brewers baseball and things

manic spring fling

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I’m sure the only way to a thunder clatter tongue is to read, read, and read some more. My certainty comes when ice chunks gather in gutter clusters and race one track tornado down the mountain side back home to sea.

Or maybe the urge or urgency to read arrives in any season after manic google searches; garlic skins to Basque boats; not staying long enough  to enjoy any particular view. Damn screen! 

The back side of a hand soap does me better; meditating on the ingredients and singing the manufacture town name; Minnetonka, Minnesota in exaggerated slow down syllabic flare. My head sizzles, feet tap, heart starts.

My lack of focus returns; easily transplanted to my bed with five open books, but a few sentences later it all starts again; that sizzle followed by more certainty.

I’m falling in love with Rico Carty for the first time. The declaration pins me against a wall, not quite head shaved and hare krishna, but what’s the difference!

probably do this every spring; falling in love with some Carty equivalent; not consciously; more like a silent reflex, to keep some ancient myth within me from being completely choked out of existence.

In Fidrych; Charboneau and JR Richard I trust.

I never knew Carty as a player, only as a name I liked and I’m not sure if it was the Rico or Carty part; probably just a baseball card flash. He comes to me later in life; in books; as the man who rattled Hank Aaron’s diplomatic cage. I don’t know the details, don’t know how he did it; how he crawled so far under hammering Hank’s perfect skin, but he did; maybe them two getting dirty and rolling around; maybe them two despising each other for a while, but rolling around some more and you forgive me and I forgive you and the superficial pierced and there’s a bridge called trust to come a little closer.

Milwaukee fans made a banner with Carty’s name and hung it from the top of the left field bleachers, not because he fought with Aaron who took Carty under his wing-roommates in Milwaukee but because back in 1964, the last of those miracle Brave embers was sizzling and Carty was the party. 

Spahn was tired and refusing to retire. Joe Adcock and Lew Burdette had already been traded; all the other ones sold off; typical clean house situation with new owners, but there was still Aaron and Mathews and no duo hit more home runs than them two.

But the same thing that brought the Braves to Milwaukee was taking them away; a new and potentially lucrative market; from Boston to Milwaukee and now Atlanta; the business side of baseball; the slash and burn blah blah.

The people never get blamed, but Milwaukee attendance fell from an all time National League high of 2 million in 1958 to 500 thousand in 1965.  

There’s banana peels everywhere; cemeteries on both sides of the street and crops go fallow with or without money, but before that trumpet player blew taps at County Stadium there was Rico Carty. He only came to bat two times in 1963 and no one probably noticed, but in 1964, he hit .330 with 22 home runs and almost won the batting title; almost won the rookie of the year too.

That banner hanging from the top of County Stadium’s left field bleachers said, “Rico Carty Our Rookie of the year!!” That possessive our sticking out more than the 2 exclamation points.

And who could blame them! Their Carty, their Braves, their baseball team and each and every home game spilling down aisles and ramps into parking lots and bars and bed time stories and one last beer and dreams and box score sunrise was under threat of extinction. They were doing the flat lines dance, the ghostly amputee shuffle; enjoying Carty like the last day of their lives because it always could be.


Author: Steve Myers

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

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