Holy Cow!

WHILE I WILL ALWAYS BE A ST. LOUIS CARDINALS FAN, I will proclaim right here: there is no other baseball stadium; wait, make that any sports venue, anywhere, like the experience of Wrigley Field.

By the way, I'm not a Cardinals fan just because they are the most successful baseball franchise ever that don't wear pin-stopped uniforms. I am a fan because I grew up in Tulsa, and at the time, the Tulsa Oilers were a farm team for the Cardinals and all the Cards games were broadcast on KRMG radio in T-Town. I wrote about that in a post a while back called, Take Me Out To The Ballgame.

Back to Wrigley. Today was Opening Day for the Cubbies--their 100th at Wrigley!

That's a lot of Opening Days. No one knows better than Cubs fans that their team holds the record for the most consecutive seasons without winning a World Series. Still the place will be packed and rowdy. And every homerun ball hit in to the Wrigley stands by the opposing team will be hurled back on to field by the Cubs fan that caught. It's one of the things that makes Wrigley Wrigley.

The last time that our family attended a game at Wrigley was on a June 13th (my Amazing-Missus' birthday). It was one of Harry Caray's last years as the announcer for the Cubs. We looked forward to the 7th Inning Stretch when Harry would lean out of the press box and lead us in singing, "Take Me Out To The Ballgame..."

That night the Cubs and the Padres played through 14 innings. By that time, Harry had apparently enjoyed enough brewskies that I thought he might fall in to the seats below when he leaned out to lead us in another stanza during the 14th Inning Stretch. 

Fortunately for us, on that rare night in Wrigleyville we got to hear Harry exclaim at the end of the game: "Holy cow!" "Cubs win!"

Fans today were not so lucky. The Cubs lost to the Phillies 7-2. As I post this the Cards are playing that other Pennsylvania team. Go CARDS!

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

Although my favorite place to see a major league baseball game live is a Cub's game at Wrigley, my favorite team is the St. Louis Cardinals--been that way for many years.


This is one team loyalty I share with my Dad. When it comes to the NFL we can't agree, my Dad's favorite team is the Dallas Cowboys; my favorite NFL team is whichever team is playing the Dallas Cowboys. It has nothing to do with disrespect for my Dad. It just that I'm the kind of guy who doesn't like the idea of any team assuming I'm a fan because they refer to themselves as "America's Team" and I happen to be an American.

But back to the Cardinals. Once again they are making their way to yet another World Series. My loyalty to the Cards is stitched into the fabric of who I am, sort of like Weber's Root Beer and hot dogs at Coney Islander (both long-time Tulsa icons).

Some of my favorite childhood memories are going to Tulsa Oilers baseball games with my Dad. Tulsa was a farm team for the Cardinals, so it was natural for any kid who loved the Oilers to also love the Cards. Oilers and Cardinals games were always carried on the radio in Tulsa and I spent hours listening to games.

Al McNeilance, aka: Mr. Peepers

Al McNeilance, aka: Mr. Peepers

As a huge bonus for a baseball loving kid, my Dad was close friends with one of the Oilers pitchers, a guy named Al McNeilance, nicknamed "Mr. Peepers" for the little glasses he wore. Al was from Buffalo, New York. He was drafted by the Detroit Tigers and somehow ended up in the Cardinals system and pitching for the Oilers in Tulsa. He was a great guy with a huge smile and personality. He was the leader of a boys club at the church we attended. When his baseball career ended, Al and his family stayed in Tulsa.

Of course as a kid growing up in the 50s and 60s, I was a huge Mickey Mantle fan. How can you not idolize one of the all-time greats, particularly when he's from Oklahoma like you are. Add in Roger Maris (who also played in Tulsa) and Yogi Berra, and the Yankees earned my respect and attention. But it was then and still is to this day the St. Louis Cardinals that I want to see hoist the big trophy, which they have done eleven times, more than any other National League team. The American League Yankees of course have won the most pennants: twenty-seven.

Oh, FYI, the Cardinals and the Yankees have met in the World Series five times. The Cards have won three of the five.

How about you? Click the comment box and drop a name, tell about your brush with greatness or vote for your favorite team.

Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks...