More gems from my old personal journals with addended commentary...
Thu. May 2, 1991: “I finally got around to seeing downtown Cleveland late in the afternoon and wasn’t terribly impressed. Folks, it’s a dive. Downtown was dirty, and cops had to direct traffic because the lights couldn’t do the job. I tried to approach Cleveland with an open mind, but I now see where they get their bad rap. It’s a mess.”
Cleve-Land made some marvelous strides toward respectability by my next visit there in 1994 when Jacobs Field and Gund Arena opened. It’s even nicer now with the Browns new stadium and Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame next door. While still far from paradise, they’re no longer the “mistake by the lake.”
Fri. May 3, 1991: “Made my long-awaited journey to Tiger Stadium. Got there early and got a place to park right next to the ballpark, but I’d have to stay for the whole game (because they parked people back-to-back to conserve space). No problem…or so I thought. Meanwhile, the temperature at game time was 54 degrees, and dropped even further after the sun went down. My nose started getting to me (allergies) and I lasted all of five innings in the cold. This game was interminable—it took ‘em 2.5 hours just to play five innings. I finally gave up and went back to the car, even though I couldn’t go anywhere until one of the cars next to me moved. I just played with the radio while the game droned on. People were leaving in droves, but none of them were parked next to me. Finally the 9th inning arrived and Texas led 6-4 with two out and one on. Detroit was down to their last strike when Rob Deer hit a 2-run homer to tie the game and send it into extra innings. I damn near died! I had to take a leak, so I walked around the stadium to this little bar on Trumbull and took care of business. When I rounded the stadium again, the car behind me was gone, and I was finally free.”
D’oh! If I had only dressed more appropriately for the weather, I’d have just stayed in the ballpark. Still, it was kinda fun skipping around the AM dial and picking up all those Canadian radio stations I never got to hear, not to mention listening to the late great Ernie Harwell call the Tigers game.
Wed. May 29, 1991: “Singer Wayne Newton is spending a few days in a Las Vegas hospital with what his spokesman calls ‘walking pnuemonia’. I think he finally got a good look at his act…”
I never have liked this hack entertainer, thus the pot shot here.
Wed. May 29, 1991: “Some lady called in on KMBZ 'Sportsline' saying that she didn’t like Hal McRae as manager of the Royals because he talks funny and he wears his cap crooked in the dugout.”
Yeah, that’s grounds for dismissal, alright. The guy hadn’t even been the Royals’ skipper for a week yet, and people were already dogging on the man. And I, for the record, liked him as manager.
Thu. June 6, 1991: “Bathing beauty Esther Williams was asked to leave a charity function at the Los Angeles Country Club because she was wearing pants—even though she was the guest of honor.”
I suppose if she wore a bathing suit, she could’ve stayed…
Mon. June 10, 1991: “The NL Expansion Committee recommended that Denver and Miami be the new entries in the Senior Circuit. Team names have not been announced, but I suggest the Denver Omelets and Miami Vices.”
They, of course, became the Colorado Rockies and Florida Marlins.
Tue. July 23, 1991: “Some sick motherfucker in Milwaukee was arrested after police found numerous body parts in his apartment. Neighbors said that they’d often heard chainsaw noises, but never bothered to check it out. It seems as though this motherfucker is a cannibal too. What a nutty guy!”
That “nutty guy” was, of course, one Jeffrey Dahmer, S.M.F.
Thu. August 15, 1991: “Aerosmith signed a deal with Sony (aka CBS) for $30 million, even though they still owe Geffen two more studio LPs and a greatest hits package. By the time they start recording for Sony, they’ll be well into their 40s. Strange deal.”
Now they’re well into their ‘60s and still recording. Makes me wonder why I was so concerned about their ages in the first place.
Sun. August 18, 1991: “While we were browsing at blank tapes (at Montgomery Ward), we encountered a live turd right there on the floor. Actually, there were two of them. Some man, woman, child, dog, horse or chimpanzee left their doody right there in the aisles. What’s worse, no one bothered to clean it up! I know Wards has a lot of crap for sale, but this is ridiculous!”
Too bad we weren’t in aisle where they sold poop scoopers…it was way too early for Mr. Hankey to make his annual appearance.
Sun. August 18, 1991: “Singer and former Beatle comrade Billy Preston was busted at his home in Malibu for suspicion of sexual battery, showing pornographic material to a minor, cocaine possession, and being under the influence of a controlled substance.”
Somehow, I don’t think “That’s The Way God Planned It” at all, eh, Billy? I was really disappointed to hear about this, and it chafes me no end when these singers who get all righteous with the Gospel music stuff turn around and pull crap like this. I seem to remember Gospel singer Edwin Hawkins got busted for cocaine possession in the ‘80s too. Preston was a great musician—sort of the black version of Elton John for a time in the mid-‘70s—but this thing really tainted my memory of him.
Tue. October 8, 1991: “Bo Jackson’s football career is probably over. CBS reported that doctors will recommend that he not play football anymore, even as he reported to the Raiders this week. Pat O’Brien gave the report and said, ‘Bad news for Bo Jackson and Bo Jackson fans, which is all of us, really.’ Sorry, Pat—don’t include me in your group of sycophants.”
I never liked that no-talent hack O’Brien and I was most definitely not part of the Bo Jackson kiss-ass chorus. I thought he was a fool for playing both sports.
Fri. October 11, 1991: “Jimmy Swaggart got caught with his pants down again. Ol’ Jimmy got pulled over in Indio, California for driving on the wrong side of the road, driving an unregistered vehicle, and not wearing a seat belt. He also had a passenger in the car, who claims to be a prostitute. One Rosemary Garcia says that Swaggart picked her up to have sex, and that he had several porno mags in the car. Just another carnal fix, to take him higher and higher…”
That bastard! How dare he not wear a seat belt!
Tue. November 5, 1991: “Jermaine Jackson’s new song ‘Word To The Badd’ is a backhanded shot at his brother Michael, with lyrics that go as follows: Once you were made/You changed your shade/Was your color wrong?/Could not turn back/It’s a known fact/You were gone too far. Jermaine is hinting that Michael is ashamed of being black…”
Hmmm, this from the same guy who staunchly defended his weirdo brother upon his death.
Thu. November 7, 1991: “The Attack [our indoor soccer team that replaced my dearly-departed Comets] announced its radio flagship today, and I think we’d be better off attending all their games in person. KCNW, the Holy Roller station in KCK [Kansas City, KS] will carry all 40 games, with 22-year-old Jeff Grantham doing the play-by-play. The Attack chose KCNW because their signal reaches Johnson County real good, where most Attack fans are and because KCNW is a family-oriented station and the Attack is a family-oriented team. The real reason is because no one else wanted them. I think I’ll move to Wichita…”
That station’s signal is so poor at night that you practically have to be parked under their transmitter to pick them up. I was still smarting from the loss of the Comets, so I was pretty critical of anything the Attack did because of the smalltime nature of their operation. As it turned out, Grantham didn’t get the play-by-play gig after all, and Ed Bishop—a fellow Communications Studies major I went to UMKC with—called Attack games that first season.