The silent mental duel of pitcher versus batter, the sting of a lightning double play, the tension of the bottom of the ninth, and the roar of the crowd after a homer...this is what makes Baseball, the Great American Sport!
And let's face it, folks, we're living in a new Golden Age, and we can perhaps thank one man for bringing the excitement to every home in America: the Babe! [image from thewiseguise.com] George Herman "Babe" Ruth, jr., the Home Run King, the Bambino, the Sultan of Swat; call him what you will, none can deny he has brought excitement and grandeur to the sport in a way that hits every American right in his star spangled heart. He's turned the Park into a Cathedral, the Diamond into an Altar. How can you not get excited every time he steps up to the plate?
Hear him on the radio, see him on the newsreels, read about him in the papers...he's as much a star as Charlie Chaplin or Douglas Fairbanks! And no wonder: he swats 'em out of the park like they were nothing. He's made the Yankees "America's Team". He's beloved in every city in America, save one: Boston. His move from the Red Sox to the hated rival Yankees has been compared to Benedict Arnold in level of betrayal. The Yankee/Red Sox enmity may last generations.
But it's not just the Bambino who is making the sport exciting. There's Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio, there's the White Sox and the Cubs and the Athletics. Wherever you live there's at minimum a Bush League franchise where for a few pennies and afternoon of enjoyment is to be had. Don't have that? There are books and bubblegum cards to collect (the Cap'n gave his Massachusetts missus a rookie Babe Ruth card; she had a fun time burning it! Ah, the fun you can have on the cheap!).
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But Ruth, Gehrig, and DiMaggio aren't the only great talents out there. There's a whole league out there that true aficionados of the game know well, that the stars themselves respect, and that mostly gets ignored by the newsreels: the Negro Leagues!
Like a buried treasure, a fabled city of gold, or the best speakeasies, the Negro Leagues hide the best talent you've never heard of. The Crawford Colored Giants alone possess tour de force of talent: Josh Gibson, Cool Papa Bell, Judy Johnson, Oscar Charleston, and the incomparable Satchel Paige. Even the Major Leaguers agree, if you can hit off of Paige you can hit off of anyone! The man has a rocket for an arm and the eyes of a hawk. Had he been given a chance in the Majors he'd likely be known as the Man Who Struck Out the Babe!
The Cabaret certainly thinks the man needs a shot in the Majors, and the sooner we kill this stupid color barrier the better. Real fans of baseball want all the talent on the field together, regardless of how much melanin God saw fit to give them.
So when that day finally comes, give 'em hell, Satchel!
And while peanuts and Cracker Jack may hold sway at the park, here at the cabaret we're swinging for the fence with a Highball, the cocktail that gave its name to a whole style of drinks. It's an original, like Baseball.
[image from esquire.com]
Fill a highball glass with ice. Add bourbon. Top with Ginger Ale.
Until next time, Swing for the Stars, folks!