"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
Over the years I have taken different approaches to avoiding the over-commercialized and over-hyped spectacle that is the Super Bowl. One year it was Jewel in the Crown back to back on Channel 2; another, playing pool to an Andy Griffith marathon.
My favorite was the vintage Home Run Derby marathon shown on the old Classic Sports Network in the '80s. The series now has come out on on DVD and I have brought it home from the library this weekend.
Competitors include Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Frank Robinson. This was before steroids and before the likes of Manny Ramirez made $20 million a year. A very young Harmon Killebrew, seemingly just off the Idaho farm, the pride of the original Washington Senators, smiles like the cat that ate the canary at the prospect of making an extra $500.
The show has few frills. Conversation between at-bats tends to "That was a long one," "He got all of that one, boy," and "It's a home run or nothing on Home Run Derby." The venue is Los Angeles' old minor-league Wrigley Field. I wonder who lived in the houses right behind the ivied outfield fence -- they must have come out and found a Mickey Mantle-hit baseball or two on their back porches.
The series only lasted two seasons, ending when the earnest host, Mark Scott, passed away, in his mid-40s. Some aficionados maintain the show never Jumped the Shark; others say it did so when the feature matchup came to be Dick Stuart versus Wally Post.
It is true that five of innings of Bob Cerv versus Bob Allison -- which I watched yesterday -- goes a long way. So for backup this weekend we have the second season of Deadwood, and some Honor Blackman Avengers circa 1963.