Saturday, July 28, 2001

Zisk Issue # 4

Jose Valetin's Moustache by Jake Austen

Price of Thieves: The Special Case of Hal Chase by Reggie Lee Ray

Conspiracy Theory by Bob Mason

Rico Got a Raw Deal by Josh Rutledge

Through the Cracks: Basball Stories Off the Beaten Path by Steve Reynolds

Ken Griffey Jr. to Critics: "Back Off" (or, Crimes of the Ancient Mariner) by Mike Faloon

Ballparks of the Upper Midwest by Rev Norb

Q: Why are the Mets SOOOO bad in 2001? A: Two words - the Offseason by Jeff Herz

A Look at the AL Competition: Is the Yankees Reign Over, One Month Into the Season by Jeff Herz

A Look at the NL--Can Barry Bonds be Stopped? by Steve Reynolds

Metropolitan, Straight Up by John Ross Bowie

If You Put a Glove to Your Ear, You Can Hear The...Music! by Mark Hughson

Junior Flipped Me the Bird (or, My Finger on the Pulse of Greatness) by Matt Braun

Ka-Ching: The Evolution of a Game by Kip Yates

The World of Baseball by Dan Buck

Prices of Thieves: The Special Case of Hal Chase by Reggie Lee Ray

Hal Chase. The legend of this hard-drinking, league-jumping, card-playing, game-fixing pariah has held my fascination since I was 10-years-old. I first came across the man they dubbed “Prince Hal” in a baseball history book. Someone had written that he had a “corkscrew brain.” That description alone moved him a few rungs up the cool ladder in my mind, past the Chesbros and the Keelers and all the other faceless heroes of baseball’s original Golden Age.

No less an authority than Babe Ruth picked Chase as the best first baseman of all-time, even though the Bambino’s teammate, Lou Gehrig, was still very much alive and kicking at the time. By the time Ruth made his choice, in 1934, Chase already had been banned from the Major Leagues for some 14 years. He obviously still had some supporters.

In fact, in 1936, during the first Hall of Fame election, Chase received 11 votes, 9 more than received by fellow lifetime banee (and far more sympathetic character) Shoeless Joe Jackson. Prince Hal must’ve done something right.

What Chase did right, of course, was field his position like no one before him. Prior to Chase’s arrival with the New York Highlanders (later Yankees) in 1905, first basemen were virtually anchored to the bag, positioned to receive throws and little else. Not Chase. He roamed far off the bag, to the point where he would often field bunts on the left side of the infield. He set records for putouts in a single game and in a doubleheader that have since been tied, yet not surpassed. By all accounts, he revolutionized the position.

But Chase was hardly all glove, no stick. While playing for Cincinnati in 1916, he led the National League in batting with a .339 average, and he batted .291 for his career. He was also the Yankees’ career steals leader until another card-enthusiast named Rickey Henderson came along and erased one of Chase’s few positive marks from the record books.

You see, what Chase really excelled at wasn’t stealing the occasional base. And it wasn’t slapping singles through the right side or scooping grounders behind the mound, either.

What Hal Chase did best was throw baseball games, and in this area he had few peers.

“That he can play first as it was never played before and perhaps never will be played is a well known truth. That he will is a different matter.”

So said The Sporting News in 1913.

By then, Chase’s reputation as a game-fixer was one of baseball’s least-guarded secrets. Fans often taunted him with chants of “What’s the odds?” when he took the field. Prince Hal, the man with the golden glove, led the league in errors seven times. Seven times. With his range, Chase was afforded a disproportionate amount of opportunities to effect the outcome of a contest, and this legendary gloveman usually found a way to boot the ball at the most inopportune time.

The first person to openly accuse him of throwing games was Highlanders manager George Stallings. Chase had never been popular with the brass, as the San Jose native was fond of spending his offseasons playing in the outlaw California League and had been suspended for such actions previously. But during the 1910 season, Chase’s insubordination took a new turn, and Stallings accused his star player of intentionally losing games. New York owner Frank Farrell took swift and immediate action: Stallings was forced to resign and Chase was named his successor. Prince Hal, notorious league-jumper and alleged game-fixer, was now player-manager of the New York franchise.

As unsavory as the charges may have been, Farrell didn’t want to risk losing his drawing card. Chase was one of the league’s top attractions, and his $6,000 salary made him one of the game’s highest paid stars. Of course, that figure doesn’t include whatever amount Chase managed to pocket by selling out his teammates.

After little more than a season at the helm of the Highlanders, Chase was demoted back to player-only status, though he relinquished little in terms of dictating the outcome of the games. His next New York manager, Frank Chance, who knew a little bit about fielding first himself, grew suspicious of Hal’s play and went to the papers. It was another showdown with management. This time, Hal lost. He was shipped to the White Sox during the 1913 season. 

Chase quickly wore out his welcome in Chicago and jumped to the rival Federal League 1914. When that league folded following the 1915 season, Chase joined Cincinnati of the National League. He had several solid seasons for the Reds, though game-fixing charges continued to hound him. Teammates even claimed Chase attempted to bribe them.

During the 1918 season, Christy Matthewson, then manager of the Reds and baseball’s official choirboy, suspended the incorrigible Chase for what he termed “indifferent play.” The League, anxious to squash any notion that gambling had corrupted its sport, reinstated Hal, who found his way to the New York Giants and John McGraw in time for the 1919 season.

It would prove to be Prince Hal’s last stand.

Following the season, more charges of game fixing surfaced and Hal was quietly suspended indefinitely and he returned home to California. His name then surfaced in connection with the Black Sox scandal. Some alleged that Chase played a role in setting the Big Fix in motion, and as baseball’s best-known gambler, the charges weren’t that far-fetched. But California refused to allow extradition and Chase never testified at the trial. For his part, Chase later admitted to knowing the Series was rigged, but steadfastly denied participating in, or profiting from, the fix.  

After his banishment from the majors, Hal continued to kick around the western leagues, throwing games and venting about his “enemies in baseball.” Unlike members of the Chicago Eight, Chase never actively pursued reinstatement, though it is believed he once wrote a letter of apology to Commissioner Landis.

Shortly before his death in 1947, Chase took the time to reflect on his career. “You will note that I am not in the Hall of Fame,” he said. “I am an outcast and I haven’t a good name. I’m the loser, just like all gamblers are. I’d give anything to start over.”

Anyone know what the over/under is on Prince Hal ever getting reinstated?

Reggie Lee Ray led the 1984 Orleans County (NY) Midget League with 7 sacrifice bunts.

Conspiracy Theory by Bob Mason

In this era of trendy paranoia where everyone sees conspiracy in even the most innocuous events, a sinister cover-up is taking place right in plain view of an unsuspecting populace. It's a scheme so clever and subtle that it has somehow escaped the notice of the vigilant press and our ever alert elected officials; a plot so labyrinth and diabolical that even Oliver Stone would dismiss it as ridiculous. What, you ask, is this evil manipulation? Is it the theft of the White House by the oil, mining and logging companies? Could it be the systematic destruction of American health by insurance companies? Perhaps the continuing success of "Ally McBeal?"

No, but this scheme is just as heinous and destructive to the American psyche as any of those. It's the conspiracy between the owners and players to ruin Major League Baseball.

To all those scoffers and naysayers out there, consider this: does your allegiance to Major League Baseball stem from a pure enjoyment of the game as it's played and presented today, or does it rise more from blind name-brand allegiance and a sense of nostalgia the game generates for the simplicity and innocence of your youth?

Doubtless, there have been many exciting and noteworthy events in Major League Baseball over the past decade. The Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa home run chase. Cal Ripken, Jr. passing Lou Gehrig and becoming the all-time iron man. The pitching artistry of Pedro Martinez and Greg Maddux. The beauty of Tony Gwynn's swing. The fielding ballet of Omar Vizquel and         Roberto Alomar, Jr. All stand as testament to the entertainment and excitement of which baseball is capable. Unfortunately, each of these feats is dulled and even overwhelmed by the mismanagement, blind greed and just plain stupidity that turns what should be a pleasant, relaxing diversion into a ponderous, expensive and unattractive entertainment option.

To be fair to the players, the owners have always treated them like chess pieces to be moved around at their whims. Trading them to teams in other cities without their consent, firing them without warning, not allowing them to seek employment elsewhere in the league, and not providing any sort of retirement benefits are just some of the ways the owners have deservedly earned the enmity of the players. Only in the past 30 years have the players acquired the power (because of their union) to increase their rights and strengthen their bargaining position in the battles with the owners.

That being said, the players are doing all they can to destroy the public's natural goodwill toward them by their willingness to squeeze the last penny out of teams competing for their services. Popular players leave cities that have supported and idolized them for years over what amounts to the difference between a ton of money and a little more than a ton of money.

This past off-season alone gave us Gary Sheffield berating management and his teammates because he felt the Dodgers were not showing him enough  “respect." With apologies to Aretha Franklin, Mr. Sheffield spelled the word M-O-N-E-Y. This from a player earning $10 million plus per season despite his up and down career, his inability to field a position and his admitted lack of effort on numerous occasions.

Not to be outdone, Frank Thomas killed the enthusiasm surrounding the White Sox upcoming season long before their on-the-field collapse by not showing up to Spring Training because some players were earning $18 - $25 million while he had to try and feed his family on $10 million per season. He hinted that he wouldn't honor the long-term contract he had signed unless the financial terms were renegotiated. Public sentiment quickly turned on him, and to save face he gave the explanation (with a straight face) that he did not want to renegotiate his contract, he simply wanted more money. With airtight logic like that, Mr. Thomas could have a future in the Bush Administration.

These and numerous other incidents (Ricky Henderson playing cards in the clubhouse during the Mets' playoff series with the Braves, Roberto Alomar, Jr. spitting on an umpire, and anything Albert Belle ever did while the game was not actually being played) have colored many fans' perception of players as spoiled prima donnas who don't care about winning, when all they have to do to earn unwavering adulation is to stop acting like petulant children.

Players should also realize that they will only get their exorbitant salaries as long as the fan base is there to attend the games and pay for them. By showing no concern for anything but their own short-term financial gain by jumping ship and heading to the large market teams that pay top dollar, the players are undercutting the competitive balance, which will eventually lead to fewer ticket sales and therefore, lower salaries. Somehow the Players' Union thinks it's a smart move to encourage this behavior by publicly criticizing a player when he takes less than he could get elsewhere to stay with a team and city where he wants to play (i.e., Mark McGwire). They should pay a little more attention to the fans in Kansas City, Tampa and Minnesota, who will attest that no one wants to pay their money to see a perennial loser play.

Which brings the faults of the owners into sharp focus. Recently, it has been in vogue to express desire for contraction of the league, jettisoning a few teams that aren't making money for the financial stability of the whole. Many owners are now giving lip service to this idea as if they had nothing to do with the current state of the teams operating in the red.

They seem to forget that it is their fault in the first place that these teams are struggling. There are too many teams for Major League Baseball to support? Maybe the owners should have considered that fact when they were shaking down Denver, Miami Phoenix and Tampa for the gigantic expansion fees those new teams' owners had to pay to get a franchise. Instead of expanding so that they could get a lump-sum windfall, the owners should have considered ways to strengthen and increase their existing teams' fan bases for the near future. With small market teams already struggling, it was greed and complete disregard for the future of the game that caused the owners to authorize expansion. Not surprisingly, three of the four expansion teams are having medium to severe financial problems.

Unfortunately, the teams mentioned most often for contraction are Minnesota and Montreal. The Expos are an obvious candidate for relocation if not outright dissolution because they draw roughly the same size crowd as a street corner fender bender. Repeated attempts to finance a new stadium in Montreal have failed, leaving the owners little choice other than moving to the United States or folding up the tents. Did it ever occur to Major League Baseball that putting a team in a city with a culture that doesn't have the same subconscious identification with baseball might not be the best idea? Montreal was a better option at the time than Toronto or Denver?

Considering Minnesota as a candidate for contraction is ludicrous. The team has a strong history for baseball. Baseball fans everywhere know the names Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew and Kirby Puckett. Besides the Yankees and their bottomless pockets, who are the teams with the most World Series championships in the last 20 years? The Los Angeles Dodgers, Toronto Blue Jays and Minnesota Twins with two apiece. The arguments that the Minneapolis-St. Paul area can't support the team don't make any sense since the first team to ever draw three million fans in a season was the Twins. Sure, they need a new stadium, but the owners of all the teams could easily take a small sum from their short-term profits and finance a new stadium for the Twins. Spending that money from their pockets instead of extorting the Minnesota community for funds to build the stadium would create a lot of goodwill toward baseball and let the Major Leagues keep a part of their history, which more than anything is what separates it from other sports.

To disband the Twins is an insult to their fans who have come to make them a part of their lives over the past 40 years. Much better, if franchises must go, to lose the teams in Florida, where they have met with indifference almost since day one.

The main reason teams like the Twins are losing money is that they can’t compete financially with the big spenders. If the owners had the foresight to institute a meaningful revenue sharing program to aid those teams in the smaller markets, contraction wouldn’t even be discussed. Baseball revenue is very healthy, but somehow the bulk of the wealth ends up in the pockets of a few teams because of geography. The owners should draw up a plan that distributes the revenue a little more fairly with the stipulation that the owners of the small market teams spend that money on improving the on-the-field product. The George Steinbrenners of the league have got to realize that unless they help out the small market teams, they will be unable to maintain operations at a competitive level. No one will come out to see even the mighty Yankees stand on the field by themselves if all the other teams are forced to fold.

The Commissioner’s office doesn’t escape blame for destroying baseball’s fan base. In this age where so many other more convenient and cheaper entertainment options are available to the public, Major League Baseball should be concentrating on making its current fans feel noticed while building the next generation of fans. But Bud Selig and his confederacy of dunces don’t even seem to take notice of the fans unless they aren’t getting every last dollar out of them.

Whether it’s charging fans to listen to games over the Internet or refusing to move up the start times of post season games, MLB is corroding the fan base that either doesn’t have the time or can’t afford to attend a game ($12 for bleacher seats x a family of four + parking and concessions = way too much). Selig always points to healthy attendance numbers at the ballpark while television ratings continue to sink. What he doesn’t seem to get is that the current generation of kids has no attachment or interest in the game since it has been made all but inaccessible to them. What kid can stay up until midnight to see the conclusion of a World Series game on a school night? How can they feel a connection to their team if their only exposure to them is the occasional game of the week?

Video games, movies and computers are always going to win a child’s and most adults’ attention unless Bud and friends figure out some way to make the game relevant to them, starting with the speeding up of games. Even lifelong fans grow bored and restless during a three-and-a-half-hour nine-inning game. Making the pitchers throw within a set time limit and forcing the batters to stay in the batter’s box throughout their entire at bat would be a good start.

But instead of aggressively addressing these problems the brilliant Selig brainstorms that further distance the public from baseball include Opening Day of the “national pastime” in foreign countries, making the All-Star Game winner the host league for the World Series, and an annual draft of players from good teams by bad teams. These ideas are so bad and so far off the mark that it almost seems as if he must be joking.

So Bud fiddles as Rome burns, the owners throw barbs at the players instead of cleaning up their own mess, and the players dash around the country on the rumor of a few extra pennies, while the game of baseball wobbles on unsteadily. It may not be a conspiracy in the true sense of the word, but together the actions of these men have brought the game we love to a turning point. Whether and how it survives remains to be seen.

Rico Got a Raw Deal by Josh Rutledge

I should be disgusted with myself, but I’m not. Not at all. I have descended into depravity, and I feel no shame. In honor of Rico Brogna, the internationally-neglected baseball star, I’m willing to soil my soul.

Every time I see Brogna step up to the plate, I hope he hits the ball out of the park. I read the box scores every night to keep up with his progress. And when he goes up against my beloved Phillies later this season, I’ll wish him nothing but luck. I am firmly in the man’s corner. I anticipate his assault on National League pitching with unabashed zeal.

So what’s so wrong with my unbridled Ricomania? Is it really so bad for me to cheer for a non-Phillie? After all, there were never any ethical questions regarding my admiration for the likes of such diamond greats as Tony Gwynn, Tim Raines, and Ron Gardenhire. Right? Right. So why can’t I be an ardent Brogna devotee?

Well, the problem is NOT that Brogna is a non-Phillie (not to mention an ex-Phillie). The problem is that he’s a.....(The mere thought of this next word has me on the verge of vomiting)....BRAVE!!!!!!!! How could I possibly deign to behave in a manner that would suggest that I want good things to happen to bad people?! If Rico does well, that will aid the efforts of his team, The Evil Ones!

Am I really willing to be responsible for The Evil Ones’ continued domination of the N.L.? After all, we’re talking about the organization that has nearly RUINED professional baseball as we know it! They’ve made a mockery of parity by monopolizing their league’s talent pool! Some credit the farm system, but I know better! Other teams make deals with the devil in hopes of buying a year or two of contention. But Ted Turner doesn’t have to make deals with Satan-----He IS Satan!

The Braves are filthy, slimy, debased, midget-humping swine. Am I out of my mind for cheering for one of their starters? Can there possibly be an excuse for my colossal error in moral judgment? I believe so!       

Here’s the deal: Not even The Evil Ones can taint Rico Brogna. He’s not just an unheralded baseball standout-------He’s also a SAINT! His rude expulsion from the Phillies’ organization last summer made him a martyr for neglected greats everywhere. So many others have felt his same pain----countless musicians, writers, painters, actors, mimes, mountain-climbers, and pimps have brought forth brilliance into this world only to be ignored in favor of their inferior peers. Perhaps you, dear reader, appreciate the magnitude of Brogna’s feats. But sadly, the Philadelphia Phillies did NOT.

Numbers don’t lie: In 1998 and 1999, Brogna anchored the middle of the Phillies’ lineup by driving in over 100 runs. (Please note that Scott Rolen, the celebrated cornerstone of the franchise, has posted only ONE 100-RBI season in his entire career.) Then in 2000, the club threw this great man into the trash. They waived him! That’s right: WAIVERS! He was dumped. Abandoned. Left to rot. Discarded. Spat upon. I wept for him.

Even in this noveau lively-ball-era, 100-RBI ballplayers are not easy to come by. And when your record for chronic ineptitude is as sorry as the Phillies’ is, you can’t afford to toss aside big-time hitters. Brogna was given the boot to clear a lineup space for Travis Lee, an ex-phenom who’s currently in contention for Bust of the Century honors. (The Phillies acquired Lee in the Curt Schilling trade disaster that also brought 19-game loser Omar Daal to the City of Brotherly Love. One could sadly expect such shenanigans from an organization that was once so desperate to swap Larry Bowa for Ivan DeJesus that it “threw in” Ryne Sandberg.) A year later, The Phillies are banking on a big season from Lee and plugging the woefully inadequate Daal into Schilling’s #1 spot in the starting rotation. Is it any wonder that this team has posted 13 losing seasons in 14 years?

Brogna was a top-notch swinger for the Phillies in all three of his seasons as a full-time starter. Rolen, Bobby Abreu, Mike Lieberthal, and Pat Burrell may get all the press in Phillieland, but Brogna put up the numbers year after year. In ’97, he hit 20 home runs, cracked 36 doubles, and drove in 81 runs. The following year was even bigger: 20 homers, 104 RBI, and 36 more doubles. In ’99 he hit 24 home runs, drove in 102, and posted a .278 batting average.  A year later, he was given his walking papers after a mere 129 at-bats. This overlooked STAR then wound up in Boston, where he got little chance to do his thing. Now he’s surrounded by pure wickedness, and he’ll finally have the chance to shine in the spotlight!

I would love for The Evil Ones to receive the vast benefits of Brogna’s big stick and STILL find a way to lose. So far we’re four games into the season, and the dream is almost a reality. The Bad Guys are only 2-2 (an extremely sub-par mark given their prior achievements), but Sir Rico is ripping it up! He has played in three games, and he’s hitting .455! That’s right! In 11 at-bats, he has slammed out two doubles, driven in a run, and scored twice. And check out that slugging average: .636! No joke! 

Cynics will ensure me that there’s no way that the man can keep on bashing it out at such a frantic clip, but I know better! As a platoon player, he may not have the chance to post a third 100-RBI campaign. But he’ll deliver the goods as he makes the most of his limited playing time! Every screaming base hit, scorching stand-up double, and monstrous home run that explodes from his potent bat will strike a blow for every unappreciated, tortured soul that has ever excelled in the shadow of society’s superficial gaze! And if his productivity DOES benefit The Evil Ones, so be it! Rico Brogna’s trials and tribulations have transcended the narrow-minded confines of wins and losses. Never mind The Evil Ones; it’s humanity itself that will celebrate this great man’s triumphs!

I hope he hammers the Phillies’ lightweight pitching staff.

Through the Cracks: Baseball Stories off the Beaten Path by Steve Reynolds

Ex-Phillie/Devil Ray and Angels shortstop Kevin Stocker retired on March 5th—due perhaps to a travel hell that would drive most people to an insane level of road rage. Stocker agreed to a minor league contract with the Mets on Saturday, March 3rd. He booked himself a flight to Florida from his home state of Washington. That flight was canceled. The next day his flight to West Palm Beach was diverted to Orlando. Then the limo driver the Mets sent for him missed the pickup, and Stocker had to hire another driver to take him to camp. This apparently was the straw that broke the camel’s back—Stocker called his agent at 1:30 in the morning and said he was going to retire. "I don't think we've ever had a guy who retired this quickly," said Jim Duquette, a Mets senior assistant general manager. "I talked to his agent, who said Kevin doesn't have the fire and desire to get into shape to play at this level." He obviously doesn’t have the desire to travel ever again.

Mike Piazza is in commercials for Claritin and 10-10-220—so the next step, logically, must be a big Hollywood film. Except Piazza is the subject of this film. Go to Hell, Mike Piazza will likely star Ben Stiller as a hot dog vendor whose childhood friendship with Piazza has left him with a persecution complex—one that has him blaming the famed Met catcher for all that's gone awry with his life. The hot dog man becomes obsessed with plotting out his revenge and when he gets a chance to strike out Piazza in the All Star Game by winning a TV quiz show, his chance is made real. Go to Hell, Mike Piazza will likely go in front of cameras after the baseball season ends, which should be early this year for the Mets.

The Detroit Tigers’ Comerica Park was intended to replace the aging Tigers Stadium with a place that would be packed night after night. Unfortunately for the Tigers and the Seattle Mariners last August 23rd, the stadium was packed—with flying ants. Tens of thousands of these insects descended on the ballpark during the first inning, staying long enough to catch a couple of innings (and maybe a couple of hot dogs). Most of the crowd of over 32-thousand fans had left due to the tenacious bugs by the time the third inning had rolled around. The Detroit bullpen took matters in their own hands, by lighting a fire that helped to drive the ants away. "When you looked up, it was a swarm across the sky," said Ron LeCroix of Detroit. "The birds were eating so good, they were falling on the sidewalk. They couldn’t even fly away they were eating so much. I’ve never seen anything like that." Fans who left didn’t get refunds—"[It] was just kind of an act of God," said Tigers spokesman Jim Anderson. "We’re treating it like a rain delay. Fans may get up from their seats and leave, but this is no different from that situation." And now we know the real reason why Juan Gonzalez didn’t want to sign a deal with the Tigers.

Ex-Baltimore Orioles manager Earl Weaver was the honoree at a roast November 2nd at the Sports Boosters of Maryland Headliners Banquet. For almost three hours Weaver was teased by his former players and friends from baseball, occasionally making a snide remark when he thought a story was going on too long. Then to wrap up the evening Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer stepped up to give the last speech. He joked about Weaver’s height and reputation for drinking. This didn’t set to well with Weaver when he went up to the podium to give his own speech. He yelled that Palmer cost the Orioles a lot of games by claiming injuries he didn’t have. Weaver then went around podium and confronted Palmer directly, screaming at him before being led away by former Oriole Lee May. Jay Harris, the executive booster of the sports boosters, told the Baltimore Sun, "It was unbelievable. A lot of people stayed because they wanted to hear his retaliation, but this wasn’t what they wanted."

The Las Vegas Stars have changed their affiliation from the San Diego Padres to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and now they’ve changed their name. Looking for a way to stick out in the city that Bugsy built, the new team owners picked the 51’s as the name—as in Area 51, the top secret test site in the Nevada desert that supposedly holds a UFO and even aliens. "We figure if we get a cease-and-desist order from the government we’ll really make news," said Aaron Artman, creative director for the Triple A team. "But they can’t send it if they don’t admit Area 51 exists." Which, as all X-Files fans know, the government won’t admit. So look for some special out of this world promotions this season in Vegas. "You may be a purist, but your 5-year-old-son might like the alien mascot and your 12-year-old might like the music we’re playing," said Artman. "This theme gives us a lot of options. Maybe a space ship in the outfield. Or crop circles."

Q. Why the Mets are SOOOOO bad in 2001! A. Two Words - the offseason By Jeff Herz

It is absolutely amazing to me that last October the Mets were in the World Series and did something that the previous three World Series participants could not do against the Yankees. Win. Remember the Yankees swept the Braves in ’99, the Padres in ’98, and took 4 straight from the Braves in ’96 after losing the first two games that year. The Yankees were able to win a record 14 straight World Series games before the Mets beat them in game 3 last years.

The Mets looked like a million dollars after that series. Although they lost the series, every game was close and played evenly, no blowouts, no lopsided scores, nothing but great baseball. The Mets had a great battery, a solid well rounded outfield, a good infield and got a late season spark from the unknown Timo Perez. This was their second straight year in the playoffs. Steve Phillips and Bobby Valentine were signed to long-term contracts just after the season ended, then something went terribly wrong.

During the off season the Mets send their heavy hitters into recruiting mode. Mike Piazza, Robin Ventura, Todd Zeile, Turk Wendell, Al Leiter, Mookie Wilson, Tom Seaver, Jerry Grote and Ed Kranepool worked the phones trying to lure every major free agent to Flushing that would improve their roster to help them get over the top and beat the Yankees. Nothing seemed to work.

Nobody wanted to sign with the Mets. A-Rod came to watch a game at Shea during the World Series and dissed the stadium and the fans. Before long the Mets pulled out of the A-Rod sweepstakes. Coincidence? I am not so sure, but neither here nor there for purposes of this discussion. The Mets tried to resign Mike Hampton, who said he would only sign with a championship caliber team, and the Mets couldn’t sign him. He signed with the Rockies, long known for killing pitchers ERA’s and making many a mediocre or above average hitter (Todd Helton, Dante Bichette) look great. He also said Denver is a place he could raise a family. Now by my count, I believe that Colorado has had more school massacres (Columbine) than New York, New Jersey or Connecticut has combined. So in my opinion, the greater NYC area is a much better place to raise a family, but that is just me.

On a side note, I never want to hear another athlete claim he wants to play for a winner then sign simply the highest offer made to him, it is hypocritical and alienates the fans. Both A-Rod and Hampton claimed it was not about the money, but rather about winning, then wound up signing with teams that were more crappy then the teams they left. I want athletes to just admit it is about the money or otherwise just shut the fuck up. I am sick of it.

The Mets then went after Mike Mussina, and lost out to their cross-town rival the Yankees. Legitimately Moose wanted to stay in the AL, therefore excluding the Mets. Next the Mets targeted the Yankees discarded pitcher Denny Neagle. He wound up signing with Rockies for similar reasons as Hampton, which is a load of shit since the Mets have consistently been better the last few years than the Rockies. The Mets also refused to negotiate with Bobby J Jones, since he was looking for a shit-load of millions and anyone who has ever watched him pitch knows he is not worth that kind of money. This was probably their best decision, since he is now stinking up the Padres rotation, for only a half million dollars or so. This left the Mets with two gaping holes in their once powerful rotation. They signed Kevin Appier, a career nobody from the Oakland Athletics, and Steve Trachsel and weak throwing right hander that could not stand out for either of the two weak pitching teams in Chicago or the non-existent franchise in Tampa Bay.

The only thing the Mets had going for them this off season was David Wells’s desire to play for the Mets, and that got quashed when the Jays dealt the over weight and gout prone Wells to the White Sox for a broken Mike Sirotka. Yet another strike against the Mets in the off season.

Now the Mets are languishing in last place, 4.5 games behind the Phillies. Now I know that this lead is not insurmountable this early in the season. However, I don’t know how the Mets are going to compete in this now rough and tumble division without a major blockbuster trade (Gary Sheffield? David Wells?). They are lacking depth in the outfield, the weak hitting Rey Ordonez is back from the disabled list and the rotation is no more than 3rd best in the NL East.

I have never been a huge Bobby Valentine fan. I am not one who thinks he is a baseball genius. But I think he got screwed by the front office for not signing these players or maybe it is a perception in baseball that the Mets are a second rate organization, that you just don’t want to play for. I honestly don’t understand this, but the reality is now the Mets are looking like Archie “Moonlight” Graham in Field of Dreams, a player who could get so close to his dream that he could touch it, but was never given the chance to see go the distance, which is the real shame for 2001 Mets.

A Look at the AL Competition: Is the Yankees Reign Over, One Month Into the Season? By Jeff Herz

As a Yankee fan, you always have to face the inevitable question, when will this current reign of division championships and world series wins eventually end. Will it be 2001? Well after watching the first month of the season, I am a bit concerned.

AL East, Red Sox and Blue Jays. Everyone talks about the Boston Red Sox with Pedro, Manny, Everett and the currently injured Nomar, but lets face it, they are the Red Sox, and although they have played very good for the first month, they are the same Red Sox who have not found a way to win the World Series since 1918, this is not going to be their year. No one is taking the Blue Jays seriously, and I think that is a mistake.

The Red Sox had controversy before they even left spring training. Carl Everett was missing buses and showing up late; Manny Ramirez was complaining about having to play left field (the easier position in Boston) instead of his more familiar right field even though playing right in Fenway is like playing center in another park, and Manny for as good as he is with the bat, he is no center fielder; Nomar was having wrist surgery to fix a split tendon in his wrist that would keep him out 2-3 months; finally they have no proven pitching behind Pedro. Joe Kerrigan, the pitching coach, has done a great job band-aiding a rotation together. However, Nomo is streaky and pitching a second no hitter, even against the Orioles is impressive, but I bet he hits the wall before the end of the year. Castillo, Paxton, and Ohka are either to old or too unproven. On the DL, they have Saberhagen, who has been injured since 1989, and David Cone proved last year that he is washed up. Conclusion: the Red Sox are one small spark (Everett in general, Nixon or O’Leary start complaining about playing time) away from imploding. While Jimy Williams will do his best to keep this team together, alas this will not the year of the Red Sox.

The Blue Jays, on the other hand, I am impressed with and a bit scared of. They have a potent lineup, which includes Delgado, Mondesi, Stewart, Cruz Jr, Gonzalez, and Fullmer. Round out the lineup with solid producers of Bautista, Bush and Fletcher, and I realize that this is a lineup that can hurt you in one way or another top to bottom. The pitching staff, is coming into its own with Loiza, Carpenter, Michalek, Hamilton and Escobar and one of the league's best closers in Billy Koch. Don’t let anyone fool you, this team is for real. The biggest problem with this team is going to be rookie manager and former broadcaster, Buck Martinez. Now I must admit I don’t understand this recent trend to hire broadcasters and put them in the booth, but if you look at the small sampling (Larry Dierker of the Astros) that have made this move and then look at their playoff records, I am not impressed. Broadcasters may understand the team, since they cover and report on the team everyday. But I don’t think that helps them when it comes to strategy that often needs to be employed in the playoffs and the World Series that you may not need in the AL during the regular season. However, Martinez has surrounded himself with very good baseball people, including Cito Gaston, the former Blue Jay manager who led Toronto to back-to-back World Series titles in 1991-1992. Conclusion: Blue Jays are a legitimate threat to win the division this year and with the schedules it is doubtful that the wild card team will come from the AL East, so they pose a definite threat to the Yankee dynasty.

AL Central, Twins, Indians, White Sox. Regardless of the outcome of the rest of the season, I am so happy that a small market team like the Twins can make such a large impact on the rest of baseball with the way they have played this first month. The Indians are always a concern, but their pitching will prove to be their Achilles heel down the stretch or in the playoffs. I am concerned about the inconsistent play of the White Sox (they are currently in last place behind the AAA Royals and Tigers) and am only mentioning them because of the unbalanced schedules almost assures that the wildcard will come from this division.

I really like the Twins, I am not sure how any baseball fan could not like them. They are a bunch of young kids, being managed by one of the best ever in Tom Kelly. They don’t know that they are supposed to lose like the rest of the teams with similar economic outlooks. They play hard, have fun, and get quality starts from their pitchers which in my opinion these should be the only factors that go into a successful team, but alas we know that is the not the case. They are lucky to play in the AL Central, but they have played the Red Sox and the Yankees straight up so far and have not buckled under those behemoths, which is a good sign for the Twin Cities, and might be bad news for the folks in Cleveland. I think if the Twins make the playoffs, they will be satisfied since no one picked them to be here. I think they have a legitimate shot of making the playoffs, if their pitching remains strong and they are able to keep some of their players (Mientkiewicz, Lawton, Hunter, Guzman, Radke, Milton, and Hawkins) off the DL and injury free. Conclusion: Twins will win the division, but will be like the Oakland A’s last year, not able to get out of the first round. Therefore they don’t pose a threat to the Yankees.

The Indians are a perennial thorn in the Yankees side, but they are getting older and don’t have as much gas left in their tank (depleted minor leagues, huge salaries, etc) to continue for much longer. If you go back to Zisk #1, I proclaimed the eventual demise of the Cleveland organization and it is started last year, with the White Sox winning the AL Central pennant last year and will continue this year with the Twins (even though I forecasted the Tigers rising to the top, well I was half right). That does not mean that they are not a dangerous team, which they continue to be. Juan Gone, Roberto (don’t spit in my face) Alomar, Lofton, Burks, Branyon, Fryman and Thome are still quality hitters and Vizquel is the best defensive SS in the AL. But as always pitching is a problem. Last year The Tribe went out and hired the Yankee Killer, Chuck Finley, but unfortunately he could not consistently kill any other team. Jarret Wright is still injured, as is Charles Nagy. Burba and Colon will get you some quality starts, but I would not want to base my playoff success (or failure in this case) on these chumps. The closer is Yankee and Brewer reject Bob Wickman, how sad. Conclusion: Indians will win the wildcard because they play in the weakest division and because of the experience of the team they should beat any team other than the Yankees in the divisional series, then they will lose to whomever they face in the ALCS.

I have included the White Sox in this analysis, since I believe they are better then their last place record currently indicates. They have kids with playoff experience (Ordonez, Singleton) and veterans that have been through the grind before (Alomar Jr, Clayton, Durham, Baines) and with David Wells, finally have a pitcher that lives for the big time and can have a calming effect on the rest of the young staff. However Wells may never get the chance since they have come out of the blocks stumbling badly. Conclusion: Long shot at wildcard, but since they play the Royals and Tigers a lot of times, and they should hope that the Twins stumble, however in the end not a threat to the Yankees.

AL West, Mariners. I just have to laugh at how mediocre the Rangers are since they spent ¼ of a BILLION (with a B) dollars on one player, and did not spend one dime to upgrade their pitching. Apparently, folks in Texas don’t learn from recent history, that pitching wins games when they count. I understand the economics of signing A-Rod, in that it puts fannies in the seats, but that won’t last if your team is not in contention. On the other hand, the Mariners have lost 3 studs in the last 3 years and have only gotten better. I credit Lou Pinella, who should still be managing the Yankees, with this success. The A’s are young and hungry, but getting killed by the new strike zone, and great expectations of last year.

The Mariners will win the AL West. They are the 1984 Tigers, jumping out to an almost insurmountable lead of 9 games in one month. They have hitting (Edgar, Ichiro, Olerud, Cameron, Boone), they have starting pitching (Garcia, Sele, Moyer, Tomko and Meche) they have relief pitching (Nelson, Paniagua, Rhodes, Charlton, and Sasaki), and serious playoff experience which they showed last year in the ALCS against the Yankees. Conclusion: Yankees better beware, especially after getting swept by these Mariners in Yankee Stadium already this year.


If the Yankees are able to outlast the Blue Jays and win the AL East, they will face the Mariners in the ALCS. The ALCS will go 7 games with the Mariners winning at Safeco Field since they will have home field advantage throughout the AL playoffs. They will be tired and worn after a 7 game series with the Yankees, but I see them prevailing in the World Series against any NL team.

If the Blue Jays win the East, then the Mariners will waltz into their first World Series with relative ease, beating the Indians in the ALCS and win the whole enchilada, embarrassing the NL team.

A Look at the NL--Can Barry Bonds Be Stopped? by Steve Reynolds

The Phillies are in first place.

Okay, take a deep breath and let that sentence sink in.

In fact, maybe you should sit down before you faint.

Yes friends, as of May 31st, 2001, the Phillies have the best record in the senior circuit, and lead the Braves—yes, the ATLANTA BRAVES—by six and a half games. The Phillies lead the NL Champion Mets by 12 games. Perhaps the apocalypse is upon us. Can anyone remember the last time the Phils led their division by this much? (Okay, its 1993, I looked it up.) Why are the perennial underachievers winning this year? Could new manager Larry Bowa be this much of a factor? To quote the magic eight ball, all signs point to yes. Bowa was a scrapper (and a dick) as a player, and these Phils seem to have taken on his personality, always finding a way to win. The Curt Shilling trade, which looked like one of the best steals in recent memory, has evened out. Schilling is thriving in Arizona, while Omar Daal has returned to his 1999 Arizona 16-game winner form.

So how does this sudden turnaround bode for the rest of this season? Let’s grab the magic eight ball and look.

NL East: PhilliesWhy would I believe in this team to win the division? Because it seems the Braves and the Mets have reached the inevitable decline that playoff-bound teams must endure. The Braves decline is traced to one factor—they’re now officially owned by AOL, which cancels out Ted Turner’s magic tomahawk voodoo. The Mets just seem to have gotten really old really fast. Sure Mike Piazza will end up with his 35 home runs and 100 RBI by the end of the season, but Todd Zeile and Edgardo Alfonzo seem to playing with sandbags around their legs. (And the words Steve Trachsel make me fly off the handle. The biggest loser in the big leagues gets sent to the minors, and pitches a seven inning no hitter. And this jackass has the balls to say he was keeping the game ball because, “I don’t care what level you’re at, it’s still something a lot of guys haven’t done.” Well Steve, if it had been a nine-inning game, I bet you would have given up a couple of home runs before it was over.) Only Rick Reed and Tsuyoshi Shinjo are playing at a high level. I admit, I hope I am very, very wrong and that the Mets turn it around and blow past the Phillies and Braves, but it’s a difficult task when a third of the season has gone by and you’re nine games under .500. As for the Expos, they only play well against the Mets, but only 17 wins in a season will get you so far. (And got Felipe Alou fired.)

The hard luck guy of the year is ex-Marlins manager John Boles. Saddled with expectations for the season that were just way too high for the kids he had on the team, Boles got burned after Dan “I have a right to complain even though I’m 0 and 5” Miceli ripped the coaching staff. “They don't make the right moves in the right situations. From the pitching coach to the manager to the assistant manager,” Miceli said. He added, “There are grown men in this locker room who have worked their whole lives to get to the big leagues, and they're not getting the right type of instruction from the staff. Stupid moves.” We don’t count Miceli as one of the grown men.

NL Central: Cardinals, Cubs (wildcard)

Again, I am jumping out on a limb by saying the Cubs will go this far. But I just have the gut feeling that the Cubs are going to make the post-season again. Don Baylor is not a loser, and the team made some nice pick-ups during the off season to fill gaps. The pitching seems to have solidified, and the team isn’t relying on Sammy Sosa to hit a home run every game. The Cards have won without Mark McGwire so far this year, so his return should give the team an emotional and power lift to easily take this division. The Astros and Pittsburgh have their new ballparks, but don’t have the talent this year to stay above the .500 mark. And the Reds are just awful, even worse than the Mets this year, which is saying a lot. All the “homecoming” money they poured into Ken Griffey Jr. has got them nothing but a mediocre club, even when a third of the roster wasn’t on the DL.

NL West: Giants

To quote ESPN’s Dan Patrick, Barry Bonds is “en fuego.” 28 home runs in 53 games is a pace that he probably won’t keep up, but won’t it be fun to watch him try? Jeff Kent won the MVP last year when the Giants won their division—this year Bonds will win his fourth MVP when the Giants repeat.

My favorite quote about the Dodgers:

"If Karros was in a race with a pregnant girl, he'd finish third." —Mets broadcaster Ralph Kiner after slow-footed Dodgers OF Eric Karros legged out a double in a game.

The Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Padres and Rockies have all been surprises this year—because all of them are winning. This could be the most exciting divisional race in years. But in the end, the Giants should outclass this division pretty easily.

NL Champion:

The Cards and Giants both have the talent to go to the series, but I’ll go with the Cards due to their solid pitching depth. In either case, they’ll lose to this year’s juggernaut, the Mariners.

Metropolitan, Straight Up by John Ross Bowie

The thing about Mets fans, my friend Rob is quick to point out, is that they’re not always sports fans. He’s onto something—I love the Mets, and I was really one of those kinda anti-sports kids. Partly out of an aversion to the machismo and violence inherent in high school athletics, but largely due to a vast lack of coordination on my part (it was like I didn’t know where my arms ended). And I’m not a baseball historian—that’s me in the orange seats asking questions like “Where are the Cardinals from? What does RBI stand for? Since when is Coors Light so expensive?”

But The Mets—that’s something different. I was born in Queens. Me and hip-hop and the Mets. I spent the first three years of my life in Rego Park. Now I live in Astoria, not too far from that Greek place on 34th and Broadway. I know, I know, which Greek place? There’s a also a good Greek place on 31st, under the N train before you get to the Dunkin Donuts on the Boulevard . . . See? You don’t care. That’s my point. Nobody cares about Queens. It has neither the glitz of Manhattan nor the bohemian mystique of Brooklyn (I’ll get to the Bronx in a moment, and I will not waste our time with Staten Island). Queens just is. Queens is your cousin who you don’t have a lot in common with but he’s laid back and totally unpretentious and knows where to get a great souvlaki at 3 AM. And the Mets play in Queens. Out near Flushing Meadows Park, which is where my parents met at the ’64 Worlds Fair. 2 years after the Mets franchise started. The Mets have lasted longer than my parents relationship.

Geography plays a big part – ever live in New York City and then visit some place else? People treat you like you’re either a foreign dignitary or a retard. But the key thing is that you are special, you are from New York City. Not America. However, you’ll notice that most of New York City is an archipelago, and the Bronx (where the Yankees play) is part of the mainland. And might as well be in Nebraska for all I fucking care.

The Yankees are repugnant. I was an English major, I’m a working actor now, and the Yankees make for lousy drama. 25 World Series? 3 in the past 4 years? That’s boring. That’s like a shitty movie where you can guess the outcome by the first plot point. The Yankees date Mariah Carey. The Yankees are very clearly the bad guys, the Goliath, the Grendel without the sympathy vote.

The Mets were, for a period of time during their fascinating 90’s, the only team in Major League Baseball with two Japanese starting pitchers. They currently employ two players from the Dominican Republic and one from Venezuela (Edgardo Alfonzo, who my research tells me, leads the National League in second basing.) They've got the boars tooth toting Turk Wendell. They’ve got the sheer batting ferocity of Benny Agbayani, whose name is Benny Agbayani. They’ve got the wisdom of John Franco who’s actually from New York City!!! And even still lives here!!! They still sort of have Rey Ordonez, a Cuban Refugee who missed most of this season because he fractured something called an ‘ulna’!!! They’ve got Jay Payton, who took a fastball to the head in game 5 against St. Louis and charged the mound, because only a pussy stops to see if he’s really hurt!!! They’ve got Timo Perez, who’s so new his name doesn’t even have a hotlink on the Mets website!!! I’ve done my homework!!! And a few years ago they made baseball and mental health history by putting Pete Harnisch on the Disabled List for DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY!!! How can you not love this team?

The Mets are not my team because they (finger quotes) “win a lot of games” The Mets are my team because they have drama, pathos, diversity and Mike Piazza. And no matter what happens this week in Queens or on the mainland, the Mets have me.

If You Put A Glove To Your Ear, You Can Hear The…Music! By Mark Hughson

Baseball and music - how much do they relate to one another? Sure there have been actual releases of “Baseball Music” (The Songs of the Mets, Baseball’s Greatest Hits etc), but those songs were originally recorded mostly for sportsy-novelty effect and are now documented mostly for historicism.  What I am talking about are the natural (though sometimes odd) ways that baseball and music have been connected.

Every game starts with the “Star Spangled Banner,” every 7th inning with “Take Me Out To The Ball Game.”  Every half inning, pitching change, and rain delay has a special melody, whether it be “Surfin’ U.S.A.,” “Hey Hey Na Na Kiss Em Goodbye,” or possibly, if the music coordinator is clever/evil enough, Milli Vanilli’s “Blame It On The Rain.”  And what about the organ? The organ player in an old time stadium was like God. If he wanted 50,000 people to chant “CHARGE!” he could make it so. Of course the organ player of today’s games is really a Yamaha X-1200 hooked up to a computer and sound system, but we still get to hear those rousing, building chords – dah dah dah dah, dah dah dah dah. Nickel beer nights and other ridiculous promotional events come and go.  But the music has and will always stay.

Did you know that pitcher Denny McLain, in 1968, won 31 games for the Detroit Tigers?!!!?  (Ok, so you probably knew that - BUT!)  Did you also know that Denny recorded and released numerous organ music LPs, one of which was called Denny McLain In Las Vegas?  Stunning lounge-act renditions of “The Girl From Impanema” and “Mediation”…

So maybe I’m shooting a dead horse here (how does that phrase go?)  We know that music and baseball are related.  Anyone can see the superficial associations.  Here, I have compiled a list of baseball-music commonalities that go to a much deeper level:

-Both music and games have a “tempo”

-Every batter, pitcher, or game has a “rhythm”

-Both musicians and ballplayers can have “hits”

-Old school pitchers used the spitball, old school punk rockers spit.

-“Stadium Rock” is a genre of music

- The paradigm of the Major Leagues and the Minor Leagues is disturbingly similar to the interplay of Major Labels and “Minor”/Indie labels.

-Just about every major leaguer has a trading card to collect.  So do NSYNC, The New Kids On The Block, Michael Jackson, The Monkees, etc.

-Baseball has John Rocker, music has Eminem.

-Music is a form of art.  Baseball is a form of art. Just ask Ozzie Smith.

-Rapper/Superstar/Late 80’s icon M.C. Hammer was at one time the bat boy for the Oakland Athletics.

-Both baseball players and cheesy novelty radio dj’s break records.

-Rookie pitchers learn how to cover the bag.  Rookie NOFX-wannabe punks learn how to cover “The Bag.”

…Moving on, we come to the section of this piece that I like to call -

Baseball Related Music Material – There Is A Standard

The theme of baseball can be seen on numerous music releases.  However, one must be able to weed out the meager, half-assed connections in order to delve into some real baseballized albums. Below are some typical “external” music-baseball links. - Both the super power pop punk band 30 Amp Fuse and the extremely mediocre punk band Black Train Jack have used pictures of pitchers on their covers – but so what?  These are respectable attempts but nothing deeper than a cool retro pic to add to the aesthetics of the album. - The talented and humorous Canadian group Moxy Fruvous mentions the Sky Dome in one of their songs, and the talented and overrated Beastie Boys name drop Shea Stadium.  Although a case can be made that both bands are paying tribute to their native cities and teams, the real purpose for citing those stadiums was for the rhyme.

And now, it is my honor to present to you an album that is the quintessential example of music-baseball relations – the musician: Matt The Electrician, the album: Baseball Song.

First take a look at the overall visual presentation.  Carl Sever, who played for the 1932 San Francisco Seals, adorns the cover.  Carl Sever is Matt’s grandfather.  The back of the album is a collage made with a 1960 San Francisco Giants program, with song titles filling up the lineup slots.  It has also has a 1985 Topps Greg Minton baseball card. The cd itself has an imprint of a baseball on it, with realistic seams and smudges.  Printed throughout the insert, along with song lyrics, are little league pictures of Matt himself, his wife Kathie, Tom Pearson, the bass player, and Dave Sanger, who played drums for the album.  Dave is also the drummer for the country-swing band Asleep At The Wheel.  These pictures not only contribute to the overall baseball appearance of the album, they also show a true baseball background.  Baseball is in their roots. Baseball is in their blood.

Moving on to more connections...Although said to be coincidence, I have a suspicion that the song order is supposed to parallel the lineup of a  baseball team.  There are nine songs.  The first two songs are strong and fast numbers.  The third, fourth, and fifth songs are, in my opinion, the best songs on the album.  The end of the album, though still very good, eases the pace a little.  The eighth track is called “Goodbye,” and it’s pretty much the farewell song, followed by the utility player or perhaps pitcher covering the band Ed’s Redeeming Qualities’ “Buck Tempo.”

Continuing to one of the most important baseball-related features of Baseball Song, is the title track itself.  The song begins with a hint of  the “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” melody.  If you close your eyes, and listen to the lyrics, you’ll find yourself right there in the bleachers.  A fun, lazy, day with your sweetheart.  Nothing else matters, except being there, and being with her.  A beautiful, brilliant song that truly captures the essence of a day spent at the park.

Later on in the album, we come across the up-tempo “Too Late To Change.” The song is a great proclamation of independence and a positive look on the future.  How could a baseball fan not love this verse?

“I’ll be a pitcher for the San Francisco Giants.

And my fork ball with defy the laws of physics

and I’ll get the second recorded perfect

            game in world series history.

The President of the United States will call,

He’ll say thank you Matt, you’ve saved baseball.”

Last and certainly not least, I have some words to share from the man himself – Matt (“The Electrician”) Sever.  He sums it all up better than I could…

“Carl Sever primarily played shortstop, occasionally third base...while playing with the SF Seals, he was the lead-off batter and Joe DiMaggio hit clean up…the nine songs/nine players kinda worked out for us, but was purely coincidental to begin did help with the baseball motif though, don't ya' think?.....”

“Mostly, I'm not much of a stats guy...I've never been good at remembering lots of information about any given thing...however, I don't look down on those that can...I wish that I knew what Ted Williams batting average was for his rookie season, and I think that those who do know are very cool, without exception....but I've always loved the feeling that I get from baseball, much like the feeling I get from playing music...kind of unadulterated fun....I find these days that I have more fun playing softball than watching most pro games, but I am still a sucker for the roar of the crowd and all that...and the whole feeling behind Baseball Song was, don't give up on the game just because there's some corruption in it...I know that's very 'field-of-dreams', but I'm kind of a romantic about the purity of institutions that I hold dear...any way, sorry about the rambling horseshit, but I hope that helps...” 

It certainly does Matt.  It’s all music to my ears…

[To order Baseball Song, go to]