OK. Let’s Point.

OK. Let's Point.

On This Date: Photo taken 4/15/2011.

Pregame conference & lineup exchange at Lansing’s Cooley Law School Stadium. The managers are Lansing’s Mike Redmond (pointing) and Dayton’s Delino DeShields; the umps are Gavin Hanson (home plate; also pointing) and Pat Hoberg. Mike was explaining something about the ballpark and the ground rules.


Most days the lineup exchange is pretty boring. They shake hands all around, trade slips of paper, and chat for a minute or two.

Sometimes, though….

Number of pix taken on various April 15ths: 201
Year of oldest photo: 1992

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 1
  • 2 Stars: 25
  • 3 Stars: 109
  • 4 Stars: 55
  • 5 Stars: 11

Stocking Cap

Stocking Cap

On This Date: Photo taken 4/11/2016.

An unidentified Dayton Dragons ballplayer, bundled up against the cold during pregame warmups, one year ago today.

I may have known who the player was when I took the photo, but if so I’d forgotten by the time I labelled the images after the game. A glance through the day’s photographs shows that several Dragons were wearing these caps before the game started.


It often snows in early April. And the Midwest League (MWL) baseball season begins in early April. I’ve been snowed on at ballgames perhaps a dozen times, and very cold at least twice that often.

Many professional ballplayers grew up in the South, in California, or in Latin America, and for some their MWL season’s their first contact with winter weather. Watching that encounter can be interesting. Minor league baseball has its charms.

Number of pix taken on various April 11ths: 563
Year of oldest photo: 1998 [another MWL game]

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 0
  • 2 Stars: 56
  • 3 Stars: 451
  • 4 Stars: 50
  • 5 Stars: 6

R.C.

R.C.

On This Date: Photo taken 4/6/2006.

Battle Creek’s team–the Southwest Michigan Devil Rays–began their final season with a series in Lansing. Here’s pitching coach R.C. Lichtenstein before the opening day game, with Ray’s starter Mike Wlodarczyk warming behind him in the bullpen.


Number of pix taken on various April 6ths: 899
Year of oldest photo: 2006

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 4
  • 2 Stars: 98
  • 3 Stars: 753
  • 4 Stars: 39
  • 5 Stars: 5

Revision History:

The View from Center Field

The View from Center Field

On This Date: Photo taken 4/5/2006.

Skipped out of work on a gorgeous afternoon to pick up my season ticket at Battle Creek’s ballpark. While I was there I walked around the ballyard’s perimeter. Partly I was taking photographs, but mostly I was soaking in the atmosphere.

The door in the center field wall was open.


The team had been sold, and the franchise would move to Midland the next summer. But for one last season they’d be my team. I was ready for baseball.

Number of pix taken on various April 5ths: 855
Year of oldest photo: 2003

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 8
  • 2 Stars: 49
  • 3 Stars: 737
  • 4 Stars: 59
  • 5 Stars: 2

Revision History:

Coach Allen Likes to Signal

Coach Allen Likes to Signal

On This Date: Photo taken 3/30/2015.

Spencer Allen was assistant coach at Illinois when I took this photo. These days he’s head coach at Northwestern.


All third base coaches signal. They use combinations of gestures and key words to pass instructions to the batter and to baserunners.

Most coaches pass fairly subtle signals. If you pay attention, you can see (or hear) that they’re signaling, but most are just doing a necessary task even as they tug their hats, scratch their chins, pat their chests, and holler. Occasionally, though, you find someone who turns this chore into art. Coach Allen’s one of those.

Number of pix taken on various March 30ths: 322
Year of oldest photo: 2005

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 7
  • 2 Stars: 54
  • 3 Stars: 231
  • 4 Stars: 29
  • 5 Stars: 1

Contact!

Contact!

On This Date: Photo taken 3/23/2016.

Zach McKinstry of the Central Michigan University Chippewas puts the ball in play at Michigan State’s McLane Baseball Stadium.


The Spartans start their baseball season with a southern trip, returning to East Lansing about now every spring. State plays Big 10 teams on the weekends and mostly Mid-America Conference squads in mid-week. Lately they’ve been opening their home season against the Chips.

MSU baseball’s become one of my post-retirement pleasures. I watch ’em in East Lansing, and I’ve followed the team to Kalamazoo and Mount Pleasant most recent years. Maybe this year I’ll add Ann Arbor, or Ypsi. We’ll see.

Number of pix taken on various March 23rds: 123
Year of oldest photo: 2012

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 10
  • 2 Stars: 12
  • 3 Stars: 84
  • 4 Stars: 17
  • 5 Stars: 0

Hometown Hero

Hometown Hero

On This Date: Photo taken 2/14/2012.

The Midwest League Traveler (Craig Wieczorkiewicz) often posts photographs of snow-covered MWL stadiums about this time of year. While these generally come from folks associated with the team, his call for photos in 2012 prompted me to wander into Lansing.

Here’s Craig’s blog post entry featuring my pix.

And a bit about the sculpture.

==========

Evidently I’ve never photographed Joan on St. Valentine’s Day. We’ll have to do something about that.

Number of pix taken on various February 14ths: 79
Year of oldest photo: 2010

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 0
  • 2 Stars: 2
  • 3 Stars: 49
  • 4 Stars: 26
  • 5 Stars: 2

Simmons Field

Simmons Field

On This Date: Photo taken 1/28/2012.

Most local chapters of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) meet on the last Saturday in January in an event the Society calls SABR Day. Five years ago today David Malamut put together a program for the Milwaukee and Chicago chapters centered on Midwest League (MWL) baseball–so I had to go.

‘Twas in Kenosha, a town about half-way between the two big towns and an MWL city itself. Since I was already in town, I sought out the old ballyard, and took photographs.

Then I went to the meeting. Heard (and talked with) former Kenosha owner Bob Lee, someone I’d long admired. Had a good time, and met several people I’d previously only known via e-mail.

They’re meeting again today, by the way, at the same place–Kenosha’s Brat Stop. Can’t be there, but my heart’s with ’em. If you can make it, I recommend it.

ALSO: SABR Detroit’s meet is next Saturday, at the Detroit Public Library. This event will center on the Negro League Detroit Stars. I’ve a conflict, or I’d be there.


Number of pix taken on various January 28ths: 151
Year of oldest photo: 2012

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 17
  • 2 Stars: 25 [mostly because I was a lousy photographer at the SABR meeting]
  • 3 Stars: 90
  • 4 Stars: 19
  • 5 Stars: 0 [see: lousy]

This is Bomberville

This is Bomberville

On This Date: Photo taken 1/25/2012.

I’ve watched maybe five hundred baseball games at Battle Creek’s CO Brown Stadium. Five years back I stopped by the ballyard for no particular reason on my way home from visiting my brother and sister in Kalamazoo. The Battle Creek Bombers, who play in the summer collegiate Northwoods League, are the park’s current inhabitants.

The sign, by the way, was made by sticking paper cups in the protective screen.


There’ll be more ballpark and baseball pix in this project. Of the 200,000 or so pix in my collection, about 60,000 were taken at ballgames.

Number of pix taken on various January 25ths: 122
Year of oldest photo: 2008

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 1
  • 2 Stars: 7
  • 3 Stars: 98
  • 4 Stars: 16
  • 5 Stars: 0

The Ins and Outs of Inside Baseball by Warren Wilbur Mooch: a review

Not sure who the intended audience was for this book. It would seem to be for an advanced (young) ballplayer or a high school coach, but I have some difficulty thinking either group would find much of it new, though virtually anyone would likely find something they didn’t already know.

Modern analysis has rendered some, but hardly all, of the study obsolete, but the tactical discussions hold up. All-in-all, Mouch gets most things right, and offers generally good advice. But his analysis underestimates the cost of unsuccessful bunts, and overestimates the risks of the hit-and-run. But give the guy a break; the book dates from 80 years back.

But the book(let)’s just deadly dull. Difficult to recommend.