“All I really wanted was a press pass to cover the All Star Game, the World Series and the Super Bowl” is what it says.
And, as silly as it may seem, it’s just VERY, VERY true.
It’s the reason I did all of this work and built this radio station. I just wanted to have a
chance to be at the big events that I always saw on TV as a kid and dreamed about attending.
I thought that those events were the ultimate stages for sports fandom. In baseball, the best of the best all gather in their colors on the first and third base lines and there before you stand the current version of the ultimate achievers in the Midsummer Classic. And, when there was no inter-league play and when you NEVER got to see Johnny Bench face Nolan Ryan or Reggie Jackson face Steve Carlton, EVERY at bat was MUST SEE TELEVISION!
And, then as a kid, you’d think “HOW COOL WOULD IT BE TO BE THERE IN PERSON!?!?!??!” I might be sending a smattering of tickets/press passes for these events to display and add some color…
As for the World Series, the red, white and blue bunting alone would be worth the trip, no matter who was playing. Chilly weather, lights on (again…I only saw three World Series in daylight before Carlton Fisk was waving the Game 6 homer fair at Fenway Park in 1975, and I DID see it live, which my wife still thinks is pretty nifty along with the Red Sox bobblehead) and the NL best vs. the AL best. Pitchers and batters who’ve never faced each other battling for the WORLD’S championship! It’s the WORLD series! And when you’re a kid, it’s kinda like the team who wins lives in a real-life “Hall of Justice” — like a superhero would on Saturday morning TV.
Superman had NOT A THING on Reggie Jackson, who I always thought was kinda cool, even if he was a Yankee afterward.
My first World Series memories were of the 1972 Oakland A’s. Vida Blue, Joe Rudi, Rollie Fingers, Bert “Campy” Campaneris, John “Blue Moon” Odom (still my favorite baseball nickname that Chris Berman didn’t invent) and the straw-who-would-later-stir-the-drink, the man who sold me a thousand “Reggie” chocolate bars, No. 9. — the one and only, Reggie Jackson.
And I don’t mean Esskay Oriole franks, I mean showboats, showoffs, attention-grabbers, braggers, boasters and assholes.
Most of my childhood, I took his side in any debate. He thought Muhammad Ali was a jerk, so I did. He loved Sugar Ray Leonard, so I did.
He loved Johnny Unitas, so I did. He HATED Howard Cosell, so I LOATHED him!
HE HATED — ABSOLUTELY HATED — Reggie Jackson, thought he was the biggest jerk of all time!
But I fought the house law on Bank Street on this one.
But, once again, my Pop would be proved correct.
Mr. October and I would cross paths one day further on up on the road.