It’s that time of year: Post Season. The heat is on, the pressure’s up, the blood is boiling. But inevitably, as we feast our eyes upon the immortal beauty of America’s pastime (and no, that is not up for debate), we are again faced by a more sinister foe: the ‘baseball is boring’ brigade. You've heard 'em:
"The games are too long"
"It's a just a bunch of people standing around"
"Not enough action. Too boring"
Now, baseball is a great many things, but boring it is not. And how many in the 'baseball is boring' crowd are just fine grabbing a beer with friends WITHOUT the added benefit of a hot dog, live entertainment, and of course, friendly conversation in between innings and plays? Haven't you seen Fever Pitch? Breaking down the action with fellow fans, dissecting the players, highlighting seasons (past and present), and debating calls with rivals is, often times, as compelling as the action on the field!
Baseball is, was, and will always be America’s sport. As the great Bill Veeck once said, “This is a game to be savored, not gulped.” Baseball is tradition, and at johnnie-O, we respect tradition. So, to you, and more importantly, to the naysayers, let us relive some of baseball’s most memorable moments as we set the record straight: Baseball is NOT boring.
Shot Heard Round The World (October 3, 1951)
It’s a safe bet to say Bobby Thompson’s game-winning 3-run-shot against the Brooklyn Dodgers is the greatest moment in all of baseball history. “The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!” Announcer Russ Hodges’ immortal words are emblazoned on the minds of even the most lackluster of baseball adherents. Check any list, and at worst, ‘the Shot Heard Round the World’ lands top 2. Pretty remarkable considering the New York Giants were 13 ½ games out of first place and would go on to win 37 of their last 44 games, culminating with capturing the National League Pennant.
Babe Ruth Calls His Shot (October 1, 1932)
Game 3 of the 1932 World Series. The Yankees had won the first 2 at home, and were dealing with a particularly rambunctious crowd at Wrigley. There was screaming, taunting, and even some object hurling. Babe Ruth was loving’ it. He was taunting ‘em right back as he watched two strikes go by. The count was 2-2 when Ruth pointed to center field, and on the next pitch, Ruth would hit a monstrous homerun deep in the spot to which he’d just pointed. Babe Ruth maintains he called his shot, and while skeptics still argue all these decades later whether he was pointing to the dugout, the flag pole or simply trash talking the Cubs fans, a gesture was made, followed by a legendary homerun. (We think he called it)
Willie Mays “The Catch” (September 29, 1954)
Cleveland Indians vs. The New York Giants in game 1 of the 1954 World Series. 2 on base when Vic Wertz pops one deep to center. It was then that Willie Mays took off, and with his back to ball, made arguably the most iconic catch in baseball history. Known simply as ‘The Catch,’ Willie Mays saved the game, and the Giants would go on to win the World Series in a sweep.
Lou Gehrig’s: The ‘Luckiest Man’ Speech (July 4, 1939)
"For the past two weeks, you have been reading about a bad break. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. I have been in ballparks for seventeen years and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans.
“When you look around, wouldn’t you consider it a privilege to associate yourself with such a fine looking men as they’re standing in uniform in this ballpark today? Sure, I'm lucky. Who wouldn't consider it an honor to have known Jacob Ruppert? Also, the builder of baseball's greatest empire, Ed Barrow? To have spent six years with that wonderful little fellow, Miller Huggins? Then to have spent the next nine years with that outstanding leader, that smart student of psychology, the best manager in baseball today, Joe McCarthy? Sure, I'm lucky.
"When the New York Giants, a team you would give your right arm to beat, and vice versa, sends you a gift - that's something. When everybody down to the groundskeepers and those boys in white coats remember you with trophies - that's something. When you have a wonderful mother-in-law, who takes sides with you in squabbles with her own daughter - that's something. When you have a father and a mother who work all their lives so you can have an education and build your body - it's a blessing. When you have a wife, who has been a tower of strength and shown more courage than you dreamed existed - that's the finest I know.
"So, I close in saying that I might have been given a bad break, but I’ve got an awful lot to live for. Thank you."
Jackie Robinson Breaks Color Barrier (April 15, 1947)
On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson walked on to Ebbets Field as a Brooklyn Dodger, thus becoming the first black American to play on a major league team. For over 50 years, Major League Baseball had been segregated. Jackie Robinson had been targeted with death threats, and all manner of slurs, which he bravely faced head on, and ultimately opening the field to members of all races.
Randy Stewart Hits Bird (March 24, 2001)
Remember when Randy Johnson aka ‘The Big Unit’ aced a dove mid pitch? How does that even happen? Honestly, what are the odds on an unassuming dove choosing precisely the ill-fated flight path that would connect squarely with Randy Johnson’s signature 98 mph fastball? Beyond being bizarre, perhaps most astonishing was the theatrical nature of the dove’s explosive demise. One can’t soon forget that feathered eruption like something out of a Looney Tunes cartoon — it actually appeared to explode. Yikes.