No wonder the Yankees have been perennial World Series winners over the years.
Their hitters get grooved pitches from opposing hurlers. Ha.
Forty-year-old Derek Jeter wasn't the first Bronx Bomber to get a meatball delivery in a nationally televised event, like the Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star game Tuesday night in Minneapolis. The New York shortstop reportedly got a gold watch, batting-practice fastball from 6-foot-7 National League right-hander Adam Wainwright, which he promptly drilled for a leadoff double. Wainwright said so himself to the media, and then claimed he mis-spoke.
Uh-huh. OK. If you say so. Has the Midsummer Exhibition become comparable to a Big Time Wrestling event? All fake?
Anyway, long, long ago, another Yankee, someone you may have heard of by the name of Mickey Mantle was attempting to pass Jimmy Foxx on the all-time home run list. The legendary center fielder needed one blast to accomplish this goal, and he reportedly got a very juicy, high and tight freebie from none other than Detroit Tigers' righty Denny McClain.
This was a well-documented "pipe shot."
Mantle knew the gift pitch was coming, and with one swing, he was able to circle the bases.
Interestingly, before he retired, Mantle slugged only one more career dinger.
Also, McClain reportedly heard from the commissioner's office about it. But he was never fined.
Oh, yeah, Joe Pepitone,who batted after Mantle, tried to get McClain to groove him one, too, but the Tiger hurler didn't accommodate him.
No question about it, Jeter's a good one. But he never took one in the throat like former Yankee SS Tony Kubek did. Remember the 1960 World Series, the one when the Yanks got beat by Bill Mazeroski and the underdog Pittsburgh Pirates? (Yes, even the pinstripers were occasionally defeated in a WS.).
"Forever Young" is one of my favorite all-time Bob Dylan songs. A nice cover of it was sung by Tony Award winner Idina Menzel at the MLB All-Star game.
Of course, in case you didn't know, Dylan (a.k.a. Robert Zimmerman) is a Minnesota native.
Makes me wonder.
Next year's All-Star game is scheduled to be played in Cincinnati.
Do you suppose some singer will do a rendition of Marilyn Manson's "The Beautiful People" at the Great American Ballpark? Marilyn Manson (a.k.a. Brian Warner) is originally from Canton, Ohio.
And, finally...the Reds and the Pirates are scheduled to play the Cardinals several times after the All-Star break. And, believe me, there won't be any "Groovin' on a Sunday afternoon" (Remember The Young Rascals?) by Wainwright when he's throwing on the hill.
Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor, and can be reached at 376-5441, or at firstname.lastname@example.org