One of those only-in-baseball characters passed away, Pat Santarone, the former head groundskeeper at old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore. Back in the day, Santarone and George Toma, the old groundskeeper in Kansas City (who now tends to Minnesota's spring fields in Fort Myers, Fla.) were the Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron of their profession.
Anyway, one of the most interesting things about Santarone was the tomato-growing contests he and Hall of Famer Earl Weaver, the former Orioles' manager, would engage in each summer. The plants were down the left-field line, and the Orioles players used to have a grand time egging on the two combatants.
Terrific quote from Weaver in Roch Kubatko's soulful obit on Santarone in the Baltimore Sun regarding who had the better crop of tomatoes each summer: "Well, he was there when I'd go on the road, and I think there was a little tomfoolery," Weaver said. "He might have been pinching off some of my buds."
You can read Roch's entire piece here.
Likes: Cliff Lee of Cleveland, now with an 0.84 ERA. Wow. ... In Detroit this week, the honeysuckle trees on the grounds of the Dearborn Inn are absolutely gorgeous. And oh my, the fragrance is intoxicating. Smells like spring. ... The fact that Ty Cobb's name is listed on one of the Comerica Park walls with all of the other Tigers whose numbers have been retired, but they left the place for Cobb's number blank. He played before baseball teams wore numbers on their uniforms. ... Detroit Beach Pizzeria and Restaurant, serving outstanding pizzas and Italian food down in Monroe since 1966. ... Leo's Coney Island in Comerica Park. Coney dogs, mmm.
Dislikes: A total of 75 students were arrested in a drug bust at San Diego State University, a bust that included guns? And one of the students arrested was majoring in criminal justice and another was majoring in Homeland security? You've gotta be kidding me. Nice, real class there.
Rock 'n' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"Well it was Saturday night, I was sitting in the kitchen
"Checking out the women on Spanish television
"Got a call from Paul who was just let out of prison
"He said hey listen, there's something I'm missing
"I said I'm on it, honest, it's on its way
"You're gonna get your money in a couple of days, okay?"
-- Fountains of Wayne, Strapped for Cash