Kids sneaking transistor radios under blankets to hear Red Barber or Ernie Harwell while simultaneously keeping a lookout for mom or dad began with the first pitch and ended with the 27th out. That was the deal.
And if it worked, those same kids, probably felt a bit more invincible and smuggled smaller radios into school; hid them under clothes and snaked a wire up their sleeve and into their ear. They smiled or squinted; pretending to be interested in the dimensions of a scalene triangle or details of the Constitutional Congress. The teacher had no idea they were hallucinating a baseball game thanks to a broadcasters audio sketch.
These types of trespass are not that ancient. I remember committing similar crimes in the 1980’s and it bordered on treason. I was in a Milwaukee classroom listening to the enemy from Chicago-The White Sox; Lorne Brown and Early Wynn on 670 WMAQ.
It was ok to listen to the Brewers and Bob Uecker on 620 WTMJ, but the White Sox? If the teachers found out, I might be banned from hot dog lunches, but I did it anyway because I liked Harold Baines and well, the danger and risk was half the fun.
Kids would do the same today with smart phones if games were played during sunlight, but most baseball is now played at night, so the smoke and mirrors is probably carried out at home. And it must be harder to not get caught with a screen rather than a sound. But the kangaroo court hearings probably sound similar to the 1950’s and 60’s.
Mom or Dad wave their hands and blow it all off. “why don’t you wait till morning and watch the highlights? That’s all that really matters anyway.” The highlight reel having replaced the box score.
The kid shakes his head and says, “No way. Do you watch just the highlights of a movie or read just the last pages of a book? I didn’t think so.” And some kids maybe wax on about every pitch potentially being filled with a jack in the beanstalk, about there being suspense even in the top of the first, about two outs and nobody on suddenly becoming something.
Other kids remind mom and dad that Aramis Ramirez was hitting .700 with runners in scoring position, but since then is mired in a 2 for 40 slump. “And He’s do. He’s over do and I don’t want to miss his break out,” the kid says and continues. “I don’t want to miss any game because every team can win on any given day and every team features players-maybe legends walking among us.”
Mom and Dad sigh and wish they never had kids in the first place.
The Brewers opened a three game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks Monday night and Paul Goldschmidt is one of those players among us. The circus is always in town; always in the kid’s mind. It just changes uniforms every fourth or fifth day. I understand that kid.
Goldschmidt is one of those players that makes me cringe. Maybe it’s his size; 6’3″, 245 pounds or maybe the way he holds the bat behind his head at a vertical angle to the ground like he’s ready to chop wood or maybe it’s the bat resembling a toothpick in his hands. Or probably it’s all of the above plus the 36 home runs he hit last year to go along with a .300 average. He’s the complete deal.
Goldschmidt lined two solid singles Monday evening, one of them as improbable as any I’ve seen. It was an inside pitch and he did more than turn it inside out. He lined a rope to the opposite field corner, but this night was Brewer bats explosion night; most runs scored since mid April and second most of the season. They weren’t cheap either.
Three no doubter home runs including Martin Maldonado’s first of the year; a moon shot to the second deck in right field. Even Ramirez hit a single in the third inning and lined out hard to center field in the fifth. It felt like a sign of better things to come, but the camera caught Ramirez sitting at the end of the dugout talking to himself. Baseball can be a very cruel game.
Carlos Gomez hit a home run on the first pitch of the game and drove in two more runs with a single. Nothing new there, but he also walked three times. I don’t remember that ever happening to Gomez. Final score Brewers 8, Diamondbacks 3. The Brewers are 22-11.