Since I contributed to their collection of “Baseball’s Greatest Comeback Games” book, SABR has been uploading the stories individually. If you wish to warm up your off-season with a unique baseball story, feel free to take a few minutes with this wild interleague game. Enjoy!
Just as we can be any size, shape or gender to enjoy playing baseball, baseball trips don’t need to be epic to be fun. If you like epic, please see my series of posts in “UBT 2013”. That was two baseball lunatics scouring the country across 2,500 miles to see ten professional baseball games in ten different cities in nine days. Fulfilling? Yes, but treks like that take mucho planning and effort to be successful. We did it, of course, just as we had several UBTs before.
This, on the other hand, is a different kind of baseball trip: four season ticket holders, four games in one city over three days. To borrow Mitch’s phrase to describe this trip, let’s call it “Ultimate Baseball Trip … Lite”.
Binghamton, NY, is a leisurely three-hour drive north on I-81. It’s even more leisurely when you aren’t the driver. Due to the generosity of my friends and our proximity to I-81 North, I received door-to-door service.
We begin Tuesday, August 2nd, at 11 AM. Ruth picks up Barb and Sam at Barb’s house in Susquehanna Township. They swing by to add me and we’re on our way.
Along the way, I learned that you can pack a lot of laughs into a three-hour ride. We break up the trip with a late lunch at a familiar Perkins near Wilkes-Barre. Before we know it, we’re parking on Court Street in front of M & D-R Nuts.
With my left arm in that ridiculous compression sling, I decided to put down my bat and pick up a mic. Once healed, I could still play rec baseball, so I began to concentrate on trying to team my passion for baseball with — oh, I don’t know — broadcasting, perhaps?
My voice was maturing into a rich, relaxing delivery. Not terribly deep, but more easy-listening. It would stand out from the crowd.
I started a radio station in my family’s basement. My dad repaired record players and other electronics for fun, so I had a pair of turntables, cassette recorders and a mic.
Once I had enough nerve to tell my friends, they reacted as though they wanted to try it, too. They brought their own music and we played radio through a real Radio Shack AM transmitter.
We didn’t care that the signal traveled less than 60-feet. We had fun creating radio.
Between that, recording my own play-by-play baseball onto cassettes and listening to radio stations more intently than ever, I talked to my folks about contacting the local radio station with a letter and one of my tapes. I offered to clean and make coffee for the opportunity to learn.
The owner (also the GM, sales manager and locally well-known morning host) called me to arrange an after-school meeting. I received a tour (studios and offices in a modest colonial house), a quick audition in the production room, and an offer to learn on-the-job!
The family-owned AM day-timer (broadcasting dawn to dusk according to FCC regulations) was six miles from home. My parents reminded me that I would be sacrificing other activities. However, if I was willing to make the commitment and this is what I really wanted, they assured me that they would provide “taxi service” until I could drive.
The stars seemed to be aligning. I could now get paid to learn broadcasting at a unique radio station that could pay even more dividends for my career.
The wrestling coach pairs a toned 16-year-old against a scrawny 14-year-old whose only thought is to survive. Baseball practice finally starts next week following a long, cold winter (and several weeks of wrestling in gym class).
The thought arises, “Just go down. Give the 16-year-old a handshake and the coach satisfaction.” But then, I hear my friends urging me to compete.
They understand how I feel about wrestling. Compared to baseball … well, there is no comparison in my mind. Baseball features a beautiful outdoor landscape while wrestling takes place in a drafty gym on funky smelling mats. Baseball demonstrates agility; wrestling, brawn.
Competing isn’t an option from this position. However, I continue to hear encouragement and decide that I won’t be pinned.
A three-hour baseball game passes by in an instant for me, but this two-minute wrestling period lasts an eternity. I will not allow my shoulders to give in.
Finally, the whistle blows. I didn’t get pinned. I actually survived.
Now I can focus on a new beginning in the fresh air of baseball season. I think.