Sam

Posts Tagged ‘world series’

The Old Met

In Uncategorized on December 29, 2010 at 6:07 pm

The Metrodome has been in the news lately. The roof collapsed after a heavy snowfall in the Minneapolis-St Paul area earlier this month forcing the Vikings to move their remaining two home games to another venue. And I read today that hundreds of high school and college baseball games, as well as the Twins winter workouts, will have to be moved or subject to cancellation because the damage will not be repaired until March.

I have always regarded the Metrodome with particular disdain, one reason being that it displaced a venerable stadium in Metropolitan Stadium. Metropolitan Stadium was home to the Twins and Vikings for many years and the scene of some memorable Games including the 1965 All star game and World Series, as well countless Vikings playoff games. It was one of those picturesque stadiums of the 1960s, with grass and fences, as opposed to astro-turf and walls, a look which came to dominate stadiums in the mid-1970s and 1980s. For this reason, Metropolitan Stadium was always one of my favorite venues for the NBC Saturday Game Of The Week.

The great Vikings teams of the 60s and 70s were synonymous with Metropolitan stadium. When I think back to those teams I see the barren playing field, the snow piled up on the sidelines and Alan Page’s vaporized breath as he stands in the huddle.

I never understood why Metropolitan Stadium ceased to be good enough for the Twins and why the Vikings suddenly could no longer play in cold weather. By 1980 the stadium was in need of repairs but renovations -along the lines of the the old Yankee Stadium remodeling from 1973-1976 – could have been undertaken. Instead Metropolitan Stadium fell victim to the civic craze for domed sports and entertainment facilities.

I have often considered re-locating to Minneapolis. I am not sure Tokyo is right for me and California, my home state, is in crisis. In Minnesota I am sure I would find solid midwestern, American values, good schools and affordable home prices. The cold winters do not bother me. Were Metropolitan Stadium still in use I would be there in a heartbeat.

As long as the Metrodome stands, however, the move is on hold.

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Catchers masks; then and now

In Uncategorized on October 29, 2010 at 11:59 pm

Watching Buster Posey in the World Series, I cannot help but recall the old days when catchers would just flip around their batting helmet before putting on their catcher’s mask and that would be all the protection they needed behind the plate. That has become something of a classic look nowadays as so many catchers, like Posey, have gone to the” hockey style” catcher’s mask, a mask which looks like it was developed not in the musty office of an aging Rawlings sales rep but  in a aero-dynamics lab on an American university campus somewhere. For the old school baseball fan, like myself, who grew up watching austere receivers like Johnny Bench or Bill Freehan the new mask is an eyesore and just another useless accessory, like the ankle guard or personalized wrist band, that threatens the visual simplicity of the game.

And then there are the special oversized helmets for players who have suffered a head injury or concussion, like David Wright, or Francisco Cervelli. Every time I see Cervelli in that ridiculously oversized helmet I cannot help but think of  Marvin the Martian from the old Bugs Bunny cartoons.  I wonder how would Freddie Patek, all 5’4″ of  him would  have looked in one of those ?

This proliferation of specialized helmets is, I suspect, a reflection of our over-protective society and baseball’s propensity in recent years to fashion a new look for itself in an effort to attract younger fans.  Fortunately, I have not met anyone who likes this trend.

San Francisco was once a good baseball town.

In Uncategorized on October 23, 2010 at 8:56 pm

There was an article in the San Francisco Chronicle a few days ago about the insanely astronomical prices of World Series tickets. According to the article prices on one popular website tickets for Game 1 in San Francisco run from $ 390.00 for standing room up to $ 91,000 for a premium box seat behind the plate or dugout ( yes, folks, that’s ninety-one thousand dollars to watch a ballgame ). On another website mentioned in the article prices were more “reasonable,” starting at about $500 for standing room and going up to about $12,000 for a prime seat. Oddly enough, while the Giants themselves sanction this type of activity on websites like Stub Hub, where season ticket holders sell their tickets usually for two or three times the face value. if you go to AT&T Park you will see signs outside prohibiting scalping. Don’t ever ask the Giants about this and expect to get an answer. I have tried.

San Francisco used to be a fan-friendly baseball town, meaning you could always walk up to the box office on the day of the game and get a ticket. Even for playoff games tickets were available to the general public ( this term no longer means everyone unfortunately but your average working stiff who is making under $40.000 and sending his kids to an under-performing public school because that is all he can afford ) Unfortunately all this has changed since the team moved to AT&T Park. Locating the ballpark on the edge of the Financial District has attracted a new demographic to Giants games: The Yuppie. Because the Yuppie tends not to be knowlegable about baseball and thinks nothing of spending a hundred dollars for a ticket, he/she is targeted by the ticket broker who buys up all the seats. This is the law of supply and demand at its most basic. Yuppie demands, Ticket broker supplies. Price increases.

All the while, the people who really make the city run, the people who have lived in San Francisco most of their lives, the people who have paid taxes and raised their children in San Francisco, the people who spent their childhoods at Candlestick and know who Jim Ray Hart is, the Muni drivers, the clerks at City Hall, the concierges at the city’s hotels are priced out of enjoying a ballgame.

There is something just not right about this.

Interleague Play; not for the connoisseur

In Pet Peeves on June 30, 2009 at 8:09 am

Well, another season of inter-league play has ended. The world is right again. The Giants are playing the Cards, The A’s are playing the Tigers, The Red Sox are playing the Orioles etc etc.

Inter-league play is something I wish would just go away.  It has not only deprived the World Series of considerable mystique – there used to be much anticipation before the Series because it was the first time teams from the AL and NL met in any given season excluding an occasional match up in Spring Training – but inter-league play has generally sucked the romance out of the game.

In the “old days”  if you followed a National League team you did not even remotely consider the American League.  If you grew up in NY, for example, and were a Mets fan you followed the Mets and probably never even so much as glanced at an AL box score. Heated arguments would arise occasionly with your friends who were Yankees fans, about which was the better league, the NL or the AL ?  But that was the great unknown and in this respect baseball mirrored life in that there were some questions we would never have the answers to. For an 11 year old kid the question of whether the NL or the AL was the superior league was as important as the question of whether there was life after death ? Call it the Beauty of the Unknown.

Ah..the good old days…when the AL teams played only AL teams and the NL teams played only NL teams. And then in October the best AL team would meet the best NL team in a 7 game series. There was a purity to this arrangement.  It was as classic as Scotch on the Rocks. Interleague play, on the other hand, resembles a Long Island Ice Tea, a drink popular with tourists and frat boys, but most definitely not something for the connoisseur.