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Baseball, all things were better then

Some people tell me I am stuck in the 1960s and the way things have been looking lately, that may not be a bad place to be stuck, especially when it comes to all the prima donna narcissistic players we must deal with in all sports.

I know I don’t need to name any of them as we see and hear them daily.

One of my favorite songs back in the 60s went something like this, “Take me back I’m begging you.” Well, that’s the way I feel especially with this so called baseball All-Star game this week.

I really feel bad for the young folks who never had a chance to enjoy the 60s with all the cool cars, great music, cheap gas … and you could sit in the left field bleachers at Forbes Field for $1.25 and but a hot dog for 50 cents.

Today you need to take out a loan to have a day at the ball yard with the family.

We would hop the train in the Steubenville station (now long gone), my mom, myself and my brother, Tom; “Broadway Bennie” my dad was usually working at the restaurant, and we would take the short train ride to Pittsburgh.

So right now take me back and I will race you with my 1964 Mustang convertible, in the climate of The Beatles and “The Graduate;” and I will toss in Roberto Clemente.

To this day I cannot forget the 1960 World Series when my “buccos” beat the mighty Yanks in seven.

A few years later we were all sitting in Washington Bar when Bill Maz walked in and bought a round for the house and just stuck around talking and having a few drinks with all of the fans.

I doubt if you would see or could see that today.

Back in the 60s, we had real baseball with two leagues and it was a big deal when the All Star game came along, especially for people who very seldom got to see the other league play.

The players were thrilled to be on the team and it wasn’t for the money but for the fans and the team. We had real all stars: Mays, Mantle, Koufax, Clemente, Gibson and one of my favorite players, Larry “Yogi” Berra.

These were real baseball players and they played with heart and not for the almighty dollar; they played for the fans and loved and appreciated the fans.

Roberto Clemente died during his own humanitarian mission bringing aid to his country with his own money.

Could you possibly imagine a guy like Yogi Berra, with a diamond stud in his ear or a big tattoo? He would have been laughed off the team.

What about the “say hey kid,” Willie Mays, wearing a big gold chain around his neck. He may not have made that over-the-shoulder catch as the chain would have tripped him up.

The players back then had personalities. Like Yogi, who was a childhood friend and neighbor of Joe Garagiola, who went on to make some of Yogi’s sayings legendary.

By the way for those of you who don’t know, Yogi took time off from baseball and fought in the Normandy Invasion and was awarded two medals and several other commendations for his bravery.

There are a ton of Yogi sayings. If someone asked Yogi to go to a restaurant for dinner he would say no one goes there anymore; it’s too crowded or he would say things like, “I really didn’t say everything I said.”

Yogi’s favorite manager was Casey Stengel, who also had a great personality. Casey is credited with saying, “Good pitching will always stop good hitting and vice-versa.” Now that is classic and I will use that in my selection for my Two for Tuesday All Star game selection.

The great comedy team of Abbott and Costello did a baseball skit called, “Who’s on First?” As a fan and fans in general, we all knew the players on their favorite team and on most teams but as the players bounce from team to team today, thanks to free agency, it has become a joke and baseball is now just a big business, and not the great game it was from a real fan’s perspective.

The skit was an exchange between Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, who played a peanut vendor named Sebastion Dinwiddle. Abbot was Dexter Broadhurt, the manager of the mythical St. Louis Wolves.

Dexter wanted to make sure he knew everyone’s name on the team – this is one great skit, if you get a chance try and find it or listen or read it.

Well if you are going to watch the All Star game, have a good time and if you are going to make a wager look at Two for Tuesday and get my take.

But all I can think about is please, “Take me back, I’m begging you.”


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