EN ROUTE TO SANTA ROSA, CALIF. — Apologies up front … this crazy book tour has finally caught up with me. We had a great event last night at the Ebell of Los Angeles. I mean, how could it help but be a great event with Molly Knight, Mike Schur and Nick Offerman? Then afterward, I had a meal with the wonderful Alexis Gay. It was terrific.
Joe- please find a few moments for some rest. Even a 20-minute Cat Nap (says Felix) does wonders. Been telling MANY of My Baseball Brethren about You (including My Good Buddy Bernie Carbo). Praying for You and that You would be energized & invigorated, today and the coming days . . .
Joe-If the Cincy stop didn't get cancelled and you could have had a 3-way and cheese coney from your favorite chain, you would feel better now, keep up the great work and don't be shy in delaying your stops for a a day or two. Not sure if this is a readers challenge but after watching the Reds win in Comerica against the Tigers, I was struck by how much the ballpark configuration impacts the game. That outfield is huge compared to GABP, not sure if some of those Detroit fly outs wouldn't be HR's in GABP. To win your division/wild card, is it more advantageous to have a home park that is pitcher friendly or more like the friendly confines of Wrigley in the summer or GABP?
Joe, I feel tired just reading about your tour! I don’t know how you (or especially T-Swift) do it!
As a Cubs fan, I can assure you, we don't ALL love Wainwright. But we can recognize the honor in an opponent's warrior.
And I hope you feel better today.
Last night at the Ebell was amazing. It was great to be in a room with people that share the same baseball “disease”. I loved every minute of the four of you and I hope you feel better. Joe, as I mentioned to you I read the book in one sitting cover to cover on a plane. Great book. Thank you for it.
Fantastic night at the Ebell, Joe. Everyone was in great form. I loved the stories from the audience of why they loved baseball. Looking forward to reading the book. Hope you're feeling better!
Seeing 199 will always remind me of Tim Wakefield's 2011 season. He came in to the season only needing 7 wins to get to 200. He got to 199 and then got stuck. It then felt like he chased that 200th win for the whole summer. The bullpen would blow it one game and then the next game he would have one bad inning and the chase for that last win stretched on and on and on. He finally ended up with 200 but that it took a long time.
Sometimes these sad tales become big memories: the Babe swatting his final three dingers (indeed, his last-ever major-league hits) in one game for the Boston Braves; Howard Ehmke telling Connie Mack “I have one good game left in me” and striking out 13 Cubs in the 1929 Series; more recently Dave Winfield rifling the Series-winning double in 1992 against Atlanta after a career of being “Mr May.” Everyone can think of others.
Hmmm....sitting here reading this at Oracle Park, Cleveland in town, sunshine ☀️, day game. Seems like a "Why We Love Baseball" moment. (Although you can fly directly to Santa Rosa these days and bypass the Dreamforce hellscape this week altogether.)
This feels like a Cardinals up 9-0 in the 4th Wainwright comes in for an inning to get the vulture win situation.
The Ebell event was really terrific. Thanks again to Joe, Molly, Mike & Nick. If anybody needs the extra motivation to make it out to one of the upcoming events I say "do it." (Read that with Ben Stiller's voice from Starsky & Hutch in mind unless you didn't like that movie)
Joe, I grew up in Santa Rosa. I now live in Tacoma so a bit too far to come down for your event at Copperfields.
A bit of Santa Rosa sports background, some of which you may know:
1. SR was, for many years, the summer training camp for the Raiders. At the El Rancho Tropicana south of town. A not-at-all glamorous motor inn that perfectly captured the spirit and team culture of the Raiders in the 70s. Lots of old timers have stories of happy hours slamming tequila shots with Stabler and Biletnikoff at local watering holes.
2. Wide World of Sports visited Petaluma every year for the World Wristwrestling Championships back in the day. Must see TV.
3. My SR high school’s most famous alum was Mel Gray. Besides his career with the Cardinals, he set the national high school 100 yard dash record at the time. (Orioles manager Brandon Hyde also went to my high school).
4. SR is best known as the home of Charles Schulz, creator of Peanuts. He grew up in Minnesota and was a keen hockey player. He started an annual masters hockey tournament at the ice arena he built in town. I once played tennis with Mr Schulz as an aside.
“Seeing a good and great player struggle at the end is not exactly a reason Why We Love Baseball … but it also is, I think, because every time out sparks a hundred memories, and every now and again they find a little of their youth.”
This - but not quite this, because (for me, anyway) part of the love of baseball is the way it marks the passage of time. It is the game famously without a clock, and yet that is an illusion, a trick we allow it to play on us. “If we could just not make the last out, we could play forever ...” - but the last out always comes, we go back to school, to work, the season ends, the seasons roll on. It is the game without a clock, and yet what we use to mark the passage of time.
As Giamatti said, better than I could of course, “It breaks my heart because it was meant to, because it was meant to foster in me again the illusion that there was something abiding ... and because, after it had fostered again that most hungered-for illusion, the game was meant to stop, and betray precisely what it promised.” And, yes, we love it for that.
(More somber than Joe, the eternal optimist, usually gets in these pages, I suppose.)
An Orioles fan who has been transplanted to New England, I watched last night’s game on mlb.tv. Wainwright entered the game with an 8.19 era for the season. He walked the first two batters he faced. Orioles hitters did not swing at any of the first seventeen pitches he threw. His fastball topped out at 87 mph. But he kept battling. He found his control and started painting the edges of the strike zone. His 71-mph curveball started landing in the zone. He mostly kept O’s batters off-balance. And he made it through five innings to earn the decision. Even though my Birds are in a tight division race with the Rays, and need every win they can get, it still felt good to see Adam get # 199.
Although I think Joe may have covered this recently, it does not appear that there are any active pitchers, except maybe Gerit Cole (32 with 132 wins) who have a good (or even any) chance of reaching 200 (ignoring, of course, those who have already reached 200: Verlander, Greinke, Scherzer and Kershaw). Here is a list of win totals for active pitchers. https://www.baseball-reference.com/leaders/W_active.shtml Cole Hamels, Johnny Cueto 31, 144 wins) and Lance Lynn (36, 144) aren't going to reach 200. And I don't see any young pitchers on the list with a great chance.