It is good to be in first…

And it’s good to be alone in first place.

The Twins continue to play good ball to start the season, winning a nice one tonight, 3-1 in Chicago. First four games, Twins have given up 6 total runs. A nice change from last season. First time the Twins have won four in a row to start a season since 1987. (Yikes! 30 years ago!) I like how Molitor is getting everyone in the games. Our new back up catcher, Gimenez, goes 2 for 4 tonight, knocks in a run. Buxton makes some pretty nice catches in center, but had a brutal day at the plate, 0 for 4, four strikeouts. Well, tomorrow’s another day. I also like to see Sano at first base. Kintzler made it a bit too interesting in the ninth, giving up a couple of walks. But he persevered, and the Twins get another one in the win column.

Nice.

April 8th marks the birthday of Catfish Hunter, born in 1946.

Catfish broke into the big leagues in 1965 with the then KC Athletics. He was a huge part of all the great Oakland A’s clubs of the early 70s. He then was able to leave the A’s because of a contract violation, and became baseball’s first “big money” free agent. He ended up playing for one of those east coast teams, don’t remember which one. I believe he did pretty well there too.

A’s owner Charlie Finley gave him the nickname “Catfish.” Probably a marketing thing. Catfish never played in the minors. I wonder if that’s happened since? He also pitched a perfect game against the Twins in May of ’68, a night game out on the west coast. It was a wednesday night, so I probably caught just the beginning of the game on the radio. It being a school night.

Catfish passed away on 9 September 1999, age 53, from Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Good game, Catfish.

 

 

 

17 March 1904 – St. Patrick’s Day Festivities

excerpt - Minneapolis Journal - 17 March 1904 - wearin' of the greenSt Patrick’s day, 1904.

No baseball news of note, and also not much in the way of St. Patrick’s Day Celebrating. I see there is a celebration scheduled for Dania Hall, over on the West Bank; about ten years ago now Dania Hall was being rehabbed and it was almost finished when it burned to the ground. Very unfortunate, as it was a beautiful old building, with a very nice old auditorium upstairs.

Apparently St. Patrick has gained importance since 1904. While some saints have been unsainted, St. Patrick just gets bigger and bigger.

What would they think of our celebrations today? Probably they would be appalled.

Because it is a bit appalling, he said, as he sipped from his Bushmill’s.

 

baseball is forever…

Or, at least, these baseball stamps are.

Went to the local post office over my lunch break today, and found these:

stamps-2013

Seems like kind of an odd mix of players, (but who cares.) And they are forever stamps. If postage goes up to $10 a letter, these will still be good.

I always like a nice baseball stamp, and purchase when available. They had a series a few years ago, old baseball parks. So nice I could never bring myself to use them. (Dumb.)

Anyway, bought two sheets of the baseball stamps.

Also bought two sheets of Johnny Cash. Johnny Cash is also forever. (Good baseball name, I think.)

johnny cash

There was a Johnny Cash who played minor league ball for the Braves and the Durham Bulls in the 1980s, but I don’t think this is the same guy.

This is the guy that sang God’s Gonna Cut You Down. And a few other songs, I guess.

42 at the ‘view…

Finally went to see 42 last night, at the best theater in the Twin Cities, the Riverview. Split a big buttered popcorn with my honey, and sipped on an ice-cold Mr. Pibb. Delicious!

42 was pretty good, but also pretty standard Hollywood fare.

42 at bat

I particularly enjoyed the digital re-creation of the old ball parks, Ebbets field, the Polo Grounds, Shibe, and Forbes. (Here’s a link to a little article about that…) They did a really nice job of portraying the friendly confines of these cozy old ball parks. (Okay, the Polo Grounds was not entirely cozy.) Below is a shot of Engel Stadium in Chattanooga, where Jackie Robinson actually played some ball, and which they used as a basis for the digital reconstruction of Ebbets Field.

Engel Field, Chattanooga, - Ebbets in 42

Harrison Ford and Chawick Boseman were both excellent in their roles. I was pleasantly surprised to see Max Gail playing Burt Shotton, who took over as manager of the Dodger’s when Jackie came up to the Majors. I always enjoyed Max in Barney Miller, as detective Wojciehowic. Nice to see him again. I thought more could have been made of his role, but I suppose, with all the characters in this story, they had to pick and choose which stories to develop. Nicole Beharie also did well as Rachel Robinson, Jackie’s wife. I would have liked to have seen more done with her role as well.

The most electric personality in the movie, I thought, was Leo Durocher, portrayed by Christopher Meloni. He didn’t have a lot of scenes, but each one was great. I thought they filmed these scenes in an interesting way; initially they don’t give you a full view of the Durocher, in the first scenes he’s kind of shadowy and wise-cracking. And then comes the scene where he address the team in the kitchen, where he’s dynamite. And then he’s gone. Nicely done, Chris Meloni.

meloni as durocher in 42

Quite a shift from Durocher to Shotton; I wonder what that story was like? I’ll have to read more about that season.

Overall, then, a very good movie, and well worth the $2 I paid at bargain night at the Riverview. The film had a digital polish to it, as most movies do these days. The music is a bit overbearing, and tells you when the big scenes are, and how to feel; it could have been toned down a bit. And it’s trying to tell a long and pretty complex story in only a few (okay, 128) minutes, and so, naturally, it kind of mostly skims lightly over the story. But it’s a story worth telling and the actors carry the story and make it real.