Friday, October 30, 2009

The Birds, the Beasts, and the Bat

THE BIRDS waged war with the Beasts, and each were by turns the conquerors. A Bat, fearing the uncertain issues of the fight, always fought on the side which he felt was the strongest. When peace was proclaimed, his deceitful conduct was apparent to both combatants. Therefore being condemned by each for his treachery, he was driven forth from the light of day, and henceforth concealed himself in dark hiding-places, flying always alone and at night.

Moral: He winds up friendless who plays both sides against the middle.

Application: There was a World Series between the Phillies and the Yankees. The eldest brother, who lived in a far away land (Minnesota) liked to have good relations with all his brothers. Unfortunately, two brothers were Phillies fans and one brother a Yankees fan. The eldest brother tried very hard to stay neutral and please everybody. When he talked to the youngest, he said how much he loved Derek Jeter. And when talking with the others his favorite color was red and "the Phillies are something else."

I'll get back to the Aesop's fable in a minute.

One of the great things about baseball is its own fabled, and well documented, history. Some of America's greatest journalism was sportswriting. When I stumbled upon Larry Hypes' Yankees-Phillies have prior history in 1950 World Series it was a fun and satisfying read. He begins this way.

World Series week begins with another reason to cheer for the Philadelphia Phillies. On Monday evening, the “Phillies Special,” an AMTRAK charter, brought the National League champions into Grand Central Terminal. Some 69 years ago, the 1950 “Whiz Kids” arrived by train to play the Bronx Bombers at the old Yankee Stadium, right across the street from the present Steinbrenner Palace.

It was a long-standing tradition for teams to travel by rail, although in the modern era airplanes have become a necessity. Until ‘58, when the Dodgers and Giants made their move to California, St. Louis was the western-most city with a professional baseball team. No team was further south than the Washington Senators until the Braves left Milwaukee for Atlanta after the ‘65 campaign. It was a tight-knit group of teams (8 in each league and 16 overall) for many years. With expansion and now in excess of 30 pro baseball teams stretching more than 3,000 miles apart, the old train tracks are all but forgotten.

If you're a fan of this grand old game, and especially the Phils or Yanks, you'll especially enjoy the rest of the article. What's noteworthy is that the Phillies in Game One on Wednesday scored more runs than they were able to muster in the entire 1950 series. Them bats must have been cold.

Good luck, Philadelphia, but for now it's...

Woo hoo!


Christella said...

Not a baseball fan today. However, I was a fan when Minnie Minoso played and I kept my own stats.

The story about the bat is one worth keeping and remembering. Sometimes you have to make a stand.

ENNYMAN said...

Hey, I remember Minnie Minoso. He played for the Indians and the White Sox both... I thought he was pretty cool. (He was from Havana, Cuba, actually and played in the Negro leagues before making debut with Indians.
My mom's favorite player was the Cleveland shortstop Bobby Avila, whose uniform I saw when I lived in Mexico... It was on display in Monterrey at their baseball hall of fame.

Regarding Minoso, I didn't realize (till I just looked him up) that he played a few games in 1980! He is one of two players to play in five decades of baseball in the Majors.

(I am sure Satchell Paige would have played more than five decades had blacks been able to play sooner than they did.)

Anyways, thanks for bringing back a fond memory.