April 9, 2006
Opening Day: That's what it's all about (Terry Pluto, Apr. 07, 2006, Akron Beacon Journal)
Cleveland always has been an Opening Day town, even for Indians fans who don't live anywhere near the city.
For some of us who grew up during the dark decades of Indians baseball, Opening Day was a time to dream. It was a time to walk down the West Third Street Bridge...
I have some friends from out of town who have moved to our area and are sick of stories about going to games down the West Third Street Bridge.
That little walk is not a part of their lives, as it is to many of us.
They didn't have a father who would put them on his shoulders, like my dad did. They didn't have the joy of feeling on top of the world as I looked at the vast, never-ending sea of blue that was Lake Erie.
Or the massive old Cleveland Stadium, a baseball palace to me.
Or the old, neon Chief Wahoo sign on the roof of the ballpark. He stood on one leg, holding a bat and spinning around until he seemed ready topple over, much like the teams of our youth.
Or the first sight of the incredibly green grass as you came up the old, concrete stadium ramps and caught first sight of the infield. Remember, this was a black-and-white, three-channel TV world for many of us, which makes the colors of the ballpark so vivid in our memories.
There is no reason for people from out of town to understand this...
Yet every fan everywhere understands.
MORE (via Matt Murphy):
Only Love (and the Mets) Can Break Your Heart: …but it’s still worth every second. (Andrew C. McCarthy, April 07, 2006, National Review)
My dad was a nut for baseball, a passion he inherited from his father. He had been a big Yankee fan, but somehow their ownership made him revolt. (I never got the whole story, but dimly remember its having something to do with the trade of Bobby Richardson.) In 1962, my dad decided to start all over again, in the National League, with an expansion team: the New York Mets. This, of course, meant that was how his old eldest son, aged three, would be reared.Posted by Orrin Judd at April 9, 2006 6:13 PM
Dad took us to our first game at Shea Stadium in 1967. It was a sparkling new ballpark, opened in Flushing, near the site of the World’s Fair, in 1964. Even though the outside was never finished, back then it didn’t seem anything like the eyesore it appears to be when I see it today. Of course, by now, almost 40 years later, I’ve been to Yankee Stadium for a World Series game — and any honest baseball fan will tell you everything looks like an eyesore after you’ve been to the House that Ruth Built for the Fall Classic. But in 1967, I was quite sure Shea Stadium was heaven. And I still think I was right.
Three of my younger brothers and I sat in jaw-dropped wonder, watching the Cardinals beat the Mets (the first of many times we would watch the Cardinals beat the Mets). A stickler for tradition, my dad brought his dad along that day, too. It was always the great rite of Americana that the deepest lessons — the lessons for life — were passed from fathers to sons in the summer, in the daytime, in a ballpark.
Of course, I was thrilled beyond words. And hooked forever.