George Shuba wasn’t much of a big leaguer. He was a backup, mostly, playing parts of seven seasons for the Brooklyn Dodgers. But he was significant enough that the New York Times has a big obituary for him today, following his death at age 89.
He was part of a moment — a small one, but a significant all the same — that helped form Jackie Robinson’s legacy and history. From the Times:
On the afternoon of April 18, 1946, Robinson became the first black player in modern organized baseball when he made his debut with the Dodgers’ Montreal Royals farm team in their International League opener against the Jersey City Giants.
In the third inning, Robinson hit a three-run homer over the left-field fence. When he completed his trip around the bases, Shuba, the Royals’ left fielder and their next batter, shook his hand.
That was Shuba. And a famous photograph of that handshake was taken (it’s reproduced over at the Times obit). Which seems so small today, but it was pretty darn big in 1940s America. Not that Shuba’s life can be reduced to a handshake. The Times, in fact, has a lot of interesting stuff about Shuba’s life in and after baseball.
He was the kind of person most people forget but whose stories, however small they were, help make up baseball’s rich fabric.
This is neat. Game 1 of the NLCS will be on Fox, and we’ll have Joe Buck, Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci in the booth. But over on their sister station Fox Sports 1 they’re going to do a little experiment. Here’s Rob Neyer explaining it:
Game 1 of the NLCS, powered by JABO, and broadcast on FOX Sports 1 on October 11 at 8pm Eastern/5pm Pacific . . . NLCS on FOX Sports 1 Powered by JABO will focus on statistics, sabermetrics, and graphics, with plenty of debate and conversation while the action plays out on the field. We’ll utilize a double-box format, with the live game action in one box, and our studio hosts and guests in another, along with a constant flow of graphics.
This could be a total mess. It could be pretty cool. I wonder/worry about the box with the actual game being too small and the box with the talking heads like Kevin Burkhardt, C.J. Nitkowski, Gabe Kapler and Neyer being too big. Not that I have anything against those guys — I love ’em — but because it’s pretty much all about the game action, right? We don’t need to see new analysts in order to get a new kind of analysis.
That quibble aside, I like the idea of Fox trying something new. I feel like the next frontier of baseball broadcasts will involve moving away from the traditional play-by-play/color model we have now (which was developed ages ago). Perhaps there will be options for multiple types of commentary, with the viewer able to choose like the SAP button or whatever. The traditional. The analysis-heavy like Fox is trying here. Maybe a no-commentary option. Maybe one in which guys just talk about the game like you might in a bar. I dunno. There are tons of possibilities, especially when you consider that a huge number of people watch these games with two screens anyway, be it a tablet or a smartphone or whatever at their side.
My guess is that, whatever happens on October 11 with this experiment, a real alternative to the classic setup will take a while to develop. But I’m glad to see someone starting somewhere.
Earlier we heard Tim Hudson talking about the Giants having the balls to win and maybe the Nationals not. Now he’s going on about his teammates. From Jeff Passan’s article at Yahoo about Bumgarner’s fantastic performance last night:
“He don’t come with a lot of flair,” Giants starting pitcher Tim Hudson said, “but he goes out there and sticks it right up your butt.”
The anatomical impossibility of such a maneuver, not to mention the potential illegality, showcases Bumgarner’s ability to inspire the sort of hyperbole that only the elite can.
Someone maybe needs to talk to Tim about his metaphors. Maybe he can mix them up a bit, offering some for public consumption and saving the good ones for “Tim Hudson After Dark” or something.
Just a suggestion.
Buck Showalter released his ALDS roster today. Surprise: Ubaldo Jimenez is on it, pretty much certainly as a long reliever. He took the place, one presumes, of either Brian Matusz and T.J. McFarland, leaving the O’s with only two lefties in the pen. Which can work, I suppose, given that the Tigers’ big threats, especially off the bench, are right-handed.
Caleb Joseph, Nick Hundley
Steve Pearce, Jonathan Schoop, J.J. Hardy, Ryan Flaherty, Kelly Johnson, Jimmy Paredes
Nick Markakis, Adam Jones, Nelson Cruz, Alejandro De Aza, David Lough, Delmon Young
Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez and Bud Norris
Zach Britton, Darren O’Day, Andrew Miller, Tommy Hunter, Kevin Gausman, Brad Brach, Ubaldo Jimenez
All that really matters is the baseball, but when you have to wait a couple of days for a game, the talk tends to come to the fore. And this talk from Tim Hudson will probably get the attention of the Washington Nationals. From the Post:
“Obviously they have a talented group over there, there’s no question,” Hudson told The Post’s Barry Svrluga. “They have some great pitching. But come playoff time, talent can take you a long ways, but what do you have between your legs? That’s going to take you real far. And I think we’ve got a group in here that really has some of that.”
Hudson’s implication: The Nationals don’t. Or at least they haven’t shown it yet.
To the extent he’s equating what they “have between their legs” with playoff experience, fair enough. The Giants still have loads of guys who were in the 2010 and 2012 World Series. To the extent he’s talking about basic fortitude and manliness and all of that blah, blah, blah, I do hope he explains how that’s measured in non-subjective fashion. Because no one has ever explained that one to me.