As part of MLB’s efforts to grow the game and spread international peace and understanding, the 2014 season will start in Australia. It will, of course, feature those epitomes of diplomacy, the Diamondbacks and Dodgers.
In the history of home run calls, there have been some classics:
- “The Giants win the pennant!”
- “Touch ‘em all, Joe!”
- “We’ll see you tomorrow night!”
- “Go crazy folks, go crazy!”
But none can stand against the great HR call of all time, done recently by a Taiwanese broadcaster covering Manny Ramirez. Ladies and gentleman….
“This ball is long gone, just like a ex-girlfriend who will never return!”
Awhile ago, I briefly had some thoughts on how the World Baseball Classic could change and expand in the future. I figured I would expand a bit on that for this, the BASEBALL CONTINUUM 1ST ANNIVERSARY SPECTACULAR (or, rather, the overflow from it). This is something of a lengthy post, so go below the jump for it.
For this first anniversary, I decided to write. Not just articles, though. I decided to write people- as many of the baseball writers, analysts and bloggers I could think of. I asked what seemed to be a simple question: what is your favorite baseball memory?
My reasoning for this little project was all over the place. Partly, it was because it seemed like something that would be interesting. Partly, it was because I was curious to see who would answer. And, of course, partly it was because I thought perhaps it could tell me, and all of us, a bit about baseball fans.
For that reason, it was a rather eclectic group I sent the question to, ranging from big names that everyone has probably heard of, to the proprietors of smaller or more specialized pieces of the web. I also tried to ask the fans, bloggers or writers of a variety of teams, since the fans of one team would, of course, probably have a different favorite memory than fans of another.
In the end, I received responses from less than half of the people I sent the question to. But, hey, hitting in the upper .300s is nothing to sneeze at.
So what did I learn?
First off, as probably could be expected, a lot of the memories involve fathers. Pirates blogger Pat Lackey, for example, remembered going to a doubleheader with his father and seeing new-dad Rob Mackowiak have the day of his life. Others treasure memories of playing baseball with their children or going to their first game with them.
Secondly, the favorite memories in many (but certainly not all) cases involve actually going to games. And, again, I’m not surprised by this. Baseball, perhaps more than any other sport, is one that is best when seen in person, where you can get a true feel for the crowd, take in all of the unique sights, sounds and smells, and see the shifts and strategies at work. On TV, it just isn’t the same.
Third, and connected to the second thing, a surprising amount of favorite memories had nothing to do with a team winning a championship. Oh, sure, there are some, but for many, it was comparatively small things like scrambling to get tickets to see Rick Ankiel make his position-player debut, like Daniel Moore of Viva El Birdos did, or hearing that your their favorite childhood player had just hit their first (and only) big league home run, as Joe Posnanski remembered.
But lastly, what’s great is that everybody’s favorite baseball memory is unique and personal. It’s not like a bunch of people all had the same memory (although there were a few that were close), no, everybody had something unique, with a special meaning to them. For some cases, it was because it made them fall in love with the game. For others, it was seeing or experiencing something they never had before. And still for others, it was just something special, something that can’t be duplicated and will forever stick in their minds.
In other words… they were all reasons why we love to watch baseball.
So, after all of that, want to see the responses I got? Go below the jump:
What’s so special about that, you ask? Well, Lutz, in making his Reds debut, became the first German Major League Baseball player in history (there have been some that were born on military bases there or who came over to America as young children, but Lutz is the first player who can truly be said to be “from Germany”). Although born in Watertown, NY, he grew up and spent essentially his entire childhood with his mother in Germany, not playing baseball until his teenage years.
Who knows how long this first stint for Lutz will last (he is, after all, mainly on the roster right now as a replacement for Chris Heisey while he is on the DL), but still, it’s not every day you can say that something happened yesterday in baseball that hadn’t happened before. So congratulations to Donald Lutz, the first German MLB player in history.
News and Standings from across the wide world of baseball (THIS IS A BIG POST SO THERE IS A JUMP AFTER THE FIRST FEW PARAGRAPHS):
In Asia, baseball season is now in full swing, with Japan, Korea and Taiwan all in motion.
In Japan, home of Nippon Pro Baseball, the standings currently look like this (from Yakyu Baka):
As you can see, the teams have already started to spread out a bit, forming into de-facto groups of great, good and bad. The cream of the crop in the NPB, once again, seems to be the Yomiuri Giants, who have 14 wins, 4 losses, and two ties (there are ties in NPB). Only two teams are within five games of them. The Giants, winners of 22 Japan Series and the current defending champions, have several names that would be familiar to baseball fans in North America. Shinnosuke Abe, the team’s captain, is a long-time mainstay of the Japanese national team at the WBC, and former Major Leaguers like John Bowker, Jose Lopez, D.J. Houlton and Scott Mathieson have played for the Giants this season as well. Hayato Sakamoto (another member of the 2013 WBC team) and Shuichi Murata are among the Central League’s HR leaders.
It’s a bit closer over in the Pacific League, but like in the Central League, one team has clearly gotten off to a very good start: The Seibu Lions. Based out of Torozawa, the Lions are being paced at the plate by former MLBer Esteban German, 22-year-olds Hideto Asamura and Yuji Kaneko, and outfielder Takumi Kuriyama. The pitching has also been excellent, and features 2013 WBC pitcher Hideaki Wakui and a young lefty named Yusei Kikuchi, who is 2-1 with a 1.03 ERA in 4 starts.
Also, some interesting news: NPB will open the 2014 season with games in the LA area.
(JUMP FOR MORE)
News and Scores from around the world of baseball:
NPB (Japan, from games of 4-10-2013):
Seibu Lions 4, Chiba Lotte Marines 1
Fukuoka Softbank Hawks 7, Orix Buffaloes 6
Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 4, Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles 1
Hanshin Tigers 3, Yomiuri Giants 0
Chunichi Dragons 4, Yakult Swallows 1
Yokohama Bay Stars 6, Hiroshima Toyo Carp 2
KBO (Korea, games from 4-10-13):
Samsung 9, Hanwha 3
NC 4, LG 1 (This is the first regular season victory in the history of the NC Dinos)
Doosan 9, KIA 0
Nexen 4, SK 3
Mexican League (Games from 4-10-13):
Reynosa 8, Minatitlan 2
Campeche 14, Puebla 11
Laguna 9, Oaxaca 3
Monclova 5, Veracruz 3
Aguascalientes 4, Yucatan 2
Quintana Roo 17, Saltillo 8
Ciudad Carmen 4, Monterrey 3
Tabasco 6, Mexico City 4
Sources: Yakyu Baka, MyKBO, MiLB.com
Scores and News from around the world (below the jump):
Recent results from around the world:
NPB (Japan- through 11:06 AM ET of 4-9-2013):
Chiba 3, Seibu 2
Orix 2, Fukuoka 1
Rakuten 9, Hokkaido Nippon Ham 1
Hanshin 2, Yomiuri 0
Chunichi 5, Yakult 0
Hiroshima 9, Yokohama 2
There were no games on Monday, and there is no information online yet on any of the game from 4/9.
Mexican League (Mexico):
No games yesterday.
Below the jump you can find the current standings of some prominent leagues outside of the USA: