Ah, spring. That time of year when the umpire screams “play ball!” and everyone buys their hot dogs and popcorn and basks in the sunshine. This year, it’s also the time when people have to shovel out their cars to get to the baseball stadium and wear wool hats and gloves while holding those hot dogs and popcorn.
It snowed in many areas of the country this first week of baseball season. I had to shovel three times in one day because it just wouldn’t stop snowing. The Boston Red Sox, who I’m mentioning because they’re my team, actually had their first game of the season postponed, not because of rain but because of cold temperatures. The game was played the next day, and the Sox beat Cleveland 6-2.
To help you get into a baseball frame of mind, even if there might be a chill in the air and white on the ground, here’s a gallery of classic Saturday Evening Post baseball covers, this collection of vintage baseball ads, and my take on why we shouldn’t change the game. And don’t forget to get our special baseball collector’s issue.
Here’s the full schedule for every MLB game that will be played this season. It’s okay to be excited about baseball — just make sure you don’t put away the shovels and ice melt yet.
Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!
The robot from Lost in Space survived a lot of ordeals during the show’s three-season run: the scheming of Dr. Smith, various attempts by aliens to control it, and that weird episode where he and the Robinson family were captured by a big carrot.
Now the robot has escaped a real-life danger. A garage in Los Angeles where the robot was being stored with other TV and movie props caught on fire. I’m glad the fire didn’t spread, but there’s something funny about the picture in that article, with all the firemen on top of the garage while the headless robot from Lost in Space stands in the foreground.
If you’re wondering why the robot just didn’t run out of the burning garage on his own, if you ever watched Lost in Space you’ll remember that moving fast wasn’t one of the robot’s strong suits.
“It’s a Trap!”
Erik Bauersfeld had a long, distinguished career in radio, but he’s probably best known to general audiences for three words he spoke in Return of the Jedi:
Bauersfeld passed away last Sunday at his home in Berkeley, California. He was 93. He also did the voice of Ackbar in last year’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Merle Haggard passed away this week too, on Wednesday, which just happened to be his 79th birthday. (It’s always surprising when someone dies on their birthday, and it makes for an odd tombstone.) He was a colorful country music star, not just singing about hard times and prison but actually serving time, too, for three years after being convicted of burglary in 1957. He was still touring right up until his death, having to cancel several recent concerts because of health problems.
Internet Is Now internet
Finally, the Associated Press is catching up to everyone who uses the internet.
If you’re like me, you hated to capitalize the word internet. It wasn’t something that people did many years ago, but somewhere along the line, it became the right thing to do. It never looked right to me — or maybe it was the simple fact that I just got used to doing something a certain way and didn’t want to do it the “right” way — so I always used the small i.
Now it looks like we can officially use that lowercase letter, because the Associated Press has ruled that we can use that small i and not lose any sleep over it. We can also use web instead of Web.
The change doesn’t officially take effect until June 1, when the AP publishes the 2016 edition of its stylebook. Of course, individual publications can still make up their own minds, so I’m going to wait and see what my editor here has to say about the subject. My spell-checker still tells me I’m wrong.
And the Jeopardy! Power Players Are …
Some people like to watch celebrities mambo and waltz on their TV screens, and some like to watch celebrities answer in the form of a question. I’m in the latter camp.
Jeopardy! has announced the names of the celebrities who will take part in its Power Players Week. Not to over-hype it, but it really does seem like one of the best celebrity tournaments they’ve had. Competing will be comedian Louis C.K.; writer and internet-hater (and Internet-hater) Jonathan Franzen; Meet The Press host Chuck Todd; former Meet The Press host David Gregory; CNN hosts Anderson Cooper and Kate Bouldan; CNN political commentators S.E. Cupp and Ana Navarro; Minnesota Senator Al Franken; CBS’s Lara Logan; Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner; The Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart; MSNBC’s Michael Steele; ABC senior legal correspondent Sunny Hostin; and Melissa Harris-Perry, who just famously left MSNBC in a very controversial and public way.
The episodes will tape next week and will air the week of May 16-20. I don’t know which celebrities will face off against each other, but they have to pit Todd against Gregory in the same game, right?
De Plane, De Plane For Sale
In other TV prop news, the airplane seen at the beginning of Fantasy Island — in the scene where Tattoo points and yells, “De plane, de plane!” — is for sale. If you’re actually thinking about buying it, you might want to know what kind of plane it is. It’s a 1967 Grumman Widgeon G-44. It will be auctioned off April 14-15 at the Branson Convention Center in Branson, Missouri.
One thing you should know: After appearing on the show, the plane went through several different owners, one of whom used it to smuggle drugs.
What Is a Selfie?
The answer to this question should be selfie-evident: A selfie is a picture of yourself that you take yourself. That’s all there is to it, right? Not to some people, including Fusion news director Kevin Roose:
For the record: a selfie is a photograph of a person taken either by that person, or at that person's request.
— Kevin Roose (@kevinroose) March 29, 2016
Okay, so by that logic, every single photograph that has ever been taken of someone is a selfie? I’m pretty sure those are just called, you know, photographs.
I wouldn’t usually call attention to the replies that a tweet gets, but the ones on the above tweet are worth clicking on and checking out. Not many people agree with Roose, and they give many examples of why he’s wrong (and for the record, Roose is indeed massively wrong).
I say that the word self in selfie is a big clue to what a selfie is, and you can’t just come along and start to expand the meaning of a word whose meaning is obvious. This is a good example of why you shouldn’t post anything on social media before thinking it through first. Actually, maybe it’s a good example of why you shouldn’t post anything on social media. End of sentence.
April Is National BLT Sandwich Month
I don’t know if I’ve ever referred to a BLT as a “BLT sandwich” before. I mean, it’s not like anyone could refer to a BLT as anything else but a sandwich, like a BLT ice cream sundae or BLT shake.
Here’s the recipe for a “classic” BLT, which of course combines bacon, lettuce, and tomato on white bread with mayonnaise. If you’re looking for something a little less classic and a little more adventurous, Serious Eats has several twists on the BLT, including one made with waffles and one called “animal style,” which adds ketchup, mustard, pickles, and onion.
Oh, and if you’re wondering, yes, there is such a thing as a bacon milkshake. You can leave the lettuce and tomato on the side.
Upcoming Events and Anniversaries
Apollo 13 takes off (April 11, 1970)
The crew was put in danger after an oxygen tank exploded, but they safely splashed down in the Pacific six days later.
Civil War begins (April 12, 1861)
The Saturday Evening Post has been around so long that we actually covered the war while it was going on.
First man in space (April 12, 1961)
His name was Yuri Gagarin, and he completed an orbit around the Earth in the Russian spacecraft Vostok.
Butch Cassidy born (April 13, 1866)
Titanic hits iceberg (April 14, 1912)
Here’s how The Saturday Evening Post covered the tragedy that took over 1,500 lives.
President Abraham Lincoln dies (April 15, 1865)
What did Lincoln hide from the public?
To celebrate the start of another baseball season, we’re offering several galleries of vintage baseball-themed ads.
Our first gallery offers early advertisements for baseball equipment and uniforms.
The Ingersoll store in New York was founded by Robert J. Ingersoll, who got his start selling watches, which included the popular $1.00 watch. Note that the uniform comes in three grades of quality, and that the catcher’s mitt at 50 cents is “serviceable,” but the $1.00 model is “a beauty.”
It seems improbable that boys would make good jewelry salesmen, but the Standard Jewelry company was betting they’d be desperate enough to sell 36 pieces of “art jewelry” to get a uniform. Despite the low, 10-cent price, the advertiser assured the boys these jewelry pieces were “no trash.”
Even The Saturday Evening Post got into the uniform-premium game. During the first half of the 20th century, baseball equipment was a popular prize for boys and girls who sold the Post door-to-door. (We still hear from former Post-boys and Post-girls who got their start in business by selling our magazine long ago.)
A.J. Reach was one of the first people paid to play baseball professionally. In addition to holding a position with the Philadelphia Athletic Baseball Club, he ran a tobacco shop and hand-stitched baseballs. By the late 1800s, his company also began manufacturing baseball gloves. Reach became so prosperous that, upon his retirement, he started his own ball club, the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Draper & Maynard Company started as glove manufacturers. But in the late 1890s, a player on the Providence Grays broke two fingers in a baseball game. He fashioned a protective glove for his hand using a model developed for teamsters. From that start, the company launched a famous line of sporting goods.
The promise that a D&M baseball would last nine innings “without ripping or losing its shape” says something about the quality of baseballs in those days.
Wilson Sporting Goods began as a company that used slaughterhouse byproducts to make tennis-racket strings and baseball shoes. When Thomas E. Wilson took over the company in 1915, he branched into the baseball uniform business before expanding into making equipment for nearly every other sport.
Major-league umpires have it easy today. They’re allowed to wear lightweight, casual shirts and pants. In the old days, they had to wear a dark blue serge suit, complete with coat and hat (in addition to a mask and chest protector), in the summer sun. The Middishade Clothing Factory was making suits until 1986, long after umpires began wearing a more reasonable uniform.
When U.S. Rubber introduced a line of rubber-soled athletic shoes in 1916, it intended to call them Peds (Latin for “foot”). Fortunately, that name was already in use, so the company decided on Keds. This ad is a good illustration of how much has changed in running shoes. It also shows how much has changed in promotional contests for kids. What sporting-goods company today would promote an essay-writing contest? And give 50 wire-haired fox terriers as prizes?