Friday, August 29, 2008

Hurdy and Stuffy win the lottery!

The numbers of fortune surely were singing for ol' Hurdy Bird and The Stuffy One this early afternoon, as we were fatefully accepted into a rare lottery for admission tickets to a Bostons Red Stockings match to occur in the crisp and lovely month of September.

The occasion is Maine Day, that date where all the Fens celebrates its neighbors to the north. What kind of bunting will mark the occasion? Perhaps a fine deep blue with "DIRIGO" emblazoned across its majestically rippled creases. All Bay Staters will have their palms extended, ready to shake the hand of a true Mainer, a group so hearty it's of no wonder the 20th Maine regiment saved the whole of the United States that fateful day on Little Round Top.

A hearty "huzzah!" is reserved for Mr. McInnes, whose prowess at the ticketing office is certainly unmatched north of the Piscataqua River. For those attending the Sept. 14 match versus our even more northerly neighbors from Toronto, Canada, Hurdy and Stuffy will wear our Junior Maine Home Reserve uniforms with pride. We shall be positioned behind the practice pitching area beyond the "out"field, with steaming sausages and frothy ales in abundance.

Until then, let us say a word of good cheer for our ailing General, the young Joshua P. Beckett, whose cannon arm and sabre-rattling intensity marched our men to victory last season. Godspeed, good General!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A brighter sun, a fresher breeze

There’s nothing quite like greeting the day after a definitive thrashing of the New Yorks. And today’s glorious blue ceiling seems that much bluer, and that much clearer, thanks to the clowning act put on last evening by Alex “Slaps” Rodriguez.

Tho’ richer than Croesus and blessed with preternatural base-ball talents, Slaps has proven no better than a bush-league bumbler when the stakes are highest. To wit: No “hits” gotten in five chances in last night’s contest; twice delivering “grounders” that allowed the Bostons to administer double executions; and yet another humiliating three-strike dismissal by “Dancin’ Johnny” Papelbon for the final out of the game.

Has Slaps’ recent dalliance with a notorious chorus-line dame drained him if the vigor needed to apply bat to sphere? We Rooters certainly hope it is the case. As my local priest, Father Donovan, often tells an antsy parish before they scatter from the pews to attend a Sunday base ball match, “Every time Slaps strikes out, an Angel gets his wings.”

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tuesdays with Hurdy: Moustaches!

Tuesdays with Hurdy is a weekly exercise allowing Hurdy Chadwick to ponder issues of importance to the general Rooting public. Today's installment finds Hurdy pondering the efficacy of the mustachioed set.

Dear friends,

The lad above is my nephew Cornelius. Why, if there had been a tooth-puller in his burg when his pearly whites began popping through his gums, that man would have been richer than a steel baron! Just look at those cookie grinders poking through his open maw! Sweet sassy molassey, that boy has got a fine set of enamel!

It's likely, however, that few notice his prodigious chompers, in large fact that his moustachioed upper lip is so kindly swathed in gentle bristles. And that, my friends, is the power of the top-shelf push-broom, the Great Shapoopie, the lip anorak, the hair o' the bear. Why, the moustache draws the eyes away from any unsightly facial blemish and onto the glory of the man's old kissy scrubber. What a device! It's in this way that I am unsurprised to rarely see unattached men who also sport moustaches. Why a lady wouldn't fall for a moustachioed man is beyond the reaches of my thimble of comprehension.

If I had the gumption -- and the extra jingle in my change purse -- why I'd run down to Vespucci's and procure some waxing agent for the ends of my moustache. If I could twirl those tufts, I'd be among the most respected men on my block as I carted my trash to the curb and fetched the news-paper on a Saturday morning.

Indeed, moustache play has become such a past-time that even the President on his weekly radio address takes a few minutes to describe to the listening audience as to the state of his under-the-nose caterpillar. And during times of stress, I know no fresh-faced man who is as relaxed as one who is able to chew on his moustache.

Friends, it's the dawning of the age of the hairiest, and I, Hurdy Chadwick, am going to sing to the golden choirs of and let Him know what power His creation has wrought!

All hail the moustache!

Yours in hurling and twirling,
Hurdy Chadwick
Westbrook, Me.

Let us kindly offer those New Yorks a firm tushy slapping!

For Rooters of the Bostons, venturing into the Bronx in the recent decade has been an exercise in girding ones constitution and preparing for a heaping helping of downtown fisticuffs. We're talking square-legged, arms spinning, clothes rending fisticuffs, like the bare-knuckled brawling Rooters so often would see outside of Rosie's Portland Tavern after a clutch of patrons had imbibed more than his or her alloted share of Duffy's old brown medicine.

This year's trip, however, has a rare feeling. Where is the bluster and swagger of the Blue Pinstriped Youth of the Bronx? Where are the ripe words of Boston's finest scribes? Where is the general kerfuffle of a weekend feature red versus blue, Boston versus New York, good versus crummy?

Nowhere, friends, and that's what bothers ol' Hurdy Bird. For while the once-potent New Yorks may be shrinking in the looking glass, they still possess the power to upset the Bostons' 162-game marathon with a few choice swats of the ash. I, for one, would like nothing more than to see those Bostons steamroll into the soon-to-be-former Yankee Stadium of New York and apply their collective hands to the ample tuchus of the Steinbrenner-led Goliaths of base-ball.

For while ash on horsehide will be sweet, nothing is sweeter than the red handprint of the Bostons on a Bronx heinie! Let fly, boys!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Bird Hunting in the North Country

Despite a dispiriting loss in the final tilt against the orange-feather'd foes of Charm City, the Bostons proved themselves well-able to take down their subordinates in the American League's Eastern regiment.

The quest for another Pennant now has our heroes ensconced deep in Canadian territory, where they face another squad of pesky birds, this time of blue plumage. We hope they spent the long locomotive journey checking their powder and aligning their sights to spray white bullets all over the pitch.

To-night, our own Byrd of recent vintage -- he of the pretzel delivery -- commands the pill on behalf of our squad. He must contain the Torontos' surging bats to give our Boys a chance to overcome the afflictions that so often plague them when contesting within those hideous, miasma-fogged, enclosed stadia. At least we can count on the northern latitudes to set the feral instincts of our fierce first-sacker, "Yukon" Youkilis, a-tingling!

Yours truly and the honorable Mr. Chadwick will be unavailable to closely follow the week-end's matches, as we will both be attending nuptial celebrations that by frustrating tradition so often interrupt the base-ball season. But thanks to the miracles of the wireless and the relentless churn of the mechanized printing-press, we shall at least receive updates that will either inspire us to raise celebratory toasts amongst fellow jolly Rooters, or send us to find solace in our post-dinner snifters.

Until next week, I am yrs. very truly,

Stuffy McInnes.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A change of address

At long last, the beleaguered “Beanpole” has packed his gripsack and boarded an express train out of Boston. He punched his own ticket with another dreadful hurling performance last evening that, mercifully, lasted barely two chapters. It was long enough, however, to let Victory drape her gentle cloak over the Birds of Baltimore.

His destination: The junior-league squad of Portland, Maine. That being Hurdy’s and Stuffy’s local metropolis, we shall endeavor to witness a contest from the grand-stand to provide for you, Rooting readers, a first-hand account of his remedial twirling training. I am also prepared to offer the lad free reign over my private stock of Duffy’s Pure Malt Whiskey, if it should restore his nerves.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tuesdays with Hurdy: The lushing youth

Tuesdays with Hurdy is a weekly exercise allowing Hurdy Chadwick to ponder issues of importance to the general Rooting public. Today's installment finds Hurdy evaluating whether the nation's youths are taking to drink at too fresh an age.

Dear friends,
This week-end, I had occasion to traipse through the old college courtyard, shuffling through the dewy grass and gazing skyward at the bright blue of a late summer ceiling. It was a rare feeling I had that morning, and one that only a hearty extended tramp through a collegiate quadrangle can bring to the lungs and chest. Huzzah, fresh summer air and ivy-covered brick facades!

However, a scourge was afoot. Indeed, directly under my foot, as I stumbled over a barely conscious college man. The lad was lying on the brick walk-through wearing a sweater emblazoned with my alma mater, his left hand clutching a pennant to root for our foot-ball squad. In his right hand? Why, an empty beer stein, its foamy remains long since spilled between the bricks on the walk. His lower half was clad only in underpants, I am reluctant to admit.

As I pondered this character, he blinked his eyes and, in a crusty voice, queried as to why he was in the bright sunshine and not under his duvet. I cuffed him twice in the ears and picked the youth up by the shoulder, dragging him from the quadrangle to the dormitory I divined was his, for the pants-less lad's britches were hung on a small dwarf spruce framing the building's entrance.

Inside, I cuffed him once more for good measure whilst I ran a cold shower in the lavatory. Finally awake, I sat the lad down and asked for an explanation of why he would tarnish the fine reputation of my alma mater by laying pants-less on the carefully laid bricks of the quadrangle's walk-through.

His answer? "Why, I'm now 21 years of age, old man!"

It seems our young friend, who even in the daylight hours was still quite tight, had celebrated his birth-day the previous night at the local tavern. And by the looks of his shaking hands and puffy eyes, he was not quaffing vats of vim and determination, unlike that hero in red stockings, Dustin "Lil' Hands" Pedroia. Nor was he taking to the Duffy's Pure Malt Whiskey, which is scientifically proven to knock dyspepsia off its pedestal with a one-two punch of good manners and thoughtfulness. No, our good friend was higher than a kite thanks to bubbly bottles of beer. (It was indeed true: I could smell the hops and barley strongly, for they seemed to have saturated the fibers of his good ol' college sweater.)

Now, your friend Hurdy Chadwick is not immune to the temptation of a few pints of bitter, or perhaps the occasional "shotgun" drunk straight from an aluminum canister, not through the pull tab, but through a mighty hole pierced in the side at close range. I even have been overserved and found myself pants-less on some infrequently traveled thoroughfare in the early morning hours. But never, ever, have I attempted to sully the reputation of fair alma mater, the place of my higher learning and the home of those men and women of substance and academia!

The state of that lad begs the question: Should U.S. Americans implore their congressional representatives to reduce such exploits through responsible introduction to booze, spirits and liquors at an earlier age? Or is that idea nothing but a slick of banana oil?

Friends, I beg you to respond below in the commentary section and let me know your thoughts. On the one hand, I am loathe to run across such a louche character in the early morning. But on the other, don't the Stars & Stripes all but guarantee a man of any age the right to lose his britches once in a blue moon?

Discuss as you will...

Yours in hurling and twirling,
Hurdy Chadwick
Westbrook, Me.

In next week's serial: Hurdy displays his arthritic grasp of world geography. "Russians invading Georgia? Alert the Atlanta Militia!"

Monday, August 18, 2008

And happiness dries up...

I believe all the sweeping motions performed by the Rooters swept an accumulation of dust and crumbs into the joints of the Bostons, the lot of which were nothing but creaky and feeble in the face of the Canadians come down from the North Country.

Little to say, friends. Which way will the wind blow for this band of base-ball heroes? Will their ash clouts streak the sky like August lightning, or will their maddeningly inconsistent talents continue to result in a cavalcade of aces being scored upon them?

For the sake of my indigestion, I sincerely hope it will be the former. Else, it's the Duffy's for poor old Hurdy Bird.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Push the broom, gents!

The heroes of Boston made no doubt of their clouting abilities during the three days of matches with the Texan ball-men, performing a "sweep" of the Rangers of Arlington. True, the Texans wield some heavy ash, but their hurlers were certainly affected by some sort of distemper or other affliction.

But looking forward, Rooters around the nation are contemplating whether our new twirler, Paul "Frasier" Byrd, will lay a gem or an egg on the Fenway mound. Since he's matched against the formidable Roy "Smeck" Halladay, Let's hope for the former from Byrd and his new-fangled pitching contortions!

Go get 'em, Red Stockinged heroes of the Fens!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

From the mail sack: Relax, chums!

Reader "Waxy" Charles Logan writes in with this note:
Hey Hurdy Bird,
What gives with ol' speckle-face Dusty Nippert tossing four wide ones to our man "Stumpy" Sean Casey? If I had the ducats to the Fens for last night's match play, why I would have rushed the field and socked that doodle-sack right in his musty old boiler room!

The nerve of that Nippert! Old Calamine Hands ain't got nothin' on the General, and even less on our boy Nothin' Doin' Lester! That damn Ranger from Arlington know less about hurling the pill than I do about those old ancient Sumerians. And I don't know diddly-hoops about those crusty old Sumerians!

Minnie's callin' for lunch, so's I've got to scramble. Later for you, Hurdy Bird!

"Waxy" Charles Logan
Somerville, Mass.
Well, now. I've been through some tilts in my day, and even I'm nervous to imagine what would have happened had Waxy Charles been in attendance at last night's nine-inning slugging competition. Suffice to say that Dusty Nippert would have been worse for the wear, with at least one bruised rib and a bit of ruffled flannel.

Still, the strategy was sound: Four wide ones gave Stumpy Casey the first sack, leaving all the sacks full with nary an "out" on the side. A difficult way to enter the match, but Nippert stood tall, eluding all batters, inducing outs and keeping the sacks full with no aces until the third "out" was secure in the fielder's mitten. Indeed, while the Texans have had little to shine on through their stay in Boston, Dusty Nippert showed brassy fortitude last night. My cap's off to him, and I urge Rooters to ponder the heroics.

Adieu for now, fans of the mail sack!

Yukon pans for gold!

In the second consecutive night of tormenting the Texan ball-squad with his terrifying ash clouts, The Beard of the Ages, Yukon Kevin Youkilis, proved again that he is a man of uniquely elevated athletic status.

His statistics for the evening read as follows: Four batting chances, three successful "hits", two aces batted in, three aces scored, six total sacks.

Truly prodigious from the bearded maniac who spends his off-season tramping through the underbrush of remote Canada, hauling logs and chasing elk as is his wont. His work ethic shows no sign of slowing, and Rooters around the world are the luckier for it!

Post-script: I would be remiss to not mention the laudable efforts by "Nothin' Doin'" Lester, who hurled and twirled a true diamond gem last evening, and Jedrick "Square Face" Lowrie, whose increasing clouting prowess is matched only by his gloved skills.

I smell a coming cavalcade of wins for the OldeTowne Team!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Scores in the stratosphere

Aces! Aces everywhere! When I returned home from my daily office work, I warmed up the wireless whilst I went to the cellar for a cool can of ale. When I returned, the wireless tubes glowed bright and the youthful voice of Joe "Stumpy" Castiglione was boundless in its enthusiasm. It seemed the Colossus had entered the game in grand fashion, driving two great full-circuit clouts with his stout ash in just the first chapter! Indeed, by the time those dusty old Texans came up to bat in the second frame, they had dug themselves a hole so deep it's a wonder they didn't strike oil!

But as I plundered my ale collection in the cellar, the going got bad for the blue-eyed Boston boys. As Charlie "The Fink" Zink fluttered his high knuckler at batters, it became clear that our stalwart Knuckles Wakefield isn't easily replaced. (And Godspeed in recovery, Wakefield, you old knuckling fool!) A string of goose-eggs in the Texas column quickly turned to crooked numbers, including a chapter that saw the Lone Star louts spin eight men fully around the sacks. Eight aces in one half chapter!

The mood was tense as I collected empty ale cans on my sideboard. At only one point did I take a respite from the game, and that was to chase the family's invalid pet feline out of the listening parlor. The Rangers from Arlington certainly took justice into their own hands last night, belting rocket after rocket, spinning men around the sacks until they led the Boston heros by a pair of runs.

But thanks be to the Beard of the Ages, good ol' Yukon Kevin Youkilis, the balding and bearded infield threat whose second four-ply drive of the game would provide all the margin the Home Town boys would need. Huzzah for ol' Yukon!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Ripped from the headlines: "Byrd to Boston"

This is the most recent photograph of new Boston acquisition, pitcher Paul Byrd

By Saul McNally,
Amalgamated Newspapers Staff Writer
Tuesday, Aug. 12

BOSTON -- Boston base-ball group The Red Stockings announced the acquisition of Paul Byrd, who previously manned the pitching position for the Indians franchise of Cleveland, Ohio.

The diminutive hurler, whose delivery is marked by a decidedly progressive windup motion, has a record of 7 wins and 10 losses this base-ball year, with an average of 4.53 runs allowed to swatsmen per nine innings pitched. Since the season's midway hiatus, the 37-year-old twirler has posted "wins" in all four starts, allowing a paltry 1.24 aces per nine innings.

Byrd was harangued by Boston scribes late in last season when, during a particularly sticky series between the Clevelanders and the Bostons, news emerged that the hurler had taken to imbibing whiskeys spiked with tranquilizers developed for farming animals. Few will forget the deciding game seven, when Byrd laid on the dugout steps for two innings, asking head umpire Charles S. Frazier to "milk [him] already, goddammit!"

The Bostons' bargaining chip was an unnamed player, which may be anyone from Portland AA veteran Iggy Suarez to Pawtucket lavatory janitor Ted "Buckets" Moppington.

This content courtesy and copyright (c) Amalgamated Newspapers, Sandusky, Ohio

Wrapping up with the Chicagoans

A quick note to cheer the good Gen. Joshua Beckett for the plentiful pounding of the striking zone in last night's match. For though the Red Stockings lagged the Chicagoans, the Boys from Boston never gave up the ghost and the General saw them through the battle.

When the dust settled, the Olde Towne Team led with five aces to just one for the home team White Stockings.

A trip on the road with four "wins" and three "losses" is passable, and even fortunate given the state of the vimless Bostons in recent games.

To Fenway we come!

Tuesdays with Hurdy: An aquatics wonder!

Tuesdays with Hurdy is a weekly exercise allowing Hurdy Chadwick to ponder issues of importance to the general Rooting public. Today's installment finds Hurdy gazing at the wondrous physicality of American aquatics champ Michael "Duckfoot" Phelps.

Dear friends,

"Laps to go before I sleep! Laps to go before I sleep!"

Such must be the night-time mantra of Michael "Duckfoot" Phelps, the prodigiously talented aquatics champion. The Duckfoot moniker, of course, references his enormous paddle-like feet, which so closely resemble those of a common mallard. Ol' Duckfoot sure looks at home in that water, and his fellow Olympians must glare with envy at his American splendor cutting through the swimming-pool venue in these quadrennial Olympic matches.

But my favorite part of Ol' Duckfoot is his good-natured countenance, which shines brightly from his dearly lopsided head from morning 'til night. For a youth to have such command over aquatics events from Siam to Seattle yet still possess child-like enthusiasm is enough to give one cause to brush away the doldrums and the ill-temper caused by the workaday world.

Indeed, Ol' Duckfoot is certainly the human form of a dram of Duffy's Pure Malt Whiskey. I am confident that one look at the youthful Phelps is enough to settle indigestion and cure distemper altogether. With that power, one must wonder whether some enterprising young Chinese lad isn't bottling all the sweat from Ol' Duckfoot's workout garb, bottling it in lantern glass and marketing it as an old Chinois remedy passed down through the generations!

If that's the case, then sign me up! I'll take two, and charge it to my home account, Mr. Wang!

Yours in hurling and twirling,
Hurdy Chadwick
Westbrook, Me.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The challenge of the lefty youth

In just two official appearances as a Major Base-Ball League member, Clay "Beanpole" Buchholz tallied one of the sport's most vaunted accomplishments: the "zero hitter." It was a crisp September evening in good Boston when the lanky Texan twirled the pill through the Baltimore swatters, not one of which were able to place a ball beyond the reach of the Boston gloves.

But following the "striking out" of the very last batsman, whilst his team-mates rushed the pitching mound, Buchholz was dazed. Even when Capt. Varitek lumbered up on his prodigious gams and hoisted the youngster into the air, Buchholz appeared to have difficulties comprehending his accomplishment.

Certainly, his youth played a part. But given his record of two wins and seven losses this season -- and with his per-game allowance of nearly eight "runs" a game -- one must wonder if the Beanpole is having troubles properly harnessing his prodigious talent. For sure, he has shown that he can compete with the best heroes of the base-ball world. But will he gather his skills and keep opponents from pasting aces on the scoring board?

Today's the day, with Buchholz challenging the potent offense of the Chicagoans, those white-stockinged ne'er-do-wells led by the the perpetually angry Oswald "Words for You" Guillen. I for one have good feeling about the Beanpole's growth prospects. Let the sun shine and allow that plant to blossom, young Buchholz!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

A return to form

After last night's disheartening loss to the pale hose of Chicago, I was feeling gloomy about the Bostons' clouting skills. Except for a tremendous wallop by our magnificent midget second-sacker "Li'l Hands" Pedroia, not one of the nine seemed able to scuff the old pill, let alone strip it of its horsehide.

A few chapters into this evening's contest, and the pattern was the same. Weak taps, rainbow "fly" balls, and flailing three-strike "outs" left the Bostons with another awful "goose egg" on the score-board. Such was my dismay that I even beseeched Mr. Chadwick, "What's become of our batting?"

Well, the base ball gods must have heard my whinging and decided to teach me a lesson. In one frame, the ruddy-ankled roustabouts put on a classic assault from the batting-box: Speedy Ellsbury laced a "grounder" through the gloves of the sprawling Chicago fielders; Capt. Varitek followed with a solid single; Ol' Aches and Pains proved why his eye for the incoming orb is second-to-none, recording a base-on-balls; Li'l Hands once again weilded his large lumber for a run-scoring swat.

The decisive blow came, of course, from "Colossus" Ortiz, who swept the diamond clear of Red Stockings with a two-bagger that caromed off the left-field bulwark! Advantage, Bostons!

Jac Ellsbury's four-ply drive in the next frame seems to confirm that the lad is finding his stroke again, which is a portent all Rooters should find as comforting as a fine cigar and a leather arm-chair. Stuffy has been humbled to-night. I won't again doubt the dynamite in the Bostons' bats.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Tuesdays with Hurdy: The restorative powers of base-ball

Tuesdays with Hurdy is a weekly exercise allowing Hurdy Chadwick to ponder issues of importance to the general Rooting public. Today's installment finds Hurdy putting his faith in the restorative powers of base-ball.

Dear friends,

Allow my mind to perambulate around the issue of the day. The economy is in shambles, housing stocks are reeling and our collectively profligate ways have been recounted and numbered in every news-paper from New York to Sandusky. Why, even getting to the ball-park has become an exercise fit more for a king than for an every-day working man like myself.

And yet, through this fiscal crisis, America's Past-time remains a shining spot in an otherwise drab world. Base-ball has continued to buzz over the airwaves, from ball-park microphone men to the wireless tuners perched in the everyman's living room. Amidst careful portioning of grocery stuffs and diligent pinching of pennies, it warms the heart to take two hours out of each working day and listen to the heroics of our flannel-clad hurlers and twirlers.

Base-ball, you see, is a uniter of men, a fantastic mixing bowl that brings the rich and poor, the manly and impish, and the hale and the infirm together as one listening and rooting audience. As the dog days of summer wear on and I see my fellow working-men leave their offices as the 5:00 whistle sounds, I see many dour expressions and grim countenances on these faces. I want to grab each one by the lapels and evangelize the gospel of the horsehide, the joy of the four-ply drive, the majesty of a strongly hurled curving ball arcing its way to the home-plate, buckling the knees and soiling the flannels of any batsmen unlucky enough to swipe at its splendor.

Spread the good word, friends. Grab men and ladies -- discreetly, for the latter -- and remind them of the purity of the game. Readers and Rooters, base-ball is here, and it is here to stay. Huzzah to the heroes!

Yours in hurling and twirling,
Hurdy Chadwick
Westbrook, Me.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The end, and the beginning

Spring’s glorious rebirth inevitably leads the Dog Days of summer. A time when our spherical Earth-ark transverses a treacherous section of the heavens that brings unsettling ill-winds, madness-inducing heat, and general lethargy.

The ancients blamed this temporary frenzy on the prominence of Sirius, the dog star. Accordingly, they sacrificed helpless canines in an effort to appease the stellar pot-stirrer.

So it is today with our Bostons: The Dog Days have disrupted our once-reliable hurling, merciless swatting and pill-gobbling glove-work. The malaise demanded a sacrifice, and it was delivered. Manuel “The Wonder” Ramirez has thrown off the white flannel and red stockings and boarded an express locomotive to the Western coast. His clouts will no longer sunder the New England sky and punish opposing flingers. His dubious diamond antics, a veritable one-man vaudeville show, will play now for the moving-picture set in Los Angeles.

Exiling the malcontent masher seemed the only course available to club officials. But we Rooters are left pondering whether the sacrifice has appeased the base-ball gods. Can the Nine, so recently strutting as the World’s Champions, reclaim their great and terrible prowess on the pitch?

Contests resume to-night, with a chance for this club to prove that they still have the stuff. I’ve thrown open the curtains, removed the damp cloth from my aching fore-head, and placed the nerve-tonic back on the remedy shelf. Let it begin.