Baseball and July 4th are synonyms with one another.
Bar-B-Q, picnics, playing baseball, they all go together so well.
The 4th of July is also important in baseball lore.
Fans use to mark holidays, Memorial Day, the 4th, and Labor Day, as bench marks in the pennant race.
If your favorite team was in first place on the 4th of July, the odds of them winning the pennant were very good.
In the old days, and yes, I remember them, 162 games included real double headers, faster games, at a shorter season.
Yes, a real double header, two games for the price of one ticket, played on the same day, with the second game played about 20 minuets, or so, after game number one.
With the double headers, the season didn't last as long into the season, so a team in first place on the 4th of July would have the upper hand on going to the World Series, or, after 1968, the playoffs.
July 4th baseball is also special because it was summer time, and we were always up early to go out and play baseball on the sandlots of Portage, Michigan, where I grew up.
We'd be gone all day playing baseball, although I would always run home to catch the Detroit Tigers if they were on TV.
Most times we carried a transistor radio so we could listen to the Tigers game as described to us by Hall of Fame announcer Ernie Harwell.
Now days baseball goes all out on the 4th of July with special caps for the players to wear, and all kinds of great promotions all around the big leagues, and, of course, the minor leagues as well.
Today I was watching the Cubs game, and color commentator Bob Brenly noticed two embroidered stars on the back collar of Cubs short stop Starlin Castro's uniform.
He was assuming, he wasn't sure, that those stars were for Castro's selection to the All-Star Game next week in Arizona.
No one else on the Cubs, with the exception of manager Mike Quade, had the stars on the back of their uniform, so it's almost certain that's what they're for.
I'll be interested to watch other games tonight, including the Tigers game, to see if, indeed, those stars are on all the uniforms of other All-Stars players.
As I said, baseball and the holiday's, especially the 4th of July, are part of what makes baseball special.
I've added a new blog to the list of baseball blogs that I like to read.
It's "Murph Talks, The Official Dale Murphy Blog," written by former two time National League MVP Dale Murphy.
Go over and check out the former Braves blog at Murph Talks
If you already didn't know, the MLB Final Vote is now under way.
Five A.L. and five N.L. players are on the "Final Vote" ballot, with one winner from each league being added onto the final roster for next weeks All-Star Game.
Voting is unlimited, you may vote as many times as you like.
I've been voting since the announcement yesterday afternoon, and I'll keep voting for the Tigers Victor Martinez and the Rockies Todd Helton until the voting ends Thursday at 4 PM.
Make sure you vote for your favorite player.
If you don't have a fave player, or just don't know, help me and the other Tigers fans by voting for a very worthy candidate in Victor Martinez.
So, after Hot Dogs, baked beans, and mac & cheese, it's time to relax the rest of the day, watch some baseball, some fireworks, and, I hope, a Tigers win in Anaheim later tonight.
Until next time, Play Ball!