Fall Classics

[Note: So far the month of November has been a blur. I spent all of last week, including two days in the hospital, dealing with a bad UTI. So this post I wrote earlier in the month is a little dated, but like the non-linear game of baseball itself, still relevant to the human endeavor to orient ourselves in time and space.]

In the days of the Big Red Machine back in the 1970’s there was no bigger baseball fan than yours truly. The Cincinnati Reds’ games that weren’t on TV I followed closely as Marty Brenneman and Joe Nuxhall broadcast all 162 regular season games and many post season ones on the radio. In my car, doing dishes, or “working” on a sermon the radio was always on. I can still name most of the players from that team that won back to back World Series in ‘75 and ‘76. I can even remember most of the players from the 1961 Cincinnati Reds who were the first Cincinnati team in my lifetime to make it to the Fall Classic. In those days the games were played in the daytime, and our school always had the game on TV somewhere. We could sign out of study hall to go watch. One of my favorite memories of my freshman fall was Pittsburgh’s Bill Mazeroski’s walk-off homer to beat the Yankees in game 7 of the 1960 series.

As baseball has become more driven by money and free agency has players moving from team to team more often than the UK changes Prime Ministers I have lost interest in the game. The 162 game season now seems much too long with all of the post season games pushing the World Series into November. But, I still am drawn to watching the World Series every year, no matter which teams are in it. Maybe it’s because I have an October birthday and consider myself a Fall Classic too.

Tonight I watched the first game of this year’s Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Houston Astros. When I heard the announcer say that this is the 118th World Series my ears perked up, and I started wondering how many of those Series I had watched or listened to? The very first World Series I remember paying attention to was the 1954 Giants-Indians Series. It wasn’t my Reds, but it was an Ohio team; so I listened faithfully on the radio because I don’t think my family yet owned a television. I was of course disappointed as the Giants, led by a young Willie Mays, swept the Indians in 4 straight games.

But for historical purposes with that being my first World Series it means I have watched or listened to 68 Fall Classics, which also means that there were only 50 Series before I became a baseball fan. Therefore, I have witnessed 57.6% of every World Series ever played, and that makes me feel very old and I hope wiser.

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