Baseball

  So much about baseball is known: the distance between the bases (90 feet), the batting average of a good hitter (.300) and the velocity of a hard fastball (95 mph). Barry Svrluga’s new book, The Grind, shows us what we may not know. No sport is as unrelenting as Major League Baseball; enduring the 162 games squeezed into 185 days (plus spring training and postseason.)

In 2004, Svrluga was assigned to cover the return of baseball to Washington D.C. The nation’s capital had gone without a major league team since 1971. In 2014, Svrluga wrote a series for the Post about the personal toll that baseball takes, with each installment profiling a different character from the franchise.

The Grind grew directly from that series, including the original six longform pieces plus updates and additional chapters.

MLB Network

Jim Kaat is one of the rare athletes to achieve greatness on the field and in his second career in the press box.

  It’s a classic story of the American Dream. George Mitchell grew up in a working class family in Maine, experiencing firsthand the demoralizing effects of unemployment when his father was laid off from a lifelong job. But education was always a household priority, and Mitchell embraced every opportunity that came his way, eventually becoming the ranking Democrat in the Senate during the administrations of George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

Mitchell looks back at his adventures in law and politics in his memoir, The Negotiator.

  

  Mookie Wilson already had a successful baseball career before Game 6 of the 1986 Mets-Red Sox World Series made him one of the most iconic figures in baseball. The ball that went between Bill Buckner’s legs at first base was the play that turned the series and team morale around for the Mets.

In a team of larger than life characters like Keith Hernandez, Dwight Eugene "Doc" Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, and Lenny Dykstra, Mookie is one of the most beloved and revered Mets to this day.

He writes about his career and life in his book Mookie: Life, Baseball, and the '86 Mets. He shares stories of that triumphant year from the dugout, as well as his early life in the rural south, his time in the minor leagues, and being called up to play as a Met.

Michelle Checchi

When it comes to baseball and upstate New York, Cooperstown has long been the center of the universe. But with opening day on the horizon, The Albany Institute of History and Art is getting into the game for the first time in its history. Three baseball exhibitions are open there now through the end of July, including Baseball: America’s Game, a traveling exhibition organized by Bank of America’s Art in Our Communities program; Play Ball: Baseball in the Capital Region; and The Clubhouse: Baseball Memorabilia.

Baseball is just around the corner, but the season is starting on a down note in Pawtucket on news that a new ownership group plans to move the Triple-A Red Sox affiliate to a waterfront park in Providence in 2017.

Keith Strudler: Slow Pitch

Oct 22, 2014

I was always a huge fan of get-a-way games. Those are typically Thursday afternoon major league baseball games that stand in-between both squads getting on a plane for weekend series somewhere else. For the away squad, it’s often the only thing keeping them from a return flight home. For the home team, it’s often keeping them from a cross country flight and a reasonable dinner hour. So needless to say, the game plays at something of an up-tempo. I once saw the Mets break two hours on a hot July day. Fans barely had time to get through the Shake Shack line before the final out. Guys were swinging at pretty much anything in the atmosphere, and the pitcher looked like a tennis ball machine – just one right after the other.

Keith Allison/Flickr

Derek Jeter still has three games left in his career before retiring, but officials in Cooperstown are already thinking about his likely induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The New York Yankees shortstop will be eligible for enshrinement in 2020. For Cooperstown Mayor Jeff Katz, it's not too early to start planning for the huge crowd that will show up for Jeter's induction.

Katz told WSTM-TV in Syracuse that the attendance that July weekend could top 100,000. When Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr. were inducted in 2007, about 80,000 jammed Cooperstown.

Keith Strudler: Time To Lift Pete Rose's Lifetime Ban?

Aug 27, 2014

25 years is a long time. Perhaps not in true historical terms, like compared to the history of dinosaurs. But in the context of an average human lifetime, 25 years is a considerable chunk. That duration, 25 years, is now how long baseball record holder Pete Rose has been exiled from the sport for gambling on it as a player and a manager. Rose, of course, holds the major league baseball record for hits at 4,256. He made 17 all-star games and managed for five seasons. But, he also bet on baseball, including his own team, while he was in the sport. That, of course, defies the sacred code of any sport, the idea that someone on the field of play compromises the integrity of an unscripted outcome. So for that reason, compounded by the egregious tenor of his gambling habit and adversarial denial of its occurrence, former baseball commissioner Bart Giamatti essentially banned Rose in perpetuity in exchange for not pursuing any additional penalties, which would likely get really legal really fast. Giamiatti died soon thereafter, and the ban continued on, now almost in tribute to the former commissioner. So ending this 25 year ban feels about as easy as unmasking the tomb of the unknown soldier – even if we can do it, it’s not going to get a lot of support.

Utica's Ed Hinko Baseball League A Throwback

Aug 22, 2014
Ed Hinko Baseball League

With the Little League World Series under way, TV viewers are getting their annual reminder that youth baseball has moved far away from the sandlot. But for Utica’s boys of summer in Central New York, there’s a baseball league that’s a throwback to a simpler time.

Major League Baseball is the toughest level of the sport, with the world’s best players and highest quality of play. But contrary to what modern fans used to on-demand scores and video might think, it wasn’t always this way.

8/15/14 Panel

Aug 15, 2014

    

  Today's panelists are NYPIRG legislative director Blair Horner and College of St. Rose Communications Professor, Mary Alice Molgard.

Topics include:
Iraq Update
Robin Williams - Parkinsons
Obama Urges Calm
Military-like Response in Ferguson
Baseball Commissioner Battle

The National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown is launching a traveling exhibit with museum artifacts and a major digital component.

  Scott McCaughey, Steve Wynn and Linda Pitmon from The Baseball Project join us live at The Linda on their way to a gig at Club Helsinki tonight.

Jim Levulis / WAMC

With summer in full swing, baseball fans across the country are flocking to the ballpark. In Pittsfield, Massachusetts, a city that claims to have made the first written reference to the game in 1791 — when it banned the sport from being played within 80 yards of a meeting house — the destination is Wahconah Park. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Jim Levulis spent a night at the storied ballpark now home to the

wikipedia

The Village of Cooperstown and National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum are preparing for the arrival of President Barack Obama tomorrow. The president is scheduled to speak about the tourism economy, just before the start of Memorial Day Weekend.

Jeff Katz, mayor of Cooperstown, says the village is eagerly awaiting the arrival of President Barack Obama on Thursday.

“It’s very exciting. All the residents, all the businesses I’ve spoke to are pinching themselves asking if it’s really true,” said Katz.

As we near another season, the sport’s all-time hits leader remains banned from baseball and its Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. It’s a stark problem in America’s pastime: some of its greatest players, including its home run champion Barry Bonds and other bashers from the steroid era, have an uneasy relationship with the sport and a worse one with fans, media and the record book.

    One Sunday afternoon in August 1965, on a day when baseball’s most storied rivals, the Giants and Dodgers, vied for the pennant, the national pastime reflected the tensions in society and nearly sullied two men forever.

Juan Marichal, a Dominican anxious about his family’s safety during the civil war back home, and John Roseboro, a black man living in South Central L.A. shaken by the Watts riots a week earlier, attacked one another in a moment immortalized by an iconic photo: Marichal’s bat poised to strike Roseboro’s head.

Jim Levulis / WAMC

A city with a ballpark steeped in history is being reenergized by its hometown team and its lineup of youthful leaders.

Baseball Hall of Fame

Baseball Hall of Famer and longtime Mets broadcaster Ralph Kiner has died at age 91.

    Bronx Bombers is a new play from the team behind Broadway's Lombardi that follows beloved icon Yogi Berra and his wife Carmen through a century of the team's trials and triumphs, bringing generations of Yankee greats together on one stage.

The show - written and directed by Eric Simonson - begins previews at Circle In The Square Theatre in New York City next week with Peter Scolari in the role of Yogi Berra and his real-life wife, Tracy Shayne, as Yogi’s wife, Carmen, with other accomplished actors portraying Reggie Jackson, Lou Gehrig, Derek Jeter, and other iconic Pinstripers.

Bronx Bombers is an original project conceived and commissioned by Fran Kirmser and Tony Ponturo. Together they bring new, original plays to the stage combining the drama of sports and entertainment through Kirmser Ponturo Group. Lombardi and Magic/Bird were the first two productions in the series - Bronx Bombers is the third.

Ed Lucas

Dec 18, 2013

    For the last several weeks, we have had a terrific team of interns helping with the task of putting this and other WAMC programs on the air. Throughout the semester, you have heard from our other interns - Patrick Garrett and Josh Natoli. This morning you will hear from Blaise Bryant.

Blaise is a senior at the College of St. Rose in Albany and is a Communications major. He is also blind. With a lifelong interest in sports and sports broadcasting, Blaise speaks this morning with one of his heroes, Ed Lucas.

For nearly 55 years, journalist Ed Lucas has proven there are no true handicaps in life. Despite his dreams of making baseball's big leagues, Lucas lost his sight at the age of 12 after being hit in the face with a line-drive. While unable to play the game, he has been a presence in the New York sports scene for more than half a century as a reporter covering the Yankees and Mets.

11/21/13 Panel

Nov 21, 2013

  Today's panelists are WAMC's Alan Chartock, Executive Editor of the Poughkeepsie Journal, Stu Shinske, and University at Albany Journalism Professor and Investigative Reporter, Rosemary Armao.

Topics include:
Afghan Pact
Nuclear Option?
Kennedy Conspiracy Poll
Congressman Cocaine
A-Rod

    Much of the history of New York's scenic Mohawk Valley has been recounted time and again. But so many other stories have remained buried, almost lost from memory. Enter Bob Cudmore and his new book - Hidden History of the Mohawk Valley: The Baseball Oracle, the Mohawk Encampment and More.

The man called the baseball oracle correctly predicted the outcome of twenty-one major-league games. Mrs. Bennett, a friend of Governor Thomas Dewey, owned the Tower restaurant and lived in the unique Cranesville building. An Amsterdam sailor cheated death onboard a stricken submarine.

Not only people but once-loved places are also all but forgotten, like the twentieth-century Mohawk Indian encampment and the Camp in the Adirondacks, where Kirk Douglas was a counselor. Local historian Bob Cudmore delves deep into the region's history to find its most fascinating pieces of hidden history.

We don’t often think of professional athletes getting better with age but Jamie Moyer was a better pitcher in his 40s than he was in his 20s. Moyer became the oldest pitcher to win a Major League Baseball Game in April 2012.

Moyer pitched for eight teams, but his best years were with the Seattle Mariners, where he became and All-Star, and with the Philadelphia Phillies where he was a starter in a World Series run.

He chronicles his journey in the book, Just Tell Me I Can’t: How Jamie Moyer Defied The Radar Gun And Defeated Time. The book is co-written by Larry Platt.

Colby Perry/Flickr

The World Series is upon us! The Boston Red Sox are set to face the St. Louis Cardinals in this year’s championship. Game One is tonight at Fenway Park in Boston. 

    From profanity-laced clubhouse tirades and outspoken opinions on the state of the game to tears at an emotional funeral for his murdered granddaughter, Dallas Green tells his story for the first time in this autobiography. In his nearly 60 years in baseball as a pitcher; manager of three franchises, including both New York squads, the Mets and Yankees; general manager; and executive, Dallas Green has never minced words or shied away from making enemies.

This larger-than-life baseball personality shares insights from the mound, the dugout, and the front office as well as anecdotes of some of the game’s biggest stars and encounters with the press, player agents, and the unions.

8/1/13 - Panel

Aug 1, 2013

  For the first half of today's panel, Alan Chartock, Ray Graf, and Joe Donahue are joined by James Ketterer - Director of International Academic Initiatives & Senior Fellow at Bard College and just returned from 2-years in Egypt to discuss Egypt.

For the second half of the show, Fay Vincent, former Commissioner of Commissioner of Major League Baseball talks about the current and on-going steroid scandals in the sport.

T Charles Erickson

    The Red Sox musical Johnny Baseball is now running on the Nikos Stage at the Williamstown Theatre Festival.

Johnny Baseball brings to life the "Curse of the Bambino" through the stories of three orphaned souls -- hard-luck 1919 Red Sox right-hander Johnny O'Brien; his idol, Babe Ruth, and Daisy Wyatt, a dazzling African-American blues singer. Their intertwining fates reveal the source of the curse and the secret to its triumphant end in 2004, while also examining social and racial undertones that have impacted the team throughout its history.

Willie Reale wrote the lyrics and conceived the story of Johnny Baseball with playwright Richard Dresser.

Keith Strudler: Baseball's PED Problem

Jul 24, 2013

Last night I sat through a full nine innings of Single-A minor league baseball. Once the sugar high of Cracker Jacks and funnel cake wears off, it can get pretty old, if you plan on actually watching the game. There’s missed balls, botched plays, and everything else that reminds you why they call it the minor league instead of, say, the majors. But on a positive note, three hours and four pretzels later, I can definitively say that not everyone in professional baseball takes drugs. That’s probably news after this week, when major league baseball suspended Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun for the rest of the year without pay for his involvement with the Miami clinic Biogenesis, who apparently gave him enough supply to fill a Duane Reade. And I’m talking about one of the big ones down in the city, where they sell groceries and lawn furniture.

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