I love October, and I love it even more when my baseball team makes it to the playoffs. It makes me feel a little younger and look forward to the radio broadcasts. There is something about baseball on the radio that seems to just make everything right in the world for a moment.
One hundred years after the “Black Sox Scandal” that saw eight Chicago White Sox players be accused of fixing games and intentionally losing the 1919 World Series, we now are considering paying college athletes to play.
It all makes me want to go back to a time when I thought everything in life was “fair.”
Those October days when I would sneak a radio into the classroom with one of those little white single earbud speakers running under the sleeve of my shirt or jacket.
I would sit with my head propped on my hand which held the play-by-play action on my transistor radio. For night games, I would go to sleep with a radio under my pillow listening to whoever was playing.
My team, the Atlanta Braves, wasn’t very good during my younger years, except for 1969. In 1969, the Braves won the first ever National League West title. They would lose to the eventual World Series Champion New York Mets in the National League Championship Series.
I was a first-grader I think… (I wasn’t carrying a radio to school then.) You know you lose track of such things like what age first- and second-graders are and were “back then.”
I do remember most of the players. There was Phil Niekro, Milt Pappas, Sonny Jackson, Felix Millan and of course, Hank Aaron.
The Mets were just too stacked with pitching. Young pitchers that would go on to be superstars and Hall of Famers – names like Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman.
Country music star Tim McGraw’s father, Tug McGraw, also played for the Mets.
New York Yankees legend, Yogi Berra, was the first base coach for the Mets in 1969. Goodness, even though the Braves lost early in October, I got to “hear” and sometimes see some of the best who played the game. Tom Seaver won 25 games for the Mets in 1969 and made $40,000.
Top pitchers now seem to be earning that much per pitch.
Oh well, now I can listen to any game I want to during the season, but it just will never be as grand as when I was a little boy – but close, if my team continues to do well.
After all these years, I still love baseball and baseball movies.
“The Natural,” from 1984, with Robert Redford as “Roy Hobbs,” was unbelievable, but very entertaining.
“The Rookie,” from 2002, with Dennis Quaid playing “Jim Morris,” was an outstanding movie.
I could go on and on – “Moneyball,” “Trouble with the Curve,” “61,” “The Sandlot,” “Field of Dreams,” and “Bull Durham.”
Thinking of all these baseball moments and movies makes me think I can smell one of those “pink cardboard-ish sticks of gum” that used to come in packs of baseball cards, which my Grandmama sold for a nickel or a dime in her ten cent store.
And yes, I still have them…
As I sit hear dreaming of all the “Good ol’ baseball days,” my wife sends me a text message noting that my son and daughter were headed to Atlanta to watch Game 5 in person… No tickets, just the dream of seeing our team win the first round of the National League Playoffs. That made me happy…
I’m sure they were texting to see if we could “help them find tickets.”
As my wife said, “They sure are expensive.”
Yes, but then again, those same baseball cards that used to cost a nickel or a dime, probably cost five dollars now.
I cannot put a price on the “Love of the Game” I remember… Because it involves so many other wonderful parts of growing up.
Buy the tickets!
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