Billy-Ball Daily: 2007-7-24

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Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

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Today is Barry B*nds and Michael Richards birthday

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Top of the 1st
Songwriter Ron Miller, whose tunes included some of the most annoying songs of all-time, “Touch Me in the Morning,” “Yester-me, Yester-you, Yesterday,” and “For Once in My Life,” died yesterday of cardiac arrest at Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center after a long battle with emphysema and cancer. He was 74.

You have to give Miller credit, while his songs had enough syrup to make dozens of ice cream sundaes; he still had more hits than Wily Mo Pena. I couldn’t help but wonder how someone so clearly talented could write so many songs that could be heard in every elevator, dentist waiting room, supermarket, and bad movie soundtracks. Then there it was, buried down in the obit, “Born in Chicago, Miller was a die-hard Cubs fan, who wrote his first sad song as a child about his beloved but hapless team, his daughter said.”

I can’t imagine what being a Cubs fan could do to you or your psyche. There always has been a special place for fans of losing teams. Red Sox fans, for so many years, lived in a pantheon of pain. Their plight was one in which, until 2004, they came so very close, so many times only to go home empty handed. It’s all changed since 2004, their fans have an expectation of winning and they can always relive in their mind’s eye a Big Papi late inning heroic and bring on tears of joy thinking about Dave Roberts stealing second. Plus, with the current ownership who spends as freely as the Yankees, for the Red Sox and their fans it’s the end of the innocence.

New York Mets fans from their inception in 1962 to their Miracle year of 1969 had their own special spot. Each fan sat on the throne of Throneberry and could wonder en masse, “can’t anybody here play this game?” Oh those early Mets were awful, but they were like an Ed Wood movie, so bad they were fun to watch. A recap of those early years could be called “Team 9 from Outer Space.” On May 26, 1964, long before the internet, a Mets fan called a newspaper to ask how the Mets did that day and the reply came, “They scored 19 runs.” The caller responded, “Did they win?”

I would have loved to have been a Brooklyn Dodger fan. Not because of any masochistic tendencies but for the camaraderie. For the most part, the players loved each other, the fans loved each other, the fans loved the players, and the players loved the fans. These were “the Boys of Summer.” Jackie, Newk, Gil, Pee-Wee, Campy, Pistol Pete, and the Duke, to name a few. You knew `em, you loved `em, you couldn’t live without `em. They were the original “wait till next yearers.” And in all the years they inhabited Brooklyn, only in 1955, could they say that “this is next year.” Then Walter O’Malley stole the team to Los Angeles. Stan Isaacs wrote, “Newspapermen Pete Hamill and Jack Newfield once were listing the three worst men in the world. They named Hitler, Stalin-and O’Malley. The kicker to the comment was this poser: “You are in a room with Hitler, Stalin and O’Malley and you have a gun with two bullets in it; who do you shoot?” Answer: “You shoot the two bullets at O’Malley.””

Being a baseball fan in Philadelphia can’t have been much fun either. Between the A’s and the Phils, they hosted two of the worst teams in baseball history. But they are a less sympathetic (or empathetic) lot. Not known for hugging, laugh, or crying, Philly fans are renowned for their booing, their merciless attitude, their booing, their throwing things, and their booing. Not that you can really blame them. Since the Phillies reached the 10,000 defeat mark, the rest of sports finally realize what these fans have been going through.

Think back when Gene Mauch, a name that remains an anathema in Philadelphia, and company had the pennant in hand (a 6