How We Spent Our All-Star Vacation

It’s hard to believe I had never made it to Cooperstown, living on the east coast my whole life, but the three-day All-Star Series and a bunch of free time with Sheila finally made it possible. Forgot to mention last time that we had just enough money left to buy a used VW van from some hippies outside of Cleveland, which is how we putt-putted our way to Philly for those Pirates games.

But now we wanted a little alone time to just enjoy the country roads, and what better place to do that than the Hall of Fame? Ernie Banks and Al Lopez are getting inducted next month, along with a couple of Negro Leaguers Pop Lloyd and Martin Dihigo, and it would be nice to be back for that, but that weekend would also be extra crowded.

What nobody tells you about Cooperstown is how incredibly beautiful the lake and little village are. We ended up sleeping in back of the van on a futon, not being able to afford the fancy inn we were parked in the lot of, but definitely had our fill of the local sights. Best of all was Doubleday Field, a gorgeous little ball park where some high school kids were playing. Looking at the trees and a church steeple and houses right outside the fence, we felt like we were back in the late 1800s or something.

Sheila was starting to get restless there, though. She was itching to find out how her Pirates were doing, and wasn’t getting good reception on her SuperPhone. Then she learned in a bar that the Cubs had beaten them in extra innings, putting her in a gross mood the whole night.

So today we kept moving, and ended up over in the even more gorgeous Berkshires to see the Boston pops play at the Tanglewood Music Festival. Or I guess I should say hear them play, because that’s where the grooviest adults get a picnic together and sit on the huge lawn for the show.  We camped out next to two couples who swore they had even seen The Who perform Tommy there seven years ago  One of the guys said he would kill to see the Beatles do a reunion show at Tanglewood sometime.  “They got about two years to pull that off,” I said, and Sheila poked me in the ribs to shut me up.

Sheila and me shared a bottle of Mateus and some take-out fried clams, and I have to say it was pretty nice even though I couldn’t tell you Arthur Fiedler from Cecil Fielder. The cool thing was that the lawn was littered with a half dozen or so Red Sox fans, following their game with Chicago on transistor radio earphones. I only made three bathroom trips but still caught a lot of the scoring details by checking in with the same fans.

Then the Sox were behind again, and I was suddenly the one bummed out. I told Sheila it was time to get serious tomorrow about rounding up the nutty troops, or at least tracking Seamus down, because he seemed to be the key to getting us out of this weird decade.

“Are you sure Carlton?” she asked, gazing at me through the amber, heart-shaped sunglasses she had found in back of our van. “I suspect I’m beginning to…I don’t know…dig the scene here.”

I stared at her for one second, then took another bathroom break.

The Buzz Line
Gip wraps up each and every day’s games, no matter where he is on the 1977 map.

at PHILLIES 8-9-0, ASTROS 7-12-2
The Astros need to undergo deep hypnosis to convince themselves they’re in the Astrodome at all times, because they sure can’t win anywhere else. This time their Cruz and Watson homers are topped by Luzinski and McBride homers, and they’re down 6-2 when they go into orbit for five runs off Lonborg and Garber in the 8th. Only to have Forsch boot a grounder with one gone in the Phillie 8th and Schmidt pop another homer for yet another dramatic late win.

DODGERS 7-13-2, at EXPOS 5-11-3
The L.A. losing streak lasts one game, as they smash open a 3-3 game with four runs off Schatzeder and Atkinson in the 7th, capped by Baker and Cey bleacher bombs.

at PIRATES 8-13-0, CUBS 1-6-1
Back to Buc business, although Stargell gets injured for six games after popping the game-winning homer in the 2nd inning. The big shock is Odell Jones going the distance with a 6-hitter. Oh right, it’s the Cubs.

at REDS 6-8-1, CARDS 2-8-1
Bench takes over the home run lead with his 34th and 35th off the suddenly bad Bob Forsch, loser of five in a row. Seaver, on the other hand, is now 13-2.

WHITE SOX 7-15-4, at RED SOX 4-7-1
Despite Alan Bannister’s best efforts to throw the game away, Chicago holds on behind their only reliable starter, Ken Kravec, and another big blast from Richie Zisk. Bannister butchers all four of his fielding chart plays, then turns an impossible DP in the last of the 9th to put the game away.

ROYALS 3-8-0, at ORIOLES 1-8-2
Uh-oh. K.C. takes a game and a half lead for the first time in a while, as Colborn beats Grimsley and the Royals out-extra-base-hit the Birds 5-2.

at YANKEES 6-10-2, RANGERS 4-9-1
Figueroa and dem Yanks do it again, and are now a half game behind Boston. Rivers is tried in the 5th hole and responds with two singles and a homer off Dock Ellis. Reggie also goes yard in this must-win, due to Torrez pitching tomorrow.

at INDIANS 5-10-2, TWINS 4-7-1
If you play it, they will come and lose. Minnesota scores two out of the gate, but Zahn gets raked for five runs in no time, Bibby gets the CG, and the Tribe is suddenly one game away from leaving last place.

American League through Friday, July 11

Kansas City 50 36 .581
Boston 47 36 .566 1.5
New York 47 37 .560 2
Texas 44 41 .518 5.5
Baltimore 42 41 .506 6.5
Chicago 38 45 .458 10.5
Minnesota 34 49 .410 14.5
Cleveland 33 50 .398 15.5

National League through Friday, July 11

Los Angeles 49 34 .590
Philadelphia 50 36 .581 0.5
Cincinnati 49 37 .570 1.5
Pittsburgh 49 38 .563 2
St. Louis 43 40 .518 6
Houston 38 47 .447 12
Montreal 34 50 .405 15.5
Chicago 27 57 .321 22.5


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7 responses to “How We Spent Our All-Star Vacation

  1. Do you have any idea what Bannister’s fielding stats are?

    • Can’t help you in that regard, but I can give you his pitching line: 49.6 IP, 70 H, 43 ER, 35 K, 27 BB, 4 HR, 2-3 record, 7.79 ERA. He is rated 4e0 for fielding, meaning he can’t make an error but has very little range.

      • I meant Alan Bannister, though! He and Orta are probably the worst DP combo ever for an above .500 team.

        • I don’t keep fielding stats, but I can tell you from rolling experience that nearly everything hit to Alan is a potential nightmare. At least with Orta, I can fill-in with Brohamer late in the game. When Kessinger comes over from the Cardinals soon I can spell Bannister with him, but Kessy ain’t much better.

  2. If you happen to be just west of Cooperstown on Route 20 (c.1977, of course), I would counsel you to avoid the Gatesdale Dairy Bar. Any diner that’s located kitty-corner from a deer rendering/dog food place…well, that’s a red flag.

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