Folks, the time is finally here for Razzball’s 2014 Bold Predictions, and I’m happy to once again be your host. This year, it gets real crazy, as you might be able to tell from the title. That’s right. Dragon Ninja’s, yo. Word is, they have lasers, but that’s okay. We have something called an Eno. Not to be confused with being emo, which I hear involves a lot of mascara and Dashboard Confessionals. Sounds dangerous. And like a girl I dated in college. Regardless, here’s the deal– Eno Sarris of FanGraphs has agreed to take on your very own lovable and quite handsome Jason Longfellow (yes, that’s my name, don’t wear it out) in a duel for the ages. His bold predictions will battle my bold predictions for COMPLETE AND UTTER SUPREMACY. Sort of like Highlander. We certainly need more Sean Connery, that’s for sure. And what’s at stake in this epic battle? Heads? Lightning swords? Shinobi’s? Naw. It’s beer. That’s right, beer. Whomever get’s the most predictions right, well, the loser has to buy him a six-pack of the beer of his choice. In this case, Eno has chosen DC Brau. Great selection, but it might come with side effects such as too much hipster and listening to Mumford. My choice? Koko Brown, because Hawai’i is the greatest thing ever known to man besides ice cream and blow jobs.  Have I intrigued you? I HAVE INTRIGUED ME, because, you know, alcohol. And Sean Connery…

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“The Iron Horse

After the 1938 season, Yankee pitcher Wes Ferrell, who played golf with Gehrig on a regular basis, noticed that Lou refrained from wearing golf cleats; instead he wore sneakers, and was sliding his feet along the ground.  He became frightened that something was wrong, and notified Yankee skipper Joe McCarthy. Gehrig played the first 8 games of the 1939 season, but it was apparent that he was not the same player as before. When Gehrig made a routine play with more then a small bit of difficulty, several Yankees, including Bill Dickey and Joe Gordon, patted him on the back, complimenting him on his effort.  It was at that point that Gehrig knew the gig was up, and feeling utterly humiliated, took himself out of the game.

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Welcome to the year end Razzball awards. I’m your host, Grey Albright and I’m joined by Random Italicized Voice, Hey. Also, on the red carpet for everyone’s arrival we have, Comatose Blue Jays Fan, “Hurry up, the Blue Jays are gonna be facing the Yankees tonight on Fox.” And up in the balcony critiquing everyone’s outfits we have Clunky Segue, “As I was saying…” Before the show even begins, we have a very special musical guest, Lighter Shade of Brown! Live from opening for Kanye West! Not playing on stage with him, but literally opening doors for him. They now work as doormen. At hotels. It’s very sad. Anyway, here’s the 2013 Razzball Year End Awards:

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In 1948, Yankee Scout Tommy Greenwade had taken a trip to Kansas to see a prospect named Billy Johnson who played for a semi-professional team named the Baxter Springs Whiz Kids. During the game, a young, strapping 16 year old boy named Mickey Mantle walloped three long home runs. The next year Greenwade returned, and when he left town, Mantle had signed his first contract to play for the New York Yankees.

“He’s the best prospect I’ve ever seen.” – Branch Rickey

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Who was the greatest pitcher during the first decade of the 20th century? Cy Young, perhaps. Christy Mathewson? Maybe Joe “Iron Arm” McGinnity”? The immensely talented and idiosyncratically eccentric Rube Waddell? Addie Joss? A case can be made for any one of these hurlers. However, the truth is that perhaps the very best of them couldn’t be identified by 95% of the fans of the American pastime. Beyond that, this same individual was considered by many astute observers as the equal of the legendary and irascible John McGraw as a manager. He was one of the most successful owners in the game, and as an Administrator, was the equal of such as Ban Johnson, the President and founder of the fledgling American league. That man was Rube Foster. In all of these respects, there has never been anyone who excelled in all of these capacities in the history of rounders. And although he was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1981, he remains a rather obscure figure in baseball history. But the truth of the matter is that without Foster, there likely would not have been an organized Negro league; without Foster, it is likely that there never would have been a Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, or a Jackie Robinson.

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Exit light
Enter night
Take my hand
We’re off to never never-land

On July 16th, at the All-Star Game played at Citi-Bank Park, Mr. Sandman was played in its entirety in a park other than Yankee Stadium for the first and last time. Manager Jim Leyland called in Mariano Rivera to pitch the 8th inning against the NL’s finest. Rivera took the call, and stood on the mound with watery eyes, perhaps reminiscing about his entire career, and how he had come to this point in time. Then he returned to the business at hand, and proceeded to retire the side in order. The crowd, mostly composed of fans of the rival Metropolitan club, gave him a rousing ovation. For this would be Rivera’s last appearance in the all-star game. We have but three months more to marvel at the man who is without a question the greatest reliever in the history of baseball. But the question is – how did it come to this? That is a most remarkable story…

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“See that little mound of dirt out there with the rubber in the middle? That’s my concern. I don’t have any problems, just concerns. And that’s my big concern, right out there.” Eddie Stanky

Eddie Stanky was the spark plug second-baseman known as “The Brat”. Stanky played for over a decade in the National League from 1943-1953 and had a career batting average of .268. He led the NL in walks three times and in runs scored once.

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Six Rules for a Happy Life
1. Avoid fried meats, which angry up the blood.
2. If your stomach disputes you, lie down and pacify it with cool thoughts.
3. Keep the juices flowing by jangling around gently as you move.
4. Go very lightly on vices such as carrying on in society. The social ramble ain’t restful.
5. Avoid running at all times.
6. Don’t look back, something may be gaining on you.

Leroy “Satchel” Paige was almost universally regarded as the greatest pitcher of the Negro Leagues. Some of his pitching records are awesome indeed. They include pitching 64 consecutive scoreless innings, 21 straight wins, and a 31-4 record in 1933. Along with his teammate Josh Gibson, Paige helped lead the Kansas City Monarchs to five Negro American League pennants.

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One of the neat things about Negro League History is how fact turns to exaggeration; exaggeration to legend, and legend to myth.

Josh Gibson hit a scorching line drive which whizzed inches above the head of Satchel Paige. The ball wound up in the center field bleachers of Yankee Stadium, well over 500 feet in the distance. It has been said that Gibson once knocked a speaker off the roof of Comiskey Park. When Gibson was with the legendary Homestead Grays, he played Babe Ruth to Buck Leonard’s Lou Gehrig. Leonard, also immortalized at Cooperstown, stated that one time Josh hit a ball “out of existence.” There are many stories where the real truth of the tale is difficult to discern. But some things would be wonderful if they were true, and this nugget is certainly one of them.

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