After five long months, baseball is back. This year the first game took place, appropriately enough, on Easter. Both signal the end of winter, and symbolize the victory of life over death. The older I get, the more cognizant I am of death, and the more baseball matters to me. I get the feeling sometimes that those two things are connected. Baseball lasts from the time that the snows melt and the first green shoots poke out of the ground to the time that the leaves fall and the harvest has come in and the sun starts going down before supper's ready. It is my daily accompaniment during the months that life flourishes, and its return each April heralds better things.
Here are some links to things that have helped me get through this off season:
1979 All Star Game
Now that YouTube allows hours-long videos and MLB has welcomed rather than shunned it, there is an amazing number of whole vintage broadcasts online. I found out about this one via the twitter feed of Dan Epstein, author of two good books on 70s baseball. Unlike many full games from the time, this is not taped from a rebroadcast, and so is full of all of the original commercials, which are just as interesting as the game.
"The Berenguer Boogie" Music Video
In the wake of the Bears' "Super Bowl Shuffle" in 1985, all kinds of jocks decided it was a good idea to cut godawful songs and music videos. My friend Justin, who happens to be a Twins fan, alerted me to one of the lesser known, "The Berenguer Boogie," featuring middle reliever Juan Berengeuer, aka Sen~or Smoke. He lets others do the rapping on this truly awful song, which prominently features a whistle, which while prominent in football and basketball, has no use in baseball. This is something that belongs in the "so bad it must be seen to be believed." (The music video by the 1986 Dodgers falls into this category, too.)
Game 3 of the 1986 NLCS
This comes from the classic nail-biter between the Mets and Astros. I love the broadcast because it has "man on the street" interviews with subway riders, play by play by Keith Jackson, and a hilarious imitation of Jackson by Astro Billy Hatcher before the game.
Sully Baseball Daily Podcast
Sully puts out a podcast every day, even during the off season. Although I like a lot of other baseball podcasts, their hosts lack Sully's engaging manner of speaking and his ability to blend fandom with analysis.
The great Stadium Page has a really cool section full of plans and renderings of stadiums that were never built. Evidently there was once talk of putting a baseball stadium in the Meadowlands complex for the Yankees, and of putting a roof on Shea Stadium.
Cardboard Gods Blog
Josh Wilker's book of the same day is a must-have for any thoughtful Gen X baseball fan. It's much more about life than it is about baseball cards, which are really just used as inspiration for digressions. The blog operates the same way, and it ought to be a much bigger deal than it is.