Dear fans, clucks and keyboard jockeys:
I noticed recently a story in your newspaper about one of your regular ball players, a pitcher, I think, who said he would not play in the All Star game if it was played in Arizona. And a lot of you clucks and keyboard jockeys got yourselves all worked up about it.
Now, in my day we never got as far west at Arizona until near the end of my career when I was in the twilight, so to speak. So, I do not know about playing out there in the desert except for I think it might be awful hot and maybe take a little off your fastball and you may want to go easy on the false pep before the game if you pitch.
But I know there comes a time when a ball player has to be a man, too. There comes a time when he has to make a stand. Red Traphagen never showed up for the Star Spangled Banner until it was near over because he was taking a stand against something -- he was never clear about what. It might have been the wars we was always in or maybe he just did not like to see everybody cheering the same thing just to be cheering something with everybody else. Red was like that.
I took a stand, too, now and then, and I always felt better for it. Now if you think baseball is not about your real stuff that happens in the world then you might not be paying attention. In my day it was a lot about some of the players we had on the Mammoths who were not your regular white players and how they would be treated on the field and in the club house. It was also about our Jewish players. And it was about our players that needed a translator to talk to you until they got settled and learned how to swear in English, which always come first.
It was also about big money, as any cluck could see. Not the big money your regular ball players made but the big money that owned the game. In those days, the big money was in cars -- unlike today -- and the owners of the Mammoths made cars and give some of them away to ball players now and then. But they kept you under contract, too, and that gave them some leverage to keep your mouth shut, unless you could pitch like me and it did not matter to you. Which is another good reason to keep your insurance up to date because that is the kind of investment that can let you say what is on your mind at contract time. See me about that.
So I will just say to your relief pitcher to not listen a-tall to the clucks and keyboard jockeys and be a man. If you do not want to pitch out there in the desert, do not. And, if you do, do not forget to bring your papers.