Growing up studying two prognosticators, Conrad Augustus Mole (Montgomery Advertiser) and Clairvoyant Clara (Dothan Eagle) and later listening to “Leonard’s Losers,” featuring Percy Peabody, on radio, prepared your scribe to boldly name 2020’s World Series winner today, March 4; keep reading.
First, some backtracking.
Apparently, what your scribe will remember from the 2019 Major League Baseball season won’t be Atlanta’s Braves winning the National League East Championship a second consecutive year.
What’s etched here is Atlanta’s Brave, Charlie Culberson, who, while pinch-hitting for Mike Foltynewicz, was struck in the face by a pitched ball that umpire Tim Timmons called a strike.
Braves manager Brian Snitker was ejected for protesting too much, but Atlanta rallied, won, 10-1, and clinched the title.
Hopefully healed, Culberson’s in Atlanta’s new Spring Training Complex in North Port, Florida, striving to keep his baseball dream alive.
A couple of other hitters weren’t fortunate.
On Aug. 16, 1920, N.Y. Yankees pitcher Carl Mays beaned Cleveland’s Ray Chapman, who, knock wood, will remain the last player to be killed in an MLB game.
Chapman wasn’t the last pro baseballer killed by a pitched ball.
On June 2, 1951, in an Alabama-Florida League game between Dothan and Headland, Dothan pitcher Jack Clifton hit Headland’s Ottis Johnson in the temple; Johnson died June 9, and the league shut down later in the season when Dothan wouldn’t get rid of Clifton, who led the league in strikeouts and hit batsmen.
Back to 2020, Atlanta’s removed the temporary Braves Chop ban.
ESPN removed Jessica Mendoza, who listens with her mouth wide open and laughs in three languages at everything she says, from Sunday night baseball broadcasts.
Stating that she believed baseball clubhouse sanctity is more important than the integrity of baseball, Mendoza, who also won’t work for the Mets this season, was one of the first to assail former Houston Astro Mike Fiers, who exposed Houston’s sign stealing used in 2017, the Astro’s World Series season.
Sign stealing ain’t new; John McGraw, Leo Durocher and Eddie Stanky, and every other MLB player in history have been trying to steal signs, but not with video cameras and trash can lids.
Wonder if Mendoza’s read Jim Bouton’s “Ball Four?”
There are several changes in MLB, roughly: Starting and relief pitchers, with certain exceptions, must face three batters; the disabled list has returned to 15 days for two-way players and 13-man pitching staffs; a 26th man has been added to regular season rosters, plus there’s a 27th guy, a pitcher, for doubleheaders; September minor league call-ups top off rosters at 28 instead of 40; and time for a manager’s challenge has been reduced to 20 seconds.
Robotic umpires are being used in some Spring Training games; jury’s still out.
Going forward, one vital question needs answering: Who is the looney bird who keeps saying baseball games are too long?
Finally, who’ll win the World Series?
The only team with enough pitching.