About byrnesblogger1

I was born in New York City, July 31, 1955,
the year the Boys of Summer won their World Championship.
They then broke the heart of my father and many other people
in New York by moving to LA. And so it was to Yankee Stadium
that Dad took his only child. But I grew up a big Mets fan.
Here are some highlights of my baseball watching life (in
terms of actually being at the stadium) in chronological
order: Unfortunately, there is much I no longer remember
about some of these red letter days. 1) I am writing this on
August 6, 2005. Thirty-nine years ago today, I went to Shea
Stadium with my father and another little girl who will be
referred to in this blog as “My Friend the Yankees Fan” to
meet my all-time favorite player – Ron Swoboda. He used to
wear No. 4 with the Mets, so I had a sign with a big 4 on it
that said: Gehrig, Camilli, Kiner, Swoboda. 2) In 1967, as
the Red Sox were pushing toward a pennant, they played a
doubleheader at Yankee Stadium. My father and I were supposed
to go, but he got caught up doing an errand for a friend and
we were only able to make the second game. No problem. That
one went 18 innings. I remember rooting for the Red Sox. It
was the year Yaz won the Triple Crown. 3) in 1968, My Friend
the Yankees Fan and I participated in the Banner Day parade
between games of a doubleheader, back when you could get two
games for the price of one. Ron Swoboda and Tom Seaver
watched the proceedings from the dugout. Swoboda was
semi-reclining along the bench chewing on a fingernail.
Seaver was sitting further down the bench and when we saw
him, we called out to him and waved. He waved back and then
started applauding Swoboda for the fact that our banner read:
Ron Swoboda is superfine. He’ll bat .350 in ’69. That’s
exactly what he batted in the ’69 series. 4) In 1969, both my
parents and I were at Shea Stadium when the Mets captured
their first division crown. They played the Cardinals; the
Cubs had defeated the Expos earlier in the day and I was
happy about that because I wanted the Mets to clinch it on
their own. I took a couple of clods of earth from center
field. The Mets went on to be the World Champs. In addition
to batting.350 in the Series he made a great diving catch,
not unlike catches I have seen more recently by Eric Byrnes.
:). But Swoboda was not known for that type of play and if he
had missed, it would have been extra bases. It was a brave
thing to try in the World Series. 5) In 1974, I was at Yankee
Stadium for the final home game before the remodeling. It was
against the Tigers. My father got us seats in right field. I
think he did that because he knew Al Kaline was one of my
favorites. I guess I have a thing for outfielders. That was
Kaline’s last year. I don’t remember the score, but I
remember that my dad and I were almost splattered by a banana
that someone threw that hit a bannister behind us as we were
leaving at the end of the game. That would suggest the Tigers
won. 6) Well, if MLB.com is going to call my bio cool, I had
better add 1977. That was the year I graduated from Fordham
University, and if I had thought of it sooner I would have
asked for a ticket to the All-Star Game as a graduation
present. The Mets were hosting and my father knew someone
connected to the front office. But by the time I thought to
ask, the game was completely sold out. I met Pete Rose, his
son Petey and Greg Luzinski on the subway the day before the
game. That was the year Tom Seaver got traded to the Reds, so
a few of us who had recognized Rose on the train asked him to
say hello to Seaver for us, and to let him know that New
Yorkers had not forgotten him. Luzinski kept to himself,
letting Rose get all the attention. Pete asked us how to get
to Columbus Circle. 7) Since I was going to law school at
Indiana University in Bloomington, with the intention of
staying in Indiana permanently, I decided I would become a
Reds fan. Just before I went to Bloomington, my father and I
took in one more Mets game at Shea. Pedro Borbon was the
outstanding relief pitcher of the Reds at that time. The Mets
lost that game and I remember my father saying “Borbon is
throwing some wicked pitches.” I bought a Reds cap that
night. For the first time in their 15-year existence, I
rooted against the Mets. I was determined at that time to
turn my back on New York City for reasons that have nothing
to do with baseball. My father and I took the subway home and
for a moment I caught him looking rather wistfully at me. He
must have been thinking about how big a Mets fan I had been
for so many years, and how many games we had attended
together, but now I was adopting a new team. It was the last
game we ever attended together. He died just before my third
year of law school. When he drove me to Bloomington, he told
me not to bother with minor league baseball. “Don’t waste
your money on minor league baseball,” he said, “You’ve been
brought up with major league baseball. If you need to see
baseball, root for your college team.” I never saw Indiana
play baseball. This was the Bob Knight-Isaiah Thomas era, and
I focused on watching basketball. I never did see the Reds,
or any other baseball team while I was in Bloomington, and I
don’t recall whatever became of the Reds cap I had gotten at
Shea that night in August of ’77, when Seaver was gone and
Borbon was throwing those wicked pitches. 8) This is another
late addition because I had to look up the year of the game.
It was 1989. I was working as an editor for a lawbook
publishing company in San Francisco called Bancroft-Whitney,
which has since been merged into the West Group. When you
watch law shows on TV and see lawbooks in the background,
well, I used to write for some of those. Anyway, we used to
have our own version of a rotisserie league and a few of us
in the league decided to see a Giants game. What made this a
red-letter day, besides the fact that the Giants were hosting
the Reds, was that it was Dave Dravecky’s comeback from
cancer. He was the winning pitcher that day. Unfortunately,
in his next start at Montreal his arm broke and eventually it
was amputated. So while it wasn’t as successful a comeback as
Eric Davis or Lance Armstrong, he did come back, and some of
us editors saw it. In fact, we’d been talking about taking in
a game for some time, and we chose that one because we wanted
to see Dravecky come back. Bancroft-Whitney had a flextime
policy and I had enrolled at San Francisco State University
to get a 2nd Bachelor’s degree in music. (My original
bachelor’s degree is in economics). I was a member of the San
Franicsco State Concert Choir and one day one of the Channel
7 ABC anchors, an Asian lady whose name I don’t remember,
came to tape the choir singing “Take Me Out To the Ball
Game.” We had been told the day before to wear baseball gear
if we had it. The director placed the anchorwoman right next
to the two people who were not wearing Giants gear. Directly
behind her was a fellow who wore a Cubs jersey with a stripe
of black electrical tape running across it as a symbol of
mourning. And immediately to the anchorwoman’s left was the
one person decked out in a brand new Oakland A’s cap and
sweatshirt….me. That was in October, during the A’s-Giants
World Series. The following day, I decided that I would that
I would put the radio on in my office and work through the
World Series Game at Candlestick, as I had been putting in
some short days and needed to make up the time. That was the
day of the earthquake. I may owe the fact that I am alive
today to the World Series. Otherwise I would have left the
office at 4:30, would have been on the Bay Bridge by 5 and at
or near the point where a section of the Bridge collapsed at
the time of the earthquake. A slab on the eastern side of the
doubledecker bridge collapsed down onto the roadway where
people heading east, as I would have been but for the Series,
were driving. 9) In 1992, I went to my first playoff game.
The A’s vs. the Blue Jays. It was the last time Dave Stewart
pitched for the A’s. The Blue Jays won those playoffs. I
still use the plastic soda cup I bought as a souvenir. Right
now, it’s a flower vase. 10) In 2003, I went to the final
game of the Red Sox- A’s playoffs. It really hurts to watch
the other team celebrating on your field. I have always hated
called strike 3, but never more so than when Jermaine Dye and
Terrence Long each struck out looking to end that game.
Johnny Damon had that horrible collision, but he raised his
fist into the air as they carted him off on a gurney and we
all cheered. And that turned out to be the beginning of the
rocknroll Johnny even My Friend the Yankees Fan thinks is
cool. (She’s right!) 11) In 2004, I decided to go to Opening
Day…er, Night for the Oakland A’s. April is no time to play
night baseball in Oakland (or most other major league
cities). During the 7th inning stretch, I went to the
concession stand. I was still 20 feet away when the vendor
told me, “We’re out of coffee and we’re out of hot
chocolate.” How could he tell that I had planned to order a
hot chocolate? Were my lips that blue? (It felt like it). The
A’s beat the Rangers and Arthur Rhodes got the save, but it
was not meant to be for either of them last year. I passed up
on Opening Night this year because I knew it would be too
cold to enjoy. I have been doing a lot of journalism on
energy over the last three years. A friend of mine who is now
trading in journalism and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for grad
school and the (affordable) Mets minor league team in
Brooklyn, interviewed me for one of her last public affairs
shows in Florida. We talked about Peak Oil, which is a very
grim subject, and she asked me if there was anything positive
about it. I said that it would encourage more day games in
the warm sunshine when the teams looked to reduce their
energy costs by cutting the number of night games, which
required all that lighting. I would like to see an All-Star
Game and a World Series Game. And I would like to see a game
at Fenway Park and Camden Yards. I have never been to Boston.
And the times I was close enough to Baltimore in the summer
to catch a game was in ’95 and ’96, but the Birds were away
both times. Everyone I have known who has been to Camden
Yards tells me it’s beautiful. Currently, I work part time at
KPFA-FM in Berkeley, where we talk sports in the newsroom all
the time, but we don’t have a sports department. I was in
charge of noon headlines the day Tug McGraw died, so I made
the news of his death the last item I read. I would have done
it even if he hadn’t been born in nearby Vallejo. Roy
Campanella II, son of the Dodger great, has been our GM for
about a year. He described his dad as a total jock, but Roy
II’s not a jock at all. Too bad. I think life around KPFA
would be more fun if we had a sports department. I put
MLB.com’s Gameday on my computer when I am engineering the
Evening News so that I can keep up with whatever team Eric
Byrnes is playing for that week while I wait for the next
technical move I have to make for the cast. As a reporter who
knew digital was the way to go the moment I saw it, I helped
the newsroom make the transition from tape to digital. I’m
pretty handy with a program called Sound Forge. But I’ve
signed up for a video editing class with the aim of pursuing
a career as a digital video editor in a couple of years.
Sports videos. Not hard news. I look forward to someday
having a portfolio that includes an Eric Byrnes highlight


Keeping stats on Eric Byrnes’ hitting,
astrology, Darkover novels, Big Ten college basketball
(especially Indiana)