On the Lighter Side: Baseball season is finished, but the memories never fade

Joe Guilbeau

We’ve just gotten past the World Series and Houston’s loss to the Atlanta Braves in what was an unpredictable year for baseball, which was at one time called “the national pastime.”

Joe Guilbeau

It has played a special role in my life and has created some unforgettable memories.

The pinnacle of those memories was Oct. 25, 2005, when my son and I attended the first World Series game ever played in Texas. It is the only World Series game I ever attended, and it was Series history – 14 innings!

It lasted five hours and 41 minutes. Remember, that was 16 years ago, but parking near the main gate was $50, and the program was $25. I did not even attempt to buy a beer.

It was the only game that baseball legend Roger Clemens ever played as a relief pitcher.

In the off-season, a reporter asked Roger if he felt he was getting too old to play baseball.

“I believe I remember I played in the World Series last year,” he said.

In 1946, when I was stationed at the U.S. Naval Base in Newport, R.I., we would ride the bus to Providence and the train to Boston to see the great Ted Williams belt them out of Fenway Park.

In the prime of his career, Williams served his country five years in World War II – three years in the Navy and two as a Marine fighter pilot.

He then completed his baseball career with 521 home runs. I consider him one of America’s greatest patriots.

Baseball is known as a slow game. It is said that in a nine-game regulation game, the ball is in play for only nine minutes. So, now, that is a $25 program for nine minutes of action.

And, by the way, how many times must the manager go talk to the pitcher?

Here is a vintage story: In the 1940s, I participated in a baseball game between the crews of two U.S. Navy aircraft carriers. We tied the two ships together and laid out a baseball field.

Early on, we discovered both teams had former Major League pitchers and we couldn’t hit them. The first day we played 28 innings. The second day we played 32 innings, again with no scores.

This went on for four days with no score. At the end of the fourth day, everyone was so tired, and the manger put me in as a walk-on. I hit a home run and got a loud roar of applause.

But the game wasn’t over because they weren’t the home team. The sun was going down and I was playing centerfield, and they had two out and the last batter had a full count.

But on the next pitch he hit a ball that came sailing 100 feet over my head. I ran over to the edge of the flight deck.

But what happened next has been described as a “Miracle at Sea.” A radio wire cut the ball game in half – one half fell in the Pacific Ocean, and I caught the other half and we beat them 1 to ½.

An example of how you can stretch a ‘weak’ story.