I remember the first time my brother Peter and I saw the fun Ray Milland baseball film It Happens Every Spring. I have to think I have written about this before, but in the movie, Milland is an egghead chemistry professor, engaged to the Dean's daughter. Like Fred McMurray, Milland is an absent minded professor.
Like McMurray, following an experiment run amok, Milland accidentally concocts a master liquid that winds up impacting sports. For McMurray, his flubber is ironed onto the soles of the basketball team at Medfield College so they can defeat their arch rival.
As Professor Vernon K. Simpson, Ray Milland is a baseball--make that Cardinals-fan, who as a result of his scientific mishap develops a tonic that repels wood. Meaning he can throw strikes every time the batter swings the bat, as long as the ball is treated with the liquid.
Using the iconic moniker King Kelly, Milland pitches the Cardinals to a World Series win, though his career ends as the hurler bare hands a bouncer with his pitching hand. Of course he gets the girl in the end, as does Ned Branard (McMurray's character).
Well, as I prepare to travel off to Phoenix tomorrow, for six games, and a pair of LABR drafts, I always get the same excitement I got when I first saw It Happens Every Spring, a film Peter and I unsuspectdedly stumbled into as part of NBC's Saturday Night at the Movies show in the 60's.
The film gives me the same anticipation I would have as I opened my first pack of wax packs each year, and read all the pre-season notes and rosters. And for those of us in the Bay Area, the San Francisco Chronicle would give "Notes From the Pink Pony Lounge," referring to late wonderful throwback sports bar in Old Scottsdale where the baseball writers in Phoenix would gather as part of their springly rites.
So, I have an 8:00 am flight to Phoenix, will quickly check into my hotel, and scoot to the Giants and Athletics at Phoenix Muni, and then book downtown for the AL LABR auction at 5:00 pm.
Sunday morning is the USA Today Mixed Mock, and then Nick Minnix and I are going to Scottsdale to see the Giants and the Mariners.
From then I have a game a day to work, including a World Series replay Monday between the Giants and the Rangers. And, I have time to check out as many Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives joints as I can in the Phoenix area.
Then it is home for a few days, over which First Pitch will be here, along with my Scoresheet Murphy League Draft, and then I am off to New York for Tout Wars 2011.
This is always a wild busy time of the year. Oh, to be sure, it is fun, but there is no slowing down.
Best of all I get to see the wonderful friends I have made thanks to my serendipitous fall into this industry. My mates Brian Walton and Todd Zola and Rob Leibowitz and Jason Mastrodonato. And Jason Grey, Dean Peterson, Ron Shandler, Matthew Berry, and Brian Feldman. Peter Kreutzer and Jeff Erickson, and Mike Siano and Cory Schwartz and Rick Wolfe and Glenn Colton. So many more, I cannot list them all.
Because, of all the wonderful things this part of my life has brought, these great and dear friends are clearly the best. And, well, starting tomorrow, we are all on the same roller coaster for the rest of the month.
It is the best of times.