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11 Curious Facts About Baseball That You Didn’t Know

11 Curious Facts About Baseball That You Didn’t Know

Baseball season will not start for a while yet, but fans are already gearing up. Spring training reporting dates for all major-league teams are between February 17 and 21 – not too long now. Fans have their favorite teams and players and follow them religiously all season, from spring training through the final climax of the World Series.

Part of the “draw” of baseball is watching for those unique and/or thrilling moments when an amazing or goofy play is executed and talked about for weeks afterward. Many seem to be almost metaphors for life experiences. Some of these incidents go down in history. Here are 11 curious incidents from the long love affair that America has had with baseball.

1. The Eccentricities of Jimmy Piersall

Piersall played in the 1950s and 60s for five teams. While most people remember him for his mental illness and a complete breakdown that required a lengthy road back to health, he also dabbled in football and wrestling. He has also worked as a broadcaster and a minor-league developer. At 88, he still has a radio show and lives in Arizona.

But Piersall was also known for his stunts during games. At one point, he went up to bat with a Beatles wig on; he also taunted a referee by climbing up on the roof of a grandstand.

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His biggest stunt, however, was during his 100th home run. He ran the bases backwards. Mets manager, Casey Stengel, who had obviously had enough, fired him.

2. Prototype for a Hand Grenade

During the late years of World War II (1939-1945), the American Office of Strategic Services, which later became the CIA, crafted an experimental design for a hand grenade. Eastman Kodak was also a part of this endeavor, and the grenade was designed to mimic a baseball in both weight and size. The reason for this was that the makers figured any young man could throw a baseball accurately, and thus would be able to throw the grenade accurately too. It became known as the “Beano” grenade. The weight, however, became an issue and later was increased from 5.5 ounces to 12.

3. “Houston, We Have Touchdown”

Pitchers are not usually known for their ability to hit, although some have certainly surprised their fans over the years. One pitcher who certainly typified the general thinking was Gaylord Perry. His major league debut was with the San Francisco Giants, and his hitting was pretty bad. In 1969, his manager, Alvin Dark, joked with reporters, saying, “They’ll put a man on the moon before Gaylord Perry hits a home run.” That year, on July 20, Neil Armstrong was the first man to put a foot on the moon. 20 minutes later, Perry hit the first homerun of his career.

4. Cruelty to Animals

Hall of Famer David Winfield was playing for the Yankees in 1983 when they played an exhibition game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Toronto. While warming up, he threw a ball that hit and killed a seagull. The crowd was enraged and threw both things and obscenities at him.

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After the game, Winfield was arrested by the Toronto police and charged with animal cruelty. He posted bond, and the charges were dropped the next day. The relationship did not end there.

In an attempt to make amends, Winfield then donated two paintings to Toronto’s Easter Seals campaign, which brought in $60,000. That helped.

Every time Winfield appeared in Toronto after the seagull incident, stadium goers would flap their arms at him. That ended in 1992 when he joined the Blue Jays.

5. Fantasy Baseball in The Front Office

The history of sports games goes way back – game boards with dice, actually. From there, fantasy games moved to arcades. Ultimately, sports hit the computer gaming industry, and ultimately, today, online baseball games are amazingly accurate representations of what really occurs on a field.

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6. One Inning – Three Home Plate Outs

Jack McCarthy was an outfielder for the Chicago Cubs in 1905. The game was not going well, and he was frustrated that no team member seemed to be able to throw an out at home plate.

From the outfield, McCarthy decided to throw for the home late outs rather than to other bases. He managed to throw three home plate outs in one inning, a feat that has never been duplicated.

7. From Baseball to Espionage

Moe Berg never distinguished himself on the field. Between 1923 and 1939, he played catcher for a number of major-league teams, but primarily as a relief catcher. He couldn’t hit well either. But Berg, who had been educated at Princeton, Columbia and the Sorbonne, spoke 12 languages. He was recruited by the OSS (Office of Strategic Services) as a spy during World War II. In his later years, he became a bit of a nomad and was a frequent guest of people like Joe DiMaggio and Albert Einstein. He is the only baseball player to have a picture on the wall at CIA headquarters.

8. Charlie Sheen Buys a Section

In 1996, Charlie Sheen spent $6,537.50 to buy an entire section of seats at Anaheim Stadium for a Tigers-Angels game. Why? He wanted to catch a home run ball, preferably from Cecil Fielder who was a pretty amazing hitter in those days. He and two friends sat in the empty section through the whole game. Unfortunately, no homerun was hit that day.

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9. Losing But Winning

Bobby Richardson played for the Yankees from 1955 – 1966. He was a solid infielder and a bit of a clutch hitter. In the 1960 World Series against the Pirates, New Yorkers were already calling the Yankees the World Champions.  Alas, their predictions proved false. Bill Mazeroski hit a home run for the Pirates. Richardson, however, had an amazing day driving in 12 runs, including hitting a grand slam.

Richardson received the MVP award for the World Series – the only player to win the award being on the losing team. And no one contested it – perhaps because baseball players are willing to recognize one another’s achievements, no matter what team they are on.

10. Biggest Trade Ever

The year was 1957, and it was late in the season. The Dodgers were preparing to move to California, unbeknownst to their fans. The Cubs were staying put, of course. But both teams were looking for new blood on their farm teams. The two teams swapped their entire farm teams, making this the largest trade ever – 25 from each team.

11. There Are 9 Ways to Get to First Base

Yes, that’s right. There are nine ways for a batter to get there. Here they are:

  • Hit a single
  • 4 Balls (Walk)
  • Fielder’s choice
  • Get hit by the pitch
  • Fielding error
  • Catcher drops third strike
  • Fielder interferes or obstructs
  • A ball is batted and hits another runner before touched by a fielder.

There are also some other interesting situations in which managers are allowed to make choices about which runner should be out.

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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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