Heroes Never Fade

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Heroes Never Fade

One of the some­what dubi­ous ben­e­fits of my cur­rent employ­ment loca­tion is a cou­ple of tele­vi­sions above the front reg­is­ters, each tuned to ESPN albeit with the sound off. Although there are times I would like to hear exactly what whichever set of talk­ing sports heads are yakking about, not hav­ing any audio has its advan­tages. Espe­cially this week, dur­ing which I’d rather sup­ply my own dia­logue to the end­less visual parade of Tom Brady wor­ship (yes, I’m a bit­ter Rams fan). Hope­fully next year.

Any­way, today in-​between harangues about why I haven’t made retail mir­a­cles hap­pen, I noticed when­ever I glanced upward the shows were all NBA trade dead­line deals all the time, with some­where around 99.44% focused on what would the Lak­ers do since their attempted trade for Anthony Davis fell through. Um, get way more media atten­tion than a team that’s cur­rently one game above .500 and 1 12 games out of a play­off spot deserves? But we are talk­ing ESPN here, the chan­nel that believes Lavar Ball’s insane boasts are news­wor­thy. Cer­tain allowances must be made.

Then I noticed the ticker.

Frank Robin­son had died.

My mind drifted back, back to watch­ing Robin­son play for the Bal­ti­more Ori­oles when they were worth watch­ing, thus were often fea­tured on NBC’s Sat­ur­day morn­ing base­ball game of the week I often watched with my father. This broad­cast, with among oth­ers Joe Gara­gi­ola and Tony Kubek announc­ing, was the only nation­ally tele­vised game each week, thus quite the event. Although I was quite smit­ten with my local teams the A’s and Giants, I rooted for Robin­son because he had grown up in Oakland.

After his play­ing days, Robin­son man­aged (no pun intended) a remark­able feat, becom­ing the first black man­ager in Major League Base­ball. What was even more remark­able is that he was, and remains, one of the very few highly suc­cess­ful play­ers who was also a suc­cess­ful man­ager, although his skills at same notice­ably dimin­ished dur­ing the lat­ter years of his career.

Robin­son man­aged the Giants in the early 1980s. Back then I was still a Giants fan before Will Clark and then Barry Bonds drove me away. The team has a pen­chant for late inning come­backs, and a famil­iar sight was Robin­son stand­ing on the dugout’s top step, arms folded across his chest, giv­ing his bat­ter the unmis­tak­able stare that it would behoove him to not fail. Quite often they didn’t, although it would not have sur­prised me had at any point in time Robin­son would have grabbed a bat and strode toward home plate mut­ter­ing “for­get these kids, I’m tak­ing care of this myself.”

And so another mem­ory, another link in the rapidly shrink­ing affec­tion­ate chain con­nect­ing me to my past has taken their leave. God speed, Frank Robin­son. Wins and losses come and go, but heroes never fade.

One of the somewhat dubious benefits of my current employment location is a couple of televisions above the front registers, each tuned to ESPN albeit with the sound off. Although there are times I would like to hear exactly what whichever set of talking sports heads are yakking about, not having any audio has its advantages. Especially this week, during which I’d rather supply my own dialogue to the endless visual parade of Tom Brady worship (yes, I’m a bitter Rams fan). Hopefully next year.

Anyway, today in-between harangues about why I haven’t made retail miracles happen, I noticed whenever I glanced upward the shows were all NBA trade deadline deals all the time, with somewhere around 99.44% focused on what would the Lakers do since their attempted trade for Anthony Davis fell through. Um, get way more media attention than a team that’s currently one game above .500 and 1 1/2 games out of a playoff spot deserves? But we are talking ESPN here, the channel that believes Lavar Ball’s insane boasts are newsworthy. Certain allowances must be made.

Then I noticed the ticker.

Frank Robinson had died.

My mind drifted back, back to watching Robinson play for the Baltimore Orioles when they were worth watching, thus were often featured on NBC’s Saturday morning baseball game of the week I often watched with my father. This broadcast, with among others Joe Garagiola and Tony Kubek announcing, was the only nationally televised game each week, thus quite the event. Although I was quite smitten with my local teams the A’s and Giants, I rooted for Robinson because he had grown up in Oakland.

After his playing days, Robinson managed (no pun intended) a remarkable feat, becoming the first black manager in Major League Baseball. What was even more remarkable is that he was, and remains, one of the very few highly successful players who was also a successful manager, although his skills at same noticeably diminished during the latter years of his career.

Robinson managed the Giants in the early 1980s. Back then I was still a Giants fan before Will Clark and then Barry Bonds drove me away. The team has a penchant for late inning comebacks, and a familiar sight was Robinson standing on the dugout’s top step, arms folded across his chest, giving his batter the unmistakable stare that it would behoove him to not fail. Quite often they didn’t, although it would not have surprised me had at any point in time Robinson would have grabbed a bat and strode toward home plate muttering “forget these kids, I’m taking care of this myself.”

And so another memory, another link in the rapidly shrinking affectionate chain connecting me to my past has taken their leave. God speed, Frank Robinson. Wins and losses come and go, but heroes never fade.