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A Moment Alone
We Were the First
Fair Winds and Following Seas
Love Each Other
Hey Dad it's Me, I'll call You Back
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A Night to Remember

On September 29, 1959, Gil Hodges scored the winning run and the Los Angeles Dodgers won their first National League pennant.  They had finished in seventh place the year before and were expected to finish somewhere in the middle of the pack.  It had been an amazing finish to the season; but it had started off with a celebration of life.  At the end of the 1957 season, the Brooklyn Dodgers moved to Los Angeles.
On Thursday, May 7, 1959, the L.A. Dodgers played the New York Yankees in a special exhibition game set up to be played at the L.

That Our Flag Was Still There

I’m an American, red, white and blue.  My father could be Ted Williams, my grandfather John Wayne and my great-grandfather George Washington.  I love this country, its history and all it stands for.  But take it from a guy who attends a lot of games in person, I really dislike what has happened to our National Anthem.  I’m not talking about the words, they are truly inspiring, but the singing of the Anthem itself.  I think the Anthem is sung far too often and mostly by unqualified people who have no business making a mockery of this song.

That Sound

He could not have been made up.  His talents while unique made him far from perfect.  His desire to live was unrestrained and his appetite for life was uncontrollable.  Someone once said, “He would eat anything that wouldn’t eat him.”  That face made him impossible not to recognize and to this day, no one has ever looked the same.  He never seemed to know what he was doing, he just did it.  He may have been the first professional athlete to figure out that people come to the ballpark to be entertained; that baseball was show business.

Changing the Outcome

Sometimes we have to be careful what we ask for.  That’s how I feel about instant replay in Major League Baseball.  Nothing is ever perfect; that’s why we call it a “game.”  In this never-ending effort to always get things right, we lose the spontaneity of the game.  I used to celebrate instant jubilation when a touchdown was scored in an NFL game by my favorite team.  Now I have to wait for the review, to see if the call stands.  It takes something away from the game for me.

"The Suitcase Cats"

Detective Purvis at your service, that’s right Andrew P. Purvis, for those of you who don’t remember.  It was a fine Saturday morning, with an abundant blue sky shining through the bedroom window, when I discovered the secret of the “Suitcase Cats.”  In my younger baseball days we called it a “high sky” because it seemed like you could see forever.  Needless to say, on this occasion, being on this case would keep me inside.  My stern investigation had turned up a massive amount of information as I struggled to put all the pieces into place.

Caged Animals

Now I know why our cats used to like me so much, I had never taken them to the veterinarian.  My wonderful wife has been taking care of our two cats, Tangerine and Shadow, for eleven years, until yesterday.  Don’t ever make the mistake in thinking that your pets are just dumb animals.  They instinctively know you inside and out.  I think they can read minds.  I’m certain that they just allow Grandma and me to live here with them.  Anyway, it took me thirty minutes to catch our cats because they knew before I did that they were going to the vet.

Now Batting Number...

Have you ever noticed when you’re watching old baseball documentaries or game films about the history of the game, that some players wore different uniform numbers during their careers?  Did you notice that a lot of great players wore the same number?  I remember playing ball as a kid in the Fifties, and everybody wanted to be #7.  Why?  That was Mickey Mantle’s number.  When you said “seven,” everyone knew about whom you were speaking.  The #3 carries even more weight in baseball lore, but Ruth was way before my time.

Don't Feel Sorry For Us

Buck O’Neil was a fascinating guy who spent his lifetime in baseball.  His smooth delivery of stories and incredibly sharp mind lured you into another world where baseball was life.  He could delivery decades of baseball knowledge at the drop of a cap.  Baseball was his religion.  His voice reminded you of your grandfather, telling tales on the back porch, on a breezy night in October.  It was as if he could tell you almost anything and you would nod with approval.
One of my favorite interviews with “Buck” O’Neil occurred with film producer Ken Burns.

And The Crowd Goes Crazy

Hall of Fame basketball player, George Gervin once said to me, “I can’t show you what he did but believe me, he did it.”  He could do things that most players in today’s game can’t do.  Oh, you could see glimpses of him by watching some of those who came after him:  Clyde Drexler, Dominique Wilkins, Michael Jordan, David Thompson and a young Charles Barkley come to mind.  This guy made you happy just to watch him and only one scout came to see him play in high school.  College scout, Howard Garfinkel said, “As a senior, he was 6’3” tall, and no one thought he would be that good.

We Are What We Remember

“Incoming.”  That’s how it must have felt in the beginning as issues were constantly being lobbed like mortar shells into the game.  But like a good soldier, located behind enemy lines, he adapted and moved forward.  The National Basketball Association was a complete mess in the late seventies and early eighties.  Lack of respect was rampant.  The league was full of drugs, and violence had permeated a game of grace and skill, in the locker-room and on the court; even the NBA Finals were tape-delayed.
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