Ben reports from the ballpark on Saturday's Yankees-Angels game and explains how and why he stopped worrying about working for a team and learned to love writing about baseball.
Here’s a theory of mine that may or may not be true: you can get almost anywhere in a ballpark as long as you’re wearing a lanyard. If you want journalistic access to a team, you could work hard for years, turning in clean copy on time and impressing your superiors until somebody sponsors you for season credentials or the BBWAA. Or you could skip all that, put on a good-looking lanyard, and try to look like you know where you’re going. Most people assume that anyone wearing one inside a stadium is supposed to be there.
I have my credentials, so I don’t have to fly casual and fake my way in. But I’m on my way to do something I’ve never done before, so I’m displaying my lanyard prominently and willing guards to look at it and let me pass. It’s Saturday afternoon in the Bronx, I’m standing outside Yankee Stadium, and I’m about to attend my first game as a member of the BBWAA.
That the Yankees struggle with starters they've never seen before is not just an urban myth. In the words of Madeline Kahn, "It's twue! It's twue!" Plus: Notes from an old timer's day.
Man cannot live by fastball alone. Not for very long, at least, and not against the Yankees. Not that Juan Nicasio didn't try. Making just the sixth start of his big league career, the 24-year-old Rockies rookie threw four perfect innings against the Bronx Bombers on Sunday following the Yankees' 65th annual Old Timers' Day festivities, and your memory didn't have to date back to DiMaggio to feel as though you'd seen this current cast struggle in such situations before.
The secretary-treasurer of the BBWAA discusses the organization's purpose, its relationship with MLB, and membership eligibility.
The Baseball Writers Association of America is a big part of the game, and Jack O’Connell is a big part of the BBWAA. The organization’s secretary-treasurer since 1994, O’Connell is not only involved in the decision-making, he also serves as spokesperson and coordinates the annual awards and Hall of Fame balloting. A member of the BBWAA since 1975, he is a former beat writer for both the Mets and Yankees. O’Connell talked about the history and objectives of the BBWAA, along with a variety of the organization’s issues. Among them: their relationship with MLB, membership eligibility—including the inclusion of internet-only reporters—and the Hall of Fame voting process.
Revisiting a conversation with the long-time official scorer in Boston.
Chaz Scoggins has been the primary official scorer at Fenway Park for over 30 years. A long-time sportswriter for The Lowell Sun and a former president of the Baseball Writers Association of America, Scoggins sat down for this interview in December 2004.
Day Three featured two lopsided victories. Live in Puerto Rico, Derek passes on what caught his attention.
It was a strange feeling being in Puerto Rico, watching baseball on Super Bowl Sunday. It felt like being a rebel leader in exile, biding my time, keeping the faith, and trying to secure foreign support while waiting for the current despots-the NFL-to slip up, so that the people can be liberated from football once and for all.
Until the glorious day the anti-football revolution comes, people in America will be unfamiliar with the workings of the Caribbean Series, and it will be incumbent upon us to educate them. Saturday's Day Two action left us with two undefeated teams, and two winless ones. The Dominicans pounded Mexico, 9-0, with Tony Batista again proving the offensive catalyst, adding two more homers to the one he hit in the opening game. In the nightcap, the home team beat the Venezuelans in a much closer match, 6-3. So on Sunday, the two winless teams played each other in the afternoon, leaving the two undefeateds to joust in the evening. In other words, after the day's action we would finally have a clear, unbeaten front-runner, as well as one 0-3 team that will be virtually out of contention for the crown.
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The longest game in Caribbean Series history made for a very long day for one intrepid reporter.
There was a point in the first game of yesterday's Caribbean World Series doubleheader--men on second and third, two outs, 16th inning, Gregor Blanco swinging right out of his socks on the first pitch, and whiffing two pitches later--when I thought, this game will not die. It's like Dracula, the Wolfman, and John McLane, rolled up into one.
I'm getting ahead of myself. I arrived at Estadio Municipal Roberto Clemente Walker (as the stadium of the Carolina Giants is formally known) more than six hours prior to Blanco's strikeout. The mission was simple--pick up my press credential, get up to the press box, and dig in for a doubleheader. The first game was Venezuela against the Dominican Republic, or the Aragua Tigers against the Cibao Eagles. The second game--Puerto Rico (the aforementioned Giants) against Mexico (the Hermosillo Naranjeros)--was the main event of the first day, given the hometown crowd. However, DR/Venezuela was the highlight, the grudge match between last year's champion and runner-up, a confrontation anticipated even before the Caribbean Series schedule had been released.
When the season begins each spring, the ivy on the outfield wall at Wrigley Field is not a lush green, but a vine-bare patch of brick and brown. Botany is not among my hobbies, and I do not know whether this condition results from some half-intentional negligence, or the natural distaste of Parthenocissus tricuspidata for the cool Midwestern spring. But in either event, the effect is unsettling: that feeling you get in a dream when you see a place familiar but vaguely and profoundly incomplete. That was the feeling I had on Friday night when I walked through Gate F at Clark and Addison Streets and into the nation's most beloved ballpark. Though the architecture of Wrigley Field is the same as always--an array of ascending ramps, chain-linked fences, city vistas, and dank inner concourses pierced by streaks of evening sunlight--the atmosphere is palpably different. Gone are the rowdies, the drunks, the tourists; present instead is the eerie timbre of quiet before battle. It is the playoffs, the third game of the first series against the Atlanta Braves, and whether owning to the somber, rainy weather, the melancholy brought on by raised expectations, or, more likely, the Trans-Atlantic airline fares that have passed as market rates for scalped tickets, these fans were here to win.
That was the feeling I had on Friday night when I walked through Gate F at Clark and Addison Streets and into the nation's most beloved ballpark. Though the architecture of Wrigley Field is the same as always--an array of ascending ramps, chain-linked fences, city vistas, and dank inner concourses pierced by streaks of evening sunlight--the atmosphere is palpably different. Gone are the rowdies, the drunks, the tourists; present instead is the eerie timbre of quiet before battle.