Devotion in Motion

How long have I been a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals?  Since Bob Gibson and the World Series victories of the 60’s.  When will it end?  I have to know if there is baseball in Heaven before I can tell you.  And I believe there is.

970012_598081996889896_1749856650_nA true baseball fan never abandons the team he or she loves.  They live and breathe and die with the team.  In the 1960’s I got to experience my Cardinals win the World Series against the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.  I got to experience the defeat in seven games by the Detroit Tigers and Mickey Lolich their star pitcher in 1968.  And I followed them mostly by the sports page in the Mason City Globe Gazette.  And sometimes second hand when I listened to the Twins’ games on radio with Great Grandpa Milo Raymond.  I followed the individual players and their numbers.  Curt Flood, the center fielder was a vacuum cleaner with legs in center field.  Lou Brock could steal a base, though he was even more amazing at it in the 1970’s with veteran savvy and know-how on his side.  Gibson was extraordinary as pitcher.  And I followed the others too.  Dal Maxvill at short stop, Tim McCarver at catcher.  Mike Shannon at third.  And a fading Roger Maris in right field, having never reached the heights again as the Yankee slugger who hit 61 home runs in 1961. 1010493_520267051372821_2054131685_n

I watched and waited in the 1970’s, when I could follow them on television at least occasionally.  I didn’t get more World Series victories that decade, but I listened to the ball game on radio when Bob Gibson pitched his no-hitter against the Pittsburgh Pirates.  I was giddy about the base stealing record that Lou Brock set in the 70’s, later to be eclipsed by Ricky Henderson.  I followed Ted Simmons, the catcher, and Joe Torre the third baseman.

The 1980’s brought more World Series with victory in 1981 over the Milwaukee Brewers, and losses against the Kansas City Royals and Minnesota Twins.  I invented some new cuss words the night the Royals came from behind to win the sixth game of the series because an umpire blew the call at first base that would’ve given the Cardinals the series win.  That bad call (the runner was clearly out at first) changed the series from a Cardinals’ win in six games to a Royals’ victory in seven games.

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In the late 1990’s I cheered for Mark McGwire to break Roger Maris’ single season home run record.  I watched on TV as he did it, holding my young son in my lap and cheering loudly enough to scare all the cockroaches out of the house in South Texas.  It burned me later that the steroids scandals and Barry Bonds would later tarnish that moment.  But I lived it never-the-less, and it was a highlight of my life as a Cardinals’ fan.

62722_574692719263587_14180130_n378194_10151001599341840_1087304628_nAnd now, this year, as everything is going wrong in my life and my body is breaking down more often than my car does, the Cardinals are surging again.  They could win a hundred games this year.  They could win World Series number twelve.  We have history, this team and I.  And I am a devoted fan.  I can no more explain my love of the team to you than any baseball fan anywhere could ever explain to you why they love baseball.  Or what the heck Fredbird is all about.  12032015_547957218694150_5911281379869985407_nBut there it is.  We don’t wait til next year.  Not the Cardinals.

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Jun 9, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols (5) reacts at home plate after he hit a solo home run during the fifth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Jun 9, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols (5) reacts at home plate after he hit a solo home run during the fifth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Albert Pujols will always be a Cardinal in my mind.  We won it all in 2011.

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9 Comments

Filed under autobiography, baseball fan, humor

9 responses to “Devotion in Motion

  1. I’ll be so happy for you if there is baseball in heaven. Everything should be perfect there, so I won’t have to listen to the play by play announcing of the games that you are enjoying. I knew no other lullabies when I was a child.

    • They were playing baseball while you slept? Night baseball or afternoon naps? That is so cool. Baseball was remote and far away when I was a child, and the sports pages rarely made sound at all.

      • I was an odd child. My bedtime was reasonable, but I rarely stayed awake for it. Baseball came into the house via radio. A soundtrack of my young life would be a game with rising cadence and pitch of the announcer. Maybe that’s why I became a musician.

  2. Great memories. My dad got a signed biography about Stan Musial, one of the most underrated superstars ever to play. I am always perplexed by Bob Gibson’s 1968 performance. He had an unheard of ERA of 1.12 and went 22-9. How did the guy lose nine games? A couple of years ago, Bob Costas was doing a joint interview of Hank Aaron and Willie Mays in front of a live audience, including Gibson. He was one of the few pitchers who had success against them. Good memories.

  3. Good luck with you Cardinals. Looks like my Yankees will make it in AL as wild card. Don’t expect them to win though – their bats are dead.

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