In the spirit of Halloween (pun intended) I thought I’d share the following video about the potentially haunted Frontier Field, home of the Rochester Red Wings:
On October 27, 1962, the Detroit Tigers embarked on an 18-game tour of Japan. Detroit was not the first – nor last – team to visit Japan. MLB players have visited Japan on official tours since 1908. In fact, MLB stars will again tour Japan this November; players expected to be on the tour include: Yasiel Puig, Jose Altuve, and Christina Yelich.
Some of the early tours were caught on film, including Jimmie Foxx’s 1934 tour of Japan with Lou Gehrig, Charlie Gehringer, Lefty Gomez, Connie Mack, and Babe Ruth, among others:
I woke up around 4 am yesterday. It was dark, it was cold, and it was way too early to be awake. Nonetheless, I boarded a plane in Baltimore a few hours later. After everyone found their seats and stored their carry-ons, the plane was de-iced and we took off. Five hours later, after a nice nap, we landed in Phoenix, Arizona, where it was a wonderful 85 degrees. The blue sky was gorgeous – it was going to be a great day to be outside.
So, I made my way to the Peoria Sports Complex where I joined a handful of other folks at a baseball game between the Peoria Javelinas and the Glendale Desert Dogs of the Arizona Fall League. For those of us whose favorite teams aren’t in the World Series, the Arizona Fall League is a nice distraction. Although the Fall Stars Game has been televised the past few years, the rest of the games are not, though you can follow online. So when I had the chance to go to Arizona, I couldn’t refuse.
The sun was out, but there was a nice breeze. Seating was open, so I sat in the sun along the third base side for the beginning of the game (I moved to the shadier first base side in the 3rd inning). The visiting Desert Dogs were up first, with three of my Bowie Baysox in the lineup. The Javelinas were the first to score in the bottom of the ninth, but the Desert Dogs came back in the top of the 2nd with three runs. By the 8th inning, the Dogs had 6 runs, including a 2-run home run by Cleveland’s Yu Chang in the top of the 5th. In the bottom of the 8th, the Javelinas scored another run on a home run by Seattle’s Ian Miller.
After a mere 2 hours and 11 minutes, the blissful afternoon ended all too soon as the final out was recorded. The final score was Desert Dogs 6, Javelinas 2. My team had won, and my spirit had been renewed.
If you ever need a fall escape, the Arizona Fall League is the place to be. I highly, highly recommend it.
Twenty years ago, on October 21, 1998, infielder Ruben Rivera got a hit off of his cousin, Yankees closer Mariano Rivera in the 1998 World Series. The hit mattered not, as the Yankees went on to sweep the Padres when the next batter hit into a double play and the next Padres batter became the final out of the series.
That World Series game was the only time Rivera faced Rivera. Ruben, the younger cousin, had been signed by the Yankees in 1990, making his major league debut in pinstripes on September 3, 1995. He played 46 games with the Yankees in 1995 and 1996.
Ruben was traded to the Padres in 1997. He would later play for the Reds, Rangers, and Giants. His final MLB appearance was in 2003 for the Giants.
However, that was not the end of Ruben Rivera’s baseball career. Rivera continued to play in the minors for both the Baltimore Orioles and the Chicago White Sox from 2003-2006. In 2007, he made bed on to the Mexican League where he played for several teams before being traded to the Acereros de Monclova – where he still plays today.
Not a bad career. I’ll be keeping an eye on Ruben and his continued career in the Mexican League. I wonder if Mariano ever goes to see him play.
Last week, the Miami Herald reported that the Miami Marlins had received approval for their plan to move the home run sculpture featured behind the outfield. Minor League teams were quick to respond:
MLB’s Cut4 also had their fun, to which the Marlins finally had to reply:
It’s been 35 years since the Orioles last won the World Series. On October 16, 1983, the Orioles won Game 5 of the 1983 World Series, beating the Philadelphia Phillies 5-0. You can re-live some of the best moments of the series with the videos below – and reminisce about how the Orioles once were a good team…
On this date in 1960, the Yankees fired manager Casey Stengel. The 70-year old Stengel had managed the Yankees since 1949, and had managed the Brooklyn Dodgers (1934-36) and Boston Braves (1938-43) prior to that. With Stengel as manager, the Yankees had amassed a 1,149-696 record (.623) and won 10 AL pennants and 7 World Championships.
Nonetheless, after the Yankees lost the 1960 World Series to the Pittsburgh Pirates, the team informed Stengel that his contract would not be renewed. At a press conference announcing the decision, that Stengel had demanded, Yankees management evaded the question of why Stengel was being let go, to which Stengel responded, “Resigned, fired, quit, discharged, use whatever you damn please. I’ll never make the mistake of being seventy again.” The Yankees later stated that Stengel was terminated due to his age, which they would have done even if they had won the World Series. (Of course, it has been argued that the Yankees really wanted to hire Ralph Houk.)
Too late for Casey, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act was passed on December 15, 1967 (effective on June 12, 1968). The law protects workers from discrimination on the basis of age in hiring, promotion, discharge, compensation, or terms, conditions or privileges of employment. As originally written, it covered employees between the ages of 40 and 65. The age range was extended to age 70 with the Age Discrimination in Employment Act Amendments of 1978. The upper-age limit was eliminated with the 1986 amendments to the act.
Good thing, too, because according to NPR a few years ago, MLB had the oldest managers of all professional sports. During the 2018 season, the average age of MLB managers was 54 years. Ten managers were over the age of 60; Jim Riggleman was the oldest at age 65 (the youngest was Kevin Cash, age 40). The oldest manager ever to manage an MLB team was Connie Mack, who lead the Philadelphia A’s for 30 years, from 1901 to 1950, before retiring at age 87.
Maybe in MLB, at least for managers, age really doesn’t matter. Casey himself continued to manage until age 75. He was hired to manage the expansion New York Mets in 1962, where he remained through much of the 1965 season – he only retired after breaking his hip that July. He officially retired from the Mets on August 30, 1965.
Hispanic Heritage Month may be over, but the Copa de la Diversión is going strong! Last week, Ballpark Digest announced its pick for its “2018 Best New Logo/Branding” award. According to the publication, the award “honors the team executing the best rebranding, from design to reception. [For 2018], There is one winner, with 33 different teams represented. Minor League Baseball’s Copa de La Diversión was an ambitious nationwide campaign and overwhelming success, earning our Best New Logo(s)/Branding of the Year citation.”
After three years of research, Minor League Baseball unveiled their year-long Copa promotion in March. Thirty-three teams participated, including Los Cangrejos Fantasmas de Chesapeake (Bowie Baysox). At the 156 Copa games played in 2018, average attendance was 4,857 per game, approximately 1,000 more per game than the typical MiLB game. Retail sales related to the Copa de la Diversión topped $3.5 million. And, yes, there will be a Copa winner. It will be awarded to the team “that best connected with its community.” The winner will be announced in December at the Baseball Winter Meetings.
In 2019, the Copa de La Diversión will expand to 72 MiLB teams – 39 new teams will join the 33 teams that participated this year. I certainly enjoyed meeting my team’s Latin players this year, and hope to do so again next year!
The U.S. Navy was established on October 13, 1775, when the Continental Congress authorized the creation of the Continental Navy. Baseball plays an important role in the Navy, as it does in other branches of the U.S. military. In fact, baseball has been associated with the Armed Forces at least since the Civil War.
In honor of the Navy’s birthday tomorrow, I’ve posted some footage of baseball being played aboard a naval battleship in the 1930s. Checkout the footage at about 1 minute, 40 seconds.
I know this is bad timing, given the results of last night’s game, but yesterday was the 22nd anniversary of “the incident.” You know, that time that the Yankees used a kid to steal the game 1 and the entire 1996 ALCS from the Orioles? This one:
It still makes me cry.
But what if that had never happened? Let your imagination run wild here:
Guess we’ll never know.