It was a game to be remembered. The Boston Braves had only won 8 and had lost 19 games as they faced the Pittsburgh Pirates at Forbes Field in Pennsylvania on 25 May 1935. Babe Ruth, who had been with the New York Yankees for most of his best years, had been released by them in February but was picked up by the Boston Braves. Now at 40, his career was coming to an end. Although given other responsibilities by the Braves, those were mostly promotional and disappointed Ruth he would never manage a team. This game though would set a record that would not be broken for 40 years.
By the seventh inning of the game, Ruth had hit two homeruns, but the Pirates still led 7-5. Ruth came to bat. Fans were excited at seeing him play and he did not disappoint. His 714-career homerun came with the ball clearing Forbes Field right field roof. There was no doubt when he hit the ball that it was a homer. Fans could hit that familiar smack that Ruth was so well known for. He rounded the bases and saluted the fans with his cap. He was old and fat, but he had come through. The fans roared in delight. The Braves tied the score 7-7 later in the inning, but the Pirates came back scoring three runs later in that inning and scoring again in the eight for final score of 11-7.
Although he would play five more games with the Braves, this homerun was his last and was a league record for 40 years. He would retire from baseball on June 1, 1935. He would die of throat cancer on 16 August 1948. On 8 April 1974, Hank Aaron would hit his 715-homerun ending Ruth’s record.
As baseball is now in postseason, I thought it fitting to perhaps play the famous (but fictional) Roy Hobbs homer that clinches the league pennant for the New York Knights in the 1984 movie The Natural. Barnard Malmud originally wrote Hobbs as anti-hero and in the end makes an unwise choice unlike the movie. For the movie, the director decided to remake Hobbs with elements of Greek and Arthurian stories weaved in. The Greek gods famously put down mortals who dared to think they were on their level (called hubris meaning excessive pride). And Hobbs’ journey in the movie reflects that kind of Greek story of a man who reaches too high, falls back to Earth, and then learns to become better than he was before without the hubris.
Hobbs has been tempted in the movie to throw the game. The Judge, Gus and his gal (who is closely allied with Gus, the Arnold Rothstein of this movie). But he realizes after talking with Iris (a friend from his youth who he was close with and the father of her child)he can still do a lot with his remaining time before a forced retirement (his stomach needed to heal from a silver bullet left in years before when he was shot by a woman desiring to kill men who sought greatness). So he tells the Judge to shove it and throws the money back. They think he will fail. And at first it does not look like he will make it. As the trio looks down thinking Hobbs will loose the game, he takes the bat he made with the teams bat boy called the Savoy Special and delivers a hit never to be forgotten in that fictional baseball world. And the music from the movie is often used when they introduce players of note in ballparks or when awards are given.
*The official start of the baseball season is here! There are different ways to watch your favorite team, providing you can watch it locally of course.
1. Over The Air or Radio
Broadcast games have become fewer now that most teams have signed contracts with cable sports channels but are still shown. The cheapest alternative next to radio. Provided of course your local team is local. If your favorite team is, as they say, out of market, then continue on.
2. Cable + MLB Extra Innings
The easiest but costs more is the cable company bundle that has the sports channel on it. Mine costs $63 a month to watch both Giants and A’s. If you want to watch out of market games like the New York Yankees for instance, you can spring for MLB Extra Innings which costs a lot of money though some cable companies offer to break it up into smaller chunks you can pay over the season. Due to blackout policies, you cannot watch a local team either home or away on Extra Innings.
3. MLB TV
You can watch MLB games online at their website, through streaming devices to your television, and even on your smartphone. Here are the options fron lowest to highest cost.
1)AT BAT/GameDay Audio
The MLB AT BAT app is for most mobile phones and allows you to listen to any game that is going on, check scores, read news, and watch videos. You can select your favorite teams and get notifications on scores etc. You can also watch classic games. You cannot watch any games except the MLB Game of the Day. Also you can listen to any game being played at the MLB website. No mobile phone? Simply subscribe to GameDay Audio at the MLB site and listen through your computer. There are no blackout restrictions on GameDay audio. Cost is $19.99 with automatic renewal for next season. You do not have to subscribe to GameDay audio to use the AT BAT app but you will not be able to listen to any games. Note: listening to radio broadcasts will chew up a lot of data, so consider only listening when connected to Wi-Fi.
2)MLB TV (basic and premium)
You can watch most out of area games on your computer, streamed to your television through Roku and other devices, and on your mobile device. Basic MLB TV is cheaper but has fewer options. The AT BAT GameDay audio is not included and you can only watch via the website. MLB Premium comes with AT BAT GameDay audio, ability to watch on mobile and streaming devices, and choice of live or away feeds as well. Since GameDay audio is included, you also get the radio feeds when you stream to television. If a game is blacked out, you can listen to the game. You have to be a premium subscriber to access this feature.
Now the bad news: you cannot watch local games as they are blacked out both home and away. You can watch the archive (posted 90 minutes after game end) of the game but cannot watch it live. Also national games (FOX or ESPN) are blacked out though this year Fox is allowing people to watch it live for those on MLB tv except if the game is local.
If you are real baseball fiend and want to watch a lot of baseball, then MLB premium is probably your best choice at $129. 99. If you do not have a mobile phone or streaming but want to watch out of area games, then basic MLB at $109.99 will probably work for you. For those wanting to keep costs low, GameDay audio through the smartphone or at MLB site will work fine. You can also watch the MLB Free Game of the Day on your computer, through streaming device or smartphone.
The biggest issue (outside of tech issues with devices) is the blackout policies. Each team decides its territory which is not limited by geography. You can see a map here. Worst hit are people in the Midwest and some Atlantic states where multiple teams can claim rights so several ball clubs in different states, are blacked out. The Seattle Mariners claim all of Montana and almost all of Idaho. Hawaii is hit hard too. There are many SF Giants and Oakland A’s fans there. The Dodgers, Padres, Giants, Mariners and A’s all claimed Hawaii even though they cannot watch any of the games locally. That has somewhat changed now for 2014. Both the Dodgers and Padres are allowing a sports channel to show their games in Hawaii. But Giants and A’s are blacked out at MLB by those two teams. The Dodgers and Padres got smart while the San Francisco Bay Area teams are out to lunch on the matter. At least you can watch an archive of the game but it is not as good as watching it live. The only place to watch the regular season without any local blackouts is outside the U.S. I understand there is a following of baseball in England.
One other note: do not consider signing up for a dodgy service that will get you a live feed via an international satellite feed (or other means). They are committing theft under U.S. laws and once MLB finds it out, they cut it off and you do not get your money back. For your troubles if MLB finds out you subscribed, they will send a nasty letter reminding you about such illegal services. And for extra measure since they have your name and probably other information, good luck signing up for MLB audio or visual packages in the future.
*Amy’s Baking Company and there two nutty owners are back in the news again. Crazy Amy is claiming Gordon Ramsay sexually harassed her. This couple must be desperate for attention these days and daring Gordon or Kitchen Nightmares to do something. Their attorney, if they have one, ought to be warning them such claims can lead (and often do) to slander lawsuits. I doubt many are giving it much credence though. But it may be time for Gordon to take the gloves off and put his foot down by making them stand in court to prove their claims. You can read about the claim here.
*Call me contrary but not impressed with Noah. The Ten Commandments (1956)may be fictional but at least it is closer to the original story than this latest Hollywood serving of a Biblical tale.
*Limes are very expensive these days owing to cartels and thefts, so I am told. The produce guy at a store I frequent told me that Chevy’s bought very expensive crates of limes without first checking the price. Ouch! Someone there will be walking out the door for that very pricey mistake. Lemons are cheaper and suddenly Cuba Libres will have a more lemony taste. Salsa too, where limes are often used, will likewise be changing as well.
*Tried watching the pilot episode for Caprica (the prequel to the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica). Snooze.
*The Amazing Race All Stars is pretty good though predictable in some ways. If there are lessons to be learned thus far is (1) Make sure you have a cab ready to take you away; (2) If the challenge is making drinks or doing d.j. work, do not assume you are just mixing drinks!