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Classic “Matchups”

I was watching the Phillies-Nats game on Saturday night – in a key spot in the 6th inning, Bryce Harper, facing tough lefty Cliff Lee, surpised Lee with a successful safety squeeze bunt. The resulting run tied the game, and when the next batter, Jayson Werth, homered to left, the Nats were on their way to a victory.

It suddenly struck me that this had been a classic confrontation which I’m going to call a “To Kill a Mockingbird” matchup since it was Harper-Lee! Of course, I started thinking if I could come up with some other matchups which would be fun, whether the players’ careers overlapped or not.

The best two that I could come up with were the “Civil War Matchup” between Cliff Lee and Indians/Twins’ hurler of the ’60’s, Jim “Mudcat” Grant. That would have made a perfect first game of a doubleheader – Grant vs. Lee. I could just see the “probable pitchers” listing in the newspaper. The nightcap of the twinbill? Well, how about if Braves’ soon-to-be Hall of Famer Greg Maddux got matched up with Eppa Rixey, a 6’5″ lefty Hall of famer who pitched for the Phils and Cincy in the 1910’s and 1920’s? After Lee faced Grant, we could have an Eppa-Maddux pitchers’ duel. A Civil War classic!

My final entry for today involves a Yankee rookie infielder from 1941 named Gerry Priddy, who played with the Bombers in 1941 and 1942, then went on to some other AL teams. Suppose he had had to face lefty reliever Will Ohman, who unfortunately did not come up until 2000 with the Chicago Cubs. Well, that would have produced a “Priddy-W. Ohman” matchup, which I’ll choose to call a Roy Orbison special.

I could probably come up with hundreds of these, but I’d like to retain your friendship. I’m sure you can think of many yourselves.

Walk-Up Music

There has been a lot of discussion on the Babble Board recently about the walk-up songs played over the P.A. for each batter. Derek Jeter even appeared on the Jimmy Fallon show, and Fallon came up with some humorous walk-up songs for him.

Being an old fogey, I am not a huge fan of the loud rap songs that most players choose as their songs. I have often wondered what it would be like if players chose old-time music. Well, I attended a game Wednesday night at Nats Park as the Nats hosted Atlanta, and it was apparently Frank Sinatra Night. As every player (from both teams) approached home, he was randomly assigned a Sinatra song. At first it seemed a litle cool – but, I must admit even though I enjoy Sinatra, it was out of place. By the 6th inning, I actually wanted the rap back! How many times can you hear “Fly Me to the Moon” or “My Way”?? It just didn’t fit at that moment of a ball game. Now, “New York, New York” after a Yankee win? That’s different – it’s music to my ears!

What I do miss are the clever organists who would play an appropriate tune for the batters as they walked up. I don’t know the organist’s name, but the guy in Anaheim in the early ’70’s used to be very creative and entertaining. When Carl Yastrzemski came up, he would be greeted with a rendition of “Yaz, We Have No Bananas!” Leroy Stanton would get “Stanton on the Corner, Watchin’ All the Girls Go By.” Eddie Murray would get the theme from the TV show “Mr. Ed.” And Rich Dauer would be serenaded with “If I Were a Rich Man.” The music was pleasant, not the blaring loud stuff we get over the speakers today, and I would find myself listening intently to see what pun the organist would come up with next. I have to admit I wish we could go back to that era for the walk-up songs.

Deja Vu All Over Again

While the Yanks just concluded a horrendous road trip, there was one extremly happy moment for me. Not only did it ice a rare victory for us on this road trip, but it brought back memories of an even greater and more unexpected victory that took place on June 12, 2009. Continue reading

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