Flashback - I saw a refreshing sight on the way to work the other day. I drove past a house with a large side yard and there were three boys playing baseball - on their own.
Yes, they had actually gotten together to play baseball themselves, not in an organized league.
Remember when you saw children riding their bikes with a baseball glove hanging from the handlebars as they headed to the nearest playground or open field for a pick-up game? Or playing football on the corner lot? Or basketball in the driveway?
You probably don't remember, or you're not old enough to have ever seen it.
Now after organized baseball is over, it's time for youth soccer followed by midget football and then youth basketball and/or hockey. Young athletes are so busy they don't have time to play pickup games anymore.
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NY-P Alumni In All-Star Game - Burdette Cattley was busy doing research recently and found that 13 former New York-Penn League players were on this year's Major League All-Star Game rosters.
One was a former Jamestown player, Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins. He played for the Jammers in 2007 and was known as Mike Stanton back then.
Following is the complete list:
American League: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers (Utica 2000), Justin Verlander (Erie 2005), Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians (Mahoning Valley 2010), Robinson Cano, Yankees (Staten Island 2002), Josh Hamilton, Rangers (Hudson Valley 1999), Curtis Granderson, Yankees (Oneonta 2002), CC Sabathia, Yankees (Mahoning Valley 1999), Fernando Rodney (Erie 2001).
National League: Melky Cabrera, Giants (Staten Island 2003), Lance Lynn, Cardinals (Batavia 2008), Jonathan Papelbon, Phillies (Lowell 2003), Jose Altuve, Astros (Tri City 2009), Ian Desmond, Nationals (Vermont 2004), Andrew McCutchen, Pirates (Williamsport 2005), Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins (Jamestown 2007).
Cattley also noted that there were three Cabreras, which set a new All-Star Game record.
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Tough On The Members - Oakmont Country Club is consistently ranked among the top five in Golf Digest's 100 Greatest Golf Courses in America and that's why it has played host to nine U.S. Opens and three PGA Championships.
When they hold a U.S. Open at the layout near Pittsburgh, there is not much need to toughen it up. Often, conditions may have to be ''softened'' from when the regular membership plays there.
That was demonstrated last month when Oakmont held its club championship. The winner was Steve Leone, who has a plus 0.1 handicap.
What did he shoot for 54 holes?
Leone finished 21 over par.
That's why one of the members said, ''We could hold an Open today.''
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The Lowdown On Moe - One of the most interesting characters in golf was Canadian Moe Norman. He hit his shots so straight that Sam Snead called him the greatest striker of the ball. That's why even in his older years when he was on the practice tee at an exhibition, PGA Tour players such as Fred Couples, Nick Price and Nick Faldo stopped to watch.
George Knudson had said, ''In 1955 and 1956, Moe Norman was the best golfer in the world, period.''
Lee Trevino said Norman would have won a U.S. Open and all the tournaments around the world.
But Norman came along too early. After plenty of success in Canada, such as winning the Canadian Amateur twice, he tried a stint on the PGA Tour in the late 1950s, but his unconventional swing, his odd dress and lifestyle led to criticism from fellow tour pros. Despite making the cut in 25 of 27 events in which he played, Norman quit the PGA Tour and returned to Canada to compete rather successfully. He finished with 55 career victories on the Canadian Tour and in other events.
Today Norman could have survived on the tour because he was like the John Daly of his time.
You can learn all about Norman in the book Moe & Me: Encounters with Moe Norman, Golf's Mysterious Genius by Lorne Rubenstein (ECW Press, $19.95) and the book stands out because Rubenstein was a friend of Norman and spent countless hours with him.
Norman was a rather shy person and did not appreciate a lot of fanfare. Often at the first tee at tournaments, he would be hitting his drive before the announcer had finished introducing him. His speedy style of play often found him putting without even lining up the putt.
When Norman was on the course, he definitely was not a ''fashion plate.'' And he preferred putting on his shoes in the parking lot instead of in the locker room.
So when he joined the PGA Tour, despite hitting the ball perfectly straight a majority of the time, his swing wasn't ''classic.'' It featured extended arms, a wide stance, a short backswing and extended follow through. And that's what too many people noticed instead of the results.
Norman once said, ''Other players hit good shots, and the crowd cheers. I hit a good shot, and they laugh. Nobody claps. It's been that way all my life. I don't know what it is. For years I've been Canada's laughingstock in golf. Eddie Shack in hockey, me in golf.''
That's why Norman was more comfortable at the driving range and would spend hours there pounding the ball - straight.
He was always golfing or hitting balls and spent his winters in Florida to continue doing it. In the mid-1990s Norman had bypass surgery and had to stay in Canada. That's when he saw snow for the first time in 43 years.
One of Norman's biggest supporters was Wally Uihlein, chief executive officer of the Achushnet Company, the parent company of Titleist.
''We just want to make sure that what doesn't happen thirty years from now is that Moe is forgotten about when people talk about the best players,'' he said in 1995 when the company decided to provide Norman with $5,000 a month for the rest of his life. ''Our feeling is that Moe may be one of the top five human interest stories in the game. If you have cried about Ken Venturi playing the last thirty-six holes of the U.S. Open (in 1964, while suffering from heat exhaustion) and winning, how can you not help but cry when you hear Moe's story?''
That money continued to be given to Norman until he died in 2004.
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Moving On - You may have noticed the photo of a former Jamestown Jammer fielding in The Post-Journal's sign at Diethrick Park. That player was a Marlins' prospect, but not anymore.
The photo is of third baseman Matt Dominguez, who was the Marlins' No. 1 draft pick in 2007. But he was sent to the Houston Astros on July 4 in a trade for Carlos Lee.