Before we get to that, some followup from Mike Bacsik, who was accused by former teammate Tim Redding yesterday of grooving home run 756 to Barry Bonds. Bacsik tweets:
For everyone on my page that needs a denial; I didn’t try to give up the homerun. I was crappy enough to do it without trying . . . If somebody would
have asked me, what teammate will say you tried to give up a homerun?
After laughing my answer would have been Tim Redding.
I still don’t know or frankly really care of Bacsik served up a fat one to Bonds, but (a) I like his sense of humor; and (b) he’s not the first guy to slam Tim Redding for being something of a horse’s ass.
In other news — old news, anyway — Jake Peavy doesn’t need anyone to accuse him of grooving one to Barry Bonds. He admitted it freely a couple of years ago:
everyone in the ballpark knew that was going to be Barry’s last
at-bat,” Peavy recalled. “Me and Barry being buddies, I wanted to take
care of him in his old ballpark. I wanted to give him as good a
send-off as he could have. That being said, I couldn’t throw cookies up
there all night because we had to win. But we were able to get a 9-2
lead, and I’m facing Barry knowing this was going to be his last at-bat.
“At that point, I knew we were going to win that game and he knew I
was going to give him a good pitch to hit. He didn’t have to guess what
was coming: a fastball. He took a good shot at it and just missed it.
We had a good little exchange there. We would’ve done that whether it
had been on the field or not. But he wanted the fans to be a part of us
paying our respect to each other.”
Mickey Mantle was grooved one near the end too. And I’m not sure I have any problem with that kind of stuff. One of the things that
separates baseball from the lesser sports is that there is more room for
friendship and camaraderie, even on the actual field of play. The way I see it, if it’s only a once-in-a-blue-moon thing, and if it’s not affecting the outcome of a game, no harm, no
foul. I appreciate that I may be in the minority on that, but that’s nothing new.
(thanks to lar for the Peavy link)
Major League Baseball just announced the details for the ceremonial and off-field stuff in connection with Games 1 and 2 of the World Series. The one most people were wondering about was the ceremonial first pitch. Sorry, Charlie Sheen fans. Sorry fans of “Major League” in general. Two real baseball stars are handing first pitch duties: Kenny Lofton before Game 1, Carlos Baerga for Game 2.
Lofton needs no introduction. He should be a Hall of Famer but is criminally overlooked, perhaps because he bounced around to a lot of different clubs. He made his name in Cleveland, however, doing three separate tours with the Indians, leading the AL in stolen bases for five straight years early in his career and putting up a line of .300/.375/.426 in ten seasons on the shores of Lake Erie.
Baerga played for the Tribe between 1990 and 1996 and was, for a time, quite the superstar, even if people don’t talk about him much anymore. His career fell off pretty quickly in that way that often happens for second basemen and/or stars who end up on the Mets, but there was a time when he was perhaps the biggest star on some excellent Indians teams. People had “will Carlos Baerga be a Hall of Famer?” conversations and stuff. The mid-90s were a special time.
Beyond the first pitches, the National Anthem will be sung by Rachel Platten before Game 1 and by the group Locash before Game 2. As I am an old man out of touch with most things, I have no idea who they are, but I am sure their fans are passionate and their renditions of the Anthem will be fine and non-controversial. Fox, MLB and the folks at major record labels are pretty good about that sort of thing and everyone will be especially vigilant in light of what happened with that Canadian tenors group at the All-Star Game. If nothing else, I bet you pick up the check for the Anthem performance after the song, and not before these days.
I realize everyone is super excited about the Cubs being in the World Series for the first time since 1945, with the chance to win it for the first time since 1908. But you’d think folks would remember that it’s just the Cubs — and not Chicago as a whole — who have been away from the Fall Classic for so long.
I know their recent struggles makes it seem like a long, long time ago, but the White Sox won the World Series in 2005. They were in the World Series in 1959 too. You wouldn’t know that, though, if you looked at some prominent media outlets:
I understand the impulse to tell the “a whole city is coming together!” story every time stuff like this happens, but there are a lot of White Sox fans in Chicago. A good number of them don’t give a crap about the Cubs. Many even resent them for being the glory franchise in the city in the eyes of many. They certainly don’t feel like there’s a championship drought afoot, and I imagine they’re somewhat cranky about having their team’s glory plastered over like this.