Saturday, March 31, 2018

Baseball Facts & Favorite Moments Review

Image Source: Pixabay
Hello once again from the Baseball Contributor here on Review This!  It's Springtime, which means the thoughts of baseball fans everywhere turn to the start of the new MLB season.

Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE baseball. It consumes my time from Opening Day to the last moment of the final game of the World Series every year.  During the season, the first thing I do every morning is check the baseball listings on TV ~ then plan my day around the times the game(s) are broadcast. I am a died-in-the-wool FANatic, and proud of it. 

In the winter I 'pine' for baseball season and spend my free time reading baseball books and watching baseball movies

My very favorite quote is by Bill Veeck:

There are only two seasons – winter and BASEBALL

Therefore, as we enjoy Opening Day and all the baseball games this year, I'll share some baseball moments and a few baseball facts to get you in the mood for the Major League Baseball season and any Minor League games you might be fortunate enough to be able to attend.


Baseball Honors Number 42 on Jackie Robinson Day


Jackie Robinson (Wikimedia)
April 15th is known as 'Jackie Robinson Day' throughout baseball, celebrating the life of Jackie Robinson and the retiring of his number 42. April 15, 1947 was the date of his MLB debut for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

In 1997, the 50 year anniversary of Robinson's debut, his No. 42 was retired across all of Major League Baseball. Only one player at the time was wearing that number (Mariano Rivera) and he was 'grandfathered' in and was the only active player allowed to wear No. 42 until his retirement in 2015.  Since then, no other active player will ever again be assigned number 42.  Instead, on April 15 each year, all players and teams throughout baseball wear number 42 on their uniform honoring Jackie's major contribution to baseball, which was that of breaking the color barrier.  In addition to the honor, celebrations are planned at many stadiums.

Jackie's 'legacy' lives on through 'Jackie Robinson Day' each April 15. Number 42 was special. 


The Shift – in Baseball


Normal baseball positioning
I've been watching baseball games all my life, yet there are still terms I haven't heard and/or don't know what they mean.  Most baseball terms have been coined over the years by sports writers and announcers as they reported the action on the field or the results of the game.

Baseball has its own ever-changing language, so its not surprising that even long-term baseball fans still have to look things up in order to understand what the broadcaster said.

The term 'shift' has been part of baseball terminology for many years, yet I can't recall it being used as often as it has in most recent years of baseball.  “The Shift is on”, the sportscaster tells us.  All of a sudden it seemed to me as if it was happening in every game I watch.  Finally I got out my trusty Baseball Dictionary and looked it up!


The 'Shift' means “to change fielding position;' to move defensive players from their traditional positions in the field to defend against a particular batters' way of hitting, or to be in a better position for a double play.”

All individual players move left or right to step into the path of the ball for fielding, But the shift in most recent years seems to involve half the players on the field moving to another position all at the same time before the batter even hits. I've begun paying closer attention to this move now that I know what they are talking about. My baseball education continues..... 


Doubled Off First Base


I watch a lot of baseball, following the games and players and listening to the announcer's descriptions of the action on a regular basis.


Derek Jeter at Bat  (Wikimedia)
On a Saturday afternoon in August 2014 I was watching the Red Sox-Yankees game being played at Fenway Park. Derek Jeter was on first base and took off for 2nd base when Jacoby Ellbury hit the ball into the outfield.  Unfortunately, the ball was caught and Derek was too far off base to get back safely.

The announcer stated that Jeter had been 'Doubled-Off'.  I basically knew what it meant, but even though I've heard the term often, I never really thought about the definition.  Suddenly quite curious, I got out my Baseball Dictionary to look up the exact meaning.  


To be 'doubled-off' means 'caught off base and put out before tagging up after the batter has flied out, resulting in a Double Play!'   


This 'doubled-off' double play was a most unusual happening for Derek Jeter.  Not to worry, his two-run double in the third inning sparked a 4-run inning, and the New York Yankees won the game 6-4.


Minor League Memories


Rochester Redwings Frontier Statium (c) Personal Photo

My family are fans of the Rochester Redwings, the top Triple A minor league baseball team for the Minnesota Twins located in Rochester, NY, and we go to their games often.  A long ball was hit one night directly toward where my family was sitting.  Everyone is jumping up & down hollering "I've got it, I've got it", except my mother who remained sitting down.  Like a 'heat-seeking' missile, that ball headed straight for my mom and hit her right over the heart. She wasn't badly injured, but had a huge bruise for weeks.  My brother really wanted to have the baseball, but mom wouldn't give it to him, saying she had the badge of honor proving she'd caught it.



Source: Pixabay

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4 comments:

  1. I think you really are the greatest baseball fan ever Elf! You have lots of wonderful baseball memories, and I love the story of how your mom "caught" that ball. I am sorry it left a bruise and I definitely think she earned it (the ball, not the bruise!)

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    1. LOL, Mouse. It sure took mom by surprise. When the ball hit her in the chest she thought for a moment she was having a heart attack -- sudden pain out of the blue. She never thought about the baseball that had been hurtling toward her. When the rest of the family and other fans around were trying to figure out where the ball had ended up, mom found it in her lap! After she caught her breath again, she found the whole thing amusing that she had ended up with the ball when she was the only one NOT trying to catch it.

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  2. Ahhh...baseball season! I too am a fan but not quite the caliber of Pat. I'm pretty much a one team fan..following the Cardinals throughout spring training, regular season and post season. Pat, not sure if I've asked you this before. Have you ever been to spring training? Nothing quite like not only the games but watching the practice sessions. There is a lot that goes into getting the teams ready for the season. GO CARDS!!

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    1. I'm following the Cardinals, too, Mary Beth, as well as many other teams in primarily the National League. Although I do like the Yankees too. :) No, I've never been to a Spring Training game and would love to go. I almost went with my brother about 5 years ago (we'd planned to drive down to Florida from Georgia), but my daughter ended up having surgery and I spent that Spring Training time in St. Louis helping her. :) Maybe someday!

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