Youngest Reporter In Cooperstown Loved Getting Interviews With Legendary Stars

ALSO: SEINFELD PODCAST FEATURES MANY BASEBALL REFERENCES

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Pregame Pepper

Did You Know?

Seattle fans can kiss slugger Kyle Seager goodbye after the prospective free agent revealed he hasn’t spoken to Mariners GM Jerry DiPoto “in several years” . . .

Max Fried’s 38 wins over the last three years are the most by any left-handed pitcher in the majors . . .

If Dave Roberts doesn’t trust the defense of hastily-converted centerfielder Gavin Lux, he should have him switch positions with second baseman Trea Turner, who spent plenty of time in center during his tenure with the Washington Nationals . . .

Turner, traded to Los Angeles in July, led the National League in batting, hits, stolen bases, average against left-handed pitching, multi-hit games, infield hits, and total bases . . .

The last Dodger to win a batting title was Tommy Davis, who led the NL in 1962 and 1963 . . .

The Braves have won the most consecutive division titles (14), topping the Yankees (9) and Dodgers (8) . . .

L.A. has made the Championship Series five times in the last six seasons.

Leading Off

Experience of a Lifetime: What it was like to Cover the 2021 Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies

By Anna Laible

When I found out I would be one of 10 kids in the country to write for Sports Illustrated Kids, I would have never imagined that it would have resulted in the opportunities that I have had over the past two years. Writing and interviewing gave me the chance to do what I love, and it showed me that this is what I was meant to do.

This gave me the confidence to start my own sports podcast, Speak Up Sports, this March during COVID to continue to improve my interviewing skills, amidst not being in-person for any sporting events. I started my podcast, never imagining that the first event I would cover would be the MLB Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Cooperstown, New York last month.

I hardly have words for what the day was like. Being the only kid reporter there, I treasured every moment. Because of COVID, the 2020 inductees had to wait more than a year extra to have their ceremony to celebrate their incredible honor. The four inductees included Derek Jeter, Larry Walker, Ted Simmons, and the late Marvin Miller.

I had the opportunity to interview Walker on a zoom press conference prior to the actual ceremony. On September 8th, I was able to talk with former Yankees great Jorge Posada, Players Association executive directo Tony Clark, and best of all, new Hall of Famer Derek Jeter.

As a reporter, you always dream of talking with the all-time greats in pro sports one day, but I didn’t think it could happen when I was only 16!

Derek, a five-time World Series champion and 14-time All-Star — among his many accomplishments — was the star of the show as he was a first-ballot inductee, receiving 99.9% of the votes. I wanted to ask Derek what the day was like for him, with thousands of Yankees fans cheering him on in-person.

“It was very special,” he said. “This is the epitome of any athlete’s career. I think what makes it most special is sharing the moment with family and friends. I think that is what stands out the most for me.”

After finishing up with all of the interviews, I went to the Hall of Fame museum to watch the new Hall of Famers’ plaques installed. It was so cool watching these people become enshrined in the hall live — especially Larry Walker’s father, who asked permission to screw in his son’s plaque.

I can’t wait to continue to do what I love, and I hope to make a difference as a female voice in sports. Here is a link to my podcast that is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and more:

Anna Laible is a 16-year-old writer and reporter for Sports Illustrated Kids and is also the host of the Speak Up Sports Podcast. E.mail her via alaible20@aol.com.

Cleaning Up

Seinfeld Was Filled With Baseball References

By Dan Schlossberg

As someone who loves baseball and loves Seinfeld, I couldn’t help myself when David Krell, head of the New Jersey SABR chapter, offered a Zoom meeting featuring the creator of This Podcast is Making Me Thirsty.

Like me, Jerry Seinfeld loves baseball; a lifelong Mets fan, he even has a box at CitiField and attends games whenever he can. I even ran into him in the press elevator before a game.

Both Seinfeld and Larry David, co-creator of the hit Seinfeld series, sprinkled baseball references throughout the show, which ran on NBC for nine seasons.

Here are just a few of the ones shared by podcast host Tony Ciulla during the Zoom call:

• Elaine wears an Orioles hat to a Yankees game, sits in George Steinbrenner’s box, and is summarily ejected from the ballpark

• Jerry doesn’t think twice about talking baseball with a naked guy in the subway even though the rest of the commuters in the car are cowering in the corner

• Kramer slugs Mickey Mantle in the face during a Yankees fantasy camp game

• In the second scene of the very first episode, Jerry answers the phone by saying, “If you know what happened in the Mets game, don’t tell me – I taped it.”

• Jerry meets Keith Hernandez, then gets jealous when Keith wants to date Elaine

• In another episode, a takeoff on the Kennedy Assassination Magic Bullet theory, Newman and Kramer spit on Hernandez and Roger McDowell as the leave the park in a game the Mets lost on a Hernandez error (Newman famously says, “Nice game, pretty boy”)

• George is hired by the Yankees as assistant traveling secretary, where he has frequent encounters with a boss named “Mr. Wilhelm” (after Hoyt Wilhelm) as well as a stocky executive supposed to be Steinbrenner

• George builds a bed under his desk, sets an alarm and crows “Lunch time” when it rings

• Entrusted with getting everyone in the front office to sign a birthday card for Steinbrenner, George misses someone before the card is sealed in a glass frame

• George outfits the Yankees in polyester uniforms, gives hitting lessons to Danny Tartabull, and tells Jerry he’d like to become general manager so he can make trades

• In their Central Park softball game, George bowls over Bette Midler in a home-plate collision that forces his understudy to take her part in a Broadway show

• In “The Pony Remark,” an episode that won an Emmy, Jerry upsets cousin Manya after she says she had a pony growing up in Poland, then tries to get out of attending her funeral because it conflicts with an important softball game (fortunately rained out)

• When George leaves the car in the stadium parking lot for several days, Steinbrenner assumes he is dead, goes to tell his parents, and immediately gets criticized by Frank Costanza for trading Jay Buhner (“My guys told me to get Ken Phelps,” he replies)

Billed as “the show about nothing,” Seinfeld made its debut on July 5, 1989 as a summer replacement but soon rocketed the top of the national charts.

In addition to Jerry Seinfeld, who played himself as a standup comedian, the primary actors were Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Elaine), Jason Alexander (George), and Michael Richards (Kramer).

The current Curb Your Enthusiasm, which returns to the HBO lineup this Sunday with a new season, stars Larry David as a bumbling, self-centered television executive who is also a rabid baseball fan (David was the real-life inspiration for the George Costanza character on Seinfeld, while comic Kenny Kramer was the inspiration for the crazy nosy neighbor Cosmo Kramer).

In one episode of Curb, David obtains two tickets to a Dodgers game but sees an enormous traffic jam before he gets onto the freeway. So he picks up a hooker and tells her he wants her to go to ballpark with him. After the flamboyant woman agrees, he tries to quiet her down in the stands after he witnesses two members of the membership committee from the golf club he’s trying to join.

Like the movie Fever Pitch, the baseball scenes in Seinfeld can apply to any team. In real life, Jerry is a Mets fan, while Larry roots for the Yankees.

The main audience for Seinfeld is males aged 35-60, though it seems the show’s appeal stretched to all ages and backgrounds.

Even J. Peterman, played by John O’Herlihy, is a baseball fan in the show.

Former AP sports editor Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ writes baseball for forbes.com, Latino Sports, Ball Nine, Sports Collectors Digest, and USA TOAY Sports Weekly. His e.mail is ballauthor@gmail.com.

Timeless Trivia

Albert Pujols, at 41 years and 268 days of age, is the oldest man with a multi-hit game in post-season play since Julio Franco, 45 years and 42 days, did it in 2003 . . .

The best homer-hitting teams in the NL this season were San Francisco (241), Atlanta (239), and Los Angeles (237) . . .

Although the Dodgers had 20 different starting pitchers in 2021, they led the majors in ERA (2.93), WHIP (1.03), and both opponents’ average (2.09) and on-base percentage (.265), while placing third in yielding 1.09 home runs per nine innings . . .

The Dodger troika of Max Scherzer, Walker Buehler, and Julio Urias went 43-7 with a 2.59 ERA and became the second trio of teammates, after the 1927 Yankees, to have the top three pitchers in winning percentage in a season . . .

Urias finished at .870, Buehler .800, and Scherzer .789 after escaping Washington . . .

With his third 100-win season, Dodger manager Dave Roberts bested Hall of Famers Walter Alston and Leo Durocher.


Know Your Editors

HERE’S THE PITCH is published daily except Sundays and holidays. Brian Harl [bchrom831@gmail.com] handles Monday and Tuesday editions, Elizabeth Muratore [nymfan97@gmail.com] does Wednesday and Thursday, and Dan Schlossberg [ballauthor@gmail.com] edits the weekend editions on Friday and Saturday. Readers are encouraged to contribute comments, articles, and letters to the editor. HTP reserves the right to edit for brevity, clarity, and good taste.

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