Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Once Upon a Time in the Bronx Part III

NOTE:  The below action didn’t happen exactly as I describe.  Donny did drop to the field to grab a batting practice ball.  He was chased by stadium security and disappeared.  But, once he did, we didn’t see him again until after the game.  This was a real game between the Yankees and the Red Sox in the summer of ’72.  The final result is the same-I just “tweaked” some of the specific details for the sake of drama.  And to not make us look like boring losers. 

     The Yankees scored first, putting a run across in the first inning.  But, then the Red Sox went ahead in the fourth inning, 2-1.  Looked like it was going to be a good game, even though the Yankees were now losing.
    Thankfully, we didn’t have to listen to Donny boast about the Beantowners.  As the game dragged on, we caught glimpses of the Amazing Spastic Flash as he continued to elude security.
    Mr. Spagnoula only asked where Donny was once.
    “Wow, that kid sure takes a long time in the john.”
    “Uh, now he’s probably waiting in line for something to eat, Mr. Spagnoula,” I suggested.
    “Well, he’s missing a good game,” he muttered.
    I felt a rustling next to me and looked at Spags.
    “What are you doing?”
    “Eating a hot dog.”
    “I know that.  What are you doing to the hot dog?”
    “Putting ketchup on it.”
    “Nobody does that.”
    “What do you mean?”
See? Some people put ketchup on hot dogs.
Like this guy.  Who may not even be American.
    “I mean, nobody puts ketchup on a hot dog.”
    “A lot of people put ketchup on a hot dog.”
    “I don’t know.  People.”
    "What people?"
    "People who put ketchup on hot dogs."
    “Everybody knows you’re supposed to put mustard on hot dogs.”
    “Well, I put ketchup on them.”
    “Well, you’re an idiot.”
    Offended, Spags jabbed his hot dog at me.  But the hot dog, juiced up from three packets of ketchup, squirted easily from the bun.  Spags watched helplessly as it flipped on its side and rolled sloppily off his knee before coming to a rest on his sneaker.
    I sneered at the red glop, “See?  Idiot.”   
    The middle of the seventh found us ahead again, 3-2.  It was looking good for the home team as we rose to stretch.
    Mr. Spagnoula, a deluge of spent peanut shells falling from his lap like rain, stretched noisily.  “Looks like Mel’s got it under control.”
Legend has it that the 7th inning stretch started when President William Howard Taft stood up during the seventh inning of a Washington Senators game.  The crowd, in classic "Monkey See-Monkey Do" fashion, followed his actions.  Chaos ensued when the portly Taft then whipped out his little Chief Executive and proceeded to horrify nearby peanut vendors.
    As the organist swung into Take Me Out to the Ballgame, the crowd roared.  At once, hundreds of arms pointed at the Yankees dugout.  I leaned to see if I could catch a glimpse of what was going on.
    Horrified, I saw Donny racing across the Yankee bench.  Amazingly, he held a huge pretzel in his hand which he shoved down his throat before swinging back into the crowd.
    “What’s going on?” Mr. Spagnoula wondered.
    There was no way he needed to see what was going on, I thought.  Reaching for the mustard packets that Spags didn’t use, I positioning them over my half-eaten hot dog and gave them a sharp squeeze.
    Thick yellow ribbons spewed from the packets and landed with a splat on the front of Mr. Spagnoula’s shirt. 
    “Oh, Mr. Spagnoula, I’m so sorry!”
    Distracted from the field, Spags’ father looked at the goo and just laughed.  “No problem, Al.  This is my Sunday-Go-To-Meeting shirt.  Guess I don’t have to go to church now, hee, hee, hee!”   
    Sheesh, the guy put a positive spin on anything.
Mel Stottlemyre-Yankees pitching great.
Who did not put ketchup on his hot dogs.
    “Wonder what happened, though,” he said as the Yankees came to the plate. “Probably some drunk.”
    The seventh inning ended with the Yankees leading by three runs.  We were feeling pretty good.  Even when the starting pitcher gave up another run in the ninth and had to be pulled, we weren’t worried.  The game was pretty much in the bag.
    But, after two men got on base, bringing the go-ahead runner to bat, we started to get nervous.
    “Don’t worry, a double play and we win,” Mr. Spagnoula reassured us.
    I realized he was right.  With one out already, a ground ball to one of the infielders would end the game.  Even so, I anxiously watched the reliever accept a signal from the catcher.
    Knowing the game was on the line, the crowd hushed.  All eyes were riveted on the closer.  Not a muscle in his face moved as his knee drifted up and his arm began its arc over his shoulder.
    Just then, we heard a cry from the visiting team’s side of the field.  A flash of red vaulted from the top of the dugout and bolted past the third base coach, three panting security guards in close pursuit.
Okay, so he's not a Yankees pitcher. He's a Cub.
But, he is falling down.
Hey, I don't have much time. 'Two and a Half Men' is coming on.
You try to do better.
    Startled, the pitcher gave a slight hitch in his motion.  Rather than finishing strong on the downside of the mound, he stumbled to the side, almost dropping to one knee.
    Before launching a grapefruit toward the plate.
    The batter, however, wasn’t startled.  Watching the beach ball now coming his way, he set his feet and cocked his arms.
    As the ball drifted across the plate, he swung with a huge blast.  Hit squarely, the ball rocketed over the outfield wall.
    The grinning batter flipped his bat to the ground and trotted towards first base.  By the time he crossed home plate, the preceding runners had scored and the Red Sox now led the Yankees, 6-5.
    Stunned, Mr. Spagnoula asked, “Hey, wasn’t that-?”
    The both of us sighed, “Donny.”
    “I thought he was in the can.”

 To be concluded......

  Next:  Do the Yankees lose?  Do the Red Sox win?  Hey, wait a minute.  Doesn't that mean the same thing?  Well, you know what I mean.  Like I said, 'Two and a Half Men' is coming on.  I mean, it's a repeat, sure, but those were the best.  Before Jake's voice changed and all.  And Charlie Sheen got all uppity.  And mental.


  1. Great story as usual buddy, can't wait for the last part. I agree completely with the two and a half men thing as well, it was so much better when Jake was a child!

  2. Two and a half men was good? When did that ever occur?..hahaha Great story too, I hope they both lose and the Blue Jays win..haha..fat chance I know.

  3. And you know what comes on after "Two and a Half Men" ..... Dancing With the Stars.

  4. i think you guys were guilty by association.

  5. Hey that's better than all the time I spent this weekend in Minnesota watching the football game. Hubs would appreciate this story..he's a huge Red Sox fan. :)

  6. @Yeamie: The new one? Not so much.
    @Pat: Ah, the Blue Jays. If nothing else, they have the virtue of playing in a stadium in a neighborhood where you don't fear for your life. And they're not the [defunct] Montreal Expos.
    @Manaznita: With my good friend, Chaz???
    @Eva: Because the Red Sox took the lead in the 9th inning?
    @Laila: The Vikings? Or a good team? Tell Hubs this game really happened and that the score is the actual score (whoever wins-Yankees or Red Sox-historically accurate). Mel Stottlemyre was the Yankees starting pitcher that day.

  7. @Sherilin: We were a crew, that's for sure.

  8. Ketchup on a hot dog? No way, wrap that sucker in bacon!

  9. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.......bacon...............................
    I've even had bacon ICE CREAM. It was frikkin' fantastic!

  10. Great pace and dialogue.
    It's nice to see someone who can write good dialogue.

  11. Did you hear? Chaz was voted off. Cher's kinda pissed.
    7th inning stretch-good stuff.

  12. He whipped out his "little Chief Executive." Oh Al, I'm glad I wasn't there.

  13. Oh goodness. Donny needs to keep his ass outta trouble. That is straight up insane. Nice little factoid about the 7th inning stretch...I never knew that!

  14. @Bones: Thanks!
    @Allen: I really enjoyed recreating the ketchup/mustard conversation. Spags and I had quite a few of those while growing up.
    @Ruth: I saw that! Now I'll have nothing to make fun of anymore (yeah...right).
    @Robyn: Taft combined BOTH national pastimes into one!
    @Damon: Thanks!
    @Jewels: Straight up true about the 7th inning stretch. Can't vouch for the little Chief Executive thing, though.
    @Deborah: I'd like to thank the characters from my youth.

  15. Halloween Hop

    I want to thank Jeremy Bates for the chance to participate in this blog hop.

    My Favorite monster movie - Hellraiser
    My Costume - Dragon (well the wings of a dragon and the rest is my sexy self)
    And I am now following this Blog (yay)

    I have read quite a few of the posts on this blog and I do believe I shall
    be reading more as I have found them interesting to say the least. I hope that my participation brings this blog more visitors and that those turn into more readers for this blog's future. Thanks for being a participant and for those visiting this blog for the first time. Please comment, that is what we bloggers live for. :)

    ****Promoting my own Blog****

    Free Book Reviews is a blog that reviews indie books, interviews indie authors and generally talks about whatever amuses them in the literary world. If you are an author please feel free to submit your book for review and/or an author interview. If you are a reader feel free to check out any book listed on our blog. In any case please share this blog with as many people as you can!

  16. u in ur blog banner would have made a great costume if u wanted to carry a toilet around all night! lol
    stopping by late bc something took me out of the city for a couple days, but hope u had a good weekend--and hop!
    my favorite horror movie is the shining, or alien...they're too different to only pick one!
    c u around online!

  17. @Jeremy: 'The Shining' is great. I like 'Aliens' a little better, but 'Alien' sure pumped up the creepy vibe.