Giants sweep the Nationals
After the first inning in the Tuesday game in which the Giants scored three runs, the Nationals held their own, playing hard and refusing to quit. The latter two games at AT&T Park were close and exciting, but in both cases the Giants barely edged the Nationals. On Thursday afternoon, Tim Redding pitched a masterpiece, giving up no runs until the eighth inning. Then the Giants scrounged one run on two singles and a stolen base -- classic "small ball." In the ninth, Willie Harris singled and Cristian Guzman doubled with one out, but then Ryan Zimmerman and Austin Kearns both flew out, wasting yet another run-scoring opportunity. D'oh!
Speaking of Willie Harris, he was recently named NL Player of the Week; see MLB.com. Congratulations to the promising young slugger! Somebody in the Nationals outfield is likely to get bumped aside in his favor...
Hopes fade in Detroit
The walls are tumblin' down at Tiger Stadium, as most of the double-decked grandstand in left field is now gone for good. City Council members seem not to care about preserving even a portion of the old ballpark, and racial animosity may have something to do with it. The Tigers were slow to abandon segregation during the 1950s, and some blacks see Tiger Stadium as a symbol of that past. Read it and weep at the Free Press.
R.I.P. Chuck Stobbs
Former Washington Senators pitcher Chuck Stobbs died on [July 11]. He had a few fine seasons on the mound, but he is mainly remembered for pitching the ball that Mickey Mantle blasted over the left field bleachers at Griffith Stadium in 1953. [He later claimed to have no particular memories of that momentous event, and I guess you can't blame him.] That was the first "tape-measure" home run, originally estimated to have traveled 565 feet, but that included bounces. See Washington Post. (In The Physics of Baseball, Robert Adair calls that estimate "nonsense," saying it was more like 506 feet in the air.) Bruce Orser brought the news about Stobbs to my attention a week or two ago.
The mail bag
Regarding the question of whether the dugouts at Shea Stadium were below ground or not during the pre-1984 dual-use era, Brian Hughes says [his] father thinks not. On the other hand, I noticed in a calendar photo of the Astrodome that the dugouts there were below-ground, and had to be covered for football games. Brian also informed me that Shea was used for soccer matches, but leaving the lower deck in the baseball configuration, leaving almost no room for kicks from the corners. Weird.