And That Happened: Classic

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Note: due to the All-Star break, we now bring you a special “Classic” edition of “And That Happened.” The following originally ran on July 13, 1969:

Orioles 4, Red Sox 0: A three hit shutout from Mike Cuellar lays the
Bosox low. After two years of upstart seasons — first from these very
same Red Sox and then the Tigers last year — it looks to this scribe like the
Baltimore Orioles are firmly back in control of the American League. The
reason is simple: a class organization, top to bottom, and so will it
ever be.

Royals 7, White Sox 0: Look, great day for Kansas City, but let’s be honest: neither of these teams are going anywhere this year, and I can’t be bothered with this game. I’m far more concerned about this moon shot they’re planning on Wednesday. Look, I know we’re doing this because we have to beat the Russkies, but let’s be honest here. Those boys are going to probably die up in the cold void of space, either because their rocket explodes or they run out of fuel or the lander doesn’t meet back up with the orbital unit or something. Better off if they simply film the whole thing in some Hollywood studio like that way-out movie with the apes and the rectangles last year. The Russians wouldn’t know the difference. Of course no one ever asks me anything and I’m sure I’m the only one who’s thought such fanciful thoughts.

Twins 11, Pilots 1: Bouton got into the ballgame today. Pitched two and two-thirds innings and gave up two hits, one of them a tremendous double by a former teammate of his at Western Michigan, Frank Quilici. They lost this one 11-1 and the Fat Kid hit another. The Seattle staff is impartial in the home-run race between Killebrew and Reggie Jackson. They both kill them.

Athletics 4, Angels 2: The Athletics take one at home.  The only thing dampening this day was a little bit of something that’s all too common on these trips up to the Bay Area: hippie uprising. A bunch of pinkos from up Berkley way were blocking the players’ entrance before the game, demonstrating for workers’ rights or something. Luckily this game’s starting pitchers — Catfish Hunter and Andy Messersmith — worked together to break things up. Good choice with those two. Company men. You know they’d never be swayed by that union organizer brain washing.

Tigers 15, Indians 3: Mickey Lolich runs his record to 12-2 and the
Tigers beat the Indians in the latest installment of the Battle of Lake
Erie. Before the game this reporter learned that Cleveland officials are confident that the last remnants of the fire that broke
out on the Cuyahoga River three weeks ago will be contained within the
next few days. A shame what’s happened down in Cleveland. How envious
the Indians players much be as they visit Detroit these past few days.
Engine of Democracy, capital of the music world. Perhaps one day it can
aspire to the Motor City’s heights, though admittedly, few cities can.

Yankees 3, Senators 1: The Yanks win one on the road in R.F.K. Stadium, which will be host of this year’s All-Star Game on July 24th.  Just got word of the game’s details: they’ll be 25 men on each team, one of whom will be a starting pitcher who will handle the bulk of the game. The rest of the players will either start and play the majority of the game or will sit on the bench in case of an injury or the need for some pinch hitting. As it is an exhibition game, the results will not count in the standings or for any other purpose.  The only difference this year is that, for the first time, the All-Star Game has been expanded into something they’re calling “All-Star Week,” with all manner of festivities to mark the occasion. Rather than just the game on the 24th, there will be drinking and carousing on the 22nd and the 23rd.

Shameful and needless spectacle, I say. It used to be just about the game, ladies and gentlemen, it used to be just about the game. I guess that’s progress for you. Why, some day in the future, if man and woman are still alive we may find that everything we think, do or say will be in the pill we took today.

Er– sorry about that, it’s just that that song is on the radio everywhere you go lately, so the future has served as a terrifying prospect to me of late.

Cubs 7, Phillies 4: The way this Cubs team is rolling, my friends, there appears to be nothing that will stop them from taking the pennant and putting and end to their seemingly interminable 61-year drought. I mean, let’s be serious: who’s gonna challenge the Cubbies? The Mets? Ha! That sad sack club is five games back and doesn’t have a field general the likes of one Leo Durocher on their side. Start printing those World Series tickets now, boys, start printing those World Series tickets now.

Cardinals 6, Pirates 3: Three base on balls for Pirates’ starter Steve
Blass. Rare to see his control rattled like that. I’m sure it’s nothing,
however.

Astros 10, Reds 4: Little Joe Morgan walked twice and scored a run for Houston, but he didn’t get any hits. I wish someone would tell him that if you don’t get hits, you’re really not doing your job as a hitter. Hitting the ball gets things moving along. Walking just clogs up those bases. He could learn a lesson from his counterpart on the Reds, Mr. Pete Rose, who had a couple of hits yesterday and really helped his ballclub. Sure, the Reds lost, but that’s because Larry Dierker is a winning pitcher. Hard to win against a winning pitcher like that.

Dodgers 3, Giants 2: Over 45,000 were in attendance for a close, 14-inning affair. The Dodgers expect even bigger crowds for their August 8th and 9th Family Night promotions, brought to you by Gateway Markets!

Padres 7, Braves 5: No home runs for Henry Aaron on this day, but he continues his torrid season all the same. While Babe Ruth’s hallowed record will almost certainly belong to Willie Mays one day, Hammerin’ Hank stands a chance of hitting as many as 600 or 650 home runs if things break right for him.  If he does, however, his mark should be discounted by historians, what with playing as he does now in that band box of a stadium down in Atlanta. It’s an unfair advantage and a mockery of all competition. As far as this writer is concerned, Babe Ruth — and possibly Willie Mays — will forever be the Gold Standard when it comes to the long ball.

Expos vs. Mets: Postponed:  Raindrops keep fallin’ on my head . . . And just like the guy whose feet are too big for his bed, nothing seems to fit . . . Hey, I just made that up on the spot!  Not bad, eh? Plunked it out on the piano right here as I was typing. Hope I didn’t disturb my neighbor Burt Bacharach with that one!  He’s been working hard on the score to some new cowboy movie and has a had a serious case of writer’s block.

That’s all the games from yesterday. If you want to discuss these game summaries, I can be reached here:

C. Allen Calcaterra
c/o Hard-Ball-Talk
National Broadcasting Company
Rockefeller Center
New York, New York

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Zack Greinke named the Dbacks’ Opening Day starter

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 21:  Pitcher Zack Greinke #21 of the Arizona Diamondbacks poses for a portrait during photo day at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on February 21, 2017 in Scottsdale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Not a surprise, but a news item on a slow news day is a news item on a slow news day: Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo has named Zack Greinke as the club’s Opening Day starter.

Greinke’s first season with the Diamondbacks is not exactly what the club hoped for when he signed a six-year, $206.5 million deal in December of 2015. He dealt with oblique and shoulder issues while struggling to a 4.37 ERA over 26 starts. Greinke hasn’t pitched yet this spring, but will make his spring debut on Friday. He and the club are obviously hoping for a quiet March and a strong beginning to the season.

Either for its own sake or to increase the trade value of a player who was acquired by the previous front office regime.

“La Vida Baseball,” celebrating Latino baseball, launches

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A new website has launched. It’s called “La Vida Baseball,” and it’s all about celebrating the past, present and future of Latino baseball from a Latino perspective.

The site, produced in partnership with the Hall of Fame, has four general areas of focus:

  • Who’s Now: Focusing on current Latino players;
  • Who’s Next: Focusing on top prospects here, in the Caribbean and in Central and South America;
  • Our Life: Off-the-Field stuff, including player’s lives, lifestyles and hobbies; and
  • Our Legends: Focusing on Latino baseball history, Hall of Famers and overlooked players.

As the site has just launched there aren’t yet a ton of stories up there, but there is one about Roberto Clemente, another about Felix Hernandez and some other stuff.

The site is much-needed. Baseball reporters for American outlets are overwhelmingly white, non-Spanish speakers. Reporters, who, generally, gravitate to the players who are the most like they are. Which is understandable on some level. When you’re writing stories about people you need to be able to communicate with them and relate to them on more than a mere perfunctory level. As such, no matter how good the intentions of baseball media, we tend to see the clubhouse and the culture of baseball from a distinctly American perspective. And we tend to paint Latino players with a broad, broad brush.

La Vida Baseball will, hopefully, remedy all of that and will, hopefully, give us a fresh and insightful depiction Latino players and their culture.