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Matt Weinstock, Oct. 10, 1959

October 10, 2009 |  4:00 pm


As for Baseball . . .

Matt Weinstock     Now that the madness has abated slightly, let us take a calm second look. The Dodgers, a Horatio Alger team, won a stirring victory, breaking all known records for everything.

    With it came a degree of hysteria that was at times distressing.  In fact, several persons have bitterly resented this corner's refusal to join them in their delirious frenzy, as if it were a civic duty to blow from ecstasy to despair, to swoon, as it were, over Wally Moon.

One woman took violent exception to mention here that I preferred football, kick the can and bird watching to what to me is a dull, over-dramatized game.

    When I played it as a boy  on what was then an empty lot at Union Ave. and Grand St. (now 12th Pl.) it was fun.  I guess I outgrew it.   Maybe its, shall we say, professional and O'Malleyish aspects ignited in me a preference for other things.

1959_1010_dodgers AND IT MUST BE STATED
that some of those who became hypnotized by the feats of the Dodgers hardly knew the difference between a base on balls and a touchdown a year ago.

     I am relieved to report that I am not alone in this feeling.  Charles Morton, has an essay in the Atlantic on a phase of baseball that sends me scampering outdoors to see how the epiphyllum, a slow-growing cactus plant, is doing.  I mean the so-called battle of wits between the pitcher and the batter.

   "We see the same old cap-twitching, pants-hitching interval," he writes, "the business with the resin bag and the scrutiny of the ball, in which the pitcher often acts as if he had never seen a baseball before."

    Morton continues, "Then comes the stare-down, which somehow resembles the walk-down in the TV westerns when the marshal and the gunman are getting set to blast each other.

    For the stare-down the pitcher leans forward, arms dangling apelike, and eyes the batter unwinkingly for what does seem an awfully long time.  "He's got his sign," says the narrator.  But no, the pitcher wags his head from side to side.  "He's shaking it off.  More staring  ends with a barely perceptible nod by the pitcher . . ."

    Morton goes on, detailing the elaborate protocol of the batter's protective cap ("The convention has developed that the base runner, frail creature that he is, would be cruelly burdened by having to run by wearing the cap, as if it were made of armor plate or lead"), the scuffing in the dust, the waggling, the tapping of the cleats with the bat.  Apparently true believers find vital drama in all this, I find only boredom.

    Furthermore, I don't think the Dodgers are the greatest thing that ever happened to Los Angeles.


    ONCE UPON a time, when a regular customer reappeared at a store or a restaurant after an absence it was assumed that he or she had been ill.  The other day a woman who has been out of the city was greeted by the cashier at a market with, "Well, hello!  I haven't seen you lately.  Was your driver's license suspended, too?"





    ONLY IN HOLLYWOOD -- A woman phoned an agency that handles expensive foreign cars and told the manager she'd been getting quite a few of his calls.  She wanted him to know that she'd been faithfully giving callers the correct number, which was one digit off from hers.  And while, he was wondering what was coming next she let him have it.  "For all my trouble," she said firmly, "I thought you ought to give me one of your cars."




    FOOTNOTES -- Anyone else notice that the Lets Tear Up Sunset Blvd. Again boys are at it once more . . . From the Whittier News Oct. 3:  "THIRTY YEARS AGO – Bob Logue was voted president of the Whittier High School student body today, defeating candidates Richard Nixon and Roy Newsom .  The election was one of the biggest upsets in local high school politics.  Senior class sponsored Richard Nixon was the favorite . . . G.M. is distressed when her husband tells friends they've redecorated their house.  "It used to be late war surplus," he tells them, "now it's early Akron."