July 9th, 2007

krazy koati

On a Saturday her young beau called to see if she'd like to go

I wrote yesterday's entry early in the morning because I wasn't sure how much time I'd have before midnight to compose my thoughts. I was out with my uncle (the one from March) and cousin (his son) to the 61st Annual New York Yankees Old-Timer Day, lovingly presented at the Real Yankees Stadium. I hadn't expected to go, and was lucky my uncle was calling around Thursday asking if my parents knew anyone who wanted to go, and my father had already committed to going to a Newark Bears game which was the official graduation celebration for some friend of the family the connection of which I never got straight. This was also my first chance to get to Real Yankees Stadium, the place of Babe Ruth, Lou Gherig, Harold Lloyd's Speedy, Don Larsen, Roger Maris, and Don Mattingly in ages, perhaps since before the strike, and barring luck it'll probably be my last time.

My uncle pointed out old-timers games are really a phenomenon of the Yankees alone, which this year put forth a more-or-less reunion of the 1977 team as well as a heavy roster of stars including Scott Brosius (and I protest the idea of an old-timer who started with the Yankees after I was already in graduate school, a position my uncle felt empathy for thirty years ago) through Reggie Jackson through Bobby Murcer (who I hadn't heard had been diagnosed with brain cancer last year) Yogi Berra to end up at Whitey Ford and (New England readers may wish to brace themselves) Bucky Dent.

I know the Yankees have raised overblown self-appreciation to levels even Baseball, the United States, and eager young science fiction fanboys find too arrogant, and I'm biased by having grown up in the New York City media orbit, but is there another team that could put together even one dozen old-timers that people feel strongly affectionate for and who aren't currently dead? I can't blame the Devil Rays, who are about fourteen hours old, for not having a legacy like that, but even the Mets or the Phillies could, with a few happy exceptions, only put together players they can't believe screwed up like that. The Dodgers could probably have made a huge pile of money playing their own Old-Timers Game in or around Brooklyn twenty years ago. But now all the Dodgers who actually played in Brooklyn are dead, or at best are from the 50s teams nobody went to see, but back in the 1980s there wasn't even a vaguely professional-level ball park in the borough. These days they could probably use the Brooklyn Cyclones park, but who wants to see Los Angeles Dodgers in Brooklyn?

Trivia: In 1871 the United States Patent Office had 121 registered names and brands. Source: Advertising and the Transformation of American Society, 1865 - 1920, James D Norris.

Currently Reading: Cheaper By The Dozen, Frank B Gilbreth Jr, Ernestine Gilbreth Carey.