Happy July 10, everyone. Multifaceted day for sure.
For one thing, today would’ve been my dad Harold’s 91st birthday, had he not stopped having birthdays at 53.
Ninety-one sounds pretty old but obviously not insanely old; with a bit of luck, and if you take care of yourself, a person can get to 91, and I certainly wish my father would’ve gotten somewhere close to there.
What I really wish is that he’d gotten a chance to retire, which also would’ve had him live long enough to see me at least mainly into adulthood, which I would have really benefited from. You win some, you lose some.
Today is also the day of baseball’s Midsummer Classic — the All-Star Game, this year being played in Kansas City.
I liked the game better in the years before interleague play — just had more mystique then — but it’s still by far the best all-star contest in sports; the NFL’s Pro Bowl is a complete joke, and the NHL and NBA affairs are conducted as if defense has been outlawed.
But baseball lends itself well to an all-star format, mainly because at its core you’ve got the best pitchers trying to retire the best hitters, and if you enjoy baseball, that’s simply entertaining to watch.
Reggie Jackson’s off-the-light-tower home run in Detroit (1971) and Pete Rose’s collision with Ray Fosse (1970) remain my personal top two All-Star Game moments.
July 10 is also the anniversary of my son Bob’s baptism, though I am guessing he has no awareness of this; he’s a good boy — actually a grown man at 24 — but never really had a flair for churchgoing.
Back to baseball: Monday, as you may have known, brought the annual all-star break home run derby, this year won by Prince Fielder of the Tigers. I didn’t watch the derby on TV but did catch the highlights, which enables you to see a condensed, 10-minute version of a two-hour event and feel like you didn’t miss a thing.
A home run derby is, to me, one of those things that’s really fun to take part in but not really all that interesting to watch; once you’ve seen one batting practice home run, you’ve seen them all.
The old guy league I play in used to have an annual derby, which I always participated in but never with distinction. In my 10 cuts, I’d hit one or two out and call it good. That’s because I’m mainly a line drive hitter, and also because I can’t hit the ball all that far anymore.
But I played a lot of home run derby as a kid at various locales in the Milwaukie area, and I can still, with ease, be talked into hitting BP tosses over the wall at Adair Village, vicious dogs or no vicious dogs.
Here’s a blast from the past about that for your All-Star Game day reading pleasure.