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.
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.
Bob Allen, a former Philosophy Instructor at Penn State has spent the last ten years traveling in the United States, visiting and interviewing every surviving player of the Negro Leagues in an effort to preserve the history and stories of Negro League Baseball.
He is currently working on an oral history project titled, The Souls of Black Baseball.
Making it through 50 of anything is quite an accomplishment. Going to 50 baseball games in a lifetime, for people not in the industry, is a feat likely held by a slight percentage of fans. Going to 50 opening days for a single team is an accomplishment shared by a chosen few, the fan elite.
Major League Baseball kicked off the 2013 season this week with near perfect pitching, big hits, and big wins.
The LA Dodger’s Clayton Kershaw pitched a complete shut out in his first outing of the season, not to mention his walk off home run to win the game. The powerhouse New York Yankees, depicted on the cover of the New Yorker as geriatric patients, lost to the rival Boston Red Sox. But, the New York Mets won their opening salvo with a commanding 11 to 2 runs scored over the San Diego Padres.
The baseball gods regard spring training as a time of renewal. There aren’t any losses. All teams have the same record and players abound in hope for the future. Young pitchers are promising and Las Vegas odds are meaningless. Baseball heaven has angels dancing over the outfield.
Baseball in the 1930s was more than a national pastime; it was a cultural touchstone that galvanized communities and gave a struggling country its heroes despite the woes of the Depression. Hank Greenberg, one of the most exciting sluggers in baseball history, gave the people of Detroit a reason to be proud.
But America was facing more than economic hardship. With the Nazis gaining power across Europe, political and social tensions were approaching a boiling point. As one of the few Jewish athletes competing nationally, Greenberg became not only an iconic ball player, but also an important and sometimes controversial symbol of Jewish identity and the American immigrant experience.
In the wake of Lance Armstrong’s mea culpa that he took performance enhancing drugs – and the recent Baseball Hall of Fame vote (where NOBODY got in) – we ask you: Does it matter to you if athletes use performance enhancing drugs?
Major League Baseball has enacted new anti-doping policies that are being described as unprecedented in American professional sports. Yesterday, Major League Baseball and its Players Union said that starting next year they will be fighting the use of human growth hormone and testosterone - two allegedly popular banned substances.
NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman has been covering this story. Tom, good morning.