Report on the great American pastime baseball, talking with fans, players, owners and others connected to the game.
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33 here in the last of the night with two out and The Bases Loaded for the twins to strike out on pinch-hitter Joe Nazi. Fred Gladding working in relief of Wickersham. Here's a wind up the pitch. He sends a ground ball for me Part II. Play the score on the Tigers 3. Buy me some peanuts and crackerjacks. I don't care if I ever get back last year over 38 million fans flock to Major League ballparks. Hopefully all of them got back to where they came from and this year attendance is up 4% over last year. I asked jean-marc manager for the Minnesota Twins. What is it about this game that has allowed to thrive for over 100 years. I think it stems from the fact that it is a very simple game that's rather a slow-moving game between plays and it gives people a chance to to analyze the situation and no predetermined. Never mind. What they would do is strategically plus the fact that most every option in the world is better the ball and throwing a ball and caught a bum fight baseball of some sort somewhere in front of school playground Rhino Semi-Pro leg or something. Most everybody spider has think they understand the game and I think that has a lot to do with the hole that is held on the people. Tony kubek used play shortstop for the New York Yankees now he is a sportscaster for NBC. I caught up with him on a windy day at Metropolitan Stadium recently and asked him why baseball is still going strong after all these years baseball above and beyond any other sport does the average working class man can identify with more than anything else sure. It has a slow spots and you may go 5-6 things or nothing happened, but I will the sun set May 9th a lot can happen. I think the expectation in the drama is involved in those column fleeting moments throughout the course of a game or something that is attractive than there are more than Pace with our society after the hectic fifties in the early sixties in the Vietnam War and tired of all the demonstrations and now they've been able to settle back in the baseball pattern that is more in keeping with our society and that kind of Grace I think so. Strategy Simplicity slowness sociological undertones are plausible reasons for baseball success, but to find the real reasons one has to go to the stores. The fans themselves. The first fans. I talked to were members of the Twin Cities area school safety patrol. We were sitting in the bleachers Talkin Baseball soaking up the Sun and watching the action that from our bleacher seats seem to be almost over the horizon. But in the middle of our conversation as you will hear the action suddenly became closer as a home run ball crashed into our seats and there was a Scramble for it amongst popcorn boxes candy wrappers and peanut shells. I like sitting out here in the bleachers to eat today. How many hotdogs are going to have today about peanuts doesn't anybody peanuts? big home Who got the ball? I did what you going to do with it now? Over there and then it rolled over here off of line drive came out, right? White baseball I play the relaxation the game Spaceballs 2. Picture takes too much time nothing ever happens. I think that's one of the best assets. Why is that it's just because I come to the Ball Game not just for the excitement. What do you think it is about this game in baseball? What makes it so special? You can come out here and it's nice weather and you can grow watch. Otherwise you don't do too much else drink a little beer. That's all. Not really. Trolley play 162 games a year was a few I think I'd rather see them lose their clothes exciting game and have them win 12 to 2. Then I think back to 65 in the Twins when they won the pennant. They had players like Mudcat Grant Harmon Killebrew and Bobby Allison. He's I miss those guys. Yankees have the Enfield back at short and second pepitone is retreated. Not first boy or a step behind third. There's a bitch there's a drive. the center fielder charge the ball that went off his glove or or 2/3 in 1959 Bobby Allison hit 30 home runs and was voted Rookie of the Year while playing for the Washington Senators two years later Allison in the rest of the Senators move to Minnesota to become the twins 9 years and 224 home runs later Allison retired from baseball. And today he is a branch manager for the Coca-Cola Bottling Company in Minneapolis. He hasn't changed much really. Oh sure. His waistline is a bit larger and his hair is gray. But the muscles in his neck and arm still bulge out just like they used to do when he held that bad at the plate. So although Bobby Allison hasn't changed the game of baseball has when I started the baseball we got through with the inning. We took her glove and threw it down where we were standing and ran into the dugout. and when you went back out for the next sitting by you you pick up your glove in the Outfield and I didn't know they were behind the shortstop position second baseman Vine off the field. Since I wasn't had work for Coca-Cola part-time while he played for the twins the transition from spikes and a uniform to wingtips and Grey Flannel wasn't as hard as he thought it would be but said Allison, he still hasn't forgotten baseball. I love my goodness. I'm in now and I go to spring training still every year for a couple weeks renew acquaintances taken from the good warm, sunshine. And I go to some games now. I don't go to off by any means. I don't like it when you're not wanting that still bothers me. And I could probably still. Upset because I don't win and is naturally times. I feel like it cuz I can make a suggestion that would change some of that but the being I've haven't been asked I don't say it ain't so I know I still take a very deep interest in the game when you are at the top 10 batters box sure that challenges will never leave you that's always a challenge if that's why you're indicating to begin with a b and I able to meet the challenge and and more let's conquer the opposition. Well know there's never a time that you don't wish you were up or you like to be up for every time you like to do all day. But your timing is off. Those are not enjoyable times like one time I struck out five times in one game Titan 86 year old record. I kind of played according to the crowd response and how he want to get the team up Minnesota Twins organist. Ronnie Newman for 30 years Newman was on the road playing at every night club between Montana Las Vegas and Minneapolis. But now he says he's found a home as a musical cheerleader for the Minnesota Twins. Do you ever I try to make fun of players with music by the empires by playing perhaps Three Blind Mice when they blow a call. Otherwise, I keep quiet because we now what about if opposing ball player ever makes an errand you ever have any music to go on with that enough for the error? That's the way we like it. That's what I play if they get a hit or if they make a good play in the field. You always hear that little phrase and that's just trying to encourage your mind. However, when the say that Quite a few runs as we have been this year and last year when the opposing team. Picture I'll use thanks for the memory, which is a nice little cliche for when they run into a bit of problems. I'll use Mash's theme if the Medics go out on the field just add a little something we had the fight break out here and I played the Gillette Cavalcade of sports theme would like Friday Night Fights. The only thing we're missing was Howard Cosell. Okay, can you play one more song for it? It's 2 out. Red rare Ritz fresh and delicious Smith Prattville Yeah, it's awful. Oh how many you want. While Ronnie Newman sits high Atop The Stadium making music Marcia Breedlove is below trudging up and down the aisles peddling his Wares just as he is done for the last 19 years and over that time. Breedlove says selling beer really hasn't changed that much. There's some days when those bottles seem awful heavy in the customers are far and few between and you wonder just what the heck you're doing out here. Your friend that I got it that's making it. There may be a few here. I can sell it. I just can't get around like I used to because you see everyday at 7 to take care of myself my daughter. Give me here for coming out your dad drink, but I feel better when I come out here. If I weren't a baseball fan or a Salesman in the beer game than you what's your secret to pouring for to be all over I don't care who coming. I'll take my time. I'll probably be out make it nice to him and I got a new friend if I could just get around like I used to. I couldn't because I ain't no dummy. I ain't trying to do what I used to do when I was young you get to see much of the game when you're selling beer. I would be out of my daughter. They give me hell Daddy. Got you all you have to do it. But I feel better when I come out here and I do not sit around on the game. That's my life. Smithville Where is fresh and delicious Smith birthday? Where is it? Is it good voice down never dated? Okay time for the 7th inning stretch. So stand up shake those peanut shells out of your lap and be careful not to kick over the beer by the way. Do you know how the 7th inning stretch get started? Some folks say no one really knows other is attributed to President Calvin Coolidge. He stood up to stretch in the middle of the seventh inning of one game everybody else stood up out of respect and somehow the ACT caught on here is another one. How did the Indians Pirates Dodgers and Yankees get their names? Spell rumor has it the Indians got their name because the player is acted like a bunch of savages at a party thrown by one of their owners the Pirates got their name after they stole a player from the Philadelphia Athletics Philadelphia paper turn the incident an act of piracy on the high seas. And the name was born Los Angeles Dodgers. Formerly the Brooklyn Dodgers got their name for Manhattan night. So used to ride brooklynites by calling them trolley Dodgers and the Yankees got their nickname when their original name the hilltoppers and Highlanders proved too difficult for reporters and headline writers a sports writer coined the name Yankees and the name stuck. One more question and this one is tougher to handle than four beers and six hot dogs in a flimsy cardboard container. Remember the handlebar mustache yard Slugger for the Mudville nine. He went by the name of Casey. Now, whatever happened to the old boy. How you quickly answer that's easy while he struck out with Blakely on 2nd and Flint a hug and 3rd. And then rather than get sent down to the minors and live out his life in shame. He killed himself the other suicide squeeze bunt and is now buried beneath the mound the picture stands right wrong on all counts. OKC did strike out that day in Mudville, but his Agony was short-lived. You see it turns out that Ernest Lawrence Thayer the author of Casey At The Bat Road a sequel and in this sequel Mighty Casey comes up to bat one week later with Mudville down by three runs the bases loaded and two out the count goes to two strikes on Casey and then Oh somewhere in this favored land dark cloud, May hide the Sun and somewhere bands no longer play and children have no fun and somewhere over blighted lives there hangs a heavy Paul, but Mudville hearts are happy now for Casey hit the ball. The plot from the Broadway musical Damn Yankees centered around Joe Boyd a plump and balding middle-aged real estate salesman who sold his soul to the devil in order to become a superstar for the Washington Senators and leave them on to victory over the Yankees some say that Minnesota Twins owner Calvin Griffith who was plump balding and growing a bit long in the tooth would sell his soul to the devil as well. If the deal was Cash on the barrelhead and they were favorable tax advantages as well recently Griffith has lost some outstanding players to the free agent draft fans criticized him for refusing to spend money to build a winner criticize him if you will, but most in the game of baseball will tell you that there are few owners who know the game of baseball as well as Calvin Griffith does well. I started out as a bad boy back in 1922 and I was going through all the what's this for your uncle's team vs right for the Washington Senators and I've gone through every capacity that there is in the game of baseball. Start as a bad boy a gun as a batting practice pitcher batting practice get your manager in the minor leagues. I played a little ball in the minor leagues. I was a traveling Secretary of the concessions and also been the general manager and start signing ball first back in 1935. So I've had a little bit of everything that you can imagine in baseball to be a major league player. I did I had a good chance of making a major league catcher believe it or not, but my family told me there's more Security in her front office. So here I am in the front office. Do you ever regret that decision? Yes, I do because I think wanting to do something on your own was a thing that I never will know if I could have done it or not. I was a pretty good Catcher And I can throw it I could catch the ball and I could hit the ball along way. I'm just waiting. We're going to have to have a new basic agreement here in the next couple of years and I would like to hold off a few more months to try to get a and idea of some of the front some of the owners or what their intentions are about the new agreement. I think that there's only seven ball clubs actually that went into the re-entry and they have spent all their money doing this and now that you can see a trend of trying to get rid of certain ones because their payrolls are so high that they're not going to be able to make it through the turnstile. You take the Philadelphia Phillies last year. They had to get into the playoffs to break even they say and They drool over 2 million fans to 2702780000. Broke, even they say they made money but down in their hearts, they knew they didn't but they keep their play some good to read. They said they made money we can't afford to let certain ball clubs rule the roost you got to have 26 ball clubs where the leg is constituted right now and all the 26 cities are not as good as Los Angeles New York Boston to Chicago or Detroit and I like it. The population is big factor inspect Sports. If you have all those people to draw from your draw a heck of a lot more than you can from a state like Minnesota. We only got around 3 million. 9mm 3 million hate the whole state and you takes a New York City that 12 million people in a half a hundred miles of this so there is a difference. It's going to be a big factor on what a ballclub can pay and how much we can afford to give away. It's all the way. I look at it. If you love this game of baseball so long as I've been in it just people say was Sal and retire and I said well shall retire then I'll be coming home. And so maybe you're just doing this to keep active these guys that end in the in our league meetings, you know, they're always in their complaint in there than else about this and that as a, you know find into a baseball club like you have and other businesses. You have the disturb you so much but being in this game you are going to live longer than if you didn't have it. I told Ray Kroc this in San Diego as I hear you complain about this and that I said, you got everything in the world going for you, but I said, you know one thing that you got the baseball club. Ignores, you know, nobody knew you as McDonald's president dealing with Ozzy walk down the street nobody knows but you walk down the street and I was right because your Facebook and that's what keeps you young people call. His wife. Always has this is this is it we're going to live a long time to keep the baseball around these young kids. Are you going to stay young? There was another side to Calvin Griffith that people don't see the man has a sense of humor. I got a brand new Ford car with a cure in 1935. I think call me $435 or something like a brand-new it and man. I never had any idea about insurance or any other darn thing on it. So now I'm living with a buddy Lewis and Dick Lanahan that dick. Lanahan is used to be up in this neighborhood are so now they going yet when I get me a cherry bomb. Any put it on the engine and I swear all going downtown to go to a movie so I can go in there as well. Let's go I got that do car went out there and stepped on it and they put a dead bomb in there to scare the day. They just scared me to that is a Funny Story. I mean that's that's his things that they used to do. You wouldn't dare do anything like that today back in those days where ball players and they played together that you were together and they did everything now they have these planes and they get to Townsend my Lord don't even see him after they get to town something like that Major League Baseball has changed planes have replaced trains and many parks were grass when screw There is now green synthetic carpeting, but there is one thing in Major League Baseball that hasn't changed the sound of the crack of the bat. The letter from Babe Ruth, it's dated August 25th, 1931 to on the company Executives and says all throughout my baseball career. I've always depended on the Louisville Slugger bat for the driving power and punch that brings home runs. All my records have been made with Louisville Sluggers with kindest wishes for continued success sincerely yours. I remain Babe Ruth Bennett Curry of the hillerich & bradsby Company hillerich & bradsby Company makes golf clubs softball and baseball gloves, but what they are really known for are Louisville Slugger bats the company now located across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky and Slugger Park Indiana turns out about 6 million bats a year for little Leaguers softball teams in church leagues in addition. They Supply about 90% of the bats used in the major leagues. Curry explains how the company got started in the back business but he'll work was 17 years old. His father was a German immigrant and his father came to this country store in a woodturning shop and brought his family here and they were making bowling pins and bedpost and things for ladders and things like this but play hooky from school to the ballpark and the star for the team and we will eat them steam. The guy's name was Pete Browning. He broke his favorite bat back then bats were anything you can make it a guy with his own bat or something like that. So picked up his sleeve or I'm sorry bud talk to Pete sleep for a couple of minutes or so. I can make it back and keep running said know that you're just a kid. So finally convinced him and took him back to the shop and they made the first bad and it was a long process a couple of hours but picked it up off the late and gave it to Pete needs swing it a couple of times and save me to make the handle smaller make the barrel bigger or whatever. So finally he took it to the Ballgame to the next day and Pete Browning with 343 and that start listen to Bad business but buds father Jay FL Ricky said you're wasting your time Sam baseball Will Never Last and buds father was making a swinging Butter Churn. It was like a little cradle in the butterwood turn and had a gizmo that would go on it to hook to the rocker of a rocking chair and I'm looking to rock the baby in the chair and turn butter at the same time. So he thought that would be the future of the company. So Bud went on to this about 10 years and finally the father gave animated gif Hillary can son company and it went the bad business in the butter churns, by the way. I don't think they're still around. The bats are made out of white. Ash Timber, which is grown in Pennsylvania and upper New York after the wood is cut it is sent to the plant near Louisville for inspection and Grading then it is dried and open-air for 10 to 18 months. All of the bats are turned on a lathe. They're not cut or formed that's used by little Leaguers and none professionals are made on automatic lathe, but the bats for the professional players are made the same way. They were 70 years ago By Hand by man like, Jess Haney. How did you ever get into turning back where I was starting to turn in bats and has back and I guess 40 years ago and I started turning so then I started out and I've been here knows back in 1936. My father-in-law both me and I've been here ever since no kidding. You do it all over again with the still want to be a bad Turner because I always was interested in it. And I don't answer him. I I like it. I like the pool with baseball basket basketball players and everything like that and all and I like to watch him play. How do you feel when you see a baseball player break a bath. You work with them when they come in all the time over at a deal with plain, but ain't too many I've been over here, but they can come over here once in awhile. You think baseball is changed over the years baseball bats have they changed? Why are bats weights? used to lie or weights on a break you take and now William that he used to use around anywhere from 35 to I-35 down. So you using the car to the length of the bath and now they don't do you how they might want a 34-31 out. This is Johnny bench's your favorite player. How can I don't know why you just a good guy and you know, you just want to fool around with you and do you only make his bass Petros and you can't even hardly satisfy him. What's his problem? What does he complain about nothing, but the best Why do players come up with relatively the same skills? What is it though? That makes one a great player another one a mediocre player. Is there something upstairs that counts in their hearts and the gut feeling that you get? yo-yo when the odds are saying you have to believe that you could do it and have enough of confidence and then yourself to say I can do this and I can do that and not shy away from anything. You don't have to be a guy that braggadocious or in like it. I like to have one like Dizzy Dean and I love them bragging and do this stuff. But I think they should have enough confidence in himself to say I am a major Leaguer and I'm going to be a major Leaguer and if I'm not going to be a major Leaguer, I want to get out of it. It's fine to be a genius. Defense is named the game and our defense is not exactly what it will take to win a championship a grade Blanca. We haven't got a great pitch up. We haven't got a great ball Club. And this ball felt good turn around and do something though. We got but the unfortunate for us this year. We've had some injuries that really hurt us. Best because we've got a happy that we know I ship will, as long as you win everybody your friend you start losing and everybody says what the hell does he know? You know, why did he do this? Why did he do that? That's the way life goes is sports radio winners. Take all in the loser guy that nobody wants to talk to. Why should we could we got to get better cuz we can't get to it. This is Jeff Evans.