Don Stuart

I apologize to any reader who isn’t totally digging these kinda-sorta-baseball-columns. However, you’re vastly outnumbered by the readers who have e-mailed me to say they’re enjoying them. (The typical email doesn’t explicitly praise them but at least suggests that reading them is better than having a coronavirus test swab jabbed to the distant inner reaches of the nasal septum.)

Today, I share some of that reader input (sorry, readers, for exposing that you read these dopey columns, thus calling your mental stability into question).

Item: Due to editorial deadlines, I write this on the day of the first Chicago Cubs game that counts in the weird, odd and peculiar 60-game season Major League Baseball has decided to pursue.

I mention this because reader Dave Kortebein shared that he especially enjoyed my mentions of Cub legend Ernie Banks a couple weeks back. And he shared a photo of a gift his kids got him last Christmas – a sharp-looking Ernie Banks jersey. Which I hope you’re wearing today Dave!! – I’ve got mine on!!

(Note: When tonight’s Cubs game begins, I may switch to my other Cubs jersey. My kids got it for me for Christmas 2016, right after the glorious Cubs World Series victory! It’s the gray road jersey they wore when they won game seven, and it bears the number “5,” the number worn by Albert Almora, Jr., when he scored the go-ahead run in the top of the 10th inning of that game! And of course, “5” is also crucially pivotal in my pantheon of numerology – relating, for example, to those five sons I like writing about. Imagine the Twilight Zone music that played in my head when I first realized that the guy scoring the most memorable run in Cubs history wore a number so special to me?!?!? If you can imagine that, then you’re as nutty as I am! Welcome to the club!)

Item: Reader Jim Temple responded to my request for advice on whether “lush” and “oomphie” were still acceptable ways to describe someone as physically attractive. Jim sayeth no, don’t try it. I wonder if he gave them a test run on someone he finds attractive, like I did with the wife. Unfortunately, I didn’t use them to describe her; I was making a comment about ESPN baseball analyst Jessica Mendoza. (Did you know that when you get a thump to the chestal/upper tummy area, your lungs expel a gush of lush air that sounds like “oomphie!”?)

Item: Jim also told a story that I found completely relatable, especially after my binge-reading of old Baseball Digests (BBD). He says his family moved from California to Cleveland in 1956 and they decided to cultivate some rooting interest in the Cleveland Indians.

At that time, Jim’s younger sister was – wait!, I better not give too many clues to her age, might be too personal, and if we ever meet, she might give me a thump to the chestal/upper tummy area! Let’s say she was in a stage of life where celebrity crushes are pretty common. (Oy, I guess I’m still in that stage concerning Jessica. Mendoza?)

Anyway, Jim’s sister was “enchanted” (Jim’s word, and a good one!) with “tall, dark and handsome Rocky Colavito.” I just had to LOL when I read that! Because BBD had a thing for Rocky too! For starters, Rocky was a slugger and belted a lot of home runs, and home runs got you ink. And he also was genuinely lush and oomph---I mean, tall, dark and handsome, for a guy. BBD frequently ran stories about him, when he was going good, when he was slumping, when he was traded. And I kid you not, every article referred to his pulchritude (which means “attractiveness,” okay?, and is not a dirty word hiding as a sophisticated one.)

In the late 1950s, when Rocky had some good years in Cleveland, game attendance rose. And the BBD articles said a significant number of the “new” fans were females who came to swoon over Rocco (Jim’s sister maybe?). When he was traded to Detroit around 1960, multiple BBD articles mentioned Cleveland’s furious female fandom (Jim’s sister maybe?).

I have some Rocky Colavito baseball cards from my youth, including a 1957 Topps card, which was when Jim’s sister was in her celebrity crush stage. I’m considering offering it to her, in a trade. All I want in return is a vest or some sort of garment that softens a thump to the chestal/upper tummy area.

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