Happy National Bobblehead Day!
As far as I can tell, this is a day that was made-up by the folks who are putting together the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum. They are actually pretty organized – they have a strong social media presence, are selling memberships, have a Kickstarter campaign, and have even gotten some bobblehead donations from the Miami Marlins.
Speaking of bobbleheads, I’ll be keeping an eye out for the 2015 promotional schedules. In fact, the Milwaukee Brewers have already announced that this year they will be giving out a whopping ten bobbleheads, as well as two gnomes. Of course, the guys at the National Bobblehead HoF and Museum already have a pretty good list on their website. But my annual list will focus solely on baseball.
[Note: National Bobblehead Day should not be confused with Britain’s Bobble Hat Day (you know – winter hats with balls of yarn on top or hats like Santa’s) that occurred on December 10, 2014, to raise awareness about child abuse, or National Bobble Day which occurred on February 7 last year. (It’s unclear if National Bobble Day will be replicated this year. It was all about raising funds to help older people keep warm during the winter. The idea was to wear or do something warm. According to the website, “This could be as simple as wearing a bobble hat to work or school, or hosting a warming morning selling tea, cakes or soup to raise funds.” They also recommend wearing wacky sweaters (“jumpers”), “sparkly legwarmers,” or other items of warm clothing to bring attention to the issue.) (And, in case you were wondering, January 7 is also National Tempura Day.)]
To start off 2015, I did a quick survey of baseball-related Facebook pages to see how teams and baseball organizations rang in the new year. By far, the Orioles had the best posts, not that I’m biased or anything…
Happy 2015! And stay tuned for more baseball sociology in the coming year!
According to the Baltimore Sun, Orioles’ third baseman, Manny Machado, married his girlfriend, Yainee Alonso, last weekend. No details yet on where it was, though WBAL surmised it was at a courthouse. Looks to me like this is on some sort of yacht. Originally, the plan, according to USA Today, was they’d marry on December 6 in Paris, but maybe Adam Jones’ Paris proposal to his fiancée last year upstaged them.
Congrats, Manny and Yainee!
(Photos courtesy of the The Baltimore Sun and Baltimore Magazine.)
This year, it won’t be hard for me to choose who to root for in the postseason (Go O’s!! Go Nats!!). For others, there are several things to consider in their postseason support decisions. Major news outlets, naturally, are full of opinions on this topic. So, if, for some reason, you aren’t rooting for the Baltimore Orioles or Washington Nationals, here are some helpful tips:
Lamenting the absence of the New York Yankees in the postseason, The New York Times discusses who to root for in the post season (of course, I think the O’s and the Nats should be much higher on their list):
Not to be outdone, The Wall Street Journal also has rated the postseason contenders with their “Hateability Index.” On that scale, the O’s and Nats should be lower:
NBC Sports’ Hardball Talk joined the game with their reasons for and against rooting for the AL and NL teams:
Whomever you root for (pick the O’s) this posteason (pick the Nats), may you enjoy every game!
Happy postseason, y’all!
The perfect combination of great music and excellent baseball knowledge is really hard to find. Sure, there have been some great songs about baseball. But how many people have put together three albums of historically accurate and socially conscious songs about baseball?
Last Thursday I had the pleasure of seeing The Baseball Project perform live in Washington, D.C. Most folks might think that what makes them a great band is that they are a supergroup made up of members of famous bands, including R.E.M., the Minus 5, the Young Fresh Fellows, and the Dream Syndicate. (The band members are Peter Buck, Mike Mills, Scott McCaughey, Steve Wynn, and Linda Pitmon.) However, what makes The Baseball Project so amazing is that they really know their baseball.
For example, included on their most recent album, 3rd, is a song called “The Day That Dock Went Hunting Heads.” The song is about a game on May 1, 1974, between the Dock Ellis’ Pittsburgh Pirates and the Cincinnati Reds. It was the first game of the season between the two teams. As The Baseball Project says, the box score tells it all. To fire up his team that day, Ellis hit the first three batters in the Reds’ lineup – Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, and Dan Driessen. Ellis claimed that he tried to hit the next two batters, Tony Perez and Johnny Bench, as well. (As the song goes, “Yeah, it really happened that way.”) After that, Ellis was taken out of the game. Supposedly, Ellis’ plan worked anyway. According to the Baseball Reliquary, “the Pirates snapped out of their lethargy to win a division title in 1974, while the Reds failed to win their division for the first time in three years.” (Or, according to the song, “That was the turning point in the Buccos’ year.”)
Perhaps my favorite song on 3rd, is “Hola America,” which is about one of my favorite topics, Cuban defector baseball players:
Other songs addressing my favorite baseball social concerns include, “Gratitude (For Curt Flood),” “Jackie’s Lament,” and “They Don’t Know Henry.” And despite the fact that they have no songs specifically about the Orioles, these guys definitely make the list of my favorite teams – or, bands!
A funny thing happened at the ballpark the other day – we kept seeing Expos fans. Now, this is not an uncommon experience at Nationals Park, home of the Washington Nationals (who were once the Montreal Expos). But in New York? When the Mets weren’t even playing the Nats?
Aside from the unusual concentration of Expos hats, jerseys, and tees in the stands, there were also occasional chants of “Let’s Go Expos!” Again, since they weren’t playing the Nats, we were very confused.
It is here where my typical U.S. ignorance of Canada comes into play. Besides pining for their wayward Expos, Canadian baseball fans are pretty darn organized and quite determined to do something about their loss. I had no idea. And it turns out that July 12 was “Expos Day.” The Mets even had a special page on their website for purchasing tickets to the event.
There are at least two official organizations that have been created to keep the memory of Montreal baseball alive and bring a team back to the city. ExposNation, a non-profit organization, states it is officially recognized by the Baseball Hall of Fame and the Major League Players Alumni Association. They sponsor Expos Day and other events. They have worked closely with other entities, such as the Montreal Baseball Project and Baseball Canada in their efforts to bring baseball back to Montreal.
The goal of the Montreal Baseball Project is “to build upon the recent groundswell of demand for baseball in Montreal and deliver a team back to the community.” The organization is led by Warren Cromartie, who played for the Expos between 1974 and 1983. Last year, the organization, along with Montreal’s Board of Trade, sponsored a feasibility study to determine whether a new MLB team in Montreal would be financially viable. The answer was yes, but it would cost about $1.025 billion ($525 million to acquire a team and another $500 million to build a stadium). The next steps are to develop a business plan and find local backers for the team.
Even MLB Commissioner Bud Selig acknowledged the work of groups in Montreal. Noting that 95,000 people attended the two exhibition games in Montreal this spring, Selig said, “‘They did very, very well. Very pleased and proud of what they have done.’”
I know that one of my greatest regrets as a baseball fan is not getting see a game at Olympic Stadium in Montreal. Sure, I got to Montreal in November 2004 and toured the stadium, but baseball was already gone. At least the Expos ended up in D.C. with me. But imagine how the typical Expos fan feels. Now I feel a little guilty for being a Nats fan.
But only a little guilty…
What comes to mind when you think of Independence Day? Most people think the Declaration of Independence, patriotism, and freedom. Others think – baseball! I’ll be celebrating our Nation’s birthday with, at a minimum, a semi-simultaneous quadruple header: Nats v. Cubs at 11:05, O’s v. Red Sox at 1:35, Yankees v. Twins at 3:10, and Tigers v. Rays at 7:08.
However you celebrate, have a great holiday!
But if you wanna watch some baseball this weekend, the national broadcast schedule is below!
|Fri, Jul 4||11:05 am||Chicago Cubs||Washington Nationals||MLBN|
|Fri, Jul 4||3:10 pm||New York Yankees||Minnesota Twins||ESPN2|
|Fri, Jul 4||7:08 pm||Tampa Bay Rays||Detroit Tigers||ESPN|
|Sat, Jul 5||4:10 pm||Arizona Diamondbacks||Atlanta Braves||FS1|
|Sat, Jul 5||7:15 pm||Baltimore Orioles||Boston Red Sox||FOX|
|Sat, Jul 5||7:15 pm||Texas Rangers||New York Mets||FOX|
|Sat, Jul 5||7:15 pm||San Francisco Giants||San Diego Padres||FOX|
|Sat, Jul 5||10:05 pm||Toronto Blue Jays||Oakland Athletics||MLBN|
|Sat, Jul 5||10:05 pm||Houston Astros||Los Angeles Angels||MLBN|
|Sun, Jul 6||2:10 pm||New York Yankees||Minnesota Twins||TBS|
|Sun, Jul 6||8:00 pm||Tampa Bay Rays||Detroit Tigers||ESPN|
Yesterday, I gleefully left work an hour early to make sure I got to Nationals Park in time to get one of the 25,000 precious Bryce Harper bobbleheads. I was not going to have another Jayson Werth experience.
Of course, when I told my boss I needed to leave early and why, he merely laughed and said, “last year on Bryce Harper bobblehead day people stood in line for three hours.” After a brief moment of panic, I returned to my sense. If I can’t get one of 25,000 bobbleheads by getting to the game two hours early, there’s something wrong with this town. Still slightly worried, I got to the ballpark around 5 p.m. I immediately looked through the gates to see if I could see any bobbleheads. There were HUGE stacks of them on several tables. Of course, I couldn’t completely relax until they placed little bobbling Bryce in my hand.
The funny thing is, in the fourth inning, Bryce did an excellent impression of his own bobblehead! After hitting a single (to drive in the first run of the game), Harper hustled to second base, losing his helmet in the process:
Naturally, I wasn’t the only one who noticed life imitating art. The Washington Post put together a nice little montage to commemorate the event: “Nationals’ Bryce Harper looks just like his bobblehead in return from DL.”
After three years, I still don’t have a Jayson Werth bobblehead. I guess I should have seen it coming. But I really thought if we got there an hour and half early, we would get one. Even if they only handed out 1,000. But too many factors intervened. Strike 3, I’m out (of a Jayson Werth bobblehead, that is).
What I didn’t know, and didn’t think to check the website for an update, was that the previous night’s double header at the Potomac Nationals was cut short by rain. So, Saturday turned into a double header, too, with game 1 starting at 5:30 pm. The gates didn’t open until 5 pm, but with traffic we didn’t get there until about 5:30. By then, the parking lot was pretty full, so we probably didn’t get up to the gates until closer to 5:40. And at that point, it was way too late. Rumor has it that they were all gone in 10 minutes.
Minor league teams generally only give out a handful of bobbleheads. So, I know I always need to be there at least one hour before game time. One and a half hours is usually my goal. But with traffic, the change in game time, and other things to attend to on Saturday, we just didn’t get there early enough.
This was my third attempt to get a Jayson Werth bobblehead, having tried and failed to get one in Frederick and Bowie a few years ago. And this one was cool and creepy all at the same time! (And they’re listed for $30 to $145 on ebay right now.) It’s like I wasn’t meant to have one. He’s not even my favorite Nationals player – I already have my Gio Gonzalez and Wilson Ramos bobbleheads. But its my obsession now. I must have a Jayson Werth bobblehead.
Hopefully next year someone else will have a Jayson Werth bobblehead. And I’ll be in line 2 hours early.