Tuesday, September 23, 2008

100th Anniversary of the Merkle Game

The 1908 baseball season, the last time the Cubs won the World Series, was a lulu. The American League had a four-way pennant race: Tigers (featuring Ty Cobb), Cleveland Naps, White Sox, and St. Louis Browns. The Tigers won their pennant on the last possible day of the regular season.

The National League had a three-way race: Cubs, Giants, and Pirates (led by Honus Wagner). The Cubs got their break when, in a game against the Giants, one of the Giant's rookies named Fred Merkle made a rookie mistake, which enabled the Cub's Johnny Evers (you know, Evers to Tinkers to Chance) to take advantage of a fan melee on the field causing the Cubs to win the "Merkle Game", which created a tie between the Giants and Cubs at the end of the season, which cost the Giants the pennant when they replayed the Merkle Game and lost to the Cubs.

From How Stuff Works:

The score was tied 1-1 and the sun was setting over the Polo Grounds in New York. Fred Merkle, a rookie substitute, was standing on first and Moose McCormick occupied third with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, when Giants shortstop Al Bridwell singled to center.

Thinking the game was won, and with a crowd of happy fans swarming the infield, Merkle bypassed second base and made for the New York clubhouse. But Chicago second baseman Johnny Evers got the attention of the umpire who, after seeing Evers tag second base with a ball (there was some dispute over whether it was actually the game ball), declared Merkle forced out at second, nullifying the winning run.

The two tight pennant races would have been enough to guarantee the 1908 season a special place in history, let alone the Merkle Game. But the season was also full of dirty baseball (not just by Ty Cobb, but he certainly helped), double-dealings, and an attack by a swarm of gnats (just like the attack on game two of the 2007 American League Division Series featuring the Yankees and Indians).

I learned all I know about the 1908 season from Crazy '08 by Cait Murphy.

More reading:

Here's a reprint of a Keith Olbermann article about the Merkle Game. Olbermann writes about the game every year in hopes to clear Merkle's reputation.

Here's another article about it.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Do they *have* to report from the hurricane?

Is it really necessary to have these reporters standing outside in the middle of a hurricane? Does it really add to our understanding or help us in any way? I'm finding it more and more ridiculous every year.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

First plant shipment

The violet Dancing Geishas arrived from Park Seeds today. Hmm, I don't remember ordering them. They're not in my garden plan, either. Oh the best laid plans!

I think I'll plant them underneath our rose bushes out front.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Morrissey's selling the NFL

Could someone tell the NFL that using Morrissey's "Every Day is Like Sunday" ["every day is cloudy and gray"] is the worst use of a pop song since Phillips used the Beatles' "It's Getting Better All the Time" ["it can't get no worse"]? Not that I don't want Morrissey to make money.


I spent a marathon session yesterday looking for plants for our garden. We decided that what we have is just too messy for us to maintain and we don't know what the previous owners intended, so we're going to dig some stuff up and plant what we want. I see why people hire garden designers to do the work for them - it took me a long time to find plants suitable for our zone, soil, and the amount of sun that the places where wanted to put the plants get.

So far I've ordered seeds or bareroot plants for purple coneflower (echinacea), shasta daisies, black-eyed susans, large yellow hyacinths for the front yard, cosmos, forget-me-nots, and blazing star, bearded irises, and a dwarf nandina firepower shrub to replace those that were eaten by the local groundhog or the voles.

In the spring, I'm going to buy astilbe, salvia, a Moon Madonna daylily, and Physostegia virginiana.

We have a lot of clearing out and weeding to do in the next three months...