Friday, October 26, 2007

Fields of destruction, a short story

fields of destruction
Even in 2007, most baseball fans know of Bob Feller, who could have been the best pitcher in baseball history if he hadn’t “walked off the mound” to join the Navy on Monday, December 8, 1941, the day after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. The mound in the diamond of Cleveland Municipal Stadium, built in 1931 and destroyed 64 years later, which just happens to be my age to date.
What not many people ever knew, except Iowans, was they called young Feller “the heater from Van Meter,” Iowa that is. Today’s population 866. The railroad tracks headed west and a farm road called R Road make a cross and that’s Van Meter.
Feller could be one of the heroes of William Casey Blake, who hails less than 20 miles or so down the road east in Des Moines. Blake plays ball in Cleveland’s new ball park. It’s called Jacobs Field, rather poetic, I think, and something like Baltimore’s Camden Yards, near the train station.
Whether Iowan Blake was named after the mighty Casey who struck out breaking a bunch of hearts I don’t know. Probably. The third baseman and a few other Cleveland Indians may be the subject of a few not exactly upbeat poems after the “Tribe” fell apartment after getting up on Boston 3-1 in the best of seven American League Championship.
Fans in Cleveland (and it will probably catch on) are calling it “The Collapse.” Cleveland sports team history is filled with bat shattering two word nationally, if not world known, epitaphs.
The Catch, the Polo Grounds , September 29, 1954.
Some think say hay Willie Mays’ An over the shoulder wide receiver style back to home plate the greatest grab in baseball history. The San Francisco Giants turned a 2-2 tie into a win and went on to defeat the Indians who put into the record books one of the best seasons in baseball history. The Giants took four straight off the Indians winning the World Series. Someone on Wikipedia says that people say that Vic Wertz drive to straight center traveled 450 feet. That can’t be possible, can it? Wikipedia, did they ever play “polo” in the Polo Grounds?
But, I am getting ahead of myself and away from the freshest Cleveland professional sports team suicides, in a 53- year- long trail of unraveling I followed until I collapsed.
I affectionately titled my story, “Fields of Destruction” because the Indians remind me of the Vietnam War era classic, “The Eve of Destruction.” I thought the song was called “Fields of Destruction,” having been in some of those fields and by Eric Burdon and the Animals rather than Barry McGuire, that I now remember as a movie with Tom Cruise about a football players’ agent that I saw part of a few times.
I was almost in Van Meter once without even knowing it’s the home of the Bob Feller Museum. Actually, Van Meter is just a few miles west along Interstate 80 from a whole Google of Super 8 motels. I have a Super 8 card somewhere. I came as close as Jimmy’s All American restaurant and bar, a place where a writer from Cleveland posing as a movie scout was immediately and continuously hugged and kissed and bought beers all Wednesday night, the only night things jump in Des Monies, I as told. Just call me lucky, but that does put some distance between me and the Indians.

Copyright by Mike Marcellino 2008

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