As a child, my great love was baseball. By the time, I entered 4th grade, I had played one year of Little League and was mildly interested in watching the Red Sox on Channel 38, as long as there was not a Godzilla movie on Channel 56. Though that year, I stumbled across a baseball book that had been abandoned by one of my older brothers (who were 9 and 15 years my senior).
The book was gloriously full of history and statistics, up until the 1961 season. 1961 is one of the most-hallowed seasons in baseball history. There is a lot written about that season, but if you’re curious, just ask Billy Crystal. (Spoiler alert: Roger Maris breaks the home run record.)
My family moved to the Orlando area when I was a teenager and I became less interested in baseball, because I no longer played it, and there was no “home team”. I still liked baseball, but it had lost its obsession status.
Though when I started college, it was intriguing to see pictures of Roger Maris’ record-breaking swing in a few bars around Gainesville:
(Source USA Today)
I later found out that Maris owned and operated a regional beer distributor. I periodically saw his sons wheeling kegs into the restaurant where I worked. Though I never thought that much about beer distributors until I was called on to change kegs in the middle of a busy shift. Then I blamed them for everything that was evil in the world.
Changing kegs was always an inconvenience. Getting the key to the beer storage room, wheeling the keg to the bar cooler, and swapping it out for an empty one, that was always ensnared in the clutter of aluminum barrels and clots of rubber tubing; it was a royal pain. All the while, dishes were piling up, milk dispensers needed to be changed, and vomit was accumulating on the men’s room floor…
One fateful night, my boss, from Boston, shouted “Squawt, foah-get about that table, weah outta Budwise-ah, go change that keg!”
Budweiser. Roger Maris.
It’s well-known fact that when I suffered my second hernia, my screams F-bombing “…Roger Maris!” (in absentia,) could be heard for blocks. I’m sure that there were reports of echoes being heard in Micanopy and Archer.
I would to address a couple of things. First I want to clarify that I was directing my shouts at Roger, Jr.,–one of the beer-delivering sons–not the home run king himself.
Second, the tap lines that I was trying to disentangle when I sustained my injury included many brands of beer. I have no evidence that A-B was any more, or less, responsible for the tear in my abdominal wall (and dangling intestine) than any other brewer.
I was not even lifting an A-B product when the injury occurred. Therefore, it was unfair for me to cast aspersions against the Maris, or Busch families. I hope that they will both accept my sincere apologies. You are hereby absolved.
Given my Irish-Catholic roots, it is difficult, physically excruciating in fact, for me to let go of a grudge. I intend to begin healing by shifting my focus to the great pleasure of my life; irony.
And knowing that I herniated myself by lifting an object that was labeled: