sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

October 10, 2019


this is howie we do it
posted by soe 12:34 am

Sarah & Me at Nats Park

Have I ever shared here how much I hate the intentional walk? I think it’s a particularly overused action in contemporary baseball. You want to skip a batter? Pitch around him. He hits it anyway? Them’s the breaks!

It particularly grates me when it’s done to load the bases, and I don’t care how many Sabremetrics guys want to tell me that it’s a savvy move when there are no outs and a hot batter is at the plate. You intentionally walk the bases in that situation and you deserve to have a grand slam smacked against you.

Because eventually, that next batter is going to get really tired of being deemed the lesser threat. And he’s going to demonstrate that he, too, can make the clutch move. And, honestly, extra innings in the final game of a playoff series is a really great time to make such a statement.

Thanks, Howie Kendrick, for channeling all the dismissiveness the Dodgers showed you and smacking that baseball back toward the D.C. crowd who’s waiting to buy you a beer when you get home.

Let’s go, Nationals! St. Louis, we’re coming for you next!

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October 2, 2019


midweek music
posted by soe 1:59 am

A musical interlude following the Nationals’ come-from-behind victory in tonight’s wildcard playoff game. This one is for the game’s MVP, our 20-year-old centerfielder Juan Soto.

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September 29, 2019


bookending with baseball
posted by soe 1:43 am

In the Hunt for the Wild Card

I bookended the week with baseball games on both Monday and Friday, which the Nationals were kind enough to win both of. In between, the Nationals clinched a wild card spot, and today they locked down home field advantage for that one-game playoff to see who’ll proceed to the NLDS.

This shot is from Monday’s game against the Phillies. You can tell both by the uniforms (we’re playing Cleveland this weekend) and by the sparse crowds. Friday night games are always better attended than those during the week, but last night’s crowd was particularly into the game, with most of the attendees remaining at the game until the end, which happens surprisingly infrequently when there’s not something after the game to keep them at the ballpark.

Tomorrow is the final game of the regular season. I will be sad to see baseball end for the year, so I’m glad the Nationals have given me another reason to remain interested during the playoffs.

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August 18, 2019


saturday sunset
posted by soe 2:01 am

Sunset behind Nats Park

I was on the wrong side of Nationals Park to truly capture the beauty of tonight’s sunset, so this was the best I could do.

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February 26, 2019


baseball americana
posted by soe 1:44 am

I think I mentioned that I had taken the suggestion that several of you had to spend a portion of my birthday two weeks ago at the Library of Congress baseball exhibition. Pitchers and catchers had just reported for spring training, so it seemed a particularly apt time to go.

Baseball Americana

Keeping in mind that this is a library, rather than a hall of fame, I thought the curators did a nice job of pulling together materials that covered the highlights of the sport, from its highlights of bringing people together and lauding athletic prowess to its lowlights of cheating and discrimination.

The Promise of Baseball

There were mementos from the majors, from white baseball to the Negro Leagues to the women’s league that arose during WWII and that was memorialized in A League of Their Own, as well as collegiate ball, Little League, town and work teams, rec leagues, and international play.


The Women of Baseball

There was interesting trivia. For instance, did you know that the first intercollegiate baseball game was held between Williams and Amherst Colleges in Massachusetts, but since there was concern this was over-emphasizing students’ physicality, they made it a double-header with a chess match?

Muscle and Mind

Or that “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” is about a woman fan? (Click through to Flickr to enlarge it so you can read the verses, rather than just the chorus we all know.)

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

They showed the ways in which equipment has evolved over time. The most startling definitely comes in the form of the glove. While the mitt of 1922 is largely recognizable today, I’m not sure if you showed the one from 1885 to a modern player that they’d try to field with it. (And even that was an improvement over the sport’s original barehanded technique.)

1922 Glove Replica

1885 Glove Replica

There were highlights from baseball films and on tv. They showed some of the memorable national anthem performances. And there was a selection of highlights from radio and tv broadcasters, which included Don Larson’s perfect World Series game (the ticket stub and program for which are below), the 1986 Mets, the 2004 Red Sox, the 2016 Cubs, and the interruption of the game to announce that Apollo 11 had landed safely on the moon.

The Perfect Game

My Mets got both some of our favorite and most painful memories included:

Nowhere to Go But Up

Meet the Mets

Souvenirs

After I had moved on to the next case, one of the women behind me started singing “Meet the Mets,” much to the surprise of her friend, who didn’t know she’d grown up a fan of the team.

Walter Johnson

The hometown team got a shoutout from one of its Senators’ heroes, Walter Johnson, as well as Nationals Park providing the backdrop for the selfie station.

Baseball Card

Obviously, I had a blast. If you’re in town (or can get here) before the exhibit closes in late July, I really hope you get a chance to see it. If you won’t be, they’ve put out an accompanying book, which is widely available and which your library might have.

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February 6, 2019


more reliable than a groundhog
posted by soe 1:20 am

According to the sports calendar, there is only one more week of winter.

Pitchers and catchers report next Tuesday, Feb. 12, heralding the beginning of spring.

That is all.

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