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The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Home of the Grouchy Old Man
2008-03-25 20:45
by Bob Timmermann

First it was Jeff Schultz, channeling Roger Kahn, complaining about the first game of the major league season being played in Japan, but now the Atlanta Journal-Constitution ups the ante: Furman Bisher is against it too!

Bisher, the author of one of my favorite childhood books, Strange But True Baseball Stories, is also in love with Cincinnati and its home opener tradition:


About Cincinnati and its dibs on opening day, that went on for years. Then the major leagues expanded from coast to coast, cramping the schedule. Television came in spreading money around like fertilizer, and things began to change. The Reds no longer had a monopoly on opening day. So they were allowed to throw the first pitch before anybody else. That privilege is gone now, but one priority remains — the Reds are always allowed to open the season at home. So much for tradition, of which about all that remains is that the baseball hides are actually sewed together by hand by ladies in some Latin American country.

Was Cincinnati always THE first city to host a major league game? We can check on this now you know.


I just picked a year in the past more or less at random, so we'll use 1930 and look at April 15, the first day of the NL season.

There were seven games played in the majors that day. The Reds were at home. So were the Dodgers, Giants, and Cardinals. Three AL teams were hosting their first games of the season that day: the Red Sox, Tigers, and Athletics. But the Red Sox were playing Washington. Washington had already played a game THE DAY BEFORE on April 14, 1930. And that was against the Red Sox. Then the teams took a train back to Boston to play again.

So why doesn't anyone weep for Washington? It's the nation's capital! Instead we get all weepy for Cincinnati? Cincinnati! Please. I say again, Cincinnati? Who cares about Cincinnati?

(Go West Virginia! Beat Xavier!)

Also - Jay Mariotti is angry too!

2008-03-25 21:28:21
1.   Greg Brock
Les Nessman will kill you in your sleep.
2008-03-25 21:33:30
2.   Bob Timmermann
Is he going to beat me to death with his Buckeye Newshawk Award?
2008-03-25 21:39:41
3.   Greg Brock
3 He won it five times, you know.

I think it was five times. It's walking a tightrope, making jokes about shows that were before one's time.

2008-03-25 21:40:17
4.   Greg Brock
It's five! Hooray!
2008-03-25 22:57:55
5.   Linkmeister
I won't quibble with Mariotti's description of Selig, but the rest of that column is downright xenophobic. He's channeling Lou Dobbs.
2008-03-26 01:13:01
6.   Eric Enders
The Don Baylor part of Mariotti's story is actually pretty funny.
2008-03-26 01:46:23
7.   Chiron Brown
1869! That is the year the valiant ballists of the sanguine hose vanguished the gamblers and skullduggerists forever by becoming the first all professional team. And the noble sport of baseball has been pure as the first snow ever since. Three cheers for the boys of Porkopolis:
Hip Hip Hooray!
Hip Hip Hooray!
Hip Hip Hooray!
2008-03-26 13:19:35
8.   Daniel Zappala
The Reds should play the first game of the season against the Nationals, splitting between Cincy and DC every year. There, problem solved.
2008-03-26 21:36:11
9.   BruceR
Bob, are you sure that, under the surface, this isn't really an F. Robby thing for you ???

8 Daniel ... nice; beautiful in its simplicity. For your next challenge, how about the Middle East? Wait, never mind, if you solved it, you'd be the antichrist and you're too appreciated here at the Toaster for that to happen.

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