Category Archives: Baseball

I like baseball

Lebanon, Charles de Gaulle, California baseball

I remember it because it has a cedar tree on it. And the second thing I contemplate about Lebanon is this promontory proboscis:

jamiefarr in his mudhens shirt

When I was a kid, the Toledo Mudhens were the Triple A affiliate for the Minnesota Twins.

Charles de Gaulle is an airport and a brain in a jar. And I’m passing him quickly to get back to baseball.

The era of California Baseball starts in 1958 on the major league level. The Giants move from New York to San Francisco and the Dodgers abandon Brooklyn for the less bum-infested Chavez Ravine. Although Chavez Ravine is in Sulfur Canyon and therefore probably smells a lot like bums. Two points to make here:

    1. I am obsessed with Ebbets Field
    2. Vincent Edward Scully is still calling Dodger games.

Seriously folks, hear him call a game while you still can. He IS a tie that binds back to multiple eras of baseball. I’m out of superlatives so I’m switching to analogies. Imagine being able to listen live to a performance by Liszt, or Chopin. Or having to move your beer to avoid a Carrie Nation hatchet blow. Do it.

Little Rock, Pasternak, Mickey Mantle, Kerouac

The US Supreme Court decision in 1954 that “…in the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place.” (Brown vs Board of Education (Topeka)) lead to The Little Rock Nine. Nine brave young people standing together for education equality.

The US Army was called in to escort and protect these children just so they could walk through the doors of their high school.

Boris Leonidovich Pasternak was a Russian poet and author. He received the Nobel Prize in 1958 “for his important achievement both in contemporary lyrical poetry and in the field of the great Russian epic tradition” His singular novel was Doktor Zhivago (1957). I saw the movie, it looked cold. I thought about the movie when I rode the overnight train from Moscow to St. Petersberg. It was cold.

The Commerce Comet – Mickey Mantle represents the promise and humanity of baseball. Bob Costas probably said it best in his eulogy of The Mick, “In the last year of his life, Mickey Mantle, always so hard on himself, finally came to accept and appreciate the distinction between a role model and a hero. The first, he often was not. The second, he always will be. And, in the end, people got it.”

Hey, Jack Kerouac:

Einstein, James Dean, Brooklyn’s Got a Winning Team

So I didn’t post two updates to this exercise last night and I missed the opportunity to connect the first item in this lyrical part with an actual point in time. So I guess I fail at being relative (not the first time).

December FIFTH (not SIXTH like today is) 1932, Albert Einstein received the visa that would allow him to travel to the United States.

image080

I’d make a mass joke here but I don’t have the energy, how enlightening.

James Dean was an actor in the 1950s, and a REBEL Dottie. I haven’t seen any of the 3 movies he was in so I’m not even going to attempt to complete this one.

Brooklyn’s Got a Winning Team is a reference to Dem Bums what played in Flatbush from 1884 until 1957. This specific reference relates to the fact that the Trolley Dodgers actually won the series in 1955 by defeating the ever present (and equally evil) Yankees in 7 games. The boys in blue would move to Cali shortly there-after.

The only tie that still binds is one Vincent Edward Scully. Listen to him call a game while you still can. You’ll be able to brag to the historical equivalent of hearing Lincoln make a speech.

Ebbets Field haunts my baseball dreams. Maybe it stays in my unknowable unconscious because I love baseball. But I’ll only ever be able to imagine the brilliance of an opening day in perfection 100 years ago.

Ebbets1913OpeningDay

Rockefeller, Campanella, Communist Bloc

Nelson and Winthrop make me think of

and

respectively.

Gary Indiana is not one of my favorite places and Ronnie Howard can’t carry a tune. And I have no idea why that woman is doing pirouettes in a bikini in the Nelson video.

Roy Campanella was a catcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers. His mixed-race parentage kept him out of the major leagues until 1948. He caught 3 no-hitters over the course of his career which was cut short by an auto accident in 1958. The accident left him paralyzed and the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles for the 1958 season.

Real men don't need 6 blades

Real men don’t need 6 blades

Communist Bloc is difficult. Do I include Cuba? Is it just the Eastern Bloc?

My own perception is: Poland, East Germany, the Baltics (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia), Bulgaria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Albania, and sometimes Yugoslavia. So, I guess more Eastern Bloc than anything else.

Probably my first personal identification of the Communist Bloc was watching Walter Cronkite talk about the declaration of Martial Law in Poland (December 13, 1981). I really didn’t understand what was going on, but I remember thinking it seemed important. Not tragic (although at least 100 people were killed in the military response to the public demonstrations), but interesting. Probably the first time I ever thought about the concept of justice.

Somewhere in the mid-80s I had a teacher from Lithuania (?) for social studies (?). I distinctly remember wondering how the hell she made it from Lithuania to small-town Minnesota.

I also remember seeing female Olympic athletes from East Germany. I don’t want to write anything more about them because those dudes still give me nightmares.

South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMiaggio

South Pacific has one of my favorite character names ever: Stewpot

kenclark21

The “singing voice” of Stewpot in the 1958 movie version of South Pacific was performed by one of my favorite voice actors – Thurl Ravenscroft. Besides having an amazing name himself, Thurl was also the original voice of Tony the Tiger AND sang (uncredited) “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch”.

South Pacific arose from the James Michener book: Tales of the South Pacific which gets run through the golden wheelhouse of classic Rodgers and Hammerstein. Further mixing the pot, here’s a video of Mandy Patinkin singing a medley of careful songs:

Walter Winchell, contrary to my initial belief, did not found a donut dynasty. He was a self professed “son of a bitch” and effectively serves as cautionary tale for the likes of Perez Hilton. There’s a whole pile of media, ethics, and basic human decency deficiencies in his story. Anyone who thinks that media people and politicians are worse now then they’ve ever been should be directed to read his Wikipedia page. One of the saddest things I’ve read in a long time is that his daughter was the only person at his funeral.

Joe DiMaggio was one of the greatest baseball players ever. Mr. Coffee pitchman, one of Marilyn Monroe’s husbands. And, unfortunately he played for the New York Yankees.

Here’s a interesting historical fact about his parents. According to the Wikipedia page: “Giuseppe and Rosalia DiMaggio were among the thousands of German, Japanese and Italian immigrants classified as “enemy aliens” by the government after Pearl Harbor was bombed by Japan. They carried photo ID booklets at all times, and were not allowed to travel outside a five-mile radius from their home without a permit. Giuseppe was barred from the San Francisco Bay, where he had fished for decades, and his boat was seized.” Way to go America!