107 Days Until Spring Training…

October 29, 2007 at 7:48 pm (Baseball)

… and one can only surmise, what the face of MLB will look like by mid February.

Here’s what I’m most curious about:

< How many decades will it take to get used to Joe Torre in a Dodger Uniform?

< Will Bo Sox sign A-Rod? [If so, they may just pull a ’72 Dolphins]

< Will the Mets have the good sense to not throw the baby out with the bath water?

< What if the Mitchell Report [being put together by a former politician and present minority owner of the Red Sox- couldn’t write fiction than this] determines that Mickey, Willie and the Duke were buying steroids from the East German Woman’s Olympic track coaches and passing them on to their teammates?

< Will Barry Bonds sign somewhere and will his former personal trainer [put newspapers on the floor by the door] still be in the pokey, rather than testify to a grand jury?

< Can the A’s stay healthy?

< If Giants fans promise to transfer their unconditional love for the big headed one, will A-Rod wear black and orange?

< Will the L&PO ever stop grinning because she roots for the Sox o’ Red?

Maybe it’s because during spring training she predicted the outcome.

Congratulations, sweetie.

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Pud Selig, Still Lying Like A Rug.

October 28, 2007 at 12:29 pm (Baseball)

He was quoted today in the Denver Post:

“I’m very comfortable where we are. We have the toughest drug-testing program in sports. I told you a year ago March [when the Mitchell committee was formed] that I never wanted anybody to say we were trying to hide anything. I don’t have anything to hide. None of us do.

“I want it to be said at some point that we dealt with everything forthrightly.”

The toughest drug-testing program in sports? Really?

The Olympics test for HGH.

The late Ricky Ricardo would have implored, “splain Lucy”

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Kittatinny Camp’s Chuck Rait…

October 25, 2007 at 5:22 pm (Alameda, Kittatinny Camp)

… and I have exchanged emails…

Hi Ralph:

We live about an hour apart. I moved to California permanently in 1975. I first lived in Sacramento (1975-1980) then lived in San Francisco, Petaluma, and now live in the south part of Santa Rosa. The website is great and you even have a picture of the waiters from 1961 where I’m sitting on the right side of Milt Blatt. His son, Jerry, was my counselor and Mark Levin and I were always getting into trouble. I can close my eyes and picture almost the entire camp down to the smallest of details. My family started going there in the 1940s and my younger brother, Michael, was still going there in the early 1970s. Needless to say, we loved the place.

My younger sister, Iris, is still in touch with her friends from Bunk 16 and they will be meeting next year in the late spring or early summer for a reunion in New York.

Some camp ties never die. I’ve been friends with Jerry Solot since I was about 12 and we still see each other regularly even though he lives in Pittsburgh and I live out here.Dick Trout lives in Lancaster, PA, and I gave him a telephone call recently and he was greatly surprised. He is in his 70s and is still married to Marge. Nice guy. We had a wonderful conversation. I find it amazing that people are still so connected by a camp that ceased to exist so many years ago. Michael went up to camp several years ago and told me that the forest has taken over the place although he said the baseball field was still there and you could make out the outline of girls camp. I have a thousand memories of KCL and they were, without doubt, the greatest summers I’ve ever had. What a ton of laughs we had. How lucky we were to be there. I will try to find some old pictures to add to your site. Nice work.

Thanks for writing and letting me know about it.


Chuck Rait, Ki, double t a, t i double n y 1953 to 1961 plus one summer.

Hi neighbor,

Your response is terrific. May I post your email to me on the blog? It’s perfect as is. Please let me know.

We’ve lived in the same places: San Francisco, Sacramento [I’ve eaten many a pizza at Zeldas], Santa Rosa, Sebastapool are both places I’ve lived and and/or worked in. Amazing!

You and Jerry Solot, whom I remember well, were a few years ahead of me. Two, if I remember correctly. Over the years, I’ve kept in touch with Craig Pearson, who’s had some health problems of late and, through this blog, the Berk Twins, Barbara Burton and others.

We need to have a mini reunion in California.

BTW, you confused the Blatts. An easy thing to do. Joel is whom you meant. If posting your thoughts turns out to be ok with you, I’ll edit… *I can’t wait to talk camp with you in person.*

Regards to your family.



You’re right, I did swap Jerry for Joel Blatt – we would have had much more fun with Jerry. He wrote songs for Bette Midler. My sister, Iris, spoke with Bette many years ago about Jerry. Unfortunately, he died many years ago. I “helped” him write some color war songs and he was tremendously funny and creative.

You can certainly post my email and your editing would be appreciated. Every once in awhile when I lived in New York I would run into someone from Kittatinny. Out here, never. Yes, we have invisibly crossed paths out in California. I had a great time in Sacramento and did a good deal of white water rafting around there. Loved the fact that you could wear a t-shirt and flip flops for six months out of the year. Now it seems way too crowded.

Jerry and I were a few bunks ahead of you. We are both now 63– a fact that I have trouble believing.

Somewhat related to Craig, is a story I have about something that happened a few years ago. I was having a board meeting at a hotel in Phoenix. I was then the executive director of a nursing association and we were planning to have a large conference at this hotel the coming year, so they put my name on the VIP list. During the board meeting, someone from room service brings in a silver ice bucket in which there is a purple cloth napkin and a note. I didn’t order anything so was very curious as to what this was. I opened the note and it said: “If you are the brother of Iris and Toby Rait, I think I know you.” It was signed Helen Schwartz (who married Craig). I unfolded the napkin and start laughing. In the silver ice bucket was a beautiful borsch beet! Helen and I “went” together when I was 13 and I had the worst crush in the world for her. When she started going with Craig the next summer, I wanted to kill him. I couldn’t believe she would marry him, as his nickname was “hoagy nose” back in the day. Helen and I had a wonderful time over lunch that afternoon (she worked in the sales and services department of the hotel and that is how she saw my name). Only someone who went to Kittatinny would think of sending a raw beet as an introduction. But I knew immediately who it was and what it meant the second I saw the beet.

Man, the things you remember about those summers.

A mini reunion in California would be great if you could dig up some more Kittatinnyites living out here. Have you run into anyone from KLC out here? What brought you out to California in the first place and why did you leave loverly, nuke free Sebastopol for Alameda?

You can post any part of the emails I send you as I did manage to get over Helen dumping me for Craig (almost). :-)


Chuck, Flaming Arrow 1953, Rait

Yes, Chuck, time goes very fast… I left Sebastapool to live in San Francisco when I was doing comedy in the mid 1980s. I lived on 4th and California, met my son’s mother, moved to the east bay and discovered the city of Alameda … a great place, as are the other places we both lived…

“Hoagy nose.” That makes me laugh. Great story…

I’d be delighted to put the two emails up on the blog. Please identify the names of your bunkmates in the “comments” on the blog. I’ll send you an email with a link when I get it up, as it were…


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Joe Torre, Mets Manager?

October 25, 2007 at 1:41 pm (Baseball, New York Mets)


Just asking.

As a Mets fan, I’m insulted that no one has walked the plank, in punishment for their recent collapse… If rumors that Jeff Wilpon [sonny boy] is interfering with Omar’s decisions, than it should be him.[Like that’s gonna happin’.] Willie Randolph will never recover from this. With that in mind, bring back Bobby Valentine.

Or better, they can bring in Torre as Willie’s bench coach.

Or, better yet, make Willie the bench coach for Joe, spitting in the face of the “Peter Principal.”

Just do something, Fred, soon enough we’ll all be dead. :-)

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Children’s Book Drive Announced By PC4DC

October 23, 2007 at 12:04 am (Alameda, News & Politics)



Ralph Zig Tyko, Executive Director
phone: 510-827-5837
Web site: http://www.pc4dc.org

People Care 4 Day Care Announces Children’s Book Drive

ALAMEDA, October 18, 2007 — People Care 4 Day Care, Inc. (PC4DC) will be holding its 2007 Children’s Book Drive during the month of November. Please drop off your gently used children’s books (suitable for reading to preschool-age children) during business hours Tuesday through Saturday during the month at

Shear Delight & More
1505 Park Street

The Alameda-based nonprofit will redistribute the books to local licensed day care centers.

PC4DC Executive Director Ralph Zig Tyko says, “This is the perfect time to pass along your children’s love of books to other children. As well as providing day care opportunities for children who currently do not have that opportunity, PC4DC remains firmly committed to enhancing the day care experience for all children with programs and materials. Books and reading programs are integral to our goals.”

For more information about People Care 4 Day Care, Inc., or the book drive, contact Tyko at 510-827-5837 or visit the PC4DC Web site at http://www.pc4dc.org.

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Baseball Innovators,..

October 20, 2007 at 8:03 pm (Baseball)

… here’s your chance.

It is my contention that when Louie Arroyo’s success helped make a six inning pitcher out of Whitey Ford in the early 1960s, it led to change of philosophy that has become detrimental to pitchers.


Here’s a quote I came across:

“Too many pitchers, that’s all. There are just too many pitchers, ten or twelve on a team. Don’t see how any of them get enough work. Four starting pitchers and one relief man ought to be enough. Pitch ’em every three days and you’d find they’d get control and good, strong arms.”

Cy Young, Hall O’ Fame, award guy.

A perennial loser, like Pittsboig or Kansas City, needs to go out on a limb and go “back to the future,'” so to speak.

The place to start is the low minors. Take a June Draft and select all your pitchers from high school. Consult the old time pitchers and catchers, [Names to consider are the still vibrant Bob Feller, Robin Roberts, Del Crandall, and Charlie Silvera.] and establish a training regimen.

*Expect* complete games, win or lose, and you’re apt to get them.

Remember, Columbus took a chance.

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At the risk of sounding “wordy”…

October 19, 2007 at 1:41 pm (Unzipped Thoughts)

… The Washington Post has published the winning submissions to its yearly
contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words.

And the winners are:

1. coffee, n. the person upon whom one coughs.

2. flabbergasted, adj. appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained.

3. abdicate, v. to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

4. esplanade, v. to attempt an explanation while drunk.

5. willy-nilly, adj. impotent.

6. negligent, adj. absentmindedly answering the door when wearing only a nightgown.

7. lymph, v. to walk with a lisp.

8. gargoyle, n. olive-flavored mouthwash.

9. flatulence, n. emergency vehicle that picks up someone who has been
run over by a steamroller.

10. balderdash, n. a rapidly receding hairline.

11. testicle, n. a humorous question on an exam.

12. rectitude, n. the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

13. pokemon, n. a Rastafarian proctologist.

14. oyster, n. a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.

15. Frisbeetarianism, n. the belief that, after death, the soul flies up
onto the roof and gets stuck there.

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The Rox Rock

October 18, 2007 at 3:55 pm (Baseball, Unzipped Thoughts)


Congrats to the Coloratty Rockies, whose fans stick with them through thick and thicker, and long time Sea Otter [my Fantasy Baseball team and, of course, Amerika’s Team] Todd Helton. His .332 lifetime batting average, combined with gold glove-like skills at first, make him [albeit as a longshot] a projected candidate for the Hall…

Don’t count out Boston. I predict Jacoby Ellsbury will lead them to a playoff comeback and World Series victory. He’ll go on to break Barry’s homer record, make the Hall O’ Fame, become an astronout, cure cancer, win the Nobel Peace Prize, and run for President.

Sadly, he’ll be defeated by Republican Senator Larry Craig [celebrating his 30th year “out of the closet”] who will claim to have an exit plan from Iraq.

What?.. It could happen.

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Hanging With Mr. Torre

October 17, 2007 at 2:03 pm (Baseball)


The man once known as “Clueless Joe” was given the opportunity to prove them all wrong. Prove them wrong, he did.

Countless playoff appearances and four World Championships. He’s financially secure [hopefully] with nothing to prove to anyone. Almost as many people love him as hate his boss [and, trust me sports fans, that’s saying something].

Shed no tears for future Hall O’ Famer Joe Torre. He, like my dear old self, is a man that *always* lands on his feat.

Instead, save the salty drops for those leaving him [ not for the first time] in “baseball purgatory.”

Time wounds all heels.

Edited to add: 1:30 PM 10/18/07 Joe Torre just rejected a Yankee contract and walked away on his own terms. That makes me smile.

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Playoff Baseball, Manny Being Manny

October 14, 2007 at 1:36 am (Baseball, Fantasy Baseball)


With the long awaited Senator Mitchell’s report on steroids about to hit, I’m just hoping that Manny Ramirez and David “Big Papi” Ortiz are clean. They just could be as good any one-two punch I’ve ever seen. They’re awesome. Right up there with the likes of Mantle/Berra, Mantle/Maris, Mays/McCovey, Stargell/Parker, Aaron/Mathews and [such as they were] McGwire/Canseco.

That said, if Boston gets by Cleveland, they’ll have their hands full with the surging Rockies. They are fun to watch, superb defensively, deep in the pen, and [I’m guessin’] destiny’s darlings.

Little by little, day by day, I’m being weaned, involuntarily, from the 2007 baseball season. Given the monumental tank jobs in September by both my beloved Mets and the Sea Otters, my fantasy baseball team [and Amerika’s team], I’m ok with this. It’s over.

Peace at last.

Edited to add: 10/23/07

I found some interesting stats on the net re. 1-2 punches.

These are the best 1-2 Punches per season, based on +OPS in the TOP 20’s in the MLB that season:

2007 Prince Fielder 154 Ryan Braun 154 Milwaukee Brewers
2006 David Ortiz 164 Manny Ramirez 168 Boston Red Sox
2005 Alex Rodriguez 167 Jason Giambi 156 New York Yankees
2004 Albert Pujols 175 Jim Edmonds 173 St. Louis Cardinals
2003 Albert Pujols 189 Jim Edmonds 161 St. Louis Cardinals
2002 Barry Bonds 275 Jeff Kent 152 San Francisco Giants
2001 Barry Bonds 262 Jeff Kent 133 San Francisco Giants
2000 Barry Bonds 191 Jeff Kent 165 San Francisco Giants
1999 Derek Jeter 161 Bernie Williams 157 New York Yankees
1998 Mark McGwire 217 Ray Lankford 144 St. Louis Cardinals
1997 Ken Griffey Jr. 164 Edgar Martinez 164 Seattle Mariners
1996 Mark McGwire 203 Scott Brosius 132 Oakland Athletics
1995 Albert Belle 178 Jim Thome 158 Cleveland Indians
1994 Craig Biggio 138 Jeff Bagwell 213 Houston Astros
1993 Barry Bonds 206 Matt Williams 137 San Francisco Giants
1992 Andy Van Slyke 151 Barry Bonds 205 Pittsburgh Pirates
1991 Barry Bonds 161 Bobby Bonilla 150 Pittsburgh Pirates
1990 Eddie Murray 159 Kal Daniels 155 Los Angeles Dodgers
1989 Will Clark 175 Kevin Mitchell 192 San Francisco Giants
1988 Jose Canseco 170 Mark McGwire 134 Oakland Athletics
1987 Dwight Evans 165 Mike Greenwell 147 Boston Red Sox
1986 Don Mattingly 161 Dave Winfield 120 New York Yankees
1985 Pedro Guerrero 181 Mike Marshall 140 Los Angeles Dodgers
1984 Dave Winfield 154 Don Mattingly 156 New York Yankees
1983 Cal Ripken Jr. 144 Eddie Murray 156 Baltimore Orioles
1982 Robin Yount 166 Cecil Cooper 142 Milwaukee Brewers
1981 Gary Mathews 138 Mike Schmidt 199 Philadelphia Phillies
1980 Cecil Cooper 155 Ben Oglivie 153 Milwaukee Brewers
1979 Fred Lynn 176 Jim Rice 154 Boston Red Sox
1978 Willie Stargell 158 Dave Parker 166 Pittsburgh Pirates
1977 Mike Schmidt 152 Greg Luzinski 157 Philadelphia Phillies
1976 Ken Griffey Sr. 140 Joe Morgan 187 Cincinnati Reds
1975 Joe Morgan 169 Johnny Bench 140 Cincinnati Reds
1974 Willie Stargell 168 Richie Zisk 145 Pittsburgh Pirates
1973 Willie Stargell 187 Richie Hebner 129 Pittsburgh Pirates
1972 Dick Allen 200 Carlos May 148 Chicago White Sox
1971 Bobby Murcer 181 Roy White 149 New York Yankees
1970 Willie McCovey 182 Dick Dietz 153 San Francisco Giants
1969 Reggie Jakcson 187 Sal Bando 152 Oakland Athletics
1968 Willie Mays 157 Willie McCovey 175 San Francisco Giants
1967 Carl Yazstremski 195 George Scott 139 Boston Red Sox
1966 Frank Robinson 199 Brooks Robinson 124 Baltimore Orioles
1965 Willie Mays 185 Willie McCovey 154 San Francisco Giants
1964 Brooks Robinson 145 Boog Powell 176 Baltimore Orioles
1963 Willie Mays 175 Orlando Cepeda 165 San Francisco Giants
1962 Mickey Mantle 196 Roger Maris 127 New York Yankees
1961 Mickey Mantle 206 Roger Maris 167 New York Yankees
1960 Mickey Mantle 164 Roger Maris 161 New York Yankees
1959 Eddie Mathews 167 Hank Aaron 181 Milwaukee Braves
1958 Ted Williams 178 Jackie Jensen 153 Boston Red Sox
1957 Eddie Mathews 154 Hank Aaron 166 Milwaukee Braves
1956 Mickey Mantle 210 Yogi Berra 142 New York Yankees
1955 Eddie Mathews 172 Hank Aaron 143 Milwaukee Braves
1954 Duke Snider 172 Gil Hodges 142 Brooklyn Dodgers
1953 Roy Campanella 155 Duke Snider 166 Brooklyn Dodgers
1952 Larry Doby 162 Al Rosen 152 Cleveland Indians
1951 Jackie Robinson 154 Roy Campanella 159 Brooklyn Dodgers
1950 Larry Doby 154 Al Rosen 144 Cleveland Indians
1949 Ted Williams 192 Vern Stephens 138 Boston Red Sox
1948 Stan Musial 200 Enos Slaughter 132 St. Louis Cardinals
1947 Johnny Mize 160 Walker Cooper 141 New York Giants
1946 Mickey Vernon 160 Stan Spence 145 Washington Senators
1945 Tommy Holmes 174 Chuck Workman 122 Boston Braves
1944 Bobby Doerr 165 Bob Johnson 174 Boston Red Sox
1943 Stan Musial 180 Walker Cooper 130 St. Louis Cardinals
1942 Mel Ott 165 Johnny Mize 161 New York Giants
1941 Joe Dimaggio 184 Charlie Keller 162 New York Yankees
1940 Joe Dimaggio 173 Charlie Keller 141 New York Yankees
1939 Jimmie Foxx 188 Ted Williams 160 Boston Red Sox
1938 Joe Cronin 130 Jimmie Foxx 182 Boston Red Sox
1937 Joe Medwick 180 Johnny Mize 172 St. Louis Cardinals
1936 Lou Gehrig 190 Bill Dickey 156 New York Yankees
1935 Arky Vaughan 190 Paul Waner 129 Pittsburgh Pirates
1934 Babe Ruth 161 Lou Gehrig 208 New York Yankees
1933 Mickey Cochrane 157 Jimmie Foxx 200 Philadelphia Athletics
1932 Babe Ruth 201 Lou Gehrig 181 New York Yankees
1931 Babe Ruth 219 Lou Gehrig 195 New York Yankees
1930 Babe Ruth 211 Lou Gehrig 203 New York Yankees
1929 Babe Ruth 194 Lou Gehrig 167 New York Yankees
1928 Babe Ruth 208 Lou Gehrig 194 New York Yankees
1927 Babe Ruth 226 Lou Gehrig 221 New York Yankees
1926 Babe Ruth 227 Lou Gehrig 153 New York Yankees
1925 Roger Hornsby 210 Jim Bottomley 148 St. Louis Cardinals
1924 Roger Hornsby 222 Jim Bottomley 131 St. Louis Cardinals
1923 Roger Hornsby 186 Jim Bottomley 154 St. Louis Cardinals
1922 Ty Cobb 170 Harry Heilmann 169 Detroit Tigers
1921 Austin McHenry 144 Roger Hornsby 190 St. Louis Cardinals
1920 Eddie Collins 146 Joe Jackson 172 Chicago White Sox

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