Hole in the Clouds
Sep 8, 2009
In the summer of 1913, Hazel Reiber winds up for a pitch near the ocean in the big sandlot at Long Beach, Long Island. Her bathing costume looks skimpier than the outfits many women wore back then, but her boots would do just fine for a professional wrestler.
That is a baseball in her right hand, but I'm guessing--hoping--that the person she's throwing to is not swinging a bat. It doesn't look safe for slugging thereabouts.
(Image credit: Bain News Service, shorpy.com)
Jun 11, 2011
When our four-year-old neighbor went to the baseball game Monday night, she got to wear her Phillies dress, and she got to hang out with her preschool buddy, who wore his Incredible Hulk shirt. And not only that, the Phillies beat the Dodgers.
Dec 18, 2012
They really do like their baseball in Cuba.
Aug 12, 2014
Next week, for the first time in Little League history, a team of 12- and 13-year-olds from the city of Philadelphia will be playing in the World Series in Williamsport, PA.
They are our Taney Dragons, who play at Taney Field in our neighborhood's Schuylkill River Park. To wangle an invitation to the big dance, the Dragons had to pull off a string of upsets, becoming the first Philly team ever to win districts, to win regionals, to win states, and then last week to win the Mid-Atlantic championship.
The way Little League works, it's almost always the well-funded suburban operations that come away with the postseason prizes. Taney had to raise money all year long to go out for these tournaments; they scrounged for practice fields all over the city, sometimes using a hangar out by the airport. Many of the parents can't afford to travel to watch their kids play, but they managed to raise $20,000 in a few days to send the team to Connecticut for the Mid-Atlantic tournament.
The Dragons' victory in Connecticut was a stunner; they dispatched Newark, Delaware, last year's Mid-Atlantic champions, 8-0. Their bats were hot, obviously, but their pitching was pretty much the same as always: a cool clinic of 70-mile-an-hour fastballs and heartbreaking curveballs, a shutout with just three hits allowed by the Dragons' star Mo'Ne Davis, who will be the only girl this year in the Little League World Series.
Although Little League has permitted girls to play since it was forced to by the courts in 1974, Davis is still a rarity. She says she has never pitched to a girl batter. But baseball is not really her passion; that would be basketball, her favorite sport. Her dream is to play in the WNBA.
Meanwhile, she's the Dragon who gets all the attention, which may be a good thing since she's unflappable, never discouraged or distracted, nothing at all like a typical 13-year-old. It's the boys on the team who crank up the drama, along with the energy level.
Tune in on August 15 on national TV for the Dragons' first World Series contest, against a team from South Nashville, Tennessee.
Nov 2, 2014
Baby Jake catches Game 7 of his first World Series, along with mom Caitlin. It's educational for Jake, we're told; as young as he is, he might as well start learning that the good guys don't always win.
(h/t: Janet Goldwater)
Mar 15, 2018
This is the only baseball we saw in Havana, in a dead end cul de sac with boarded-up windows and no cars parked or passing through. Everywhere else we went in this big, densely populated city, airborne baseballs would not have been appreciated.
At least in part for this reason, soccer is more popular than baseball among children playing in city streets and sidewalks, and European and Latin American soccer is widely followed. But baseball has been played professionally in Cuba since the 1870s, long before the United States was ever involved in the country. Even back then, we're told, baseball had an anticolonial significance, played in lieu of sports such as bullfighting imported from Spain.
Castro famously encouraged baseball as a source of revolutionary and nationalistic pride. In recent years, Cuban baseball teams have played exhibition games against U.S. major league teams, and the Cubans win about half the time.
(Image credit: my phone)