Clearing out the Spawtz Notebook, I will remind my readers that tomorrow, at 9:05 a.m. for the hour, I return to my broadcasting home of 14 years, WBRK, to join Bullet Bob Shade for an hour of live sports talk. Your calls will be welcome. I also have this:
* The NFL is walking a fine line with its sudden attention to helmet-to-helmet hits. If it goes too far, it won’t be football anymore. If it doesn’t go far enough, needless injuries will happen. Football is a tough, violent sports.
Players are bigger than ever, faster than ever, more muscled than ever, and better coached than ever. Put 22 of these well-condition men on the field, blow the whistle, and people are going to get hurt. An unfortunate Rutgers special teamer is now paralyzed from the neck down after a kickoff play against Army. There weren’t cheap shots involved, just innocent contact. Penn State coach Joe Paterno put forth the most interesting idea put forth, one endorsed by many head-injury experts: remove the facemasks from helmets or at most, go back to the old single bar Johnny Unitas version. This would change the way some players launch themselves like missiles into the heads of their opponents.
* The Planet still thinks the Phillies will win against the Giants in their ALCS series, even though the Quakers are down in games, 3-1.
We look for the Phils pitching to take over and their dormant offense to wake up. We have, however, changed our minds about the Rangers-Yankees series. Despite last night win by the Yanks, the Rangers, with ace Cliff Lee in the hole for Game 7, should close it out with two games (if necessary) at home.
* Do you get the funny feeling that the Yanks hope for a Game 7 so they can audition Lee one last time before laying the richest contract in baseball history on him to get him in pinstripes next year?
* There still has not been THEEEE quintessential baseball movie, but if I had to pick one, it would be “The Natural.” Robert Redford moves, plays, and talks like a ballplayer. Plus, as a film it stands up: beautifully filmed, tight editing, well written. Redford wore No. 9 in that film as a tribute to his idol, Ted Williams. As a kid, Redford was a huge fan of the Splendid Splinter. Rounding out my top five are (2) “Fear Strikes Out,” (3) “Bang the Drum Slowly,” (4) “Field of Dreams,” and (5) “It Happens Every Spring.” I find “Bull Durham” fun up to a point. “Major League” is ridiculous. We never got into it. The one thing that still makes me shake my head in “Fear Strikes Out” is Tony Perkins’ baseball action shots.
Perkins, portraying Red Sox star Jimmy Piersall, throws like a girl, hits like a tadpole, and runs like a coyote with its foot caught in a trap. The most unintentionally silly baseball film every made is Chester Reilly, aka William Bendix, in “The Babe Ruth Story.” Laughable its so bad. So bad that it borders good.
* Did your mom through out your old baseball cards? If so, then she threw out items that today, would finance a luxurious retirement. The cards above are the Red Man Chew giveaways. Red Man chewing tobacco put a card in each pouch. Thes date from the early 1950s. Card shown is Piersall’s.
* Love what Danny Ainge has done to the Boston Celtics, bringing in Shaq etc. and putting together the best team, talentwise, since Bird, McHale, and Chief walked out the door. Celtics to win it all this year.
* I played Little League for the South Division, 1963 and 1964 for MAC Finance. Jim Bridges was our coach. We played at Deming Field. I walked through Deming the other day, and could only shake my head at how they’ve ruined it. There’s no “park” left, just a hodgepodge of pavement, batting cages, fences, and other space-limiting obstructions. If I’m Czar, I take down the outfield fence at the Babe Ruth field, get rid of the batting cages, tear up the parking lot and plant grass, get rid of the concession stand at the LL field, get rid of the LL press box, and bring back open space. Make it a place that invites fun, not development.