#BatFlippersMatter (and other fun thoughts)

Jimmy Cordero–ejected promptly for hitting Willson Contreras over a four-inning-old bat flip Friday night, suspended Saturday for three games.

Jimmy Cordero drilling Willson Contreras over the season’s (and maybe the century’s) most artistic home run-hitting bat flip Friday night got himself a three-game suspension Saturday. At this writing, he plans to appeal. It’s not that Cordero knows me from Adam (Dunn or otherwise), but I’d like to make a suggestion to him for future reference.

Bat flippers matter. And they’re not the only ones who should be given such license when we talk about Letting the Kids Play. But almost never do we see anyone suggesting that if it’s ok for a home run hitter to send his bat into orbit it ought to be ok for a pitcher to celebrate a big strikeout.

I’ve said it before—they’d done it before. Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley used to make like he was fanning a pistol in his hand after (as he might have said in his old Dial-Eck jive talk) showing them the high cheese before punching them out with the yakker.

Pistol-fanning in the real Old West was something usually frowned upon—except in Hollywood. Wyatt Earp himself once said, “the gun fanner and the hip shooter stood small chance to live against a man who . . . took his time and pulled the trigger once.” In the Old West, it might get you killed. On the mound, it might get you laughs.

If you’re the hitter who doesn’t like it, just wait for your next time up and for the yakker that hangs. Then, have a yakker after you show him the high cheese . . . sailing into the bleachers, or the next county, whichever comes first. Yak for the Morticia is yak for the Gomez, you know.

If you’re a pitcher but you don’t want to be seen as a gun nut, you could always try wielding an imaginary bullwhip. Or a butterfly net. Or your best Al Bundy called bowling strike—roll your ball, pirouette, pump your fist, jerk your knee bend, and holler “steeee-rike!” before you know the ball’s half way to hitting the pins in the first place.

How about the pantomime fading basketball jump shot? Like the one Jim Carrey delivered in court in Liar, Liar. You could even run clubhouse surveys on who does it better—or funnier: a 6’8″ galoot like Dellin Betances, or a 5’7″ peanut like Marcus Stroman. And challenge each other to put that galoot or that peanut to shame.

One thing missed about this year’s Washington Nationals—2,000 year old man Fernando Rodney bending, aiming, and shooting arrows at the sky after nailing a good inning or, especially, a relief save, the latter being a lifelong habit. Now and then, of course, Rodney received tastes of his own medicine, which he didn’t really seem to mind.

Case in point: a 2014 game against the Los Angeles Angels, while he pitched for the Seattle Mariners. Rodney finished a scoreless eighth by shooting his invisible arrow right into the Angels dugout. That’d teach him.

In the ninth, he surrendered a walk to Mike Trout and a prompt RBI double to Albert Pujols. Pujols and Trout shot invisible arrows back and forth between second base and the dugout. The Angels’ Grant Green shot a game-winning RBI arrow through Rodney’s heart and into center field for the 6-5 win. All in good fun, we presume.

But why should the hitters and the pitchers have all the fun? If Willson Contreras can flip a bat spinning up equal to the Guaranteed Rate Field roof line, or Dennis Eckersley can shoot bullets after he’s thrown a few for a strikeout, why can’t the middle infielders have a little mad fun?

Kolten Wong (second base) and Paul DeJong (shortstop) turn double plays smoother than short-order cooks turn pancakes or pizza makers flip and spin the dough, right? (Now that I mention it, Contreras’s Friday night flip did kind of spin as high as some pizza makers spin the dough, at least when they’re spinning it in the front window and they’ve got an audience.)

Often as not, it’s Wong grabbing a hopper close enough to the middle of the infield and flinging inside-out to DeJong to turn and whip one to first base. Especially to retire the side. Why shouldn’t Wong and DeJong face each other, crouch, and juggle imaginary . . . well, anything—bats, balls, knives, garden shovels, meat cleavers, take your pick?

Jim Piersall (34) had his 100th home run trot backwards. (Looking haplessly: Phillies catcher Clay Dalrymple, Mets first baseman Tim Harkness.)

Come to think of it, with a name pair like theirs they could take that act on the road and bring down the house. Unless, of course, they bring down the wrath of a Fun Police pitcher and get to dance erroneously to a little chin music, maestro.

Even in the ancient days, the ones the Fun Police say meant respect, there were those who knew how to have fun. Even the almighty imperial New York Yankees. They had the perfect answer for Bill Veeck’s exploding scoreboard in Comiskey Park. As it happened, they also had the perfect manager for it—Casey Stengel.

Led by the Ol’ Perfesser himself, the Yankees answered one of their own hitting one out by sending up that scoreboard—prancing around the front of the dugout holding Fourth of July sparklers aloft for the Comiskey crowd to see.

And wouldn’t you just love to see a batter hit a milestone home run and celebrate it by trotting around the bases backward? Jim Piersall thought of that, in 1963, when he hit the 100th home run of his major league career, as a Met. Only he learned the hard way that even Stengel’s vaunted sense of humour had its limits.

Piersall led off against Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Dallas Green (future major league manager) in the bottom of the fifth, with the Mets holding a 1-0 lead, and drilled Green’s first service into the Polo Grounds’ right field seats. He took two steps out of the box, did an about face, and backpedaled his way around the bases.

The Phillies were probably too stunned to think of anything other than a few snickers. Piersall’s home run shuffle has yet to be topped even by today’s flippers, fanners, and jugglers. It was Piersall’s first home run as a Met. It was also Piersall’s last home run as a Met.

Stengel—the man who once flipped the bird out from under his hat during a game—was so amused by Piersall’s backpedaling he made sure the veteran outfielder was cut two days later, only to be signed by the tender mercies of the then-toddling Los Angeles Angels.

But I got $6,000 severance pay for one month,” Piersall remembered much later, “which made it my best payday in baseball, although I’d hit only .194 for the Mets. He did me a favor.” Who had the last laugh now?

Al Jackson, RIP: “Everybody here crazy”

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Al Jackson pitching to Hall of Famer Willie Mays in Shea Stadium, 1964. Jackson was a control pitcher whose Original Mets were only too often beyond control.

With the National League’s teams agreeing to let the expansion Mets and Colt .45s (the Astros-to-be) pick only from among their flotsam and jetsam, the two new clubs didn’t have much in the way of quality choices. As the Colts’ first general manager, Paul Richards, said infamously to his crew, “Gentlemen, we’ve just been [fornicated].”

The Colts went for younger unknowns, predominantly, though they did pick a few veterans, notably pitchers Don McMahon and Bobby Shantz, infielders Joey Amalfitano and Billy Goodman, and first baseman Norm Larker.

Knowing New York still smarted over the Dodgers and Giants moving west, the Mets opted mostly but not exclusively for veterans with National League name recognition (several of whom were former Dodgers or Giants), suspecting that might help goose the box office while the Mets set about building an organisation that might bear fruit within the decade.

Their choices included Hall of Fame center fielder Richie Ashburn, first basemen Gus Bell, Ed Bouchee (the NL Rookie of the Year runner-up in 1957), and Gil Hodges (the Brooklyn favourite), infielders Felix Mantilla and Don Zimmer, outfielder/first baseman Frank (The Big Donkey) Thomas, catchers Hobie Landrith and Joe Pignatano, and pitchers Roger Craig and Clem Labine.

But they did make room, too, for younger players who were either spare parts on other clubs or lucky to get cups of coffee if that much. Maybe the best of the Mets’ finds out of the latter end of the pool was a lefthanded, African-American pitcher named Al Jackson, whom the Mets plucked from the Pirates. To whom manager Casey Stengel took an immediate liking.

“Jackson,” wrote Stengel’s biographer Robert W. Creamer, “was one of the few accomplished players that Casey had when he was managing the Mets, a fine pitcher who could field his position skillfully, handle a bat well, run bases intelligently, and pitch with guile and courage.” The feeling was mutual. “He never treated me with anything but respect,” Jackson once said.

The Waco, Texas native died Monday morning at 83 in a Port St. Lucie, Florida nursing home, following a long illness that came in the wake of a 2015 stroke. Met fans from my generation won’t forget the game he pitched to open 1964’s final regular season weekend. In which, for the very first time in their existence, the Mets actually mattered to a pennant race outcome.

In fact, the infamous Phillie Phlop threatened the prospect of a three-way tie for the 1964 National League pennant. Thanks to that ten-game losing streak eroding what was a six-game lead when it began, the Cardinals opened the weekend in first place by half a game, the Reds were right behind them, and the Phillies were two and a half back.

The Cardinals hosted the Mets three games in St. Louis for that final weekend. The Reds faced the Phillies for a pair. And after the Phillies won their Friday game thanks to a four-run eighth and tidy bullpen work, a Cardinals win later in the day would clinch at least a tie for the pennant. Naturally enough, the Cardinals sent future Hall of Famer Bob Gibson to the mound to dispatch the Mets.

Stengel countered with Jackson. “Jackson,” the manager liked to say, “is a pret-ty good-looking pitcher,” which Creamer wrote was high praise from the Ol’ Perfesser. And at a time when it looked like the novelty of the Mets’ comedy of errors began wearing off, and the losing quit being funny, accompanied by some increased mutterings that Stengel was losing whatever he had left, Jackson proved one of Stengel’s few defenders.

A manager who loved to teach baseball above almost anything else, Stengel savoured Jackson as one of his very few younger Mets who was willing to listen and learn—even while he was at work on the mound. “Casey would stand in the dugout,” Jackson would remember, “and say real loud, ‘If I was a lefthanded pitcher, here’s what I would do right now.’ That’s when I knew he was talking to me.”

There were men on first and second, and you knew the other team wanted to bunt them over. Casey would say, “Here’s what I would do. I would let him bunt. I would throw him a little slider, and I would break toward the third base side, and I would throw his ass out at third.” Casey had the guts to tell you what he’d do in a certain situation when it came up on the ball field. He didn’t wait until after it was over and second guess. He’d tell you right now, and he’d tell you what the other team should do. He’s the only man I ever saw do that.

Gibson and Jackson squared off. The only run of the game scored when Mets first baseman Ed Kranepool singled home outfielder George Altman with two out in the third inning. Despite Gibson striking out seven while scattering eight hits and no walks in eight innings’ work, the script got flipped—the Cardinals committed three errors to the Mets’ none, though none of the errors factored in the score.

Jackson went the distance scattering five hits and a walk and, after surviving a bases-loaded threat in the eighth, retired the Cardinals in order on two fly outs and a ground out to finish. The next day, with the Phillies and the Reds off, the Mets blew the Cardinals out, 15-7. These were the Mets? Now the National League race went from chaos to bedlam.

The blowout left the Cardinals and the Reds tied for first with the Phillies a full game back. If the Phillies beat the Reds on the final Sunday and the Mets could finish sweeping the Cardinals, the National League would have to figure out a round-robin to decide a pennant winner. The Phillies did their job, blowing the Reds out 10-0 behind Hall of Famer Jim Bunning.

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Al Jackson, in the Polo Grounds, where the Mets played their first two bizarro seasons.

The Mets, alas, didn’t do theirs. Not for lack of trying. They had a 3-2 lead in the middle of the fifth, but the Cardinals dropped a three-spot on them in the bottom of the inning and never looked back; in a game that included Gibson working four innings’ relief, the Cardinals won the game (11-5) and the pennant. At the last possible minute.

Yet somehow the Mets made the Cardinals earn it the hard way, starting with Jackson’s cool shutout. A 5’10” lefthander whose money pitches were a snappy curve ball and a shivering slider, Jackson was as athletic as the day was long and pitched stoutly despite being charged with heavy losses as a Met, and his teammates befriended and respected him.

Kranepool in particular befriended Jackson, the two socialising often, even playing basketball together in the off seasons to stay in shape, according to Newsday.

“You had to be a pretty good pitcher to lose that many games,’’ Kranepool said of Jackson, who was charged with twenty losses in each of 1962 and 1965 and pitched too often in hard luck . “He was in the games at the end because he did so many things well. He was a good fielder and good hitter. He didn’t throw that hard; his curveball was his best pitch. But he was such a nice guy. He really was. You can’t find a negative thing to say about Al Jackson.’’

His fellow Original Mets pitcher, Jay Hook, credited with the win in the Mets’ first-ever regular season victory, had the same admiration. “He had good control, No. 1,” Hook says. “I think he really knew how to pitch.”

Jackson was dealt to the Cardinals after the 1965 season for veteran third baseman Ken Boyer, who was coming to the end of a should-have-been Hall of Fame career. After two fine if unspectacular Cardinal seasons, including not pitching in the 1967 World Series, he was returned to the Mets to finish a trade for relief pitcher Jack Lamabe.

He worked effectively as a swingman in his second Met tour, but before he could be a full part of the 1969 miracle—he if any Original Met had earned the chance after having survived the worst of their earliest seasons of comic futility—the Reds bought him that June. By then a middle reliever, a role that didn’t necessarily suit him, Jackson didn’t pitch as well as previously, and when the Reds released him in 1970 he retired.

He became a pitching coach for about two decades, including with the Red Sox and the Orioles, then returned to the Mets to work as a minor league pitching instructor except for a brief spell on the parent club during Bobby Valentine’s managerial term.

Jackson was as well known for good humour as he was for his pitching ability and knowledge. He needed every ounce of that good humour he could muster, as Jimmy Breslin related unforgettably in Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game. Specifically, about the third inning in a 10 August 1962 game in Cincinnati’s Crosley Field.

This one left even the even-keeled Jackson—who’d pitch the longest game in major league history in terms of the game’s time (four hours and thirty-five minutes, pitching fifteen innings against the Phillies four days later)—wondering if he’d lost his marble. Singular.

The Mets were in a 3-0 hole when Jackson surrendered a leadoff double to Hall of Famer Frank Robinson. Wally Post grounded out right back to Jackson off the mound but Don Pavletich walked to set up first and second. After Robinson stole third, Jackson got Hank Foiles to whack into a sure double play starting at first base.

Marvelous Marv Throneberry fielded it cleanly. He had all the time on earth to start the play. He could go to second for the first out and take the relay; or, he could throw home for the first out and get the relay back. “Don’t think,” Crash Davis warned. “It’ll only hurt the ball club.” Throneberry thought. Then he decided to go home to start the double play. Except that his throw didn’t arrive quite at the moment Robinson did.

Then a walk to Vada Pinson loaded the pads for Don Blasingame. And Blasingame obeyed Jackson’s pitch, too, whacking a perfect double play grounder, this time to second base. Where Hot Rod Kanehl was so anxious to pick it up and get it started that he let the ball bounce right off his leg.

“Jackson,” Breslin wrote, “now has forced the Reds to hit into two certain double plays. For his efforts, he has two runs against him on the scoreboard, still only one man out, and a wonderful little touch of Southern vernacular dripping from his lips.”

Then with Reds starting pitcher Jim Maloney at the plate, Jackson wrestled him to 3-2 and, as he threw Maloney a sure ground ball pitch, the runners broke. And Maloney whacked the ball to Kanehl. This time, the Hot Rod picked it clean. And this time, he tossed the ball to Charley Neal playing shortstop. But since the runners broke on the pitch Blasingame was already safe at second, and Pavletich scored.

Again Jackson threw what he hoped would be a double play pitch. And Cincinnati shortstop Leo Cardenas obeyed orders, whacking it on the ground right to Neal in perfect position to finish the Area Code 6-4-2 dial. “But you were not going to get Charley Neal into a sucker game like this. No sir,” Breslin wrote. Neal fired to first. Out made. Fourth run of the inning scoring.

Then Eddie Kasko lined out to Kanehl for the side. Breslin swore Jackson must have set some sort of record for getting hitters to hit into consecutive double play balls whose pooches were screwed on the first leg.

Stengel decided sending Jackson back out for the fourth would do him irreparable damage, if not what came to be known as post-traumatic stress syndrome, so he sent Ray Daviault out to work the fourth. And, perhaps flummoxed himself over the third inning’s undoings, the Ol’ Perfesser forgot to tell Jackson, who went out to the mound to warm up without seeing Daviault coming in from the pen. The Crosley Field P.A. announcer announced the Mets’ new pitcher—Daviault.

Breslin swore Jackson stopped cold and made his own announcement: “Everybody here crazy.”

It’s deja vu all over again

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Joey Gallo, Texas Ranger (and absolutely no relation to the legendary New York wiseguy): until straining his left oblique last month, this season’s likely king of the three-true-outcomes . . .

Today’s fan and observer from the old school laments two things primarily about today’s baseball: the three-true-outcomes brand of home runs, walks, and strikeouts uber alles; and, the parade of pitchers paddling in and out of games based upon analytic matchups. Enough of them think it’s ushering in the end of the world as we knew it. And I probably had the first four words of the preceding sentence wrong.

Aside from how new it isn’t—the big power-big strikeout game wasn’t invented in this decade, or in the era of actual or alleged performance-enhancing substances—I’m going to lay down a bet that you can’t show me any generation of baseball in which someone couldn’t call himself justified in thinking the game was no longer what it “should” be.

(Quick aside: How do Joe and Jane Fan reconcile it when they’re tickled to death watching a pitcher strike out ten or more hitters in a game but they’re furious over the team striking out ten or more times in the same game?)

Allow me to share a passage written by a former third baseman and manager. I’m pretty sure you’ll think at first that it comes from someone who played or managed the game within the past ten or twenty years:

Baseball today is not what it should be. The players do not try to learn all the fine points of the game as in the days of old, but simply try to get by. They content themselves if they get a couple of hits every day or play an errorless game. The first thing they do each morning is to get the papers and look at the hit and error columns. If they don’t see them, some sportswriter gets a terrific panning, of which he never hears.

When I was playing ball, there was not a move made on the field that did not cause every one of the opposing team to mention something about it. All were trying to figure out why it had been done and to watch and see what the result would be. That same move could never be pulled again without every one on our bench knowing just what was going to happen.

I feel sure that the same conditions do not prevail today. The boys go out to the plate, take a slam at the ball, pray that they’ll get a hit, and let it go at that. They are not fighting as in the days of old. Who ever heard of a gang of ball players after losing going into the clubhouse singing at the top of their voices? That’s what happens every day after the games at the present time.

In my days, the players went into the clubhouse after losing a game with murder in their hearts. They would have thrown out any guy on his neck if they had even suspected him of intentions of singing. In my days the man who was responsible for having lost a game was told in a man’s way by a lot of men what a rotten ball player he really was. It makes me weep to think of the men of the old days who played the game and the boys of today. It’s positively a shame, and they are getting big money for it.

That was from Bill Joyce, a National Leaguer of the 1890s, quoted in the 1916 edition of The Spalding Base Ball Guide. As the gentleman described in the next passage might say, you never believe anyone did or said anything before they did.

With apologies for deploying “he” instead of the man’s real name just yet, here is the next passage. And, an advisory: think of “odds” in the following passage as “the metrics” in today’s game, and be advised that in his later years he spoke very often about on-base percentages, too:

[I]n talking about “percentage baseball,” [he] said, “Percentage isn’t just strategy. It’s execution. If a situation calls for a bunt and you have a batter who can’t bunt, what’s the percentage of bunting?”

He wanted players who could do things, who could execute . . . “If you’ve got a number of good men setting around on the bench you’ll do yourself a favour playing them, because every time one of my front players got hurt I noticed the fella I stuck in his place would bust out with hits. Then just about the time he slowed down he’d oblige me by stepping in a hole and another fella would take his place and hit. I decided I’d never count on one player taking care of one position for an entire season. If you’ve got two or three men who can’t play anyplace pretty soon you’re gonna run out of room for pitchers, and that’s why you’ve got to have players who can do more than one thing” . . . 

He got pleasure out of baseball, sheer joy when it was played properly. After a Dodger-Yankee World Series game that matched [Eddie] Lopat and Preacher Roe, two smart pitchers who used guile and control with consummate skill, [he] said, “Those two fellas certainly make baseball look like a simple game, don’t they? It makes you wonder. You pay all that money to great big fellas with a lot of muscles and straight stomachs who go up there and start swinging. And [Lopat and Roe] give ’em a little of this and a little of that and swindle ’em.”

He liked pitchers like that, men who could “throw ground balls,” low pitches that batters tended to hit to infielders who could convert them into double plays. He relished double plays and was always looking for deft second basemen who could “make the pivot.” He called the double play the most important play in baseball. “It’s two-thirds of an inning!” he’d say. “One ground ball and two! You’re out of the inning.” For the same reason, he used the sacrifice bunt sparingly, because when you sacrifice you give away an out, and an out is valuable.

He needed players who could do things to make his kind of baseball work . . . And he didn’t like to have to rely on the same eight fielders throughout a game. He understood odds. He disliked playing his infield in to cut off a run, fearing that the defensive gain (a shorter throw to home) was more than offset by the defensive loss (more batted balls that could flit between infielders for base hits). “Playing your infield in,” he said, “turns a .200 hitter into a .300 hitter.” He wanted the best odds he could get, every inning . . .

[He] used his bench. (“We’re paying twenty-five men,” he’d say, “we might as well let them earn their money”.) He didn’t have substitutes around just for emergencies. The process seems so logical that those familiar with the way [he] operated feel a vague sense of shock nowadays when they see a major league team come into the ninth inning behind a run and send up to bat the same weak-hitting shortstop and the same weak-hitting second baseman who have played the entire game. Where are the pinch hitters? Where are the replacement fielders? As a matter of fact, [he] probably would have hit for them long before the ninth inning. If he was up against a competent pitcher and suddenly saw an opening, he didn’t wait for a late inning to pinch hit. If, say, the leadoff hitter in the fifth inning got to second base on a throwing error by the shortstop, and the weak-hitting end of his batting order was coming up, [he] would go at once to his pinch hitters, one after another sometimes, probing, pushing, improving the odds of getting that run in from second. Even if he didn’t succeed, the pressure he put on the pitcher could turn an easy inning into a tough one and possibly make it easier to get to him the following inning.

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Casey Stengel, who didn’t need a crystal (base)ball to tell him, “Baseball is percentage plus execution.”

That’s from Robert W. Creamer in Stengel: His Life and Times, published in 1984, almost a decade after Stengel’s death. And people wondered why they couldn’t beat Stengel’s Yankees even if they’d snuck into their hotel rooms and broken their legs.

Maybe the nearest thing Stengel’s had to a disciple in the post-Stengel era was Tony La Russa. And maybe, if allowed to manage in today’s game, Stengel would have been either renowned (or denounced) as a human computer or taking to the computer the way La Russa did around the time Creamer’s biography appeared.

Now, allow me to share one more passage:

I have always been a fellow who liked to see efficiency rewarded. If a pitcher pitched a swell game, I wanted him to win it. So it kind of sickens me to watch a typical pastime of today in which a good pitcher, after an hour and fifty minutes of deserved mastery of his opponents, can suddenly be made to look like a bum by four or five great sluggers who couldn’t have held a job as bat boy on the Niles High School scrubs . . .

. . . I mean it kind of upsets me to see good pitchers shot to pieces by boys who, in my time, would have been ushers. It gnaws at my vitals to see a club with three regular outfielders who are smacked on top of the head by every fly ball that miraculously stays inside the park—who ought to pay their way in, but who draw large salaries and are known as stars because of the lofty heights to which they can hoist a leather-covered sphere stuffed with dynamite.

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Ring Lardner.

Ladies and gentlemen (or sirs and ladies, as he might have written in his time), that was Ring Lardner, writing in The New Yorker in 1930. When the live ball era was a decade old. Admitting the live ball and not the Black Sox scandal soured him on the game he loved and graced with his prose.

“In other words,” wrote Allen Barra in That’s Not the Way It Was, “in an irony as sharp as any in Lardner’s stories, Babe Ruth, the man credited with saving baseball after the Black Sox scandal, is the man who helped ruin it for Ring Lardner.” Also in Lardner’s words, later in “Br’er Rabbit Ball,” as a matter of fact:

Well, the other day a great ballplayer whom I won’t name (he holds the home run record and gets eighty thousand dollars a year) told a friend of mine in confidence (so you must keep this under your hat) that there are at least fifteen outfielders now playing positions in his own league who would not have been allowed bench-room the year he broke in. Myself, I just can’t stomach it . . . 

“Even before 1919,” Barra wrote, “Lardner had already been worn down with the daily grind of beat writing with its train travel and deadline pressures. In any event, he did continue to write about baseball well after 1919, though always on special assignment.” Including “Br’er Rabbit Ball,” which was republished two years ago in The Lost Journalism of Ring Lardner.

All the foregoing leaves us with what, then? Well, it leaves us to remember certain baseball arguments have always been with us; and, certain baseball fans will always lament the actual or alleged loss of the game they used to know. (Why they’re not lamenting the maple bats that hit balls juiced or otherwise harder as loudly as they lament today’s reputed ball escapes me for now.)

And, it leaves us to remember that Chicken Little will never be baseball’s invisible barometer or unseen/unheard self-appointed town crier. It’s deja vu all over again.