Tag Archive | "Memories"

Open Letter to Chipper Jones


Dear Mr. Jones,

I have been a fan of the Atlanta Braves and you since I can remember.  I grew up watching the Braves in the 80’s when winning seemed as distant as landing on Mars,  but I persevered and I hope you can too.  I was the laughing stock in school for wearing my Braves hat, but that all changed in 1991.  All of a sudden there were Atlanta fans everywhere, and  I will be a fan until the good Lord takes me from this Earth.  I live and die every October with the rise and fall of the Braves, but I have to say it has been a wonderful ride.

I am writing to tell you why I, as a huge Braves fan, hopes you can also persevere and make it back for one more season. I understand me waiting year to year for a World Series is much easier than you recovering from knee surgery to make it back to the grueling schedule of 162 games.  But please hear me out as to why not only I want you to come back next year, but why Braves fans needs you back for one more year.

The Braves has seen some great players come along through its history.  The great Hammerin’ Hank, Eddie Mathews, Warren Spahn, Dale Murphy, John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, and one Larry Wayne Jones.  But the Braves have never had one of their great players go out as a Brave on a high note.  Hank Aaron went on to play with Milwaukee again (but this time as a Brewer) at the end of his career. Eddie Mathews ended his career in Detroit after playing for Houston.  Dale Murphy was traded to Philadelphia and finished his playing days in Colorado.  Greg Maddux finished up his days with the Dodgers and Padres.  John Smoltz played with Boston and St. Louis, and while Tom Glavine officially finished his career with Atlanta, it wasn’t the farewell tour everyone had hoped it would be since it was marred with injuries.

The Braves have not had one of their own Hall of Fame worthy stars end a season healthy as an Atlanta Brave.  I can remember everyone being excited about this Jones kid the Braves drafted in 1990.  I recall the excitement of getting your rookie baseball cards and thinking one day this will be the guy to take us to the World Series.  Little did I know it would be so soon.  I have so many fond memories of you playing with Atlanta; and I, like millions of others, don’t want my last memory of you playing being of you hurting your knee.

The one thing I have learned over the years watching you play is that there is no quit in you.  I was glad to see you said you were coming back to spring training next year.  One of my favorite memories from baseball was watching Cal Ripken Jr. play his last game in Texas at the Ballpark in Arlington in 2001.  It was nice to see such a great player make a farewell tour of stadiums.  He was able to dictate his own terms of leaving the game, and like Cal did everything, he did it with grace and a flair unlike any other.  I just hope the fans all around the country get that same memory with you.

Sincerely,

Eric – A Braves fan in South Korea via Texas – The Baseball Journeyman

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Top 10 Baseball Songs


Nothing says summer like baseball.  The hot summer nights, hot dogs, cold drinks, and cheering for your favorite team.  Whether you are a Cubs fan who has waited a lifetime to see a championship or a spoiled Yankee fan, there is one thing that everyone can enjoy year round, music.

America’s love affair with baseball has always included music as well.  There are some really good songs that are either about baseball, or mention it.  So I have searched high and low trying to find my 10 favorite songs.  I hope you enjoy these, and if there are others I may have missed please let me know.  I am always looking for more great music.

Number 10

A Dying Cub Fan’s Last Request by Steve Goodman

Two-time Grammy winner Steve Goodman grew up in Chicago.  He is better known for writing songs like “City of New Orleans” or “You Never Even Call Me By My Name”, but Goodman penned this classic song about a dying Cub’s fan.

Number 9

Nolan Ryan (He’s a Hero to Us All) by Jerry Jeff Walker

Jerry Jeff is a Texas legend.  Here he writes about yet another legend from the Lone Star State.

Number 8

Joltin Joe DiMaggio by Les Brown Orchestra

This is one I remember as a kid.  Sure it came out in 1941, but it’s a classic baseball song and no list of mine would be without it.

Number 7

Say Hey by The Treniers

This is another classic I can remember listening to as a kid.  Plus it’s about one of the most gifted players to ever grace the field.

Number 6

Catfish by Bob Dylan*

Dylan is a rock legend.  Here he sings about Hall of Fame pitcher Catfish Hunter.

* I could only find a cover of this on YouTube

Number 5

Tessie by The Dropkick Murphys

This is an old song redone from a 1902 number in the musical The Silver Slipper. The newer version was released in 2004.

Number 4

Glory Days by Bruce Springstein

This song just screams summer to me.  Plus now that I am older, I can understand the song much better.  I have had those moments of remembering the glory days. And I too know a guy from high school that could throw that speed ball by you and make you look like a fool.

Number 3

Talkin’ Baseball by Terry Cashman*

This is by far my favorite song from when I was a kid.  Written in 1981 it details the history of baseball from the 1950’s to 1980.  It’s great to hear a lot of the names I only grew up reading about or seeing highlights of.  Plus it’s such a catchy tune.  After the song became such a hit, individual team songs were done but nothing tops the original.

* I couldn’t find the Talkin’ Baseball song on YouTube so I figured I would show you the next best thing – Talkin’ Softball from one of the greatest Simpson’s episodes.

Number 2

Cheap Seats by Alabama

One of my favorite all-time bands singing about minor league baseball.  It doesn’t get much better than this.  As I have gotten older and been able to travel more, I have a greater appreciation for minor league ball.  In fact, I love it.

Number 1

Centerfield by John Fogerty

There isn’t another song that gets me more pumped up to see a baseball game than this one.  It’s one of the few songs where if I hear the first few notes, I have to hear the whole song.  Even as I sit here today listening to the song, I am wanting to get out and throw the ball around.  Maybe I’ll head for the batting cages instead.

Songs in their own stratosphere

Take Me Out to the Ballgame – Without question this song belongs on any list about music and baseball.  Hearing this at Wrigley also has some extra special meaning.

The Star Spangled Banner – I still get goose bumps when I hear this at a ballgame and nothing upsets me more when people don’t pause when it is playing.  We owe everything to those who fight for our freedom, including being able to watch baseball.

These two songs belong on any list, but they are in their own category.  Together they are the greatest combination of music for baseball and they belong on a list of their own.

So what are your favorites.  I would love to hear what songs you enjoy.  Drop me a line and let the discussion begin.

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The Little Things


Sometimes it’s the little things in life that bring so much pleasure.  As I sit here on Wednesday night, it is nearing midnight.  I am trying to catch up on some things that have been put off for over a week now.  During that week and a half I have had the worst sinus infection of my life.  It took me 3 visits to doctors to get antibiotics, but now I have them and they are starting to work.

So I sit here after work watching the US soccer team struggle to make it to the round of 16, my head, throat, and teeth hurt from my sinus infection but I can’t help but crack a smile.  For today I got a package from home, and in it David Sunflower Seeds.

Now I know many of you might be thinking, what?  These little seeds of joy covered in salt will bring me great pleasure.  There is nothing like being at a game with a bag of seeds, and David makes the best.  I have been unable to find them here in Korea.  Yes, I have been told I might be able to find them in Seoul.  But I don’t live in Seoul.  So having a few bags to hold me over till the end of the year brings a big smile to my aching face.

Sometimes it’s the little things that bring so much pleasure.

TBJM

Next Up: My votes for the All-Star teams

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Around the Horn


I wanted to weigh in on the happenings from yesterday. There were two significant events of the day.

First of all, let me quickly mention the retirement of Ken Griffey Jr. I know Griffey hasn’t been the same player for quite some time, but it’s still a sad day knowing one of the all-time greats of the game is retiring. I don’t think I have ever seen a player that played with such joy and emotion while at the same time being one of the best, if not the best, in the game. In my mind he is the greatest center fielder of his era, and easily the best one I ever got to see play. He is 5th on the all-time home run list, and what is unique about that is he has never been linked to steroids. A 13 time all-star, 10 time gold glove winner, and the AL MVP in 1997 (.304/56/147), Griffey will definitely be missed in the baseball world.

Perhaps overshadowing the Griffey retirement somewhat is Armando Gallaraga. Gallaraga was 1 out away from the 3rd perfect game of the year and 21st in history when umpire Jim Joyce blew a call at first base. I have to say in the aftermath that I was pleasantly surprised at how well both Gallaraga and Joyce handled the situation. Joyce understood after seeing the replay that he blew the call and requested to talk to Gallaraga personally. Gallaraga himself has been quite understanding of the whole situation by not getting bent out of shape with Joyce. He said he understood that it was a difficult call and that Joyce was human. It is reassuring in a day and age when many baseball players can be demanding prima donnas to see someone with a level head in a situation as big as this one.

So will anything happen in the end? I don’t think Gallaraga will get his perfect game, but I do think baseball will look at expanding instant replay. Whether this is a good or bad thing is debatable and will be debated, but I am not sold one way or another. What do you think? Should commissioner Selig do anything about the situation? If so, what? I’d love to hear what others think.

You can also join the conversation on twitter by following me there @baseballjourney or on Face Book.

AP Photo/Paul Sancya

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Baseball Memories


One of my best memories of baseball is from the 1992 NLCS.  I had long cheered on my Braves during the lean years of the 1980s.  In 1991, they finally made it to the World Series and it looked like things would really turn around.  Going from worst to first that year was very exciting.  The ’91 Series went to 7 games and was one of the most memorable Series in recent history.  If not for Lonnie “Skates” Smith’s running error in the top of the 8th of Game 7, the Braves might have brought home the title.

The next season brought a lot of hope for the Braves after coming so close to winning it all in ’91.   The Braves once again won the West (still strange to think they were in the West at one point) and faced off with the Pittsburgh Pirates once again in the NLCS.  Game 6 was a hard one for the Braves as they lost 13-4 and faced a do-or-die Game 7.  Through eight and a half innings, the score stood Pirates 2, Braves 0.  It looked as though they would fall short once again.  Then magic struck.  Terry Pendleton led off the bottom of the 9th with a double.  David Justice followed it up by reaching on an error from normally sure handed second baseman Jose Lind.  Sid Bream walked and all of a sudden the bases were loaded.  The Pirates finally took out starter Doug Drabek and brought in Stan Belinda.

Ron Gant quickly greeted Belinda with a sacrifice fly to make the score 2-1.  Damon Berryhill then walked to reload the bases.  With one out, pinch-hitter Brian Hunter popped out to shortstop Jay Bell and it looked like the Pirates might escape with the win.  Then Bobby Cox sent up Francisco Cabrera, the last man on the Braves bench.  And Skip Caray took it from there…..

A lotta room in right-center, if he hits one there we can dance in the streets. The 2-1. Swung, line drive left field! One run is in! Here comes Bream! Here’s the throw to the plate! He is…safe! Braves win! Braves win! Braves win! Braves win!…Braves win! They may have to hospitalize Sid Bream; he’s down at the bottom of a huge pile at the plate. They help him to his feet. Frank Cabrera got the game winner! The Atlanta Braves are National League champions again! This crowd is going berserk, listen!”

If you want to see the play, and hear this famous call, the link below will take you to MLB.com where the video is hosted.

 1992 NLCS Skip Caray Call

That is my favorite baseball memory.  I can still remember sitting at the end of my bed barely able to watch.  I would peak through my hands as they covered my face while I nervously watched.  So what is your favorite baseball memory?  Leave a message and let me know.

TBJM

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New Era (eFashion Solutions)

Quote of the Month

There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem - once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit. ~Al Gallagher, 1971

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