Tuesday, September 25, 2012

An Interview with Babe Ruth (Sort of) 9/25/12

Hey baseball fans!

I'm back with another blog. The Greatest Pitchers You've Never Heard of Part 2 can wait, because I have just received  answers to the questions I sent via email to baseball great Babe Ruth! I know what you're thinking: How in the world could you get in touch with the Sultan of Swat? He died in '48. Well, my answer to you all is this. A couple of weeks ago, I sent a bunch of questions to the Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum, asking them if they could answer the questions the way the Babe would've answered, if he were alive today using all his expressions and language. The Executive Director of the Museum who is a Babe Ruth expert, Mike Gibbons, agreed to my request and sent me all the questions answered in the voice of Babe Ruth. Now, unlike most interviews, I'm not going to write a big paragraph on the Bambino because, first he's a legend and everyone knows about him, and second I already have done so when he won the Best Nickname in MLB History Contest. Anyway, I am proud to present the answers of the great, the powerful, the awesome Babe Ruth!!!!!

Matt: What do you think about the new Yankee Stadium?
Babe: As long as they kept that short porch in right field I feel pretty good about it.

Matt: If you were playing today, do you think a ten year $500 million contract would be enough for you?
Babe: How much does the President make these days? Somebody said if I played today, with the shorter power alleys, that I could belt 100 homers a year. That ought to be worth something like that number you mentioned.

Matt: Lots of players eat different food before and even during games. What did you like to eat?
Babe: During every ball game, my personal mascot, Little Ray Kelly, would make sure I had my baseball six-pack; a half-dozen hot dogs with mustard and onions!

Matt: Any thoughts on the whole steroids era?
Babe: Well, the only performance enhancer I ever took was bicarbonate of soda, which got me to the ballpark ready to play after many a late night. As for these fellas today, well, we were told that extra muscle was bad for a ballplayer. I think that's right.

Matt: Did you really call the home run in Game 3 of the 1932 World Series?
Babe: I sure did. I let pitcher Charlie Root know that I was going to hit his next pitch right out of the park. I was pointing at him and his teammates when I said it. They'd been riding me hard the whole series.

Matt: What were your feelings when your contract was sold by the Red Sox to the Yankees?
Babe: Boston was good to me and I felt let down some when Harry Frazee sold me to New York. But I was glad that Colonel Ruppert would put up with all that just to get me.

Matt: Were you happy switching from pitcher to hitter? Had you stayed a pitcher, how many games do you think you could have won?
Babe: Oh, I don't know. Plenty more, that's for sure. I loved to pitch more than anything, all the way back to my time at St. Marys. But swinging big is what I did best, and I don't blame them for the switch. 

Matt: Who was the toughest pitcher you hit against in your career and which pitcher would you like to hit against if you were playing today?
Babe: In 1922, a young lefty named Hub Pruett came up with the St. Louis Browns and I had a heck of a time. He struck me out 10 of the first 14 times I faced him. I wound up getting a couple of long ones off the kid, but he was tough. As for today, I'm not particular. I figure I could hit them all.

Matt: I read that you liked Lou Gehrig's mom's cooking. What in particular?
Babe: Anything Lou's mom put on the table was okay by me, but bratwurst and potatoes were good. My wife Claire and I didn't cook much, so Ma Gehrig's hospitality was always a treat.

Matt: Are there any players who played after you retired who you think would have been a good fit for the 27 Yankees?
Babe: Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, Billy Martin, George Brett; they came at it every day, both on and off the field.

Matt: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
Babe: Pitching 29 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings in the World Series was pretty special. I'm glad it was another Yankee, Whitey Ford, who broke the mark.

Matt: You've had many nicknames. Which one is your favorite?
Babe: Nicknames used to be a big part of the game, and I liked all the ones coming my way: Sultan of Swat, the Bambino, King of Swing. But Babe is the one I liked the most.

Matt: Can you tell me something most people don't know about you please?
Babe: I really enjoyed Sunday nights at home, listening to my favorite 
radio shows with my daughter, Julia. I also liked decorating our Christmas tree every year, by myself. The family would watch me go to it, one tinsel strand at a time.

Matt: What do you consider your best year?
Babe: Oh, 1927, the year I hit 60 homers. They didn't think I could break my own record, but I showed them.

Matt: What should MLB be doing about getting young fans more interested in baseball history?
Babe: They should bring the game back to the youth living in the big cities. Boys learn the game best from the ground up. You can't teach a teenager like you can a boy. It's too complicated, like learning a language. The older you get, the harder it becomes.

Matt: Were you buddies with any players on other teams like Jimmie FoxxRogers Hornsby, Grover Cleveland Alexander and Walter Johnson?
Babe: All of the above, but not Ty Cobb. He was a tough one. But we did enjoy a few rounds of golf together. That son of a gun loved to compete. Beat me a couple of times, too.

Isn't that so cool? It's like Babe was actually answering the questions! Anyway, I want to thank Mike Gibbons and the Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum for doing this for me. I appreciate it so much!! It's a cool museum, so be sure to visit it the next time you're in the Baltimore area. Anyway, for one of my next blog posts, I do promise to post The Greatest Pitchers You've Never Heard of Part 2. But, I have a similar interview just like this one with the answers pending; an interview that people from Brooklyn will like very much, so that may have to come first.  So keep on reading!!!!!

5 comments:

  1. Great interview Matt,
    You've got a great site going here. Keep up the great work!

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  3. Matt, I love your blog and the kind of curious, enterprising nature that led you to query the Babe Ruth museum in such an interesting and creative way.

    One of the comments made by Mike Gibbons, speaking in Babe Ruth's voice, deserves examination. It's this one: "They should bring the game back to the youth living in the big cities. Boys learn the game best from the ground up. You can't teach a teenager like you can a boy. It's too complicated, like learning a language. The older you get, the harder it becomes."

    I realize Gibbons is speaking in Babe Ruth's voice, but he's also speaking in the language of the past as opposed to the present, where girls play baseball too. In Ruth's time it wasn't the norm for girls to play sports, but almost a century later, girls and women are playing baseball - and playing it spectacularly - all across the globe, in every age group and social stratum. Perhaps the reason "the Babe" so studiously ignores half the population in his comment about how to interest young people in baseball history is because he remembers how he and several of his hard-slugging teammates were struck out by a girl during an exhibition game in Chattanooga, Tennessee! The girl was Jackie Mitchell, and you could look it up.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackie_Mitchell
    http://youtu.be/FnsQY0BOSS0

    Girls play, coach, and umpire baseball now too, Matt. We love it and are as dedicated to becoming the best athletes and people we can be through our devotion to the game, even though its history as far as women go is one of repression, misogyny, and deliberate exclusion. Perhaps with young, open-minded journalists such as you writing about it, the perception will change and our participation on the field will come to be viewed not as unusual, threatening, diminishing, or invasive, but as normal. Just part of the baseball landscape.

    Great job using this "striking" approach to interviewing one of the legends of the game, Matt. You've made a fan out of me!

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    1. That's a good point. I never thought of it that way. Thanks for telling me.

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