Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Dr. Krauthammer succumbs to a childhood addiction, and forswears medication

By Aussiegirl

In a remarkable confession, Dr. Charles Krauthammer admits to a lifelong addiction, which he thought he had beaten. He shares his stark story with us -- his lifelong addiction to baseball -- a game played by people he doesn't even know, and who don't care about him. Even his psychiatric training has not prepared him for the power of this drug, and for the inexplicable attraction this silly children's game holds over him.

I confess that I have fallen victim to the same malady, and although baseball has been a very late discovery in my life, nevertheless I feel its fatal allure and hear its siren call. I watched last night's opener -- and now it's over. Count me in, Dr.Krauthammer, and you say there are no medications for it, only winter will cease our searching for another game.

Read the symptoms if you have a strong stomach: "

The Washington Nationals are born. I do not know a thing about them. I do not know a single player on the team. I have no residual allegiance to them -- even though I grew up in Montreal and remember well their opening 1969 season at absurdly chintzy Jarry Park -- because I never cared about the Expos.

But it is a new home team. And I am a bit curious. So I'm listening to their second game, a come-from-behind win in which no-name center fielder Brad Wilkerson hits for the cycle. Next day, a nifty comeback: Jose Vidro hits a game-winning homer in the 10th.

I'm beginning to ask the Butch Cassidy question: Who are those guys? Then another comeback, another game-winning dinger, this time by Jose Guillen, a refugee from the Anaheim Angels, shipped out after, let us say, an altercation with his manager. And then yet another surprise victory against the fearsome Atlanta Braves, a ridiculously impossible comeback with two outs in the ninth.

Presto. It is 1975 all over again. I begin to care. I want them to win. Why? I have no idea. I begin following day games on the Internet. I've punched not one but two preset Nationals stations onto my car radio. I'm aghast. I'm actually invested in the day-to-day fortunes of 25 lugheads I never heard of until two weeks ago.

This is crazy. I've relapsed, and I like it so much I've forsworn all medication.

Go Nats. "



Michael Morrison has posted such an interesting comment I want to add it here, and what a fascinating bit of history he adds -- you girls will enjoy this story too -- read on:

At 10:44 PM, Michael Morrison said...

When I was a child in Chattanooga, Tennessee, our then-AAA baseball team, the legendary Lookouts, was a farm team of the Washington Senators, of lamented memory.
Some of baseball's greats played as Lookouts in Engel Stadium: Bobby Allison, Jim Kaat, and Harmon Killebrew, to name just three.

(The favorite of many of us, though, was Ernie Oravetz, who bounced frequently between the Lookouts and the Senators, and is still beloved to this day, though reportedly he has distanced himself from those memorable days. I don't know why.)
Those Senators became the Minnesota Twins.

In the bad old days, there was also an organization known as the Negro Leagues, and some of its great players also played here, including Willy Mays -- with, I think, the Birmingham Brown Barons -- and Satchel Paige, though it was late in his career.

It was Joe Engel, owner of the Lookouts, who played the first woman in professional baseball. She was one of his gimmicks, but in her debut she ...
Well, let me back up a minute and explain something about the old days.
In the '30s, the major league teams rode the train to Florida for spring training.
On the way back north, they often stopped at minor league team hometowns and played exhibition games.

Apparently each year the Yankees -- despite the repellent name -- played the Lookouts in Engel Stadium.

Well one year, Engel had this young woman, about 17, pitching.
She struck out Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth.

She was offered a contract later to play for some rookie league team in North Carolina, but her father wouldn't let her.


She apparently dropped out of sports, but in recent years there was a movie made about her, and though I was at the time out in God's country, the West, and I don't know for sure, I believe some of the scenes were shot in Engel Stadium.
Engel Stadium is not used any more for the now-despised Lookouts, whose league is now merely AA.

The new Lookouts owner gets and uses as much tax money as he can squeeze out of the taxpayers.

The lowest-paid Major Leage Baseball player gets more than $100,000 yearly, and the highest-paid get millions.
Yet the taxpayer, who might be earning (and earning, not just getting paid) $5 or $6 an hour, has to hand over part of his measley income to subsidize a millionaire's game.

I enjoy reading George Will's and maybe Charles Krauthammer's paeans to baseball, but the allure has gone for me.

Michael Morrison said...
UPDATE: A recent news story says the AVERAGE salary in Major League Baseball is now $2.6 million.

At 8:51 AM, Michael Morrison said...
One more UPDATE: The first woman ever to sign a professional baseball contract was Lizzie Arlington in 1898. The 20-year-old pioneer pitched one game for Reading (Pa.) of the Class A Atlantic League.
In 1931, 17-year-old Jackie Mitchell signed with the Chattanooga Lookouts, a minor league team in the Southern Association. She was a pitcher who is best remembered for striking out both Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in an exhibition game.
Compliments of Fact Monster

4 Comments:

At 10:44 PM, Blogger Michael Morrison said...

When I was a child in Chattanooga, Tennessee, our then-AAA baseball team, the legendary Lookouts, was a farm team of the Washington Senators, of lamented memory.
Some of baseball's greats played as Lookouts in Engel Stadium: Bobby Allison, Jim Kaat, and Harmon Killebrew, to name just three.
(The favorite of many of us, though, was Ernie Oravetz, who bounced frequently between the Lookouts and the Senators, and is still beloved to this day, though reportedly he has distanced himself from those memorable days. I don't know why.)
Those Senators became the Minnesota Twins.
In the bad old days, there was also an organization known as the Negro Leagues, and some of its great players also played here, including Willy Mays -- with, I think, the Birmingham Brown Barons -- and Satchel Paige, though it was late in his career.
It was Joe Engel, owner of the Lookouts, who played the first woman in professional baseball. She was one of his gimmicks, but in her debut she ...
Well, let me back up a minute and explain something about the old days.
In the '30s, the major league teams rode the train to Florida for spring training.
On the way back north, they often stopped at minor league team hometowns and played exhibition games.
Apparently each year the Yankees -- despite the repellent name -- played the Lookouts in Engel Stadium.
Well one year, Engel had this young woman, about 17, pitching.
She struck out Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth.
She was offered a contract later to play for some rookie league team in North Carolina, but her father wouldn't let her.
She apparently dropped out of sports, but in recent years there was a movie made about her, and though I was at the time out in God's country, the West, and I don't know for sure, I believe some of the scenes were shot in Engel Stadium.
Engel Stadium is not used any more for the now-despised Lookouts, whose league is now merely AA.
The new Lookouts owner gets and uses as much tax money as he can squeeze out of the taxpayers.
The lowest-paid Major Leage Baseball player gets more than $100,000 yearly, and the highest-paid get millions.
Yet the taxpayer, who might be earning (and earning, not just getting paid) $5 or $6 an hour, has to hand over part of his measley income to subsidize a millionaire's game.
I enjoy reading George Will's and maybe Charles Krauthammer's paeans to baseball, but the allure has gone for me.

 
At 12:11 AM, Anonymous Pindar said...

Aussiegirl, I loved the way you started your introduction to Dr. K's article: "In a remarkable confession, Dr. Charles Krauthammer admits to a lifelong addiction, which he thought he had beaten. He shares his stark story with us -- his lifelong addiction to baseball..." At first glance it looked like Dr. K had fallen prey to some sort of drug addiction, but then you bring me up short by revealing that it's baseball that's his addiction! Brilliant! And then you go on to speak of its "fatal allure" and its "siren call". Witty and interesting comments on a host of topics...this is what I look forward to when I read your great blog.

 
At 8:40 AM, Blogger Michael Morrison said...

UPDATE: A recent news story says the AVERAGE salary in Major League Baseball is now $2.6 million.

 
At 8:51 AM, Blogger Michael Morrison said...

One more UPDATE: The first woman ever to sign a professional baseball contract was Lizzie Arlington in 1898. The 20-year-old pioneer pitched one game for Reading (Pa.) of the Class A Atlantic League.
In 1931, 17-year-old Jackie Mitchell signed with the Chattanooga Lookouts, a minor league team in the Southern Association. She was a pitcher who is best remembered for striking out both Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in an exhibition game.
Compliments of http://www.factmonster.com/ipka/A0768338.html

 

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