By Bill Tamburrino
I am a dinosaur. I have been called worse. There are worse names for guys my age. There is even a T-shirt company that proclaims that “Old Guys Rule.”
Monday was the Fourth of July. I hope that it means more than a three day weekend and a fireworks show to most Americans. It comes about six weeks after Memorial Day.
I hope both days make sports fans reflect and give thanks.
Both days meant baseball to me when I was a kid growing up.
By the time I was getting out of Little League, I understood that they were more important than the baseball games that I played in at the time.
As a youth I really did believe that the last two words of the National Anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance were PLAY BALL! because we recited the pledge and/or listened to the “Star Spangled Banner” before every game that I played in and most of the games that I coached.
I was never offended by any of the words in either anthem. I have been offended by some of the conduct that I have observed during the patriotic song and pledge.
I wish that people would stand politely. I don’t expect non-veterans to stand at attention or to place their hand over their heart or try to observe the proper etiquette.
Nowadays the days between Memorial Day and the Fourth of July mean: NBA, NHL, College World Series, World Cup Women’s Soccer, men’s soccer, and eating hot dogs on Coney Island.
Every event plays the national anthem of the countries playing. Every country and every participant deserves your respect.
Look up what the colors on the flag symbolize. Ramona has had some of its citizens make the ultimate sacrifice and are represented by the red stripes. Ramona has had some of its sons and daughters and fathers and mothers and husbands and wives come home disabled.
You owe them your courtesy during the pre-game ceremonies. The guy or gal next to you might be a vet. The guy or gal next to you may have lost a loved one serving this country.
During my first year at Ramona High School, my favorite play in baseball occurred. It is not in the record books but it passes around the Internet every so often.
Rick Monday was the first baseball player drafted in the first Major League Draft. He had a good major league career and is an excellent broadcaster. On April 25, 1976, Rick Monday was playing centerfield for the Chicago Cubs in Dodger Stadium when two fans ran onto the field and tried to ignite an American flag.
The two (a father and son) lit one match, but the wind blew it out. Monday got there and grabbed the flag and ran into foul territory and gave it to a Dodger pitcher in the dugout before they could light another match.
Tommy Lasorda, who was the Dodger third base coach, also ran onto the field to stop the two trespassers, but Monday beat him to the flag. Monday later said that Lasorda was yelling every expletive that a longshoreman could say on his way to the two trespassers.
It was a different country then and a very different Dodger Stadium. The crowd broke out in a spontaneous rendition of “God Bless America” and the Dodger Stadium message board read “Rick Monday…You made a great play.”
That was before the words in “God Bless America” offended too many people. Google Rick Monday and listen to Vin Scully and watch the greatest play ever made in baseball.
I hope that you had a great Fourth. I hope that you enjoyed the fireworks. I hope that you remembered to be polite during the national anthem and/or the Pledge of Allegiance. I hope that I don’t offend you with my closing.
God Bless America.