Last summer I read a great book about Dodgers Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax by Jane Leavy. In the book she detailed just how bad Koufax was hurting near the end of his career. She really went into detail about the 1965 season, and how much pain he must have been in every time he took the hill. The Dodgers tried to protect him by going to a five man rotation. Of course today this seems normal. After throwing a complete game in Spring Training his arm turned black and swelled up. He was told that he would be lucky to pitch once a week, and that he would eventually loose the use of his arm. Newspapers were predicting the demise of Sandy. Of course he went on to throw 335 innings and strike out a record 382 men. He also led the league in wins and ERA. He also threw a perfect game in September. I guess pain is what you make it. When asked about throwing in pain Koufax just said “my heroism is greatly overstated.” With this in mind it makes it even more improbable that Koufax was pitching in game seven against the Twins. He sat out game one because it fell on Yom Kippur. He the pitched game two, and lost to Jim Kaat. With the series tied at two he pitched a complete game shutout in game 5. With his arm troubles many would have predicted that this was the last time Koufax would pitch in 1965. The Dodgers had another great arm on full rest in Don Drysdale so he would probably get the ball. Manager Walter Alston rolled the dice though and put Koufax on the mound on only two days rest. Continue reading
After another tough loss on Sunday the White Sox sit three games back of the Twins heading into the off day tomorrow. They travel to Minnesota on Tuesday for a three game series against the Twins. They will be sending Danks, Floyd, and Buehrle to the mound in what I think is a crucial series. I will never forget in 2003 when Torii Hunter bowled over Josh Paul in the Metrodome, and that seemed to spell the end for the Sox. They just folded after that. The Sox need to roll into the Twin Cities and deliver a message. They either do that, or tickets will be easy to get the rest of the season. It is hard to put a series in mid August as a must win, but I think that this one is. The schedule does not do the Sox any favors the rest of the month so they had better make up their ground when they play the Twins head to head. This could be the week that propels the team into the playoffs. Then again it could be the beginning of the late season call ups. Like I said before, somebody needs to get punched in the mouth.
This year marks the 25th year that I have been attending Major League Baseball games. At first my attendance was sparse. I went when my father got free tickets from his company. We all know now that I will go whenever I can get a chance. I love lists. Lists are how you can look at things. So as this season progresses I will have a few lists on here. The first of those will be my goal sheet for this 25th anniversary season. Here are the things that I would like to accomplish during the 2010 season. Some of them have already been checked off. Some of them might take some work to get done. I will have to look at this at the end of the year to see how I fared. Here is the list:
- See the Arizona Diamondbacks play (5/1/2010) – Arizona is one of the two Major League teams that I have not seen play coming into 2010.
- See the Colorado Rockies play (5/17) – The other team that I have yet to see in person.
- Attend the White Sox game against the Orioles on 8/25/2010 – This is the day 25 years later that I attended my first baseball game. The stadium may have changed, but I still get chills when I walk inside.
- See the Toronto Blue Jays play – (5/7) The Blue Jays were the first opponent that I saw the Sox play.
- See Brian Bannister pitch (5/5/2010) – Brian is the son of former Sox hurler Floyd Bannister who pitched in the first game that I saw.
- See a game at U.S. Cellular Field (4/5/2010) – I checked off a few goals on Opening Day. This was one of them.
- See a game at Wrigley Field (5/1/2010) – This may be the territory of the enemy, but it is a landmark park in my own backyard. I also have some great memories inside this stadium.
- Attend Opening Day (4/5/2010) – This should be a goal every season.
- Attend a game on my birthday – I also try to do this every season. This year the Sox are in town, and they are playing the Yankees.
- Attend Frank Thomas day at the Cell – The day after my birthday (8/29/2010) they will be honoring the Big Hurt. I guess I will have to make it two in a row at the Cell.
- Attend a Red Sox game – I always enjoy games between the two Sox clubs. I would love to make this the first time for Fenway, but I will probably have to settle for the September matchup at the Cell.
- Attend a game at Miller Park – This stadium just north of us on 94 is a great one to watch baseball in.
- Attend a game at Comerica Park – I was here in 2003, but did not take my camera. Last season I visited all the parks that I did not take pictures at besides this one. We cross it off in 2010.
- Visit a new Minor League stadium – While MLB baseball is fun, MiLB baseball can be just as much fun. I need to find a new stadium to enjoy the action in this year.
- See Lyle Overbay play (5/7) – While I was in college I attended many South Bend Silverhawk games. Lyle was a star on those teams. He now plays for the Blue Jays.
- Attend the Midwest League All Star game – This year it is just down the road in Fort Wayne. What better way to see some of the young talent in the game?
- See an Angels game (5/20) – With the World Series year being five years ago I would love to see them play their ALCS opponent.
- See an Astros game – After visiting their stadium this season I wanted to see the team play in person. They were also the team we beat in 2005 to win it all.
- Attend at least nine games at the Cell this season – If I can accomplish this I will have attended 50 games at the Cell. It took a while for the first 50, but I bet the next 50 comes much easier.
- Road trip to a new MLB stadium – I have knocked out most of the stadiums near me. Although my brother does get married this season in Colorado when the Rockies are in town.
- See a game on 5/22/2010 – For some reason I seem to see a game every two years on this date. So this being an even numbered year it is time to see a game. I really have a problem huh?
- See a game against the Tigers, Royals (5/5/2010), Twins (4/11/2010), and the Indians (4/5/2010) – This one involves seeing all the AL Central teams.
- Snag a ball during a game (5/4/2010) – I have plenty of balls that I acquired during batting practice. This year I want to get one during a game. Update: I snagged a foul ball in the 4th inning of a game between Northwestern and Valpo. With less than 100 fans at the game it increased my odds a bit.
- Ballhawk at Wrigley Field – I have always wanted to just take the train up to Wrigley with no ticket and ballhawk. I guess this will have to be the year. No ticket required.
- Get a ball autographed by both Rich Dotson and Carlton Fisk – I met both of these guys at my first game in 1985. The both autographed my program. I would love to get a ball autographed by both players for my collection.
If I can do all of this I would have to say that I will have had a great year. We will see what happens over the course of the season
This July I was in Minnesota as part of our yearly baseball trip. We wanted to see the Metrodome one last time before it was torn down. We also wanted to see the new Twins stadium Target Field. Through a friend we learned that you could go to the top of a parking garage to get a great view of the stadium. We picked the wrong garage, but we still got a great view. We would have had to break down some barriers to get to the top of the other garage. From what we could see around the stadium, and the little inside the stadium this place is going to be nice. From the conceptual drawings you can see that this 40,000 seat stadium is going to look very nice. It has really taken shape even more since I was there. Looking at some photos online I would say that the outside is nearly complete. Just seeing the outside of the stadium is not enough. I will have to see a game here when it opens. Maybe my White Sox will have better luck here than they did in the old Metrodome. The stadium will have an exhibition on April 2nd, 2010, and will officially open on April 12, 2010 against the Boston Red Sox. My only question will be how much snow will be on the field that day.
Yesterday I made my second trip in as many days to USCF to watch the Sox and Twins play. This was the second time this year I did the double, but my first time watching the same two teams play. Once again I got in early enough to watch batting practice, and luckily enough Michael Cuddyer hit me a baseball. So in this season alone I have caught more baseballs than I ever have combined. That is a good year. It was the 72nd college or pro sporting event that I attended this season, and the 85th professional baseball game that I have attended. Anyone who knows me knows that these are two significant numbers to me. It was also my last Sox game of the season most likely. All of these events should have led up to a good day. Unfortunately they did not.
Once again the Sox were down early. They were down 4-0 in the fourth inning. They did chip away at the Twins though. Heck Jermaine Dye even put the bat on the ball last night. He went 3-4 with two home runs and four RBI’s. His lone out on the night was a line drive to left in the 2nd that was hit right at the fielder. This kind of production would have been nice in the second half. This may have been the last time that I would see Jermaine in a Sox uniform so it was great to see him have a good night. As you can see in the picture the high fives after the second bomb were mailed in. Tyler Flowers almost got his first MLB home run in the 5th, but settled for his first MLB extra base hit. That about sums up the highlights for the Sox last night. The Twins got to Mark Buehrle early and often forcing him out in the fourth inning. Carlos Torres pitched decent, but errors doomed any chance of a comeback last night. I would have liked to have gone out seeing my team win one last time, but you don’t always get what you want. Now we just have to sit back and wonder what club will show up in 2010. The pieces are there. That is easy to see. We just need to get them all going. I am already pumped for next season. Is that sad?
I may have one more game up my sleeve this season. After that I will do a recap showing just how crazy this baseball season really was. Looking back on it I can’t believe I was lucky enough to get most of it in.
An early season purchase on eBay has left me with two remaining games this year at the Cell. I have one ticket to tonight’s game and two for tomorrow’s game. If you feel like going to the game tomorrow night leave a note in the comments section. The game is not as exciting as I thought it once might be. The Sox are all but out of contention with very slim playoff hopes. Those hopes are pinned on the next few games against the Twins and the Tigers. Tonight the Sox face off against a familiar face for the Twins. The last time I saw Jeff Manship pitch was on April 22, 2006. I had attended the Blue-Gold game at Notre Dame Stadium, and I walked over to the baseball stadium to see the Irish play some baseball against Rutgers. The night before Jeff Samardzija pitched before a sold out crowd. This was a good crowd as well. Jeff Manship was part of the dazzling pitching staff the Irish had that year. He is shown to the left just after the release of the ball. He was a good pitcher with a high ceiling. That day Manship pitched seven quality innings. He gave up three runs on six hits, but had some great run support and won 15-3. He struck out eight during his outing. Jeff has been called up by the Twins in the thick of the playoff hunt to give them some innings. I am glad to see him up in the Majors. It will be great to see him pitch again although I hope he has a short outing. My love for Notre Dame only goes so far. The Sox rate much higher than that. The Sox have not seen much of Manship so it will be interesting to see how they fare against him. Let’s break the mold and get to a young pitcher for once. If we don’t they will start calling up players from single A to give us fits. The run has to begin now.
This is another of the destinations from the book Roadside Baseball that I visited while on my recent baseball road trip. This museum is located in the Dome Plus store located across from Gate A of the Metrodome on 3rd street. As you can see from the picture it is not much to look at from the outside. I imagine since the Metrodome will no longer be hosting baseball games next year this museum will take a hit. It will either have to move, or become a relic to the old Metrodome. At first glance from down the road I wondered if it was even still open. Once inside the museum though you can see very easily that Ray Crump the owner is a huge Twins fan. Ray was a batboy for the Washington Senators, and then later was the equipment manager for the Minnesota Twins. Both of these jobs gave him great access to the players of the game. He has bats and balls signed by some of the great players of his day. He also has many objects from the glory days of the Twins. The teams of 1987 and 1991 are also well represented. The jersey of Kirby Puckett that is shown to the right is one of the jerseys shown in the museum. He has a small display of various Twins uniforms from throughout the years. Being the equipment manager that would be an easy task to do. Just think this was the guy who gave Kirby Puckett his first uniform in the pros. Did he suggest the number 34? I don’t know. Ray works in the store, and that would have been a great question to ask him, but I never thought of it. The other side of the store is a huge Twins/Vikings store with some good deals. I got the Twins Metrodome commemorative ball for $6 cheaper than I found it anywhere online. It was way cheaper than it would have been inside the stadium. This is a great stop for the baseball fan on the way to the Metrodome. The museum is free, and you can pick up some cheap souvenirs before you go into the stadium.
Ray is also a huge country music fan who has attended many concerts with backstage passes. He has many of them on display along with many pictures of him with various celebrities. He really has met many famous people in his time. Just looking through all of the pictures could put you in the museum for a while. I included a picture of one of the pictures that I really enjoyed. Ray has met people like Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. This picture of Ray with Hank Williams Jr. caught my eye. Apparently the backstage section of Ray’s tour included a visit to watch him nap. This just looks awkward for everyone involved. They must have posed the Crumps in the right spot, then woke up Hank. There is also a great pic of Ray with a young Hulk Hogan. He has met so many famous people that you have to see the pics to believe them. He also has a great Elvis display from his touring days as well as a case for the Beatles visit to Minnesota.