December 5, 2011

Evan Longoria is mentally tough

I have an affinity for Dirt Bags - especially those like Evan Longoria who are making a real impact in the major leagues.

As one of my goals for this blog, I want to bring you stuff that hopefully helps you connect with baseball on a variety of levels. One of the best ways I can think of is through stuff I find on the internet... Like this video from ESPN I found on YouTube:

We don't hear nearly enough about the mental side of baseball and we probably should....

November 29, 2011

Video of the week

Some people say that baseball is just a game, but try telling that to Andy Pointer.

Baseball is most certainly more than a game; for some it's a dream and nothing is more powerful than having a dream. It's bigger than any goal and larger than life itself. The story above comes courtesy of Make-A-Wish-Foundation and ESPN.

November 11, 2011

Grand slams and unbridled joy

When I look back at my time as a baseball fan, I naturally reflect back to my years growing up. Even though I never played little league baseball, I was always drawn to the game.

I remember “different” things; like Willie McCovey’s deliberate warm up swings as he stepped into the batter’s box. He always looked so big and imposing. Seems like I every time I saw him on television he was hitting grand slams. Even though I know that wasn’t the case – my earliest recollection of any grand slam is of him (he did hit 18 in his career).

Looking back at him now - he seems much smaller than I remember him. Funny how that works.

My fondest memories about baseball are more about the celebrations that took place rather than the actual event. I’m talking about the unbridled joy players have expressed when they’ve just been a part of a big moment.

I love seeing athletes celebrate special moments in sports. I love it when it’s unscripted and demonstrates pure joy. I hate celebrations that pre-planned or more along the lines of “mugging for the camera.”

Kirk Gibson rounding the bases after his pinch-hit homerun in the 1988 World Series was pure joy on display. A player standing to watch one of his homeruns leave the yard on the other hand leaves something to be desired. Give me the guy running around on the field with his hat flying off and his arms swinging in all different directions over the guy who stops to purposely pose for the camera any day of the week.

I’m talking Tug McGraw kind of enthusiasm.

When I think back to my early days of watching baseball – I always remember Tug McGraw. I remember his intensity. Watching him wear his emotions on his sleeve was always compelling to me. I couldn’t take my eyes off him and when he did something great – watching him celebrate was magical.

That kind of enthusiasm still makes an appearance every now and sometimes we’re lucky enough to see it happening and if we’re really lucky – we get to take part in it.

Which reminds of a question I have to ask. Why do people leave early when games are close? Watching a walk-off win - especially in person is about a great a sports moment as there is. I will never understand it when people leave games when things are tight.

In closing this post... I wanted to say a few words about this blog.

I’ve been absent from this blog for quite some time now and I thought this would be a fitting way to re-engage myself and anyone kind enough to read what I have to write.

When I started The Baseball Docent, I started the blog as an outlet for all my baseball thoughts that weren’t necessarily about the Angels (I blog about them at True Grich). My real goal was to engage friends, acquaintances, and just about anyone who had a voice to participate in this thing. I love to hear why people love baseball and I love reading or hearing about their stories and memories.

I hope to get back to making regular contributions to this blog and more importantly will again try to reach out and get others to participate.

Baseball is about joy for me and I’ll leave you with this nice little piece about the Texas Rangers front office – who had reason to celebrate in game 2 of the ALCS when Nelson Cruz hit a walk-off grand slam.

Thad Levine, the Rangers assistant GM had this to say about the event and the celebration that took place from the suite where he and his colleagues were watching…

"We don't aspire to be the professional group that acts like we've been there," assistant GM Thad Levine said. "We want to celebrate every one of these minutes as if it may be the last. When somebody in our group, and Nellie is in our group, does something special like that, we want to celebrate it and remember that forever. The experiences are the currency of life and Nellie gave us one [Monday] and we're not going to miss it."

Here, here.

Welcome back to the Baseball Docent folks.

April 15, 2011

I know that name....

My wife Cheryl does this thing every now and then when she sees or hears a player’s name; she says to me, “I went to high school with a so-and-so.” For the most part, the player has no relation what-so-ever to the person she went to high school with, but that doesn’t discourage her from going down that road every now and then.

A few years ago, I mentioned a name of a baseball player from Long Beach State; his name was Sean Boatright. I don’t remember the circumstances surrounding the conversation, but as soon as the name came up, Cheryl says to me “I went to high school with a Bob Boatright.” She went on to tell me that he was a pretty big time athlete at Millikan, where she went to school.

Turns out – that Sean Boatright is the son of Bob Boatright.

So, why do I bring up Sean Boatright today? Well, Marcia C. Smith of the Orange County Register wrote a column Thursday about Sean Boatright’s attempt for a come-back.

Sean played at Long Beach State with Troy Tulowitzki and Evan Longoria along with Jered Weaver. Rather than try to retell the story that Smith writes, I invite you to read her column.

There’s something that’s always intriguing, interesting and even inspiring about a person who sets out to achieve a dream.

Coincidently, I saw Boatright this past January at the Long Beach State Dirtbag Alumni game at Blair Field in Long Beach and meant to tell Cheryl about it and then promptly forgot until I read the column in the OC Register.

Boatright will begin his come-back with the Calgary Vipers, an Independent League team. He has a long road ahead of him, but here’s hoping his dream comes true. It would make for a great story for sure.

I know two people (Cheryl and myself) who will be tracking his progress towards his goal!

February 2, 2011

February 2, 2011 Baseball Docent Tour Stops

It is with great pleasure that I bring you a link to a story about Stephen Strasburg and his connection to a young boy named Michael who reached out to Stephen because of something they had in common. In this day and age when so many people have a sense of entitlement, this is a refreshing story about a kid who wasn't seeking anything at all; instead, he offered encouragement and was rewarded in a big way.

It's just the kind of story I love and I'm sure you will too. Please read Injury leads to Major League Connection courtesy of Charlie Leffler of The Mechanicsville Local.

Next tour stop - Rob Neyer formerly of ESPN has a new gig. He's now at SB Nation and his first piece is about being one of "us." I'm somewhat of a Rob Neyer fan; in that I love it when he tells baseball stories. His analysis and such aren't necessarily the reason I read his stuff.

In any case - yesterday was his first day on the new job and he's already written three pieces at last count. Find his first blog post: HERE.

January 28, 2011

January 28, 2011 The Baseball Docent Tour continues

It's been a while. I could bore you with why, but rather than do that, let's just get back at it, shall we?

Today's tour takes us to a great blog called "The Henry Wiggen Blog" - and a post from January 3, 2011. It's about a baseball story and one that I'm sure you'll enjoy. It's about Mickey Mantle and who doesn't love a good Mickey Mantle story?

This one has a long title; it's called: Lure of the ball field... is it lost on the modern player? An inviting conundrum from Jane Leavy's new biography of the Mick. Enjoy....

Next up is the work of one of my favorite wrtiers and someone who will no doubt be mentioned on this site a lot over time. He's Joe Posnanski and he did an interesing piece about the Hall of Fame.

Who's really good enough to get in? Let's start with Willie Mays; in fact, Joe would like to use Willie May as the criteria for such an esteemed honor. How so? Read "The Willie Mays Hall of Fame" for some entertaining insight.

Okay... so we have a link to something about Mickey Mantle and one to something about Willie Mays. Not a bad day's work eh?

I really can't top that - but I will leave you with something that's about another Hall of Famer... This is a tribute to Dave Niehaus, the legendary voice of the Seattle Mariners who passed away in 2010.


Special thanks to Sam Miller of the OC Register who brought this video to our attention.