Friday, April 24, 2009

Fun Friday Facts

A good story is sometimes hard to beat, but sometimes you wonder, is this really true?

If Only, If Only...
In the late 1940's one of the best amateur ball players was a young man named Fidel Castro. Hearing that there was a hot prospect on the tiny island, the Washington Senators sent the future revolutionary an invitation to try-outs. Castro did not perform well, and was rejected by the team, and sent packing. Upon his return home, he joined the rapidly growing socialist movement, and eventually became its leader. The rest as they say, is history. But is it true?
As fun as speculating on what could have been had Cuba lost its key revolutionary figure to baseball (no revolution, no Soviet allies for Cuba, no missile crisis, no Bay of Pigs), the story is false. Castro was an avid baseball fan, and did a lot to encourage the sport's growth in Cuba, but he was never good enough to play at the professional level. The timeline also doesn't work, by the time he was supposedly trying out with the Senators, Castro was already an ardent and outspoken critic of the Batista regime.

Prognostication
Gaylord Perry is best known for his pitching (and spitballs), certainly not for his batting prowess. After an especially poor batting performance one evening in 1963, he joked with a reporter that "They'll put a man on the moon before I hit a home run." Well, on July 20, 1969 Perry, playing for the Giants, belted his first and only home run of his career. A few minutes earlier, Apollo 11 famously reported "The Eagle has landed." Oddly enough this one is true. However, it is undetermined as to who made the original quote, Perry, his manager Alvin Dark, or fans in general.

Can you knock the Hide Off a Ball?

Mythbusters

25 comments:

GM-Carson said...

Gaylord, great name!

Burton said...

Yup. I wonder if it is hard to chat up ladies with that name. "Hey Sexy! Your name must be Campbell 'cuz you're Mmmmm Mmmmm good! My name's Gaylord!"

G-Dogg said...

Hey guys, found this blog via your Phillies blog. (Go Phils!) First time reader, just saying "Hi."

GM-Carson said...

Well, "hello" right back at ya G-Dogg.

tamtam said...

aww, too bad fidel couldnt play baseball. if that story was true, he could have gone (with improvements, of course) on to become a famous ballplayer, and not an infamous dictator

GM-Carson said...

Funny/sad thing about Fidel, he was once loved by Cuba's people because he help overthrow a dictatorship in the mid 1950's and swore to never become a dictator himself. We all know how this ended.

For the record, I think the first lunar landing is all a government conspiracy theory.

andujar said...

fidel used the baseball field to seek out revolutionaries.
i do have a cool photo of him pitching, so he did do some sort of league playing, somewhere.
but he has a better mark as a leader, having led the people out of batista's bloody rule. he also, with the will of the cuban people, saved the country from economic collapse when the russians pulled out. and keeping the country out of the world bank has saved it.
viva cuba!!! viva fidel!!!
by the way...cool blog...it's a lot of fun, even for commies like me!

andujar said...

oh, i agree with GM-carson...the whole man on the moon thing is a lie! if they could do it once, why haven't they done it again? because it never happened!!!!!

FatGirl said...

Hi Andujar... I'm so glad I'm not the only pinko-commie reading this blog!

GM-Carson said...

Now, I've never called you a "pinko-commie" just plain ol' "commie".

tamtam said...

i kinda have to agree with you on the whole 'moon landing' issue. i dont know if you guys listen to or heard of the radio show "coast-to-coast am", but its a show that talks about weird stuff like aliens, ghosts, and yes, conspiracies.

anyway, i was listening to c2c am late one night when the host had an author who wrote a book about the moon landing conspiracy as his guest. this guy, in the course of his research, found some pretty weird results. apparantly, there are some miles-thick radiation belts surrounding the earth, and this author interviewed some astronauts who went up to fix the int'l space station. these astronauts told him that when their shuttle drifted off-course a little, within a few hundred or thousand (dont remember which) miles, the astronauts recalled seeing sparks and flashes in front of their eyes, even when they were closed, cuz the radiation was so strong. they had to reroute back on course cuz they thought they were gonna get fried. if these astronauts couldnt get within a thousand miles of the van allen radiation belts (thats what they're called) without getting bombarded, how could the astronauts pass through them with no problem?

sorry this was so long, but your conversation about the moon landing brought this tidbit back from memory.

Burton said...

Grrr...The moon landing was not faked. The primary reason we've never been back is the huge expense to get there in the first place. The moon is not a terribly exciting place, and after six moonwalks and several billion dollars spent at a time when confidence in the government was shitty, there was no way to justify return trips. NASA had and has trouble raising funds and public support for projects. IF you care to check out the Mythbusters, they did a great job busting all the myths that are presented as "proof" that we never went to the moon. Just go to YouTube and type in Mythbusters Moon Landing. Of course they probably are CIA agents employed by the government to confound the public. There's also this, but it is from those sorry NASA bastards, so you can't trust it.

http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2001/ast23Feb_2.htm

FatGirl said...

Lets just kidnap Buzz... send him to the old Gitmo and find out the truth!

GM-Carson said...

Don't let facts get in the way of a good conspiracy theory.

tamtam said...

sorry burtie (yes burton, thats now my nickname for you), but i dont trust the gov't.

Burton said...

Who does? But what else would NASA do in its spare time if it is not tossing people outside of the Earth's gravity? The real conspiracy dealing with NASA is that it was founded by a bunch of ex-Nazi scientists that we drafted away from Germany after the fall of the Third Reich. In the "Great Scientist Grab" of 1945 we snatched as many scientists as we could before the Russians got 'em (they got the other half). We whisked them away and employed their V-rocket knowledge and their work on a little idea called atomic bomb. So did the Russians. We just beat them to it. The Third Reich was only a couple of months away from having "the bomb" first. SS Officer, Wernher Von Braun, the father of the V2 rocket, came to America in 1945 and by the 1960's helped establish NASA. His knowledge of liquid propelled rockets helped us in our quest to get into space, only the Russians beat us at everything. They had the first launch, the first man, etc. So we HAD to beat them at something. Otherwise, we were losing the Cold War.
Sorry...that's probably more than anyone wanted to know.

And thanks for the nickname.

GM-Carson said...

Was your granddad one of the "Rocket Boys"?

Burton said...

Nope. My granddad was a Jew, not a Nazi.

tamtam said...

@ burton:

i heard about that too. my uncle told me that story about werhner von braun and his role in making the atomic bomb. there was no way my teachers would tell me that tidbit. too bad the teachers union has a stranglehold on what teachers can/cant teach cuz that would make a good history lesson on how the rooski's almost kicked our asses in the cold war

GM-Carson said...

What Cold War, it was all a hoax.

I kid, I kid.

Burton said...

Of course the Cold War was a hoax, how else do you justify spending billions on the military industrial complex, AND making all those pretty bombs? That goes for Russia, too.

(I'm kidding too - Or am I?)

tamtam said...

*sighs* i once considered being a history teacher for a career, so here's a quick and dirty history lesson just for you.

the cold war was a psychological war. there was the occasional armed skirmish here and there behind the iron curtain, but the threat of communism was always hanging over the free-world. my dad told me that when he was in elementary school, the students would practice ducking under their desks in case the spitznaz (thats the soviet air force) came flying over us airspace to bomb the hell outta us. until 1985 when reagan came into power, the fear of communism hung over the heads of most ordinary americans.

you gm_carson, may call the cold war a hoax, but communism was the real hoax. from the outside, communism looked big and threatening, but after the fall of the berlin wall, it was revealed to be nothing more then a facade. journalists who visited moscow for the 1st time reported that it was like being back in the 50s because of the lack of innovation or technology. people were miserable too. now, the soviet economy has improved significantly, but it still has a long way to go to catch up with the rest of the west.

theres your quick and dirty history lesson.

GM-Carson said...

My comment about the Cold War being a hoax was to be tonuge-in-cheek.

andujar said...

the russian version was a spectacle, just another side of capitalism.

of course, real socialism is alive in well in latin america. and for that, i am extremely grateful!

viva cuba!!!!

Burton said...

Yup, the problem withcommunism in Soviet Russia was that it was run by capitalist totalitarian dictators.