Only eight days until Opening Day!
(And Happy Easter to those who celebrate!)
I’ve written previously about Bobble Mania and my Bobble Quests. Recently, however, minor league teams have added a new one: The Gnome Quest. This evening, the Bowie Baysox had a Manny Machado gnome giveaway for the first 1,000 fans. From the line outside the stadium more than an hour before the game started, it would appear it was a hit. (Yes, I was in that line.)
I’m sure one reason Manny the Gnome was so popular is that fans LOVE Manny the Ballplayer. For years we’ve been counting on him to be the future of the Orioles, the “shortstop of the future.” We like to compare him to Brooks Robinson and Cal Ripken.
It’s not surprising, then, that we like to collect all things Manny. This year alone, the Baysox have had three Manny-related giveaways: the Manny Machado bobblehead, the Manny Machado t-shirt, and, now, the Manny Machado Garden Gnome.
Not only do baseball fans love giveaways, we love Machado giveaways. I think this video from the Bowie Baysox pretty much proves it:
The Smithsonian Institution is fascinated with baseball. It’s quite understandable. Many of us are as well. Baseball is, after all, the National Pastime. The Smithsonian Magazine has covered the subject of baseball extensively. The museums themselves have had several baseball exhibits, including a traveling and online exhibit on Roberto Clemente.
The other day I went to the National Portrait Gallery. I wasn’t expecting to see anything baseball-related, but I was pleasantly surprised. On the third floor mezzanine, the museum has an exhibit on sports champions. It has photographs, paintings, and sculptures of not only baseball greats but other famous athletes as well. My favorite, of course, was the Yogi Berra sculpture. Yogi always makes me smile.
The exhibit was sorely lacking in one thing – anything Cal Ripken-related. They are going to have to do something about that!
I’m in the market for a new car, so I guess I’ve been paying a little more attention to car commercials lately. I’ve noticed that baseball apparently is still used to sell cars. I’m sure most of us can hum the tune to the old Chevy jingle, “baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet.” Prince Fielder and Justin Verlander certainly can.
In fact, apparently Chevrolet has been the “Official Vehicle of Major League Baseball” since 2005. So I guess it makes sense, then, that Cal Ripken would still be doing Chevy commercials, too.
Some players, however, have ventured beyond Chevy. Kevin Youkilis appears to be an equal opportunity car salesman with his ad for the Herb Chambers company, which seems to sell pretty much everything. I’m sure there are a lot more ball players doing local commercials… Like, Stephen Strasburg trying to sell us a Toyota.
Unfortunately, not even Cal has inspired me to buy a car. Apparently, ball players don’t sell the cute, practical cars women want. I guess I’ll have to rely on other role models for car buying inspiration. I wonder what kind of car Effa Manley or the Fort Wayne Daisies would have tried to sell us…
September 19: An experiment in the Southern Association produces a 32 minute game between Mobile and Atlanta – players were to swing at every good pitch and take little time between pitchers (1910); Ralph Kiner becomes the first National League player to hit 50 home runs in two different season (1949); Erne Banks hits his fifth grand slam of the season, setting a major league record (1955); Jim Fregosi hits the first inside the part home run at Dodger Stadium (1962). Birthdays: Duke Snider (1926) and Jim Abbott (1967).
September 20: Jim Callahan throws the White Sox’ first no-hitter (1902); Grover Alexander wins his 300th game (1924); Dan Danforth sets an International League record striking out 20 batters in one game (1930); Ford Frick is elected as the third commission of baseball (1941); Willie Mays hits his 49th and 50th home runs of the season, becoming the 7th player in MLB history to hit 50 home runs in one season (1955); Hoyt Wilhelm pitches the Baltimore Orioles first no-hitter, beating the Yankees 1-0 (1958); the Los Angeles Dodgers play their last game at Seals Stadium (1959); Mickey Morandini makes the first unassisted triple play in the National League in 65 years (1992); Cal Ripken, Jr., takes himself out of the starting lineup, ending his consecutive-games streak at 2,632 games (1998).
September 21: The Cleveland Indians play their last game at League Park (1946); Vida Blue pitches a no-hitter in his 8th major league start (1970); Mike Piazza becomes the first Dodger, and the second player ever, to hit a ball out of Dodger Stadium (1997). Birthday: Cecil Fielder (1963).
September 22: Cy Young wins his 511th and final victory at age 44 (1911); the Milwaukee Braves play their last game at County Stadium (1965); the Twins’ Cesar Tovar plays one inning at each position, becoming the second player to do so (1968); Willie Mays hits his 600th home run (1969); Nolan Ryan makes his final MLB appearance and becomes the older player ever to appear in a game for the Texas Rangers at age 46 years, 7 months, and 22 days.
September 23: Randy Jones becomes the first 20-game winner for the San Diego Padres (1975); Steve Carlton wins his 300th major league game (1983); Sparky Anderson becomes first manager to win more than 100 games in each league with the Tigers’ win over the Yankees (1984); Jose Canseco becomes the first player to hit 40 home runs and steal 40 bases in one season (1988); the last game is played in Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium (1996); Fred McGriff becomes the second player in MLB history to have 200 home runs in both the AL and the NL (Frank Robinson was the first) (2000).
September 24: The first MLB double-header is played between teams from Providence, RI, and Worchester, MA (1882); Bill Bradley becomes the first Cleveland Indian to hit for the cycle (1903); Al Kaline gets his 3,000th hit, becoming the first American League player to do so since 1925 (1974).
September 25: Roy Campanella catches the third no-hitter of his career when Sal Maglie throws the final no-hitter in Brooklyn Dodgers history (1956); the last game is played at Ebbets Field (1957); Satchel Paige, age 60, becomes the oldest player in MLB history when he pitches three scoreless innings for the Kansas City Athletics (1965); Nolan Ryan becomes the first player to pitch five no-hitters (1981). Birthdays: Phil Rizzuto (1917).