I see the boys of summer in their ruin. ~Dylan Thomas, as quoted in the book
MY FAVORITE BASEBALL POINTS
This book covers a team that played together over a long group of seasons, lead by Pee Wee Reese and Jackie Robinson in a time of segregation and hate. Written in two parts by a Dodger beat writer who grew up idolizing the Brooklyn team, Roger Kahn’s book presents the highlights of the great Dodger players and their ultimate demise after the game.
This portion of the book reminded me of the current Colorado Rockies who had played together as GenR throughout the minors, formed a team bond with a strong captain at its core - Todd Helton, and then made a run through greatness towards the World Series. While the Dodgers had the great fortune of attending several Fall Classics, Rockies fans were treated to just one before watching their favorite players eroding demise. Garret Atkins and Jeff Francis are now our boys of summer in their ruin. The most touching story in the book is the fall of Roy Campanella, one of the greatest catchers of all time and the second African-American signed by Branch Rickey to play on the team. The winter the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles, Campanella was involved in a terrible car crash that paralyzed him from the shoulders down. He later regained partial movement in his right arm allowing him to get around in a motorized wheelchair. Campy lost a lot after that and the story of how his wife left him
was horrible broke my heart.
HOW IT APPLIES TO THE COLORADO ROCKIES
You may glory in a team triumphant, but you fall in love with a team in defeat. ~Roger Kahn, discussing the Brooklyn team after losing to the Yankees for two years straight
Between 1947 to 1953 the Brooklyn Dodgers lost four World Series, all to the Yankees. Losing in the World Series had become synonymous with the Dodgers. Until 2007 no one believed the Rockies could win at altitude. The team would launch planetary bombs at home and watch as their pitchers wilted beneath the barrage of Sid Bream’s flinching power. Then 2007 arrived, bringing the confluence of the Humidor and Sinker Ball pitchers to Coors Fied, while Matt Holliday and a ROY candidate taught the hitters how to hit on the road. The Dodgers of the 50's also reminded me of John Elway’s Broncos and how he was labeled as "not able to win the Big One." One helicopter ride later and he showed them.
The Brooklyn Dodgers were great because they were a team led by the Captain and WWII veteran Pee Wee Reese. Reese was the first to embrace Robinson and the two built a strong bond that many players on the team latched onto. As much as I hate watching the Rockies lose this season and any season for that matter, I know it is only temporary and that soon they will be back playing on the biggest stage.
IF YOU LIKED THIS BOOK, YOU SHOULD READ THIS LITERARY CLASSIC
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Both books begin with mystery and intrigue of the fabulously wealthy who throw giant parties yet ultimately end in tragedy.