Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Freakin' Weekend (1971)

Football is fun ...

Baseball is fun ...

Golf is fun ...

Even when you're not very good at it, golf is fun ...

Smoking is fun ...

Drinking is fun ...

All kinds of things--even curiosity, niche-y things like fancy music, home electronics and tinkering on old cars--are fun ...

Why, even work has its moments of fun ...

I'm so thankful that--presumably thanks in part to HP Nation's activism--Sports Illustrated restored its Vault. Flipping through these astoundingly great old magazines is just so, so, so much fun. And while having access to just the pictures or just the stories would be a wonderful gift in its own right, browsing through the page layouts is simply (and, I hope, literally) heavenly. With keyword-searchable access to text or images only, I would've never discovered, for example, this ...

This was no small undertaking. It's more than 7,000 words ...
Two teammates step out of the shower, glistening wet, towels wrapped around their waists. They move to center and stand slightly behind the big man, one to each side. Player on right reaches over and slaps the big man on the back)
FIRST PLAYER—Atta boy, Boog!
SECOND PLAYER—Ycu done it again, Boog! (He turns to the men in the showers) Didn't he do it again, you guys?
SHOWER CHORUS—Great, Boog! Yeah! Way to go!
What happens is that human Boog Powell is knocked out and replaced by a robot Boog Powell by a mad technologist and some rogue teammates ...
The plot is pretty involved, and I'm not going to totally spoil the whole thing. But you could probably guess that Robot Boog has an epiphany ...
BOOG—But, wait! I wonder if...well, I wonder if I couldn't rebel. What the hell! I know it's fantastic for a man made of plastic. But a robot can take only so much. What made America great? Science? None such. What made America fine and clean and pure and strong? Electronics? Wrong! What made America great, all you people out there? It was...
(Drums. Switch to "Battle Hymn of the Republic")
BOOG—! That sharp, clean crack of the bat against horsehide! The throaty roar of that crowd. Out loud! The sandlot! The homer! Striking them out! Belting them in! Sliding home! Running for first! The double, the triple—Tinkers to Evers to Frankens...uh, Chance! Baseball! Your game, out there! You hear? Why, it's Dad and Son and it's the Seventh Inning Stretch; it's beer in a waxed-paper cup. The slanting sunshine across the bleachers, etching stark patterns in the infield. The pitcher tugging at the bill of his cap, waiting for the signal. The crowd tensing as he winds up! He delivers! It's a morality play! Why, it's life! It's love! It's America...
And then Human Boog comes on to save the day ...
SPORTSWRITER—And then the other two homers right after that went even farther. One landed in the upstairs bathroom of a house in Pittsburgh! And another one went all the way to....
BRAMPSON—(Slyly nudging the sportswriter in the ribs) I'll say! And the lady of the house was taking a bath at the time! Sploosh! Boy, talk about outfield!
SPORTSWRITER—His last three home-run balls have never been found, right? They could be in orbit!
COSELL—(Sidling up with a microphone) And tell our ABC audience out there, Mister Brampson. It is the opinion of this reporter that....
BRAMPSON—(Jerking his thumb in a familiar gesture) Somebody throw this bum oudda here.
It really goes to show you just how big a deal Boog Powell was in 1971. I imagine the writers imagined they had a sort of Babe Ruth on their hands. Not that they imagined he was ever going to be that good, but Boog Powell was more than good enough to merit attention ...

The main thing, though, was that Boog Powell was fun ...

But's that all old news. All of that was from the July 19, 1971, Sports Illustrated, and this #freakinweekend, we're up to the Aug. 2, 1971, Sports Illustrated ...

I can't begin to explain just how much fun I'm having with this MLB71 season, even if--another spoiler alert--the divisions are settled as of Sunday, July 30. As previously reported, I'm betting it's Boog and the Orioles repeating as World Series champions against the Giants. My pennant doubts about the A's were confirmed by a visit to Baltimore this week. In sweeping a rain-shortened, three-game series, the Os seemed to be toying with my A's--playing a bunch of backups, taking giant early leads, twice winning in the bottom of the ninth, etc.

Meanwhile, look what's on TV tonight 1971 ...

This game has been a huge deal, of course, in the sports pages of the Chicago Tribune for the last couple of months ...

Well, it's all very exciting--it's getting to be that time of year again ...

I better start reviewing what happened last season and get myself ready for the fun ahead this fall.


  1. After the sweep in Baltimore, it seemed like Vida Blue vs. last-place Cleveland would be a good spot for the A's to start winning again. Alas, the Indians prevailed on July 30, 1971, 4-1. Earlier in the day, Cleveland fired Manager Alvin Dark and promoted his first-base coach, John Lipon, to lead the team. Not only are the Indians in last place, there was a bunch of fighting going on--one pitcher, Mike Paul, was reportedly punched in the face by a teammate a couple of weeks ago, and another, Sam McDowell, got fined for some sort of obscenities episode on a team bus. Graig Nettles, Cleveland's good third baseman, reportedly said he thought Dark should've been more proactive and direct about correcting his young teammates' mistakes.

  2. Belgium's Eddy Merckx has won the 1971 Tour de France--his third-straight victory in the race.

  3. Blanton Collier's defensive-line coach for the College All-Stars is Willie Davis, the former Packer great. About a week ago, the Tribune had an item that Davis's fellow coaches and players had a birthday cake and sang "Happy Birthday To You" during team lunch one day at the Orrington Hotel in Evanston, Illinois. It's a real shame there are no photographs from this event at the hotel's online gallery.

  4. I was glad to see that the Chicago Tribune did publish a picture of a picture of John Riggins and an All-Stars teammate, Henry Allison, visiting a popcorn wagon--it doesn't say where; it might've been at the zoo--on one of the team's days off.

  5. Gordie Coleman, a former Reds' first baseman and, in 1971, director of the team's speakers bureau, visiting the Kentucky New Era, and told the sports editor, Chip Hutcheson, about a promotion coming up on Aug. 7. Faron Young, Jean Dixon and Dave Hall are playing a country-music show before Cincinnati's game with Montreal, and each boy or girl younger than 14, accompanied by an adult, is to receive a Reds T-shirt.

    Hutcheson notes in the column that Hoptown for the most part connects with the Reds (instead of the Cardinals) in pro baseball but the Cardinals (instead of the Bengals) in pro football.

  6. The Associated Press's Cynthia Lowry with some 411 on the new fall TV season:

    -- Dick Van Dyke's new show will be called The New Dick Van Dyke Show;

    -- after four seasons, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour is being rebranded as The Glen Campbell Show, "which is what people called it anyway," and

    -- the new season opens the week of Sept. 12.

  7. The ABA Kentucky Colonels have intrasquad games scheduled Sept. 25, 1971, in Radcliff; Sept. 27 in Lebanon, and Sept. 28 in Burkesville.

  8. During the hiatus from filming after the first season of his successful variety show, Flip Wilson made a cross-country road trip in order to talk with people about his show and to gather ideas for new material. He said on The Tonight Show that he initially intended to do a big loop but had such a good time on the first half of his journey that he simply retraced his route in reverse and back home. Wilson said he has always liked to drive.

    Flip Wilson's Happy Cross-country Drive in 1971 During Hiatus in Shooting After the First Season of His Successful Variety Show would be my favorite movie of 2017.

    1. Actually, it would probably be my second-favorite movie, behind The Kentucky Colonels Visit Radcliff, Lebanon and Burkesville Over Three Days in September 1971.

  9. In the leadup to the Super Bowl last January, Cowboys quarterback Craig Morton underwent hypnosis with Edward J. Pullman, director of the Southwest Hypnosis Research Center, in order to relieve pressure, boost confidence, condition himself to relax at the moment of physical impact, etc.

  10. The A's had won seven straight but were beaten, 7-0, by the visiting White Sox on Aug. 6. Vida Blue goes today 1971 against Chicago's Joe Horlen, and Blue will again try to secure his 20th pitching victory of the season. (He has been unable to do so in each of his last two starts.) Here are the MLB71 standings as of this 1971 morning ...

    A.L. West
    Oakland 70-40
    Kansas City 55-53, 14 games back
    Chicago 53-58, 17.5
    California 54-60, 18
    Minnesota 49-61, 21
    Milwaukee 47-63, 22

    A.L. East
    Baltimore 66-41
    Boston 63-47, 4.5
    Detroit 59-51, 8.5
    New York 57-56, 12
    Washington 45-64, 22
    Cleveland 44-68, 24.5

    N.L. East
    Pittsburgh 69-43
    St. Louis 62-50, 7
    Chicago 60-50, 8
    New York 56-54, 12
    Philadelphia 49-62, 19.5
    Montreal 44-68, 25

    N.L. West
    San Francisco 67-48
    Los Angeles 60-52, 5.5
    Atlanta 59-57, 8.5
    Houston 56-56, 9.5
    Cincinnati 53-62, 14
    San Diego 41-74, 26

    1. The Pirates lost to the Phillies on Aug. 6, 3-2. In the eighth inning, after Philadelphia reliever Billy Wilson retired Roberto Clemente for the first out, Phillies manager Frank Lucchesi moved Wilson to third base and brought in another reliever, Joe Hoerner, to face one batter: MLB71's leading home-run hitter, Willie Stargell. Stargell once remarked that he was 0-for-nine years" against Hoerner. Horner, indeed, struck out Stargell. Wilson moved back from third to the mound and finished off Pittsburgh.

  11. Team USA was eliminated from medal competition in basketball at the Pan American Games on Aug. 6, 1971. It's the first time the United States will not have won Pan Am basketball. This seems like an ominous sign a year out from Munich 1972.

  12. Vida Blue beat the White Sox, 1-0, on Aug. 7, 1971, for his 20th victory of the season. He admitted he was not at his sharpest, and the Chicago pitcher groused that he threw a better game and that Blue throws only fastballs. Indeed, the only Oakland run came on an eighth-inning balk home of Dick Green from third. But, whatever, Vida Blue is 20-4, and the A's are 71-40 and 15 games up in the American League West, and this is a great baseball season.

  13. For my money, tonight 1971's Mayberry R.F.D. rerun is the quintessential episode of the series.

  14. This Anne Murray/Glen Campbell sendup of "Don't Think Twice (It's Alright)" is so, so excellent.

    Anne Murray‏ @annemurray1
    RIP my dear old friend Glen Campbell. Music has lost a giant of a man & a talent. I shall be forever grateful for everything he did for me.
    3:57 PM - 8 Aug 2017

  15. Hazard's WSGS might have the world's best Facebook feed. It's right up there, anyway. This morning, it shared an hour of audio from a 1973 Glen Campbell show in Hazard.

  16. Here's the afternoon-of-concert interview. It's funny how nervous Glen Campbell gets when Ernest Sparkman asks him about his dog--trying to shore up his Hazard bonafides, Glen Campbell quickly throws the poor cockapoo under the bus and derides his loyal pet as unfit for squirrel hunting.

  17. I'll get back to 2017 soon, but it's pretty tempting to escape to 1971 right now. Anyway, today I'm listening to the Aug. 12, 1971, Padres-Mets game. Nobody tell me who won--I haven't checked, and I didn't look at the Chicago Tribune yesterday 1971. Nolan Ryan apparently is not quite past his early-career control problems, as he walked a bunch of guys and gave up three runs before being replaced with only two outs in the first inning. Bob Newhart is in the press box but not on the air with Lindsey Nelson, Ralph Kiner, and Bob Murphy.

  18. Tom Poston's first question for one of the three Tim Rices: "I'm just curious--why 'superstar'?" The camera switches to one of the Rices as he mulls his responses, and you can hear one of the female panelists ask, "Why not?" And then you can hear Poston say, "Well, he wasn't when he was alive."

  19. Peggy Cass takes an interesting approach, peppering the three panelists with questions about pop music--who recorded Tommy? where was it performed in New York? which rock star died in a swimming pool?--as opposed to Christianity and public reception to Jesus Christ Superstar.

  20. The entire panel guessed correctly on the real Tim Rice.

  21. Gary Moore asks Rice about why the album is faring so well in the United States but has failed to do so in the United Kingdom, and Rice points out that there is such diversity in radio stations here and that many of them are playing the entire album. In the UK. "In England, we only have one channel, and it only plays singles."

  22. Rice: "The people who get shocked are the people who aren't really that religious. The reaction from the clergy and the churchmen has been excellent. I think that people who have rejected religion and Christianity like to think of it as something that's establishment and never gets harmed; whereas, anyone who actually bothers to think about Christ realizes that if he's to have any relevance at all he must have relevance for all times and for all people in all ways. Therefore, Jesus Christ Superstar, Jesus Christ in blue jeans, Jesus Christ in anything ... is very valid."

    This gets a big hand from the studio audience.

  23. Moore: "Friends, I advise you to give it a listen, and I think you will admire it."