Tag Archives: Joe Morgan

If You Build It…

Well, I have pretty well wasted the weekend.

My beloved Reds are getting well and playing well…and they’re damn fun to watch.

Watch I did, every inning against the woeful Pirates for four games – all won by the Reds. The weekend closes with Cincinnati trailing the despicable Milwaukee Brewers by a mere five games. Can the World Series be far behind?

But it’s not just the winning.

The team boasts three young players who are legitimate contenders for Rookie-of-the-Year, two current all-stars and one former, a shortstop/catcher (whatta combination) having a career year, and a for real starting pitcher rotation. And they’re ten games over .500.

But it’s not just the winning.

There is joy in Mudville.

They smile, they dance (poorly, but…), they ride motor bikes, and they play hard.

Today they honored the memory of Joe Morgan, perhaps the greatest second-baseman of all-time. His daughters were in attendance. His plaque from the Hall-of-Fame was there. People had their picture taken with the plaque. Bob Costa was there. Stories were told. Tears were shed. For a few minutes national stupidity and incivility evaporated.

There was joy in Mudville.

Baseball does that.

“It reminds us of all that once was good and it could be again.”

A wide-eyed James Earle Jones says that in the film; FIELD OF DREAMS.

I watched the MLB Network’s 25th anniversary special on the making of FIELD OF DREAMS this evening (wasting the weekend, remember?). It featured Bob Costa interviewing Kevin Costner and Timothy Busfield on the corn-ensconced baseball field in Iowa.

“It reminds us of all that once was good and it could be again.”

I’m gonna get me one of those MAGA baseball hats, but it’s gonna stand for Make America GOOD Again.

Good to know.

Good to stand next to.

Good to live next to.

Good to each other.

Jes’ good.

We know how.

For this geezer, baseball immersion helps a bit;

  1. It’s a team game, but individuals are held responsible for individual actions.
  2. You may win today or you may lose today, but you still have to play tomorrow.
  3. Failure means you have to let someone else swing, pitch, run, or catch…but you still have to play tomorrow.
  4. It’s a game. Find the bliss in each play. Remember, you GET to play tomorrow.

PS. If I may recommend a couple of books that will NOT change your life, but might help you happily waste a weekend or two.

W. P. Kinsella wrote SHOELESS JOE, the book on which FIELD OF DREAMS is based. He also wrote THE IOWA BASEBALL CONFEDERACY, which I like even more.

Troy Soos has written a series of baseball mysteries set in the years after World War I. I’m enjoying them.

Now, who might these Rampaging Reds be playing tomorrow?

Perfect Baseball Weather – Alert!

“Boy, the weather’s great tonight and s’posed to be even better tomorrow. Looks like perfect baseball weather for tomorrow afternoon’s game! C’mon out!!”  –tonight’s dogged Reds announcer.

It was a beautiful night. The forecast was rosy. The Reds were playing poor baseball that night and deservedly losing…again. The Reds’ season record was sadder than sad, bluer than blue…deservedly. The night’s crowd was less than impressive. The announcer’s exhortations for attendance were understandable.

But “perfect baseball weather” set me to thinkin’…

I understand the idea of perfect baseball weather, but I have an expanded definition of what that is.

  • It’s October, 1976. I’m in a tiny apartment in Dallas with my old friend, Chuck Pogue, and my new friend, Larry Drake. I’ve convinced them (being lapsed baseball fans) to tune in the Reds/Phillies playoff game on Chuck’s 12-inch Sony Trinitron. The temperature in the dim room was probably about 72 degrees. Watching that magnificent Reds team utterly dismiss Philadelphia delighted me and rekindled a passion for baseball in Chuck and Larry that never left them. The weather was perfect that day where I was.
  • Last summer, Janie and I drove over to a community softball field in Frankfort to spend a sizable chunk of a hot, sunny, humid day watching her great-grand-niece play. Eight-year-old ladies running randomly after ground balls and running with abandon around the bases to compile football-like scores, followed by a drive home with my babe through the farms and green-ness to which I am addicted, was perfect baseball weather to me.
  • My back yard in the early 60’s playing wiffle ball; it never rained…never.
  • High in the red-seated Alps of Riverfront Stadium, architecture actually swaying a bit with each impassioned roar of the crowd, watching the Reds win a World Series game in the bottom of the ninth while I was wearing a winter jacket and gloves…yes, perfect baseball weather.
  • Eating Dodger Dogs at Chavez Ravine while the visiting Cubs’ Ernie Banks in an immaculate white business suit is introduced to the crowd…no complaint about the climate here.
  • Sitting three rows behind Joe Morgan at Riverfront a week after his induction to the Hall of Fame; I recall it was hot, it was humid, there were bugs, it was perfect baseball weather.
  • It was also perfect while sitting behind the dugout of the Hickory Crawdads at the Lexington Legends field and being embarrassed as Chuck harassed the Hickory players to give us a hat. I later ordered the hat online – that’s just how cool it was – the hat, not the weather.
  • There was another memorable Legends night when it was 186 degrees and the setting sun was smack in our eyes during the first six innings and the Legends lost by five. But a train chugged past the left field fence, whistle singin’, and a promotional baseball bound in basketball leather and stamped; “UK Wildcats” was given out. Perfect baseball weather.
  • Tonight the Reds have continued to play poorly and are further behind and will undoubtedly lose again. But I’m sittin’ in the library, the windows are open, the frogs are singin’, the dog is chasing a mouse with glee and incompetence while the cat Googles “mouse”, and Jeff Brantley is describing his prodigious eating adventures. Perfect baseball weather to me.

Make America great again?

It’s great now.

Baseball is being played in perfect weather all over the land. How great is that?

Don’t screw it up…or give it away…or loot it………………..and shun those that do.

Let’s play two.