With a little more than a quarter of the regular season left, the postseason participants are becoming clearer. Two teams, Houston in the American League and Los Angeles in the National League, appear to be head and shoulders above the rest of the teams in their respective leagues.
Houston, with 71 wins and 13 games ahead of their nearest competition in the American League West, are on a pace to win a 102 games. In the National League, Los Angeles has 80 wins and is 15 and a half games ahead of second place Colorado in the National League West. They are a pace to win an amazing 115 games.
If the season were to end today, the ten teams participating would be New York, Seattle, Boston, Cleveland and Houston in the American League and Colorado, Arizona, Washington, Chicago and Los Angeles in the National League. The one division that appears to be up for grabs is the National League Central with Chicago leading, but St. Louis and Milwaukee both a game and a half behind and Pittsburgh three and a half games behind.
As the baseball season has begun, I came across a blast from the past. In 1965, in a game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Fransisco Giants, there was an incident that spark a brawl between the two teams. The main participants in the spark that fueled the brawl was John Roseboro of the Dodgers and Juan Marichal of the Giants. During that time, both teams were pennant contenders and fierce rivals stemming back to the days when both teams played in New York.
Roseboro intentionally dropped the ball, moved behind Marichal to pick it up and whizzed his throw past Marichal’s face. Marichal later said the ball clipped his ear. He turned to face Roseboro. “Why you do that, coño?!” he demanded, using a Spanish slang word for female genitalia.
In reading an article last week, I came across the name Elston Howard, a catcher who played for the Yankees in the fifties and sixties.
April 13, 1955 was a good day for the Yankees. They kicked off their season by trouncing the Washington Senators 19-1 in the Bronx. Mickey Mantle had three hits, including a home run; Yogi Berra also homered; and Whitey Ford threw a complete game while allowing fewer hits (two) than he had himself (three, plus four RBIs). But New York’s most significant player that day never got off the bench. Two days shy of eight years exactly after Jackie Robinson hurdled Major League Baseball’s color barrier, Elston Howard
The fans in Boston’s Fenway Park behaved despicable when they hurled racist taunts and a bag of peanuts at Baltimore center fielder Adam Jones. No player should be subjected to that kind of behavior from the fans.
Baseball’s problems with race are not confined to the stands behind the visitors’ dugout at Fenway Park. No one knows that better than the man who was subjected to racist taunts in Boston on May 1, Orioles outfielder Adam Jones. On an MLB Network special last month commemorating 70 years since Jackie Robinson broke the color line, Jones, 31, said, “What I see in the media, front office, scouts, [public relations], community relations—they’re white. When you look into the stands—they’re white!
The term “five-tool player” is used in baseball terminology to describe a player with phenomenal skills. One who can hit for power, hit for average, field, throw and have speed. Some who come to mind in my lifetime are Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Roberto Clemente, Hank Aaron and Ken Griffey Jr. just to name a few.