Sam

Archive for the ‘Trivia and Nostalgia’ Category

Not feeling so patriotic today

In Pet Peeves, Satire, Traditions, Trivia and Nostalgia, Uncategorized on July 4, 2009 at 12:43 pm

Wasn’t planning on writing anything today. It is after all The Fourth of July. But then I tuned into Fox’s Game of the Week ( Dodgers-Padres) and found that their coverage of Manny Ramirez’s return to the Dodgers lineup warranted an entry.

It is as if Fox and MLB were celebrating Ramirez’s return. There was Manny all primped up in a pre-game press conference saying how nice it was to be back. No mention anywhere about why Manny had been out of the lineup. When Manny came up for his first at bat, Dick Stockton and Eric Karros fawned on him – again no mention really of why he had not been in the lineup for two months.  I could read the lips of one girl in the stands who was yelling “come on Manny,”  perhaps unaware that Manny had been suspended 50 games for drug use ( it being more likely that she knew but just didn’t care). When Manny hit a HR Stockton’s, call betrayed nothing but unbridled  joy while Karros added how incredible it was that Manny can return to the lineup and be back in top form so quickly.  All the while the fans cheered ( even though this game was being played in San Diego) adding to this sick feeding frenzy.

You wonder what kind of message this sends to people, particularly to young kids or to players at the lower levels of professional baseball who are trying to crack ( no pun intended, Manny ) a major league lineup ? The message I think it sends is that, hey, it is OK to cheat.  If you are good enough people don’t really care how you get there and they will still cheer for you. This is America.

A final irony. As were all the players on the field today, Manny wore a patch commeratiing the 70th anniversary of Lou Gehrigs famous Fourth of July speech at Yankee Stadium. This juxtapositon of class and no class was so funny that I could not help but chuckle before getting up to turn off the TV. I had had enough.

Happy 4th of July.

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Then and Now

In Trivia and Nostalgia on June 18, 2009 at 4:09 pm

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I normally don’t attend inter-league contests on the principal that the National and American leagues should not meet until the World Series( I am the” Sports Purist” after all, an unsolicited  name fashioned for me by my friend Lin ). But a friend of a friend came up with a “club box” ( the Giants BTW have an absurd 14 tiers of ticket prices) for this past Tuesday’s contest between the Giants and the Angels and so I said “what the heck” and went to the game.

Seats were great. The game less so. Giants fell behind early 7-1 leaving “Tom” and me plenty of time to reminisce about baseball’s Golden Age. I think we got started in O’Neils bar before the game where, under the influence of a couple of Guinesses,  I had to tell a young couple decked out in bright red, garish Angels gear that the face of the Angels franchise in the 1960s was a phenom shortstop by the name of Jim Fregosi. Of course they had never heard of him. It never ceases to astonish me how little people, who say they are fans, know about the history of the game.

Anyway, during the game Tom and I got on the subject of the paltry salaries of  the players of yesteryear. I brought up the name of Larry Colton, a pitcher for the Phils who, after leaving the Phils, clerked at Northside Books in Berkeley Ca. That was in the early 70s and he probably made about $3.25 an hour. But that didn’t matter to us. We used to go talk to him all the time, just in awe that a major league pitcher was down there standing behind the counter at the local bookstore.

Duke Snider – as Doris Kearns Goodwin’ mentions in her book on the Brooklyn Dodgers Wait til Next Year – was a mailman in the off-season. Can you imagine growing up in those days in Brooklyn and seeing Duke Snider at your door with a package ? This is just one more example of how the game has changed over the years. In the old days, the players were just like you and me, getting up every day and going to spiritually taxing, hum-drum jobs. The economic gulf  between most players and fans didn’t exist,  and doctors, as they should, made more than pitchers.

 It was a different game then.