It all started at Coogan’s Bluff. That was the old nickname for the Polo Grounds in New York. Which, when I trace the lineage of my baseball fanhood, I always end up. That rectangular monolith that looked like something out of Gotham City. Sure, old Yankee Stadium gets all the notoriety, and with good reason. But the Polo Grounds was like the Manhattan Bridge in that it is overshadowed by the glorious Brooklyn Bridge, but its pretty damned awesome in its own right. In that unique rectangular venue in Washington Heights, my grandfather saw Mel Ott and Carl Hubbell, and my father saw Willie Mays. When the team moved to San Francisco following the 1957 season, my grandfather, father, and uncle ripped up some of the center field sod on their way out (Imagine, the way to exit the game was by walking onto the field and exiting through the center field gate!) and planted it in the backyard at home. As the current occupant of that same house, I play ball with my three year old son on a lawn that is the descendant of Polo Grounds sod. As I begin this journey into the realm of blogging for the first time in my life, allow Coogan’s Bluff to be a metaphorical starting point. My objective as a writer in unusual. Would I love to be able to make a living writing about baseball? Of course I would, who wouldn’t? But my bigger objective, beyond personal interest, is to see that the national pastime does not deviate from the rules that were the same in those very Polo Grounds in olde New York. On May 6, 1915, the New York Yankees (then co-occupants of the Polo Grounds) hosted the Boston Red Sox. A 20-year old pitcher by the name of Babe Ruth blasted a second-deck home run off of Yankees pitcher Jack Warhop. Ruth would hit 713 more home runs, mostly in a Yankees uniform. If current American League rules had been effect, the game would’ve been deprived of its greatest star. Ruth likely would’ve been a Hall Of Fame pitcher, but his slugging in the early 1920s helped recapture many fans that were soured by the Black Sox scandal of 1919. Not all of the coming posts will be about my disdain for the designated hitter rule. But make no mistake of what’s in store: this blog hopes to serve as a “purists plea” to the used car salesman that is quietly ruining the game that fathers have shared with their sons for generations. And I will no longer sit idly by as it unfolds before my eyes. It’s time to take the game back, Bud.

Advertisements