Johnny Mize is the sort of baseball player who doesn’t exist anymore — who perhaps CANNOT exist anymore — and it drives many baseball fans crazy. Even fans who have never heard of the Big Cat, who don’t know a single thing about him, miss him terribly.
On a Tuesday in March back in 1987, a man named Ray Dandridge answered the phone and, after listening for a moment, became furious. This was a cruel thing, he said to the caller, to do to an old man. Dandridge had already endured so much disappointment in his 73 years of life. His heart had taken all the blows. His mind had been twisted every which way by the years. He could not imagine anyone doing something so unkind.
I just don’t see the point of half-hearted, namby-pamby, well-I-can-see-it-both-ways sports predictions. Well, to be honest, I have never really understood the point of sports predictions at all. On television pregame shows, moments before the game starts, they will go around the room asking each and every analyst to offer a prediction. Then they will show us a Twitter poll of fans predicting who is going to win. Then they show video of a few celebrities telling us who is going to win. Then they ask various strangers who they think is going to win. Then they …
So the World Series PosCast is up and available at iTunes and Stitcher and audioBoom and all those places where you get podcasts. And if you need that extra push over the cliff, the PosCast that goes to 11 is available for members over at Patreon. Here is the PosCast Time Stamp: Poorly read ad: The…
Joe Jackson could play baseball just like a-ringin’ a bell. Nobody knows how he learned to play. Nobody knows who coached him. He just shows up in our story complete, 13 years old, entirely unschooled, already a veteran of the Brandon Mill textile factory in his hometown.
The first time I saw it, I was absolutely sure that Country Joe West blew the call. I mean, that’s par for the course, right? The second time I saw, the third time, the fourth time, really the first dozen times I saw it, from every angle, I was convinced that Mookie Betts’ glove was over the wall when it hit a fan’s hand, and Country Joe West blew the call, and it should not have been ruled interference, and it was kind of a travesty.
For various reasons, I’ve spent a lot of time the last few days thinking about how much I liked the Statcast broadcast on ESPN2 a couple of weeks ago. I’d like to say that it was great because of the excellent job my friend Mike Petriello did, and because of the superb work of my broadcaster e-migo Jason Benetti, and because Eduardo Perez, who I don’t know as well, was excellent too. All of those things are true.
The story begins in the ninth inning … but not THE ninth inning. No, you have to go back five days before the World Series began. There were two outs in the top of the ninth inning in Game 5 of the 1988 National League Championship Series. Kirk Gibson came to the plate. He was hurt. Well, of course he was hurt. Gibson played baseball like it was football. Also, he played football; Gibson had been an All-America wide receiver at Michigan State. He played both games so recklessly and with such force of will that being hurt was just part of being Kirk Gibson.
On the San Jose State University campus — in Washington Square, on the corner of what would be 6th and San Antonio — there is a remarkable statue of SJSU alumni Tommie Smith and John Carlos standing on an Olympic podium, each holding one black-gloved fist in the air. The scene is so familiar, so powerful, so contentious, so inspiring, that even now, exactly 50 years after that day in Mexico City, it echoes in our consciousness. You can hardly tell the American story of the last half-century without it.
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