Spitballin’

SU field oversight
SU field oversight

Greetings from The Booth!

We start this week’s post with Fathers Day wishes to all the Dads out there. Whether it’s playing a round of golf, grilling a perfect ribeye, or being “allowed” to watch the Nats or the US Open, here’s hoping your day is perfect! Thanks for all the sage advice over the years that you’ve handed down from your La Z Boy, like “go ask your mom.”

In all seriousness, I thank my Dad for things like my sense of humor, my work ethic, and teaching me at an early age to love math by showing me how to calculate batting averages and ERAs. We may disagree on some things, as all fathers and sons do, but we can always find common ground in sports, especially baseball.

Speaking of baseball, I had to chuckle when I saw this week that MLB was going to crack down on pitchers doctoring the baseball. I did not realize that this season has so far seen record strikeout numbers, as well as the lowest collective batting average in a half-century. Pitchers who are caught applying a foreign substance or doctoring the baseball will be ejected and suspended for 10 games.

I laughed because for as long as there has been baseball, pitchers have scuffed, cut, or applied things like Vaseline or KY Jelly to baseballs. The spitball was in fact legal until 1920, with several “spitballers” grandfathered in and allowed to practice their craft beyond that year. Some doctors of the baseball are looked upon as folk heroes and are even in the Baseball Hall Of Fame.

One such pitcher was Gaylord Perry, who won 314 games in his MLB career. His exploits are chronicled in his famous autobiography, “Me And The Spitter.” Perry is quoted as saying that he tried everything on a baseball except salt and pepper and chocolate sauce. But Perry, who was only caught once in his 22-year major league career, thrived on making batters think the greaseball or spitter was coming, as opposed to actually throwing it. A batter just didn’t know for sure.

I’m not sure how to reconcile my indignant anger at the Astros’ Jose Altuve for “allegedly” wearing a buzzer under his jersey to alert him on what pitch was coming, with my acceptance of Whitey Ford scuffing a baseball to get a batter out. Maybe it’s the technology angle, which just seems like cheating to me. Perhaps it’s because I was a pitcher. Or maybe it’s my nostalgia for the characters from baseball’s colorful past.

It’s a slippery slope for sure, probably due to the Vaseline on the ball.

Until the next visit, Happy Fathers Day from The Booth!

RW

Sports: Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Valley League Scoreboard, Nats Win Third Straight, O’s Lose To Indians

In the Valley Baseball League last night, Strasburg rolled over New Market 14-2, while Purcellville shaded Woodstock 6-4. Waynesboro and Charlottesville also notched victories.

Among the games tonight in the VBL, Front Royal travels to Woodstock, Winchester hosts Strasburg, and New Market heads to Purcellville.

Yan Gomes’ first-inning grand slam, and the pitching of Patrick Corbin led the Washington Nationals to an 8-1 win over Pittsburgh last night. Gomes’ blast keyed a 5-run opening frame, while Corbin tossed 8 and 1/3 innings of one-run baseball, as the Nats won their third straight game. The two teams play the series finale today starting at 3:35 on Sports Radio 1450.

The Baltimore Orioles committed four errors on the way to a 7-2 loss to Cleveland. Freddy Galvis had 2 hits to lead the Birds, who dropped to 22-44 on the season. Game 3 of the 4-game set is tonight at 7:10.

And…MLB is cracking down on pitchers using illegal substances to doctor baseballs, saying they will be ejected and suspended for 10 games if caught. The crackdown, which goes into effect Monday, comes during a season of record strikeouts, and a league batting average at a more than half-century low.

Talkin’ Valley League Baseball

In this edition of the Sports Dogs Podcast, Scott Bradley comes out of the bullpen as we talk about a slice of Americana, the Valley Baseball League! After not having a season in 2020 due to COVID, VBL ballparks will be open this year to provide the “Gateway To The Majors.” Support your local Valley League Team, provide housing for a player if you can, and take the family to a game or 2 this Summer!

RW

Who Are These Nats?

SU field oversight
SU field oversight
Winchester Printers
https://winchesterprinters.com

Greetings from The Booth!

The Booth is warming up nicely, as 80-degree temps have settled into the Shenandoah Valley, and April is now in our rear-view mirror.

On the SU sports scene, seasons have ended for some programs, but Shenandoah University Baseball is chugging right along with high hopes of lots more baseball to be played. The number-15 ranked Hornets just completed the regular season at 26-8 and are looking toward the ODAC Tournament this weekend, and hopefully more post-season baseball after that in late May.

On to the MLB, and the Washington Nationals, who as of this writing are 12-12 and on top of the NL East. The Nats have literally gone from worst-to-first in about a week in baseball’s craziest division. And, they’ve done it with smoke and mirrors, playing without MVP candidate Juan Soto and their war horse pitcher, Stephen Strasburg.

You definitely need a program to follow the Nats this year, and some old favorites have also contributed. Newcomers Josh Harrison and Yadiel Hernandez have been on fire offensively, while Kyle Schwarber has already launched 2 tape-measure walk-off home runs. Josh Bell looks like he is coming out of his slump, and how about Trea Turner? The Nats’ shortstop, not known for being a slugger, leads the team with 6 homers, while Ryan Zimmerman, who has found the fountain of youth after opting out of 2020, has 4.

As for the pitching, the Nationals’ bullpen, usually the team’s achilles heel, is one of the best in the league, with newcomer Brad Hand 2-0, and 3-for-3 in save opportunities. Max Scherzer seems to have found his groove, throwing an old-school complete-game 5-hitter in his last outing, before rushing off to be with his wife for the birth of their third child. Eric Fedde and Joe Ross have been solid starters, and Patrick Corbin is getting his mojo back after a shaky start. Meanwhile, Jon Lester returned recently with a scoreless start.

Kudos to GM Mike Rizzo, who was anything but quiet during the offseason, and so far has assembled the pieces of a Washington team that can only get better when Soto and Strasburg rejoin the team. Until then, the Nats can certainly hang around in a tight division where no one is going to run away and hide.

Buckle in for what has already been a bumpy 2021 that will hopefully (to paraphrase manager Davey Martinez)take us to another beautiful place. Oh, and don’t forget to grab a program for the ride…

Until the next visit from The Booth…GO NATS…GO HORNETS!

RW

Sports: Tuesday, April 13, 2021

SU Update, Nats Break Losing Skid, Caps-Flyers Tonight

On the Shenandoah University sports scene, Field Hockey hosts Bridgewater tonight in a quarterfinal matchup of the ODAC Tournament. The 6-3 Hornets are the 4-seed, while the Eagles are the 5-seed. Game time is 7pm on the Sprint Field of Shentel Stadium.

The Washington Nationals activated several key players last night, and broke a 5-game losing skid in a 5-2 win over St. Louis. Newcomers Kyle Schwarber and Josh Bell returned to the Nats’ lineup and combined for 3 hits, while Juan Soto went 3-for-4 with an RBI. Eric Fedde pitched 4 and two-thirds innings for the Nationals before giving way to a solid bullpen. The Nats and Cardinals play again tonight, starting at 7:15 on Sports Radio 1450.

And, the Capitals host the Philadelphia Flyers tonight. the Caps are deadlocked with the New York Islanders atop the NHL’s Eastern Division at 27-11-4. The Flyers are 14 points behind at 19-16-6. Air time is 6:45 on The River 95-3.

Sports: Thursday, April 1, 2021

SU Scoreboard, Nats-Mets On Opening Day, Caps Continue Road Trip Tonight

On the Shenandoah University sports scene, Bridgewater scored 2 late goals to beat Men’s Lacrosse 10-8. Meanwhile,Women’s Soccer blanked Shepherd 1-0. Today, Men’s Soccer hosts Randolph-Macon, and Women’s Lacrosse entertains number-3 Washington & Lee.

SU Football wraps up it’s Spring season Saturday with an ODAC “playoff” game against Bridgewater. Air time is 4:30 on The River 95-3.

It’s Opening Day in major League Baseball. The Washington Nationals host the New York Mets at Nationals Park. Capacity is limited to 5-thousand fans for tonight’s contest. Max Scherzer gets the start for Washington, while Jacob deGrom takes the hill for the Mets. Air time is 6:39 on Sports Radio 1450.

The Baltimore Orioles will be at Fenway Park to take on the Red Sox. First pitch is scheduled for 2:10.

And, the Washington Capitals continue their 5-game road trip tonight, when they skate against the New York Islanders. Air time is 6:45 on The River 95-3.

Sports: Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Bruins Rally To Beat Caps, SU Hoop Tonight, MLB Season To Start On Time

The Boston Bruins erased a 3-0 deficit, and posted 4 goals in the third period to hand the Washington Capitals a 5-3 loss last night. The defeat was the first regulation loss for the Caps, who fell to 6-1-3 on the season. The Capitals will skate against the Rangers tomorrow night, starting

Shenandoah University Men’s Basketball returns to the Wilkins Center tonight to take on Randolph-Macon. No fans will be permitted, but you can hear the game on The River 95-3. Tip off is at 7.

In other SU news, Women’s Basketball’s Sarah Sondrol was named ODAC player of the week. For the week, Sondrol racked up 43 points and 10 rebounds, while shooting 63 percent from the floor. The Hornet Women are back in action tomorrow.

In the latest AP College Basketball Poll, Virginia Tech jumped 4 spots to number 16 after it’s big win against Virginia. The Cavaliers fell 6 spots to number 14, while WVU took a tumble to number 17 this week.

And, MLB announced that it’s season will start on time after players said no to a proposal to start on April 28th with a reduced 154-game season.