“The Way It Was: September 2012” from Bob Stockton

My former Navy shipmate and long-time friend, Bob Stockton, sent me an email describing his feelings regarding the state of Major League Baseball in our country today and how things have changed over the years. It reads so well, that I thought I should share it with you.

First, a little background about Bob: He and I both served in the United States Navy during the late 1950’s through the late 1970’s. We were both Chief Petty Officers and served aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA-42) at the ends of our careers. Bob is an excellent writer and has published about a dozen books. I’ve read and enjoyed them all. You can check out his website at Bobsbooksite.com.

Growing up outside of Philadelphia, Bob is a lifetime Phillies fan. Growing up outside of Boston, I am a lifetime Red Sox fan. We have had frequent bets (who buys lunch) on the outcome of Phillies-Red Sox games over the years since Major League Baseball has added inter-league play. I was surprised to read that he has migrated from the Phillies to the Baltimore Orioles. Of course, the Orioles and the Red Sox are not only in the same league, but the same division so they play each other frequently. I completely agree with Bob’s statement that Gary Thorne, a New Englander by birth, is the best in the business!

Here is Bob’s email:

Birdland

Rather than watch the Phillies awkwardly stumble toward the finish line I have begun to watch the Baltimore Orioles who are making their first serious postseason bid since 1997. The Orioles play by play television announcer, Gary Thorne is in my view the best announcer in the game today. He is knowledgeable, erudite and has a wicked sense of humor. Thorne keeps the viewer in the game at all times and is also paired from time to time with Jim Palmer, the Hall of Fame Orioles pitcher who brings a vast knowledge of the game to the booth and complements Thorne’s narrative nicely.

The two men obviously have a mutual respect for one another and seem to genuinely like one another as well. Palmer now states that his wife “is again interested in baseball,” which cracks Thorne up. Palmer continues with an imitation of the telephone calls from his wife; “What’s the score? Who’s at bat”, and so on.

Thorne meanwhile can hardly maintain his composure, laughing at Palmer’s faux imitation of his wife’s constant calls. Is he the patient husband of a baseball wife who pretends interest when the team is winning but affects complete disregard for the rather strange and mysterious career that her famous husband has chosen when the Orioles are less than stellar? Whatever the answer to the between inning exchange – or is it a monologue? – during the late stages of a laugher with the Red Sox it is funny, the kind of humor that is usually on display when the two get together for the MASN broadcast. Palmer, who was well known for his verbal jousts with legendary Baltimore manager Earl Weaver will often times relate one of those delightful baseball anecdotes that are all too infrequent in today’s Bud Selig manipulated game (I suppose that millionaire players and their entourage of agents with briefcases are too self important to see any humor in the game).

The reflections that Palmer shares are priceless! Weaver, the minor league catcher with the brilliant baseball mind was notorious for his umpire baiting and the fans and most players loved it. With his cap turned around catcher style and going nose to nose with the umpire du jour, he’d kick dirt on the ump’s shoes and remark none too demurely on the umpire’s heritage, usually after being ejected from the game. His tenure in Baltimore lasted through three decades and the fans loved just about all of it.

Jim Palmer was not a great fan of Weaver’s antics but you get the feeling that underneath his disdain he respected the man for his commitment to the game. Palmer may in his advancing, no more underwear ads please years, look back on some of Weaver’s quotes with fondness. During a recent broadcast Palmer referred to Weaver’s teams in Baltimore City as “The First Amendment Orioles,” the implication being that players could say whatever they felt and Weaver would retaliate with a devastating quip that would give the player cause – exception Palmer – to think before he uttered any more disparaging remarks about his manager.

Palmer gives us a great case in point: When Orioles pitcher Mike Cuellar who was one of the “Fab Four” Orioles pitchers who won twenty games in the same season – complained loudly to the press about being pulled for a relief pitcher early in a game one season, Weaver’s only response to the press when being questioned about the move simply replied that he had given Cuellar “more chances than his first wife.”

I miss those days. How about you?

I highly recommend that you check out Bob’s books such as “The Blue Collar Blues and Other Stories” and others on Bob’s website to learn about his other writings.

Thanks for taking a look! I truly appreciate your interest.  Please Post Your Thoughts, Comments, Corrections, and Remarks in the “Leave a Reply” Section below… >>>>>

One thought on ““The Way It Was: September 2012” from Bob Stockton

  1. Bob’s teasers about “The Blue Collar Blues:”

    About the time when Lucille wanted me to clock the biker with the fat end of a pool cue.
    “Mama Lee,” page 96.
    ~
    About the time when Snake and Jess were going to show some stolen lunar rock samples to the Hollywood Film crew.
    “Moon Rocks,” page 115.
    ~
    About the time when the ship was in Honolulu and Honda decided to get tattooed.
    “Madison’s Horse,” page 204.
    ~
    About the time in 1967 when I fell in love with a young girl while I was on leave in the Philippines.
    “Summer Winds,” page 352.

    Like

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