Summertime and Baseball

Written by Don Reid on August 9th, 2019 Posted in General

Summertime without baseball would be like country music without a fiddle. Like a picnic without deviled eggs. Like a 4th of July parade without a flag. And when our family gets together around the grill, the pool, or the dining room table, as we often do, the Game of Summer will eventually come up. And everybody has their team they will go to the mat for at any given moment.

My son, Debo, and his family are fervent Yankee fans and will quickly let you know they are currently in first place. Son Langdon and his household wear all the team trimmings of the Washington Nationals who are in second place and just a few games behind the Yanks. Wife Debbie is a long and exuberant fan of the Atlanta Braves and, in recent years, the Chicago Cubs. Before dessert is ever served at any of these gatherings, I’m hearing stats and double plays in one ear; homeruns and missed calls in the other; and gentle ribbing of one another from all the kids and adults. It entertains me to no end. The only one left out of this assortment of opinions is the old man. I’m the only one who has no team and no favorites. I just love the season; the stadiums; the atmosphere; the excitement and even the occasional bench brawls.

So it struck me rather funny that Debo and Langdon told me recently there was quite a discussion on a Statler Fan Facebook page concerning what my team allegiance was and is. Folks pointed out they had taken pictures through the years of me wearing a Minnesota Twins jacket; the gold and green jacket of the Oakland As; two different Yankees’ jackets – one blue- the other white and pin-striped. A Marlins cap; Phillies cap; LA Dodgers cap; well, just too many caps to list. And most of these items were given to us as we would often stop at whatever town was close for a game when we had a night off on the road during our touring years. We sang the National Anthem at more MLB stadiums than I can count. We went to spring training games in Florida and the Southwest. We were honored to meet so many baseball heroes and make friends with so many good men who entertained the world with their talent every hot, single day of the summer.  

Then it was pointed out on the same fan page that I had written “When The Yankees Came Home.” I had written “Love Was All We Had” where I stated she’s a lifelong Yankee – I’m an Oriole. And then someone noted we had even shot a video of “Atlanta Blue”, which I wrote, at Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta during an actual game. And in “Don’t Wait On Me”, there’s the line when the lights go on at Wrigley Field I’ll be coming home to you. (Because of this song, we were invited to sing the Anthem the first night the lights went on – thirty-one years ago today). So, it’s no wonder someone might ask, “just what team is he a fan of anyway?” Well, let me say this. I have three favorite baseball memories I’ll share.

 One was sitting in the locker room with Rod Carew talking about my two sons who were just kids at the time. He reached over in the corner and handed me two of his bats and said, “Give each of those boys one of these.” I get tears just remembering this.

Another was sitting in the owner’s box with Gene Autry watching his beloved Angels play on a warm California night. I get chills remembering this.

And then there is the authenticated autographed baseball signed by Babe Ruth I have had on my shelf for years. I could get money for this. And lots of it I’ve been told. (It was hit by the Babe on July 30, 1930 during a doubleheader at Fenway Park.)

So, baseball, to me, is so many sweet memories of so many wonderful summers that I just can’t roll it all into one favorite team. And that leaves me wide open to tell my grandchildren I like their team best (whichever one it may be) and then to root against Debbie during the World Series just to irritate her.  

And one final baseball story. I was jogging through the little town of Cohasset, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston, about 6 a.m. one morning when a car pulled up beside me and stopped. A man rolled down his window and said, “Hey, I love your music, but I hate your cap.” I took it off and checked it and sure enough, it was a Yankee’s cap.

But the Babe would have been proud of me. I put it back on and kept jogging.

DSR             8/9/19