Friday, September 14, 2007
Owens, CF; Fields, LF; Thome, DH; PK, 1B; Dye, RF; AJ, C; Uribe, SS; Richar, 2B; Gonzo, 3B. Contreras pitching.
We finally got the team photo done today after three other weather-aborted attempts (when you’re having a bad year it impacts everything you try to do). This is the latest we’ve ever taken the official team photo. The last time we tried to take it, the skies above US Cellular Field looked like Kansas from the Wizard of Oz. We pride ourselves on taking efficient team photos, and this year’s was no different, thanks to team photographer Ron Vesely and crew.
One new wrinkle, we invited all front office employees to pose for an organization photo out on the infield. Let’s hope it turns out well.
Man, I really wanted him to get 500 against the Tribe, but now, for his sake and the sake of Andrea and Chuck Thome, I hope it comes in his first at-bat tonight.
Jim is just such a class act. Per his request, we’ve worked up a special thank you from Jim to the fans when he does connect. And Jim wanted to make sure that whoever catches his home run ball really receives a special package of gifts from Jim and his family.
His at-bats Wednesday (after his first-inning homer for 499) were a lot of fun. You could feel the buzz, excitement and anticipation in the stands. It’s the first time I’ve heard a crowd be disappointed by a two-run, bases-loaded single. You could hear the collective moan when Jim’s bat shattered on the single.
The clubhouse is excited about sharing the moment with Jim when he hits it. Guys were discussing how and where to greet him once he touches home plate.
This will be a lot of fun when it happens. Hopefully tonight.
A couple of great stories from lunch today with Moose Skowron, Jerry Reinsdorf, Ed Farmer and others.
Jerry recounted a story by Joe Garagiola about teammate Joe Black and Willie Mays. We had been talking about pitchers who were rumored to doctor the baseball.
"Willie stepped into the box against Joe and asked the umpire to check the ball," Jerry said. "So Joe tosses it to his catcher, Garagiola.
"Then Joe fires a pitch. Willie asks the umpire to check it again. Joe’s next pitch is right at Willie’s head. As he dives out of the way, the ball screams between Willie’s head and his hat.
"Joe walked from the mound and asked, ‘Did you get a good look at it that time?’"
Then Moose got going on a wide range of topics.
"I got pinch hit for at Yankee Stadium in the first inning with the bases loaded," Moose recalled, angry as if it was yesterday. "And I was the clean-up hitter."
Sure enough. The first three hitters reached. The opposing team changed pitchers to a right-hander, and so Casey Stengel whistled Skowron back to the dugout in favor of a pinch hitter.
"I threw my bat down and went into the clubhouse," Moose recounted. "The next day, Casey called me into his office, shut the door and told me never to show him up again.
"And I hit right-handers better than left-handers," Moose said to laughter. He’s still mad about Stengel’s move. The Yankees won, 3-0.
Two years later with the bases loaded in the World Series, Moose went to the plate and heard Stengel’s whistle.
"I told (Roy) Campanella, ‘There’s no way he’s going to pinch hit for me," Moose said. "Casey told me, ‘This guy (Roger Craig) likes to throw sliders away. Try to take it to right field.’
"So the first pitch he throws me is a slider down and away that I pull over the left-field wall for a grand slam. When I got back to the dugout, Casey said, ‘Way to go, Moose, way to pull the ball.’"
Moose claims to be one of the few, if not only, prep athlete to play at Chicago Stadium, Wrigley Field, Comiskey Park and Soldier Field. Any takers?
Don’t forget! Order your tickets to Blog Night 2 (Sept. 27) by calling Dustin at 312-674-5186. We’ll spend some time together before the game (you can call me names, idiot, sophomoric, etc … it’ll be great) and I’ll have a few guest speakers for you. Call today …