I don't know. Suddenly, it just hit me. I'm not sure if it was this Summer and the Fourth of July that triggered it, or what. But there it was, just like that, right out of the blue, like a bolt of lightning! I was starting to "like" baseball.

Well, I don't mean that I would actually go to a game or anything, or listen to it on the radio or read about it in the newspapers, but just the same, I was beginning to just, well, "like" it.

I always liked that other people like it. It's just so American. I mean, I always felt better knowing that other people enjoyed it and what would summer be without it anyway? It would be a summer without flies, watermelon or cold beer. Not always in that order, however.

This all started on my first real job. I made gloves for my Aunt and Uncle for a dollar an hour. That's when a dollar was worth a dollar -- not a dollar twenty or fifty-two cents, but "exactly" one dollar. They had a little store right across from the Helms Bakery building on Venice Boulevard. It was called the "Bannick Glove Company." That was when Helms was still making donuts and bread. I guess they stopped making donuts 'cause they stopped making bread.

Well, I worked in the back room, just me and a six hundred degree boiler, pressing gloves over a very hot metal hand, thinking of surfing and my girl friend, but not always in that order. And in the other room was the thud sound of my Uncle cutting leather with a mallet and next to him was my Aunt on her sewing machine, sewing up those pieces of leather into gloves.

But in between those sounds was the haunting sound of Vince Scully on the radio calling out the plays. And in between all that clamor was my Aunt yelling back at the radio, cussing out Drysdale. She'd say, "Why the hell they leave him in so long? He's only good for five innings! Why the hell they leave him in?"

Well, someone else would get a hit off him and she'd be at it again. This time a little louder, "God damn it, why the hell they leave him in, he's no damn good." Then she'd light up another cigarette and Uncle Casey's mallet would thud down one more time, and I'd press one more glove and summer would just creep on by like that, mallet by mallet, glove by glove, cigarette by cigarette, and play by play.

Well, I liked that. I mean, I really like that they liked baseball but I had other things to think about, like surfing and my girl friend, but not always in that order. And these days, I'll think about that girl friend and surfing but I like baseball just a little bit more, not that I would actually go to a game or anything, or listen to it on the radio or read about it in the newspaper. I just sort of "like" it a little bit more.
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