December 2007: Giants v Patriots: “Crush Them”
30 December 2007
29 December 2007
New York Giants v New England Patriots
8 October 1956
The Bronx, New York
Top of the Ninth
William Howard Taft High School Gymnasium
Teenage boys huddled around the portable radio.
Red Barber calling the Game.
Larsen steps to the mound and taps the rubber. Berra flashes fast ball. Pinelli calls strike one. Mitchell steps out of the batters box. Larsen peers in. Berra signals one.
Larsen delivers high, ball one. Berra shows index finger again. Strike two. 1 and 2.
The boys crowd closer to the radio. Will Larsen do it? Is it possible? Come on, Don!
Am I the only kid thinking, “Mitchell, please get a hit.”?
Yes, I am a Dodger fan living in The Bronx. Many of my clever friends are also Dodger fans. (The Duke.). Some other thinking boys root for The Giants. (Willie) Only a few misbegotten malefactors moon for The Yanks. (OK, Mickey was also good.)
It seems everyone now is praying for Larsen. Dodger fans, Giants fans and Yankee fans. Not me. To hell with records. I wanted my team to win the game.
Come on Dale!!! Get a hit!
You ever tried to hit a baseball? I never did. Only the most talented athletes attempt to swing a skinny piece of wood at a small rotating, gyrating, and dancing rock-hard projectile zooming at 95 mph. I always thought only the ball was on steroids.
Only the ball. Live and learn
Larsen paws the rubber with his spikes. He seems perfectly calm and cool. Yogi crouches down and scratches one in the dirt. Pinelli adjusts his protector and leans forward. Larsen pulls on his cap, nods, winds and delivers . . . .
The rest is history.
As I think about that moment more than fifty years ago, I suppose I should have had a more historic perspective. I should have thought beyond the one game and the one win. What seems utterly impossible becomes “historic” and “legendary.”
So, my fellow New Yorkers, the Second Half has begun in The Meadowlands. I know what I am thinking.
And yes, I am certain I know what you are thinking: “Crush them!!!”