The first baseball sighting was on the tube the other night. The Yankee network YES had the brilliant idea of showing a game last summer with Masahiro Tanaka facing the Tokyo Giants.
American broadcasters, aware of Japanese subtleties, were calling the game, pitch-by-pitch.
In real time, Tanaka was chartering a jet to get to New York.
My reaction to watching him pitch in the Tokyo Dome -- against those classic orange-and-black-trimmed Giants uniforms -- was that Tanaka was poised, and had a variety of pitches, but not a lot of power.
Will he be able to find the extra 5 mph he will need in MLB? Not evident from the few innings I saw. That's the Yankees' problem.
More important, I saw baseball being committed. Saw a dandy over-the-shoulder basket catch by a second baseman. And I saw a Giants pitcher wince when he did not get a third strike call from the umpire. Sure enough, he fell apart, started to groove the ball, and gave up four runs. Baseball in mid-season form, with all its human imperfections.
I did have one flashback. Playing for Rakuten was Kazuo Matsui, now 38 -- the other Matsui, as he is known in Queens. He is still the only major-league player to lead off three straight seasons with a home run, but Mets fans celebrated when he went to Colorado early in 2006. The Yankees kept their Matsui, much longer.
Now the Yankees have Tanaka and the Mets have Matsuzaka.
Meantime, my high-school pal Thor Larsen visited Scottsdale the other day and took a photo of the stadium, just waiting for
pitchers and catchers. Stay warm.
2/14/2014 04:53:29 am
One of my favorite "boys" sports books growing up was Clair Bee's "Championship Ball." In this one our hero, Chip Hilton, breaks his leg right before the beginning of the basketball season and spends the year as Coach Rockwell's bench assistant (and off-the-court inspiration to the lads). Finally, after the team wins the championship (and you know who is awarded the "championship ball" by his teammates) Chip gets his cast off in early spring. As he leaves the doctor's office:
2/14/2014 05:53:12 am
Roy, well done. Did you recall that from memory, or look it up?
2/15/2014 04:20:48 am
Friday's baseball roundup
2/16/2014 03:06:35 am
The crack! of ball on ash can be produced at Gan Sacher (Jerusalem’s central park) by a middle-aged fan and his progeny. But the thump! of leathers colliding at the conclusion of a baseball’s 60’ 6” manic journey requires both a Pitcher and a Catcher. Play Ball!
2/16/2014 07:01:54 am
Mendel, nothing like baseball out of context.
2/18/2014 03:23:27 am
On the day of the 14th NY snowstorm, a message from Venice,FL.
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From the great Maureen Dowd:
As I write this, I’m in a deserted newsroom in The Times’s D.C. office. After working at home for two years during Covid, I was elated to get back, so I could wander around and pick up the latest scoop.
But in the last year, there has been only a smattering of people whenever I’m here, with row upon row of empty desks. Sometimes a larger group gets lured in for a meeting with a platter of bagels."
--- Dowd writes about the lost world of journalists clustered in newsrooms at all hours, smoking, drinking, gossipping, making phone calls, typing, editing.
"Putting out the paper," we called it.
Much more than nostalgia.