Hey, I dearly miss the constant blip-grains on Zacherley’s Disc-O-Teen…but time staggers on.
Other traditions lost from our list included boiled hot dogs taken from tepid water and slathered with mustard by vendors, and dugout agitators formerly known as “bench jockeys,’’ and bad-breathed managers such as Billy Martin and Earl Weaver kicking dirt on umpires, while league officials look at it as entertainment.
A more recent tradition is players engaging in the intake of steroids and human growth hormones, but we aren’t sure that one is lost as of yet, so we skipped it.
SECOND INNING: Fungoes & Infield
Fungoes were much in evidence when early arrivers came to the ballpark in days of yore. They were long, lean hunks of wood made by Lousiville Slugger, used to hit fly balls to outfielders and ground balls to infielders.
The legend said they were light, but “not when you’re hitting a couple of hundred ground balls,’’ Gardenhire said. “The new ones are great, made out of that composite wood, and very light.’’
There were fungo magicians in most every organization. “The most famous fungo guy was Jimmy Reese, with the Angels,’’ Twins coach Scott Ullger said. “They said he could pitch batting practice hitting balls with a fungo.’’
Gardenhire had an old infielder named Johnny Antonelli (not the former Giants’ pitcher) in the Mets’ organization as a coach and fungo-hitting antagonist. “He would be barking, ‘Gardenhire, stay down on the ball, hustle, hustle,’ and hit me all the ground balls I could take,’’ Gardenhire said. “I loved the guy.’’
The pregame tradition at nearly all levels of baseball into the 1980s was for the home team to take batting practice, the visitors to take BP, the home team to come back out for a full round of “infield,’’ ground balls, turning double plays, and the visitors would come back to do the same.
“We do all of that during batting practice now,’’ Gardenhire said. “In fact, the managers were given notification before this season that we can’t have pregame infield, because the field belongs to the promotions people and grounds crew for 30, 35 minutes before the game starts.’’
Kerry Ligtenberg, former major league pitcher and now the Saints’ pitching coach, said: “My son and I went to a Twins-Sox game, we got there early, and the White Sox were taking a full infield,’’ Ligtenberg said. “My son said, ‘What’s that?’ I heard later [manager] Robin Ventura was mad at the way they had been playing in the field, and
Posted: July 13, 2013 at 04:06 PM | 71 comment(s)
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