Even when I watch every minute of a game, I still can't tell you who pitched or what the final score was. It's enough to make a sports fan crazy!
by Bill Mehlman
Forget the symphony. Forget War and Peace. Let's talk baseball for a minute.
I'm a hereditary Yankee fan. When I was born, my folks lived on 156th Street and the Grand Concourse. If Tiger Woods teed up in front of our old building, whipped out his driver and hit a nice draw, he could catch the downslope at 161st Street and if his Titleist missed the entrance to the IRT it would run downhill and wind up at the season-ticket holders entrance, a little wedge shot away from home plate.
I can remember going to games with my father. One weekend in April, when I was about nine and bedridden with a stomach virus, listening to every inning of a five-game series with the Tigers: Bunning, Lary, Kaline, Kuenn. (No, wise guy, I didn't see Greenberg or Cobb.) But I can't remember what happened in the Yankee game last week. It drives me crazy.
You mention something to the average fan and he squinches up his eyes and says, "Oh, yeah! Remember, like in Game 3 of the '99 Series when Knoblauch - little Knoblauch, can you believe it? Takes Glavine out of the park in the eighth."
Shut UP! Of course I don't remember. I watched every pitch of that game, and in my database there's nothing. And it's not the intervening nine years. I watched most of the Yankee-Mariner game last Sunday and can't even tell you who pitched, or what the final score was.
It happens that I know a guy who's a big-time lawyer. Guaranteed you never heard of him; he's not one of those slickyboys who's seen too much Law and Order, and stands outside the Criminal Court mugging for the cameramen. He looks more like the third baseman on your keg-league softball team. But he's the head honcho at a huge international firm, a heavy hitter in the world of New York corporate law. You can almost see his mind humming along calmly and methodically sorting, classifying, analyzing everything that comes into his consciousness. Busy? You try keeping track of a couple of thousand attorneys, and get back to me next week.
Anyway, he's a huge baseball fan. Ask him about the '73 Indians, and he'll start reciting batting orders, pitching rotations, and then, after he gets warmed up, will give you a play-by-play of an August game between the Tribe and another losing team when there were, nationally, about six people who cared about the outcome. His lawyerly voice purrs along, "So it's the bottom of the eighth and it's old Gaylord Perry against this kid, what's his name, Clyde, David Clyde, never amounted to much after all the commotion, and this guy comes up — Jeez, I can't remember his name, I must be getting old — so whatever his name was, Perry goes to a full count, and he throws this guy a hellacious spitter and the guy misses by a mile and actually hits himself in the head with his own bat."
This SOB remembers how bad some nonentity got fooled by a Gaylord Perry spitball in a no-account game twenty-six years ago, a season when Cleveland finished dead last, and he's annoyed because he can't immediately retrieve the bozo's name. All this while he's running one of the biggest law firms in the world. True story. Sad, if you can't remember where you parked the car last night, but true nonetheless.
As ol' Casey used to say, "You could look it up."