Game Seven, and nobody’s watching

Baseball is the greatest game on earth. It isn’t perfect – it would be if you didn’t have to refinance your home to take the wife and kids to the ballpark, and if they had a better selection of beer, and if they played the blues between innings instead of those hideous pop tunes – but, hey, it’s awfully damn close.

And tonight the greatest game on earth gets its signature moment, its pinnacle, it’s Ray Charles singing Georgia on My Mind:

Game Seven of the World Series.

A season that began on the first day of April will end tonight, seven months and some 175 games later. One game, winner take all. One guy gets to sip champagne. The other guy goes home and cries in his Bud. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Too bad nobody will be watching. Continue reading

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The All-Star Game and Linda and me

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Figured I could do this on an iPad for a week. Figured wrong.

Can’t copy/paste photos. Or at least I don’t think I can. We’ll find out when I publish this baby whether that code above becomes a picture . . . or whether it’s a bunch of code.

But a piece in today’s New York Times . . .

All-Stars of 1964 Recall a Wild Show at Shea

. . . got me to remembering that game, and many others.

The 1964 All-Star Game was the first one I can recall watching from start to finish. I was at summer camp, and one of the rules at Camp Robinson Crusoe was that you don’t watch television. You’re here to get away from television. But a coterie of young lads, 13-year-old me included, were not going to make it through to the next day if we didn’t watch the All-Star Game. It was at that new ballpark, Shea, and many of us were New Yorkers.

So Bob Hill, camp director, decided that for this time only, all the boys who wanted to watch the game (sorry, girls, but this one was for the boys, now go make a wallet or something at arts & crafts) could cram into an upstairs room at the main building and watch the game on a small TV.

One thing I remember was that it was unbearably hot up there. Upstairs, no air conditioning, middle of the summer, a hundred boys in a room that should seat maybe 10 . . . But we stuck it out till the very end. And when Johnny Callison hit that home run, we all went nuts.

Read the voices in the Times piece. They tell a wonderful story. And how’d you like to have Mays, Aaron and Clemente on your team, in their prime? With Drysdale on the mound and Koufax on the bench? Damn.

Worth noting here that Roy Kardon, Philadelphia boy, thought the Phillies of 1964 were the greatest team since the 1927 Yankees, and spent an entire summer reminding us of it. When Callison hit that home run, he became nothing short of insufferable. When the Phils pulled their classic folderoo in September, I couldn’t wait for the next summer, so I could go back to camp and remind him of it every 15 seconds or so for eight weeks.

Only Kardon didn’t return to camp the following year. He knew what was coming.

Memo to Roy Kardon: Art Mahaffey was not Sandy Koufax.

__________

The next All-Star Game I remember was 10 years later, in 1974. Amazing what a difference 10 years can make when you’re young.

In 1964 I was a 13-year-old kid. In 1974, I was a 23-year-old adult and traveling for two weeks in my Ford Maverick through Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island with the love of my life.

We’re camping, in a tent for two in Camp Kejimkujuk (I’d look the spelling up if I weren’t writing this on an iPad), and romance is in the air.

And they’re playing the All-Star Game.

Linda, I tell the young woman sharing my sleeping bag, I never miss an All-Star Game.

So there we are, the two of us, in that tent, in that sleeping bag, and I’m doing what any red-blooded American boy would be doing . . .

I’m fiddling with the dial on a transistor radio, looking for a broadcast of the All-Star Game. I finally find it, on Armed Forces Radio, and we stay up listening to the game.

Linda put up with it. And me. This woman is a keeper.

A day or two later, over a twin lobster dinner in a restaurant in Nova Scotia, I asked her to marry me.

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