Wally Moon was probably the first Dodgers superstar strictly of Los Angeles. Arriving from the Cardinals for 1959 in a trade, the outfielder soon became a fan favourite for his smarts, his competence in the outfield, and his patented Moon Shots over the infamous left field high screen in the hideous (for baseball) Los Angeles Coliseum.
On the threshold of pitchers and catchers reporting to open spring training, one prominent pitcher has found a way through the actual or allegedly paralytic free agency market into a Cubs uniform. Yu Darvish, last seen being nuked by the Astros in Game Seven of the World Series, has signed for six years and $125 million. Some call it a bargain, considering Darvish projected to six and $154 million on expected performance. Others call it a big risk. There may be a little of both involved.
How beloved and respected was Gil Hodges during his playing career? Enough that when he sank into a ferocious batting slump crossing the end of the 1952 season and the beginning of the 1953 season, the entire borough of Brooklyn, if not all New York City, took up prayers for him. A devout Roman Catholic, Hodges was genuinely touched that even non-Catholic churches joined the prayer chain.
There’s a new line of underwear out there called Tommy John. Unfortunately for baseball fans, it isn’t the creation of the former pitcher, which is kind of a shame. There go your opportunities for beefing up John’s Hall of Fame case by observing, “Jim Palmer only posed in his underwear; Tommy John up and created his.”
Long before he became a baseball player whose perfectionism on the field or in his person gave him something of a reputation as a phony, Steve Garvey was given too much, too soon. Not accolades but responsibilities.
He was an only child who was forced by two working parents to come home from school and clean house, get dinner on the stove, and look out for his invalid grandmother (partially paralyzed in a freak accident), even having to help her go to the bathroom regularly.
Give Yu Darvish credit. He owned this one and didn’t flinch. He went out to start Game Seven of the World Series, got torn apart in an inning and two thirds, and felt even worse for letting down the team he appreciated for giving him another postseason shot in the first place.
Especially because his previous Series start, in Game Three, went the same way, only with one less run against him.
When you’re a 56-year-old baseball team blasted inside out in grief for your hurricane-battered home city, and you feel there’s too little you can do to remove your city’s suffering, there’s really only one thing you can do. You can go out and play baseball and give your city a lift that can’t be paid for.
The good news: This World Series gets to a Game Seven, after all, for the second straight season and the third in four seasons. Depending on your point of view, the bad news: As this Series has gone, Game Six was just a little too full of something resembling normalcy.
With this Series mostly playing like The Twilight Monty Elsewhere, there was just something wrong with getting a mere Mike & Molly Tuesday night. Game Six was pleasant. Amusing. Sometimes revealing. That about exhausts it.
Forget any previous comparisons to The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, and St. Elsewhere. This is Monty Python’s Flying Series. On Sunday night it was as though the Dodgers and Astros agreed before the first pitch, “And now, for something completely different . . . ” As if this World Series wasn’t, already.
This Game Five may not be the greatest World Series game ever played, but it was for damn sure the most entertaining. So much so that you might even find Astro fans who were sorry only that it had to end when young third baseman Alex Bregman walked it off with an RBI single in the bottom of the tenth.
You thought the way Lance McCullers, Jr. and Sonny Gray tangled in American League Championship Series Game Four was something to behold before Aaron Judge wrecked it? You should have seen World Series Game Four with the Astros’ Charlie Morton and the Dodgers’ Alex Wood going at it, before George Springer put paid to it.