Cliff’s Notes theater.

I’ll give Mitch Albom this: The guy has no shame whatsoever, and a nearly Oprah-perfect common touch. Another writer, tasked with a play about a beloved baseball announcer, might have searched for a little chiaroscuro, a few shadows, something, anything to give all that lovin’ a little dimension. Not Mitch. For “Ernie,” his tribute to Detroit’s late and beloved Ernie Harwell, he will have no truck with shadows, nor shades of gray, nor anything that might taint the rosy picture so many Detroiters have of their late hero. The worst thing “Ernie” says about Ernie is that he worked very hard, and his beloved wife Lulu had to spend a lot of nights alone.

And so it was that my friend Dustin and I took in this dose of Albom, something I never thought I’d do. But I park in the garage attached to the theater, and when the posters went up for this annual cash-extraction exercise for sentimental Tigers fans, conveniently scheduled on game days, now in its four year, I had a change of heart.

“Dustin,” I said. “It’s time for us to see ‘Ernie.'”

“OK,” he said.

I was hoping he’d put up more of a fight. But I bought the tickets.

The play, like Mitch’s books, seems a bare minimum of effort (85 minutes; you get the idea it was kept short to eliminate the need for embarrassing bathroom breaks by its elderly audience). It’s set on a nearly-bare stage, with two characters – Ernie and “the boy.” The boy wears knickers, knee socks, high shoes and a newsboy’s cap. I think of him as the personification of the author’s belief that everything was better in the world when times were simpler and boys wore knickers. He’s played by TJ Corbett, with lots of jazz-handsy, run-around-the-stage energy. Ernie is played by Peter Carey with a Georgia accent and an old man’s shuffle that keeps threatening to reveal the younger one beneath.

It’s set in a tunnel at Comerica Park, just offstage, as Ernie prepares to receive an accolade from the organization that employed him for so long. But there’s a rain delay, and the kid in knickers shows up to prompt Ernie through “a broadcast of his life” in “nine innings,” and no, I’m not kidding. So we’re basically talking a monologue, interrupted by the knickers kid, and that’s a heavy lift for an actor, so respect.

Along the way, and this should not surprise you, we learn a lot about the playwright. The phrase “kids today” is repeated more than once. There’s a sneering reference to “Faceplace,” i.e., that website my daughter wouldn’t be caught dead on. The World Series-winning ’68 Tigers “really pulled us all together,” after “the racial strife and riots,” which are given exactly that much attention – five words. There’s reference to fans doing the wave, something I’ve only seen at football games, but what do I know? I’m no sportswriter.

I started jotting down random platitudes lines: “Never judge a man by what others say about him.” “None of them are texting.” “Believe in yourself; God has a plan for everyone.”

I have a friend who reveres Harwell, and on any given day, he can summon up half a dozen lines of his radio patter, the pitcher who “kicks and delivers,” the batter walked for “excessive window shopping.” The ones that turn up in every nostalgia story are the ones we hear here: “Loooong gone,” and the one about “standing like a house by the side of the road.” Similarly ignored is any mention of how the game changed toward the end of Harwell’s career; while Mark Fidrych gets in there, the story about him having sex with a girl on the pitcher’s mound, needless to say, doesn’t make it. Hey, family audiences. Even his firing, during the Monaghan era, is glossed over.

There’s nothing new here, no particular insight into the man’s character, no message about the human condition you could name, other than here was a really nice man and we all wish he were still alive, so here’s a guy to impersonate him for 85 minutes. It’s theater for the Faceplace age.

So at the end of an hour and a half, what you’re left with is an extended version of the Albom obit that is helpfully included in the program, all sweetness and light and puppies and goo. We were probably the youngest people in the house.

A little bloggage to get us into the weekend? Well, OK:

The director of the Ohio State marching band gets cashiered after an internal investigation showed the place featured only slightly less over-the-top, sexually themed harassment than a strip bar next to an oil field. If your team ever played Ohio State, you’ll want to check this handy songbook and learn what they were singing about your band in the locker room.

Tom & Lorenzo do the important work of summer fashion blogging, i.e., putting together a few snaps of Taylor Swift leaving the gym.

Dahlia! Dahlia! Dahlia takes on the two-hour execution in Arizona this week.

On Wednesday afternoon, in a ritual that has become increasingly—indeed almost numbingly—familiar, the state of Arizona administered a secret drug protocol that took almost two hours to kill a man. Joseph R. Wood III was sentenced to death in 1991 for shooting and killing his ex-girlfriend Debra Dietz and her father, Eugene. The murder was gruesome, and Wood was guilty. He shot his victims in the chest at close range. The only question that remains, as yet another state botches yet another execution, is whether the two hours of gasping and snorting by the accused before he finally died is excessive, or whether it sounds about right to us.

Love me some Dahlia. And now I love me some weekend, and I hope you do, too.

Posted at 12:30 am in Current events, Detroit life |
 

76 responses to “Cliff’s Notes theater.”

  1. Dexter said on July 25, 2014 at 3:43 am

    Now that’s one hell of a collection of tunes there. I am sure I have not seen any of them anywhere…the rival schools’ songs all are big on cum-mands which order oral sex, I did notice that repeating theme. The songs reminded me of the time when I was a teenager and I found a sheaf of papers outside Wrigley Field in Chicago. It was a collection of songs somehow associated with University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. One was the old standard which I never forgot: “We’re the boys from Illi-Noize, we live in caves and ditches, we bang our cocks on jagged rocks…we’re rugged sons-a-bitches”.

    The wave is claimed by several groups of fans, including Oregon’s Beavers, but probably every minor and major league baseball team has seen it go around the stands. It was always employed at Tiger Stadium games all through the 1990s.
    After a few years I got tired of it and always just ignored it. College football crowds used to spice it up with two-way waves and speed-waves, and it was always more impressive with 100,000 fans doing the wave at M Stadium.

    I guess I am the perfect age to comment on Ernie’s career in Michigan, as I was a boy in 1960 , the same year I began listening to radio games, Ernie came to Detroit. Ernie already had 20 years at the microphone by then. I’d sit in the garage with my old grandpa and listen to WJR-AM. There was no talking. Grandpa spit tobacco juice into a coffee can and I sat on a sawhorse and stayed all 9 innings or until we left for home. Ernie’s catch phrases like “he stood there like a house beside the road and watched that on go by” and “a man from Inkster caught that foul ball” ( the town changed for every foul ball…all just a gimmick of course) and the “looooong gone!” home run calls were never used until very late in Ernie’s career. It seems that one year they just sprung up, with no explanation. Truthfully, to those of us who listened every chance we could, they were tiresome. Likewise, he never called the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Trumbull Street “The Corner” until he had been in Detroit for many years. Ernie’s long-gone now, and Dan Dickerson and Jim Price are doing a great job in the Comerica Park booth.

  2. basset said on July 25, 2014 at 8:25 am

    “Indiana” and “banana.” Brilliant. As Sam Kinison said in another context, “the Beatles coulda wrote that!”

    Executions? Guillotine. Quick and decisive.

  3. Dorothy said on July 25, 2014 at 8:29 am

    Thanks for the kind words from the other day y’all. I am looking at this as the silver lining, because I just knew this job was going nowhere and it’s really a relief that I won’t be in this position much longer. Two other jobs I’m qualified for are open right now, and I’ve applied to both. Fingers crossed.

    And my daughter is zipping her way west as I type for just a very brief visit to see me on stage tomorrow for our one and only performance. The new director has her own vision and all five of us on stage are now thoroughly dizzy, but we’ll get through it. We find out Sunday night who wins the new plays competition and I plan to be there when it’s announced. Have a very good weekend, all you nn.c-ers.

  4. brian stouder said on July 25, 2014 at 8:31 am

    The baseball announcers that forever set the standard, for me, are Marty Brennaman and Joe Knuxhall in Cincinnati, back in the day.
    And, when I consulted Uncle Google to see that I spelled Mr Brennaman’s name correctly, I tripped across this – which might possibly have been discussed here before, but it was new to me(!) – and THIS would make an interesting jumping-off point (so to speak) for a real playwright…

    http://deadspin.com/marty-brennaman-gets-real-dark-real-quick-during-twitt-1595137248

    an excerpt:

    Marty Brennaman, Hall of Fame broadcaster for the Cincinnati Reds, was asked what his greatest fear was during a Twitter question segment (during the game) and he levelled with us all.

    “That’s a serious question…that’s one that, uh, I would not make light of,” he says, and holy shit, he is not kidding.

    Thanks to LaymanJohn7 we got to hear “One of the big fears I have is dying in a hotel room by myself….as the pitch is strike one on a check swing that didn’t check in time…” on the radio during a baseball game.

  5. Dave said on July 25, 2014 at 9:13 am

    I can remember listening to Waite Hoyt, who broadcast for the Reds and was a contemporary of Babe Ruth as a pitcher for the Yankees. I’m guessing that Kirk, if anyone here, might also have memories of hearing him.

    As for other baseball broadcasters, did anyone else ever listen to Red Barber, who was in New York but used to do a Friday segment on NPR, in his retirement days. I think there’s an entire book written by Bob Edwards about it, yes, here it is: http://www.amazon.com/Fridays-Red-A-Radio-Friendship/dp/0671870130

  6. Dave said on July 25, 2014 at 9:16 am

    Naturally, I don’t really know what I’m doing and my link doesn’t work. I know they always work if I go through tinyurl.com

    http://tinyurl.com/p8vbnlj

  7. Jeff Borden said on July 25, 2014 at 9:26 am

    Waite Hoyt was my guy, too, at least when I was very young. Both mom and dad hailed from northern Kentucky and were Reds fans. My mom used to regale us with stories of going to Crosley Field with my grandmother for Ladies Day. In 1964, we moved to the Cleveland area and I began rooting for the Indians, missing the whole Big Red Machine era and all the other stuff that Reds fans enjoyed.

    I’m glad to see something fun this morning. I opened up the papers and the front pages are just bleeding. Gaza. Ukraine. Air Algeria. Ugh.

  8. Julie Robinson said on July 25, 2014 at 9:57 am

    Yay for visits from daughters, sure to be a day-brightener. And break a leg, Dorothy.

    Two person plays are dangerous; even if the writing is sparkling you need outstanding actors because there’s no room to hide as you can in a large ensemble. Case in point: On Golden Pond, which is essentially a two person cast. I’ve seen it and loved it, but had to leave at intermission the last time, because the acting was so weak. Instead of two quirky eldsters they came across as two whining old people, and if I wanted that I just have to listen to the conversations at our house.

    We used to sing Moo, Moo Purdue at IU basketball games, but those other lyrics give new meaning to the phrase working blue. Wow. I didn’t march in college, but in high school, just making it through band camp was the only initiation necessary. After two weeks of full-time marching in the August heat you were bonded for the season, no hazing or liquor needed.

    Jeff B, agreed. Glad we have family coming for a gathering this weekend. I’ll be happy to kiss babies and avoid the news for a bit.

  9. coozledad said on July 25, 2014 at 10:42 am

    I read the account of a former executioner describing the waning days of the colonial period in Algeria. I believe it was published in Granta some years back.

    The problem with the Guillotine is the headstock, which is prone to warping and cupping, partially from being periodically soaked with fluids, and because in the executioner’s words every decapitee fights hard once the stock is bolted over their neck- no exceptions.

    Eventually the stocks are loose enough a strong prisoner can pull his head partially back through, resulting in a botched job.
    You would have to retract the blade and resume the process, while you fought the newly slippery blood soaked prisoner.

    The executioner said it became standard practice to have an assistant grab the decapitee’s ears and pull the head forward until the shoulders rested securely against the stocks, and then the blade would be released. Many of these assistants became partial amputees.

    Living beings resist being killed. Humans are remarkably strong, and the people who can be arsed to engineer death machines are by nature hideously incompetent shitheads. Fucking zombies.

  10. Kirk said on July 25, 2014 at 11:11 am

    I listened to Waite Hoyt call many a Reds game. I remember sitting in the kitchen, next to our breadbox-size radio, hearing him tell great Babe Ruth stories for more than an hour during a rain delay.

    Good spelling on Brennaman, Brian; not so much on Nuxhall.

  11. brian stouder said on July 25, 2014 at 11:16 am

    Hah!

    And the old lefthander probably didn’t even have a knuckleball!

    Who was the great knuckleball pitcher (not a Red) back in the mid/late ’70’s?

  12. brian stouder said on July 25, 2014 at 11:21 am

    Uncle Google leads me to think Phil Niekro is the name I was grasping for…

  13. Joe Kobiela said on July 25, 2014 at 11:27 am

    Browsing thru the song book I really hope those kids don’t think they invented a lot of those lyrics. Back in my Rugby days mid 70s thru mid 90’s we sang a majority of them our selfs, a lot of these songs were sung during both world wars and I imagine the vets that read this blog could add a few themselfs. I still get a big kick sitting in church and a old hymn will start and I look over at the wife and remind her I know different words to this tune.
    As far as the death penalty? Firing squad seem to get the job done quickly.
    Pilot Joe

  14. Bob (not Greene) said on July 25, 2014 at 11:31 am

    Brian, the knuckleballers of the 60s, 70s were the Niekro brothers, Hoyt Wilhelm, Wilbur Wood and Charlie Hough. And, of course, who could forget Jim Bouton, who wrote the great baseball tell-all “Ball Four.”

  15. LAMary said on July 25, 2014 at 11:44 am

    I loved the Niekro brothers. I remember seeing Phil in an interview saying he stayed in shape in the off season by doing the polka.

  16. Sherri said on July 25, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    As we’re on a bit of baseball theme today, I have to brag just a little bit. There’s an article on Grantland today (about football salaries) and about halfway down, it makes a reference to Nichols Law of Catcher Defense. I am the Nichols of the law; I came up with the observation back in the late ’80s after watching Mickey Tettleton’s reputation change from a good defensive catcher when he couldn’t hit to a bad defensive catcher when he starting hitting. Some 25 years later, it’s gone from an obscure netnews board to being referenced on Grantland – probably my most lasting contribution to both baseball analysis and the Internet!

    (The Grantland article is here: http://grantland.com/features/the-2014-all-bad-nfl-contracts-team/)

  17. MichaelG said on July 25, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    Dexter, Oregon’s athletic teams are known as the Ducks. The Beavers are from Oregon State. I wonder what they call the women’s teams.

    I grew up in Chicago. Jack Brickhouse was the man. He did the Sox, the Cubs and the Bears.

  18. Jolene said on July 25, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    Sherri, that is so cool! What a great thing to have a law of baseball named after you. To make it even better, several of the Google entries that refer to the law refer to you as “the great Sherri Nichols.”

    In one of the entries, the writer said that he was jealous of you and went on to declare his own baseball-related law. I’m jealous too, but, unfortunately, don’t know enough about baseball to declare my own law. Maybe I’ll concentrate on generating one in another field.

  19. Jeff Borden said on July 25, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    News of a former son of Detroit that will make most of you smile. . .

    Media Matters has a story today about how Ted Nugent’s racist rantings have made him radioactive to promoters. Two casinos operated by Indian tribes cancelled the pants-pooping idiot, which prompted his usual measured and low-key response, and his booking are drying up. Promoters say he’ll soon be limited to appearing at NRA and fox events.

    Boo fucking hoo.

  20. MarkH said on July 25, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    Count this baseball fan as another with fond memories of Waite Hoyt.

    Growing up as a Pirate fan in Pittsburgh with the dulcet broadcasting tones of Bob Prince and Jim “Possum” Woods (I know Dorothy remembers), we moved to Cincinnati in ’65 and enjoyed Hoyt’s broadcasting. That season turned out to be Hoyt’s last year for regular play-by-play, ending a 24 year career behind the Reds’ mike. It was also Pete Rose’s third major league season, where he played with the likes of Frank Robinson, Tony Perez, Vada Pinson and, yes, Joe Nuxhall. For the next four seasons, I got to go to many games at Crosley Field before it closed and the Reds moved to Riverfront Stadium. Great memories of Crosley Field (major league baseball’s smallest venue ever) which are rekindled every visit to Rockies Stadium in Denver, which bears a striking resemblance.

    Kirk, as you said, Hoyt was known for his great stories during rain delays, many about Babe Ruth to whom he was very close. Some of these, as well as the two-hour extemporaneous Ruth broadcast in 1948 when Hoyt learned of his death after a game, were recorded and issued for sale.

    One odd story about Hoyt. One night in the early ’70s, one of the Cincinnati TV stations was showing the movie ‘Beau James’, with Bob Hope portraying New York mayor during the ’20s, Jimmy Walker. One scene shows Walker at a Yankees game where they were not doing too well. An angry Walker yells, “Put in Waite Hoyt!” Immediate cue to a commercial and it’s Hoyt pitching for a local furniture company. It was supposed to be a coincidence, but….

  21. MarkH said on July 25, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    Dave, as a matter of fact, it was Red Barber who brought Waite Hoyt to Reds’ broadcasting. Going against the conventional wisdom of the day that former players were not articulate enough, Barber, then doing Reds’ play-by-play, brought him aboard as color commentator. Hoyt took over two years later when Barber moved on to become the Dodgers’ broadcaster. From the Wikipedia entry:

    “After retiring as a player, Hoyt went into broadcasting. During a stint as the host of “Grandstand and Bandstand” on WMCA, he tried to audition for the Yankees, but sponsor Wheaties vetoed him out of hand. The common view at the time was that former players did not have enough of a vocabulary to be successful broadcasters. However, Hoyt was well known for dressing down umpire George Moriarty when he missed a call by saying, “You’re out of your element. You should be a traffic cop so you could stand in the middle of the street with a badge on your chest and insult people with impunity!”

    Dodgers’ voice Red Barber, however, thought more of Hoyt’s abilities and hired him as color commentator and host of the pre- and post-game shows in 1940. After two years, he became the play-by-play voice of the Cincinnati Reds, a post he held for 24 years.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waite_Hoyt

  22. Kirk said on July 25, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    Nugent played somewhere here in Columbus this week. Sadly, they apparently sold enough tickets not to cancel. But some acts are pulling out of a later-summer festival here that is featuring R. Kelly.

  23. brian stouder said on July 25, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    Sherri – what Jolene said!

    Very cool, indeed!!

  24. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 25, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    I’m with MichaelG: the ur-broadcasters of my youth were Jack Brickhouse and Lou Boudreau, on WGN 720, brought to you by Household Finance, and our friends at the G. Heilmann Brewing Company, makers of “Old Style”.

    Sherri, very nice — salute!

  25. Dorothy said on July 25, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    I’m very impressed, Sherri! What a great claim to fame!

    And yes, MarkH, I certainly remember Bob Prince and Jim Woods with great fondness. I ran into Lanny Frattare at a mall in 1992, just a few weeks after the Braves’ Francisco Cabrera dispatched the Pirates out of the playoffs. I was with my southern sister-in-law who was a Braves fan. We had a fun conversation, the three of us. More fun for my s-i-l than Lanny and I.

  26. Sherri said on July 25, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    F——-o C—–a is He Who Must Not Be Named around our house. We were watching that game from California, with plane tickets to Pittsburgh and World Series tickets for the Pirates in hand.

  27. Dexter said on July 25, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    Jeff, Cubs announcing great Jack Quinlan died in a car wreck in 1965 and was replaced by Vince Lloyd, who , with color man Lou Boudreau took us through the Cubs resurgence in the late 60s into the 80s.
    I also listened to Waite Hoyt when he pitched Wiedemann’s beer and worked the radio booth for the Redlegs. For you beer connoisseurs, Weidemann’s is back, new formula, available in Northern KY and around Cincinnati.
    The moo moo Purdue confused me, as PU is an engineering school, and Michigan State is the school where students tromp around campus with cow shit on their clod-hoppers.

    Brian, I was listening that night…Marty said he didn’t want to die alone in a New York hotel room like Don Drysdale had died (at age 56), even though Drysdale died in a Montreal hotel room. Anyway, Marty takes his wife along now on most road trips he does go on, which are few…he never goes to Pittsburgh anymore, for example, and he skips most road trips. The Reds have so many people on their combined radio-TV team, it’s amazing. Jim Kelch, Marty, Thom Brennaman, Chris Welsh, “The Cowboy” Jeff Brantley, George Grande (part-time, semi-retired), and Jeff Piecoro and Jim Day reporting from the stands…what a team!

  28. Jerry said on July 25, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    If a method of capital punishment has to be chosen then hanging might be considered. Albert Pierrepoint who used to be the British Public Executioner claimed, I think, once to have taken about seven seconds to take a prisoner from the death cell to his death.

    Properly done it seems to have been a quick and efficient death but required a skilled executioner.

  29. brian stouder said on July 25, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    Rachel Maddow, who I love, basically says the whole thing is barbarous – and the idea that there’s a “right” way to do it is a delusional one.

    Truly, I agree – and given the expense of all the public defenders/lawyers, and the protracted nature of appeals and all the rest, lifetime imprisonment for heinous crimes is no more expensive, and indeed punishment aplenty for the convicted person.

    Aside from that, Pam and I are going to the movies tonight, but she can’t decide what she wants to see, since the movie she really wants to see is currently only playing in New York and Los Angeles (no idea what the title is…but I suspect it is based on a book she enjoyed)

  30. Jolene said on July 25, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    Boyhood is the thing to see, Brian. Off the charts reviews. A Most Wanted Man is opening this weekend, but that may be the one that won’t yet have come to the provinces.

  31. brian stouder said on July 25, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    Thanks for the tip, Jolene!

    And indeed, it may score me some points in the short run – but Pam has learned that if I suddenly have a good idea, it probably came from good ol’ nn.c

  32. brian stouder said on July 25, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    (indeed – nn.c is my dependable source for cultural Cliff’s Notes!)

  33. brian stouder said on July 25, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    news bulletin: the movie Pam wanted to see, but which is not here in the sticks yet, is

    Wish I Were Here

  34. Sue said on July 25, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    I was momentarily excited to hear about a movie starring two of my favorite actors – Colin Firth and Emma Stone – but read that there is no chemistry between them (surprising) and it’s got Woody Allen’s creepy fascination with old men and young women.

  35. Kirk said on July 25, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    Dexter@27: My memory is of Hoyt pitching Burger Beer first, then Wiedemann’s. The TV broadcasts were brought to you by Hudepohl 14-K. As the beer vendors used to say in Crosley Field, “Get moody with a Hudy.”

    And no one has life dicked like Marty Brennaman. One reason they have so many guys rotating through the booth is that he’s on his third in-season vacation now.

  36. brian stouder said on July 25, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    Back in the day – when I was a kiddo, and before I had a job, if I didn’t hear most of every single Cincinnati baseball game for three years – 1974, ’75, and ’76 – then the ones I missed you could count on the fingers of one hand.

    Indeed, if a game was televised (whether it was NBC with Joe Garagiola and Tony Kubec, or it was a Chicago game with Jack Brickhouse and the young guy), I turned down the tv volume and tuned in WLW for Marty and Joe.

    And – on the few times I got to go to Riverfront and sit way up in the red seats, I’d put my binoculars onto the WLW booth and see Marty and Joe over there, as much as watching the game. Attending that place and seeing everybody must have been somewhat similar to what someone who travels to Mecca experiences, I betcha.

    I forget the name of the giftshop they always hawked, but visiting it was a bit of a letdown.

  37. Kirk said on July 25, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    Watching Cubs game now, and they gave away Jack Brickhouse bobbleheads (with audio of some of his most famous calls) today at Wrigley.

  38. Kirk said on July 25, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    And that was the 580 Gift Shop, Brian, because of the address in downtown Cincinnati. I agree; not much better than the stadium.

  39. MarkH said on July 25, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    Kirk @35 – When we got to Cincy, it was indeed Weidemann’s as the sponsor for a number of years, preceded by Burger. Broadcast on WCKY in those years. There were two other Hudepohl beer vendor lines at Reds’ game, “Save the Day with a 14-K!”, and can’t remember the other.

    Being a city with great German heritage, Cincinnati at one time had a big number of local brews: Weidemann’s, Burger, Bavarian, Hudepohl and Schoenling come to mind. All are gone now except Schoenling merging with Hudepohl 20+ years ago. I’m sure there were others going back to the ’30s and ’40s. Interesting that Weidemann’s is back.

    Dorothy, what beers do you remember in Pittsburgh? Iron City, of course, but I also recall Duquesne and Stoney’s. Don’t know whether to count Rege Cordic’s Old Frothingslosh. Any others?

  40. Kirk said on July 25, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    “Rock ‘n’ roll with Hudepohl!”

  41. Kirk said on July 25, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    Duke Ales, made by Duquesne and sold in 6-ounce bottles, were a favorite of ours in high school.

  42. MarkH said on July 25, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    Kirk, that’s it! In Cincy, Schoenling had Little Kings, 6 oz. bottles as well, and that was our hi-powered preference. I can still get it here in Jackson. They also sold the 32 oz. ‘Big King’.

    In the small world dept., about 20 years agoI became good friends with the retired Schoenling brewmaster, and man by the name of Lichtendahl, when he moved out here to the very remote Bondurant area about 50 miles south of Jackson Hole. A pretty friendly yet crusty old German type, he passed away three years ago.

    http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/hjnews/obituary.aspx?n=charles-lichtendahl&pid=153551643

  43. LAMary said on July 25, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    If you do end up seeing Wish I Was Here, those hospital hallways in the movie are around the corner from my office, here in the semi deserted part of the hospital where stuff gets filmed.

  44. Dave said on July 25, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    I see there are Waite Hoyt fans, remembering him as fondly as I do. I remember when I was going to Cincinnati on a regular basis, watching a documentary on the local PBS station, “Waite Hoyt Remembers”. I was hoping it was available but I can’t find it anywhere. I did find this radio special from WVXU, which is nearly an hour long, for anyone who may be interested:

    http://tinyurl.com/k9rzr23

  45. Little Bird said on July 25, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    Wait until Deborah comments about tonight’s stop. This is the two night stop too!

  46. Dexter said on July 25, 2014 at 8:54 pm

    Schoenling’s Little Kings were handy at times ( my brother was a school-pictures photog for years in Ohio schools and he said the way to make kids smile was not to say “cheese” but to say “Little Kings”, because apparently the kids easily smuggled therm into school.)
    I used to subscribe to “Beer, the Magazine” and that’s how I learned of Stoney’s and Straub (Straub was from St. Mary’s, PA). I would detour while on vacations to visit breweries back in the 1980s and I got some Stoney’s on a trip to Washington, DC. OMG…Politely, I’ll say it gave me “stomach cramps” , but you know where I spent the night in the motel room.
    I always enjoyed a Hudy in Cincinnati, we couldn’t get it any further north than Dayton. Made from “pure corn” I think it was so proud of.
    You folks who have a history of listening to the Reds on radio know of “the banana phone”. That’s what Marty calls the phone when there is a rain delay…some of the best comedic bits ever to come out of that town were broadcast on the banana phone calls. Last month “Karl” from Columbus called…”Karl” was on break from “The Nervous Hospital” The dude was a spot-on doppelganger for Billy Bob’s famous character from “Slingblade”. Then there was the night a caller asked Marty what he does when he eats all those Montgomery Inn ribs and gets the horrible diarrhea. Marty handled it delicately and was very funny. But really, Marty is sort of an asshole. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YC1rIlujK8w

  47. Deborah said on July 25, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    Sherri, wow! I’m impressed. Did you happen upon that in Grantland? Or did you know it was coming?

    Three days of driving and I’m tired. Our Super 8 motel in MN is pretty much a dump, but it’s the only place in town where my niece is getting married. The wedding is in the Lutheran Church tomorrow afternoon and the reception is out at my niece’s fiance’s farm outside of town. We dropped off the wedding gift at the farm this evening and if it rains between now and then the reception will be a mud bog.

    Judy Busy, would love to but it doesn’t look like a get together is gonna happen. Just too much going on, too little time. Maybe next time?

  48. Sherri said on July 25, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    Deborah, I just happened across it. That’s probably the most high profile reference to it I’ve ever seen. I think Nichols Law has persisted because the guys who started the Baseball Prospectus were from the old rec.sport.baseball community, and they kind of spread it around the stat nerd world of the Internet. Maybe someday Nate Silver will drop a reference to it – he worked for BP for a while.

  49. Judybusy said on July 25, 2014 at 10:29 pm

    Sounds good, Deborah–I thought it might be a tight timeline, especially with where the wedding is. I hope you have a good time!

  50. Kirk said on July 25, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    Dexter,
    Yes, Marty is sort of an asshole but his irascibility is part of his appeal. A recent banana phoner from Brookyln asked whether, when he’s in New York, he ever goes to Peter Nugent’s Steakhouse in Brooklyn. Marty: “Been there once. I’ll never go back. … First of all, the place is a dump.” Who knows what set him off there, but the response is just so typically Marty. As long as he can do the great job he does of describing a baseball game, I’ll let him be kind of a pain in the ass. Of course, I’ve been listening to him for about 40 years.

    I do not, though, like to hear him complain about anything about his job. If I could have picked one job, I couldn’t think of a better one than his.

  51. brian stouder said on July 25, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    Dexter, my friend, we just have to agree to disagree about Marty…that clip you posted a link to got me laughing out loud – and it was mainly true!

  52. Deborah said on July 25, 2014 at 11:23 pm

    Sherri, cool. The first time I was ever exposed to keeping baseball stats was when a friend I worked with in St. Louis attended a Cardinals game with a bunch of us work colleagues. He had a pad of forms that he used that he filled out with symbols and numbers that seemed like Greek to me but fascinating at the same time. It made me realize that there a whole lot of ways to engage with the sport. I myself, just like to go to at least one game a year. I just like soaking up the spectacle of it, kind of like the opera,

  53. Deborah said on July 25, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    Lots of typos in that last comment, sorry about that, too tired.

  54. Bob (not Greene) said on July 25, 2014 at 11:41 pm

    I’m not a Reds fan so I’m a little reluctant to opine on Marty, but I’ve heard him several times over the years and always found him to be a smug, self righteous jerk. His son was a Cubs announcer for a few years and I never warmed up to him either. It was like he was forcing that voice on himself. Anyway Marty has this odd anti-Cub streak that makes him sound like a yokel and it drives me nuts (Yar!)

  55. Dexter said on July 26, 2014 at 12:55 am

    In 1996 NL umpire John McSherry collapsed on the Riverfront Stadium turf and died within minutes. Marty Brennaman then began a tirade about out-of-shape umpires, which just wasn’t the right timing, sheesh.
    Right after that, the league got after fat-ass ump Eric Gregg and others. http://images.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/_photos/2006-06-05-gregg.jpg
    Gregg went on a diet and did lose a lot of weight, as did other umpires. 18 years have passed and the league now has many thin young umps, with a few old fat guys hanging on. Yeah, Kirk, I had the radio on the day Marty dissed Peter Nugent’s. But I have eaten at the Dublin Montgomery Inn that he raves on about, and I had duck and it was inedible, and the famous hand-cut cottage fries were burned.

  56. basset said on July 26, 2014 at 9:24 am

    And the bottled Montgomery Inn barbecue sauce is, like so many commercial sauces, loaded up with HFCS.

    Food experience yesterday: took my sister in law into a Krystal (kind of a Southern White Castle) and told the cashier that she was from Detroit and had never had a Krystal. They got all excited and kept asking us how she liked it… just fine, she said, but it’s not quite a White Castle slider.

  57. Kirk said on July 26, 2014 at 9:58 am

    I have long thought Montgomery Inn to be over-rated. Marty, of course, gets paid to rave about the food there.

  58. Basset said on July 26, 2014 at 10:48 am

    Been years ago but I didn’t think it was anything special. The Irish Picnic in Mcewen, tennessee, now that’s some good BBQ – going on today, google it

  59. Deborah said on July 26, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    The continuing saga of really bad motels: we had to take cold showers. The wedding is in a couple of hours and there’s no hot water. This is a Super 8, yes I know what did I expect? I complained royally, I contacted Wyndham the company that owns Super 8 and a bunch of other chains. Yesterday my sister had to take a cold shower but they said a plumber was there and it would be fixed. Of course they didn’t get it fixed, but they didn’t call any of our rooms to let us know that. There are holes in the window screens that they have “repaired” with duct tape and it’s been there awhile. Not that we opened the windows, at least we had air conditioning since the high had been 89 yesterday. When my sister and brother-in-law checked in the day before their room didn’t have air, then they got a new room that was a smoking room and smelled terrible. I’m looking for another place in a nearby town for all of us, but I’m not having much luck.

  60. Dexter said on July 26, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    In the Montgomery Inn in Dublin,the walls are covered with photos of Marty with George Bush 43, John Bench with 43, the restaurant staff with 43, all taken at the Cincinnati Boathouse restaurant. http://thecincyblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Montgomery-Inn-Boathouse.jpg

  61. Dexter said on July 26, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    And to close out my rantings on baseball on this thread, I leave the thread with this…WWCD? (What Would Casey Do?)
    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-uACfavvzSuY/UfcXO78nduI/AAAAAAAAeyI/F7pQitwt9qE/s1600/Casey+Stengel+crystal+ball.jpg

  62. MarkH said on July 26, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    In the 12 years I called Cincinnati home, our family went to the Montgomery Inn maybe once. Nothing special; count me in the over-rated category. I will admit that I sometimes can pass the frozen White Castles without picking up a box at the local Kroger. My wife and learned to make a really decent scratch version of Cincinnati Chili.

    Deborah, I feel really bad for you and the family. Super 8 has had problems for years. Some operators are OK and you can get your money’s worth. But when you start with pre-fab, thin-walled construction with no insulation for a facility, a good night’s sleep will be a bonus, especially if your are an unintended participant in the next room’s extended sex romp. I can’t believe what they charge even if I shop on CheapTickets or HotWire.

  63. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 26, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    Brickhouse bobbleheads. I’m feeling a twinge of covetousness.

  64. Sherri said on July 27, 2014 at 12:56 am

    Jolene mentioned Roger Angell in the previous thread – here’s an article about him from SI. He’s 93 and still working.

    http://www.si.com/mlb/2014/07/22/roger-angell-tom-verducci-hall-fame

  65. Jolene said on July 27, 2014 at 6:09 am

    And Maureen Dowd wrote about Angell for today’s NYT. Apparently, they went shopping together so he could get something new to wear to his induction into the Baseball HOF.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/27/opinion/sunday/maureen-dowd-angell-in-the-outfield.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&smid=tw-nytopinion&_r=0

    In this piece, she links to a recent piece about aging by Angell. If you didn’t read it when it came out, you should read it now.

  66. Jolene said on July 27, 2014 at 6:22 am

    One more link: In honor of HOF weekend, The New Yorker, has set up a web page with a video about Angell and links to right “Angell classics”.

    http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/hall-fame-weekend-roger-angells-baseball-writing

  67. Judybusy said on July 27, 2014 at 11:44 am

    Deborah, I wished you were closer–we’d just have you stay with us. You could use our new, beautiful tiled shower. It even has two heads!

  68. Dave said on July 27, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Went to the original Montgomery Inn once with a fellow worker. We weren’t impressed, either, wondered about all the hoopla, and never went back.

  69. Sherri said on July 27, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    Jolene is right – go read the Angell piece on aging.

    Kudos to Susan Slusser, the beat writer for the Oakland A’s, who championed the idea of awarding Roger Angell the J.G. Taylor Spink Award, the Hall of Fame award for baseball writers. Previously, only members of the BBWAA were given this award, and Angell never qualified for the BBWAA, but Slusser rightly recognized that Angell was the best baseball writer around, and made this possible.

  70. Kirk said on July 27, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    Amen to that, Sherri. Angell’s work is easily Cooperstown-worthy.

  71. Deborah said on July 27, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    We’re back in Chicago, left MN at 4:45am with no shower since they still didn’t have hot water and I wasn’t about to take another cold one like we had done yesterday before the wedding. About the wedding: the church service was nice, my niece looked so cute and happy. The reception on the farm was ok, there were 300 people there, my niece was worried they would run out of food. They had butchered and roasted 2 hogs for the occasion and the pork was delicious. True to form they brought out the guns. Some guys sitting at the head table were mixing up something that they poured into a 10 gal white plastic bucket, some powder that turned out to be 15 1/2 lbs of fertilizer and 1/2 lb of aluminum. They took the bucket way out to a field and started shooting at it. A 13 year old kid, the nephew of the groom was the main shooter. When they finally hit the bucket it exploded with a force that shook the ground that you could feel on your body. I found it a very bizarre and dangerous ritual, but there you go.

    I’m doing laundry and typing this without my glasses so probably have tons of typos

    • nancy said on July 27, 2014 at 6:20 pm

      I’m not a big gun person, Deborah, but that sounds sort of awesome. That’s the same kind of bomb Tim McVeigh built, only he used a fuse.

  72. brian stouder said on July 27, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    Deborah, you’re a braver person than I am.

    I’d have immediately hit the eject button, when the fertilizer bomb building began!

  73. Jolene said on July 27, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    Wow, Deborah! I’ve never heard of blowing things up as an adjunct to a wedding. Your relatives are much more entertaining than mine.

  74. Julie Robinson said on July 27, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    And my mom was upset that her dad was serving beer down in the machine shed during her wedding reception! That’s not a tradition on either side of my farm family. Sounds scary to me, but I’m a wimp.

    A friend who lives near Fort Wayne was part of a group working to block Super 8 from building in their small town. They did research and learned that when the cheaply constructed buildings start to fall apart, Super 8 just walks away. They have no investment in the community and they don’t care about the eyesore they’ve created. If it’s not profitable, they don’t want it. What a metaphor for American business today. (BTW, they won and Super 8 went up the road to another small town.)

  75. Judybusy said on July 27, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    Wow, this Minnesota farm kid never heard of that going on at a wedding, either! That is really weird. Then again, I don’t go to a lot of rural weddings these days.

    Winding down a great weekend: lots of puttering done around the homestead, reading, socializing with friends, making yummy food, and making a new friend at the bulk coffee section at my local food co-op. The basement project will be done on Thursday, with the carpet installation and the custom shower door. Then, our work begins with getting furniture down there, putting up artwork, etc, etc. Our porch has been full of stuff from the basement since mid-February, and we are ready to re-claim that space.

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