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Dusk

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Soak in the vibe of this moment.  The sky and the setting, the dark and the light, the spacial and the physical come together seamlessly. Above:  Mirabito Stadium, home of the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, from April 16th. Below:  Taken August 4th, 2016 at Coca Cola Park in Allentown, PA, home of the Iron Pics.    

If Your Birthday is June 14th...

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...you share it with veteran reliever Hector Neris .  Best recognized for his eight seasons with the Phillies (this image is from a 2019 win over the Mets), the Dominican native got off to a strong start this year with the Cubs, winning his first five decisions coming out of the bullpen. Let's also remember: Don Newcombe , the Brooklyn Dodgers ace and a mainstay on three pennant winning clubs -- including 1956 when he won 27 games and became the first-ever recipient of the Cy Young Award. George Myatt , who played two seasons for the New York Giants and five for the Washington Senators, before coaching for over 20 years in the majors.  Phillies fans will recall "Foghorn" for his nine-year run coaching 3rd base (between 1964 and '72).  Twice the team's interim manager, he replaced Gene Mauch for a game in 1968 and Bob Skinner for the last third of the 1969 season, posting a record of 20-35.  

Wayback Wednesday: Dual Leadoff Homers

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June 12th, 2010 :  The leadoff batters for both the Yankees and Mets -- Derek Jeter and Jose Reyes -- homered leading off the game for their respective teams.    Jeter had two other hits, and drove in four runs as the Yankees clobbered the Astros 9-3  in the Bronx. At Camden Yards, Reyes later added a 3rd inning single in Mets 3-1 victory over the Orioles . That feat, leadoff homers for both New York teams the same day, had only happened twice before: 1986:  Rickey Henderson (Yankees) and Lenny Dykstra (Mets) 2009: Derek Jeter (Yankees), Angel Pagan (Mets)

MLB’s London Series

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  A few select images and views from a weekend baseball invaded the home of The Beatles and the land of Cricket. They give you a sense of the fun I had; unfortunately, the better photos shot with my Canon SX720HS are still on my camera (I haven’t been able to use the Wi-fi feature that could export them to my phone.) Built for  the London Olympics, the Stadium proved to be a good venue as the Phillies and Mets drew almost 109,000 for two games! The game fit the ballpark, which was converted to a baseball surface and seating in just 18 days — and is now being changed again to accommodate rock and rollers The Foo Fighters, who’ll perform there later this month.   There was even a Washington DC-style mascots race — though instead of famous American presidents, there were Henry the Eighth, the Lock Ness Monster, Winston Churchill and Freddie Mercury.   And, yes, that was the Phillie Phanatic waiting at the finish line. 

If Your Birthday is June 7th...

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...you share it with the late, beloved Captain of the Yankees 1977-'78 World Series champions, Thurman Munson .  The 1970 AL Rookie of the Year went on to make seven All Star teams and was a .292 career batter --as well as the emotional heart of the combative "Bronx Zoo" Yankees.  Squaring off with Reggie Jackson and Billy Martin, they produced tension and titles -- and ruled the back pages of the New York tabloids. That era ended with sudden, shocking heartbreak.   Munson had a hit and a walk while playing 1st base (a sort of "rest day") on August 1st, 1979 against the White Sox at Comiskey Park.  The next day, as the rest of the team headed back to New York, he was gone in a flash, while practicing in his recently purchased private plane. His number-15 was immediately retired; his locker in the original Yankee Stadium remained unoccupied -- Derek Jeter, when he became the team Captain, used the one next to Munson's.  In the current Stadium, it is displayed

Wayback Wednesday: Double Duty

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June 5th, 1965:    Mel Stottlemyre hits a home run -- and pitches all 10 innings, as the Yankees edge the White Sox 4-3 Yankees edge the White Sox 4-3 .  Mickey Mantle also homers, while Elton Howard wins it with a walk-off single, driving in Phil Linz.      

Random Images

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Let's start with a pair from our "Before They Were Famous" file:  above, it's Aaron Judge in 2015, when he was working his way up the Yankees' farm system.  14 months away from graduating to the Bronx, he's wearing the pinstripes (and the interlocking NYY) for the Yanks' double-A club in Trenton, NJ.  Hats off to Judge for a superb month of May, where  he crushed 14 home runs to take over the major league lead -- and, according to ESPN state, also became the first MLB player ever t o reach 35 career multi-homer games in fewer than 1,000 career games. Below:  A year later -- and also photographed at Trenton's Arm & Hammer Stadium, say hello to Rhys Hoskins , then playing 1st base for the Reading Fightin' Phils.  After returning to the active list last Friday, he's now ready to face his former club for the first time, as his Brewers open a series at Citizens Bank Park. Francisco Alvarez got his rehab off to a great start Thursday night... c

If Your Birthday is May 31st...

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...you share it with Dodgers manager  Dave Roberts  -- who has a knack for helping snap lengthy negative streaks.   B est known for his momentum-turning stolen base against in game four of the 2004 ALCS, Roberts’ daring sprint set up the Red Sox comeback as they erased the Yankees' three games to none series lead, something never done before in baseball... as Boston went on to capture its first World Series title since 1918.   Then in 2020, he managed the Dodgers to their first championship in 32 years.  All told, that’s upending 118 years of history!!  

Wayback Wednesday: Halladay is Perfect

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  May 29th, 2010:   Roy Halladay  pitches a perfect game -- with little margin for error --  as the Phillies blank the Marlins 1-0 at Miami.  The righthander strikes out 12, and uses 115 pitches the become the 20th man to throw a perfect game -- and the second of the 2010 season (Oakland's Dallas Braden did it weeks earlier, marking the first season since 1880 with two perfectos in the same year). Halladay joins Jim Bunning as the only Phillies ever to throw a perfect game; ironically both occurred in road games during their first seasons with the club. Below, he was honored later that season in a pre-game ceremony at Citizens Bank Park.  Doc is third from the left in the upper row.  To his right are manager Charlie Manuel, GM Ruben Amaro Jr and team president David Montgomery.

Random Images

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You're not hearing much about Aaron Judge 's slow start any more.  Not after a strong week, where he homered in four of his last five games and overtook teammate Juan Soto as the AL leader in OPS and on-base percentage.  His 18 doubles pace the league; now tack on 17 home runs (one behind Houston's Kyle Tucker) and you can see why the Yanks are living up to their Bronx Bombers nickname again. (Below:)  As hot as Judge has been, that's how cold Victor Robles has been in '24.  Actually, it's been several years of declining production for the Nats' onetime top prospect.  With a batting average of .120 in the first two months of the season, Washington GM Mike Rizzo ran out of patience hoping for a turnaround.  After he clears waivers, another club will likely take a chance on Robles, who hit 17 homers and stole 28 bases in DC's 2019 championship season. The rest of this baseball season will be a little less fun with Ronald Acuna Junior on the shelf.  The f

Baseball Birthdays This Weekend

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Let's start on Friday the 24th with Bartolo Colon , a darned good pitcher with a somewhat goofy persona who starred for the Indians, Angels and Mets, winning 247 games over 21 big league seasons.   The Dominican native also holds the distinction of being the oldest player ever to hit his first career home run .   He was 16 days of turning 43 when he did it as Met against the Padres in 2015.  (See it for yourself here :  With two 20-win seasons and the 2005 AL Cy Young Award to his credit, he would be a strong Hall of Fame candidate had he not also had a 2012 PED suspension on his report card. Saturday 's birthday circle is highlighted by Chris Young (below), who is a member of a unique club: a World Series winner as both a player and executive.  The tall, but oft-injured Texan won 79 games in his 13 year career, highlighted by being a rotation member on the 2015 World Champion Royals.  A Princeton grad, who worked in the baseball commissioner's office, he became the Range

Wayback Wednesday: This Poster Tells a Story or Two

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Out antique shopping with friends, I found this slice of history in a Western Maryland store.  Obscured behind some other items , I couldn't get a clear shot -- or a chance to identify all the players.   It stirred up memories of a different baseball era: A time when major league teams would play an annual exhibition against their top farm clubs. This was the final year for the Braves in Boston (they'd head to Milwaukee that winter). These Braves would go on to win just 64 games. It was the rookie year for 3rd baseman Eddie Mathews , who'd go onto the Hall of Fame as well as earn a singular distinction -- as the only player to appear for the Braves in all three of the cities it called home. Fellow Hall of Famer Warren Spahn went 14-19, while posting an ERA under 3 and leading the NL in strikeouts for the fourth year in a row. In the other dugout, Hagerstown's best pitcher Bob Giggie won 18 that season -- but didn't make the majors until 1959, when he appeared in 1

Best Record in Baseball

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The bats were blazing and the fans packed the park all weekend in Philadelphia as the Phillies improved on the best record in baseball, sweeping the Washington Nationals.   I was on hand Saturday night to witness it firsthand from section 327. Here are two big moments captured on my Canon:   Kody Clemens (above) crushing a game tying homer in the bottom of the 9th, then Bryce Harper walking it off an inning later with a sacrifice fly. Sunday's standout was Alec Bohm .  The Phillies 3rd baseman -- and NL leader in RBIs -- contributed a pair of sacrifice flies and then capped his day with a three-run homer to the left field seats. These Phillies are built solidly: strong starting pitching — with Ranger Suarez blossoming into a Cy Young candidate — a lineup with power and good contact hitters (and doing it with star shortstop Trea Turner) and a manager in Rob Thomson who not only has the trust of his players but has helped make this perhaps the most likeable Phillies club ever.  The

Baseball Birthdays This Weekend

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If your birthday is Friday the 17th , you share it with Carlos Pena .  The power-hitting 1st baseman, who peaked with a 46-homer season with the '07 Rays, is now a top commentator for MLB Network. There's also Ben Gamel .   Once a top Yankees prospect, he's bounced between six big league clubs, most recently the Padres.  Unable to land an MLB roster spot this spring, he's now enjoying a big season for the Mets AAA club in Syracuse, where he's hitting over .300 with an OPS above 1.0. Gamel and Pena share their birthday with the late Negro Leagues legend Cool Papa Bell . Onto Saturday the 18th , with Mister October: Reggie Jackson crushed 563 home runs over 21 seasons with a knack for grabbing the headlines.  The slugging star of the A's early '70s dynasty, he was among the first of the stars to take advantage of free agency, jumping to the Yankees in 1977 just in time to clash with manager Billy Martin.  While that disfunctional relationship -- co-starring

Promising Night in Binghamton

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Last night's news from Binghamton was mostly encouraging for Mets fans.  Pitcher David Peterson , rehabbing from hip surgery, tossed 5-1/3 shutout innings with eight strikeouts against the Orioles AA club, while top prospect Ryan Clifford (below) made his first appearance with the Rumble Ponies after being promoted from High-A Brooklyn.  While he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, the Mets wanted the Raleigh, North Carolina native to face better competition -- even though he won't turn 21 until late July. While Clifford has played a lot of 1st base, manager Reid Brignac told me before the game, he plans to rotate his the lefty hitter between 1st and the outfield. Back to Peterson, he expects to make two more rehab starts before his time on the 60-day Injured List runs out.  He told reporters he thinks his next one will be Sunday in Syracuse.  

Sunday Night Walk-Off

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After Sunday night's walk-off homer to beat the Braves, I looked for the right photo of Brandon Nimmo to use -- and this one jumped out at me!  From the March 9th Grapefruit League game against the Cardinals, the Mets outfielder hints at that famous image of Babe Ruth from the 1932 World Series.  Pointing to the outfield to say, "This pitch is going there."  It didn't happen back on that warm March day... but it seemed so right on the morning after his game winning blast off Alan Minter. (Below: a more recent image of Nimmo, in action against the Cubs earlier this month.)  

Baseball Birthdays This Weekend

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If  you were born on May 10th , you share this day with a likely future Hall of Famer: Royals catcher Salvador Perez .  The 2015 World Series MVP remains a top receiver and clutch hitter.  With 254 career homers, he stands a good chance of reaching 300.  And his eight all star game appearances (in 12 full seasons) are more than such legends as Roy Campanella, Yadier Molina and Elston Howard.   Also born on 5/10 a pair of familiar faces from the 1960s: the longtime White Sox outfielder Ken Berry , and original New York Met Jim Hickman . Saturday May 11th starts with  Miguel Sano .  The Dominican-born power hitter crushed 25 or more home runs in four of his first six seasons.  But knee problems ended his time with the Twins.  After sitting out 2023, he returned to the majors this year with the Angels. Joining him in the May 11th birthday circle:  Walt Terrell , who won 111 games over 11 years, where he pitched for five teams -- including both New York clubs.  He came to the Mets from Tex