Thursday, April 9, 2009

Historically Speaking: 4-9-09

I think I've mentioned this before, but I usually flounder on my Lent sacrifices, and I've actually hung in there this year. Three more days without red meat and I'm in the clear. This is fair warning, though: Do not come within 1500 feet of me if you're eating a cheeseburger, as I'm liable to tear your arm out of your socket in trying to steal it. Come on, Jesus! Come on outta that grave so I can get my Whopper on. Speaking of whoppers, there's a really bad attempt at transition, right here in this very sentence.

* Today we fondly remember a pair of first exhibition games at new baseball stadiums: Boston's Fenway Park saw its first action in 1912 when the Red Sox took on Harvard, and it was 1965 when Mickey Mantle clubbed his first indoor homerun at Houston's Astrodome. Regardless of the blast, the home team hung on to win 2-1.

* Much like the celebrated consecutive championship-winning streak of UCLA basketball, the Boston Celtics, in 1965, won their eighth consecutive NBA trophy.

* Picking up on yesterday's note of expansion-baseball clubs is this two-part doozy: 1) In a 1974 Padres-Astros game, San Diego owner Ray Kroc finagled possession of the PA mic and spoke to the crowd regarding the Padres' still-in-progress, 9-2 performance: "Ladies and gentlemen, I suffer with you...I've never seen such stupid baseball playing in my life." To flavor up the moment, a streaker crossed the field as Kroc spoke, and the Padres assembled a mini-rally of three runs. Commissioner Bowie Kuhn insisted that the owner apologize to his patrons.

2) This is really just one of those Pascual Perez-ish, awesome-name situations: The Brew Crew of Milwaukee opened the '78 season with a sweep of the B'more Birds, 11-3, 16-3, and 13-5. If that was amazing enough in itself, the Brewers set a major-league record by cranking a grand slam in each of the contests. The jacks came courtesy of Sixto Lezcano, Gorman Thomas, and Cecil Cooper. Boo. To the Yah.

* For those of you who love the '80s, peep this: Wayne Gretzky, for the third time in his career, scored seven goals in a Stanley Cup game. This feat of amazingness pushed the Great One beyond Jean Beliveau for the mark of all-time playoff scoring leader.

* And ya' gotta include the '90s, right? In 1993, the Colorado Rockies tally their first win as a franchise, an 11-4 beating of the Montreal Expos. The hometown crowd represented in remarkable numbers, tallying 80,227 at the first game at Coors Field. The previous record had been established by knife-wielding Humbertos at Dodgers Stadium, 78,672 in April of 1958.

Your Sports Illustrated quote of the day came from the mouth of...

...legendary Alabama football coach Bear Bryant, who, circa 1973, had this to say about the role of athletics on the campus: "It's kind of hard to rally round a math class."