Week of March 30, 2015


Holy Cow! Harry Caray was living the 1-2-3 dream nearly fifty years ago.

Before He Was A Cub, Harry Caray Was A Trailblazer

“The Stacks” collection is one of the best series featured on Deadspin, and this week’s story will have you smiling all the way through. Read how Harry Caray (the legendary Cubs announcer and perhaps Will Ferrell’s best impersonation) got his break into calling games for the Cardinals, how he changed the way baseball was announced, his odd but powerful relationship with “Gussie” Busch (Budweiser), and how his “call it as I see it” approach enraged players and coaches alike. Some people loathed him, but the fans sitting by the radios throughout the country loved him. In his own words: “”I like to think that if I’ve accomplished anything, well, I’ve tried to develop the feeling in the little man, the man we call the fan, that I have his interest at heart. In the baseball business I’m the last of the nonconformists. I feel that eventually, in this day and age, my kind of guy’s gotta get fired.” Fantastic read that got me ready for the baseball season to kick off! – PAL

Source: “When Harry Caray Was A Rebel With A Microphone,” Myron Cope, Sports Illustrated, October 1968 (℅ Deadspin, 4/1/15)

TOB: Like many baseball fans of my age, I grew up watching Cubs games on nationally-aired WGN, announced by Harry Caray. He was like a lovable grandpa – loud and funny, maybe a little drunk. He loved baseball and he made you love it, too. But this article has me rethinking my understanding of Harry Caray. While I will always appreciate the enthusiasm with which he called a game – and his concerns about play by play announcers becoming mellow and boring was prophetic – e.g., Joe Buck, Dave Flemming (yes, I said it) – this article sure does mention a lot of people that worked with Harry that did not like him. He sounds like the kind of guy who stepped on a lot of people to get to the top. There are multiple facets to every person, but this does paint a picture of a Harry as someone whose public persona was more contrived than I had previously thought. Still, I can’t help but agree with this poem, taken from the story: “If you lack the tickets to see the Cards, you can listen in your own backyards, and the greatest show, no ifs or buts, is to hear Harry Caray going nuts.”

Heckling Hockey “Superfan” is a Real Asshat

For years, Corey Simms has gone to his local hockey rink, where he supports the Conception Bay Junior Renegades, and heckled opposing players and fans. To be clear, the league is for 18 to 22 year olds. Nonetheless, he is so obnoxious that the Renegades forfeited a game because they don’t want him there. He doesn’t seem to care: “If the hockey moms can’t handle me yelling and heckling at the rinks, I think they should stick to crosswords and knitting. And if the young boys, young men I should say, can’t handle a bit of heckling at the rink, they should stick to tiddlywinks and Playstation.” You, sir, are an asshat. -TOB

Source: Hockey Team Wants Answers on Who’s Responsible for Badly-Behaved Fans”, CBC News (03/25/2015); video w/ interview of asshat here

PAL: As the great Aaron Tippin sang, “You’ve got to stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything.” Just because you don’t agree with his cause, Tommy, doesn’t mean you have to degrade him by referring to him as an a-hat. Corey Simms is fighting for what he believes, and I for one…can’t keep this charade up any more, even in the name of debate. Simms is in the running for being named the biggest loser of 2015. The video is classic local TV news.

The Guy No One Wants To See

While our opinions of the New York Yankees might vary, we all can understand that the franchise has had a lion’s share of great players. Ruth, DiMaggio, Gehrig, Mantle, all the way up to the recent past with Mariano Rivera. Yet, time is the enemy to us all, and even mythic baseball legends get replaced. This article gives a run-down of all the players who replaced a legend. Sometimes greatness begat greatness, and sometimes it surely did not. As we all learned fron The Sandlot, “Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.” But what about the next guy in line? – PAL

Source: “Replace A Legend? These Yankees Did”, Dave Anderson, The New York Times (3/30/15)

As Marty Lurie Would Say: That’s Baseball

This is pretty strange/cool. In 2012, current-Pirates pitcher John Holdzkom was a minor league flameout. He’d been drafted in the fourth round of the 2006 by the Mets and given a signing bonus of $210,000. Since then, he’d had Tommy John surgery, lost the ability to pitch, and blown his signing bonus. He was 24 and back home with his parents. He was bored, so he anonymously called into comedian Chelsea Perretti’s podcast to tell his story. He was honest and blunt. Perretti liked him, and offered some kind words for his baseball future. Little did she know, Holdzkom would indeed turn it around. Just two years later, after a stint playing baseball in Australia, he was on the Pirates, debuted in the major, and made their postseason roster last season. Recently, a blogger connected Holdzkom’s story with the anonymous call to Perretti’s podcast. When asked, Holdzkom admitted he was the called. “I didn’t know she was popular, didn’t know so many people would hear it. “I thought it would just disappear.” Holdzkom must be new to the internet. -TOB

Source:Holdzkom Makes Good on Podcaster Chelsea Peretti’s Prediction, Stephen J. Nesbitt, Pittsburg Post-Gazette (04/01/2015)

A Whole New World, A New Fantastic Point of View

Ever wonder what a slider look like to a hitter as it is released from the pitcher’s hand? This short but sweet article shows you, along with a few other pitches.


Thanks to 1-2-3 reader/my wonderful wife Susan O’Brien for sending along this article. -TOB

Source: What Batters See in Different Pitches While the Baseball Comes to the Plate”, Arman Walia, Bleacher Report (03/30/2015)

PAL: And now I understand why I wasn’t a very good hitter. I learned way more than I should have from this little infographic. Get Jack studying this chart now, Tommy.

Is It Possible to Score Zero Goals in Twelve Minutes Against an Empty Net? Apparently.

In the NCAA hockey tournament, the University of Miami (Ohio) found itself down 6-2 with 13 minutes left. That’s pretty hopeless in a hockey game. But the Redhawks were not ready to give in. With thirteen minutes left in the game, they pulled their goalie. Amazingly, they didn’t give up any empty net goals, and scored three goals of their own, over the next twelve minutes. With the score 6-5, they nearly tied the game up before Providence finally got an empty-netter to seal it, 7-5. Still. Those twelve minutes are quite an accomplishment! Sports are weird sometimes. -TOB

Source: Redhawks Play With Empty Net for 12 Minutes, Score Three Goals, Lose“, Samer Kalaf, Deadspin (03/30/2015)

PAL: Just think of the indigestion bubbling up in the Providence coach’s belly once Miami closed the deficit to one goal. I’m surprised this doesn’t happen more in hockey playoffs – at any level. What’s the downside if you’re in an elimination game? Is it better to end your season by losing 2-6 than losing 2-10? As I’ve told this young, ambitious attorney friend of mind, for incredible to happen you have to be open the possibility of the incredible. On a side note, I’ve recently begun working as a life coach. Contact me for info on how you can join my seminar this weekend in Larkspur.

Fans Are Not Kind to Aging Athlete, But Sure Are Funny

Former All-Star closer Joe Nathan signed a two-year, $21M deal with the Tigers before last season. The first year was…not good. And Tigers fans are not happy. Exhibit A, this fake baseball card:


Ooooooh, Joe. Ya burnt! -TOB

Source: Your ‘Fake Joe Nathan Troll-Job Baseball Card’ of the Day“, Dayn Perry, CBS Sports (03/31/2015)

Video of the Week

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“So, an eerie start for the Erie warriors as they drop a heartbreaker to the Yankees, nine to nothing. The post game show is brought to you by…Christ, I can’t find it. The hell with it.”

Bob Ueker as Harry Doyle


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