It’s a long way to October, baseball people like to say. What happened on Opening Day this week will seem like a long time ago come autumn.
But it will still matter. Such is life: You win some, you lose some and some get rained out, but you dress out for all of them. And all of them count.
To give you something to ponder either today or between games of a lazy summer doubleheader, here are some baseball questions and observations. (The answers are at the bottom. Don’t peak. That’s like stealing signals illegally. Bad form.)
A couple of the questions are taken from George Will’s annual Baseball Quiz in Newsweek, a column I was alerted to by Big C, a Fair Park All-State first sacker in the 1950s and former Shreveport Sports bat boy. Big C likes to remind me that baseball is a very humbling game, and that life is much the same way. It pays in both to keep your eye on the ball, lest you get caught leaning. Just when you get cocky, the ball has a funny way of finding you…
1. How did a team hit into a triple play without any fielder touching the ball?
2. Who’s on first?
3. Name the Hall of Famer who, when asked if he had ever felt more pressure than when he pitched in the World Series, said, “Well, there was the Battle of the Bulge.”
4. What event in the life of what player provoked old-school wisecracking actor/composer Oscar Levant to say, “It proves that no man can be a success at two national pastimes”?
5. To what was Cesar Geronimo referring when he said he was just “in the right place at the right time”? (This is my favorite.)
6. What do most Little Leaguers do when, around age 8, they are told they have to wear protective cups, that it’s a league rule?
7. When do most Little Leaguers decide that a protective cup is actually a good thing?
8. When one team with a big lead kept stealing bases, two major league managers got in a fight at home plate in a game in July of 1985. (I saw it live and it was one of the great nights of my life.) Which manager said afterward, “If he promises to stop hitting home runs, I promise to stop stealing bases,” and which opposing manager was he talking about?
9. Who wins the 2010 World Series?
1. With runners on first and second, the batter hit a pop-up and was out under the infield fly rule. The runner on first passed the runner on second and was out; the falling pop hit the runner on second.
2. Yes. (What’s on second.)
3. The Braves’ Warren Spahn.
4. Joe DiMaggio’s divorce from Marilyn Monroe.
5. He was both Bob Gibson’s and Nolan Ryan’s 3,000th strikeout victim.
6. The ones that don’t cry just look at you like you are Satan, Satan with a banana growing out of his ear.
7. Right after they recover from getting hit ‘on home plate’ that first time.
8. St. Louis manager Whitey Herzog about San Francisco’s Roger Craig, who was managing several former Shreveport Captains at the time.
9. In an all-wild card Series, Atlanta beats Boston.
(Editor’s Note: Wrong on the World Series. San Francisco beat Texas in five; Edgar Renteria was the Series MVP. Not at all hard to believe I was wrong but it is hard to think that was 12 years ago.)
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