Spoke at length with the Swami this morning. He was up late waiting out the game on the coast so he was slow getting started, but with the McCourt thing cleared and new owners there and the super-hot-start they have going, I expected the Swami to be all made up about things and he wasn’t. He was nervous about needing another pitcher at the break and that certain things weren’t right. Oh sure, he said some positive things but he was cautious overall.
He ripped Uribe’s hitting, especially his apparently unorthodox foot movements in the box, and that lead to the inevitable comparison to the Boys of Summer all-glove, no-hit 3rd baseman, Billy Cox. “But that team was loaded”, was the refrain, and that led to “Hodges should be in the Hall”, which made me think, “why don’t they just put the whole 1953 Dodgers in the Hall and get it over with?”, which led to the old idea that one pitcher, either way, would have made the Dodgers win all those world series in the era (1947, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1956 I include 50 because with another pitcher, they would have beaten the Philly Whiz Kids and in 1951, they would have beaten the Giants with one more arm). And that led to the agreement that the worst trade for the Dodgers of that era was when the Yankees traded Joe Gordon to Cleveland for Ali Reynolds, which, he and I agreed on finally, but, that he added, of course: “…but they had Raschi…”
And the takeaway is how great it is to have this discussion at all. Most of it well before I was born but Swami doesn’t care about that if you know your stuff and can keep up with him. Like last Summer when he casually added to a discussion an anecdote about a Chinese home run he saw hit at the Polo Grounds off Rex Barney? Or was it Karl Spooner? He was there with the CYO. He probably remembered the count too.
Taking my sons to Citizens Bank Park the other day made me realize that they will never see Shea Stadium and to them, it will be as The Polo Grounds was to me: just this ancient and unattainable thing that you see pictures of. Thinking about it from my new perspective makes me realize that it isn’t all that. It’s just a concrete bowl of seats more or less, give or take. Like when you go to your first world series game or playoff game and sit down and realize, “it’s just another game”.
It was great talking to the Swami, but I have to say I was a little disappointed that he wasn’t happier about things. He was crying when the team was in a funk and now he’s nervous. Fandom. He did admit to spending like all his time in the garage. That’s the man-cave where the XM radio is and the hotplate and the beer. The he-man woman haters club, basically, for the neighborhood guys. I’ll have to get down there to see it.