August 2, 2007 [LINK / comment]
Today Show looks at ballparks
Kudos to the NBC Today Show for including America's big league ballparks as part of their "America the Beautiful" vacation travel series. Seeing the rapid-sequence montage of baseball stadiums was certainly a great way for me to start the day! Former New York Giants and Virginia Cavalier football star Tiki Barber reported from Fenway Park, and in batting practice with the Red Sox, he showed how hard it is -- even for a top athlete -- to get good wood on a pitched ball. Having retired prematurely, he has started a new career as a roving reporter for NBC. On the MS-NBC Web page, travel editor Peter Greenberg focused on Fenway Park and Wrigley Field. FACT CHECK: Contrary to what he wrote, however, the scoreboard in Wrigley Field is not the original one, obviously, since the ballpark was already 23 years old in 1937 when it was installed.
The Minneapolis bridge collapse
Some of the victims of the collapse of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis yesterday evening were probably headed to the Metrodome (only a few blocks away) to see the Twins play against the Royals. There was a moment of silence for the victims before the game began. They considered postponing the game, but decided that doing so would create an even worse traffic mess as the rescue/disaster response efforts were underway. The Twins have postponed tonight's game as well as the groundbreaking ceremony for the Twins' new ballpark that was scheduled for today. See MLB.com. I think it would be appropriate to divert some construction resources from the new stadium so that the bridge can be rebuilt more quickly.
Minnesota blogger James Lileks commented on the awful disaster, recalling the civic pride he felt every time he drove across it and saw "the magnificent view of downtown" Minneapolis. (Hat tip to Instapundit.) I can attest to the scenic beauty of that city, and I'm pretty sure I drove across that bridge in 1987.
Three big milestones
The past week has been full of strange, drawn-out suspense, as baseball fans await the accomplishment of three career milestones all at once: Barry Bonds' 755th (and 756th) home runs, Tom Glavine's 300th pitching victory, and Alex Rodriguez's 500th home run. Some people were relieved that Bonds waited until after the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies before making his historical mark.
Walter Johnson Day
UPDATE: One hundred years ago today, Walter Johnson pitched his first-ever game for the Washington Nationals, who years later later changed their formal name to the "Senators." Today the Washington Nationals are celebrating "Walter Johnson Day" in honor of the man who brought home the first and only World Series trophy to Our Nation's Capital, in 1924. See MLB.com, from which I learned the following factoid:
His other love was politics, and he served as [Montgomery, Maryland] county commissioner before losing his bid to become a congressman from the area. He was a staunch Republican, and held rallies on his farm for fellow Kansan and presidential candidate Alf Landon.
The Nats are going for a sweep against the Cincinnati Reds at RFK this evening, and as of the third inning it's tied, 3-3. The Washington team will welcome the St. Louis Cardinals to town this weekend...