October 3, 2010


By Frank Barning
Sunday morning. It's early here in Las Vegas. I can't sleep, been up for awhile.

Mostly my blog posts are about what it says at the top of the page, Early Levittown.....

Not today, not this morning. This one is for me.

Since 1952, that's 58 years, I have been a baseball fan. Not a casual fan. A fanatic. And that fanaticism has grown over the years. First it was the Brooklyn Dodgers, then the New York Mets and when we moved to San Diego in 1982, the Padres became my team.

I live and die with my team. Each winter, I can't wait for a new season to begin. I embrace the phrase, "Life begins on opening day." Winter sports are a filler until baseball. After my wife and grown-up son, baseball is the most important thing in my life. Judge that as you wish, but it is my truth.

If you follow baseball, you know the Padres' situation as we enter today. A baseball season, not including playoff games, is 162 games. Through 161 games, the Padres are one measly game behind the San Francisco Giants. What are the odds? The Padres and the Atlanta Braves are in a deadlock for the wild card position. Two of the three teams will make the playoffs.

The Padres play at San Francisco this afternoon. My team faced sudden death the last two days but both times we defeated the Giants on their home turf. Here we go again this afternoon. Can't sleep, can't wait.

Hard-core fans of any sport live for days and situations such as this. We also die when the result is negative. But, ah the memories that are possible.

Top of the heap for me are the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers and the amazing 1969 New York Mets. Both teams won the World Series. I have seen highlights of key games literally hundreds of time. Tears still come to my eyes when I see the final outs. Pee Wee Reese throws to Gil Hodges and Brooklyn finally has a championship; Cleon Jones snags a fly for the Mets who upset a great Baltimore Orioles team.

Vivian, my dear wife, is as huge a baseball fan as I. We share the joy, the pain, all the emotions. And we will share today, win or lose.

The party is over. My Padres lost to the Giants, 3-0, to close out an unexpectedly fabulous season. As I learned as a Brooklyn Dodgers fan in the early 1950s, "Wait till next year."


Ellen said...

Frank, I loved you blog today and I know how you feel. Prior to living in Levittown, we lived in the Bronx on Sheridan Avenue, only about 5 blocks from Yankee Stadium. My dad would take my brother and me to the game on weekends and we would buy bleacher seats and watch some of the all time greats. We saw Joe D. Mantle, Maris, Berra and Ford plus many more. After the game they would let us walk out of the stadium by walking throught the outfield. My 8 year older brother was able to "sneak" into the stadium after the 4th inning or so and did so many times. I went with him one time and I was scared to death.

On warm nights we slept on the fire escape and we could hear the roar of the croud. I don't know how may times we were told to shut off the radio by my dad. But each time we head the roar of the crowd - on it went.

We were a house divided. My brother and I loved the Yankees but my dad loved the Giants. The one thing we all agreed upon was our hatred for Da Bums.

Thanks for the memories, Frank.

Ellen said...

I didn't realize that the password I used to post to the blog was attaced to Ellen's name - the comment is from me - Len Sandok.