Dre\’s Ramblings

A part of my childhood went to heaven today
August 14, 2007, 12:04 pm
Filed under: New York, New York City, New York Yankees, Phil Rizzuto, sports

“Did he do it… yeah he did… going the opposite field; that Mattingly is amazing… Holy cow!”

That’s my recollection of hearing Phil Rizzuto call the home run hit by Don Mattingly that tied the consecutive home run record held by Pittsburgh’s Dale Long. Ironcially I’d just listened to the audio clip on Monday afternoon. I had no idea I’d be hearing of Rizzuto’s death while waiting for lunch today. He was 89.

Growing up in New York, especially before I discovered how much fun listening to games on the radio was, I watched every New York Yankees game broadcast on WPIX, which meant hearing the games as called by Phil Rizzuto and Bill White. I made the switch to listening to John Sterling after it was decided that Yankees games would be broadcast on cable long before The Bronx would be privileged to receive it. But it was still a treat to watch television whenever we knew the game was being broadcast locally.

Long before I knew that Harry Caray was known for saying “Holy Cow” to me it meant hearing “the Scooter” tell stories of past Yankees glory, of cannolis being eaten and of birthday and anniversary wishes being shared. He showed some of that style during his Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 1994. He was a bridge to franchise’s past at a time when it was greatly desired and needed from its fan. The only Yankee that drew more applause at an old-timer’s game than Mattingly or DiMaggio was Rizzuto.

We knew he’d been sick for some time, though we as the fans of the team known as the Evil Empire hoped he could make it to see his beloved team play one more time in the Fall Classic. He was the same age that my grandmother would have been this year and she loved watching him call games. Most times we’d sit in front of the television and watch the game, my parents still wondering how their child could love baseball more than soccer.

Hopefully he’ll get the chance to watch the guys send the House that Ruth Built out in style from a box seat upstairs. I think those of us who enjoyed him would like that more than anything else. As for me, I see a cannoli in my future this evening, just right for someone who proved while playing that the content of a man should be measured by what they do and not by how tall they are. Steinbrenner must have been right; “heaven must have needed a shortstop,” and they went out and got the best one available. Maybe the big guy is a Yankees fan after all.



DeFord weighs in on BSC and some comments about yesterday

DeFord highlights BSC decision in his weekly commentary in SI.com & on NPR’s Morning Edition

For a while part of my ritual during the commute to high school was to stop and pick up a copy of “The National,” a short-lived daily dedicated to covering sports. I would love to read Frank DeFord’s column in the paper, where he served as editor in chief. The idea at the time was that I should skip this whole notion of studying architecture and go into this writing career. I wanted to be able to be as powerful with words as DeFord was.

Since I’ve started this blog, I’ve occasionally dabbled in the world of sports commentary, often going against the grain of the masses, or at least those whose comments are published. This was definitely the case when I wrote a couple of posts dealing with the eventual decision to move Birmingham Southern College from Division I to Division III, beginning with this one. One of our local sports columnists continued to point out how much it would hurt Birmingham Southern’s ability to recruit students and their ability to publicize their existence. Well, thanks to this week’s commentary piece by DeFord currently posted at SI.com and archived at NPR.com, BSC is getting some incredible press among sports nuts and the numbers seem to say that life is only getting better at the liberal arts college located in Birmingham, Alabama.

Who’s #1?: Birmingham Southern chose students over athletes, SI.com, 1.10.2007

It’s still early, but I’d like to see what other types of coverage and positive results will come from the upcoming season. I think it would also be safe to say that those that supported the idea follow the actions that many do in those situations; their silence meant they liked the idea. If the majority of alumni supported the idea and school enrollment numbers are up, I’d have to say that this could be one of the best things to ever happen.

Some comments about yesterday’s post

I’d like to thank those that commented on yesterday’s post about the State of the City. For those that have not seen it, please click here. It’s also probably not fair to call it a post since it was really only a couple of links to the speech given by the city’s mayor and a story written about it. I purposely did not write anything leaning one way or the other.

I did go into this thinking about a few things. I didn’t ask for comments about the mayor, I asked for comments about the speech. I was also hoping that some would talk about the the actual state of the city. Wade’s comment late last night probably leads to seeing how people would respond to his question as well, one that’s been asked on this site numerous times. The people of the city are its biggest asset and their attitude does a great deal to aid in the progress of it. I’d like to exactly what Wade did yesterday then:

What will each of you do to improve Birmingham this month, this year, this decade?

I’ll also point out this year end post before you ask what I’m doing and remind you of the quote that I mentioned: “Leadership is action, not position.” I’ll also say that we just met about the civic organization roundtable last week, with plans to hold a meeting next month. That’s in addition to trying to organize a job-related clean-up in Ensley at the end of February.

Let’s see what we get.

Enjoy the day.