I’ve not been blogging as much this spring as I have in the past and there’s a reason. I’ve been bonkers busy. While I don’t want to neglect our favorite team here at BOS, I’ve got a new job. Executive Director of the Mesa Historical Museum. This job includes baseball – Overseeing the Arizona Spring Training Experience and Cactus League Hall of Fame. Which is very cool and you should check it out!
During the past six days, the Cubs have played five games at Sloan Park. The Cubs have not lost any of those games! They have however, finished with a tie score in two of those five games.
Which makes me think about spring training games, you know, where wins or losses don’t really matter. How about this idea for a tie and only in the spring- Each team brings out a player or coach, who pitches to their own player of choice, whoever hits a HR wins! If they both hit a HR, it goes to another pitch and so on. A short HR derby if you will, kind of like the shootouts in hockey and soccer. Heck the players hitting could be minor leaguers, so as not to bother the starters. Radical idea? Maybe, but since the games don’t count in the standings, it beats sending the fans away with a 2-2 tie. I’m half kidding with this idea, but it’d sure be fun!
Besides announcing the Cubs games at Sloan Park, for me, the last two weeks have also included a Cactus League Hall of Fame Induction at the annual Cactus League Luncheon. Among the amazing inductees was Yosh Kawano, the longtime Cubs Clubhouse Manager. There is a great article about him in the Cubs spring training program by Charlie Vascellaro. It’s also on the AZSTE website here. Here’s more info about the other inductees.
In our research on Yosh, we learned that because of his Japanese heritage, he and his family were incarcerated at an internment camp in Arizona during WWII. It’s really an incredible story, you should read more about it. Yosh’s story opened up another larger story, about the baseball played at these internment camps during WWII. Just to let you know, or remind you, there were up to 120,000 Japanese-Americans and others held at these camps on U.S. soil during the war. Baseball was one of the few outlets they had to pass the time. Which leads me to American Pastime.
The Arizona Spring Training Experience along with the Scottsdale Civic Center Library is offering a FREE screening of the feature film American Pastime. More about that here. The film deals with baseball and life at the interment camps. A group in these camps started a baseball league and played their own championships there. One of the producers, Kerry Yo Nakagawa, will be on hand for a Q&A after the film. While you are at the Scottsdale Civic Center Library you can check out our free AZ Spring Training Experience Exhibit!
Following up on the Yosh, he’s still around, living with his brother Nobe in an assisted living facility in California at the age of 96, Nobe is 95. Yosh worked for the Cubs for 65 years, the things he must have witnessed in the clubhouse! Back in 1943 Yosh was able to leave the internment camp with the help of then White Sox Manager Jimmy Dykes. Yosh soon enlisted in the military, working for the U.S. Intelligence office as an interpreter in the South Pacific. Here’s the kicker…Yosh was in the U.S. military fighting for his country, all the while, his family was still being held in the internment camp in Arizona…Wow!
Spring training started a week early this year and partly because of that fact, Sloan Park won’t set another all-time MLB spring training home attendance record this season. Hey, four of five years doing that is pretty awesome in it’s own right.
Our ace photographer John Antonoff has been shooting photos this past week and I’ve been neglectful in posting them. So, here are the photos. And here’s to John, the Cubs, to baseball being back, and to no more tie games! Enjoy.