April 10, 2013 —
What is that sound I hear? Can it be the “thuck” of a fastball hitting a catcher’s mitt? Is it the crack of a wooden bat hitting that round, white orb with the red stitching? Why indeed it is. A new baseball season is upon us. It is time for me to loosen up my old pitching arm. Hopefully, I will be able to send these woeful batters back to their team bench hitless, their bats silent.
So, play ball! Step up to the plate batter. Here comes my first pitch. This will be a 90-mile-an-hour fastball, just under your chin whiskers. It’s good to put a little fear into a batter’s mind.
1. In the third 1951 playoff game, Bobby Thomson nearly earned the title of “goat” rather than being the hero of the game. Why was that? Swing, batter swing.
2. There was a 1949 cover of the Saturday Evening Post painted by Norman Rockwell that showed three National League umpires staring up into a rain shower, trying to decide if they should call a rain delay. Name these three umpires. Welcome to the big leagues, Rookie. That is a nifty curve ball.
3. If you were lucky enough to hit that one, try to take an extra base. One of those three umpires was the home plate ump when Bobby Thomson hit, “the shot heard round the world.” Aha, I believe you were tagged out at second base.
4. Here are three baseball quotations along with the names of the three men who said them. Match the proper name to each quote. The men are Alvin Dark, Casey Stengel and Tommy LaSorda.
“Being with a woman all night never hurt any professional baseball player. It’s staying up all night looking for a woman that does him in.”
“Every player should be accorded the privilege of at least one season with the Chicago Cubs. That is baseball as it should be played, in God’s own sunshine.”
“Walking into the clubhouse now is like walking into the Mayo Clinic. We have four doctors, three therapists and five trainers. When I broke in, we had one trainer who carried a bottle of rubbing alcohol and by the seventh inning he had drunk it all.”
Oh, stop whining. You need to spend more time in the batting cage.
5. All fishing regulations need to be obeyed by all anglers. Tell me what year and where the first fishing regulation was passed in what is now the State of New York. You have to learn to stop stepping into the bucket, if you want to hit in the big leagues.
6. We are all familiar with Punxsutawney Phil, the woodchuck that is supposed to predict when spring will arrive. Once upon a time another animal was supposed to have this ability. Name the animal and the date it was to make its prediction.