February 2009

Instead of Dwelling, let’s evaluate

The Red Sox lost their game to the Pittsburgh Pirates yesterday (2/26) 3-2, and they lost today’s game to the Rays 10-4. Their record may be 0-3, but instead of dwelling on the losses, at this point, it’s probably better to analyze why the Red Sox lost. 

Pittsburgh: 
Jon Lester 3.jpg
Jon Lester made the start, and in his two innings he gave up two hits, and struck out one and gave up no runs. The important thing to know about Lester right now, is that he’s working on a new pitch to add to his “arsenal”– a changeup! As a former softball pitcher, I can tell you that it’s hard enough to pitch: to find the spots, and stay in the strikezone is hard! But I can’t imagine trying to have a changeup. But if Lester can master it, or at least get a good grip on it, it would definitely benefit him in the long run, as Terry Francona pointed out. The reason that Lester didn’t do this last year was because he was still trying to find his fastball command, and that’s important as we all know. 
Takashi Saito 3.jpg
Takashi Saito, one of the Red Sox acquisitions of the offseason pitched one inning in which he gave up one hit and struck out two. That’s impressive for a guy just coming off surgery. Hideki Okajima and Wes Littleton (acquired from Texas) threw a combined two innings of perfect relief, each striking out one. 
These next three guys I have admittedly never heard of, but tomorrow (when I get my program at the game) I will be writing notes everywhere! Anyway, “Mills” and “James” did fine, not striking out anyone, but not giving up hits either. It was merely “Lentz” who gave up three runs, in the top of the ninth. 
This is what Spring Training is for. It is the time for pitchers to go out and work on their pitches, without having to worry, and to give a chance to the minor leaguers, to have a look at the future. The record itself doesn’t matter, but in a sense the statistics do. I don’t know if that makes sense. 
At the plate, my almost official project, Jeff Bailey, batted in the two runs that the Red Sox scored on a two run single (although it may have been a double, not sure). If he looks good tomorrow when I’m there, I will officially announce my first project. Nick Green and “Ambres” also got hits. 
Tampa Bay
During eighth period, I demanded my friend’s iPhone to check the score. My face dropped when I realized the score was 10-0 and I started asking rhetorical questions to my friends. ‘Why is this happening?’ I moaned. So instead of why, I should have asked what. What was happening? 
Michael Bowden 2.jpg
Michael Bowden, that pitching prospect of ours, gave up four earned runs in 1.2 innings. I’m wondering what exactly happened to him. I would now like to interview him. Maybe all that talk about him went to his head, and he “outthought himself” as I said a long time ago when I was analyzing Lester’s shortcomings in Game 3 (I think) of the ALCS. I’m beyond willing to give Bowden a second chance, in fact, let him pitch tomorrow! I want to see him!!! He needs to focus on placing his pitches, and having command of them. He may have been thinking about the future, being on the Red Sox, making the team. That’s scary. We’ll see how it goes next time. Emily, please help him! 
It did not help much that “Gonzalez” gave up another five earned runs, and the two errors didn’t help much either. In two innings, Hansack struck out four, which was very impressive, and Green had one perfect inning without any strikeouts. Charlie Zink gave up the other two runs. You may remember him from that explosive game against Texas– the one where the Red Sox scored 10 runs in the first inning (Big Papi hit two home runs). I’m pretty sure we ended up winning, but regardless, Zink was pitching. He gave up ten runs in the first inning to the Rangers too! I am almost positive that Zink is a knuckle ball pitcher. 
At the plate, Baldelli got an RBI against his former team, as did Jacoby Ellsbury, and Jed Lowrie. Nice to see Jacoby get a hit, and I hope that he plays tomorrow. 
As you guys know, I will be going to Fort Myers tomorrow. I’m heading out at 8:30 to get to the ballpark at 11 am for batting practice. I would love to get some autographs, and I have so much that I want to say to each and every player. I have tickets for the game against Northeastern University at 1:05, which is where our fellow blogger, Julia, went. And I recently got tickets to the 7:05 game against Cincinnati, which Clay Buchholz will start. 
It would make me really happy if the Red Sox got their first win tomorrow :). It would make me even happier if I got an autograph. And I will die of happiness if something even better than that happens. Do they need me to do play-by-play?? I’ll be carrying a legal pad around, writing down everything that I need. 
You guys can expect full game reports and analyses as well as scouting reports on Sunday. I’ll also share my pictures with anyone who wants them! Just send me an e-mail here, and I’ll get them right to you. 
-Elizabeth

The First Game of Spring

It seems that anything of significance in the baseball world happens in my English class. When the MVPs were announced, I was in English. When the HOF inductees were announced, I was in English. And when Josh Beckett took the mound for the Red Sox against the Boston College Eagles, guess where I was? English. On my way, I was searching for someone that I could beg to borrow his or her phone. No such luck. I was not able to see whether Josh Beckett’s first pitch was a ball or a strike. 

I did feel like I contributed to that game in some way, shape or form. I’m very superstitious when it comes to baseball, kind of like Jane as she describes in her book. Well, as I was taking my notebook out for my American History class second period, I realized that I had a Yankee book in my backpack. ‘That can’t be good chi,’ I thought, so I asked my friend to guard it in her locker. Nothing personal Jane, just superstitions. 
The Red Sox beat the Eagles 7-1. A couple minor leaguers, including Chris Carter, had a nice game, and Josh Beckett fired two perfect innings and struck out two. 
Disappointed as I was for missing the afternoon game, I was quite excited when I found out that the evening game would be broadcasted on MLB Network. 
Jacoby Ellsbury led off the first inning by swinging at the first pitch he saw. ‘Patience!’ I thought! Well, he learned from his mistake in his next at-bat, and waited a few pitches before flying out to left. The important part is, he did make contact. 
Dustin Pedroia collected the first hit of the game, hitting a nice double, which isn’t surprising for a guy coming off an MVP season. 
I watched in awe as Tim Wakefield took the mound for the Sox. That knuckleball of his has been around since 1995. He played in Pittsburgh before that! I can’t imagine him anywhere else but the Red Sox, I’m glad that the Sox decided to pick up his option. Wake gave up three runs over two innings– a few batters were able to time the knuckle ball down, but some of the runs were just results of balls that got through the gap. The defense was a little rusty, but what can you expect after a long offseason? I just hate those blooper balls that fall in the proverbial bermuda triangle. Those aggravate me, unless the Red Sox hit one. 
Those balls going through the gap even got to Youkilis, it wasn’t just Diaz (SS) and Khoury (3B). By the way, did you guys see Youk’s latest Youk Fu? I thought that was hilarious! 
Josh Bard did a nice job catching Wakefield’s knuckleball. I think he should work on throwing over to second, because it’s pretty easy to steal considering Wakefield’s knuckleball is basically 68 mph. There was also one play in which Brad Wilkerson, recently acquired from the Blue Jays (RF) threw the ball in from the outfield and Bard tried to tag the guy before catching the ball. In the future, let’s catch before tagging :)
Billy Traber tried to pull a Dice-K: loading the bases with no outs. Even though it is Spring Training, it still gave me a heart attack. Dice-K may be the only pitcher in the majors who can get himself into jams and get out unscathed. You’re not there yet Billy, baby steps. After giving up a few runs, Billy did settle down to throw a couple of nice pitches. 
Justin Masterson was sporting a beard, so he looks a bit older. Masterson, Delcarmen, Lopez, and Rairez all pitched beautifully, giving up zero runs over five innings. Masterson was a bit shaky at first, but he calmed down after a little bit. 
Let me tell you guys, I am very impressed with Ramon Ramirez. Much as I miss Coco, that was a great trade. Three up, three down and two strikeouts. Talk about a great first impression. I would make him my project, but my projects are strictly confined to minor leaguers. 
Speaking of projects, Jeff Bailey has pretty much secured his spot as one of my projects. I was aware of him when he was with the Red Sox in 2008, and I liked what I saw, so he was definitely on my radar for tonight’s game. I hope to see him this weekend, as well as Lars Anderson. 
Jed Lowrie looked pretty good tonight, solid effort with some of those balls up the middle and a nice triple with an RBI. Jeff Bailey had the other RBI. I’m in the process of getting to know these minor league guys, but I should have at least three projects by the end of the Grapefruit League. 
To answer Jacobyluvr’s question, Jed Lowrie was my project last year. I was waiting for autographs outside of the player’s parking lot, and he drove out slowly, so I ran into the middle of the street to get an autograph. I barely knew who he was! After that autograph though, I knew he’d be coming. 
Rem-Dawg was unable to join Don Orsillo at the game tonight, he has an infection. All of us here at Red Sox Nation, and even on the entire blogosphere hope you feel better. Now, the Red Sox can always call me if they need an extra play-by-play. I feel like they have a mic wired to my house because they always talk about whatever I just finished talking about within five minutes. Maybe I’ll do that someday. 
Overall, I was impressed with the Red Sox’s performance, and I cannot wait until tomorrow. I apologize for the lack of pictures, I had this post ready to go an hour ago, but as I was looking around the internet for pictures, I somehow closed this window, and the blog was lost.
I’ll be bringing back some pictures this weekend! 
-Elizabeth

Number 6– Johnny Pesky

As I normally do in these dedication posts, I will start out with a huge ‘Thank You!’. To all of you who read this, I really appreciate it– I never thought that I would find a place like this where people actually read and care about my stuff. You guys were so kind to help out with my research paper, which I definitely killed a tree by printing it– and I always love reading what you guys have to say about what I have to say. You can see the latest leaders list here

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I have to say, I’ve been anticipating breaking into the Top 10 over here at MLBlogs. I really wanted to dedicate a post to a Red Sox player with a retired number (although there is number 27….). Number 6 is actually the newest number put on that panel up in right field. It is Johnny Pesky’s number, who played for the Red Sox from 1942-1946. Yup, he played with some great guys like Ted Williams and Bobby Doerr. Pesky never won an MVP, but for the first two years of his career, he placed in the Top 5. I bet you can guess who was ahead of him both of those years. Just ask Bob
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Pesky batted over .320 three times in his Red Sox career, he batted over .300 six times. He played the majority of his games at shortstop, but wasn’t shy to the realms of third and second base– he wasn’t exactly known for his fielding though. The reason he made the move from shortstop to third was to make room for Vern Stephens. He led the American League in hits three times, in his first three years with the Red Sox. He was nicknamed “The Needle”, and actually missed a few seasons when he was in the war like Ted Williams. One of the most amazing things about Pesky is that he has been with the Red Sox for 58 of his 70 years in baseball. He served as their manager on two occasions, 1963-1964, and once again in 1980. He went to the All-Star game in 1946, which was the year that the Red Sox lost to the Cardinals in the World Series (go ahead Jeff, you can say something) and Ted Williams had a terrible batting average. Pesky was actually the first guy to score six runs in a nine inning game, he was also an incredible bunter; he led the league in sacrifice hits in 1942. 
Johnny Pesky 4.jpg
Pesky Pole.jpg
And now for the myth Pesky’s Pole, the right field foul ball pole in Fenway Park. Here is how the story goes: It was 1948, and Pesky hit a home run down the short right field line… just around the pole. Mel Parnell claims that Pesky won the game for him, so the pole was later named after him. Pesky only hit six home runs at Fenway Park, but he did lead the American League in hits three times. Pesky has served as a batting coach for Jim Rice, and continues to be a presence within the Red Sox’s clubhouse today. I actually saw him at a Spring Training game last season exchanging the lineup card before the game. I was in awe. 
Speaking of Spring Training games, last night, my father got an e-mail from Merrill, this really nice guy that we met last year at a Spring Training who has offered to help us out with tickets. He said that he has tickets for the game this weekend against Northeastern University at 1:05. 
Guess where I’m going to be this weekend? The beautiful City of Palms Park in Fort Meyers, FL, probably bubbling with excitement. I’ll probably beg to be taken to the game hours before it starts so that I could have the chance of an autograph. There is even a game at 7:05 that night against the Cincinnati Reds that we will be trying to get tickets to. 
I plan on taking notes on some of the players, doing some scouting reports, and evaluating some of the players who are actually there and not at the World Baseball Classic. It would be really nice if the World Baseball Classic could be played in December or January so that baseball could come sooner, and our stars could be seen at Spring Training. 
Nevertheless, I’m excited to see the young players, and the even younger ones from Northeastern! I will be trying to get an autograph or two, but I don’t really have a strategy for that. If any of you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them! 
Thanks again for getting me up to number six! It really means the world to me!
-Elizabeth

Back to the Red Sox

Research Paper.jpg

It’s done! It’s finally done! Thank you all for the positive support that you have shown me throughout this entire process. From topics to write about, to the intro paragraph to the outline to the rough draft, you guys were always there for me. I think that speaks wonders for the wonderful community that we have here. 

I want you all to know that I took into consideration each and every comment that you gave me. You guys caught some really important stuff. Whether it was my contradictions, or my tense changes, or the places that I should separate my paragraphs– it all really helped! 
It’s not like I haven’t been keeping up with the Red Sox. Research paper or not, I always check in on the site. I’ve made it unavoidable for myself because it’s my homepage. 
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I’m feeling quite confident about the Red Sox’s 2009 season. They went into 2008 with basically the exact same roster that they came out of the World Series with… so the question is– what happened? 
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First of all, Curt Schilling was NOT healthy. He didn’t even make one pitch for the Red Sox. Not that I blame him or anything, I would not have wanted him to pitch unhealthy. So to fix this problem, the Red Sox went out and got John Smoltz. His role is almost identical to what Schilling’s was supposed to be last year. Schilling wasn’t supposed to come back until June of 2008 and look when Smoltz is supposed to come back: June 2009. Luckily Smoltz feels healthy. 
Josh Beckett.jpg
Josh Beckett was not his 2007 self. Like I said a few entries ago, Beckett is like a cyclical economy, only not as proportional. He has a really good year, and then he has a mediocre year. A cyclical economy is a bit more extreme. Statistically, he’s due to have a good year. Even Francona says that he looks like his 2007 self. Beckett made some interesting speculations during his interview. He said he was “catching up all year”. It started in Spring Training when he had back spasms. I was at that game, I was really excited because I had never seen him pitch before (I still haven’t seen it)… then Manny Delcarmen pitched. It was still fun. 
Clay Buchholz.jpg
We never had a solid fifth starter. It started with Clay Buchholz, the no-hitter phenomenon. Turns out he still needed a bit more seasoning in the minors after he posted a 2-9 record. So the Sox sent him back down to Double AA Portland– the problem was, they never really planned for this. Who was their fifth starter going to be? They experimented with Bartolo Colon (he was a bit of a fluke– good luck to you Chicago fans). Then there was Dave Pauley, Justin Masterson and Michael Bowden, but we all know that they still needed seasoning (Pauley is long gone now). Then we finally acquired Paul Byrd in late July– it helped a bit. So what did the Red Sox do to improve on that? They went out and got not only John Smoltz, but Brad Penny. That Brad Penny acquisition was perfect– I’m sensing a comeback year. I’ll report back if I like what I see at Spring Training. 
Jacoby Ellsbury.jpg
Jacoby Ellsbury was not as “Jacoby Ellsbury” as he was in 2007. But what do you expect? Everyone is worrying about how they don’t know what he’s going to do in 2009. Relax. Here is what I predict: He will bat about .285, maybe a bit higher, he will steal more bases, and he will be more consistent. Plus he still makes those incredible catches in the outfield. 
David Ortiz 2.jpg
Big Papi was not “Big Papi”. When this happens, it’s remarkable that you even get to the ALCS. His average dropped, his home runs dropped– everything dropped. So Ortiz worked out during the offseason, shaped up a bit, and rested his wrist. That was the big problem, I think he’ll be back. 
Manny being Manny was no longer the pride of Red Sox Nation. I loved Manny, I really did, but he had to go. He was just too worried about his contract and what was going to happen next year. If he can’t deal with the business of baseball, then he shouldn’t be playing. So he left, but boy did we get one hell of a guy. Jason Bay came in and performed beautifully. Not to mention that the “lack of experience in October” that everyone was fretting about turned into “Wow, Jason bay is thriving in October!!”. A better season this year? Oh yes. 
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Mike Lowell’s hip basically blew up. A torn labarum I think it was– that doesn’t sound pretty, and it wasn’t. It was painful watching him being in pain. He lost his range over at third, and he lost some power in his bat. When that happens to your 2007 World Series MVP, what are you supposed to do? Well, not only did the Red Sox management go out and get Mark Kotsay, Kevin Youkilis stepped up and went to third. He looked like he played third everyday of his life (and I think he was brought up as a third baseman). 
The bullpen was inconsistent. Everyone was tired during the summer, and you could tell. Poor Jonathan Papelbon would not have pitched in Game 7 if he had been needed. We overused him because our relief was inconsistent Well just look at our bullpen now! We definitely have one of the best in the Majors. It’s also good to know that Papelbon feels rejuvenated now. 
Not to mention the great looking bench that we have. When you have a guy like Rocco Baldelli coming off your bench, I think you’re in pretty good shape. By the way, I think Rocco would like us all to know: He feels fine. I can imagine that he has been asked that questions way too many times. 
Both of the contenders for starting shortstop say that
they are ready to go and that they feel great. The article about Lugo made me feel a little bit guilty though. I didn’t forget about him!! Maybe I was just– angry! I know that he has always been a second half guy but… that doesn’t mean that he’s allowed to blow off the first half! After reading that article, I’ve decided that the shortstop spot is completely wide open. I don’t want Julio to be nervous about living up to his contract. That’s the problem with all the money in baseball these days, it puts pressure on these guys. I hope that Pedroia, Youkilis and Papelbon don’t let their nice contracts get to them. I don’t think they will.
Speaking of contracts, the Red Sox management have mentioned that they would be in favor of a salary cap. Like they said, it would just take time. Time to figure out how exactly to do this. It would be great for some teams, but it would also hurt other teams– like the Red Sox. They are in favor of a “competitive balance”. Well, wouldn’t that make baseball even better if the games were even closer? It would be tricky for general managers to try and work out their teams, and would players be in favor of taking some pay cut checks? I like this idea, I just don’t want to see another 1994. It would make baseball easier to relate to though– it would bring it closer to the level that the New York Knickerbockers wanted to keep it at: an amateur game. 
I’ll be doing a full look at the Red Sox’s roster in the near future. 
I have the final draft of my paper (with footnotes too!). If you are interested in a copy, please leave a comment with your e-mail or e-mail me at elizabethxsanti@aol.com, and I’d be happy to send it. 
-Elizabeth

America’s Mirror (My Research Paper)

All of you guys have been so helpful in me shaping my research paper. I really appreciate all of the “free thought” that you guys were doing, it really helped me out. I took into consideration what all of you said– everything, and so yesterday, I went to my APUSH teacher and showed him the outline. I asked him if I could go into the 20th century a little so I could expand on how baseball mirrors the economy, and he said it was fine. I think all of your questions will be answered in the paper. It ended up being long– 5,000 words (which is longer than the 2,000-3,000 words that were suggested). I won’t be offended if you don’t read it all. The topic sentences pretty much sum up what each paragraph is about so if you want to just choose one paragraph and read it, even that would be great. The greatest weakness right now (I think) is that the paragraphs are way too long, I’m working on that. But if you guys are interested in the whole paper, feel free to read the whole thing! Once again, constructive criticism welcomed. 

America’s
Mirror

 During America’s Gilded Age, many new institutions emerged
that provided new spaces and liberties for the workers, immigrants, and the
middle class citizens who inhabited the crowded cities. However, very few institutions
have had the extraordinary longevity that what many consider to be, the
national pastime has had. Town ball, cricket, and base were three of many forms
of nascent baseball, but it wasn’t until the New York Knickerbockers crossed
the Hudson River to get to Elysian Fields on the Jersey shore, that baseball
was born. The Civil War halted baseball’s rapid evolution, and while the North
and South were fighting over slavery, states rights, and the government’s
rights, the one thing that they had in common was baseball. Its popularity was
revived during the Gilded Age and many of the events in baseball mirrored the
events that were going on in America. Although baseball provided many new
spaces and liberties to the players and spectators, it also reflected the age-old
tensions and traditions such as racism, the conflict between workers and
owners, the struggle between the individual and the collective group, and the
consequences of scandal and reform.

In 1607, a group of diverse
colonists crossed the Atlantic ocean to seek land, new opportunities, and
establish a nation, and in 1845, a group of eclectic men who called themselves
the New York Knickerbockers crossed the Hudson River seeking Elysian Fields, a
place to play their game of baseball, which not only created new opportunities,
but established what would become the national pastime as well. Before the
Civil War, there were many different variations of baseball, America was not
yet unified under one distinct national pastime. Similarly, America was nowhere
near unified as the North and South were nearing the Civil War. Despite this,
the New York Mercury called baseball “the national pastime” in 1856. It did
make some progress to becoming an American game before the Civil War. Melvin
Adelman argues that: “the wish to create a national game stemmed from a desire
upon the part of Americans to emancipate their games from foreign patterns”. The Spirit, one of the first newspapers
devoted to sporting events, called for a game “peculiar to the citizens of the
United States, one distinctive of the games of the British like cricket.”  An article in The New York Times called ‘National Sport and their Uses’ stated,
“To reproduce the tastes and habits of English sporting life in this country is
neither possible nor desirable”. Americans were able to separate themselves
from the British influences on their national pastime just like they were able
to separate themselves from British influences on their country in 1776. This
evolution of baseball started around 1856, when Henry Chadwick created box
scores and columns for the newspapers. Baseball became a common language for
Americans as Alexander Jay Cartwright spread the game westward. This evolution
was briefly halted during the Civil War, but as the North and South fought over
slavery, and states rights, baseball was the one unifier.

It was during America’s Gilded
Age that baseball flourished. 1869 was the first full year of professional
baseball, and the Cincinnati Red Stockings were the first professional team,
although baseball already was an American passion. In 1871, the New York
Knickerbockers formed the first professional league, the National Association
of Baseball Players. It attempted to retain the innocence of baseball by
stating that baseball was strictly an amateur game, and that no one would ever
be paid, “Rule V: No players who play base-ball for money shall take part in
any match game; and any club giving any compensation to a player, or having, to
their knowledge, a player in their nine playing in a match for compensation,
shall be debarred from membership in the National Association.”  However, as America’s innocence slowly
began to dwindle away, baseball’s innocence did the same. In fact, Harry
Wright’s Red Stockings were the proof that baseball had become a new way for
men to earn a livelihood. Albert Goodwill Spalding did not mind the paying of
ball players:

The determination of the founders of Base Ball to
maintain it as an amateur pastime had been only partially successful from the
start. The perfectly natural desire of every club to strengthen its playing
corps found its earliest expression in the drafting, by senior clubs, from the
ranks of local junior teams the best players among them. This absolutely
legitimate practice was soon followed by that of inducing the best players in
clubs of small cities and villages to join those of larger cities, the
ostensible advantage being set forth as the increased opportunities of getting
on in life. It was, of course, but a very short step from this custom to that of
offering to understanding that salaries would be forthcoming… … It will readily
be seen that such a state of things could not long continue. The public lost
confidence in a game the results of whose contests depended upon the interests
of the gambling fraternity, or the presence of veiled professional players.
Having lost faith in their fellows, they began to lose hope in the future of
the pastime itself, and, one by one, conscientious players were dropping out”.

Spalding went on to form the National League of Professional
Ball Clubs in 1876 with his Chicago White Stockings. This was a giant step
towards establishing team owners’ authority over the game and players, which
were bound to cause conflicts. A president and other officials were hired to
establish some degree of uniformity throughout the League, and organized
baseball began to assume a structure, which continues to influence the game
today. In 1881, the American Association, otherwise known as the Beer and
Whiskey League was formed; it allowed Sunday games and the sale of alcoholic
beverages in the park. Although the National League and the American
Association sign a peace agreement in 1883, it succumbs in 1891 and Spalding’s
National League retains its monopoly. In 1901, Ban Johnson wanted to compete
against Spalding’s monopoly so he renamed his minor Western league, the
American League. His league was actually sustainable due to the scandals of
rowdyism and syndicate ownership that plagued the National League. Another
alliance was signed in 1903 between the two leagues, which declared that each
league would abide by each other’s contracts and rights to players–they were
separate but equal leagues. These two leagues have shaped baseball into what it
is today.

Baseball inspired city pride,
promoted new industry, expanded west, and was not only played in stadiums, it
was also played in prison yards, parks, playgrounds, and farmer fields as well.
The first baseball stadium was called Forbes Field, and it was not erected
until 1909 in Pittsburgh. However, the game was played elsewhere before hand,
yet still attracted many fans. The Polo Grounds was actually used for polo
initially. It was converted to a baseball stadium in 1880 for the New York
Giants, and was expanded, duplicated for other baseball teams, reconstructed,
and was the site for many historic events, including Babe Ruth’s first home run
as a Yankee on May 1, 1920. In 1903, Spalding’s American League and Johnson’s
National League played the first World Series at Boston’s Huntington Avenue Grounds.
Even though it was not truly a stadium yet, it still attracted 16,452 fans,
including McGreevy’s Royal Rooters, who claimed to be Boston’s most loyal fans.
Jim Thorne said, “The idea of going to the ballpark, say in 1900 was that the
urban masses would get a taste of country pastoral air. That their lungs would
expand by cheering nonsense like this. Baseball grew in the cities. It is as
wild as the wild west”. Billy Crystal said, “There’s a very peaceful thing, it
was created and played in pastures and meadows. There’s grass, there’s
outdoors, there’s everything that people though was American and feel about
America. You get in a ballpark and it’s the wonder of holding you dad’s hand,
walking through that dark tunnel and seeing a huge open space where men play
the little boy’s game”. Between 1900-1910, country boys, immigrant sons, and
factory workers played on thousands of teams in hundreds of leagues; baseball
wasn’t just confined to professional teams. The spread of the railroad and
telegraph facilitated the spread of ideas and activities throughout the
country, and baseball was included in this. Baseball became democratic when it
became portable. Sam Crawford said, “Every little town out there on the prairie
had its own ball team and ball grounds and we challenged them all”. Many new
industries stemmed from baseball, and facilitated employment; brand names soon
appeared such as the Louisville Slugger. Albert Goodwill Spalding opened a
sporting goods business in which he was manufacturing all the baseballs used in
the National League, as well as bats and uniforms. By 1878, eight million bats
had been sold in the United States. Spalding even had a catalogue, which
devoted a lot of space to Eastern, Western, and International Leagues, and thus
helped to unify the baseball world. This not only provided new jobs, but it
established a monopoly that would soon threaten both the integrity and the
longevity of baseball. There became a growing demand for baseball reports from
both participants and non-participants led to expanded newspaper coverage, and Beadle’s Dime Baseball Player was the
first baseball book for fans. Both the National League and the American League
set up teams in growing crowded urban areas. Baseball evoked a sense of pride
in ones team, and therefore one’s city. Fans began to live and die with their
team. In Harold Ellard’s Baseball in
Cincinnati,
recalls a victory against the Mutuals of New York and calls it
“the best played game of ball on record”. He describes the passion of the fans
when he says, “When news of the victory reached Cincinnati the excitement was
beyond description. Salutes were fired, red lights burned and cheers were
deafening. Everybody felt in the finest spirits and many were willing to lend
their friends, even their enemies, any sum without questions”. Baseball was
seen as having the immense potential for a successful business ever since Harry
Wright established the first professional ball club. Overpriced bad food has
been sold at ballparks across the nation since 1850, but it wasn’t until Henry
M. Stevens turned concessions into an empire that it truly became part of the
game. He introduced baseball’s trademark food of hotdogs when ice cream sales
slowed on a cold day at New York’s polo grounds. Baseball continued to offer
new opportunities for success and enjoyment to virtually everyone, but baseball
was not immune to America’s segregation policies.

Baseball provided liberties and
opportunities for white players and fans regardless of their socioeconomic
classes, but restricted those liberties and opportunities from African
Americans just as they were restricted from opportunities in society.
Initially, baseball provided Americans with an outlet after work. The great
American transcendentalist Walt Whitman said, “Relieves us from being a
nervous, dyspeptic set… let us leave our close rooms, the game of ball is
glorious”. Henry Longfellow said that “Ball playing communicated such an impost
to our limbs and joints that there is nothing now heard of in our leisure hours
but ball, ball, ball”. It allowed the players who played unprofessionally to
forget about the woes of their stressful workday and could indulge themselves
in their game. For professionals like Cap Anson, who soon became the symbol for
all that was strong and good in baseball and established the tradition of
Spring Training, said, “I had a distinctive dislike both for study and work and
I shirked them whenever the opportunity offered”. Ball players did not have to
be of a prominent socioeconomic background to play either. Cy Young, one of the
greatest pitchers of all time was a farm boy. Honus Wagner considered by many
to be the greatest shortstop of all time was a Pennsylvania miner, John Joseph
McGraw was a self-made man, Ty Cobb, one of the two men to ever attain 4,000
hits in his career grew up on a farm in Georgia. Daniel Okrent said, “The ball
players they were from the fringe of society. These were not educated men… the
kind of game that they played suited the kind of people that they were”. For
fans, baseball provided a different kind of opportunity. Baseball Magazine put it beautifully when they said, “Thomas
Jefferson when he wrote the Declaration of Independence made proper provision
for baseball when he declared that all men are and of a right ought to be free
and equal. That’s what they are at the ball game– banker and brick layer,
lawyer and common laborer”. This isn’t to say that baseball players were immune
from the vices that plagued society. Many of them suffered from addictions and
gambling problems as well; but it was Christy Matthewson, also known as the
‘Christian Gentlemen’ and considered one of the greatest pitchers of all time,
who helped to revive the reputation of a ball player. Baseball went from
uniting a country, to uniting men. In 1868 the Newark Advertiser stated, “People have baseball on the brain to an
extent hitherto unequaled”. Carl Sandberg said; “These are times when my head
seemed empty of everything but baseball names and figures. I had my opinions
about who was better than everyone else in the national game”. However, this
outlet was not extended to African Americans. Contrary to popular belief,
Jackie Robinson was not the first African American in professional baseball. It
was Moses Fleetwood Walker who played in professional baseball from 1884-1887,
and started out with the short-lived American Associations Toledo Blue
Stockings. The feet first slide that is used so often today was actually first
used during the period in which African Americans were allowed in professional
baseball because of the “deep seeded hatred for African Americans,” as Sporting Life puts it. Pitchers would
actually ignore signs from black catchers because they would not take orders
from a black man. A few years later, when Cap Banson declared that we would not
play against a team with a black pitcher, the National League made an
unofficial agreement to not sign any blacks–1887 marked the end of African
Americans in professional baseball until 1947. Sol White’s Official Baseball Guide speculates that had Cap Banson
not let his racist views blind him to the wonderful players in the African
American leagues, it would have truly changed the game. Freed blacks did form their own baseball leagues, and a few others
played professionally before the hushed agreement. Some leagues even played
exhibition games against professional players in the offseason as Sol White’s Official Guide to Base Ball points
out; “Seabreeze and Ormond are represented by white teams composed of American
and National League players, and the contests between the colored boys of Palm
Beach and the white boys from Ormond and Seabreeze are looked for yearly and
draw immense crowds. Of the four games played between the white and colored
teams last Winter, the white boys failed to win a game”. After his expulsion
from baseball, Walker urged African Americans to emigrate back to Africa; “They
could expect nothing but failure and disappintment in America” Walker said. Bud
Foulum put it best when he simply said, “My skin is against me”. Newk Hall was
appalled that social barriers were broken on the playing field, yet color
barriers were not when he said, “If anywhere in this world the social barriers
are broken it is on the ball field. There, many men of low birth and poor
breeding are the idols of the rich and cultured. The best man is he who plays
best. In view of these facts the objection to colored men is ridiculous. If
social distinctions are to be made, half the players in the country will be
shut out. Better make character and personal habits the test”. Racism was not
the only thing that baseball and America had in common.

The reason that baseball is
America’s national pastime is because it perfectly reflects the triumphs and
struggles of American history. The pace, rhythm, atmosphere, and competitive
spirit are quite similar to the pace, rhythm, atmosphere and competitive spirit
of America. Charley McDowell said, “[There are] labor unions and management,
gimmicks and promotion, pride and unity of town and country…” Walt Whitman
said, “It has the slap, go, fling of the American atmosphere. It is America’s
game”. The reason that the institution of baseball is America’s game is because
it precisely mirrors America, as Vogt’s American
Baseball
points out; “The business structure of team ownership, the problem
of monopoly, player labor unrest, and many other issues that accompanied
professionalization mirrored the new economic order”. It evolved the same way
that America evolved. Albert Goodwill Spalding, the founder of the National
League, has been called “the Andrew Carnegie of baseball”. Spalding bought and
crushed out his competitors like other captains of industry. A few leagues
tried to challenge this monopoly, but the only successful one was Johnson’s
National League. Spalding said of his competitors, “The dog with the bull dog
tendencies will live the longest”. Baseball has always promoted capitalistic
competition, whether it is on the playing field, or in business. As Joe McGraw
simply put it, “The main idea is to win”. To Ty Cobb, baseball was more than a
struggle for supremacy, “it was something like a war”. Spalding, like other
captains of industry, was also unconcerned with the various attempts made at
player’s unions. He said, “The players league is deader than the proverbial
door nail. When the spring comes and the grass is green upon the last resting
place of anarchy, the national agreement will rise again in all its weight and
restore to America in all its purity its national pastime, the great game of
baseball”. When America saw that monopolies in industries were corrupt, they
promoted competition; in the same manner, when America saw the corruptions that
existed in Spalding’s National League, both the players and fans welcomed the
American League. These scandals included what was called “rowdyball”, syndicate
ownership, and gambling. Rowdyball included flying spikes, vicious verbal
abuse, and cheating. Bobby Wallace of the Baltimore Orioles recalls, “The
bricks, rocks and chunks of hard slag came through those windows as if shot
from a Gatling gun.” Henry Chadwick recalls an incident in Syracuse, New York:

         “The baseball season
closed here to-day with a disgraceful scene on the diamond. In the sixth inning
when the score was tied, Harper got caught between the bases, and by the
dirtiest trick ever witnessed in this city he reached second. Harper
deliberately jumped on Moss, who had the ball ready to touch him, and he spiked
the Stars’ shortstop so hard in the breast that his shirt front was torn almost
into ribbons. Moss struck Harper with his first, and a rough-and-tumble fight
would have ensued but for police interference”

Warren
Goldstein compares baseball’s dangers to the Gilded Age’s dangers when he says; “the game was a
constant play of safety and danger” not unlike the daily journey through
hostile urban neighborhoods. The tour around the bases required a passage
through a territory “patrolled by the opposition where one could be put ‘out’
for the slightest error of skill or judgment in order to return home safely”. Syndicate
Ownership was another form of corruption, which occurred when the owners with
multiple teams would move players around to ensure that some teams would do
really well, which would result in others doing extremely poorly. The most
notable case of this is the Cleveland Spiders, who finished with the worst
record in Major League history of 20-134. This syndicate ownership could also
result in gambling and the fixing of games. Ban Johnson was determined to
prevent the evils that the National League permitted, and offered players more
flexible contracts. The National League had the infamous reserve clause, which
forced players to stay with one team at the whim of owners, at whatever salary
that was offered to them. Many players unions sprung up that were similar to
the unions that were appearing in factories. John Montgomery Ward said of the
reserve clause that it “denies him a harbor and livelihood like fugitive slave
law, carries him back bound and shackled to club he attempted to escape”. Some
of these players unions included the Brotherhood of Professional Baseball
Players, and the Player’s Protective Association. The more flexible contracts
that Johnson’s American League attracted many players from the National League.
Johnson’s motivations for establishing this league were similar to the motivations
of the Progressives–to clean up the game. Spalding and Johnson then signed a
sort of peace treaty that created the notion of separate but equal leagues.
This alliance inspired the first true World Series, which would be between the
Boston Pilgrims (soon to be known as the Boston Red Sox) of the American
League, and the Pittsburgh Pirates of the National League. The leagues insisted
on calling it the World Series even though the distance between the two cities
was merely 650 miles. The series proved so popular, that the leagues decided to
host one every season (with the minor exception of 1904). Mark Twain put it
best when he said, “Baseball is the very symbol, the outward and visible
expression of the drive and push and rush and struggle of the raging, tearing,
booming 19th century”. Americans love baseball so much because it is
so easy to relate to the causes that they have fought for–it is our game
because it not only reflects America, but the values instilled in workers as
well.

Although there is a theory that
baseball compensates for what work lacks, baseball’s rules and ethics are
actually relevant to Harold L. Wilensky’s congruent hypothesis, which states
that people tend to replicate their work situation in their leisure time.
Stephen M. Gelber’s article Working and Playing: The Culture of the
Workplace and the Rise of Baseball
further illustrates the idea that
baseball expressed and reinforced urban life, business organization, and the
values that underlay them; that it is an expression of free choice providing us
with one view of the nineteenth century American male’s ideal world entered
without compromise. Gelber expands on Wilensky’s congruence theory when he
says; “The congruence between baseball and business explains the rise of the
game during the expanding economy of the nineteenth century”. Christopher
Lasch, in his book “The Corruption of Sports” said, “Industry has routinized,
rationalized and stultified the work experience. Men cannot satisfy their
craving for excitement and creativity on the job so they turn to leisure,
especially sports to find “risk, daring, and uncertainty”, which is relevant to
Wilensky’s notion that “factory workers sought emotionally charged
leisure–baseball”. Gelberd explicates Frederick L. Paxson’s relation between
the “safety valve” and the frontier, which asks us to examine the question:
“Why was there no explosion when the frontier closed and the “safety valve was
screwed down?” Sports provided the necessary release. They were a “New safety
valve built upon the new society”. Gelbard goes speculates; “The city and its
businesses were closed, crowded, interior places of darkness, noise, and bad
air”. The frontier was open, uncrowded, light and healthful. In his view,
baseball is seen not merely as a safety valve like the west, but as a miniature
version of the west”. Gelberd partially refutes the compensatory argument when
he argues; “The attraction lay instead [of taking for example, a walk] in the
many ways that the game replicated an legitimized the social and intellectual
environment of the urban workplace”. Andreano’s No Joy in Mudville helps to further this argument by saying;
“Sportsmen and businessman professed faith in organization, cooperation,
success, and fairness”. Melvin Adelman places the sport in a context of
bourgeois values that include competition, discipline, self-control, and
courage. The fact of the matter was that there was a common workplace
experience shared by the ballplayers that instilled values such as a scientific
worldview, an appreciation of rationality, and competitiveness between groups
with cooperation within–all of which were expressed through the pastime of
baseball. The fundamental reason for the popularity of baseball, as Ken Burns
puts it, “is that it is a rational safety value, a young, ambitious, growing
nation needs to let off steam”. Few Americans knew that the precision it took
to “let off steam” was the same precision it took to work in a factory. Alan
Dawley quoted an 1863 observer calling the factory a “beehive of industry;
everything systemized, everything economized and each part made to act in
concert with every other part”. These precise, systematic ethics of the work
place distinguish America from previous, current, and future pastimes.

The ethics of baseball have
reflected some of the most important ethics to Americans such as individualism,
the struggle for identity, nationalism, and the struggle to retain innocence,
which is why Americans love it so much. Baseball has presented the notion that
an individual is accountable for a precisely defined end result, not unlike
machines for productions whose success or failures affect the collective end
result. It retains elements of personal accountability, particularly when one
goes to bat. Baseball is the perfect of the individual subsuming into the
collective group. Melvin Adelman points out; “Baseball’s structure expressed
the American notion of individualism, with its emphasis on independence,
self-reliance and equality,” “American commitment to equal opportunity as each
batter is afforded roughly the same number of at bats regardless of success”.
Baseball initially struggled for identity because it was a direct descendent of
rounders, a British game. Then again, America is a direct descendent of Britain
as well. Alan Sangree said, “So long as it remains our national game, America
will abide no monarchy, and anarchy will be too slow”. In a sense, baseball
will help America retain its integrity because it would have trouble thriving
in another form of democracy. Baseball’s configuration lay on a diamond, rather
than a square or circle, which is not only aesthetically pleasing to the fans,
but evokes the notion of American exceptionalism. Baseball not only inspired
city pride, but it established a national pride. Even though there were intense
rivalries between teams, at the end of the day, they were still playing the
game of baseball, the fans were still rooting for the game of baseball, and
everyone was singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” after Jack Norwith wrote it
in 1908. Americans have since introduced baseball to Japan, and many countries
in the Caribbean and South America. “It makes me feel American, a part of this
culture”, Gerald Early says, “Baseball will be remembered for three things, the
constitution, jazz, and baseball”. Bob Costas speculates on how baseball
retains the innocence that Americans lack; “It says I think, at root, we’re
children, or we’d like to be and the best of us keep as much of that childhood
wit as we grow into adulthood as we can muster. If we love it then it’s like
Peter Pan–we remain boys forever, we don’t die”. Even though the owners and
players were corrupting the game, the institution itself evoked a childlike
passion. Baseball may not compensate for what work lacks, but it does compensate
for what our emotions lack as Tom Boswell puts it:

“I think baseball is a great support to people who
have emotional voids, gaps, emotional difficulties. That is to say all of us.
Those parts of us that don’t function well, those parts of us that are sad or
depressed. Not everyday they can really use baseball. That isn’t just the child
in the wheelchair or the shut in senior citizen listening to the radio that
needs the game. There’s a part of us, part of everybody, who is a baseball fan,
that needs the game at that level”

Murray Ross says, “[baseball was] conveyed in nostalgia, in
the resuscitation of the Jeffersonian dream. It established an artificial rural
environment”. Ken Burns talks about the psychological aspect of coming home
when he says; “Laborers leave the shade and quiet of a shop for the sun and
fury of a ball ground. They stand and they exercise for hours. They attest that
they need to be men not machines. Athletic games carry men back to their days
of childhood. There is indeed morally a home base in all afflum as there is
literally in baseball”. There is a perfect balance in baseball, as Michael
Novak points out; especially the distance between the bases, “another two feet
between them might settle the issue decisively between them”. David Lamoreaux
compares the infield and outfield division between that of civilization and
wilderness; the infield “an abstract symbol of the civilized portions of the
country, and the outfield with its theoretically illimitable reach… suggests
the frontier” Americans have been attracted to baseball because the struggles
that they watch on the field are virtually congruent to the ones they encounter
on a daily basis.

Baseball’s longevity is remarkable
and is credited to the fact that it embodies everything that America
represents. Robert Angell says, “The biggest appeal of baseball is that it
looks so simple, it looks so familiar and in its outward dimensions, it is
still almost exactly the same game that we played as we were kids. There is a
continuity there that is very attractive to us because some of the other
institutions that we’ve known have disappeared or fallen into disarray… but
baseball feels the same, and I think that is probably its prime attraction”.
Baseball is played in parks, playgrounds, and prison yards, back alleys and
farmers fields, by small boys and old men, raw amateurs and millionaire
professionals. The Saturday Evening Post
talks about the integrity of the institution of baseball when it says,

“It is important to remember in an imperfect and
fretful world that we have anwhich is practically above reproach and above
criticism. Nobody worth mentioning wants to change its constitution or limit
its powers. The government is not asked to inspect it, regulate, suppress,
guarantee, or own it. There is no movement that we know of to uplift it like
the stage, or to abolish it like marriage. No one complains that it’s vulgar
like the newspapers, or that it assassinates genius like the magazines. It
rouses no class passions and while it has magnates, they go unhung with our
approval. This once comparatively perfect flower of our sadly defective
civilization is of course baseball. The only important institution so far as we
remember, which the United States regards with a practically universal approval”. In the 1989 movie Field of Dreams, based off of W.P.
Kinsella’s novel, Terrance Mann speaks to baseball’s longevity when he says,
“The one constant through the years has been baseball. America has rolled by like
an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and
erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a
part of our past. It reminds us all of what once was good, and that could be
again”. Over the years baseball has provided opportunities, and liberties for
everyone, regardless of their socioeconomic background, and eventually,
regardless of their race; baseball has evolved as America has evolved and it
will continue to do so, long after we are gone.

 

-Elizabeth

The Preliminary Outline

First off, thank you guys so much for all of the positive support that you gave me on my intro paragraph. I have drawn up a [very] preliminary outline with topic sentences (that could use some work). Interestingly enough, some of these paragraphs could be made into entire papers. I’m sorry that I didn’t post this earlier– I’ve been so stressed out lately, after this research paper though, I think I’ll be okay. 

After school tomorrow, I’ll get back to all who commented and post my latest opinions on the Red Sox. Funny story today actually in English. We were in the computer lab, working on our essays for The Great Gatsby and let’s just say I got a bit distracted, so I went to the Red Sox homepage. Little did I know that the volume of the computer was on, and that the video would load right away. So my English class got a nice couple of words from Terry Francona. 
Feel free to tear this outline apart and give me constructive criticism as well. 

      I.     Intro

1.    
Thesis Statement: Although baseball provided
many new spaces and liberties to the players and spectators, it also reflected
the age-old tensions and traditions such as racism, the conflict between
workers and owners, the struggle between the individual and the collective
group, and the consequences of scandal and reform.

   
II.    
Beginnings
of Baseball…Topic Sentence: In 1607, a group of diverse colonists crossed the
Atlantic ocean to seek land, new opportunities, and establish a nation, and in
1845, a group of diverse men who called themselves the New York Knickerbockers
crossed the Hudson River seeking Elysian Fields, a place to play their game of
baseball, which not only created new opportunities, but established what would
become the national pastime as well.

1.    
Turned away from the British influences of town
ball, base, and cricket and established a specifically American game, just like
the people of the Revolution turned away from the British government and laws
and established a democracy

2.    
Democratic sport

3.    
1856: evolution of baseball (Henry Chadwick)

4.    
Baseball a common language like liberty was

5.    
Alexander Jay Wright moved the game westward,
just like Americans were moving west

6.    
1869 first pro team

7.    
National Association of Baseball Players

8.    
National League

9.    
American Baseball Association à Western League

  III.     Baseball
providing new spaces… Topic Sentence: Baseball inspired city pride, promoted
new industry, expanded west, and was not only played in stadiums, it was also
played in prison yards, parks, playgrounds, and farmer fields as wel.

1.    
Stadium

2.    
Fields

3.    
Played everywhere

4.    
Industry à
newspapers and magazines

5.    
Expanding west

6.    
City

7.    
City Pride

8.    
Baseball as business

  
IV.    
Providing
and restricting liberties…Topic Sentence Baseball provided liberties and opportunities for
white players and fans regardless of their socioeconomic classes, but
restricted those liberties and opportunities from African Americans just as
they were restricted from opportunities in society.

1.    
Players à
profession

2.    
Fans

3.    
African Americans

4.    
Immigrants

    
V.    
Baseball
mirrors the government and economy…Topic Sentence: The reason that baseball is America’s
national pastime is because it perfectly reflects the triumphs and struggles of
American history.

1.    
Monopolies and competition

2.    
Regulation from government

3.    
Unions

4.    
Racism

5.    
Scandals (rowdyball) and reform, syndicate
ownership

6.    
Constitution

7.    
Cyclical economy

8.    
Contracts and contract clauses

9.    
Peace treaties

  
VI.    
 Although there is a theory that baseball
compensates for what work lacks, baseball’s rules and ethics are actually
relevant to Harold L. Wilensky’s congruent hypothesis, which states that people
tend to replicate their work situation in their leisure time.

1.    
Work and congruence

 VII.     The ethics of baseball has reflected some of
America’s most important ethics such as individualism, the struggle for
identity, nationalism, and opportunity.

1.    
Individualism

2.    
Identity struggle

3.    
Nationalism

4.    
Opportunity

5.    
Analogies

VIII.    
Conclusion

 It’s a little vague, I know, but this is just the gist of what I’m talking about. Anything that comes to mind is appreciated. I’ll post my paper as it gets done– maybe even paragraph at a time. 

-Elizabeth

#11– Bill Mueller

Coming in at number 11 is a true honor for ‘The Future Blog of the Red Sox’ and I can only thank the people who take the time to read my blog, and your thoughts are always appreciated as well. I still find it funny that #10 went to an advertisement. High school baseball is starting, so maybe that explains it. 

Bill Mueller 1.jpg
I have decided to dedicate number 11 to Bill Mueller, who played for the Red Sox from 2003-2005. In 2003 he won the American League MVP with a .326 batting average, 85 RBIs, 19 home runs, and 171 hits. He played third base for the Red Sox, as he did the majority of his career. He actually had his start with the Giants in 1996, and finished his career with the Dodgers in 2006. He actually contributed almost half of his career home runs during his three years with the Sox. On July 29, 2003, he became the only player in major league history to hit two grand slams in one game– from opposite sides of the plate! 
Remember that Yankees vs Red Sox fight on July 24, 2004? Mueller hit a walk off home run to show the Yankees whose boss :)
In Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS he hit a single in the bottom of the ninth off of Mariano Rivera, which batted in Dave Roberts who had memorably stolen second base. 
Bill Mueller 2.jpg
It is an honor to be able to dedicate my ranking to Bill Mueller. 
Jed Lowrie 3.jpg
A lot of you know about one of my “player projects”, Jed Lowrie, who I became a huge fan of last year during Spring Training when he autographed a baseball for me. I said all year long that he would come up and be the Red Sox shortstop, and I loved watching him play everyday and doing a great job of it too.
Little did I know that he was playing with a wrist injury. In fact, it was a sprained and fractured wrist!! Did he complain about it? No. Did he blame his declining average on it? No (although it was probably the predominant factor). While Manny Ramirez was faking injuries, he was playing through one! He mentioned that he couldn’t even touch his wrist during the playoffs, it hurt that badly. Yet he still provided that clutch hit in Game 4 of the ALDS that brought us to the ALCS. No worries about striking out with the bases loaded in Game 7 buddy, I know you can’t do everything– yet. 
The fact that he was playing with a broken wrist (in baseball, that classifies as broken) makes me gain even more respect for him than I already had, and believe me I had a lot. He opted out of surgery and took the ‘road less traveled by’ (if that even applies…) and perhaps that will “make all the difference” (okay, I’ll stop with the Robert Frost puns). The fact that he feels even healthier now, gives me a strong feeling that he will be the best option for the Red Sox’s staring shortstop, even before the games have begun! 
As many of you know, I have a research paper that I have been working on. I only have the preliminary introduction paragraph, but I’ll give you a brief overview on what I plan on writing about. 
I will be talking about how interest in baseball was rekindled after the Civil War during America’s Gilded Age, and how it provided new spaces and liberties for both spectators and players. It provided new jobs and industries as well as a new space in itself (the stadium), and it provided liberties for the players and the fans because they could get away form the factories. 
But what I didn’t realize was how perfectly baseball mirrored what was going on in America. There were monopolies in baseball, just like there were monopolies in the railroad industry. There was scandal, and there was reform. There was conflict between workers and owners, the reserve clause was basically slavery, and unfortunately there was racism and segregation. 
Here is my introduction paragraph:

 During America’s Gilded Age, many new institutions emerged
that provided new spaces and liberties for the workers, immigrants, and the
middle class citizens who inhabited the crowded cities. However, very few institutions
have had the extraordinary longevity that what many consider to be, “the
national pastime” has had. Town ball, cricket, and base were three of many
forms of pre-mature baseball, but it wasn’t until the New York Knickerbockers
crossed the Hudson River to get to Elysian Fields on the Jersey shore, that
baseball was born. The Civil War halted baseball’s rapid evolution, and while
the North and South were fighting over slavery, states rights, and the
government’s rights, the one thing that they had in common was baseball. Its
popularity was revived during the Gilded Age and many of the events in baseball
mirrored the events that were going on in America. Although baseball provided
many new spaces and liberties to the players and spectators, it also reflected
the age-old tensions and traditions such as racism, the conflict between
workers and owners, the struggle between the individual and the collective
group, and the consequences of scandal and reform.

I would love to hear what you guys have to say about this, and how I can improve it. I’m working on an outline tonight, which I will share with you in my next post. 

Check out this MLBlog… it’s going to be an interesting project, let’s all be part of it!

Thanks for everything!!

-Elizabeth

Why Baseball Will Endure

In my last entry, we discussed whether or not baseball will endure through this crisis, because this is a pretty big one. Of course we at the blogosphere have been dwelling on it for the past few days, but there are still some unanswered questions, the biggest one in my mind being:

How do we fix this? 
Roy Oswalt.jpg
To elaborate further on that question, there are many different approaches one could take to this. Roy Oswalt suggested virtually throwing the numbers away of anyone convicted or proved to have used steroids. 
A few of us have suggested that over here, but it’s interesting hearing it come from an actual player’s mouth. As far as I can tell from this statement, Oswalt is upset that other players have an advantage over him, when he’s just doing it naturally– like it should be. I have even speculated that we should throw all the numbers away, that they should not be let into the HOF by any means. 
Like I’ve said before, it’s not like we can’t ignore numbers, we’re doing it now, we may not agree with it but we are doing it now. The thing is, Pete Rose is one guy, the Black Sox Scandal was eight guys, but this steroids issue is hundreds of guys. If people thought eight guys was shocking, can you imagine if when we find out about these other players? 
Much as I don’t like A-Rod, it is a bit unfair that he has to take the blame for all of this. That he is the one whose privacy was violated. He set the example by confessing [once the report came out] but why only his name? 
asterisk.jpg
Anyway, there has also been the asterisk method that people have mentioned. Some have suggested having asterisks put next to the player’s names for the rest of their legacies, and some have suggested even installing an asterisk section for people who would be admitted to the HOF, but have done steroids. 
I like the idea of this metaphorical asterisk, but is there an asterisk next to the 1919 World Series? Ken Burns has looked into this idea– it’s in the books that the Cincinnati Red Stockings won the 1919 World Series despite the fact that the eight players who were paid off are forever ignored. That’s a paradox for you. 
Can we ignore numbers yet keep them in the book at the same time? I don’t know how keen I am on the whole asterisk section of the HOF, because they would still be in the HOF. Do we need a separate museum dedicated to the era of steroids users? Maybe we need a museum for the scandals of baseball, the players who are banned yet still have great statistics. 
Back to the question: Will baseball save us and itself? The answer is quite obvious and it is yes. The answer isn’t yes solely because it has endured other scandals in the past. The answer is yes because of what baseball actually is. 
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When I watch the game, nothing else matters to me. Whatever is going on in my personal life leaves me for a couple of glorious hours. I literally get lost in the game. It doesn’t matter that I have a research paper, an English essay, a math project, and a complete lack of understanding chemistry (all of which I am avoiding to write this blog). When we get lost in the game, we tend to forget things that happen outside of the game. Paul Byrd was accused and admitted to doing steroids before Game 7 of the 2007 ALCS. In late 2008 he came to the Red Sox. When he came I was thinking, ‘Do I root for this guy?’. But when I started watching the game, it didn’t matter. I would forget that he had done steroids, and I would root for him without realizing it. 
That is why baseball will endure. 
-Elizabeth

Can baseball save us?

Once the report was out in the open, A-Rod finally decided to admit to taking steroids and apologize. As soon as I heard this, I thought to myself: ‘Would he have come out and apologized had this report not come out?’. 

Of course not. He has been lying for years– he has been looking people in the eyes and telling them that he is clean. He has created a false image of himself for all of his fans. Everyone believed him too. 
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Well, this apology simply isn’t enough for me, for the owner of the Texas Rangers, and I am sure that it isn’t enough for a lot of you. A report came out earlier today by T.R. Sullivan on Tom Hicks, the owner of the Texas Rangers who said that he felt “betrayed and deceived” by A-Rod. I think that he is speaking on behalf of all baseball fans when he says that. A-Rod literally had this poor guy convinced that he was clean, and HIcks thought that A-Rod was sincere. 
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It’s not like this is the first time that A-Rod has lied, he has a bit of a history of lying and deceiving. He lied about deliberately knocking the ball out of Bronson Arroyo’s glove in the 2004 ALCS, and he yelled something along the lines of “mine” to deceive the third baseman of the Toronto Blue Jays in 2007 and he ended up dropping the ball. He even cheated on his wife. 
It is sad that we will no longer be able to know when Mr. Rodriguez is telling the truth because he is a ridiculously good liar. His problem is going to be salvaging the respect of his fans, and baseball fans’ respect. This apology does not cut it. 
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It’s not just A-Rod who is in trouble either, Miguel Tejada may now face up to one year in prison because he lied to congressional investigators. You can lie to Katie Couric, but you can’t lie to the law. According to the report by Alyson Footer, he isn’t even being charged for lying about his own steroid use, rather he is being accused of giving false statements about his conversations with Adam Piatt, who is his former teammate. 
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According to the report, Tejada used steroids in 2003, which helps to explain his miraculous jump in average and hits. Tejada even provided B-12 to his former teammate Rafael Palmiero, which masks steroids. If Tejada used steroids in 2003, then there is no punishment for that, but lying to Congress wasn’t the smartest thing to do. 
At this point, one has to wonder what we do with their statistics. A-Rod used steroids for three years, and it is unknown how long Tejada took steroids. I would think that three years of taking steroids would have a pretty significant impact on the future of his career. If we were to ignore his statistics when he was with Texas, he would only have 397 home runs right now and 1,835 hits. But three years of taking steroids obviously has something to do with his spectacular numbers now. 
Can I ignore A-Rod’s numbers? Can I ignore Miguel Tejada’s numbers? 
Major League Baseball will not be releasing the 103 other names, which makes me a bit anxious. Who are those other players? Who else do I need to put an asterisk by? 
The most important question we can ask ourselves right now is:
Will baseball save us [and itself]?
-Elizabeth

Tampering with the “faith of fifty million people”

Upon writing my previous entry, I had no idea that the very next morning, a ‘Special Report’ would be on MLB Network about Alex Rodriguez and steroids. I turned MLB Network on to watch Billy Cone of the Mets strike out 19 Phillies in an All Time Game. Little did I know that I would be in for a shock. 

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A-Rod tested positive in 2003 for using steroids, but he was only one of 103 other players who also tested positive. Of course A-Rod is the only one who gets scrutinized. I could barely respect A-Rod before I found out about this scandal, I didn’t like the way he played the game. He would do unethical things like knocking the ball out of Bronson Arroyo’s glove and yell something to make the Blue Jays’ third baseman confused and drop a routine fly ball. That is unethical and disrespectful but steroids goes much, much beyond that. Not only did he do steroids, but he lied about it. 
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Can you imagine what people like Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb would be saying about this? I was just watching Ken Burns’ First Inning ‘Our Game’ today for my research paper and people were freaking out when pitchers would throw curve balls, people freaked out because of the notorious spit ball. This ongoing scandal with steroids needs to stop– it is the biggest scandal since the Black Sox Scandal the way I see it.
Similar to what Julia said in her letter to Bud Selig, if I did drugs in school, I would be kicked out immediately. In fact, kids were asked to leave earlier in the year because of a drug incident. In baseball, they only receive a minor suspension which pales in comparison to the expulsion that Jackson faced, that Pete Rose faces, and that I would face. 
Baseball is special, it is more special to us than anything probably is, or ever will be, but that does not mean that the people who play baseball are allowed to get special treatment. I know what they mean to the game, what they mean to us, but do we really want to degrade the game and ourselves to watching artificial people play the game? That’s not real– that’s not the baseball that I want to watch. I want to watch real baseball. I want to watch people who have not taken drugs to enhance their ability. I know that they want to be the best, and that the pressure is hard sometimes, but so is high school. Couldn’t I cheat on a test to get better grades? Is that any different? I would be giving myself an unfair advantage, I would be cheating myself. I would not be deserving the straight A’s that I would be getting. Baseball players are measured against other baseball players but when I’m applying for college, aren’t I going to be compared against other students? 
People have told me that I can’t just ignore the numbers. I can’t ignore the fact that Barry Bonds has surpassed Hank Aaron’s record, I can’t ignore the fact that Roger Clemens holds the records for strikeouts in a game? Aren’t we ignoring the fact that Pete Rose has over 4,000 hits? There is only one other player who has over 4,000 hits and that is Ty Cobb.
For those of you who have steadily kept up with this blog or for those who are first time visitors, you can tell from the title that I plan on having a job with Major League Baseball. I hope that one day I will be voting on players getting into the Hall of Fame. By then I hope that people who are guilty of doing steroids are ineligible for admittance. If they are eligible then they will not be receiving my vote. 
This is a terrible day for baseball. The integrity of our beautiful sport has been tainted. When a scandal like this happens, it calls for reform. I’m not saying reform the game itself because the game is beautiful. I’m saying reform what’s going on behind the game. This is a bold statement but, anyone who has ever done steroids should be ineligible for the Hall of Fame ballots, regardless if it was in 2003 or 2007. They found out about the Black Sox Scandal two years later and they still enforced punishment. Pete Rose gambled after he was a player and he is still banished. No one is going to take this seriously unless some serious consequences are enforced.
The sad part is that this time, it’s not gamblers who are tampering with the “faith of fifty million people”, it’s the players. 
I’m sorry baseball fans, 
-Elizabeth
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