All posts filed under: Baseball

Observations from the old ball yard, especially focused on our hometown nine – the Washington Nationals

A Weird Night at the Ballpark

Maybe it was the full harvest moon over a packed Nationals Park on Friday the 13th.* Perhaps it was the insertion of Jason—the villain with the hockey mask from the Friday the 13th movies—into the President’s Race. (He favored Teddy for some reason unbeknownst to me.) Who knows for sure . . . but it was a weird night at the ballpark. Beginning with the national anthem. Did I mention that Washington was highlighting National Truck Driver Appreciation Week? Well, the singer of the Star Spangled Banner was a trucker who brought his guitar to the stadium. After strumming the opening chord, he sang an enthusiastic—if not exactly on-key—version, which would have been okay if he had dropped the idea of bringing the guitar back into play while still singing. Suffice it to say, our friend did not quite match the pitch of the guitar at the end of the anthem, which I could see coming. It was a “don’t give up your day job” moment. While it was a Friday night in September, it was …

It Gets Late Early Out Here

A couple—friends since our years in Staunton in the 1980s—came to visit this weekend. We spent most of our time over the past three days cooking, drinking wine, eating, playing guitars, and talking. But mostly talking. No matter if it has been a decade since college and you’re meeting with your former classmates at a wedding, or almost four decades since you moved to a new town and established lasting relationships, when you gather with long-time friends the stories pick up where you last left off and weekends can turn magical. The legendary New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra once noted that towards the end of his career he played a good number of games in left field. When World Series games were still played in the daylight, left field in old Yankees Stadium could be difficult to navigate because of the deep, autumn shadows. Berra was asked about playing that position and he said, “It gets late early out here.” People laughed, but Berra recalled that someone told him that there is truth in …

It Takes However Long It Takes

After his death, Stephen Jay Gould, the great paleontologist and scholar of evolutionary history, was still teaching about a subject he loved—through a posthumous book of essays about baseball. Gould and other famous scholars and writers—individuals such as historians David Halberstam and Doris Kearns Goodwin, novelist John Updike, financial journalist Michael Lewis, and New Yorker essayist Roger Angell—have all written with a special affinity for the game. Ken Burns found many of them for his 9-part PBS documentary Baseball. Yes, even poet Walt Whitman wrote about baseball in the mid-nineteenth century. I’m here to report that we have a candidate for the 2019 addition to the “smart people write about baseball” library. Let’s see what it might tell us about baseball, and life. Infinite Baseball: Notes from a Philosopher at the Ballpark is a short and entertaining work written by Alva Noë, a professor of philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley, and a lifelong New York Mets fan. I went against my standing policy of rejecting books with jacket blurbs by George Will and took …

The NFL Season Begins Anew. Heaven Help Us.

Late yesterday afternoon I was watching a bit of ESPN. Suddenly, the excitement level of the announcers’ voices rose significantly as they began talking about “THE FIRST NFL PRE-SEASON GAME OF THE YEAR” scheduled for later that evening. On August 1st. Doesn’t this thing ever go away? Heaven help us. We’re in the midst of a baseball pennant race where, with two months to go, 17 teams are either division leaders or within four games of the two wild-card slots in each league and thus have a legitimate chance at making the playoffs. Teams are going on improbable streaks (I’m looking at you, New York Mets and San Francisco Giants). Strong teams (Houston) just made themselves better with deadline trades, while other teams (New York Yankees and Washington Nationals) left their fans disappointed by their lack of imagination and just plain guts in filling in their weaknesses. Suffice it to say, there’s a lot to watch (and talk about) around baseball. But noooo. We have to hear about pro football ad infinitum. Well, I’m (still) …

Baseball is boring. Then suddenly it isn’t.

I know I’m going to jinx them. I just know it. As soon as you start talking about the Nationals this year, they do a face plant and fall back off the pace. Again. Their bullpen implodes. Again. They remind you that Mike Rizzo isn’t a genius when it comes to constructing bullpens or picking managers. Again. Nonetheless, I’m going to take a chance. And I’m doing so because Max Scherzer is worth it. Who breaks their nose (in a freak bunting accident, no less), then 24 hours later goes out with said broken nose and amazing black eye and punches out 10 Phillies (boo Bryce Harper) via strikeouts? Then five days later throws one-hit shutout ball — again with 10 strikeouts — against the Marlins? Finally, yesterday, in his first return to Detroit since signing with the Nats as a free agent, Max — still with a discolored eye and broken nose — goes 8 innings and has 14 strikeouts in a 2-1 win that brings the Nats home for July 4th with a …

About “More to Come…The DJB Blog”

Hi.  I am David J. Brown (hence the DJB) and I originally created this blog more than ten years ago to send random thoughts on a few things I care about to friends, family, and others who may share the same passions.  I began this as a way to capture photos and memories from a family vacation.  After the trip was over, I simply continued writing. Over the years the blog has changed to have a more definite focus, which is reflected in the new menu items and new look.  Several years ago I began writing a Monday email to my staff about things that were on my mind, and this discipline led to a regular feature on the blog which you can find under “Monday Musings.”  Professionally, I am a national nonprofit leader with a four-decade record of growing and strengthening organizations at local, state, and national levels. In this work, I combine deep industry knowledge in historic preservation with proven fundraising experience, national program conceptualization and delivery, effective public engagement, extensive governing board …

Location, Location, Location

Take a look at this map: Do you have any idea what information is being conveyed?  (Hint:  Think about the time of year). If you suspect you have the answer, click here to see if you are right. This map came to me from a colleague from the National Trust, and I think I was stumped because this wasn’t what I would call “within his area of expertise” (or interest). If you are still reading and haven’t clicked through to the website, it maps where Major League Baseball fans live in the United States, by county.  Now that you know the answer, click through to the article above and learn some other fun facts, such as which MLB team’s fans live in the most counties and the most out-of-state counties, the largest land mass covered by a fan base, and the state with the most number of teams.  (That last one is Pennsylvania.) “Though it is home to only two teams, no state is the site of fiercer competition than Pennsylvania, which has its allegiance …