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Prince Hal’s Highlanders & Their Boring Barrage of Home Runs

By Russ Cress ~ April 21st, 2012. Filed under: Digest Contributors, New York Yankees.

The sky was high and the sun shining bright over the Fens on Friday afternoon. A brisk breeze kept the sellout crowd of ballpark patrons in modest comfort as they sat and partook in red hots and ate enough roasted peanuts to keep half of rural Georgia in coal and horse feed for most of ’12. The occasion was the arrival of the New York Highlanders, fresh off the Atlantic Railway and in town to battle the Red Stockings in their new ball palace known simply as Fenway Park.

Despite the festive atmosphere and fine surroundings, the game was marred by poor play. Particularly at fault was the Highlander nine, who constantly interrupted the flow of the grand game with long home runs that left the park. It was a bush league performance marred by the lack of a single bunt hit, Baltimore Chop, or even a batsman reaching base safely on a single butcher boy hit. No one even attempted to hit behind a runner, give himself up for the betterment of his squad or stealthily take an extra base.

The state of the mound men was at a level so low that this scribe has never seen such ineptitude from a big league hurler. They would have been laughed off of the local sandlot with gusto if they showed up with the repertoire that was on display at the Fens. Nary a quality spitball was seen all day, but one must wonder if it is even possible to throw one with the lack of tobacco stains on the garb of these players. The clubhouse boy will have an easy evening of laundering these uniforms, since they lack evidence that a junior circuit ballgame took place in them. Old Jack Chesbro would not be happy if he would have seen what took place on this field yesterday. The standard palm ball, greaser, slow down and hook back were never seen. In fact, a quality looping curveball was a scarce commodity on this day. Both hurlers were an embarrassment as neither were close to going the full nine and needed help from obviously subpar bullpen arms. It should be noted, however, that the old timer, Rivera, continued to impress in his usual short spurt.

The subpar fielding was a disgrace, a sure sign that the great pastime is not what it used to be. The quality stars of the 19th century who understood how to play the game are clearly a thing of the distant past. Bostonian Dusty Pedroia failed in his attempt to corral a routine pop fly to the infield despite playing with a comically large glove. Even worse was New York’s clown prince of a right fielder, Nick Swisher, who had a frightful adventure attempting to handle a hump back liner bathed in sunlight. He actually appeared to not see it, despite the fact that he was wearing spectacles! One may believe that Mr. Swisher might need a house call from his family physician upon his return to Gotham. It was the sort of play that may have lead to fisticuffs if he was a member of Mr. McGraw’s much finer Giants squad, for you can be certain that the great manager would never stand for such tomfoolery in his outfield.

Boston’s new ball yard is quite impressive, as it should be with its $350,000 price tag to build and over 30,000 seats. Unfortunately, the game of ball played there was less so, as the Highlanders ended up the victors by the score of 6-2. Still, it’s a nice place to spend a sunny afternoon after the workday and on a Saturday; there is a large area if you care to take your Model-T motor car on a weekend drive. On a hot day, there are plenty of local establishments nearby to procure an ice cold Moxie, a freshly jerked Lime Rickey or the phosphate of your preference. Still, it is of this writer’s opinion that you should wait to go until someone to come to town who knows how to play the game the right way, Mr. Cobb’s way for instance, rather than Prince Hal’s Highlander nine and their boring barrage of home runs.

Russ has a Masters of Useless Information and is a proud Alumni of the Old School with a major in Trivial Crap. No, seriously, it's actually 2 degrees one in History the other in Broadcasting. He's worked for NBC Sports, worked on Trenton Thunder radio broadcasts, managed a video production company and taught at a major broadcasting school. A massive Yankee fan and student of baseball history, Russ' contributions will largely be in the area of media critiques, DVD & book reviews, retro-reviews of old sporting events with the occasional column on the current baseball scene. As a rotisserie baseball player since the late 1980's, he will also contribute the occasion musing on the world of fantasy baseball. He can be reached at rcressNYY at aol dot com.
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