Monthly Archives: January 2015

Hart Ransom

Dear Commissioner Manfred,

I read you letter promising to reach out to Little Leagues around the Country, and I applaud you for that effort. I, like you, believe that getting young people interested in and playing Baseball is vital to the future of the game.

5590802I would like to bring to your attention a local Central Valley California Little League that could use some help. The Hart Ransom Baseball Club had their storage unit broken into last month, and they have pretty much lost everything. The Hart Ransom Baseball Club has some twenty-eight teams and provides baseball for 300 kids in the area.

This, in my opinion as a local journalist, would be a great opportunity for Major League baseball and your new “One Baseball” program to reach out and help a youth league that desperately needs some help.

Thanks for the consideration and your interest in the future of baseball and the kids of Hart Ransom Baseball Club!

Kindest regards from a Dodger Fan,

-DB

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The Red Baron Attacks

Manfred von Kommissarin

Manfred von Kommissarin

We’re less than a week into the new Commissioner’s Imperial reign over the Kingdom of Baseball, and already he is being eviscerated by at least one blogger for being a “Moron,” and not, oddly enough, for being named “Manfred,” which brings up visions of the Red Baron screeching in to strafe the game to bits with Prussian efficiency while laughing maniacally and petting his gigantic dog.

I read his letter, and I didn’t quite get the same look at things, but I can see where the Halo’s Heaven guy doesn’t like the pitch clock, I don’t either. And yes, the focus of the Commissioner should be to enforce the rules already on the books. I appreciate his commitment to reach out to young folks and revitalize the game through young people. But this whole “short attention span” thing does raise concerns.

Baseball requires patience. A game can be long, a season even longer. But anything worth having is worth the waiting.

I get that hating the Commissioner is good sport and with the exception of A. Bartlett Giamatti pretty much de rigueur for us baseball fans. I am certainly one to join in the mockery given the new guys Teutonic overtones and blood. But lets wait until he actually does something other than write a letter. He obviously plans to invade the Game and enforce his fascist form of clock management and has clearly offended the Angels blogger. On the other hand, he DID inflict pitch clocks on AAA and AA, which is enough justification to go ahead and start hating him now, since I don’t trust the Germans.

And neither should you.

Mr. Cub

ernie-banks-500-sun-timesMr. Cub, Ernie Banks, retired from baseball long before I started watching the game. Over nineteen seasons, he hit 512 Home Runs and won the MVP Award just two years before he hung up his cleats. Although I never saw him play the game, his influence on it, and me, cannot be missed by even the casual fan. His biggest record is a testament to how dedicated he was to the game, and how much the game has changed.

Yesterday, Ryan Vogelsong re-signed with the San Francisco Giants. He had been “very close” to a deal with Houston, but when he went to visit the Astros, he said that he “didn’t feel comfortable.” I don’t for certain what that means, for e the humidity n Houston is unbearable, but maybe it meant that he just didn’t know anybody and it made him feel a little lost. In any case, he quickly re-signed with the Giants.

Ernie Banks never experienced that process. Fans never wondered what team he would sign with over the off season, and no GM ever thought to themselves, “I should trade him to a competitive team for four prospects.” Mr. Cub was a Cub for life. I am equally sure that he wanted it that way, but you have to wonder if today’s system of free agency and lack of team loyalty is better or worse for the game? Where would Ernie Banks have gone if the opportunity had been available to him?

For whatever its worth, I hated Free Agency as it originally impacted the game. And the 1981 Strike just drove home how divisive the issue was at the time. But as years passed, and new and different teams began to become competitive, I think that the issued softened for fans. Yes, we missed the loyalty of some players, but at the same time it was replaced by the excitement of the off season and getting to see who your team went after, or if you’re a Mariners fan, what they didn’t do to improve the team.

Ernie Banks was one of the last of the Golden Age players, certainly of the Hall of Famers from that era of the 50’s and 60’s. He spent his whole career in Chicago with the Cubs and never tasted the post-season, even if he did sniff it a time or two. But one man can’t win a pennant, it takes a team. And for all of that time, the Cubs just never really had that team. Okay, maybe in 69, but then again, they’re the Cubs. And since Steve Bartman wasn’t around yet, they had to find a way to fall down on their own.

Cubs fans and Baseball fans everywhere mourn the passing of a man whose enthusiasm for the game was such that even while playing for the Cubs, he always wanted to play two. His laugh and smile were infectious, and even if you like me, never saw him play, you could watch his interviews and meet him in person and know that he had no regrets and that he played baseball for the love of the game.

Adieu, Ernie Banks.

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