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Some Baseball Notes And Likely Bitter Opinions

January 5, 2021

Amidst the plethora of football posts here and the continual barrage of “Scully as God,” (It is not fair, who said life was fair?!!!–that I do not get a forum to talk about the great Sandy Koufax/Bob Hendley pitching duel of September 9, 1965, so perhaps, no likely I am bitter. Again Scully was great, but I do not feel anywhere near the greatest baseball broadcaster, certainly not in pure play by play, which is far important than the still important story telling, at which Scully excelled) some baseball and 2 innings from 2 different NLCS games with another great broadcaster (see I acknowledge Scully, Vin was great) Lindsey Nelson.

#2 of 1969 is at Atlanta on a late Sunday afternoon. Widowed a scant 19 months earlier, by another of this country’s senseless, violent, death causing, I believe quite possibly conspiratorial acts (talking civil rights was “allowed” but when Dr. King talked of poverty, the horrible inequity of wealth in this country that also affected and still does white (again I identify as human) people (I know, believe me!) as well as those with darker pigmentation plus his stance vs a tragic war—-who knows?!!), Mrs. Coretta Scott King threw out the ceremonial first pitch, exemplifying her “strength” in a different way, throwing it past Braves’ catcher, Bob Didier.

Tom Agee, so instrumental in that year’s so called miracle title, hitless in game 1, singled to right leading off the game. Ron Reed, the Braves’ starter, an 18 game winner in the “reg,” and a la Dave DeBusschere, who within the year would help the NBA New York Knicks to the first of their only two titles, and was on both such teams, played in the NBA for the Detroit Pistons, is wild, walking both Wayne Garrett and Cleon Jones, who hit .340 in the “reg,” (his counterpart on the Braves, Rico Carty hit .342 but did not qualify for batting title considerations).

Reed, (in the Knicks’ vein, Willis Reed was a star on those teams), however, fanned both Art Shamsky and Ken Boswell. On what I think stayed a bad hop base hit as ruled by co official scorers and legendary writers back when people really read newspapers, Jack Lang and Wayne Minshew, by Ed Kranepool, the Mets grabbed the “wood” (1-0).

The temperature was 73 degrees (the Mets next appeared in post-season play in the pure, great no wild card days in 1973, winning the NLCS but as an 82 win team, were denied by the second of three straight World Series winning, Oakland A’s teams) after an 86 (the next Mets post season “app” resulted in the second of their two titles in 1986) degree temperature was recorded for game 1, a high scoring Mets (9-5) win in which neither Tom Seaver or Phil Niekro, each a 20 plus game winner that season and eventual Hall of Fame pitcher/player, who sadly died in fateful calendar year 2020.

Agee, who had not homered since he hit one off the Cubs’ Bill Hands, another fine pitcher, one we lost in 2017, in a big game, that featured a black cat, Randy Hundley jumping up and down and Jerry Koosman’s clutch pitching, followed a Reed walk to Koosman, with a 2 run blow to left, yielding a (3-0) Mets’ lead.

Later in this week, preceding a prostituted 6, up from 4, wild card round NFL games, some of the great Lindsey from game 4 of the 1973 NLCS.

The next day in game 5, Lindsey’s call of the Mets’ pennant clinching play and subsequent fans celebration is classic. Not so, in my opinion, Mr. Scully’s (working on the network with Bob Gibson, another great pitcher, we lost in 2020), who I believe channeled the “hard-ass-ness” of buddy Ronald Reagan (introduced as Reegan, at least once by Ed Sullivan) when he had a derogatory term for the fans.

Now that stuff (running on the field) is probably better off “dinosaurish,” however, Scully, while not as “Tefloned” as Reagan or even Frank Gifford, never the less has quite a bit.

Sorry for the “bitter” but unlike Scully, who at 90 plus, looks back at an extraordinary career, I will only have regrets. It is not Scully that is the problem, but the slew of incompetents, most notably Michael Kay, who “Fordhams” an alliance with Scully, that literally gives me nightmares. See I “rob” Kay in play by play ability. I did not work hard enough. I did not try hard enough, but as a person, who lived/ate/slept and breathed sports, it is literal hell to realize the juxtaposition that has Kay flourishing while I only lament.

A good gauge (Lindsey used the word on one of the two broadcasts I heard, unable to sleep, earlier today) is a so called friend, who creams regarding my failure. A Yankees fan, he says to me “even you are a better broadcaster than Kay” making Kay pretty darn bad! 

Mr. Scully was nice to me when I called him at the hotel, circa 1972 but dismissive “try the minor leagues” when I asked him for career help.

A great memory is Vin Scully saying to me, “your guy is good enough for me” when I told him Sandy Koufax was/is my favorite pitcher and who was best?

Also while Sandy was the best and my favorite, Scully’s best call was the last out of Don Drysdale’s 5th straight shutout, which was aided by a non hit batsman call when “Big D” appeared to have lost the shutout, hitting Dick Dietz.

Vin’s emphatic call of “Parker’s “gottt it” will always resonate. I hope it was included among Scully’s best calls in a special hosted by “for a long time” Yankees fans Bob Costas and Tom Verducci.

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