Much chatter about the Mets being chokers. You win 101 games, and it's hard to fit that label, but failing to win that one game when they needed to at the end of the regular season, and getting swept out in the postseason, helps said label fit better. Who would have thought the Mets would have won more games than the Yankees? I had an agent who was a Mets fan. An idiot and bad guy. Always talking down to me, and just making stuff up. He would condescend to me and lecture me about David Foster Wallace. Later he told me in that half-joking way people do where they're actually not joking at all that he would read my Facebook comments about baseball and steal them and pass them off as his own. Never hit that like button, though. Obviously I'm used to this. It's what a lot of people do with me.
I've noticed that the announcers for these postseason games are pretty terrible. There was this one game where a guy was hit in the head at the plate. The announcers started shaming the pitcher, saying he shouldn't be here, etc., if that's what he does. A really strange response. At first I wondered--because the score was lopsided--if the pitcher was a position player. But he wasn't. The ball gets away from you. Everyone. Every pitcher there has ever been at some point hits a guy in the head. They're rarely trying to. That couldn't just happen?
Alex Rodriguez likes to say "get your popcorn" when something dramatic may happen. He says it a lot. Why does he do that? I heard Bob Costas do play-by-play last night. He talks most of the time. I wonder if he has any regard for his broadcast partner, or he thinks it's the Bob Costas show? He's not bad. It's an old type of style he has, though. I don't mind. But it's very pre-1990. The way games were called when you were growing up.
Cool Papa Bell said that Josh Gibson was just okay as a catcher, defensively. Merely good. That he didn't have the best hands. Reading what Bell said, my sense was that he thought Gibson didn't frame pitches well. That surprised me some. He said that for distance, no one was a better hitter than Gibson. His power was to center field. He wasn't a huge pull hitter. Whereas Ruth hit towering home runs, Gibson hit them on the line. Said that he hit the ball as far as Ruth and Foxx.
Bell thought Charlie Gehringer was an outstanding player. He dismisses a lot of the white players and even white stars, but you can tell how highly he regarded Gehringer.
Gehringer said that Ty Cobb treated every single at-bat as a crusade. This really stood out to him. A crusade.
My nephew is so into baseball now. He has a birthday coming up in a few weeks, and though he's young for it, I think I'm going to get him a copy of Lawrence Ritter's The Glory of Their Times. He can grow into it.
Oscar Charleston might have been the best of the Negro League players. He may be a top ten player of all-time. Top five. I don't know. He was shorter than I thought he was--only 5'8''.
White Sox Hall of Fame pitcher Ted Lyons faced both Ty Cobb and Ted Williams. Cobb debuted in 1905, and Williams' career ended in 1960. Isn't that something? On one side you have people who served in the Civil War still going about their lives, and on that other side, the Beatles are just a few years away. They existed, just nobody knew them for a while yet.
This is audio from NBC's television broadcast of Game 1 of the 1975 ALCS between the Athletics and Red Sox at Fenway. The video doesn't exist. Most championship series video from that era doesn't--it got wiped. The A's actually won more games than the Sox that year. This series isn't discussed much. Were the A's favored? I'd think so. Again, better record, and they'd won three championships in a row. The Sox swept them, though. My man Carlton Fisk is batting clean-up for the Sox, with Yaz in front of him and AL ROY and MVP Fred Lynn following. Note the comment around 22: 39 about the camera that NBC has inserted inside of the Green Monster. Sound familiar? It's that camera that is going to capture Fisk going down the first baseline after hitting his famous home run in Game 6 of the World Series. Pretty cool, right?