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First night in Boston, September 19, 1978

February 14, 2017 1 comment

First night in Boston

September 19, 1978

First night in Boston was something that had been foremost in my mind for better than a year.  I had spent the previous 2 days pacing a hole in the living room carpet while debating my leave taking for Boston.

I was enrolled in Northeastern University but the apartment I had secured had been rented out from under me leaving me to hitchhike, again, to Boston to find housing for the upcoming semester.

Boston Common Realty rented me a spacious, albeit dilapidated, studio on Huntington Ave. for $160 a month directly across the street from the N.U. quad.

I hitchhiked back home to Port Washington, N.Y. and packed the trusty foot locker which had seen me through a 12 year-old’s rustic New Hampshire summer camp, 2 summers of sports camp and 4 summers of Massachusetts religious camp, with underwear and the clock radio my parents had bought me for Christmas 1970.  I was undecided as to what else to bring.

As the departure day loomed my feet got cold as I contemplated moving to a city where I had no employment lined up, formidable academic challenges and less than $100 in liquid cash after having a summer camp counselor-in-training position defunded.

I did have a ride from a friend however…if only to the Throgs Neck Bridge.

My friend called.

“Hey Steve, you pussy.  Have you pulled the panties out of your crack?” offered my friend.

“Thanks for the reminder,” I wittily replied.

“Steve, you’ve hitched 200 miles at midnight with $10 in your pocket and you’re afraid of college?  You even said you wanted out of Port; like y’know, yesterday.”

I replied, “Yeah, I know what I said but it just seems that I’ll be moving into a new place without having a job or money.”

My friend was a good guy.

He answered, “You moved into that place on Main St. with only a little more..”

I interrupted and said, “But that was only a few hundred yards away and I moved back at the end of the summer.  This is a much bigger move in more ways than one.”

My friend answered, “I can give you a ride tomorrow but after that I have to get back to work.”

“I will call you tomorrow,” I answered and hung up.

I knew that it was now or never.

I bounced my foot locker down the 13 stairs to the dining room.

Ker plunk.

Ker plunk.

Ker plunk.

I stuffed my foot locker with shirts and more underwear.

I grabbed my green Army surplus duffle bag from the drying line in the basement and stuffed it with the books and records that I deemed worthy of sustaining me through whatever might transpire in my soon-to-be home.

And then anxiety, as evidenced by my sweating soles, overcame me.

I turned on our 12″ black and white TV to see the reassuring ineptitude of my N.Y. Mets.

Lindsay Nelson’s calm baritone spoke through the speakers, “And the Yankees will be fending off the Brewers tomorrow night at Yankee Stadium as Dick Tidrow and Mike Caldwell face off.”

Being a Mets fan I loathed the Yankees and relished the chance to root against them.

I stepped to our side porch where my brother Peter and his friends were puzzled by my mixed emotions.

“Hey Steve, we can’t miss you if you don’t leave,” offered a friend of my brother Peter.

I now knew I had to leave.

I called my friend.

“What time can you drive me to the Throgs Neck?”

“I work until 6, so around 7.  So you finally made up your mind?” my friend asked in a question that was the answer.

The next day I was packed early and spent the afternoon bemoaning the defunding of my counselor-in-training earnings while taking in the sights of Port Washington’s Main St. and gazing at the apartment I had occupied for 90 days earlier in the summer.

I went to my bedroom and attempted to sleep.

I laid on my back.

I laid on my left side.

I laid on my right side.

I touched myself.

I turned on my clock radio, which I had retrieved from my foot locker and listened to WBLS…

“…Frankie Crocker with the world’s best looking sound…”

…eventually falling into a fitful sleep and awakening on a very warm afternoon.  I putzed around the house before bouncing my foot locker down the 13 stairs of 42 North Bayles Avenue, Port Washington, New York.

Ker plunk.

Ker plunk.

Ker plunk.

At the bottom of the stairs I opened my foot locker to make sure that my clock radio was wrapped in clothing so as not to be damaged on my trip.

I was too nervous to eat.  7 P.M. loomed and I wrestled in my mind whether to call my friend.  I wanted to push without being pushy.  My brother Peter’s friends came by and toasted me with a bong.

“Aw, you’re not going to go,” said one.

“Wanna bet?” I replied.

It was 7:30, dark, yet still very warm.  I tucked my Sweet-Orr work shirt into my Uncle Sam fatigues.

The phone rang.  It was my friend.

“Sorry I’m late.  Ready to go?”

“Yup,” I stammered as my heart hammered.

In 15 minutes my friend’s red VW squareback pulled up.  I had met my friend while hitchhiking 2 years ago and now that very same vehicle was to be my way out.

My Mom came out of the house and gave me a loaf of banana bread and told me that I could call collect when I made my arrival in Boston.  Mom’s eyes were wet.

My friend dragged my foot locker to the rear of the red VW squareback.

Ker plunk.

Ker plunk.

Ker plunk.

My friend shifted gears and we were off to the access road leading from the L.I.E. to the Grand Central Parkway.

“…this is Tony Pigg rocking ’til 10 PM tonight…”

“Hey, could change the station?” I asked.

“Please don’t tell me you want to listen to disco again.  Didn’t you get your fill at work?” my friend wondered.

“The Yanks are playing the Brewers and as a Mets fan the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

My friend smiled and dialed in WINS AM as the throaty tones of Frank Messer intoned. “Going for the Brewers tonight is Mike Caldwell who has been a great surprise for the Brewers thus far this year having won 20 games already with the Yankees sending Dick Tidrow to the hill.”

All the windows were open.  Traffic was light as Tuesday night wasn’t a going out night and rush hour was over.

My friend pulled over on the shoulder of the access road.  E.J. Korvettes’ discount department store’s parking lot lights shone across the L.I.E.

I took the foot locker out of the VW squareback.

Ker plunk.

Ker plunk.

Ker plunk.

“Well, I guess you are really going.  What time do you think your arrival in Boston will be?” my friend asked.

“I dunno…about 3 A.M. I guess.”

“For Christsakes be careful,” my friend offered.

And then, abruptly, “How much money do you have?”

“$37,” I answered.

My friend rolled his eyes and pressed a $20 bill into my hand, gave me a hug, and honked the horn while he drove to the next exit to return to Port Washington.

I put my thumb out being careful to stand under the Grand Central Parkway sign’s lights while glancing towards the Eastbound lane of the L.I.E. in the hope I could see the red VW squareback returning to Port Washington.

No such luck.

I wondered if the Brewers were beating the Yankees.

Up the road was my first night in Boston.

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BASEBALL: Red Sox vs. White Sox 8, Red Sox 6, Post-game wrap-up

June 23, 2016 1 comment

POST-GAME WRAP-UP TOP TEN

1) 75 degrees and 52% humidity is just about perfect.

 

2) Eduardo Rodriguez was one of the few bright spots in last year’s last place debacle and seemed to be on his game but Todd Frazier’s 6th. inning HR put the Chi Sox ahead.

 

3)  David Oritz was thrown out at home by Adam Eaton in the 2nd. inning on a short hit to center by Travis Shaw.  Eaton played the hit well coming in rapidly and throwing accurately to Chi Sox catcher Dioneer Navarro who easily tagged out Big Papi.  As we all know Papi is having an amazing season so far but:

a) He is 40.

b) He is at least 230 lbs.

c) The replay is not recommended for small children unaccompanied by adults.

 3rd. base coach Brian Butterfield made an inexplicable decision to play for 1 run in the 2nd. inning with the Bo Sox down only 1-0 at home.   

 

4)  1 bag of dry roasted peanuts from a vendor =$5.50. 2  Coca-Cola Zero(s) at $5.25 a whack.  I opted for the Coca-Cola Zero rather than Diet Coke for the slightly acidic aftertaste which cleanses the palate.

 

5) $499 for a 1st. base box seat so you can text and take selfies.  Am I the only one who thinks this is just wrong?  Please advise.

 

6)  Former Yankee and PED offender of 2014 Melky Cabrera now sports a beard sans mustache which gives him a vaguely Amish countenance.  Is there an Amish community in the Dominican Republic or is Melky merely attempting to conceal the Shaquille Onealesque double chin sprouting from his 5’10” 210 lb. physique?  You make the call.

 

7) Sandy Leon was picked off 3rd. in the bottom of the 4th where Brian Butterfield directs traffic.  Ortiz is sent, then erased, Leon is picked off…hmmm…

 

8) “Everybody Wang Chung Tonight” was among the cavalcade of music cranked out by the Fenway sound system as is protocol  for all sporting events.  Fortunately,  Josh Kantor’s organ stylings bring back fond boyhood memories of Jane Jacobs at Shea Stadium playing “3 Blind Mice” whenever an umpire’s call was disputed.  The lovely analog tones echo in the grandstand and encourage enough conversation so that folks actually look at the game and each other rather than peering into their phone with earbuds surgically attached. 

 

9)  Peter Gammons bobblehead doll?

 

10)  Koji Uehara served up home runs to Melky Cabrera and Matt Lawrie along with a screaming double hit by Dioneer Navarro before being mercifully relieved by Heath Hembree.  “Relief” is truly the correct word.  Koji is one of my favorites.  Tending bar for the 6th. game of the 2013 World Series while a packed room chanted “Koji, Koji,” is one of my all-time sports memories and you have to love a man who has chosen the 1999 techno mega-hit “Sandstorm” by Darude as his entrance music but…Uehara is 41 and his 88 mph. “fastball” just might not be what it once was.  Just saying…

 

 

 

 

 

SEASONS CHANGE: 2016, APRIL, MLB & NBA…and

April 13, 2016 1 comment

Hello everyone, I have just filed my taxes and have already spent my refund.  This past Sunday skate punks were sporting shorts while just this time last week the Red Sox vs. Indians game in Cleveland was postponed due to snow.  Ah, the ambivalence of April which “comes in like a lamb and leaves like a lion.”  While the symbolism is right I don’t believe sheep are found on the African savanna.

No matter.

To continue the theme of naturalistic metaphors April represents the dovetailing of numerous phenomena; among them the end of the NBA’s regular season and the beginning of MLB.

The Red Sox are 2 weeks into the 162 game marathon that is MLB and yet Clay Bucholz is NOT on the Disabled List…yet.

The Celts have 1 game left and are not sure as of yet who they will oppose.  Playoff intensity is… intense.

This humble data entry clerk will break down  April into the pageant of possibilities that it is.

PERSONAL FAN STYLE(S)

NBA: Frustrated jock

MLB: Fermented fan

IT’S FOR THE CHILDREN

NBA: Nerf ball

MLB: Wiffle ball

CONTRIBUTING TO THE DELINQUENCY OF A MINOR

NBA: Lapera’s driveway

MLB: Self hitting contests with Richard Brody and Emil Wolf at Sands Point Academy

FOOTWEAR

NBA: Kicks

MLB: Cleats

GET A MOVE ON

NBA: Hops

MLB: Wheels

HEAD HONCHO

NBA: Adam Silver

MLB: Rob Manfred

LOGO:

NBA: Jerry West

MLB: Harmon Killebrew

NO PLACE LIKE HOME

NBA: TD Bank North Garden

MLB: Fenway Park

PARKING

NBA: “Didn’t he play for the Bruins?”

MLB: $100 for a SUV at the Mobil at Boylston and Ipswich

LOCAL WILDLIFE

NBA: Scalpers by entrance of North Garden

MLB: Rats by food stands on Yawkey Way

EVERGREEN

NBA: Tommy Heinsohn

MLB: Fenway Park’s Green Monster

LONG BALL

NBA: Steph Curry

MLB: David Ortiz

SCRAPPY

NBA: Celtics’ Isaiah Thomas

MLB: Sox’ Dustin Pedroia

HAIR CARE PRODUCTS

NBA: Celtic Jared Sullinger’s dyed a color not found in nature fauxhawk

MLB: Sox’ Hanley Ramirez’ dreadlocks

MIA

NBA: Celtic Craig Zeller’s playing time

MLB: NESN’s Don Orsillo

BMI

NBA: Celtic Jared Sullinger, 6’9′ 260 lbs.

MLB: Sox’ Pablo Sandoval, 5’11’ 255 lbs

TIME BEGINS

NBA: Tip off

MLB “Play ball”

TIME STANDS STILL

NBA: 25 minutes to play the last 2 minutes

MLB:  By the time David Ortiz spits on his hands, adjusts his jock, straightens his helmet and steps in and  out of the box Trump might well be elected

TIME AFTER TIME

NBA: 25 minutes to play 5 minutes/OT

MLB: It ain’t over ’til it’s over/Extra innings

TIME TO RETIRE

NBA: Koby Bryant

MLB: David Ortiz

CELEBRATE DIVERSITY

NBA: Celtics play the first black player in the NBA, Chuck Cooper in 1950

MLB: Red Sox play Pumpsie Green; the last team in MLB to have a black player in 1959

BEST MONTH

NBA: April!

MLB: April!

So there you have it with April coming in like a lion but leaving like a lamb although hopefully not leaving in the 1st round of the NBA Eastern playoffs or with whatever malady Clay Bucholz is sure to be inflicted with on a day-to-day basis.

HAIKU 5*7*5*Spring

February 21, 2016 1 comment

Baseball is the thing

Pitchers and catchers report

The first sign of spring

HAIKU 5*7*5* Mets

November 3, 2015 Leave a comment

METS

It starts with pollen

Warmest of recent seasons

The Mets have fallen

HAIKU 5*7*5* October

October 16, 2015 1 comment

Drunken Pats’ fan heaves

Baseball is the summer game

Browning of the leaves

SEASONS CHANGE: APRIL, MLB & NBA

April 17, 2015 1 comment

Hello everybody!

I hope that everyone has filed their taxes. 

As the old bromide has it, “April comes in like a lion, and out like a lamb,” so I guess species transformation is about 1/2 of the way there.

In my bandwidth April comes in like a basketball and out like a baseball.  MLB is 2 weeks into its 162 game marathon while in the NBA jockeying for that coveted #7 seed in the East, Go Celts!, will yield the playoff-intensity basketball that is, y’know…intense.

So…

Personal style

NBA: Frustrated jock

MLB: Fervent fan

Footwear

NBA: Kicks

MLB: Cleats

Moving

NBA: Hops

MLB: Wheels

Aged in wood

NBA: Lapera’s driveway

MLB: Self-hitting at Sands Point Academy

It’s for the children

NBA: Nerf ball

MLB: Whiffle ball

Time begins

NBA:  Tip-off

MLB: Play ball!

Time goes on…

NBA: 48 minutes/OT

MLB: It ain’t over ’til it’s over/Extra innings

Foreign currency

NBA: Celts’ Jonas Jerebko and Luigi Datome

MLB:  Soz’ Junichi Tasawa and Koji Uehara

Boston song

NBA: “Welcome to the Jungle,” Guns & Roses @ TD Bank NorthGarden

MLB: “Sweet Caroline,” Neil Diamond @ Fenway Park

Southpaw

NBA: Celts’ Tyler Zeller

MLB: Sox’ Craig Breslow

You can’t get there from here

NBA: North Washington St. during a Celts game

MLB: Boylston St. during a Sox game

Parking

NBA: “Parking?  Didn’t he play for the Bruins?”

MLB: $100 for a SUV at the Mobil at Boylston and Ipswich

There’s a new sheriff in town

NBA: New commissioner Adam Silver

MLB: New commissioner Rob Manfred

Logo

NBA: Jerry West

MLB: Harmon Killebrew

Endangered species

NBA: White Americans

MLB: African Americans

Reptiles

NBA: Toronto Raptors

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks

Nerd #s

NBA: Points per shot, PER(Player Efficiency Ratio)

MLB: On base average, ERC(Earned Run Components)

Small and aggressive

NBA: Isaiah Thomas

MLB: Dustin Pedroia

Convenient injury

NBA: Tripping over the foul line

MLB: Tripping over the foul line

Politically incorrect

NBA: Too many blacks

MLB: Too many Latinos

Duck boats last used

NBA: Celtics: 2008

MLB: Red Sox: 2013