brewers baseball and things

the parking lot that changed baseball

18 Comments

Dice, jacks, flipping baseball cards, slinkies, silly putty, smart phones. Evolution? Maybe. Maybe not. Stage coaches bumping dirt roads, trains over tracks, automobiles on interstates. Evolution? Maybe. Maybe not

But parking lots, we love you. Frisbee, pickle, and sip beer. Barbecue brats tailgate, and listen to old 8 tracks, The Scorpions, Frank Sinatra, or Cold Play, whatever you want. The lot is big enough for lizards with wet t-shirts too. The sky is our umbrella and first pitch is soon or when the beer runs out or the 4th inning or whatever comes first. Who’s on second. Pass me another Schlitz.

You gotta have a parking lot. Street cars are too old and trains? Forget about em! Too early for spaceships and no one walks anymore unless it’s inside and at a mall and Walter O’Malley knew this way before anyone else or he watched Lou Perini exercise some good old-fashioned guts and Go west and warm the blood of baseball and become the first team to relocate and change baseball forever?

retrocom.com

retrocom.com

Bushville Milwaukee changed baseball forever? Dear Casey Stengel! Ok, maybe it was more Perini than Milwaukee, but it takes two to tango and what great dance partners they turned out to be. And when Milwaukee with its new County Stadium and massive parking lot got those turnstiles spinning and runners scoring on the diamond and Spahn and Sain and pray for rain, well, you bet your Howling Hilda Chester that Mr Walter O’Malley took notice.

But I don’t have the impression that he really wanted to leave Brooklyn. O’Malley really tried to stay and according to a little snippet in the book Lords of the Realm, he even considered a dome long before anyone else even knew what the hell a dome was.

And even the vilified master builder Robert Moses proposed a stadium in Brooklyn, but in the end, it was the Braves in Milwaukee and Calvin Griffith of the Twinkies visiting Los Angeles and apparently discussing his team’s potential move from Minnesota to L.A. Gave O’Malley itchy feet I guess. He wanted in on LA and not no second fiddle so  so he packed up some Perini guts and road his coattails out west, way out west to Beverleeee and Stoneham followed with his  Giants and another Iron curtain bites the dust as snow melts and water races for a homeland; out to sea or something like that.

…..and the Athletics move to KC and then to Oakland and KC is awarded the Royals. The Braves flee to Atlanta and Milwaukee steals the Pilots from Seattle and Mariners are born 7 years later and am I repeating myself? and interstate commerce and speed up the reels and it’s all a blur and and and

now it’s 2014 and the Giants and Royals are in the World Series together for the first time and the series is tied 1-1 and they’re going back to San Francisco but without flowers in their hair thanks to Giant’s big hunk rookie right hander Hunter Strickland…..Hunter Strick Land. What a freaking name! and what a freaking temper and rightfully so.

He served up his 5th post season home run last night; five in 5.1 innings and according to everyone’s favorite, Joe Buck, that’s the most home runs allowed in a single post season since gulp…the Brewers’ Chris Narveson back in 2011. He performed his stunt by allowing 2 to the D-backs in the NLDS and 3 to those lovely Cardinals in the NLCS.

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Author: Steve Myers

I grew up in Milwaukee and have been a Milwaukee Brewers baseball fan for as long as I can remember.

18 thoughts on “the parking lot that changed baseball

  1. With all the talk about Brooklyn and the Giants moving in the 1950s. Amazing how many people forget the A’s, Braves, and Browns (Orioles) moved first.
    Nice piece.
    v

    • Thanks v. Ya know, I enjoy dipping into Braves lore. There’s so much of it in Milwaukee and it’s such a fun way to learn local history and be connected to Boston as well, but there’s not so much lore about the Milwaukee Brewers 1901 season other than it being the only season in Milwaukee and a lousy one before moving to St.Louis and 50 years later to Baltimore; from Brewers to Browns to Orioles.

      • And, almost to L.A.! The Milwaukee Brewers-St. Louis Browns coulda-woulda been the first team in Los Angeles back in 1942. Everything was set for the big move west. Then, something about some war … something like that. So no go. Anyway, off to Baltimore in 1954 instead. And, L.A. would just have to wait.

        Milwaukee’s got its fingerprints all over baseball!

    • V, I didn’t forget, though, and I live a mere four miles south of where Ebbets Field stood. I’ve done a lot of reading on the subject, and especially learned a lot from THIS book—–

      This book goes over EVERYTHING and doesn’t leave anything out. It’s dry, sort of, but it’s the cold hard facts. It’s a must-read, in my opinion. It’s very sobering.

      The thing that makes it harder for Brooklynites and the fact that people forget the others easier is that the Brooklyn Dodgers gave Brooklyn an identity. You’ve got to remember that this was a city of its own (it wasn’t until 1998 that Brooklyn became part of New York City.) So Brooklyn had a lot of pride in the Dodgers. Brooklyn is STILL the most populous city in the world, behind only New York City’s other four boroughs, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

      Very few, if any, teams had the pride of their team that Brooklyn had with the Dodgers. Los Angeles already had the movie industry. But Brooklyn only had jokes made about it. (“Brooklyn jokes” used to be very common material for comedians.) And when they took away the Dodgers, they took SO much pride and identity away from the much-maligned and made-fun-of Brooklyn.

      Which is why my grandfather and I will always hate Los Angeles, California.

      Glen

  2. Steve, this is wonderful. This is one of your best, if not your best. Terrific.

    Glen

    • Much appreciated Glen. It’s a wonderful topic and a painful one too, but relocation during the 1950’s seems to bridge the country and baseball history; in the 20th century anyway.

      Thank you for mentioning “The Dodgers Move West.” I had never heard of it and maybe more importantly never heard your praise for it. Sounds like a must read. And so I add it to the other book you suggested; “Nice Guys Finish Last” by Ed Linn and prepare an order. Perfect timing with winter crawling closer. Thanks again Glen.

      • And don’t forget about the Joe Pepitone book, “Joe, You Coulda Made Us Proud” by Joe Pepitone and some guy who’s last name is “Stainback”. (I forgot his first name. Was it “Barry Stainback”, as I recall? I think so.

        But I will say this, Steve. “The Dodgers Move West” is strictly factual. There are no “niceties” in this book. It’s like Joe Friday used to say (interesting, Joe Friday wore badge number 714 on the LAPD, the same number as Babe Ruth’s as-of-yet unbroken home run record. I wonder if Jack Webb put that in his “Dragnet” series on purpose, or if it’s just a coincidence).

        Oh, yeah. I didn’t finish what I was saying. As Joe Friday used to say, “Just the facts, Ma’am, just the facts”. What “The Dodgers Move West” may lack in charm, it makes up in its objectivity and academic research. It’s a very unsentimental book, and that’s just fine. You’ll love it for UNsentimental reasons.

        Glen

  3. Strickland’s reaction is one thing, the sportscaster’s jumping for joy over his anguish in the post game show is despicable.

    Anyway, go Royals! It’s a good thing Bumgarner can’t pitch as much as he’d like to. 🙂

    • I missed the post game show, so I’m guessing that was the foursome? Kapler, Swisher, Frank Thomas and Papi? Now who could it be that might show joy over over someone else’s anguish? Hmmmmm. Well, my first guess would be Chris Narveson since he is no longer alone, but who knows where Narveson was last night?

      Yeh, that was a fun game; a fun 6th inning. I was most impressed by Billy Butler. I guess Bumgarner will get the call in game 4 and game 7 if necessary.

      • Not sure who it was Steve, but they were down on the field interviewing Perez, who looked embarrassed by being asked what he thought was going on with Strickland. Such a dumb question! Perez politely said he wasn’t sure. Geesh, ask Perez about his own part in the game, don’t feed some ridiculous thirst for blood.

        Yes, Butler was impressive, along with Hosmer and the Royals bullpen, a must have in order to beat the Giants.

      • My reaction was a little different when it was happening. I though maybe Perez could have just kept trotting home and ignored Strickland, but then again who knows what he said.

        And more to your point, yeh, the media likes to turn nothing into something. It’s good for the ratings i guess and usually kind of fun. I guess I did it too with my no flowers in their hair comment.

  4. Hunter Strickland, living proof that a 100 MPH heater isn’t everything.

    Speaking of the ever-charming Robert Moses, you should read Robert Caro’s biography of him if you ever get the chance. Like everything Caro wrties, it’s looooooong, over a thousand pages, but like everything Caro writes, every single damn page is worth it.

    • I’ve heard of the book, WK, and I’ve been meaning to read it. Thanks for the reminder. Robert Moses almost single-handedly ruined New York City, and in so many ways.

      Glen

      • Moses pretty much created the “public authority”, or at least in New York, which allowed him to extend the ruination pretty much state-wide? The Tappan Zee reconstruction cluster? Port Authority, Thruway Authority…all Moses’ babies.

    • 1,000 pages oh my! that sounds like a twilight doubleheader with extra innings and an after hours party; the drinks spiked with viagra! I wish there was a machine that could extract the baseball material from books or maybe there already is?

    • Thanks wk, I just found Robert Caro’s “Power Broker” in the Montreal library system and will now make democratic use of inner library loan. I love this library land. They deliver the book and call me when it arrives to a closer branch. This will be my first 1,000 page book if I finish it and after that Jonah Keri’s book about the Expos. Thanks again.

      • In order for me to read a book of 1,000 pages long, I’d have to renew the book for about five months in a row from the library (at LEAST). Luckily, in the Brooklyn Public Library, there is the opportunity to do that. I’m a very, very slow reader. But I do want to read that book, as well.

        Glen

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