Yes, it is time for the MCHY annual "Welcome back, Baseball!" article. If you don’t like the baseball, go back to China and your ping-a-pong-a table, you filthy red! Take a slow boat to Antarctica for some penguin bowling, you God-less heathen! Find a cave in Afghanistan to play sand checkers with your camel, nasty infidel!
My new hometown baseball team, Baltimore’s Orioles, start their season tonight against my most recent hometown team, Tampa Bay’s "Devil" Rays. I shall watch the game and root for Baltimore’s Orioles, which now contain one of my former hometown team’s, Seattle’s Mariners, arch enemies, one Vladimir Guererro. Here is a pic I am linking to, that exists elsewhere on the Arpanet, that I have not copied to a local server. It is Vlad accepting the "Gifts to Humanity" award for the two bats he gave to some poor Christian kids in Algeria.
Last night I watched the first game of the year of my first hometown team (yes – I have four hometown teams now), Los Angeles’ Dodgers, originally from Brooklyn. Before the game Tommy Lasorda, manager extraordinaire, pitcher Fernando Valenzuela, and Mayor Villaraigosa were on hand to introduce the new season.
Unfortunately, the post-game party was marred by violence between L.A. fans and fans of the team from San Francisco, who we just beat on the diamond. The fans of the Dodgers intentionally beat up some fans of the San Francisco team, leaving one critical. This disturbs me. I have been in the parking lot at Chavez Ravine probably one hundred times in my life, and never had one single problem. Actually, now that I think about it, one guy did bump into the back of my Ford Falcon when I wasn’t moving fast enough in the 4-mile line of traffic. I have to offer apologies to the fans of the team from San Francisco on behalf of the fans of Los Angeles who do not wish to break noses and pound toes. This is not how Angelenos should conduct themselves. They are NOT New Yorkers after all.
Of course, when the fans of the team from San Francisco pull shit like THIS, you gotta wonder. This was flown during the Opening Day game over Chavez Ravine – which is where Dodger Stadium is located.
Interesting note about Chavez Ravine that those not from L.A. probably don’t know: back in the day, the 40’s and 50’s, the eponymous ravine was the home of many poor Mexican families, including migrant agricultural workers. As L.A. grew in size, the ravine was targeted for public housing, and our favorite monster, eminent domain, showed up and got rid of the undesirables. Eventually, the ravine was used for the construction of Dodger Stadium, thus any chicano worth his/her rice in SoCal is an Angels fan as retribution for mistreatment of their people. If you remember the "NO UVAS" bumper stickers on cars in the 80’s, then you know of Cesar Chavez, for whom the area is named. I have met many Mexicanos during my 20 years in L.A. that have told this very truth: if you are a Mexican, you are for the Angels.
Here is my boy Fernando V. in the early days:
And Fernando’s famous "Looking to Jehovah for a Strike" wind-up. When number 34 came north across the border, he inadvertently started Fernando-Mania, which was not localized to Los Angeles only. He was a thrill to watch as a pitcher and enjoyable as a personality. The pics are in black and white cause back in the day, Fernando was too poor to afford colors.
Does anyone remember Steve "Popeye" Garvey? The slugging Dodgers’ first baseman who, on a throw to first, would take the ball out of his glove and lean over and touch the baserunner as he lay safe across first base, having just slid back after taking a lead bigger than he should. I do. I loved Garvey. And Ron Cey and Steve Sax and Mike Marshall and current Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim manager Mike Scoscia.
Happy baseball note: A great retirement to Baltimore’s Orioles Randy Winn, a onetime Seattle and Tampa Bay outfielder that I remember always being good for a hit when you really needed one. He was a hitting machine! Happy retirement Randy.
Sad baseball note: Lou Gormon, the first General Manager of Seattle’s Mariners (’77-’80) died today on their 2011 season Opening Day.
So, today is the first game for a lot of teams, my Orioles, my ex-Mariners (shhh… I still want them to win the division), and others. This will be the first opening day that I know of in Mariners history that Hall of Fame Announcer Dave Neihaus will not be calling the first pitch of the game. Dave passed away November 10; we had a little memorium for him here at MCHY. Duff McKagan (Seattleite and bass player for GnR and Jane’s) talks about Dave being gone and what to do about it. I have been trying to find out who will be announcing the game and am supposing it will be Rick Rizzs. Dave Sims, Mike Blowers, Ron Fairly.
UPDATE AFTER THE M’S GAME
Apparently Seattle’s Mariners are wearing DAVE patches on their right arms for the season as a tribute to Neihaus. Also, Rick Rizzs and Ron Fairly stayed silent during the first pitch of the game saying, "Dave is going to call that first pitch." as he has done for over 30 years. Rizzs also says that when the M’s hit their first grand slam of the year, he is going to replace his traditional "goodbye baseball" with Dave’s "Get out the rye bread and mustard, Grandma, it’s grand salami time!" If you haven’t heard that, it is kinda wonderful. Needless to say, the M’s won their first game against the Athletics of Oakland, with King Felix pitching the first ever complete game on opening day in team history. The boys are back… and hopefully not up to their old ways, which is to say, sucking. Click HERE for the tribute page for Dave and a great video of his 9 best calls in M’s history. Totally worth watching even if you are not a baseball fan.
Detroit lost Ernie Harwell last year, Seattle lost Dave; there aren’t a lot of the old timers left. Since I was born in ’69, the only L.A. voice I have even known has been Fall of Famer Vin Scully. Now 83, he has been the voice of the Dodgers for over 60 years. It will be a sad sad day when Vin passes on… I will cry. How do you fill those shoes? I dunno about y’all, but I really like Peter Coyote.
My man Vin – the only person I know who can talk more than me. If you ever get a chance to listen to him, he is amazing. He calls the play-by-play AND does color at the same time. Someone comes up to bat and he will give you their life story in the 3 minutes the sucker is at the plate AND call the balls and strikes and let you know the history of some third-world country cause he can fit that in there, too. After 60 years, you know, you got a LOT to say and Vin Scully says it all. He was with the boys in blue back in Brooklyn for God’s sake. He is MY American Idol!
What the heck is going on over in Libya? Is America back in the nation building game? They say… no… but yet, what the heck are we doing over there? Keeping a no-fly zone so rebels can go get Gaddafi? Huh. The Prez says Gaddafi has to go, but why now all of a sudden? Why not last year? Because his people are making a ruckus in the street? Well, shitfuck… I remember when Americans made a ruckus in the street over the Iraq war with the Impeach Bush signs and all. Where was the international community then? Why did they not come and save us? Me = NOT happy with the administration’s response to Libya. Just saying.
Aren’t train tracks cool? Whenever I see them, I want to walk them. Think back to 150 years ago when they were the only way to really get around the U.S. of A. How cool was that? Now they crisscross the whole country, most unused, left over from some heyday of a small mining town or a route that petered out from desertion of cities along the way. That is a lot of steel laying around! I think we, the all of us, should go out there and dig it all up and recycle it. Probably a million miles of steel rails unused. I demand a survey!