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Thread: From The Sports Desk

  1. #16
    Registered User tailor STATELY's Avatar
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    I vaguely remember reading in Ball Four/Jim Bouton something about ballplayers cringing watching Ted Williams in batting practice while Ted continually yelled something to the effect that "I'm Ted (bleeping) Williams... (insert more epitaphs here)" at each pitch before he knocked each ball into the stands. I received the book from my maternal Grandmother when I was a teen, which is odd thinking back on it, and read it fervently; it foreshadowed the PED age with player's rampant "greenie" usage... makes one wonder even way back when. I lent a friend my book and never got it back circa 1988... prolly burned in the Paradise fire.

    Watched a documentary on Nolan Ryan the other day that reminded me of why baseball is America's game.

    I forgot to mention in another thread that The Natural is one of my plethora of favorite movies... watch it often still... the book sounds worth reading

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  2. #17
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    I read ball four years ago but don't remember anything from it really. I can however confirm tailor from my recent ted Williams reading via leigh Montville that he had a major sewer mouth.

    have you seen the Seinfeld episode where a library copy, ironically named mr. bookman, shows up at jerry's place looking for a long overdue book? want we should sic mr. bookman on your book thieving friend??

    so far im enjoying the natural but its gotten confusing in two major ways. at the end of the first chapter harriet shoots roy hobbs in the gut. there is no indication this is a dream sequence or some sort of fantasy cut-out. what the heck?

    and then in the next chapter roy shows up to a dug-out at a new York knights game. the whole first chapter of the book seemed (was I mistaken?) to give the impression he was going to Chicago to join the cubs. what the heck?

  3. #18
    running amok Sancho's Avatar
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    Yep, he got shot. Derailed his whole career. He’s an old guy by the time he makes it to The NY Knights.

    I’ve got that Nolan Ryan documentary in my cue. I’m looking forward to it. As for Ted Williams’s use of colorful language - hey, he was also a Marine Corps fighter pilot. If you took all the profane words out of his vocabulary, he wouldn’t be unable to communicate with the other guys in the squadron. They’d all just silently be standing around, miming air battles with their hands (shooting their watches) and glaring at each other.

    So, tailor, you guys float away yet?

    Bounty, I’d forgotten all about Kinger’s love of the Toledo Mud Hens. Minor league teams have the best names, eh? The Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, The Amarillo Sod Poodles, The Fort Wayne Tin Caps, The Lansing Lugnuts, The Rocket City Trash Pandas, The Albuquerque Isotopes, The Hartford Yard Goats, to name a few. You know in my OP I was sort of channeling MASH the movie with the Football Hero song. One of the great scenes in that movie was the grudge match football game between the 4077th MASH and the 325th Evac Hospital. After the game Radar sort of bumbles his way through that tune.
    Uhhhh...

  4. #19
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    there wasn't any passage of time indicated in the writing, like "and 15yrs later." it just goes right from him being shot, to the next chapter with his walking into the dugout. although that said...id have to go back through the first chapter to see if his age is mentioned or implied. there is a point in the second chapter where he gets asked what has he been doing for the past bunch of years and he answers something like "id rather not talk about it." but still...its a big leap the author is asking the reader to make.

    and why on earth would harriet shoot him in the first place? because he got a handsy with her on the train? baaaaaaad story telling!

    there is a story of Williams' plane being hit on a combat mission in north korea and somehow he ended up flying in a direction other than back home. he was spotted by a colleague who was able to turn him around and get him headed back in a safe direction.

    its been so many years since ive seen the M*A*S*H movie I don't recall radar's singing, but maybe someday in the not too distant future it'll be on the telly and i'll watch it again.

    yes those are indeed great names. there is some funny scenes in summer catch where Jessica biel's little sister tries to come up with a suitable mascot for the chatham A's.

    that's making me think of, what was he---the mascot for the padres I think? that hysterical chicken that used to do all sorts of antics at games back in the 70s or 80s.
    Last edited by bounty; 01-10-2023 at 06:49 PM.

  5. #20
    running amok Sancho's Avatar
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    I’m not sure what Harriet’s motivation was for shooting Roy, but I’m pretty sure karma was paying Roy a visit. I mean he’s aged 19 and on a train going to a major league tryout. Rather than keeping a low profile and holding his cards close to his chest, he’s living it up, bragging, and then trying to hook up with Harriet. She asks him if he’s going to be the best that ever was and he says yes, so she shoots him - with a silver bullet. I can think of several (twisted) reasons she would do that but Malamud, I think, leaves it up to his readers to interpret her motives.

    As for the football game in M*A*S*H, it’s been a while since I’ve seen it too, but certain things stuck with me. For instance the nurses are cheerleading for the 4077th and Hotlips clearly has no clue about the game of football. In the first half the 325th is running up the score. They’d score a touchdown and Henry Blake would say, “Ah it’s only 6 points.” Margaret would exclaim, “Six Points!” Then at one point the Ref throws a flag and Margaret leads a cheer, “A flag! A flag! We got a flag!” Henry says, “That’s a penalty, you idiot.”

    Anyway, the game has racial tension as well. One of the black players for the 4077th gets a personal foul for a cheap hit. Back in the huddle his teammates ask him about it. He says, “that guy called me a coon.” Spearchucker, who used to play for the SF 49ers, tells him it’s an old pro trick to get him to loose his cool and get tossed out of the game.

    Spearchucker says, “just throw it back at him.”
    “What call him a coon?”
    “No that guy’s got a sister. They all talk about her. Use it”

    Next you see the players get set on the line of scrimmage for the next play and before the ball is even snapped, (you don’t even hear what was said) the guy with the sister charges across the line and chases the 4077th player around the field. Meanwhile the nurses/cheerleaders are chanting - Sixty Nine, He’s Devine - The big white guy gets tossed out of the game and on the very next play the gun goes off to end the quarter.

    Margaret screams, “My God! They’ve shot him!”
    Henry explains, “Hotlips, you incredible nincompoop, it’s the end of the quarter.”

    I liked the comparison between war and football. Hotlips Houlihan had probably never been to football game in her life, but she was solidly behind her team - The 4077th. She had also spent quite some time at the front lines working as lead nurse in a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital putting young men’s bodies back together, and she was solidly behind her team - the US Army. When the gun went off, she thought -

    My God! They’ve Shot him!

    https://youtu.be/o6eYjus_Olc
    Uhhhh...

  6. #21
    Registered User tailor STATELY's Avatar
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    Lol... no flooding on our property... surrounding us yes locally very much. I live on a hill and the only thing I worry about is cyclonic winds and trees falling on us and lightning, and now maybe F0 tornados... oh, and gas prices for our generators.

    Yeah, I remember Ted being a decorated fighter pilot.

    Re: Hobbs, I thought the movie did a good job re: him getting shot and the premeditation of killing first The Whammer if I recall and changing her mind and shooting Hobbs. The time transition made a lot of sense too.

    Seattle must be getting their share of the water event. Spent my best 7+ years of my life growing up on NW 107th in the 50's and 60's

    Prolly mentioned this previously but I had a (2nd) cousin, Jerry Harper, who played a bit spot on M.A.S.H. once. His Mother, my dear Great Aunt, lived on NW 105th for a long time. The football game is hilarious.

    Ta ! (short for tarradiddle),
    tailor
    tailor

    who am I but a stitch in time
    what if I were to bare my soul
    would you see me origami

    7-8-2015

  7. #22
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    i remember that scene Sancho, and Margaret's exclamation too. i have the book that inspired the movie. its buried in totes with all the rest of the fiction books ive read, but if i dig it up someday i'll see how they handled the game in the book. there are a couple of seemingly weird sequels, M*A*S*H goes to maine and M*A*S*H goes to hollywood.

    tailor, what was the bit spot?

    in the book there isn't any indication that harriet was planning to shoot whammer.

    i can see how in the movie a passage of time, and therefore a change of events in the storyline would be more recognizable.

    marrying the two topics together, one of my favorite M*A*S*H episode was a sort of "year in the life" of the unit, of which baseball was a significant part where klinger got major Winchester to bet on the dodgers against the rest of the league in the NL pennant race and it was the year of bobby Thompson's "shot heard 'round the world."

    "the giants win the pennant! the giants win the pennant! the giants win the pennant!"

    and major Winchester has passed out on the ground.

    laughs...

    back to the book---roy has spent the past many pages being smitten with memo, the managers niece and the now deceased bump's flame. here is an interesting quote consistent with my pushkin thesis about the "efforts of man..."

    "so he blazed away for her with his golden bat" p80.

  8. #23
    running amok Sancho's Avatar
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    I don’t want to spoil anything, bounty, but tragedy lies ahead in the book.

    Ya know, tailor, Seattle has changed a lot since the 50s and 60s…bah…but it hasn’t changed that much. For all the high-tech hipster sophistication here, just below the surface it’s still a stevedore/lumberjack town.

    I read Richard Hooker’s MASH as a teenager and liked it. But then I read it again a few years ago and decided, as an art form, the movie was better - a rare case of the movie being better than the novel. I watched the TV show sporadically and the thing that strikes me about the novel, the movie, and the TV show, is that are all very different in tone. The novel is about young, eastern-schooled, country club type doctors who were drafted into the army for the war. The movie was about those same army doc’s only somehow they’d turned into hippies. And the TV show started out light hearted but then got a little preachy towards the end of its run.

    So, one more sports scene from MASH the movie and I’ll move on. Country club doctors prefer golf as a sport. Am I right? Well there’s a scene where Hawkeye and Trapper are chipping balls from the helipad over to the mine field. Soon enough a helicopter carrying wounded shows up and as it lands the rotor wash blows all the doctor’s stuff away. Trapper matter-of-factly says to Hawkeye:

    “I wish they wouldn’t land those things while we’re golfing.”

    Or something like that.
    Uhhhh...

  9. #24
    Registered User tailor STATELY's Avatar
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    re: Seattle - Yes, my elementary school is now a bunch of offices and neighborhoods have sprouted where I once roamed in the gullies.

    My 2nd cousin played in 2-episodes of M.A.S.H. it turns out it Unnamed sergeant... https://mash.fandom.com/wiki/Love_St...eries_episode) and as Mr Phillips... https://mash.fandom.com/wiki/Phillips

    Ta ! (short for tarradiddle),
    tailor
    tailor

    who am I but a stitch in time
    what if I were to bare my soul
    would you see me origami

    7-8-2015

  10. #25
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    thats kinda neat. the incubator episode was just recently on tailor.

    and I love the "ah bach" schtick. its still making me laugh.

    what you've put forth about M*A*S*H would probably make for a great masters thesis Sancho.

    i was in undergrad school when the final episode was broadcast. its my recollection that pretty much the entire campus informally shut down in order to watch it.

    i usually don't mind spoilers. the books not striking me right now as one that has a happy ending. roy got handsy with memo in last nights reading and she seems to have implied she has breast cancer. although id guess youre talking about some other bad ending.

    its interesting that all the teams the knights play have actual MLB team names while the knights are clearly fictional. i suppose the author couldn't have made the team the yankees and gotten away with not having actual yankee players in the story.

  11. #26
    running amok Sancho's Avatar
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    I wonder if the producers of the TV show skipped over the movie and went back to the book when they created Charles Emerson Winchester III MD. He’s a little stuffier and a little snootier, but in many ways he’s more like the Hawkeye in the book than Donald Sutherland’s Hawkeye is.

    Anyway M*A*S*H the book, the movie, and the TV show were good at reflecting the sensibilities of their audiences. Give ‘em what they want, I reckon.

    American Football has changed a lot since Korean War. Can you imagine an Ivy League trained doctor in today’s Army putting together a football game? Maybe a doctor who went to U of Alabama, but Dartmouth — Nah. However back in the early 50s football was mainly a college sport, and it was huge in the Ivy League. Also the helmets didn’t have face masks back then, so the movie got that wrong. And I don’t think anybody playing football for Harvard in the 40s or 50s ever hit another player so hard that his heart stopped.

    Get well soon, Damar Hamlin.
    Uhhhh...

  12. #27
    running amok Sancho's Avatar
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    Alright then back to baseball, the kingly sport.

    One thing I find unique to baseball is that I like to listen to it on the radio. A well-called game is a thing of beauty. If Iím in my garage working on a car, or in my barn fixing a machine, Iíd rather listen to Major League Baseball than, say, rock-a-billy. Although thatís a close call.

    Pulled outta San Pedro late one night
    The moon and the stars was shining bright
    We was headiní up Grapevine Hill
    Passiní cars like they was standiní still
    But I digress.

    Iím talking about announcers like: Vin Scully (Dodgers), Harry Caray (White Sox then the Cubs), Phil Rizzuto (Yankees and also a pretty good Meatloaf tune - ďHoly Cow! I think heís gonna make it!Ē)

    But I didnít really want to talk about play-by-play announcing in this post. What I wanted to talk about is the feel you get going to the ballpark.

    So I was listening to a podcast about Mary Shane who was one of the first women to work as an MLB announcer. It was 1977 and she got a job calling White Sox games. (Harry Caray gave her an in) She was a school teacher in Milwaukee and what sent her on the path to sports casting was an apocryphal moment she had at the ballpark. Her sister had just died as the result of a car crash and understandably she was depressed. So she went to a Brewerís game for solace. She said a feeling of peace came over her while she was at the game. She writes a about it in an unpublished memoir:

    Something happened to me at the ballpark. For the first time since Patís death I felt a sense of peace. I went to another game, secretly afraid that it wouldnít work again, but it did. When I tried to analyze what was happening, I couldnít, it didnít make any sense, but then neither did anything else.
    She goes on to describe the game. The Brewers werenít too good back then.

    They booted balls. They threw wildly. They stumbled on the base paths. But it didnít matter. I donít even remember who they played. I just remember the feeling of being at the ball park, the hotdogs and the green grass and the throw around the infield after a strikeout. And I remember that I kept hoping for extra innings. I didnít want the game to end.
    Uhhhh...

  13. #28
    Registered User bounty's Avatar
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    i was actually gonna peek back in and write something about boxing. i'll end with that.

    I live south of buffalo about 70ish miles. its bills' territory for sure.

    major Winchester was my favorite character. I suspect that's because when I watch things, among other things, whats high on my list is an emotional impact. there were a few scenes in his time on the show that I think we amongst the best. one was his responding to virginia, a little girl from hawkeye's elementary school in response to a letter she had written him. another was his defense of a stutterer, and his subsequent listening to a tape from his sister, who was herself a stutterer. then another was how devastated he was when he found out the patient who's nerve damaged hand ostensibly ruined his career as a concert pianist, and then he (Winchester) rallied around the man. another was a scene where he donates chocolates to the orphanage, is livid when he finds out the director did not give them to the kids, humbly apologizes when he finds out the chocolate was traded for rice and blankets, and then klinger, overhearing the conversation, personally serves him food with the admonition that the giver "must remain anonymous." last one was an episode where radar wrote to Winchester's parents and got them to send him his old winter hat, which radar surprised him with.

    paradise by the dashboard light is an utterly fantastic song!

    one of the recurring scenes in john grisham's the painted house which takes place in Arkansas, is the family listening on the radio to the cardinals games. i can see the attraction.

    have you seen the naked gun movie with leslie Nielsen trying to save queen Elizabeth from being assassinated at a baseball game?

    I had a fellow grad student who was studying something like (oh im going to botch this!) the culture of stadiums and a large part of it was how their design and "feel" affected the people visiting it. i think what you just wrote about mary shane is a beautiful story. i have a book by someone named ehrlich called the solace of open spaces. itd be tough to find in my garage but i'll keep my eyes peeled for it.

    nothing new to share from roy hobbs…

    but im also reading another fiction book, which is really rare because i hardly ever read two at the same time. any twosomes are overwhelmingly one fiction and one non-fiction. anyway, in the girl who played with fire which is the sequel to the girl with the dragon tattoo, Lisbeth salander at one time took boxing lessons from a former boxing champion who lived in Sweden (although his name isn't Swedish at all). he finds out that Lisbeth is in trouble and wants to help. he tries to meet with one of Lisbeth's lovers in order to find Lisbeth and in the process of waiting for her, he witnesses her being kidnapped. he gives pursuit and catches up with the bad guys at a warehouse way out in the country. one of the kidnappers is a "blond giant, 6"6' and about 300 lbs" and he gets into a fight with him in order to save the girl.

    (i thought this part worth sharing here. our boxing hero is getting creamed.)

    "then came the moment that every boxer has experienced with dread. the feeling that could turn up any time in the middle of a bout. the feeling of just being not being good enough. the realization that you are about to lose.

    "that's the crux of almost every fight, the moment when the strength drains out of you and the adrenaline pumps so hard that it becomes a burden and surrender appears like a ghost at ringside. that's the moment that separates the pros from the amateurs and the winner from the loser. few boxers who find themselves at the edge of that abyss manage to turn the match around, turn certain defeat into victory." p550.

  14. #29
    running amok Sancho's Avatar
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    I think you and I have a similar problem, except my books are in the basement instead of the garage. I have box after disorganized box of books and my wife gets more and more pissed off about it every time she goes down there. Sheís not a reader. Every so often while Iím away sheíll haul a few boxes off to the donation center and hope I donít notice. I do, but I usually let it slide in the interest of marital bliss.

    I remember that about John Grishamís A Painted House. I liked that book. I also liked learning about the logistics of getting farm workers to pick the cotton back then. But what I remember most is that the story was told from the perspective of a 7 year old boy and told with the sensibilities of a 7 year old. If I recall this right, the town had a Baptist church and a Methodist church and rich folks went to the Methodist church. At one point the boy is going past the newly built Methodist church and he comments (something like) ďThose Methodistís think theyíre so good with their fine new church, but us Baptists, we knew we had the inside track to god.Ē (I probably murdered that quote, but thatís how I remember it.)

    So hereís one about boxing, and radio. Itís a nonfiction book by Jimmy Carter (yep President Jimmy Carter) about growing up in rural Georgia in the 30s. An Hour Before Daylight. His family was one of the few in town who had a radio and, well, Iíll just let him speak for himself:

    The most memorable radio broadcast was in 1938, the night of the return match between heavyweight boxers Joe Louis and Max Schmeling. The German champion had defeated the black American two years earlier, and the world's attention was focused on the return bout. For our community, this fight had heavy racial over-tones, with almost unanimous support at our all-white school for the European over the American. A delegation of our black neighbors came to ask Daddy if they could listen to the broadcast, and we put the radio in the window so the assembled crowd in the yard could hear it. The fight ended abruptly, in the first round, with Louis almost killing Schmeling, There was no sound from outside or inside the house. We heard a quiet "Thank you, Mr. Earl" and then our visitors walked silently out of the yard, crossed the road and the railroad tracks, entered the tenant house, and closed the door. Then all hell broke loose, and their celebration lasted all night. Daddy was tight-lipped, but all the mores of our segregated society had been honored.
    Uhhhh...

  15. #30
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    I actually have a pretty good system Sancho, but lacking a little space compromises it a bit. I have all my adult fiction organized roughly by author alphabetically, and then everything else in the garage is organized by kind. since space is limited though, and things aren't alphabetical, I just have to search through large and hidden piles.

    ack! do you have an attic you can hide your books in?

    that's a great memory about the painted house. I only remember that I liked the book.

    i used to teach sport history, and i had my students listen to the radio broadcast of the louis/schemling rematch.

    how interesting, and sad though too, to hear "with almost unanimous support at our all-white school for the European over the American." i have to wonder a little bit how accurate his account is and how much of it is racially "romanticized" for social/political effect.

    ive read a louis biography, and i even have a whole book about the rematch, beyond glory: joe louis vs max schmeling and a world on the brink by margolick. its a good read. i'll take a peek in them to see if theres any carter corroborating material. if youre interested in that sort of thing Sancho, unforgivable blackness: the rise and fall of jack Johnson by ward is a really good book too.

    and back on the baseball front. roy hobbs has been in a major O-fer slump, and then just recently hit an impossible home run as a pinch hitter that travelled through the legs of the pitcher and some mysterious woman iris has appeared in his life.

    and meanwhile, the seahawks are beating the 49ers. wouldn't that be a heck of an upset? I think, though I would be happy to be wrong because im rooting for the bills, that the super bowls going to be the 49ers and the bengals. second choice is eagles vs chiefs.
    Last edited by bounty; 01-14-2023 at 06:44 PM.

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