Spring Training 2021 comes to an end on March 30, and the 2021 MLB season officially begins April 1, with the Yankees vs. Blue Jays at 1:05 at Yankee Stadium.
My archives are a series of Ozzie Sweet original film/pictures taken in 1971 at the Washington Senators Training camp. This year made it 50 years ago. Since 90-percent of those pictures have not been seen in public, I thought, time to share them. On March 22, I began posting pictures of Ozzie Sweets 1971, Washington Senators, photoshoot for Sport magazine on my Twitter page.
Why 1971? In February 1971, the Washington Senators spring-training camp opened, helmed by manager Ted Williams.
In camp is Curt Flood, who lost his challenge to baseball reserve clause in court. And Denny McLain, who broke baseball’s rules associating with gamblers.
Curt Flood, age 33, left the team 13 games into the season, never to play again. Denny McLain fought with Ted Williams all season, winning only 10-games, losing 22. By the age of 28, 1972 playing for two other teams, 2x Cy Young and 1x MVP, and last pitcher to win 30 games going 31-6 1n 1968, was out of baseball forever.
For 50-years, I have been involved in printing and making prints, a subject I will expand on in future blogs. Part of why I revised and updated my website was my desire to close down my fine art studio. Going into 2020, I was thinking about how to close down. As much as I love photography, I love printmaking. The shutdown allowed me to be away from the studio and think uninterrupted about what I wanted. Then one day, my inbox started dinging, with sales from images of mine on Fine Art America. I had not forgotten about them, just not thinking of them. There printing is excellent, and I visited my page and started looking at other artist’s works. Then I remembered Getty was on FAA selling images using their services. Then I discovered that the Daily News, a New York City newspaper, was also working with FAA printing service. Needless to say, lightbulbs were popping off, and pieces starting to come together. The next thing I knew, I was working with Squarespace, 99design, and Soda Creek.
Letting go of printing, in the end, was easier than I imagined.
Late yesterday the Mets signed Yoenis Cespedes for three years with an Opt-Out clause after one year. This made think of Charles Oscar Finley maverick owner of the A’s who passed away twenty years ago. In March 1960, he purchased the Kansas City A’s and for the next 20 years, would be a thorn in the side of two Baseball Commissioners and the other owners.
As an owner, he was behind baseball playing World Series games at night, and the Designated Hitter. Now after 42-years it appears in 2017, the National League will finally adopt the DH. Other ideas, like using an orange baseball for night games were considered silly.
But, Charles Finley’s biggest contribution to baseball and all sports, is Free Agency. Through his failure during 1974, baseball season to meet certain obligations in Catfish Hunters contract, an arbitrator declaring Hunter, a free agent and his subsequence signing of a five-year contract with the Yankees. Following the 1975 season, a grievance was filed by Andy Messerschmitt of the Dodgers and Dave McNally of Expos, arbitrator, Peter Seitz ruled for the players declaring them free agents. This verdict ended the Reserve Clause that tied players to teams forever. Charles Finley then said what may be his boldest idea “Make Them All Free Agents Every Year”. Marvin Millet opposed this knowing it would it would keep player salaries low and the owners were afraid of the concept.
What was once scared owners and maybe the players is now taking hold in a unique concept, the opt-out after one to three years now being part of bigger contract signings.
It is early in the game, but as the opt-out becomes more attractive in contract negotiations, it will make for some exciting times in player and team moves.
Having a winning team will help the Cleveland Indians and next year should be their turn-around year. But, it may not help them in attendance, Cleveland schools opened August 10th this year the second week in August. That’s about the standard time every year. One could argue they get out early in May. But, those of us who live in the northern part of the USA know most years the weather in May is, iffy. Ballpark attendance for the cold weather teams does not rise until June.
As for it still being August and, sunset in Cleveland after 8 p.m even into September it’s still a school night, parents do not want to take their kids to weeknight games.
Today in the media it is evaluation day of who is the winners and losers in MLB’s annual July 31st trading deadline. Watching the 4 pm countdown yesterday on Fox Sports (I’m on the Jersey Shore in rented beach house) and seeing my team the NY Yankees standing pat made me very happy. My first thoughts were of that old baseball adage. “The trades you don’t make are your best ones.”(1)
I am 100% a fan of baseball and enjoy watching games of all the teams, and all that goes on from the fall Hot Stove League to the August Waiver Wire, and everything in between. I just love it.
After the 4 pm deadline that is 4:15 pm as the commissioner office needs that extra 15 minutes to approve last of the last minute deals. Then the conversation starts who won who lost. After reviewing all the transactions, it struck me that the players being traded were for minor leagues who are not the front-line prospect, as one would expect.
But all of the stories surrounding the Yankees and trades it was only about their rated front-line prospects, and late last night 21 year Luis Severino one of the prospects every team wanted was called up. He’s scheduled to make his major league debut Tuesday night. I expect a lot of second-guessing from the media and fans next Wednesday.
As of today, the Blue Jays who were voted this year’s trading deadline winners are 6-games behind the Yankees, so should all know by the end of this season if standing pat was the right decision.
1- The trades you don’t make are the best ones.
Attributed to Branch Rickey and also Bill Veeck
Spring Training 2015 is 30 days away let the countdown begin. I will be leaving February 24th with a two-day stop in Washington DC to visit US Copyright office. My other countdown is after two years this coming Monday we will be moving into our new place in Bronxville NY. It is going be such a relief not thinking about real estate properties.
In 1970 Sport magazine hired Ozzie Sweet to photograph spring training and spend a little extra time shooting the Washington Senators two new players Denny McLain and Curt Flood. Plus shoot Ted Williams for the cover of the spring training issue.
Over the next 30 days, I will be posting images from Ozzie Sweet and my spring training trips.
Sy Berger creator of Topps Baseball Cards passed away Sunday December 14.
To this day every spring I drive to the store when Topps Baseball Cards go on sale and buy a few packs sit in my car and open them. Not because I’m a collector (anymore) but because it still gives me a feeling of being a kid again. Thank you Sy Berger for a lifetime of fun.
The teams are rested, 6 days for the KC Royals, and 5 days for SF Giants. The team that comes up short will say that the long layoff hurt them. Now for my last MLB prediction for 2014, SF Giants in 6 games (could be 5). The second long layoff for KC Royals will impact them this time…
I decided to revisit my season ” My 2012 MLB Team Predictions ” to see how I did. First think I notice that I got the AL East completely wrong. Next I also picked an extra team the Diamondbacks by mistake in the NL West. I was at many Florida spring training games this year and watched the teams is helpful. My research for the Arizona teams was TV, radio, and the internet. Looking back over my predictions I have to say not unhappy. I also still stand by my World Series prediction, the Nationals.