My Summer of ’77

Eckersley

Writing and rewriting a paragraph, then reading it back until you feel like you are seeing the plush green grass at Municipal Stadium for the first time is the feeling I want to experience every day for the rest of my life. Of course nothing feels like seeing green grass on a baseball field for the first time unless you are seeing it for the first time. We need to watch black and white TV, like we did in the 70s, so we can see colors when we finally get the chance to see them. Some things are so vivid you can smell them.

Mom, Dad – are those hot dogs?

Where? Where do you see hot dogs, son?

I don’t see them, I smell them, can’t you smell them?

No, son, we don’t smell them…I think the sun is getting to you.

Of course they smelled hot dogs. They knew enough to buy some after we sat down. They had read this book before. They knew all about the characters. The hot dog guy. The peanut guy. The guy who sells programs. The guy named Rocco who sings the National Anthem. The guy who bangs the drum in the bleachers named John Adams.

The home team in crimson from cap to toe. Boog Powell, 230 pounds, looks like Santa without a beard. Carter and Kuiper, Manning and Duffy. Lowenstein and Hendrick. Frank Robinson. Lift the seat flap next to you and bang it like John Adams. Runners on first and second. “BEER HERE!” The organ plays, “duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-DAAAAH!” We scream, “CHAAARGE!” Bring them runners home. It feels like ’48, when they won the Series and Euclid Beach Park still had rides. But it’s ’77, and the only thing that smells worse than this team is our river. Dad’s happy today’s not a doubleheader. Mom misses Rocky Colavito. Get over it, it’s been 17 years, the curse that began in ’60 when they traded The Rock. It’s the 70s, Mom! We got Buddy Bell and Jim Norris!

One day I’ll write about this place until it feels like I’m seeing green grass for the first time.

 

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