Wednesday, March 24, 2010

9 Authors - 12 Baseball Questions

The Line Up
1 Change Up Baseball Poems by Fehler SS
2. Keeping Score by Park 1st
3 Mudville by Scaletta 2nd
4 Brooklyn Nine by Gratz CF
5 Prince of Fenway Park by Baggott RF
6 Six Innings by Preller 3rd
7 Comeback Season by Smith LF
8 Painting the Black by Deuker C
9 The Girl Who Threw Butterflies by Cochrane - P

In case you missed it how this came to be. Enjoy the first three questions, please come back for other nine.

1. Change up, tells the story of a baseball season through poetry. In the first few poems, the boy as the baseball itch. He can’t wait for the season to begin. What’s your favorite part of a new season?

Fehler - Baseball has always been by far my favorite sport. After baseball season ends I'll occasionally watch a football game and even a basketball game. But nothing thrills me like baseball. The start of a new season is like opening the curtain to seven more months of exciting drama. And when the drama ends as it did last year with my favorite team, the New York Yankees, winning the World Series, I have enough happy memories to last me through many of the long hard winter months that lie ahead. When spring training finally comes, and then opening day, and I've had the chance to study the thirty teams' rosters and look at trades and injuries and rookies, I can begin to anticipate all the excitement and frustration that await me throughout the upcoming 162 regular season games, games which are a prelude to the increasing excitement of the baseball drama's final act.

Park - My favorite part of a new season is seeing the Mets take the field for the first time. Everything is so promising, and at that moment, the perfect season seems not only possible, but completely within reason!

Scaletta - I actually love spring training because I can listen to the games on the radio during the day and it makes me think about warmer weather.

Gratz - I think my favorite part of the season are the dog days of summer. Those games right around the all star break where you begin to know if it's your season or not. Where you know who's having a great season, and who's not. Where the players are settled in; where the hitters have enough at bats to have real averages, and the pitchers haven't worn out yet. It's also the time teams start looking to make trades and address needs in their ballclubs, and that's always exciting to me. Growing up, I was a Reds fan, but all their games are blacked out for me on television due to crazy weird MLB territory rules, even though I live in North Carolina. By default, I sort of became an LA Dodgers fan, because those games are on late at night and they're not blacked out. I also learned a lot about Dodger history doing research for The Brooklyn Nine, and I have a lot of respect for that organization overall.

Baggott - I love to see the big, lazy giants stretching and jogging, as if all they’ve done is sleep since October, and now they are breaking their hibernation before heading back to the long, tumultuous hunt.

Preller - As an armchair GM, I really enjoy the off-season, that intellectual jigsaw puzzle of assembling the team. And of course, there’s nothing quite like hope and possibility of Opening Day.

Smith - I’m sure any Cubs fan would agree that the best part of the season is definitely the beginning. At that point, you haven’t had a chance to be disappointed yet. You’re still operating on sheer promise and blind hope. One hundred plus years of history isn’t even enough to get you down. The whole season is still before you, and there’s nothing better than the feeling that this will be the year.

Deuker - I look forward to seeing Ichiro go through his whole routine at the plate: deep knee bends, sleeve tug, etc. Writing down 6-4-3 in my score book for the first time is also a thrill, unless it's one of my beloved Mariners who has banged into a rally killing DP.

Cochrane -Growing in Minnesota, I cheered for the Minnesota Twins, and I still do. I love the sense of optimism that comes with opening day—it’s like the first day of school: anything can happen, it’s a clean slate, this year we might finally do it right. I have a wonderful boyhood memory of going to an opening day game with my grandfather—someone gave us tickets—the one and only year Billy Martin managed the Twins (before he got into trouble by punching out a marshmallow salesman). I have many vivid memories from the afternoon—for example, the Twins’ starting pitcher, Tommy Hall, a lefty so thin his nickname was “The Blade.”

2. Its 1951, Maggie is a die hard Brooklyn Dodgers fan. When they lose to the NY Giants in that famous pennant race, she is heartbroken. What playoff loss make your stomach churn the most?

Park- Too many to count. But the first one that comes to mind is Game 7 of the 2006 playoffs, Mets against the St. Louis Cardinals. Endy Chavez's miracle catch-into-a-double-play seemed like a sign that the Mets would win. And when they didn't...Ouch. It still hurts. I drew on that memory, and many others from my years as a Cubs fan, to portray Maggie's devotion to the Dodgers in KEEPING SCORE. She's passionate and loyal despite the disappointments year after year. Like all true fans, Maggie knows that baseball can break your heart, but that nothing else gives you the chance to practice so regularly at the art of hoping.

Scaletta - I'm always a Twins fan and if they make the playoffs, I'm proud of them. So I'll have to go football with this win and say that nothing make me wince like the way the 1998 Vikings fizzled out in the championship game against the Falcons.

Gratz - In 1999 I was living in Cincinnati, and had been following the Reds pretty religiously, getting down to the ballpark whenever I could. They were really great that season. Not a great team like 1927 Yankees great, just a lot of fun, with really terrific chemistry and a knack for coming back late in games and never giving up. Jack McKeon was the manager that year, a crusty old veteran who knew how to get the most out of limited talent, and the team had great years from Mike Cameron, Pokey Reese, Sean Casey, Barry Larkin, Aaron Boone, Dmitri Young, Scott WIlliamson, and Danny Graves. Not superstars, most of them, but guys with a lot of heart and big hits and pitches at the right moments. At the end of that season, they finished in a tie with the New York Mets for the Wild Card spot in the playoffs, and there was a one-game tie-breaker played at Riverfront in Cincinnati. After a season of heroics and all-out play, the Reds just didn't have anything left in the tank, losing 5-0 to the Mets at home. It was devastating, but there was the hope that next year, the team might really be something special. Then, in the off-season, the Reds traded half their team to the Seattle Mariners to get Ken Griffey, Jr., and while it was always exciting to see Ken Griffey, Jr. play after that, it felt like the team lost all its chemistry from the year before. Griffey got hurt early and often, the team lost it's heart, and that was really the beginning of the end of Cincinnati's competitiveness for the last decade. But it was that playoff loss that really broke my heart.

Baggott - It’s a tie: Bucky Dent and Aaron Boone. But mainly it’s the absorption of my husband’s pain. When Dent hit the homer in the playoff game, he was a kid and cried a lot. But then he moved on and only remembered the pain of it in the 90s when the Red Sox were good, but never good enough. The Boone home run happened when he was an adult, the same age as Tim Wakefield, the pitcher who gave up that home run. It was much more personal for him because Wakefield is on a very human scale compared to most pro athletes.

Preller - Game Four, 1988 NLCS. The Mets were up in the series, 2-1, and leading the game going into the 9th, 4-2. But Mike Sciosca hit a shocking two-run bomb off Dwight Gooden to tie it up. That was a great Mets team that should have gone all the way – but the Dodgers had the magic. But honestly? I’m over it, these loses don’t really upset me for very long.

Smith - I’d have to say the 2003 National League Championship series game against the Marlins, when poor Steve Bartman tried to catch that infamous foul ball. It wasn’t even his fault, really. But I’ve never seen a team unravel so quickly. It was really hard to watch. I’m pretty sure I cried.

Deuker - It's the playoffs that never were that eat at me. The SF Giants to the 60's were often engaged in wire-to-wire pennant races with the Dodgers. Except for 1962, the Dodgers always won. With no wild card in existence, Mays, Marichal, McCovey, and Cepeda sat at home.

Cochrane - Not a play-off strictly speaking, but the last two games of the 1967 season in Boston: the Twins needed to win just one to get into the World Series, and they lost both. I loved the Twins then as much as Maggie loved the Dodgers, and I was devastated. I mention these games in my novel SPORT, but I am over it now, really

Fehler- I was in college when my New York Yankees scored a ton of runs against the Pirates only to to suffer an improbable World Series loss when Mazeroski broke my heart.

3. In Moundville a rival game has been rainout thanks to 22 straight years of rain. If you where caught in an awful rain storm, and the only umbrella available was that of your favorite teams rival, would you use it?

Scaletta - I love this question! If I had to choose between being sopping wet or wielding a Yankees umbrella, I'd get wet. If I had to choose between being on fire or getting extinguished with a Yankees fire hose, I'd have to think about it. They aren't even properly a Twins rival but they are the team we all love to hate.

Gratz - If we're talking baseball, yes. If we're talking college sports, and you handed me, say, a Florida umbrella, I would have to think twice about that. Depending on where I was. If I was at home in Knoxville, no way would I use a Florida umbrella. I think cars might aim for me.

Baggott - Absolutely. I don’t like to get wet. I own a great deal of Red Sox paraphernalia, but I really am a Red Sox fan on the inside, nothing so superficial as a logo can sway me.

Preller - Nope

Smith - Not a chance! I happen to be of the mindset that even garbage bags are more stylish than Cardinals umbrellas. Not that I’m competitive or anything.

Deuker - I couldn't use a Dodger umbrella

Cochrane - Sure. I love those little moments in baseball when rivalry breakdown: when, for example, a batter will stall so a catcher can compose himself after getting shaken up. Rivalry is strong in the game, but so is humanity—all that chatting down at first base. That’s one of the things I love about the game.

Fehler - I'd use the umbrella so I could stay healthy for a chance to cheer my Yankees to victory over the Red Sox, but knowing the evil nature of my rival, its owner would probably not loan it out.

Park - Of course. And when it stopped raining, I'd give it a good pop to turn it inside out, permanently.


Jen Robinson said...

Fun stuff, Doret (and fabulous authors). Me, I love the excitement and potential of Opening Day. I still feel pain over the Red Sox World series loss in 1986 (like most Sox fans, I can tell you exactly where I was when Bill Buckner had his error. And I would get wet before using a Yankees umbrella - no question.

Doret said...

Thanks Jen. I love the Mets and I could never ever use a Yankee or Braves umbrella.

I'll just have to run very fast. Or get Gene Kelly with it, minus the umbrella

rhapsodyinbooks said...

What great questions! I love everybody's answer to the third questions! I have to send this post to my husband; he'll be in heaven!

Doret said...

Yes, please pass it on
Thanks Jill.

MissA said...

Doret you are from Atlanta! How can you not be a Braves fan? *gasp* or a Yankees fan? *bigger gasp8 you are breaking my heart :o Haha, but I don't know. If I had just got my hair done, I may have to take the enemy umbrella but then I would follow the move of Ms. Park and turn it inside out. However if my hair is already runined, I would just get wet. No Red Sox or White Sox or umbrella for me!