The On Deck Circle

Baseball History, Commentary and Analysis

About the Author

I was a young boy, age 11, when I went to Shea Stadium in the mid-1970’s to see my first Major League baseball game  The sounds, the smells, the sheer excitement of the spectacle overwhelmed me.  I began to collect packs of baseball cards by the fist full.  I played pickup games of baseball in the parking lots, streets and empty fields of my hometown, Bridgeport, CT.  Mostly, I just wanted to be part of what I’ve always thought is the most perfectly beautiful game ever invented.

Also, I made lists.  Lots of lists.  I still do.  As a young boy, these lists became my way to organize and quantify a passion.  Now these lists have sprouted sentences, sometimes entire paragraphs.  I didn’t know what else to do with all these words lying around, so I gathered them up and decided to turn them into blog-posts.  I hope you don’t mind.

They don’t always say a lot, but they don’t ask for much, are already potty-trained, and they won’t (unlike my own children), eat you out of house and home.

So take them as they are, don’t judge them too harshly, and remember, we all started out as someone’s big idea once upon a time.

Bill Miller – Greenville, SC

36 thoughts on “About the Author

  1. Hello, my name is Ari. I am a twelve-year-old sports writer who loves Baseball, Football, Basketball, Golf, controversy, soccer, and etc. Like you I am trying to build a fanbase. You can follow me at sportstalkwithari.com, as I have already followed you.

  2. Benjamin Cole on said:

    Loved your list on ballparks by age. Who would think that Dodger Stadium is the third-oldest park in the MLB? Seems impossible, still seems almost new.

    1963, Dodgers sweep Yanks, WS, Koufax wins two, the first in Yankee Stadium, the second at the new park (well, 1962).

    It never really got any better than that, now a half-century ago.

    Best memory? For a while, fans brought transistor radios to the park (1960s) You could hear Vin Scully and watch the game. I’ll say it again, it never really got any better than that.

    • Hi Benjamin, Thanks for sharing those memories. I wish I could have been there to enjoy those days. Today, there’s usually so much noise at a ballgame, you’d never be able to hear the radio. I do appreciate you reading this blog, and taking the time to leave the comment.
      Thanks so much,
      Bill

  3. Great blog! I grew up on LI in the 60’s and 70’s. My dad had access to box seats behind 3rd base. Watched many game there. Wanted to be a statistician when I grew up. That never happened but I still love baseball.
    Favorite Shea memory; Willie Mays night, the entire place on their feet cheering Willie for what seemed like an eternity.
    Meeting Bud Harrelson at some car dealership and getting his autograph and having my picture taken with him.
    Thanks for reminding me of how special baseball is.

  4. I grew up in CT, and am surprised to find out now about a CT-Mass-Jung-Yankees connection. Carl Jung made his early visits to the USA at Clark University and Yale. Somewhere along the way, he attended some Yankee games and developed a fondness for what Americans were working on that was fresh and new with age-old archetypes.

    “When in the on-deck circle, focus on your swing and warming up your body. Consider the possibility that your anticipation of getting a hit might actually be sharpening the skills and abilities of the other team to stop you from achieving your goal.” Carl G. Jung (~1937, speaking to the NY Yankees players during a hitting slump)

    I glimpsed a photo of Carl Jung saying this while sitting with the Yankees in a group-circle on the infield grass as a motivational poster titled ‘Anticipation.’

    I can’t find this photo anywhere, if you know where I can find it, please write.

    Thanks 🙂

    • Luke, That’s some interesting info that I hadn’t been aware of. Don’t know if I can help you track down that photo, but I’ll see what I can do. Just out of curiosity, where in CT did you grow up?
      Thanks for taking a look at my blog,
      Bill

      • I enjoyed your latest post, revisiting an old field with hopes of finding something. This is familiar turf for me as well.

        I have found nothing on the Jung-Yankees-Anticipation poster that I mentioned last year.

        I grew up in Meriden and played ball there. It’s all still there, mostly as it was. Memories included.

      • Hi, and welcome back. No matter how many combinations of “Jung” “Yankees” “Poster” and other related key words I’ve used, I’ve come up with nothing at all on the internet on this topic, either. Have you tried the reference section of your local public library? The one where I used to work made many fantastic discoveries, tracking down things I’d never believe possible to find.
        I remember Meriden, CT. Didn’t get up there much, but had cousins that lived nearby.
        Thanks for reading, and I’m glad you enjoyed my most recent post.
        -Bill

      • thanks for the tip, I’ll check out my local library. and btw, I saw the poster in a SkyMall catalog while flying from the east coast to west. No luck with SkyMall searches or calls.

        You have a talent for turning lists into paragraphs and essays. Any chance you would consider a short story?

      • You’re welcome. Good luck continuing with your search. Let me know if you uncover anything.
        Not sure turning lists into prose is a talent so much as it is belaboring the obvious. But I do appreciate the kind words. I have written some fiction, but I don’t know that the kind of fiction I’ve written to this point would be relevant to my blog. I’ll have to think on that.
        Thanks again,
        Bill

  5. I’m beginning to like and enjoy baseball more than I ever did. It’s a great sport to play!

  6. Bill,
    I was recently nominated for the Reality Blog Award. As humbled as I am, one of the criteria is to nominate other blog authors I think are deserving of the award. That said, I’ve nominated you. Check out it out at http://theevolvingdad.wordpress.com/2013/01/11/the-reality-blog-award/

  7. doug dorger on said:

    Just joined up. Looks like a fun site. I am a Reds fan since the mid 50’s, you know Big Klu, Gus Bell, Wall Post and the like. Since the Reds are looking for a leadoff man I got to thinking about Richie Ashburn. Then I got to wondering about the comparison between Richie and Pete Rose. I googled compare the 2 and found your site. What a great article on Pete’s number of outs. The Bryce Harper stat is amazing. Looking forward to a lot of fun and interesting articles.

    • Doug, Thanks very much for signing up for my blog. I’ve been at this for about three years now. Glad you were able to stumble upon my blog while doing a search like that. I seem to spend a lot of time talking about the Hall of Fame, for some reason, though I hadn’t planned it that way. Anyway, I hope you keep coming back for more. And, of course, I wouldn’t mind if you passed this blog along to your baseball friends as well.
      Again, thanks for joining, and hope you decide to stay on board.
      Best Regards,
      Bill

  8. Lists are cool, although list-making is a skill (and yes, it is a skill) that I’ve only begun to practice. A fairly accurate way to describe my thought process is to imagine trying to drop an armful of oranges into a two gallon basket. Lists can help with that. I suspect the dude who instinctively makes lists probably has a more linear and efficient.

    I never had the opportunity to visit Shea Stadium, but as a kid I loved to watch away games at Shea, because the stadium seemed so exotic in its East Coast-ness (I had at that time been no further east than the Colorado River). My conception of New York at the time was of a megapolis consisting solely of skyscrapers and the Statue of Liberty, and Shea, which I remember as being from the outside all bars and blocks seemed to reinforce that. I thought everybody on the East Coast lived in big buildings, and I was terribly jealous.

    The only East Coast stadium at which I’ve caught a game live is Fenway. Toronto vs. Boston. I think it was 1997 or 98. I remember that it was significant for Derek Lowe getting either his first win of the season or his first since coming over from the M’s as part of Seattle’s worst-ever trade (at least that springs to mind).

    Like you, my first time at a big league park was magical, and there’s always something special about it, particularly, for me, at Chavez Ravine where I saw my first game in the early 1980s. Fernando Valenzuela beat the Astros. I don’t remember who pitched for them, but it was the era of Nolan Ryan, Alan (or Andy?) Ashby and Dickie Thon). Because of the distance, we’d only go to one or two games a year. I live along the fault line that divides Dodgers/Giants territory (Oakland & Anaheim don’t really figure in), but perhaps since the Dodgers are televised, they became my team.

    My wife and I will be catching a game next month, but my boys will be staying home. They’re a little young (we take them to SLO Blues games) for the big leagues, but I’m looking forward to taking them in just three or four more years.

    • Hey man, fancy meeting you here.
      I don’t disagree that list-making is a skill, but for me, it’s always been more of a self-indulgent habit, akin to masturbating. (and no, I’ve never tried to make a list while masturbating.)
      Funny now we perceive other parts of the country when we’re young. I always pictured the west coast as all surf boards and girls in bikinis, or convertibles, top down, cruising the highways. I’ve still never actually been to San Fran or L.A., though I’ve driven the length of I-5 from near Bakersfield all the way up through Oregon and into Washington state.
      Shea was never a beautiful stadium, but when you’re born and raised in a crumbling town like Bridgeport, CT, everything else seems clean and neat (except New Haven, and most of New Jersey.)
      I’ve been to Fenway about half a dozen times. Great place to visit, even if you’re not a Red Sox fan. Every baseball fan should make the pilgrimage at least once. (Though perhaps not this season.)
      I remember those ’80’s ‘Stros teams. Some very solid players in those days, though I’m sure Mike Scott spent the entire 1986 season scuffing the ball.
      So you’ve got boys, too, eh? I’ve got two of my own, ages five, and nine-going-on-twelve. The older one can sit through an entire game. The younger one can barely sit still for the National Anthem. Luckily, there’s a playground in the ballpark, which is where my wife takes him for much of the game.
      If you ever come East again (well, South, I suppose), come out to Greenville and we’ll catch a Drive game (Single-A Red Sox.)
      Thanks for stopping by,
      Bill

      • and no, I’ve never tried to make a list while masturbating.

        Then you haven’t LIVED man–it’s great. Be warned, though–the list gets a little hard to read after a while.

        though I’ve driven the length of I-5 from near Bakersfield all the way up through Oregon and into Washington state.

        Wow! I guess I’d want to know how you started near Bakersfield. Is that where you flew in? I’ve probably made that round-trip drive (Central Cal to Washington) at least twenty-five times (round trip–50 each way). That sounds like an exaggeration even to my own ears, but it’s not–I did it 3 times in 2011 (none yet in 2012, actually). I graduated from high school in Washington State, and still own property there. If you find Bakersfield on a map and draw a line pretty much due west you’ll hit my ‘hood. When I was a kid, Bakersfield was “the big town,” as it has over 100,000 more people than my entire COUNTY.

        I’ve got two of my own, ages five, and nine-going-on-twelve.

        You’re a better planner than we are. We have three, ages 4, 4 & 3.

        If you ever come East again (well, South, I suppose), come out to Greenville and we’ll catch a Drive game (Single-A Red Sox.)

        If I do, I’ll definitely take you up on that. I love doing the small-town thing.

  9. shickshinny on said:

    Mr. Miller, Thank you very much for following my blog. That’s a nice compliment, and I truly appreciate it!

    Glen Russell Slater

      • footinthebucket on said:

        Whoops. Gotta correct it to my NEW IMPROVED blog…… “Foot In The Bucket”. Yes, it’s got some baseball in it, as the name of it would imply….. If it’s ME, it’s BOUND to get some baseball in it; I can’t say a simple sentence without using some far-fetched baseball analogy. I guess my heart is still with the game I loved as a kid so much. But the blog is about EVERYTHING, really. It’s “eclectic”, as they say, which I used to get mixed up with “electric.” Well, maybe it’s electric, too. I’ll have to plug it and find out. Anyway, if you want to check it out, it’s at http://footinthebucket.wordpress.com/ Yup, the blog known as “Shickshinny” is the same; it’s changed in URL and name only. But, contrary to what the screen reads when you click the “Shickshinny” URL, it is NOT deleted. It is only changed, and at another URL, and with a different name.

        Glen Russell Slater

      • O.K., man. Thanks for the heads up. I’ll be over for a visit.
        Bill

  10. Hello Bill, I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. Your posts make baseball stats and history come alive. I wanted to share information on the awards acceptance process with you: http://ohmsweetohmdotme.wordpress.com/2012/06/20/the-versatile-blogger-nomination

    I understand that someone may prefer not to go through the awards process; I won’t be offended if you choose not to.

    Allan

    • Allan, I very much appreciate what you’ve done for me. But, my friend, I will have to respectfully decline this honor. There are just too many other bloggers out there, some of whom even read this thing of mine, who would make even better candidates. You, in fact, are one of these people, and I’m glad to see you were nominated as well.
      The fact that you nominated me in the first place is all the honor I require (even more so, in fact.) So, thank you.
      Very Respectfully,
      Bill

  11. I like the new look.

  12. Hey,
    NIce Blog!
    I will check back often and i would be happy to trade links. Here is mine.
    betweenthelineshockeyandbaseball.wordpress.com

  13. Hi Bill,

    Thank you for liking my “Trading Baseball Cards With Another Baseball Blogger” post on Grubby Glove. I followed it to your blog, which I really like and just subscribed to. I feel like I’ve found a kindred spirit. Are you a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance? I find I’m able to connect with other bloggers through it. You may want to check it out:

    http://baseballbloggersalliance.wordpress.com/about/

    Where do you attend your games? The Atlanta Braves, perhaps?

    Best Regards,
    Michael Jawitz
    AKA: Grubby Glove

    • Hi Michael, Thanks for subscribing. Always looking for new baseball fan / friends. I am a member of the BBA, but the logo got deleted when I updated my blog a couple of months ago. I have to get around to putting it back up there. Feel free to email me anytime at wmiller6381@gmail.com, and we’ll talk some baseball.
      Cheers, Bill

  14. Thanks Bill,

    I want to send my appreciation for not only posting our little video, but for your quality writing on this site. Keep up the good work. You are an asset to the blogosphere. We surely will remain in touch.

    David
    BGWW/NMO

    • David, It was my pleasure doing it for you. The video has received a lot of positive feedback from other friends and colleagues. I’ll be happy to post your next one as well. And thanks for your kind words about my blog. Keep in touch, Bill

  15. Hey Bill,

    Be Gone With Wilpon author David Kreshover here. This past summer, our comedy team Nine More Outs went to Pittsburgh, disguised ourselves as Pirates fans, and put together a short video about the experience. It’s the second episode of our Stadium Shmadium tour, which has been featured on Pittsburgh’s Channel 4 WTAE, The Toronto Sun, and numerous websites, including Yahoo’s baseball page and baseball-reference.com.

    Would you review the video and consider posting it? (Please keep in mind that we have nothing personal against the Pirates; we’re poking a little fun at all MLB teams!)

    If you do post or feature it, please let me know. I may be reached at dkresh@yahoo.com. Thank you so much for your consideration. Here’s the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffiDMhNsI90

    All the best,

    David Kreshover
    Nine More Outs
    &
    Be Gone With Wilpon

    • Hi Dave, I’ll certainly take a look at it. I remember viewing your previous one, which I thought was great. I’ll get back to you as soon as I have a look. Thanks for checking in, Bill

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