On Monday, we witnessed two great sports come together to help an important cause.A year ago, Rob Burrow was diagnosed with the rare and incurable motor neurone disease. It rocked not just the rugby league community, but sport as a whole.Now, rugby league and horse racing have combined with the Burrow Seven campaign in honour of the former Leeds Rhinos, Great Britain and England star and his continuing effort to raise awareness of the disease.
I am sure you have seen long basketball games either in person or on TV this year. All of us who complained of rough play in basketball are now enduring these long games. Just like all rule changes, this one will take adjustment time for the players and officials. As I understand it, you may put your hand on a player to find out where he is, but then you must remove the hand because the second time you do it or if you continue to hold on you are “hand checking”–and that is now a foul. In the past, the referees would not call fouls in this situation unless the defensive player was totally impeding the movement of the player with the ball. To the bigger, stronger players this meant “if I don’t knock him down, I probably won’t be called for a foul.” Players, naturally, will take longer to adjust than the officials, and that is why the games now are lasting so long. Hopefully by Christmas, everyone will have adjusted and–just like all rules–the game will go on and the time taken to play will get back to normal. What this has already done is forced players to actually play defense instead of grabbing and shoving. That was the intent of the rule all along.
Into the bottomless suggestion box of baseball improvements, some have dropped the idea of the universal foul ball.Anything that goes into any seat is a strike or a do-over. That goes for the bleachers, too. That’s right. No more home runs.That would not seem radical to those who attended Dodger Stadium games in the mid-1960s.Al Ferrara, the outfielder, still calls it “the airport,” the place where home runs would sputter into a glove on the warning track, like wayward missiles into the ocean. How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Note that the 2019 Dodgers hit their 27th Dodger Stadium home run on April 17, a two-out, two-run shot by A.J. Pollock against Cincinnati’s Sonny Gray.In doing so, Pollock pulled the Dodgers past the home total of the 1965 Dodgers. They had 26 for the season.Jim Lefebvre and Lou Johnson led the club with 12 overall. Lefebvre hit three of them at the airport.Willie Davis had 10. Ron Fairly hit nine, only three at home. John Roseboro hit eight, two at home.The seventh-leading power producer for the ’65 Dodgers was Don Drysdale, the Hall of Fame right-hander who had seven, but only two at home. He also was the only .300 hitter in L.A.’s starting lineup for Game 1 of the World Series. It isn’t just the tyranny of the home run. It’s the homogenous nature of modern baseball, right down to all-white promotional uniforms with unreadable nicknames that were supposed to be the lure.It’s the copycat ballparks that all play the same. No more bandboxes like Atlanta-Fulton County, no more canyons like the Astrodome or Jack Murphy. Thirty teams, one style of play, a groupthink exercise that drains the identity.There’s no use talking about happy mediums when the current Dodger environment is happy enough. But when we used to refer to stadiums as either pitcher’s parks or phone booths, who knew they’d both disappear? Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start Those Dodgers won five 1-0 games, seven 2-0 or 2-1 games.“Yeah, we were a real juggernaut,” said Jeff Torborg, the catcher. The Dodgers hit .239 at home with a .618 OPS.And yet they were world champions and their home attendance of 2.5 million led the National League. Back then, maybe we weren’t as hard to entertain, but the games went quickly, and pitchers filled up the lens.In Game 4 of a seven-game World Series win over Minnesota, Johnson and Wes Parker actually homered at Dodger Stadium, only the fourth multi-homer game there all season.Maury Wills hit six home runs in 1962, stole 104 bases, scored 130 runs and was named Most Valuable Player. He hit none in 1965 and stole 94.“Maury dominated games more than anybody,” Ferrara said. “We had Frank Howard before that, and he’d hit 30 home runs a year (a Dodgers high of 31) and then we traded him to Washington and he started hitting 40 (44 twice, 48 once).“We got used to the ballpark because we knew how to win there. But you’d hit those balls to the warning track and you’d be thinking how much you were looking forward to going to Chicago.”Indeed, the Dodgers went deep 52 times in 81 road games.“They had a lot more smog in L.A. back then,” Ferrara said. “It seemed like that affected how far the ball went. But the main thing was the pitching. You had 10 teams with only four starters apiece. They were all pretty good.”The park itself was different. The power alleys, such as they were, stretched 380 feet from the plate, then curved to 390 and finally 410 to center. Then the Dodgers moved the plate out 15 feet, meaning that nearly 29 percent of the surface was foul territory. Premium seating significantly reduced that.Today, the wall in center field is 395 feet away, although some maintain it still is 400. There’s no doubt the warmer nights are more conducive to flight.“That was before baseball lowered the mound,” said Joe Moeller, a right-hander from those days. “Dodger Stadium’s mound was still the highest. You could get nosebleed standing there.“You could see some power hitters get frustrated. But we had our own style of play. We’d get on base, run and play defense, and of course, we had some legendary pitchers. The fans kept coming because they knew Sandy Koufax might pitch a no-hitter any night.”“But Sandy and I were talking the other day and we were trying to remember how many guys ever hit opposite-field home runs when we pitched down and away,” Torborg said. “Willie McCovey did, and Jim Wynn, and nobody else. Nowadays you see it every night.”“Or guys get jammed and they hit it out,” Ferrara said.Related Articles