D.C., Maryland baseball fans meet for diamond dialogue

From Jonathan Pitts at the Baltimore Sun on December 28, 2011:

Talk baseball with Washington native [and SABR member] David Paulson for a few minutes, and his obsessive lifelong fandom pours out in facts, figures and lore.

He recalls how he loved the most obscure of Washington Senators players, like outfielder Stan Spence. How he admired third baseman Cecil Travis less for his career average (.314) than his combat service in World War II. And how he got to see Frank Howard, a soft-hearted, 300-pound slugger from Ohio, hit 34 homers a year for the hometown team even as they cemented their reputation as one of baseball’s perennial doormats.

“It could be frustrating, being a Senators fan,” Paulson, 80, says of the club that became the Texas Rangers in 1972. “But you could always see [visiting] players like Ted Williams and [Joe] DiMaggio. That was more than enough to learn to love the game.”

Paulson, a Columbia resident, has never loved it more than he does now. He is unofficial director of “Talkin’ Baseball,” a discussion group for baseball junkies like himself that he founded with a friend, [SABR member] Skip McAfee, in 1999, and that has met in his adopted hometown once a month ever since.

“Talkin’ Baseball,” which meets the second Saturday of every month, usually features a talk by a baseball author, journalist or insider from the Baltimore-Washington area, draws a dozen or so people and spins off into wide-ranging conversation about the sport in its past and present forms.

Attendees have ranged in age from 7 to 87, and though most come from the Baltimore and Washington areas, bringing their Orioles or Nationals fandom with them, some visit from Delaware, Pennsylvania and points beyond.

Read the full article here: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/howard/bs-ho-talkin-baseball-20111228,0,4310530.story

Originally published: January 3, 2012. Last Updated: January 3, 2012.