The Day After the Trade Deadline


They took Jonathan Jonathan_Schoop_on_September_26,_2013from us, too.

It’s not just the end of an era, it’s the end of life as we know it…

I suspect Giamatti wasn’t just talking about the off-season when he said that baseball breaks your heart. He was probably really talking about the trade deadline.

~ baseballrebecca

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A Baseball Kind of a Day


All I could think about all day long was baseball. Even more so than usual. As the long work day wore on, my excitement kept building. Tonight there is a double header!

Sometimes the good thing about a rain out is that it is followed by a double header the next day. I’d never actually been to a double header, though there’s a good amount in the minors. But this time I made sure I went. Took off work early and everything.

Every once in a while a double header is a must. It clears the mind, refreshes the soul. I’d been bogged down in busy-ness lately. As soon as I walked through the door at work, I immediately felt better.

Right now it’s the 5th inning of game 1 of the Bowie Baysox double header. We’re leading 1-0 over the RubberDucks. Hopefully the lead will hold up and the rain will hold off.

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Are We Done Now?


It was finally announced today.  But all last week we waited in tortured anticipation to find out what was going to happen.  Article after article came out about who should – and would – be punished and how.  So, after ignoring the news for a couple of days, I was surprised that there was a tiny bit of support for A-Rod, or at least for ending the whole saga and getting on with baseball.

Fox Sports, for example, noted that even if Rodriguez is guilty of everything he is accused of, he doesn’t deserve a life-time ban from baseball (which is what was being suggested last week).  The Washington Post pondered what A-Rod is really guilty of – in the eyes of public opinion.  An arrogant personality?  A less than honest demeanor?  The Daily Beast even went so far as to state that suspending A-Rod is bad not only for him but for baseball as a whole.

Fed up with MLB’s posturing last week, the New York Times acknowledged that it makes you almost want to root for Alex.  The paper charged:  “This exhaustive investigation is less about A-Rod and performance-enhancing drugs than about power and control. Major League Baseball is attempting to impose its will on high-profile players by possibly circumventing due process to make an example of them.”

Meanwhile, the Miami Herald remembers happier times for A-Rod (though they keep referring to him as “the fallen Yankees’ superstar”).

Perhaps most interesting was Doug Glanville’s take on ESPN.com.  He approached it from the angle of addiction, noting:  “Addiction is a nasty world, full of lying, cheating and stealing. In the baseball world, you lie that you are not using, you cheat the system and the numbers, and you steal the records and the faith. But you believe you can’t help it; you’ve gone too far. The truth is so far behind you that you don’t know when you ever were clean. Or even what clean means.”

In fact, Glanville came the closest to trying to analyze the entire situation from a sociological perspective.  There are many sociological theories of deviance we could apply to the A-Rod case, they don’t all have to be conspiracy theories.

What was most exhausting was simply waiting for the other shoe to drop – every day we were told that “the announcements are forthcoming.”  As the Wall Street Journal said, “enough already!”  I think most of us, except perhaps the most dedicated of A-Rod haters, are tired of the whole MLB suspensions drama.

So, the announcement was finally made.  Here’s hoping was can soon move on and get back to just playing (and watching) baseball.

~ 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

Teaching Baseball


Believe it or not, there are actually some people out there who don’t love baseball.  Weird, right?  I mean it’s the national pastime!  Aren’t there laws about that?

Don’t get me wrong – its always an honor to take some one to their first ballgame and teach them the game (and I seem to do that a lot).  Just this past week, I took my niece to a Bowie Baysox game.  We’ve been to other games together in the past, including our family outing to see the Miami Marlins in June.  I truly enjoyed answering her questions about the game and, of course, the sociological implications of baseball, but she said that two games in one summer was the most she’d ever been to.

Clearly I need to hang out with this girl more.

Or maybe we just need more baseball education.  There are a few colleges and universities out there that teach baseball history.  In fact, it was a discussion at this year’s Society of American Baseball Research (SABR) National Convention.  Several folks have come up with baseball-themed lesson plans.  Here are a few I found just by Googling “Baseball in the Classroom:”

There are actually a lot of baseball-related educational materials out there – from elementary school to college levels.  In fact, there’s a great book on the subject: Baseball in the Classroom: Essays on Teaching the National Pastime, which has several examples of baseball-themed classroom materials for subjects from history to business.

Of course, I’m biased.  But I think we can learn a lot about baseball – everything from statistics to race relations, art, and, naturally, sociology.  So, take someone to a baseball game today and teach them about the national pastime, U.S. society, and maybe even statistics!

~ baseballrebecca

 

Do You Dream in Baseball?


“I think about baseball when I wake up in the morning.  I think about it all day and I dream about it at night.  The only time I don’t think about it is when I’m playing it.” ~ Carl Yastrzemski

We all have hopes of our teams making it to the World Series one day.  But for those of us who live and die for baseball, that’s not our only dream.  I’ve already met my hero, but I have a lot more baseball dreams to accomplish.  Here are a few of them:

  1. See every stadium in the country (both MLB and MiLB)
  2. Baseball road trips through Mexico, Cuba, and Italy (and Japan … and Taiwan … and …)
  3. Live across the street from Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, FL
  4. Buy a new car and get the new Orioles license plates
  5. Write another baseball book and become a famous baseball author and complete dreams 1 through 4.  (It will happen one day!)

 What are your baseball hopes and dreams? 

 ~ baseballrebecca

The Baseball Sociologist and the Baseball Hero

Baseball is Back!


Wow.  Its amazing how life can take over and you lose touch with the really important things.  Spring Training definitely puts things into perspective, calms you down, and helps you think more clearly.  After five days in Florida with my two teams – the Baltimore Orioles and the Washington Nationals (as well as the Atlanta Braves, the New York Yankees, and the Miami Marlins), I’m definitely ready for more baseball!

Only 11 more days until Opening Night and 12 days until Opening Day!

~ baseballrebecca

Bobbles Come to Those Who Wait


Brian Matusz bobblehead!Sometimes its best not to try too hard.  Thursday night was Brian Matusz bobblehead night at the Bowie Baysox.  I was going to go, but then thought better of it.  The Bobble Quest hasn’t been going all that well this year, and only the first 250 fans would receive a Brian bobble.  The odds were stacked against me.

But believe me, I did consider it.  I could have skipped lunch and left work a few minutes early (even though that’s frowned upon).  I could have ditched my favorite class at the gym.  And I would have had to avoid all traffic and traffic problems (such as the closed roads due to flooding or whatever they were closed for) and hope the traffic lights were working once again on route  214.  But it just exhausted me to think about it all.  Besides, I’d gone to the game the night before.  Two work-nights in a row was a little too much, even for me.

About 9 o’clock that night there was a knock on my door.  An angel bearing bobbleheads?  Ok, it was actually just my sister.  But she did have a Brian  Matusz bobblehead in her arms!  She’d been to the game and was giving me her bobblehead.  (She was also dropping off her key so I could dog sit, but still, it was really nice!)  (Oh, and Brian’s (the bobble, not the pitcher) foot is broken, but still, it was really nice!)

Sometimes, good things really do come to those who wait. 

~ baseballrebecca

Sometimes You Gotta Heed the Warning Track


Warning track in front of out-of-town scoreboard at PNC Park

A sudden change in carpet texture beneath her feet alerted her that she was three yards from the exit. The warning track, as it was called by Peter Solomon, an avid baseball fan.  Trish stopped short, pulled out her key card, and groped in the darkness along the wall until she found the raised slot and inserted her card.  ~ Dan Brown, The Lost Symbol

I love it when art imitates life, or, rather, when art imitates baseball.  A friend alerted me to the above passage from a Dan Brown novel.  The warning track, according to The Dickson Baseball Dictionaryis the track in front of the outfield fence, the purpose of which is to “protect outfielders from crashing into the wall as they back up to catch a ball.  With his eyes fixed on the ball, a player knows he is nearing the wall as he senses the granular texture of the warning track with his feet.” 

Outfield fence and warning track, Bowie Baysox StadiumIgnoring the warning track and barreling into the outfield wall might get you the out you need against the opposing team, but sometimes it comes at a price.  Like yesterday, when the Angels’ Torii Hunter slammed into the outfield wall while chasing down a fly ball hit by Gaby Sanchez, bruising his ribs.  “I have to catch it at all costs,” Hunter said.  “But I paid for it.”  X-rays showed that Hunter is mostly fine, but he’ll be out for at least a couple of days.   

In life, however, sometimes we need to heed our personal warning tracks, even when the thrill of the catch is just a little too tempting.  Like this past week when I:  flew to Houston on Tuesday, hung out with a friend, saw my most favorite band from Spain in concert that night, toured Johnson Space Center and attended an Astros game the next day, all before flying home on Thursday; went shopping and got mani-pedis with another friend on Friday; took a mini-road trip in my car with nearly non-existent air conditioning to see my beloved Bowie Baysox play the Flying Squirrels the very next day; spent Sunday catching up on everything from laundry to food prep for the week (while watching the Orioles defeat the Nationals on TV); went to work and the gym on Monday; crashed from exhaustion and called in sick on Tuesday (though still making it to dance class Tuesday night); and then went to Baltimore on Wednesday for the U2 concert from which I did not get home until after 1 a.m. this morning.

There are plenty of life lessons to be learned from baseball, if we choose to be enlightened.  I ignored the warning track after Houston, kept on going, and crashed big-time into life.  Now I’m exhausted and have a throbbing headache and laryngitis.  I had fun, but, like Torii, “I paid for it.” 

~ baseballrebecca