Opening Day is Getting Closer

Monte Irvin played in the Serie del Caribe for Cuba in 1949.If you’re like me and can’t wait for baseball season to begin, here are a few things to tide us over until Opening Day:

  • February 1-7:  The 2013  Serie del Caribe  (Caribbean Series) begins this week at the brand new Estadio Sonora in Hermosillo, Mexico, and will be broadcast on ESPN Deportes.  The series is the culmination of the Major League Baseball’s Winter League program, featuring players from the Dominican Winter League, the Mexican Pacific League, the Puerto Rican Professional Baseball League, and the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League.
  • February 10-12Pitchers and catchers report to their respective MLB teams between February 10 and 12, giving us hope that Opening Day is right around the corner.
  • February 22 Spring Training games for the Cactus League and the Grapefruit League begin!
  • March 2-10:  MLB’s Baseball World Classic Round One.
  • March 8-16:  Baseball World Classic Round Two.
  • March 17-19: Baseball World Classic Championship Round.
  • March 31:  Opening Night (on ESPN).
  • April 1:  OPENING DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • April 2:  Baltimore Orioles Opening Day (at Rays).

In addition, several major and minor league teams are hosting Fan Fests, open houses, and the like (though several have already occurred), so there may be even more baseball opportunities in your neck of the woods!  We just need to hold out a few more weeks…

~ baseballrebecca

Martin Luther King, Jr. and Baseball

“You’ll never know how easy you and Jackie and Doby and Campy made it for me to do my job by what you did on the baseball field.”
~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to Don Newcombe

Martin Luther King, Jr., Georgia Davis Powers, Jackie Robinson, Civil Rights Freedom March, Frankfort, Kentucky, 1964Martin Luther King, Jr.’s impact can be felt on nearly every aspect of U.S. society, including baseball. Like many children, King played baseball with the neighborhood kids while growing up in Atlanta, GA.  However, King also experienced discrimination at an early age when white parents refused to let him play with their children.

While many contend that Major League Baseball, Jackie Robinson, and other players helped paved the way for the Civil Rights Movement – and King certainly acknowledged their contributions – King himself had a lasting effect on the game itself, as well as the players and fans.  Baseball legend Jackie Robinson was inspired to speak out for civil rights along wCivil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. and baseball great Jackie Robinson met with Governor Edward T. Breathitt in March, 1964 to urge passage of a civil rights bill in Kentucky.ith Dr. King.  In March 1964, Robinson joined King and others in support of a state civil rights bill at a rally in Frankfort, KY.  Although the Kentucky bill was not passed that year, it was reintroduced and passed in 1966.

Baseball is a social institution that reflects the people, history, values, and social forces of U.S. society.  As such, its history is intertwined with the history of the nation and the legacy of Dr. King.  Thank you, Dr. King.

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, everyone!

~ baseballrebecca

Patiently Waiting for Spring

Steinbrenner Field, Tampa, FLThis recent bout of warmer than average temperatures has gotten me thinking about Spring Training.  The reporting date for pitchers and catchers is now less than a month away.  Soon, the news will begin to carry more and more baseball reports.  As opposed to now, when everyone is still fixated on the recent Hall of Fame vote.

People love to Gio Gonzalez, Spring Training 2012compare Spring Training to hope, optimism, and new beginnings. As Ernie Banks once said, “Spring training means flowers, people coming outdoors, sunshine, optimism and baseball. Spring training is a time to think about being young again.”

We’ll just have to remain patient for another month or so.  Until then, watch this space for more information – and musings – about baseball Spring Training.

~ baseballrebecca

Baltimore to New York

New York Highlanders, 1903As much as we hate to admit it, Baltimore and New York are forever united in baseball.  And as much as they like to gloat, the New York Yankees technically have their roots in Baltimore.  One hundred ten years ago, on January 9, 1903, the then-Baltimore Orioles were sold to Frank Ferrell and William Devery who then moved the team to New York.  Known at first as the New York Highlanders, the team played in Hilltop Park not far from the Polo Grounds and the New York Giants.

Immediately the new New York team began to irritate the Washington Senators, by beating them 6-2 on Opening Day 1903.  I don’t know what Baltimore thought about them at that point, but the New York Giants weren’t that fond of them.  (That is, until the Polo Grounds burned down in 1911 and the Highlanders agreed to share their ballpark.)  However, in those days, the team formerly known as the Baltimore Orioles only ever got as far as second in the league (in 1904, 1906, and 1910).  In 1913, the Highlanders moved into the new Polo Grounds and officially became the New York Yankees.  And they’ve just continued to be more and more annoying ever since.

George Bush and Derek Jeter, 2001 World SeriesThe first Yankee to throw a no-hitter was George Mogridge in 1917.  Then they bought Babe Ruth’s contract in 1920, won their first AL pennant in 1921, and won the World Series for the first time in 1923.  In total, they’ve won the American League championship 40 times and the World Series 27 times.  And don’t get me started (again) on Jeter.

Until recently, many people (outside of Baltimore that is) had forgotten the long-standing Orioles-Yankees rivalry.  Without some serious historical research, I can only speculate on the true reasons.  But at least on the anniversary of that tragic Baltimore to New York transaction, we should remember that the Yankees wouldn’t be the Yankees without Baltimore.

~ baseballrebecca