Saturday evening, April 30th, 1904: “Brilliantly played Game”

The millers won a tight one in Louisville yesterday, 2-1, a “brilliantly played game,” according to our man in Louisville, though there were four errors in the game. Gene Ford got the win, giving up 6 hits and a walk while striking out five. Ford also scored the winning run in the sixth, getting a hit, going to second on a sacrifice, to third on an error, and coming home on a fielder’s choice. It’s miller time!

The colonels lone run came in the second. Brashear singled, then went from first to third on an infield out, a grounder to short. Not sure how that’s possible, but there it is, black and white. Brashear must have blazing speed? Anyway, he then scored (probably easily) on a fly-ball out. Denny Sullivan tied it up for the millers in the bottom of the frame (YES, the millers are batting last, though the game’s in Louisville. What’s up with that?) hitting a long home run (!) into the center field pasture.

Catcher Weaver has a cannon for an arm, apparently, catching four of the five colonels attempting to steal. McNichol was at third again, and handled eight changes without “a skip.” He also dazzled in a double play in the ninth: with runners on first and second, Hart hit a stinger down to McNichol. He stepped on third for one and tossed across to Lally, but too late to catch the speedy Hart. Lally, though, noted that the runner from first had rounded second and was headed to third, and he gunned the ball back across the diamond to McNichol, who applied the tag for the out. Score that 5-3-5, folks, and some heads-up ball by the millers. The colonels love to run too, apparently.

Meanwhile, our scribe gets a few column inches to provide analysis, and, yes, the millers are speedy. Speedy speedy speedy. Everybody agrees. Can we give it a rest for awhile?

Our scribe is highly optimistic that the club will come home from this road trip above the .500 mark. It’s a shame that they only got to play one game against the Columbus team, because the millers clearly outclassed the Ohioans, and they probably would have won two or three games, if they could only have been played. (Instead of just losing the one game, which was, I guess, an anomaly.)

The pitching has been good, though Ford reported late, so he’s still a question mark. (Analysis apparently done pre-game, as Ford rocked the colonels.) Katoll’s arm, meanwhile, is still said to be in good shape, but Watkins “intends to save Big Katoll until warm weather arrives.” But his arm is fine. But he doesn’t want to take any chances. But his arm is healthy. (Why do I think that Katoll’s got a bad arm? I don’t know, but I suspect he won’t make it through the season. Watty should be looking for more pitching.)

McNichol and Demontreville are having a good contest for third base, with McNichol playing a bit better, but Demontreville has not been released yet because of Fox’s sickness. It looks like Watty will hang onto them both for two or three weeks. Fox is in there playing, yesterday, but I guess Watkins like to have a little depth on the bench.

Hitting is a concern. Only 51 safeties in six games, our analyst reports, which, using a little 1904 sabremetrics, breaks out to just eight and a half hits per game: “This is not good enough batting to suit the fans entirely, but six games is hardly a criterion of the team’s real strength.”  Yes, I think I get what he’s trying to say. He’s right. Hardly a criterion.

Finally, catcher Weaver looks good, as does Leslie. Our reporter thinks that Leslie will probably play most of the games, as long as he keeps hitting.

—-

Meanwhile, at UW Madison, it’s the same old same old.

“Seranaded the professors?” I can imagine what that was like. But I’m not sure what happened with the “vaudeville performance.” Why do I suspect that beer was heavily involved with this? Anyway, thank the lord that the police were on hand to break up the shenanigans. I suspect that that’s the last we’ll hear of Mr. Larue of Chicago and Mr. Davies of Davenport.

8-21, -11.5, and the madness of crowds

Well, this probably tells us a lot about me. I am the guy that goes down with the sinking ship. Or, looking at this another way, there is generally no room on the bandwagon when I am finally ready to climb aboard.

Stubborn? Overly-cautious? Dim-witted? Faith-based? Optimistic?

(Faith-based baseball?)

Well, call it what you will, 8-21 is still 8-21, and ain’t nobody is happy about that.

So: what’s to be done? Or, (from my perspective) should something be done?

I went for a nice bike ride yesterday, my second of the summer. It was a surprisingly good ride, given that I am old, out of shape, it was 90 stinking degrees yesterday, and breezy. And I didn’t take any water with me. So, oddly enough, it was a very good ride anyway. First of all, I had a head wind when I started out, heading west, and so I set reasonable expectations for myself. Ninety degrees, no water, headwind: relax and do what you can do. I set an accomplishable goal for the ride, and then kicked it up a bit as the ride progressed; I was going to go 4.5 miles out and then turn around, but ended up going 5.6 miles out before heading home. I stopped at a favorite bakery on the way home for a icy glass of water and a hot cup of coffee, took a break in the shade, and then headed home with a great tail wind, which punched my speed up very nicely.

While at the bakery I happened to pick up the sports page. It is bad enough to be 8-20; do not make it worse by reading the sports page. There was an interview with Twins owner Jim Pohlad, who expressed confidence in Molitor and Terry Ryan, to the obvious amazement of the writer. It was like: Seriously. Dude. You aren’t going to fire them? Seriously?

Kudos to Mr. Pohlad for not panicking.

It caused me to reflect on the purpose of the newspaper, which is to sell newspapers. Probably you don’t sell a lot of newspapers if you are telling the crowd things they don’t want to hear. Perhaps these writers really think that there should be a house-cleaning at the Twins HQ, but perhaps they are writers paid to write and entertain and sell newspapers. I don’t know. It’s probably some of both.

It also caused me to reflect a bit upon the madness of crowds. When things are going wrong, the crowd will want action. Something must be done! What are newspapers for, if not to stir the crowd to action? Do SOMETHING!

But it is certainly easy to criticize and carp. (As I am doing now.) This one writer said something to the effect of how foolish it was to have Sano in right field, and they had an accompanying picture of a 30% collision out in right, Sano and Nunez. Well, it made me curious about how Sano is doing out there, and so, what do you do? You look at the statistics. His range factor (this morning) is 2.06, which is 10th out of 26. He’s got 48 total chances out there, which is 17th, but he’s only played 23 games out there, which is 22nd on the list. He’s got 1 error, which ties him for 4th on the list, with 17 other guys with 1 error. (A couple of guys have 2 errors. One guy has three.) No assists.

sano nunez

Okay, you can’t tell everything from statistics, but I don’t see any red flags here. The guy is a third baseman, I guess, but he’s doing a decent job in right field. While right field is certainly difficult, this is not rocket-science. Catch the ball. Throw the ball to the right place. CALL FOR IT. I think Sano can handle that. He may not be the best right fielder in baseball. But we don’t happen to have that guy sitting on our bench, either.

Ahh, well. I’m going on way too long here. Baseball is a funny game. To be fair, most of the local scribes didn’t pick these Twins to win much, pegging them at second, third, and fourth. Perhaps they were right in their estimations. But I think that you gotta have some patience. Teams go through rough spots. You have to have some faith in your estimations about the kind of team this is. Don’t go running off half-cocked. Settle down. We’ve had some injuries, we’ve had some bad breaks, we haven’t played well. We haven’t hit, we haven’t pitched. I’d give these guys a chance to get this sorted out.

Lesson learned today: set reasonable expectations, whether you are going for a bike ride or reading the sports page.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to start bailing out a bit here. We seem to be listing a bit.

sinking ship

 

 

0-1… 0-2….

baseball spinnerSpring is over, the team has headed north, all the hard decisions have been made. Me, I would have had Mike Pelfrey penciled in as the fifth starter, but it’s a long season and he was bound to be starting at some point. Who would have imagined, though, that his opportunity would come knocking so quickly?

Ahh, well; such is life for your Twins fans. If nothing else, we are used to tragicomic adversity.

Here’s a comparison of the starting 9 for the Twins, last year and this:

lineups 2014 - 15

Willingham replaced by Hunter; well perhaps a small upgrade there? Perhaps too early to tell. Willingham was hurt a lot last year, and Hunter is “past his prime.” Josh the alabama hamma Willingham 476bsmcBasically a wash, I guess. I notice today that Willingham has retired from baseball, (last November.) I liked the Willinghammer, the Twins were lucky to have him, and hope he enjoys his life outside of baseball. Unusual for the Twins to sign a guy who plays so well. A pleasant surprise for everyone. That’s the way baseball goes. You never know.

Colabello replaced by Vargas; we’d like to think that this is an upgrade, though we loved Colabello and hope he does well. But Vargas is young and strong. His whole future’s ahead of him, as they say. Yes, I guess this is progress.

Hicks by Schafer; about the same. Perhaps this is the year that Hicks will put it together? Schafer is basically a placeholder out there, till Buxton (or Hicks) emerges. Though there’s been some talk that maybe Schafer’s “settled down” – whatever that means. Probably not much. Hicks is an enigma. We are getting tired of hoping that he does well.

Florimon replaced by Santana; Progress, we hope. Santana should hit more than Florimon. The bar is set pretty low there. Fielding, I don’t know. Does fielding even matter? Well, to me it does. Some.

Once again, the boys start off 0-1. Is it too late for a preseason prediction? Not a bit.

Last year’s record 70-92.

This Year’s? 84-78?

Okay, now they are 0-2, which puts them exactly at last year’s pace.

However this year, they have not scored any runs in the first two games, whereas last year they scored 9 times, though still going 0-2.

Anyway, I’m changing my prediction, based on this. 83-79.

If Santana hadn’t got nailed and banned for half the season, I might have shifted this about six games. 89-73? I am always ridiculously overly hopefully optimistic.

I blame the ’87 and ’91 Twins for that.

Anyway, thank god it’s baseball season. Go Twins!

Return of the Hunter

Hey, I love Torii Hunter, and it will be nice to see him back in a Twins uniform.

Torii Hunter wc b fr

That being said, I don’t get it. Paying that much money to Torii Hunter for one season when they have youngsters who could get out there and who probably need to get out there. Maybe Hunter will be able to help Aaron Hicks? Or maybe Aaron Hicks needs to just play, and let the coaches help him? Who would I rather see in right field, Hunter or Arcia? Arcia’s not going to improve sitting on the bench.

Love Torii Hunter; I don’t see bringing him back, though.

 

Happy Turkey Day.

Bill Hohman - 1927 Phillies bBill Hohman was born on this date, 1903. Played seven games for the Phillies in 1927, hit .278 in 18 at bats. Not sure what became of him after that. A project for another day.

Meanwhile, Bob Harmon and Babe Herman both passed away on this date.

(See the theme here? It’s pretty subtle.)

Bob Harmon - 1912 b

Bob Harmon was known as “Hickory Bob.” His middle name was Green, which is a bit unusual. He pitched 9 years in the bigs, 1909 – 1918 (taking 1917 off for some reason) and went 107-133, with a 2.62 ERA. He had a good year in 1911, 23-16 with the Cards. They went 75-74 that season, finishing 5th, so Bob did pretty well for them. Bob passed away in ’61.

Meanwhile, Babe Herman broke in with the Brooklyn Robins in 1926, playing right field. He was an excellent hitter, hitting .324 in a 13 year career, and a poor fielder, leading the league in errors at first base in 1927, and in right field in ’28 and ’29. As one scout said of him, “”He’s kind of funny in the field, but when I see a guy go 6-for-6, I’ve got to go for him.”

Babe Herman - 1933 Goudey

Babe strung together three pretty good seasons in 1928, ’29, and ’30, hitting .340, .381, and .393, before slumping to a .313 in 1931. So he could hit a bit.

Babe is also known as the only guy to hit a double into a double play, in 1926 at Ebbets Field against the Braves. With runners on first and second, Babe doubled off the wall. The runner on second – the slow-footed Dazzy Vance, rounded third and headed for home as the throw came into the plate. Meanwhile the runner from first headed towards third, and then Babe thought he’d stretch his double into a triple. The throw to the plate must have been a good one, because Vance, headed towards the plate, pulled up, and thought he’d best go back to third, where the runner from first was already waiting, and while Babe was charging in from second. So all three runners ended up at third, and the third baseman tagged them all.

That would have been an interesting play to see.

Also noteworthy – Babe Herman’s the only player ever to hit for the cycle three times.

Babe Herman died not so long ago, in 1987. turkey red cigarettes lg

Good games, Bill, Bob, Babe.

And Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

I’m thankful for baseball, I am.

Looking for a baseball – thanksgiving connection, the first thing that came to mind were Turkey Red cigarettes, and the beautiful baseball cards that they produced in 1910 -11.

Here’s The Great Lajoie, 1911, Turkey Red. And again, Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

Napoleon Lajoie - 1911 t3 Turkey Red b sm

 

Happy Birthday, Roy Campanella

Born on this date, 19 November 1921.

Roy Campanella - 1956 Topps One of only three players to win the NL MVP award three times, in 1951, ’53, and ’55. (Mike Schmidt, Stan Musial.) Roy came up one year after Jackie Robinson, in 1948, and played nine seasons before his career ended in an auto accident that left him paralyzed. Besides being a fearsome slugger, Campanella threw out 57% of the players who attempted to steal on him, the highest career mark in major league history. And he caught three no-hitters.

And he played for the St. Paul Saints. Campy came to the Saints in late May of 1948, and got called back to the Dodgers at the end of June. In 35 games he hit .325, with 13 home runs and 39 rbi. Saints fans were sorry to see him go.

Roy Campanella with StPaul Saints

Campy passed away in California, on 26 June, 1993.

Happy Birthday Campy! Good game.

out in left field there can be too much time to think

left fielder b gs b fr - mtpmcg714 sm - 5460It gets quiet out in left field, sometimes. Perhaps a bit lonely, even with all those people. You’re out their by yourself. Another inning, another patch of grass, another pitch in an endless series of innings, grassy patches, pitches. What’s been gained, over all those innings? What’s it all mean?

What’s it all for?