Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Off to Cincy...

Early morning flight to Cincinnati.
My daughter Kara Kelley and I will hop a 6:30 flight in the morning to Cincinnati. We'll actually land in Coventry, Kentucky, where the CVG Airport is. We'll head over the bridge they used on the titles of WKRP in Cincinnati and go to Great American Ballpark to see the Red Sox play the Reds.

Why this matters.
First, the team names Red Sox and Reds come from the same origin. The Cincinnati Red Stockings were the first professional baseball team. (Stockings was the common term for men's socks back in the 1800's.) In 1869 and 1870 they played exhibition games against various teams representing companies in the area. Much like today's Men's Slowpitch Softball leagues.

Going pro.
The game was becoming very popular, so in 1871 a professional league was formed: The National Association of Base Ball Teams. The player/manager of the Cincinnati team and half of the roster decided that they'd rather be in Boston, so they moved there and took the team name with them. When league began play in 1871 with 9 teams, one of them was the Boston Red Stockings. Cincinnati did not have a team. Several teams came and went during the five years of the National Association, but only the Boston Red Stockings, who were champions in four of the five years, lasted all the way until 1876.

Enter the National League
The National League, as we know it today, began in 1876. The same time as the American Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, Custer's Last Stand at the battle of Little Big Horn and the introduction of the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell in Boston. In fact, all four happened on the same day.

So about the names.
Cincinnati wanted to use their original name Red Stockings, and the Boston team decided that two Red Stocking teams would be weird, so they changed their name to Boston Beaneaters.

Beaneaters? Really?
It got worse. Beaneaters lasted into the late 1890's, when they became the Doves (just to really inspire fear in their opponents), then changed it to the Braves. When the American League showed up in 1901 there was a second Boston team that didn't really have a nickname. Newspaper writers called them the the Americans because of the league name. After all, the Braves had been in town for 30 years at that point.

Fast forward to 1907.
The Braves decide to change their uniform socks from red to blue, so the American League team that never really had a good nickname decides to go with red socks and adopt the nickname Red Sox. The Braves didn't care about that, but they were bothered by the fact that the Red Sox attendance outdrew the Braves every year. Even when the Braves won the World Series in 1914 and went to the World Series in 1948. So in 1953 the Braves got tired of being a distant second fiddle and decided to get out of Dodge and they moved to Milwaukee, where their AAA team played. It was good for a while. They even beat the Yankees in the 1957 World Series, but then fan interest faded, and in 1966 the Braves packed up once again and moved to Atlanta, where they hang today.

So the Atlanta Braves are the franchise with the most consecutive seasons of Major League Baseball...143 years. And Boston is the city that has had professional baseball longer than any other city...also 143 years.

So Kara and I can celebrate.
It doesn't matter who wins. I will have seen games at every Major League Ballpark, including 11 ballparks that are long gone or are no longer used for baseball. And the Bucket List wraps up in Cincinnati, where it all began.

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