Category Archives: Baseball
As the 2014 baseball season inches closer, The Ledger decides to get in a past time frame of mind by selecting a few scenes from Hollywood’s greatest baseball movie: The Natural.
Striking Out The Whammer
During a carnival-stop layover, a quiet 19-year old rookie named Roy Hobbs impresses locals with his pitching accuracy by knocking down milk bottles.
Nearby, Walter ‘The Whammer’ Whambold, a character loosely based off Babe Ruth, commands his own crowd as he crushes taters during a soft-pitch carnie game.
Naturally, no pun intended, their worlds collide.
Hobbs’ agent wages that his young flamethrower can strike out the infamous Whammer on three pitches. Pride gets the best of the Whammer as he plans to shred the fresh prospect straight from the farm.
Three pitches. Three strikes. Advantage Hobbs.
19 years later after a near death experience, Hobbs finally makes it to the majors.
Hobbs and ‘Pop’, N.Y. Knight’s cynical manager, get off on the wrong foot as animosity broods between them for weeks. Roy Hobbs is relegated to the rank of bench warmer- first class. After a nasty losing streak, Pop reluctantly allows Hobbs to step into the batting cage to see what he has left in the tank, if anything.
Hobbs doesn’t disappoint.
He launches 400-ft plus homers throughout the ballpark as awestruck teammates are mesmerized by the thunderous cracks of the bat.
We are also introduced to Wonder Boy, Hobb’s homemade bat which becomes synonymous with the legend.
Hobbs has since captured the baseball nation with his electrifying bat and folky nature. His stature takes a nose dive once he begins concentrating on polishing his own Wonder Boy and hits the dating scene.
Like clockwork, New York fans turn on the beloved hitter.
At the plate and unable to shake his terrible slump, Hobbs senses something eery in the stands. We learn that the something was actually someone; Hobbs’ old high school sweetheart.
The scene rekindles a flame in Hobbs who then gracefully pulls a fastball to deep left field, shattering the Wrigley Field clock into a thousand pieces.
The slugger is hospitalized during the pennant race after “old wounds” are abruptly opened and finds his team on the verge of elimination.
Ordered not to play by doctors or risk life-threatening damage, as well as defying his black-mailing owner, Hobbs manages to will his way to play in the final game.
Fittingly Hobbs comes to bat, the Knights trailing with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Injured, hobbling and as close to death as one could come, Hobbs takes a fastball to deep left only to watch it drift foul. The grand slam would have won the pennant for the Knights.
As if things couldn’t get any worse, Wonder Boy is no more as the homemade bat lay splintered and useless. Roy turns to club ball boy Bobby Savoy, and whispers a simple command:
“Pick me out a winner Bobby”
Bobby races to the dugout and chooses his own homemade bat that Hobbs helped him make: Savoy Special. Hobbs christens the lumber by walloping the homer of all homers.
The rest is grand slam history.
The Ledger remembers when Bobby Valentine was a normal guy, managing a mediocre team in Texas.
Then, something strange happened. Paranoia. Quirky managerial moves. Disguises.
No one knows the date or event when it all went awry for Valentine. But it did.
So instead of trying to nail down the psychosis of our subject, I took the easy route: Pictures.
Here’s a chronological visual of the demise of Boston’s ‘train wreck’ of a manager, as he steamrolls the Red Sox off the highest cliff he can find.
The Normal Bobby
Best Friends Forever Bobby
The Japanese Bobby
The Weird Bobby
The Angry Bobby
The Spy Bobby
Beantown Mafioso Bobby
AL West: Texas Rangers
AL Central: Detroit Lions
AL East: Tampa Bay Rays
Wild Card Game:
Los Angeles vs Toronto Blue Jays (LAA wins)
AL Division Series
Detroit vs LAA (Detroit wins series 4-2)
Texas vs Tampa Bay (Texas wins series 4-3)
AL Championship Series
Detroit vs Texas (Texas wins series 4-3)
NL West: SF Giants
NL Central: Cincinnati Reds
NL East: Philadelphia Phillies
Wild Card Game:
Arizona Diamondbacks vs Miami Marlins (Miami wins)
NL Divisional Series
Philadelphia vs Miami (Phillies win series 4-1)
SF Giants vs Cincinnati (SFG wins series 4-2)
NL Championship Series
Philadelphia vs San Francisco (Phillies win series 4-3)
Texas vs Philadelphia (Texas wins series 4-3)
The Ledger doesn’t know as much about the N.L. as it should, but it does know enough that Philly has the best pitching staff in the Bigs, and that alone will get you to the World Series. The Ledger also knows that Texas trots out the most feared batting lineup in the Bigs, and that alone will score you runs.
You need both to win the ring.
The Texas Rangers are locked in for that elusive trophy that has escaped them for one reason or another two years in a row.
Third times a charm.