“Take Me Out to the Ballgame” — those are not just lyrics; the phrase
Is also the title of a film that has played constantly in my heart.
For more than half a century. Baseball is in my blood —
No, really. That is not a metaphor or some
Emotional image. The sport is, you see, a vehicle
By which my first cousin Jules, son of my Uncle Joe,
Rode further on to fame in 1949 — coincidentally,
The start of my love affair began (though it too often was not
Returned by my hometown team). Jules Munshin
Played first base on the Wolves, a celluloid team
That traveled that year from cinema to cinema. He
Had teammates played by two actors you may have heard of,
Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra (“O’Brien to Ryan to Goldberg”)
And the team was owned by K. C. Higgins, portrayed by
Esther Williams. If you are too young to recall these names,
Rent the film and watch. It brings humanity to a sport too often
Viewed from the stands or the TV set. So, as I said, the sport
Is in my blood, and every time I get involved in a game, I bleed
Hometown blue and orange, and that is much too often. When I hear
The songs of baseball, it is the soundtrack of that movie that echoes
In my mind. I want to know the players as deeply as I got to know
The characters who played for the Wolves or coached or owned them.
There are so many baseball films — biographies, fantasies, musicals
From “The Sandlot” to “Major League” but only one touches me
And draws me in both magnetized and mesmerized, and you know
That film’s title. Stay with it, Cousin, keep at it . . . the pennant is
Right there, yours and your teammates’ for the taking. And when you
Win at last, share it with me, a loyal fan since 1949!