Tomorrow marks the six month anniversary of my humble blog, which is named for something I bought at a garage sale, and came into being because I didn’t want to crash someone else’s website again. It’s progressing nicely, both in terms of the content I’ve been able to create (mostly by going to the well of my life experiences, and/or the contents of my baseball card collection), and the things I’ve learned along the way (a piece I wrote about the Chicago Whales of the Federal League is one of my favorite examples).
I’ve been able to take many of my experiences with baseball and turn them into something worth sharing with the wider world. And this post won’t be any different. I’ve only seen a couple of Broadway musicals in my life (OK, Broadway musicals that were actually playing on Broadway when I saw them), but up until last summer–when I saw Memphis at the Shubert Theatre–the one I liked best was Damn Yankees (not the band with Ted Nugent and Tommy Shaw.)
The story of Damn Yankees came from the 1950s, when the Washington Senators (and the rest of baseball) were being dominated by the New York Yankees. The “Six months'” song was a lament of housewives, who didn’t like that baseball preoccupied their husbands for half of every year (April, May, June, July, August, September…it’s more lyrical than you might think). It was the number that opened the show, now that I think about it.
For the Yankees and their fans, it would be more like “Six months, plus a week or so for the World Series” (since there were no divisional playoffs back in the 1950s), but for the Senators it was just a six month season. It was probably just a two or three month season until they fell out of contention, but if all you get is six months, you may as well enjoy them all.
The other numbers, including ‘Those were the Good Old Days,” “Whatever Lola Wants,” “A Little Bit of Brains,” and–my favorite “You Gotta Have Heart,” all made for a very entertaining show. And the subject matter couldn’t have been any better. The story involves Joe Hardy, and the devilish (literally) Mr. Applegate, and the seductive Lola (played by Bebe Neuwirth, who was a long way from being Lilith). The actor playing Joe Hardy won a Tony Award, and the Applegate role was taken over, with much fanfare, by Jerry Lewis (although Victor Garber was fantastic in the role when I saw it).
I haven’t seen the movie version, but it does have Ray Walston in it, who delivered one of my favorite movies lines ever in Fast Times at Ridgmont High. I’ll probably check it out, now that the offseason is upon us.
As far as writing this blog goes, it’s been a lot of fun thus far, so I’ll keep doing it until further notice. As the musical itself says, “There ain’t nothing to it, but to do it.”