Category Archives: MLB

The Cubs are Determined to Win it All

Well, folks, that was Game 6 of the World Series. A few days ago, the Indians were leading the series by 3 to 1. They only needed one more win and they would have been the Champions. But the Cubs don’t want to let that happen. After no championship in over a hundred years, this just might be the year of the Cubs.

The Cubs won Sunday’s game, and then they won today’s game, 9-3. The World Series is now tied, 3-3. Game 7 is tomorrow night and the winning team will be the Champions.

Go Cubs. It’s your turn.

In Sports: I’ll just make a big stew tonight

Okay, just watched the Red Wings win another one. Good game. They’ve really been slicing the ice. Tonight’s win was their fifth win in a row and that makes their season 5-2 so far. Lookin’ good.

The Lions are picking up their game. They won their last three games. I admit that things were pretty tense in those games, but they won them. Their season is 4-3 now and looking hopeful.

Now the Michigan Wolverines, baby. Jim Harbaugh and the team are making me very happy. The Wolverines are undefeated so far, 7-0, and several of their wins were big wins.

The Michigan-Michigan State game is Saturday. I expect the Wolverines will beat the Spartans this years.

Go Blue!

The Detroit Pistons start their regular season tomorrow at 7:30 PM. I’m looking forward to it. Their preseason was so-so, they won three and lost three. But preseasons are really just warm ups and don’t mean much. So, who knows what will happen in the regular season. I expect it to be fun.

I’m rooting for the Cubs in the World Series. I saw them win the NLCS on Saturday night. It had been a very, very long time since they last did that. Long term curses like that sure remind you how old Major League Baseball is. Billy Goat’s curse lasted longer than Babe Ruth’s.

The Cub’s gotta win the World Series. If they win, all will be right in the world.

W.P. Kinsella

So, I was watching the Tigers get their asses kicked by the Indians, when I looked at Facebook and saw the link Robert J. Sawyer shared.

W.P. Kinsella is gone. Well, that gave me a pause. It’s been about an hour since I got the news and I still feel numb.

Just last year someone from Kinsella’s publisher contacted me and asked if I would be interested in interviewing Kinsella. That was a surprise. Me? Interview W.P. Kinsella? Was I even worthy of such an honor?

I was excited and a little scared. Someone was giving me the opportunity to interview a legend and I kept thinking, “Don’t blow it.” This is W.P. Kinsella we’re talking about. The author of Shoeless Joe, the novel that the movie Field of Dreams is based on.

I suspected one of my writer friends had something to do with putting the guy in touch with me, but it’s also likely that he saw my review of Shoeless Joe and just thought I’d like to interview Kinsella.

Yes, I was interested. The guy gave me Kinsella’s contact information and soon I had the interview set up.

The interview is right here.

I feel that this interview is one of the most important things I’ve done. I tried to come up with questions that he hadn’t been asked before, but I don’t know how well I did in that department. The last question, though, received a powerful answer.

Rest in Peace, Kinsella. Maybe you’ll step out of a cornfield in Iowa and play some baseball with the greatest players of all time.

P.S.
I also reviewed The Essential W. P. Kinsella.

Tigers in Kansas City, Part III

Well, the Tigers did not lose today. The Royals almost got ahead in the bottom of the 9th, when they had a man on second base and the batter came very close to dinging a home run, but the ball passed just outside the line. The umps did check the replay to be  sure, and ruled it a foul.

So, that was close.

The next hit that batter got–I’m not good at keeping the names of other team’s players in mind–was grabbed off the ground and tossed to first base to tag the batter out.

The guy who was on second base made it to third, so it now looked like extra innings would be added. But he never made it home. Soon there were three outs and the game was over.

Final score: Tigers 6 – Royals 5.

The Cleveland-Miami game is still going on. Currently the score is Merlins 1 – Indians 0 and the 5th inning just ended. We’ll see what happens.

Tigers in Kansas City, Part II

Ooh, I had a feeling them mean ole Royals would do this to my poor Tigers. The  Tigers’ winning streak has ended. The Royals just wouldn’t let the Tigers win tonight.

I hoped for a miracle in the 9th, but it didn’t happen. Miggie was hanging out on first, but Victor and J.D. didn’t get a hit to move him along and get themselves on base. Maybe Kid Jones would’ve saved the day,  but the Tigers had three out before he got his turn at bat in the 9th.

But tomorrow, we’ll show the Royals what the Tigers are all about. We will, won’t we? Guys? Hey… guys?

It gets worse. Cleveland won today. Now they’re five ahead of the Tigers. It’s looking even less likely that the Tigers will catch up to Cleveland.

 

Tigers in Kansas City

Tonight’s game was worrisome. Kansas City put up a good fight. The Royals were  seemingly determined to wreck the Tigers’ winning streak. The Royals got ahead in the bottom of the 8th, but Miggie saved the Tigers in the top of the 9th when he hit a good one and brought home two.

The Royals didn’t score in the bottom of the 9th. The final score: Tigers 7 – Royals 6.

I kept pulling for Kid Jones. He’d made quite an impression since being called up from Triple A and I really want the Tigers to keep him around. I think he’s a valuable player and I wonder what other surprises he has in the bag. But tonight wasn’t a good night for him. Maybe tomorrow will be better.

I love baseball and I love the Tigers.

Socks are Worn in Detroit

Yep, the Tigers swept the White Sox, winning all three games of this series. Justin Verlander pitched today and lasted seven innings. He’s still got the arm.

The score was tied up in the eighth inning, 2-2. The Sox did not break the tie in the top of the 9th.

JaCoby Jones just might find himself dubbed Rookie of the Year. Last night was his first time in the show and he’s determined to stay. He was the hero last night and he was the hero today.

In the bottom of the 9th, the score was still tied. Jones was on third base when the ball was hit to centerfield. Jones made a mad dash and slid into homeplate.

Tigers: 3 – White Sox: 2

Will the Tigers Sweep the White Sox?

The answer to the big question will be revealed tomorrow.

Tonight’s game went sour early when the White Sox got in three runs in the second inning, while the Tigers remained scoreless. It sure looked like trouble for the Tigers and I thought I’d be writing a bummer tonight.

The score was still 0-3 in the bottom of the fourth when J.D. Martinez scared the shit out of me. He hit himself in the leg with the bat and was hopping around for a bit. A medic went out on the field to check him out. I thought they would take J.D. out of the game, and then what were we going to do? But J.D. swallowed his pain and returned to the plate.

J.D. didn’t get a square hit that inning, but eventually walked to first base. Justin Upton came up next and he packed a hard hit, sending the ball far and high over centerfield, but unfortunately the ball dropped before it was over the wall and was caught.

The fourth inning ended with the 0-3 score remaining.

It was the bottom of the fifth when Ian Kinsler turned it all around with his home run, bringing the score to 2-3. The Tigers were still behind, but there was hope.

Bottom of the sixth, J.D. hit one deep into left field and hauled ass to second base.  Upton was up next and he wasn’t playing around. He sent the ball rocketing through centerfield and brought J.D. home.

While Upton was hanging out on second base, JaCoby Jones came up to bat. As I understand it, tonight was Jones’ first time in the Show. I believe he was called up to replace the guy who was injured yesterday.

The kid is good and he had family there to see. In the previous inning, Jones’ folks were interviewed as they sat watching the game. Man, they looked so proud when he hit the ball deep into right field, bringing Upton home.

The Tigers were ahead then, 4-3. But the sixth inning wasn’t over yet. Kinsler came up and brought in two more runs.

The Sox pushed back in the top of the seventh, but only managed to get in one run. J.D. was first at bat in the bottom of the seventh. He smashed the ball over the wall and brought the score to 7-4.

JaCoby Jones wasn’t done yet and swatted a hard roller down centerfield bringing in another run before the seventh inning ended. No one scored in the eighth or the ninth.

Tigers: 8 – White Sox: 4

A side note: The White Sox must have a fashion expert in their locker room. I really like the jerseys they wore tonight. I oughta get me one of those. Maybe one with Avila’s name on it.

My First Night Back and the Tigers Win It

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I’ve been without cable TV for a couple years, which meant my sport watching was reduced to the dire minimum. I don’t know how I survived. For the most part, I’d just keep an eye on the box scores and the standings, but it wasn’t the same as watching live games.

Well, I just got cable TV back today, in time for the Tigers-White Sox game. There’s some new faces on the team, but some of the old ones are still there too.

I was surprised and disappointed to see Alex Avila is no longer with the Tigers and is now playing for the White Sox. I found myself rooting for him whenever he stepped up to bat and I wasn’t the only one. Near the end of the game, the camera caught a kid wearing an Avila Tiger jersey. Yeah, we remember you, dude.

It looks like Ausmus still has the top three sluggers in the same order. First Miquel Cabrera bats, followed by Victor Martinez, followed by J.D. Martinez. I have seen that order function very well in the past and I reckon it still functions well.

The Tigers are currently in second place. In order to catch up to Cleveland, the Tigers need to win more games than they lose, and hope Cleveland doesn’t win too many more. Cleveland is leading by four. It looks like a hard, unlikely feat, but just maybe the Tigers can do it.

Tonight’s game was a little tense. The White Sox were ahead for most of the game. but in the bottom of the eighth, Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a home run, scoring two runs for the Tigers. That put the Tigers ahead of the White Sox, finally.

The White Sox did not score in the ninth and the Tigers won, 4-3.

Thank you, Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

An Interview with W.P. Kinsella

W.P. Kinsella is the author of Shoeless Joe, the novel that the 1989 movie Field of Dreams is based on. He has written several other novels and short stories, many of them having to do with baseball, First Nations people and magic. “The Essential W.P. Kinsella” was released from Tachyon Publications in March and contains some of Kinsella’s best stories, including the short story Shoeless Joe Jackson Comes to Iowa, which was the seed for the novel Shoeless Joe.

Kinsella celebrated his 80th birthday on the 25th of May.

 

Interview conducted February 22, 2015.

Rob Darnell: Much of your work has to do with baseball. Do you closely follow the sport? What teams do you root for?

W.P. Kinsella: Not anymore. Loosely follow the Blue Jays. After the strike, I lost interest. In reality, neither players nor owners care in the least about the fans. The greed of both factions has destroyed baseball’s credibility, at least for the present.

RD: Are there any MLB players at all that you feel are not caught up in the greed?

WPK: As long as they are forced to belong to the Players Union, no. My hero will be the guy who tells the Union to get lost.

RD: MLB politics aside, do you still agree that the game is beautiful?

WPK: Yes.

RD: Are there college, minor league or independent teams that you pay any attention to?

WPK: No. Have never been a minor league fan.

RD: Did you play baseball when you were a kid? If you did, what positions did you prefer to play? And how well did you hit?

WPK: No. Played a little softball, but there was nowhere on the field it was safe for me to be.

RD: When did your interest in baseball start and what sparked the interest? What inspired you to mix baseball and magic together?

WPK: My dad talked a good game. A child got only the World Series on the radio.

RD: What is the best World Series you can think of and what made it great?

WPK: 1946, if my memory is correct. Harry “The Cat” Brecheen went against the Red Sox in Game 7. I stayed home to listen, practically had my head inside the radio.

RD: What is your fondest baseball memory?

WPK: Seeing Bob Forsch pitch a no hitter against Montreal.

RD: Both, Harry Brecheen and Bob Forsch, played for the St. Louis Cardinals. You have fond memories of both of them. Does that mean you were once a Cardinal fan? If yes, why are the Cardinals not your team anymore and when did your love for them die?

WPK: I became exclusively an American League fan when they instituted the DH rule, and will remain so until the National League moves out of the dark ages.

RD: Over the years you’ve seen many players come and go. Who are the players that you admired the most? And what was it about them that made them admirable?

WPK: Yogi Berra, Bill Lee, they were irreverent, poked fun at the stodgy owners and managers. Curt Flood, of course, was in a class by himself, a true hero.

RD: In the early years, you had to listen to the games on the radio. Do you remember the first game you saw on TV? Was there any difficulty in making the transition from radio to TV? Was it more enjoyable to watch than listen to the games?

WPK: Guess about 1954. Until Color TV came along, BW TV was too muddy to be enjoyable.

RD: What was the first professional baseball game you had been to? And how old were you? Can you describe the experience?

WPK: Edmonton Vs Calgary, 1946, age 10. First Major League game was San Francisco Vs L.A. Don Drysdale Vs Juan Marichal. Drysdale won. Didn’t realize how lucky I was.

RD: Have you been to many MLB games? What professional baseball parks have you been to?

WPK: At one time I’d been to every park except Baltimore and Houston, but can’t even keep track of who plays where these days.

RD: In your opinion, who is the greatest baseball player of all time?

WPK: It is hard to compare the eras, but Joe Jackson and Ty Cobb from the past, Sandy Koufax and Roger Clements from the present.

RD: Do you like any other sports, such as football, basketball or hockey? If so, what are your teams?

WPK: I’m a big fan of curling, follow all the major world events. Watch all four Tennis majors. Basketball is the worst sport. They need to raise the basket at least two feet.

RD: You and Ray have the same last name. Is there more that the two of you have in common? Does Ray Kinsella mirror much of yourself?

WPK: Ray is named for a Salinger short story character, but he mirrors some of my thoughts and experiences era 1980.

RD: I’m a Detroit Tiger fan, so I want to know, what does the voice in Ray Kinsella’s cornfield have to say about the chances of the Tigers winning the World Series this year?

WPK: Slim and slimmer.

RD: What do you say about Kevin Costner’s portrayal of Ray Kinsella?

WPK: Couldn’t be better.

RD: You were happy with Field of Dreams. What about the other film and TV adaptations of your work?

WPK: Pretty pitiful. I was lucky to get one good adaptation. Field of Dreams the Musical is lurking in the wings. Hope it will provide my daughters with a ton of money someday.

RD: You’re also known for writing about First Nations people. What sparked your interest in that area?

WPK: Found a good voice and took advantage of it. Each of my specialties was like a prospector discovering a vein of gold. I worked each until the vein was exhausted.

RD: In 2010, you said that the state of the book industry was such that you would not be able to break in if you were just starting out. It’s 2015 now. In your opinion, is the situation better or worse than it was five years ago?

WPK: I think it is worse for a mid-list author such as myself. You either have to sell like Stephen King or go with the small presses where there is no money. I was lucky to have been in the right place and time for many years.

RD: What would improve the situation for mid-list writers?

WPK: Less greed on the part of both publishers and chain booksellers. It is easier for them to publish and sell only blockbusters and leave the real work to small presses.

RD: Though you are a mid-list writer, has your writing made you a comfortable living? Would you say the larger portion of your income came from your novel sales or your short story sales?

WPK: In the 70s and 80s, I made a good living. Have managed my funds carefully, will never have to go out and cadge quarters from the tourists. My main income came from failed movie and TV options.

RD: I read somewhere that you were reading books when you were five years old. What are some of your childhood favorites?

WPK: Discovered W. Somerset Maugham in about 5th grade. Didn’t understand the plots, but loved the descriptions.

RD: And for that matter, what are some of the best books you’ve read over the years?

WPK: The Great Gatsby, the finest novel ever written. Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, Anne Tyler, In Watermelon Sugar, Richard Brautigan, What The Crow Said, Robert Kroetsch.

RD: Outside of baseball and reading, what are some of your fondest childhood memories?

WPK: Uneventful, though isolated childhood. Good, kind, stable parents.

RD: You’re a tournament Scrabble player. What is your highest achievement in the game? And how long have you been playing?

WPK: I’ve played tournaments for about 20 years. My daughter, Erin, who lives with me, also travels to tournaments. While I’m not a top division player, I’ve won a number of tournaments. Won Portland one year at about 19/3.

RD: You’re going to be 80 on May 25th. Do you have anything special planned for your birthday?

WPK: Going to a Scrabble tournament in Edmonton in May, so will celebrate with family there. My agent, Carolyn Swayze, is planning a “surprise” party on the actual day.

RD: This last question is from your novel Shoeless Joe. If you could do anything you wanted to do–if you could take time and turn it in your hands like rubbing up a new baseball; if you could stop somewhere in time, and in the silence and mystery and calm of that situation you could have a wish…?

WPK: I lost my wife Barbara to cancer two years ago. I would give whatever time I have left to spend one more day with her.