VIa kinescope the MLB Network station made it's debut last week and I'm still in awe of the first programming I saw. They picked the perfect game by journeyman Don Larsen to kick off the network and they hit a home run with me. While our Dodgers were going down to defeat via one of the more improbable performances in World Series play, just seeing the Boys of Summer play a baseball game was a great way to usher in the new year.
Sure, I've seen snippets of these players before but they are always quick clips that show them completing an at bat, or a play. Never have I seen them for a complete at bat, much less a complete game. Campy was walking, running, swinging, and it was a sweet sight. Jackie was at the end of his game but still, it was Jackie.
Now that I've seen the perfect game I realized luck was on Larsen's side. An old Jackie almost beat out a line drive that caromed off of Max Carey's glove right to SS Gil McDonald who nipped him at 1st. Fair to say a younger Jackie probably beats that out, and of course if the ball doesn't carom right to McDonald no play could even have been made. Later Sandy Amoros and Duke Snider crushed balls that just went foul. The umpire estimated that Amoros only missed a home run by two feet. Then the best play of the game occurred with "fleet" Micky Mantle chased down a Gil Hodges drive deep into the LC gap. If you saw the play you might have noticed that left center field with 458 feet and while Mantle never reached the warning track the drive probably was over 400 feet and would have cleared just about every other park.
A young Vin Scully finishes the game and it was hard to recognize his style until the end of the game. He never strayed from the action, used few words and told nary a story the whole time he was broadcasting the game. Jon Weisman catches Vinny style with the last few pitches of the game.
With an uncluttered booth and no instant replay the game went very fast. The hitters were not wearing helmets, they never strayed from the batting box, and thank God no closeups of them or the fans.
I've seen many of the World Series DVD's but I'm tired of the producers of these shows deciding what I want to see. It was great to finally watch a complete game showcasing the HOF talents of Campy, Jackie, Pee Wee, Snider, and Mickey.
Mickey Mantle's bio was probably one of the 1st books I read and I remember how he was supposed to have blazing speed along with the big time power. By the time I actually saw Mickey play on TV he could barely walk and I always wondered if the stories were true. Watching him flash into left field to chase down Hodges drive confirmed for me the stories of his speed.
These were the Boys of Summer and while they didn't have game on that day, I look forward to seeing them claim their World Championship in 1955 for the full nine innings.