The National Pastime Today – March 8, 2018
Happy Thursday everyone. We’re another week closer to March 29th—the earliest Opening Day ever. As is our custom around these parts, in TNP Today we link the links, providing a current story with a historical perspective piece. Enjoy!
The Rituals of Baseball Genius
Wright Thompson has done it again. His haunting, probing piece on the rituals and routines of Ichiro Suzuki is fabulous. And the piece gives Ichiro’s signing with the Mariners another layer of importance. Thank goodness somebody signed him! Obviously baseball is full of detail-obsessed players. But some of the great hitters in baseball history have taken their obsession to another level. It was Wade Boggs, according to Paul Dickson, that had 80 separate practices designed to organize his life. “Everyone has a routine,” he explained. “Mine just takes five hours.” Maybe Ichiro and Wade should form a support group for great hitters.
The Long Abandoned Four Man Pitching Rotation
The Tampa Bay Rays are considering going to a four man pitching rotation. We’ve heard of clubs exploring this option in recent memory, but the Rays seem intent on giving it a try, especially now that Brent Honeywell needs Tommy John surgery. Chris Archer, Blake Snell, Jacob Faria, and Nathan Eovaldi would be the fabulous four. As just one point of historical reference: This has worked before. In the modern era. The 1971 Baltimore Orioles not only had a four man rotation (Jim Palmer, Dave McNally, Mike Cuellar, and Pat Dobson), each of the four won 20 games. Now, for those of you protesting—the Rays are hardly the ’71 Orioles!—we hear you. They certainly are not. But innovation (or a return to old school ideas) often looks strange until it works. So we’re watching with interest Tampa Bay.
He Said what about Field of Dreams?!
Jerry Blevins, Mets reliever and film connoisseur, has decided to poke the bear again. After not including Field of Dreams in a top 5 list that he produced leading up the Academy Awards, Blevins doubled down and said this: “Field of Dreams is not Old Yeller. That’s a real tear-jerker.” Apparently Blevins has a heart of stone. But we here at TNPT love a good discussion of baseball stories. Books and movies. Our writers have mused on the merits of classics such as The Tao of Baseball, Bang the Drum Slowly, A Day in the Bleachers. One of the most famous of the baseball-book-to-baseball-movies out there, The Natural, received its share of scorn from The National Pastime Museum. So we say, talk on Jerry! Any discussion about baseball is a good one in our books.