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Saturday, June 09, 2007

Anniversary Archives - - June 9, 2002

It's that time of year when baseball starts to creep into the consciousness and cast it's dreamy summer spell. So it's appropriate to insert this piece from five years ago in between the road trip dispatches which I began re-publishing yesterday.

I tend to lose my non-sporting fan audience (which, somehow, seems to be the majority) when I lapse into these kinds of posts, but so be it. Well, maybe long-suffering Yankees fan, Dean Landsman, will enjoy it since it has a connection to the storied Yankee past.

Speaking of Dean, btw, I want to correct something I forgot to do--i.e., thank him for the great post about the fortieth anniversary of the release of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Band. If you were around at the time, I'll bet that you remember exactly where you were and what you were doing the first time you heard it.

It had that kind of impact, which is probably difficult for younger people to relate to after being subjected for so many years to rip-off albums--the one or two-hit wonders which are now going the way of the typewriter. Who gives a rat's ass anymore about an album release? We can just put our own mixes together, thanks to technology.

But back in '67, and for a few years thereafter, some albums were put together with integrity, as works of art in themselves--and Sgt. Pepper broke the ground. I totally agree with Dean on some of the other albums he mentioned that fall in that category, although I think there are two that he left out: Deja Vu, by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young; and The Band.

So here's my piece from this day in 2002:
Forty Years To Yankee Stadium

The San Francisco Giants are in Yankee Stadium this weekend. It's taken forty years to make the trip. The last time they were there was the memorable World Series of 1962.

It's a nostalgic turn for me. 1962--forty years ago this month I picked up my degree, bid a fond farewell to my beloved Indiana U, packed up my '55 two-tone green-and-cream Chevy Bel Air, and headed west to the city by the Bay.

It was a magical season for the Giants. Come October, they were fighting it out tooth-and-nail with the fearsome Yankees. What a Series it was! A plethora of future Hall-of -Famers--Mays, Mantle, McCovey, Cepeda, Marichal, Ford, Maris, Berra. Every game a close battle.

The city was having one of its wettest Octobers on record. Play was suspended for three or four days in a row as the skies emptied. The Yanks were forced to cool their heels in their hotel.

But Mantle and Ford, notorious carousers, with time on their hands in a fun-loving, hard-drinking town were in their element. No hanging around the hotel for them. The newspapers had a field day reporting their bar-room exploits.

We thought we'd win the Series because these two super-stars would be too messed up from boozing and whoring. Well, they don't call'em super-stars for nothing. Their bodies and hearts are a size or two stronger than mere mortals, and their play didn't suffer a bit. When the skies finally dried up, the Yanks went on to beat us by a fingernail on the last play of the last inning of the seventh game.

The current meeting going on in NY is worthy of the tradition. Close, exciting, superbly played games with capacity crowds on hand. Let's hope when October rolls around, we'll see a rematch of 1962.

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