America’s Pastime returns to regular season play this weekend, so in our countdown to opening day, we’re proclaiming it Baseball Week here on Kempt.
Deep in the baseball almanac of 2012 lies a very extraordinary yet underpublicized stat: your humble blogger caught two foul balls in the stands last season.
And luckily for you, I, as a seasoned veteran of foul ball fielding, plan on taking you under my wing Bull Durham–style to teach you the ways of the elusive foul ball catch. You will learn from my mistakes (and my triumphs) and we’ll grow all the closer for it. (As long as we don’t let Susan Sarandon make things weird). So when that life-defining moment finally arrives, and you’ve got a baseball hurling toward your face like an orb of red-stitched destiny, you’ll know exactly how to play it.
This is it. The day you’ve been waiting for. Yep, the Masters kicks off this morning. Also, it’s baseball’s Opening Day. (Well, kind of. There was last night’s Cards-Marlins tilt. And those weird A’s-Mariners games in Japan. But come on.)
We’re talking seven games, starting at 1:05pm Eastern time, ending at...well, whenever the Dodgers and Padres wind down out in Petco. In between: a glorious spring day of honest-to-God baseball. Not to mention first starts from studs like Roy Halladay, Stephen Strasburg, Jon Lester and both of last year’s Cy Young winners (Justin Verlander against the Red Sox; Clayton Kershaw taking on San Diego). We wouldn’t blame you if you decided to call in sick. (And we won’t tell anyone, either.)
In fact, to celebrate, we’ve lined up a full day of baseball-related posts—on everything from the sport’s finest big-screen life lessons to how America’s pastime came to dominance in the Land of the Rising Sun.
In honor of Opening Day (and now that you’ve got something to wear), we thought we’d direct your attention to a little more Costner-esque nostalgia: An illustrator named Summer Anne Burton has charged herself with creating a detailed, info-filled drawing depicting every player in the baseball hall of fame. In case you’re not a fan…there are a lot of them.
The result is every bit as quirky as you think. She uses Library of Congress photos and pencil to create a pretty good portrait, and throws in enough quotes and stats to give you a sense of how they actually looked on the ballfield—making her something close to the internet equivalent of Ken Burns.
So far she’s only gotten through 41 out of 295, but she’s got all season.
We’re currently just three days away from Opening Day, and all the excitement and Costner-esque nostalgia the comes with it.
Naturally, we’ve got big plans for the week ahead, but we’ll start with the most elemental item of all: the jersey. Specifically, the vintage jersey.
This one comes from Ebbets Field Flannels, a Seattle outfit turning out historically accurate Jerseys from the early days of baseball, stitched together from the same wool flannel they used in the old days. So if you had your heart set on wearing Satchel Paige’s Monarchs jersey to the first game of the season, you can get it here.
The rest of the stock is even more obscure, from the turn-of-the-century Coast League or the depression-era Cuban league. We wouldn’t wear it outside of a specifically baseball-related scene—either at the park, in sight of a TV showing the game or a sufficiently sunny cookout—but you should have plenty of those over the next few months.