Opening Day #1LinerWeds

Tomorrow is Opening Day in the Major Leagues. Most of you will recognize my one-liner (okay, it’s four or five) as part of the speech Terence Mann (played by James Earl Jones) gives Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) toward the climax of the 1989 movie Field of Dreams, possibly one of the best baseball movies ever. It helps if you can think of Jones saying this, but why imagine? Here’s the whole speech, from the movie.


One-Liner Wednesday is brought to you each week by Linda Hill and this station. Now a word about the Gillette Super Speed Razor.

I might have used that one before. I don’t care.

A Baseball #1LinerWeds

To explain: Bill Veeck held a number of jobs in baseball and was owner of the White Sox on two occasions, 1959-1961 and 1976-1981. When the American League was going to expand into the Los Angeles area in the early Sixties, Veeck and his business partner, Hank Greenberg, had wanted to own the franchise. The owner of the Los Angeles (formerly Brooklyn) Dodgers, Walter O’Malley, not wanting to have to compete against Veeck and his shenanigans, invoked his exclusive franchise rights for Southern California, meaning Veeck would have to seek O’Malley’s blessing to put another baseball team in Los Angeles. It was clear O’Malley had no intention of giving it (he later agreed to Gene Autry owning the new Los Angeles franchise). Dale Carnegie, was of course the author of the book How To Win Friends And Influence People.


One-Liner Wednesday is brought to you each week by Linda Hill and this station. Now a word about Crisco brand shortening. With Crisco, food doesn’t taste greasy, even cold!

Writer’s Workshop: Baseball and Me

Today Mama Kat wants us to write a post based on the word “celebrate.” I didn’t know what I’d write about until I read Jenny Hansen’s post from yesterday, when she talked about being a baseball fan. (Go read it: it’s excellent, as is her blog.) She asked if we followed any sports and what our favorite teams are.

Do I follow sports? I follow baseball. That’s pretty much it. I have three favorite teams: The Chicago White Sox, the Atlanta Braves, and whoever’s playing the Chicago Cubs. I grew up a White Sox fan, even though I grew up in Rogers Park, about as far north in Chicago as you can get without being in Evanston. My grandfather, my uncle Jack and his cousin Chuck, all of whom lived or grew up on the South Side before moving north, were all White Sox fans, and managed to convert my father, who also grew up north, when Dad married into the family. So, I was also a White Sox fan, although my brother Jim (possibly Kip, though he claims he was a Cardinals fan) and nearly everyone I went to school with were Cub fans.

It’s actually a good thing I was a Sox fan. My future father-in-law wasn’t too sure about me, a North Sider, until Mary told him, “But he’s a Sox fan, Daddy.” He and I spent some happy times at Comiskey Park, drinking beer, smoking Camels, and watching the Sox play.

There was not much to celebrate in the mid-Sixties when I first decided I was a Sox fan. The Sox were good in those years, just not good enough to capture the American League pennant and play in the World Series. They made a real run for it in 1967, and were within one win in Washington of taking the flag, but dropped both ends of a doubleheader against the Senators (who are now the Texas Rangers) and finished the year in fourth. (The Senators finished in seventh, out of ten teams.) The following season, they finished in eighth, and it was downhill from there. Expansion in 1969 saw the Sox put into the AL West with the two expansion teams. Under normal circumstances, this would mean they’d finish no lower than fourth, but they ended the season in fifth. (We did take solace in the fact that the Cubs, who led the NL East most of the ’69 season, had a terrible September and ended up sitting at home while the “Amazin'” New York Mets beat the Baltimore Orioles in the World Series.)

Generally, being a Sox fan was an exercise in futility. Even in 1983, when they beat up on the AL West and a significant portion of the AL East, they reverted to form in the playoffs and lost three straight to the Orioles after winning the first game, leaving most of us to tear our hair out. By the time they won the AL West again in 1993, I had moved to Atlanta.

When I got to Atlanta, the Braves were awful. But, by then, I was used to cheering on awful teams, and they were actually a pretty interesting team to watch. Many of the players who would form the basis of the “worst to first” team of 1991 were getting their first taste of the major leagues, and they caught fire when they traded Dale Murphy to Philadelphia in 1990 and installed David Justice in right field. I knew they were onto something good when Uncle Jack said, “Those Braves have some guys that can tear the cover off the ball.”

There was an almost constant celebration in Atlanta the next few years as they were division champs each year from 1991 through 2005 (except 1994, the year of the player strike) and went to the World Series in 1991, 1992, 1995, 1996, and 1999, winning the Series in 1995. In ’93 I was hoping that the White Sox and Braves would meet in the World Series, but it wasn’t to be, as both teams lost in the playoffs. The Braves did that a lot, actually, always snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

But really, the year that stands out for me is 2005. Once again, the Braves won their division and the White Sox won theirs, and once again, the Braves lost in the first round of the playoffs. The White Sox kept going, though, winning the division series against the Red Sox in three straight, the league champonship series against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, California four games to one (I forget what name they were using at the time, so I just put them all in), and sweeping the Houston Astros to become World Champions.

That was cause to celebrate. I had waited forty years for that one. And I thought about my grandfather, who had died several years before and was the only person I knew who remembered the last time the White Sox had won the World Series (1917), and my father-in-law, and my dad, and my friends and family members who had waited for that moment.

I’ve done my best to keep this short. Really, though, I could write a book. I just want to add one thing: I am happy for the Cubs on their World Series win, particularly Jason Heyward and David Ross, who played here in Atlanta and were fan favorites. Happy mostly because I don’t have to hear about how many years they waited…

17474d3a52fd7efdada7b5896b5c5906

Monday’s Music Moves Me: It’s Baseball Time!

Okay, so the Super Bowl was played yesterday, and I understand the Atlanta Falcons managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Since I could care less about football, I didn’t watch. To me, Super Bowl Sunday means only one thing:

Pitchers and catchers report in less than two weeks!

Like most baseball fans, I’ve been waiting for the start of the baseball season since the end of the last one. Here are a few songs to get you in the mood.

John Fogerty, “Centerfield” The title track from his 1985 album, this became an instant hit at ballparks everywhere as a song to play after the home team has taken the field.

The Harry Simeone Singers, “It’s A Beautiful Day For A Ballgame” Joe Simpson, color commentator for Atlanta Braves baseball on Fox Sports South, thinks this is the best baseball song ever, and it is a good one. They used to play this before telecasts of Cubs games on WGN in the Sixties. I think it also made it into the first Major League movie.

Terry Cashman, “Talkin’ Baseball (Willie, Mickey, and the Duke)” More of a nostalgia song than a baseball one, this 1981 song catches the spirit of every baseball fan.

The Treniers, “Say Hey (The Willie Mays Song)” I had never heard this one before today, but I saw “The Treniers” and had to include it.

“Hey Hey, Holy Mackerel” The Cubs were in the thick of the pennant race in 1969, and naturally they ended the season in second place behind the New York Mets. Every White Sox fan who lived on the North Side (like me) had to put up with a summer of hearing all about how the Cubs were going to win the World Series and be the Gods of Baseball, blah blah blah. This fight song was written during that period, and we heard it constantly. When the Cubs dropped out of first to stay, we got to sing it to them. The irony was delicious. “Hey Hey,” incidentally, was what Hall of Fame announcer Jack Brickhouse (who did both Cubs and White Sox games in the Sixties) used to shout when one of the hometown teams hit a home run.

Captain Stubby and The Buccaneers, “Let’s Go, Go-Go White Sox” This is the White Sox fight song, from 1959, when the Sox were in the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. They lost then, and it would be another 24 years before it became relevant again. Captain Stubby hosted a noontime kids’ cartoon show in the late Fifties and early Sixties.

There are many other baseball songs. Do you have a favorite? Let me know in the comments. That’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for February 6, 2017.

Monday’s Music Moves Me is sponsored by X-Mas Dolly, Callie, Cathy, and Stacy, so be sure and visit them, where you can also find the Linky for the other participants.


Photobucket

#1LinerWeds from Twitter, and #JusJoJan about sacrifices

First the one-liner…

Another Christmas come and gone and, once again, I didn’t get any myrrh. *Sigh*
 
Claude Bouchard (@ceebee308)

 

I saw this last week and thought it was perfect. According to the New Testament, myrrh was a gift from one of the Magi to the Baby Jesus, and it’s used mainly to preserve a dead body. Wikipedia’s article says that, to harvest myrrh from the Commiphora myrrha, a small, thorny tree, the tree is beaten and wounded repeatedly so the myrrh, an oleoresin, will bleed out. The significance is that it prefigures Jesus’ suffering at the hands of the Romans when he is scourged. It’s interesting to note that frankincense is harvested the same way, from a different tree, and the cuts made in the bark of the tree are called “stripes.”

When you’re a kid, though, myrrh is a total mystery. You understand gold, and frankincense is essentially incense, so you can figure that. But myrrh? All you can figure is it’s fun to say. “Myrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrh!”


 

I hear the word “sacrifice,” and the first thing I think of is the baseball play in which a hitter either bunts or hits the ball into the air with the intention of moving one or more runners into scoring position or scoring a runner from third base. Typically the people who are called on to sacrifice are the weaker hitters in the lineup, such as pitchers or middle infielders who are valuable more for their fielding abilities than their hitting. In essence, the hitter is “giving himself up” to score a run for the team or to move a runner to second or third base, from which it’s easier for the runner to score.

One of the real artists in sacrificing was Nellie Fox, who played for the Chicago White Sox from 1950 to 1963. He typically batted second behind Luis Aparicio, a very fast man who would get on base a lot and was a threat to steal a base anytime he was on. Nellie would come to bat with Luis on first and try to keep the ball away from the catcher, who could throw Luis out if he caught the ball, so he would bunt (let the ball bounce off his bat and drop on the ground, causing the other infielders to shift out of position to try and retrieve the ball and throw Nellie out), by which time Luis would be on second base, able to score on a hit by one of the better hitters coming up after Nellie. Nellie was fast enough that sometimes he would get on base as well, and was a good enough hitter that he could hit the ball into the outfield and get on base that way.

I realize that many of you (maybe even most) have no idea what I was talking about, so thanks for making the sacrifice and letting me ramble…


The prompt “sacrifice” for Just Jot It January (JJJ) was supplied by Me – Who Am I?, who would love it if you would stop by her blog. JJJ and One-Liner Wednesday are both sponsored by Linda Hill, who would likewise enjoy a visit.