Wednesday, November 30, 2005
by Marvin Gustafson
Good Morning! If you missed yesterday's posting, be sure to click here to read my Q&A with Chris Brown. Chris is a first baseman in the Twins system who had a very strong 2005 season. I went to John Sickels' minor league site and basically asked a question to find out if there is a place to find how many major league ball players went undrafted. There was quite of a bit of response in the comments, so check them out!
I will have a few other topics at the bottom of the article today, but for our main feature today, we are going to post our Why Baseball writer today is Marvin Gustafson. Marvin was the first person to e-mail me his Why Baseball article, so he is the first winner of a GuardDog watch. If you are interested in participating in the Why Baseball contest. If you're interested in participating in this week's contest, click here for details.
So, without further ado, I present Why Baseball?, by Marvin Gustafson:
Seth, thanks for the opportunity.
My history with baseball parallels that of the Twins. I became aware of them sometime during their first or second seasons in Minnesota. I was seven or eight years old at the time. My first exposure was probably the radio broadcasts with Halsey Hall, Ray Scott, and Herb Carneal. To this day, listening to Herb Carnealís voice on the radio brings back the warm, fuzzy memories of listening to Twinsí broadcasts while doing the sundry chores associated with life on a small farm.
Iíve always been interested in history and stats. I think the traditions and records that are such an integral part of the game are a portion of what keeps me coming back for more. I am a fierce baseball traditionalist. Anything that is done to diminish the accomplishments of those players from bygone eras annoys me. I dislike the DH, domed stadiums, the homerun friendly dimensions of the newer ball parks, the five man rotation, the steroid use, and Inter-League play to name a few.
Growing up on a farm twenty miles from town did not afford me the opportunity to play organized baseball as a youth. We played fast-pitch softball during recess times at the country grade school I attended. I spent hours playing simulated games at home; either by throwing a ball on the roof and attempting to catch it as it came down, or throwing a ball against the exterior of the basement wall which was built of cinder blocks and trying to catch it as it came back toward me. Another thing I did to amuse myself was hitting pebbles (about and inch in diameter) with a sawed off broom handle. I did this when I had spare moments during the evening milking chores. I could hit those little stones a long way, and seldom swung and missed. During the cold winter months I played a game I made up using a pair of dice. I would score these games and keep stats. In retrospect, I was obviously a baseball crazed geek!
When I went out on my own, I started to play city league fast-pitch softball, but my work schedule didnít allow me to play every week, and I needed to play regularly to find my timing at the plate, so after a couple of seasons I switched to slo-pitch and have played that ever since. I took about five years off when I reached forty-five, but took it up again last year at age fifty-one. It just about killed me, but I loved every minute. Gotta get in better shape if I play next year.
I enjoy the game of baseball/softball, and will gladly play, watch, or talk about it any time. Iíll jump at the chance to make the three hundred fifty mile trip to Minneapolis to watch the Twins in person at a stadium that should never have been built (I loved Metropolitan Stadium!). Itís really hard to explain the attraction.
Even though I consider myself to be a fan with staying power, I sometimes find myself less interested when the Twins donít do well. I suppose thatís somewhat natural. The availability of information online (this blog is crucial in that regard) has helped me stay in touch with the Twins farm system to the point where the prospects down on the farm are just as intriguing as the players at the major league level. I enjoy seeing how these guys progress as they rise through the system. You donít get that opportunity with most other sports.
So, there you have it. Another wonderful Why Baseball article! Thank you Marvin for taking the time to write up this essay. I think it was very good! Let me know what you think. If you would like to ask me or Marvin any questions, please feel free to e-mail me.
Three years and $21.4 millions for Esteban Loaiza?? My initial reaction is Wow! That is crazy! We are talking about Esteban Loaiza. Yes, three years ago, he won 21 games for the White Sox, but in 2004, he was bad again. He signed with the Nationals last year for cheap and really had a solid year. Based on last year's contracts of Jaret Wright and Carl Pavano, Loaiza actually, probably deserves that kind of money. Still, the surprising part, for me, is that the contract was given to him by the Oakland A's. Loaiza is a Type B free agent, meaning that the Nationals will take the A's first round pick next summer. So, not only did the A's sign a questionable pitcher to a sizeable contract lasting too many years, but they gave up a first round pick. Not very A-Like.
Congratulations to "Matt" from Iowa. The former All-American wrestler was named The Biggest Loser last night on NBC's reality show. The former athlete went from 329 pounds to 182 in the show's nine months.
Speaking of NBC, how excited am I that Christie Clark is returning to Days of our Lives, in her role as Carrie Brady! Yay! I may return to my dedicated viewing schedule!! Also, it is the 40th Anniversary of the show!
Former Twins pitcher Joe Roa signed a minor league deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates yesterday.
Former Twins 1B Vic Power passed away yesterday at the age of 78. Power played in the big leagues from 1954 through 1967. Overall, he his .284/.315/.411 with 290 doubles, 49 triples, 126 homers and 658 RBI. Of course, he never posted an OPS+ over 100 after the 1959 season. He came to the Twins right before the 1962 season with Dick Stigman for Pedro Ramos. He spent just over two seasons with the Twins as he was traded as part of a three team trade in June of 1964 with Lenny Green in a deal that brought Frank Kostro from the Dodgers and Jerry Kindall from the Indians. I know that he won 7 Gold Gloves during his career. He was apparently quite flamboyant. I know some of this because of Baseball Reference. I know just as much because he was my mom's favorite player when she was a kid.
And on those notes, I am going to call it a day. I certainly hope that you have found the "Why Baseball" article by Marvin worth reading, and I hope that many of you will be interested in participating in the Why Baseball Contest this week. I will be back tomorrow with another very interesting guest column, another position analysis by "Roger". If you have any questions or comments, please e-mail me.
Back to Archives Home