Baseball

Keith Strudler: Facing Fears

Apr 20, 2016

I have no problem admitting that I am afraid of several things. Like roller coasters, I really hate roller coasters. I’ve been on two in my life, one out of stupidity and one for a girl, and neither was a good idea. I’ve got a little fear of heights, I’m scared to death of sharks, and so on.  If you are looking for a rugged, tough, fearless man, than you need to keep looking. I wear my fears like I do everything else – with confidence.

What’s it like to live through the longest season in sports, the 162-game Major League Baseball schedule? Washington Post staff writer Barry Svrluga’s The Grind, now out in paperback, captures the frustration, impermanence, and glory felt by the players, the staff, and their families from the start of spring training to the final game of the year – and into the offseason, when the preparations start again.

So much about baseball is known: the distance between the bases (90 feet), the batting average of a good hitter (.300), the velocity of a hard fastball (95 mph). The Grind shows us what we don’t know. No sport is as unrelenting as Major League Baseball; enduring the 162 games squeezed into 185 days (plus spring training and postseason) is shared, in different ways, by every facet of a franchise.

Rob Edelman: Balls, Bats, And Popular Culture

Apr 11, 2016

Last month, as the 2016 baseball preseason was kicking off, I attended the 23rd annual NINE Spring Training Conference in Phoenix. Those who ran the event did a first-rate job; the presentations were generally illuminating; plus, I got to (finally) meet and get to know so many interesting people as well as see three ballgames in three days in three different ball yards! You can’t beat that!

  In 1965 George Gmelch signed a contract to play professional baseball with the Detroit Tigers organization. Growing up sheltered in an all-white, affluent San Francisco suburb, he knew little of the world outside. Over the next four seasons, he came of age in baseball’s Minor Leagues through experiences ranging from learning the craft of the professional game to becoming conscious of race and class for the first time.

Playing with Tigers is not a typical baseball memoir. Now a well-known anthropologist at Union College, Gmelch recounts a baseball education unlike any other as he got to know small-town life across the United States against the backdrop of the Vietnam War, civil rights protests, and the emergence of the counterculture. The social and political turmoil of the times spilled into baseball, and Gmelch experienced the consequences firsthand as he played out his career in the Jim Crow South.

Drawing from journals he kept as a player, letters, and recent interviews with thirty former teammates, coaches, club officials, and even former girlfriends, Gmelch immerses the reader in the life of the Minor Leagues, capturing—in a manner his unique position makes possible—the universal struggle of young athletes trying to make their way.

"Baseball in the Berkshires: A County's Common Bond" is on display at the Berkshire Historical Society through May 2.
Jim Levulis / WAMC

An exhibit detailing the Berkshires’ connections to America’s pastime is on display at the Berkshire Historical Society. And it’s a history home run.

Jim Levulis / WAMC

An exhibit detailing the Berkshires’ connections to America’s pastime is on display at the Berkshire Historical Society. It features more than 280 items from 90 private collections.

This is a picture of Andrew Leonard in 1874 when he played left field for the Boston Red Stockings
wikipedia.org

Several contracts for one of baseball's first professional players have been sold at auction for more than $76,000 combined.

This is a picture of Andrew Leonard in 1874 when he played left field for the Boston Red Stockings
wikipedia commons

One of the nation's first professional baseball players lies largely forgotten by history in an unmarked grave in Boston.

wikipedia.org

New Britain has replaced its former Double-A baseball team with an independent minor league club.

Keith Strudler: Loving And Losing

Oct 28, 2015

It is never smart to use metaphor to predict the outcome of any sporting event. So the fact that the television feed for the World Series went down for what seemed like an hour – but apparently was only four minutes – has absolutely no bearing on what may or may not happen to the NY Mets, who dropped the first game of the World Series last night to the Kansas City Royals in 14 innings – which is about 5 more than I can watch on a weeknight.

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