Things are going to Potpourri …
Ok, some things to know about me (or, maybe not).
I hate references to baseball as an “industry.” Auto assembly and furniture manufacturing are industries. The noble people in industry who make the country run play baseball games after their shifts.
Remember watching Ed Sullivan introduce The Beatles, dug Simon & Garfunkel and Blood, Sweat and Tears — and now groove to Lady Gaga and think Jay-Z is amazing.
I “pitched” in the last game managed by Gene Mauch. It was a media-Angels charity game at Ho Ho Kam Park during 1988 Spring Training. The next day, Mauch went on a medical leave, and never returned to the dugout. Gave up homers to Dante Bichette and Tony Armas — but did retire Brian Downing on a comebacker.
When I left Pittsburgh for the West Coast, I subscribed-by-mail to the Pittsburgh Press just so I could stay up on the Pirates, even though it was all three-day-old-news by the time it got to me. Internet? Yes, please!
Definition of bittersweet: Had my engagement party on Dec. 31, 1972. Then the music was interrupted by news bulletins of the crash of a plane taking earthquake-relief supplies to Nicaragua.
I covered (all these go in the right-place-at-the-right-time bin):
- Nolan Ryan’s last strikeout. During a typical seven innings of four-hit, no-earned runs stint in Anaheim on Sept. 17, 1993. Left his next start in Seattle with a bum arm before retiring a batter, never pitched again.
- Hank Aaron’s last home run. July 20, 1976, in Milwaukee, on an occasional road trip in place of the L.A. Herald-Examiner’s regular Angels reporter. After No. 755, Hammerin’ Hank concluded his career without another in his last 23 games and 64 at-bats.
- Ken Griffey Jr.’s last home run. Asterisk, please: It came in a 2010 Cactus League game — a walk-off grand slam against the Reds, no less — and The Kid never hit one before his midseason retirement.
Best baseball movie: Bang The Drums Slowly (sorry, Field of Dreams).
Best baseball song: Frank Sinatra’s “There Used to Be a Ballpark.”
Favorite players to cover with the Angels: John Candelaria, Dave Parker. Ellis Valentine, Bruce Kison; gee, wonder why?
To be continued …