Hot Stove #112 – The Two Yankee Georges (Costanza and Steinbrenner) and Lonnie’s Jukebox (The Organ Chronicles)

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Fifty years ago, a tune with some catchy lyrics hit the pop charts. For two weeks in December of 1969, it was the #1 record in the country. It was performed by a group of session musicians who were given the fictional band name Steam.

Eight years later (that would be 1977), the Royals and White Sox were playing at Comiskey Park before a large crowd – the teams were in a tight race for the division title. At an opportune moment in the game, the Comiskey Park organist played that 1969 #1 song by Steam. The enthusiastic crowd joined in with the catchy lyrics. After that festive night at Comiskey, (i) the Royals went on the win the division (and lose, again, to the Yankees in the ALCS), and (ii) the song became (and remains) a staple at sporting events around the country. See Lonnie’s Jukebox at the end of this post for the rest of the story.

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Hot Stove #110 – Washington, D.C., World Series – Presidential First Pitches

As we await Game 3 tonight at Nationals Stadium…

Wow. What a start. The underdog Nationals have won the first two games of the World Series. So far, playing in the friendly confines of Minute Maid Park (f/k/a Enron Field) has not worked out for the Astros.

Not a good sign for Houston. The last 18 times a team has won the first two games, it has gone on to win the Series 17 times.

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Hot Stove #109 – The World Series of 50 and 25 Years Ago (Miracle Mets and Anonymous)

And now there are two. The World Series starts tomorrow night.

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Representing the American League is Houston, the team that had the best record in baseball this year. In the National League, the pennant was won by a wild-card team, the Washington Nationals. The Astros won the Series two years ago. The Nationals franchise started as the Montreal Expos in 1969, moved to DC in 2005, and before this year, had never been in a World Series.

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Hot Stove #105 – 2019 Telluride Film Festival

For the baseball/but-not-movie fans of Hot Stove, feel free to hit delete now. Otherwise…

For our 9th year in a row, Rita and I attended the Telluride Film Festival. We were joined by our friend Avie Sullivan who was attending Telluride for the first time. She did great – saw 17 films (Rita and I settled for 14, still enough to qualify for what Rita calls the “Sport of Extreme Sitting”). The weather was grand, sunny and ranging from the 50s to the 70s, so standing in line between movies was a pleasure.

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Hot Stove Short – Jorge Soler Passes Bob Cerv and Mike Moustakas

While Rita and I were flying back from the Telluride Film Festival last night, Jorge Soler hit his record-setting 39th home run. The previous “Kansas City” record for homers in a season was 38, set by Bob Cerv (1958) and Mike Moustakas (2017).

Below, with the scoreboard reading that he is tied with Moustakas at 38, Soler hits #39 (photo by Royals photographer Jason Hanna).

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Hot Stove #104 – Seinfeld Baseball Chronicles

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The Mets were in Kansas City this past weekend. Friday night was “Beatles Night” to celebrate the appearance by the band in Kansas City 55 years ago – at Municipal Stadium at 22nd and Brooklyn, hosted by A’s owner Charlie Finley. Since 14-year-old Rita Leifhelm was at that concert in 1964, we of course had to go to the Royals anniversary party. Rita bought us Beatles tee-shirts to wear and arranged transportation with uber (small “u” – i.e., outstanding) driver Pat Titterington and his wife Cheryl Dillard. The Royals did little during the game to remind you it was Beatles Night, but the band’s music was played during the quite spectacular fireworks show. Continue reading