Cool Stuff

Friday, June 24, 2011

Just Close Your Eyes...

Ever just close your eyes, sit back and listen for that familiar CRACK of a baseball striking a Baseball Bat? I didn't think so...but I have. It is funny but as I do so I begin to smell a ball park full of aroma unique to that place. Hot Dogs, Peanuts, Beer and fresh cut grass...brats, onions and peppers and cotton candy. Baseball Parks do have a unique smell and it isn't always pleasant...the venerable old parks: Fenway and Wrigley are now the only two left both smell of stale beer, hot dogs and urine yet somehow it isn't just is.
Crowsley Field

Other sporting venues used to bring the same type memories: Old Ohio Stadium before they modernized it was the same way as was that gorgeous old lady, Notre Dame Stadium and as I young boy even Ross-Ade Stadium (Purdue University) down the street from my grandparents house.

Two ball barks ago the Cincinnati reds played at Crowsley Field and that old place literally was in danger of falling down. It was my father's old stomping grounds, Cincinnati being right across the Ohio River from Dayton, Kentucky where he was born and grew up.
As I'm thinking about those places that are now gone forever...two more of my personal favorites were Tiger Stadium in Detroit and of course the grand Old gal of them all, the HOUSE That Ruth Built: Yankee Stadium. I still can't believe they tore it down. I understand why but it some ways that is just typical New York behavior: tear it down build it bigger and better. And hey, the old Yankee Stadium had issues but i really feel that it was salvageable and more importantly, worthy of being preserved. Tiger Stadium on the other hand was NOT savable in any realistic way. It truly was beginning to collapse and the Tigers organization does not have the financial resources that the Yankees do, namely their own TV Network.

Anyway, I haven't a clue why I got off on this ball park jag tonight other then I had just closed my eyes and was listening to the ball hit the bat, 1967 Reds vs the San Francisco Giants at Crowsley Field and I actually got to see Willie Mays play the very early version of the Big Red Machine. I owe my father a great deal, he did so many things for me while I was growing up. One of those was involving me in sports. I played sports from the moment I can remember. He also took me to ballgames...all sorts of games: Football, Hockey, Baseball, Soccer, name it. I remeber sitting in a hot August twilight as a really small boy at Butler raceway here in Southern Lower Michigan as they raced cars on the dirt. He had absolutely NO interest in stock car racing but he thought it would be cool for the two of us to we did.

I remember eating peanuts and watching him drink Weidaman Beer at Cincinnati Reds Games at Riverfront Stadium in the early 70's or watching 2 time Heisman trophy winner Archie Griffin at Ohio Stadium in 1974. Basketball games at Ohio States old St John Arena and of Mackey Arena at Purdue which was on the same street as my grandparents house in W Lafayette IN.

I really believe that going to sporting events together saved our relationship after my teenage years. Throughout my teen years Dad and I never did see eye to eye and
we would really argue...sometimes it came to blows. We couldn't speak to each other without yelling. After my kids were born and I moved up to Michigan, we started to go to all Purdue Home Football Games together plus away games at Ohio Stadium (my folks still lived in Columbus at that time), Michigan, Michigan State and Notre Dame Stadium. Sports were a common love and we could co-exist in peace at those events...that eventually grew into the wonderful relationship we have today. So I guess that is why I have such fond memories of those places today....