During the Thanksgiving weekend the Baseball channel replayed the Ken Burns documentary “Baseball” a custom that happens once or twice a year, usually during the Allstar break in July and/or an off season holiday such as Thanksgiving. I’ve seen the documentary several times and it always brings back memories of one sort or another, usually it’s watching a Giants game with my dad when I was a kid, he pointing out how good Willie Mays was and I fixating on Willie McCovey, my very first sports hero, hitting home runs. Other times it’s the 15 or so years I spent playing slow-pitch softball, how seriously we took it back then, and how insignificant it all seems thirty years later. Although, I still have nearly all the uniform shirts from all the teams, as well as my well worn glove and dad’s seventy year old first basements mitt, both oiled and ready (sort of) to go.
Speaking of my dad, this years multi-episode presentation reminded me of October and my Math and Science teaching father’s practice of banishing the student who sat in the desk in front of my dad’s desk and placing a TV there instead, to watch the World Series, which for many, many years, was only played during the day and dad wasn’t going to miss any of it. It didn’t matter who was playing, it was the World Series, that was reason enough. I often wonder if that sort of teacher behavior would be tolerated in this day and age, and how lucky I was to grow up in the 1960’s and 70’s.
The other memory that comes to me while watching “Baseball” is how much I like black and white photography, I’d rather watch a rerun of “Perry Mason” in B & W than “Ironside” both starring Raymond Burr, but “Ironside” was filmed in colour and looks like a commercial for buying a new colour TV, with all the bright, almost florescent hues bombarding the viewer, or not, if one had a B & W TV. Which I guess was the point, since nearly every 60’s TV show that converted to colour does pretty much the same thing, bright, brighter, brightest….”Buy your new Motorola today!!”
If you haven’t had the pleasure to watch the documentary, it is presented in “innings” with the first describing the origins of the game, about the first 100 years, after that, each inning is a decade, with it’s own title 1900 – 1910 is titled “Something like a war” for how hard they played. I eagerly watch each inning until it gets to the 1960’s when most of the footage is in colour and I lose interest. Not really sure why, maybe B & W represents the past and colour the present or future, neither of which I’m particularly looking forward to.