Posts Tagged ‘Major League Baseball (MLB)’

The persistence of memory: A tribute to two obsolete sports radio jingles

October 31, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Oct. 31, 2015

As I demonstrated in my previous posts, about the New York television and radio landscape of years past, I remember plenty of things that are no longer. (Perhaps this is something fundamental about human existence: We remember things that are no longer and dream about things that never have been.)

All of which is to set up two very short anecdotes about radio jingles and the weird persistence of memory.

As most Americans know, the New York Mets are playing in the World Series against the Kansas City Royals, with the latter squad leading two games to one in the best-of-seven competition. The Mets, who last appeared in the Series in 2000 (a loss to the Yankees, for whom I traditionally root), have not won a Major League Baseball championship since their previous Series appearance, in 1986.

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The persistence of memory: New York radio and New York sportscasting

October 28, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Oct. 28, 2015

Earlier today, I wrote about the greater New York City metropolitan-area television scene of my youth, which was dominated by New York City. Radio, as I mentioned, was much the same.

I don’t know the channels of various television stations in North Carolina because I have essentially never had a working television in my house during the nearly dozen years that I’ve lived in the state.

I have, however, had a working radio in my home and my car for all of that time, and I’m somewhat familiar with the radio scene down there. I definitely know the frequencies of my favorite Old North State stations, beginning with WUNC North Carolina Public Radio, which is located at 91.5 FM on the radio dial. (Dial — do radios even have those any more?)

But this post isn’t about that. It’s about the New York radio scene.

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Ambushed by the past: A blog post about the glimpse of television that prompted my previous two blog posts

October 19, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Oct. 19, 2014

Sometimes, current events catch you by surprise. On Tuesday night, a part of my past popped up unexpectedly.

In between World Tavern Poker tournaments at the Big Easy, a restaurant in Cary, N.C., I sat in a high chair at the island that separates the bar area from the dining area. The Kansas City Royals were hosting Baltimore in what would turn out to be the fourth and final game of the American League Championship Series, and I wanted to keep an eye on the action.

But images on another screen, showing an old Major League Baseball event, caught my attention. The video was fuzzy, and the sound was off, and my view of the screen was obscured, but somehow, I recognized the event after seeing just a second or two of footage.

CNN was showing a documentary about the event that’s known to the world as the San Francisco earthquake. I murmured “1989 World Series” (or words to that effect) to myself. Suddenly, scattered memories of my experiences of the Loma Prieta temblor began flashing through my mind.

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Journey into the past: Earthquake!!!

October 15, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Oct. 15, 2014

One of the most interesting days of my life occurred when I was a college freshman. I had no inkling of what was about to happen.

This was a long time ago, so there’s plenty I don’t remember about this day. But as I recall, I was lounging in my dorm room feeling sleepy. Dinner time was coming soon. My roommate, Robert was there.

Then the building started to vibrate.

It was 5:04 p.m. Pacific time on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 1989. Stanford University, and the rest of the San Francisco Bay Area, was about to get rocked.

Robert and I both made our way to the doorway. We stood there, trying to keep our balance, fending off the door as it swung back and forth.

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Seasons of sports: One fan’s calendar

June 27, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
June 27, 2014

I make no bones about it: I become a soccer fan every few years, whenever the American men or women are competing in the World Cup. I have nothing against the Beautiful Game (football or footy or fútbol, as it’s widely known outside of the States) but my sporting agenda is too packed for me to indulge anything beyond this kind of sporadic soccer fandom.

Football, by which I mean American football, has been my top sports passion for years: College football through the end of the regular season, the National Football League after that. My attention shifts to college basketball once the Super Bowl has been played.

Once, I was a fanatical and relatively informed baseball fan; now, spring is a bit of a sports breather for me. I pay minimal attention to the start of the Major League season, even though everyone has a shot at the playoffs at the start of April. (Actually, my interest is low sort of because everyone has a shot at the playoffs at the start of April.)

Come May, I sometimes let the National Basketball Association and National Hockey League playoffs hover on the periphery of my consciousness. Occasionally,  I’ll take a closer look if there are compelling narratives. Such was the case this year, with San Antonio attempting to avenge its loss to the Miami Heat in a rematch of the 2013 NBA finals and the New York Rangers seeking to win their first Stanley Cup in 20 years. (For many decades prior to 1994, Rangers haters would boisterously chant “1940! 1940!,” a taunting reminder of when the boys in blue last topped the NHL.)

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The batboy, the Boss and the colorful team that filled the House that Ruth Built: Ray Negron and Sally Cook tell of ‘Yankee Miracles’

August 24, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Aug. 24, 2013

At 3:35 p.m. on June 29, 1973, on what should have been the last day of class for Queens student Ray Negron, the high school junior began to vandalize Yankee Stadium. Just as he did, a navy-blue town car containing two Yankees officials pulled up. Negron stood there, paralyzed with fear, as his companions fled from men they thought were undercover cops cracking down on graffiti.

Years before, Negron, a Yankees fanatic, had been able to scrimmage illicitly on the stadium’s hallowed field, thanks to sympathetic members of the ballpark cleaning crew. He thought he knew the historic ballpark at River Avenue and 161st Street inside out. On that summer afternoon, however, team security manager Frank Wilson and the other official escorted Negron into the stadium bowels, to a small police station that few even knew was located there.

Negron sat in the fetid holding cell, thinking about a wayward uncle who had met an untimely end after being drawn into a life of drugs and crime at an early age. He imagined how devastated his mother and stepfather would be by news of his arrest.

In fact, that aborted act of vandalism turned out to be the best mistake that Negron ever made. The other man who apprehended him was one George Michael Steinbrenner, a.k.a. the Boss, the larger-than-life team owner who decided to let Negron work off the damage he’d inflicted by apprenticing in the Yankees clubhouse.

Thus began a decades-long association for the Queens resident, not just with Steinbrenner but with the flagship Major League Baseball franchise.

This almost too-good-to-be-true anecdote helps kick off Yankee Miracles: Life with the Boss and the Bronx Bombers, the 2012 memoir co-written by Negron and Sally Cook. The volume affords a pleasant and sometimes surprising trip into the distant and recent pasts of the most famous team in all of American sports. Read the rest of this entry »

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