It could not have been an hour after I posted yesterday’s rant, which began by mentioning Felix Hernandez’ perfect game, that I got an e-mail from my baseball historian friend regarding perfect games in MLB. Here are some historical notes about perfect games from his note to me. I have not bothered to “fact-check” them because I have known this person for more than 30 years and he is a baseball history maven:
1.The first perfect game happened in 1880. Lee Richmond of the Worcester Ruby Legs pitched that game.
2. The second perfect game happened about a week later in 1880. John Ward of the Providence Grays pitched that game. After two perfect games in a week, there were no perfect games for 24 years until Cy Young pitched one in 1904.
3. When Don Larsen threw his perfect game in the World Series in 1956, it had been 34 years since the previous perfect game in 1922.
4. The 2012 season is the first one in MLB history where 3 perfect games have happened.
5. The Tampa Bay Rays have been the victims of 3 perfect games in their franchise history that goes back to 1998.
6. The Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers have also been the victims of 3 perfect games in their franchise history that goes back to 1884.
One more baseball note… With all of the stories coming out of Boston regarding the so-called mutiny in the Red Sox clubhouse and players going around the manager to talk to the owner, there is an aspect that has been under-reported. Those Red Sox players – many of whom were part of The Great Melt-Down Of 2011 – have created a situation where there is a small reason to view Bobby Valentine as a victim and a sympathetic figure. Ladies and gentlemen, that is not an easy thing to do; “sympathetic figure” has never been part of Bobby Valentine’s repertoire.
Charles Dickens’ novel, A Tale Of Two Cities, compares and contrasts life in Paris and London in the late 1700s. It is one of the most famous works of fiction ever. Today in the single city of New York, we have the makings of A Tale Of Two Coaches. Life in Paris and London were different but comparable back in the late 1700s; Rex Ryan and Tom Coughlin share the same job title but little else.
Rex Ryan is loud; he is forever making bold – some would say outrageous – statements and predictions; he always seeks the limelight. Tom Coughlin is disciplined and focused on football to the point that he eschews the spotlight. Ryan is bombastic; Coughlin has the nickname “Tommy Tight[butt]”.
For a course in sports journalism, if the professor assigned the students the task of a long form feature article comparing and contrasting those two coaches in the same city at the same time, it might make for an interesting final exam.
Dennis Rodman is back in the news. In case you have forgotten, Rodman is the guy with the multi-colored hair, the guy who kicked a cameraman, the guy participated in cross-dressing photo-shoots, the guy who was married to Carmen Electra for about a week, the guy who has been convicted of DWI and the guy who spent time in substance abuse rehab. And that is just the Cliff’s Notes biography… He is back in the news not for any run-in with the law or anything of that nature; he is in the news because he is planning to write a children’s book. The working title of that oeuvre is Dennis The Wild Bull. [Remember, he played for the Chicago Bulls so there may be some kind of literary device at work here. Or not…]
According to reports, Rodman says the reason he is writing the book is to:
“…relay a positive message to our country’s youth…”
Consider that short biographical sketch above and consider that some of the previous literary titles under his authorship have been:
Bad As I Wanna Be
Walk On The Wild Side – and –
I Should Be Dead By Now.
I do not think it is a stretch to say that Dennis Rodman does not bring to the keyboard a résumé that would point directly to his ability to “relay a positive message to our country’s youth”. On the other hand, it is perfectly possible to lead by example. One can be a good example and encourage others to emulate one’s behavior. Alternatively, one can be a bad example and warn others that your path in life is not to be duplicated. Since I am not the author of any books, I am hardly in a position to advise someone who has been published multiple times in the past. Nonetheless, I do not think I am going out too far on a limb here to suggest that Rodman’s message in Dennis The Wild Bull ought to be along the lines of:
Do as I say and not as I did.
In fact, Dennis Rodman is in a good position to send the following specific message to kids and to sports fans in the country:
Athletes – particularly professional athletes – are not heroes. They are people with physical gifts that allow them to enter a business whereby they sign a contract to play games for the entertainment of a lot of people. The fact that they play those games very well does make them heroes in any way.
Finally, Bob Molinaro of the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot and I are of like minds on this subject:
“TV timeout: Speaking of exploitative, ESPN is showing Little League World Series games again. My self-imposed blackout has begun.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………