Bedlam Hospital, London England

Flu-like symptoms, we hear that all the time these days.  “Lebron James will not be suiting up this evening because he has flu-like symptoms.”  “Ahmad Bradshaw is listed as probable with flu-like symptoms.”  When did people stop having the flu and start suffering from symptoms that are very much like the flu, but not necessarily that particular ailment?  Did Pat Riley trade mark the name flu and so to keep from getting dragged into court athletes claim the symptoms but not the illness?  Or did some genius at the players union (you pick the sport) decide that it is not in keeping with an athletes image as Superman to be so frail as to get laid low by germs and to go from there to suggest that admitting to any hint of mortality will work against a player in the next contract negotiation, and therefore had written into every contract, the collective bargaining agreement and each leagues TV deal, that no player would ever again be labeled as having the flu? 

Well I don’t know about them, but I sure as hell have the flu and I feel lousy.  It’s not the post-season, and the Matts aren’t paying me enough to play hurt (although tall Matt did seem understanding the other night when I begged off of Pub Trivia, although he was sure to tell me that Clancy would blame me if team Matts lost that night), so instead of my submitting a column of my own I present to you for your reading enjoyment a work by that illustrious poet, Sam’s-A-Fan’s Father, about the abandonment of New York Baseball fans’ original two national league franchises, the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants.  It’s called “A Baseball Ballad for Frank.”

O’Malley was a tough man

O’Malley caused us grief

What people didn’t know then –

Their O’Malley was a thief.

He owned the Brooklyn Dodgers

Who won pennants by the score

They stuffed the Yanks in ’55

But O’Malley wanted more.

The more was nothing that you’d think,

Like winning games or pennants

Or players like Jackie or Newk or Furillo

For the fans of the Ebbets Field tenants.

The thing is, I never liked Brooklyn

The Giants are the team that I’d praise

The New Yorkers who played under Coogan’s Bluff

The team of the great Willie Mays.

The team of McGraw and McGinnity

Of Ott and of Terry and Hubble

And only O’Malley’s shmoozing

Made all this great his’try rubble.

O’Malley shmoozed Horace Stoneham

Who owned the team I loved best

And sold him on buying a Golden Gate

“‘Cause there’s lots more gold in the west.”

By the millions they’d come to Brooklyn

By the millions they saw Giants win

Of course there were times they lost a game

But who ever thought that a sin?

With his team O’Malley made millions

And so had that lush Horace Stoneham

But they both moved their teams to the farthest west

They could do that, they said, “cause we own ’em

Now I said of O’Malley, that he was a thief

And Horace, accomplice of course

What they stole was our love and loyalty

For them – merely playing the Bourse

And they both stole our love and our loyalty

Did misters O’Malley and Stoneham

No, no” said the two, “it’s really not greed,

It’s just that we really do own ’em.

I hope that you all like the poem as I do, and if any of you know a literary agent, my dad has lots more poems and a handful of manuscripts.  As for me, it’s chicken soup-like commestibles until I can suit up again for MtM.

Have a good weekend.    

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