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Summary

Radio Sage Regard the Series As Stage of World-in-the-Round
Airdate: Sunday - October 11, 1964


Show Description
There is a Gothic quality about Yankee Stadium, the bearded man was saying yesterday, an almost religious atmosphere about the place that makes an infrequent visitor feel about as welcome as an infidel, in St. Peter's. "All other parks in the league are arenas of amusement," he said. They are big toys, big souvenirs: like Shea Stadium with its pink seats, its baby-blue seats, its canary-yellow seats you can't tell it from the GM Futurama. But here it is ancient green, it is moss-covered rock, and you feel that once the Etruscans played on this field. Here there is a sense of the absolute, and the grass is darker because the grandstands rise so high, and the stands reach out around you, they enclose you, embrace and smother you like a giant mother. And out there, in deep center field on a line so that every hitter at the plate can see them are those three granite slabs. They look like three tombs." The gloomy philosopher sitting along third base was not recognized by the crowd, but his voice is familiar to thousands who count themselves among the night people. The man is Jean Shepherd named after Jean Valjean and on his nightly radio show on WOR he has long espoused the theory that we are all losers, all of us, because we all die, and death is losing. He was at Yankee Stadium to broadcast his brooding existential view of baseball over armed forces radio to hipster American troops overseas. During a World Series at Yankee Stadium, all sorts of esoteric types show up in box seats sometimes even baseball fans. Several things struck Jean Shepherd with the telling pro-fundity of Mickey Mantle's ninth-inning home run and he more or less predicted the doom that would befall St. Louis. "See those flags whipping on top of the grandstand?" he asked in the fourth inning. "See how the wind is blowing toward right field? That's hitter's wind, Mantle wind." Jean Shepherd, is an intellectual hipster from Hammond, Ind., whose reputation as a radio wit and molder of moldy minds stems from his seeing things as few others see them. Thus, though he was only one among 67,101 customers at Yankee Stadium, he spent the afternoon looking not only at the players on the field but also at the players in relation-ship to the customers, and both groups in relationship to the Stadium, and the Stadium in relationship to western civilization. He sees baseball not as a game, but rather as America's only national theater, and he sees the shortstop Phil Linz not as the super-sub" (as sports-writers insist) but rather as a fine character actor, a professional who will never be a star, but will succeed on1y as a supporting member of the cast, and possibly a musician as well. "The Broadway theater is not the national theater that baseball is," Shepherd said, "because the stage in America does not have deep-rooted American traditions. The Broadway stage in America is New York and when tourists come to a Broadway theater, they come as they would to the Empire State Building. When Mantle's home run arched through the dark after-noon into the right-field bleachers, Jean Shepherd watched it briefly. Nearly everybody in Yankee Stadium cheered; Shepherd saw the ball rather as a fulfillment of the gloom he knew had been lurking in the park all day.
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October 11,1964
Article

Courtesy: Gene Bergmann


1964
Shep doing AFRS play by play

Courtesy: Gil Wolin

   
Airdate History ' - Original' date is earliest known broadcast)
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