April Fools

Blog #46 The male Cardinal in our neighbor’s pine tree has been going nonstop for the last 3 or 4 hours. Cardinals make a call that sounds like a high pitched, “Cheer, Cheer, Cheer” and then a kind of whistle which I can’t describe well in words. I’ve attached a picture of him. He’s enjoying the beautiful weather today. Cardinals make me think about St. Louis baseball. When I was growing up there, the Cards played in the old Busch Stadium, which was a 1960’s era cookie cutter, donut shape stadium similar to Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers and Cincinnati’s Riverfront. My earliest memory of going to a Cardinal game was with my Dad, my Grandfather (Big G) and my sister, Angie. I was probably 5 or 6 and she was around 10 or 11. My Dad drove and we picked up Big G at 42 Crestwood Drive. I am sure he was wearing dark pants, dress shoes, a white long sleeve button down shirt. That’s what he always wore: to the office, to holiday get togethers, to church. I remember he was wearing a hat, not a baseball hat, but a Fedora. It was the early 70’s and hats were not worn by most men. My Dad didn’t wear a hat at that time. But Big G still wore one and looking back it reminds me of one of those men you see in old photos at the baseball games in the 1940–50’s where the men were all wearing Fedoras. We drove past Forest Park and the Planetarium, I remember Angie pointed to it blurted out, “Hey Dad, there’s the upside down toilet.” Dad gave her a look in the rearview mirror like, “Really?” You didn’t say stuff like that in front of Big G. Big G didn’t make any comment, but I imagine he was smiling. We went to the game and I sat next to Big G and he tried to teach me to score the game but I wasn’t really interested. I was so excited and I just wanted to watch for foul balls since I had brought my mit. My favorite player was Ken Reitz, the 3rd baseman, who was nicknamed, ‘The Zamboni”. He had replaced the great Joe Torre at the hot corner. I also loved ‘Simba’, catcher Ted Simmons, #23. I can’t remember if we stayed for the whole game or even who we played. I do remember when we dropped Big G off at home, Grandmother came out to the car with a plate of cookies, probably Archway Oatmeal or Pinwheels. Angie and I stayed in the back seat and devoured them on the way back home. It was a great day. As I got older, I went to games whenever I could. During the summers, when I was home from college, my friends Stu, Murph, Foxey and I would wait outside the stadium gates for when they would open them after the 6th inning and we could get in free. After college, when I was working in St. Louis, I’d sometimes take customers to games. When I traveled around the towns in southern Illinois, Kentucky, Arkansas and Iowa, there were Cardinal fans at most of the companies that I called on. The KMOX radio frequency was strong enough to broadcast Cards games to all these places, the voices of Jack Buck and Mike Shannon bringing the sweltering St. Louis night into peoples’ homes. These people had grown up following the Cardinals and it was always fun to ask them who their favorite players were and offer them tickets if they ever came in to St. Louis. The strength of the KMOX signal helped make the Cardinals franchise one of the most popular in the country. It’s been close to 25 years since I’ve been to a Cardinals game in St. Louis. The old Busch Stadium is no more. As in most cities, a retro style ballpark has replaced it, the new Busch stadium. I did get a chance to go see the Cards play in Detroit, when the played the Tigers, in the 2006 World Series. I don’t follow them much anymore. Nor do I follow baseball in closely, in general. But last year, before Josie went away to college, I planned a family evening at Comerica Park to see the Tigers play. It was a beautiful evening. There wasn’t much of a crowd as the Tigers had one of the worst records in baseball. But it was fun to sit there with family and hear the sounds and smell the ballparks smells and reminisce about the “old days” watching the Cards at the old Busch Stadium.

Quote of the Day: “Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical.” — Yogi Berra

Today’s Playlist:
1) Your Rocky Spine by Great Lake Swimmers
2) Even the Darkness Has Arms by The Barr Brothers
3) Legacy by Jill Barber
4) Hummingbird by Imaginary Cities
5) American Boy by Estelle

Books to Read:
1) Summer of ’49 by David Halberstam

Binge Watchable:
1) Baseball by Ken Burns

Yesterday’s Trivia Question: What syndrome is defined as “Changes in the skin condition that result from being immersed in water.”? ANSWER: Washerwoman Syndrome

Today’s Trivia Question: Cornelius McGillicuddy is known by his nickname and is one of the greatest sports figures of all time. What was his nickname?



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store