Wisdom

This weekend I had the great fortune of attending the Society for American Baseball Research annual convention.SABR40 Convention Graphic | Baseballisms.com SABR40 was hosted by the Magnolia Chapter in the city of Atlanta.  At the time of submitting my registration for the conference, I was living just south of the city and expected to make an easy commute to and from home to partake in the panels and discussions on the agenda.  However since that time, the family has begun a transition to pursue opportunities in New England, so the commute now included a plane flight.  Fortunately, (or not so fortunately) the house is still on the market and I was able to take care of some home maintenance upon my return to Atlanta, while also attending the convention.

My overall impression is that there are many incredibly smart individuals with extraordinary passion driving their pursuit of greater knowledge of the game of baseball. I was in awe of the exquisite detail included in the member presentations, while thoroughly enjoying the exchanges during the panel discussions.

Here are some notes:

My first event was Thursday evening and the panel discussion of Women Baseball Writers held at Charis Books and More in the Little Five Points district of Atlanta. The panel consisted of Dorothy Seymour Mills, Christina Kahrl and Cecilia Tan. Also listed on the panel was Judith Testa who was unable to attend for some reason.  I was looking forward to seeing Judith since I had done a Cover the Bases podcast with her about her biography of Sal Maglie.

  • Cecilia is also a previous guest on the podcast, so it was great to meet her this night and to see her throughout the weekend live blogging on her site WhyILikeBaseball.com. Cecilia read the introduction and a favorite passage of her book The 50 Greatest Games in Yankee History
  • Dorothy Seymour Mills discussed her work with her husband and colleague Harold Seymour, as well as her biography A Woman’s Work and her recent book Chasing Baseball.
  • I was really impressed with Christina Kahrl’s story of building up the Baseball Prospectus from it’s initial beginnings to an essential publication for serious baseball fans.  She has succeeded in collaborating on the annuals inspired by the Bill James Baseball Abstracts.
  • Also getting a chance to tell us about her current work was Stephanie Liscio who is publishing a book titled Integrating Cleveland Baseball.
  • One of the benefits of being in town this weekend was the series with the San Francisco Giants. Tonights ballgame was a big 3-2 win over Tim Lincecum. I also fired up the MLB Package on DirectTV and watched the Padres take one from the Dodgers.

Day two started out with a panel discussion called 1990’s Braves “Worst to First” Era Panel including Phil Niekro, Mark Lemke, Bobby Cox and Ron Gant, moderated by recent Cover the Bases guest Pete Van Wieren. Braves Panel | SABR 40 | Baseballisms.com

  • Sat next to a gentleman who produced a baseball for the Braves panelists to sign.  He mentioned to me that it was from the previous night’s ballgame.  As he told the story, it had bounced off the hands of another fan in front of him and it presented itself softly in front of him.  It was a foul off the bat of Alex Gonzalez who homered two pitches later!
  • To my left was a guy who was admiring my iPad and we discussed how he could use it for work purposes.  Unfortunately the hotel was a complete black hole as far as internet connectivity.  One of the discoveries of this weekend is how much better the AT&T 3G coverage is in Boston than it is in Atlanta.
  • My seat mates and I talked a lot of about the Braves and I was able to relate the importance of Pete Van Wieren to the entire Braves community.  We also discussed autographs and his pursuit of the identity of a former Orioles player whose signature he cannot decipher.
  • One of the best lines of the panel came from Bobby Cox when jokingly discussing umpires said, “I like all umpires .. except for the one in Florida last night!”.  The night before, umpire Bob Davidson had missed a fair / foul call that cost the Florida Marlins a win over the Phillies.

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A message for you  as we transition from the first Collection, The 2009 Playoff Collection and prepare for Opening Day 2010.

We would love to hear from you. Send a Tweet to @baseballisms with a quick message, send us an email or visit our Upload page with a video message.  We look forward to growing a community of fans interested in the poetry of the game of baseball!

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Baseball Fan Jim Babwe’s email submission to Baseballisms.com reprinted with permission. Long time fans of this site will remember that this was the first Legendary Game that we highlighted when we launched in 2008.

Saturday, October 15, 1988: World Series, Game 1

At approximately 1:00 PM, I received a phone call from a friend who asked me whether I’d be interested in buying two tickets for that afternoon’s game at Dodger Stadium. He said they were available at face value, but added that I would need to drive to a hotel near Los Angeles International Airport to pick them up.

I said, “Yes, I want the tickets.”

As soon as I hung up the phone, I picked it up again to call a friend who I knew would want to come along. No answer. I left a message on the machine.

I called another friend. No answer. I left a message on the machine.

Another call. Same result.

I don’t recall exactly how many phone calls I made–maybe two or three more. Even though it was a Saturday, nobody was home, and because I didn’t want to be late for the game, I started to leave.

Before I reached the front door, the phone rang.

The caller was a college friend who I hadn’t seen for a few years or so. He had moved to the Midwest, but was in town on business and wanted to get together for lunch or dinner.

I said, “Do you want to go to the game at Dodger Stadium today?”

Knowing  he was (still is) a lifelong baseball fan, I knew the answer before he said yes.

I looked at the clock, knew we’d be cutting it close, so I told him I’d pick up the tickets and meet him at the Stadium.

I drove to LAX, picked up the tickets, drove to Dodger Stadium, met my friend, and on the way to the turnstiles, caught up on general stuff.  I told him the story about not being able to find anyone for the second ticket.

We agreed about the good timing.

1988 World Series–Game 1. Most baseball fans know how this game ended. Gibson hobbles to the plate, hits a 3-2 pitch over the right field wall. Gibson limps around the bases. Dodgers win. People who left in the 7th or 8th inning “to beat the traffic” curse themselves for the rest of their lives.

For me, there’s another unforgettable part of that game’s dramatic conclusion.

As the tension mounted and the count went full, picture a capacity crowd (minus at least a few dozen who got a head start toward the freeways)–shouting, yelling, whistling, screaming, clapping. Oakland’s ace reliever, Dennis Eckersley, delivers the 3-2 pitch. Gibson swings.

One of these days, I’m going to use a stopwatch to see how much time elapsed from the moment of contact–that crack of the bat–and the moment it descended like a crazy dream into some lucky fan’s hands there in the right field pavilion.

However many seconds passed (more than one, maybe close to four) an almost unbelievable silence (quick as it was) replaced the noise. It was as if everyone there–witnessing the almost inconceivable–simultaneously inhaled and wiped the sound away until, just as suddenly, the subsequent release of air launched a collective shout of joyful disbelief that transformed itself into at least a half hour of continuous shouting, yelling, whistling, screaming, clapping, and cheering. As we picked up our programs and left our seats, as we walked down the stairs, out to the parking lot, as we drove onto the freeway, and away from Dodger Stadium that evening, the cheering continued.

Theologians may point out technicalities to dispute the point. Skeptics and pessimists may dismiss the point as trivial or irrelevant in terms of the broader scope of Life on Earth.  But because the memory reminds me how the will to succeed can prevail over seemingly insurmountable obstacles, and that no matter how rarely miracles occur, what I saw in the bottom of the ninth inning on October 15, 1988 showed me that miracles can and do happen. You just have to keep yourself ready for them.  Grab a bat, step into the box, and take your best cut.

Do you have a story like Jim’s? We would love to hear from you! Send a Tweet to @baseballisms with a quick message, send us an email or visit our Upload page with a video message.  We look forward to growing a community of fans interested in the poetry of the game of baseball!

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  • 3u Hit it Hard Somewhere! #
  • Fuentes isn't going to make things too easy on #angels fan in the postseason … Good luck with that. #
  • Why #angels Soscia is great. Rivera misses shot going out, jogs into 2nd. Soscia pinch runs, about to chew him out, congrats. Message clear #
  • Matsui is still a force to be reckoned with .. PH homerun gets the #Yankees within 2. Hits righties and lefties equally #
  • Let's see what these #Yankees & #Angels have going into post season … Yankees down 4-1 in the 8th. Will they clinch birth tonight? #
  • Holy smokes .. Chipper (I know, Chipper!) & Diaz homer in same inning to make it 8-0. Only the 2nd #braves over #mets #
  • We've done 5 legendary scoreboard games on our site. Now we're taking a poll (right column) Which do you think is best? http://bit.ly/Ksqkc #
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  • #dodgers are so solid.. Put Manny Ramirez on with intentional walk & you have to deal with Matt Kemp. That's a deep playoff caliber lineup. #
  • Downpour arrives … #braves #phillies in a rain delay bottom of 5th w/ Phils up 4-1. Crazy weather, sunny here 20 miles away. #
  • I know NFL takes over Sundays in Fall… But it's nice to throw "baseball" into search.twitter to see what's up. I've got Pennant fever! #
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  • 6 – 4 Hit it Hard Somewhere! #
  • How about that !?! Texiera misses the cycle by blasting his second homerun of the night. This time from the right side of the plate #Yankees #
  • Texiera only a double away from the cycle for #Yankees in the 7th ….. But he's gonna need another bat to do it. Snap #
  • Nice catch Tex. How'd Mariners fans let him near that foul ball?Certain fans @Fenway would'a been after that bit more aggressively #Yankees #
  • Hated to see Texiera leave the #braves last year (MLB economics) seeing him play daily you realize he's even better than you think #Yankee #
  • Texiera drives his fourth RBI of game for #Yankees with 3 run home run 36th and 117. Are we looking at AL MVP this year? #
  • Spilborghs goes the other way for second double off the bench puts #Rockies lead back up to 2 in the 9th #
  • Remember #redsox nation when there was a year the thinking was Hansen & Delcarmen were the future of the bullpen? Not so much #
  • Tracey pinch hit Spilborghs for Hawpe playing righty lefty matchup #Rockies outfieldr delivers RBI double. Why managers r paid the big bucks #
  • #RedSox playing a bit of BP in Camden Yards now .. Drew now Anderson yard after Papi stung Sac fly. 11-3 #
  • Chores done .. Flip on the dish to see Youklis strike a curveball into left for the #RedSox go ahead run vs #Orioles 4-3 #
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  • 6 – 3 Hit it Hard Somewhere! #
  • #scully references Dimaggio, Musial, Mantle, Bagwell, Felipe Alou, Kirk Gibson with ease. #
  • @Sarah2713 could be fun if he is a big presence on the bench thru playoffs. Some key homeruns would cement the Hall honor. in reply to Sarah2713 #
  • #scully breaks down Loney's turning on a fastball as nicely as a hitting coach "Turn upper torso, get hips outta the way, and let her rip" #
  • Great catch Eithier. That ball gets by #dodgers rightfielder, #sfgiants Velez is running forever. #
  • @Sarah2713 lol. in reply to Sarah2713 #
  • Ichiro with a walkoff two run homerun of Mariano Rivera! #Yankees #mariners !! #
  • I'm repeating myself, but on nite when #braves Escobar is still top of mind, Furcal homers & makes some fine defensive plays for #dodgers #
  • Ok .. love the #dodgers camera catching Zito & Lincecum in the dugout yucking it up #sfgiants #
  • #Scully tonight reminds us how much he misses the outfielders throwing to the bases in pre-games. Watching outfielders with guns #dodgers #
  • @Alyssa_Milano LOL … Favorited in reply to Alyssa_Milano #
  • Pls tell me this trend is not going to become more prevelant.. This Manny Ramirez at bat is brought to you by AM/PM.. Say it ain't so #
  • #dodgers better stop playing pinball around the diamond if they are going deep in October. Seems whenever I turn them on it's fielding probs #
  • Love seeing the local ads when I'm watching West Coast games. Seeing things like Red Bull Soap Box Derby coming to LA soon, makes me laugh #
  • @USAFCCF there's been many more nights he should have considered it. Drives me nuts to see talent like Escobar blow it not playing smart in reply to USAFCCF #
  • So .. story tomorrow for #braves – does benching Escobar light same fire it did for Andruw Jones 10 Gold Gloves & Silver Slugger? We'll See #
  • @USAFCCF Achilles heal all season .. Every time they had a chance – baserunners & bombs against the pen. in reply to USAFCCF #
  • Stomach punch … Two walks and a Jimmy Rollins homerun puts a fork in the #braves. Oh & Fransisco blast to top it off #phillies #
  • Makes my heart proud that the most clutch hitter on this team is the catcher. McCann 2 run Jack #braves pull within 2 on #phillies bullpen #
  • 2 homeruns this game #braves Logan plays chin music on Ryan Howard after Utley steals 2nd to open up 1st base. HBP take your base! #phillies #
  • Just added to http://wefollow.com twitter directory under: #baseball #mlb #wisdom #fans #community #
  • Tots in bed ready for Fri. Baseball. Cox yanking Escobar reminds me of time he pulled young Andruw Jones mid-inning. Approve move #braves #
  • Multi-team #FF @Sarah2713 @BoSoxSnoopy @BlueCrueNews @CoolpapaC @TheRopolitans @metsfanrachel @USAFCCF @coryh64 @rain_delay #
  • Watching #MLB Network defensive highlights from last night & realized ESPN Baseball Tonight has entered a term into the lexicon – "Web Gem" #
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  • Testing a Seesmic desktop post to see if this appears in Twitter and the Baseballisms.com Fan Page on Facebook #
  • Derek Jeter honored for having 144 fewer hits than Harold Baines http://bit.ly/FIXe (the Onion) #
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  • RT @Sarah2713: Mmmm I can feel it in the air. October Baseball is right around the corner :-) #MLB #
  • Love video of toddler tossing Dad's foul ball away http://bit.ly/aPu0D Any #phillies fans out there know the guy? Would love to talk to him #
  • Scrappy #braves team never quits.. 9th inning Infante sac fly ties game .. Murphy boots grounder winning run scores. KRod 6th blown sv #mets #
  • Wait .. is that Mike GONEzalez!?! .. Long ball #Mets up 5-4. #braves #
  • Kudos to ESPN Gamecast for being pretty close to real time … Not missing any action going back & forth office to couch :-) #
  • @libbycrews agree .. switching over to the #Braves #Mets delayed game tied at 4 .. then #Giants #Rockies … It's pennant fever around here! in reply to libbycrews #
  • Umpires love the fact they get to their locker room via Away team dugout. Mike Soscia giving them ear full after #redsox 9th inning comeback #
  • Holy smokes! Greenie battles for the walk, lays off pitch at the knees and game is tied! #redsox #
  • This game is a little too intense for MLB Gamecast! Down to TV #redsox #
  • @Faceyman from north of the border correctly guessed our 5th Legendary Scoreboard game as Joe Carter '93 WS walkoff! http://bit.ly/m2nfW FTW #
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  • RT @karenjackie: If you are a 70s #redsox fan, you might enjoy this Baseballisms podcast I did with @joemagennis http://snurl.com/rvmii #
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  • Cards from the Diamond: Each day we feature something from our collection of childhood memories in bubblegum for.. http://bit.ly/QrQrR #
  • Argh… MLB package scheduling on DirectTV doesn't understand rainouts & doubleheaders. No #redsox on at the moment #
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  • @cessnet are you saying they will be exposed under scrutiny? in reply to cessnet #
  • Wow … #Rockies seem to be trying to corner the market on late game & late season comebacks #
  • So to answer my own question from earlier today .. It's the #dodgers. After bit of a swoon they are rebounding for playoff run. NL Pennant #
  • RT @metsfanrachel: RT @MetsWFAN In honor of our 1986th tweet: http://bit.ly/GWey (this belongs in some kind of 80's time capsule) #
  • How cool is to not only catch a foul ball, but to have your catch replayed on the away team broadcast? Worthy replay of #sfgiants fan catch #
  • @metsfanrachel … Favorited in reply to metsfanrachel #
  • …. Ah Vin Scully describes Padilla curveball as having the velocity of a soap bubble. We should collect Scully lines w/ #scully hashtag #
  • Just noticed the San Fran unis tonight .. so do I have to change the hashtag from #giants to #gigantes ? #
  • Russell Martin hits a mega-jack for three run lead in the 4th. Hit it right down the left field line just keeping it fair. #dodgers #giants #
  • Many things to watch tonight .. #dodgers at #giants / #redsox hosting #rays & I'll be watching some college FB & key Nascar Race for Chase #
  • #Braves over #Cards in 9th inning comeback .. Is there any NL team that scares anyone going into the playoffs? #
  • BMac showing what the team MVP can do! 2 run double braves back on top … #braves #stlcards #
  • Nothing like the confidence I get when Mike GONEzalez is in the game #braves #stlcards #
  • Hudson helps himself with a two run homer .. First of his career! Makes it 3-2 #braves #stlcards. #
  • It's #stlcards v #braves on Fox Baseball.. 2-0 Cards already. Would like to see Huddy continue strong comeback facing hottest lineup in MLB #
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  • @jsbsox love the dual acct for Sox posts, funny about work Twitter board! This will be the place to hang deeper and deeper into October! :-) #
  • @jacko2323 just thinking that last night. Realized how devastating wrist injury is for a ball player. ARod & Tejada were discussed some too in reply to jacko2323 #
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  • Hat tip to Jeter tonight, amazing accomplishment. Always like when big things happen at home park for fans to enjoy. Jeter=1st NYY>3K hits? #
  • Too bad cant do this every day.. happy to find Oakland A's v. LA Dodgers '74 World Series on MLB Network. All the players I love to remember #
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