John Fogerty, Centerfield
On the day I was born, my dad was still smarting from the loss his beloved Yankees suffered when the St. Louis Cardinals won the 1942 World Series, four games to one. I grew up with the summer sounds of baseball coming from the big living room console radio. Phil Rizzuto, Yogi Berra, Enos Slaughter, Roy Campanella, Willie McCovey, and Joe DiMaggio still rattle around in my brain, waiting to be called up. Daddy listened to the games in his big chair by the window; the rest of us drifted in and out, yelling encouragement or moaning softly.
At age 20 when I told Daddy, a staunch Republican and life-long Presbyterian, that Dick and I wanted to get married, he asked, “Is he a Republican?” “No, he’s a Democrat.” “Is he a Protestant?” “No, he’s a Catholic.” “Is he a Yankee fan or a Dodger fan?” “He’s a Yankee fan.” “Well in that case, you have my blessing.”
Luckily, when the Sweetie and I lived in Los Angeles and became true blue Dodger fans, Daddy wasn’t around to witness the betrayal. We went to Chavez Ravine, ate as many Dodger Dogs as we could, drank 25 cent beers on Fan Day, and were there when the Dodgers won the 1988 World Series. We loved hearing Vin Scully call Dodger games on the radio. He was the master of understatement, allowing his audience to experience the game without constant interpretation.
I remember listening to another play-by-play announcer, can’t remember his name, talking about a game he called as a rookie commentator: it’s the bottom of the ninth, the game is tied, and the star hitter who is down in the count, smacks a fast ball over the fence for the winning home run. The announcer was so excited that he forgot the star’s name and burst out, “Touch ‘em all, Mr. Baseball Man.”
Baseball play-by-play announcers are known by their home run calls. “Touch ‘em all, Joe” came from Tom Creek calling Joe Carter’s game-winning home run for the Toronto Blue Jays in the 1993 World Series. The Seattle Mariners’ all-time marvelous Dave Neihaus was famous for his “Get out the rye bread and mustard, Gramma cause it’s grand salami time!” ESPN’s Chris Berman’s “Back, back, back—gone!” is loved by some but not by all, and then there’s the Cub’s Harry Caray’s, “It could be, it might be, it is…a home run!”
In 1975, during his Saturday Night Live monologue, comedian George Carlin described baseball as a “pastoral sport,” compared to football’s “technological struggle.”
“In football you wear a helmet; in baseball you wear a cap.
Football begins in the fall, when everything’s dying; baseball begins in the spring, the season of new life.
Football has the two-minute warning; baseball has the seventh-inning stretch.
Football is played in a stadium; baseball is played in the park.
In football, you get a penalty; in baseball, you make an error—whoops!
The object in football is to march downfield and penetrate enemy territory, and get into the end zone; in baseball, the object is to go home! “I’m going home!”
And, in football, they have the clip, the hit, the block, the tackle, the blitz, the bomb, the offense and the defense; in baseball, they have…the sacrifice.”
Anyways, just thought I would tip my cap to baseball before football takes over.
BTW, if you’re one of those lucky gardeners who has spare, ripe tomatoes on hand, give this Spanish alternative to gazpacho a try.
- 3 tbsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 8 plum tomatoes, cored, halved, and seeded
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 1/2 cups white French-style bread, cut into large pieces
- 1⁄2 small onion
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 2 tbsp. sherry vinegar
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
- 1 1⁄2 cups finely chopped Iberian ham or prosciutto
Place salt, tomatoes, garlic, bread, and onion in a bowl, cover with boiling water, and let sit for 1 hour.
Drain vegetables, reserving 1 cup soaking liquid; place in blender. Squeeze water from bread; place in blender with reserved soaking liquid, oil, and vinegar. Purée until smooth; season with salt and pepper, and chill. Pour into serving bowls; top with eggs, ham, and a drizzle of oil.
The Sweetie’s latest CT scan “looked good” so we’re feeling very happy.