Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Thursday, June 15.
The annual Congressional baseball game for charity is going on as planned in spite of the shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scalese. The game will be held at Nationals Park at 7 PM while the Nats themselves face the Mets in New York. Unlike past Congressional baseball games, this one will be televised by C-Span. They covered the first few of these annual charity contests when C-Span was relatively new but haven’t done so in years. One I particularly remember ended in a 17-17 tie back in 1983.
The Congressman remains in critical condition this morning. A rifle bullet entered his hip and sped through his body, breaking bones and damaging organs along the way until it lodged in his pelvic bone. 3 others were injured while the police shot the deranged villain dead. I wish I could say this has never happened before but that isn’t true. In 2011 Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head and survived while six persons were mortally wounded, one being the granddaughter of baseball’s Dallas Green. We as Americans can’t allow our lives to be slammed into neutral by monsters like the ones who shot Giffords and the shooter from ambush who shot Scalese and 3 others before he was neutralized. The game will go on as scheduled and hopefully it will lighten the hearts of the fans who attend.
Congressman Scalese is the Majority Whip, making him more important than most Congressmen. As I understand his role, he’s the go-between between all the rest of Congress and the Speaker of the House. He tries to make sure the Congressmen are in attendance when key votes are being taken. Further, he’s supposed to check on who’s voting in which direction and try to convince any Congressmen who are sitting on the fence to jump in the right direction. He and the other injured persons will get a moment of silence before the game begins.
As for regular games, two have already gotten underway as I write this. The Dodgers and Indians met just after Noon in Cleveland. The Twins and Mariners are also underway in Minnesota. The White Sox host Baltimore at 2:15. The rest of the action will take place at night. Boston took an easy win last night after beating the Phillies twice in extra innings in Boston. Chris Sale takes on the Phillies’ rookie Nick Pivetta. The Yankees have the late late show in Oakland. Jordan Montgomery takes the start for the Yanks. As he makes his 12th MLB start, he has to know the pressure will be on all other Yankee pitchers since CC Sabathia appears to be headed to the DL. The Royals’ turn to MLB debutante Matt Strahm. His mound opponent Ricky Nolasco hasn’t won a game for the Angels since late April.
Baseball has the most glorious historic past of any sport. Only in baseball would fans remember the date of a trade. Today marks the 40th anniversary of what Mets’ fans call “The Midnight Massacre.” Baseball’s trading deadline was June 15 back then and the Mets, knowing they were going downhill unloaded Tom Seaver and Dave Kingman in two trades that have been reviled ever since. Social media was science fiction then, ESPN was 2 years away from opening its doors and 24-hour-a-day sports stations were a pipe dream. All the same, the newspapers screamed the news right up there with the latest attack by the Son of Sam. Seaver had been the face of the franchise, winning Rookie of the Year in 1967 and leading the team to the World Series. When he was dealt to the Reds he still had a decade of MLB pitching in him. He was still around in 1986 when the Mets won their second World Series. Earlier that season he had worn the Red Sox’ uniform but had called it a career long before the World Series. Even 40 years later this is considered one of the darkest days in New York sports history.