Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Fun Facts About Baseball

The first World Series was played between Pittsburgh and Boston in 1903 and was a nine-game series. Boston won the series 5-3.

The New York Yankees have dominated the amount of World Series Championships won. They have 27 under their belt, the next highest is the St. Louis Cardinals with 11.

The shortest major league player was Eddie Gaedel—he was 3 feet, 7 inches tall. The tallest player in MLB history is the Minnesota Twins’ pitcher Job Rauch who stands at 6 feet, 11 inches tall.

US Army during WWII developed a grenade that was about the same size and shape as a regular baseball making it easy to use for the American soldiers who had grown up playing baseball.

MLB National League (1876) predates the Football League of England (1888) and is the oldest professional sports league that is still in existence.

Carlos Beltran was the first switch hitter to hit 300 home runs and steal 300 bases.

The Star Spangled Banner was first played during the seventh-inning stretch at Game One of the 1918 World Series. The song became the official national anthem in 1931.

The tradition of spring training began in 1886. Continuing into the 1940’s, the Boston Red Sox, the Cincinnati Reds, the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Highlanders (now the New York Yankees) got ready for the baseball season in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

A regulation baseball has 108 stitches

San Francisco Giants pitcher Gaylord Perry was not much of a hitter. In 1962 Giants manager joked that “They’ll put a man on the moon before Gaylord Perry hits a home run.” During a game on July 20th, 1969, a mere 20 minutes after Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, Perry stepped to the plate and hit his first career home run.

Boston Red Sox slugger, Ted Williams (1918-2002) missed almost five full baseball seasons while serving as a fighter pilot in WWII and the Korean War and still managed to hit 521 home runs.

The Yankees, Cubs, Angels and Dodgers are the only four MLB teams that lack a mascot. The Yankees used to have one, but he quit after being beaten up by fans, who didn’t want a mascot.

The average life span of a major league baseball is 6-7 pitches.

Deion Sanders is the only person to hit an MLB home run and NFL touchdown in the same week. He's also the only person to play in the World Series and the Super Bowl. 

The record for lowest attendance at an MLB game is 347 fans! It was in Florida - the Marlins versus the Reds - and it happened during Hurricane Irene. 

Every MLB ball is covered in mud from a secret location in New Jersey that only one man knows. It’s called Lena Blackburne Baseball Rubbing mud, and is used to allow pitchers to have a better grip on the balls. When Lena Blackburne was a third base coach for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1938, he decided to set off on a search for something better than tobacco spit to use. He found the perfect mixture of mud within 10 years, said to be somewhere near Palmyra, New Jersey, and then founded the company to sell it. By the 1950’s, it was so popular that every major league team was using it. Today, only the company’s owner, Jim Bintliff, knows the location. The mud is cleaned and screened, and a secret ingredient is added before sale. Bintliff takes 1,000 pounds of mud once a year, every year, and sells it the next season. It’s today considered the perfect rubbing mud. 

Philadelphia A's (now the Oakland Athletics) manager Connie Mack has 3,755 career victories, more than any other manager in history.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Who Is Richard Greenberg?

Richard Greenberg
Born in 1958, Richard Greenberg is currently one of America’s most prolific and acclaimed playwrights. From East Meadow, New York, Greenberg grew up with his father, an executive at the Century Theatres movie chain and his mother, a housewife. He attended Princeton University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 1980. Incidentally, at Princeton, one of his English teachers was famed novelist Joyce Carol Oates. Greenberg went to grad school at Harvard for two years where he studied fiction writing. However, at this point he decided he was more interested in acting, so he left Harvard to try his hand at playwrighting. The first play he wrote earned him acceptance to the prestigious Yale School of Drama, where he earned an MFA in 1985.
Since then, he’s had more than 25 plays and musicals premiere on and off Broadway.

In 1998 his play Three Days of Rain was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama. It was revived on Broadway in 2006 where it became famous as the stage debut of Julia Roberts. Greenberg wrote an updated book for the musical Pal Joey, which was eventually mounted as a major Broadway revival in 2008 was nominated for a number of Drama Desk and Tony Awards. Greenberg finally struck awards gold in 2003 with Take Me Out. The play was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in drama, won three Drama Desk Awards (Outstanding Play, Outstanding Actor for Daniel Sunjata and Outstanding Featured Actor for Denis O’Hare), the Drama League Award for Best Play, the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Play, The New York City Critic’s Drama Circle Award for Best Play, and three Tony awards (Best Play, Best Featured actor for Denis O’Hare, and Best Direction of a Play for Joe Mantello). Since then he hasn’t stopped - Greenberg’s had ten more plays debut since 2003, the most recent being Assembled Parties which opened on Broadway in 2013 and garnered a Best Featured Actress Tony for actress Judith Light.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Setting the 2nd Stage: An Interview With Dale Albright

We asked 2nd Stages producer Dale Albright to answer a few questions about his production of Take Me Out by Richard Greenberg. Here's what he had to say... 

Dale Albright
Dragon: How did you first encounter Take Me Out

Dale: I had the pleasure of the seeing the Broadway production of Take Me Out in 2003. From the moment I saw it, it was a show that I always hoped I would be involved in someday.

Dragon: You’re the first 2nd Stages producer who’s not also directing. You’re an excellent director yourself, so what made you want to take on the role of Mason and not want to direct? 

Dale: Since seeing that production over 10 years ago, this is a role that I have always wanted to play… in many ways I have felt like I was born to play the part. It has such a deep connection to me… like nothing I have ever experienced before or probably ever will again. When Meredith talked to me about the possibility of participating in the 2nd Stage Series, the chance to play this role brought me to tears. To say this is a passion project, is a vast understatement. There’s really no way I could be involved in this production and not play Mason.

Dragon: Why did you choose Ken Sonkin to spearhead this production? 

Dale: Things have a way of working out. Honestly, since this play is so full of testosterone, it had been my original intention to have a woman direct the show. I talked to a few colleagues (some women, some not) but for a variety of reasons, they didn’t pan out. At this point, I truly can’t imagine anyone but Ken shepherding the project. I have known him for years and have always known him to have the exact mix of spirit needed for this kind of show: empathetic, a person of strong convictions, a team player, fun and all around good guy. He has a passion and knowledge for baseball and the art. As I am answering this question, I find myself getting very emotional, actually (and, like Mason: “I never cry about anything!”). I’m just so thankful that he was the person to help bring this project to life.

Dragon: The play, while written more than ten years ago, has become incredibly relevant this year in light of the announcement and then draft of Michael Sam. Has this affected your take on the production at all? 

Dale: Who would have known 10 years ago that this play would become even more “real” as time has progressed? Recent developments such as Michael Sam (and the N
BA’s Jason Collins), not to mention the fact that the national tide is definitely turning in terms of gay marriage, were definitely parts of the decision to place the setting of the play in current day.

Dragon: What have you all been doing to get into a baseball state of mind? 

Dale: Baseball seems to be everyone I turn lately. I subscribe to a magazine called Mental Floss, which had a big baseball theme in its latest issue chock full of interesting trivia and stories about the history of baseball. Netflix even has a baseball on its movie jackets this month. For me, when channel surfing I would usually skip any baseball. Now I take them in. But the icing on the cake was that as a cast and crew we went to a local batting cage where we were trained by pros on pitching, catching and batting. And even I, who doesn’t have to touch a bat in the show, literally stepped up to the plate.

Take Me Out by Richard Greenberg plays in downtown Redwood City July 10 - 20th. For more information about the production, or to buy your tickets, please visit