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Midwest Muse

Midwest Muse
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August 04
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"I am made of blue sky and hard rock and I will live this way forever." **************************************** I, alone, am in charge of my happiness.

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MAY 31, 2012 11:42AM

The Boys of Summer

Rate: 11 Flag

Summer means baseball.  National League, never American League.   Atlanta Braves all the way, baby.  I love baseball because Pop loved baseball, and I love the Braves thanks to Pop and Ted Turner.

Pop was a farm kid who grew up listening to Cardinal baseball.   He and his dad were close enough in age that they played on the same local team in Keytesville.  At one of the games a Cardinals' scout saw Pop play and was impressed.  He found Pop's aunt in the stands and gave her his information.  He told her he wanted Pop to try out for the Cardinals.  She never told Pop.  Not until years later.  She didn't think that baseball was an appropriate vocation for a young man.  A fine past time, but never a career.  When I asked him about it, he claimed it didn't make him angry or upset.  Maybe that was true by the time we were talking about it, I had to take him at his word.  Still, it seems a shame that he was denied the opportunity to do something he loved due to someone else's idea of what was appropriate.

In the summer I would stay with Nanny and Pop and he would listen to Cardinal baseball.  Later when they moved to town and got cable, he watched them on TV.   On afternoons when Nanny was out, and therefore baseball wouldn't interfere with her "stories", Pop would flip around the channels until he found a game.  The Cardinals and the Royals were his favorites and finally the Braves too.  I would lay on the rough, cabbage rose floral upholstered couch with my nose in a book and listen.

Ted Turner is a genius for many reasons, but the one that sticks out in my mind is putting the Braves on TBS.  Ted owned an awesome, popular Superstation and a less awesome, not-so-popular baseball team.  He put them together like chocolate and peanut butter and made something great.  With 162 games to be televised, you either had to give into Stockholm Syndrome or become a football fan.   Baseball Stockholm Syndrome isn't as bad as it sounds.

Pop would turn on the game and I would lay on the couch with Louisa May Alcott or a Harlequin romance.  If reading times were really tough, there was the Rural Missourian magazine or the Moberly Monitor-Index available.  We would split a Coke and listen to Skip Carey give the play-by-play.  I freely admit I still get bored during pitcher's duels.

Oh man, the Braves were rotten.  And those robin's egg blue uniforms?!  Ugh.  When Skip Carey would announce the attendance (usually a little over 5,000 people) the camera wouldn't pan the stadium like at Cardinals' games, but stayed in tight behind home plate where the people were clustered together.  None of that mattered when the Braves won.  It just made the wins that much sweeter.

I've seen the Braves play at Fulton County Stadium and twice at Busch.  Once on my birthday!  And someday I'll see them at Turner Field.  My hope is to go to Cooperstown when Greg Maddox, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz get inducted.  However, since I doubt they'll all go in the same year I'll have to pick just one.  Here's looking at you Tommy Glavine.

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I love to go to baseball games of teams that are just awful, because the fans---there are no fans like 'em. Die-hards who explode into joy when winning a single game--it's like the last game of the World Series every night.

I agree, those old uniforms--for almost all the teams--were just god-awful.

What an wonderful memory piece, enjoyed it very much :)
I grew up listening to the Cardinals radio team of Harry Carey and Jack Buck. That is, when I could pick up the faint AM signal. Listening/watching baseball with your Pop, those are special memories. I remember those lousy Braves teams featuring the immortal Rowland Office.
Beautiful, MM, as always. What a great memory. And that's coming from a Nationals fan.
Very impressive, your knowledge of baseball. I've been to exactly one pro baseball game, Rangers v Angels, and saw Reggie Jackson hit which impressed my bf way more than it did me. I had had a Hurricane with my Chinese food and was drinking beer at the stadium. And what is a pitcher's duel?

The Hurricane kind of tasted like baby aspirin.
Hi everyone!

Justin - Thanks! You're exactly right, every win is a huge celebration!

Stim - Being from Iowa you either had to be a Cubs fan or Cards fan. I miss good AM radio.

Mark - Thank you so much! The Nationals are finding their feet a bit this year. :) #1 in the NL East!

Councilwoman Phyllis! - A pitcher's duel is usually three up and three down, every half inning. No one gets on base, no one does anything except throw the ball and swing the bat. Occasionally they connect for a foul ball or something. It is mind numbing.
Gorgeous, tight memoir. Rated for tightness.
oh, and I LOVE that song!
sorry, mind running slow tonight, but I also like your title and all that it makes me think of.
Thanks Pandora! So many good things about summer. ;-)
Aah, you Americans and your baseball! Never could understand it try as I might, though I did manage to hit a few balls out of the park playing with my American cousins when they came down. This is random but baseball always reminds me of Archie comics -which I used to read a lot of when I was a kid.
Oh man, I have no love of baseball...but I spent sooooo many hours reading Louisa May and Harlequin romances (an incongruous combination), so I identified anyway.
Icy - Do I get to be Veronica or Betty? I've seen the tail end of Bend It Like Beckham...I know about cricket. Bats, balls, players exactly the same as baseball.

Bell - I'm so glad you can identify. Love An Old-Fashioned Girl and Eight Cousins. Thank you!
I know a little more about baseball now :-)
I love the nostalgia in this ~ daughter & Pop, splitting a coke, sharing time. You tell it so well.
I love that you took on his enthusiasm too.
We have some odd names for teams here but as yet, no Bandicoots ( that I know of. ) If there was such a team, it would probably be Junior Snuffleboard, or some such.
Loved this and love the game. I have been to Turner field, it was like walking in to enemy territory to this Phillies fan. The chop-chop.
Baseball brings back so many memories for us.
Really enjoyed this MM.
Hi Kim! The Bandicoot baseball team would be bombastic! Thank you so much.

Hi Rita - Thank you for stopping by. My first live baseball game was Cards/Phillies.
Boy I'd like to split a coke with you and while away the summer days. Thank you Sam. x
Lee - I'd love to split a coke with you. Good to see you!