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Baseball Is In Hiatus: But We Don’t Have To Be - Part 2

Sheffield Lake, OH- So, what is next? Where does it go from here? As the calendar hits March the official word from Major League Baseball and the MLBPA dictates that the first two series of the season will be cancelled and both sides are prepared to continue negotiations.

A decision that is bad for fans, bad for players and bad for all the clubs.

There really isn’t much to say that hasn’t been said. Matters of finance are better left to those who have it. We can only hope upon hope that for once both parties can agree that the people who love this game are the ones getting hurt the most.. the fans.

That being said, in my last article I took a look back at one of the iconic venues in baseball history, League Park in Cleveland. Tonight I continue the nostalgic look back at Crosley Field, one of the National League’s oldest and most historic venues.

The stadium was first named Redland Field in reference to the team name Redlegs and color, and was built for $225,000 and was one of three classic steel and concrete parks constructed in that era. Wrigley Field and Fenway Park being the others. Those two are still in use today.

Throughout it’s history, it was among the smallest parks in the major leagues with a seating capacity of 25,000 fans. Even at it’s peak it barely exceeded 30,000 and that included World Series games.

The Redlegs’ inaugural game at the new park was April,11 1912, a 10-6 come from behind victory over the Chicago Cubs. The Reds success was mostly sparse at best in those early years at Redland Field but they did win the NL pennant in 1919, and went on to upset the Chicago White Sox in the World Series.

That win was tainted by the fact made public a year later by what we now call “The Black Sox Scandal” where 8 White Sox players were banned from baseball forever for throwing the series in exchange for money.

The Reds gradually returned to mediocrity and attendance flagged.

In 1934, local businessmen Powel Crosley Jr. purchased the struggling franchise and the team President thought it was fitting to rename the team after the man who saved the franchise, thus the park was renamed Crosley Field.

On Friday May 24, 1935, the Reds hosted the Philadelphia Phillies in what was the very first night game in major league history.

In 1938, Crosley Field hosted Cincinnati’s first All Star Game. In 1939 they lost to the powerful New York Yankees in a four game World Series sweep, but the next year in 1940 they defeated Detroit in a seven game thriller.

Crosley Field was known as a hitter friendly park, though it was less so in its early years when the fences were farther. The first over the fence home run ever hit at Crosley was by a man named Pat Duncan in 1921, 9 years after the stadium opened.

Ernie Lombardi one hit a home run that landed in a truck that was traveling beyond the left field fence. The truck carried the ball for 30 miles. Writers facetiously called this the longest home run in history!!

Socially meaningful hashtags are not baseball. An eternally extended middle finger to the entirety of the fan bases is not baseball. Sizing resources to payroll or payroll to resources or whatever eternal winter of non playoff we’re currently relegated to, is not baseball.

But looking back and regaining a little of what was once good, what was once a moment in time, that’s baseball.

MLB doesn’t care how long we wait because they know we’ll come back. Of course we will. We want out of this echoey grey existence, we just want baseball, and Major League Baseball knows we want baseball... so what is next?

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