(Note the surf board table. Nice place to have a refreshing beverage …)
(Note the surf board table. Nice place to have a refreshing beverage …)
Post-game gulf rays
Gateway to nature’s beauty
Appearing first as cumulonimbus clouds
Chasing beach-goers to cover as they hover in the wind.
They’ll dissipate if you give them a chance
Bathing onlookers in a radiance as splendid as the naked eye can imagine
Leaving the sky to caress the sun
As it sets magisterially into a glass of pinot noir.
Bonsoir, mes amies …
After writing about Dallas Green yesterday, I wondered what kind of tribute the Phillies would have at the ballpark today to honor his legacy. I arrived at Spectrum Field a little bit early just to see if there was any special vibe. I was surprised a bit that there were no tribute shirts when in fact the Ted Williams Charity Auction nostalgia buff trap had a signed Green jersey on display just a few days ago. I expressed my surprise to the auctioneer, who told me that they had Green memorabilia out, but someone came by from the front office and asked them to put the items away. Draw your own conclusions …
Dallas wore #46 when he pitched for the Phillies, the same number he wore when he managed them to the World Series in 1980. Ironically Green was a pedestrian pitcher for the Phillies team that infamously blew the pennant in 1964, and his#46 was worn the next year by a rookie who was traded to the Chicago Cubs in a deal for Larry Jackson and Bob Buhl. Although Green is given much credit for stealing Ryne Sandberg and Larry Bowa from the Phillies for Ivan DeJesus, there was precedence in giving away a future Hall of Famer to the Cubs. The kid who wore#46 was Ferguson Jenkins.
I thought alot about Dallas as I walked around the park before the game. How much effort he reportedly put into the cloverleaf design of the Carpenter Complex where the future bloodlines of the club trained.
Dallas had such a good eye for talent that he even participated at the Phillies Fantasy Camp in helping assign players to various teams. I recall how nervous I was, taking some hacks at the plate, knowing that Dallas was watching me and likely cringing. Walking a bit further toward Frenchy’s Tiki Bar I paused to peer over at Aaron Nola warming up. Dallas must have looked at young talent and waxed nostalgic about what might have been. The game churns up young arms with bright futures and deposits them on shore to fend for themselves.
And then I noticed that two flags were flying at half mast, the Phillies team flag and the MLB flag. Apparently there would be a tribute to Dallas after all, even though none of the ushers seemed to be aware of what was happening.
Dandy Dan McDonough looked at his watch and summoned all the Phillies players out of the dugout, joined by the Twins’ players along their dugout’s baseline.
Chris Wheeler, the ex-broadcaster demoted to player introductions, read a tribute to Green as several images flashed across the scoreboard.
And then a truly touching moment, as Dennis Gwindale played the Star Spangled Banner on his trumpet, rendering the same feel as the playing of taps at a military funeral.
No doubt the tributes will continue to pour in from all over the baseball world. Not only because this game penetrates to the roots of America’s heartlands, but because Dallas Green was able to instill valuable life’s lessons into the minds of all men. And there will be surprises, such as the episode that Marcus Hayes wrote about this afternoon during which Dallas turned Ryan Howard’s head around. But that was in 2005, when Dallas still commanded the attention of ballplayers – and Hayes credits him for motivating Howard not to insist on a trade when the Phillies felt he wasn’t ready to displace Jim Thome. It’s a shame that Green wasn’t able to wield the same influence on a post 2011 Howard whose effort at times seemed lackluster (is it any wonder that no club has been interested in signing him after the Phillies checkbook finally ran out, or that the souvenir shop can’t give away his leftover merchandise for five bucks?).
Green’s attachment to the game began to fade in 2011. As Mike Lupica poignantly wrote yesterday, it was the terrible tragedy involving his granddaughter that melted the tough exterior for good. That raw exposure mellowed him and changed his perspective, but it also took a terrible toll.
It was six years ago that I blogged about a touching moment that we shared with Dallas Green. I was touched again this afternoon when I read of Green’s passing in a beautiful tribute penned by Jim Salisbury.
Dallas was proud in some respects of his gruff exterior. It was his niche and his calling card. As Salisbury noted, he burned bridges which is why he left Philly for the Cubs and then the Yankees and then the Mets, but he was always a Phillie at heart. That’s why the club brought him back as a senior advisor, and I used to love seeing him in his second row perch just to the left of home plate in Dunedin when the Phils played the Jays. Here he is standing between the seated Dave Montgomery to his left, and Ruben Amaro, Jr. to his right, in his signature straw hat and PFG (Performance Fishing Gear) long sleeve shirt.
Linguist John McWhorter doesn’t think so. He considers it the closest thing to speaking in written form – or basically fingered speech. McWhorter actually states the case for texting as a parallel language, LOL, where it’s truncations and slashes rendering its users as bilingual in a sense.
So “lol” has evolved into a “pragmatic particle”, ay? (And perhaps “haha” too.) And “slash” is a graceful way of changing the topic. Yeh, that’s the ticket. The slash as a new information marker.
I’m not so convinced about the virtues of slanguage, but at some point most “kids” make the transition toward more fluidity. My impression is that this seriously occurs either during college, particularly if one has to take a public speaking course, or in the workplace if the culture of communication isn’t laden with the likes of like.
Psycholinguists assert that filler words like “uh,” “um,” “you know,” “I mean,” and “like” aren’t always just dimwitted lapses. But listen to running conversations about like you know what I’m sayin’, and it’s like hard to imagine like a point where you know like it really does start to sound like dimwitted. So while not all oral like-aholics are dull, I suspect you’ll admit that very few well-spoken individuals pepper their conversations with “like” fillers. You know what I’m sayin’?
The hungry meter
doesn’t really care how you feed her
only that she still has time left on her clock.
The maid that checks her time has no interest in who’s fed her in the past,
whether it’s a total stranger
or you replenishing her coin stock.
The meter is insatiable and the maid has only one metric,
the minutes remaining
though you’d think after draining you of your currency
she’d show a little forgiveness
like an overdrawn bank account.
But there is no compensating for the digits as they rush to zero
and the urgency of putting time back in its place.
I grew up in Philadelphia in an era where rooting for the Phillies was painful. That cherry red hat with the white frilly italicized “P” on the front symbolized a team that was almost guaranteed to lose more games than they won each year. And their red pinstripe uniforms looked more like pajamas, befitting a team that played like it had just rolled out of bed. There were only two star caliber players on the team of my early youth, the fleet-footed center fielder Richie Ashburn and the bionic armed starting pitcher Robin Roberts. Perhaps more on Roberts another day, but the player I idolized was the one I was guaranteed to see any time my father took me to Connie Mack Stadium, and that was Ashburn. I put a bid on an Ashburn collage at the auction at the ballpark last week, but I didn’t pursue it aggressively because the Rite Aid logo cheapened it a bit for me. I noticed the same print available online through eBay at a more reasonable cost, and I still fancy it because it has the reproduction of all of his cards rimming the exterior a fine watercolor rendering of the most effective leadoff hitter in the Phillies 134 year history.
The collage begins on the upper left with Ashburn’s card from 1948. I couldn’t find it online, other than as part of this commemorative set – it’s the card on your far right.
Here is a Mitchell & Ness reproduction of the 1948 uniform that Ashburn wore, breaking in that year with his signature #1 that he wore his entire career.
Interestingly the first time the Phillies brought back those vintage 1948 uniforms was as an alternate jersey for daytime home games in 2008, and it clearly brought them luck in winning only their second World Series in franchise history. Here is a shot of Jimmy Rollins and Cole Hamels modeling those spiffy red, white and blue uniforms.
Richie’s 1950 Bowman card is pictured here, with a graphic design look and a plain appearance that they would wear to a four games to one World Series sweep at the hands of the New York Yankees that year.
Ashburn’s 1951 card shows the transition to the red pinstripe look that he would wear until through the 1959 season.
And here are the rest of Richie’s playing years in chronological cards, beginning with a 1951 Topps through the early ’60s when he was jettisoned (in 1960) to the Chicago Cubs in return for John Buzhardt, Alvin Dark, Jim Woods – about as productive a package as a box of Wrigley’s gum. (Richie had a great year in 1960, tailed off in 1961, and then bounced back with a nice year in 1962 when the Mets bought him to spearhead their new team. He retired after that year.)
When Richie retired in 1962 as a Met, at age 35, he posted a .306 batting average with a phenomenal .424 on base percentage, numbers that most current leadoff hitters can only dream of. The Mets expected him back in 1963, and his card was printed for that year, but he had the courage to exit the game when he was still on top.
It’s safe to say that Richie will be remembered as one of the ultimate Phillies, unique in entering the broadcasting booth after retiring and ultimately pairing with the incomparable incomparable Harry Kalas. Ashburn Alley bears his name in center field in Citizens Bank Park, in honor of the fluidity with which he patrolled the position in Connie Mack Stadium.
Each spring on Clearwater Beach I’m reminded of how Richie held court in and around Heilman’s Beachcomber and Jack Russell Stadium. But mostly I’m reminded of how he motored around the bases as an idol of my youth.