Monday, January 21, 2013

Family of Morons: Shea Stadium

Family of Morons Shea Stadium The Morons loved baseball and I was thankful for that. The warden had actually had a cup of coffee with the Brooklyn Dodgers when he was 23. On this day, I had a surprise for the warden as he brought the family 1960 Chevrolet Biscayne into the driveway, I greeted him with a statement: “Bob Murphy called.” Of course I knew this would get his attention. Murphy was famous in these parts as one of the original New York Mets announcers when they played their first game in 1962. Along with Lindsey Nelson and HOF Ralph Kiner, Murphy had approached my dad, who was the recreation supervisor for the city and asked him for a personal favor. He asked the warden to keep an eye out for his kids and he winked at the end of that brief conversation. I knew what that wink meant and today I was playing that card. I had the warden’s attention. It was minutes later that I was joining him in the Chevy. I had escaped garden work detail for the day. Our car headed west in the direction of Shea Stadium, the home park for those Mets, since 1964, after they had spent their initial years at the Polo Grounds, the legendary ball park of the New York Giants, who with the Brooklyn Dodgers, had escaped from New York City to head to California after the completion of the 1957 baseball season. The warden was characteristically quiet as he guided the Chevy along the Grand Central Parkway and into the Shea lot. The warden wasn’t a communicator. He talked at you when he had something to say. Finally, he thought of that something. “I will get the tickets at WILL CALL.” And that’s when it hit me. The warden wasn’t going to find any tickets at WILL CALL. Why? I had made it all up. It was a calculated risk. If the warden discovered my ruse, I would be one sorry prisoner. But how could he find out. Remember this was the early 1960’s. The warden couldn’t double check phone records to see that Bob Murphy never made that phone call. My only concern would be that Murphy would actually tell the warden that no call ever took place. I was counting on that not happening. Still, as the warden ambled over to the WILL CALL window, I was filled with anxiety. I closed my eyes and stole some glances. I could see my dad talking to someone on the phone and my heart began racing. Suddenly, the warden was heading my way and he was waving something in the air. As he got closer, I could make it out. TICKETS!!! We were in!

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