Posts filed under ‘Sports’
By Chad Upton | Editor
The modern Olympics are all about athletics, but from 1912 to 1948 they also included competitions in art and science.
The main categories were as follows:
Some of the events included “town planning”, “Epic works” (long poems), “Drawings and water colors”, “Medals”. Yes, medals were given out for creating the best medals. (more…)
By Chad Upton | Editor
A gold medal has been awarded to the top Olympic athlete in an event since the 1904 St. Louis Summer Olympics. Although this tradition has stuck, many things have changed since the St. Louis games.
I hadn’t planned on writing much about the St. Louis Olympics, but some of the research proved too bizarre to hold back. For starters, the games were supposed to be in Chicago; but, the World Fair organizers in St. Louis promised to hold their own sporting event that would eclipse the Olympic games, unless they were awarded the games. So, the games were awarded to St. Louis.
During the marathon, Frederick Lorz dropped out of the race after nine miles and rode a car back to the start/finish to collect his clothes. But, the car broke down so he had to run the rest of the way. Officials thought he was the first to finish and he went along with it, but was later caught and banned for a year. The following year, he did win the Boston Marathon fair and square.
The actual winner of the marathon, Thomas Hicks, had a bit of help from his trainers who gave him a mix of brandy and strychnine sulfate — a poison which isn’t lethal in small doses and “stimulates” the nervous system. A postman from Cuba, Felix Carbajal, also ran in the marathon. He he snacked on rotten apples in an orchard, took a nap and then finished in fourth place. (more…)
By Chad Upton | Editor
The term hat-trick is used in many sports to describe the act of performing three scoring moves in a game.
Although the term is more widely used in some sports than others, the term was first used in cricket, when HH Stephenson took three wickets in three balls in 1858 and was awarded a free hat.
In cricket, it’s considered a hat-trick when one bowler dismisses three batsmen in three consecutive tries. Besides cricket, the term is popular in football (soccer) and hockey too. In football and hockey, the three goals can be made at any point in the game by the same player, they need not be consecutive.
There are a few different accounts about how this term originated in hockey. The Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto only recognizes one as the official story.
In 1946, Alex Kaleta, a Chicago Black Hawks forward entered a local shop to buy a new hat. It turned out he didn’t have enough money. The shop owner, Sammy Taft, made him a deal — if he scored three goals against the Toronto Maple Leafs that night, he could have the hat for free. Kaleta earned that hat by scoring four goals in that game. In hockey, hometeam fans often celebrate a hat-trick by throwing their own hats onto the ice.
Another legend states that it takes a bit of magic for one person to pull off three scoring actions and therefore, they are doing the equivalent of pulling a rabbit out of a magician’s hat.
The hat-trick concept also exists in bowling, although it’s called a “Turkey” in that case. That term dates back to a time when bowling alleys would present live turkeys to those who scored three consecutive strikes during Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Image: David Kelleher (cc)
By Kaye Nemec
It’s the top of the 6th inning in the Milwaukee Brewers vs. Washington Nationals baseball game and the TV announcers just provided me, and the rest of the at-home audience, with an interesting fact. According to the Brewer’s equipment manager, 6 dozen brand new baseballs are prepared before each home game. Some games an additional 2 or 3 dozen balls will be used before the final out.
And that got me researching…
On average, Major League Baseball teams go through 900,000 baseballs each season. Any time a ball is thrown in the dirt, dinged by a bat or scuffed up, it is taken out of the game and of course, all homerun and foul balls go home with a lucky fan. Thousands of additional balls are tossed into the stands by generous players.
In order to prevent teams from having to travel with dozens of balls, equipment managers have agreed that the home team will provide the away team with 6 dozen balls before each game. Individual teams are still responsible for providing their own batting practice balls – which is usually 14 or 15 dozen balls, some of which are brand new and some that have been used in a game.
Some used balls are also sent to minor league teams to use for practice. Thankfully 900,000 balls are not simply thrown out each year. However, some would argue they are still a complete waste given the price tag. If you calculate in tax and shipping, the average cost of a dozen baseballs is $72.00. That means the MLB is spending around $5.5 million dollars each season on baseballs alone.
Photo: Paul Hadsall
By Chad Upton | Editor
The earliest known reference to “baseball” comes from a 1744 British publication called, “A Little Pretty Pocket-Book” by John Newbery. At the time, the field was triangular and used poles instead of bases. This game was brought to America sometime before 1791, when the first American reference is found in a town bylaw for Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
Of course, the game has changed a lot since then. The infield is has gome from triangular to “diamond” (square) shaped. Home base was originally a round metal plate, which is why it is often called “home plate.” Home plate became a square shape in the 1870s, making it jus t like the rest of the bases.
The rear point of home plate sat at the intersection of the baselines from first and third bases. Although this point never changed, in the year 1900, home plated went from four sides to five.
The front of the base was squared in relation to the pitcher. This was done to make it easier for the pitcher to see the left and right edges of the base. When the base was a square, there was only a small point on each side, which was difficult to see and could easily be covered with dirt. Having a long edge rather than a small point also makes it easier for the umpire to see if the ball passes over the base and make an appropriate call.
The official Major League Baseball rulebook specifies the dimensions for home plate. They say it should be a 12 inch square with two corners filled in so one edge (facing the pitcher) is 17 inches. It also specifies that the two sides should be 8.5 inches. That sounds good on paper, but that is an impossible shape to create — according to Pythagorean theorem. If the 12 inch sides are supposed to be at a right angle to each other, then the hypotenuse would be 17 inches according to the rulebook. Mathematically, the hypotenuse would have to be 16.9 inches.
Some would say it’s a small difference, but it’s actually a large difference in modern day manufacturing tolerances. Either way, the point stands: nobody can create a home plate with the exact specifications set in the rulebook.
Photo: JC Derr (cc / graphics overlaid)