MLB Opening Day 2011
“I was fairly typical of my generation of Southerners, I suppose. I got hooked on the game when I heard Mel Allen’s tense description of Enos (‘Country”) Slaughter of the Cardinals winning the ’46 World Series over the Red Sox by scoring all the way from first base on a long single by Harry (“The Hat”) Walker, who happened to be from Leeds, Alabama, not twenty miles east of where I was born. Baseball became my life one day the following spring when a young YMCA worked named Bill Legg came by the Minnie Holman Elementary School in Birmingham to give birth, amid cracked Arkansas traveler bats and scarred baseballs and smelly sneakers, to the Woodlawn Blues…”
“I Gotta Let the Kid Go”
Tomorrow—March 31—is Major League Baseball’s opening day. The Atlanta Braves play The Washington Nationals. I think of my friend Paul Hemphill—he was a serious Braves fan. Hemphill stood as one of the great writers who could capture the spirit of the game, and the unforgettable stories of big time player's lives...or the struggling kid playing for a Class D club.
I’d like to send out congratulations to baseball coach and music producer David Barbe on his new position as director of The University of Georgia’s Music Business Program. The Athens, Georgia, music community has always been a serious gang of baseball freaks…
Black Crowes drummer Steve Gorman’s Nashville Sports show also provides a singular perspective on the game's latest developments. I think back to Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson touring minor league ballparks several years ago. Dylan wrote a great song--“Catfish”--about the old Yankees pitcher from North Carolina. Bloodkin wrote a timeless baseball song called “Ghost Runner”. It’s a good diversion from the grim realities outside the stadium.
See y’all at the ballpark…