Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Smell of Mown Grass

They say smell is one of the most powerful triggers to memory.   I have to agree, when I pass a baseball field that has just been clipped, my mind immediately returns to the baseball talks my Dad and I shared. 

He grew up in Detroit in an era that saw such icons as Babe Ruth visit Navin Field to battle with Mickey Cochrane's Tigers.

My first memory of the Tigers was Dad and his brothers taking me to a game vs the dreaded Yankees in 1961 at Tiger Stadium.    Uncle Doc, Uncle Jeep, and Uncle Al The Kiddie's Pal loaded us in to the Chrysler and away we went to "the corner" of Michigan and Trumball Avenues. To tell the truth, all I was interested in was the concessions - hot dogs, sodas, pennants.  Far too many distractions from the game for this little boy from Eastern Oregon to hoot and holler when Kaline, Cash, and Freehan came to bat or boo when Mantle, Maris, and Berra walked to the plate. By the way, food choices were limited to popcorn, peanuts, Cracker Jacks, and hot dogs.   The biggest choice you had was "with or without", meaning do you want mustard on your red hot or not?

My favorite memories were from games in 1968 when the Tiger won it all.  We took the 2 day - 3 night train trip to Detroit that year and saw 3 games during our visit.  To this day I can tell you the starting line up for that team.  

My best buddy was a St. Louis fan and we didn't talk for a week after Portland native, Mickey Lolich, beat the Cards in game 7 to claim the title.  Sour grapes on his part, I would have been a gracious winner and would have been sensitive to his pain.........

OK, maybe not - I would have rubbed it in.  Sorry Craig.

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