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Thought for the day Robert Sheridan bobsheridan bobsheridan@earthlink.net Hey, the Giants open tomorrow in San Francisco.

I took a bike ride over to the new stadium. It's a beaut.'

The statue of Willie Mays is magnificent. Hitting a homer. Never saw an action statue like that before. It choked him up.

24 Willie Mays Plaza is the address, not "Place," as I previously posted. They have a Willie Mays Gate, a Lefty O'Doul (big SF hometown hero) gate, and a Ferryboat gate to the rear. Yesterday they had a crew building the floating dock for the fast ferries from across the Bay. They've got a restaurant inside the stadium, white table-cloths and polished crystal, as well as the hot-dog stands.

Out back they've left open a wide space, fenced off from the outfield by an anchor fence, so people can watch fer free, like the knot-hole gang of yore. A very nice touch. I stood there, yesterday, scanning the field. This reminded me of when I wuz a kid and played outfield, usually "Right." That's where they put the most highly skilled outfielder of all. Don't let anyone tell you different. Anyway, that's where I stood, biting my nails.

There's two kinds of ballplayers. Those who say, "Hit it to me," and those who say, "God, I hope he doesn't hit it to me."

I wuz one of those.

I loved to catch fly balls hit to me, or a little to the front, left or right. Didn't like grounders, or anything hit over my shoulder. Willie Mays I wuzn't. He had nothing to worry about from me. Now he's a statue and I ain't. Of course, he could hit better than me, too. I just don't geddit.

Standing out behind the anchor fence in the outfield, I remembered the times I stood in the outfield with a glove on. Suddenly things become very serious when that happens. You are responsible for anything that happens out there. If a guy hits it out near you, you havta catch it or run it down and throw it into the infield. Where? God only knows. No outfielder I ever knew knew where to throw it. To the cutoff man, goddammit! Which cutoff man, the guy's runnin' home, ferchrissake, howm I gonna get him out if I hit the second baseman, I gotta get it home! Never could tho.' Too far. Made you feel like an idiot. Very serious. A lot of responsibility. You needed a guy with an arm. And a brain. Your mind would wander, standing out there all day in the sun. The good players were at short. Only short.

But don't get me started about baseball.

Yeah, opening day is tomorrow.

May the better team win, and wait'll next year.

-rs



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