Yankees went Hollywood sixty years ago

The New York Yankees went Hollywood sixty years ago this week. In the midst of the historic home run race between teammates Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris, as the two chased Babe Ruth’s then single-season home run mark of 60, the Bronx Bombers were in Los Angeles to play the expansion Los Angeles Angels.

While the Bombers squared off at LA’s Wrigley Field – the home of the Angels and the TV series “Home Run Derby” – August 22 to 24, Mantle, Maris and Yogi Berra went to Revue Studio to tape a small part in the movie “Touch of Mink.” The flick starred Cary Grant and Doris Day. It included a scene, where Grant grants Day one of her wishes, sitting in the Yankees dugout at Yankee Stadium. It results in Day getting into an argument with the umpire and leading to the ejection of the Yankee trio. You can watch the scene below. The movie was released in 1962.

By the way, the Yankees lost two of three to the Angels.

Connecticut golf course bans unvaccinated

The Canaan Country Club, a golf course located in the northwest corner of Connecticut, is banning all those not vaccinated for COVID-19. This includes all golfers, according to what I was told, when I talked to a person in the course’s pro shop. Proof that you have been vaccinated must be shown, before being permitted to tee up a golf ball. To my knowledge this is the first course in Connecticut or for that matter, any outdoor venue, to take this step. An email was sent out at 11:00 this morning. The email stated the decision to ban unvaccinated people was not “political.”

NL Standings 58 years ago

MLB’s National League standings 58 years ago are fascinating to read. At the close of play on Aug. 23, 1963 the top eight clubs had winning records. Even the last place New York Mets had 40 wins, the same total they had in 1962 in their first season of play. There was no tanking, there was no tearing down rosters, no rebuilding of organizations by tearing them down. What a difference nearly six decades make.

Field of Dreams game a ratings grand slam but…

The Field of Dreams game between the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox on Aug. 12 turned out to be a ratings grand slam for FOX Sports. Nearly six million viewers watched the game, the highest rating for a regular season baseball telecast on the network since 2005. The number was also a reminder how fractured our television viewing habits have become for the once National Pastime.

By coincidence, as the Field of Dreams game was being hyped, I was reading Curt Smith’s “Voices of The Game,” his excellent history of the evolution of baseball broadcasting on radio and television. The book was published in 1987, two years before the movie, “Field of Dreams” was released to the public. But Smith, a former speech writer for two U.S. presidents and once a guest on my radio program, compiled a great history on the genre, which holds up to time some 34 years after its publication.

Smith’s chapter on baseball’s television broadcasting rights is of particular note in light of the Thursday night telecast on FOX. In 1976, after NBC had exclusive coverage of baseball’s regular season and post season for 11 seasons, MLB split the package with NBC and ABC. Part of the deal included ABC carrying Monday Night Baseball during the regular season. The network, which had turned Monday Night Football into a must-see, prime time event, promised to do the same for baseball. In the end, it did not happen, as the Monday Night package in 1976 finished with a 12.6 rating.

MLB would kill for a 12.6 rating today. The sport cannot even snag a 12.6 for most of its post season telecasts. FOX is doing cartwheels over scoring a 3.2 for the Dreams game, as well it should. The network had the most-watched program on a Thursday summer night, so of course, FOX and baseball are wearing wide smiles. But the numbers from the telecast also serve as a stark, history lesson how divided our television viewing habits have become, especially with other attractions tugging at our attention. In other words, today’s 3.2 dream rating, would have been a nightmare, 45 years ago.