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The game itself has changed. Watch these players; almost every batter after every pitch takes a walk out of the box. If you tried to walk away back then the umpire'd say, "Hey, sonny, we play ball here. Where're you going?"
The funniest statement I hear is the pitcher telling the manager, "I lost my concentration." I knew managers 20, 30 years ago who were likely to hit you while you were standing out there on the mound if you said that to him. Can you explain to me how, in the middle of a baseball field in front of thousands of people, when you're throwing a ball at a guy who's trying to drive it right back down your throat, you can lose your concentration? What the hell are you talking about?
I've never had much money, but I've learned how to do things that don't cost a lot of money. I'm a doer. Full of nervous energy. I do photography and color printing. I've learned how to scuba dive. Can't get enough of it. I could go down to the bottom and just lay there and stay there. No one to bother you. I'm a published chef. A lot of my recipes—French, Italian, anything—have been published.
I've got a big garden at home, north of Baltimore. Earl Weaver and I had tomato contests every year. We planted them in the grounds crew area. He had his tomato plants and I had mine. Hell, he never come close. He accused me of doing all kinds of funny things to his plants when they went on the road.
"Earl," I said, "I haven't touched your plants. I watered your plants exactly when I watered mine."
I didn't have to cheat to beat him. I pruned mine differently, fed them differently, cultivated them differently. I was close to my plants.
Strasberg is the director of marketing for the San Diego Padres, but when you ask him to talk baseball, he's likely to talk about Roger Maris .
I grew up in the shadows of Yankee Stadium, but one of my fondest memories is of when my dad first took me to the Polo Grounds. In the middle of Harlem was this immense cathedral and inside was all this green, green grass. Incredible.
On that particular day the Giants were playing the Phillies. My dad had purchased general admission tickets for the upper deck. In about the fourth inning my dad slipped an usher some money, and we moved down and sat about four rows from the field. I just fell in love with baseball. That was 1957. I was eight years old, and throughout my life, every time I started to drift away from the game, something brought me back, something very special.