Thanks for the Memories...
There are more than a couple hundred players enshrined at Cooperstown and they are paid homage by something like 350,000 annual visitors to baseball’s Hall of Fame. At Wrigley Field a mere three Cubs have been immortalized in statuary and only half a dozen’s numbers flutter atop the foul poles. This Mecca draws in excess of three million pilgrims per season. Maybe Ron Santo was on to something when he listed the corner of Clark & Addison in Chicago as the address of his personal HOF.
Wednesday night my two sons and I were at the fringe of the mob assembled in the street to witness the unveiling of Santo in bronze, caught in the act of making an off-balance throw to nip a runner in a close play at first. I am no critic of the sculpting arts but I think the rendering of #10 is exquisite. The blue casts to the socks, cap and numerals; the facial likeness, the stitching on the ball about to be thrown – all are vivid. Justice was done to the fans’ memories.
An hour before the ceremony the three of us took a few meandering, strolling laps around the square block of Wrigley. On Waveland we staged a brief reenactment of the ritual game of catch we used to play there while ballhawking during batting practice on trips to Chicago when they were little leaguers. Now Max is 20 and Ben is 17. On Clark we detoured into McDonalds where the clubhouse attendant used to fetch a pair of Big Macs for Sammy Sosa after BP on game days. On Addison we tossed a few coins in the pail of the wheel-chaired beggar who’s been as permanent a fixture on our past visits as the statuary will be on future ones. On Sheffield a ball arced over the bleachers, ricocheted off of some landscaping ironwork and bounced directly to me with a small band of ballhawks in pursuit; a fitting memento of the occasion that I received in the spirit of a child opening a gift.
From our vantage point the remarks of the assembled dignitaries were mostly muffled. I did make out Pat Hughes repeating a laugh line we’d heard more clearly on the car radio as we drove into town that afternoon. He and Santo’s HOF teammates from the fabled ’69 team had keynoted a sold-out luncheon downtown that was broadcast by WGN. More importantly we did manage sightlines to the statue. After it was revealed and roundly approved we went inside and took up seats in the right-center field bleachers. While the Cubs fashioned one of their occasional victories we enjoyed dollar hot dogs and reminisced. Even cheaper was the glowing sunset that rang down upon the day's stage.
We left after eight, me and a couple of the grandsons of the guy I used to listen on the radio with when Santo was routinely making plays like the one immortalized now on the street corner. As we passed by on our way to the redline depot I was able to touch the cleats of someone who autographed mitts and caps for us when he was still able. The cheers boiling over the rim of the stadium just then reported on Carlos Marmol’s progress towards a fanning of the side in the 9th but I imagined them for someone else, some other time.
I went to a Nats game in DC two years ago while looking at colleges with my son -- it's a fun park, worth a visit if you are in the area.
I also saw the "slowness" thing -- particularly Werth, who would mosey out of RF about 5 seconds before the inning started.
It's Dusty's fault. It'll be the end of them.
Speaking of how teams "look", my take on the Nats- It's really weird, but the pace of the entire team seems slow. Slow walking to the plate, slow on the mound, even on some routine groundouts, it looked as if there wasn't a ton of hustle. Don't get me wrong, when the ball is hit to their outfielders, they get after the ball, I'm really referring to non-critical action- they mosey around. It's kind of odd. Maybe that "calm power" is part of the Nats ethos, idk.
My favorite moment of Hendricks' performance last night was the last strikeout he rung up- the cajones it took to throw a high, 86MPH fastball to Zimmerman on a 0-2 count. And he swung the bat like it was a 96MPH heater. I literally laughed out loud.
In listening to Maddon's post-game, he is interested in how these other teams "look" to him. He is assessing for today...and tomorrow. I love this guy.
One observation from last night: Joe Ross is incredibly slow. 20-30 seconds between pitches at times. Hendrix had a nice, peppy rhythm which is great to see.
I know there are plenty of purists here which I applaud, but the game just will not sustain itself unless change of pace rules come into play. Pitch clock, improve the shit-ass reviews, mound visits (there is a clock for this), batter time outs, etc.
Thanks, Phil. Albertos at 17, and having gotten a good signing bonus ($1.5, even though as Mexican prospect I think his team gets half of that?), throwing in the 90's and showing some command of a curveball sounds pretty interesting, even if that control is only for a dozen-pitch sample.
What kind of a frame does he have? Is he on the stocky and short-ish side (I'm recalling Fernando Valenzuela!), or somewhat taller? A lot of 17-year olds have projection, "when he fills out" projection. Would that apply at all for Albertos?
I definitely hang around here looking to reply to your comments as noticed by my nearly year long absence.
there's a fine line between posting something relevant, useful or at least humorous versus posting something irrelevant, useless or unfunny...actually it's rather quite a thick line and easy to see for most people not named crunch.
I certainly am digging the RISP machine Zobrist version.
Cubs are taking advantage of bad D by their opponents -- did it a few times in PIT and the Nats botched 2-out rundown leads to 3 Cub runs in the 8th. Which were nice to have.
I hope Kyle had fun at the dance party -- he was terrific.
i hope he's getting more consideration for the 2-slot vs lefties, too.
I hope we can dispense with the Zobrist RISP concerns.
Is this heaven?
They call me Schwarberino because I'm basically Ruth,
and as long as we're rapping I'm gonna tell you the truth:
This team would be even better if I wasn't laid up;
we'd win the World Series, the Superbowl, and the Stanley Cup.
As long as we're at it, I'm putting the Premier League on notice.
Hell, if I were healthy, Epstein could run for POTUS.
My busted knee's even sadder than this presidential kerfuffle,
but my first rehab assignment will be the World Series Shuffle.
I am avoiding grading papers.