I grew up in Brooklyn…which has been a National League town ever since there was a ballpark called Ebbets Field on a Brooklyn street called Bedford Avenue. Iâ€™m a Mets fan now. So when my Lady Wonder Wench came to live with me in New York, we spent a lot of time at Shea Stadium. I call my wife “Lady Wonder Wench.” But this is the story of one beautiful spring day when she became my “Baseball Babe.”
Since we moved to Pennsylvania, weâ€™ve been watching the Mets play in the Phillies beautiful stadium…where hot dogs go for about $7 … and the fans remind me a lot of good old New York. Local legend has it that a fan fell out of the upper deck last year, and when he was able to get up and walk away, the crowd booed. Just like home.
We were at a game last year, and a couple of guys were sitting next to us and really screaming. I said to one of them…hey, guys, cool it… my wife is here and youâ€™re making me uncomfortable. He turned to me, noticed my Metâ€™s cap, spilled some beer on my shoe and said, “This is war.” I said no…this is a game. When a war is over, you count how many guys got killed. When this game is over, these guys will take a shower and ride their limos to some five star restaurant and have dinner together. The guy spilled some beer on my other shoe and went back to screaming.
I really hate it when people get nuts like that about sports. I love competition. Baseball is a game of skill, of course, so I wasnâ€™t really very good at it. But I was a very successful high school swimmer… because I swam the butterfly and the way you win a butterfly race is by simply refusing to die on the third lap…which is the place in the race where youâ€™d rather die than pull your arms out of their sockets and over your head one more time.
When I was at WNBC radio, we had a softball team we called the Cheaters…because we cheated. We told people up front, honestly… that we were going to cheat, so it was ok. The only game you canâ€™t cheat at is peek-a-boo. The WNBC Cheaters played against cops and fire departments… and once against some nuns, believe it or not…charity games. Mostly, we lost, but I always claimed we won 9-1 on the air… because, as I said…we cheated. The nuns cheated, too. They prayed. And they took advantage of a very important thing that Iâ€™ll try to put delicately…where do you apply the tag on a nun who is about to slide into second brandishing a rosary with a 20 pound crucifix on it? Then she stole third, but she felt so guilty about it she went back.
Of course, no matter how skillful and athletic some women might become, no woman will ever play major league baseball …for several important reasons. First and foremost, women do not spit; nor do they scratch. And thatâ€™s a good part of the game at the major league level. Also, if a woman were playing third base, and had to choose between catching a pop foul fly ball or saving the life of a kid falling from the stands, she would catch the kid without even considering the fact that she might have started a double play with a good peg to second.
I pitched for the WNBC Cheaters. When I pitched, the batters almost always hit a grounder. Often, however, the first bounce was around 300 feet away from home plate. I was proof of the old baseball maxim that good pitching will always stop good hitting. And vice versa.
I donâ€™t play much ball any more. Like lots of Louie-Louie Generation guys, I have developed kind of a furniture problem. My chest has fallen into my drawers. Our bodies are like bars of soap. They get worn down when they get sent to the showers so often. Thatâ€™s why Louie-Louie Generation guys have to turn the charm up to stun to remain the partners of choice of super models and Baseball Babes every where. Itâ€™s a tough job, but somebody has to do it.
1- What are the warmest parts of your body…really?
2- Who discovered giant spiders hanging by threads from the moon?
3- What vegetableâ€™s name is a rough description of my Lady Wonder Wench?
3 right – Hank Aaron
2 right – Duke Snider
1 right – Marv Thornberry
0 right – Dick Summer
Last time, I asked how a guy who is desperately trying to be a gentleman can open a restaurant door for a lady… when that door opens into a small space, with another door just out of armsâ€™ reach. Some physically impossible answers came in. But one I really like came from Proud PodCast Participant Richard Butler. He says, “Reach around to open the second door, and just brush by her body a little to let her know you think she is the best.” There are those who will say that Richard and I are two dirty old men. To them, I quote the words of Big Louie…his own bad self…when he said, “Sometimes people confuse virtue for a simple lack of sufficient temptation.”
Any comments…please send an email to Dick@DickSummer.comÂ .
I meant to tell you about the day my “Lady Wonder Wench” became my “Baseball Babe.” She had a brother by the name of Bob. When they were kids growing up, Bobby used to try to get her to smile by staring at her and daring her not to smile…you know the game. Bob grew up and joined the army. He was a good soldier who did his family and his country proud. When he died a few years ago…as his closest living relative, they gave My Lady the American flag thatâ€™s now in a mahogany case on our living room wall.
She toughed it out. She didnâ€™t cry. It reminded me of what it must have been like when Bobby was looking at her trying to get her to laugh…when they were kids. She didnâ€™t cry…or maybe she couldnâ€™t cry…even when the honor guard fired his last salute…and he was laid to rest…she didnâ€™t cry. But she didnâ€™t smile much either…until almost a year later.
It was at a Mets spring training game…on a bright, breezy spring day. When the game was about to begin, the P.A. announcer said, “Please rise, remove your hats and honor America by joining together to sing our national anthem.” Everybody stood up and took off their hats, and a military Honor guard marched out with the flag snapping smartly in the wind.
Thousands of us stood up…shoulder to shoulder… to sing the Star Spangled Banner. And when we got to the part about “oh say does that Star Spangled banner still wave”…she started squeezing my hand pretty hard… and as she sang about the land of the free and the home of the brave…it was like her brother Bobby finally stared my lovely Lady Wonder Wench down…and she smiled at him…and me. And cried.
Thatâ€™s how…one lovely spring day… my Lady Wonder Wench became my Baseball Babe.