Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

“Swingin’ at the plate…”

February 4, 2010

A choice tidbit from GQ’s interview with Willie Mays (thanks for the tip, Nate!):

We were in Memphis, Tennessee. It was like a playoff game. It might have been ’48. Satchel had a very, very good fastball. But he threw me a little breaking ball, just to see what I could do, and I hit it off the top of the fence. And I got a double. When I got to second, Satchel told the third baseman, “Let me know when that little boy comes back up.” Three innings later, I go to kneel down in the on-deck circle, and I hear the third baseman say, “There he is.” Satch looked at the third baseman, and then he looked at me. I walk halfway to home plate and he says, “Little boy.” I say, “Yes, sir?” because Satch was much older than I am, so I was trying to show respect. He walked halfway to home plate and said, “Little boy, I’m not going to trick you. I’m going to throw you three fastballs and you’re going to go sit down.” And I’m saying in my mind, “I don’t think so.” If he threw me three of the same pitch, I’m going to hit it somewhere. He threw me two fastballs and I just swung…I swung right through it. And the third ball he threw, and I tell people this all the time, he threw the ball and then he started walking. And he says, “Go sit down.” This is while the ball was in the air. He was just a magnificent pitcher.


October 18, 2005

I actually wrote the following at about this time last year, but anyone who follows these things knows this morning how relevant it still is, even in its sorry unfinished state:

Ten years from now I doubt I’ll remember exactly how it was that I managed to miss practically all of the Red Sox’s clinching victory and a full lunar eclipse on the same night—I just hope I remember that it was for a very good reason. As it was, the Red Sox’s four-game sweep of the Series came as an anticlimax after all the years of haplessness, so much so that the fourth game was barely over before the announcers were asking, “Which is the next cursed team?”

I wish I could claim something so redolent with mystery as a curse for my Astros. Everyone seemed happy that by dispatching the Braves in five games they finally managed to win a postseason series for the first time in the franchise’s 43-year history. The Astros’ problem, though, isn’t just winning any series, but the LCS in particular. They’ve been there twice, in ’80 against the Phillies and in ’86 against the Mets, and both times they were mercilessly mangled and ridiculed before being rejected by the mirthless gods of baseball. It doesn’t matter that in both cases their opponents went on to win the World Series; nor does it matter that both series (still in the old five-game format) were memorable for their high-anxiety theatrics. Game Four of the ’80 NLCS was a baseball anti-gravity house, rife with slapstick adventures on the basepaths, a momentum-turning play which, although it could only have been a single out or a triple-play, was instead deemed a double-play by the umps after they huddled for a 15-minute strange interlude, and a play in which the Astros leftfielder, rearing back to throw the ball, had it roll through his fingers behind his head before completing his full-armed throw to the infield, like a Little Leaguer faking out his teammates. (It was at this point that my buddy threw up his hands and yelled, “Do these jokers even want to win this game?”) Despite their own miscues and the calls against them, the Astros held a two-run, eighth inning lead with Nolan Ryan on the mound in Game Five, and still found a way to lose. 

[Insert sound of gunshot here.]


October 6, 2005

The baseball playoffs are running a Bud Light ad that makes it look like Babe Ruth was actually pointing at a beer vendor in the stands when he supposedly called his homerun in the 1932 World Series. Even when Budweiser has a clever (or, in this case, possibly clever) idea, and they don’t overload it with smarm and jiggle, they still manage to offend just by being so damn lazy. You can tell that Woody Allen and Orson Welles had a blast capturing the look of old documentary footage in Zelig and Citizen Kane, but this Bud Light thing just looks like shit. The ad-men were content to just shoot it in B&W, cut out a frame here and there to make it jumpy, and draw some scratches on it that dont even remotely look like the product of time. Maybe they’ll put more heart into it when they do an ad showing Morgana running out to give Ty Cobb a buss on the field…

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