Its a beautiful 68 degrees in Viera here at Space Coast Stadium. Sadly, this is our last Spring Training game before heading back home to the real world (although I did just get tickets to the pre-season Yankees at Nats game next weekend because I just don’t want this to end!)
Spring Training is one of the greatest events of the year. Nothing beats escaping reality for a few days and immersing yourself in baseball. Many have written of the cathartic, healing powers of Spring Training. I must concur.
Even if the Nats are currently losing to the Marlins 5-3 after 2 1/2 innings, despite beautiful home runs by Michael Taylor and Bryce Harper.
Oh well. After all, it’s only Spring …
PS Ramos just hit a homer bringing it to 5-4. Go Nats!
You know its almost baseball season when everything starts to remind you of baseball. Yes, for baseball fans that’s ALL the time, but it intensifies as the calendar moves closer to April. Here are but a few examples – can you add any to my list?
- The thermometer says its 34 degrees outside and you think, #34 – Bryce Harper.
- On your daily commute you start taking the slightly longer route that leads past the baseball stadium.
- You pass Stanton Road and your brain reads the sign as “Giancarlo Stanton Road.”
- The snow on the ground reminds you of the year it snowed on Opening Day.
- You find it hard to make plans for weekends in April because it depends on who’s playing that day.
- You start making room in your bobblehead display case for new additions.
- You’re humming “Take me out to the ballgame” as you do the dishes.
- The ad for Giorgio Armani’s Acqua di Gio cologne makes you think of Gio Gonzalez and the Washington Nationals pitching staff.
- Instead of astronauts on NASA TV, you see Orioles fans (oh wait – that one’s actually real!)
Baseball is almost here!
Last year at Spring Training, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a Mariano Rivera bobblehead upon entering Steinbrenner Field for a New York Yankees Spring Training game. I had no idea there was a giveaway that day. In fact, I’d never gotten any game day promotional giveaway during a spring training game. Unless of course you count that special – yet seemingly odd – appearance by Kenny G a few years ago in Viera.
So, with this year’s Spring Training already underway, I decided to see if we could expect any other spring training giveaways. Unfortunately, its not always easy to find the spring training giveaway calendar. For some teams, it’s not on the team’s MLB website. For example, you have to go to the Steinbrenner Field website to find the Yankees’ spring training giveaway schedule. And I must say that I was disappointed to see that the Yankees really weren’t handing out anything terribly exciting: a Steinbrenner Field 20th anniversary pin (3/14), a Masahiro Tanaka Poster (3/15), a tote bag (3/19), a Derek Jeter final game key chain (3/21), a Brian McCann Fathead poster (3/28), and a 1978 championship commemorative ring (4/2).
The Baltimore Orioles, on the other hand, make it much easier to find their giveaway schedule – it’s part of their regular promotional schedule website. Sadly, however, their promotions are less noteworthy than the Yankees: a luggage tag (3/11), a plush cow (3/14), and a handful of non-giveaway events, such as seniors (all fans 55 and over) run the bases.
I couldn’t find any information on giveaways for the Nationals. So, if Kenny G or some other surprise guest shows up, it will be an added bonus.
- March 7 – Cleveland Indians’ Michael Brantley bobblehead, Goodyear Ballpark
- March 7 – Toronto Blue Jays’ Roy Halladay bobblehead, Florida Auto Exchange Stadium
- March 7 – Milwaukee Brewers’ Robin Yount bobblehead, Maryvale Park
- March 14 – Cleveland Indians’ Billy Hamilton bobblehead, Goodyear Ballpark
- March 19 – Milwaukee Brewers’ Jean Segura bobblehead, Maryvale Park
- March 22 – Milwaukee Brewers’ Hank the Ballpark Pup bobblehead, Maryvale Park
- March 23 – Milwaukee Brewers’ Chorizo bobblehead, Maryvale Park
Of course, for those who can’t make the games above, you can always get your picture taken with the Orioles’ life-size Oriole bird bobblehead at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota or the Dodgers’ life-size bobblehead of Tommy Lasorda at their spring training home, Camelback Ranch (see the video below of Tommy coming face to face with it at Dodger Stadium).
Happy Spring Training!
Some folks love Valentine’s Day, others hate it. But maybe we should think of it as one day closer to Spring Training! In the meantime, I thought I’d share some Valentine’s wishes from the Norfolk Tides. ~ baseballrebecca
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!