Slattery’s Druthers: BOS vs. CLE

In honor of NotGraphs prose hero W.J. Slattery and as sorta-kinda suggested by Notgraphs reader and thinking-man’s pugilist Reillocity, I’m giving the Slattery-style treatment to yesterday’s Red Sox-Indians tilt. Long may you run, W.J. Slattery. Long may you run.

CLEVE’S-LAND OF THE OHIO – The Blood-Colored Leggings of Boston Town entered this docket in the Land o’ Cleve with expectations as heavy as President Taft, that flatulent Yalie, but, lo, they have buckled and sunk under Job’s burdens like the U.S.S. Maine.

It shouldn’t have been such a tight scratch, but the Injuns charged at them, hammer and tongs, and dropped the anointed champeens to zero and five plus another, which be this one.

Mr. Carmona, the fizzing Cleve’s-Land tosser, betokened the approaching misery by setting down a trinity of swingers in the first frame. Among the Red bats-men, only Mr. Scutaro brought his barking-iron and his dash-fire to this row. He smote the ball favorably and recorded a deuce of safeties on the day, but his messmates left him stranded each and every times both.

Across the way, Mr. Lester tossed with the honest flint of a Christian and a Virginian (tho’ he is not the lattermost, and recent fates make this scribe doubt he’s the formermost), but, thanks to the Boston bats soft as kidney pie, his efforts in the end were but ragamuffin’s gullyfluff in an urchin’s trouser pocket.

The real konk on the smeller came in the eighth turn, when Mr. Cabrera, of the A. not the O., plopped down an Irish hoist, plated Mr. Everett — that discommoding rusty-guts — and made the tally nothings to the ones. It stood. It stood because as warm and rightwise a patriot as Andrew Jackson could not have tamed these Indians on this day.

Wiseacres without wit, money or manners will observe that the season is not yet weaning age, but that’s merely the tune the old cow died of. Be it what it would, the Leggings have a buckskin’s toil in front of and aweather them. God’s blessing, they’ll return to the hearth on the morrow. There, they can fill the bellows with New English air, have some hochmagundy with the wives, enjoy a plate of butchered beef’s haslet, pull up their sit-upons, shut their mewling bone boxes, and get to business.

As for the Royal Rooters, their cogitations are too abundant to chronicle. If the catarrh or the Pock doesn’t get them, then the home-town nine surely will.




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Handsome Dayn Perry can be found making love to the reader at CBSSports.com's Eye on Baseball. He is available for all your Twitter needs.


12 Responses to “Slattery’s Druthers: BOS vs. CLE”

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  1. ryanmira says:

    #winning

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  2. Yirmiyahu says:

    Fix your first link, dude.

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  3. H says:

    Cabrera plated Everett, not the reverse (as you have it) – otherwise, superbly scribed!

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  4. Peter says:

    This is brilliant. Please bring lots more of these.

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  5. reillocity says:

    Imitation is the sincerest form of Slattery.

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  6. reillocity says:

    So here’s how the recap of the game action reads once you’ve built a mini-reference of early 20th-century sportswriter baseball lingo…

    Thanks to the high art playing of the dueling slabsters Lester and Carmona and the near flawless fielding support that they received from their sympathizers, the Boston and Cleveland nines earned nary a tally until the native sluggers took their turn with the big stick in round eight. It was just before that spasm that the Boston manager Francona had decided to remove a tired Lester from the box and send Bard out on the firing line. The rail-thin Everett was first Clevelander to take measure of the kind that Bard was slipping and managed to play for a pass. With first base now decorated and no outs, the old war horse O. Cabrera then engaged Bard in a contest of cat and mouse that would be interrupted when the fleet-footed Everett made good on a steal attempt on the third pitched ball. Cabrera did Everett a friendly on the next pitch and sacrificed him over to the third station. A. Cabrera then occupied the plate and watched two Bard tosses drift wide before lofting his third delivery backwards and into the lap of a local supporter who was seated comfortably in foul grounds. The Cleveland manager Acta sensed an opportunity to surprise the Boston fielders and daringly signaled for the members of his flock to attempt the ‘squeeze-play’. Cabrera artfully laid the ball down in fair ground and Everett tore through with the first and only run of the day. The third-sacker Youkilis played the ball fastly but had no recourse other than to throw to Gonzalez at first and retire Cabrera, which he did with success. The result of the play was much to the delight of the hearty Cleveland rooters who stood together with great enthusiasm as their team forged ahead. The vocal uprising ended in short order when Choo dispatched a bouncer into the mitt of Pedroia and the steady fielder heaved the leather over to Gonzalez who recorded the third out.

    Acta turned to C. Perez to secure what the Clevelanders hoped would be the final 3 outs of the contest. The first two Red Sox were swiftly retired without much fanfare. Second-sacker O. Cabrera fielded a bounce sent by Gonzalez and threw strongly and accurately to LaPorta at first. Youkilis then met his maker in the same fashion courtesy of short-stop A. Cabrera and LaPorta. In his first puff at ending the flickering hopes of a Boston victory on this chilly Cleveland afternoon, Perez was unable to control his speed and twisters and surrendered a base on balls to the menacing behemoth Ortiz. Behind by one in the last with two in the cellar and his lumbering slugger decorating first base, Boston manager Francona carefully studied his bench and inserted McDonald as a substitute runner. The calamity to be witnessed soon thereafter by all in attendance would introduce still more salt into the festering wound that is the lengthy streak of defeats that Boston endured leading up to this entertaining mixup. The fortunes of Boston seemed to be on an upswing for a fleeting moment when the subsequent batter Drew smote a bounding shot that caromed off the leg of Perez and toward third base. Everett commandeered the ball and fancied a throw across the diamond to LaPorta but soon recognized the folly of it all. Not long for the realization that he could not prevent Drew from reaching base safely, Everett saw that the substitute runner McDonald had fallen during an ill-fated attempt to round second base. Everett rapidly heaved the leather into the mitt of O. Cabrera who deposited it onto the arm of McDonald as the felled runner reached back in a desperate attempt to retouch the base. The indicator man then put this exhibition of baseball to permanent rest by signaling McDonald out with great pepper. That ruling was well-received by the native nine and their rooters, many of whom erupted into a celebratory frenzy.

    As a result of the fresh coat of the white paint administered today by the Cleveland ballclub, the dejected Boston players have now suffered 6 defeats in 6 contests on the new campaign as they head back home to prepare for the first battle to be waged this season in Fenway Park. Their longtime nemeses, the Yankees of New York City, are set to pay them an ungentlemanly visit. The young men of the triumphant Indians, winners of a surprising 6 games in 8 tries, shall heed the advice of Greeley and will go west to duel with the Mariners of Seattle, Washington state.

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    • Dayn Perry says:

      Applause, sir. Applause.

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      • reillocity says:

        If you haven’t read Slattery’s columns from April 20 and 24 of 2007, you’ve just got to (or feature one or both in your next “Ode to Slattery”).

        The former (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85066387/1907-04-20/ed-1/seq-7.pdf) features pearls like “lt can safely be said that not a player on either team did anything to his credit. Some of them said they were trying, but that was hardly true, for their actions belied their words. Umpire Derrick did the best he could to put some ginger into the mixup by hustling the men around, but his efforts met with poor success.”

        The latter (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85066387/1907-04-24/ed-1/seq-10.pdf) isn’t quite as candid or entertaining but has the glorious headline “COMMUTERS CONVICTED OF DEFRAUDING PUBLIC; Advertise a Real Baseball Game and Then Play ‘One Old Cat’ “.

        At this point, I am semi-expecting that Slattery will get whacked by someone from the “Commuters” organization by July.

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  7. reillocity says:

    I did a trifle of internet research on our venerable scribe, Dayn.

    It seems that he and a future sportswriting protegé at The Call (the stereotypically-nicknamed “Scoop” Gleeson) may have played some role in popularizing use of the word “jazz” circa 1913. We also now know with certainty that Slattery’s first name is William and that he was “Spike” to his associates.

    Kudos to you for bringing this to the attention of me and the other 14 readers of NotGraphs. I’ve read about a dozen of Slattery’s articles and a few more from other scribes of that era (found using that slick Library of Congress search tool), and in so doing I stumbled across some fascinating stuff – what would now be called ground (book) rule doubles were homers (Slattery or a peer at The Call mentions “a freak home-run hit, the ball bounding over the fence in right field, and rolling under the bleachers”), no allusions in the recaps or boxscores to runs batted in (Spike and the other veteran sportswriters of the naughts clearly had no time for that sort of advanced statistic, which surely peeved the sabermetricians of the day to no end), the amusing references to rough talk directed at the umpires and players, etc. My next cyberquest will likely involve exploring how the MLB team beat writers of that era crafted their game stories – I want to gauge how typical Spike’s language was for that decade.

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  8. eric says:

    great work

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