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Thread: Goin' way back--while we're all fighting so...

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    Member Wheelhouse's Avatar
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    Goin' way back--while we're all fighting so...

    I grew up in the NY area and the first game I ever went to was at Shea. My father and I went alone to the game (as my little brother was too little) and I remember driving over the Whitestone Bridge and my father describing Shea Stadium as a "toilet" and then telling me about when he was a boy in Cincinnati and going to Crosley. He told me about the terrace in the OF and how a hot dog at the ballpark was better than filet mignon anywhere else. He also told me about how his uncle loved the Reds but he died the year before they got to the WS (I think '61?) and how he wished his uncle, who had taken him to games when he was a kid, had gotten to see the Reds win the pennant. Needless to say I was fired up about getting to the game. Shea was a toilet, but that served the experience--I walked through the sooty, neglected, mid 70's stadium, through the entryway to the field, and then all I can remember is seeing the blue,blue sky, the vast green field...and the Reds. I think my dad got a kick out of my reaction though I can't remember exactly what I did. The sight of the ball being thrown around, professional throws, shocked and hypnotized me. Pete Rose stuck out. He seemed to me as a boy (now get this) about a quarter-second ahead of everyone else in everything he did, from BP to the 9th inning. I cheered my heart out that day for the Reds and I think my good time was only matched by my father's. "Did you like the ballgame?" my father asked me as we walked through the parking lot after. "No," I said. "Why not?" my father asked, perplexed. "The Reds lost." My father smiled.
    "Don't trust any statistics you did not fake yourself."--Winston Churchill

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    Matt's Dad RANDY IN INDY's Avatar
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    Re: Goin' way back--while we're all fighting so...

    Priceless. Great post Wheelhouse.
    Talent is God Given: be humble.
    Fame is man given: be thankful.
    Conceit is self given: be careful.

    John Wooden

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    Member cumberlandreds's Avatar
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    Re: Goin' way back--while we're all fighting so...

    Great post! Thanks for sharing your memories.
    Reds Fan Since 1971

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    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: Goin' way back--while we're all fighting so...

    Wasn't Shea Stadium just a reflection of the larger toilet that was NYC in the 70s?
    "I prefer books and movies where the conflict isn't of the extreme cannibal apocalypse variety I guess." Redsfaithful

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    Re: Goin' way back--while we're all fighting so...

    Great story Wheelhouse! I enjoyed your fathers stories about Crosley, because they echo my dad's as well. Thanks.

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    Member Wheelhouse's Avatar
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    Re: Goin' way back--while we're all fighting so...

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Footstool
    Wasn't Shea Stadium just a reflection of the larger toilet that was NYC in the 70s?
    Yup.
    "Don't trust any statistics you did not fake yourself."--Winston Churchill

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    Mon chou Choo vaticanplum's Avatar
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    Re: Goin' way back--while we're all fighting so...



    Can we tell more stories?

    My mother is one of seven kids who all grew up in Cincinnati. My grampa had season tickets split with several other people through his work, so he would alternate with the seven kids throughout the season when it was his turn to go. Each of them probably went to two or three games, and it was a special thing because it was just one kid and dad which obviously doesn't happen much with seven kids in the family.

    In the interest of fairness, the kids went to the games in age order; that way no one could fight over which teams they got to see or anything like that. So it came time for the opening game at Riverfront Stadium, and it happened to be my Uncle Paul's turn to go. Paul is the second youngest in the family, the youngest boy, and probably the biggest baseball fanatic. He was probably 10 or 12 when Riverfront opened. All the other kids were jealous but he promised them a full report.

    When he got home, all the kids surrounded him, and he couldn't even speak. Riverfront was not the most attractive of places, but I can imagine how overwhelming it looked to a kid in the early 70s. The other kids started asking him questions, what is it like, what does it look like, how does it feel there, and he just looked at them, wide-eyed, and could only say:

    "You feel like a Cheerio."


    (big bowl...small person...get it? I love it.)
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    SERP deep cover ops WebScorpion's Avatar
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    Re: Goin' way back--while we're all fighting so...

    Wow! That just takes me back. Thanks Wheelhouse. My first game was the same experience, while at the same time the opposite, if that makes any sense. My grandpa took me to my first game and it was at Crosley Field around this time...May or June of 1965. I just remember it being like Christmas, My Birthday, and Coney Island all rolled into one. I remember the first glimpse of the green, green field and the ultra-blue sky...it took my breath away...and Grandpa just grinned from ear to ear watching my reaction. We sat down the first base line towards right field and I'll never forget watching Frank Robinson long tossing with Vada Pinson (I think) and thinking they were throwing the ball a mile. I just couldn't get over how far apart they were and just lazily tossing the ball back and forth. I don't remember much of the game, I'm sure I asked a million questions and probably annoyed my grandpa and this was waay before he ever attempted to teach me how to keep a scorecard, but I do remember Sammy Ellis was pitching and the Reds won. Now I've relived that moment twice with my own kids at Riverfront Stadium and Camden Yards and I know exactly why Grandpa was grinning...that first glimpse of the field is just pure magic and the first game is a complete joy no matter who wins. Thanks for bringing it back again Wheelhouse.

    "Okay you guys, pair up in threes!" --Yogi Berra

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    Redsmetz redsmetz's Avatar
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    Re: Goin' way back--while we're all fighting so...

    Quote Originally Posted by WebScorpion
    My grandpa took me to my first game and it was at Crosley Field around this time...May or June of 1965. I just remember it being like Christmas, My Birthday, and Coney Island all rolled into one. I remember the first glimpse of the green, green field and the ultra-blue sky...it took my breath away...and Grandpa just grinned from ear to ear watching my reaction. We sat down the first base line towards right field and I'll never forget watching Frank Robinson long tossing with Vada Pinson (I think) and thinking they were throwing the ball a mile. I just couldn't get over how far apart they were and just lazily tossing the ball back and forth. I don't remember much of the game, I'm sure I asked a million questions and probably annoyed my grandpa and this was waay before he ever attempted to teach me how to keep a scorecard, but I do remember Sammy Ellis was pitching and the Reds won.
    Assuming that it was a weekend game since you were a little tike, it was either the Saturday May 1st game against the Mets which the Reds won 9-2 or the Sunday, June 6th in which they beat the Giants, 6-0.

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    Re: Goin' way back--while we're all fighting so...

    I never got to Crosley, having arrived in Cincinnati in the winter of 75-76 (right ahead of Bohemian Rhapsody) my first experiences involved Tiger Stadium, which was a mammoth monster in the midst of the most run down rubble I had ever seen in my short life, we always "locked" our doors once inside 8 Mile, dropping a few bucks on some older black gent in a pork pie hat we usually left our car in his front yard with a few other cars that had heard of that mans deal. The stadium had long dingy ramps that led you up and before you went to the seats you might have to visit the foulest restrooms ever conjured up in your suburban world.

    But once through the portal a fine wash of sunlight lit the vast green expanse and the Tigers stood out there in their crisp, clean, classy white uniforms. The right field terrace loomed over Al Kaline as he poised himself for each pitch.

    In my excitement I spilled my popcorn over the rail and onto the field, wheer it sat looking out of place in a world of perfection.

    Who won? Hell if I know... but my dad yelled at a hippie and and I got an autographed team ball at the concession stand.

    The experience of entering that stadium on a snowy fall afternoon for a football game was also a surreal experience.

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    SERP deep cover ops WebScorpion's Avatar
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    Re: Goin' way back--while we're all fighting so...

    Quote Originally Posted by redsmetz
    Assuming that it was a weekend game since you were a little tike, it was either the Saturday May 1st game against the Mets which the Reds won 9-2 or the Sunday, June 6th in which they beat the Giants, 6-0.
    Oh, definitely the Giants game. I recall Grandpa actually saying nice things about their center fielder ( ) Something Grandpa did VERY rarely ... the opposing team was always the 'enemy'.

    "Okay you guys, pair up in threes!" --Yogi Berra

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    Re: Goin' way back--while we're all fighting so...

    Even though I grew up in the suburbs outside of NY City, I always was a Reds fan -- the Big Red Machine. My first baseball games were Mets and Yankees games.

    My first "Reds" experience was after I moved to the SF Bay Area. My stepfather got great seats at Candlestick behind home plate. There I saw the Phillies lose to the Giants 3-2. Playing for the Phillies that evening: Pete Rose, Joe Morgan and Tony Perez.

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    Re: Goin' way back--while we're all fighting so...

    Great topic wheelhouse,

    I have sour memories of my first game....The Old Metropolitan Stadium in Minn/St.Paul. 1972, Twins vs. Orioles. We lived in a small town in NW Iowa, about 3-4 hours from the Twin Cities, which was a world away with our economic circumstances. My Godmother drug my brother and I along with several of their neices and nephews for a road trip.

    My mom dressed me up in my best 'public' clothes, some sharp plaid polyester slacks and a plaid shirt. The car trip alone was a big treat, probably my first memory of one, this was a big deal.

    I remember feeling like I was king of the world. My dad had told us about this Harmon Killebrew guy, he was the man. Well, it just happened to be Harmon Killebrew bat day, and I now I knew I was in heaven.

    I don't remember one detail about the game, but I do remember squeezing that bat all game like it was solid gold. What would my dad say?....wait til my friends see this!

    As kids can do, by brother and I started horsing around at one point, and then, the world stood still. Simultaneously, we both dropped our bats. One feature of the old Met was real metal bleachers in the outfield, and they stretched to the sky. Well, we were pretty high up. We watched and listed as the bats rocketed down, boucing around like pinballs. Panic set in, it was the end of the game and people were hustling about. We raced to the bottom, only to find no remnants of the bat. "Too bad" we were told and shuffled into the car for the long trip home.


    Two years ago we were cleaning out my mom's house after her death. A long, arduous task with my other siblings. She had the ability to clean house when someone was coming over by throwing everything into a bag or a box, and then into a closet.

    In one of those bags was a great memory. My Godmother had given her a picture of the big day in the Twin cities. There I was in all my glory. With the field and blue sky behind me, my plaid polyester slacks and shirt actually looked good. In my grip was that Harmon Killebrew autographed bat, my knuckles white as could be. I didn't know I possessed that great of a smile. It was a lifetime of baseball and family memories bound up, and my brother were able to laugh about it, with only a little bitterness.

    I'm taking my 10 yr old son to a AAA game tonight in Portland, I hope it can instill in him some memories that he'll recall later in life... without having to lose a bat. (And no, he won't be wearing plaid polyester!)
    Baseball is like church. Many attend, few understand

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    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Goin' way back--while we're all fighting so...

    I'm taking my 10 yr old son to a AAA game tonight in Portland, I hope it can instill in him some memories that he'll recall later in life... without having to lose a bat. (And no, he won't be wearing plaid polyester!)
    Perfect PDX playing weather, last night Jose Acevado threw against the Beavers.

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    Member VR's Avatar
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    Re: Goin' way back--while we're all fighting so...

    Quote Originally Posted by westofyou
    Perfect PDX playing weather, last night Jose Acevado threw against the Beavers.
    Wasn't it 80's night? Did you wear the mullet?

    Tonight is Eddie Basinski night, honored for playing for the Beavs for 10 years after his first 3 professional years were in the bigs, including starting for the Dodgers while PeeWee was in the service. I like those kind of honorees, the guy is 84....it will be cool.
    Baseball is like church. Many attend, few understand


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