Baseball On Television


I’ve been watching a lot of baseball lately. It seems like the Red Sox are on every night, so it was a surprise not to see them on tonight’s television listings. A rare day off after a series in New York, and before a series in Kansas City that begins tomorrow night. But no matter - game three of the Stanley Cup final round is on tonight: Bruins at St Louis. So there’s that. 

But with baseball, I have noticed an enormous drop off in quality from the Red Sox television and radio broadcasts, to the ESPN and FOX Sports broadcasts. The national guys and gals are awful, spewing statistics and prepared talking points and narratives, whereas (Boston) local broadcasters are very much in the moment, providing insights into strategies and situations.

Maybe we are especially blessed here in Boston to have commentators like Dennis Eckersley and Jerry Remy on television, and a rotating group of radio companions to Joe Castiglione’s play-by-play calls, which this season have included Sean McDonough and Chris Berman.  

National network commentators like Joe Buck, John Smoltz and the ESPN team always sound like they’d rather be somewhere else while they’re calling the game as they bombard us with statistics instead of solid analysis. It’s painful to listen to them. I hate when NESN (our local Red Sox affiliate) is preempted by the national networks. I would pay to watch the local broadcast instead. (The same is true with hockey as I am discovering with the Bruins in the Stanley Cup final round, and our knowledgeable local broadcast team of Jack Edwards and Andy Brickley replaced by the NBC/NBCSN team.)

Fortunately, I can get line online radio broadcasts for all major league teams for a few dollars a month on, which makes up for some of this.

Have any of you noticed this phenomenon with teams you follow? 

It Never Gets Old

One of the great joys of my life has been the enduring popularity of The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading And Bubblegum Book, which I wrote with Brendan Boyd in 1973. (I’m working on a sequel with Dave Moore.)


My friend Josh Wilker has written about baseball cards as well, and quite eloquently, in Cardboard Gods. He’s part of a forum at The American Writers Museum in Chicago next week, where he plans to read from my book, for which I am indeed honored. 

He recently published  a piece about my book on his Cardboard Gods blog. Josh’s post contains more details about the American Writers Museum baseball forum next week. You should check it out.

As for the two characters in the photo below, it has been a long, strange trip... 



Topps Retro Style


The kid in me has been pretty much priced out of the baseball card market, since per-pack prices have gone bonkers, and way beyond what kids these days can (or are willing to) pay. Everything today seems to be about the “chase cards” - the limited-print inserts to basic sets.

I’m more of a “basic set” kind of guy.

But hand it to Topps - by virtue of being in the baseball card market since 1952, the company has a strong, powerful heritage of cards and designs. This Aaron Judge card recalls the design of the Topps 1953 Mickey Mantle card, just as Judge recalls Mantle in so many ways.


Yawkey Way


The Boston Red Sox filed a petition to the City of Boston to change the name of the street adjacent to Fenway Park from Yawkey Way back to its original name - Jersey Street.

Here is a statement from the team:


The Red Sox, while they were owned by Tom Yawkey, were the last team in Major League Baseball to integrate, passing on players like Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays because they were black.