It’s the coldest month in the Northern Hemisphere and for many baseball fans, it’s the loneliest month. It is the time of the baseball solstice, the dismal halfway point between the World Series and Opening Day.
But for members of SABR’s Bob Davids Chapter (Washington/Baltimore), January is not so bad anymore. That’s because their annual hot stove meeting has been moved from November to January.
This year’s event was held in Rosslyn, a location convenient to Metro. About 150 baseball lovers pressed the flesh and talked baseball before sitting down for the speakers. I had the pleasure of meeting Gary Sarnoff, a super nice individual who has a passion and is writing a book on the 1933 Senators; Scot Brown, a Senators fan who is feeling the excitement of baseball’s return to D.C. and John Rickert, a sabermatrician with an excellent website. It was also great to see SABRmates like Skip McAfee. He heaped praise on David Block’s new book, Baseball Before We Knew It.
Featured guests were Stan Brand, Vice President of Minor League Baseball, Kevin Uhlich, the Nationals front office executive and Paul White, editor of USA Today Sports Weekly. Dave Smith and others gave excellent research presentations.
Nationals Pastime blogger John wrote up an excellent piece on Uhlich’s presentation. I missed some of White’s talk about the Nats players. Sitting at a back table, I snuck out and took a pit stop. On my way back, I noticed Uhlich talking to several folks. I had met two of them so I joined in on the conversation. Uhlich was very gracious with his time and his body language suggested he was very comfortable sticking around.
Uhlich, who worked his way up from bat boy to become the Angels President, showed us his World Series ring. My eyes got watery as I thought to myself, that set originally had a San Francisco manifest.
When it was my turn to speak, I told him, “Kevin, I’ll share a story with you. I’m a lifelong Giants fan. Game Six, we’re leading 5-0. I’m getting excited… But I’m ok with it now. It was your first World Series.”
He gave me an understanding look and got a little emotional himself. He had worked real hard with the Angels.
This yin and yang thing continued on the subway ride home. I was one of about 18 people to win a raffle prize. My selection was the Opening Day issue of Elysian Fields Quarterly (2002). The leadoff article was C’est La Vie. The Cruel Demise of Baseball’s Most Invisible Team. Robert Nishihara, a “lifelong baseball fan and diehard San Francisco Giants partisan,” wrote about Les Expos situation as it stood getting ready for the 2002 season. He knew the realities but wanted so bad for Montreal to do well.
Les Quebecois know about cold Januarys. I just wish the excitement in Washington didn’t have to come at their expense. For Expos fans, it must have been a very lonely January.