Tag Archives: San Diego Padres

The First Baseman’s Stretch…….

This has been happening a lot lately.  Almost every game in fact.  The announcer bellows what a fantastic throw the shortstop has made to 1st base to throw someone out.  And it’s usually true.  They have.  And it doesn’t have to be the shortstop.  Could be the 2nd baseman, 3rd baseman catcher.  You get the picture.

But the third time it happened tonight in the Giants vs Padres game I was compelled to grab my camera and take a snapshot of the TV screen.  It was important to me to validate what a fantastic job the 1st Baseman does in catching (more like salvaging) a ball that, without his outstanding athletic ability, would have ended up in the dugout or worse.

 

I call it the First Baseman’s Stretch.  And if you’ll watch for it, you’ll be surprised how often it happens. That’s probably why it’s a really good idea to get a 6’5″, left-handed guy to handle that base.   Even while doing the splits this guy needs the wingspan of a 747 for the reach to make the play.

I just wish the commentators would be more aware of giving credit to the player that’s miraculously avoiding a pulled groin every time he stretches to make that catch while at the same time keeping at least one of his toes on that first base bag.

Above, Michael Morse makes it look easy ….. kinda …..  sort of.

 

 

 

 

Name Origins of all 30 Major League Baseball Teams

Cincinnati Red Stockings.  1st Professional Baseball Team

Cincinnati Red Stockings. 1st Professional Baseball Team

Cincinnati Red Stockings Photo Courtesy “www.todayifoundout.com” Daven Hiskey.

I “Stumbled” on this great post that lists the origins of all 30 Major League Baseball Teams.  It appears the Boston Red Sox hold the oldest named team dating back to the 1860’s, popularized by the Cincinnati Red Stockings from 1867-1870 and used by Boston’s National League franchise from 1871-1876.

But the actual team name origin that’s  with the same team is the San Francisco Giants, formerly the New York Giants, that dates back to 1885.    

Read the original Post  Stumbleupon.com, written by Scott Allen. 

 

Way to Go Giants! Pundits be Damned!

Golly Geez!  I try really hard to play fair on my blog, but sometimes,when it comes to the Giants, the devil makes me do it.   So in spite of  all the setbacks this year, the Giants are back in the playoffs for the 2nd time in three years.  And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Buster Posey was here the first year, gone the second, and back the third. 

But everyone knows it’s a team effort and for that we Giants fans applaud our San Francisco Giants ~ 2012 National League West Champions!

And a special thanks to niece Tammy for sharing the “dogs” from Lamont & Tonelli’s FB Page!

2012 MLB Team and Player Salaries

2012 All Star Game Photo

Here’s the 2012 update to our 2011 listing published August 27, 2011.  This comes to us compliments of USA Today.  If you’ll click the individual teams, you can access the individual players salaries.  It will be interesting to note the annual salaries of the teams that make the playoffs;  in other words, did they get what they paid for?  For example; the Washington Nationals have the best record in the Majors this year, but have the 11th Lowest Salary out of 30 Teams.   Salary Chart Linked Here

2012 MLB Salaries  
 

TEAM

TOTAL PAYROLL
New York Yankees $ 197,962,289
Philadelphia Phillies $ 174,538,938
Boston Red Sox $ 173,186,617
Los Angeles Angels $ 154,485,166
Detroit Tigers $ 132,300,000
Texas Rangers $ 120,510,974
Miami Marlins $ 118,078,000
San Francisco Giants $ 117,620,683
St. Louis Cardinals $ 110,300,862
Milwaukee Brewers $ 97,653,944
Chicago White Sox $ 96,919,500
Los Angeles Dodgers $ 95,143,575
Minnesota Twins $ 94,085,000
New York Mets $ 93,353,983
Chicago Cubs $ 88,197,033
Atlanta Braves $ 83,309,942
Cincinnati Reds $ 82,203,616
Seattle Mariners $ 81,978,100
Baltimore Orioles $ 81,428,999
Washington Nationals $ 81,336,143
Cleveland Indians $ 78,430,300
Colorado Rockies $ 78,069,571
Toronto Blue Jays $ 75,489,200
Arizona Diamondbacks $ 74,284,833
Tampa Bay Rays $ 64,173,500
Pittsburgh Pirates $ 63,431,999
Kansas City Royals $ 60,916,225
Houston Astros $ 60,651,000
Oakland Athletics $ 55,372,500
San Diego Padres $ 55,244,700

               

There are no Constants in Baseball ~ It’s a Fickle Game

Ichiro’s been on my mind today.  I don’t even have to use his last name.  Everyone knows who he is.   It’s not really a surprise he’s leaving.  He’s been with the Mariners for a long time and we knew he was  destined for other things in the near future.  But I never thought in a million years he’d end up a Yankee.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but there’s just something so unsacred about the  idea of it all.

Back in 1962,  I was given an assignment in my business college marketing class to interview someone in business and to make a proposal or suggestion to them on how they could improve their business.   Most of my classmates chose their dad or another family member to interview.  I chose to interview the General Manager of the Portland Beavers, an AAA-Affiliate of the Kansas City Athletics.   I was 18 at the time.

I was obsessed with this project and spent a lot of time on it and the fact that I’d actually gotten the interview was more than my young years could fathom.   I knew before I made the trip to the ballpark what my proposal to the GM was going to be.   Attendance at the ballpark had been very low the past year and I thought it would be a great idea to have the organization offer a “Ladies Night” once a week,  with free admission to all the ladies.  I thought there was a good possibility it might not only get the wives there with their husbands but possibly the entire family, thereby increasing concessions also.

When the day arrived for my meeting with the GM I was really excited, not only about the interview but also of  maneuvering my way through Multnomah Stadium to the Administration Offices by myself,  with my very own written proposal in hand.   The manager was very cordial and listened with intent to my proposal and thanked me for my interest.   When the interview was over, it lasted about an hour, he gave me  complimentary game tickets  and invited me to keep in touch.  It was a wonderful day.  I got an “A” in Marketing that year.

A few weeks later, complimentary tickets in hand,  I invited some friends to attend a game with me and, honestly,  I felt like I owned the place.  I felt like a VIP and the experience is just as vivid today as it was 50 years ago.  The Portland Beavers maintained nearly a 103 year presence in that city but on September 6, 2010, they played their last game at the hometown park.  The city was making room for the Portland Timbers, an MLS  Soccer team.  Portland no longer has a baseball team.  The Beavers continue today in Tucson, Arizona, as a Triple-A affiliate with the San Diego Padres.

The point I’m trying to make is that baseball’s a fickle game.  There’s no constants  in baseball.  The managers change, the players change and sometimes even the hometown locale changes.    Usually we adapt, but  it isn’t easy. To tell you the truth I still miss Cody Ross.  He was with the Giants for such a short time, but while he was here his presence was huge.

Ichiro Suzuki

And for sure the Mariner fans are going to miss Ichiro.  You could sit in the nosebleed section of the bleachers in right field and, without hearing the announcer,  know it was Ichiro at the plate.   He had this way of holding his bat, butt handle  straight up as if he was holding a rifle with a precision periscope on it, sizing up where he was going to slam the ball with the next pitch.

Ichiro’s an artist.  And I’m going to miss him too.  Does this mean I’ll have to start watching the Yankees again?  If last night’s Mariner-Yankee game  is any indication, it could happen.  Baseball’s a fickle game you know.

Pondering the Padres at Petco Park ~

San Diego Trolley

Southern California is beautiful this time of year, and San Diego is no exception. This past week, for the first time ever,  I finally made it to Petco Park and watched the  San Diego Padres take on the Texas Rangers.  Public transportation is great.  Being from a smaller town I’m not used to having it, so when it’s available I take advantage.  This time it was  on the Coaster train from Oceanside to San Diego, and then a little jaunt over to the trolley,  which practically rolled right into the park!  There was no charge for the trolley, which should be an incentive for game-day fans.    Unfortunately, I ended up with two game tickets, but since I was by myself I kept the other ticket so I’d have room to set all my paraphernalia right next to me.  I soon found out that wasn’t necessary.

The seats in the entire row next to me, the row in front of me and the row behind me were practically empty,  with the exception of a smidgen of patrons.   This was a Wednesday game, 3:30 start time and the weather was beautiful.  The park was beautiful.  It’s just really sad to see all those empty seats in a ballpark.

Military Presence Everywhere

So I’m pondering why Petco Park and a lot of parks nationwide are having so much trouble getting the fans to attend.  There was a large military presence at this particular game.  I wondered if they had been comp’d and, if so, how much money the park is actually making or losing on each game.   This is the 18Th ballpark I’ve visited and I’ve seen it before.   And it doesn’t necessarily coincide with whether the team’s winning or not.  I remember back in 2010 the Padres had a really good team and lead the Division most of the year, but still weren’t able to fill the park.

I really like Petco Park.  I had the feeling I was on top of the action, no matter where the play was going on.   The Padre mascot paraded around the field in his traditional flowing garb and was totally entertaining.  But I enjoy watching the game and one thing I found a little irritating was the great big field scoreboard so busy showing the fans and antics going on in the stands they rarely took time to show the stats of the game.   This was much to the delight of the fans I might say, but when I’m busy taking lots of photographs, usually 100-125 each game, I sometimes lose track of the count, outs, innings.  It would be nice to be kept in the loop on these things.  At home with the telly this is never an issue.  I’m usually keeping score anyway but for sure the game stats, box scores, etc.,  are usually there on the screen at regular intervals.

“Petco Park, San Diego”

About the game ~ the staff and fans at the ballpark were great.  Great sportsmanship from both sides and the ones who were there, were knowledgeable and understood the game, always a plus.  San Diego actually lead for a while. Yu Darvish, the Rangers’ pitcher, left the game a little earlier than he would have liked,  and Josh Hamilton wasn’t able to smack one out of the park for a change, so it appeared that maybe the Padres might be able to pull this one out.  But in the end the Texas Rangers who are having an amazing season (it’s  the pesky World Series that gives them trouble) won the game.

“A Whole Lot of Empty Seats at Petco”

On the trip back to the condo, I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen to that beautiful ballpark if the owners were to sell and move the team to another city.  It happens.  What a waste that would be for the San Diego Padres fans.   And I wondered, if the local fans knew this could happen, if they might be more inclined to show up for the games.

Just wondering ….. a beautiful ballpark is a terrible thing to waste.

Capitalism Alive and Well in Baseball!

“Courtesy of Money Ball”

Last week I was perusing the San Francisco Giants website looking for tickets.  I  settled on two $46 tickets in the Premium Lower Box section, went through the hoops and hit the button only to find that the $46 tickets were now miraculously $150!   Here’s the Disclaimer that was shown on the page:

“Market pricing applies to all tickets. 
Rates can fluctuate based on factors affecting supply and demand.  Lock in your price and location today!”

What the heck is that all about?  I mean if you list something for a certain price shouldn’t that be the price you pay for it?   I’m just as much in favor of capitalism as the next guy, probably more so, and I’m not an attorney,  but shouldn’t this be considered false advertising?

I understand having different prices for different games.  For example,  a June 4th game between the Giants and the Dodgers is priced at $56 for a lower box seat but a game on August 3 between the Giants and the Padres is only $32 for the same seat.   I get it.  Nothing wrong with that.  But to buy a ticket advertised at a specific price and then find out “at checkout” that it’s three times the price you agreed to pay for it 10 seconds ago?  I don’t think so.  I wonder if other teams are doing this.  Ticket prices  should be published at the beginning of the season and remain the same throughout that season, or at least until you get a chance to click the purchase button.

“AT&T Park not the only game in town” Photo Courtesy of Gerald Carpenter

Needless to say, I cancelled the order I was working on and instead I’m flying down to San Diego in June to watch the Padres and Rangers at a price we agreed upon.  Okay, I realize with the air fare, hotel, meals, etc.,  it’s going to cost me a fortune.  But this is a protest purchase you know?  And it’s the principal of the thing.  I mean how many times do I have to keep paying for Zito’s salary?  Enough already.

One bright spot in the week.  We received an email from the Oakland A’s a few weeks ago offering $12 Field Level tickets on Mother’s Day.  And that’s exactly what they cost.  These were great front row seats, beautiful weather, friendly fans, and extremely friendly vendors and staff, and a beautiful pink rose to boot!  Needless to say, we’ll be back.

And we’re flying to Seattle and attending a Mariners game week after next.   If this is perceived as being disloyal, so be it.  I love my San Francisco Giants but I love baseball even more and I’m going to the games one way or another.

Like I said, it’s the principle of the thing.

Dodgers Maintain MLB Lead (with a little help from their friends) ~

"The bunt that started it all"

Last night the Dodgers beat the Padres 5-4 with an incredulous triple play that ended the game.  The particulars of that triple play are what’s in question here.  I watched the video over and over again and there’s no doubt in my mind the plate umpire ruled a bunt ball as “out-of-bounds” wherein the Padres ceased play, went back to their bases, and play should have resumed with another pitch.  But that’s not what happened.  Instead, the Dodgers kept playing as though nothing had happened, as though no call had been made, as the Padres went back to their business in disbelief because, according to their version, and what I saw on the video, it should have been a dead ball, and the batter should have returned to the plate to take another pitch.

Now, I’m as happy as the next guy to see something good finally happen to the Los Angeles Dodgers.  This team’s been run through the mill these past few years and now it looks like they’re finally getting their act together.  I mean the last time the Dodgers got off to a start like this they ended up winning the World Series.  Here’s the article, video included, that has everyone (well, almost everyone) in a stew.  See what you think!

San Diego Padres Cry foul over Triple Play Call.

The World Champs ….. Taking a Break in 2011!

Giants & Padres at AT&T Park

The 2011 postseason began today but something’s different this year.  One of the most exciting times in baseball all of a sudden seems like it’s just another day.  Could it be that I still haven’t recovered from the postseason play of 2010?

The media had been inundated with the 2010 San Francisco Giants Cinderella story.  It was magic.  But the stories of late haven’t been so much about the magic of  last season as it is about the everyday mundane normalcy of this season.   How could this happen or more-so why did it have to happen?   I have a theory.

Historically the World Series champion has only won back-to-back championships on three separate occasions with exception of the Yankees.  They don’t count.    The returning 2011 Giants were basically the same team that won the 2010 World Series.   That 2010 team played their heart out.  When they realized in August they had a shot at the division title they went for it.  They scratched and clawed and mowed down everything in sight and they won.  And then they won again and again and they won the Pennant.  Then they won again and again and again and they won the Championship.  And then they returned to the adoration of a million fans screaming their hearts out in appreciation of what they had done.   After it was all over in mid-November, they went back to their individual homes across the country and they collapsed.  They were exhausted.  They rested for 6 weeks and then they started all over again.   And they were still exhausted.

And I believe that’s how it is for World Series Champions historically.  I understand all of this because, you know, I was exhausted too.  As fans we went through all of those torturous games with our teammates and we laughed and cried and shared the joy of the entire experience with each and every one of them and we were tired, worn out, and exhausted too.

I’ve been reading a lot of gibberish this week about the fall of the San Francisco Giants kingdom and it’s just that.  Gibberish.  It seems everyone’s placing blame somewhere, on someone, and it’s getting really personal, you know, about individual players.  They’re paid too much, not paid enough,  too slow, too fat,  too lazy.  Ugghhh!

The 2010 Giants were not an extraordinary team.  They were an okay, average team with a really good pitching staff.   The reason they won their division had more to do with the San Diego Padres choking  than it did with the Giants winning.   But they did win and found themselves in the post season and we were thrilled.

But now its over and its okay.  I’ve written comments throughout this season  exclaiming my euphoric state and happiness that the Giants were World Champions and if they never ended up in post season play again, ever, I could easily rest  on my (well okay, “their”) laurels.  It was that good.

And I think maybe the San Francisco Giants may have felt a little of that too as they began spring training, not really sure what had happened that previous season, and not really wanting it to end, still in a euphoric state of mind, just needing and subconsciously taking a little break.

At least that’s what I think probably happened and that’s how I’m going to always  remember it and its cool ~ the San Francisco Giants just taking a little break in 2011.

Update: 2011 MLB Payrolls & Individual Salaries.

Courtesy TTF Baseball

Here’s the 2011 update to our 2010 Major League Baseball listing published November 22, 2010.  This comes to us compliments of USA Today.  If you’ll click the individual teams, you can access the individual players salaries.  It will be interesting to note the annual salaries of the teams that make the playoffs;  in other words, did they get what they paid for?

 TEAM                          TOTAL P/R             AVG SALARY       MEDIAN

New York Yankees

$ 202,689,028

$ 6,756,300

$ 2,100,000

Philadelphia Phillies

$ 172,976,379

$ 5,765,879

$ 2,625,000

Boston Red Sox

$ 161,762,475

$ 5,991,202

$ 5,500,000

Los Angeles Angels

$ 138,543,166

$ 4,469,134

$ 2,000,000

Chicago White Sox

$ 127,789,000

$ 4,732,925

$ 2,750,000

Chicago Cubs

$ 125,047,329

$ 5,001,893

$ 1,600,000

New York Mets

$ 118,847,309

$ 4,401,752

$ 900,000

San Francisco Giants

$ 118,198,333

$ 4,377,716

$ 2,200,000

Minnesota Twins

$ 112,737,000

$ 4,509,480

$ 3,000,000

Detroit Tigers

$ 105,700,231

$ 3,914,823

$ 1,300,000

St. Louis Cardinals

$ 105,433,572

$ 3,904,947

$ 1,000,000

Los Angeles Dodgers

$ 104,188,999

$ 3,472,966

$ 2,142,838

Texas Rangers

$ 92,299,264

$ 3,182,733

$ 1,251,000

Colorado Rockies

$ 88,148,071

$ 3,390,310

$ 2,318,750

Atlanta Braves

$ 87,002,692

$ 3,346,257

$ 1,275,000

Seattle Mariners

$ 86,524,600

$ 2,884,153

$ 825,000

Milwaukee Brewers

$ 85,497,333

$ 2,849,911

$ 1,050,000

Baltimore Orioles

$ 85,304,038

$ 3,280,924

$ 1,425,000

Cincinnati Reds

$ 75,947,134

$ 2,531,571

$ 825,000

Houston Astros

$ 70,694,000

$ 2,437,724

$ 467,000

Oakland Athletics

$ 66,536,500

$ 2,376,303

$ 1,400,000

Washington Nationals

$ 63,856,928

$ 2,201,963

$ 1,050,000

Toronto Blue Jays

$ 62,567,800

$ 2,018,316

$ 1,200,000

Florida Marlins

$ 56,944,000

$ 2,190,153

$ 545,000

Arizona Diamondbacks

$ 53,639,833

$ 1,986,660

$ 1,000,000

Cleveland Indians

$ 49,190,566

$ 1,639,685

$ 484,200

San Diego Padres

$ 45,869,140

$ 1,479,649

$ 468,800

Pittsburgh Pirates

$ 45,047,000

$ 1,553,344

$ 450,000

Tampa Bay Rays

$ 41,053,571

$ 1,578,983

$ 907,750

Kansas City Royals

$ 36,126,000

$ 1,338,000

$ 850,000

The Best Team Didn’t Win! Oh Really???

“You can judge the dog in the fight, but you can’t judge the fight in the dog”.   Mitch Williams, MLB TV after the Giants won  this year’s World Series.

Mitch Williams

Mitch Williams MLB TV

Mitch Williams also made  another statement in almost the same breath, “the best team didn’t win, but the team who played the best won”.    Really?  I thought it was a ridiculous statement, but chalked it up to the obvious media bias against the Giants throughout the entire playoffs.  It’s only logical the best team wins.  How else can you measure who the best team is?   So imagine my surprise as I’m watching a rerun of  the post game interviews after Game 5 of the World Series, and Brian Sabean, General Manager of the Giants, says, “The best team may not have won, but the team that played the best won.”    Wow!  Where did that come from?   Who’s side is he on anyhow?   Well, I’ll tell you what.  I’m now totally convinced the “best team” is whatever team you want it to be on any given day.   It’s all in the perspective folks.  It’s

Brian Sabean & Bruce Bochy

in the perspective of the media, players, fans, relatives, girlfriends, boyfriends, and on and on.   On any given day during the 2010 season any one of the teams could have been called the best team in major league baseball ~ on that one particular day.  And depending on the form of media you’re paying attention to, a bias is going to come through.   And that bias is more than likely going to slant your thinking in whatever direction they plant the seeds to go.

I didn’t really want to get into this right now because I’d like to write an entire blog on “awards” later, but take, for example,  the Manager of  Year Award in 2010.   Since the year for baseball ends after the regular season,  and doesn’t include postseason, I guess you could give an argument that the San Diego Padres coach is a viable candidate.  I mean, his team held first place for most of the season, not by much, but still.  But what about the Colorado Rockies coach who scraped and scrapped til the very end and almost pulled it off.   Wow!  That was some coaching job.   But to me the ultimate coaching job, scratching and clawing for every win, right up to the very last game of the season, has to be Bruce Bochy.  I didn’t agree with half of his managing decisions, but, hey, what do I know?  In the end he almost always made the right decision.   This was particularly evident when dealing with his pitching staff.   Who knew?  He moved the bullpen around with such regularity you didn’t know from one pitch to the next who’d be on the mound.  But it worked.  So I’m not quite sure about the “best manager” criteria, but on appearance, it’s possible some of these awards  might be a little more about popularity and politics than actual performance.  So be it.  Not so, about an entire team.

Take a look at a headline on the front page of the local paper  this week.    “IN THE HUNT.  NINERS A GAME OUT OF FIRST PLACE.”  The ridiculousness of this headline is the Niners are actually in the cellar, last place,  Won 3 Lost 7!   But leave it to the good old NFC West – the reporter’s right!  There are four teams in the NFC West, and Seattle and St Louis are tied for 1st  and Arizona and SF are tied for last.  Good Grief!   You think the writer might just be a little biased towards the Niners?  You think?

So for what it’s worth, in my humble opinion, here’s the bottom line.   The best team always wins!  Always!  Maybe not yesterday and maybe not tomorrow ….. but today,  on that particular field, with those particular teams, umpires, weather, and a hundred other ridiculous criteria, the best team wins!   Like they did in the 2010 World Series. Put it in the books fellas!

“TEXAS CAN’T HOLD EM” ~ Game 1. Rangers and Pundits Lose!

Whodathunk it?  I had almost as much fun watching the sports pundits after the game than watching the game itself.  Well, almost.   The Giants had no chance, nada, zilch, zero, of beating Cliff Lee in game one of this World Series.  None!  I mean, after all, Cliff Lee had never lost a playoff game.  Won 10, Loss  0!  Whew, who wants to go up against those odds?   I almost believed it myself.  So after the game, when the pundits came slithering out from under the rocks, it was just a lot of fun to listen to their enlightened jibberish.   I believe it’s called “eating crow”?   As Joe buck said in his post-game commentary, “Don’t listen to us folks.  We don’t know anything!”  

The thing that puzzles me about the  Giants getting absolutely no respect before the game, and still now, even after the  game, is the  way they made it to the World Series in the first place.    This is a team of self-proclaimed misfits and oddballs, picked up from the trash heaps of other teams, a couple of rookies, and one helluva pitching staff.    In August, this team was 6 1/2 games behind in the NL West, but they scratched and clawed and fought off not only the San Diego Padres, but also a very good Colorado Rockies team to prevail.  They willed their way to the NL West Championship.    They were the underdog as they advanced to the NLDS against Atlanta, under the leadership of  Bobby Cox, destined to extend his career a few more games.   But, once again,  against the odds, the Giants won the National League Division Series against Atlanta!

So now the pundits had a ball!   I mean now the Giants had to face the Philadelphia Phillies, defending National League Champions, two years in a row, and World Series Champions only a year ago!   Their ace, Roy Halladay, as good as it gets, pitched a “no hitter” against the Cincinnati Reds,  enroute to the NLDS this year, and the Reds were no pansies.  To solidify the belief, earlier in the year Halladay had thrown a perfect game!   And it wasn’t just Halladay, they also had to face Roy Oswalt, a fastball pitcher who the Phillies acquired from Houston specifically for this reason, to dominate in the playoffs.   Again, Phillies fans lost a lot of money through their bookies over this series.   Giants beat the Philadelphia Phillies and won the National League Pennant in 6.

So what’s it going to take?  Headlines all over the country projected the Texas Rangers to win the World Series.  Everywhere except in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Even the Los Angeles papers ….. (whoops forget it, that’s Dodger country, doesn’t count!  i.e., LA Times article today by “Bill Shaikin ~ San Francisco takes advantage of a less-than-sharp effort by the highly regarded left-hander on a night when Tim Lincecum is not exactly crisp.”)  Cracks me up, but you know what?  He’s right!   And that’s baseball folks!  And you know what else?   The SF Giants may NOT win the World Series.  But if they do, it will be because they WILLED it, and not because of anything the Rangers and pundits have to say.    Baseball, don’t you just love it?