take Grace Kelly? (none / 0) (#62)
    by andgarden on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 12:26:54 PM EST
    Ah, La Kelly. My (none / 0) (#68)
    by brodie on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 12:42:04 PM EST
    second favorite actress from the 50s, after Audrey Hepburn of course.   Rear Window and High Noon being two films in my Top 50  Greatest Movies.

    But since she left the scene, the only recent entertainment stars I can think of from Philly are male actors and comedians.


    Not exactly young, but does Patti LaBelle count? (none / 0) (#70)
    by andgarden on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 12:47:23 PM EST
    Youtube (none / 0) (#72)
    by andgarden on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 12:57:19 PM EST
    Tina Fey! n/t (none / 0) (#71)
    by lilburro on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 12:56:52 PM EST
    One Down (5.00 / 1) (#111)
    by CoralGables on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 11:11:09 PM EST
    The Fall Classic opens.
    Yankees go down hard and fast.
    Baseball fans rejoice.

    So the Yankees AND Babe Ruth came (none / 0) (#1)
    by oculus on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 10:15:43 AM EST
    from Baltimore.  Interesting factoids.

    No (none / 0) (#33)
    by CoralGables on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 11:04:47 AM EST
    Babe Ruth was born in Baltimore but he was sold to the Yanks by Boston for $125,000 so the Sox owner could finance his Broadway productions. So NY benefitted twice by Ruth, more Broadway and more homers.

    In addition, "The Sultan of Swat! The King of Crash! The Colossus of Clout! BABE RUTH! THE GREAT BAMBINO!" did make one of the great quotes of all time when reporters asked why he should be paid more than President Hoover.  Ruth reportedly said: "Why not? I had a better year than he did."


    The Yankees currently field.. (none / 0) (#2)
    by desertswine on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 10:20:28 AM EST
    what must be one of the greatest infields ever, if not the best.

    The Reds of 1975-76 (none / 0) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 10:25:23 AM EST
    Bench, Perez, Morgan, Concepcion and Rose.

    That was the best infield.


    It depends (none / 0) (#7)
    by Steve M on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 10:29:08 AM EST
    on whether you count the catcher, I guess.

    The old "battery" thing? (none / 0) (#12)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 10:33:45 AM EST
    Probably true if you include the catcher... (none / 0) (#9)
    by Jerrymcl89 on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 10:31:00 AM EST
    Posada's very good, but he's not Johnny Bench. I'd give this Yankees four-man infield the edge, though, as Concepcion didn't really become a good hitter until after the other guys had gotten old and/or moved on.

    Incidentally, Babe Ruth won six championships - the others while playing another position for another team that Yankees fans have come across from time to time.


    We don't count that one (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 10:33:21 AM EST
    Johnny Damon is looking for his first for example.

    And Boggs & Clemens, unfortunately, never (none / 0) (#79)
    by BobTinKY on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 01:16:33 PM EST
    won a WS

    1999 Mets.... (none / 0) (#19)
    by kdog on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 10:38:24 AM EST
    Best defensive infield ever if you don't include the catcher...and not too shabby offensively if you include the catcher and forget Rey Ordonez:)

    I don't know, Posada's... (none / 0) (#50)
    by desertswine on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 12:15:40 PM EST
    lifetime stats compare very favorably to Bench's. It's certainly open for discussion.

    He's a sure HOFer anyway. Or should be, you never know, I guess. (Think Carl Furillo).


    Let's see (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by Steve M on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 12:30:44 PM EST
    Johnny Bench won 10 Gold Gloves.  Posada has zero.

    Johnny Bench threw out 47% of base stealers over his career.  Posada's number is 28%.

    Let's try to be a little bit real here.


    ok.. (none / 0) (#67)
    by desertswine on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 12:41:29 PM EST
    Bench, in a 17 yr career has a lifetime BA of .267, and an OBP of .342.

    Posada, in a 15 yr career has a lifetime BA 10 pts higher at .277, and a OBP that is a whopping 37 pts higher at .379.


    I know, right? (none / 0) (#76)
    by Steve M on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 01:08:56 PM EST
    So why isn't Mike Piazza widely regarded as the greatest catcher of all time?  Oh yeah, catchers play defense too!

    I'm sure you can make a Hall of Fame case for Jorge Posada.  He's an excellent player.  But arguing he's in the same ballpark as Johnny Bench is just plain silly.


    I think every knowledgeable baseball (none / 0) (#78)
    by BobTinKY on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 01:14:22 PM EST
    fan would agree Bench was the best catcher ever.  I think you'd have arguments at every other position, but Bench behind the plate was in a world all his own.

    In context... (none / 0) (#86)
    by Jerrymcl89 on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 02:44:26 PM EST
    ... Bench's numbers were better than Posada's. Baserunners and runs were much scarcer in his era. Plus, he was a dominant defensive player in an era when players ran like crazy. Posada's throwing is okay (not Piazza-bad), but he'd have been considered more of a liability in the 70s than he is now.

    In the era (none / 0) (#69)
    by CoralGables on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 12:45:11 PM EST
    of chicks dig the long ball, some did tend to forget the glove part of the game. It also explains why when everyone was enamored with Sosa and McGwire, they were missing out on possibly the best ball player of the era in 9 time Gold Glove Winner Barry Bonds (even before he bulked up).

    And obviously, defending anything but hitting does bring back memories of maybe the greatest Nike commercial ever with Maddux and Glavine

     Chicks dig the long ball


    HA! Good one. (none / 0) (#73)
    by desertswine on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 01:04:17 PM EST
    The Dodgers IF was excellent... (none / 0) (#92)
    by Jerrymcl89 on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 03:06:01 PM EST
    ... but no true Hall of Famers among them. I'd give an edge to the 1953 Brooklyn edition of the team, with C Roy Campanella, 1B Gil Hodges, 2B Jim Gilliam, SS Pee Wee Reese, and 3B Billy Cox splitting time with 3B-OF Jackie Robinson.

    The Boys of Summer. (none / 0) (#104)
    by oculus on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 03:56:13 PM EST
    I still say (none / 0) (#3)
    by CST on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 10:21:20 AM EST
    The Yankees caused WWII.

    They might be good for baseball.  But they are definitely bad for humanity.

    Emotionalism and opium (none / 0) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 10:24:38 AM EST
    a potent cocktail.

    FWIW (none / 0) (#93)
    by CST on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 03:08:29 PM EST
    I didn't make this up now.  It stems from a previous debate where BTD said the Red Sox losing is good for the country based on dubious historical statistics about the years they won it all.  And I pointed out at the time that based on those "statistics" the Yankees were responsible for WWII and other terrible events in history.

    But yes, I agree, they are also responsible for the rise of communism and the cold war.


    Andy Pettite (none / 0) (#6)
    by Steve M on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 10:26:39 AM EST
    has the most postseason wins of any pitcher ever, and the most wins in series-clinching games of any pitcher ever.  Pretty impressive for a guy who has almost never been his team's top starter, and who still looks like a pretty marginal Hall of Fame candidate.

    Pettite looks like a Hall OF Famer (none / 0) (#16)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 10:35:52 AM EST
    at this point I think.

    But it all depends on your criteria.

    For example, at his best, Ron Guidry was clearly superior to Pettite. But Petitte has more longevity and consistency.

    Bill James has written some great stuff about this.


    The dope... (none / 0) (#21)
    by kdog on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 10:40:49 AM EST
    might exclude him, depending on how the writers hold a grudge against the players of the 'roid era...I think he's a no-brainer, 200 wins is the new 300 wins.  Great pitcher.

    No. "This Is It" (none / 0) (#8)
    by lilburro on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 10:30:37 AM EST
    is the opiate for the masses.  But enjoy your silly game tonight. :P

    An aside on why we are fans (none / 0) (#10)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 10:32:28 AM EST
    My grandfather was a Cinncinati Reds fan. Why?

    Because Adolfo Luque, the great Cuban pitcher, pitched for the Reds in the 1910s-20s, including pitching for the Reds in the 1919 Black Sox World Series.

    My grandfather remained a Reds fan for more than 50 years, including rooting for the Reds in the 1976 World Series while my father and I, diehard Yankee fans, suffered through the 4 game Reds sweep.


    I'll be your grandfather would think (none / 0) (#15)
    by oculus on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 10:35:33 AM EST
    Pete Rose should be in the HOF.

    Well I do too (none / 0) (#26)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 10:45:43 AM EST
    Seems crazy to me that he is not in.

    I also think Shoeless Joe Jackson should be in.

    It is not a stamp of approval of a person to be in the HoF - it is recogniton of his achievements on the field.


    Ah, the opposite of the Nobel (none / 0) (#36)
    by Cream City on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 11:33:43 AM EST
    Peace Prize reasoning -- now I understand.

    If so, yes, Shoeless Joe and even Pete Rose deserve to be there.


    Easy to judge (none / 0) (#38)
    by jondee on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 11:51:18 AM EST
    But not many people had the cajones to say no to Arnold Rothstein in those days -- and lived to tell the tale; and to make matters worse, the cops were bought off and even if those unsophisticated farmboys had wanted to spill the beans, they probobly wouldnt have known who they could trust.

    Also, most of the Sox players felt that the owner of the team looked upon them as not much better than the dirt beneath his feet.


    Cobb and Tris Speaker (none / 0) (#39)
    by jondee on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 11:56:43 AM EST
    were known to consort with gamblers on a fairly regular basis, as did Hack Wilson, and, Im sure, alot of others.

    Cobb, Speaker and Wilson are in the Hall. Rose will probobly get in eventually.


    Blame Comiskey... (none / 0) (#43)
    by kdog on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 12:01:18 PM EST
    for the Black-Sox...if he wasn't such a cheap sob the boys never woulda thought of throwing that series.

    Seems to me (none / 0) (#98)
    by Steve M on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 03:21:53 PM EST
    that as long as Ty Cobb (Go Tigers!) is in, no one should be disqualified on character issues.

    If you want (none / 0) (#103)
    by CoralGables on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 03:40:25 PM EST
    to go after a player from 1919 go after Lefty Williams. He lost 3 games as a starter in the Series. That's no easy task.

    Joe Jackson was the leading hitter for both teams in the Series hitting .375 with 3 doubles and a dinger.

    And since this is a legal site, it should be noted they were all found not guilty in court.


    Career hits leaders: (none / 0) (#81)
    by oculus on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 01:39:24 PM EST
    Those sweeps are painful and do generate (none / 0) (#20)
    by oculus on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 10:38:34 AM EST
    some Yankee hate.  

    rooted against Luis Tiant? (none / 0) (#23)
    by BobTinKY on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 10:42:37 AM EST
    Rooted FOR Tany Perez (none / 0) (#25)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 10:44:33 AM EST
    Actually in 1919 Ruth was in Boston (none / 0) (#13)
    by BobTinKY on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 10:33:50 AM EST
    switching between being the best left handed pitcher in the game and, for the first time, a  full time outfielder (29 HRs that year).

    89 wins for the Sox in 4.5 years, 2 WS rings, and an incredible ERA of like 2.2.

    If the Yankees are so great for baseball, have such an intense fan base and been so successful, why does George need all the corporate welfare like a brand new stadium provided courtesy of the city and state of NY?  You'd think a team like that would have plenty of money to pay their own way.   But I guess living large off the government is George's way, not just in babseball, check out the history of his "shipbuilding"  business.

    Did he ever get his pardon for the illegal contributions to the Nixon campaign conviction?  

    George is paying welfare... (none / 0) (#18)
    by Jerrymcl89 on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 10:38:16 AM EST
    ... to every other team in the game. The fact that the public subsidizes baseball in general can (and should) be objected to. But I'm sure the Yankees would have been content to stay in the old stadium in return for not having to pay a luxury tax and revenue sharing.

    I am sure he pays nothing to the Sox (none / 0) (#22)
    by BobTinKY on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 10:41:43 AM EST
    and when the past ownership of the Sox asked for pulbicly financed stadium they were laughed at, as they should have been.

    I am a big a Sox fan as you will come across, but they can move to Utah before I'd want my money building them a new stadium.  


    The problem with building a new stadium (none / 0) (#31)
    by CST on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 11:00:32 AM EST
    for the sox is where would they put it?  One of the great things about Fenway is location location location (unless you are driving).  Moving the team across town would really hurt the area, and there is no space there for a bigger stadium (not to mention nowhere to put it without tearing down the old one first).

    I think they just didn't want to move the field more than the public financing bit.  If they really wanted it, there would be a new stadium. John Henry is hardly hurting for cash.


    I am fine if Henry pays (none / 0) (#77)
    by BobTinKY on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 01:10:06 PM EST
    just don't ask tax payers to pay for it.

    I think, though, what Henry et al have done with Fenway is fantastic.  There's no need for a new stadium any time soon.


    I did not write anything different (none / 0) (#24)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 10:42:51 AM EST
    I think your confusion is due to the fact that the Black Sox Scandal did not break until AFTER the 1920 season.

    As I wrote, Ruth broke the HR record in 1921. The record he broke was his own - 54 in his first season as a Yankee. That record also broke Ruth's own record, set as a Red Sock, in 1919, 29.

    Of course, Ruth was on the last World Series winning Red Sox team until the 2004 team - "In 1918, Ruth pitched in 20 games, posting a 13-7 record with a 2.22 ERA. He was mostly used as an outfielder, and hit a league-leading eleven home runs. His statistics were curtailed slightly when he walked off the team in July following an argument with Boston's manager. Ruth threw a 1-0 shutout in the opener of the 1918 World Series, then won Game Four in what would be his final World Series appearance as a pitcher. Ruth won both his starts, allowing two runs (both earned) in seventeen innings for an ERA of 1.06. Ruth extended his World Series consecutive scoreless inning streak to 29⅔ innings, a record that would last until Whitey Ford broke it in 1961."

    Then Ruth was sold to the Yankees. The Curse of the Bambino and the rest, is history.


    The Curse of the Bambino (none / 0) (#28)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 10:53:14 AM EST
    "In the January 6, 1920 edition of The Boston Globe, Frazee described the transaction:

    "I should have preferred to take players in exchange for Ruth, but no club could have given me the equivalent in men without wrecking itself, and so the deal had to be made on a cash basis. No other club could afford to give me the amount the Yankees have paid for him, and I don't mind saying I think they are taking a gamble. With this money the Boston club can now go into the market and buy other players and have a stronger and better team in all respects than we would have had if Ruth had remained with us."


    I think we can agree (none / 0) (#30)
    by BobTinKY on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 10:59:27 AM EST
    the "curse" is certainly now history.

    The curse in fact had more to do with bad ownership (Barrow) & rascist ownership (Tom Yawkey) than anything else.

    I'd hate the Yankees anyway, but George makes it so much easier.  I love that at the 1999 Fenway All Star game the Sox honored as the last all-time all star introduced the greatest hitter that ever lived, and at last year's All Star game in the Bronx who did the Yankees honor as the last person introduced during the pre-game show, as all-time all star?  I would have thought Yogi (I was even looking forward to that), maybe even Mo, but no, it was George.  

    By the way, the 2004 Sox could not have done it without Mo's meltdown.  I recall the Sox fans showering their appreciation on Mo  2005 opening day at Fenway.  Mo's undeniably great, but that was a sweet moment.

    Let's see if the Yanks can win one in the 21st century.  I think they got their work cut out for them.


    I meant Frazee not Barrow (none / 0) (#75)
    by BobTinKY on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 01:08:26 PM EST
    Ruth was born in Baltimore. (none / 0) (#27)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 10:46:35 AM EST
    Per Wiki (World Series): (none / 0) (#14)
    by oculus on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 10:34:02 AM EST
    After two years of bitter competition and player raiding (in 1902, the AL and NL champions even went so far as to challenge each other to a tournament in football after the end of the baseball season), the National and American Leagues made peace and, as part of the accord, several pairs of teams squared off for interleague exhibition games after the 1903 season.
     [Italics added.]

    Maybe Boise State football team should challenge others to a tournament of baseball?

    Anyone else remember listening to WS over the PA system at school?  Kind of odd, since I think the games we were listening to were Yankees/Giants and we were in Iowa.

    We were permitted to listen (none / 0) (#112)
    by CoralGables on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 11:21:03 PM EST
    to the '67 Series only because all the nuns were from Boston and fans of Yaz. With a mother from St Louis, I remained a closeted Roger Maris fan to avoid harsh retribution from a knuckle whacking nun.

    Any other year the trusty pocket transistor with the ear piece was utilized.


    Phuck baseball... (none / 0) (#17)
    by Dadler on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 10:37:08 AM EST
    ...hoops season is here. The greatest athletes in the world are back to business. Lakers opened up with a win to defend their crown (over a Clipper team that might not be so bad this year, ahem), and next week I get my USD season tix in the mail, with Stanford coming here in two weeks for the first regular season home game. May only be West Coast Conference action, but for a former gym rat and hoop lover like me, D-1 ball five minutes from my house is where it's at.

    Celts looked good over the Cavs too (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by BobTinKY on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 11:00:43 AM EST
    Last season (none / 0) (#97)
    by CST on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 03:19:09 PM EST
    was last season.

    This year is this year.

    Except for the years after the Sox, Celtics, Pats, or Bruins win of course :)


    What if, by some major miracle, the Pads (none / 0) (#29)
    by oculus on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 10:56:31 AM EST
    were in the WS?  

    Clearly you are not now and have never (none / 0) (#108)
    by oculus on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 05:03:21 PM EST
    been a fan of the Pads.  Have I evah dissed Boise State?  

    I'll take NBA action over MLB (none / 0) (#35)
    by brodie on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 11:22:21 AM EST
    any day.  

    Four hours of watching ridiculously overpaid and undereducated guys stand around and spit and scratch themselves in embarrassing places is not my idea of a productive use of my time.  

    But apart perhaps from the basketball season opener, I can't get too excited about that very long regular season grind until the college and professional gridiron activity has run its course, or roughly mid-Feb.  One sport at a time.


    That;'s (none / 0) (#41)
    by CoralGables on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 11:58:28 AM EST
    an interesting approach, as NBA players on average are the highest paid of any team sport (by far)

    at least they have to be in shape (none / 0) (#45)
    by Dadler on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 12:04:38 PM EST
    Try to imagine playing 100 games a year, sprinting 10 miles a night, then getting on a plane to fly across the country and do it again. A sport that requires the highest level of skill and conditioning of any other. Hockey might come close.

    and soccer (none / 0) (#46)
    by CST on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 12:11:17 PM EST
    Have you seen the condition they are in?  Probably the most well proportioned beautiful athletes of any sport.

    but definitely not baseball players.


    Don't forget boxing... (none / 0) (#80)
    by kdog on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 01:29:33 PM EST
    I've played almost all these sports and boxing, imo, requires the most conditioning.  I can play full court b'ball all day long, soccer all day long...spar three 2 minute rounds and my legs are burning like I died and went to hell.

    Any sport done superbly (none / 0) (#47)
    by jondee on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 12:13:31 PM EST
    requires a highest level of skill and conditioning.

    I played soccer, so I was just as much in awe of Pele and George Best as I was of Jordan and co.

    Golf, Bowling etc are, imo, games not sports.


    The fascination with golf (none / 0) (#64)
    by jondee on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 12:34:00 PM EST
    I dont get at all. I can understand playing it, but watching it?

    I think if they made OBL watch golf on t.v, after a few hours we'd know not only all the secrets of the inner workings of Al Queda, but all the intimate details of his love life.


    Yeah, the NBA requires some (none / 0) (#52)
    by brodie on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 12:17:57 PM EST
    hard physical exertion on a regular basis -- no standing around in that game as in baseball or, worst of all, golf.  Which is why I tend to give the hardcourt players a pass on criticizing their oversized salaries.

    Ditto for the NFL, and probably more so there where the nature of the game is not merely contact but collision, and the average length of a career is something like 3 years.  If anything, some of the players, such as the linemen, are probably underpaid.

    Of course it's probably true that, prior to the 70s,  when the reserve clause was in effect and collusion among greedy owners the norm, the MLBers were generally quite underpaid.


    I remember when ABC used to have Superstar (none / 0) (#65)
    by steviez314 on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 12:34:48 PM EST

    It was always the race car drivers who seemed to win.  They had the best conditioning and reflexes across multi-sports.


    Patina of rationality (none / 0) (#34)
    by vicndabx on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 11:07:59 AM EST
    I like it.  I may use it in my next fight w/my girlfriend.


    My wife would rather (none / 0) (#37)
    by jondee on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 11:38:15 AM EST
    leap into a pool of moray eels than watch a baseball game, but when I was watching the Ken Burns baseball series and it came to the part about Ruth, suddenly you couldnt tear her away from the t.v. Here was a guy who grew up as the dead end kid's dead end kid -- practically living in his fathers saloon, smoking and drinking whiskey when he was ten, detained for things like throwing rocks at the police, too unruly for his own family to handle -- eventually growing into possibly the most gifted athelete in American history, but, more significantly for the masses, the one who looked -- and acted off the field -- the LEAST like the image alot of us have the Olympian gods great atheletes are traditionally promoted as being. Ruth was more like some rough-and-tumble character from American folklore who drank, sweat and bled -- but still managed, at the end of the day, to do amazing things, accomplish the impossible -- without ever stopping being a fallible, flesh-and-blood, human being; the perennial underdog triumphing against the odds -- no matter how much he was topdog throughout his career. The baseball loving Japanese, during WWII, understood instinctively   what Ruth meant to people, and when they wanted to hurl a curse that went straight to our core, they said not f*ck George Washington or f*ck FDR, but f*ck Babe Ruth; which was more-or-less the equivalent of our soldiers saying to the Japanese f*ck the emperor -- or, f*ck the sun goddess herself.

    If we absolutley have to maintain possession of the stolen, desecrated, Rushmore, we would do well to make a meaningful slate-cleaning gesture of scraping off at the least a couple of those impossibly pompous, aristocratic, mugs and do the American soul some good -- for once -- and erect monuments to Crazy Horse, Charlie Parker and Babe Ruth.    

    Since family members are buried (none / 0) (#61)
    by byteb on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 12:26:17 PM EST
    there, whenever we visited Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Valhalla, New York, my father would drive us to Babe Ruth's grave. It was always covered with pennies, a baseball bat or two, a glove or a ball left by visitors who wanted to pay homage to the legend.

    Now that my dad is buried at Gate of Heaven, I always pass by The Babe's grave and it's still pretty much the same with pennies and Yankees flags, bats and every sort of baseball memorabilia you can image.

    And when my Dad died and his headstone was in place, my sons and daughters place an American flag on one side of his headstone and a Yankee flag on the other side.
    Dad grew up in the era of the NY Yankees, the NY Dodgers and the NY Giants but he was a Yankee fan all the way...he would have loved Big Tent's history of the Yankees place in baseball and passion of being a true fan of a team.


    The most amazing Ruth statistic... (none / 0) (#40)
    by kdog on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 11:56:47 AM EST
    is the glorious fat b&stard stole home 10 times....10 times!!!

    Ty Cobb, who Casey said was the best ever and I don't question Casey, holds the record at 54.  Wow.

    The other close-to-mind-boggling (none / 0) (#42)
    by jondee on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 12:00:10 PM EST
    fact is that if he had continued pitching, he probobly would've made the Hall as a pitcher.

    Liked your previous comment btw... (none / 0) (#44)
    by kdog on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 12:03:17 PM EST
    Ruth was a first ballot anti-authority HOF'er ...love the new Rushmore idea, can we get Jack Johnson on there?

    We should sacrifice (none / 0) (#54)
    by jondee on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 12:18:26 PM EST
    the nearest mountain top military base and do a series.

    The human, all-too-human, spin-free, monument series. Papa Jack would be a great additon.


    Remember (none / 0) (#56)
    by CoralGables on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 12:20:56 PM EST
    there is little to no video showing Ruth prior to about 1928 and his best season for stealing bases was 1923. He wasn't always a glorious fat b&stard. He was a dominant left handed pitcher in 1916 and 1917, and in the early 20's he was just glorious at the plate. 1920 and 1921 were arguably his best seasons and he didn't hit 60 until 1927.

    He may have finished his career as a glorious fat b&stard, but for most most of his career he was just a glorious stud of a ballplayer.


    Him "calling his shot" (none / 0) (#58)
    by jondee on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 12:24:58 PM EST
    was him telling the Cubs pitcher that he was going to knock the ball down his goddamn throat. That account according to a few of the players on the field that day.

    I prefer the legend:)... (none / 0) (#82)
    by kdog on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 01:58:28 PM EST
    can't even imagine Ruth being anything but husky.

    I'm not part of this Mass (none / 0) (#51)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 12:15:58 PM EST
    What are you talking about?  I'm with the inner peace through daily face and body painters.

    There (none / 0) (#90)
    by CoralGables on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 02:57:36 PM EST
    is some fine body painting taking place this time of year in Key West for Fantasy Fest if you care to indulge :)

    4:57 pm PDT: first game of WS. (none / 0) (#53)
    by oculus on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 12:18:07 PM EST
    7:00 pm PDT:  Nicholas Kristof speaks at UCSD re microfinance.

    Should I flake on the latter to watch the former?

    Rollins says Phillies will win in 5.  No need to watch really.

    And look what has happened to you (none / 0) (#55)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 12:19:16 PM EST
    Trying (not too hard) to keep the (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by oculus on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 12:26:00 PM EST
    synapses vital.  But I do love watching baseball.  Waiting for someone to say watching baseball is good for brain function.

    The way the weather is going... (none / 0) (#57)
    by Jerrymcl89 on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 12:24:12 PM EST
    ... they might be taking place at the same time.

    Ruth the best? (none / 0) (#66)
    by rdandrea on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 12:40:21 PM EST
    Maybe.  But I think Pete Rose deserves that designation. Lou Gehrig, Dimaggio, and Ted Williams should be in the running too.

    Yogi's career of 17 years was even more remarkable in that he played catcher.  He wasn't just good, he was durable.  That's a tough position to play day-in, day-out.  In his latter years, he did share playing time with other catchers, even played some third base and outfield. But still, 17 years is remarkable.

    Ruth could pitch, hit, and steal when younger (none / 0) (#74)
    by BobTinKY on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 01:07:33 PM EST
    the guy was the best baseball player.

    I would put Willie Mays next, then Walter Johnson (he hit over 300 lifetime in addition to 416 wins playing for twenty years on the worst team in the big leagues).


    Casey Stengel saw them all... (none / 0) (#83)
    by kdog on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 01:59:55 PM EST
    he said Cobb was the best.

    And like Cobb was fond of saying, if he knew everybody was gonna go ga-ga for dingers he woulda hit more of them:)


    Hard to argue against (none / 0) (#84)
    by brodie on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 02:28:15 PM EST
    including Ruth among the top 5 greatest ever, at the least.  

    But then, as a lefty, he had that very friendly and very short right-field fence to hit over for nearly all his career.  Something like only 290' away from the plate.

    Mays, as a Giant, was the best I ever saw.  Hit, run, field, throw.  Hit for power, hit for average.  Much better fielder than Mantle, for instance.  And unlike both the heavy-drinking nightclubbing MM and the overfed Ruth, he took care of his body over a long career.

    And for about 13-14 years of his career, he had to play in windswept Candlestick, where the strong gusts from the Bay, particularly at night, usually blew in from left field.  Not an ideal situation for a right-handed hitter who tended to pull the ball.  Yet he still managed to hit some 660 HRs -- and did it without the performance enhancing bulk items modern cheating players use.


    And the cavernous Polo Grounds... (none / 0) (#87)
    by kdog on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 02:46:16 PM EST
    early in his career...though that deep deep deep centerfield at the Polo Grounds highlighted what an amazing fielder the Say Hey Kid was....who could forget "the catch".

    I have to agree about Mays... (none / 0) (#95)
    by desertswine on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 03:14:50 PM EST
    best I ever saw too, on TV anyway. I never saw him play in person. But then I never saw the players who played before him, like DiMaggio or Gehrig.

    The Mets... (none / 0) (#109)
    by desertswine on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 05:18:58 PM EST
    would get old-timers in their last days to play one more year for them to try and pad their gate. I remember Mays, Snider, Berra, Ashburn, and even Warren Spahn.