Forty years ago today, this happened:
On April 25, 1976, Rick Monday, outfielder for the Chicago Cubs and former Marine, saved the American flag from protesters who were attempting to set it on fire in the outfield at Dodger Stadium. (Click here to see the famous photo of the event.) According to the Los Angeles Times and the blog Misc. Baseball, William Thomas was charged with trespassing and released three days later. Thomas claimed he was trying to make a statement about his wife’s imprisonment in a mental institution.
Tomorrow the D.C. Padres will play their first game of the season. Who are the D.C. Padres, you ask? They are a baseball team made up of Catholic priests and seminarians of the Archdiocese of Washington. They play against local high school teams at venues – including minor league ballparks – in the DC metropolitan area. The purpose of the team is to encourage vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
The team has been around since 2011 – it was formed by Father Larry Young, current pastor of Ascension Catholic Church in Bowie, MD. The team is modeled after the D.C. Hood (as in priesthood), a basketball team in the archdiocese comprised of priests and seminarians. Both teams use their games as an opportunity to talk about vocations – for example, the Padres use the third inning stretch to say a prayer and talk about religious vocations. Check out their video from the Archdiocese of Washington:
Even if you aren’t religious, its still good baseball. I first heard of the Padres a few years ago from my parish priest. They were playing after the Baysox game that afternoon, so we decided to attend. I think I’ll go back this year, too. The Padres have three games scheduled this season:
- Sunday April 24th, vs. Paul VI High School at 4 p.m.
- Sunday May 8th, vs. St. Mary’s Ryken High School at Regency Furniture Stadium, home the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs (the Padres play after the Blue Crabs’ game, which is at 2 p.m.)
- Sunday August 28th, vs. Bishop McNamara High School at Prince George’s Stadium (after the Bowie Baysox game, which is at 2 p.m.)
On April 21, 1910, Cleveland’s “new” League Park opened in Cleveland, Ohio. Originally opened in 1891 as a wood structure, the park was rebuilt using concrete and steel in 1910. From its opening in 1891 through the 1899 season, League Park was home to the Cleveland Spiders of the National League. In 1900 it housed the Western League’s Cleveland Lake Shores, who became the Cleveland Indians in 1901 when the American League was born. The Indians played at League Park from 1901 to 1946, splitting games between Municipal Stadium and League Park between 1936 and 1946 before officially moving to Municipal Stadium for the 1947 season. Other teams to play there were the Cleveland Buckeyes of the Negro American League (1943-1948, 1950), and several NFL and college teams.
Several historic events occurred at League Park, including:
- Addie Joss’ perfect game, 1908
- The first World Series grand slam, hit by Elmer Smith in 1920
- The first World Series home run by a pitcher, hit by Jim Bagby in 1920
- Babe Ruth’s 500th home run, 1929
- Bob Feller’s first win, 1936
- Joe DiMaggio’s final game of his 56-game hitting streak, 1941
Today the site houses the Baseball Heritage Museum, a new field where the old one once stood, and a community park. The ticket booth of League Park was restored and reopened as the museum in 2014. The mission of the museum is “to preserve and present the history of diversity in baseball by entertaining, educating, and enlightening the visiting public about the multicultural heritage of baseball and the values it represents.”
Happy Birthday, League Park!
Today is Jackie Robinson Day. Throughout major and minor league baseball, players will be wearing uniform no. 42 to honor Jackie Robinson’s contributions to baseball and the nation. In Vero Beach, FL, Minor League Baseball and the Florida State League will hold its third annual Jackie Robinson Celebration Dodgertown. The Brevard County Manatees will play the Lucie Mets.
On Monday, the new Ken Burns’ documentary, “Jackie Robinson,” premiered on PBS. Also, MLB announced on Monday that it will sponsor 30 Jackie Robinson Foundation scholars (4-year funding for each, one for every MLB team) and it will contribute $1 million to the Jackie Robinson Museum, to be opened some day in New York.
Here are just a few more Robinson-related tributes planned for Friday:
- The baseball team at UCLA, where Robinson went to college, will wear special edition Robinson-era “throwback jerseys” as well as cleats provided by Adidas.
- Adidas will provide their special edition baseball cleats the UCLA baseball team as well as the MLB players who represent Adidas. The shoes feature newspaper-style headlines on the uppers and Jackie Robinson’s #42 embroidered on the side.
- Beginning today, Jackie Robinson’s contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers will be on display at the New York Historical Society before moving on to other cities.
- Several MLB and MiLB will be celebrating Jackie Robinson Day with special promotions and activities. The Los Angeles Dodgers, for example, will be giving away a replica Jackie Robinson jersey. The AA Lehigh Valley IronPigs will have a life-size, hand-carved wood statue of Robinson at their game as well as other promotions.
- The Negro Southern League Museum (NSLM) and the Birmingham Barons in Birmingham, Alabama, will celebrate Jackie Robinson day with a marching band and other festivities at the NSLM followed by a Barons game at Regions Field, which is adjacent to the museum.
- The City of Philadelphia will formally honor Jackie Robinson, having recently passed a resolution to celebrate April 15, 2016, “as a day honoring the lifetime achievements and lasting influence of Jackie Robinson and apologizing for the racism he faced as a player while visiting Philadelphia.”
- Also in Philly, the Business Association of West Parkside will hold its annual Jackie Robinson Day festivities, which include a ceremony at the Philadelphia Stars Negro League Memorial Park (at Belmont and Parkside avenues). The entire event will be broadcast live on Philadelphia’s WURD (900 AM). At the event, there will be a rededication of the Jackie Robinson mural.
- The National Baseball Hall of Fame will offer a guided tour of their “Pride and Passion” exhibit and a screening of the movie “42.”
- And, last but not least, it appears that Huston-Tollotson University in Decatur, GA, has issued a resolution honoring Jackie Robinson.
In the bottom of the first, Reggie hit a 3-run home run off of the White Sox’ Wilbur Wood. As should have been expected, the crowd began throwing their Reggie bars onto the field and chanting “Reggie!” as Jackson rounded the bases. Presumably not all 44,667 fans in attendance threw them on the ground (some of the early arrivers probably ate them before or during the pre-game ceremonies for Maris and Mantle), but there were enough to require only a slight delay while the grounds crew scooped them all up.
The White Sox players were not amused. Later, Reggie would say that he was at first concerned that the fans did not like the candy bar. But they were just celebrating the home run and the beginning of their team’s World Series-winning season.
Tonight’s the night for the big PBS premiere of Ken Burns’ new documentary, “Jackie Robinson.” The two-parter airs on PBS at 9 and 11 pm (Eastern) tonight and tomorrow night. It also will be repeated a few more times over the next couple weeks (though not always at convenient times, like 2:30 am). All I’ve seen is the various promo trailers – nine different ones are posted on the PBS YouTube page. Several more are on the PBS website. They even showed them during Spring Training games this year.
Have you ever really wanted to see something but simultaneously feared you might be disappointed? I get that way with stories of monumental importance when they are made into movies and documentaries. I still have the movie “42” sitting on the shelf with my other DVDs still in its plastic wrapper. I want to watch it, but don’t want to feel let down. I feel the same way about books about Jackie Robinson. The first and best book I ever read about Robinson was the classic, Baseball’s Great Experiment, by Jules Tygiel. I have many other books by and about Robinson on my bookshelf. But I’m afraid they won’t be as good as Tygiel’s.
Nonetheless, I’ll try to remember to watch the PBS documentary tonight. Jackie’s that important.
It was the first week of the MLB and MiLB 2016 season and there were a LOT of great articles, tweets, videos, and posts. However, this was the BEST video posted this week… Meet the Norfolk Tides’ new Mascot, Titan:
Have a great week, everyone!
The first bobblehead of the season was given out Thursday – Trout and Pujols. But don’t worry – if you missed out, there are plenty more to come. Major League Baseball teams are giving away a total of 192 bobbleheads and gnomes this year, though several require fans to purchase special tickets to obtain them. I’ll post the minor league bobblehead list next week.
|Date||Team||Bobble or Gnome|
|7-Apr||Angels||Trout and Pujols HR Bobblehead|
|10-Apr||Brewers||1980s Vintage Bobblehead|
|10-Apr||Rockies||Nolan Arenado Diamond Leader Bobblehead|
|16-Apr||Marlins||Charles Johnson 1997 All-Star Bobblehead|
|16-Apr||Rays||Kiermaier Platinum Glove Bobblehead|
|17-Apr||Pirates||Josh Harrison gnome|
|19-Apr||Cardinals||Adam Wainright mini bobble (special tix)|
|19-Apr||Rangers||Jeff Banister AL Manager of the Year Bobblehead|
|19-Apr||Red Sox||Mookie Betts|
|22-Apr||Giants||Juli Inskter (World Golf Hall of Famer) bobblehead (special tix)|
|23-Apr||Braves||Skip Caray and Pete Van Wieren “Famous Calls” bobblehead|
|23-Apr||Giants||Matt Duffy bobblehead|
|23-Apr||Reds||Joey Votto Super Hero Bobblehead|
|23-Apr||Tigers||“April in the D” Detroit Tigers Retro-Style Bobblehead|
|23-Apr||White Sox||Abreu Plush Bleacher Creature|
|24-Apr||Blue Jays||Josh Donaldson MVP Bobblehead|
|26-Apr||Giants||Year of the Monkey Figurine (special tix)|
|30-Apr||A’s||Sean Doolittle Gnome with sound|
|30-Apr||Brewers||Jonathan Lucroy Superhero Bobblehead (special tix required)|
|30-Apr||Cardinals||Trevor Rosenthal Bobblehead with sound chip|
|30-Apr||Cubs||Ron Santo Replica Statue|
|30-Apr||Dodgers||Justin Turner Chia Pet|
|30-Apr||Mariners||Nelson Cruz “Boomstick” Bobblehead|
|30-Apr||Rays||Archer K-Counter Bobblehead|
|1-May||Brewers||Ryan Braun Franchise Home Run Leader Bobblehead|
|3-May||Cardinals||Jeff Suppan mini bobble (special tix)|
|5-May||Giants||Lou Seal/Cinco de Mayo bobblehead (special tix)|
|6-May||Giants||Brandon Crawford (fans receive either a Silver Slugger or Gold Glove bobblehead)|
|7-May||Astros||Dallas Keuchel “Cy Young/Gold Glove” Bobblehead|
|7-May||Giants||Giants-themed Captain America bobblehead (special tix)|
|7-May||Marlins||Jeff Conine 1995 All-Star Bobblehead|
|7-May||Reds||Star Wars X-Wing Fighter Mr. Redlegs Bobblehead|
|7-May||White Sox||Chris Sale K-Counter Bobbblehead|
|10-May||Red Sox||David Price|
|14-May||Rangers||Rougned Odor Bobblehead|
|17-May||Cardinals||Chris Duncan mini bobble (special tix)|
|20-May||Angels||Trout Wall Catch Figurine|
|20-May||Cardinals||Yadier Molina garden gnome|
|21-May||Marlins||Ichiro Suzuki Hit-Counter Bobblehead|
|21-May||Pirates||“Raise the Jolly Roger” bobblehead|
|21-May||Reds||Ken Griffey Jr. Dual Bobblehead|
|22-May||A’s||Josh Reddick bobblehead|
|23-May||Nationals||Max Scherzer No-Hitter Bobblehead, Piece #1 of 2|
|24-May||Cardinals||David Eckstein mini bobble (special tix)|
|28-May||Braves||Chipper Jones and Freddie Freeman “Chipper Rescues Freddie” ATV bobblehead|
|29-May||Blue Jays||Delgado, Bautista, and Wells Trio Bobblehead|
|29-May||Brewers||Kids’ Paint-Your-Own Bernie Bobblehead|
|29-May||Rangers||Blue Dot Bobblehead, 1 in a series of 3|
|4-Jun||Astros||Colby Rasmus 2015 Postseason Celebration Bobblehead|
|4-Jun||Cardinals||Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina “Final Out” Dual Bobblehead|
|4-Jun||Marlins||Mike Lowell 2003 All-Star Bobblehead|
|9-Jun||Brewers||Brewers mascot Barrelman bobblehead wearing a knit sweater (for stitch ‘n pitch day)|
|11-Jun||Brewers||Stormin’ Gorman Stormtrooper Bobblehead (special tix req’d)|
|11-Jun||Rays||Archer Stormtrooper Bobblehead|
|11-Jun||Reds||Reds Garden Gnome|
|14-Jun||Cardinals||Jason Isringhausen mini bobble (special tix)|
|18-Jun||Marlins||Luis Castillo 2002 All-Star Bobblehead|
|21-Jun||Red Sox||Papi Gnome|
|23-Jun||Pirates||Gerrit Cole bobblehead|
|24-Jun||Yankees||Mickey Mantle Triple Crown Bobblehead Night|
|25-Jun||Marlins||Moises Alou 1997 All-Star Bobblehead|
|26-Jun||Brewers||Greg Vaughn 90’s Bobblehead|
|27-Jun||Nationals||Jayson Werth and Pet Figurine|
|2-Jul||Dodgers||1981 Tri-MVP Bobblehead feat. Ron Cey, Steve Yeager, and Pedro Guerrero|
|3-Jul||Blue Jays||Troy Tulowitzki|
|3-Jul||Nationals||Racing President Bobblehead|
|5-Jul||Cardinals||Tony LaRussa mini bobble (special tix)|
|5-Jul||Cubs||Antony Rizzo “Tarp Catch” Bobblehead|
|5-Jul||Nationals||Bryce Harper Chia Pet|
|9-Jul||Brewers||Quad-bobble featuring four Brewers players as the Ghostbuster (special tix required)|
|9-Jul||Marlins||Edgar Renteria 1998 All-Star bobblehead|
|10-Jul||Red Sox||Wally and Tessie Bobblehead|
|12-Jul||Astros||Carlos Correa Rooke of the Year Bobblehead|
|16-Jul||A’s||Hello Kitty bobblehead|
|16-Jul||Reds||Zack Cozart Bobblehead|
|16-Jul||Twins||Torii Hunter (Torii Hunter HoF Induction)|
|17-Jul||Rays||Kiermaier Claus Bobblehead|
|18-Jul||Phillies||Maikel Franco Bobble Figurine|
|19-Jul||Cardinals||Brad Thompson mini bobble (special tix)|
|19-Jul||Nationals||Dusty Baker Bobblehead|
|20-Jul||Cubs||Jake Arrieta “Cy Young” Bobblehead|
|23-Jul||Astros||Evan Gattis Gnome|
|23-Jul||Marlins||Dontrelle Willis 2005 All-Star bobblehead|
|23-Jul||Rockies||Star Wars Bobblehead|
|24-Jul||Blue Jays||Kevin Pillar|
|30-Jul||Indians||Thome HOF Inductee Bobblehead|
|30-Jul||Marlins||Alex Gonzalez 1999 All-Star bobblehead|
|30-Jul||Rangers||Franchise Four Quad Bobblehead|
|31-Jul||Brewers||Jimmy Nelson Bobblehead|
|31-Jul||Giants||Bruce Bochy Gnome|
|31-Jul||Rangers||Green Dot Bobblehead, 2 in a series of 3|
|31-Jul||Twins||Twins Vintage Bobblehead|
|1-Aug||Cubs||Kris Bryant “Rookie of the Year” Award Bobblehead|
|5-Aug||Mariners||Ken Griffey Jr. Hall of Fame Bobblehead|
|6-Aug||Cardinals||Vintage Cardinal Bobblehead|
|6-Aug||Rays||Longo Solar Gnome|
|9-Aug||Cardinals||Aaron Miles mini bobble (special tix)|
|9-Aug||Red Sox||Ortiz Talking Bobblehead|
|11-Aug||Pirates||Jung Ho Kang bobblehead|
|13-Aug||Marlins||Cliff Floyd 2001 All-Star bobblehead|
|14-Aug||Blue Jays||Stieb, Hentgen, and Halladay Trio Bobblehead|
|14-Aug||Brewers||Craig Counsell Player/Manager Bobblehead|
|14-Aug||Dodgers||Magic Johnson Gnome|
|14-Aug||Giants||Hunter Pence Solar Bobblebody|
|14-Aug||Rangers||Adrian Beltre Removable Helmet Bobblehead|
|16-Aug||Cubs||Joe Maddon “Manager of the Year” Award Bobblehead|
|18-Aug||Braves||Andruw Jones “Spiderman Catch” bobblehead|
|20-Aug||Orioles||Orioles Bobblehead (TBA)|
|20-Aug||Phillies||Harry Kalas Replica Statue|
|21-Aug||Mariners||Taijuan “Sky” Walker Bobblehead|
|21-Aug||Rays||Raymond and DJ Kitty Double Bobblehead|
|23-Aug||Cardinals||Chris Carpenter mini bobble (special tix)|
|26-Aug||Cardinals||Bob Gibson Hall of Fame Red Jacket Statue|
|26-Aug||Giants||Bill Graham “Father Time” bobblehead (special tix)|
|26-Aug||Nationals||Max Scherzer No-Hitter Bobblehead, Piece #2 of 2|
|27-Aug||Astros||Jose Altuve Gold Glove/Silver Slugger Bobblehead|
|27-Aug||Marlins||Jack McKeon 2004 All-Star bobblehead|
|27-Aug||Mets||Matt Harvey bobblehead|
|27-Aug||Rangers||Elvis “Landrus Calrissian” Star Wars Bobblehead|
|27-Aug||White Sox||Southpaw Star Wars Bobblehead (mascot)|
|28-Aug||Giants||Mike Krukow Bobblehead 30th anniversary of 20 win season|
|30-Aug||Red Sox||Bogaerts Bobblehead|
|31-Aug||Phillies||Phanatic Variant Bobblehead (specal tix required)|
|3-Sep||A’s||Jose Canseco Rookie of the Year Bobblehead|
|3-Sep||Rangers||Red Dot Bobblehead, 3 in a series of 3|
|3-Sep||Rays||Fan Vote Bobblehead|
|3-Sep||Reds||Super Saturday Bobblehead|
|8-Sep||Yankees||Yankees Peanuts Bobblehead|
|9-Sep||Cardinals||Eddie Gaedel Bobblehead|
|9-Sep||Nationals||Fan Choice Bobblehead|
|9-Sep||Orioles||Manny Machado Garden Gnome|
|10-Sep||Astros||George Springer “Outfield Wall Catch” Bobblehead|
|10-Sep||Braves||Chipper Jones “2000 All-Star Game” Bobblehead|
|10-Sep||Marlins||Gary Sheffield 1996 All-Star bobblehead|
|10-Sep||Pirates||Francisco Liriano bobblehead|
|13-Sep||Cardinals||Jim Edmonds mini bobble (special tix)|
|16-Sep||Cubs||Kyle Shwarber “Home Run” Bobblehead|
|17-Sep||Braves||Bobby Cox “Carried Off” bobblehead|
|17-Sep||Giants||Tito Fuentes bobblehead (special tix req’d)|
|17-Sep||Orioles||Orioles Bobblehead (TBA)|
|24-Sep||Marlins||Jim Leyland 1998 All-Star bobblehead|
|27-Sep||Cardinals||Randy Flores mini bobble (special tix)|
|27-Sep||Nationals||Nationals Gnome/Elf (TBA)|
|30-Sep||Nationals||Nationals Branded Donkey or Elephant Figurine|
|1-Oct||Cardinals||David Eckstein Bobblehead|
It was almost everything we could ask for – our championship team playing at home on the first night of the season, a rehab start by a Major Leaguer, a home run by one of our top prospects, and some good plays by our favorite starters. And, of course, sumo wrestlers, the dizzy bat race, and other assorted contests.
The only thing missing was a win. Unfortunately, the Baysox lost to the RubberDucks, 5-2.
The 50 degrees and rain that caused a delay in the Nats game down the road a bit, only delayed the start by a little over a half hour and mostly stayed away until the end of the game. And I don’t know about Nats stadium or Camden Yards, but the rain left behind a nice rainbow over Prince George’s Stadium in beautiful Bowie, Maryland.
It was a nice start to the Minor League Season!
It’s one of my favorite days of the year! Today the 10 full-season leagues affiliated with Major League Baseball begin their seasons! (Minor League Baseball’s 15 leagues are listed below, along with their All-Star Game dates and links to the MiLB.com league previews, if available.) Naturally, I’ll be spending the evening with my Eastern League Champion Bowie Baysox!
Since it’s an in-between year for the every-other-year affiliation changes, there’s no change there, but there have been a few logo changes since last year. The Norfolk Tides, for example, have abandoned their logo of waves to that of a seahorse, complete with a new seahorse mascot named Triton. (Not to worry, though. Rip Tide is still around!)
There are also two new minor league ballparks scheduled to open this season: Spirit Communications Park, home of the Columbia Fireflies, and Dunkin’ Donuts Park, home of the Hartford Yard Goats. The Fireflies’ new park should be ready in time for the team’s home opener on April 14. The Yard Goats will have to wait until May 31 to play in their new park. In Toledo, Hensville, a new entertainment and shopping district is opening right next to the Mud Hens’ ballpark, Fifth Third Field.
For more information, check out MiLB’s Fans’ Guide to MiLB Opening Day 2016.
Happy new baseball season!
AAA – Triple-A All-Star Game in on 7/13 in Charlotte, NC
- Texas League – All-Star Game is on 6/28 in Springfield, MS
- Southern League – All-Star Game is on 6/21 in Pearl, MS
- Eastern League – All-Star Game is on 7/13 in Akron, OH
- Florida State League – All-Star Game is on 6/18 in Fort Myers, FL
- Carolina League
- California League – California/Carolina League ASG is on 6/21 in Lake Elsinore, CA
- South Atlantic League – All Star-Game is on 6/21 in Lexington, KY
- Midwest League – All-Star Game is on 6/21 in Cedar Rapids, IA
Short-Season A (Opening Day: June 17)
- Northwest League – All-Star Game is on 8/2 in Ogden, UT
- New York-Penn League – All-Star Game is on 8/16 in Fishkill, NY
- Pioneer League (Opening Day: June 17)
- Appalachian League (Opening Day: June 23)
- Gulf Coast League (Opening Day: June 24)