Monday, October 31, 2016

Baseball.....



The World Series of 2016 moves back to Cleveland tomorrow night, with the Tribe up 3 games to 2 over the Cubs, after Chicago avoided elimination with a 3-2, eight out save by closer and former Red, Aroldis Chapman...the Indians still have the large advantage heading home needing to win just a single game, while the Cubbies need two out of those two.

I fell in love with Baseball in probably 1955 or so, playing in the pine tree lined center park at Alston's Cottages, our first home in Florida, where we moved from Ohio in the fall of 1954.... for the 60 plus years of playing, coaching, and umpiring, none of the other sports has come close to my affection for baseball and the game, sounds, and smell of the game....to be sure, professional baseball is nothing like it was growing up in the 1950s and 60s, but the game itself, away from MLB is still basically the same.  Yes American kids, for the most part, no longer have that feel for the game, but it stays alive with the youngsters in the Islands of the Caribbean still holding it in high regards, and thus the sports will continue to thrive and live on for generations to come....at least in the warm weather climates.

I was never a great player, but I was decent...and probably at my best catching Fast Pitch Softball{the cousin of baseball} while stationed in both Nha Trang, Vietnam, and Griffiss AFB, in Rome, Upstate New York....

Coming Home to Ohio, I coached Little League, then when the boys were old enough I coached them through the 190s...great coach?  Hardly...I knew the game, but I choose to coach for the fun of it, rather than the wins...at least that's what I tell myself...and for the last 17 years I have umpired at the High School level, and umpiring at the highest levels of that game for most of the past decade, including 6 of the last State ACME Tournaments, and being selected during the spring of each year to go deep into the post season tournaments.

However watching the game in Chicago last night{not really having a dog in the fight} with two teams whose fan bases have not seen a WS Title in decades, neither since before I was born, I reflected back on baseball and how it was, and how it should be today, but will never be again.

Growing up in the age of innocence in South Florida, we didn't have a local or area team, so it came down to "rooting" for one of the teams whose state you came from{few of us were native born Floridians back then} or one of the major market teams....me, and most of my buddies, latched onto the New York Yankees back in the day...what was not to root for?  The Had Whitey, Yogi, Moose, Bobby Richardson, Casey, and of course Mickey Mantle, "The Mick"!  We all wanted to be "The Mick"....as it turned out, Mantle, like the rest of us, was a flawed human being, but we didn't know or care for that matter....the media wasn't full of ESPN and Politically Correct Left Wing writers and so called "Journalists" ...it was a game, played by everyday joes, who, for the most part, played baseball 6 to 8 months a year, and worked regular jobs in the off season...there were no Million and Multi Million Dollar Contracts back in 1956....

The Game, and America were better back then....they will never be like that again, life and time moves on....we grow old and then, like "The Mick" and Yogi, pass on....

Doing some reading on this years World Series I came across a "blog" of sorts from the 1927 Yankees, considered by some as the greatest team in Baseball Histroy{I will toss in the 1961 Yankees and 75/76 Big Red Machine as my personal picks}...the blog or diary, penned by Myles Thomas{most of you have never heard of him, have you?} of that team, and is an excellent and funny at times, read:

Myles Thomas 1927 Yankees Diary

Kick back and enjoy....I'll be back later:
Photos:  Bronze Cast Glove of Mickey Mantle given to me by my mon....Me and brother Mike{1946-2016} when we played for the Venice Elks LL Team in 1957{I played on the "farm team" my on the big squad that year} Me at the Pine lined park at Alston's Cottage in 1954 and you can see the trees we played under, along with our "House" marked by the X in the bottom photo.

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