It was the spring of 1970. I was eight years old. And I was in love.
The love had blossomed the previous summer when I was seven. Seattle had just gotten a major league baseball team. And the Pilots dominated my evenings in the Summer of '69.
I would bring a quilt into my treehouse... and run up an extension cord that would power a radio and a utility light. And there I would keep a scorebook that tracked every pitch of those magical games.
But the following spring, my love jilted me. The Pilots left for Milwaukee - and I needed to find a new love. I had watched the '69 World Series - I decided that Brooks Robinson was my favorite player - and so the Baltimore Orioles became my new love.
Unlike most childhood romances, this one actually paid off. The Orioles won the World Series in 1970 - and I spent the next few years of my adolecence living and dying with the nightly Orioles results. I had the phone numbers for the Times and PI sports departments memorized - and the very patient sportswriters who worked the night desk got used to my nightly calls asking who won the Orioles' game.
The manager of those Baltimore teams was a fiery sparkplug named Earl Weaver. Man, he was fun to watch as he stormed on the field and always made the right game decisons.
Earl Weaver died Saturday at the age of 82. He died of a heart attack on an Orioles fantasy cruise in the Caribbean. All in all, not a bad way to go. But I was a bit sad as I remembered all the great moments he skippered when I was a kid on the mean streets of Ballard.
And I also remembered that Earl Weaver was the star of my all time favorite baseball video. A manager simply cannot get more entertaining than this.
Thanks, Earl, for the great memories you provided my childhood - you will very much be missed.
(strong language warning)