Archive for Ed Lucas: As I See It

Remembering Yogi Berra

image The Pope’s recent visit to the United States had me thinking about one of my favorite Papal anecdotes, which involves a dear friend who just passed away.

Yogi Berra took a trip to Rome in the early 1960s. As a devout Catholic and daily communicant who never missed the weekly Sunday Mass held just outside the Yankee clubhouse, Yogi was thrilled to receive an invitation to tour the Vatican, which included an audience with Pope John XXIII. When the time came to meet the Holy Father, an aide introduced Yogi as “Lawrence Berra, American baseball player.” Yogi stuck out his hand and innocently exclaimed “Hiya, Pope!” Everyone gasped. The Pontiff grinned and embraced Yogi, whose charm put everyone, from world leaders to the common man, at ease.

The tributes that came in from every corner of the world when the news of his death at age 90 was announced on Wednesday is proof positive of just how beloved Yogi was.

I feel blessed to have been able to call him my friend.

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Does home plate look like a dinner plate?

imageHave you ever considered what it would be like to live a life in total darkness? Imagine that you were born without the ability to see. Things around you would seem totally different. Your sensory perception and how you’ve come to identify your world would be completely changed.

Take the color spectrum, for example.

From early childhood on, sighted people are able to distinguish the primary colors of red, yellow and blue. It’s second nature. For those who cannot see, however, they have no concept of this. It’s impossible to put into words what green or purple, orange or any other shades look like. Try doing it, you can’t. It would be like trying to describe the flavor of salt without saying “salty.”

I wasn’t actually born blind. I could see until I was 12, then I was hit by a baseball between the eyes, which robbed me of my sight.

Luckily, I still have a concept of how the world of a sighted person appears, so I can understand when people use phrases and descriptions that rely on a working knowledge of what thinimagegs look like.

Sometimes it doesn’ t work.

When I interviewed basketball Hall of Famer Walt Frazier a few years ago, the two time NBA champion turned the tables on me, asking why I mostly stuck to reporting on baseball and didn’t cover basketball that much.

I explained to Clyde that I grew up as a baseball fan and that I know the game inside and out, but I didn’t watch many other sports when I was young and could still see.

This limited me, because I can’t create a mental picture of action on a court as easily as I can on a diamond. That makes it tougher to relate to players and fans from those sports.

Baseball is much easier for me.

I was once hosting my radio show when a young blind girl called in asking if home plate looked like the dinner plates that we eat from, or if it was a different shape.

It was a genuine, heartfelt question from someone who was blind like me, yet who didn’t enjoy the same advantage of having sight for a few years, as I did.

That’s when I realized that I am truly blessed to be able to do what I do for a living and to have had my dreams come true.

I don’t not envy those who have more, or look down on those who have less, I’m just grateful to God to be where I am.



Favorite Irish-American Sports Stars

imageHappy Saint Patrick’s Day!

As the descendant of immigrants from the Emerald Isle, this is a day that always fills me with pride.

35.5 million Americans (almost 12 percent of the U.S. population) claim some share of Irish heritage, so you’ll see green no matter where you go today.

Even when watching sports, the influence of the Irish in America is apparent. From the “Fighting Irish” of Notre Dame to the Boston Celtics, the love of sports has been passed down through generations of Irish-Americans, some of whom have distinguished themselves on the playing field.

Here are ten of my favorites…

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Ed Lucas On Friday the 13th, Triskaidekaphobia, and athlete’s superstitions

imageAthletes are some of the most superstitious people on the planet.

Take, for instance, the number 13.

Triskaidekaphobia – the fear of anything associated with the number 13 – is prevalent in society. Many tall buidings choose to skip floor 13 and go right from 12 to 14. Friday the 13th has become a day that is noted and highlighted in social media posts, though it’s usually just another uneventful day on the calendar.

In sports, players try to avoid being issued the dreaded number. That seems silly, given the success that many of their peers and predecessors have had with it.

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Oscar Winners Who Have Portrayed Baseball Players On Screen

The two great past-times of American summers, baseball and the movies, sometimes come together in thrilling ways.

Ballparks have been the setting for some of Hollywood’s best loved sports films.

Baseball is such an integral part of growing up in the United States, that many actors have a natural feel and look when it comes to taking on the role of a ballplayer, even if they’ve never actually spent time on a diamond.

In fact, some of our most talented actors have been captured on screen as they roamed the infield, outfield, bullpen or dugout.

Here, in chronological order of the films as they debuted, are several Oscar winners who have portrayed baseball players on screen:

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Why Horace Stoneham belongs in the Hall of Fame


Horace Stoneham

In my book, Seeing Home, I mention the late Yankee owner George M. Steinbrenner, who was a wonderful person. I call him one of life’s hall of famers, a guy who quietly and consistently helped those in need.

Unfortunately, for reasons I’ll describe below, he isn’t yet a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

It reminded me of another should be Baseball Hall of Fame owner that is mentioned in Seeing Home, Horace Stoneham of the New York Giants.

While he was never the household name that Steinbrenner was, Stoneham had just as big an impact on New York baseball. It was his last move in New York, however, that might be the thing that’s unfairly keeping him out of the Hall.

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