Archive for the ‘ Baseball and other sports ’ Category

Diamond Memories 2

With performance enhancing drugs being one of the subjects in Ken Burns new documentary Baseball: The Tenth Inning, I wondered what previous generations of ball players did (legal or not) to give themselves an edge. Here’s an excerpt from an article I found in the book Gandy Dancers & Bearcats:Living in the 20’s, which is part of the Hearst Newspapers Decade Series.

Velvet McGoone-Catcher, 1919-1926 / Pelham Paint Pots (Northeast Patriot League)
When we used to play back to back double headers, some of the fellas who had weaker constitutions would gripe about feeling flagged. This was startin’ to be problem, so Mr. Stanton who was our clubhouse manager at the time rigged up something he called the wake-up seat. It was an old barber chair that he set up with some electrical doo-hickeys and made it into a kind of weak electric chair. He said that a weak charge of electric would give the guys some extra pep. Well it worked, ‘course I never did it as I was like an ox and a pot of coffee before a game was all I needed, well a pot of coffee and some of those pills that Mr. Culpepper would give us. Mr. Culpepper was our bookie and amateur sawbones. Anyhow, sometimes there was problems with the wake-up seat, especially when Mr. Stanton was on the drink, which was often. He’d make a mistake and give a little too much juice, make the seat a little too hot if you know what I mean. One time, we had a second baseman,Stabby Jackson, named because he got stabbed a lot. Well, Stabby got too much juice, not enough to kill him but boy did he howl. And he wound up completely hairless and pink like a baby, and he started speaking what we thought was swedish but later turned out to be just gibberish. On the plus side, he played like a house afire for about a week. Then we were playing the Rahway Turkey Vultures, or as everyone called ‘em the Turks and Stabby just fell asleep, right on the field. He wasn’t dead, but we couldn’t wake him. He was out like a light and our manager Mr. Freer was fit to be tied, he didn’t want any lollygaggers on the team. So he had the batboy take off Stabby’s uniform and he left him in his long johns on the floor of the dugout and we went off to our next game. I heard that Stabby woke up a week later and was none too happy, I never seen him again. Well, the fellas kind of felt a little scared of the wake-up seat after that and it didn’t get used as much and we just used it to electrocute mice we caught in the clubhouse.

a bit of a reach (Mets post)

With the Mets new hope for the future Dillon Gee pitching well against world beaters The Washington Nationals, I have a promotional idea. Have a rock band who likes baseball (I’m looking at you Yo La Tengo) record PJ Harvey’s song “Yuri G” but change it to be about Dillon Gee. I am well aware that this post will appeal to neither Mets fans (and baseball fans in general), music fans ( Yo La Tengo and PJ Harvey fans specifically), nor Russian cosmonaut aficionado’s (who make up the bulk of my readers). good night.

Dillon G

Yuri G

Only the Mets

I’m over here in Europe thousands of miles away from baseball and maybe I’m reading the stories wrong on the inter-web, but ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME!? K-Rod is having season ending surgery for a a hand injury suffered while beating up his father-in-law in the “family room” at Citi-Field. One can only curse and weep and drink.

Why I Hate Francisco Rodriguez

(this won’t mean shit to anybody except disgruntled Mets fans, and even then it might not)

When John Franco was the Mets closer in the 90’s I didn’t have the sense of mortality that I have now. Yeah, he never made it easy, but fuck it there was always next time, next year. And I never understood older guys getting so bummed out when he fucked up and now I do. I’ve seen more baseball seasons than I will see in the future, unless I live to 96 and the smart money isn’t going to take that bet. So when I see K-Rod go to the mound, a petulant baby with five o’clock shadow and stupid glasses, my heart sinks. He saves games by luck or accident, if there is skill I don’t see it. I see a goon chucking the baseball towards home, with little or no sense of where it’s going. Now I’m not saying I want Braden Looper back, but for fucks sake…

The Films of Whitey Herzog

Whitey Herzog

Werner Herzog

(Criterion Collection: 2 DVD set, $49.95)

The Criterion Collection has once again gone to the vaults to present an important yet overlooked filmmaker, in this case World Series winning manager Whitey Herzog. While greatly overshadowed cinematically by his brother Werner, Whiteys movies are pivotal in the evolution of filmmaking and they take on subjects that although altered would surface in his brothers films years later. Whitey’s first feature 1948’s Abner: The Anger of God (originally released through Filmtown Studios) is a hallucinatory retelling of the origin of baseball, the film takes place on an abandoned steamboat on the Mississippi river. The film made no money, got horrible reviews, and put the struggling Filmtown Studios out of business. However, an impressed Orson Welles saw the film and declared that it was a masterpiece and financed Herzogs second feature, Mister Hildago (released 1952, Wellfilms Studios). Welles not only financed but starred in Mister Hildago, which told the story of a minor league baseball team with a broken team bus that had to be dragged across the Appalachian Mountains. Mister Hildago was another bomb. Herzog and Welles never worked together again due to a heated argument over the infield fly rule. A disillusioned Herzog left his cinematic dreams to his younger brother Werner and had a hugely influential career in baseball. In Orson Welles autobiography Well, Well, Welles (1976, Remainder & Sons) he called Whitey Herzog “A complete ass, but not an untalented one”. In a 1981 Sports Illustrated interview when asked about his movie making past Herzog responded “I would call Orson Welles a louse but I don’t want to demean louses”.
The Criterion Collection 2 DVD set includes both Abner: The Anger of God and Mister Hildago in newly restored widescreen digital transfer. Also included is the short film, Evolution of the Balk (1949, 22 minutes) , two episodes of the unaired television series Umpy! -”Umpire by Day, Detective by Night”, which starred Larry Storch (1952, 46 minutes) and an interview with both Whitey & Werner Herzog on the David Susskind show (1983, 43 minutes).

A couple of baseball things

"new wave" rock music expert, George Will

Henry Blanco

Danny Trejo

1)Mets catcher Henry Blanco and legendary movie badass Danny Trejo (From Dusk Til Dawn, Desperado, Con Air) share a similar look. Even though Blanco has been good at throwing out base runners imagine how much more intimidating the Mets would be if Blanco mixed in tossing a couple of throwing knives ( a la Danny Trejo) at opposing base runners. I think it would would throw off the oppositions concentration and maybe the Mets would win a few more games (although at this moment they aren’t doing too bad and are over .500) Look, the Mets are going to have to be creative if they’re going to do well this year, they should at least entertain the idea.

2)Conservative pundit George Will has just released a revised version of his best seller Men At Work and guess what, it’s about baseball.  I know George Will as being the  author of many best selling books about “new wave” rock bands including; The Arresting Music of Sting and The Police, also Fabulous! The Authorized Fabulous Poodles Story, and Joe “King” Carrasco and the Spicy Tex-Mex Rock Revolution. So I thought Men At Work was going to be about the lads from “Down Under” written by  my fave “new wave” rock expert, I had no idea he was a baseball fan. Oh well, live and learn.

Baseball Oddities

Number 12: Shoeful Joe Jackson

Often confused with “Shoeless” Joe Jackson of the infamous 1919 Chicago White Sox, “Shoeful” Joe Jackson was the back up second baseman for the Kansas City Plaids in 1921. Jackson was known for the odd habit of wearing two sets of shoes at the same time, which he did in public life as well as on the diamond. Little is known about Jackson; he played three years of professional ball, batted .189 and suffered numerous ankle injuries due mainly to the simultaneous wearing of two pairs of shoes. After baseball Jackson started the unsuccessful “Shoeful” Joe Jackson’s Shoe Zoo where he presented farm animals wearing human shoes and boots.

Say it ain't so, Joe