There was a time in America that if you were natural-born male citizen, regardless of ethnicity, you automatically became aware of the game of baseball around the time you turned 5 or 6 years old. So it was with us in the 1973 season, growing up in Old Rimrock, N.J., better known in the real world as Mendham. (Old Rimrock was Philip Roth’s imagining of Mendham in American Pastoral.) Nineteen-hundred seventy-three, that was the year the Mets surprised the National League East, and the ace of the team was Tom Seaver. Tom Seaver, thank you. Rest in peace, Tom Seaver. Thank you for your life.
The whole family loved Tom Seaver — mother, father, brother, sister, us — and he was just a wholesome character to watch on the TV each game he pitched. That was back in the days when WOR-TV (not WWOR, just WOR) Channel 9 showed most of the games free and over the air, and it was something that we all did as a family. Tom Seaver was the star; he was reliable. He never let you down. Even though there were some top pitchers on that team — Matlack, Koosman, McGraw — Tom Seaver was the draw. He was The Man. He was The Franchise.
To this day, we remember the itchy wool uniforms and properly hiked-up stirrup socks so unlike today’s sloppy polyester long pants that seem better suited for jai alai than baseball. Ralph Kiner would have his Kiner’s Korner segment on right after the game, and you could see Tom Seaver being interviewed all sweaty but relaxed after a win, still in his itchy wool uniform but with the itchy wool cap off, itchy wool warmup jacket on, sipping some kind of beverage from a plain, unbranded paper cup. In honor of purity, wholesomeness and the past, we will just say that it was ice water he was sipping, OK? That’s how we will remember how they did it back then.
So that was the gateway baseball season for us, 1973, the gateway team being the New York Mets and the gateway baseball idol being Tom Seaver.
Not long after that season, the family moved down to the Mississippi part of the state — New Jersey Turnpike Exit 2! — and we became Phillies fans at just the right time, with the glory of Schmidt and Luzinski and Carlton, with even Tug McGraw coming to Philly in the 1975 season. And now that we have been out here in La-La Land for nearly 30 years, we acknowledge that we openly root for the Dodgers, though when the Phillies are their opponents, it’s difficult to pick a side.
We have lived through nearly 50 years of baseball idols, then, and we appreciate what Kershaw and Betts and Bellinger are doing today. Can they maintain? Kershaw has, and the other two are well on their way. (Mike Trout, get back to Philly, or at least swing over to the blue side of Los Angeles! You’ll rot over there in Anaheim, like most things that are associated with that city!)
All great players, those guys, and all rightful baseball idols for your 2020. But without Tom Seaver, back in 1973, we might have missed the pastime of a lifetime. So thank you, Old Rimrock. Thank you, Mendham. Thank you, WOR-TV Channel 9. Thank you, New York Metropolitans Baseball Club. And, forever in our hearts, minds and memories, Tom Seaver, thank you, thank you, thank you for your role in our growing up, in our shared history, in giving us something pleasant to look back on when the rocky parts might have done us in. You gave us joy, entertainment and a reason to root. Tom Seaver, thank you for your life. Thank you, Tom Seaver.
#3 Zonna ($31, BestLine Fair Odds 7.26-1)
#2 Kitchi ($47.20, BestLine Fair Odds 3.10-1)
#1 Channel Princess ($48.40, BestLine Fair Odds 4.05-1)
#2 Prioritizer ($28.40, BestLine Fair Odds 7.20-1)
#1 Missed the Boat ($20.60, BestLine Fair Odds 4.00-1)
#6 Just Flashy ($60, BestLine Fair Odds 7.06-1)
#3 Vinda Machine ($27.40, BestLine Fair Odds 1.16-1)
#6 Rejected Again ($21.60, BestLine Fair Odds 3.26-1)
There were six selected races yesterday. There were 17 win-overlay wagers, and there were two runner-up finishes, at 7-1 and at 8-1. There also were two winners, at $28.40 and at $48.40. As well, the 7-1 runner-up and the $28.40 winner took part in the same race, and the exacta paid $228-even, for $2.
WMF Report / Track-Trend Notes:
WMF Report / Track-Trend Notes for Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020 – @Arlington_Park (!) 6f, @BelterraPark 6f, @EmeraldDowns 6f, 6 1/2f, @GulfstreamPark 6f, @IGRaceCourse 6f, @LaurelPark 6f good to go from the get-go to the wire; on the other hoof, @PID_Casino 1m prefers patient-types.
— Cynthia Publishing Company (AIO V6 / BestLine) (@cpcbestline) September 3, 2020
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The Zongo Race Club suggests something later. Tom Seaver #41 always!