The old Chevrolet ad had a jingle that touched the soul of America. In a brief lyric is successfully summarized the heart beat of the USA. Belting out a ballad, the singer put gusto in the chorus, “baseball, apple pie and Chevrolet.”
With scenes of Americana that either made people remember or desire this beautiful country and its people loved that commercial. There was something familiar and nearly patriotic about that refrain. The great American pastime, our treasured family around a feast with a great dessert or powering down the road in smooth running Chevy, we attached ourselves to the love of this country and what it means to be a citizen of this great land.
Baseball captured this nation more than any other sport. Young and old alike could name the heroes, legends and new sensations. Teams stuck together and won a following that displayed the kind of loyalty that would spark rivalries, separate cities and unleash the fury of rabid fans.
When the umpire shots, “Play ball!” the crowds never needed an invitation to stand and shout. Instead, they reacted on their feet and the diaphragms belted out cheers. Add to that the crack of the bat on a 90 mph fastball and the frenzy for competition was on.
I was warned when I moved to Detroit not to get attached to the Tigers. Suspiciously I looked at my informant with an impatience that demanded a follow through. “They will break your heart,” he said from long years of experience.
Year after year I cheered the Tigers through each season. Each year they lost. The best hope was for the next season.
Then, after years of frustration they started to win. At first it was just a trickle. Then, they were actually in the pennant race. It was exciting.
One year they made it past perpetual champions and powerhouses. They won the pennant and headed to the World Series. The city, the state and all ex-patriot fans around the nation rallied behind the team. They lost the big one that year but it was a thrilling ride.
This year the Detroit Tiger baseball team is doing well again.
They walked into the New York Yankees’ stadium and beat them. Daniel went into the den ferocious felines and came out the victor. I interrupted the meeting that I was in and announced the great news, “The Tigers beat the Yankees!”
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