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A Cloud Over Blue Heaven?

Dave Randall

Posted on July 25, 2017 00:32

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An injury threatens to dim a bright season.

Friday the 28th will mark 50 years since I saw my first baseball game in person. The Los Angeles Dodgers played host to the New York Mets at Dodger Stadium the evening I turned 8. The game was my gift, and all that came with it, like the colorful flags representing each major league team that flew in line around the rim of the ballpark. That was awe inspiring enough. Then there was the sight of the green, green grass and crushed-brick red infield. This was a time when most families, like mine, still watched black and white television. It was a soothing, pastoral sight, augmented by the bright white of the Dodgers uniforms, with scarlet numbers in front, and those royal blue caps. To top it off, a bunch of Hollywood stars were playing sports writers in an exhibition before the game. Dean Martin and Danny Thomas were somewhere down there!

L.A. lefty Claude Osteen started against New York's Don Cardwell. Al Ferrara hit a homer to win it for the Dodgers, 2-1. My Grandfather, with a transistor radio to his ear the whole time, handed me his scorecard following the game. I remember it all, vividly.

This is the impact baseball has on men of my generation. Don't tell us the game needs to be sped up, or requires stadium hosts to entertain between inning. Baseball's charm, its lasting contribution to our culture, is its leisurely pace and its tradition. And the joy it brings when your team wins. 

That year, 1967, the Dodgers were the defending National League Champs. Sandy Koufax had just retired, and they finished 8th. I missed seeing him pitch by a season. Over the last half century, I've followed this team with gusto, through life in at least three different cities. I never thought I would see a pitcher in a Dodger uniform that could come close to the dominance of the great Koufax, until Kershaw. 

The decades passed, the seasons piled up: 15 Western Division titles, 5 National League Pennants and World Series titles, 10 Rookies of the Year, 3 MVPs, and 7 Cy Young Award winnings since Koufax. The last three were won by Clayton Edward Kershaw. For those of us who didn't get to see the "Dandy Sandy," watching Kershaw's curve snap, and tumble over the plate like a car off a bridge has been remarkable. A once-in-a-generation pitcher, currently having another stand out season, for a Dodger team that has dominated like no other: 69 and 31 in 100 games. 

And now a back strain. Kershaw's out for what looks like most of August. 

Dave Randall

Posted on July 25, 2017 00:32

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