It is April 11. My last guest blog, and I thank everyone at BAP for this week. After the weeklong honorifics of National Poetry Month, I exit with a story about baseball, because it is spring, and it is here. Washington DC is ready. I haven’t been to many games in the near past except to take my grandsons to an occasional training game for NAVY’s baseball team at the Naval Academy nearby. But once I was an ardent fan. Of course I was only ten but—this story takes place a long time ago. As children, we would go from Trenton, where we lived, to Philly, mostly to watch our favorite team,”The A’s”. Always in the cellar, people would say. Maybe that’s why we rooted for them. We had baseball heroes and movie star heroes because TV had not entered our world yet.
This story happened one weekend in spring at the Stacy Trent Hotel on State Street in Trenton, New Jersey. Jean Carleton had a birthday party and I remember we all had on our Easter outfits, complete with hats. (Mine was black patent leather to match my shoes.) We all looked pretty fine in a grand hotel sitting around a birthday cake. In the next room. we spotted the Yankee Baseball Team, and there was the major love of my fantasy life, the famous Yankee outfielder, Johnny Lindell, laughing and talking just a step away. Jean and I rushed over with our paper party cups and pens to get an autograph. I can’t believe what happened next, but he grabbed the cup (my heart leapt) and he …..He….this is true…He SPIT in it, saying "Here’s a little something for you, kid.” Everyone on the team laughed. I don’t know what I did with the cup but I’m sure I didn’t keep it. Here’s the strangest part of all. Well first I went home and took down his picture, the one by Myrna Loy on my bedroom wall, but somehow since that day I‘ve always remembered it as TED WILLIAMS who spit in my cup! Somehow messing the Yankees with the Red Sox in my mind. Surely a form of denial.
Recently I happened to see Johnny Lindell on the internet and realized he was the villain that ruined Jean Carleton’s birthday. It never was poor Ted Williams whom I’ve trashed the better part of a century in every baseball conversation I could enter. Johnny Lindell. Star outfielder. My dreamboat. The first guy I ever loved. A spring long ago. On the prettiest day of my life.
Other news: This April there is a new
baseball dictionary put out by W.W. Norton The
Dickson Baseball Dictionary. It is huge and has every baseball
term ever imagined. There is also the premiere of the baseball mural
DC commissioned from the great artist Walter Kravitz (He happens to
be husband to the marvelous poet Judith Harris.) “DC Creates Public
Art Program” Invites us to a dedication of sculptures by Omri
Amrany of Josh Gibson, Walter Johnson and Frank Howard and a
suspended installation by Walter Kravitz entitled "The Ball
Kravitz, Professor in the Department of Art and Visual Technology (AVT), George Mason University, was granted this commission by the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities as part of the DC Creates Public Art program. Here is The Kravitz work:
Two views of "The Ball Game," above and below.
Images courtesy of Walter Kravitz
idea of baseball is not focused just on various large cities across
the country, because it is played everywhere," says Kravitz.
"The installation is meant to tell the story of baseball in a
comic way, and I hope that as fans enter Nationals Ballpark and see
the piece, they will have the opportunity to reminisce about their
love of the game."
Also spring has other features to
offer, and Dan Murano, reminds us of this with his photos.