So you wanna be a MLB pitcher. Sometimes you just have to start from the ground up. Literally. Here’s a truly inspirational story that will warm the heart of any youngster with his dreams in the baseball clouds. Written by one of my favorite sportswriters, Andrew Baggarly, or “Baggs” as he’s fondly called, this one’s about a minor league groundskeeper who just wanted to be part of the show, or at least near it. His name’s Jake Smith and you can’t tell me every SF Giants fan in the country won’t be crossing fingers and toes hoping he’ll make it big-time. Maybe they’ll make a movie about him some day, but for now he’s perfectly content to be assigned to a SF Giants farm team, where ever that might be. Somewhere. I mean, Jake Smith? Really? Sure sounds like a ballplayer name to me.
Getting ansy for baseball and it’s only February. I was browsing through some of my old posts and this was one of the more popular ones, and one of my favorites, probably because it’s still relevant. “Moneyball” came out two months after this post. I kind of thought I inspired the movie until I found out it was a book before it was a movie.
A few months ago I signed up for the Annual SABR conference in Long Beach. I wanted to learn about Sabermetrics, the science of analyzing baseball in unorthodox ways, at least when compared with traditional “see ball, hit ball, run” stats. The term is derived from SABR, which stands for the Society for American Baseball Research.
After reading everything I could get my hands on about the subject, I found this great Sully video (what would we do without him?) and discovered everything I need to know about Sabermetrics, which is, I don’t need to know anything.
A few days ago a fellow BBA Blogger, Bryan O’Connor, wrote a post that relates to this very subject. I had to save and read later, because I couldn’t understand it. Here, see how you do with it ~ Bumgarnering Around …..
Wow! How confusing is this stuff? I jotted down a few…
We don’t just love baseball, don’t just watch baseball, don’t just talk about baseball – we live baseball and our team’s every season, every game, every inning, and every pitch. We cheer on the rookies and bow down to the retiring heroes. We drive home anxiously from work or school to catch the first pitch and stay up late to savor the closing of a great game. We feel the agony of errors, wild pitches, and blown saves. We argue balls, strikes, and close plays.
We understand and can distinguish between double plays such as the 6-4-3 and the 5-4-3. We appreciate a sacrifice bunt/hit to…
Here’s something new from our Sounds of Baseball partner. It was contributed by Alan Babbitt. Just in time for spring training, the song evokes the sublime feelings of the sights, sounds and feelings of childhood baseball memories. And, like Alan says, “Kinda gets you hankering for a good hot dog”.
To whet your appetite, here’s what he says about the original “Back to Baseball”:
“This song tells the true story of a boy growing up in Brooklyn in the 1950’s. It’s about the joy of 1st love and the heartbreak of losing it. And it’s about reflection, renewal and redemption. It’s even got a humorous, surprise ending!
I found this as a text document, thinking Dustin Pedroia actually wrote it. But a little research found it’s a New Balance commercial published in 2011, and I thought you might enjoy it. Inspirational huh? For everyone, but especially for the little guys, the kids. And aren’t they really what it’s all about?
Not literally. I’ve been on sort of a hiatus these past few months and now itching for spring training, opening day, first pitch, the crack of the bat and baseball season in general. But to be perfectly honest I feel like I’ve been cheating a little here.
I live in the Bay Area and right now there’s something going on that’s taken hold of me and thousands of other non-assuming, “never-wanted-to-be fans-in-the-first-place” fans who’ve been taken off guard, no pun intended. It’s called Warrior Mania and it’s not just about the phenom Steph Curry. Never in a hundred years would I have thought I could sit through an entire pro basketball game. High school, yes, because I was a mom and I had to. But the Pro’s? Forget it. Run up court, shoot, make it. Run down court, shoot make it, and on and on. Boring.
But my grandson Jake, who recently completed his tour of duty in the USMC, is a huge Trailblazer fan. Our commonality has always been sports, mostly college football, some baseball, but sports in general. We took a 10 day baseball trip with Diamond Baseball Tours back in 2004. What a fantastic experience. I’d recommend it to anyone. But I digress.
A few months ago I was surfing channels, looking for the Trailblazer game on the telly so I could carry on a decent conversation with Jake. Didn’t find it, but instead happened upon the last 3 minutes of a Golden State Warrior game. The Warriors were behind by 12 or so, but this short little pip squeak (that’s what he looked like compared to all the big guys) scored two 3 pointers and a few more and they ended up winning the game…….it was shocking this huge rush of adrenaline I experienced! It was exciting and all of a sudden I understood what basketball fans have always known. There’s life after baseball. Not exactly the same. But I’ll tell you this. Friday night when Steph Curry took that 50 foot shot from half-court with 1 second left on the clock before halftime and the ball didn’t even touch the top of the net but instead swished through that little piece of net on the bottom, I was baptized into the world of professional basketball. Hallelujah!
I let out a spontaneous holler that scared the hell out of my little dog. I’ve only had him for five months so I may have to put him on Benadryl when baseball season starts. Or put a sock in my mouth.
So I’m back. I’ve missed writing. I’ve been reading a lot about the National League DH issue and can’t wait to get my hands dirty again!
Wow! Matt Duffy can write. I found this in my email box this morning and couldn’t wait to share it. Please take time to read it. We don’t often get to view the experience from the player’s point of view. This one not only gives insight into our Duff Man, obvious choice for 2015 “Rookie of the Year”, but also into the Giants organization.
"I was the worst hitter ever. I never even broke a bat until last year when I was backing out of the garage." Lefty Gomez, Yankees pitcher.
Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona. ~George F. Will.
"Does Pete Rose hustle? Before the All Star game he came into the clubhouse and took off his shoes and they ran another mile without him." Hank Aaron.
More Baseball Quotes!
“You see, you spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball, and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time.” - Jim Bouton
"I was such a dangerous hitter I even got intentional walks during batting practice." - Casey Stengel
"This isn't a job. This is a privilege, that's what this is!" - Mike Krukow, TV Commentator, on being at the ballpark each day.
"I've found that the knowledge of the game is usually in inverse proportion to the price of the seats." -Bill Veeck, Chicago White Sox owner.
"Derek Jeter's accomplishment puts Pete Rose's hits record in perspective. 3,000 hits is phenomenal. 4,000? Freakish!" - Anthony Castrovince via Twitter
"The best possible thing in baseball is winning the World Series. The second best thing is losing the World Series." - Tommy Lasorda
"You teach me baseball and I’ll teach you relativity.... You will learn about relativity faster than I learn baseball." - Albert Einstein
"Baseball is a game of race, creed, and color. The race is to first base. The creed is the rules of the game. The color? Well, the home team wears white uniforms, and the visiting team wears gray."
GARLICFRIESANDBASEBALL is written by a long-time fan who simply loves the game. I write my own articles (hence the grammar and occasional misspellings). If I include an article from another source, credit is given to that source and will include links when appropriate. The opinions are my own.