October 14th, 2004


The Nyaah Nyaah Meme...

Snagged from jonquil, et al.

A book you own that no one on your friends list does:
The Dodger Way To Play Baseball, by Al Campanis. This is a primer on the way the Dodgers taught their players the fundamentals of the game. TomZ gave me this as a gift some years ago. His dad had bought it for him when he was a kid. There are even some autographs in it, obtained at a Dodger-Giant game in 1956 (at the Polo Grounds). One of them is Jackie Robinson's. Try prying this from my cold, dead fingers.

A CD you own that no one on your friends list does:
Cruel Red, by Jack Smith and the Rockabilly Planet. Friday afternoons and evenings during my last couple of years in grad school (i.e., post-separation from the ex) tended to be fairly predictable. Department seminar at 3, then we'd all head to Iggy's for happy hour at 4, go to whichever bar the GSA happy hour was being held at 6, and then end up over at the Narragansett cafe in Jamestown to finish the night. The 'Gansett had good live bands, cheap beer, and no cover. The only problem was finding a place to sit. The Rockabilly Planet was one of the bands that used to play there. Oddly enough, I didn't find this CD here in Rhody, but stumbled across in the Amoeba in Hollywood earlier this year. Quite a surprise.

A DVD/VHS tape you own that no one on your friends list does:
Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons - The Complete Series. This was Gerry Anderson's next series after Thunderbirds. I had a lot of choices here, because I have a lot of old obscure cartoons on VHS I could've mentioned, like Crusader Rabbit or Scott McCloud, Space Angel.

A place you've been that no one on your friends list has been:
The Polo Grounds. I saw my first major league game there on August 18, 1962. (I didn't remember the exact date, but I was able to look it up online. Thank goodness for the interbunny.) The Cardinals beat the Mets, 10-0, and Stan Musial made a sliding catch in right. The Polo Grounds was long and narrow, like a football stadium. The foul poles were only around 260 ft away, while the center field clubhouse was about 460 ft. The bullpens were in the back corners of the outfield, in fair territory. There was a big sign in center advertising Rheingold beer. The "h" and "e" in Rheingold would light up depending upon whether a ball was scored a hit or an error. I thought that was tremendously cool. Lindsey Nelson and Bob Murphy (the Mets' announcers) had to say "And the 'e' lights up on the Rheingold sign," an awful lot during those first two hapless Met seasons. It became one of our catch phrases when we played ball at home.

The park was demolished when the Mets moved to Shea in 1964. It used to be right across the Harlem River from Yankee Stadium.

Curse? What Curse?

There's an interesting article by Glenn Stout here that takes look at the so-called Red Sox curse, and debunks a lot of the "facts" behind it. Essentially, Frazee sold Ruth not because he needed the dough, but because Ruth was becoming a headache. Stout postulates that the reason the original story got warped to how it is perceived today is because of the anti-semitism of the AL President, Ban Johnson, and the other AL owners of the time, who all seemed to think that Frazee was Jewish. The bizarre thing is that Frazee wasn't, but that didn't seem to matter. Even Henry Ford got into the act of going after Frazee. I don't know how much of that I buy, but it's clear that Ban Johnson disliked Frazee, whatever the reason. Johnson's close friend, Fred Lieb, wrote a history of the Red Sox that excoriated Frazee. That book is the source that Dan Shaughnessy drew upon when he wrote The Curse of the Bambino.

The reality of the curse is that the team was badly mismanaged over the years, and that's what really hurt them. Tom Yawkey owned the team for a very long time, and while he was a great owner for the players, because he massively overpaid them, he was far less so for the fans, because he ran the team like a country club. He just liked hanging out with the players. After he died, things got even worse, as the PTB pinched pennies and let their best players get away. Really, whatever curse there was ended the day the Yawkey estate finally sold the team.
  • Current Music
    "My Heart's Reflection" -- Yo La Tengo
  • Tags