The All-Star Break is near, and it’s time for our annual baseball
call-in show. Die-hard Red Sox and Yankees fans have plenty to talk
about as always, but this season but there have been some surprising
teams who’ve put everyone on notice. We’ll talk with a few close
observers of the game and take your phone calls about how the season is
shaping up. (Listen)
Also in the program, baseball historian Karl Lindholm helps
explain why baseball occupies the space it does in American sports
And VPR’s Mitch Wertlieb takes us into the dugout of regional
baseball league that’s designed for middle-aged players, but they’re
still young at heart. (Listen)
Mark in Charlotte:
[Regarding "Sweet Caroline" at Fenway Park:]
The song got its start at Fenway Park thanks to Amy Tobey, who was the allpark’s music director from 1998 to 2004. She was responsible for choosing the music to be played between innings and picked Sweet Caroline simply because she had heard it played at other sporting events.
At first, Tobey played the song at random games sometime between the seventh and ninth innings, and only if the Red Sox were ahead. Tobey considered the song a good luck charm and it soon became something the fans anticipated. But it wasn’t until 2002, when John Henry’s group bought the Red Sox, that "Sweet Caroline" become an official Fenway tradition. That’s when the new ownership requested that Tobey play the song during the eighth inning of every game.
Jeff in Woodstock:
This is an excerpt from my eulogy for my father who died last July and who, in 1967 switched his allegiance from being an Orioles fan (he grew up in Baltimore) to a Red Sox fan. As a lifelong Sox fan, this vignette ends on the day in 1967 that was as great for me as when the Sox finally won it all in 2004:
One of the very best days of my life was a direct result of my father’s impatience. You see, in the summer of 1967 he had taken me, and only me (I have a brother and sister), to a Red Sox night game against the Angels. The Sox were far behind and it began to rain hard. "Jeff," my Dad said.
"There won’t be any more baseball played here tonight — this game is going to be postponed." "But, what,"Â I asked, "if it stops raining and the Sox make a comeback?" "That won’t happen"Â he said with certainty. (You all know that when Dad was sure about something, he didn’t fail to let you know that.) Well you can guess what happened. We left a few minutes later, the skies cleared after an hour-long delay and the Sox made a miraculous comeback. Dad felt so bad when he saw the sports page the next day (perhaps I left it open on the breakfast table for him — he was not immune to gentle persuasion) that he promised me that if the Red Sox ever finished first I’d be going to the Series. Of course, he didn’t dream that the Sox would win the pennant that very same year on the last day of the season.
And that led to a brisk October day at Fenway in 1967 at World Series Game 2, where Dad and I entered the stadium to sit in the two box seats for which he had paid a scalper the then-outrageous sum of $50 or $100 apiece. (I never did get the straight story, but either way price was certainly not revealed to my Mom until now.) I saw the red, white and blue bunting everywhere and flags fluttering stiffly in the breeze and felt his arms around my shoulders. It was simply the most wonderful day of my life up until then and still in my top five ever, because Dad always, always delivered.