Tonight: first game of the ALCS between Chicago White Sox and the California Angels of Anaheim (vote here if you like the name change). This is the time of year when a whole season of baseball games becomes distilled into fan-crazed playoff series, when unknown players become national icons and when seemingly everyone has a rooting interest in one team or another.
For the non-baseball focused, there is always football and everything else on television, but having been a baseball fan in my youth I am drawn to the sounds of the game, especially in October, even when my team is “looking forward to next season.”
Baseball – America’s “pastime” – a word with overtones of nostalgia and leisure…. I got to wondering, do farmers ever have time for baseball? I decided to call any farmer whose cell phone number I had, since it is practically impossible to get hold of actual farmers because they are usually outside doing something important. Here, then, the results of today’s impromptu farmer survey: Do You Watch Baseball?
Ed Munak – organic tomato and melon grower from Paso Robles – is not interested in baseball now, but used to be a Dodger fan when he lived in Los Angeles 30 years ago. He believes baseball is a “time eater” – something that rural folks don’t need to spend time on.
Tony Thatcher – Friends Ranch citrus grower from Ojai – was a Milwaukee Braves fan since childhood since both his mother and great aunt hailed from Baltimore. Converted to a Dodger fan when the family moved to California in 1958. In 1956, Tony actually saw two Dodger games at Ebbets Field. Later in LA, before Chavez Ravine was the home of the Dodgers, the team played at the Coliseum. The Coliseum had a short left field fence that fielder Wally Moon used to field fly balls off of – his hits to that part of the field became known as “Moon balls.”
Fitzgerald Kelly – tree fruit grower from Reedley – thinks you need time to watch a baseball game. Baseball is a civilized game – even, Fitz goes so far as to opine, “the epitome of good taste.” Fitz has always been a San Francisco Giants fan, not a Dodger fan – due to Reedley’s proximity to the Bay.
Mike Cirone – an apple and fruit grower from See Canyon – likes to watch baseball when he’s not busy, and this fall he is very busy with an outstanding apple crop. He has good memories of watching Giants games with his dad as a kid but he can’t watch tonight’s playoff game between the Angels and White Sox since it’s the day before the market and bedtime is 8 p.m. Mike prefers to listen to games on the radio – they are excellent company while he’s making apple juice.
Bob Polito – a citrus grower from Valley Center – only likes baseball at this time of year. He doesn’t root for a particular team, just for good games. In 1959, his family won series tickets to the Dodgers-White Sox world series at the Coliseum. The family attended four games, and Bob remembers seeing players Don Drysdale, James Gilliam, Sandy Koufax, Gil Hodges, Duke Snyder, Wally Moon and Maury Will. Bob admits that he was a baseball fan as a kid. Anyone who can name that many players is still a fan, no matter what he says!Thanks for the memories, guys. See you at the market!