The relationship between the Minnesota Twins and its precursor, the Washington Senators, is a hard nut to crack. Maybe if the move didn't denote that the Twin Cities were now a big-league town. Or if Washington didn't lose so much that a Broadway musical with the devil powering the Senators to glory would become a classic. Then there's the complicated man that was Calvin Griffith. But with the loss of Harmon Killebrew and now the mining of Senators history to observe the 10,000th home run hit by the Senator-Twins franchise, perhaps more homage can be paid.
Which is why Twins fans left out of the postseason (and meaningful baseball the past couple months) should applaud this development and check out this video: Discovery of newsreel footage, perhaps the only footage that exists, of the Senators' 1924 World Series victory. The Library of Congress calls it "a miracle" that they were able to see anything, let alone something that turned out so well. Read more from the Washington Post and the Library about the long, strange trip that it took to discover the footage.
And then check out the Society for American Baseball Research for a rundown of the wild Game 7 between the Senators and the New York Giants, a crowning achievement for ace pitcher Walter "Big Train" Johnson, at right.
But Twins fans might see some things to like there and recognize: A head-first slide into first base. An infielder catching the ball to end the game (a la a how it happened in the movie "Moneyball" but not in real life) and oodles of fans filling the field. We'll keep waiting for that to happen.
St. Paul native Jack Morris wasn't returning calls Wednesday when he again fell short of the Baseball Hall of Fame. But in interviews Thursday with MLB.com and MLB Network Radio, the Game 7 hero of the 1991 World Series for the Twins shared his thoughts. Here are the highlights:
If you ever doubted the homer abilities of Ken "Hawk" Harrelson as a TV announcer, go no further than the Wall Street Journal, which ranked the White Sox team as the TV announcing team in major league baseball with the most biased comments.
What exactly constitutes biased comments? That includes the use of the word "we." (Vikings radio announcer Paul Allen, some people are looking at you.) Also, pet names for players, excessive celebrating or moping.
In this review of one game of each baseball team, Harrelson accounted for 104 comments. The next highest total? 23, from the Cleveland TV team of Matt Underwood and Rick Manning. In fact, Harrelson's total is more than all the other American League teams' announcers COMBINED. OK, the White Sox count includes partner Steve Stone, but if the split is anything less than 100-4, color me shocked.
Harrelson, as you might expect, had no qualms. His comments to Journal reporter Jared Diamond: "You just made my day. That's the biggest compliment you could give me, to call me the biggest homer in baseball."
Need more evidence? Here is Harrelson's rant against umpire Matt Wegner from earlier in the season:
Small teams made the bulk of the teams following the White Sox. After a handful of teams in the double digits, the Twins TV announcers of Dick Bremer and Bert Blyleven ranked in a group with the Orioles, Nationals, Phillies and Padres with nine comments.
The WSJ review cited an example for each team, and the Minnesota example might underwhelm: "I hope there's no suspense. A nice, methodical win would be nice." Yes, Minnesotans used nice twice.
Bremer also offers as defense of homerism: "Former players have tremendous equity in the franchise they played for. From their perspective, I could imagine a strong desire to do well." Apparently, he didn't work in the words "major-league level."
For its age issue, ESPN the Magazine spent a game day with Joe Mauer, chronicled in diary-like segments sprinkled in the middle of a profile on an All-Star at the middle of his career and looking to extend his success into his 30s. It's big on Mauer's plain persona and patient approach to the game, as seen through the 9-3 win over Detroit. Here are the best details gleaned on a quick read about Mauer's 12-hour day at the ballpark:
Cleveland outfielder Vinny Rottino might have saved Thursday's 4-3 extra-inning win over the Twins with his catch in the ninth inning. But his spot start also had people talking about his walk-up music: The theme from "The Godfather."
Batting leadoff in front of a sparse Cleveland crowd, the 32-year-old September callup provided quite the contrast from the usual rock, pop, country and rap fare heard at ballparks these days. The trumpet blared especially loud over the Twins radio feed in the first inning, drawing comments and a chuckle from play-by-play man Cory Provus and Kris Atteberry.
The "Godfather" music is "something you rarely hear at the ballpark," Provus said later via Twitter. The music had the two talking about how the Twins radio team would fit into the storied "Godfather" cast. One thing quickly agreed to: "Danny [Gladden] would be Sonny," played by James Caan, Provus said.
The Cleveland radio team was just as taken with the musical choice Thursday, according to the Positive Tribe blog, "cracking up the radio guys every time" Rottino came to the plate. "No, we're not going to a funeral," Cleveland play-by-play man Tom Hamilton said.
"I was just reading the leadoff batter's handbook, and it says that techno-pop-dance music is mandatory. I guess Rottino didn't get the memo," Jim Rosenhaus added.
Perhaps it was a surprise that the Cleveland broadcast crew was so surprised. In 2008, David Dellucci used the music in his walk-up rotation, albeit as a secondary, back-up choice, mostly on the road. And earlier this season in Milwaukee, shortstop Cody Ransom also used the "Godfather" theme for one July game. The occasion? Italian Heritage Day.
On Thursday, Rottino's choice struck a chord on Twitter. One tweet that drew plenty of retweets was from MLB.com reporter Zack Meisel: "Ironic that Vinny Rottino walks up to the plate to The Godfather theme considering how rare it is that he produces a hit."
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