Welcome to BallNine. We hope you’re ready for a dive into some of the finer (and maybe some of the not so fine) moments of America’s Pastime. Hike up your stirrups, grab your hot dogs and nuts and come join us as we take a look at some of the funnier and obscure baseball stories you may not have heard before. If you have, hopefully you find our retelling of these little gems refreshing, honest and humorous. Now get in the box and get ready for BallNine. You never know where it’s gonna go.
On May 9, 2000, Jim Morris was thrust into an impossible situation. He came out of the bullpen at Yankee Stadium in the bottom of the tenth inning to face Paul O’Neill in a tie game with one out. Derek Jeter had just walked to load the bases and it was up to Morris to get out of the jam. O’Neill was the Yankees three hitter and a player so clutch and so tough that he earned the nickname The Warrior.
Born on the 4th of July.
That is a special day to celebrate a birthday. It is my birthday. John Sterling’s birthday, too. The Yankees’ legendary broadcaster and I always wish each other a happy birthday whenever we are together at a ballgame on the 4th of July.
If I happened to be at a Mets game, John and his radio partner Suzyn Waldman would give me a shoutout on WFAN.
This year, of course, is different.
There will be no major league games on July 4th and for the first time in 38 years. Sterling, who broadcast Braves games before joining the Yankees in 1989, will not be broadcasting on the 4th because of Covid-19.
It will not be long though before John is back in the booth at Yankee Stadium; for both the home and road games. Sterling told BallNine that is the hope right now when the Yankees open up. Do the home games in the booth at Yankee Stadium and also the road games from there as well — those road games will be broadcast off a monitor.
New York Knights manager Pop Fisher said these memorable words to coach Red Blow when Roy Hobbs showed up out of nowhere to proclaim he was the new right fielder, the Natural.
“Red, I should’ve been a farmer.’’
Turk Wendell, who always follows his own path, is putting Pop’s words to good use well after pitching 11 years in the major leagues, including five seasons with the Mets.
Turk is a farmer. And is thrilled to live the life of a farmer.
This October marks the 20th anniversary of the Subway World Series, Mets vs Yankees. The Yankees beat the Mets in five games, but it was a lot closer than that. The Mets four losses came by a total of five runs.
The Mets won 94 games that season to earn the NL Wild Card. The Yankees won 87 games as they went on to win their third straight World Series. The Mets stormed past Barry Bonds’ Giants in four games in the NLDS, Bonds batted .176 with no home runs, and swamped the Cardinals in five games in the NLCS.
Wendell was a big reason the Mets made it to the World Series, coming on in relief in 77 regular season games and six more in the postseason.
His dreams were realized by pitching in the major leagues.
Now he is working on new dreams, getting his hands in the dirt on his farm in Adel, Iowa, located 30 miles west of Des Moines, along the North Raccoon River. Sounds like the perfect place for Turk to find a home after living the ranch life in Colorado for years.
Mel Stottlemyre spent over four decades in Major League Baseball, first as an All-Star pitcher then as one of the most respected pitching coaches in the game. If his five All-Star appearances in nine full Major League seasons didn’t carry enough weight, his five World Series rings as a pitching coach certainly did.
On July 15, 1959, Topps Chewing Gum, Inc. ran a full page advertisement in The Sporting News. “Today… right this very minute… kids are mailing their votes for the first All-Star Team of its kind… a team elected by young fans to honor their idols who are playing their first season.”
In this week’s installment of Roundhouse, Chris Vitali sits down with Kevin Kernan, pitcher / BallNine webmaster Josh Hejka and player representative Dan Tiant to discuss everything from the shutdown’s imact on MiLB, the analytical revolution, player development and much more.
Will you care?
Major League Baseball made it pretty clear over the last few months that fans are last on the list of priorities, so you are going to have to get over it, if you can.
What is this 2020 version of baseball going to look like?
The biggest thing working in MLB’s favor is that the Boys of Covid Summer will have a totally different look after the two warring sides finally sent their lawyers to a back room and brought out the bats, gloves and baseballs.
Leave the sunflower seeds. Take the hand sanitizer.
America’s Game is a sideshow this year. How is this version of baseball going to play out? There will be a curiosity factor for sure. If people watched Cornhole on TV, they will watch this version of speed-dating baseball.
Summer camp reopens in ballparks on July 1. Games are scheduled to begin three weeks later in a comet-like 60-game season.
Let’s hope the season doesn’t get called on account of Covid.
There will be no fans in the stands, a much different atmosphere where foul balls will clang around empty seats. The umpires strike and ball calls will be heard clearly as will any other loud discussions. Twitter sensation Jomboy is sure to have a field day.
Fans will be curious so they will watch… at first. But will they stay? Will they invest their time, their baseball souls to this game or is it a case of ownership and players finally going too far, pushing the fans away with their selfish antics over gobs of money.