Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Big Red Machine and Me

Sunny - Hi 118 Lo 90 for Baghdad, Iraq
Sunny - Hi 80 Lo 62 for Northern KY, USA

Song of the week: Summertime,
DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince


As a kid growing up in Cincinnati in the 70's, it was a requirement to be a baseball fan especially being the granddaughter of Helyn. Terry and I would spend our summers with our grandparents and my grandmother was a HUGE fan of baseball. When she was a girl growing up in Cincinnati, she lived across the street from the old Crosley Field... She would watch all the games from the roof of the tenement house she and her family lived and after the 7th inning they would open a gate out in left field and she would stand just inside the ballpark to watch the games. During our summers at our grandparents, I rarely remember the television being on except if a game was televised. (back then, all the games were not aired). But, what I do remember is sitting and listening to Marty and Joe on 700 WLW...

Growing up in Cincinnati, you knew who the Big Red Machine was... whether you followed baseball or not. It has been 30 years and I still know them... Johnny Bench- catcher, Tony Perez- 1st base, Joe Morgan-2nd base, Dave Concepcion- shortstop, Pete Rose- 3rd base, George Foster-left field, Cesar Geronimo- center field, and Ken Griffey- right field. The only pitcher I recall is Don Gullett (I could cheat and look them up, but that would be wrong) The bullpen for Cincinnati was unstoppable. The manager was Sparky Anderson. He placed expectations on his players... for instance, short(er) hair, no facial hair... you didn’t play for Sparky if you couldn’t behave like a gentlemen. The men on this team were accessible. I felt like I knew them- they were part of the family- every single one of them. They always seemed to be smiling and they would make appearances on local tv shows and Johnny Bench would sing and Tony Perez would tell stories (but no one could understand him because his accent was so thick) and Pete Rose would tell jokes... George Foster always seemed real shy in front of the camera, but Ken Griffey... wow... did I have a crush on Ken Griffey... I remember my grandmother would be in the kitchen and if Cesar Geronimo was up to bat, you would hear her yell, "Goooo Geronimooooooo!!!"

We went to a few games and that was always a thrill. I remember one time at Riverfront Stadium up in the wayyyyy high red seats... My brother brought his glove expecting to catch a fly ball… (it would have had to have been carried to him by a pigeon based on where we were sitting)... Sitting there in the park, there was so much of nothing to do. Time would be spent, ordering and getting and eating hotdogs, popcorn and a coke, looking through the program, looking through the binoculars at the other fans, keeping score on the back of the program, watching the grown ups around you talk and in between all of this non-activity was actually some game watching. Joe Morgan steps up to plate, does that elbow jerk thing and waits for the pitch... CRACK! -Line drive up center field for a single.

Baseball goes at its own pace and there is never any rush to finish the game. I miss that.

I don't watch or listen to baseball anymore... I lost interest in the game after the strike in the early 90's. When the game became more about the money rather than the love of the game... on both sides of the fence... the players and the owners... I didn't care anymore. I tried to start listening again this season, but it's different now. Players don't stick around anymore... trades are as much a part of the game as chewing tobacco (used to be)... I guess this is something Michael would refer to as "an old people moment". I yearn for the good ol days of summer and baseball...

I hear the minor league ball games have that feel... maybe we can go to a couple of those...

Blogs and Links to Check Out This Week:

E-nough! - "What happens when two hot-blooded women, one American and one French, both living in a socialist paradise called France, meet in the middle of a transatlantic diplomatic crisis?" Provocative... go check these women out.

Sons of the Republic - "We are husbands, fathers, and sons. We are Americans - born, bred and proud to be so. We come from diverse backgrounds, a shared faith, and a mutual belief that the United States of America is the greatest nation ever to be placed on the face of God's Green Earth." Yeah! Enough, go check these men out...

Chez Diva - "I happen to like celebrity gossip, haute couture, beauty, politics and current events among many other things. This is a well rounded blog for individuals who aren’t cardboard cut-outs." The wonderful thing about this lady is that she has been working to memorialize every single person that were victims of terrorism on 9/11. Pretty amazing undertaking if you ask me.

One last parting thought... go visit my friend, Jedi Master Rob at Beware the Dark Side. He has an absolutely fantastic history lesson to share... especially for all the Marines out there...

U.S. Marine Corps Hymn

From the Halls of Montezuma
To the Shores of Tripoli;
We fight our country's battles
In the air, on land and sea;
First to fight for right and freedom
And to keep our honor clean;
We are proud to claim the title
of United States Marine.

Our flag's unfurled to every breeze
From dawn to setting sun;
We have fought in ev'ry clime and place
Where we could take a gun;
In the snow of far-off Northern lands
And in sunny tropic scenes;
You will find us always on the job--
The United States Marines.

Here's health to you and to our Corps
Which we are proud to serve
In many a strife we've fought for life
And never lost our nerve;
If the Army and the Navy
Ever look on Heaven's scenes;
They will find the streets are guarded
By United States Marines.

Semper Gratus!

Have a great week everyone!


Jedi Master Rob said...

Great post. It made me want to grab a box of Cracker Jacks and catch a game. For the longest time, growing up, I didn't know that it was possible to hear anything other than Marty and Joe on my uncle's transistor radio. That truly is summertime.

Thanks for the link and thanks for letting Jo and I tag along yesterday.

Cathy said...

Rob: We had a great time too! Let's do that again real soon.

Pamela said...

Never got to go to a game as a kid. First one I ever attended was three years ago. Seattle Mariners. Saw Ichiro nab a fly in right field and throw a runner out at third. Wow.

What fun you must have had as a kid.

Mama Duck said...

What a great article, thanks for sharing with the carnival.

mark said...

And it's one, two, three strikes you're out at the ole ballgame.

Cathy said...

Pamela- I think because of the time and where I grew up, it was really a requirement of being a kid. You had to go or you had to know about the Cincinnati Reds.

Lil DD- thanks for stopping by. I'm convinced you are a member of your local Welcome Wagon- You are so good about stopping by and leaving a comment for everyone! It truly is appreciated.

Mark- I'll let you do the singing... rule number one... Never let me sing... ever.. I assure you that your ears will bleed. In forced situations like singing "Happy Birthday"- I lip sync...

Jedi Master Rob said...

Not true! Don't listen to Cathy! She sang a solo version of "Happy Birthday" to me earlier this year and I was floored by what a nice voice she has.

I also think I once caught her singing "Brick House".

Cathy said...

ahhhowwwww.... she's a brick house... she's mighty mighty...

Genuine said...

I loved Dodger Blue in those days. But I must admit Bench was my favorite catcher!

Cathy said...

Wow! Genuine- I am honored to have you visit my little blog!!! The Dodger's were a big rival of Cincinnati back in the 70's...

I remember the sportsmanship between the 2 teams... Tommy Lasorda and Sparky Anderson seemed like they were always trading jokes... That was back when the Dodgers had the likes of Steve Garvey and Ron Cey...

fond memories!

Laura said...

I also loved your Big Red Machine memories...I'm another who was rooting for the Dodgers against the Big Red Machine when I was growing up in the '70s! Garvey, Russell, Lopes & Cey...those were the days! Isn't it kinda neat to think we were "sharing" the same games from different states 3 decades ago?!

Laura said...

PS A couple years ago the Dodgers' longtime trainer, Bill Buhler, passed away. The funeral was held across the street from my church in Long Beach, CA, and I needed to be in the area to run some errands I confess I pulled into my church parking lot for a few minutes to get a look at those arriving across the street. Sparky Anderson was there...I thought it was so neat he was there to pay tribute to the Dodgers' trainer.

Just a little Dodgers-Reds memory -- Laura

Cathy said...

Sparky Anderson is a good decent man. Thanks for sharing that memory about him.