A poem for the game

On this day in 1888 in the San Francisco Examiner, the comic ballad, Casey at the Bat by Ernest L. Thayer appeared. It was originally submitted anonymously by Thayer who was a columnist for the newspaper. Since then, the poem has become almost as much of a tradition as "Take me out to the ballgame" sung during the seventh inning stretch.

The Library has several wonderful illustrated versions of the poem. Check one out to read with your kids before a Tigers game.

Beloved Tiger, Mark Fidrych, has died

Beloved Tiger, Mark Fidrych, has diedBeloved Tiger, Mark Fidrych, has died

Mark Fidrych, beloved Tiger pitcher known as The Bird, was killed in a truck accident at his Massachusetts farm yesterday.

As a gawky 21 year old, Fidrych delighted baseball fans in 1976 with his irrepressible exuberance for the game. The New York Times, noting his cloud of blonde curls atop his 6'3" frame and his goofy antics on the field, compared him to Big Bird. The shortened nickname, The Bird, stuck ever after.

In his very first major league game in May 1976, The Bird had seven no-hit innings. The Tigers won that game against the Cleveland Indians 2-1.

Just one year later, Fidrych suffered a couple of serious injuries to his arm that quickly derailed his career.

Mark Fidrych was just 54 years old.

Before MSU game - read this

I know virtually nothing about college basketball, but apparently MSU has a fighting chance of becoming the national college basketball champ. Suddenly, I’m a fair-weather MSU fan. Looks like I’ll have to wait my turn for When March Went Mad: The Game That Transformed Basketball, by Seth Davis, which recounts the season leading to the March 1979 NCAA finals, in which MSU’s Magic Johnson squared off against ISU's Larry Bird. Sounds like a good history of the NCAA basketball tournament.

April 5th -- Baseball's Opening Day

We may have had our last snowfall. I've even seen people in shorts this March. Now it's time to dust off your favorite team's cap and pound last year's dirt out of your beloved mitt. The Major League Baseball season begins this Sunday, April 5th, with last year's World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies taking on the Atlanta Braves. The promise of a new season can only be heightened by waxing nostalgic through baseball's storied history with such gems as Autumn Glory: Baseball's First World Series by Louis P. Masur, 100 Years of the World Series by Eric Enders, or Faithful by Steward O'Nan and Stephen King. One team will reign supreme come October -- is this your team's year?

Sportsman of the Year

Sportsman of the YearSportsman of the Year

Sports Illustrated has announced its annual Sportsman of the Year award and it goes to...drumroll...Michael Phelps! All the details are in the December 8 issue or you can find it on their website. SI.com also has a list of the 38 other nominees (along with essays justifying why), such as: Usain Bolt, Tiger Woods, Joey Cheek, Nnamdi Asomugha, Stephen Curry, Rapahel Nadal, Dara Torres, and many more.

Two baseball milestones

On this day in 1932, Babe Ruth supposedly "called his shot" during the third game of the World Series, Yankees against the Cubs. It is said that after suffering the taunts of hostile Cubs fans, he pointed to the center field bleachers in Wrigley Field and then hit a soaring home run to that same spot. The Yankees went on to win the pennant. To this day, people disagree on Ruth's action even though "the Great Bambino" claimed he did it.

On this same day in 1961, Roger Maris of the Yankees hit his 61st home run to break Babe Ruth's record for the most home runs in a season. He hit his run againgst the Red Sox to win the game, 1-0.

As the season moves toward the series and to dispel your gloom over the dismal Tigers showing, check out some great baseball books and dvds including the new book, Change Up: An oral history of 8 key events that shaped modern baseball by Larry Burke.

Chess, an Olympic sport?

Chess OlympicsChess Olympics

At the 2000 Sydney Olympics chess was included as a trial sport for display. However, both speed matches played ended in a draw and little has been said about it until Time magazine’s Meaghan Haire posted “Should Chess Be an Olympic Sport?” on August 5th.

Should the Olympic committee consider adding mental sports like chess, bridge, or Go? What about a combo of mental and physical like chess boxing?

Respond here or even better share your thoughts and play some chess this Sunday, August 17 at Pittsfield Branch. Join us 1-4 p.m. for Chesstastic!

Pulp

Pulp Tree

Olympic stories in our magazine collection:

Science News
August 2 issue, page 16
Some athletes may enhance their genetic makeup with gene therapy. These methods were developed to treat genetic diseases and have caught the attention of the athletic world.

Play
August issue, page 68
Photos of former olympic legends like Bruce Jenner and Mark Spitz and some updates us on what they're doing now.

Summer Olympics

OlympicsOlympics

You only have a few days until the 2008 Summer Olympics begin. Need to be sure that you have the rules for water polo straight before the matches begin? Want to begin training for 2012? The second floor of the Downtown Library is featuring a display of Olympian books--from history of games past to training for events. Don't delay honing your fencing skills 'til 2011!

Beijing Olympics

olympicsolympics

If you are heading to Beijing to support our atheletes, you might want to check out this blog site before packing your bags. Globespotters offers urban advice from reporters who live there.

Beijing Basics are for smart travelers who plan ahead - with information from airports, getting into town, using the subways, to finding an English-speaking doctor.

If your travel plans include other equally exotic locales such as Mumbai, Bangkok, Moscow or Istanbul, you will be glad you did you homework. Travel safe.

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