Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A PNC Park Perspective



By my count, Pittsburgh's PNC Park is the 14th major league ball park I have visited.  Some are no longer in use.  Others have changed names more than once.  So I list those ball parks that I I have visited over the years, and some of the names have changed...and frankly, I don't care what the correct name is today.  They include: Dodger Stadium, Angel Stadium, San Diego's Jack Murphy Stadium, San Diego Petco Park, Oakland Alameda Coliseum, San Francisco's Candlestink Park and AT&T Park, Denver's Coors Field, Phoenix's Chase Field, Houston's Minute Maid Park, Miami's Marlins Park, New York's Shea Stadium and Boston's Fenway Park.


Nestled on the banks of the Aleghany River, The Roberto Clemente Bridge serves as a walkway for thousands of Pirate fans to arrive at PNC Park from downtown Pittsburgh.

Now living in DC, a trip to Nationals Park and Baltimore's Camden Yards will happen shortly.  There's also Philly and New York nearby, so another five years should be knocked off my bucket list within the next year.

Dan Haren didn't have good stuff from the get-go as Pittsburgh plated 4 runs in the first inning.

No need to discuss the misery of tonight's loss and the Dodger's dropping two games back in the standings.  The ball club is having its problems.  Though all can be quickly remedied with a sweep in San Francisco.  Dan Haren looked lost out there for three innings and there went tonight's game.


PNC Park is quite stunning.  Picturesque and perched on the Aleghany River.  It combines amazing scenery with a quaint and cozy park that is close to the action, providing a lot of great seats.  

Part of the charm of the Stargell and Clemente statues were the families that were stopping and posing with them.

Of course, the statues of Stargell and Clemente add to the mystique of this magical place.

So here are a bunch more photos I took tonight.   There isn't much to write, so here's hoping that these shots provide a better perspective of the place.

Kershaw signing pre-game

Jon SooHoo and Laz Diaz exchange pleasantries.
Amazing sky as batting cage goes down.
Was that building on the right the skyscraper from the original Ghostbusters movie?
Yasiel back in action.  He drew a walk in the 8th and finished up in Centerfield.



Pirate fans in celebratory mood as they cross the bridge after Pirates 6-1 win.



Thursday, July 17, 2014

With Sixty Percent of Season Gone, Some Predictions on How the It Will End

With MLB play about to resume after the All Star break, the Dodgers have played ninety-seven games, which comes out to be 60% of the season.  They have the best record in the National League, by the skin of their teeth.  Yet they’re also a mere 2.5 games from not making the playoffs as well.  The post season picture is that close, with no true dominant team in the National League.
Photo by Jon SooHoo, LA Dodgers, (courtesy of Dodgersphotoblog.mlblogs.com)

One bad week and they can be out of the playoff picture.  One 7 game winning streak and they could take a commanding lead.  The volatility of the league is quite fluid.  As of now there are nineteen teams still in playoff contention in MLB, meaning that trade partners should be limited when the deadline hits in about two weeks.

So there are two ways to look at the Dodger season so far, and I’ll pick the glass half full option.  The ball club hasn’t hit it’s stride yet.  Not even reaching a 4 game winning streak all season.  Guys like Kemp, Ethier, Gonzalez, Ramirez, Ellis, and Wilson are underperforming, and they’re still in first place.   At least some of those guys are bound to improve.  

Then there is the pithing, it’s too good.  They have the best starting staff in the league.  Whether it is Kershaw, Grinke, Beckett or Ryu, those guys are putting up quality start after quality start.  Everyone but Haren is hitting their stride and even he has had his positive moments this year.  The bullpen has improved and is holding its own.  Jansen is coming back. Howell has been spectacular.  League is back to where he was two years ago.

Their play on the road - stellar.  Which means that their home field play is bound to get better (as it has for the past month).  Their play within the NL West is markedly improved from last year (28-18) and there is a lot of inter-division play left.  Though they start play against competition that is pretty tough for the remainder of July, take a look at their September schedule.  The only ball club over .500 they will be playing will be the Giants.  It’ll be the rest of the NL West and the lowly Cubs in September during that 30 game stretch run at the end.

Photo by Jon SooHoo, LA Dodgers, (courtesy of Dodgersphotoblog.mlblogs.com)

Even if the Dodgers find themselves a few games back going into September, they’ll still be in good position to win the division with that cupcake schedule at the end.  So I say 2014 is looking good for the Dodgers.  There's room for improvement.  There are players that will pick up the pace.  The late season schedule is favorable and they are bound to play better baseball at home.

Here are a few of my mid-season predictions addressing how the season will end.

  1. The Dodgers end the season at 95-67, leaving the Giants a full 6 games behind to take the NL West.  I still think the Giants are a wildcard team though.
  2. Clayton Kershaw ends the season with a 20-5 record and an ERA of 2.02 as he wins his third Cy Young Award.  He’ll strikeout less than 200 for the first time in a wile, but that's good as he'll be stringers in post season play because of it. 
  3. Yasiel Puig finishes right at .300 with 24 homers and .945 OPS.  He is awarded a gold glove award.
  4. Zack Greinke finishes at 20-12, making the Dodgers the first team in a while to sport two 20 game winners.  His ERA of 2.94 will end up being the third lowest of the starting staff though because Josh Beckett’s 2.64 ERA will come up in second behind Kershaw.  Beckett will finish with 14 wins and will be a solid third option pitching in the post-season.
  5. Dee Gordon completes 2014 leading the league in stolen bases with 79, while being caught 19 times.  He keeps his on-base % up around .345 and he’ll score close to 100 runs on the year.
  6. AJ Ellis lifts his batting average 40 points to finish the year at .254.  We’ll find that his time sitting earlier in the season was a blessing in disguise as he is well rested and he proves to be a significant surprise contributor in the final month of the season.
  7. Matt Kemp continues to improve and finds additional pop in his bat, hitting 13 homers in the final 65 games, finishing with 21 dingers.  His bat heats up for a stretch and he carries the club for several games, giving us all glimpses of the Matt Kemp pre-shoulder surgery.
  8. Adrian Gonzalez struggles through his toughest season in years, failing to adequately adjust to those defensive shifts against him.  He still drives in runs and hits 25 homers on the year, but that usual BA in the .300 range settles for .260 this year.
  9. With the 95 win season, the Dodgers clinch home field advantage in post season play.  They take wild card winner San Francisco in the first round, and then face nemesis St. Louis in the NLCS, but this time they dominate and take the series in five games.  The World Series will be against Oakland.  Dodgers win it in 6 games.
Feel free to jump in and comment with your predictions.  It's going to be a fun two and a half months.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

It's a Cruel, Cruel Game

Today's announcement that Carl Crawford has been reinstated to the Dodger major league roster and as a result, Clint Robinson has been designated for assignment is proof again that baseball is right up there as one of the cruelest sports.

Robinson has done everything asked of him.  A remarkable spring training.  A game winning RBI in his forth  Dodger at bat, providing the lone run in the Dodgers 1-0 win over Cleveland on June 30th. Five days later he had another key pinch hit RBI against Colorado.  He was hitting .333 over 9 at bats.  Clint is caught up in a numbers game, and as a result, he finds himself sitting for ten days, perhaps claimed by another club, or remaining unclaimed and returning to Albuquerque by the Dodgers.
Clint Robinson singles in the game winning run against Cleveland on June 30th, in the Dodgers 1-0 win. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

This 29-year old rookie has paid his minor league dues with 3,670 plate appearances over eight  seasons, and he's certainly is deserving of a roster spot.  He has always hit, as his .302 career minor league average and .380 OBP attest to.  He hits the ball out of the park, with 137 minor league homers to his credit.  Certainly there should be a place for this young man in the organization.

It's just a shame that he's now gone.  He was one of the feel good stories of the season in my opinion.  A tireless worker and a man that we would hope would get a chance to prove himself, even in the tough role as a pinch hitter and backup to Adrian Gonzalez.  He accepted his plight and he performed in the few opportunities in which he appeared

There's no easy answer to his situation.  But it's unfair.  He got that taste of the show.  A few nights in the 5 star hotels.  An experience of the per diem and the major-league spreads.  There was the taste of a major league pennant race and then an experience of the camaraderie with the stars of the era and then "poof," it's over.

I got a kick out of reading the story that Robinson was invited out to dinner with Kemp and a few other players and he was sweating out the steak dinner bill that would possibly come his way, because his wife would be upset if he had to shell out the cash for such a meal.  To his relief, Matt picked up the tab.  

It's a sad plight for the border-line guys, trying with all their might to make it to the show.  As a prospect with a top tier team like Los Angeles, the chances of landing a 25 man roster spot are even more difficult.  If Clint gets snatched up by another major league club, I say "good for him."  He deserves that opportunity to earn a living and make the big money to support his family.  If he isn't picked up and the Dodgers are able to keep him in the organization, then "good for us," because Clint Robinson is a quality player and by all appearances I have seen...a good man too.

Good luck Clint.  You deserved a much better hand than what you were dealt.

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Iron Horse...His Farewell Speech, 75 Years Ago

If you haven't read it already, today marks the 75th anniversary of Lou Gehrig's "luckiest man on the face of the earth," speech.  It was truly an iconic moment in the history of sport and one that thankfully was recorded, registering every stirring word of that amazing speech.


As a kid, I think I saw the movie "Pride of the Yankees" at least ten times.  I remember it being the KTLA movie of the week a few times, which meant they replayed it about five times a week.  So I watched it every night.  It was a wonderful movie, but MGM stretched the truth in some cases and changed the order of Lou's speech for dramatic effect, having Gary Cooper finish with the famous words that we all know echoed through Yankee Stadium.

Today, while watching Dick Enberg announce the Padres-Giants game, he reported that every 90 seconds, someone succumbs to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), known most commonly as Lou Gehrig's disease.  Honestly I had no idea how prevalent ALS is.  That's a lot of people suffering from the disease.  Sadly, there hasn't been much headway in curing the disease.  What has progressed is determinations of the causes of it and ways to extend the life of sufferers of the illness.

A few years ago, HBO's Real Sports showed a compelling segment on ALS and the frequency of it's diagnosis with athletes that have suffered numerous head injuries.  Most notably there were a number of NFL players, that were dying from ALS, and evidence from brain scans led researchers to believe that their diagnosis was directly linked to the numerous concussions they suffered during their playing careers.

It was also discovered that Gehrig, in the course of setting his consecutive games streak, played through numerous concussions, probably directly attributing to the disease that took his life.    HBO Sports in their research determined that Gehrig suffered at least six head injuries, one of which was probably a fractured skull, but he played through it all.


ALS is the cruelest of diseases, as virtually every part of the body deteriorates except for the mind.  So in the final stages, the sufferer does so in complete silence and has no control over it.  With most dying from respiratory failure, unable to speak and their mind functioning completely.  The saddest part of ALS is that it often debilitates the strongest of athletes into shells of their former selves.

So the words of the great Lou Gehrig, ring of amazing courage, especially considering what he was going through at the time.  He was losing the ability to control his muscles.  His speech was slowing. The feeling in his hands and feet was disappearing.  Eventually he was confined to bed and a respirator.  Did he fully know what he was about to have to endure prior to his death?  That fact is known to very few, but recent stories addressing his final years seems to tell us that his deterioration wasn't as rapid as some thought.  Gehrig continued functioning in society for a few years after his 1939 retirement from baseball.

He faced his fate with undue courage and honor, continuing to live a post baseball life.  He accepted a job offered by New York Mayor LaGuardia as commissioner of the city parole board.  He got up and drove to work each day.  He made $5,700 a year in salary.  He even sent boxing great, Rocky Graziano, to reform school as he was a juvenile committing crimes in Gehrig's jurisdiction.

The closing words of Gehrig's 1939 speech were not that he was the "luckiest man on the face of the earth."  He actually started his speech saying that.  The conclusion of he stadium speech hinted that he planned on being with us for a while as he said "I may have been given a tough break, but I have an awful lot to live for."  Sadly the disease cut his life out from under him two years later.




Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Fastest Creep Back into a Race Since...Last Year

Standings 21 days ago, June 8, 2014:

San Francisco     41-21  .661   ---
Los Angeles        32-31  .508   9.5
Colorado             29-32  .475   11.5
San Diego           28-34  .452   13.0
Arizona               27-37  ..422  15.0

Panic was beginning to set in.  Mattingly had made his annual speech bashing the team's effort and lack of concern.  Adrian Gonzalez was quoted about questioning if the club had a comeback in them and a few players reiterated that the amazing run of 2013 (forty-two wins in fifty games) was historic and might never likely be repeated.  Matt Kemp stated that gaining one game a week in the standings would suffice allowing the Dodgers to catch up.

Three weeks later, that one game gained per week has turned out to be a little more than three.  The .840 winning percentage clip from 2013 will not be matched, but a .684 run in the last three weeks has been very respectable.  There are those that will say that the Giants are tanking it and handing the season to the Dodgers.  Maybe so, but there was no way they were going to continue playing near .700 ball all season and good teams don't panic.  This team hasn't done that and though they aren't world beaters yet, they are playing good ball.

Since June 8th, the Giants are playing at a .263 clip (photo by Ron Chenoy/Reuters)
Good teams capitalize on opportunities, and when the Giants started to fizzle, the Dodgers stepped up.  The Giant's June swoon isn't of epic proportions, (now 5-14 over the past three weeks), but it's notable.  And truth is, it won't continue, but a slump of some magnitude was bound to happen to them.

Good teams play well on the road.  The home record always seems to eventually be well above .500 for them, but the true test is on the road.  This Dodger team was playing well on the road from the get go, and that has continued.  In fact, the Dodgers 26-16 road record is the best in the National League and only a half game behind Oakland for the best in the majors.  Once they squared things at Dodger Stadium, it was only a matter of time that the Dodgers would be back near the top.

Good teams don't panic, even when they're slumping.  When the Dodgers hit rock bottom in early June and it appeared that they might even dip below .500, they knuckled up on the road and just kept winning series after series.  And that brings me to my next point.

Good teams aren't dependent on long winning streaks.  Yes, they help a lot, but churning out series wins and not pushing the panic button after losses are signs of a veteran team.  This Dodger club has not put together a winning streak of over three games all season.  To fans, this has been rather frustrating.  Then again, even after painful losses that would have put them over that 3-game win streak hump (i.e. the Jansen blown save in San Diego on June 20th), they have bounced back and continued to win series'.

Good teams beat up on their division and the inferior teams.  The exception to that rule was probably the 2013 Dodgers who played extremely well outside the Division (55-31, .640), and just below .500 within (37-39).  The tables have turned this year, as the Dodgers are taking it to the NL West with a 23-16 record, while going 23-21 against everyone else.

Good teams refuse to get buried when some of their star players aren't performing up to par.  That has been the case with the Dodgers, who have players such as Adrian Gonzalez slumping, and Hanley Ramirez injured.  Matt Kemp spent much of this season in the doldrums of a miserable start and Andre Ethier has not played well at all.  Combine that with A.J. Ellis' and Carl Crawford's injuries and the recipe for a disastrous season is in place.  Yet, contributions from unexpected sources such as Dee Gordon and Justin Turner have kept them afloat.
Zack Greinke picked up his 10th win is yesterday's 9-1 win over St. Louis. (photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/AP)
Good teams have solid pitching, and the Dodgers have that.  A case can be made for Kershaw, Greinke and Beckett to all make the all star team.  Though the bullpen has had its struggles, JP Howell has been lights out.  Brandon League has bounced back for the most part and Kenley Jansen is still a closer to be feared, being second in the league in saves.

Good teams overcome injuries and don't use them as an excuse for sorry seasons.  This team has had their share.  Crawford, Uribe, Hanley, Kershaw, Ellis, Kemp, Puig, Wilson, and now we can probably add Turner to that mix.  But here they are, within a game of the division lead and plugging holes with the likes of performing players like Rojas, Arruebarrena, Butera, Red Patterson (remember him?), Figgins, Triunfel, Van Slyke and Turner.

So here we are, 21 days later and the standings are as follows:

San Francisco    46-35   .568   ---
Los Angeles      46-37   .554   1.0
Colorado           35-46    .432   11.0
Arizona             35-48   .422    12.0
San Diego         34-37   .420    12.0

Giant fans be wary.  This thing has a long way to go, but it's safe to say that this Dodger team hasn't even hit their stride yet.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Greatest Pitched Game in Dodger History

(photo by Jon SooHoo @ http://dodgersphotog.mlblogs.com)
Mark it in your memory banks.  June 18, 2014 will go down in history as the greatest pitched game in the history of the team that arguably has had the greatest pitchers in the game.  The only way it won't be considered the greatest pitched game ever will be if Kershaw surpasses his own achievement one day.  Something I wouldn't put past him either.

As amazing as Kershaw's first no-hitter was last night, the efficiency of his use of pitches was as good as I've ever seen a pitcher have.  Fifteen strikeouts and only 107 pitches thrown.  That is even rarer than a no-htter.  In fact, a stat line like that is an absolute recipe for a no-hitter.  

Kershaw threw 74% of his pitches for strikes.  He completed the highest saber metric "game score" in Dodger history at "102."  Koufax never exceeded 101, Drysdale's highest was 98.  Some great pitchers in baseball history never reached the level of 102 that Kershaw achieved last night.  Some of those notables and their corresponding highest game scores were: Nolan Ryan (101), Randy Johnson (100), Bob Gibson (100), Pedro Martinez (98), Roger Clemens (99), Steve Carlton (98), Jim Palmer (93), and Fergie Jenkins (94).

(Note: The highest score in baseball history was in 1962, that 16 inning 1-0 shutout thrown by Juan Marichal, against Warren Spahn with a score of 112.  Spahn scored 102 that night too.  And I won't make light of both Marichall and Spahn's achievements that night, because it was 16 innings of work, the likes of which will never be seen again.  But it should be noted that it took 16 innings to achieve it.)

So when you read that Kershaw's no-hitter was the greatest pitched game in Dodger history, surpassing Koufax's perfecto in 1965, there won't be any argument from me.  Essentially it was a perfect game plus one, because Kershaw had to get 28 outs to complete the feat.  Chalking up 15 Ks while throwing only 107 pitches is about as efficient as a pitcher can get while punching out the majority of hitters.

That game was so rare, we'll probably never ever see the likes of it again.  So cherish it folks.  And go buy an LA Times and frame that sucker, because it's a true collectible.  It's not like you can do the same with ticket stubs.  (Isn't that right Stan Kasten?)

                                         *************************

You can spell class with a "K" when you consider that Kershaw backed Hanley Ramirez who absolutely botched a throw to cost Kershaw the perfect game.  "That was a play that could have easily ruled a hit," said a lying Kershaw who had to know it was about as routine a play that there is.  Yes, Ramirez had to hustle on the play, as a fleet footed left handed batter hit that chopper to him, but there was time to make it with an accurate throw.  Hanley knew what was at stake and his throw was a panic job.

We all know Ramirez isn't much of a defensive shortstop these days, thus explaining why Triunfel was his defensive replacement in the last inning.  But in the end, Kershaw shook off the miscue and got down to the business to finishing off the gem.  Errors are errors and they can't be controlled.

                                      ****************************

Next start for Kershaw will be Tuesday, June 24 at Kansas City.  Mark that date on your calendars because if there was ever a player that could challenge Johnny Vander Meer's feat of two consecutive no-hitters, it is Clayton Kershaw.  I truly believe that Kershaw is the one pitcher that can throw three or four no-hitters in his career.  He has that kind of stuff.

                                     *****************************
(photo by Jon SooHoo @ http://dodgersphotog.mlblogs.com)

It was a very special night for A.J. Ellis too.  Catching his first no-hitter, and the one pitched by his best friend.  It was touching to hear him say that he was actually tearing up and getting emotional at the end.  Ellis is a guy that never was expected to arrive at the level he currently is.  His baseball career is that of a true underdog, and here he is, at the pinnacle calling that no-hitter.

It is my belief that Ellis will one day be the Dodgers manager.  A lot of things will need to fall into place, but I can really see it happening.  He has the temperament, patience and baseball knowledge to do so.  When Kershaw retires from the game and concludes his hall of fame career, it would be appropriate to see A.J. as his manager.

                                     *******************************
(photo by Jon SooHoo @ http://dodgersphotog.mlblogs.com)

You know what the scary art of all this is?  Clayton Kershaw is still only 26 years old.  We are looking at another 7-8 years of this dominance if he stays healthy.  Kershaw throws an assortment of pitches with precision that when his velocity tails off with age, he'll still have a repertoire that few other pitchers possess.

                                      *******************************

Does Zack Greinke have a no-hitter in him?  If he does, the Dodgers would become the first team in history to have three pitchers throw a no-hitter in a season.  There is still over 50% of the season remaining.  I'd say they have a realistic chance.

                                      *******************************

Not that anyone hasn't noticed, but the Dodgers are now just 4 games back.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Repost : Remembering the Worst Promotional Idea in the History of the Game...(Yes, even worse than Disco Demolition Night)

Two years ago I submitted the following post commemorating Cleveland's promotional "10 Cent Beer Night."  It has come to my attention that yesterday was the 40 year anniversary of that fiasco.  So, I repost that piece.  Hope you enjoy it.

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The late Tim Russert, former host of NBC's Meet the Press, was a law school student in Cleveland in the mid seventies.  He summed up the 1974 Cleveland Indians promotion, "10 cent beer night" in an extremely telling quote.  It was something we could have all predicted:

"l went with 2 dollars in my pocket.  You do the math."
Nostalgic T-Shirts now sell that commemorate the infamous "10 Cent Beer Night" at Cleveland Municipal Stadium.  (found at epitome clothing.com)

There have been a few promotions that went hay-wire and resulted in forfeits.  A few can be tied to flamboyant owner Bill Veeck, such as his "Disco Demolition Night" at old Comisky Park.  The Dodgers aren't strangers to them as they forfeited a 1995 contest to the Cardinals on the last "Ball Day" that the club will ever have in history when fans began shelling the field with them after Tommy Lasorda argued a call with Joe West.  But on June 4, 1974, the Cleveland Indians ninth inning forfeit to the Texas Rangers should have been predicted from the outset.  When you essentially give away free alcoholic beverages, I think you're simply asking for trouble.

The Tribe in the mid seventies were a sorry crew.  Finishing in close to last place almost every year.  The Indians often were closest to first place only on opening day each season, (It should be noted that 1974 was an exception though.  As late as July 2nd,  the Tribe were within 2 games of first place before the wheels fell off).  Attendance in 74,000 seat Municipal Stadium was sparse.  They played almost every night in that monstrous ballpark to crowds of 4,000 and 5,000.  There couldn't be a more difficult job I can imagine than that of being a public relations director for the Indians.  It would be quite the chore to invent ways to get fans in the seats.  Desperation must have really been in play for the Indians to announce 10 cent beer night at the Stadium.  There had to be some sort of forethought with it, but not a lot.  That forethought was that a purchaser of beer was limited to six 12 ounce cups per purchase.  There wasn't any monitoring of return trips for purchase though.

The Tribe hosted Boston the night before when they defeated the Red Sox 4-1 before 4,234 fans.  So the Indians P.R. team had to be pleased when 25,000+ arrived to take advantage of the cheap suds for sale accompanied by baseball.  The Tribe were accustomed to playing before crowds that filled only 15% of the seats, but this group was active from the start.  Some patrons had anticipated the partying festivities and brought in firecrackers that popped off in echoing fashion in numerous parts of the stadium as early as the first inning.  
Bat wielding Rangers come to the defense of 1974 AL MVP Jeff Burroughs who was being assaulted in the Cleveland outfield by drunken fans.  The game was called shortly after.  (photo by AP/Cleveland Press/Paul Tepley)

By the second frame, a woman had hopped the fence adjacent to the Cleveland dugout and flashed her breasts to the crowd.  Making her way to home plate umpire Nestor Chylak for a kiss, she was apprehended and arrested.  This was just the start of things.  Reports from witnesses at the game claim that a large part of the crowd was made up of under-age drinkers who were the recipients of the suds from the buying patrons on many occasions.  When Ranger Tom Grieve homered in the top of the 4th, a teenage streaker made a run for the infield and slid into second base, not something recommended while scampering around in the raw.  The next inning a father and son ran around the outfield mooning the crowd and causing a substantial delay before security was able to catch up to the evading hooligans.

As the game went on, the antics that many considered "comedy" started to become uglier.  Ranger starter Ferguson Jenkins was hit in the chest by a liner back up the box, to which the fans laughed and then began chanting, "hit him again, hit him again, harder, harder."  Ranger manager Billy Martin came out to argue a call at third base and was plastered by sloshing cups of beer as he returned to the dugout.   When beer started to run out in concessions stands, unhappy patrons became more violent in the stands and started dismantling the rickety seats of the old ballpark.  Fights in the stands were constant and there was little if any police presence.  Concessions personnel announced to fans that beer was available beyond the outfield walls where their cups were filled directly from Stroh's Beer trucks through hoses attached to spigots.

The umpiring crew ordered the bullpens emptied when a fan tossed fire crackers into the Rangers side.  These weren't small pop type fireworks of the Chinese New Year variety.  They were dangerous cherry bombs and M-80s whose volume in the spacious ball park sounded like hand grenades.  The Cleveland Municpal Stadium Security crew was completely overwhelmed.  In the eighth inning, a group of thugs entered the field and attempted to remove the padding from the outfield walls.  Why?  Who knows, but a mob of drunk crazies demanding more beer can do riotous things.  The security crew that was picking up litter on the field abandoned that task and went to left field to save the wall.  As the P.A. announcer attempted to calm the crowd and stop them from littering the field with debris, it was obvious that all control was lost.  Full beer cups, batteries pulled out of transistor radios and eventually concrete chunks and seat parts that were being destroyed in the stands were making their way onto the field through the air.

(photo by AP/Cleveland Press/Paul Tepley)
In the ninth inning, the Tribe rallied to tie the game and another fan ran out on the field to right fielder Jeff Burroughs and flipped off his cap from behind.   Others say he stole his glove.  Whatever it was, Burroughs reacted to go after the fan and tripped in the process. Billy Martin, seeing that his MVP outfielder was down on the ground ordered his players on the field to defend him, lugging bats as protection. "Let's go get 'em boys!"  he ordered.  It is estimated that Burroughs was surrounded by up to 20 fans that were cornering him to attack when his Rangers teammates came to the rescue.  

Umpire Joe Brinkman restrains a bleeding fan moments before the game was called. (photo by AP/Cleveland Press/Paul Tepley)
All hell had broken loose and Indians manager Ken Aspromante ordered his players on the field to come to the defense of the Ranger players too.  Complete mayhem ensued.  Cleveland announcers Herb Score and Joe Tait were at a loss for words describing the action:  "This is an absolute tragedy...I've been in the business for over 20 years and I have never seen anything as disgusting as this...I just don't know what to say," reported Tait.  

There were over 50 players, coaches and umpires battling it out with fans and they were way outnumbered.  Some estimated that over 200 spectators were now active brawlers on the field fighting.  Though many of the players had bats to defend themselves, players are quoted as saying that fans were wielding clubs that were actually arms of dismantled seats, metal seat parts and others had knives.  It's a miracle that no one was seriously hurt.

"The security people are just totally incapable of handing this crowd," said Tait.  "They just---well short of the National Guard, I'm not sure what will handle this crowd right now."

Umpire Crew Chief Nestor Chylak called the game, (photo by AP/Cleveland Press/Paul Tepley)
The players on both sides retreated to their clubhouses and locked the doors behind them.  Reporters that interviewed fans during the melee were assaulted.  Nestor Chylak had a bleeding head and arm from concrete chunks and pieces of a seat that that hit him.  He called the game when he noticed the blade end of a hunting knife stabbing the turf a few feet from him.  It had been thrown from the stands and would have injured or killed him if it had landed a few more feet to the left where he was standing.

The Cleveland Police Force Riot squad arrived about 20 minutes after the game and dispersed the crowd.  Only nine people were arrested, an absolute joke, which is proof positive that there was virtually no police presence at this game.  There were 3 more "10 cent Beer nights" planned by Cleveland for other games that year.  American League President Lee MacPhail stepped in and stopped that, announcing that all giveaways and promotional nights would require league approval in the future.

Thirty eight years later, Ten Cent beer night is remembered as the stupidest promotional event ever introduced in baseball.  Yes, even surpassing Disco Demolition Night.  It is remembered in this musical ode to that magic night in this You Tube video.  Enjoy.